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Mount Kimbie Has a New Mixtape

With a new album in the works and a freshly announced, 5 date US Tour, Dom Maker and  Kai Campos from post-club London duo Mount Kimbie, debuted a new mini mix on The Fader overnight. Cue cheers.  Calling it one “for when you get on the plane feeling rough and put music on and fall asleep and have bizarre and extremely vivid dreams,” Campos says it reflects the duo’s headspace at the moment: Disjointed and all over the place. Looking forward to churning out some hits while in the US, the pair cite “having to constantly turn down or leave food and weed,” as the downside of touring life.

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Throwaway Thursday 10 July

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The legendary George Michael once sang, “Freedom!” and while the second syllable of that has nothing to do with Throwaway Thursday, the first is what we’re all about here. Once again, this week we’re offering up 11 free songs for the taking. And the price? Free, of course. Because we know it’s hard out here for a bitch, and being a music fan is sometimes an expensive hobby. Particularly for those of you paying $75 to see Goth Queen Lorde this weekend.

This week, we have enough variation to fill your chill, gettin’ down, lights-off and drank playlists. A new tune from trap king turned viral-star, Baauer, which samples Soulja Boy and is conveniently titled Soulja. There is also Slow Burning, a new track from Adelaide band, Flamingo, who are getting ready to tear up Splendour In The Grass in a weeks time. If that’s too mellow for you, wrap your ears around the new one from Young Franco featuring Joy., Close 2 U.

Enter the hysteria of Throwaway Thursday once more, below:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/throwaway-thursdays-10-july[/soundcloud]

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Banoffee premieres ‘Got It’

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Hungry? I can’t help you. But I can satisfy your craving for new music. Melbourne-based artist, Banoffee, has premiered her new single , Got It, and it’s rich with poppy melody and R&B undertones. Listen below for all the flavour without the calories.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/banoffeeme/banoffee-got-it-1[/soundcloud]

Banoffee’s debut EP is out 22 August. 

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New Direction: An Exploration of Music’s Greatest Image Makers

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It’s fair to say that the humble music video is amidst a highly anticipated and totally welcomed resurgence. After exploding during the late 1980s and early 1990s alongside the indoctrination of MTV as the cultural influencer and instigator we’ve come to recognise it as, music videos then became somewhat of an afterthought in the 2000s. A weird landscape filled with awkward product placement and clunky new media haphazardly thrown into the melting pot while artists, directors and producers alike busied themselves grappling with just what the www’s had in store for their industry. While major brands like MAC, Coke, Samsung and Pepsi, all benefited from this awkward coming of age period by jumping into bed with the Britney Spears’ and Fergie’s of the world, the true power and potential of ye’ old music video as an artistic pursuit seemed to have fallen down the back of the couch to gather dust. Admittedly, the early 2000s subjected us to our fair share of girls on film, less plot, narrative or character development. Cue music, start dancing, start filming has seemingly been the go to formula for music videos for the better part of the noughties.

Recently however, this has begun to change as we slowly dig ourselves out of the thong-laden, booty shakin’ void, one video clip at a time. From the narrative formula of Lady Gaga’s controversial Telephone epic, to the raise-your-left-hand-and-twist-at-the-wrist motion synonymous with Beyonce’s Single Ladies track now engrained in our cultural consciousness as a go-to saturday night move, the music video is steadily being restored to its former position atop not only the hyped-up MTV mountain but, with the top 5 most viewed videos on Youtube being music clips, it’s seemed to have conquered the internet as well. In recent weeks, news regarding Sia’s Chandelier clip has been plastered across Pitchfork, Sterogum, Vulture, and Rolling Stone to name a few and generates more than 26,900,000 Google results in less than a quarter of a second, making instant celebrity of both 11 year old dancer Maddie Ziegler and director Daniel Askill. Current reigning king of the music video world, Nabil Elderkin, debuted his offering for Little Dragons’ track Pretty Girls to a similar response less than two weeks ago. As a follow up to the band’s clip for Klap Klap, it’s clear directors and artists are once again harnessing the story and cinematic scope of music videos. Like Lana Del Rey’s Tropicano of 2013 directed by Anthony Mandler and Beyonces’, well Beyonce album, music videos are becoming a world unto their own, unshackled from the time limits of their audio instigators, winding their way through narrative constructs, and characters, coming in two part series and extended versions. Here we have a look at a few of the music video directors from the 80s to now responsible for crafting the medium.

