Charli XCX’s ‘Boys’ Video Stars All Your Favorite A-List Boys

Charli XCX’s video for new single “Boys” has saved us from the certain destruction that creeps into one’s soul inevitably on a Wednesday afternoon.

The self-directed clip is funny, hot, and literally just different shots of famous boys hanging out and doing boy things. Name a famous boy. He’s probably in this video.

For starters, there’s Cameron Dallas, who decided it might be fun to bring a chainsaw to the video shoot. And against all odds, he wasn’t wrong…

Then, of course, there’s our dear angel Riz Ahmed, who solidified his status as the most incredible person on this green marble we call Earth by hanging out with a teddy bear:

One of our fave queer musicians, MNEK:

And we’d be remiss if we didn’t highlight the lovely Jack Antonoff, looking very boyish as he lifts a giant pink dumbell:

There’s so many boys in the video we couldn’t possibly name them all, but some of the others are Brendan Urie, Charlie Puth, Chromeo, Connor Franta, Diplo, Joe Jonas, Khalid, Mark Ronson, Shaun Ross, Tom Daley, Ty Dolla Sign, Vampire Weekend, Will.i.am and Wiz Khalifa.

Watch Charli XCX’s “Boys,” below.

Charli XCX Premieres Bouncy SOPHIE-Produced Single, ‘Vroom Vroom’

Following in the footsteps of Mad Decent singer/songwriter LIZ, British pop-rebel Charli XCX has teamed up with PC Music affiliate SOPHIE for a new single that’s lyrically designed to shamelessly blare in the car. “Vroom vroom—bitches know they can’t catch me; vroom vroom—cute, sexy and my ride’s sporty,” the Sucker artist raps with the same bratty high school sensibility she’s been known to embrace on tracks like “SuperLove” and “Break The Rules.” 

This release, which officially premiered today on Beats 1, follows a slew of collaborations that Charli’s been pumping out since releasing her sophomore album in 2014, including her lustrous Giorgio Moroder entry, “Diamonds,” and a funky cover of “Groove is in the Heart” with The Roots’ Questlove and Black Thought.

Though “Vroom Vroom” will never likely make the same Top 40 impact as her breakthrough single, “Boom Clap,” it’s perfect for listeners who’ve been following the singer since her more experimental True Romance days. Listen, below:

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BlackBook Tracks #46: Music Videos Of The Week

Here’s a selection of music videos that were released this week that don’t involve Lily Allen, because you’ve probably already seen that one. Also, you’ve probably read eight different takedowns/celebrations of it. Spoiler alert: there’s no ironic or unironic twerking involved in the videos below, sorry.

http://youtu.be/ec7A0-asYEQ

Phoenix – “Chloroform”
Lest you forget that Phoenix frontman Thomas Mars and Sofia Coppola form one of entertainment’s top power couples, the filmmaker has stepped in to direct a music video for her husband’s band. The French quartet’s capping off another banner year with the latest single from Bankrupt!, “Chloroform,” a mournful tribute to cruel love. The sepia-toned clip features Coppola’s favorite subject, crying white girls.

Keep Shelly In Athens – “Oostende”
Greek synth-rockers Keep Shelly In Athens soundtrack the kind of passion worth crossing an ocean for, as shown in their new video for “Oostende.” Directed by Brendan Canty and Conal Thomson, the clip follows a couple whose love might be written in the stars, but still can’t quite connect. At the very least, they get to see some gorgeous landscapes along the way. Keep Shelly In Athens’ powerful album At Home is out now on Cascine.

