Smino Announces New Album, Smino Noir, and Releases Video

Following the release of 2017’s blkswn, Smino announced his sophomore album, Smino Noir, coming out Nov. 8.

Instead of just announcing the release of the album in just a social media post, he did a freestyle instead. It featured subtitles, which allowed, rap fans like me to see some of his more subtle wordplay, like his Jersey Shore reference.

Smino also released the video to his single “L.M.F.” which features a kickback, him playing and old man, and a monkey? Nothing is out of the box for Smi.

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Where To Buy The Et Tu Brute Pillow From The Taylor Swift Direct TV Commercial

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Spotted on the green room couch in Taylor Swift Direct TV commercial, you can get this Et Tu, Brute? Pillow here for $17.95 at Cafe Press.

Et, Tu Brute has been a recurring theme during the reputation era, including during the Look What You Made Me Do music video etch in her throne.

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The Voices of Taylor Swift’s Cats in the Direct TV Commercial Are Actually Well Known Actresses

We finally get to hear Taylor Swift’s cats, Meredith and Olivia talk and share their real feelings about having a busy working mom during this Direct TV commercial. If their voices sound familiar, it is because Olivia is voice by Jenny Slate and Meredith’s voice is Candice Bergen.

Jenny Slate is known to for having a lot of voice roles. For instance, she’s Tammy on Bob’s Burgers, Harley Quinn in The Lego Batman Movie and Dawn in Zootopia to name a few credits. She was also Mona-Lisa Saperstein, one of the Saperstein twins, on Parks and Recreation. 

Candice Bergen is well known for her role as Murphy Brown, but recently she was the voice of The Closer on an episode of Bojack Horseman.

Off The Release of Her ALIEN EP, Morgan Saint Shows That Defining Her Own Sound Is Nothing Foriegn To Her While On Tour

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Imagine taking one of the hottest rapper’s track from one of the best selling albums of 2018 and making it into a moody, indie song? That’s what Morgan Saint did with Cardi B’s “Thru Your Phone,” the closing track on her Invasion of Privacy album.  Saint’s version was named one of 2018 best covers by MarieClaire.com. And just like Cardi made a name for herself, so has Saint. While she has been compared to the likes of Lorde and Halsey, she is defining her own sound with her EP ALIEN. She is also currently on tour opening for lovelytheband.

Check her out this weekend at Lincoln Hall in Chicago and click here for more tour dates. You can also listen to “Thru Your Phone” and her EP Alien below.

[Interview] Jesse Jo Stark talks about Music, Fashion, Doing It Her Own Way and, of course, Halloween

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Photo by Dana Trippe

If singer Jesse Jo Stark’s sound could be described in one word, it would be spooky.  Her mix of rock-n-roll and goth gives off a haunting sound which is introspective and fun at the same time. I got to talk to Stark about her new music, fashion, why she can only do things her way, and of course, Halloween.

Can you talk to me a little bit about your new body of work and the inspiration behind it?

I just put out an EP called Dandelion and I just put out A and B side tracks called “Wish I Was Dead” and “Rot Away.” And so those are newbies. And I guess the inspiration behind them are a little bit about love and death and just kind of like forever belonging to someone.

Do you feel like love and death go hand and hand?

I mean we all have to die and I believe we all should love at least once before we do. And I believe that the idea for me is if we get to love after, it is something to look forward to.

Do you believe in reincarnation?

Yeah I do.

You art direct all your visuals and your release your music independently. Is it important to have this level of control with your image?

One hundred percent. I work with a lot of amazing people that I love collaborating with and trust. I get to work with a lot of amazing people that understand my vibe but there is no way I’m doing this any other way but my own.

Do you feel you have been pressured by other people to do it another way?

I think I have been, but I don’t actually think people…I think people lend their opinions and give me support and ideas on what would make things easier for me, but I’m just not into that. I want longevity and I want to do what I love and I’m not going to take a shortcut. I don’t even know what that means because I’m already doing what I love and I’m enjoying it.

How did you find out that this is something that you were going to love?

I’ve always been immersed in music. I got to listen to a lot of amazing bands when I was younger because my dad is heavily into music so he really inspired me in that way.  I was fortunate enough to take vocal lessons and guitar lessons and experiment. I started recording a lot of covers when I didn’t know I wanted to write yet and it eventually just evolved. I’ve been hitting it heavy since I was young, but I feel like the past four years has been it has been a different vibe and going on the road kind of verified that this is what I want to be doing; this is where I want to be.

What is your favorite part of being on tour?

