Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

EXCLUSIVE INTERVIEW: Artist On The Verge Lana Del Rey Talks SNL, Coachella And Paz De La Huerta’s T*ts

Lana Del Rey is almost nothing like you’d expect her to be. Let us explain.

In just under six months, Del Rey has gone from being a virtual unknown to landing a highly coveted gig as the musical guest on this weekend’s episode of Saturday Night Live, an opportunity that some artists work their entire careers for and never achieve. The booking of this artist, best known for her uniquely sexy voice and a cinematic style of music she describes as “Summertime sadness,” totally makes sense, though. While it’s true that she hasn’t even released her album yet —Born To Die streets on January 31— Lana has already experienced a career’s worth of buzz (and, subsequently, backlash) in indie blogosphere circles, mostly stemming from questions regarding her quote-unquote “authenticity.” This, in combination with the mysterious persona she projects in her videos and her somewhat defiant performance at the Bowery Ballroom back in December, led us to believe that she might come off as being cryptic and guarded during her interview here at VH1 HQ in New York City yesterday. The Lana Del Rey we met, though, was anything but: During the 45 minutes or so we spent with her, she was happy, effusive, relatable and totally forthcoming about the rocket ride that she’s been on for the last half of the year.

“You wanna hear a little story?” We’ve been talking to Del Rey for a few minutes about her self-made, self-edited, collage-style music videos for “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”, the treatments of which propelled the indie chanteuse from obscurity into the spotlight, but that were also initially met with puzzlement by clueless suits at record labels (“For a long time, nobody thought that anything fit together. I brought things into different labels and to different people and they all thought it was really f***ing weird. They thought that the videos didn’t have a strong narrative and that they were creepy.”). We raise the issue of Paz De La Huerta, an actress who, depending on your vantage point in life, is either a hot mess or your spirit animal. Footage of a clearly overserved Paz made its way into Del Rey’s cut of “Video Games,” an intriguing creative decision that lends a zeitgeist-y and almost Lynchian-circa-Mulholland Drive feel to the video, underscoring the overlap in the Venn diagram of Hollywood where glamour, darkness and tragedy meet. So, we posed, did Lana ever hear from Paz herself?

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by (@unclegrambo)

A Reunited Van Halen Debuts Their New Single, “Tattoo”

After last week’s blistering Van Halen reunion show at Cafe Wha?, the band confirmed a number of details about their 2012 plans that had, up to that point, simply been rumors: The band would release their new album, A Different Kind Of Truth, on February 7; the band would be embarking on a four-month, 45 date North American tour; and, amazingly, Kool & The Gang would be their opening act (!!!). Cellll-ebrate good times, C’MON!

Thanks to last week’s uniformly praised comeback set, anticipation levels for Van Halen‘s first tour with David Lee Roth since 2007 are off the charts. However, as we all know, when a “classic” band decides it’s that time of the concert for them to play their “new” material, a lot of fans decide that’s the time to visit the, um, facilities. Grantland’s Chuck Klosterman wrote about this dilemna last week, stating “I will never understand why classic rock bands feel a moral obligation to write new songs that nobody wants. That’s like working at McDonald’s when you’re 80 instead of cashing in your war bonds. Van Halen has nothing to prove to anyone. Just blow us away.”

It remains to be seen how fans will react to Van Halen’s first studio album with David Lee Roth singing lead vox since 1984, but today the group released their first single off A Different Kind Of Truth, a song called “Tattoo” (which also comes with an accompanying music video). And you know what? It’s a real grower! Not only does it feature a blistering, 35-second guitar solo from Eddie Van Halen, but David Lee Roth scatting and squealing his way through some non-sequitur come-ons (“Best believe that needle hurt you”) to characters like Swap Meet Sally and the Tramp Stamp Cat, as well as a hilarious description of MILF-y groupies who get inked late in life (“Mousewife to Momshell”). And thanks to Dave’s repeated screams of “Sexy dragon magic!”, we have a feeling that this is the kind of song that both Van Halen fans AND the Girl With The Dragon Tattoo will surely approve of.

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by (@unclegrambo)

The Black Keys, Radiohead, Dr. Dre And Snoop Dogg To Headline Coachella 2012

Just moments ago, the official Coachella Twitter feed (@coachella) posted their 2012 lineup, which will feature headlining performances from The Black Keys, Radiohead, and Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg (!!!). Regarding the latter, this year marks the 20th anniversary of The Chronic‘s release, so we’re guessing that the pair might perform the classic album from front-to-back?

Also of note: It looks like Coachella organizer Paul Tollett is NOT a fan of indie chanteuse du jour, Lana Del Rey. At first glance, she seems to be the most obvious snub on this year’s lineup. More analysis to follow tomorrow!

