Being different isn?t always a bad thing. In fact, it can sometimes serve to enhance the ordinary, making bland beautiful and transforming simple into sensational. Following in the footsteps of this season?s previous performers My Morning Jacket, Kings of Leon, Cee Lo Green, Death Cab For Cutie, and Maxwell, folk singer/songwriter Ray LaMontagne took his honey-coated vocal chords to the VH1 Storytellers stage last Thursday night at Metropolis Studios in uptown Manhattan, delivering what can only be described as a bizarre-but-compelling performance. As an artist recognized for being deeply, deeply introverted, the very-serious LaMontagne was forced to come out of his shell before our very eyes, and although it admittedly took a minute for him to bust out of his comfort cocoon, the transition was well-worth the wait.
You Oughta Know artists The Civil Wars may not have been hand-selected by Adele to open her United States shows, but they’ve wasted no time winning her over. The chart-topping British singer gushed about the duo on her blog: “If you’re coming to any of the shows on this trip make sure you get there early to see them. I’ve never been so blown away.” She joins fellow superfan Taylor Swift, who has tweeted about the band, seen them live, and included “Poison and Wine” (also Adele’s favorite track) in a playlist for iTunes.
The often misogynistic, homophobic combativeness of rap collective Odd Future continues to vex critics and artists alike. On Friday afternoon, Sara Quin of Tegan and Saraharshly castigated those who would praise Tyler, the Creator and/or misogynistic/homophobic music in general. Her short manifesto hints at a breadth and depth of thought on the subject of problematic art, as well as her own history in the music industry, though she unpacks little of what she suggests. She is particularly (and not necessarily unfairly) critical of what she sees as hypocrisy in the indie rock community (which, as Dr. Wendy Fonarowhas argued, esteems itself as particularly forward-thinking): “The more I think about it, the more I think people don?t actually want to go up against this particular bully because he?s popular. Who sticks up for women and gay people now? It seems entirely uncool to do so in the indie rock world, and I?ll argue that point with ANYONE.” She also touches on issues that often get elided in these communities?those of race and of class (although her essay’s oblique implications about Odd Future’s class standing are belied by their fairly suburban upbringing).
Sad news to pass along on this gloomy Monday morning. TMZ is reporting that M-Bone —one of the members of Cali Swag District— the band that taught us all how to Dougie, was killed in Los Angeles last night. According to law enforcement officials, M-Bone (real name: Montae Talbert) was standing in front of his car outside of a liquor store when he was gunned down during what appears to be a drive-by shooting. Cali Swag District leader C-Smoove tweeted a few hours ago, “Ma life changed drastically in the. Blink of an eye rip mbone.” He was 22 years old.
Throughout its eclectic fifteen-year run, the majority of VH1 Storytellers??episodes have been shot in sound stages in either New York City or Los Angeles. While we certainly are adept at capturing your favorite star-songwriters and musicians in their purest creative form, it?s almost unheard of that we do so on the artist?s home turf. That, my friends, is yet another reason why this season?s Storytellers premiere is SO exciting; taped in Nashville where the band actually lives, Kings Of Leon were able deliver a performance tailored for their adoring local fans. But rest assured: you don?t have to LIVE in Nashville to get a piece of the pie action. During our journey down South to cover KOL?s regal Storytellers taping last month, we sat down with the band and decided to do a little recon of our own, all in hopes of serving up a few enticing slivers of information for all you KOL fans to sink your teeth into.
Curious as to why we’re using so much food-related imagery?! Well, we?ve already given you a behind the scenes glimpse at the band?s Storytellers shoot, and all week we’ve been releasing clips from the show that airs TONIGHT at 11 p.m. ET/PT. But what we haven?t sent your way yet is Kings Of Leon?s personal list of restaurants and bars that they themselves frequent in Music City. That?s right, we’re psyched to present to you Fare Fit For A King: The Ultimate Nashville City Guide.
Follow along for pictures and descriptions of the places where the Followill brothers ?Caleb, Nathan, Jared and Matthew? like to get their grub on when they’re not on the road.
