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Axel & Lolo are writing the soundtrack to best friendship

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The Boston duo Axel & Lolo pull off a sneaky trick in the opening lines of their song “You’d Like Me More.” “Went to church today, lay down in the pews,” Lauren Vice and Axel Rodriguez sing in perfect unison. It’s a peaceful image, and the pair wastes no time puncturing it. “I don’t trust the Bible, I’m just trying to get close to you.” A note of cynicism, and a frank admission of warped, yet relatable behavior. Who among us hasn’t done something you hate in order to get closer to the person you love?

There’s nothing like a good opening verse, especially when you’re trying to stand out from the crowd. Which is precisely what Vice and Rodriguez managed to do: Their performance of “You’d Like Me More” was selected from 229 local entries to NPR’s Tiny Desk Contest as our station’s favorite Massachusetts submission, earning Axel & Lolo a performance slot at WBUR’s CitySpace.

This is the sixth year that WBUR’s panel of judges — Isa Burke, Tim Hall, Noah Schaffer, Heesu Yu and myself — combed through the Massachusetts Tiny Desk entries to pick a local favorite. It wasn’t an easy decision, but we kept returning to Axel & Lolo’s performance, which takes place in a drab practice room embellished with a pair of bright plastic flowers and a fleet of neon green frogs arranged atop Vice’s keyboard. Rodriguez, with a mop of curly hair, giant square glasses and shirt buttons open halfway down his chest, looks as if he was transported directly from the 1970s; Vice somehow manages to look more subdued in a glowing pink top and purple jacket. The band is rounded out by Tyler Logan Caro on bass and Samuel Oldham on drums.

Beyond those captivating opening lines, the group impressed the panel with its chugging energy and big dynamics — not to mention Rodriguez and Vice’s uncanny ability to blend their voices. Lyrics heavy in metaphor and wordplay are pierced by a direct, singable refrain: “You’d like me more if I didn’t care about you.”

I met up with Rodriguez and Vice at the Museum of Fine Arts on a drizzly afternoon in September. As students at Berklee College of Music, they get in free to the museum and have spent countless hours roaming the halls. The pair greeted me in the foyer, beaming, and then led me to one of their favorite exhibitions in the Linde Family Wing, a huge wall-mounted sculpture made of wool felt by the artist Alexandra Adamo. Vice and Rodriguez gazed at the vast green-blue object, which was crafted with local schoolchildren as part of the museum’s community arts initiative and resembled a series of large barnacles covered in moss. Closer inspection revealed a collection of charming oddities: a rubber duckie, a ladybug, the Patrick Star character (a salmon-colored starfish in swim trunks) from “SpongeBob SquarePants.”

Lauren Vice and Axel Rodriguez form the duo Axel & Lolo. (Courtesy OJ Slaughter)
Lauren Vice and Axel Rodriguez form the duo Axel & Lolo. (Courtesy OJ Slaughter)

“We love things that are a little childish,” Vice said. “Like, the Patrick Star and the rubber ducks are just so silly. We like silliness.”

“I feel like everyone should be more childlike,” Rodriguez mused. “Yeah, I feel like that’s the source of all happiness: seeing the world like a child again.”

This shared sensibility — playfulness, joy, curiosity — is what bonds Rodriguez and Vice. The two met as freshmen at Berklee and have been practically inseparable since. Rodriguez recalled the first time they sat down to write a song together. “That was like, ‘Oh my god, this is so fun, we’re having so much fun!’”

They noticed, too, that their voices blended seamlessly, to the point where it was sometimes hard to tell who was singing which part.

“It just felt very right, and magical, almost, once we started singing,” Vice said.

“You’d Like Me More” was the pair’s first “serious” attempt at writing a song, according to Vice. The inspiration came from parallel experiences with friends from high school. “She was doing things that were worrying me,” Rodriguez said about one close friend from home.

“It’s feeling that distance kind of growing between you and a friend,” Vice explained. “And seeing them surround themselves with people who maybe you thought they never would be around, and wondering if, maybe, ‘Is that the reason for why we’re not talking as much?’”

The song’s refrain — “You’d like me more if I didn’t care about you” — could be interpreted more generally. It evokes the feeling, familiar to so many, that crushing on someone too hard might be turning them off. “I mean, really, it’s just about love,” Vice said.

Lauren Vice and Axel Rodriguez (Courtesy OJ Slaughter)
Lauren Vice and Axel Rodriguez (Courtesy OJ Slaughter)

Their own friendship isn’t something Rodriguez and Vice mine intentionally when writing songs. But its centrality in their lives nevertheless seems to shape the pair’s perspective.

