Alice Cooper Joins Ke$ha, Foo Fighters Onstage

School’s out for summer in most of the Northern Hemisphere. That means it’s Alice Cooper season! We spent most of our holiday weekend relaxing, but the legendary shock rocker spent it jetsetting around Europe, making guest appearances at big shows, like Ke$ha‘s in Oslo, Norway yesterday. (Actually, he’s opening a couple of Scandinavian Iron Maiden shows this week, but it’s more fun to think Alice Cooper went to Europe to pop up on stage with Ke$ha.) Above, watch his appearance during her cover of “School’s Out.”

The young pop star tweeted excitedly about the appearance afterward: “ALICE F?KING COOPER. or what i call him, dad,” then “thanx for coming to Oslo to do SCHOOLS OUT with me dad #alicecooperisaLEGEND pictures coming soon. ; ) LEGEND. F?KING LEGEND.”

Ke$ha may be the closest any pop star has come to being a spiritual heir for him, but hers wasn’t the only concert that Cooper appeared at: just three days earlier, he joined Foo Fighters onstage in Milton Keynes, an hour north of London. Dave Grohl gave him a lengthy adulatory introduction, insisting, “If it wasn’t for [Alice Cooper], Pat Smear would’ve never bought a guitar.” Here they are performing “School’s Out” and “I’m Eighteen”:
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Last Lap: Tuesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Mumford & Sons Debut New Song on Colorado’s KBCO
When we got Mumford & Sons in the studio for their VH1 Unplugged taping, the band mentioned trying out new material on the road before heading into the studio with it. Nevertheless, no live recordings of decent quality have surfaced until this weekend, when the band performed a yet-untitled song on the air at KBCO. Fans have been calling this song “Home.” [Paste]

Justin Timberlake May Use MySpace To Launch A Talent Competition
So says his manager, Johnny Wright. If Wright is to be believed, Timberlake is as enthused about possibilities for the future of MySpace as he is unenthused about possibilities for the future of his recording career. [MTV News]

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by (@unclegrambo)

Song Of The Summer Countdown: Adele, America Can’t Quit You

[Click here for a larger image.]

Well, for those of you who thought you had heard the last of Adele‘s “Rolling In The Deep” after it was bested by Katy Perry‘s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” in last week’s Song Of The Summer Countdown, Adele will have you know that she’s not the type to go out quietly. Adele’s composite S.O.T.S. score slipped by one point from last week, but thanks to Katy Perry’s slippage of four points, we have ourselves the first ever tie in this here humble countdown!

In other chart insights, the summer of Pitbull continues to roll along nicely. “Give Me Everything,” which features Ne-Yo, Afrojack and Nayer, just hit #1 on the Billboard Hot 100, which factors both sales and radio airplay in its formula. The song seems unescapable at the moment; Pitbull and Ne-Yo performed it both on the Today Show and The Voice last week alone, continuing to give it some much needed momentum as we begin to approach the dog days. But as huge as this song is in its current incarnation, we can’t help but wonder how big it would’ve gotten if Shakira had sang the hook (as she was originally supposed to)?

One other interesting factoid for you S.O.T.S. watchers out there. If you check out the Top 100 songs on Metrolyrics, a site that is solely dedicated to helping readers find out what some of their favorite vocalists are actually singing, their current number one is “Super Bass” by Nicki Minaj (which seems to be making a nice run of its own right now). If we were to take a guess as to why this song is popping over the rest, we would have to say that the speed at which Nicki raps probably confuses a lot of her listeners, so getting a helping hand with the lyrics really comes in handy when, like Taylor Swift and Selena Gomez, someone asks you to start spontaneously rapping!

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Nick Jonas Covers “Edge Of Glory” And Lady Gaga Swoons

Planning to cover “Rolling in the Deep”? Get in line. Planning to cover “The Edge of Glory”? Get ready to be promoted by Lady Gaga herself. Nick Jonas learned as much when he played the Gaga single, among other covers, on July 1 at a Microsoft Store in Los Angeles. Two days later, Gaga rehosted fan footage of the performance, adding the slate “THE EDGE OF JONAS” (in her favorite font, Impact), and tweeted her praise:

For better-quality footage of the performance, plus its continuation into Bruno Mars‘s “Just the Way You Are” and Joe Jonas’s “When You Look Me In The Eyes,” check this higher-definition fan video.

Lady Gaga Swoons Over Nick Jonas’ ‘Edge of Glory’ Cover [Billboard]


Thanks To The Beastie Boys, Spike Jonze Is Returning To Music Videos … But What Of His Peers?

The Beastie Boys announced on Friday that a Spike Jonze-helmed music video for new single “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” featuring Santigold, is on its way later this month. The preview image above speaks volumes; the action-figure Beastie Boys, crouched for cover behind an overturned flatbed bearing their old-school logo, are prepared for some sort of Bond/Inception battle. We’re already excited.

That said, it seems slightly inaccurate to say that Jonze and the Beastie Boys have re-teamed, per se. The new clip likely didn’t require the Beastie Boys to even set foot in front of a camera or microphone, which probably suits them fine; they had a mere cameo, after all, in their “Make Some Noise” video. We are nonetheless thrilled to hear that Jonze is making another music video.

Over the past few years, music videos have had a miniature revival, but many of the innovative music video directors are no longer working in the medium. Jonas ?kerlund never stopped, but he’s enjoyed a return to popularity thanks to his videos for Lady Gaga (“Paparazzi” and “Telephone”). Nigel Dick also continues to make music videos, though his fort? was teenpop; none of his videos for Nickelback and others have been anywhere near as iconic as clips he shot for Britney Spears (“…Baby One More Time,” “Sometimes,” “(You Drive Me) Crazy,” and “Oops…I Did It Again”) and the Backstreet Boys (“As Long As You Love Me,” “All I Have To Give,” “Drowning”), not to mention the MTV original movie 2Gether.

