Walk The Moon caught 'Call Me Maybe' fever.
Our favorite thing about summer so far (besides air conditioning)? Walk The Moon as the MTV POSTED artist for July! All month long we're following the band in exclusive videos and interviews at POSTED.MTV.com. So slap on your face paint guys, 'cause it's time to learn even more about the "Anna Sun" artists.
This may be surprising, but they don't just listen to their own self-titled album on repeat (like we do). In fact, they are into major pop summer jams from the likes of Carly Rae Jepsen! Stars: They're just like us!
+ Watch Walk The Moon talk about new musical obsessions after the jump!
It's official: Jordin Sparks is the cutest human being on Earth.
Maybe it's because I loved her the most on her season of "American Idol," or perhaps it's because she recently got to work with the late, great Whitney Houston on their movie "Sparkle" (watch their "Celebrate" video here), but I actually have always kinda wondered what Jordin Sparks was into. Thankfully, we lured Jordin in for a revealing round of "10 Things I'm Obsessed With," and in addition to being completely adorable, we are happy to say that we share some of her obsessions as well! Now if only we could share some of her talent...
Watch Jordin Sparks' "10 Things I'm Obsessed With" after the jump.
Walk The Moon explain WTH is up with the face paint.
If you're like us, you've been obsessively listening to Walk The Moon's self-titled debut album on repeat -- "Anna Sun" is, after all, the official song of the summer after all. Luckily, we can keep feeding your obsession since the group is the MTV POSTED artist for July, meaning we'll be following their every move at POSTED.MTV.com all month long but in a healthy, non-stalkerish way.
We're still in awe of their musical magic after watching the band perform an acoustic version of "Next In Line" (on a cardboard box!), but we still demanded answers about the genesis of that whole face paint thing.
+ Watch Walk The Moon discuss their adventures in face paint after the jump!
Harlem native Azealia Banks raps like a beast and drops some of the nastiest lyrics this side of 2 Live Crew. But that sly, infectious smile (and the fact that she looks like the second coming of Naomi Campbell) somehow softens the blow, making her kinda like the Sarah Silverman of rap. Born and raised in uptown Manhattan, the 21-year-old hasn't spent much time in her native New York in recent years after catching the ear of none other than Diplo. She moved to Montreal for a bit and spent any off time in Europe (where she's become friends with Karl Lagerfeld, who sends her gifts. NBD).
She's now back in the U.S., and Los Angeles has, like so many before her, reluctantly become her city of choice. But that international influence (and Diplo's) comes through in her music. One listen to her new EP, "1991", and it's obvious this is someone who's grown up on Lil Kim and Missy Elliot. Azealia's also demonstrated a dedication to busting her spitfire flow over '90s-style electro-house beats, a move rarely seen outside of the U.K. (or Baltimore). As a result, her sound ends up feeling closer to someone like Dizzee Rascal than the knee-jerk Nicki Minaj comparison.
All influences aside, Azealia has her own sound and style, with a natural rap voice more common in artists from the DMV, like Ladybug Mecca, or Wale even. She matches her precise flows with an impressive singing voice (thanks to that LaGuardia Performing Arts High School background) and some serious hook writing ability. Her breakthrough hit, "212," caught the attention of Kanye West and dominated rooftop parties in the summer of 2011, and it was paired with a raw but fun black-and-white video bursting with personality. Her follow-up, "Liquorice," is another rapid-fire house-rap jam with a more accessible chorus and a video -- by legendary fashion photographer Rankin -- set in a Tarantino-esque homage to spaghetti Westerns. Add to those accolades and achievements a feature on a Lana Del Rey remix, an internet-crashing GQ feature, and a Disneyfied but definitely not-for-kids cover of Paper magazine, and it's obvious we're already dealing with a fully formed pop star.
+ Find out more about MTV PUSH artist Azealia Banks after the jump.
Walk The Moon strip down 'Next In Line' in their MTV POSTED performance.
You may remember Cincinnati art rockers Walk The Moon from when we introduced them as our MTV PUSH artist last month (you're very welcome), or when you obsessively voted for the guys' "Anna Sun" to win the official song of summer title... (which it did!). But we're not done gushing about the group, which works out well for us, since they're MTV's POSTED artist for July! All month long, we'll share exclusive videos and interviews brought at POSTED.MTV.com, and we're kicking off a month of Walk The Moon with a live version of "Next In Line," from their self-titled debut album, which just dropped June 19.
The band's frontman, Nicholas Petricca, not only melts our hearts with his emotionally charged tale, but he also earns our admiration with his killer percussion, not to mention drummer Sean Waugaman's ability to pound musical magic of out of a cardboard box. We may play their stunning "Anna Sun" music video on repeat, but watching the band's complex musical machinations come together like a Rube Goldberg machine is equally memorizing. If this is just a taste of the kind of energy the guys bring during a live performance, expect to find us fist-pumping in the front row at every single one of their concerts while they tour with fun. this summer.
+ Watch Walk The Moon perform "Next In Line" live.
