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First Look: Foster the People Play “Helena Beat” For You Oughta Know Live

Foster the People came to our offices for an exclusive four-song performance earlier today. In-house performances always draw a crowd, but for a new artist, the trio (lead singer and guitarist Mark Foster, backed by bassist Cubbie Fink and drummer Mark Pontius) drew a particularly large and excited group of MTV and VH1 employees out of their cubicles and offices and into the foyer where the band was playing. That’s yet another sign of the momentum building behind the band, whose first single “Pumped Up Kicks” just unseated Foo Fighters‘s “Rope” at the top of the Billboard Alternative Songs chart after over a year of slowly-building word of mouth. In an MTVHive interview Matt Pinfield conducted, Foster even mentioned Hype Machine, the mp3 blog aggregator that tracked tens of thousands of streams of their single and other tracks. Their debut album just came out last month, and the word is, they’ll be announced as our next You Oughta Know artist next week.

The set sounded great, but we won’t tease you too much with descriptions until we can share footage with you. We will say that they played the three songs from last year’s self-released EP (re-released by Startime in January)?new single “Houdini,” Song Of The Summer contender “Helena Beat” (a sneak preview of which can be seen above) and of course “Pumped Up Kicks”?plus an early fan favorite from the new record, “Color on the Walls (Don’t Stop),” which has a bassline that resembles Nirvana but with an entirely un-grungy guitar melody over it.

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DJ Jazzy Jeff And The Fresh Prince Kick Off Another Summer With “Summertime”

It’s the longest day of the year in the northern hemisphere?officially the first day of summer?so even though the season’s lazy days are ahead of us, what better time to start looking back at the evergreen songs of summers past? This morning, the Village Voice‘s Sound of the City blog ran an extensive Q&A with DJ Jazzy Jeff about one of the most enduring summertime songs, his own (with the Fresh Prince) “Summertime,” which turns twenty this year. Will Smith channeled his own nostalgia for Philly summers past (while in Los Angeles shooting the first season of The Fresh Prince of Bel Air) into a timeless nostalgic anthem.
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Tuned In: Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings Wow Lopez Tonight Crowd

Yesterday was surprisingly strong for late night music on a Monday. Bon Iver kicked off “StePhest Colbchella ’011: Rock You Like a Thirst-icane” on The Colbert Report and Mint Condition slayed the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon crowd as Weird Al Yankovic, sitting in with the Roots, looked on. (Panic! at the Disco weren’t bad on Kimmel either.)

The best performance of the night, though, belonged to Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings, who burned up the Lopez Tonight stage. The whole crowd clapped along with the punchy throwback-soul number “Without a Heart,” thanks in no small part to the Dap-Kings’ sharp playing. Were Sharon Jones a James Brown-style bandleader, she wouldn’t have needed to fine any of the Dap-Kings a cent. As it is, Jones is a much less harsh figurehead than Brown ever was, though her gruff vocals hardly have less power for it (though she definitely leads the way?the band stops on a dime on the line “I could be cold as ice”). Of course, the band nods to their roots by ending the song with a mini-riff of Brown’s soul classic “I Don’t Mind.”

Elsewhere on late night?
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Last Lap: Monday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Renee Graziano Styles Ghostface Killah
In case you missed yesterday’s Mob Wives and haven’t caught up with Liz Black‘s recap yet, make sure you do! Staten Island’s own Ghostface Killah met up with Staten Island’s own Renee Graziano in one of the episode’s few lighter moments for Graziano.

Jeremih Covers Adele‘s “Rumour Has It”
“Down On Me” songster Jeremih tried his hand at a cover of “Rumour Has It,” from Adele’s still-chart-topping 21, for Billboard today. He even dropped a bit of “Ice Ice Baby” and “Under Pressure” into a breakdown.
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Britney Spears’s Mic Is For Swinging And Singing In “I Wanna Go” Teaser

Amid rumors that she nearly fought Nicki Minaj backstage, Britney Spears turns her microphone into a weapon?literally?in this interesting teaser for her new video “I Wanna Go,” which premieres Wednesday. Aside from the obvious allusion to Gogo Yubari, the schoolgirl character from Kill Bill, Vol. 1 (see below), (and the McTiernan joke on the theater marquee: CROSSROADS 2: CROSS HARDER) the most interesting visual aspect to this teaser is the appearance?on Britney’s shirt and on a wall?of a skull with Mickey Mouse ears.

2011 seems a strangely belated time for former Mouseketeer Britney to be making any sort of statement with this Shepard Fairey-style graffiti combination, but we’re curious where (if anywhere) the video goes with this, not to mention that the notoriously litigious Walt Disney Company could argue that the imagery doesn’t fall under fair use.

Still, seeing Britney as a rather believable warrior on the New York City streets (deadlier than even Adam Lazzara) speaks to the continuing rehabilitation of both her self-representation and her public image. At the very least, the video looks to be better than “Hold It Against Me.” We’re looking forward to Wednesday’s premiere.