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Watch The Throne Now Available For Pre-Order And With Official (?) Release Date

When rumors swirled last week that Jay-Z and Kanye West collaboration Watch the Throne would be released on July 4, we speculated on the likelihood of such a release, concluding that the release date decision was really up to Kanye, then went to the source and got an official denial, which in hindsight makes perfect sense, since Kanye spent the weekend performing, at Summerfest in Milwaukee on Thursday and at the Essence Festival in New Orleans on Saturday, which would, we presume, preclude finishing the album.

July 4 did turn out to be a benchmark for the album, despite it not actually being released: shortly after midnight, the album became available for pre-order (CD and digital, deluxe and standard), with an announced “ship date” of Tuesday, August 2, 2011, apparently confirming weekend rumors, attributed to Ryan Seacrest, that the album would be coming in August. The album art, also revealed on July 4, can be seen below:

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James Blunt Covers Katy Perry For Billboard

Everyone else in the United States may have taken the day off yesterday, but Billboard‘s “Mashup Mondays” was in session?possibly because yesterday’s contributor, James Blunt, isn’t an American. Blunt and band leapt at the opportunity for contrast, covering Katy Perry‘s “California Gurls.” We’re not sure to what extent the scaled-back, near-acoustic rendition of last year’s Song Of The Summer is a gag; there’s a wink in every grin he gives the camera, though half the time it’s on lines like “they’ll melt your popsicle,” but the rendition isn’t sloppy.

Blunt jokes characteristically in the interview segment after the song. He explains his song selection by noting, “I sing like a girl myself, so why not?” and comments, on Perry, “I suppose I’ve always admired her, ’cause she’s just got great hands”:

We see what you did there.

We only wish Billboard had gotten footage of Blunt “trying the Snoop Dogg rap,” about which Blunt only says “It’s not on the track — particularly with an English accent it doesn’t really work.”


Beyonc? Introduces Macy’s 4th Of July Fireworks With “Best Thing I Never Had,” “God Bless The U.S.A.”

When the producers of Macy’s 4th of July Fireworks special contacted Beyonc? about introducing their display of forty thousand fireworks over the Hudson River with a musical performance, it must have seemed like the most obvious phone call. Thanks to a combination of factors, not least her relative resistance to the return of European dance sounds in pop, her promise to campaign for Barack Obama in 2012 (as she did in 2008), and her “Move Your Body” video for Michelle Obama‘s “Let’s Move” campaign, unpacked by Mike Barthel at Sound of the City, B has come to represent a certain facet of “America.” No other artist could as effectively have honored the 125th anniversary of the gift of the Statue of Liberty by performing at its base.

Plus she’s promoting her new album 4! So everybody wins. Above, watch her performance, to a crowd of adoring fans, of her single “Best Thing I Never Had,” for which a video will be premiering imminently.

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by (@unclegrambo)

Is Lexi St. George The New Rebecca Black?

If Ark Music Factory CEO Patrice Wilson has anything to say about, she will be! The man who turned Rebecca Black into an overnight sensation back in March has a new prot?g? named Lexi St. George, who was introduced to American audiences yesterday during a Good Morning America segment called “Instant Pop Star” (a name that, at least to us, doesn’t seem to place any sort of value in oldster values like “artistic integrity” or “career longevity”). The 14-year-old debuted her (unnecessarily parenthetical-laden) first single, “Dancing To The Rhythm (With Me),” on the show and, if you’ll allow us to damn it with faint praise, it sounds like just about everything else on Top 40 radio these days. Which is to say, it’s sung by someone with an appealing yet thin affect –think Katy Perry, think J. Lo– and, of course, its bridges and choruses are punctuated by sweeping, lite trance rhythms. It’s catchy, yet disposable, which sort of makes it a perfect pop song to play for your cadre of bleeding edge, irony-appreciating friends at a barbeque this weekend.

Lexi St. George reminds us a lot of Hermione Granger, if Ron Weasley‘s best babe decided to forego a career pursuing Defence Against Dark Arts and instead went the pop star route. She’s got clean-cut Everygirl good looks, and her dance floor skills would blend in perfectly at a junior high mixer. Most importantly, though, she looks like she’s having “fun fun fun fun” with her group of (hilariously) multicultural friends¹ in her video. Speaking of Rebecca Black, it’s too early to say whether or not Lexi St. George will experience the same rocket ride into the spotlight that Black enjoyed, but no matter what happens to her, you can bet that she’ll be the star of her school’s Homecoming dance come this Fall.

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Hip-Hop For Your Holiday Weekend

We were pretty disappointed to report that Watch the Throne won’t be released on Monday, so we thought, since you might feel the same way, we’d offer a few listening alternatives:

“I Hate Myself” by Lil B

The false rumors had it that Watch the Throne would have a surprise digital release, which actually isn’t a bad strategy, as far as avoiding leaks is concerned. In fact, Lil B did exactly that two days ago; his new album I’m Gay showed up for sale on iTunes late Wednesday night. “I Hate Myself,” the album’s eighth track, samples a monster hit from a 1998 soundtrack. See if you can guess it without clicking. (Hint: the song holds the record for most weeks at #1 on the Billboard Hot 100 Airplay chart.)

For more thoughts on Lil B, click over to The Awl, where Dave Bry used “three makes a trendpiece” logic to talk about how young rappers like Lil B, Tyler the Creator, and Drake are referencing Marvin Gaye in order to permit themselves to talk about their feelings (while punning on the Motown legend’s last name). Or check the rave review penned by Lupe Fiasco, whose video for “Out of My Head,” featuring Trey Songz, premiered yesterday on MTV.

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