Coachella 2012 Lineup [Stereogum]

by (@unclegrambo)

Beyonce’s Alleged Miscarriage, Aaliyah’s Death And Other Insights Into Jay-Z’s New Song, “Glory (Featuring B.I.C.)”

The Internet has pretty much come to a standstill this afternoon thanks to Jay-Z’s new track “Glory”, which features vocals from the youngest MC in the game, his 2-day-old daughter, Blue Ivy Carter (aka The Notorious B.I.C.). In the halls here at Video Hits One, the song is pumping out of offices, tinny laptop speakers and even iPod earbuds, and has driven all of the women (and even some grown ass men) to tears. Well, your friendly VH1 Tuner editors have managed to keep the tears at a minimum and stay focused on the task at hand, and we’re happy to bring you this close reading of “Glory”:

BEYONCÉ SUFFERED A MISCARRIAGE … OR DID SHE?
Lyrics In Question: “False alarms and false starts, all made better by the sound of your heart / All the of the pain of the last time, I prayed so hard it was the last time” and “Last time the miscarriage was so tragic / We was afraid you’d disappear but nah baby, you magic”
Translation: Everyone in the media is inferring that this lyric is about Beyoncé, but there’s a pretty good chance that it isn’t. In Jay-Z’s song “This Can’t Be Life,” he makes reference to a stillborn baby (“Baby came out stillborn / So I gotta move on”) from a previous relationship, a fact that was also confirmed in his book Decoded. Now, this isn’t to say DEFINITIVELY that the reference isn’t to something that happened between Jay-Z and Beyoncé —as we know, these two are nothing if not tremendously private— but rather that all of the media speculation attributing this reference to Bey is a bit premature.

THAT SH*T CRAY: BLUE IVY CARTER WAS CONCEIVED IN PARIS
Lyric In Question: “You don’t yet know what swag is / But you was made in Paris / And Mama woke up the next day and shot her album package.”
Translation: Step off, Beyoncé birthers! Much has been made of the legitimacy of Beyoncé’s pregnancy, and the inclusion of this line is a not-so-subtle “Eff you” from Jay-Z to the haters. Because we’re nothing if not sticklers for the truth, we did some research and discovered that Bey and Jay took a 9-day trip to Paris from April 19, 20102011 until April 28, 2011. During this time, they recorded the vocals to “Lift Off” (which appeared on Jay and Ye’s Watch The Throne collaboration) and, apparently, made sweet, sweet love. If you do the math, that trip was eight months and some change ago.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Jay-Z Features Vocals From His Baby Daughter, Blue Ivy Carter, On New Track “Glory”

Well, that was quick! Earlier today, we predicted that Blue Ivy Carter, Jay-Z and Beyoncé‘s brand-new baby daughter, would make her recording debut when she turned 11 years-old. Well, it turns out she simply couldn’t wait that long for her shot at chart glory; the 2-days-old’s “vocals” are featured on Hova’s brand new track, “Glory”, which was just posted on his website LifeAndTimes.com. She’s credited here as B.I.C., which is an obvious tip of the cap to Jigga’s old friend, The Notorious B.I.G. Also, if you’re curious, the song was produced by Pharrell of The Neptunes.

For an artist who has built his entire career on his honest, confessional lyrics, this might just be the most candid and emotional song that Hov has ever put on wax. In it, he confesses that he and Beyoncé may have suffered through a miscarriage at some point in the past (“Last time the miscarriage was so tragic / We was afraid you’d disappear / But nah baby, you magic”) and ecstatically describes the joy at becoming a father (“Baby, I paint the sky blue / My greatest creation was you”). Being Jay-Z, though, he can’t help but get a bit braggadocious on the cut; in it, he sings “You don’t yet know what swag is / But you was made in Paris / And Mama woke up the next day and shot her album package.”

You can listen to “Glory” below:

RELATED: Beyonce’s Alleged Miscarriage, Aaliyah’s Death And Other Insights Into Jay-Z’s New Song, “Glory (Featuring B.I.C.)” [VH1 Tuner]

by (@unclegrambo)

VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown For The Week Ending January 7, 2012

If you missed this week’s VH1 Top 20 Video Countdown, you’re in luck. Not only is it re-airing tomorrow at 7:30 a.m. on VH1, but we’ve got this week’s complete list of the week’s 20 hottest videos for you. Katy Perry‘s wistful “The One That Got Away” may not have reached the #1 position on the Billboard charts yet, but she can rest easy knowing tonight that she’s captured the #1 spot on our first Top 20 Video Countdown of 2012.

