For years now, the fine folks at Daytrotter have been doing a great thing where they open their studio doors to bands, big or breaking, for an extra-stripped down set. Over the years, they’ve featured offbeat and intimate sessions with everyone from Bon Iver to the Avett Brothers, Kid Sister to Dawes (threetimesover). This week, Mumford & Sons get the Daytrotter treatment. Recorded on their tour bus during a stop-over in Illinois, the eight-song session counts Babel closer “Not With Haste” and a slew of covers, two of which are particularly noteworthy: Bruce Springsteen‘s “Atlantic City” and Bob Dylan‘s “Nine Hundred Miles.”
Dylan and Springsteen are giants in the American music landscape, but British Marcus makes for a worthy Dylan and their signature banjo makes for a dark and stormy “Atlantic City.” And we probably should have expected as much, they being the gang of Brits who sparked an Americana revival. Their first new album Babel had a killer first week out, they deserve this flexing victory lap.
Head over to Daytrotter and have a listen for yourself. What songs would you like to hear them cover?
“Before He Cheats” is a sleek, slinky thing on record, with guitar riffs cutting sharp and drums crashing in warning. Carrie doesn’t need all that to say “not on me,” though, as she so proved when she played her bold hit stripped down for Unplugged. Looking a tiny bit rock in her little black dress and a lot country with her blonde mane blown out big, Carrie went in with only a trill of violin and an twang of guitar behind her. Really all this song needs is her voice, strong and kicking when she generously suggests “to think next time before you cheat.” It’s these chops that helped her win American Idol, and that have kept her winning in all the years since.
Well, well, well. Singers are making big moves–and by big we mean topping Forbes annual Hollywood’s Highest-Paid Women list. Endorsement deals and other ventures outside of music are paying off in a major way. Unsurprisingly Oprah topped the list pulling in $165 million last year. Pop (and country) divas Britney Spears, Taylor Swift and Rihanna trailed behind Oprah in the second, third and fourth highest paid spots respectively. Talk about Britney Spears making a comeback pulling in $58 million! The new X-Factor judge didn’t make the list last year, but has since bounced back with numerous endorsement deals and a fragrance line. Read more…
It’s a grey Tuesday afternoon here in New York, and Big Boi‘s got us dancing anyways. The first official single from his Sir Lucious Left Foot follow-up, Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors dropped last night, and like the best from that first solo effort, it’s world-shaking and wise all the same. “Mama Told Me” rides high on an 80’s-inspired Casio key and kick drum beat. A seasoned rapper and effortless in his swag, the self-proclaimed “Tom Petty heartbreaker, living legend, rap scholar, art major” drops his verses like it’s nothing and let’s the party come to him.
And so former Destiny’s ChildKelly Rowland picks up at the hook, singing oh-so-sweetly about all the sage advice passed on from her momma — “be careful how you play your cards,” “be true to yourself and you’ll go far,” and “try not to break too many hearts.” Big Boi originally had originally tapped Swedish pop group Little Dragon for that part for an artier vibe. Kelly’s got a little glam in her voice, and it gives the song a nice and bright gloss.
In addition to Kelly’s part here, Phantogram‘s Sarah Barthel, Kid Cudi and A$AP Rocky will be featured elsewhere on Vicious Lies and Dangerous Rumors, which is due out November 13 — just in time to add a little groove to your holiday season.
Solange is quite happy. And fierce. And having a blast for a girl that’s seemingly losing someone in her latest “Losing You.” Everything, and we do mean everything, is oh so right about the eclectic video shot in Capetown, South Africa. Solange doesn’t take herself too seriously, neither do her friends who made the trek with her to shoot the visual, according to Pitchfork. Co-written and produced by Dev Hynes (aka Blood Orange), directed by Melina Matsoukas, the “shoot as you go” video captures Solange and friends trekking through Capetown with the Le Sape Society (Society for the Advancement of People of Elegance) formed in the Congo. The singer is high fashion, runway ready, as is her crew. The bold prints are dazzling, but it’s the fun adventures that reel you in. Read more…
You are not tired of heartbreak yet, are you? Taylor Swift loves herself a good “zero-to-100 and than hits a wall and explodes” type relationship, and she loves using her songwriting and storytelling to brace herself in the certain fallout that results. “Red,” the newly released single from her forthcoming album of the same name, is equal parts pop and country, with twangy guitars and a bouncy beat. And although it finds Taylor once again lamenting a fast and fleeting love, she’s not looking for pity or out for revenge this time around. Rather, she just seems wants you to know what she’s feeling.
