Posts By Mark Graham

by (@unclegrambo)

Helping You Make The Tough Decisions At Lollapalooza 2011

Tens of thousands of music fans are, as we type, passing through Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports on a pilgramage to Grant Park for Lollapalooza 2011. After a torrid month of July in the Windy City, the weather forecast is calling for sunny temperatures in the low eighties for most of the weekend, which is perfect festival-going weather; there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms on Sunday, though. Still, what’s a little rain when you have over 150 of the world’s best bands and DJs all gathered within 1.2 square kilometers of each other?

As we have explained for you in the past at Coachella and Bonnaroo, festival-going is all about making tough decisions. At any given time this weekend, upwards of six acts will be performing simultaneously, and some of these overlaps are bound to involve bands that you care about equally. Sadly, because of the sheer size of the park (319 acres, yo) and the amount of people on the grounds, waffling on your decisions could lead you to missing both acts. So, in the interest of being as service-y as possible, we’re putting the spotlight on five of these potential conflicts and arming you with as much information as possible to help you make an educated decision.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5

Foster The People (3-4 p.m.) OR Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (2:30-3:30 p.m.)?
Right at the time when most people will first be entering the festival grounds for the weekend comes our first tough decision as two of our You Oughta Know alums are going head-to-head. Foster The People have the #1 alternative song on the Billboard charts at the moment (“Pumped Up Kicks”), while Grace Potter and her Nocturnals are seasoned festival performers who lean on heavy riffs (and Potter’s famously long legs). This is a toughie, but based on their highly buzzed about “breakthrough performance” at Coachella this past April, we’re going to suggest you check out Mark Foster and his People as they perform to what will surely be their largest audience to date.


Coldplay OR Muse (8:15-10 p.m.)?

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by (@unclegrambo)

Behind The Music Sneak Preview: Adam Lambert Opens Up About The “Deep Secret” Of His Sexuality

The latest episode of Behind The Music will focus on the life and times of the one, the only Adam Lambert. Last week, we shared with you a clip from the show where Adam discussed his American Idol experience, particularly as it related to his struggle to keep his sexual orientation under wraps (as directed by Idol‘s producers).

And with the debut of Behind The Music: Adam Lambert now just three days away—it premieres this Sunday, August 7, at 10 p.m. ET/PT—we’ve got another sneak to share with you. In the video above, Adam discusses the early stages of when he “realized that I was probably not the same as the other boys.? This was around the time that he was 12, and he confesses that “to me, it was a deep secret … I didn?t know how my parents would react, and I didn?t know what that would be like, and I think, at at that age, it was something that I was ashamed of because it was so different.” For Glamberts the world over, this is a special not-to-be missed.

Adam Lambert on VH1′s ‘Behind the Music’: His struggle with his sexuality [EW]

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by (@unclegrambo)

The Hunger Games Soundtrack Tracklisting (Of Our Dreams)

While it will still be another 18 months or so until Twilight-mania finally subsides, the next big franchise poised to gobble up the disposable income of America’s rabid teenage girl fanbase will almost certainly be The Hunger Games¹. There is currently a film adaptation in the works, and it is scheduled to hit theaters next March. Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter landed the scoop that there will be not one but TWO soundtrack albums produced for the Lionsgate film. One will feature the instrumental score co-composed by Grammy-winning soundtrack maestros T. Bone Burnett and Danny Elfman, while the other will feature “collections of the songs featured in the film and songs directly influenced by the themes — freedom, rebellion, survival, family — and subject matter of the film.” No specific artists have been announced yet, but we’re not going to let a silly thing like that stop us from speculating about the contents of said soundtrack. Here is the The Hunger Games soundtrack tracklisting … of our dreams.

(And if you’re into this sort of thing, check out The Hunger Games Soundtrack (Of Our Dreams) on Spotify.)

