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Creator and Artist Stories

Music Tuesday: R.E.M. video premiere, Blitz the Ambassador’s new album and more

By Sarah Bardeen

Music Community Manager

It’s Tuesday, and music fans, we’ve got a feast for you. We’re featuring one full-length album premiere and two innovative videos -- one of which is an exclusive premiere on YouTube. But don’t worry -- we’re not ignoring the great music hitting the streets this week: albums from Steve Earle, EmmyLou Harris, Of Montreal, Prefuse 73 and more. We’ll have a playlist of the week’s freshest sounds later this week; be sure to check back to to watch it.

Michael Stipe and Jim McKay Pick Their Favorite Videos

R.E.M. premieres their new video “Every Day Is Yours To Win” on YouTube today. The video, a pastiche of clips found on YouTube a la Kutiman, was co-directed by Jim McKay (you may know him from his work on a little HBO show called The Wire). It’s an exercise in humanity, finding and treating with great kindness the surprisingly intimate moments uploaded to YouTube. In honor of its release, longtime friends McKay and R.E.M. lead singer Michael Stipe assembled a captivating playlist of their favorite YouTube videos; find it on the homepage today.

Blitz the Ambassador “Native Sun”
“Live from Accra city, that’s my city, that’s beyond what they call gritty.”
When Chuck D gives a shout-out on your record (“It’s not where you from; it’s where you at....”), you could say you’ve made it as a hip-hop artist. Ghanaian-born Samuel Bazawule may not be a household name, but if his new album “Native Sun” is any indication, he should be. “Native Sun” is one of the most organic marriages of African music and hip-hop we’ve heard -- an effortless release that incorporates Afrobeat, highlife and kora music into old-school hip-hop. It’s a warm and danceable record with a social conscience, and it speaks to anybody who’s lived between two cultures -- as more and more of us do. We’re thrilled to premiere it a week before the release date.
Jib Kidder’s “Blue”

When we read an interview with Sean Schuster-Craig, aka the audio/visual artist Jib Kidder, in which he talked about his video-making ethic as an extension of the dream world, we were hooked. (“Dreams are like a collage made by your subconscious out of the raw materials of your inner experience,” Schuster-Craig told a blog earlier this year.) His music is a collage, too: a folk-art endeavor made from the found sounds of our digital world. Both the song and video for “Blue” repurpose material from his label’s archives, and they are meticulously crafted and strangely full of heart.