Raphael Saadiq, Christina Perri, and the Cars all released records this week, but for many teenage music fans, only one new record is worth talking about: Goblin by Tyler, the Creator, the relatively unknown rapper who’s the best of a pack of SoCal skater kids (Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All) making deliberately confrontational music because they think it’s funny. The group’s famous fans include Adele and Mos Def. And they’ll happily call out those who aren’t paying attention: on his single “Yonkers,” Tyler claims he’ll “stab Bruno Mars in his g**damn esophagus,” prompting the You Oughta Know favorite to quip to Spin that he “has to wait in line if he wants to stab me.” All this attention has led some to question the shock value of the sometimes-violent rhymes, especially on the subjects of women and homosexuality.
Check out the whole set, including their single “Barton Hollow,”exclusively at VH1.com. And, don’t forget, one of the best ways to stay abreast of the latest bands that are emerging from the shadows and beginning to claim the spotlight is by frequently checking out the MTV Music Meter, where the Civil Wars currently occupy the #10 spot on the chart.
Lissie made a name for herself playing the Los Angeles club circuit, but she’s a small-town girl (Rock Island, Illinois) who looks like she could be from Anywhere, U.S.A. This isn’t a bad thing — it’s part of her girl-next-door charm. To state the obvious, Lady Gaga Lissie is not. While Lissie may have covered Gaga (nailing “Bad Romance”, in fact), the two singers couldn’t be more different in their music and fashion. Lissie is a roots-y folk-rock singer who has a down-to-earth style and a heavenly voice. She seems most comfortable in flannel or a T-shirt and apparently consumes large quantities of all-natural tea and plum extract. This Music Seen was shot by MTV/VH1 photographer Lauren Weissler as Lissie stopped by VH1 to perform a You Oughta Know Live set with her bandmates, including guitarist Eric Sullivan and Lewis Keller, who plays bass and simultaneously drums with his feet. — Matt Muro
The perfect man does not exist in reality, but if he did, he?d probably be a little sumthin? sumthin? like Maxwell. Harnessing the perfect concoction of modesty, confidence and unapologetic vulnerability (and did we mention the voice of an angel?), it?s no surprise that the soulful singer/songwriter maintains a fan base that is notorious for teeter-tottering into obsession. Last night, in a warm, packed room full of cooing and swooning in East Harlem, Maxwell brought the house down during a performance that, according to him, was literally ?fifteen years in the making.?
“We share a birthday,” announced VH1 Storytellers Executive Producer and show creator Bill Flanagan to the room of sweat-glistened super-fans during the taping?s introduction. And we do! Just as VH1 celebrates fifteen years of Storytellers, Maxwell celebrates the same milestone of time for surviving in the music industry- an achievement that started off when he was only a teenager. Making disclaimers about being nervous, scared, and reluctant to comfortably discuss his craft, the charismatic singer joked that he wished Oprah was there to help him verbalize his thoughts, openly confessing “this is not my forte” at the onset. But as he began knocking out a set list that was heavy with double-platinum, debut album Maxwell?s Urban Hang Suite tracks, ?Max? from Brooklyn, New York? loosened up quickly, comparing the experience to being on Twitter (but with real avatars), and began to discuss the moments in his career that birthed the baby-making music he?s heralded for.
Lady Gaga didn’t have to try to be the most interesting thing on last night’s American Idol, but she still gave her all while coaching the contestants through the Lieber and Stoller songbook. Her calculated weirdness collided forcefully with some contestants’ blandness and hesitance.
Sporting a monochromatic wig and wardrobe (including a fake birthmark), she forcibly Elvis-swiveled James Durbin‘s hips as he practiced “Love Potion No. 9,” used an extended tongue-kissing metaphor to describe how Scotty McCreery should relate to the microphone, and all but told Lauren Alaina to grow up. Haley Reinhart seemed the least uncomfortable with Gaga, discussing theatricality and breath control. But all the advice was good, if awkwardly transferred. Gaga herself did not sing.