meta-scriptHow A California Fire Affected Tame Impala's Much-Awaited Next Album |

Kevin Parker of Tame Impala

Photo: Yuliya Christensen/Getty Images


How A California Fire Affected Tame Impala's Much-Awaited Next Album

Recently released interviews by 'The New York Times' and 'Rolling Stone' have shined more light on some of the challenges Kevin Parker has faced in finishing the album, including a setback caused by a destructive California fire

GRAMMYs/Jun 8, 2019 - 03:04 am

It feels like everyone is anxiously awaiting GRAMMY-nominated Tame Impala's forthcoming new album, the follow-up to 2015's Currents, and, honestly, Kevin Parker, the one-man-band behind the outfit, seems to be ready for more new stuff himself.  

Parker, who performs live with a band, told Matt Wilkinson on Beats 1 July of last year that he'd like to get the album out by mid 2019. "I'd be really disappointed if we didn't have something out by then." Parker said. "I love playing the songs live, I love playing Currents songs, I love playing Lonerism songs and everything but I think I'm ready to play some other songs live."

But as of June, we haven't heard of a solid release date yet. Truth is, some of the setbacks have been out of Parker's hands. Recently released interviews by the New York Times and Rolling Stone have shed more light on some of the challenges Parker has faced in finishing the album, including a setback caused by a destructive Southern California fire.

Parker was half way through the new album, Rolling Stone reports, and set to continue working in a house he had rented via AirBnb in Malibu, Calif. when the morning of Nov. 9 he woke up to a concerned message from his manager and clouds of smoke and flames outside.

What Parker was witnessing was the most damging fire in Ventura County history; the fire damaged 100,000 acres, 1,600 structures that killed three people, according to Pacific Standard.

The New York Times reports that Parker grabbed his laptop and hard drive which held pieces of his unfinished album and his vintage 60s' Hofner bass guitar. 

 “I’ve written every Tame Impala song on it,” he told the Times. “I was, like, house burning down! What do I grab? My laptop and the Hofner. This was just split-second thinking. I looked at everything else and thought, ‘I don’t need that.’”

Parker described the destructive power of the flames he was seeing to Rolling Stone:

“I could see the whole hillside on fire. At first I kind of just thought it was epic, so I stood there filming for 10 minutes — then I saw the flames start to lap up people’s houses, and the sky started to blacken.” The rental house, and all of Parker’s abandoned gear, were incinerated. “It might have been a different story, if I didn’t wake up when I did,” he said. 

The fire would destroy the home Parker was renting and all the gear he could not get out with. The fire added a wrench to a process that has already been a bit challenging for Parker to complete. The New York Times touches on the years it took for Parker to gain momentum to start the album and the pressure he feels now to finish it. 

“Part of the thing about me starting an album is that I have to feel kind of worthless again to want to make music," he said. "I started making music when I was a kid as a way of feeling better about myself, you know? The ironic thing is, if I’m feeling on top of the world or feeling confident or like everything’s good, I don’t have the urge to make music.”

He added: “If I could make an album every year I would, I’d love to. I hate to sound precious, or to say I can’t hurry it, but it’s true.”

The fact that Parker is a one-man-band can make the process take a little longer. 

“I know it turns his head inside out sometimes, not having a bandmate or a band, not working in any way where you can turn to other people,” A&R manager at Universal Music Australia Glen Goetze told the Times. “He’s got to go through all those phases to come out the other end with something as incredible as he does.”

Basically, making music for Parker “a stoically solitary process,” Goetze said. 

Both outlets touched on Parker's "loner" side. He grew up as an introvert, who now, as an artist, still thinks about his music as reaching other loners.

“I reckon a lot of artists get inspired by the idea of singing something to a crowd, many thousands of people,” Parker told the Times. “But me, I prefer just to think about the kid wearing headphones riding the bus home from school, or having a bedroom headphone listening session. That’s where I come from.” 

“Being a personality onstage, that’s something I’ve been growing into,” he told Rolling Stone. “Saying f*** it and being that person who can rile up the audience. That’s someone I never saw myself as.”

While the album doesn't have a release date yet, he told the Times, during his time in Guadalajara, Mexico, for his performance at Corona Capital, a little more about what fans can expect:

"It’s taken shape in my head,” he said. “When I start making songs for an album, I don’t know what each one’s role is. But by the time I’m finished, each one has a color, each one has an identity, each one has a purpose.”

He gave Rolling Stone more details, too. “The way I’ve dabbled in influences in the past? I’ve been unafraid to go there all the way this time. To challenge what Tame Impala is in terms of how wide it can go,”“ he said. "I’ve been embracing my love of weird Seventies stadium rock,” he notes, “like, epic Meat Loaf stuff.”

While he gave no exact release date either, the magazine said the album will likely be out this summer. We'll have to continue to wait and see. 

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Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé of Justice
Xavier de Rosnay and Gaspard Augé of Justice

Photo: Julie Vincent


Justice On Creating New Album 'Hyperdrama': "We'll Always Try To Make Everything Sound A Bit Like A Space Odyssey"

"Every time we go back to the studio, we start a bit from zero again, mainly because we try to get rid of old habits every time we start something new," Justice's Xavier de Rosnay says of creating their fourth studio album, 'Hyperdrama.'

GRAMMYs/Apr 25, 2024 - 07:21 pm

GRAMMY-winning French electro duo Justice have always moved to the tune of their own drum machine.

