BLACKBOOK PREMIERE: New Ben Phipps Single ‘Don’t Wake Me Up’

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Ben Phipps ditched his Swedish homeland and an entrepreneurial career to test his musical fortunes in NYC. He’s since charted on iTunes in more than 30 countries, had a song placed in Pretty Little Liars, and built a following of more than a million unique listeners on Spotify.

His new single “Don’t Wake Me Up,” which BlackBook premieres here, features Mike Ruby on vocals. It’s a cool, Caribbean-influenced paean to settling into a new life in Gotham – with one of the 2017’s most unavoidable grooves. “New York City, can’t stop dreaming / Don’t wake me up” goes the song’s hopeful, enthusiastic central chant.

Sure to be soundtracking the best moments of your NYC springtime and summer.



Rufus Wainwright Signs, Seals, Delivers Beautiful Motown Cover (Video)

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We all know Rufus Wainwright can turn some beautiful lyrics with some equally beautiful vocals. He recently lent his vocal chops to a cover of Motown’s “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours,” recreated as a beautiful piano ballad for the Art of Elysium’s fundraising gala, Heaven, which honors Stevie Wonder. Wainwright provides a beautiful touch for the soulful classic.

He recently released the accompanying video, a continuous black and white clip featuring a group of dapper men (Wainwright included) handing each other off as dance partners. Choreographed by Katherine Helen Fisher, the video is inspired by the dance scene from Federico Fellini’s 1963 film, 8 ½, as well as the 1987 play La Ronde (The Round). The moody lighting and the classically romantic style perfectly complement Wainwright’s version of the Motown track.

Watch Rufus Wainwright’s video for “Signed, Sealed, Delivered I’m Yours” below:

Bury Your Darkest Secrets in a Brooklyn Cemetery With French Artist Sophie Calle

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Image by David Shankbone

What if you could tell someone your deepest, darkest secrets, and they would promised to “bury” them forever?

That is indeed the essence of a conceptual piece presented by Creative Time, launching this weekend at Brooklyn’s Green-Wood Cemetery – and continuing on for another 25 years. The New York based arts non-profit has produced more than 350 perception-shattering art projects since its inception in 1974 – but this one is surely the longest running (provided the Apocalypse doesn’t arrive before the two-and-a-half decades are up.)

Visitors are asked to arrive at the historic Sunset Park cemetery between noon and 5pm Saturday and Sunday, the 29th and 30th, prepared to reveal some dark, haunting or perhaps even saucy or titillating secret to French conceptual artist Sophie Calle…by writing it on a piece of paper. For the work dramatically titled Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery, those “soul barings” will be sealed in an envelope, then slipped into a slot on a marble obelisk that Calle has designed. The artist will return periodically, ceremonially “cremating” the secrets…and will continue to do so for 25 years.

Will this allow for those participating to actually be released from the burdens of their most onerous secrets? Surely it depends on how seriously one takes the exercise. But in such times of rampant social media, Here Lie the Secrets of the Visitors of Green-Wood Cemetery certainly would seem to act as a comforting counterpoint to such unsettling public scrutiny.


Photo by Guillaume Ziccarelli Courtesy Paula Cooper Gallery


The Black Angels’ ‘Currency’ is a Song For Our Times

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Since their inception in 2004, Austin’s The Black Angels have existed fearlessly apart from any prevailing musical trends. Their mind-bending, uncompromising psychedelic rock has consequently won them a significant, and fairly fanatical following of believers.

Of course, their name was borrowed from the eponymous Velvet Underground classic (“Black Angel’s Death Song”) – and with the release of the immensely powerful new album Death Song, they’ve sort of ritually substantiated that reference. They’ve also recorded one of the most incisive songs of our post-financial-collapse times. Indeed, “Currency” is a veritable prophecy, decrying greed, and warning us against our attachment to materialism and financial gain – with its ominous chant of “One day it’ll all be gone” and its stinging Wall Street accusation, “All the debt and lives you’ve sold.” It’s positively chilling in its poignancy.

As part of an extensive North American tour, The Black Angels will appear at Brooklyn Steel this Tuesday, May 2. In the meantime, do spend some time pondering the message of “Currency.”


The Black Angels   “Currency”

Currency carry me everyone is held hostage
Currency means nothing
How are they to spend us next
Do you want a stake in us?
How you have a stake in us
One day it’ll all be over
One day it’ll all be gone
I can see born asleep all these things in motion ours
All the debt and lives you’ve sold
There’s no truth in who we trust
Print and print the money that you spend
Spend and spend the money that you print then
One day it’ll all be over
One day it’ll all be gone
I can see currency how it always sanctions us
All these paper lives you’ve sold
There’s no God in who you trust
Print and print the money that you spend
Spend and spend the money that you print
Print and print the money that you spend
Spend and spend the money that you print then
One day it’ll all be over one day it’ll all be gone
And you will all be gone one day
Yeah you will all be gone one day
You’ve paid with your life
A slave from nine to five
You’re spent through us
You take from us when we die
So claim the diamonds in your eyes


Katy Perry’s Severed Head Looks Flawless On Cover Art For New Song

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Katy Perry has dropped the single art for her forthcoming new song, “Bon Appétit,” out tomorrow, and she looks really good. The cover image features Perry’s decapitated head nestled on a platter among some fresh fruit, while the hands of Migos, who are featured on the new track, each reach for a snack.

