The 21 Best Songs of #NYFW: Your New Favorite Playlist

For this, we didn’t get half the photos we wanted because our batteries were drained from Shazaming everything good from shows and presentations. It was worth it. From Rihanna to Mø, FKA Twigs to Chris Isaak, Crowe-ther to Sbrtrkt, well you get the idea.

Just for you, with all our love — here is the best sounding 1 hour and 28 minutes of fashion week you’ll hear this season.

BlackBook Tracks #29: Sucks to be Anyone in Music Who’s Not Justin Timberlake or Destiny’s Child

I know you’ve probably been in a Justin Timberlake and Destiny’s Child K-hole for the past day, but if you feel like crawling out, here are some other songs for you to listen to.

We Were Evergreen – “Leeway”

There are plenty of things that can go wrong in life, but We Were Evergreen get twee-pop right. Alongside launching a Kickstarter for their debut album, the London-via-Paris trio has released charming new single “Leeway.”

Drop The Lime – “No Sleep For The Wicked”

The retro/electro wizard’s new video boasts more zombie cheerleaders than an episode of Misfits. His penchant for horror and killer beats serves as a reminder that there are all kinds of things that go bump in the night.

Anna Calvi – “The Devil”

If that last track wasn’t evil enough, remember that Anna Calvi must have made a deal with “the Devil” to become such a skilled guitarist.

Housse de Racket – “Aquarium”

Clocking in at close to seven minutes, Housse de Racket’s latest single is a slow burner that’s worth every second. Those who have seen the Parisian electro-rock duo live know this as the striking closer to their show.

Sharon Van Etten – “People Ain’t No Good”

I’m jealous of people in Australia, because it’s summer there. Also, Brooklyn singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten is on a sojourn down under, where she made a stop at Triple J radio to cover future tourmate Nick Cave.

Caitlin Rose – “I Was Cruel”

Singer-songwriter Caitlin Rose tells a familiar story of love gone sour on this cut from her forthcoming album The Stand-In. Her voice manages to be both vulnerable and matter-of-fact, and there’s the hint of steel guitar that you might expect from a Nashville artist.

Palma Violets – “Step Up For The Cool Cats”

London rockers Palma Violets are on track to be 2013’s It Brits, and this 60s-inflected track hints at what’s to come when they release their debut album in February.

Gold Fields – “Dark Again” (Diamond Rings remix)

Australian up-and-comers Gold Fields are plenty charismatic on their own, but Diamond Rings punches up the original to make it a little more dancefloor-friendly.

Carly Rae Jepsen – “Call Me Maybe” (Dan Deacon remix)

By “remix,” I mean that this is the a capella version layered 147 times. It’s strangely compelling, hearing “Hey, I just met you” repeated ad infinitum.

Watch Anna Calvi Cover TV On The Radio

Anna Calvi’s great self-titled album was one of the highlights of this last year. We have the just released video of her covering the song "Wolf Like Me" from another one of our favorite bands, TV On The Radio. 

Anna says this about the song: "I love the desperation in this song – the original by TV On The Radio is relentless, and terrifying. I find the idea of losing control of oneself very provocative, and the way this idea is explored in "Wolf like Me" is humorous but dangerously effective. In my version I wanted to imagine the change is almost happening in slow motion- that there is no fight anymore, but a dreamlike embrace of the inevitable. I wanted the song to feel like a hypnotic prayer. I chose to omit the last verse of the original, and instead allow the guitar to take over, at the point where all control is lost!"

Interpol’s Paul Banks Interviews U.K. Music Sensation Anna Calvi

In an industry overrun by pop-princess zombies, British singer and guitarist Anna Calvi has quickly set herself apart with a seductive homespun sound, at once vulnerable and predatory. Although she’s petite and timid off stage, the moment Calvi steps into the bright lights, she transforms into a veritable force field of carnal energy. It’s fitting, then, that she’s embraced a matador aesthetic: slicked-back hair, boleros, and high-waisted trousers.

In the past six months, the 28-year-old performer has released her self-titled debut album, kicked off her first headlining tour, and earned accolades from the likes of Nick Cave, Brian Eno, and Karl Lagerfeld. Anna Calvi, which entered the UK charts in the Top 40, is the culmination of three years spent writing and recording in a basement in Fulham, London.

Although she opened for Interpol in Brixton last December, Calvi never actually met the rock trio’s lead singer, Paul Banks. From his getaway home in Panama, Banks called Calvi—just a few minutes before she took the stage in Cologne, Germany—to chat about the power of performance, restraint, and the dangerous appeal of reading your own reviews.

PAUL BANKS: Where are you? ANNA CALVI: I’m in Germany at the moment. I just got back from a month in Europe, so I feel for you. How long have you been on the road? It’s only been a week so far, but we’ve got another year to go.

