by (@unclegrambo)

The Black Keys Escalate Their War Against Spotify, Label Sean Parker As An “A-Hole”

The Black Keys aren’t your boring, middle-of-the-road rock stars, not by a long stretch. Their new album, El Camino, debuted at #1 on the Billboard charts when it was released in December, making them arguably THE biggest rock band in the United States after 10 years of toiling in indie semi-obscurity and earning themselves a headlining spot at the 2012 Coachella Music Festival. They’ve also proven to be unafraid of courting controversy, whether by blaming Nickleback for the demise of rock music or by being the most vocal detractor of the game-changing music streaming service, Spotify. Regarding the latter, Black Keys drummer Patrick Carney recently lit into Spotify board member Sean Parker for making his fortune on the backs of hard-working musicians during an online rant.

“Because [Spotify board member and Napster co-founder Sean Parker is] an asshole. That guy has $2 billion that he made from figuring out ways to steal royalties from artists, and that’s the bottom line. You can’t really trust anybody like that. The idea of a streaming service, like Netflix for music, I’m totally not against it. It’s just we won’t put all of our music on it until there are enough subscribers for it to make sense.”


During a panel discussion at SXSW, Sean Parker —whose exploits will be profiled in the upcoming VH1 Rock Doc Downloaded— caused some waves when he told audience members that “There’s definitely some sort of dissent brewing between record labels, publishing companies and artists [about the compensation they get from streaming services] … Spotify is returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]. If we continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”

So, who to believe? Are you on #TEAMKEYS because you feel that you should always purchase the music of bands that you support? Or are you on #TEAMPARKER because you feel that non-pirated music should be more easily accessible to everyone? To find out the opinions that bands like Train, The Shins, Fun. and more have on Spotify, watch the video we just shot of them answering this very question down at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival earlier this month!
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by (@_bobina)

Black Sabbath Guitarist Tony Iommi Completes His Chemotherapy Treatment

Tony Iommi Has Completed His Chemotherapy

Tony Iommi should no longer be “Paranoid.” As of yesterday, the Black Sabbath guitarist released a statement on his website stating he was done with this chemotherapy. Since December, the 64 year-old rocker has been battling lymphoma, a cancer that affects your immune system cells; now, according to his statement, he has started his road to recovery.

Tony wrote, “Hopefully my body will start to get back to normal soon. The steroids were the [worst]. I’ve now got three weeks of radiotherapy coming up which I’m told can be very tiring.”

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by (@unclegrambo)

Video Evidence Of Madonna And Nicki Minaj’s Long-Rumored Kiss Finally Surfaces

The Internet nearly melted back on December 8th when Nicki Minaj tweeted “OH MY f’ingggg Gahhhh!!!!! MADONNA jus kissed me!!!!! On the lips!!!!!!! It felt sooooo good. Soooo soft!!!! *passes out* aaahhhhh!!!!!!!!!” (For those of you keeping score at home, that was 30 exclamation points.)

Immediately, horndogs the world over had visions of girl-on-girl kisses dancing in their head. Would Madge’s lip-lock with Nicki Minaj rival her Frenching of Britney Spears? Would it be a disappointment like her brief peck with Christina Aguilera? Or would it be something even, well, hotter?

Well, until yesterday, the kiss was the stuff of legends, like Sasquatch doing a tonguesploration of the Loch Ness Monster. However, in what we’re sure was simply coincidence, video of Madonna’s smooch of Minaj surfaced ON THE VERY SAME DAY that MDNA hit stores. So, dear reader, we ask of you:

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by (@unclegrambo)

EXCLUSIVE VIDEO: Gavin DeGraw Talks Some Jive Behind The Scenes At Dancing With The Stars

Anybody who knows Gavin DeGraw knows he’s a real wild child, which is why his choice to dance the jive with his partner Karina Smirnoff to “Wild One” last night on Dancing With The Stars was an inspired choice. His outfit was an homage to Marlon Brando‘s from the 1953 film The Wild One, but his moves were way more footloose and fancy-free than Brando was ever able to pull off. The judges seem to concur as well, particularly Len Goodman, who told him “I liked your attitude, I liked the energy you came out with, and for me, this is an improvement on last week.” Gavin and Karina’s score of 21 tied the couple for 8th place out of the 12 remaining competitors, which would seemingly put them out of the woods. But, in order to make sure, be sure to vote for Gavin!