SZA – “Ice Moon”
Over the course of this year, SZA has inducted as a member of the new R&B generation. Hailing from St. Louis, the singer’s been self-releasing work, but that’s not going to last any longer with her quietly attention-getting tunes. The “Ice Moon” video follows SZA on a walk through the woods that’s as dreamy as the track, her fragile vocals both crystal and cotton candy.

http://youtu.be/Q5CcouOLjOA

Charli XCX – “SuperLove” (Yeasayer remix)
British pop princess Charli XCX is one of the hardest-working people in music, releasing the single “SuperLove” hot on the heels of her debut LP True Romance earlier this year. While the original already got its own video featuring motorcycle gangs and Japanese nightlife, it’s all eyes on Charli for this slowed-down take, brought to you by Brooklyn indie rockers Yeasayer. True Romance is out now on Asylum.

Lucius – “Tempest”
Have you ever been trapped in a house where everything’s a little bit off and you’re being followed by a man who looks like some kind of cult leader and also maybe you killed a guy? No? Experience all that and more in the fever dream that is Leblanc + Cudmore’s video for Lucius’ “Tempest.” The 60s-inspired indie rockers are on a roll after releasing their debut album Wildewoman earlier this year on Mom + Pop.

Charli XCX Rocks Levi’s & Liberty of London in LA

Receiving an invitation to the Levi’s showroom in LA, better known as the Haus of Strauss, is like scoring a golden ticket. From the second you step into the legendary denim label’s enchanting, devastatingly stylish wonderland, you’re immediately hit with a surge of creative energy that’s impossible to resist, which is likely why brands can’t stop collaborating with them. The latest label to team up is cool-kid UK brand, Liberty of London.

Following will.i.am’s eco-conscious range of denim, Levi’s worked with Liberty to revive archival denim silhouettes that work well with the exclusive prints designed by their across the pond friends. The result was a 13-piece range of fresh looks comprised of the 501 jean short, the boyfriend skinny jeans, the iconic Trucker jacket, a hot bustier and a set of sweet accessories. 

To celebrate this pretty-damn-genius collab, UK singer-songwriter Charli XCX hit the scene for an exclusive performance, which was opened by local spin doctor DJ Michelle Pesce. Shop here or at Levi’s stores everywhere when the collection drops on June 2nd.
 
 
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Watch the collab video below: 

Synth-Pop Singer-Songwriter Charli XCX Talks True Romance, Tasting Sweat, & Lena Dunham

Charli XCX is no newbie to the music scene, though her age might indicate otherwise to those not in the know. The 20-year-old Brit, born Charlotte Aitchison but recognized by her hotly debated stage name, has been making people move since she was an adolescent.

At 14, XCX was already on the radar, albeit far from mainstream, discovered on MySpace and invited to play raves at the weekend. An only child, her parents would drive her to and from performances—sometimes staying, watching on like ever-adoring chaperones—then take her to school come Monday. What might have remained a fond memory or a passing phase, however, evolved into a career, with a capital “c,” her warehouse party past giving rise to a girl who knew her pop hooks and dance beats.

The past half-decade has seen her morph from girl to woman, as well as release several solid songs, among them one of her best, “Nuclear Seasons.” At 16 she signed a record deal, catapulting the former club kid from promising act to legitimate artist with a single signature. For the past four years she’s worked towards today, which sees her major label release of True Romance. Her lyrical prowess and knack for catchiness continue to impress with this sweeping and anthemic debut, a 13-track album featuring favorites like “Lock You Up,” “What I Like” and “Cloud Aura.”

XCX, who also co-wrote Icona Pop’s “I Love It,” (which, if you’ll recall, was a huge hit following a particularly entertaining episode of HBO’s Girls) is currently touring Europe and the U.K. with Ellie Goulding, and will touch down in the States come May. New Yorkers can catch her supporting Marina and the Diamonds at Rumsey Playfield on May 29 and alongside Little Daylight on May 31 at Glasslands Gallery.

In the meantime, hear from the hard-hitting goth-pop princess herself. She’s got plenty to say, from her outlook on love (which she’s in, with Ryan Andrews) to her fantasies surrounding calling all the concert shots (think outlandish creative direction as it pertains to set design, à la Girls dreamboat douchebag Booth Jonathan).