Speaking to E!Perry called the song “pretty sexual,” so we’re gearing up for some intense potential banana and whipped cream wordplay. We’ll also likely get to hear the song live next month, when Perry joins Dwayne Johnson on SNL May 20.

Earlier this week, the queen of glossy pop surprised fans by emailing out a recipe for the “World’s Best Cherry Pie,” ending the email with “Bon Appétit.” So maybe we’re about to get some serious American Pie vibes with our next Top 40 anthem. Who can say?

Check out the cover art below:

Compliments of the chef: 4.28.17

A post shared by KATY PERRY (@katyperry) on

HAIM Is Finally Back With A New Song And Video, ‘Right Now’

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You don’t have to worry about what the soundtrack will be for your next boho lawn cocktail hour any longer: after a near four-year hiatus from new music, the trio of sisters have at last announced they’ll have a second album out this summer.

Today, the group dropped a music video for their first bit of new music off of the forthcoming LP: the Paul Thomas Anderson-directed live recording of their new sorrow anthem, “Right Now.” In the clip, we get to see Este, Danielle, and Alana rocking out to the song on drums and guitar, serenading us with their impressively refined pipes.

The new album is called Something To Tell You, and will be out July 7. They’ll release the first official single for their album on May 3, and perform live on SNL alongside host Melissa McCarthy May 13, where they’ll also unveil more new songs.

HAIM worked with Vampire Weekend-er Rostam Batamangli and Days Are Gone contributor Ariel Rechtshaid on the new album, which is benig touted as one of the hottest-anticipated releases of the year.

Check out the new vid below:

Mary Lambert on Her New EP + Her Fave Hangouts in Seattle

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Mary Lambert shot to fame in 2013 as the featured vocalist on Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ “Same Love,” which became something of an anthem for same-sex marriage. It scored her a Grammy nomination, and she even performed the song live with Madonna at the awards.

She’s since been compared to everyone from Adele to James Blake – and has been a tireless voice for LGBT rights. Her new EP, fittingly titled Bold, will be out May 5 – and is a new paradigm of her visceral, alluring and remarkably infectious pop sensibility. For instance, first single “Hang Out With You” (co-written with Michelle Chamuel) is an exuberant, charmingly obsessive paean to falling head over heels. “I don’t want to fix my hair / I don’t want to write a song / I just want to hang out with you” she enthusiastically confesses to her new love, an elated feeling we’ve certainly all experienced.

“The EP is proclamation of fearlessness,” she says. “This is a collection of queer pop songs about having lots of feelings, and what it’s like to live in that dynamic range. The impetus for creating and releasing Bold really came from being told that I couldn’t do it. That an artist, specifically a fat, gay, female artist in the pop sphere choosing to be independent wouldn’t be taken seriously. So I guess this is the part where I yell ‘watch me!’ in a bright colored crop top on a mountain of glitter.”

It’s also a family affair – her mom is actually her latest special guest collaborator.

“She let me talk her into using a song she wrote called, ‘Love is Love,’ and the process of producing my mom’s vocals and arranging her song was very moving and emotional for us both.”

She’s also a Seattle girl, so in true BlackBook fashion, we asked her what her city (and state) means to her, and what are her fave places to hang out when she’s home.


On Being Inspired by Seattle/Washington

“There isn’t another place like Seattle.” she insists. “There’s just not. There is nothing quite like the gift that the PNW brings to someone who is willing to smile through eight months of cloud cover in order to witness a well-deserved sunlight parade in July. I recorded half of the EP here in Sequim, Washington (one ferry trip and three hours of driving away from Seattle) and I am planning on making the next record there as well. I made my very first recordings six years ago in this stellar studio owned and operated by Jeremy Cays on the peninsula of Washington state, and have always wanted to return and make more music there. I’m so glad I did, because the songs came out fantastic, and I feel like I’ve grown as a producer and artist in the process. “
“My best friend, Tim Mendonsa, who plays guitar and bass on the track “Do Anything,” drove down with me from Sequim to Portland for a radio gig, and I don’t know how to adequately articulate how surreal and beautiful the drive is from the Washington peninsula to Portland on the scenic 101. But if you can imagine being in one of those quintessential car commercials, and then superimpose your best friend in the passenger’s seat and then add a Death Cab for Cutie soundtrack underneath deep laughter and great talks – that’s basically where I was at when I was forming Bold. No labels, no managers, no A&R, no producers, just totally, completely free.”

