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All the posts on www.papermag.com.

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    Ever since late last year, when she made our "Haunt Your Dreams in 2015" list, Marina Diamandis has been coming at us from all sides. We've had classic high-production videos, a live-in-the-studio performance and two Pac Man screen savers. We've had a weird and just really good dance track, a soaring, slide-down-the-wall-crying piano ballad and, as of yesterday, a starkly confessional single called "I'm a Ruin." All the songs are from FROOT, the third Marina and the Diamonds album, due out in April. Expect a couple more one-offs leading up to the album's release. But first, space out to "I'm a Ruin," above.

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    image-1.jpgWith the film adaptation of 50 Shades of Grey coinciding with the world's most stressful holiday, BDSM is in the air, naturally.

    For his latest collaboration, Marc Jacobs -- an avid fan of both sex and sexy people, as we know -- jumped on the bondage bandwagon, tapping lingerie designer Zana Bayne for a collection of playful S&M-inspired accessories that have the fashionably curious in mind.

    "The best thing about the collaboration, Bayne told Vogue, "is that they are pieces that you can display and show off. They make for great conversation starters, and are perfect to wear to a party or a masquerade. Not to mention, they are definitely wicked little gifts. I personally think that the collar and cuffs can be worn as wardrobe accents outside of the bedroom. You just might want to remove the chains first."

    Ultimately, the collection is more cheeky than sexy, and the mini whip keychains, heart pasties, and surprisingly wearable collar and cuff sets could even temp those whose predilections err on the side of vanilla.

    View the collection, as modeled by our own Star Wars enthusiast Ali Michael, below.

    alimichaelbdsm.jpgimage-3.jpgimage-2.jpg image-4.jpg



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    As much as Run The Jewels has brought us moments of pure, cat-related frivolous joy, they've never shied away from serious issues. "Lie, Cheat, Steal" perfectly showcases both the duos unrelenting charisma and political leanings against the backdrop of trippy imagery and subverted American iconography. Watch the music video, above.

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    Swedish teen rap sensation and leader of the Sad Boys crew, Yung Lean, has been seducing the dark corners of the weirdo Internet hip-hop scene for a little while now and today he's given the web another gem in the form of his new video, "Bathtub." In the autotune-heavy, funked out song, Lean's voice is a peculiar mix of his Swedish accent and Dirty South rap god mimicry that vaguely sounds like he's speaking with a Caribbean patois, and the accompanying clip is equally as WTF. Ostensibly recorded with a smartphone, the entirety of the 2 minutes and 25 seconds video is one long shot of the rapper smoking a blunt in a van filled with other teens. You'll notice that even as he smokes a fattie and raps about THC, he's still got his seat belt on because safety first.

    In the words of PAPER's Elizabeth Thompson, "Justin Bieber WISHES he could be this so badly." Dream on, Biebs.


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    Cara Delevingne's sheer expressiveness as a model is pretty much unmatched by her peers. True, dem brows do about 30% of the heavy lifting, but when you're able to effectively steal the spotlight from Kim Kardashian (and possibly her soul) on the cover of LOVE just by sticking your tongue out, that's saying something. Delevingne has dipped into acting on the side as of late, including a role in the upcoming film Paper Towns, and her latest endeavor includes a role in Chance the Rapper's new video for "Nothing Came to Me" off his upcoming Donnie Trumpet & the Social Experiment album, Surf.  The clip above is a teaser for the actual forthcoming video, and it's unclear what's eating at Ms. D in this clip, but it's striking none the less. Watch as Delevigne goes through a range of emotions as mournful trumpet wafts in the background.

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    Not only is Charli XCX fluent in road trip references, but she's also fluent in Japanese. The British pop star re-recorded her hit song, "Boom Clap" for a special release of her new album, Sucker out from Warner Music Japan. So, if you've always known that Charli XCX could harness her girl power to do anything she put her mind to, listen to the flawless Japanese version of "Boom Clap," above, and feel validated.

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    Public intellectual 2 Chainz, neé Tauheed Epps, has his sights set on running for mayor in his hometown of College Park, Georgia. The rapper told XXL, "I'm supposed to be running for mayor in College Park. I got everybody wishing. I'm really gonna do this little mayor thing in College Park. I'm just trying to make sure I have the right qualifications." YES. PLEASE. DO THIS LITTLE MAYOR THING. Looking past the fact that he once named himself Titty Boi, 2 Chainz is more than qualified to run for political office -- after all, he wears not only one, but two chains. But on a serious tip, as Nancy Grace accidentally revealed, 2 Chainz is a smart dude (he graduated college with a 4.0 GPA) with a strong sense of social justice and a passion for his community. We here at Paper magazine have already endorsed the many named rapper's bid for the presidency, when he so decides to take up the mantle.

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    Screen Shot 2015-01-28 at 4.52.04 PM.pngMy heart always goes out to a victim -- unless it's a fashion victim. They are messes purely of their own making, their unsightliness totally stemming from the wrath caused by their misbegotten choices. So fie on them, and on their 10 worst faux pas, which are precisely as follows:

    Collars up
    Prance around Hell's Kitchen and you'll see scores of twinks with their collars up, acting like they're about to board a 1980s yacht to the Hamptons. I always want to slap them and pull the collars down, but instead I just hop my bike back to the Village.

    Asymmetrical hair

    Hair shapes shouldn't look like something that needs to be framed for tomorrow's Guggenheim exhibit. Get your freakin' hair done evenly, victims, because you're giving me a throbbing headache. And when my head throbs, I get a craving to grab a razor.

    Weather-inappropriate wear
    Nothing is more painful than looking at some girl showing her hooch on the street in a blizzard. The urge to look like a paid temptress so overpowers the need for human survival that these creatures will risk getting genital frostbite just to look "sexy"! Yuck!!

    Hawaiian shirts
    These are wink-wink tacky in an incredibly not-good way. They scream out the wearers' bad taste to the world. I'm totally in favor of bad taste, mind you, but not when it looks this craven. Hawaiian shirts should set off alarms that attract emergency workers.

    Stephen Sprouse Jackets

    His colorfully splotchy jackets just didn't age well. They were very period-specific, sort of like pet rocks, Rubik's cubes, and the lambada. Any well-meaning dingdong who wears one -- especially with a lunchbox -- needs to be promptly institutionalized.

    Skin-tight clothes or open shirts on a bad body

    How do you know you have a bad body? Well, if people start spewing when you wear skin-tight clothes or open shirts, that's a pretty good sign. Cries of "You can't pull it off" quickly turn to "You should pull it off -- and put on something else!"

    Too many conflicting patterns
    Don't just pick out your 12 favorite outfits and wear them all at once. It's an eyesore! Look for some completion to your tones, some method to your madness. Of course, I am exempted from this rule, thank you.

    Beards

    Those long-assed Civil War-style beards that became weirdly popular for a while are now officially over because they're creepy, and also because I said so. Go back to some serious landscaping, please.

    Spotted tights or stockings
    They always make people look like they've got some incurable disease. Stick to solids! And don't even think about those godforsaken jeggings -- unless you're wearing Spanx.

    Sandals without socks
    I know it's sandals with socks that are supposed to be a hateful faux pas, but I don't want to see anyone's bare feet, or even hints of them, under any circumstance. I always wear socks with sandals, flip flops, and every other kind of footwear imaginable (except for anything normal), and I happen to represent the apex of sartorial taste and class, as you well know. So, do as I say and as I do!



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    bowiebuscemi2.png

    Now that Boardwalk Empire is over, what to do for your Steve Buscemi fix? You can only watch the "People to Kill" Billy Madison scene on YouTube so many times and the evil wrongdoers at Netflix Instant refuse to add Ghost World. Thankfully, College Humor knows your pain and have kindly added the former Paper cover star to that mesmerizing, viral gif of all Bowie's haircuts over time by artist Helen Green. Behold, Buscowie. It's the gift you didn't know you wanted but now you know you desperately needed. He's perfect. 

    27222958MNrrxyTX1.gifVia Dangerous Minds.


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    Winter is bleak. We all know this and Fucked Up's former guitarist turned indie-pop solo act, Young Guv knows this too. In the music video for "Crushing Sensation," Young Guv finally gets out of bed at about 12pm, eats some cereal, and then halfheartedly attempts to exercise around his shitty, snow covered town. Watch the lo-fi story of our life, above.

    Young Guv's debut EP Ripe 4 Love is out March 10th via Slumberland.

    [via Noisey

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    Kanye West made an appearance on Ellen earlier today to premiere the music video for "Only One," his first collaboration with that British guy Paul McCartney. As the modern fable goes, West channeled his late mother to write this tender lullaby for his daughter, North, so it only makes sense that the visuals for the track take the form of a heartwarming family home video.

    Warm your bitter, frozen soul by watching the "Only One" teaser, above, and then watch the full, Spike Jonze directed video at Kanyewest.com. Also check out Kanye West talking family life and his new album on Ellen, below.
     