“[Friendship] is such an interesting thing to write about because there are so many similarities to romantic love,” Vice said. “But it’s also … far more complex in its own way, and it isn’t talked about quite as much.”

In fact, friendship may be the most salient theme in Axel & Lolo’s oeuvre — which, admittedly, isn’t very big yet. The duo has released two studio singles, including a version of “You’d Like Me More,” and teased other songs on Axel & Lolo’s TikTok channel. They are getting ready to release a third single and plan to eventually put out an album.

Axel & Lolo’s other single, “Happy To Say It Again,” mines the self-absorption of best friendship (and young adulthood) with wry self-awareness. “Are we the first to think these things through?” Vice and Rodriguez wonder, and then laughingly supply their own answer: “Girl, shut the f— up, none of it’s new.”

Lush with vocal harmonies and peppered with jokey asides, “Happy To Say It Again” feels like stepping into Vice and Rodriguez’s private little world. “I spilled my juice on your duvet,” the duo sings in the song’s opening verse. Then, in classic fashion, they pivot with a disarming confession: “I want to love just to love.” The verse concludes with a lyric that feels tossed-off, but may be the most Axel & Lolo line of them all:

“It feels so good to be us.”



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Worthplaying | ‘The Lamplighters League’ Soundtrack By Jon …

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Sneak, steal, and shoot your way through a world of pulp adventure in The Lamplighters League! Globetrot across a variety of exciting locales around the world and outwit your enemies in strategic turn-based combat – and, if you play your cards right, you might just save the world.

In this stylish pulp adventure set in an alternate 1933, players master the art of strategy and outsmart the opposition using a diverse lineup of characters and abilities

Players’ choices directly determine the world’s fate – for better or worse.

Harebrained Schemes, the creators of The Shadowrun Trilogy and BATTLETECH, bring you an all-new world set in an alternate 1930s, where a tyrannical cult called the Banished Court stands on the cusp of world domination. For millennia, all that stood between this sinister cabal and their plans was a band of heroic scholars known as the Lamplighters League.

Unfortunately, the best of the best are all gone, so now it’s up to the best of the worst.

Recruit a team of misfits and scoundrels with unique abilities and unforgettable personalities, and chase the Banished Court to the ends of the earth in a mix of real-time infiltration, turn-based tactical combat, and a character-driven story of adventure and intrigue.

Paradox Interactive and Harebrained Schemes released the main theme song and special behind-the-scenes videos exploring the creation of the soundtrack behind The Lamplighters League.

Composed by the award-winning Jon Everest, known for his work on the BattleTech and Shadowrun: Hong Kong scores, The Lamplighters League’s captivating soundtrack amplifies the retro atmosphere and jazz-infused thrill players will experience throughout the game. Jon and his talented team brought the soundtrack to life at the renowned Abbey Road Studios, a premiere destination for film-scoring, including Raiders of the Lost ArkThe Lord of the RingsStar WarsHarry Potter, and many more.

Eager Agents can get a feel for the game ahead of launch by jumping into the free demo tomorrow on Steam and Epic.

Key Features:

  • Control a team of unique, dynamic characters and get to know their signature tactical abilities and roles in the team. Learn their stories and the world they inhabit by taking them on missions – every misfit brings their own style to the fight through unique moves that can turn the tide of combat.
  • Explore a variety of thrilling locales and survey the battlefield before things heat up: sneak past enemies in real-time infiltration gameplay, pick off the stragglers quickly and quietly, and position your squad to get an edge for the fight.
  • Use every advantage and dirty trick your agents have up their sleeves in exciting, turn-based combat. Add advanced abilities, gear, and augmentations to your agents to keep pace with the growing threat of the Banished Court!
  • Chase the Banished Court through an alternate-history world of the 1930s, from dockyards and deserts to jungles both urban and wild. Manage your choices at a global level and try to prevent your enemy from advancing their twisted schemes!
  • Recruit new allies from the best of the worst: scour the globe for outlaws and outcasts and bring them onto your side before the Banished Court catches them first!
  • Every mission earns your team new resources and grows their abilities – but be careful, stress and injury can take their toll!

The Lamplighters League and the Tower at the End of the World is coming to Xbox Series X|S and PC (Steam) on October 3, 2023.

More articles about The Lamplighters League and the Tower at the End of the World

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Sexyy Red Leads Rap Sh!t Season 2’s Soundtrack

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Issa Rae‘s new season of Rap Sh!t is coming to MAX at the perfect time. As women continue to make waves and break stereotypes throughout all sectors of the hip-hop industry, the second season of Rae’s female-rapper-centric series will land on the streaming platform in November, complemented by its original soundtrack, Rap Sh!t: The Mixtape (Soundtrack from the Max Original Series, S2), which sees contributions from industry powerhouses Rico Nasty, Kaliii, Maiya The Don and Sexyy Red – who set the vibe with “No Panties”, which she dropped off earlier today.