You titled the album True Romance. Is this record the embodiment of “true romance,” to you? It’s such a bold statement to make. To say, like, Here it is. This is the definition.
This record is, for me, what true romance is. I’ve been writing the record for the past two to three years, but one song I wrote when I was 16. So, I feel like I’ve been writing this album as I’ve been growing up. Your views on love and life change over time. You experience different relationships, that kind of thing, and I think the record is kind of about that. It’s about love from different angles. Different periods of your life. There’s a bratty breakup song, when you went out with a bad boy. Then there’s a song about falling in epic, amazing, real, true love. And I feel like that’s what happened to me during the process of writing this album. I feel like I’ve fallen in love, massively. I feel like the record looks at how you can be on this love trip, in this dream state, but at the same time you can feel lonely and isolated. I think it’s interesting how schizophrenic love is. And that’s what the record is to me. It’s schizophrenic. It sounds that way. It sounds like love.

Did the title come at the end?
The title came last, actually. It was kind of, like, a reflection. I never wanted to make a concept album and come up with the title track and write songs around the title. I wanted to write the songs as naturally as possible and as naturally as they came to me. It just so happened they were about love. Once I started writing them, I supposed that was an appropriate title.

Makes sense. Can you tell me a bit about being so young coming up in the music scene?  
It was kind of crazy. At the beginning, I was very, very excited about everything. I was 15, signing a record deal. I was so elated by it. So, whenever there were highs and lows—which there definitely were, and still are—I took them really personally. It was a quite traumatic experience making this album, especially when I was younger. It can be emotional making an album, putting all your thoughts and feelings on a CD. I found the industry very difficult. There were so many expectations I thought I had to live up to. I was unsure who I was. I wrote the song “Stay Away” then. I began to find myself and what kind of music I wanted to make. I feel like I’ve changed a lot. I realized I don’t have any criteria I need to meet. I’m just doing my thing. I’m not feeling like I have to please anyone.

Even with the tumult, it had to have been a blast.
It was really fun. When I was younger, I’d go to raves, and that was crazy. Then, I’d go to school on Monday, and that was weird. But, it was cool. I kind of feel like I got sucked into that. I’m glad I left that scene and started making real music on my own.

Oh, yes. You’re talented, your debut’s a gem and, on top of that, you’ve traveled the world touring in support of Coldplay, Santigold, Ellie Goulding. Was it difficult to adjust to the limelight? MySpace and late-night raves are one thing, but stadiums are another thing all together. That’s rock star status.
For me, I can’t think about going on stage as the “limelight.” I think about it as playing my songs for people and losing my mind. When I’m on stage, I feel completely free. I feel completely inspired. I’m not thinking about anything else. I’m getting lost in the moment. It’s like one big trip.

Speaking of trip, do you have a favorite place to play?
I love America. I love L.A. and I love New York. And I haven’t been there yet, but I know I’m going to love Tokyo so much when I go. It sounds so magical.

It does. So, which one: New York or L.A.?
I don’t know. People compare them, but they’re so different. It’s so difficult to compare the two. I feel like L.A., maybe, for me, just because it’s so different from London. Whereas New York is so similar.

Aww, shucks. So, do you have any down time when you tour?
Never. It’s constant. But, that’s fine. It feels good to play shows and have people come listen to my music. That’s really nice. I mean, it’s weird doing promo every day. You have to talk about yourself all the time, and I don’t really like doing that. It’s just strange. I’m starting to get used to it. It’s all right.

You’re adjusting. How’s tour going so far with Ellie?
It’s fun. The crowds are big. She’s cool. I think I managed to convert her into a platform shoe-lover. She tried on my Buffalo platforms and was like, Oh my god, these are amazing!