I would say it is so important to have the right people surrounding you. My band is amazing and even the crew is amazing. And we are kind of like this type of family and it makes every day, not easy, but it makes it special and being able to play with them on stage make it feel like this is exactly where I want to be. But my favorite part this round I love the bus and making it our home and knowing we’re going to play to many people every night and we are going to be inspired in a different way every night and getting to read the crowd, meet new people and play our songs.

What do you like to do in your down time at cities?

It is different at each one. Last night we spent a good three hours in Walmart and got matching dragon onesies and anything unnecessary that we could find. But depending on where we are, we love food or a good museum or a good record store. I love going to different vintage shops. Just kind of exploring.

What do you miss most about home when you are on tour?

I’m a family girl, so my family and my dogs. But you’re kind of in a vortex, and kind of just doing what you are doing, you know?

You’ve designed for Chrome Hearts and capsule collections for Vans, do you see yourself designing more in the future?

I love designing. I will always work with design. Chrome Hearts is my family, so its inevitable. That’s my blood and I will always be surrounded by that. Half of the things I wear on stage I’ve made. I love to wear my friends as well, what they make. So fashion ties in to what I do.

What are you fashion influences?

I love vintage clothes. The idea that someone else has worn them and they’ve had crazy experiences that I don’t even know about. I don’t even know where they were when they wore it. But I love that, because they have heart behind the garment. And I will say Cher is a big influence. My parents.  The Clash. I like weird pieces that are comfortable but sexy.

Why do you like Halloween so much?

I love the quirky side of horror and being able to express yourself. It is almost like a big fashion show, but for freaks.

What’s your favorite horror movie?

I don’t know because they are so many types of horror. I obviously live for Frankenstein  And then you got the gory horror movies. I would say Frankenstein , like old Frankenstein

What is your Favorite halloween costume?

I would say Bride of Frankenstein. I was Bride ofFrankenstein like 5 or 6 years ago and I did it again last year and I would say thats my best one yet.

What are your future goals with music and creating?

I would love to continue touring and playing festivals and writing music and collaborating. Just exactly what I’m doing now, but just grow. I love being on the road so at some point I would love to headline my own tour and keep meeting fans and meeting new people.

Listen to Jesse Jo Stark’s latest work below and be sure to check her out on tour.

dvsn and Miguel rise up with The Ascension Tour in Detroit

Off the release of their second album, Morning After and their own headlining tour earlier this year, dvsn is now on the road with Miguel for The Ascension Tour. Both of their brands of R&B mix well together, so it was a perfect match for tour mates.

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First up was dvsn. While dvsn is made up of producer Nineteen85 and singer Daniel Daley, Nineteen85 was behind the soundboard making sure the sound was orchestrated beautifully. On stage was Daniel and three backup female singers. The females singers were perfect for songs like “Too Deep”  features a large female role in the song.

While playing songs from both their album, Sept. 5th and Morning After, they also mixed in R&B favorites like Usher “U Got It Bad” and Beyonce and Justin Timberlake’s “Until The End of Time.” It was nice that they showed off their influences.

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Miguel has previously went out on road for the War & Leisure Tour to support the album of the same title earlier this year. He made it clear that this tour was not to support any album, so while he played a lot of songs from that album, he also played b-sides from his previous projects.  It was interesting to see him highlight other songs, like “Arch & Point” from Kalediscope Dream, but I wish he did play some of his hits, like “Coffee.”

The concert was also greatly influenced by rock concerts. There were a lot of electric guitars and head banging. But the production was different from what I’ve seen before from any one, focusing on the “ascension” theme and rising up, featuring a lot of stairs, temples and neon colors.

It was great to see how these artists presented their work using visuals that you can’t see by just listening to an album. I’m definitely looking forward to their next albums and more importantly, their next tours.

Taylor Swift slithers into Detroit for reputation Tour at Ford Field

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All photos by Ariana LaBarrie/fresh pair of iis

Taylor Swift brought her reputation Stadium Tour to Ford Field on Tuesday. Despite this being her first official, all stadium shows tour, this was her fourth time headlining Ford Field, bringing her tour here since the Speak Now tour.

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Charli XCX kicked off this girl power tour with “Boom Clap,” commanding attention even though people were still trying to find their seats. Her brand of party music set a great vibe for the show and her energy was contagious.

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Camila Cabello came out next repping the home team by wearing a Detroit Lions’ Jersey with her last name on it. Her vocals and performance showed why she deserved Artist of The Year at this year’s VMAs.

