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Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 'Mosquito'
Credit: Interscope

Review: Yeah Yeah Yeahs, 'Mosquito'

Band's first album in four years puts you on a train, sends you to mars and wears you out

Karen O has a history of the most daring fashions when she takes the stage with the Yeah Yeah Yeahs. It’s hard to say if they’re costumes, or part of a larger persona, or if it’s simply what she wore to the grocery right before sound check. But what she wears she doesn’t merely don, she takes up and owns.

That’s what, metaphorically, Yeah Yeah Yeahs’ latest effort “Mosquito” is like: to reduce a fully fleshy piece of performance art down to a pair of funny trousers and heart-halting stage banter would be to miss the point. Sonically, there’s a common string there, tensions between damage and invincibility, shaman-esque to inappropriate, blustering to succinct, a coherent complexity aided by longtime producers David Sitek and Nick Launay.
Like in “Subway”: In a moment, Karen O expresses a melancholy that resonates with anybody who’s ever heard the retreating clack of the J/M/Z train line in their own 3 a.m. local-time manner. Instrumentally, the reverb and keys are uplifting, letting the listener on and sends the car to space. “Despair” has a tingling rhythm section that tap out anxieties and guitars that pan around expectantly. “Don’t despair,” O sings in her mouthy response to the desperate melodies. “You’ve always been there / you ’re there through my wasted years… there’s nothing to fear.”
The title track has the band repeatedly promising to “suck your blood” and the singer role-playing as the mosquito, literally “bzzzzing” in the post-chorus and making this song, on paper, seem incredibly stupid (like, ahem, the album art). But, again, it’s about wearing it, and wearing it well: Nick Zinner let’s his six-string out on a little adventure, congas bleat in the background and all of a sudden you’re wearing wings too, oh godd*mn it. Similarly, “Area 52” – the YYYs version of “I Wanna Be Your Dog” but with, like, aliens -- demands some listener participation as the laser sounds, alarms, tribal drums, feedback and vocal warping send you on the trip or you stay stuck on Earth.
There are a few inclusions here that break up the band’s habits, good and bad. LCD Soundsystem’s James Murphy produced “Buried Alive,” which also features the only guest spot on the album from Dr. Octagon: the rapper harms the consistency, sadly, though his verse is great and in-and-out before you have time to object (yeah yeah… no). There’s another other-ness to the gospel choir on standout single “Sacrilege,” adding a few thousand extra kilowatts to a band that seemingly generates its own energy. Intimate love song “Wedding Song,” the closer, is a stunning but surprising reminder that there’s actual human behind walking hyperbole Karen O, which may send you running in slow-motion for the Kleenex… or to “Fever to Tell.”
You go where they go, wear what they wear, smoke what they smoke: that’s the requirements to get as funky and dark as “Mosquito” gets, which may be a bit too much to ask listeners who are looking for the simple joys of “Maps” or straight-forward garage-punk that made up the bulk hits of “It’s Blitz!”.  Still, for most fans, “Mosquito” will have buzz long after the chart debut, the summer fest shows and the four years of anticipation. Put it on and wear it out.


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Listen: Drake's feeling lonely on new track 'Girls Love Beyonce'

Will girls love this song too?

Drake name drops Beyonce in his new song in his new song, “Girls Love Beyonce,” and then basically kicks her to the curb. He drew us in with her and then goes into a song about wishing he had someone to love.
The song’s hook is built around a slowed-down Destiny’s Child’s “Say My Name,” wistfully sung by James Fauntleroy, but Drake didn’t need to include Beyonce in the title for that.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Robert Downey&nbsp;Jr. with wife Susan at the Oscars in 2011</p>

Robert Downey Jr. with wife Susan at the Oscars in 2011

Credit: AP Photo

Robert Downey Jr. will win an Oscar says Robert Downey Jr.

Also: The actor confirms he pulled in $50 million for 'The Avengers'

Robert Downey Jr. sure is in a good way lately, no? Wind the clocks back, oh, seven years -- certainly less than a decade -- and you're talking about an uninsurable has been. Drugs, scandal, fall from grace, the whole thing. Then he married one of Hollywood's youngest and brightest, Susan Downey (née Levin), in 2005. She helped him get his act together and now he's the face of two major franchises. It's storybook, really, and a perfect awards narrative, by the way, should an awards project ever come along for the actor.

