Credit: Jasmine Safaeian
Electropop duo The Limousines hadn't even met face-to-face when they started e-mailing lyrics, melodies and beats to each other in 2007. Now they're the MTV PUSH Artist of the Week and have seen their profile go from small local shows to major festivals around the world.
Singer Eric Victorino and producer/multi-instrumentalist Giovanni Giusti had already written sketches for numerous songs via email before getting into the studio to record Get Sharp, their debut album released last year (and re-released by Dangerbird Records in 2011). On Get Sharp, tracks like the "Internet Killed the Video Star" -- a nod to MTV's first ever video, The Buggles' "Video Killed the Radio Star" -- and "Very Busy People" showcase the group's love of anthemic synth-pop and vintage drum machines.
There's a shiny gloss found all over Get Sharp, showcasing the duo's ability to craft catchy, dancefloor-friendly melodies à la MGMT while still retaining a lyrically critical edge. Their self-awareness could only exist in the internet age, yet the music recalls classic 1980s bands such as Speak & Spell-era Depeche Mode and The Human League.
Check out some behind-the-scenes photos from the "Internet Killed the Video Star" video, and watch the David Dutton-directed video below, plus a few other clips.
+ "Internet Killed the Video Star"
+ The Limousines discuss the zombie-filled storyline for the "Internet Killed the Video Star" video.
+ "The Future" (live)
Credit: Pamela Littky
We've had "Pumped Up Kicks," the standout track from MTV PUSH Artist of the Week Foster The People, stuck in our heads since its release last year. Now, with the upcoming release of the L.A. indie rock group's debut LP Torches, it's time to bring you up to speed on this rapidly ascending group.
In 2010, the group's three-song EP started making the rounds on countless blogs, fueled by the popularity of "Pumped Up Kicks" on The Hype Machine. A series of well-received South By Southwest shows solidified the group's official buzz band status. Since then, they've spent the rest of the year touring and working on material for their proper debut, which has earned early comparisons to psychedelic soul artists MGMT.
We've got a ton of interviews for those of you still unfamiliar with your soon-to-be musical obsession: check out the guys discussing the loose nature of their songwriting process and see which romantic tearjerker drummer Mark Pontius watches when he has writer's block. In the second video, the band waxes on their influences, drawing on everything from electronic music to Beach Boys to Motown. "We're always on the verge of experimenting with different sounds," says lead singer Mark Foster. "Electronic music is so versatile like that... Part of the fun of it is trying to come up with sounds that people haven't heard before."
Finally, "120 Seconds" host Matt Pinfield got Foster on the chair to grill him on the band's success, Twin Shadow and his own listening habits. Oh, and there's a group discussion about clarinet battling with Kenny G., but you kinda just need to see that one for yourself.
+ Watch Foster The People's MTV interviews and their "Pumped Up Kicks" video below.
British rapper Tinie Tempah is already a star in his home country, and he's also this week's MTV PUSH Artist Of The Week. The recent BRIT Award winner for Best Breakthrough Act and Best Single is set to take over America with his fusion of hip-hop and anthemic rock, R&B and drum 'n' bass.
Tinie Tempah got his start in the UK grime and dubstep scene with his standout single, "Wifey," which helped him garner a massive following on his Disturbing London label. After that, he dropped his debut album, Disc-Overy -- featuring larger-than-life hits like "Frisky," "Written In The Stars" and "Pass Out" -- which debuted last year at No. 1 on the UK Albums Chart and has since gone platinum, making him the biggest selling UK newcomer of 2010.
But if you're still new to Tinie Tempah, we've got a whole bunch of videos below to earn you Instant Expert status. The first is Tinie Tempah's "Written In The Stars" performance at MTV's South By Southwest showcase in March. Plus, watch Tinie talk about his heavy reliance on -- OK, obsession with -- his BlackBerry, and how he uses social networking to advance his career (smart man), including a very British choice of YouTube user names. Once you have that down, see Tinie Tempah offer a handy UK-American translation guide -- Jogg'n bottoms? Cuppa? Pissed? -- and learn about Tinie's "vintage-meets-street-cool" style.