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    Rae Sremmurd's ode to bad bitches, "No Type," got a recent makeover from electro-pop duo ASTR and, just like Young Guv's new video, it really speaks to us during these lousy winter days. Band members Zoe Silverman and Adam Pallin transform the pulsing drum machine-heavy rap anthem into a lush ballad that seems to turn the line "I ain't got no type / bad bitches is the only thing that I like" from a defiant statement into a sort of sad, resigned one. This isn't the duo's first rap cover: they first burst onto peoples' radars in 2013 with their cover of Drake's "Hold On We're Going Home." Catch them performing both songs along with material from their debut EP, Varsity, at Miami's Ultra Fest and Governors Ball in NYC.  

    More ASTR: See the band's New Orleans Voodoo Fest Tour Diary

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    Justin Bieber is sorry for being so awful for the past year. In a terribly lit cell phone video posted to Facebook, Bieber explains that he hasn't been his true self lately, and that the law-breaking, public-urinating, smarmy douche prince that we've all come to accept as "Justin Bieber" isn't the real him. "I'm not that kid, I'm a person who generally cares," Bieber promises, adding that he wants "to be more gentle and soft" because that's how his mother raised him. Though it's unclear what's behind this newly realized self-awareness, we'll chalk it up to a double-pronged PR strategy meant to set the stage for his new stripped-down album and distract from the general mockery his Calvin Klein underpants ads received. Indeed, Operation Softer-Side-of-Justin has been off the ground for weeks on his Instagram, where he's been posting photos of himself hiking, experimenting with new hats, and tinkering around on an acoustic guitar -- all signs that point to a 20-year-old man in the midst of soul-searching. We like this re-born Bieber. Welcome to the world, our son.

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    2015 is shaping up to be a good year for people who depend on books as much as I do for diversion and emotional sustenance. Here are some forthcoming books I've been #blessed enough to get a peek at as well as some others that I'm psyched to know about the existence of because I've loved their authors' other work so much or the topics are so intriguing. Either way, I hereby vouch for all of these; this list is all killer no filler.


    Tea is the author of four memoirs, poetry, and a YA series, but this book is poised to be her "mainstream" breakthrough: it's her first from a major publisher and it features a big ol' glamorshot of her cute self on the cover. That and the title remind me (as I'm sure they're intended to) of Caitlin Moran's How To Be A Woman. Like Moran's memoir in essays, this one is also more about good anecdotes than teachable moments, though Tea does make palatable and funny some of what she's learned from 12-step programs during her decade-plus of sobriety. I'm a huge fan of Tea's voice - she has that indefinable thing that makes it impossible to stop paying attention to whatever she's talking about. Maybe this is what people mean when they say someone is a "born storyteller"?  In centuries past, we'd be relying on Tea to keep us entertained during long nights around the fire; she can and does make just about anything  -- from a fridge full of maggots to a trip to the Fendi atelier in Paris - straight-up riveting.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.30.20 PM.pngDead Horse by Niina Pollari (Feb 3)


    This is the rare (for me) book of poetry that, while non-narrative, still holds my attention well enough that I can read it straight through - say, on the subway -- and not take it in little doses while thinking "hmm, yes, good job reading poetry Emily."  The appeal might be Pollari's direct address and the appeal of her weird, dark and true observations. Like:

    Under the vagina and guts

    Even in a Lana

    A skeleton hides

    Her 37th Year: An Index
    by Suzanne Scanlon (March 15)

    I don't know anything about this book but I can't wait to read it. Scanlon is the author of Promising Young Women, a criminally underappreciated book about being institutionalized that both directly addressed the tradition of mental-institution memoirs and added something new to the genre, which is basically a miracle. It firmly put her in "I'll read anything she writes with great enthusiasm" territory.
     
    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.33.43 PM.pngSelfish, Shallow and Self-Absorbed: Sixteen Writers on the Decision Not To Have Kids Ed. Meghan Daum (March 23)

    Hoo boy. That title, right?!?! Plus, Daum has assembled a dream team to tackle this charged issue, with writers like Sigrid Nunez and Geoff Dyer contributing essays. An anthology on this topic is long overdue, and I'm almost as excited to hear the conversations the book will start as I am to read it.