Today’s Go To Guy: Nabil Elderkin 

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Having aligned himself with the Future R&B movement and directed clips for the likes of Frank Ocean, The Weeknd, James Blake, FKA Twigs and Bon Iver, if you know anything about the music video industry at the moment, it’s likely to be Elderkin’s name. From small beginnings as a surfing photographer that grew up in Port Macquarie before moving to Chicago, it was Elderkin’s desire to photograph a then-unknown rapper, Kanye West , that gave him his first break. Upon registering the domain name www.kanyewest.com on a whim, Roc-A-Fella records contacted Elderkin three weeks later to buy it back off him. Uninterested in money, Elderkin transferred the domain name in exchange for a photo shoot with the artist. These images went on to be the Kanye’s first publicity photos and the beginning of an on-going collaboration between the two that has since spawned Mercy, The Coldest winter and a coffee table book

The Diva’s Director: Jake Nava

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Before Beyonce surprised the world with her explosive visual album, Beyonce, there were few people in the world privy to its creation. This man, Jake Nava, was one of those chosen few. Having worked with Beyonce during her Destiny’s Child days and again when she was Crazy in Love, Nava directed three of the videos to feature on Beyonce, including Flawless, the bonus Grown Woman clip and the NSFW, comes-laden-with-parental-advisory-warnings, Partition. Nava is also the man we can thank for those hours spent in front of YouTube attempting to learn the Single Ladies choreography, a video that has since listed by The Times as the 3rd Most Influential Music Video of All Time and is an exemplary demonstration of what happens when perfect production meets perfect direction in the music industry (we all end up waving our hands in the air asking strange men to put a ring on it).

When he’s not busying himself with Yonce, Nava is the darling of the divas, having directed Mariah Carey’s Shake it off, Adele’s Someone Like You, Emeli Sande’s Heaven and made breakfast foods incredibly suggestive while  Kelis Milkshake brought all the boys to the yard.

In 2011 Nava placed 5th in Entertainment Weekly’s Top 10 Music Video Directors’ and has worked with the likes of Kylie Minogue, Robbie Williams, and, all time trump card, The Spice Girls

 

The MTV Mastermind: Spike Jonze

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Joining Propaganda Film’s in 1997, Spike Jonze has been credited with rendering the aesthetic of the hazy MTV generation at the height of its influence. A big call for a then fresh faced director with roots in the LA skateboard community? Perhaps, but let’s not forget, this is the same man that won 4 MTV Music Video Awards for his 1994 work on The Beastie Boys’ anthem, Sabotage, anticipated the entire Youtube obsession with flash mobs in his video for Fat Boy Slim’s Praise you, and convinced Christopher Walken to dance up and down escalators around the LA Marriott for the band’s follow up hit, Weapon of Choice, for which he won a 2001 MTV Video Music award as well as the 2002 Grammy Award for Best Short Form Video. Sounds like MTV, right? 

It was also Jonze’s brilliant idea to cast children as hip-hop royalty in The Notoroius B.I.G’s Sky’s The Limit, and weird everyone out with his back to the future tactic of placing Weezer on stage at Happy Day’s institution Arnold’s for their Buddy Holly clip. Look closely and you’ll see The Fonz singing along. Weird. 

