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[The Friday Five] What to Know in Music This Week (2/9-2/13)

[The Friday Five] What to Know in Music This Week (2/9-2/13)

1. Drake dropped a surprise album last night
If you’re reading this, it’s not actually too late to pick up Aubrey Graham’s unannounced album. Toronto’s finest is the latest big name to hop on the surprise release trend (although let’s be real, he’s got nothing on Bey), as his 17-track If You’re Reading This It’s Too Late appeared on iTunes, Spotify and Soundcloud last night. The album can be yours for $12.99 if you’re so inclined.

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2. Alabama Shakes have announced their sophomore album
If you’re looking for a rootsy throwback sound in your modern rock, get excited for Sound and Color, out April 21. Brittany Howard and company scored big with 2012’s Boys and Girls (particularly its Creedence-mimicking lead single, “Hold On”), and after a few years of touring we shall see if they have taken a leap forward. Check out the announcement and single “Don’t Wanna Fight” here.

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3. 13th Floor Elevators are playing their first show in 45 years this May
If you’re a fan of ’60s psychedelic rock, or maybe you just watched the Austin episode of Sonic Highways, you might be excited to know that Roky Erikson is getting the band back together, at least for one show. The legendary group will headline this year’s Levitation Festival, which already features indie rock royalty like the Flaming Lips and the Jesus and Mary Chain. Get out your electric jug and make it down to Texas from May 8-10.

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4. Pop music is white as hell now
It’s not really shocking news that American pop music is dominated by white people, as the Grammys seem to remind us every year. But now you can see that news in graph form! A website called Vocativ charted Grammy nominations since 1959 and Billboard Top 100 hits since 1964 and found that the level of racial diversity has been on a backslide for 10 years now. Popular music of 2014 was as pale as things had gotten since 1981. Think about that next time you see someone list their top three rappers as Eminem, Macklemore and Iggy Azalea.

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5. Win Butler is playing basketball on national television tonight
The NBA has the best All-Star event in professional sports, and I’m not talking about the All-Star Game itself. I of course mean the annual NBA Celebrity Game, most notable for the time Scottie Pippen swatted the shit out of Justin Bieber and for consecutive years of Secretary of Education Arne Duncan balling completely out of control, only to be robbed of the MVP by Kevin Hart (because he is both small and loud, and therefore hilarious to people). Sadly there will be more Hart and no Duncan this year, but there is Arcade Fire frontman Win Butler. The 6’4″ Canadian might be overshadowed by countrymen Andrew Wiggins and Steve Nash, but by all accounts the man has game. Maybe he’ll dunk on somebody. Maybe he’ll get posterized by Common or have his ankles broken by Bollywood star Abhishek Bachchan. Whatever happens, it’s going to rule. Except for Kevin Hart.

Travis Marmon recently moved to Chicago from the Detroit suburb of Clarkston, Michigan. He attended the College of Wooster in Wooster, Ohio, where he was Sports Editor and then Editor-in-Chief of the student newspaper, The Wooster Voice. Travis has also contributed to print and online publications such as The Oakland Press, The Good Men Project, Detroit143, Imagine Sports Media and Alternative Press. He spends his spare time playing bass and getting mad about the Detroit Lions.

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