    51OGm9d7uHL.jpgSpinster: Making A Life of One's Own by Kate Bolick (April 21)

    Fascinating and overdue, in the same vein as Daum's anthology. Bolick takes on society's assumption that there's something wrong with women who don't make getting married a priority in their lives by using her own life as a lens. The Atlantic cover story that sparked this book made people lose their shit in a really entertaining way, so I'm assuming that will happen again. Basically, both of these books = http://www.reactiongifs.com/popcorn-gifs/

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.46.37 PM.pngA God In Ruins by Kate Atkinson (May 5)

    In this follow-up - not "sequel," really - to Atkinson's blockbuster Life After Life, we once again find ourselves in the company of the Todd family, an otherwise ordinary UK family who have a slightly screwy relationship to the laws of time and space. The most powerful and affecting chapters concern Teddy Todd's stint as an RAF pilot during the Blitz; one chapter in particular had me reading in the kind of riveted, wide-eyed trance state that I usually only experience during Bourne movie action sequences. I cried when that chapter was over both because it was emotional and because of the relief of the tension that Atkinson is a master of building and sustaining moment to moment, even as she switches temporal perspectives several times in one paragraph. In other words, she's always telling you how the story ends, but still keeping you in constant agony over how, moment to moment, we're going to get there. I think she takes pleasure from it. It's kind of sick! The ending is a real mindfuck, too.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.49.24 PM.pngThe Argonauts
    by Maggie Nelson (May 5)

    Nelson might be best known for Bluets , a narrative poem that describes the unraveling of a relationship in the immersive way that your favorite breakup album does; its publication created a cult of Nelson fans. She also writes critical theory, as in The Art of Cruelty, her recent book about our relationship to art as spectators and participants. In The Argonauts she combines both her signature modes, wrapping bits and pieces of other writers' words and theories around her own experiences of falling in love and becoming a parent. This is a crazy book to read while you're pregnant, by the way, especially Nelson's no-holds-barred description of her labor; I don't know if I would actually recommend it to my fellow preggos. Except I totally would, because I would like to discuss it with you, so please read it.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 2.52.04 PM.pngCity By City: Dispatches from the American Metropolis Ed. Keith Gessen and Stephen Squibb (May 12)

    It's kind of dirty pool for me to recommend this because it is co-edited by my husband but come on, "co-edited," that's not that bad, and also who knows what that even means. Plus, I'd be remiss if I didn't recommend it because it's great. There's so much emphasis on what goes on in America's "cultural capitals" that these dispatches from Cincinnati, Florida and Syracuse are as riveting and alien as essays about an obscure republic of some exotic foreign land might be.

    9780062364777.jpgMislaid by Nell Zink (May 19)

    Zink took the world by storm last year with The Wallcreepers, which introduced readers to her singular voice. She combines obvious erudition with a sort of devil-may-care attitude that's very winning; she also clearly doesn't give one single fuck about offending anyone. On a purely technical level, this book might be the best on this or any list; it's been a while since I've read anyone who can write a sentence as economical and graceful as Zink's. On the level of plot this book is just bonkers, and your mileage may vary as to whether you find it palatable: it's about a white woman who runs away from her awful husband by assuming a false identity; without trying very hard, she convinces everyone in a backwater Virginia town that she and her small daughter are black. Years later, the daughter encounters her older brother at college; hijinks ensue. The final scenes reminded me of what a Wes Anderson movie might be like if he was as good a writer as he is a visual stylist. I mean that in a really good way.

    B8c_2zACcAAs0Uq.jpgThe Invaders by Karolina Waclawiak  (July 7)

    A bored housewife in a gated community has to deal with her husband's drug-addled son from his first marriage in Waclawiak's hotly anticipated second novel. Her first, How To Get Into The Twin Palms, was a mini-masterpiece of atmosphere and mood; a new book is a cause for celebration.

    Purity by Jonathan Franzen (September)

    Lol, have you heard of this guy? I think he's pretty good.


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    January is a rough month for pop culture. Movie theaters turn into studio dumping grounds, TV viewers migrate to Netflix in droves, and major labels trod out their low-stakes affairs, no longer concerned with holiday sales or year-end list placements. And all of this while every conceivable entertainment industry takes to primetime to pat themselves on the back for recognizing and celebrating the most homogenized forms of art they had to offer in the preceding 12 months. Fortunately for omnivorous music lovers, there were some genuinely exciting records and tracks to kick off the new year -- if you looked hard enough. With that in mind, here are the five best albums and the five best tracks of January, 2015.

    Best Albums

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.16.02 PM.pngD'Angelo and the Vanguard -- Black Messiah
    If I'm being completely honest, I probably would have included Black Messiah -- the first D'Angelo album in almost 15 years, following 2000's eternal Voodoo -- on this list without even hearing it. Part of this is because the fact that it even exists is a miracle. When you make an album as influential as 1995's neo-soul jumpstarter Brown Sugar, it makes sense that you'd take a few years off before regrouping. That sabbatical lasted five years, but it helped produce Voodoo, a masterpiece on almost every conceivable level. So when five years, then almost ten years rolled around, things took on a suspicious air. It turns out that D'Angelo's second sabbatical had much darker implications, as the artist was struggling with alcoholism, which led to run-ins with the law. As time wore on, it became less and less likely that we would ever get another album out of the guy. But last December, a week-and-a-half before Christmas, D'Angelo dropped his third album in the middle of the night.