More recently, Spike Jonze collaborated with Arcade Fire for The Suburbs, and co-directed Flashing Lights with Kanye, proving that all you really need for a great video clip is some slow-mo and a semi-clad Playboy model with a serious walk on her. A similar tactic was obviously utilised for Kate Beckinsale and the Underworld series. Walk on.

The Believe the Hype: Hype Williams

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Harold ‘Hype’ Williams began directing music videos in 1991 with an unwavering desire to focus on what a song sounded like, and draw visual cues from there. Sounds simple enough, right? This crystalline, no bullshit approach to projecting the narrative of a song and the true nature of its singer onto the screen led him to be named Best Director of the Year at the 1996 Billboard Music Video Awards and gain the 1998 MTV Video Music Award in the Best Rap Video category for his work with Will Smith on Gettin’ Jiiggy Wit It. Hype Williams successfully did for hip hop music videos in the early 90s, what Timbaland and Aayilah did for the for the soundscape of the genre at the same time. Working with everyone from Brandy to Boyz II Men, 2pac to Nas, TLC to Aaliyah, and Missy Elliot to Ashanti, Williams also found time to collaborate some 20 times with Kanye West since 2005, shoot Mrs West’s Playboy cover of 2006 and capture Beyonce grindin’ on dat wood, for her lesson in the art of seduction, Drunk In Love. Hint, you need a beach. 

The Madonna Man: David Fincher

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Inspired by Butch Cassidy and the Sun Dance Kid, arguably the world’s leading music video director of the 80s and 90s, David Fincher, set his sights on a career in directing as young as 8 years old. Before directing feature films such as Se7en, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, The Social Network, and that infinitely forgettable blip otherwise known as Fight Club, the 1980s saw Fincher co-found Propaganda Films, a music video and film production company that, come 1990, was responsible for producing a third of all music videos made in the US at the height of MTV’s reign and now counts Nigel Dick, of Britney Spears’, Baby One More Time fame, and Spike Jonze, of well… Spike Jonze fame, among its alumni. 

Despite this clear and independent success, in a 2008 interview Madonna declared she was responsible for the trajectory of David Fincher’s career after the pair worked on her 1989 hit Express Yourself and pulled the iconic video for the 1990 Madonna classic, Vogue, together in less than a week. Fincher won back-to-back awards for his work with Madonna and after a relatively dormant period on the music video front during the early 2000s, came back swinging with Justin Timberlake’s Suit & Tie released on Valentines day earlier this year. With its deliberate use of black and white and an unapologetic Art-deco aesthetic, Digital Journal called it “Fincher’s music video masterpiece,” and earned him his third VMA. 

Fincher has also directed music videos for Michael Jackson, The Rolling Stones, Aerosmith and more Paula Abdul than anyone should ever be subjected to.

The Honorable Mention: Nigel Dick

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This Dick gave the world Britney SpearsBaby One More Time. Nuff said.  

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Juce has got us ‘Burning Up’

British trio known for bringing the sun to gloomy London, Juce, released a follow up to February success, All Call You Out, overnight with catchy pop melody, Burning Up. With disco notes melding seamlessly with the girl group’s late 90s aesthetic and sound, Burning Up is all about juicing (or Juce-ing) it up in summer time.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/jucelovemusic/juce-burning-up[/soundcloud]

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In a dream world commercial radio would look like this…

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Commercial radio has always been whinged about. In fact, I’m yet to hear anyone who raves about Commercial radio. Despite the emergence of spotify, iPod inputs in cars and digital music in general, what radio plays continues to translate to sales. And while sales nowadays also put pressure on radio to play high-selling tracks, if radio takes a chance on something, it usually means the public does also.

This week the radio airplay charts are a grim sight. The only Australian act that features is Justice Crew and they’re followed by international artists Nico & Vinz, Mr. Probz (Yeah, us either) and The Madden Brothers. The number one song, Nico & Vinz’s Am I Wrong was spun 898 times just this week. Compare those artists to any of the Best of 2014 lists doing the rounds and you’re likely to find no similarities.

