There was great music, great food, and great times to be had at the 2012 South By Southwest Music Festival. However, it’s important to note that as hard as people partied while they were taking in the sights and sounds in Austin, there was one particular activity over the weekend that raised tons of money for a cause near and dear to our hearts. On Saturday night, Perez Hilton teamed up with the VH1 Save The Music Foundation for his annual One Night In Austin party (which featured performances by B.o.B., Ed Sheeran, Timbaland and more!). For the first time ever, Perez sold tickets to his SXSW mainstay and graciously donated all of the proceeds —over $46,000!— to VH1 Save The Music. That’s more than enough to restore an instrumental music program at a middle school or high school!
Even if you weren’t able to make it down to Austin this year, you can still help this very good cause. Simply follow VH1 on Foursquare, check into a music venue ANYWHERE across the country, and you’ll receive your own personal Save The Music badge. Then, on your behalf, VH1 will donate $1 to the VH1 Save The Music Foundation. It’s that easy! Read more…
Gossip monster aside, we’re really enjoying this performance. It starts of slowly but by the end Katy is really into it, and her vocal becomes more aggressive as she spits into the microphone. We imagine there’s some discomfort at having a woman, and a white woman no less, sing the controversial lyrics, but Katy carries it off with poise, eloquence, and some serious attitude. Our favorite part is when she raps, “That so cray / Ain’t it Kate?” Talk about adding a personal touch! Is this a career change for Katy? Are we going to see her rapping her own material in the future? Or do we smell another Kanye collaboration? A feature on Watch The Throne II, perhaps?
Poor Lana Del Rey; she’s yet to make it through one of her videos alive. In the video for her track “Blue Jeans” video, Lana meets the same plight as in her “Born To Die” video: Death. And this time, like last time, it’s all the fault of her heavily tattooed boyfriend. With a cinematic Noir aesthetic, Lana moves in and out of shadow in a black and white rendering, except she is not the dangerous femme fatale of the Noir genre; she is not preying but being preyed upon.
The clip is racy, with lots of phallic imagery and not so subtle innuendo (tattoo guy sticking his fingers in her almost lifeless lips is pretty creepy, and is only made creepier in the next scene where his elongated body penetrates the still water of a pool, the splashes creating some pretty suggestive imagery), and climaxes with, well, Lana’s climax. As she cavorts in the shadowy swimming pool with tattoo boyfriend, he turns mystically into a crocodile, upon which metamorphosis there’s some awkward bestiality and finally Lana’s petite mort. Is Lana’s constantly dying for love and sex an acceptable motif? What do you think? Let us know in the comments section below!
Like we really needed confirmation, David Guetta has told BBC Radio 1 that Nicki Minaj (who he worked with on “Turn Me On”) is “Almost crazy.” Except that it’s not entirely what you think. While the limber faced Minaj does sometimes appear to have lost her mind, not only with her zany outfits but with controversial videos like “Stupid Stupid” and performances like her Grammys show, Guetta sees the craziness as coming from a much more commendable place. Guetta denied that Nicki is a “handful” saying, “Oh no, she’s really focused on work… Like incredibly. She’s a real perfectionist, like almost crazy… She’d make me re-do things like ten million times.” That seems like a pretty productive kind of crazy to us, and we guess it’s a testament to Nicki’s huge success! In the interview Guetta also talked about his collaborations with artists will.i.am and Sia, who he’s been writing music with — it really is the reign of the DJ with Guetta being one of the most powerful and prolific figures in pop music at the moment.
You’re forgiven if you haven’t yet heard of Alabama Shakes. After all, they don’t have a song on the radio, they haven’t made any music videos, and they don’t even have an album in stores for you to buy (yet). However, what they do have is a TON of internet buzz, as their soulful, southern roots rock sound has propelled them from the club circuit in the deep South into a place where they’re on the verge of entering the national consciousness. “Did you see Alabama Shakes yet?,” is a question that’s on everyone’s lips in Austin this week for the 2012 SXSW Music Festival, and we were lucky enough to be able to snag some time to sit down with Shakes lead singer Brittany Howard and drummer Steve Johnson the other afternoon.
When people reminisce about the 2012 South By Southwest Music Festival, there will be two things that stand out above the rest: Bruce Springsteen‘s epic keynote speech/concert, and last night’s Shady 2.0 Showcase, headlined by 50 Cent. Sadly, we weren’t able to attend the former, but we did manage to score a highly coveted ticket to the latter. Fiddy and the whole Shady Records family were celebrating the 10-year anniversary of the release of Get Rich Or Die Tryin’ last night, even though the record won’t officially turn 10 until February of next year. Whatever the Shady squad lacks in calendar savvy, they MORE than make up for with their ability to throw a massive party.