    Despite its on-trend surprise release á la Beyoncé, its unveiling had very little to do with "how we release music now"; slated for early 2015, D'Angelo decided to get Black Messiah into the hands of Americans as soon as possible, a direct response to the decisions in the cases of Michael Brown and Eric Garner. Though Black Messiah is not an overtly political piece of work, it felt like the most vital and prescient piece of art we could ask for in those dreary final days of 2014. Musically, Black Messiah leap-frogs between comfort-food-y soul numbers ("Really Love") to proggy funk exercises ("Sugah Daddy") to caustic, afro-futuristic punk ("1000 Deaths") in ways both balletic and uncompromising. And then there's "The Charade," which if isn't one of the most vital civil rights songs in decades, it's certainly one of the most urgent. "All we wanted was a chance to talk," D'Angelo crows, "instead we only got outlined in chalk." Black Messiah might not be the album America deserves right now, but it sure is hell is the one that we need.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.18.59 PM.pngSleater-Kinney -- No Cities to Love
    Sometimes the biggest shoes to fill are your own. For the riot grrrl godheads Sleater-Kinney, the stakes for their comeback album, No Cities to Love, could not have been higher. In the decade since the release of their farewell album The Woods, many young upstarts have tried to emulate the band's ferocity and fearlessness, but very few have come close to matching it. As if that weren't enough pressure, the women of Sleater-Kinney's extracurricular activities didn't always offer much assurance. Carrie Brownstein became an almost-household name by palling around with Fred Armisen on Portlandia and starring in American Express ads; Janet Weiss (along with Brownstein) started the supergroup Wild Flag, whose one-and-done self-titled LP was both undercooked and overrated; Corin Tucker hung out with Eddie Vedder too much. But with No Cities to Love, Sleater-Kinney are back in rare form with their take-no-prisoners attitude fully intact and the music conjuring up a maelstrom from uncharted depths. Every track is a corker, from the burnt rubber of "Surface Envy" to the guitar heroics of "A New Wave." Throw it on and let your cheeks burn bright pink from the embarrassment of ever doubting them in the first place.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.19.42 PM.pngCloakroom -- Further Out
    Some people spend their winter months trying to stave off Seasonal Affective Disorder; Indiana trio Cloakroom practically invite it in for a post-graveyard shift beer. Like the sound of a thousand daylight desk lamps exploding in unison, the band's debut full-length Further Out (a churning amalgam of sludge-y slowcore, '90s alt-rock radio pensiveness and distortion pedal fetishism) is as grey and heavy as a Nor'easter. Cloakroom, who work day jobs as factory workers, have cheekily nicknamed their sound "stoner emo," which isn't too far off-base: Doyle Martin's murmured, cynical introspections are a healthy counter to the muscle of the music, all charred amps and crushing drums. Some may find the sheer weight of Further Out to be too oppressive, but there is real catharsis to be found in its brighter corners. You just have to be willing to embrace the cold first.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.25.20 PM.pngPanda Bear -- Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper
    For many, Noah Lennox can do no wrong. The 36-year-old Animal Collective member's fifth album under his Panda Bear moniker was released earlier this month to yet another boisterous round of hosannas, just as the laid-back psychedelia of his previous effort, Tomboy, was in 2011, and just as his breakthrough experimental pop collage Person Pitch was in 2007. For these reasons, it may seem too obvious to include Panda Bear Meets the Grim Reaper here but Lennox continues to prove what a singular artist he is, even at a point in his career where he really doesn't have to. More consciously noisy and beat-driven than his previous efforts, Grim Reaper is a dizzied Spirograph drawing in a rusted scrap-metal frame, its rusted exterior protecting the gooey, fluorescent contents at the center. Though he's been juxtaposing sounds of the secular and the divine for years, he seems to have gotten the balance just right here, like an after-church brunch where mushroom tea is served.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-29 at 4.22.01 PM.pngViet Cong -- Viet Cong
    I've preached the greatness of Viet Cong in previous installments of this column, but now that the Calgary outfit's debut full-length has been officially released, it bears repeating. Over the years, the idea of starting an honest-to-goodness post-punk band appeared to be such a well-tread endeavor that the potential to squeeze any remaining juice from that once fertile fruit seemed, well, fruitless. Viet Cong cuts familiarly cold, angular figures, but is suffused with patches of startling pop clarity (single "Continental Shelf"), warped college rock ("Bunker Buster") and foreboding rhythmics ("March of Progress"). Built from the remnants of the great but gone Women, Viet Cong have earned a rare second chance, and haven't squandered a second of it.