It’s an age old question but why does radio seem so mundane? It comes down to the fact that it doesn’t like to take risks. Trend-wise it follows American radio playlists and, to some extent, British radio, meaning that it rarely gets to dictate what should be played in the way a station like the UK’s BBC Radio 1 can.

I spoke to the Music Editor at News Limited, Kathy McCabe last year who said, “Commercial radio in Australia is pretty much programmed mainly by what’s happening in America. A few British artists sneak through but it still tends to take its cue from whatever Ryan Seacrest is doing.” This hits the nail on the head. Australian radio is suffering from a lack of innovation as it is so far down the cultural food chain.

This may also be the reason that radio shies away from home-grown talent. 12 of the top 40 artists played on radio this week are Australian. While that may seem positive, this includes Iggy Azalea, Sia and Five Seconds of Summer who spend more time away from the country than in it at present. It’s also interesting to note, that all of them bar one (Sheppard) are signed to a major label.

McCabe told me “We still seem to have this bizarre cultural cringe in terms of the support of Australian music that should be far more fundamental particularly on the airwaves.” The cultural cringe is often what prevents Australian artists from reaching commercial radio. Iggy Azelea found it onto Australia radio but not until she was adopted in America with a record that has no Australian fingerprints on it, really.

It’s worthwhile to look at the fact that on the rare occasion a track that sounds less commercial crosses over it ends up doing pretty well. There’s a little song called Somebody That I Used To Know that shot Australian, Wally de Backer to the top of the charts in this country and then all around the world.

In 2007, Gotye won Best Male Artist at the ARIA Awards to a collective “who?” At the time his album had failed to make the top 20, while none of his singles had charted. Heart’s A Mess was the album’s first single, a song that has now featured on the soundtrack for Baz Luhrmann’s The Great Gatsby.

Somebody I Used To Know wasn’t a record made for commercial radio but was one that was swiftly adopted when its video went viral. Without that video, one could speculate that the record never would’ve made it to commercial radio.

A few more examples of songs that have crossed over into the mainstream include Flume’s Holdin’ On, The Black Keys’ Lonely Boy and Lana Del Rey’s Video Games. The three of them sounded completely foreign on commercial radio but with each play a revolution was started. Flume is now the most sought-after electronic artist in the country, the Black Keys have been upgraded to an arena-band and Lana Del Rey has just debuted atop the ARIA charts with her sophomore record, Ultraviolence.

Turns out being different ain’t such a bad thing.

It’s easy to whinge but hard to come up with any solutions to commercial radio’s problems. So, below are a few artists that would find a comfy home on commercial radio while keeping their innovative edge, independent status and creative control.

Meg Mac

22 year-old Megan McInerney has only released three tracks but already she’s carving a name for herself on Triple J, having already taken on the infamous Like A Version. Her tracks have a straight-forward simplicity to them with optimistic pop-hooks that would be delectable to commercial radio. If radio were to take a chance on a young Australian artists, my money would be on Mac.

An alternative to: Adele, Sara Bareilles

Most radio-ready track: Roll Up Your Sleeves

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/megmacmusic/meg-mac-roll-up-your-sleeves[/soundcloud]

Why she’s not on radio: She’s a self-made artist who is neither flashy nor self-gratuitous. Had she been a winner of The Voice, her tracks would be eaten up by radio.

Thomston

Let it be known that I have nothing against Lorde, but she didn’t exactly make it to the top from nowhere. At 13, she was signed to Universal Music Group which certainly helps with radio airplay. Segue from that to 18 year-old Kiwi artist, Thomston, who’s just released his debut EP Argonaut. His dark, pop tunes could be the perfect antidote to some of the over-thought music coming from male songwriters at the moment. It’s got the sort of electronic undertones that radio is devouring right now.