1. Katy Perry, “The One That Got Away” [WATCH]
2. Daughtry – “Crawling Back To You”
3. Rihanna, “We Found Love”
4. Bruno Mars, “It Will Rain” [WATCH]
5. Adele – “Someone Like You” [WATCH]
6. Coldplay – “Paradise” [WATCH]
7. David Guetta featuring Usher – “Without You” [WATCH]
8. The Fray, “Heartbeat” [WATCH]
9. Jessie J – “Domino”
10. Pitbull ft. Chris Brown – “International Love”

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by (@unclegrambo)

CONCERT REVIEW: Van Halen Dazzles During Intimate Reunion Concert In New York City

“Welcome to Occupy Van Halen!”

Back in November, word leaked out that Van Halen was planning on releasing a new album and embarking on a North American tour to support it. Classic rock fans were cautiously optimistic about the news, seeing as how prior reunions had ultimately fizzled out because of the legendarily testy relationship between guitarist Eddie Van Halen and loquacious frontman David Lee Roth. After a rumored reunion performance at the Grammy Nomination Concert Live!!! concert back in November failed to materialize, Van Halen fans were understandably nervous about the band’s current stability. However, during a 70-minute set at Manhattan’s tiny, 280 person capacity club Cafe Wha? tonight, the group looked happier to be in each other’s presence than they have since the early Eighties and, as a result, turned in a performance that David Lee Roth himself proclaimed as one of the best in the group’s storied history.

View Photo Gallery

Continue reading our review below!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Kanye West’s Epic 1,600 Word Twitter Rant: The Complete Text, Neatly Organized For Your Reading Pleasure

Does your brain seize up when you try to read things in reverse chronological order, like in a Twitter timeline? Ours certainly does. So, when Kanye West went on a Twitter rant during the wee hours of the morning, the first thing we thought was “Gee, wouldn’t it be nice if someone organized these 80+ tweets into something actually sorta legible, you know with paragraph breaks and the like?” So, with that in mind, we did it for you. You’re welcome. (BOLD EMPHASIS OURS.)

I love being back at my fashion office learning and creating. It’s so challenging and fun and I’m surrounded by amazing people.

They say you only live once but every time I come to work I feel like I’m starting a second life. You guys might think I have some type of backing for my line but I don’t. I did the first fashion show out of my own pocket and used the money I made touring to follow my passion.

I’ve been working at this for 8 years now …from the first offers to do urban clothing lines that I turned down…To begging Bape to do my line and never making any real headway…To having an office in LA that was shut down after the “MTV” moment along with my tour with GAGA.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Exclusive: Matthew McConaughey Discusses The Reincarnation Of Dazed And Confused‘s Wooderson In New Butch Walker Music Video

Matthew McConaughey‘s performance as the lecherous yet lovable Wooderson in 1993′s Dazed And Confused remains one of cinema’s most iconic portrayals of a stoner. Now, in a totally unexpected twist, L.A. glam popper Butch Walker has convinced his buddy McConaughey to revisit the character in the upcoming music video for his song “Synthesizers.”

We caught up with McConaughey and Walker on the set of the video shoot in Los Angeles late last month, and Mr. J.K. Livin’ himself about reincarnating the character of Wooderson after nearly 20 years. “If you love Dazed and you loved Wooderson, you’ll see this and you’ll probably get the tickle box pretty quick,” McConaughey told us. After securing permission from Dazed writer and director Richard Linklater to use the character, Walker and McConaughey had fun envisioning what Wooderson might be like in today’s society. “It’s some new things that Wooderson never did [in Dazed],” McConaughey explains, “But we’re trying to keep it pretty close to the bone for who he might be today and things he might be into that you wouldn’t expect.” We can’t wait to see what those things are, but we have a sneaking suspicion that he’s still into high school girls, man; after all, he might be older, but they’re still the same age.

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by (@unclegrambo)

A Flash Mob Starts An Epic Food Fight In The New Video For “We Are Young” By fun.

“We Are Young,” the anthemic single from New York indie pop outfit fun., was released in September without a great deal of fanfare, but quickly exploded in popularity when the song appeared on a December episode of Glee. The Gleeks consequently stormed the iTunes store en masse, rocketing the song straight to #1 in the Alternative category. And now, with the group’s second LP, Some Nights, due for release in February, there’s an official music video to whet your appetite.

Directed by A-list music video helmer Marc Klasfeld (Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)”, Red Hot Chili Peppers“The Adventures Of Rain Dance Maggie”), the video combines flash mobs, food fights, Inception-style slo-mo explosions, a Janelle Monae cameo and a katana-wielding teen who has clearly played one too many games of Fruit Ninja. In short, it’s pretty much exactly like the New Year’s Eve party we went to a few nights ago.

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