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I’ve never been to a Taylor Swift show before, but I obviously seen clips on YouTube, so I thought I knew what to expect. I. Was. Totally. Wrong. It exceeded all expectations I had. As a person who loves concerts, but also has a lot of knowledge of the music industry, I thought the production value was amazing. The two B stages are bigger than the 1989 stage, which I already thought was massive. The main stage is huge, and when it plays images, they look 3D, as if snakes are hissing off the screen. How she smoothly got to one stage from another (sometimes via snake, sometimes a lit up ball) was seamless, and even the confetti being little Taylor Swift newspapers was so cute. The attention to detail was amazing.

If you are a fan of the reputation album, you will be pleased that she performs all songs off the album except “So It Goes…” She also performs some of her classics like “Blank Space,” “Love Story” and “Blood,” the latter two being medley or mashups with other songs.

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As what has become a tradition during this tour, she played a surprise acoustic song on the B-Stage. You can see all the songs so far, (I’ve been keeping track) here. This time around it was “Jump Then Fall,” a bonus on song the Fearless: Platinum Edition album. As someone that became a Taylor fan during the Fearless era, I remember listening to this song on repeat on my iPod so it was great to see it performed acoustic for the first time.

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While reputation is about revenge and trying to outrun preconceived notions about you, the show’s penultimate performance ended on a sweet note with “Call It What You Want,” showing that your reputation doesn’t matter with the right people.

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While Taylor is a huge star, she expressed gratitude to everyone who made this tour possible. She also said kind words about Aretha Franklin and held a moment of silence for her in Aretha’s hometown.

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While Taylor has been in the business for over a decade, I’m still very much excited for what’s to come next.

Ariana Grande Names Favorite Songs Off Sweetner

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Ariana Grande has been sharing her favorite songs from her albums, including her current album Sweetner. When a fan asked her what her favorite songs are off Sweetner, she shared this tweet below.

My favorite song on the album is “everytime” so I do agree with this list.

Before Sweetner came out, since said her favorite song of her’s was “Only One.”

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>you’ll never know <br>only one<br>dw &amp; be alright are tied</p>&mdash; Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ArianaGrande/status/1012751538945699843?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 29, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Below are her favorite songs from each album.

<blockquote class=”twitter-tweet” data-lang=”en”><p lang=”en” dir=”ltr”>only one</p>&mdash; Ariana Grande (@ArianaGrande) <a href=”https://twitter.com/ArianaGrande/status/1012749637260840960?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw”>June 29, 2018</a></blockquote>
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Grande shared her top 5 from each album as well. You can read them here.

Not Just A Mic And A DJ: Aubrey & The Three Amigos Tour Shows How Having a Great Set Production Can Elevate A Show

 

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After some delays, Drake finally launched his Aubrey and The Three Amigos tour. I bought tickets before the release of Scorpion, and was a bit apprehensive about the show because I hadn’t really connected to Scorpion yet.  But I have realized a live performance can make you feel differently about an album, so I was open to anything.

Migos opened the show and their set reminded me Jay Z and Kanye’s Watch The Throne tour. They had a cube in the middle that plays images and videos like on the Watch The Throne tour. But instead of being able to stand on top of it, the DJ was inside it. Instead, Migos walked the stage and climbed on small pillars that were also screens.  Even though I guess they were the opening act because they went first, they played a full set which lasted about an hour, that featured songs from their mix tapes and albums.

Drake came out next. The stage, which was at the center and the audience surrounding the entire stage, was like a big iPad. It could change into anything, at some point it was lava, the eye of a storm, a beach, or a big Instagram feed during “In My Feelings.” Sometimes it even lit up wherever Drake walked. A net-like screen also came down over the stage to create the feeling of a rain storm and also showed videos of Drake. This high production added a unique element to the show; it wasn’t your standard Dj and mic rap concert.

While the tour is suppose to support Scorpion, he plays songs throughout his catalog, even doing a medley of hits that spanned Thank Me Later to Scorpion after acknowledging he has been in the game for about 10 years.

During the middle of the show, there is a basketball contest where an audience member has a celebrity take shots for them to win money. The night I went was a Pistons player.

My critiques of the show are minor. Drake introduced one segment of the show as A Side, but never mentioned B Side. He also didn’t complete every song he sang, and I wish he performed more songs in their entirety.

Overall this was one of the best Drake shows I’ve seen. He even went over his allotted time because he said his stage was set up late and he wanted to give us the whole show. His speech at then end saying how appreciative he is of all his fans and his smile throughout the show was genuine and touching. Definitely looking forward to his upcoming productions and have a new love for Scorpion.

You can see the setlist from the show here.