An alternative to: Lorde, Ed Sheeran, Sam Smith

Most radio-ready track: Anaesthetic

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thomston/anaesthetic[/soundcloud]

Why he’s not on radio: Being a young, unsigned artists from New Zealand doesn’t really bode well for you on radio here.

M.O.

Girl bands have had a resurgence of late but if you look at the radio charts you wouldn’t know. There isn’t one to be seen in the top 40. M.O. are three girls from London making ‘90s throwback R&B. It’s full of great pop hook, bouncin’ beats and perfect harmonies. Think TLC with a hint of Destiny’s Child.

An alternative to: Little Mix, Neon Jungle

Most radio-ready track: Dance On My Own

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/momusicofficial[/soundcloud]

Why they’re not on radio: It’s beyond me. The ball is in Britain’s court. Once they catch on, Australia will follow.

LANY

This Nashville trio is slightly too enigmatic at this point to make it in the mainstream, but their songs suggest otherwise. With four tracks to their name so far, they’re showing a knack for velvety, synth-pop. It’s melodic enough to stick to radio and also has enough street cred to see it on Triple J’s playlists as well.
An alternative to: Nico & Vinz, Mr. Probz

Most radio-ready track: ILYSB

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/thisislany/ilysb[/soundcloud]

Why they’re not on radio: They’re far too mysterious right now. Radio doesn’t like that. It wants somebody who’s going to say “This is LANY and you’re listening to the hottest radio station on the planet”.

Liz

Liz is the First Lady of Diplo’s label Mad Decent and she’s producing damn fine, millennium RnB. She evokes nostalgia from the golden days of pop/RnB when Britney was queen and Xtina was the dirrrrtiest gal around. Touches of Ryan Hemsworth-esque electronica ensure that Liz sounds contemporary while having a throwback sound. It’s as if she was the sole survivor of the dreaded millennium bug.

An alternative to: Ariana Grande, Katy Perry, Nicki Minaj

Most radio-ready track: All Them Boys

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/maddecent/liz-all-them-boys-jeff068[/soundcloud]

Why she’s not on radio: She’s channeling an RnB sound that hasn’t quite hit the mainstream yet. While the RnB revolution has flooded online blogs, Ariana Grande is perhaps the first artist to bring it to radio. Hold tight Liz-lovers.

 

Here’s the full list of what we would play if we got to take over the radio for a day:

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/the-in-terns/sets/in-a-perfect-world-commercial[/soundcloud]

 

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Young Franco recruits 17 year-old singer Joy. for ‘Close 2 U’

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Well, Brisbane producer Young Franco is obviously paying no attention to the seasons because his latest track, Close 2 U, is a Summer banger in the midst of Winter. Franco has recruited young singer/songwriter, Joy., who we featured a few weeks ago to sing the hook on Close 2 U alongside sunshine-induced keys and a thumbing beat. It’s got hints of Duke Dumont‘s I Got U, but most of all it’s exactly what we’ve come to expect from a Young Franco creation: something young, energetic and vibrant. Close 2 U is the lead-single of an EP of the same name which features another new track, Hurricane. There are no vocals on Hurricane but it’s another deep-house delight.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/yfrnco/sets/close-2-u-ep[/soundcloud]

 

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Hear A$AP Ferg jump on Haim’s ‘My Song 5’

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How’s your bass face? Because this one hits harder than any HAIM track yet. Rapper A$AP Ferg has added a verse to HAIM’s My Song 5 from their 2013 debut Days Are Gone. The song was always the most badass and the record and now Ferg has added a whole other element to his with his crushing verse. “jealous now cos’ I’m working with this female band” Ferg raps in perhaps the most home-hitting statement we’ve heard all year. Yes, we’re jealous. And yes, we’re trying really hard not to like this but it’s impossible.

In other news, the follow-up to Days Are Gone is apparently coming soon according to the sisters themselves.

