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Song Of The Day: Feathers' 'Land of the Innocent'

Song Of The Day: Feathers' 'Land of the Innocent'

Band opened for Depeche Mode

If you were one of the thousands of excited people to see Depeche Mode at South By Southwest this year, then you probably also saw Feathers. The Austin electro-pop band had the honor of opening up for the veteran crew, and don't doubt they had a good time doing it.

Band leader Anastasia Dimou sat down with me before SXSW began, to talk about what's so inspiring about the festival, and what it was like to shoot the video for "Land of the Innocent," featured in the interview above.

Feathers also features Courtney Voss of Missions, keyboardist Kathleen Carmichael and drummer Jordan Johns from Sound Team on top of alternating members Destiny Montague (Shock Cinema/Midnight Masses) and Alex Gehring (Ringo Deathstarr). The group's debut album, "If All Now Here," will be out on April 15. Another video, "Soft," is featured below, should you want more (and you should).

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Watch: Dido talks new album, motherhood, and Kendrick Lamar

Watch: Dido talks new album, motherhood, and Kendrick Lamar

Is she the 'Girl Who Got Away?'

Dido Florian Cloud de Bounevialle O'Malley Armstrong, better known as Dido, returns with a new album on March 26, her first since 2008’s “Safe Trip Home.”

The British singer/songwriter, whose feathery, lilting vocals have highlighted such hits as “White Flag” and “Thank You” (widely known for its use in Eminem's "Stan") recorded much of “Girl Who Got Away” while pregnant with her son, Stanley, who was born in 2011.

Like most new moms, she’s seeing the world differently these days. “Having a child just changes everything in the most amazing way and there’s just a freshness to life and I see everything through his eyes and it just sort of blows away anything,” she says. “Suddenly the whole world is technicolor again and it feels like starting again in the best way.”

Because she recorded the album leisurely, she says she didn’t feel the sort of pressure she’s had on past albums. “I made this album sort of over a period of time and each track was made in its own time,” she says. “It wasn’t like we were in a studio having to sort of do a bunch of stuff. It was a track here, a track there, and I came to LA and I worked with a few people and it just meant that the album naturally built up. By the time we came to putting it all together at the end of last year, I know it was already there, the pressure was off.”

One of the people on the new album is Kendrick Lamar, with whom she recorded the gorgeous “Let Us Move On.” “I wrote the track with Jeff Bhasker and that was just a really, fun day. I’d always wanted to work with him,” she says. “[The song] needed a rap on it, you could just feel on it, it needed an extra story. I loved what I’d heard of Kendrick’s  voice, so I sent it to him and he sent back this amazing rap and it was just to hear his voice, it was like, ‘Oh, this is great, I love this!’” She and the Lamar still have yet to meet.

In addition to Bhasker and Lamar, she work with a number of other top producers and songwriters, including Greg Kurstin, Rick Nowels, her brother Rollo Armstrong, and Brian Eno.

In the embedded video, the Londoner also talks about why she finds Southern California so inspirational and how her Oscar nomination for “If I Rise” affected her.







 

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Listen to two new Postal Service songs

Listen to two new Postal Service songs

'A Tattered Line of String' and 'Turn Around' are included on the deluxe 'Give Up' reissue

If the Funny Or Die sketch didn't whet the appetites of The Postal Service fans, the two new songs from the duo may get folks in a tizzy.

"Turn Around" and "A Tattered Line of String" are both included in the deluxe reissue of Postal Service's sole release "Give Up." Ben Gibbard and DNTEL, who make up Postal Service, announced that they'd be headlining at several festivals this summer and going on tour to support their 10th anniversary, so these are pretty new accessories.

Or maybe one of 'em is. "Line of String" is a little more sophisticated, hitting the spot that the first half of "Give Up" gives up. Both tracks feature Jenny Lewis who, since the beginning of this century has dissolved Rilo Kiley, put out some excellent solo efforts and released an album with her boyfriend Johnathan Rice. She played on tour and on the Postal Service album, so it's only right...

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Watch: Jason Aldean goes back to '1994' in new video with Lady Antebellum and more
Credit: Broken Bow Records

Watch: Jason Aldean goes back to '1994' in new video with Lady Antebellum and more

Where's the man of the hour, Joe Diffie?