How would you compare the experience of performing at big venues versus small?
Playing big venues is always less personal. Like, when I was doing the Coldplay tour, there were, like, seven screens. Only the front, like, five rows can see you up close. But, in a club it’s wild. You can taste everyone’s sweat, which I really like. I feel so much more alive. You can really get in touch with the crowd and make it, like, an apocalyptic, end of the world party. So, I really like that. Obviously, it’s a dream to play in front of as many people as possible, so big stages are good. But, when I have my own massive shows, I want the walls and ceilings and floors to be made of screens. So you’re in a screen box. And it’s, like, my favorite videos and mash-ups of my favorite movies playing. It’d be a mindfuck.

Do you watch Girls?
Yeah! Like that artist [Booth Jonathan]’s thing. Exactly like that, except on a massive scale.

That’s also, as you know, the episode featuring the song you wrote, performed by Icona Pop.
That was really cool. I’m a big Lena Dunham fan. I feel like she’s this sexy, hilarious, fierce super-girl. So, it was really cool seeing her singing that song. It was quite funny.

Is Hannah your favorite character on the show?
I don’t know. I also really like Adam. And I really like Shoshanna. And I love to hate Jessa, because I know so many people like that and they’re so frustrating.

Do you have a lot of super-fans?
I do, actually. They’re all sweet, but they’re crazy. It’s cute, though. They’re all young. They message me all the time. Like, everyday. It freaks me out that my music can mean that much to someone. I didn’t have that. Even if I did, I wouldn’t have had the power to tell them, because I didn’t have Twitter. Now, everyday, you can build up this false relationship in your mind. It’s scary. It’s mad.

I’d agree with that. After all this, the journey so far, what do your parents think?
They’re proud. Whenever I’m in London they’ll come to my show. They’re really supportive. They took me to the raves when I was younger, came with me and were really cool. I’m really thankful for that, actually.

That’s awesome. I imagine a lot of parents wouldn’t be as nurturing when it comes to their young daughter rocking the sometimes seedy rave scene. You also dress pretty provocatively. From where does your aesthetic sensibility derive?
I’m really inspired by movies. The Craft. Clueless. Empire Records. I just love that nineties aesthetic. I like basics, grungy stuff. I’m a big fan of the Spice Girls. Some of their music videos are my favorites. Like, “Say You’ll Be There.” I feel like I came through the third wave of the club kids in London. I was watching Party Monster, finding out who Michael Alig was. Part of me will always be interested in that world. DIY, but high fashion at the same time.

So, do you have a dream collaboration?
I’d love to work with Bjork. She’s incredible. I admire everything she does. Her voice is like butter. So angry but so sweet and beautiful at the same time. I think she’s wonderful.  

Whose music are you really into right now?
Jai Paul. I’ve always been a big fan of his. Kitty Pryde. I think she’s really cute. I love her lyrics. I always listen to the same stuff on repeat. Like, Uffie, Kate Bush, The Cure. Robert Smith is, like, my hero.

Last but not least, what would you be doing if not this?
I’d be crying probably. 

Marina and The Diamonds’ Melodramatic ‘State of Dreaming’

Do you like that part of The Wizard of Oz when everything gets colorized, but wish it happened more gradually? Good, because I think that’s the most expensive effect in this video. Followed by confetti. I’m pretty sure the cleavage featured was free, but who knows.

Spare as it is, this initially black-and-white chapter of Marina and The Diamonds’ Electra Heart, which in visual form is apparently a serialized “cinematic 70s Americana-type film,” is probably one of the best, song-wise. Does it make me want to go back and watch the first eight parts? Let me get back to you.  

Oh, and here’s where Marina and The Diamonds are playing this spring on their ‘Lonely Hearts Club’ tour—always with Charli XCX, except in the Las Vegas.