Gaspard Augé and Xavier de Rosnay's debut release, 2003's "We Are Your Friends," was a radical reimagining of a tune from experimental psych-rock group Simian. Originally a remix made for a Parisian college radio contest, "We Are Your Friends" didn't win, but grabbed the attention of Daft Punk's manager Pedro Winter, who had just founded his impactful indie dance label Ed Banger Records. The track eventually became an anthem of the bloghouse era.

Response to their second single — 2005's glitchy, fuzzy "Waters of Nazareth" — nearly made them reconsider their decision to switch careers from graphic design to electronic music. Two years later, the duo had another major hit — along with their first GRAMMY nominations and some international chart success — with their third single, "D.A.N.C.E.", a joyous bop sung by a youth chorus. 

While their core influences of disco, electro, funk and psych rock remain, Justice is not interested in rehashing the same sounds. They are interested in making you feel, and the sounds that get them the most excited in the studio are the strange and boundary-pushing ones.

They're beloved for their high-production live show, where they mashup and reimagine their biggest tunes into a frenzy of sound and lights. They debuted a new live show at Coachella 2024, which features a dizzying new light contraption created over 18 months by their long-time lightning designer Vincent Lérisson. After each studio album, they produce a live album from the subsequent tour, a costly and time-consuming project which they recently told Billboard nearly bankrupts them every time. Yet their last, 2018's Woman Worldwide, won a GRAMMY award for Best Dance/Electronic Album.

Justice is just as meticulous in the studio. For their first studio album in eight years, Hyperdrama, (out on April 26 on Ed Banger/Because Music), they created hundreds of versions of each track and spent an extra year on the album stitching the best parts together. While they've produced for and remixed plenty of big names over the years, the new album is their first to feature recognizable stars like Tame Impala, Miguel and Thundercat, along with Rimon, Connan Mockasin and the Flints. caught up with Xavier de Rosnay to dive deep into the creation of Hyperdrama, the album's new collabs, Justice's new live show, and more.

This interview has been edited for clarity.

How were your performances at Coachella?

It was good. It was only the second show of the tour. And the beginning of the tool is generally where there's a lot of space for improvement. We could definitely feel that we did better [on weekend 2] than the week before because we were a bit more relaxed, a bit more accustomed to the stage setup and to what we used to conduct the music and everything. Everything felt more fluid. But there can be a difference between what we feel and how the crowd feels, and that's impossible for us to say.

How did you envision this new live show and what are you excited about bringing it around the world?

The way we envision it is as has been the same since the beginning, it's just now we have access to a larger array of technologies to be able to do that. We've always liked the idea of instead of hiding the technical aspects of the stage, enhancing them in every way possible. Everything you see on stage at the beginning [of the show] is stuff that is very mechanical, technical and that are meant to be on stage. As it evolves, everything is moving and lit up.

We hope that there's a lot of moments where the audience can actually get lost [in the moment] and not fully understand what's happening on stage because of the way things are lit. We know the matrix of the stage in and out, but sometimes we see things we don't really understand because it creates a dimensional space that is difficult to comprehend at times. For us, that's the best, it's when we have kind of magic moments.

And musically, same thing, it's always the same as from the beginning but better, freer, bigger. Justice live is Justice's greatest hits; we're not the kind of band that won't play the hits and will force feed the weird [tracks]. For us, it has to be a big party, it has to be fun from top to bottom. Although it's only our fourth album, now we feel we have enough of a catalog to make something that is relentless and fun from the beginning to the end.

I definitely feel a cinematic journey on the new album, is that intentional? And what's the story you're trying to tell with Hyperdrama?

Well, it's intentional in the way that the most powerful music is music that brings images to the mind. Classical pieces of music, like Beethoven's Fifth Symphony, are the biggest hits ever and they have no drums, no beats, no lyrics. But they've been the biggest hits for centuries because they have a very powerful, evocative strength. For us, music is first and foremost meant to reveal this. So we never make music with the idea that it has to be for dancing or pop or anything, we always make music to try to convey powerful emotions. Although we didn't work with a theme like cinematic in our mind, we're happy to hear that some listeners are feeling that way.

The way the album is structured is very classic in the sense that it's structured like a lot of narrative forms. The beginning of the record, let's say the first third, is setting the tone and feeling at home. After our first album, we entertained the idea of starting every album with the theme of "Genesis," a bit like when you go to the cinema and hear the 20th century theme.

You feel good for three, four songs, you go on cruise control and then things start to drift a bit. For [Hyperdrama], that's "Moonlight Rendez-Vous" and "Explorer" — when things start to turn wrong a bit and, and then you go into a sort of vortex, like on "Muscle Memory," "Harpy Dream." In a film, that would be when the goofy sidekick of the protagonist dies. At that moment, you think everything is at its worst, then you have the final drop with "Saturnine" and "The End," which is a bit like the homecoming and happy ending situation — you're back at home again and hopefully you end on a positive note.

Is it kind of a Justice Space Odyssey?

Yeah, totally. I think for as long as we make music, we'll always try to make everything sound a bit like a space odyssey. It's funny that you mentioned space odyssey because [Hyperdrama] has four different sections that are very distinct. That's something that we love too — connecting things that don't really make sense at first glance.

Within some tracks, for example "Incognito," we're going from this almost psychedelic funk intro, and then you have a straight cut and you're in the future, everything is electronic. Things don't really make sense at first, but you listen to it and you get used to [this kind of transition].