Jason Aldean takes us back in time with the video for “1994” with help from some of 2013’s biggest country stars.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Avril Lavigne</p>

Avril Lavigne

Listen: Avril Lavigne's new song, 'Here's To Never Growing Up'

Singer releases 14 seconds of new track for crowd-sourced video

Wonder what Avril Lavigne’s been up to? The “Sk8ter Boi” girl is making new music. She teased fans with a 14-second snippet on Wednesday night of her new song, “Here’s To Never Growing Up.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Thirty Seconds To Mars</p>

Thirty Seconds To Mars

Thirty Seconds To Mars tease 'Up In The Air' music video after releasing single

Jared Leto directed the forthcoming clip

Why hasn't anybody ever thought of a mechanical bull upholstered like a very cute couch? That's what the viewer may be asking themselves after checking out the teaser below to Thirty Seconds To Mars' "Up in the Air" music video.

There's also the clean, cropped array of other beautiful images like a door and a lion, but what the teaser trailer to the short film doesn't have is frontman Jared Leto's lyrics to the single, which was released on Monday.

"I wrap my hands around your neck so tight with love," he sings, which makes me think that the track may be a companion to "Hurricane," or at least its video, which featured a lot of sexual fetishism, bondage and other images of S&M. Erotic asphyxiation isn't entirely out of the rock band's wheelhouse, and while "Up in the Air" has some of the sexual taboo to it, that doesn't mean that's all the song is about.

"It does play on two different levels; there's an obvious sexual connotation to the line. ... But it's also about power, it's about control, and the song is about that," Leto told MTV this week.

"A thousand i tempted fate... a thousand times I have said 'today'" he growls, giving it a carpe diem vibe on second listen.

But let's see how that video turns out. Directed by Leto, under his chosen pseudonym Bartholomew Cubbins, he has a knack for the fantastical, but something tells me that not everyone who hears 30STM will see beyond the sexy shock.

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"Mistresses"

 "Mistresses"

Credit: ABC

ABC sets summer line-up with 'Bachelorette,' 'Whodunnit' and 'Motive'

Two new series wil be joining "Celebrity Wife Swap" and "Rookie Blue"

ABC announced its summer line-up, and good news! It won't be non-stop "Celebrity Wife Swap"! Well, not entirely. Two new series are joining the schedule: the procedural “Motive,” which will have a special debut following the finale of “Dancing with the Stars the Results Show” on Tuesday, May 21, before moving to its regular time period on Thursday, May 23 at 9:00 p.m.; and “Whodunnit?,” a new mystery reality competition show from Anthony E. Zuiker, the creator of the “CSI” franchise, which will premiere Sunday, June 23 at 9:00 p.m.  

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<p>Chris O'Dowd at last year's Cannes Film Festival.</p>

Chris O'Dowd at last year's Cannes Film Festival.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

Chris O'Dowd on 'The Sapphires,' making it in America and why he's no Ken doll

From 'Bridesmaids' to 'Girls,' the Irish comedian's star is in rapid ascendancy

I can think of no more perfect visual metaphor for Chris O'Dowd's booming career these days than his own appearance at last year's Cannes Film Festival: walking the red carpet for the midnight premiere of Australian musical comedy “The Sapphires,” the 6'3'' Irish comedian looked every inch the Hollywood star in a sleekly tailored tux, his unruly mop even combed tidily into place, conforming to the code of an A-list world in which, only a few years ago, he would have been a distinct outsider. Well, almost conforming. Keen-eyed sartorialists would have spotted a flash of yellow just above his polished dress shoes: a dashing pair of bumblebee-striped socks.

O'Dowd's funky choice of hosiery seems indicative of a career in which his unlikely ascent to the top has come very much on his own terms. From modest beginnings in Irish television to his breakout role in popular UK sitcom “The I.T. Crowd” to his star-making big-screen turn as Kristen Wiig's love interest in “Bridesmaids” and beyond, the personable, handsome-but-not-Hollywood-handsome actor has attained crossover success with compromising his image, his persona or even his endearing Irish brogue.