Produced by “YA” and “Snacks” of The Breed, Sexyy brings her signature braggadocio to the southern rap slapper. Equipped with crisp and elevated production, the emerging rapper effortly cruises over the bouncy beat. “I ain’t got no panties on, gotta let this coochie breathe / Bend sh*t over touch your toes, grab your knees / Let that n*gga know, just to see it, it’s a fee, got him spendin’ all his cheese,” Sexyy spits on the shout-a-long chorus.

“I’m happy that I got to work on ‘No Panties’ for Rap Sh!t,” Sexyy conveyed in a statement. “It’s just me having fun on the beat and talking my sh*t. It’s just like the show: the rap girls running this sh*t.” “No Panties” also boasts writing credits from Guapdad 4000, NCognita, and Suni MF, as well as production credits from Danja, Bankroll Got It, and HitKidd.

The full soundtrack for Rap Sh!t‘s next season also sees main characters Shawna and Mia showing out on the beats as well. Rap Sh!t: The Mixtape (Soundtrack from the Max Original Series, S2) will be released in full the same day the new season lands on Max, on Friday, November 3 via Raedio/Def Jam. Sexxy’s quippy two-minute cut is now streaming on Spotify and Apple Music.

Elsewhere in music news, Sleepy Hallow enlists Doechii on “A N X I E T Y”.



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Sexyy Red”s ‘No Panties’ To Be On ‘Rap Sh!t’ New Soundtrack

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Sexyy Red is everywhere right now. She’s toured with Drake. beside some of rap’s biggest names like Latto and Lil Durk for remixes. She’s been spotted on the sideline for New York Jets and Penn State football games. She’s even stopped by our studio for UPROXX Sessions. At this point, if there’s a place to be, you can expect Sexyy Red to be there. That’s why it’s no surprise that the St. Louis rapper has found her way onto the soundtrack for Rap Sh!t season two. For a match made in heavy, Sexyy checks in with her new single “No Panties” which is the first single from the upcoming soundtrack.

“No Panties” is as raunchy of a track as we’ve ever heard from Sexyy Red and it fits the personality of Rap Sh!t to a tee. The lively track is one that Sexyy Red uses to flex her sexual prowess and show how she prepares for a rowdy night on the town.

The soundtrack for Rap Sh!t season two, which is titled Rap Shit S2: The Mixtape, will arrive on November 3 and include contributions from the show’s lead characters Shawna and Mia as well as Rico Nasty, Kaliii, Maiya The Don, Enchanting, Cam & China, and more.

You can listen to “No Panties” in the video above.

Rap Shit S2: The Mixtape is out 11/3 via Raedio/Def Jam.

‘Rap Sh!t’ season two premieres November 9 on Max. Season one is now available to stream on the platform

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ESPN To Add Songs From Dolly Parton’s New Album ‘Rockstar’ …

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ESPN To Add Songs From Dolly Parton's New Album 'Rockstar' To Monday Night Football Soundtrack

New York, NY (Top40 Charts) ESPN’s Monday Night Football will feature music from global superstar and multi-hyphenate Hall of Famer Dolly Parton’s new album Rockstar during select weeks this season, further enhancing the weekly football franchise’s soundtrack.

The multi-week collaboration begins in Week 3 (September 25) with Dolly Parton’s single “Night Moves,” featuring Chris Stapleton, and then continues in Week 6 (October 16) with “Heartbreaker,” featuring Pat Benatar & Neil Giraldo.

Following the album’s Nov. 17 release, Rockstar’s “Magic Man,” featuring Ann Wilson with special guest Howard Leese, and the album’s title track “Rockstar,” with special guest Richie Sambora, will be heard in select Monday Night Football games the remainder of the year.

“I am excited for ESPN to spotlight songs from my new Rockstar album,” says Parton. “When I decided to do a full-blown rock album after they put me in the Rock ‘N Roll Hall of Fame, I thought it would be fun to call the album Rockstar. The athletes who give their all everyday are most definitely rock stars, and I love that these songs will be a small part of celebrating their achievements.”

Each of the songs will take viewers in and out of commercials during Monday Night Football, with “Night Moves” also featured more prominently on Monday Night Countdown as part of the song’s world premiere. After each song is used on ESPN’s NFL property, fans will hear the songs on additional ESPN programming.