Touring can be wonderful, but it can also be taxing. The shows make everything else worthwhile, but the day-to-day bus-and-hotel lifestyle gets old pretty quick. Does it get easier?

It changes, that’s for sure. I’ve often thought that I’d be in jail by now if I hadn’t found an outlet in singing. It’s that emotional release that sustains me over long tours. Performance is a very emotional thing for me, and it’s an experience that I wouldn’t be able to get in any other situation. It definitely helps get me through the harder parts of touring. All in all, I love doing it.

Is it true that you were in a punk band before working on this album? I did several different things just for the experience, but none of them were too serious. I waited until I felt confident enough as a singer to release my own material.

I read somewhere that you pushed aside other creative passions to focus on your music. I used to paint, but I felt most passionate about music—it felt natural to me. I do, however, see every aspect of the record-making process as art, and that includes how I dress and the artwork I put on the album cover. Do you have other creative pursuits? image

I have plans to go into some form of writing at some point in my life, and I started with graphic art, but music came most naturally in that it was almost a biological function. I figured the art thing wasn’t going to happen, and so I focused on music, which allows me to shut off some of the less pleasant aspects of my consciousness. Whether or not I ever got a record deal, I knew that music was going to come through me. I recorded half of this album before signing with a label. I knew there was a good probability that no one would ever hear it, but my need to make it was such that it didn’t even matter who was listening. You can hear it in the songs when a band makes music solely for their careers. I respect musicians who create because of passion, not vocation.

You can see the passion in your live shows, which are different than those of your average popstars. There’s a lot of improvisation when my band and I play live, which keeps it interesting. It’s difficult to find real chemistry with other musicians, and it’s even rarer when you get to keep it, so I feel lucky to love the musicians I play with. I would hate to be in a band with people I hardly knew and didn’t like that much.

Without an emotional connection, it would be impossible to play your kind of music. To what degree are you trained? I taught myself guitar.

Damn. I listened to a lot of guitarists—Jimi Hendrix, Django Reinhardt—when I was a kid, and I really got into making the guitar sound like other instruments and using it as an extension of my voice. I think not having taken lessons really helped me develop my own style and my own language with the instrument.

I’m also self-taught but I don’t have the chops you have on the guitar. It’s a testament to the sophistication of what you’re trying to express that you’ve pushed your technique to this level—yours is some virtuoso-level shit. I love dynamism in music, and the best way to achieve that is to go from nothing to everything. I love space in music.

Restraint is easier said than done. It’s never been my forte, but it’s a stylistic thing I really admire because it takes a lot of confidence to allow the melody to carry itself. Your music sounds like you have total ownership over the songs, like there’s only one way to make them sound. Are you reading your press? I’m aware that people don’t hate the music. At first, I found that people didn’t know what to make of me, which was frustrating. They were saying it was really dark and gothic, and I never really knew what “gothic” meant.

It’s a tricky thing, reading one’s own press. It’s not great for the artistic process. You’ve said that caring about how your album is received is “the kiss of death.” I assume you mean from a creative standpoint? If you start trying to please people or prove them wrong, it means you’re no longer doing things for yourself, but the whole point of making music is to satisfy yourself creatively. That’s why I made this album, and that’s something I never want to forget.

Top photo: Jacket by Emporio Armani. Necklace by Giles & Brother by Philip Crang. Hair by Kayla Michele @ Atelier Management. Makeup by Walter Oba L @ Atelier Management using Dior. Stylist’s Assistant: Jaclyn Konopka . Photography by Aaron Richter.

The Kills Cover BlackBook’s May Music Issue!

What luck! In a week that turned out to be all about the kill, we’re introducing our brand new Music Issue on newsstands now, featuring cover stars The Kills. Coincidence? We think so! Anyway, read all about the everlasting musical union between Mr. Hince and Ms. Mosshart — and the new album they made — here. Also in our May issue:

Before Mark Ruffalo hulks and smashes in next summer’s Avengers, he pauses for his directorial debut, Sympathy for Delicious; read a revealing interview with the actor about the rock drama and the darkness that inspired it. UK music sensation Anna Calvi has opened for Interpol, but she never met lead singer Paul Banks — until now. The Arctic Monkeys, rockstars before they turned twenty, evolve on their new album, Suck It and See. New York’s Gang Gang Dance explain where their trippy, tribal, genre-defying sound comes from. Our sometime fashion guru Gavin McInnes puts SXSW on blast. Avant-garde musical artist Planningtorock takes us on an impromptu tour of Berlin.

Plus Rose Byrne, Taylor Momsen, Chloe Sevigny, Death Cab for Cutie, Dolly Parton, Richard Ashcroft, Tinie Tempah, and more!