And so she uses her words, “red” being only generally the intense emotions that accompany a love story fast and fleeting like she wont. She’s got a pallet’s worth of other colors and crafty metaphors to explain how it really really felt. Tell us, Taylor, what was it like?
The visuals for Nas‘ personal desire to find love featuring the indelible Amy Winehouse has arrived. The soulful “Cherry Wine” with vocals from the late soul singer was an instant favorite from Nas’ 10th studio album Life Is Good. True to his word, Nas honored Amy in the video directed by Jay Martin. Nas is the loner bartender mesmerized by a beautiful customer. Peep the cherry he drops in her cocktail. Amy’s soul stirring voice plays over the jukebox while images of her performing flash against the brick wall of the bar. The new object of his affection teases him with seductive eyes as she plays pool alone. Read more…
Bruno Mars stepped out of the songwriting shadows and into the spotlight in a big way with his 2010 solo debut, Doo-Wops And Hooligans, an album that spawned two #1 singles (“Just The Way You Are” and “Grenade”), sold a few million copies worldwide and earned Mars eight Grammy nominations (including a win for Best Male Pop Vocal Performance). The album was a highly entertaining mélange of styles and sounds, which ran the gamut from bombastic ballads (like “Grenade”) to Motown-leaning tracks (“Just The Way You Are”) to crazy catchy lite reggae dittys (see “The Lazy Song”).
The song is clearly inspired by Outlandos d’Amour-era Police as, on first listen, we thought we were listening to the group’s stone classic, “Roxanne.” A clipped, almost staccato Andy Summers-ian guitar tone that’s paired up with a very Sting-like bassline provide the backbone for the song, but the song’s production is very of-the-moment*. The song’s structure is flawless, too, as we have come to expect from Bruno Mars; the verses are emotional, the bridge (“Your sex takes me to paradise”) provides the build, and the song pays off in a killer chorus (“You make me feel like I’ve been locked out of paradise/For too long-ong-ong”). We’re gonna have this one On Repeat all day and, if history is any indication, for the next few months to come.
Tionne “T-Boz” Watkins, of the celebrated ’90s all-girl hip-hop crew TLC, announced this morning that she is getting a reality television of her own. The show will be called “Totally T-Boz,” and will air on — why not? — TLC beginning in 2013. According to TMZ’s report, the series will follow T-Boz as she juggles single motherhood and her recent health issues, and as she makes an attempt at relaunching her long dormant music career.
The greedy TLC fans that we are, we are thrilled to hear that T-Boz is staging a comeback; and given her recent financial troubles, the regular check the show could provide sounds like a fine bonus. However, we are not so confident that Go-Go juice can do for her career what it has done for that of Honey Boo Boo child, and so as cute as the TLC on TLC match-up may be, we do have to wonder if there might be a network more fit to suit her comeback needs. Read more…
If it’s here, it must be official! After letting us go on for weeks speculating, this morning Adele confirmed with one Tweeted picture that she has indeed been chosen to sing the theme song for Skyfall, the next installment in the James Bond series. The TwitPic shows her trademark claws, clutching the sheet music for “Skyfall,” as written by A. Adkins/P. Epworth — or, Adele and her “Rolling in the Deep” partner Paul Epsworth. That not being enough for the masses, who have been woefully without Adele for nine-months or so now, a 90-second clip from the song leaked to the Internet shortly thereafter. And — let whispered rumors give way to cries of joy — it sounds exactly as an Adele-spun Bond song should, with its sweeping strings, sultry vocals and gloriously cinematic references to crumbling worlds. Yep, sounds about right!