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Justin Timberlake

 Justin Timberlake

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: CulturePop Podcast No. 6 - Justin Timberlake, Michelle Shocked, 'Splash'

We weigh in on Kacey Musgrove's new album and 'Dancing with the Stars'

Welcome to our sixth podcast! While we (like everybody else) did talk about Michelle Shocked's alleged onstage rant, unfortunately we recorded the podcast a few hours before she released a written statement explaining her actions. However, that wasn't all we covered this week. Here's the rundown:

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<p>Even when Jimmy Fallon does a fun bit like sing with Selena Gomez, isn't it easier to just watch online the next morning?</p>

Even when Jimmy Fallon does a fun bit like sing with Selena Gomez, isn't it easier to just watch online the next morning?

Credit: NBC

(End of) the late shift: Will replacing Jay Leno with Jimmy Fallon amount to anything?

Does the traditional late-night talk show format have relevance today, regardless of who's hosting?

If those who do not learn from history are doomed to repeat it, then it's pretty clear that the current struggling administration at NBC has no more interest in history than the many failed ones it succeeded.

Yup, it's time for another round of late-night mayhem, thanks to reports in The New York Times and, before it, Hollywood Reporter, saying that NBC is barreling forward with a late-night succession plan that will have Jimmy Fallon replace Jay Leno as host of "The Tonight Show" sometime in 2014, whether during the Winter Olympics in February or in the fall of that year.

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<p>Ryan Gosling will give you all the punches.</p>

Ryan Gosling will give you all the punches.

Credit: Nicolas Winding Refn

Director of 'Drive' reveals new Gosling images from 'Only God Forgives' via Twitter

Refn's new one looks stylish and violent already

I'm really curious to see how Twitter evolves in the future. It's gone from what I considered a ridiculous idea the first time I heard about it to a very powerful form of social media where information is shared in new ways and at lightning speed. I think people are trying to figure out how to game Twitter in some cases, and in other cases I see people simply being people, using it in a very pure and sincere way, and there's no rules that dictate how it has to be at this point.

I know that there is actual language in contracts these days that mandates that certain people have to maintain a social media presence, and there are agencies that exist to provide people who can manage that presence for you. In some cases, when you read the Twitter feed of a public figure, you're getting something that's been vetted, something that is written by committee and used to release certain publicity materials at certain times.

Nicolas Winding Refn and Ryan Gosling working together is automatically interesting after their collaboration on "Drvie." I think it's safe to say that they now demand a certain level of curiosity just by virtue of what they each bring to the table. Gosling's taste is great nine times out of ten, and that tenth time, I can almost always understand what attracted him to the project. He picks his scripts and his directors with care, and I think it speaks well of him that filmmakers seem to like to work with him more than once if possible.

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<p>Between takes on the set of 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' Chris Pine likes to entertain the cast and crew with his impression of Cesar Romero as The Joker</p>

Between takes on the set of 'Star Trek Into Darkness,' Chris Pine likes to entertain the cast and crew with his impression of Cesar Romero as The Joker

Credit: Paramount Pictures

One more international trailer for 'Star Trek Into Darkness' manages to still keep secrets

Can Paramount make it to release without spoilers being leaked?

It's amazing to me that we've got a new "Star Trek" movie hitting theaters in May and we still know very little about it. Amazing and, I must say, highly enjoyable.

At this point, I've decided that even in my review, I'm not going to spell out the details of who Benedict Cumberbatch is playing in the film. At this point, if Paramount and Bad Robot have successfully kept the true nature of "John Harrison" a secret, then more power to them. I think it's an interesting coincidence that they're using Robert April so prominently in the "Countdown To Darkness" comic series that IDW is publishing, since I was the one person to point the finger at April as the possible identity of Cumberbatch in the film, but I suspect even that is part of the misdirect.

What I do know for sure is that this is a seriously confident marketing push so far. This new international trailer has some great imagery, and I like that we're still not seeing a polished and practiced crew onboard the Enterprise. I don't mind seeing this new configuration of the classic characters go through some difficult learning experiences on their way to becoming the iconic characters of the original series. I hope they hold off on assigning them on their five-year mission until they've been well and truly tested as a team. After all, you'd send your best and brightest out there to make first contact with a wild and untamed universe, wouldn't you? And right now, these characters are still learning how to be a united crew.

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