[soundcloud]https://soundcloud.com/haimtime/my-song-5-ft-asap-ferg[/soundcloud]

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Auto-Tune: A Short History

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As if we were touched by a musical angel overnight, the original vocals for Britney Spears’ demo track ‘Alien’, from her 2013 album Britney Jean, were leaked to the cyber world. Here we find her stripped naked (metaphorically I would hope), and left without the trusty safety blanket of Auto-Tune.

Let’s just say it was not her finest effort, and to celebrate this momentous occasion we have decided to take a short trip down memory lane and visit some our favourite moments in pitch correction music’s history.

Auto-Tune; This is your life….. 

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The Humble Beginnings

Cher ‘Believe’ (1998)

Cher’s late-nineties comeback to music and the worldwide gay community was marked with the release of her, warped, robotic vocal effect single ‘Believe’. At this time, no one had seriously considered the use of Antares’ Auto-Tune pitch correction software as a recording “special effect,” however Cher says that when she heard the sound she demanded it be left in the recording. Good life decision Cher. While this track was incredibly successful it was also polarising as it represented the ‘sound of the future,’ or, as some may call it, the “Cher effect.”

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The Millennium

Daft Punk ‘One More Time’ (2000)

Who better to ring in the new millennium than French helmeted-duo Daft Punk, with their Auto-Tune anthem ‘One More Time’. After already using vocorder-distored vocals in their timeless hit ‘Around the World’ they turned to the blessed Auto-Tune with the addition of singer Ramanthony. Despite being met with some harsh criticism as to their use of technology, ‘One More Time’ peaked at number two on the UK Singles Chart in 2000, and is one of the duo’s few charting songs in the US, reaching 61 on the Billboard Hot 100 – likening the criticisms to those levelled in the early days of synthesisers in pop music. 

Synths, pfffft. Who uses them in the music industry now?

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The Serial Offender

Kanye West ‘808s and Heartbreak’ (2008)

Some artists do it with a song, others make an album of it. Kanye West is a serial Auto-Tuner. His 2008 album release, 808s and Heartbreak, has stylised voice manipulation plastered all over it. In classic Kanye style he used it without a reason or excuse, with tracks like ‘Heartless’ and ‘Love Lock down’ repping Auto-Tune like there is no tomorrow. Instead of leaning on the vocal manipulator as a crutch for some of his arguably shaky singing, Kanye harnesses technology as an instrument and if you hate it – he doesn’t care. He is Kanye West and he’s the best.

CLICK HERE to see Kanye’s latest Auto-Tuned rant at Wireless Festival!

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The Good 

Bon Iver ‘Woods’ (2008)

It may no means requires a high level of production for indie icon and Auto-Tune enthusiast Bon Iver to create a beautiful atmospheric song, rich crafty pitch shifting goodness. All Justin Vernon’s fine voice needs is to be run through a phase-vocoder and repeat the same paragraph of lyrics 11 times, before concluding with a final momentous built up tension. For indie noobs, this song is most commonly known as the  sample in Kanye “Serial Auto-Tuner” West’s track ‘Lost in the World.’

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The Bad

Rebecca Black ‘Friday’ (2011)

I am speechless. No words can be used to describe this piece of utter lyrical genius.

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The One You Have Been Waiting For

Britney Spears ‘Alien’ Demo (2013)

It’s Britney Bitch.

What was allegedly said to be a 2013 warm-up tape of the Las Vegas Starlet in Residence, this very raw demo leaves us all feeling that little bit better about our own karaoke voices.

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And of course…The Virals

One Direction ‘Story of My Life’ (2014)

For those who do not call themselves One Direction fans *cue crying, screaming girls, fainting and a like*, be prepared to instantly fall in love with the superstar heartthrobs. The concept is quite simple, Shred Videos. Videos which craftily remove the audio of some of the world’s biggest music acts and replace them with a ridiculous, yet convincing, auto-tuned version of their song. The end result is a hilariously butchered piece of viral brilliance. You’re welcome:

 

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