And that was something where we really worked on a lot on this album, to make those different universes coexist and sometimes in a not very peaceful way. It can be a bit off-putting at first listen, but that's what's great with the record. You can feel it's a bit strange and you return to it and hopefully you start getting used to these kinds of things until they become almost natural.

The two of us have been working closely for a long time, so getting surprised and sometimes getting a bit unsettled is really what we're looking for in the studio. Generally, when we start to track and we're having a laugh because we are feeling we're going too far, it's something we've haven't done before, or we're making something ridiculous, that's a very good sign. These are typically the things we're looking for when we write a track or produce a song. 

"Incognito" feels very classic Justice, although you've said Travis Scott's "Sicko Mode" kind of inspired its shifts. How did "Incognito" come together and how did it shake up your songwriting process? 

I think the "Sicko Mode" thing is getting a bit bigger than what it is. It was not like we had an epiphany hearing that song. We think it's a great track, but for us, it was more of a reminder that it's always possible in any context to approach things in a very naïve way in a sense, and that it's possible to escape the canon of classical structures and classical writing and still achieve something that is surprising and free and that is legible for a vast amount of people. The principle of juxtaposing things that are foreign next to each other is not new, but to see it on such a big song always gives us a lot of hope about music in general. 

"Incognito," "One Night/All Night," "Generator," "Afterimage" and "Dear Alan" all work a bit on that principle that we had where we recorded several versions of the same track, of the same riff separately. For "Incognito," we had a plan of the song very precisely from the demo. But when we produced it, we recorded the intro and outro, that was one track that we mixed and produced separately. All the electronic parts were another track, all the disco parts in the middle were another. We produced and mixed them separately and only during mastering, we brought them back together. We really wanted to feel like it was separate songs that we'd put together.  

Would you say you are perfectionists? 

No, because there is no such thing as perfection. For us, the best we can do is make something that we feel good about, and this is when we know it's done. It's not perfection because we're not looking to make something that checks all the boxes of what perfection should be. 

Most of the music that we listen to is not perfect to any extent. But for us, it's perfect when it's faithful to the original feeling and idea we had when we started putting those songs together.

I've been really obsessed with "One Night/All Night." What was it like working with Tame Impala's Kevin Parker, and how did you find that mesh between your sounds?

We didn't think of "One Night/All Night" as a song with vocals at first.  We played [the demo] for Kevin and he was like, "I can hear something in that one." His vocal topline really adds some sort of weird sadness and melancholy to the track. The main riff is so simple, I think the simplest we've ever made, the dun dun dun. That's what is great with collaborating, a topline can very much shape a song. We fell in love with that new emotion that he brought to the song.

We really wanted to sound like we had found an unused Kevin Parker song, and sampled it and made a futuristic song with it. So we re-recorded the disco parts; it's almost like the disco part in the middle was the original record and what's before and after is the modernized version of it. And in the intro, his voice is in a key that is a bit off-putting. It builds up slowly and when the first chorus hits, you have his real voice that is instantly recognizable and very powerful and everything comes together — it's a beautiful moment to us.

It was really fun working with him. I mean, it was fun working with everyone [on Hyperdrama]. We almost felt like a mouse in a hole just looking out at things; you get to see everybody's idiosyncrasies and the way they think about music.

Why did you want to make a sonic tribute to Alan Braxe on "Dear Alan"? 

It's more of an inside joke than anything, but in the realm of electronic music, he's been an inspiration for us from the beginning. He's always had this kind of melancholic thing to his music that a lot of other bands from the French Touch first wave don't really have. For us, the French Touch first wave is more like shiny club music that's very euphoric. Alan Braxe was always a bit less dance-y but a bit more melancholic and elegant in a way, and that touches us a lot more than straight dance music. 

We also love his persona. The guy has been releasing maybe one song every three years for the past 20 years. This guy is even less productive than we are. But every time he puts one song out, it's always a gem, it's perfect. I don't think he's ever released one bad track.

The track is based on the sample of "Dear Brian" by Chris Rainbow. Chris Rainbow is a musician from the '70s and '80s that was doing post-Beach Boys music and "Dear Brian" was to Brian Wilson. For a long time, the working name of our track was "Dear Brian" and when we had to give it a proper name, we were like, Okay, the vocal sample reminds us of Alan Braxe, let's call it Dear Alan. It's a way for us to pay tribute to Alan Braxe and also Chris Rainbow.

When you think back to 2007 and "D.A.N.C.E." and having that kind of fast success on a global scale, what memories remain for you from that early era of Justice?

The truth is that it was not fast. There were four years between the moment we started the band and "D.A.N.C.E." and our first album came out. It was four years of doubts and thinking we were doing artistic suicide, for real. All those tracks took a lot of time to actually reach an audience.  

In the meantime, we did our first commercial suicide with "Waters of Nazareth" in 2005. We felt really bad about that track for a couple of months because we had no positive feedback about it. When we would play at festivals, as soon as the song would start, the technical people from the festival would run on stage to see if everything was plugged in correctly. Finally, a year after, it started to reach the underground, people more coming from rock music that felt there was something cool about it. 

Once that was settled, we released "D.A.N.C.E." which was not at all what people wanted us to make, because that was a disco track with a kid singing on it. It took some months, but then it made [an impact]. Then we made "Stress" and had a huge backlash on the video.