Austin had been buzzing all day with rumors that the head honcho of Shady Records, Eminem, would show up to support his protégé 50 Cent as he performed his landmark, six-times platinum debut LP front-to-back. The rumors proved to be true, as Eminem made an unannounced appearance at the Austin Music Hall during “Patiently Waiting,” the second song on Get Rich and the second song to be played last night. The audience had already gone bonkers when Fitty emerged from the shadows —wearing a camouflage bullet proof vest, natch— just a few minutes earlier, but when Em hit the stage ensconced in a grey hoodie, we honestly thought the roof might come off the place. As the two traded verses while the classic Eminem-produced beat pulsated through the speakers, the energy level in the building was truly something to behold.
We told you we’d have a treat for you — and here it is! Gavin DeGraw‘s new video for his single “Sweeter.” The video sees a cheeky faced DeGraw sitting in a bar while a beautiful blonde girl fights with her boyfriend in the corner, casting furtive glances in his direction. Eventually the girl leaves with a clearly stoked DeGraw, and mischief ensues to the sound of summery beats. The pair break into a house and a montage ensues — and you all know how much we love a good montage! The video is filled with fun and ample sex appeal, from both DeGraw and his sassy female friend who ends up semi naked and parading for him on a dining table doubling as a run way. Everything certainly does seem “Sweeter” in Gavin DeGraw’s world.
Rock stars are not exactly known for their punctuality. So imagine our surprise when Tom Chaplin and Jesse Quin of Keane showed up at the Moonshine Cafe in Austin yesterday a full 20 minutes ahead of their scheduled arrival time yesterday morning. They were both bright-eyed and bushytailed and anxious to discuss their upcoming LP, Strangeland, which will be out in May.
Keane made a huge splash in both their native England and the United States back in 2004 with their debut LP, Hopes And Fears, which went platinum here Stateside and moved almost 3 million units across the pond. The band has continued to have success in the intervening years, but with Strangeland, they’re looking to recapture the success they had with American audiences in the middle portion of the last decade. “It’s a record that should do really well in America,” Tom theorized with us. We asked him to elaborate, and he obliged.
“It’s kind of widescreen, that’s the way we thought about when we playing it back to ourselves. The first single, ‘Silenced By The Night,’ has kind of got flavors of Bruce Springsteen and a sort of big, epic American sound.”
“It’s direct, as well,” Jesse chipped in. “Americans like directness, they don’t like bullsh*t, do they?”
Speaking for us, as a nation, we think not! Before we let the guys leave, we gave them a gentle ribbing about the fact that their band’s name is on every single hotel key here at the Hilton this weekend. “Do you think this will get me into Bruce Springsteen’s hotel room?”, Tom jested. To find out what Tom would do (and what Jesse thinks he should be wearing) if they did, in fact, gain access to the luxury suite of The Boss, watch our video below!
Diane Birch‘s 2009 album, Bible Belt, was one of the most promising debut LPs to emerge in the last five years. Her voice and songwriting style eschews the kind of tawdry, disposable fluff that tends to get traction on Top 40 radio, and instead hearkens back to the confessional singer-songwriter style of legends like Carole King and Laura Nyro. Aside from her 2010 digital-only cover album The Velveteen Age, she’s been holed up in the studio for the last few years working on her sophomore record. So when we heard that she would be road testing songs from her forthcoming LP (due out summer-ish) at an intimate showcase show during Day Three of the 2012 South By Southwest Music Festival, we dropped our previous plans and made our way over to the Intercontinental Hotel.
It turned out to be an awesome decision.
Birch played seven songs in her roughly 40 minute set, all of which were new to our ears. Whereas her work on Bible Belt alternated between torch songs and jaunty melodies, her new material was considerably more layered and widescreen in its sound. Take her first single, “Speak A Little Louder” (which premiered on Idolator yesterday), for example: She layers reverbed vocals over a bed of warm, atmospheric synths, creating a mood that we saw RCRD Label describe perfectly as “vintage chill.” Over the last few years, she seems to have spent considerable time and effort honing her songwriting craft, particularly when it comes to penning choruses that instantly get stuck in your brain. Birch even proved capable of writing anthemic melodies; the last song of her set last night contained a refrain that promised “We’re superstars tonight.” Considering the way the crowd reacted to her set, that line is certainly prophetic of Birch’s future in 2012.
New UK sensation Ed Sheeran has a new video for his single “The A Team”. The video, in an almost melancholy black and white rendering, tells the story of a young homeless girl. From the moment she wakes up in the morning on a park bench, she seems intriguing and charismatic as our heroine, but is also a profoundly sad figure as we see her day around London. From the crowded subway stations to the street where she stares longing at carts of flowers while trying to sell copies of The Big Issue, her plight is an unhappy one. Sheeran seems to be the only one noticing her, as he not only stops to buy a big issue but sits with her to talk for a while. The girl is forced to do some desperate things for money — it’s a bleak view of poverty set to Sheeran’s gorgeous vocal.