Oscars 2014 Music Recap: Jared Leto, U2, Karen O, Vampire Weekend

Jared letoThe Oscars may not have been as music-packed as January’s Grammy Awards, but that doesn’t mean there wasn’t room for a couple stand-out performances, and even a little award action for 30 Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto.

Just months after receiving a Golden Globe for best supporting actor, 30 Seconds To Mars frontman Jared Leto won an Oscar under the same category for his role in Dallas Buyers Club. In his acceptance speech, Leto not only thanked his mother, but “all the dreamers out there,” mentioning Ukraine and Venezuela, as he said “we are here and as you struggle to make your dreams happen, to live the impossible, we’re thinking of you tonight.”

Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Vampire Weekend frontman Ezra Koenig performed a beautiful rendition of their track, “The Moon Song” from Her. The track was up against “Happy” from Despicable Me 2, “Ordinary Love” from Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, “Let It Go” from Frozen, and “Alone Yet Not Alone” from the film of the same name.

Also taking the stage was U2 with a performance of “Ordinary Love.” No strangers to being Oscar nominees (the band was nominated in 2003 for “The Hands That Built America”), the band gave a moving performance, playing against a backdrop of photos of the late Nelson Mandela.
You can view a full list of the evening’s winners here.
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Air Traffic Controller Release "Pick Me Up" Music Video

Air Traffic Controller Air Traffic Controller are just plain catchy. There’s no fighting that. If you’re looking for comparisons, the pop majesty of ELO with hints of Vampire Weekend‘s Paul-Simonization of modern indie rock come to mind (their track “Pick Me Up” lifts a rhythm straight from “Graceland” to great effect). But we think that combination produces a sound that’s all ATC, and the band’s new animated video for “Pick Me Up” is just further proof. It’s not easy to do the animation/live-action combo this well, and on a budget to boot, but it works in so many ways. Check it out below, and catch the band at this year’s SXSW. (more…)

Vampire Weekend Perform On 'Jimmy Kimmel Live!'

Vampire WeekendIt’s not every day a band’s album is nominated for a Grammy Award. But when it is, you can expect to see that artist…a lot. Since the success of last year’s Modern Vampires of the CityVampire Weekend have been making the rounds in tours and TV circuits, promoting the album that has since earned them the nomination. Last night, they took to Jimmy Kimmel Live! to perform two of their hits, “Unbelievers” and “Hannah Hunt,” before getting back on the road again this spring. Check out the performances below. 

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Vampire Weekend Cover "Con Te Partirò"

Vampire WeekendSometimes bands get really creative and really bold in their covers. And if you ask me, that’s the way to do it. Take a song and make it your own; none of this relying on what the original artist has already perfected to coast you through to rave reviews. Taking the classic “Con te Partirí²” made famous by Andrea Bocelli, Vampire Weekend does exactly that.

“‘Con te Partirí²’ is one of the greatest love songs of all time,” frontman Ezra Koenig told Rolling Stone. “Its beauty transcends language. Thank you, Mr. Bocelli, for introducing us to this majestic gem.”

Check out the band’s revamped version here, and keep an eye out for Starbucks’ Sweetheart 2014 album, which will feature this and covers from Beck, Ben Harper, and more.

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beck_hansen_0100If the last few weeks have been any indication, winter seems to be the season for cover songs. Between The Flaming Lips, The Joy Formidable, Ke$ha and more, there hasn’t been any shortage of classics getting a new lease on life. Beck‘s new cover of John Lennon‘s “Love” only cements that tradition. Made for Starbucks’ fifth compilation album, Sweetheart 2014, “Love,” originally from Lennon’s 1970 Plastic Ono Band album, sits alongside tracks by Vampire Weekend, ThaoThe Head and The Heart, and many more in an easy listening covers paradise. Check out the new song, along with the track listing below, and pick up Sweetheart 2014 beginning Feb. 4. (more…)

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Screen Shot 2013-12-23 at 7.58.42 PMKaty Perry was crowned the Queen of Twitter earlier this week, after figures released by the site showed that she gained more than 15 million followers in 2013. Which is good, because while KP has already received numerous accolades “ Billboard Music Awards, American Music Awards, a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame “ we all know that when it comes to determining popularity (and self worth), it’s all a matter of how many Twitter followers you have.

Perry may have narrowly beat out fellow pop superstars like Lady Gaga and Justin Bieber to take home the title of most beloved on the interwebz, but her timeline isn’t nearly as funny, thought-provoking, or all-around enjoyable as some of the musicians who truly rule the social network. For tweets that are full of lulz and aren’t purely written for self promotion, try following these unsung heroes.

John Darnielle @mountain_goats
The Mountain Goats frontman is already well known for being a prolific songwriter, but he’s equally active on Twitter. Follow if you like: jokes, death metal, bad movies, progressive politics

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