Our first album sold a lot of units, but it was over the course of maybe two years. It was really at the end of 2008, beginning of 2009 that it had reached its kind of cruise speed. So, retrospectively, it looks a bit like we came out of nowhere and found a spot for us, but it was made over five, six years; it was a proper development in a way. 

How do you feel you've grown as individuals and as producers since that early Justice era?

 We didn't grow up too much, to be honest. Every time we go back to the studio, we start a bit from zero again, mainly because we try to get rid of old habits every time we start something new. We also change the instruments that we use. The first months of Hyperdrama were really almost like R&D. We were trying to find new ways of making sounds. We didn't produce much music then, we were just trying things and getting accustomed to the new setup. We learn everything as we're making a record and especially on this one. We also wanted to get rid of all habits we have in terms of writing and producing. 

To us, knowledge, a lot of times, can be the enemy of the good. We're trying to find the good balance between, of course, using what we've learned throughout the years to make things that get better hopefully with time and at the same time not to get stuck into patterns that can make you feel old. We're very aware that we're entering a phase of being an old band in a lot of ways. 

We really hope that Hyperdrama does not translate as an old record made by an old band. Hopefully it still sounds fresh and naive and playful, as if it was a record from a young man.

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Kendrick Lamar GRAMMY Rewind Hero
Kendrick Lamar

Photo: Jeff Kravitz/FilmMagic


GRAMMY Rewind: Kendrick Lamar Honors Hip-Hop's Greats While Accepting Best Rap Album GRAMMY For 'To Pimp a Butterfly' In 2016

Upon winning the GRAMMY for Best Rap Album for 'To Pimp a Butterfly,' Kendrick Lamar thanked those that helped him get to the stage, and the artists that blazed the trail for him.

GRAMMYs/Oct 13, 2023 - 06:01 pm

Updated Friday Oct. 13, 2023 to include info about Kendrick Lamar's most recent GRAMMY wins, as of the 2023 GRAMMYs.

A GRAMMY veteran these days, Kendrick Lamar has won 17 GRAMMYs and has received 47 GRAMMY nominations overall. A sizable chunk of his trophies came from the 58th annual GRAMMY Awards in 2016, when he walked away with five — including his first-ever win in the Best Rap Album category.

This installment of GRAMMY Rewind turns back the clock to 2016, revisiting Lamar's acceptance speech upon winning Best Rap Album for To Pimp A Butterfly. Though Lamar was alone on stage, he made it clear that he wouldn't be at the top of his game without the help of a broad support system. 

"First off, all glory to God, that's for sure," he said, kicking off a speech that went on to thank his parents, who he described as his "those who gave me the responsibility of knowing, of accepting the good with the bad."

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He also extended his love and gratitude to his fiancée, Whitney Alford, and shouted out his Top Dawg Entertainment labelmates. Lamar specifically praised Top Dawg's CEO, Anthony Tiffith, for finding and developing raw talent that might not otherwise get the chance to pursue their musical dreams.

"We'd never forget that: Taking these kids out of the projects, out of Compton, and putting them right here on this stage, to be the best that they can be," Lamar — a Compton native himself — continued, leading into an impassioned conclusion spotlighting some of the cornerstone rap albums that came before To Pimp a Butterfly.

"Hip-hop. Ice Cube. This is for hip-hop," he said. "This is for Snoop Dogg, Doggystyle. This is for Illmatic, this is for Nas. We will live forever. Believe that."

To Pimp a Butterfly singles "Alright" and "These Walls" earned Lamar three more GRAMMYs that night, the former winning Best Rap Performance and Best Rap Song and the latter taking Best Rap/Sung Collaboration (the song features Bilal, Anna Wise and Thundercat). He also won Best Music Video for the remix of Taylor Swift's "Bad Blood." 

Lamar has since won Best Rap Album two more times, taking home the golden gramophone in 2018 for his blockbuster LP DAMN., and in 2023 for his bold fifth album, Mr. Morale & the Big Steppers.

Watch Lamar's full acceptance speech above, and check back at every Friday for more GRAMMY Rewind episodes. 

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July Albums List Hero
(L-R, clockwise): Stevie Nicks, Jennifer Lopez, Taylor Swift, Josh Kiszka of Greta Van Fleet, Post Malone, Pitbull, NCT Dream

Photo: Erika Goldring/WireImage, Daniele Venturelli/Daniele Venturelli/Getty Images for Luisaviaroma, Scott Legato/TAS23/Getty Images for TAS Rights Management, Astrida Valigorsky/Getty Images, Don Arnold/WireImage, Alexander Tamargo/Getty Images for Atlantis Paradise Island, Chung Sung-Jun/Getty Images


15 Must-Hear Albums This July: Taylor Swift, Dominic Fike, Post Malone, NCT Dream & More

From the highly anticipated 'Barbie' soundtrack to a celebration of Joni Mitchell's iconic Newport Folk Festival return, check out 15 albums dropping this July.

GRAMMYs/Jul 3, 2023 - 04:05 pm

The first half of 2023 is already behind us, but July gives us much to look forward to. The warm sun, tours and festivals abound, and a heap of exciting releases — from Colter Wall's country music to NCT DREAM's K-pop — will surely make this season even more special.