Monday Night Football Music

The addition of Parton’s music follows the launch of Monday Night Football’s new anthem featuring Chris Stapleton, Snoop Dogg, and Cindy Blackman Santana reimagining Phil Collins’ “In the Air Tonight.” Additionally, Grammy-winning music producer Timbaland and global superstar Justin Timberlake’s music is running in Monday Night Football promotional spots, live telecasts and pre-game shows for seven weeks this season.

Dolly Parton is the most honored and revered female country singer-songwriter of all time and was recently inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Achieving 27 RIAA-certified gold, platinum, and multi-platinum awards, she has had 26 songs reach #1 on the Billboard country charts, a record for a female artist.

Parton is the first artist to have topped the Billboard’s Adult Contemporary, Christian AC Songs, Hot Country Songs, Christian Airplay, Country Airplay and Dance/Mix Show Airplay radio charts. Parton became the first country artist honored as Grammy MusiCares Person of the Year given out by NARAS. She has 48 career Top 10 country albums, a record for any artist, and 110 career-charted singles over the past 50+ years.

In 2014 the RIAA recognized her impact on recorded music with a plaque commemorating more than 100 million units sold worldwide. She has garnered eleven Grammy Awards and 51 nominations, including the Lifetime Achievement Award, 10 Country Music Association Awards, including Entertainer of the Year; five Academy of Country Music Awards, also including a nod for Entertainer of the Year; four People’s Choice Awards; and three American Music Awards.

In 1999, Parton was inducted as a member of the coveted Country Music Hall of Fame. To date, Parton has donated over 215 million books to children around the world with her Imagination Library. Her children’s book, Coat of Many Colors, was dedicated to the Library of Congress to honor the Imagination Library’s 100 millionth book donation.



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Mitski picks the best “sex soundtrack” album

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Mitski picks the best “sex soundtrack” album

(Credits: Far Out / Ebru Yildiz)

Music

Lust is one of those topics that you might not want to go to Mitski first. The singer-songwriter has plenty of material on love and loss, but when it comes to raunchy sex jams, she probably isn’t exactly the first artist one would think of. But thanks to her broad scope of musical knowledge, Mitski can undoubtedly give you a good bump-and-grind soundtrack – if you’re into that kind of thing.

While being interviewed by Vinyl Me, Please about five of her favourite albums that every music fan should own, the Japanese-American singer picked mostly from the world of jazz. That included Charles Mingus’ Ah Um, Chet Baker’s Chet Baker Sings, and Thelonious Monk’s Monk in Tokyo.

“I’ve got to be honest, I hate how most live jazz recordings are panned, including this one,” Mitski explained about the latter. “I get it, the piano was stage right. But I was born in the ’90s. I need to hear everything in one earbud. Anyway, I love Monk, and I have a soft spot for live jazz recorded in Japan. You can find the footage on YouTube, too.”

For her final two picks, Mitski chose to focus on classical music and experimental compositions. Her first choice was Arnold Schoenberg’s Verklärte Nacht, which contained “the best string piece, in my opinion” with ‘Transfigured Night’. For her last pick, Mitski opted to highlight one of the classic examples of minimalism with Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians.

Featuring eleven selections all based on different chords, Music for 18 Musicians was centred around Reich’s fascination with human pulses. That humanistic element to the music came out in Reich’s decision to include wind instruments like clarinets and even female voices in the piece. For Mitski, it actually represented the height of musical sexual expression.

“Fun fact: Music for 18 Musicians is the best, most tender sex soundtrack in the world,” she claimed. Music for 18 Musicians was a highly acclaimed piece when it was first released on vinyl in 1978. David Bowie was a noted fan of the record, calling it “Balinese gamelan music cross-dressing as minimalism.” Reich would continue to perform and revisit the piece over his career, with the composition also finding its way into the repertoires of more progressive classical ensembles over the years.

Check out Steve Reich’s Music for 18 Musicians down below.

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Alain Goraguer: La Planète Sauvage (Expanded Original Sound…

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While René Laloux’s 1973 animated film La Planète Sauvage (Fantastic Planet) is celebrated for its enduringly shocking, Dali-esque visuals, Alain Goraguer’s soundtrack is a surrealist triumph in itself. Composed for the French-language story of a planet where humans are hunted and domesticated by gigantic blue aliens, its orchestral fusion of jazz, prog rock and modern classical still feels—as the film’s adverts once trumpeted—“Strange! Frightening! Fascinating!”

