South By Southwest is well underway, and we’re there — but we’ve also got a round-up of stuff that happens outside Austin, like news about Xena, Malcolm McLaren’s son throws a hissy fit, I Am Cait is over and more!
Michelle Obama is a very busy, very talented woman. Not only is she the FLOTUS, she’s an accomplished lawyer, writer and role model — and now she can add music mogul to that list. To help promote her Let Girls Learn initiative, she’s released a new single featuring — and this is a long, impressive list: Missy Elliott, Janelle Monaé, Kelly Rowland, Kelly Clarkson, Zendaya, Lea Michele, Chloe & Halle and Jadagrace. The song’s written by Diane Warren, who has written songs for Lady Gaga, Pet Shop Boys and, well, it’s probably easier to list the big names she hasn’t written for. The song is now available on iTunes, and all proceeds will go to the Peace Corps’ Let Girls Learn Fund, devoted to making education accessible for all. Sadly, Michelle Obama herself doesn’t appear on the track, but if you want to hear her rap, there’s always “Go To College”!
Despite all claims to the contrary, punk is dead. Joseph Corré, the son of fashion icons and punk architects Malcolm McLaren and Vivienne Westwood, is burning his inherited collection of punk memorabilia, value estimated at £5,000,000, to protest… something. There’s a 40th Anniversary Of Punk celebration backed by the UK government — and, apparently this goes against the ethos of the 1977 punk rock, despite the fact that his father was always upfront about punk being a marketing scheme. Hell, Johnny Rotten — the man who famously asked “Ever get the feeling you’ve been cheated?” — is selling butter now. But hey, there’s nothing more punk rock that being so rich off punk fans that you can afford to burn five million quid’s worth of stuff.
Sword and sandals fans rejoice, Xena: Warrior Princess is coming back! And in a Tumblr post, the executive producer, Javier Grillo-Marxuach — who also worked on The Middleman and The 100 — has said he’ll be doing away with the lesbian subtext of the original series…. by making it text:
So, while Xena and Gabrielle being lovers shouldn’t surprise anyone, it’ll be nice to see it made clear on screen. Representation FTW!
With both punk AND Xena in the news, you might think you’ve fallen out a time-window — and this story’s not going to help matters. The acclaimed 2011 British film Weekend, about a gay relationship, is not allowed to play in any Italian movie theaters. Why? Because the Catholic Church owns them. And, if you haven’t gathered, the Church isn’t especially cool with gay people. If the Church is looking for a replacement film to run in theaters, perhaps they’d be more comfortable with Todd Solondz’ classic 1998 film Happiness?
Everyone’s least favorite Cruz-loving trans icon, Caitlyn Jenner, may soon lose her TV show. I Am Cait recently returned for a second season and the ratings are in the toilet — and threatening to drop further into the pipes and ultimately in the sewer to be cleaned and processed back into clean, drinking water. Considering her outspoken — and seemingly ill-thought-out — embrace of anti-LGBT candidates, it’s not surprising that the public seems to be saying “We support you coming out as trans, but please, you can go away now.”
Pet Shop Boys have a new album, Super, coming out in a few weeks, but they just dropped a new deep dub remix of the single “The Pop Kids”. This remix has been done by the band themselves, though remixes by Offer Nissim and MK are also available! If you can’t wait until the album comes out on April 1st, here’s that single — from the remix EP out today! — to tide you over:
Speaking of remixes, Apple Music is stepping up to make unofficial remixes available — and legit! Apple reached a deal with Dubset to use Dubset’s MixBank system to not only deliver the tracks to the retailer, but also to identify all the parts of the remixes, so everyone — including the DJ! — gets a fair cut of the royalties. Awesome!
New Music This Week: The biggest release is Gwen Stefani’s newest album This Is What The Truth Feels Like.
Grant-Lee Phillips has a new one out, The Narrows.
Iggy Pop’s collaboration with Josh Homme of Queens of the Stone Age and the Eagles of Death Metal, Post-Pop Depression is finally out today.
A new one from electronica legends Underworld, Barbara Barbara, We Face A Shining Future.
The Numero Group is putting out a new compilation of weird and wonderful music, Wayfaring Stranger: Cosmic American Music.
Primal Scream has their eleventh album, Chaosmosis.
A new, deluxe edition of what Popshifter calls “the happiest album that ever existed,” Haircut One Hundred’s Pelican West is out today.
Soft Fangs’ debut album, The Light, also comes out today.
Finally, Todd Rundgren is releasing a 3-CD set of unreleased live recordings from the 1970s called Box O’Todd.