We start it off with Taylor Swift and her third re-recorded album, Speak Now (Taylor's Version) on July 7, the same day Pitbull returns with his twelfth studio album, Trackhouse. Post Malone will deliver his fourth LP, AUSTIN, and Blur returns with their first album in eight years. And for the classic music lovers, folk legend Joni Mitchell will release At Newport — a recording of her first live performance since 2015 — and rock maven Stevie Nicks will drop her Complete Studio Albums & Rarities box set.

To welcome the latter half of a year filled with great music so far, offers a guide to the 15 must-hear albums dropping July 2023.

Taylor Swift, Speak Now (Taylor's Version)

Release date: July 7

Taylor Swift fans are used to gathering clues and solving puzzles about the singer's intricate, ever-expanding discography. Therefore, in her hometown of Nashville concert last May, when she announced that Speak Now (Taylor's Version) would come out on July 7, it was not much of a surprise to the audience, but rather a gratifying confirmation that they had followed the right steps.

"It's my love language with you. I plot. I scheme. I plan. And then I get to tell you about it," Swift told them after breaking the news. "I think, rather than me speaking about it ... I'd rather just show you," she added, before performing an acoustic version of Speak Now's single, "Sparks Fly." 

Shortly after, she took it to Instagram to share that "the songs that came from this time in my life were marked by their brutal honesty, unfiltered diaristic confessions and wild wistfulness. I love this album because it tells a tale of growing up, flailing, flying and crashing … and living to speak about it."

Speak Now (Taylor's Version) is Swift's third re-recorded album, following 2021's Red (Taylor's Version). It will feature 22 tracks, including six unreleased "From the Vault" songs and features with Paramore's Hayley Williams and Fall Out Boy. "Since Speak Now was all about my songwriting, I decided to go to the artists who I feel influenced me most powerfully as a lyricist at that time and ask them to sing on the album," she shared on Twitter. Swift is currently touring the U.S. with her acclaimed The Eras Tour, which will hit Latin America, Asia, Australia, UK, and Europe through August 2024.

ANOHNI and the Johnsons, My Back Was a Bridge For You To Cross

Release date: July 7

"I want the record to be useful," said ANOHNI about her upcoming sixth studio album, My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross. The English singer says she learned with her previous LP, 2016's HOPELESSNESS, that she "can provide a soundtrack that might fortify people in their work, in their activism, in their dreaming and decision-making," therefore aiming to make use of her talents to further help and inspire people.

Through 10 tracks that blend American soul, British folk, and experimental music, ANOHNI weaves her storytelling on inequality, alienation, privilege, and several other themes. According to a statement, the creative process was "painstaking, yet also inspired, joyful, and intimate, a renewal and a renaming of her response to the world as she sees it."

My Back Was A Bridge For You To Cross "demonstrates music's unique capacity to bring harmony to competing, sometimes contradictory, elements" — qualities that can be observed in the album's contemplative pre-releases "It Must Change" and "Sliver Of Ice."

Pitbull, Trackhouse

Release date: July 7

GRAMMY-winning singer/rapper Pitbull has recently broadened his reach into an unexpected field: stock cars. Together with Trackhouse Entertainment Group founder Justin Marks, he formed Trackhouse Racing in 2021, an organization and team that participates in the NASCAR Cup Series.

Now, to unite both passions, the Miami-born singer is releasing Trackhouse, his twelfth studio album and first release since 2019's Libertad 548. "In no way, shape, or form is this some kind of publicity stunt," said Mr. Worldwide of the upcoming album during a teleconference in April. "This is real. This is all about our stories coming together, and that's why the fans love it. […] This right here is about making history, it's generational, it's about creating a legacy."

Preceded by singles "Me Pone Mal" with Omar Courtz and "Jumpin" with Lil Jon, it seems that Trackhouse, despite its innovative inception, will continue to further Pitbull's famed Latin pop brand. This fall, he will also join Enrique Iglesias and Ricky Martin on The Trilogy Tour across the U.S. and Canada.

Dominic Fike,  Sunburn

Release date: July 7

Multitalented singer, songwriter and actor Dominic Fike also joins the roll of summer comebacks. His second studio album, Sunburn, comes out July 7, and follows 2020's acclaimed What Could Possibly Go Wrong.

In recent years, the Florida star found great exposure after landing a role in the HBO hit series "Euphoria" as well as the upcoming A24 drama Earth Mama, which is slated to release on the same day as Sunburn. The past three years were also marked by collaborations with a handful of artists, from Justin Bieber ("Die For You") to Paul McCartney ("The Kiss of Venus") to his Euphoria co-star Zendaya on "Elliot's Song" from the show's soundtrack.

Sunburn marks Fike's joyful return to music, aiming to portray "the aching and vulnerable revelations of a young artist still growing and putting their best foot forward," according to a press release. Through 15 tracks, including singles "Dancing in the Courthouse," "Ant Pile," and "Mama's Boy," Fike will explore themes of "heartbreak and regret, addiction, sex, and jealousy." 

One week after Sunburn's arrival, Fike will embark on a tour across North America and Canada, starting July 13 in Indianapolis.

Lauren Spencer Smith, Mirror

Release date: July 14

Lauren Spencer Smith said on TikTok that she's been working on her debut album, Mirror, for years. "It has been with me through so much in my life, the highs and the lows, and it means more to me than I can put into words. It tells a story of reflection, healing and growth," she added.

The 19-year-old, British-born Canadian singer is unafraid to dive deep into heartbreak and sorrow — as she displayed on her breakthrough hit "Fingers Crossed" —  but offers a way out by focusing on her growth. "I went through a hard breakup, and the album tells the story of that all, the journey of that and now being in a more happy relationship. The title comes from the one thing in my life that's seen me in every emotion through that journey — my bedroom and bathroom mirror."