    Best Tracks


    Charli XCX -- "Doing It"
    Despite the fact that the bulk of Charli XCX's sophomore album Sucker sounded like a long-lost Republica album, it sure did have some pretty flawless singles. Both the effervescent "Boom, Clap" (now in Japanese!) and the willfully bratty "Break the Rules" were great in their own respects, but neither could touch "Doing It," an absolutely addictive shout-along club joint that just flat-out sparkles. The good news is that Charli released it as the third single from her hit album this month. The bad news? Some suit decided to tack Rita Ora onto this perfect thing. No matter -- not even everyone's favorite "stop trying to make her happen" UK pop star can drag it down an inch. Still, it's best to enjoy "Doing It" unadulterated, unless you're feeling like getting a little weird, in which case feel free to throw on PC Music head honcho A.G. Cook's recent remix.


    Rae Sremmurd -- "Safe Sex Pay Checks"
    Every month needs one solid dumb-out anthem, so it only makes sense to turn to the current ruling princes of the dumb-out, Rae Sremmurd, for a fix. The boyish brothers' debut SremmLife is just lousy with them, but "Safe Sex Pay Checks," which finds Slim Jimmy and Swae Lee buying out the bar and going nuts, really hits a sweet spot. Unlike most brainless blasts of energy in this vein, its heart belongs to the turn-up anthems of a bygone era, with "don't stop 'til you get enough!" chants and "ohh-oh" sing-alongs. Add to the fact that getting paid and wrapping it up are two things that almost everyone can get behind, "Safe Sex Pay Checks" has Rae Sremmurd coming off like a Tag Team for the codeine generation.


    Amen Dunes -- "Song to the Siren"
    This Mortal Coil's 1983 cover of Tim Buckley's "Song to the Siren," which spent a whopping 101 weeks on the UK Indie Chart, is often considered to be the definitive version, but it's been reinterpreted by everyone form Robert Plant to Bryan Ferry. Now Damon McMahon, who records as Amen Dunes, has thrown his hat in the ring, taking on the song on his Cowboy Worship EP. In McMahon's earthy, delicate hands, it becomes a howling seance, the nimble finger-picking creating a hypnotic pull that's impossible to shake.


    Mark Ronson -- "Daffodils" [ft. Kevin Parker]
    Despite the overwhelming success of "Uptown Funk," that inescapable, Bruno Mars-assisted simulacrum of a Morris Day and the Time single that threatens to be as ubiquitous at wedding receptions in the future as it is in movie trailers now, Mark Ronson's Uptown Special was doomed to take some shit. With James Brown xeroxes like "Feel Right," throwaway appearances from Stevie Wonder, a corny narrative arc and the fact that he enlisted Michael Chabon to write lyrics for the damn thing, it kind of deserved some of it. Enter Kevin Parker, frontman for the greatest working psych band in the world, Tame Impala, and you've got my interest piqued. Though Parker lends vocals to two other so-so tracks on the album, it's the undeniable "Daffodils" that's the real keeper here, rubbery and space-y and funky in all the right places.


    Young Guv -- "Wrong Crowd"
    Young Guv is the brainchild of Ben Cook, who is probably best known as the guitarist for forward-thinking Toronto hardcore lifers Fucked Up. Though he's recorded under various iterations of the name, he's finally readied a proper full-length of power pop gems titled Ripe 4 Luv, out in March on Slumberland Records. "Wrong Crowd" is the first single and closing track from that record, a smooth and swanky seven minute odyssey that recalls Kaputt-era destroyer, complete with a lengthy sax-fortified coda. Pour the brandy and light the Acapulco Gold.






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    The Game of Thrones season 5 trailer debuted last night at IMAX theaters across the country (pause for deep eye roll, even if you're a ride-or-die GOT fan), and, as these things go, someone put a cellphone recording on YouTube. The quality's not spectacular, but that's OK, you've still got lots of fire, Khaleesi being bad as hell, more fire, mayhem, Tyrion on the run, Jon Snow, who definitely knows something this season, and so much more. The new season debuts April 12th. Bring us our dragons.

