The new album from Kat Robichaud and The Darling Misfits is out today, January 27th. An impressive, ambitious, and confident collection of dramatic rock and pop songs, the eponymous record was funded by fans earned by Robichaud throughout her time as front-woman of The Design and, most famously, during her thrilling run as a contender on The Voice.
There are no shortage of artists today aiming for the grand and theatrical, inspired by Lady Gaga, Dresden Dolls and the like – and surely these are influences on Kat Robichaud as well. But what makes this a special record, and Robichaud a special artist, is her natural edge. We would not hesitate to classify this as a rock and roll record, despite its polished pop production, purely for the non-stop intensity and the sheer force of the singer’s will. More Queen and Foxy Shazam than Gaga, really.
On top of this, the LP is beautifully bizarre. It is funny, clever, defiant, and plainly well-written. Sound collages recur throughout, sometimes to create or enhance a vibe, and occasionally just for a laugh. Yet this is no novelty. Veering between wrenching balladry and dynamic, piano-pounding epics, this is the sound of an artist going for broke, being completely true to herself and discovering her own essence, having tested her limits and finding only those that are self-imposed.
This week marked a few very special moments in time for The Tonight Show. For starters, it was Jimmy Fallon‘s first week hosting the show, which is pretty monumental all by itself. Second, it was packed with guest performances by some of the industry’s hottest artists, like U2, Lady Gaga, and Tim McGraw. Last night, Arcade Fire brought a little indie rock life to the show with their hit, “Afterlife.” The performance even sported a spectacular light show, courtesy of a disco ball. Check it out below. (more…)
Way back in 2012 we brought you the news that R. Kelly would be revisiting his infamous hip-hopera, Trapped in the Closet. But if you thought that was the end of it, think again. Two years later, it looks like R. Kelly will indeed be treating us to yet another peek into this seemingly never ending saga. IFC will premiere the new chapters, and promises fans that the episodes will involve “more drama, more crazy situations, more tumultuous relationships, more Sylvester, more Pimp Lucius, more Reverend Mosely, more everything that you love about ‘Trapped in the Closet.'”
Since there is currently no release date, you’ll just have to revel in the fact that on Dec. 7 at 5:15pm (ET) you can watch the first 33 chapters in bliss, courtesy of IFC.
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In the 1950s and ’60s, ‘Pop’ art upended the staid world of fine art by incorporating elements from advertising, television, and consumer product packaging. It fundamentally shifted the public perception of visual art, redefined the acceptable subjects for the medium, and subtly exposed the supercilious pretension and meaningless market forces that governed the art world with shadowy power.
In 2013, Lady Gaga released ARTPOP. It has a track called “Sexxx Dreams,” and includes lyrics like, “Cuz that bitch, she’s so thin (oh la la la) / She’s so rich, and so blonde / She’s so fab, it’s beyond.”
This is not to discount her new album totally out of hand, (because, actually, her R. Kelly collaboration is pretty damn catchy) “ it’s just to say that Gaga’s self-proclaimed revolutionary pairing of high-brow art culture and pop music is actually very far from progressive, especially if you take her at her word about the motivation behind the project.
Gaga has stated that “the intention of the album was to put art culture into pop music, a reverse of Warhol.” So immediately it’s pretty obvious that she considers art and pop music to still exist in completely separate and non-overlapping spheres. This may be true, at least for the majority of serious artists who take on some projects for the sake of pure creativity, because they can’t not make art, and because even in a modern society that has devalued the role of the creators by overvaluing the distributors (ahem “ the Spotify model), they still see value in the process of making stuff for its own sake.
But Lady Gaga’s understanding of art culture seems a bit different. Her obsession and collaborations with huge art world names like Marina AbramoviÄ‡ and Jeff Koons feel a lot like her own admitted obsession with fame, a major, ongoing theme in her music and life. Coincidentally (or not), the artists that Gaga admires most are those that have been prominently in the public eye for years. They are the giants on the world stage. Koons, who designed the ARTPOP album cover, recently sold one of his statues for $58.4 million. It was a gigantic orange balloon dog.
When “Applause” hit radio in August, fans feared Mother Monster had lost her edge. The song was no doubt catchy and theatrical, but it sounded far too similar to the material found on Born This Way to mark any creative progress. “Do What U Want” did a lot to right that wrong by offering a strong ’80s influence in a new context, and now “Venus” has arrived to ensure that yes, ARTPOP will indeed offer listeners another side of their beloved Lady Gaga.
After spending roughly a minute with an intro that essentially beckons listeners to take Gaga to their home planet, “Venus” builds into a pulsating club track about love in outer space. The music is undeniably modern, but the structure harkens back to the less-than-memorable moments of experimental ’70s disco pop. Whether or not that sits well with fans is anyone’s guess at this point, but it feels a bit too odd to score big at radio. Stream “Venus” below and let us know what you think of Gaga’s latest.
ARTPOP arrives in stores November 11. (more…)