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Wyclef Jean reunites with his fictitious “Carnival Band” in his new video for “What Happened to Love.”
The video opens with Wyclef’s former manager insisting that the Haitian rapper “put the band back together.” “Not the Fugees, not yet. The Fugees will come,” the manager promises. “I’m talking about the Carnival Band.”
From there, Wyclef Jean reaches out to his ex-band mates: Boom Bap Clef, Uber-driving Carnival Clef and Permy Clef, each of whom has a distinct resemblance to Wyclef himself.
After reuniting the Carnival Band, the group performs “What Happened to Love” at a luxurious beach party.
“My Carnival albums have always been about celebrating music culture from all parts of the world and Carnival III is no different,” Wyclef previously said of his new album in a statement.
“It’s outside the box. There’s genre-bending. There’s new talent on there. Carnival III is more than just an album. It’s a celebration of what I love about music: discovery, diversity and artistry for art’s sake… It’s about putting music together that will outlive me and live on for generations to come that is full of emotion, vibration and fun. Get ready.”
Future canceled his Saturday night concert in Charlottesville, Virginia, a week after the white supremacist march in the college town. The rapper’s Sunday night gig in Virginia Beach, Virginia was also postponed.
“Out of respect for the tragic events I felt it wasn’t rite [sic] to perform at this time. Please understand my heart mean well VA,” the rapper tweeted Friday. “VA is important to me & always will be. I’m comin very soon, my word! Love Forever.”
Future and Lil Yachty were scheduled to perform Saturday at the University of Virginia’s John Paul Jones Arena as part of a back-to-school celebration for students. After postponing the performance, the rapper made it known that “his FreeWishes Foundation will connect with the University of Virginia” to work out a charitable contribution, News 3 CBS in Virginia reported.
Following the Unite the Right rally, which resulted in the death of counter-protestor Heather Heyer, Charlottesville natives Dave Matthews Band wrote that they were “all disgusted by the acts of racist, hate-filled terrorism in our hometown this weekend.”
“Like so many our hearts are broken. Our thoughts go out to the families and victims of these unbelievable acts. This is not the Charlottesville we know and love,” the band added. “This town has grown from its sometimes great but often difficult history and is marching toward an inclusive future.”
Artists like Lorde, Lady Gaga and John Legend also condemned the white power movement that held the rally.
On a Los Angeles morning, as the temperature climbs toward the triple digits, Julia Michaels rolls up for breakfast at a spot on Ventura Boulevard not far from her home, wearing a black turtleneck, floral-printed pants and one of the 16 pairs of Doc Martens she owns. “I never know how to dress for the right temperature,” she explains. At the curb sits her gray Ford Escape. “My mom car. I love it.”
It’s not exactly the cruising vessel you’d imagine for a 23-year-old who has co-written a string of nine Hot 100 hits, including Justin Bieber’s “Sorry,” Selena Gomez’s “Hands to Myself,” Nick Jonas and Tove Lo’s “Close,” and “Issues,” the song that marked Michaels’ transition from songwriter to singer, and which has been comfortably lodged in the Top 50 for months. For the past two years, Michaels has been a crucial force in edging mainstream pop away from insistent party anthems toward a more personal place. It was Michaels who thought Gomez’s “Hands to Myself” should sound like Prince; Michaels who sparked the concept for Hailee Steinfeld’s “self-care” anthem “Love Myself,” when, after a nap failed to shake jet lag during a Stockholm writing trip, Michaels announced to songwriting partner Justin Tranter, “I masturbated, so I feel so much better”; and Michaels who wanted to write over the bass line of Talking Heads’ “Psycho Killer,” resulting in Gomez’s recent hit “Bad Liar,” a minimalist alternative to the 24-karat magic of current pop.
Michaels picks up the spare catchiness of “Bad Liar” on her seven-song debut, Nervous System, from the glammy come-ons and acoustic-guitar snap of “Uh Huh” to the solo-piano heartbreak ballad “Don’t Wanna Think.” “The music is very simple – just an added texture to tell the story,” says Michaels. Nothing gets in the way of the melodies or lyrics. “I’m a perfectionist and like things clean and in their space.”
When Michaels was about five, her family moved from Davenport, Iowa, to Santa Clarita, California, 40 miles north of L.A., in part so her father could pursue his acting dreams. After her parents split up, her mom thought Julia might take to acting and shuttled her to auditions. She was more interested in putting her poems to music, but her sister was the singer in the family. At one of her sister’s sessions, 15-year-old Julia sang for Joleen Belle, who wrote songs for TV and movies. Belle asked her to collaborate, and when they landed the theme song to the Disney TV show Austin & Ally in 2011, Michaels was on her way. Cuts for Demi Lovato and Gomez followed. Two years ago, Gomez invited Michaels and Tranter on a writing trip to Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. She ended up contributing to seven of the 11 tracks on Gomez’s Revival, which debuted at Number One.
Michaels’ vocals on demos of songs for Steinfeld led Charlie Walk, president of Republic Records, to ask why she wasn’t recording herself. She was, she says, too insecure. The studio was her safe space. But in the end, “Issues” – a song about the push and pull of a relationship electrified by jealousy, anger and need – was too personal to let anyone else sing. “I think I’m done hiding,” she told Walk.