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<p>That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast &amp; Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?</p>

That is a car exploding out of the front end of an airplane. Is it any wonder the 'Fast & Furious' franchise just keeps on growing?

Credit: Universal Pictures

'Fast & Furious 7' stakes out a 2014 release date

A new director and no Dwayne Johnson doesn't slow the studio down at all

Universal is not fooling around.

I understand. They've been looking for their ATM, their cash machine that reliably spits out money every time they release a new film in the series, and it's been a struggle at times. They sort of backed into this one. I guarantee there was no one at the studio at the time that "The Fast and The Furious" was made who had a vision of the franchise that exists now.

Justin Lin deserves a lot of credit for turning this into what can legitimately be called a mega-franchise now. At this point, it's such a big series, and the scale of the mayhem in each film seems to be swelling. Now that Lin is leaving, it would be easy to imagine that the studio would be worried. If you drop the ball even once with a series like this, you risk burning it down, and that's the last thing Universal wants.

Now that James Wan is onboard to direct the seventh film in the series, Universal wants to make it clear that they are moving full speed ahead with a new movie, and today, as part of their CinemaCon presentation, they announced that July 11, 2014 is going belong to them.

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<p>Emma Stone is one of the stars of Alejandro Gonz&aacute;lez I&ntilde;&aacute;rritu&rsquo;s &quot;Birdman.&quot;&nbsp;</p>

Emma Stone is one of the stars of Alejandro González Iñárritu’s "Birdman." 

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Iñárritu's 'Birdman' starts shooting with Keaton, Watts, Stone, Galifianakis and more

The film will be the Oscar-nominated director's first comedy

Add up the belly laughs in Mexican director Alejandro González Iñárritu’s first four features -- "Amores Perros," "21 Grams," "Babel" and "Biutiful" -- and, well, you'll find you have a lot of fingers going spare. Accomplished and sometimes exhilarating as his films (all of which have found favor with the Academy to some degree) have been, a change of pace wouldn't hurt him at this point.

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<p>Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is going to be humbled by the events of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'</p>

Captain Kirk (Chris Pine) is going to be humbled by the events of 'Star Trek Into Darkness'

Credit: Paramount Pictures

Final 'Star Trek Into Darkness' trailer test Captain Kirk and the Enterprise

And even now, they're still keeping their secrets close

The moment I was hooked by the trailers for the 2009 "Star Trek" reboot was when Pike (Bruce Greenwood) challenged Jim Kirk (Chris Pine) to try to live up to the legacy of his father. The score, Greenwood's delivery, and the weight of what he was saying… all of that combined hit me dead center, and from that point on, they sort of had me on the hook.

I feel like it's a very smart choice, then, to bring this final trailer in the ad campaign for this summer's "Star Trek Into Darkness" back around to the two of them, Pike and Kirk, once again sitting together, once again discussing Kirk's potential as a leader. Pike is such a particular figure in "Trek" history, and perhaps the most significant refiguring in this new rebooted version of the "Trek" universe is the way he and Kirk deal with one another. You can't do much better in terms of mentor figures than Greenwood's Pike, and Kirk needs that voice in his ear, someone willing to push him and dare him to be a better person.

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Watch Steve Buscemi's extremely awkward Vampire Weekend promo video

Watch Steve Buscemi's extremely awkward Vampire Weekend promo video

... In advance of Amex Unstaged

Steve Buscemi wants to be in a band. Specifically Vampire Weekend only to, y'know, help them reach a broader audience.

The actor/director will be helming Vampire Weekend's Amex Unstaged concert, webcast live on April 28 at 9 p.m. EST. In a promo clip for the show, it is revealed that Buscemi and VW's Chris Baio are distantly related, and it's a riff on that: how would a weird act and behave toward somebody that they're supposedly blood-relative to?

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<p>Danny McBride's dancing as the world ends, and he couldn't be happier.</p>

Danny McBride's dancing as the world ends, and he couldn't be happier.

Credit: Sony Pictures

Set Visit: Danny McBride says 'This Is The End' is full of terrible things happening to famous people

We head to New Orleans for the end of the world in the first part of our set visit

NEW ORLEANS - If you're looking for a place to stage the end of the world, it seems to me that New Orleans is a pretty good choice.

