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How many pop bands are obsessed with the end of the world? Sure, Adele has the market cornered on break ups that feel like the end times, but how many groups actually focus on the apocalypse?

The funny thing about Everything Everything is that there’s always a sliver of unease running through their music. It’s all brilliantly catchy, expertly produced, and tight as a drum, but something’s just a bit off about it all. It may have taken a few listens to realize it, but the second single from their fantastic sophomore album Arc opened with the line “Four walls and a cauldron of Kalashnikoving / and our home is a trigger that I’m always pulling.” Yes, for all the pristine choruses and earworm verses, Everything Everything injects excessive violence, crushing depression and madness into the friendliest of their hits.

He’s from England’s West Country but he sounds like he’s straight out of the Bronx.

Like a strange musical answer to The Lonely Londoners and The Planet of Junior Brown, British rapper Luca Brazi’s solo debut, Dying Proof, bridges the gap between the salty airs of English dives and the danger and panic of the South Bronx. The 20-something MC has been circulating in the UK’s underground hip-hop scenes for a number of years now, as a member of hip-hop collectives Granville Sessions, Moose Funk and B.O.M.B. He’s now just released his first solo album this past summer. It’s the product of everything the rapper has loved about hip-hop, his saving grace from his early school days as a young child growing up in the West Country.

Madonna is making headlines again, and for the first time in two years, the topic of conversation is her music.

Over the past few weeks, demos of her latest songs have leaked into the Internet, forcing the pop star to think practically about her next move. In a seemingly desperate decision, Madonna made six finished tracks available to digitally download on 20 December 2014, and announced that her 13th studio album Rebel Heart, scheduled to be released on 10 March 2015, would come with 13 additional tracks.

AOA – “Like a Cat”

“Like a Cat” is AOA’s third comeback this year, but that doesn’t mean we should expect anything new from the group. After the success of “Miniskirt”, the act’s collaboration with hit-maker Brave Brothers, FNC Entertainment and the girls have gone with the “if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it” method and continued to put out essentially the same song as a title track three times this year. Fortunately, it’s a pretty good song. Brave Brothers has become a bit of a parody of himself, relying on the same musical tropes and production techniques in his songs, but you can never deny that the end result is successful. “Like a Cat” has a strong groove and an undeniably catchy melody. Like many of his other songs, including AOA’s “Miniskirt” and “Short Hair”, “Like a Cat” features a prominent wordless vocal hook in the chorus that, as lazy as it is compositionally, is just irresistible. He does change it up a little here, though, by utilizing processed guitars instead of the jazzy organ chords he normally uses to drive the song.

Seo Taiji and IU – “Sogyeokdong”

Five years since his last album, Seo Taiji—affectionately referred to as the “President of Culture” among K-pop fans—is finally back with his latest release, Quiet Night. For his lead single, the veteran artist released two versions of the same song, one sung by IU, and one by himself. The two different music videos show opposite perspectives of the same plot, a heartbreaking love story set against a violent backdrop. Sogyeokdong, the neighborhood in Seoul where Seo Taiji grew up, was focus of activity for the Defense Security Command in the early 1980s. The DSC at the time was a sort of secret police/counterintelligence branch of the military under dictator Chun Doo-hwan. With this tense political time as its setting, “Sogyeokdong” shows the story of two young kids meeting, falling in love, and being torn apart by military action.

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Double Take: Marty (1955)

// Short Ends and Leader

"Paddy Chayefsky's adaptation of Marty may be a period piece, but it's a heck of a piece nonetheless.

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