5/2 – Seattle, WA – The Showbox at the Market
5/3 – Vancouver, BC – Commodore Ballroom
5/4 – Portland, OR – Wonder Ballroom
5/6 – San Francisco, CA – The Warfield
5/7 – Santa Ana, CA – Observatory
5/9 – Las Vegas, NV – The Pool @ Blvd Social Club
5/10 – San Diego, CA – House of Blues
5/11 – Los Angeles, CA – Nokia Theatre LA Live
5/13 – Salt Lake City, UT – Club Sound
5/14 – Denver, CO – The Gothic Theatre
5/16 – Kansas City, MO – Granada
5/17 – St Louis, MO – The Pageant
5/19 – Minneapolis, MN – The Varsity
5/20 – Chicago, IL – Vic Theatre
5/22 – Detroit, MI – Saint Andrew’s Hall
5/23 – Toronto, ON – Sound Academy
5/24 – Montreal, QC – Corona Theatre
5/28 – Pittsburgh, PA – Mr. Smalls
5/29 – New York, NY – Central Park SummerStage @ Rumsey Playfield

Follow Miles Klee on Twitter.

Charli XCX, Brooke Candy and… Honey Boo-Boo?

Misery loves company, and sometimes the best company can be found in watching other people go through the same things you have on TV, but in a shiny, overexaggerated sort of way. So what better imagery to accompany a song about a relationship gone sour than images of heartbroken television and movie characters? English singer Charli XCX and rapper Brooke Candy (who you may remember from Grimes’ "Genesis" video) joined forces for XCX’s dark and sublime single "Cloud Aura" and its video, released today. In the black-and-white clip, singer and rapper wander interspersed with clips of recognizable and visibly distraught pop culture figures, including Lauren Conrad of The Hills, Zooey Deschanel, Dianna Agron and Britney Spears, as well as Sissy Spacek in Carrie and Honey Boo Boo, who doesn’t look particularly heartbroken, unless it’s over Glitzy the Pig. Also, Pikachu makes a brief appearance. 

UK filmmaker Ryan Andrews, who typically operates more in the horror realm, directed the clip. Watch. 

BlackBook Tracks #20: The Post-Frankenstorm Solution

Did you miss me last week? (It’s okay if you didn’t, but I kind of hope you did.) I was stranded in the powerless wasteland of lower Manhattan, shoving Pringles in my mouth by candlelight because I couldn’t use the internet. Now that we’ve figured out things like the leadership of our country and the L train, here are some songs for you.

Buke & Gase – “Blue Monday”

Not only is this a solid New Order cover from the Brooklyn duo, but if you buy it on Bandcamp, the proceeds will go to Hurricane Sandy relief efforts.

Interpol – “NYC”

Here’s a belated shout-out to everyone else who was in the blacked-out zone last week. Turn on the bright lights, indeed.

Foals – “Inhaler”

These Brits are back, and they’re sounding even bigger than they did on 2010’s highly acclaimed Total Life Forever. “Inhaler,” the first single from the forthcoming Holy Fire, is a stark, pulsing stomp that can only promise more good things.

Charli XCX – “Heatwave”

Bubblegum-goth darling Charli XCX just dropped her Super Ultra mixtape, featuring this song that you’ll have to save up for next year’s summer fling. For more sexy synths, download the full mixtape here.

Dutch Uncles – “Fester”

These purveyors of oddball piano pop are growing up nicely. The new single from the Manchester, UK band is smooth and sophisticated, hinting at their progression since 2011’s Cadenza.

Sambassadeur – “Memories”

I’m not going to lie, I forgot about this band for a minute, but I’m glad I remembered. This Swedish outfit is still going strong, and “Memories” features the kind of crystalline pop perfection that’s kept them an anchor of Labrador Records.

Peggy Sue – “He’s A Rebel”

Those 60s girl group classics have held up for a reason. This version sees British alt-folk act Peggy Sue paying laid-back tribute to the Crystals.

Ramona Falls – “Proof”

If you’re looking for something delicate and heartfelt but with a faint undercurrent of weirdness, you’ve come to the right place.

Lilly Wood & The Prick – “Where I Want To Be (California)”

These French sensations present a nostalgic, dynamic vision of pop. “Where I Want To Be (California)” is the wistful opener to their latest LP, The Fight.

Follow Katie Chow on Twitter.