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    After conquering the hashtag IDFWU, Big Sean enlisted Kanye West and Drake to take on #blessed. Obviously, "Blessings," with these three powerhouse rappers, is a blessing to us all. Big Sean starts the track off strong, causing many a SoundCloud commenter to say, "OH SHIT." But Drake, predictably, steals the spotlight, singing the hook and taking the time to name check his mom before going in with the line, "I could give two fucks where the Grammys go / I just gave out Grammys on my Instagram." (WHERE IS THE LIE.) And after another Big Sean verse, Kanye closes off the track and, naturally, leaves us all feeling #blessed.

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    Rejoice! Missy Elliot is here to save the Super Bowl. Reportedly, an anonymous source told the AP that Missy Elliot is going to put her thing down, flip it and reverse it -- or in the AP's own word's: "Work It" -- at the Super Bowl halftime show alongside Katy Perry. While wearing as many footballs as possible, Perry also hinted at the special guest during a press conference.

    I wanted to bring someone back. A throwback of sorts that definitely needed some more shine. All I can say is it will be a real female fun night. It's a bit old school. When this person enters the stage and you hear the first ring of the chord I think jaws will drop and faces will melt.
    It's worth adding that Missy Elliot is more of an icon and downright legend than a "throwback artist," but if Perry is indeed alluding to Missy Elliot, all we can say is YAAAASSSS:

    tumblr_n0ttmy6Ux01shv8xjo1_500.gifIn addition to being our savior, the rapper is also working on a follow-up to 2005's The Cookbook. For her first album in over a decade, rumored to be called Block Party, she's working with longtime collaborator Timberland who says, "It's something you ain't never heard Missy do. It sounds today, but the future."

    [h/t Billboard]

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    tumblr_niqjzifbGm1u9nolao1_1280.jpg1. Saved by the bell hooks

    Saved by the bell hooks is exactly what you'd expect: bell hooks quotes over a fitting screen shot from Saved by the Bell. But that doesn't make it any less delightful. Let Zack and the gang ease you through important lessons about intersectionality and systemic oppression.

    tumblr_mlpi0b4yLJ1r9rem3o1_500.gif2. Soft Communism

    This blog is the not-so-logical end to Tumblr's obsession with pastel everything -- soft goth, soft grunge, soft ghetto, and now soft communism. Soft Communism is insane and amazing, simultaneously making no sense and perfect sense. Shh, don't question it, just give in to it.

    Zm2q13P.gif3. Lorde Inc.

    Lorde Inc. is a London-based modeling agency that exclusively casts men and women of color. So that means their Tumblr is a never ending stream of hot models and fresh faces. Lorde Inc. is your oasis of diverse fashion in an industry where that's far from the norm.

    tumblr_ndymrhhSM51tlllqgo1_1280.jpg4. Dudes in Startup Shirts


    A Tumblr devoted to men wearing their start-up's t-shirts in public. This blog works as both a depressing underlining of Silicon Valley's lack of women, as well as the shameless self-promotion that comes with getting a start-up off the ground. There's a reason why bands don't wear their own t-shirts, dudes. We pray for you.


    tumblr_nidy5tOJeo1slg0uvo1_1280.jpg5. Women of the '90s
     
    Everything's here: Endless photos of Fiona Apple, Britney Spears, Whitney Houston, Julianne Moore, Aaliyah, Gillian Anderson, Heather Graham and more. What we like about Women of the '90s is that it doesn't delve too much into like, "remember this Nickelodeon deep-cut cartoon" foolery that other '90s nostalgia sites do. Women of the '90s is all about chicness, which, back then, meant a slip dress, brown lipstick, a painfully thin eyebrow and a zig-zag part. What else do you need to spell elegance?



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    New York City has had a long history of providing the backdrop for cutting-edge cinema, but several films at this year's Sundance Film Festival managed to put a fresh spin on the 'New York Story.' Whereas films by Woody Allen or Martin Scorsese romanticized what was still a dangerous and dirty city, these movies emphasize the enduring grit and struggle within a safer, more glittery New York. Relationships and the dream of fulfillment take center stage when other basic needs are met, and often these emotional struggles have much more immediacy than the physical danger that has long since ceased to be an issue for urbanites. Topics like the difficulty of meeting people in a bustling metropolis, prohibitive cost, loneliness, problems of aging, mental wellness, identity, income security, the stress of having children, and the condition of happiness are all tackled through stylishly-erudite developments in narrative storytelling and honest depictions of interpersonal relationships. Read more about these exciting "nu-New York" films, below.