1) Temple Of The Dog, “Hunger Strike”
2) Lenny Kravitz, “Always On The Run”
3) Eric Carmen, “Hungry Eyes”
4) Weird Al Yankovic, “Eat It”
5) The Clash, “Career Opportunities”

6) Duran Duran, “Hungry Like The Wolf”
7) The Postal Service, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
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by (@unclegrambo)

Ronan Parke Has The Looks Of Justin Bieber And The Voice Of Greyson Chance, But The Emotional Empathy Of A 12 Year-Old (Which He Is)

If you were a Mad Scientist and were looking to create the Perfect Pre-Teen Pop Star in a laboratory, your end result would probably look something like Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ronan Parke (that is, if you were any good at being a Mad Scientist). He’s got Justin Bieber‘s adorably dreamy hair helmet, Greyson Chance‘s vocal range, and the irresistible British accent of a young Davy Jones. However, unlike those other teenage dreamboats, there’s an undeniable air of melancholy that permeates all of his performances, which has us wondering whether he’s cut out for international superstardom.

Take his cover of Lady Gaga‘s “Edge Of Glory,” for example. Whereas Gaga’s song wears its anthemic qualities proudly on its sleeve (regardless of whether you’re listening to the album version or her acoustic take on Howard Stern), Parke’s take is stark, haunting and dripping with sadness. Gone are the joyous, celebratory punctuations of Gaga’s original (“Alright, ALRIGHT!”), which makes us wonder why this 12 year-old boy is so darn depressed!

And it’s not just this song. He chose to perform Kelly Clarkson’s ballad “Because Of You” on the finale of Britain’s Got Talent, but rather than concentrating on emphasizing the air of defiance present in Clarkson’s anthem, he made the creative decision to instead sing it from the perspective of someone who feels defeated. And Parke’s take on Adele’s “Someone Like You” makes Adele sound positively chipper.

Now, don’t get it twisted, we’re not haters. Parke’s vocal chops are undeniable (at least until he hits puberty and his voice breaks), but right now, he’s little more than a chameleon. He doesn’t yet have the life experience to understand the underlying themes of the music that he has been covering—don’t EVEN get us started on his take on Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love”—which is why his cuts feel just a bit off, emotionally speaking. Time will tell as to whether he’ll be able to capitalize on the fame that his Britain’s Got Talent appearance netted him, but if he is to succeed, his minders would be wise to have him concentrate on laying down some more age-appropriate tracks that will hit his target audience of teens and tweens right where it counts — their wallets.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: Katy Perry’s Still On Top, Celebrates By Doing The Running Man

The dog days of summer are upon us, people. It’s August, it’s hot outside, and the news cycle is starting to slow to a crawl. The general sluggishness of the season is even affecting the music industry, as music fans don’t seem to be gravitating towards any new material. Instead, they seem to be content to play the same songs that they’ve had on repeat all summer long.

Case in point: Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F),” which has exhibited a stranglehold on the top of our Song of the Summer Countdown for six consecutive weeks. Her song looks to have a lock on the prize at this point, but then again, maybe The Throne (aka Jay-Z and Kanye West) can mount a last-minute challenge when their highly anticipated collaboration Watch The Throne drops next week? Stay tuned!


[Click here for a larger image]

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by (@unclegrambo)

Victoria Justice Covers The Jackson 5 Classic, “I Want You Back”

If you don’t have a teen or tween living in your household, chances are you’re not familiar with Victoria Justiceyet. The 18 year-old is the latest in a long line of multi-hyphenates to emerge from Nickelodeon universe, thanks to her acting work on the sitcom that bears her name, Victorious, as well as her burgeoning music career. Her perky pop song, “Best Friend’s Brother,” has been bubbling up in the Billboard Hot 100 and iTunes charts for most of the summer, and now her cover of The Jackson 5 classic “I Want You Back” seems poised to make an appearance on more than a few playlists on the iPods of the millenial set. The cover was the focal point of this past weekend’s one-hour movie special, Victorious: Locked Up (hence the orange jumpsuits in the video), and the Victorious soundtrack hits stores today.

Related: Victoria Justice?s Top 20 Hottest Looks [TheFABLife]

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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: 30 Of The Most Memorable Moments In MTV History

As we near the end of our celebration of MTV’s 30 birthday, we figured it would be apropos to look back at thirty of the moments that defined the channel. Now, we easily could’ve listed 30,000 reasons why we love our MTV, but we’ll just have to wait until MTV’s 30,000th birthday to publish that list. For now, enjoy this cornucopia of memorable reality shows, groundbreaking music videos, hilarious interviews, jaw-dropping moments of violence, and celebrity beef.