Above, we’ve got the second exclusive report that Gavin Degraw has filed from backstage at Dancing With The Stars. He doesn’t seem nearly as concerned with being eliminated as he does at having to go back home to New York City and cleaning his apartment, which is definitely something that we can identify with. Best of luck to Gavin and Karina, here’s hoping they advance to Week 3!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Concert Review: Teeth & Tongue Beguiles A Small But Fervent Crowd In New York City

Have you ever seen a concert that’s been put on by a single person? No, by that we don’t mean a “solo artist,” someone who’s got a bassist, a drummer, and a roadie or two to get their guitars tuned for them in between songs while they preen behind the mic. We mean someone who, quite literally, stands up on stage all by their lonesome, setting up their instruments and pedals, then performing with nary another individual on stage, then tearing it all down at the end of a set. It’s an incredibly vulnerable position to be in, both as a performer and as an audience member, and a stark and intimate way to take in a performance.

We mention all this because we caught Teeth & Tongue‘s set at Piano’s in New York’s Lower East Side last night, one in which she performed all the duties mentioned above, PLUS playing the keyboard, drum machine and the guitar. Teeth & Tongue is the musical project of 31-year-old Jess Cornelius, who hails from Melbourne, Australia and is currently wrapping up her current North American tour. We caught a few minutes of her set at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival a few weeks back, which was intriguing enough to get us to brave the crisp chill in the air last night to see her showcase her talents.

Teeth & Tongue has a beguiling, sultry sound, one that to this listener lies somewhere between Cat Power and Bat For Lashes. She’s got a real knack for setting the scene in her songwriting, and has a novelist’s gift for conveying the kind of minute details in her lyrics that really put the listener in her head space. Take her confessional breakup song “Unfamiliar Skirts”, for example, a song that’s ostensibly about a couple that’s on one of those ill-fated “breaks.” It contains emotionally raw lyrics like “They all have long eyelashes that drink compliments like dew” and “You can seek forgiveness in their muscles and their thighs,” phrases that read like poetry and take on a heartbreaking quality when paired with her expressive voice and feedback-laden guitar accents. Check out what we mean in this video for the song, her first single off Tambourine (now available on Spotify), her second full-length album.

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Gary Clark Jr.’s “Things Are Changin'” Strikes A Poignant Note On Mob Wives

Gary Clark Jr.'s "Things Are Changin'" Strikes A Poignant Note On Mob Wives

Chances are viewers are drawn to Mob Wives every Sunday night to catch the explosive drama, tears and laughs (courtesy of Big Ang) that our favorite Staten Island ladies never seem to run short of. This week was no different as we watched Carla’s warm reunion with ex-husband Joe, newly divorced Drita’s fledging dating attempts, and Big Ang opening up about her tumultuous marriage. However, it was the scene where Renee is shown quietly lamenting Junior‘s distant behavior that seemed to really resonate with the Mob Wives audience this week. Her loneliness and vulnerability in this scene is brilliantly emphasized by the accompanying music, Gary Clark Jr‘s “Things Are Changin’.”

The scene opens with footage of desolate locations around Staten Island, as the sun sets we hear Clark’s smooth R&B vocals over the gentle plucking of a jazzy guitar. As we transition into Renee’s home, we find her lying in her bed almost cradling herself. It seems she and Junior have hit a crossroads again after discussing the future of their relationship. As she explains, “Something just don’t sit right. I just don’t feel right. It just feels so unfinished…” A shot of Junior driving away highlights the increasing distance between them. The lyric “Things are changing now and I can’t tell/Where I’ll be from here on out/Ooh it’s hell” poignantly accentuates the uncertainty of their relationship.

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Madonna On Twitter: Invites Justin Bieber On Tour, Makes Up With Deadmau5

Madonna joined Twitter using the handle @MadonnaMDNAday for one day only yesterday to promote her new album MDNA, and it could not have been a more fruitfull stunt.

Not only did Madonna manage to cool Deadmau5‘s anger for what he saw as encouraging drug use, she may have booked an opening act for her upcoming tour. When asked by a fan for her opinion on Justin Bieber, Madge responded: “He’s awesome. I’m a huge fan. I love it when he raps.” The Biebs, who’s bringing sexy back with his new single “Boyfriend” (let’s call him JB), responded to Madonna as any tween sensation would: “Seeing that is a huge honor. Yours is a career artists dream of. Congrats on the new album!” Madonna then upped the ante in the twosome’s love fest by tweeting, “Come and join me on stage when I’m on tour when we are in the same city and congrats on your new single.” Is this Madonna’s way of ensuring her popularity with the prepubescent set?