UK singer-songwriter Ed Sheeran is staging a serious British Invasion. The musician's debut album, entitled + (as in the plus sign), landed at No. 5 on the Billboard 200 this month -- after 10 months on his homeland chart, which he topped last year. On his rise to fame, he's performed at the 2012 mtvU Woodies, toured with Snow Patrol and sold out his own U.S. headlining tour in 12 minutes. No big deal, right? And no big ego either. "It's quite nice that the U.S. fans are involved and want to come to the shows," the humble star said. ("Quite nice"? We'd be commissioning an airplane to write those kind of wins across the sky. But that's just us.)
Ed Sheeran has scored more than 2.5 million Twitter followers, definitely enough to sell out a lot more gigs. He's even made a fan of Taylor Swift, whom he's been working with for her own upcoming album. Makes sense -- we know they're both big cat people. And not only is Sheeran pretty adorable himself (it's the boy-next-door guilelessness and that emotive British songwriting-as-storytelling thing David Gray does so well), but after listening to the eclectic +, it's easy to tell why everybody's got the album on repeat.
"My music is a mixture of a lot of acoustic music -- of folk, hip-hop, soul," Sheeran says, which makes sense since he's a huge hip-hop fan and even teamed up with Yelawolf. "I think YouTube has destroyed the genre barrier. People can be into Justin Bieber and Eminem at the same time. It's a good thing." Also a good thing? All of the Ed Sheeran videos, interviews and performances we've hooked up for you below. Get into it:
+ Watch Ed Sheeran's "The A Team" live performance below, and get more performances and interviews after the jump.
"The A Team (Live)"
Los Angeles rockers White Arrows are open-minded dudes: Like Fool's Gold or Vampire Weekend, the band has a sound that's equal parts indie edge and global groove. The band's gotten hometown love from L.A. Weekly and KCRW. The influential L.A. radio station praised the band for their live performance -- a skill White Arrows had a chance to master with a monthlong residency at an Echo Park club in 2011, an L.A. indie rite of passage. With their chops honed, the group headed to Europe this spring to rock festivals like Liverpool Sound City and The Great Escape. They've even gotten the attention of Justin Timberlake (!!!) who said of their "Get Gone" video, "Cool video. Song reminds me of Phil Collins: 'Take Me Home.'" High praise, indeed.
In addition to possibly bringing sexy back, White Arrows are making the most of the world's current fruit situation: "[Guitarist JP Caballero] listened to an NPR special about bananas, and how in 20 years or something there will be far less bananas," frontman Mickey Church explains. "He would start eating 20 to 40 bananas a day." Potassium: crucial! Beyond the vitamins though, the band also made sure their musical chemistry was cool with the universe before recording their debut album, Dry Land is Not a Myth, which dropped last Tuesday. "We went to an astrologer and made sure our signs were OK," JP says. The stars are definitely aligning for White Arrows.
+ Watch White Arrows play the song live below. And check out more performances and interviews after the jump.
Get Gone (Live)
As you're surely aware, Usher just dropped his new album, Looking 4 Myself, which went straight to No. 1. And, he's also MTV's POSTED artist for June, which means we've been diligently following his every move all month (not that we don't already) at POSTED.mtv.com. So, basically it's the Summer of Ush up in here.
Last week Usher got us "Caught Up" (GET IT?) on his new movie role and new song "Twisted." And this week, Usher dropped some Justin Bieber bro-to-bro knowledge on us. Specifically some bomb-dropping, gas-related knowledge.
Watch Usher discuss giving advice to Justin Bieber and Justin Bieber's fart problem after the jump!
Like Dewey Cox before them, WALK THE MOON walk hard. With their stirring, swirling, sun-soaked anthems, the Cincinnati indie rockers scored a major label deal. And they recruited an army of fans dedicated to their sound, which feels like the lovechild between David Byrne and Paul Simon. Not bad for a band that just nailed down its main men: "This particular lineup came together in the last year and a half or so, and that's when all this craziness started happening for us," frontman Nicholas Petricca says.
The group's speedy ascent has come with some help from the undeniable gravitational pull of the "Anna Sun" video, a colorful, choreographed adventure that's taken over the internet with millions of views. And they soundly swept Buzzworthy and Seventeen magazine's reader-voted Official Song Of Summer 2012 poll.
WALK THE MOON recorded their self-titled major label debut, out June 19, in Atlanta last summer with indie über-producer Ben Allen (Animal Collective, Deerhunter), which gave the DIY-ers the chance to go hi-fi. "This was the first time we had the chance to work with a budget and a producer in a big fancy studio," bassist Kevin Ray admitted. "We weren't really prepared for it," he laughed.
One thing they definitely were prepared for? Their mesmerizing live performances. "A whole lot of the purpose of going back to those songs was to bring the energy we have live," Petricca said. Dudes aren't kidding. Get a taste of that energy with a live download of "Anna Sun" and three video performances from the band below.
+ Watch WALK THE MOON's live performances, interviews, and videos after the jump.