R&B singer Ben E. King changed the world with his 1961 hit “Stand By Me”. It became the song of friendship, of slideshow memories, of camp best friends, and wedding dances. The dramatic vocal flair is as impossible to miss as that plucked opening bass line. Best of all, it’s recognizable to grandmothers and infants alike. It’s with heavy hearts that we pass along word that last night, at the age of 76, Ben E. King passed away.
King first rose to prominence as a member of ’50s doo wop group The Drifters. The group clocked in hits such as “There Goes My Baby”, “Dance With Me”, “This Magic Moment”, and “Save the Last Dance For Me”. King’s true fame came from his solo route. In addition to “Stand By Me”, he also is responsible for “Spanish Harlem”, “Amor”, and “Supernatural Thing”. While many of those remain classics on oldie stations, it was “Stand By Me” that lasted, and continues to last, in its fame today. If anything, this should serve as motivation to reach out to those close in your life and let them know you won’t back down as long as they stand by you. Rest in Peace, Mr. King. [BBC]
DOPE: the title may be blunt, but the story has a lot to unravel. The hit film from Sundance follows geeky LA native Malcolm as he gets a risky drug opportunity at an underground party and begins his transformation to finally understand himself. Don’t be fooled by that description. The film is full of witticisms and youthful puns that give it plenty of edge. This week, executive producer Pharrell Williams has unveiled the film’s official poster on Instagram, and it’s a beauty. Mark your calendars for June 19 to see how the rest unfolds.
Are you hungry? Well, now you will be. Toro y Moi shared his new video for the gorgeous, trance-inducing track “Lilly” and it’s got us salivating. His What For? number amps up the chunky synth and slick bassline for a dreamy, summertime jam. Blame it on the grocery store’s endless aisles of food. Blame it on the falling psychedelic cupcakes. Blame it on the blissfully catatonic nature his music puts us in. Either way, the part-Talking Heads, part-Todd Rundgren number gets an equally appealing visual to accompany the music. Prepare for a major case of the munchies immediately following, even if half the shots look like magazine photoshoots anyway.
Some things are best left (slightly) alone. Boise dark electronic duo Magic Sword are too intriguing to not poke and prod, so we donned our own evil fencing masks and capes to figure out what the Hotline Miami 2 soundtrack contributors have in store for the future. Their epic “Sword of Truth” music video premiered on the site as an epic EDM comic. Think John Carpenter + Marvel + Daft Punk. Or, you know, watch for yourself and see how incredible Magic Sword’s video really is for yourself. [Nerdist]
TGIF. There’s a whole weekend’s worth of relaxing to get done, and we’ve got the music to chill to right here. Mikal Cronin is back with his newest album, MCIII, which you can stream on iTunes. The garage rock lite LP changes things up from his last, adding an entire string section and slew of horns to the mix. California’s unofficial musical duo Best Coast are back with their newest album, California Nights, too. The album is up early for streaming in anticipation of its release next week, so grab your sunglasses and head to, surprise, Tumblr to hear the album in full. If you’re pining for some future-soul R&B jazz with a bit of electronica instead, have no fear. Hiatus Kaiyote‘s newest full-length, Choose Your Weapon, is available for streaming at the New York Times as well.
Willie Nelson turned 82 (?!) this week. Yeah, we’re struggling to comprehend that, too. It’s a bit easier to swallow when you take a listen to yesterday’s Track of the Day, the classic “Pancho and Lefty”. Originally written by Townes Van Zandt, the song is surprisingly upbeat, and Nelson drags his pal Merle Haggard onboard to make it a classic duo number. It’s not as puff-worthy as his collab with Snoop Dogg, but it’s just as iconic. [Nerdist]
Check back here on Monday for a new installment of Music Dispatch to catch you up on the news!