Like most of Michaels’ work, the seven songs on Nervous System are about lust that won’t quit, and the problems that follow love. “I always say Julia only writes about two things: sex or suicide,” jokes Tranter. “She is so willing to admit everything about herself.The good things and bad things.”
“I’m not a big drinker, I don’treally party, I’m kind of a hermit,” Michaels says. “I’m such arelationship person. I just lose myself in that person. And that is all I knowhow to write about in those moments.” But songs like “Just Do It”(“Don’t let me down gently”) and “Don’t Wanna Think” (“Ithought that we were good enough/I thought that you needed love”) find herreflecting on when relationships go wrong. “I just went through a breakup,”she says. “Ani DiFranco’s ‘Independence Day’ has really been getting methrough it.” After breakfast, she’s maybe going to get in her Ford Escapeand just drive, looping the song over and over. “Crying. A lot. But it’sone of the best songs on the planet.” Somewhere, chances are, someone isusing one of her songs the same way.
Rainer Maria, S/T Rainer Maria made an indelible imprint on Midwestern emo in the late Nineties. The trio would evolve far beyond that milieu, moving to Brooklyn and brightening the corners of their sound before disbanding in 2006. Their heartening comeback album S/T finds the band more grounded and audacious than ever, with bassist-vocalist Caithlin De Marrais’ confidently detangling desire and all its residual tensions in her wildly blooming lyrics. Kaia Fischer’s riffs are denser and fuzzier, encircled by William Kuehn’s nimble yet thunderous drumming. Taking cues from writer Mary Oliver, De Marrais ponders her oneness with the wild in “Forest Mattress.” On the stormy “Communicator,” she channels Sylvia Plath when she crows “You just want to eat my heart out … I might let you.” Suzy Exposito Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal
Blind Boys of Alabama, Almost Home The latest entry in this six-decades-strong vocal group’s discography – recorded all over America, including at their home state’s famed Muscle Shoals Sound Studio – features songs written for them by Valerie June and Marc Cohn, as well as covers of Billy Joe Shaver’s “Live Forever” and Bob Dylan’s “I Shall Be Released.” Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited
King Gizzard and the Lizard Wizard With Mild High Club, Sketches of Brunswick East On their last record, June’s Murder of the Universe, this prolific Melbourne outfit entered a hellish, riff-heavy fantasia dominated by humanity’s desire to self-immolate. This collaboration with the Cali-pop outfit Mild High Club, Lizard’s third album this year, lightens things up considerably. The Aussies’ thorough knowledge of rock’s smoother side sparkles and sighs on spaced-out jams that recall Steely Dan and Tropicália while adding flecks of tension via microtonal riffing and anxiety-tinged lyrics. Maura Johnston Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal
Wolf Eyes, No Hate Detroit noise veterans Wolf Eyes dropped a free six-track album as a way of drawing attention to the GoFundMe campaign raising money for the memorial service for Heather Heyer, the counter-demonstrator killed in Charlottesville, North Carolina last weekend. Now that the band’s sound is in a dead-eyed, slow-burbling zone, No Hate doesn’t exactly return the rage and confusion that much of America felt with furious, disorienting noise. Instead, it plays like a slow-and-moody complement to the band’s Undertow, released in March. Almost ambient in parts, No Hate is full of ugly drones, mournful sax and stark guitar that recalls Neil Young’s Dead Man soundtrack. Christopher R. Weingarten Hear: Bandcamp
Ray Wylie Hubbard, Tell the Devil I’m Gettin’ There As Fast As I Can One of country’s sharpest lyrical fringe-dwellers, Hubbard’s been kicking against industry pricks since the Seventies (see his recent memoir A Life…Well, Lived). The Texas hero’s latest is a jumped-up folk-blues meditation on God, Satan, open-G tuning and the Minneapolis folk scene that shaped him (and Dylan, too), all delivered in a weathered flow that recalls his pal Lucinda Williams. Will Hermes Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal
Van Hunt, Popular In 2007, soul explorer Van Hunt’s third album was lost in a label-ownership shuffle. Liberated 10 years later, its funk-rock mélange still sounds fresh, a testament to the forward-thinking talent at its core. “I’ve cried three times in the last 10 years. And none of those were when i was told that Popular wouldn’t be released,” Hunt wrote on his website. “I cried whenever I felt justified for making that record. In the face of a churning reality, it took one online comment from a listener, and two emails from Blue Note – one with a release date, and one with the album’s press release – to let me know I wasn’t crazy for hanging on all this time.” Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal
Jay-U Experience, Enough Is Enough This formerly lost 1977 album from Nigerian funker Jay-U shimmies and shakes, pairing deep grooves with psyched-out (and psyched-up) cacophony. “Baby Rock,” the five-song release’s closer, pairs the band’s muscle with guitar fuzz in a way that recalls a headier take on the Sonics’ proto-grunge antics. Maura Johnston Hear: Apple Music | Bandcamp | Spotify | Tidal
James Arthur, the season nine winner of UK’s “X Factor” and voice behind “Say You Won’t Let Go” is just starting to make his name known Stateside. We’ve rounded up 10 things you might not know about him.