And for the complete history of how he got to this point, MTV2's "Sucker Free" got Tinie to discuss his rise from anonymity to becoming the grime scene's darling to reaching UK superstar status.
Credit: Roger Deckker
Swedish singer Lykke Li is this week's MTV PUSH artist. She recently graced us with a stunning MTV "Unplugged" performance, and it was a haunting, ethereal otherworldly occasion that reminded us exactly what an "Unplugged" performance should be. It's not just about the hushed environment, the candles and the expensive rug. It's a closely held, carefully kept intimate experience that opens a window into the artistic experience.
And if you want to know more about the mysterious force behind her moody, moving music, we've got exclusive interviews with Lykke Li, who reveals that her desire to escape the unhappiness of her youth in Stockholm influenced her early on, how she translates her very visual imagination into her music, and how her restlessness informs her creative spirit.
Watch exclusive interviews with Lykke Li, watch "Possibility" from her MTV "Unplugged" performance, check out her "Get Some" video from her Wounded Rhymes album and watch her entire MTV "Unplugged" performance.
We know we've already told you a lot about about MTV PUSH Artist of the Week Nanna Øland Fabricius -- better known as whimsical Danish pop singer and style icon Oh Land. But when someone's on the brink of superstardom, we'll scream until our voice is shot.
The former Royal Danish Ballet student and daughter of an opera singer and composer recently released her self-titled debut full-length, a mix of shimmering electro- and synth-pop, which earns her a spot alongside genre-bending pop females like Lykke Li, Robyn and La Roux, who are pop music's future.
After a career-ending dance injury, referenced in the song "Break the Chain" ("She said sorry, but you're never gonna dance again/But my feet just keeps me moving/Trying to break the chain"), the 25-year-old Brooklyn resident turned to music, and with her expansive vocal range, supermodel good looks, playful demeanor and exuberant live show, has blown up among music lovers and the fashionista set alike.
But enough talk. Last week, we brought you Oh Land interviews, featuring the singer dishing about her move to Brooklyn, her dance history and how she defies musical categorizations. And now, we've got live performances of her two biggest songs, "Sun of a Gun" and "White Nights," below, as well as clips of Oh Land discussing her love of vintage and thrift stores, why there's nothing romantic about a tutu and how she describes her personal style. "It's a dreamlike quality with surreal elements," she says of the latter. Funny, we'd say the same thing about her music.
This week's MTV PUSH Artist of the Week is Lil B, the prolific Berkeley, California MC whose work both as a solo artist and member of hip-hop group The Pack have made the 21-year-old wordsmith a nationwide phenomenon.
The prolific rapper, who earned a Left Field Woodie nomination at this year's mtvU Woodie Awards, has released a staggering 15 mixtapes and four solo albums since 2009, and that's not even counting his two full-lengths with The Pack. Has this dude figured out a way to record in his sleep or something?
The MC, who somehow finds time in his schedule to tweet 3,000 times a day and inadvertently create Internet memes that'd make your mom blush, has both hip-hop critics and fans fawning over him. And in his Based God movement, which he explained to us recently as staying true to yourself and not caring what others think of you (though that's a broad definition at best), the MC has practically created a religion around him. Oh, and in his spare name, he invents dances via YouTube that have collectively garnered millions of hits.
But if you still don't know Lil B, we got you. Check out Lil B's videos below to see the rapper answer critics of his music, perform to a frenzied crowd, get bombarded with a flurry of hats, sneakers and who knows what else to sign for fans, and discuss how "everything [he] says is for a reason."