30) Kurt Loder Prevents A Full-On Brawl Between Madonna and Courtney Love
The scene: The 1995 Video Music Awards. During a post-show interview with the unflappable Kurt Loder, Madonna gets pelted with a compact thrown by the Queen of Grunge, Courtney Love. (Heroin-fueled) hilarity and awkwardness ensues.

29) “Paint The Mutha Pink”
This memorable promo for a 1984 MTV contest was pegged to the release of John Cougar Mellencamp’s album, Uh Huh, which featured the eighties heartland anthem “Pink Houses.” The grand prize winner received a house in Bloomington, Indiana (Mellencamp’s hometown), which came with a special paint job: Pink.

28) Totally Pauly
Hey buhhh-deeee, don’t go weezin’ all the juice! After landing a gig as a VJ in 1989, Pauly Shore went from being an unknown stand-up to a major motion picture star inside of two years.

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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: Nirvana Spaces Out On Headbanger’s Ball

When Nirvana first appeared on MTV’s Headbanger’s Ball in the fall of 1991, they weren’t yet the cultural phenomenon they would become just a few months later. At the time, the word “grunge” had not yet percolated in the mainstream, and Kurt Cobain and Krist Novoselic were just two-thirds a well-regarded (if little known) band from Seattle, not international superstars nor rock icons. So, it’s little surprise that Headbanger’s Ball host Riki Rachtman –whose allegiances to the LA hair metal scene made him “the enemy” for these Seattle upstarts– treated them as curios rather than the megastars they would eventually become. And who can blame him, really, with Kurt Cobain all but refusing to engage in conversation and dressed in a ridiculous yellow ball gown?

You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel?s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.

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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: Jimmy The Cab Driver Gets Ironic (Don’t Cha Think?)

When television viewers changed their dials to MTV in the eighties and nineties, the omnipresence of music videos and wildly eclectic original shows weren’t the only way that the network differentiated itself from the competition. During the era on the network that predated its current reality-show-centric slate, the network had a proclivity for interstitial experimentation. Not quite “programming” (at least, in the “traditional” sense of the word) and not quite commercials, MTV often aired short burst entertainment in the form of animated films (think Bill Plympton), proto-animated GIFs (all of those bizarre MTV logo treatments) and outlets for outrageous original characters, like Denis Leary and Jimmy The Cab Driver.

Long before Jimmy Fallon and Rachel Dratch debuted their Boston Teens characters on SNL, actor Donal Logue brought his comically exaggerated Southie accent and unique perspectives on the music video medium to MTV’s airwaves. There were over 40 of these spots produced, most of which can be found in this Jimmy The Cab Driver playlist. However, the one we picked out show’s Jimmy parodying Alanis Morisette‘s iconic video for “Ironic” (which, we should note, won the VMA in 1996 for Best Female Video), mainly because the image of Jimmy in pigtails is now permanently stuck in our brain, and we feel it’s only fair if we stick it in yours, too.

You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel’s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.

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by (@unclegrambo)

MTV Memories: Fab 5 Freddy Discovers Email, Promises To “Put Some Funk In Cyberspace”

Where were you when you first discovered email? We sincerely hope that the first time you learned of the existence of this newfangled thing called “electronic mail” while watching YO! MTV Raps back in 1994. While scouring the archives for our celebration of MTV’s 30th Anniversary, we stumbled upon this clip of YO! host Fab 5 Freddy waxing poetic on the virtues of modems, the information superhighway, and “computer flavor.” Not only does he explain what email is and how to use it, but he throws props to some of the hip hop world’s early adopters of this then-futuristic technology (including A Tribe Called Quest, The Native Tongue Crew, and KRS-One). And if all else fails, we have your next catchphrase for you to impress your friends with: “I’m outta here, like computers from the ’60s.”

You can catch highlights from the early days of MTV during this, the 30th anniversary of the channel’s launch, all weekend long on VH1 Classic.

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