Goraguer ought to be better known. Born in 1931, he was a go-to arranger for French pop giants like Serge Gainsbourg, Jean Ferrat, and France Gall, but he often avoided the limelight, using pseudonyms like Milton Lewis or Laura Fontaine. Despite the global stardom his music helped others achieve, his death in February of this year went relatively unpublicized. His score for La Planète Sauvage has similarly left a legacy from the shadows, having been sampled by generations of major hip-hop artists. Appearing the summer of DJ Kool Herc’s block party, it was dusted off in the ’90s by KRS One and Big Pun, in the ’00s by Madlib (as Quasimoto) and J Dilla, and over the past decade by Mac Miller, Little Simz, Flying Lotus and Denzel Curry, and Run the Jewels. A new 50th-anniversary reissue—including 10 unreleased cuts—is a fresh reminder that Goraguer’s score is a true avant-garde gem.

Most of the original score’s 25 short pieces refer to two motifs that first appear in the prowling, noirish opener, “Déshominisation (I)”: a descending melody and a twanging bass riff first heard amid a jazz drum groove, trembling orchestral strings, and flashes of flanged guitar. While iterating on a core motif is a common device in film scores, the extent of Goraguer’s repetition is striking. (A looming deadline may have necessitated his recycling: After the French-Czech co-production dragged on for five years—a period interrupted by the Soviet invasion of Czechoslovakia—Goraguer was brought on at the very end, and given just weeks to complete his score.) Regardless, each instance is full of new twists: The melody reappears as jaunty pop in “Le bracelet,” terrifying stabs in “La cité des hommes libres,” and an eerily romantic waltz in “Les fusées / Valse des statues.”

While an enormous procession of orchestral and rock instruments (from saxophones to flexatones) adds variety and color, the real joy is in Goraguer’s far-ranging uses of recurring elements. Standouts include the expressive female vocals, which deliver a melancholy solo on “Terr et Tiwa dorment” and eerily seductive sighs on “La Femme.” If this might be expected from an arranger for great chansonnières like Isabelle Aubret, his wildly contrasting electric-guitar arrangements are more surprising: from Derek Bailey-esque probing on “Attaque des robots” to dramatic soloing on “Générique (Fin).”

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Proteins of Magic on ‘Dirty Dancing: Soundtrack’

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Music Feeds’ Love Letter to a Record series asks artists to reflect on their relationship with the music they love and share stories about how it has influenced their lives. Nashville via Aotearoa singer-songwriter and multi-instrumentalist Kelly Steven – aka Proteins of Magic – pays tribute to Dirty Dancing (Original Motion Picture Soundtrack), released in 1987.

Kelly Steven was inspired to write her latest Proteins of Magic single, ‘Flesh It Out’, after watching a young couple have sex in broad daylight on a beach in Aotearoa. “The song lays out an emotionally treacherous life for them,” said Steven. “A day in the life spanning 10 years and 2 minutes and 52 seconds.” Watch the Ranger Garrett-directed video for ‘Flesh It Out’ at the bottom of this page.

Proteins of Magic’s love letter to the Dirty Dancing soundtrack

Proteins of Magic: I remember first listening to this soundtrack when I was about six years old. Though I was very young at the time, I vividly remember the emotional intensity of each track and how it elevated the movie to a place it never would have been able to go without the music.

The intense longing of Eric Carmen’s ‘Hungry Eyes’ and Patrick Swayze and Wendy Fraser’s ‘She’s Like the Wind’, both love songs with intrinsic sadness and yearning. I remember crying to these in my bedroom while the well-worn tape spun on its lonely cogs. Even the more upbeat tracks like The Ronettes’ ‘Be My Baby’ were tinted with a melancholy that spoke to my inner blooming creativity.

I remember trying to emulate the dance moves from the movie with my school friend in my bedroom, thinking we nailed it, but it was the opposite. Young delusion! I always wanted to be Patrick. This was the first tape I’d ever bought. In fact, I think I stole it from my brother’s bedroom, but it contained intricate, deeply touching songs that were to forever change me.

Proteins of Magic – ‘Flesh It Out’

Further Reading

Juice Webster: The Emotions, Changes and Spaces that Made ‘JULIA’

Love Letter to a Record: Cody Jon on ‘Coraline’ Original Motion Picture Soundtrack

“Free Sky Ferreira” Banner Flies Over Capitol Records in Los Angeles

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Zombie nation – How The Cranberries wrote the soundtrack to…

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‘It fires you up for sure’ – Zombie becoming Ireland’s anthem at the Rugby World Cup

The Cranberries ‘Zombie’ was played over the PA at the Stade de Bordeaux last weekend

Shortly after the final whistle sounded at Stade de Bordeaux last weekend, Zombie was blared around the stadium, as the Ireland players took time to thank the large travelling support.

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