Like a true Gen Zer, Smith has been teasing the 15-track collection and its upcoming world tour all over social media. On July 14, the day of the album release, she kicks off the North American leg of the tour in Chicago, before heading to the UK, Europe, Australia, and New Zealand.

Colter Wall, Little Songs

Release date: July 14

"You might not see a soul for days on them high and lonesome plains/ You got to fill the big empty with little songs," sings Colter Wall on the titular track off his fourth studio album, Little Songs. The Canadian country star says in a press release that he wrote these songs over the last three years, and that "I penned most of them from home and I think the songs reflect that."

Born and raised in the prairies of Battle Creek, Saskatchewan, Wall found inspiration in the stillness of his surroundings. With this album, he bridges "the contemporary world to the values, hardships, and celebrations of rural life" while also opening "emotional turns as mature and heartening as the resonant baritone voice writing them," according to a press release.

Little Songs is composed of 10 tracks — eight originals and two covers (Hoyt Axton's "Evangelina," and Ian Tyson's "The Coyote & The Cowboy.") He'll celebrate the album's release with a performance at Montana's Under The Big Sky festival on the weekend of the LP's arrival.

Mahalia, IRL

Release date: July 14

British singer Mahalia celebrated her 25th birthday on May 1 by announcing IRL, her sophomore album. Out July 14, the R&B star claims the album to be "a real reflection of the journeys I've had, what actually happened, and a celebration of everyone who got me there."

The 13-track collection will feature names like Stormzy and JoJo, the latter of whom appears on the single "Cheat." Before the release, Mahalia also shared "Terms and Conditions," a self-possessed track that pairs her silky voice with delightful early-aughts R&B.

"I'm so proud of this album, and so proud of how much I challenged myself to just let those stories out," she said in a statement. "We're all fixated on how we can make ourselves better but I want people to also reminisce on lovely or painful situations they've lived through and how they've helped shape the people they are now."

IRL is Mahalia's follows 2019's highly-acclaimed Love and Compromise. In support of the release, she has announced UK and Europe tour dates from October through November.


Release date: July 17

The Myers-Briggs Personality Test (also known as MBTI) is a current craze in South Korea, therefore, it was only a matter of time until a K-pop group applied its insights on their music. Although none of NCT DREAM's seven members has the ISTJ personality type, that's what they decided to call their upcoming third studio album, out on July 17.

The 10-track collection comes in two physical versions: Introvert and Extrovert, the first letters and main differentiators in any MBTI personality. Spearheaded by the soaring "Broken Melodies," where they display an impressive set of vocals, their comeback announcement on Twitter promises "The impact NCT DREAM will bring to the music industry."

Since September, the NCT sub-group embarked on The Dream Show 2: In A Dream World Tour, which crossed Asia, Europe, North America. The group will wrap up July with four concerts in Latin America.

Blur, The Ballad of Darren

Release date: July 21

"The older and madder we get, it becomes more essential that what we play is loaded with the right emotion and intention," said Blur's guitarist Graham Coxon in a statement about The Ballad of Darren, the band's ninth studio album set to arrive on July 21.

Maybe that explains why The Ballad is their first release in eight years, and represents "an aftershock record, reflection and comment on where we find ourselves now," according to frontman Damon Albarn. During a press conference in May, bassist Alex James reinforced the positive moment that they find themselves in, stating that "there were moments of utter joy" while recording together.

Produced by James Ford, the album contains 10 tracks, including the wistful indie rock of lead single "The Narcissist." On July 8 and 9, Blur is set to play two reunion gigs at London's Wembley Stadium, followed by a slew of festivals across Europe, Japan and South America.

Barbie: The Album

Release date: July 21

The most-awaited summer flick of 2023 also comes with a staggering soundtrack. Scored by producers Mark Ronson and Andrew Wyatt, Barbie: The Album features songs by hot stars like Dua Lipa, Lizzo, and Ice Spice, as well as some surprising additions, such as psychedelic star Tame Impala and K-pop rookie sensation Fifty Fifty.

As undecipherable and alluring as the actual movie plot, the album tracklist only increases expectations for Greta Gerwig's upcoming oeuvre. Is it all a satire? Is it a serious take on "life in plastic" and consumerism? Is it about nothing at all? You can try to find some clues through pre-release singles "Dance the Night" by Dua Lipa, "Watati" by Karol G, and "Angel" by PinkPantheress.

Greta Van Fleet, Starcatcher

Release date: July 21

Fans who attended the three final shows of Greta Van Fleet's Dreams in Gold Tour this March already got a sneak peek of the band's upcoming third studio album, Starcatcher. Among their most popular hits, the quartet played five new songs — or half of Starcatcher — including singles "Meeting the Master," "Sacred the Thread," and "Farewell for Now."

In a statement about the album, drummer Danny Wagner said that they "wanted to tell these stories to build a universe," and that they wanted to "introduce characters and motifs and these ideas that would come about here and there throughout our careers." Bassist Sam Kiszka adds: "When I imagine the world of Starcatcher, I think of the cosmos. It makes me ask a lot of questions, like 'Where did we come from?' or 'What are we doing here?' But it's also questions like, 'What is this consciousness that we have, and where did it come from?'"

