What’s most exciting about the new music, though, are the rumored featured artists, whom Pitchforkreports includes Vince Staples, Danny Brown, D.R.A.M., Grace Jones, Mavis Staples, De La Soul, Pusha T, Kali Uchis, Kelela, Savages’ Jehnny Beth, Popcaan, Jamie Principle, Kilo Kish, Anthony Hamilton, Peven Everett, and Zebra Katz.
And the news only gets better and better: according to NME, they’ll release four new tracks tonight! Here’s the album artwork for the forthcoming tracks, as seen on their Tidal page:
M.I.A. has worked long and hard to paint a picture of herself as a counter-cultural warrior and for the most part she’s succeeded. Even when a New York Times reporter tried to paint her into a truffle-scented corner with a story about how the “Paper Planes” was talking revolution while pigging out on bourgie snacks, M.I.A. retaliated with her own recording of the interview proving that she wasn’t the one who ordered them.
So, when we read that M.I.A. was going to be designing beer bottles we were a bit confused. Is that really the sort of thing a visionary cultural force should be doing? The answer, we decided, was yes. After all, the art-school-educated singer said she was able to make the beer company work with the art she was making, not their own agenda.
“I was making that as a painting, or with those elements anyway, and I put together a version for them out of what I was making for myself at the time,” she said.
The work she’s doing for Beck’s—the label features a yin-yang and collage-style art reminiscent of, duh, a M.I.A. record—was inspired by a trip she took to India.
“My trip to India was to kind of explore the visual arts thing a bit more and while I was there I was coming across lots of things that were inspiring,” she said “I just wanted to get there and explore it without having to be pressured about making the record, you know? But they also go together all the time — it’s really hard for me to separate the two out.”
She’s not the only one. Artists from Jack White, who did a song for Coca Cola, to Gorillaz, which designed a line for Converse, and Kanye West, who has dreamed up shoes for companies from Nike to Louis Vuitton, have lent their talents to a brand without seeming hacky.
“Before artists would struggle with the art and commerce thing, but now I think you have to have a certain conviction about your work and I think the canvas is irrelevant, you can put it on anything these days,” M.I.A. said. “As long as you’re not like, you know there are certain things I won’t agree to, but sitting down and having a drink, and having a little chat is a good thing, and that’s what people tend to do, you know. They get drunk and get together, so.”
Because there’s no time like now, Converse has released a music video for the Gorillaz + Andre 3000 + James Murphy collaboration, "DoYaThing." The video takes place in Gorillaz Mansion on the morning after a particularly death-inspiring bender: As Stuart "2D" Pot walks around the house, he finds the rest of his bandmates in various states of unkempt. He goes to make toast, there’s a bowl of human ears on the counter; he opens up his medicine cabinet, and Andre 3000’s ninja counterpart is curled up inside it, and so on and so on. I mean, who knows, but the animation is great. Watch it after the jump.
You can also listen to the extended version of the track, in case quarter-hour freakouts are your thing (as they should be). The song is also available for download at the Converse website, as are those spiffy Gorillaz Chuck Taylors that sparked this whole collaboration (except the real-life equivalent of "downloading" is something called "buying," who knew?).
Even from their self-imposed semi-hiatus, Andre 3000 and James Murphy are the coolest men in their respective genres (rap and post-blog nostagi-lectro, in case you’re wondering). When you add Gorillaz to the mix, you’ve got a shovel-ready Youngs-targeting commercial waiting to happen. That seems to be the motivation behind their collaborative song "DoYaThing," which will be released to promote the upcoming Converse line of Gorillaz-themed shoes. You can wait until tomorrow to download it from the Converse website, or you can listen to a rip at Listen Before You Buy.
I know, I know — it seems a bit calculated, purely created for page hits and blog buzz. At least they all sound excited to be on the song, even if a rhyme like "Ballin’ outrageous like a purebred mare / Converse All-Stars is the only shoe to wear" is a bit more corporate than I would’ve expected from the usually DIY Murphy. (I have been told that is not immediately recognizable as a joke, but rest assured, it is a joke. Thank God!)
It’s been a big year for free music – G.O.O.D. Fridays, Monster Mondays, and mixtapes (in addition to good old-fashioned piracy). Now, animated Brit band the Gorillaz are taking things to the next level with the free release of what they hope will be the first album created exclusively on an iPad. The group has been dropping goodies for fans on their website’s Advent Calendar for weeks, but they will debut a full-length album on Christmas day and, for the sake of credibility, not one day later. “I wanted to make sure that it came out at the end of the tour, because I don’t want anyone to think I’d tampered with it,” explained frontman Damon Albarn, who wrote and recorded the album during the group’s recent North American tour. “If I left it until the New Year to release it, then the cynics out there would say, ‘Oh well, it’s been tampered with.’ But if I put it out now, they’d know that I haven’t done anything because I’ve been on tour ever since.”
Albarn gave the first scoop on the album, a follow-up to March’s Plastic Beach, last month, when he told NME that he hoped to be an iPad album pioneer. The first song and video from this new iPad album will premiere on the band’s site on Christmas Eve, before the entire tracklist is made available for download the following day. No word yet on the album’s title or content, but this is solid material for a 2011 Apple iPad campaign.