Seth Rogen and Evan Goldberg are a formidable creative partnership. Standing on a soundstage for the first film they're co-directing, I was struck by just how laser focused their vision for their career has been and how well they've managed to build a space for them to make the films that genuinely make them laugh. When I first met Seth, it was at the premiere for "Anchorman." If you don't remember his role in the film, I wouldn't blame you. He plays a news cameraman, and in a film that seemed to be a showcase for one incredible character bit after another, Seth was one of the few people who didn't really have a giant moment.

The party after the premiere was at the Roosevelt, and it was a particularly rowdy celebration. That was a film that almost didn't happen several times along the way during development, and it seemed like everyone assembled understood just how much of a miracle it was that it even existed. At one point during the evening, I saw Seth Rogen sitting by himself at a table, and I walked over to say hello.

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<p>Would Tom Cruise really be willing to go up against another alien invasion so soon after the back to back experience of 'Oblivion' (seen here)&nbsp;and 'All You Need Is Kill'</p>

Would Tom Cruise really be willing to go up against another alien invasion so soon after the back to back experience of 'Oblivion' (seen here) and 'All You Need Is Kill'

Credit: Universal Pictures

Tom Cruise may go 'Top Gun' against alien forces in 'Yukikaze'

Will the actor really sign on for a fourth alien invasion film?

If I didn't know better, I'd say Tom Cruise is a nerd.

Sure, sure, he's been Captain Awesome since I was a young teenager, and he somehow looks better at his age than I've looked in my single best day ever, and he continues to somehow elude the same sort of career pitfalls that have sidelined even the most talented of his peers. So calling him a "nerd" may not be the traditional application of the word, but it seems to apply when you look at his taste in projects over the last few years.

It's one thing to do a couple of science-fiction movies in a row because Steven Spielberg calls, and "War Of The Worlds" and "Minority Report" are very different approaches to the same genre. With "Oblivion," "All You Need Is Kill," and the just-announced "Yukizake," Cruise seems to be almost single-handedly helping keep original science-fiction alive on the bigscreen. And, yes, I know he's not the filmmaker in each of these cases, but it's incredibly hard to get these films made, and when Cruise signs on, he can be the deciding factor for the financiers behind the films.

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<p>An Italian fantasy with Marshall (Jason Segel)&nbsp;on &quot;How I&nbsp;Met Your Mother.&quot;</p>

An Italian fantasy with Marshall (Jason Segel) on "How I Met Your Mother."

Credit: CBS

Review: 'How I Met Your Mother' - 'Romeward Bound'

Lily gets a job offer she tries to refuse, while Ted and Barney fixate on a woman in a big coat

A quick review of last night's "How I Met Your Mother" coming up just as soon as my life turns into an angsty, existential Italian black-and-white movie...

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"The Real Housewives of Orange County"

 "The Real Housewives of Orange County"

Credit: Bravo

'Real Housewives of Orange County': What do you think of Lydia?

A new housewife joins the cast, but doesn't make much of an impression

On last night's episode of "The Real Housewives of Orange County," many significant things occurred. Tamra and Vicki made up (that was quick, right?), we learned Heather has a problem child (which totally messes with her perfect facade), and we met the new Housewife. On paper, Lydia McLaughlin appears to be a perfect fit for "The Real Housewives" franchise. Her family came from money, she describes herself as a princess, and her husband takes her out for date night on their private boat. Sounds just right, doesn't she?

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"Dancing with the Stars"

 "Dancing with the Stars"

Credit: ABC

'Dancing with the Stars': Were 4 dancers on the floor 2 too many?

The gimmick of adding two pros to each dance made for a crowded night

I think we can all agree that tonight was an unfortunate night for "Dancing with the Stars" to test drive a new gimmick. By plopping a second pair of dancers -- polished professionals -- into each routine, the floor seemed crowded at a time when most people were likely distracted by thoughts of what had happened in Boston, of what they'd seen on the news moments earlier. Sorting out which couple was the one to watch and which couple was simply good was a little more effort than maybe some of us wanted to dedicate to reality TV tonight.

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