Just a few days after release, Greta Van Fleet will embark on a world tour. Starting in Nashville, Tennessee on July 24, they will cross the U.S. and then head over to Europe and the UK in November.

Post Malone, AUSTIN

Release date: July 28

In a shirtless, casual Instagram Reel last May, hitmaker Post Malone announced his upcoming fourth studio album, AUSTIN, to be released on July 28. Titled after his birth name, the singer shared that "It's been some of the funnest music, some of the most challenging and rewarding music for me, at least" — a very different vibe from the more mellow, lofi sounds of 2022's Twelve Carat Toothache — and that the experience of playing the guitar on every song was "really fun."

Featuring 17 tracks (19 on the deluxe version), AUSTIN is preceded by the dreamy "Chemical" and the angsty "Mourning," and sees Malone pushing his boundaries in order to innovate on his well-established sound. The album will also be supported by a North American 24-date trek, the If Y'all Weren't Here, I'd Be Crying Tour, starting July 8 in Noblesville, Indiana and wrapping up on August 19 in San Bernardino, California.

Stevie Nicks: Complete Studio Albums & Rarities box set

Release date: July 28

To measure Stevie Nicks' contribution to music is an insurmountable task. The Fleetwood Mac singer and songwriter has composed dozens of the most influential, well-known rock classics of the past century ("Dreams," anyone?), also blooming on her own as a soloist since 1981, when she debuted with Bella Donna.

In the four decades since, seven more solo albums followed, along with a trove of rarities that rightfully deserve a moment in the spotlight. Enter: her upcoming vinyl box set, Stevie Nicks: Complete Studio Albums & Rarities. The 16xLP collection compiles all of her work so far, plus a new record with the aforementioned rarities, and is limited to 3,000 copies. It's also the first time that Trouble in Shangri-La, In Your Dreams, and Street Angel are released on vinyl. For those who can't secure the limited set, a version of Complete Studio Albums & Rarities with 10xCDs will be available digitally.

Joni Mitchell, At Newport

Release date: July 28

Last year's Newport Folk Festival in Rhode Island was one to remember. During one evening of the fest, a surprise guest graced the "Brandi Carlile and Friends" stage: it was none less than legendary folk star, Joni Mitchell. And what's more? It was her first live appearance since 2015, when she suffered a debilitating aneurysm.

During that time, the 79-year-old singer quietly held "Joni Jams" at her home in Los Angeles — inviting musicians that ranged from Elton John to Harry Styles to participate — with organizational support offered by Carlile. With Mitchell's special appearance at Newport, the coveted experience of a Joni Jam was available for thousands of fans.

This month, the release of At Newport eternalizes the headlining-making moment, bringing her talents to an even bigger audience. Among the classics in the tracklist are "Carey," "A Case of You," and "The Circle Game," proving that Mitchell is still as magical as when she stepped on the Newport Folk Festival stage for the first time, in 1969.

Jennifer Lopez, This Is Me… Now

Release date: TBD

In 2002, J.Lo was everywhere. Her relationship with actor Ben Affleck ensued heavy attention from the media, and her This Is Me… Then album — which featured hits like "Jenny from the Block" — was a commercial success, with over 300,000 first-week sales in the U.S.

How funny is it that, 20 years later, the singer and actress finds herself in a similar situation. After rekindling with Affleck in 2021, she announced the sequel to her 2002 release, This Is Me… Now, and stated in an interview with Vogue that the album represents a "culmination" of who she is.

A press release also describes This Is Me… Now as an "emotional, spiritual and psychological journey" across all that Lopez has been through in the past decades. Fans can also expect more details on the new-and-improved Bennifer, as many of the titles among its 13 tracks suggest, especially "Dear Ben Pt. II."

Although an official release date has not yet been revealed, on June 29, Lopez posted a cryptic image on social media with the caption "album delivery day" — suggesting that the highly anticipated This Is Me update may not be far away.

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Franc Moody
Franc Moody

Photo: Rachel Kupfer 


A Guide To Modern Funk For The Dance Floor: L'Imperatrice, Shiro Schwarz, Franc Moody, Say She She & Moniquea

James Brown changed the sound of popular music when he found the power of the one and unleashed the funk with "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag." Today, funk lives on in many forms, including these exciting bands from across the world.

GRAMMYs/Nov 25, 2022 - 04:23 pm

It's rare that a genre can be traced back to a single artist or group, but for funk, that was James Brown. The Godfather of Soul coined the phrase and style of playing known as "on the one," where the first downbeat is emphasized, instead of the typical second and fourth beats in pop, soul and other styles. As David Cheal eloquently explains, playing on the one "left space for phrases and riffs, often syncopated around the beat, creating an intricate, interlocking grid which could go on and on." You know a funky bassline when you hear it; its fat chords beg your body to get up and groove.

Brown's 1965 classic, "Papa's Got a Brand New Bag," became one of the first funk hits, and has been endlessly sampled and covered over the years, along with his other groovy tracks. Of course, many other funk acts followed in the '60s, and the genre thrived in the '70s and '80s as the disco craze came and went, and the originators of hip-hop and house music created new music from funk and disco's strong, flexible bones built for dancing.

Legendary funk bassist Bootsy Collins learned the power of the one from playing in Brown's band, and brought it to George Clinton, who created P-funk, an expansive, Afrofuturistic, psychedelic exploration of funk with his various bands and projects, including Parliament-Funkadelic. Both Collins and Clinton remain active and funkin', and have offered their timeless grooves to collabs with younger artists, including Kali Uchis, Silk Sonic, and Omar Apollo; and Kendrick Lamar, Flying Lotus, and Thundercat, respectively.