    More Sundance: Ten Actors and Directors to Watch

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.00.48 PM.pngJames White

    Josh Mond's beautifully-written depiction of a self-destructive New Yorker coming to terms with the slow death of his mother made James White one of the most poignant films at this year's Sundance. Christopher Abbott (James) delivers a stunning portrayal of the kind of New Yorker who gets into bar fights because he can't deal with the stressors of his mother's (Cynthia Nixon's) all-consuming hospice care. The film's intimacy is heightened by a crisp, bleating score from Kid Cudi (who also stars in the film) and sophisticated closeups that Mond designed to mirror the fact that, as the director put it in a press conference, "life in New York City doesn't stop, so there's no time to retreat to process your emotions -- you have to deal with it."

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.01.24 PM.pngMistress America

    Greta Gerwig and Noah Baumbach's latest project moves beyond the endearing mumblecore of Francis Ha with stylized dialog and situational humor that could only take place between characters as self-absorbed as those who parody privileged New Yorkers. When Tracy (Lola Kirke) becomes disillusioned with college life in New York City, she writes a story about her impetuous would-be sister-in-law Brooke (a Soul Cycling and tweet-loving Greta Gerwig) in order to get attention from the college Lit Society. As her personal relationship with Brooke unravels due to this seeming betrayal, each character's idiosyncrasy heightens to the point that they start to resemble characters in an SNL sketch about narcissistic borough life: "There's nothing that I don't know about myself," Brooke declares in a moment of insight. "That's why I can't do therapy."

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.03.40 PM.pngNasty Baby

    Kristin Wiig, Tunde Adebimpe, and Sebastion Silva tackle the trappings of modern bohemia in Nasty Baby's disarmingly raw depiction of friendship and loyalty. Freddy (Silva) is an artist who wants to have a baby with his partner (Adebimpe) using Polly (a capable, charming Kristin Wiig) as a surrogate. The trio struggles with harassment from a mentally-unwell squatter, and between the trips to Brooklyn Boulders, the 311 phone calls, the noisy neighbors, and the cats, the film ultimately depicts life in Brooklyn with pinpoint accuracy, even when a dark turn of events threatens to dismantle their lives.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.05.39 PM.pngPeople, Places, Things

    Flight of the Conchords' Jemaine Clement plays Will Henry, a graphic novelist whose untimely divorce lands him in a studio apartment in Astoria that even his kids think is "far away" from the rest of New York. People, Places, Things addresses the livability of the outer boroughs and the messiness of family life there. Will and his ex-wife Charlie learn to navigate the stressors of having children in a frenzied city while searching for (and ultimately finding) themselves in the process.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.06.10 PM.pngSleeping With Other People  

    Jason Sudeikis plays a smooth-talking lothario in a wickedly-clever romantic comedy from Leslye Headland, who rose to fame as a comedy writer with 2012's Bachelorette. Alison Brie plays Lainey, a woman Sudeikis lost his virginity to at Columbia back in the '90s and the film centers around their reunion at a sex addicts' meeting years later. After reconnecting, the two embark on a platonic friendship with hopes that each can support the other on the road to recovery and romantic fulfillment. In addition to staging what may pass as the most quotable date-banter in modern entertainment, Headland's film addresses the aspirational quality of New York with pointed, subtle acuity. Sudeikis takes his dates to brunch; Lainey's gynecologist's office has a stylish chandelier and babydoll furniture. Meanwhile, Sudeikis' best friend and business partner (the hilarious and brilliantly-cast Jason Mantzoukas) can't wait to "sell out" and "buy a Tesla".

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.07.33 PM.pngAnimals.

    Fans of the FX series Archer will appreciate the wry humor of the independently-produced and animated series Animals., which aired as a Sundance short created by Phil Matarese and Mike Luciano. Animals. depicts the lurid activities of the creatures that New York City typically casts as pests: rats that are trying to get laid, body lice that have infiltrated the Mayor's undergarments, police horses griping about their "9 to 5" and making suicide pacts. It's an unexpected reminder that New York City is actually teeming with non-human life, despite how uninhabitable the city may seem with respect to the natural world.

    Screen Shot 2015-01-30 at 1.09.10 PM.pngChristmas, Again

    For the first time since his girlfriend left, Noel returns to Greenpoint to eke out a lonely existence living in a camper and selling Christmas trees for the fifth straight year. He hides the pills that he uses to grapple with his loneliness in an Advent Calendar and must deal with constant reminders of his ex whenever he interacts with the young couple who do the day shift at the tree lot (he takes over at night). There's a feeling of entrapment in Noel's experience, as director Charles Poekel purposefully designed his shots to feel claustrophobic (you never really leave this one Brooklyn block). Ultimately, it's a quietly moving film that doesn't sacrifice achieving a sense of reality for outlandish plot lines.

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