(Credit: Michele Crowe/MTV)
British duo and MTV PUSH artist Graffiti6 is a multi-hyphenate musical conglomerate: Lead singer Jamie Scott is a singer/songwriter and producer, while bandmate TommyD is a producer as well as a singer/songwriter. The two trade off playing an entire band's worth of instruments between them. So it makes perfect sense that the music they create is also a multi-hyphenate affair, inventing new combinations of pop, folk, R&B, hip-hop, rock, blues and soul to create a dangerously palatable modern mix. From the hypnotic electro-soul of "Staring Into The Sun" to the folk-rootsy guitar-driven harmonics of "Annie You Save Me," Graffiti6 continues to run from conventional music genres (with an uncanny knack for expertly alternating between acoustic and electronic versions of the same song) like a cop chasing a speeding sports car.
In the live videos below, watch Graffiti6 rework the electro formula of "Staring Into The Sun," turning it into an a less aloof, more intimate acoustic affair. Plus, watch Jamie Scott discuss the band's diverse musical background and check out mtvU's Backstage Pass video to see how the band describes its sound. (Hint, if you were thinking "psychedelic-northern-soul-stroke-folk music," you were right.) And watch more Graffiti6 interviews and live performances.
(Credit: Michele Crowe/MTV)
The MTV PUSH Artist of the Week is London-based duo Graffiti6. There are lots of ways to describe this charismatic band's sound, but the best way would be this: Turn on the radio, spin the dial, and hear some of your favorite songs from a variety of genres, then consider them funneled into one band's mashed-up sound.
Graffiti6 is singer Jamie Scott and producer/DJ Tommy D. Together they combine Coldplay-esque arena rock, the sultry pop of Maroon 5, slick R&B rhythms and a classic soul sensibility. On its debut album, Colours, the band effortlessly weaves its influences to create a sound of its own.
Get to know Graffiti6 better by watching Jamie Scott explain the group's origins, watch the "Stare Into The Sun" video, and watch the group perform "Lay Me Down" and "Over You" live at MTV in New York.
This week's MTV's PUSH Artist of the Week is Brooklyn band Cults. Made up of Brian Oblivion and singer Madeline Follin, the duo's become indie darlings in a matter of months, crafting gorgeous neo-girl group pop with a dark underbelly.
After meeting in San Diego and bonding over their shared music tastes, Oblivion and Follin relocated to New York and began recording as a lark, with Follin singing over Oblivion's compositions. After posting a few songs to the Internet, the lark turned into a loud buzz, as listeners quickly became fans, enraptured by a sound that feels like The Ronettes singing Nick Cave songs.
One of Cults' songs, "Go Outside," was recently used as music in the latest of MTV's "Supervideos." And watching Dave Franco romance a spectral Emma Roberts illuminates the cinematic nature that Cults' music creats.
In the interview clips below, hear how Cults feel about the commodification of music, find out about Madeline's obsession with reptoids, hear what Cults want you to get out of their music and get an inside look at a Cults rehearsal.
Cults are currently prepping their self-titled debut album.
(Credit: Scott Gries/MTV)
This week's MTV PUSH Artist of the Week is The National. Over the last 10 years, this Brooklyn-via-Ohio band has put out five albums and tirelessly toured, garnering them one of the most passionate followings in rock today.
Their sound could best be described as the most literate bar band you've ever heard. Powered by the wry, melancholy lyrical observations of Matt Berninger, the band expertly builds soaring, cathartic tracks from the most whispered of beginnings.
At their best, as on the group's 2010 album, High Violet, the band can deliver a gorgeous, moody snapshot of a weary, heartsick life in progress. But if you want to truly hear them in their element, you need to see them do their thing live.
Lucky for you, we have a few incredible live clips below. Taken from the band's awesome "Live In NYC" performance at the Studio At Webster Hall, in New York City, The National plays perfect live renditions of "Bloodbuzz, Ohio," "Fake Empire" and "Terrible Love."
Following the live performances, check out two interview clips with the band, where they talk about the difference between playing live and in the studio, and they're songwriting process.
+ Check out The National's entire "Live In NYC" performance.
+ And watch more interviews with The National.
+ Plus, you can peep a fantastic photo gallery, taken at the band's New York concert.