In the 1980s, electro-funk was born when artists like Afrika Bambaataa, Man Parrish, and Egyptian Lover began making futuristic beats with the Roland TR-808 drum machine — often with robotic vocals distorted through a talk box. A key distinguishing factor of electro-funk is a de-emphasis on vocals, with more phrases than choruses and verses. The sound influenced contemporaneous hip-hop, funk and electronica, along with acts around the globe, while current acts like Chromeo, DJ Stingray, and even Egyptian Lover himself keep electro-funk alive and well.

Today, funk lives in many places, with its heavy bass and syncopated grooves finding way into many nooks and crannies of music. There's nu-disco and boogie funk, nodding back to disco bands with soaring vocals and dance floor-designed instrumentation. G-funk continues to influence Los Angeles hip-hop, with innovative artists like Dam-Funk and Channel Tres bringing the funk and G-funk, into electro territory. Funk and disco-centered '70s revival is definitely having a moment, with acts like Ghost Funk Orchestra and Parcels, while its sparkly sprinklings can be heard in pop from Dua Lipa, Doja Cat, and, in full "Soul Train" character, Silk Sonic. There are also acts making dreamy, atmospheric music with a solid dose of funk, such as Khruangbin’s global sonic collage.

There are many bands that play heavily with funk, creating lush grooves designed to get you moving. Read on for a taste of five current modern funk and nu-disco artists making band-led uptempo funk built for the dance floor. Be sure to press play on the Spotify playlist above, and check out's playlist on Apple Music, Amazon Music and Pandora.

Say She She

Aptly self-described as "discodelic soul," Brooklyn-based seven-piece Say She She make dreamy, operatic funk, led by singer-songwriters Nya Gazelle Brown, Piya Malik and Sabrina Mileo Cunningham. Their '70s girl group-inspired vocal harmonies echo, sooth and enchant as they cover poignant topics with feminist flair.

While they’ve been active in the New York scene for a few years, they’ve gained wider acclaim for the irresistible music they began releasing this year, including their debut album, Prism. Their 2022 debut single "Forget Me Not" is an ode to ground-breaking New York art collective Guerilla Girls, and "Norma" is their protest anthem in response to the news that Roe vs. Wade could be (and was) overturned. The band name is a nod to funk legend Nile Rodgers, from the "Le freak, c'est chi" exclamation in Chic's legendary tune "Le Freak."


Moniquea's unique voice oozes confidence, yet invites you in to dance with her to the super funky boogie rhythms. The Pasadena, California artist was raised on funk music; her mom was in a cover band that would play classics like Aretha Franklin’s "Get It Right" and Gladys Knight’s "Love Overboard." Moniquea released her first boogie funk track at 20 and, in 2011, met local producer XL Middelton — a bonafide purveyor of funk. She's been a star artist on his MoFunk Records ever since, and they've collabed on countless tracks, channeling West Coast energy with a heavy dose of G-funk, sunny lyrics and upbeat, roller disco-ready rhythms.

Her latest release is an upbeat nod to classic West Coast funk, produced by Middleton, and follows her February 2022 groovy, collab-filled album, On Repeat.

Shiro Schwarz

Shiro Schwarz is a Mexico City-based duo, consisting of Pammela Rojas and Rafael Marfil, who helped establish a modern funk scene in the richly creative Mexican metropolis. On "Electrify" — originally released in 2016 on Fat Beats Records and reissued in 2021 by MoFunk — Shiro Schwarz's vocals playfully contrast each other, floating over an insistent, upbeat bassline and an '80s throwback electro-funk rhythm with synth flourishes.

Their music manages to be both nostalgic and futuristic — and impossible to sit still to. 2021 single "Be Kind" is sweet, mellow and groovy, perfect chic lounge funk. Shiro Schwarz’s latest track, the joyfully nostalgic "Hey DJ," is a collab with funkstress Saucy Lady and U-Key.


L'Impératrice (the empress in French) are a six-piece Parisian group serving an infectiously joyful blend of French pop, nu-disco, funk and psychedelia. Flore Benguigui's vocals are light and dreamy, yet commanding of your attention, while lyrics have a feminist touch.

During their energetic live sets, L'Impératrice members Charles de Boisseguin and Hagni Gwon (keys), David Gaugué (bass), Achille Trocellier (guitar), and Tom Daveau (drums) deliver extended instrumental jam sessions to expand and connect their music. Gaugué emphasizes the thick funky bass, and Benguigui jumps around the stage while sounding like an angel. L’Impératrice’s latest album, 2021’s Tako Tsubo, is a sunny, playful French disco journey.

Franc Moody

Franc Moody's bio fittingly describes their music as "a soul funk and cosmic disco sound." The London outfit was birthed by friends Ned Franc and Jon Moody in the early 2010s, when they were living together and throwing parties in North London's warehouse scene. In 2017, the group grew to six members, including singer and multi-instrumentalist Amber-Simone.

Their music feels at home with other electro-pop bands like fellow Londoners Jungle and Aussie act Parcels. While much of it is upbeat and euphoric, Franc Moody also dips into the more chilled, dreamy realm, such as the vibey, sultry title track from their recently released Into the Ether.

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