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by (@unclegrambo)

Bob Weir And The National Team Up Together For Historic “Bridge Session” Benefit Concert

If you were playing Family Feud and the category was “Iconic Bridges of the USA,” the top two answers on the board would almost certainly be San Francisco’s Golden Gate Bridge and New York City’s Brooklyn Bridge. This thinking almost certainly went into play for this weekend’s aptly named Bridge Session benefit concert, which saw San Francisco’s own Bob Weir (of Grateful Dead fame, natch) team up with a cadre of Brooklyn indie rockers from bands like The National, The Walkmen, and Takka Takka for a series of collaborative songs from these bands’ catalogs.

If you think about it, though, the Bridge Session is not just a literal reference to a structure that rises over the water. If you stretch the Bridge reference into more metaphorical territory, one could infer that music itself is a bridge that connects generations — in this case, the Baby Boomers and Generation X.

Regardless of what the gents intended to convey with the name Bridge Session, the results were magical. This supergroup played two sets, which included covers of Bob Dylan’s “Most of the Time”, and Cass McCombs‘ “Love Thine Enemy.” In between sets, a discussion panel took place where they covered everything from politics, energy production, women’s rights, and everything in between. After taking questions from Twitter and Facebook, the lights were dimmed and they performed a 2 song encore acoustically, including the version of “Uncle John’s Band” we have for you above!

Full set list below:
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by (@unclegrambo)

Madonna’s MDNA: The Reviews Are In!

Madonna‘s 12th studio album, MDNA, just came out today and it’s already the #1 selling album in the iTunes Store. The critical consensus on the record, however, is decidedly mixed. We’re excited to give it a few spins after work tonight and decide for ourselves, but in the interim, here’s a taste of what some of our favorite music publications and critics have to say about Madge’s new jawn. (We already know what Deadmau5 thinks!)

MDNA is a collection of thoroughly pumping pop tunes, some of which are slices of sheer brilliance. Not only does Madonna take us to the club with MDNA, she exhausts us, drains us, and confides in us.”—Keith Caulfield’s review for Billboard

“Madonna’s in a rapturous state of mind in 2012, and in more ways than one: A bulk of her latest album, an incredible, varied collection of pounding club cuts, bloody revenge odes and swinging, psychedelic ’60?s-tinged anthems, seems to be tripping out on acid–or, more accurately, ecstasy … MDNA is an incredible, explosively defiant record, but also [one that contains] unexpectedly raw, introspective balladry, all of which showcasing far more vulnerability than one might have concluded from the album’s two lead singles.”—Bradley Stern’s review for MuuMuse

“In fact, much of MDNA has more the flip zip of a disc by Katy Perry or Ke$ha than something by a woman who may be older than both their mothers … So many good tracks crowd the disc, in fact, that even the four extras on the deluxe version rate as must-owns.”—Jim Farber’s 5-star review for the New York Daily News

“Madge spends nearly half the album insisting that this is the Best Party Ever … So it’s surprising that Madonna is at her best on the love songs. The W.E. ballad ”Masterpiece” (which won her a Golden Globe in January) begins with Spanish guitar and a finger-snap rhythm — a refreshing break from the relentless bass throbbing.”—Melissa Maerz’s B- review for Entertainment Weekly

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Madonna Bashed By Deadmau5 For Drug Reference

One would think that a world-famous DJ who wears a Mickey Mouse hat and spins electronic music against a backdrop of psychedelic lights would not object to a pop star like Madonna making a drug reference. With Deadmau5, not the case. Making a surprise appearance at Miami’s Ultra Music Festival on Saturday to introduce the ultra-hot Swedish DJ Avicii, Madge asked the audience: “How many people in this crowd have seen Molly?” Molly is a slang term for MDMA (found in ecstasy). The crowd cheered while Deadmau5 took to his Facebook page:

HUR DUR HAS ANYONE SEEN MOLLY???” such a great message for the young music lovers at ultra. quite the f’n philanthropist. but hey, at least yer HIP AND TRENDY! f*cking cant smack my head hard enough right now.

It seems to us that Deadmau5 has as much of a problem with Madonna trying to be hip by referencing ecstasy as he does with the reference itself. Madge, of course, has a long history of stoking controversy at just the right moment, and she does have an album to promote, MDNA — short for Madonna or a drug reference or both?