Britney as Gogo Yubari:

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Are Britney Spears And Nicki Minaj Already Beefing On The Femme Fatale Tour?

The first two stops of Britney Spears‘s Femme Fatale Tour are in the can, and the reviews are in. Is the tour a success? It depends whom you ask (or maybe which night you attended).

Carla Meyer raved at the Sacramento Bee about Spears’s tour kickoff on Thursday night, a “relaxed” yet “excited” performance that was no less professional for the “fun” Spears had while “hitting all her marks.” Barry Walters, who attended the same show for Rolling Stone, reported the same: “She’s wisely focusing on the present…while offering possibly her flashiest, fastest moving, and most entertaining production yet.” He complimented her agility and showpersonship.

The two reports disagree on opener Nicki Minaj; Meyer praised her “magnetism” and “attention to detail” while Walters thought the set “lacked in commitment.” Both did find it (understandably) strange that Spears’s “Till the World Ends” performance featured an onscreen Minaj instead of an in-person one.

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by (@Lacezilla)

Tipsy Amy Winehouse Booed Off Stage in Belgrade, Cancels European Tour Dates

Amy, Amy, Amy. We thought you were getting better, not worse! Just two weeks ago, after a short stint in rehab and a clear-headed, successful performance at London’s 100 Club, it was reported that the British songbird’s sobriety was finally on the mend. But in Serbia on Saturday night, Winehouse kicked-off what was supposed to be her European tour, showing up visibly inebriated on stage. Not only could a stumbling Amy barely sing for her Belgrade audience of 20,000 ticket-holders, but her cringe-worthy “performance” was heavily booed in what local press is referring to as “the worst in the history of Belgrade.” An apologetic statement has been issued from her camp, speaking to the incident and canceling her next two shows in Turkey and Greece:
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Big Man R.I.P.: The Top Five Non-E Street Band Performances By The Late Clarence Clemons

The Big Man, Clarence Clemons, passed on Saturday due to complications from his recent stroke. He was 69. Saxophonist Clemons was perhaps the most essential member of the E Street Band, but his appearance on Lady Gaga’s latest single “Edge of Glory” is a potent reminder of the range of his body of work outside Bruce Springsteen collaborations. Here are his five best:

5. Ian Hunter, “All of the Good Ones Are Taken”
Clemons has a really great solo two-and-change minutes into the title track off Ian Hunter’s 1983 album All of the Good Ones Are Taken (though a stand-in appears in the music video). Without his performance, this Mott the Hoople member’s solo effort wouldn’t have had its single (especially since guitarist Mick Ronson only played on one song). This largely forgotten video used to get a lot of play on local and syndicated non-MTV video shows.
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by (@unclegrambo)

R.I.P. Clarence Clemons (1942-2011)

Sad news to pass along this evening: Clarence “Big Man” Clemons, the renowned saxophone player in Bruce Springsteen‘s E Street Band, passed away earlier this evening as a result of complications from the stroke he suffered earlier this week.

We’d like to pay our respects to The Big Man by programming 24 hours of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band on VH1 Classic. Starting at 7 p.m. on Sunday night, we’ll be airing the concert films Bruce Springsteen & The E Street Band: Live in New York City (2000) and Live In Barcelona (2002) back-to-back for 24 consecutive hours.

Clemons first rose to prominence in 1971 after agreeing to team up with fellow Asbury Park, NJ musician Bruce Springsteen. The Bruce Springsteen Band, as they were called back then, didn’t make it very far, but Bruce reconstituted the group a few years later under the moniker of the E Street Band and, as they say, the rest is history. Clemons became an instrumental part of Springsteen’s band, contributing some of the most famous sax solos in music history on songs like “Born To Run” and “Jungleland,” and was such an integral part of Springsteen’s creative process that The Boss wrote the song “Tenth Avenue Freeze-Out” and included their origin story as part of one of the verses.

Earlier this evening, Springsteen released the following statement about Clemons:
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by (@unclegrambo)

Rumors Of On-Set Creative Clashes Mar The Release Of Lady Gaga’s Video For “The Edge Of Glory”

When word first broke last month that Lady Gaga was prepping a video for her Song Of The Summer contender “The Edge Of Glory,” acclaimed music video director Joseph Kahn was attached to the project. However, before Gaga’s new Rent-tastic video debuted on So You Think You Can Dance last night, Kahn tweeted the following:

Which was followed up by this:

Naturally, this apparent Gaga diss by Kahn infuriated the Little Monsters, who barraged Kahn so relentlessly on Twitter that his name became a trending topic “for all the wrong reasons.” After Gaga refused to come to his aid on Twitter, anonymous insiders close to production talked to the New York Post’s PopWrap blog and detailed the “disagreements” that occured on set between Gaga and Kahn, disagreements that led to Kahn disavowing the project entirely (the finished video for “The Edge Of Glory” is now listed as being directed by Haus of Gaga).

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