Her Favorite Hangouts in Seattle/Washington

Sunny Farms (Lunch)

Sunny Farms is located in Sequim, about three hours Northwest of Seattle. I had to include it on my list, not only because it’s two minutes from the studio, and I’ve spent so much time there, but it’s so good! They have a little deli in the back, amazing produce in the front, and if you’re into alternative remedies, their health/wellness section is off the hook. If you’re ever in the peninsula of Washington State, you gotta go to Sunny Farms.

Tilth (Brunch)

I can never get enough of Tilth. It’s located in Wallingford, which is a neat neighborhood to walk around in, not to mention the restaurant itself is a converted house. Maybe that’s why it feels so cozy! Chef Maria Hines is in a league of her own, and has really cultivated something special. All ingredients are either certified organic or wild, and you can taste that in the nourishing quality of the food. Go for brunch, take a walk around the lake, then come back for dinner.


Two Big Blondes (Shop)

If you are a plus size babe like me, you know how discouraging it is to go shopping. It’s not just that stores might have run out of my size, it’s that they refuse to even carry my size. If I walk by a store, I must begin by dissecting the store name: if there are any hidden implications of “we MAY have your size here!” But Two Big Blondes is a plus babe’s paradise and I am grateful they exist.

Lola (Dinner)

I fell in love with Lola, this Greek inspired restaurant from Tom Douglas, when I was bartending and living in Belltown. I’ve never had a bad dining experience here –  and I feel like that is actually really a difficult thing to achieve in the restaurant industry: consistency. This food is comforting and delicious and fun, and I love that it’s open for all meals. Like, if you’ve got plans in two hours, just hop over to Lola and grab a kebab. Now you’ve got a place to sit. And a kebab.

The Upstairs (Drinks)

The Upstairs is one classy hell of a joint. If I hadn’t been drunk yelling John Denver at the top of my lungs when I lived around town, I would have said that this place was a little serious. But I know better now – it’s all shenanigans! I may be a cocktail snob, but I also like it when a drink is called “The Dirty Shirley”. What? A shirley temple with vodka? I’ll take ten.

Bathtub Gin & Co (After Drinks, Drinks)

If you’ve ended your night at Bathtub Gin, you did Seattle right, in my book. Good luck finding the door, though, as the entrance is in an alley and tricky to locate if you have never been. I would liken the decor and vibe to an unpretentious speakeasy, and the bartenders are ridiculously skilled, without being pretentious. I actually filmed part of the “She Keeps Me Warm” music video at Bathtub Gin; the owners Jessica and Marcus are incredibly kind, creative, and super hard-working. Love this place.

Artists Worldwide Pay Tribute to Samira Wiley’s ‘OITNB’ Character

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If you were distraught at the sudden and infuriating loss of Poussey Washington on the season four finale of Orange is the New Black, know that you’re not alone. As Netflix gears up to release an intense season five, fans around the world are still coping with the death of this audience favorite.

To commemorate the character, Netflix has commissioned artists from around the world to paint their own depictions of Samira Wiley’s character. Murals in New York, Los Angeles, Toronto, Melbourne, Sydney, Chicago, Detroit, and San Francisco feature Poussey with the words “Stand Up.”

“I think it’s our responsibility as artists to be able to reflect the time that we’re living in,” Wiley told the AP. “She’s a fictional character that can elicit real change in thought and action from people.”

Season five of Orange is the New Black premieres June 9 on Netflix.

Macauley Culkin Stars as Kurt Cobain in Surreal Father John Misty Video

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Father John Misty recently dropped his latest video for “Total Entertainment Forever,” a surreal three-minute trip through a cardboard and papier mache world. Although the song is a fun indie ballad, it carries some slightly confusing, yet interesting lyrics like “bedding Taylor Swift every night inside the oculus rift.” The video manages to complement the track’s zany nuances as if putting a drug-induced fever dream to the small screen.

A man who appears to be George Washington sits down with some Viagra and a virtual reality game where he tortures Kurt Cobain. Macauley Culkin makes an appearance as the dearly departed rock star who takes his punishments from knock offs of fast food mascots. Next to him is a man in a Bill Clinton mask, playing the sax while they all get crucified.

Although it’s natural to wonder with this insanity means, Misty spoke to Entertainment Weekly about meeting Taylor Swift and how she indirectly inspired the song.

“Yeah, she’s lovely. I had a very pleasant, brief interaction with her. Talk about someone who has to deal with a lot of psychic craziness. It’s not easy. That’s the point of the song. Human beings should not be turned into entertainment. I really believe that.”

Watch the video for “Total Entertainment Forever” below: