by (@unclegrambo)

SXSW 2012: Fiona Apple’s Return Reminds The World That She’s A Singular Force Of Nature

Fiona Apple Performs Live At The 2012 SXSW Festival

Not even the sun could resist an opportunity to witness Fiona Apple‘s first performance outside of Los Angeles in years.

It was a mostly overcast day in Austin yesterday, Day Two of the music portion of the 2012 South By Southwest Festival. However, as well over a thousand people stood patiently in line in the blocks surrounding Austin’s BBQ landmark Stubb’s, the sun crept out from its hiding spot behind the clouds to watch the singular force of nature that is Fiona Apple. She’s got a new album on the way— the title of which, The Idler Wheel is wiser than the Driver of the Screw, and Whipping Cords will serve you more than Ropes will ever do, is probably the hardest thing you’ve had to memorize since college— and descended upon Austin intent on reminding the world why she’s the anti-Adele.

Now, that’s not to slag on Adele or anything that she’s accomplished, but Fiona Apple’s music has never been the kind of easy listening fare that you can throw on the stereo on Sunday morning while you’re making breakfast. The origins of Fiona’s music emanate from a raw, primal place deep within her soul, and when she delivers her work on stage, it’s as if she’s attempting to physically expel all of the physical and mental suffering that she’s experienced: Her body writhes and contorts as she’s singing, her hands tugging at her clothing in an almost unconscious fashion, almost as if she’s possessed. She projects the state of her psyche, past and present, in every song that she sings in such a pure, unfiltered fashion that is impossible to take your eyes off her.

She took the stage at Stubb’s for last night’s NPR Showcase just a few minutes before 8:00 p.m. and launched into “Fast As You Can,” her first single from her 1999 masterwork When The Pawn…. Most performers take a song or two to get into the groove, but Fiona came out of the gate swinging, delivering the song in a raspy fashion that Jules Winfield would describe as “great vengeance and FURIOUS anger.” She then proceeded to growl her way through “You’re All I Need” “On The Bound” before breaking everyone’s heart with an emotive version of “Paper Bag”, in which she confesses “I know I’m a mess he don’t wanna clean up.”

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by (@kat_george)

Ke$ha Has Created Her Own Music Genre But Be Warned, It’s NSFW

Leave it to Ke$ha to declare that she’s invented a new genre of music called “C*ck Pop”. She doesn’t even have one of those, but it looks like that’s what her style is regardless, although we’re not entirely sure what it means. Music that comes out of a man’s genitalia? Or music as, er… played by a man’s genitalia? We’re very sorry for the disturbing mental imagery you might be getting right now, but Ke$ha said it, not us! Ke$ha Tweeted about the new genre regarding a collaboration with Dr. Luke and Benny Benassi, which we’re guessing is going to be something of a club anthem, and we’re intrigued by the anatomy of it all…

Ke$ha Creates Her Own NSFW Music Genre With Dr. Luke: Morning Mix [Idolator]

by (@unclegrambo)

SXSW 2012: Rising Star Ed Sheeran Talks Troubadours, Texas And Why Singles Artists Are “F*cked”

Ed Sheeran Performs Live At A VH1 Party At SXSW 2012

Ed Sheeran is a 21 year-old singer-songwriter who, over the course of the last nine months or so, went from being an aspiring musician to a household name in his native England. His grippingly dark single, “The A Team”, debuted at #3 on the UK charts last June and it’s been a rocket ride for the fresh-faced troubadour ever since. His first full length album, +, is currently available as an import, but will be on shelves and in the iTunes store here in the U.S. soon. We caught up with him last night at the W Hotel here in Austin, where he performed a spirited and energetic set as part of the the VH1 Rock Docs party at the SXSW Music Festival.

VH1: Is this your first trip to SXSW?
Ed Sheeran: This is my first time anywhere other than New York or LA. Not only is it my first Texas show, it’s my first middle America show I guess. It’s been going great. I just did my first gig and I’m really looking forward to this one. I’m lovin’ it, it’s a crazy vibe out here.

How many shows are you playing this weekend?
Seven. It’s cool. My one addiction is to live shows, and I love getting out there and doing ‘em.

So, the song that really broke you in the U.K. and will be your first single over here in the States is “The A Team.” The subject matter of the song is very dark, lyrically, but also incredibly compelling. What was it about this song that resonated so well with audiences?
The whole kind of ethos around it is that it encompasses pain and suffering. I know that that sounds really deep, but with enough dance tracks on the radio, sometimes people need a little bit of raw, real stuff. It’s sort of the same thing as The Police and their song “Roxanne”. People can’t necessarily relate to it 100%, but they can relate to the feeling of it.

We’ve noticed the same thing, too. With the proliferation of dance music on the airwaves, do you feel like there will be a counter-movement where fans will be drawn to more “authentic” music, the kind of stuff that you excel at?
In every single generation, when there’s been a really big seller, there’s always been singer-songwriters. Before me, there was James Morrison. Before him, James Blunt. Before him, it was Damien Rice and before that, it was David Gray. It just goes back so, yeah, you’re always going to get the kind of raw, acoustic singer who comes out at the time where everything else seems to be headed in another direction. It always cuts through, there will always be troubadours.

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by (@kat_george)

Tuned In: The Ting Tings “Hang It Up” On Letterman

The Ting Tings, Ke$ha‘s British counterparts, performed their new track “Hang It Up,” live on The Late Show With David Letterman last night. With their uber pop roots still apparent, the Ting Tings took on a rock edge, reminiscent of the noise pop popularised by Sleigh Bells, but not quite as aggressive or mosh-ready. Nevertheless, The Ting Tings bought high energy to the stage, with great vocals and the impressive playing of multiple interments by the drummer/guitarist who switched between the two seamlessly.

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by (@unclegrambo)

SXSW 2012: The Top 5 Most Controversial Things Sean Parker Said During The Downloaded Panel

Downloaded Panel Discussion at SXSW Featuring Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker

It’s an overcast Day Two for VH1 down here at the 2012 South By Southwest Festival, but we’re not complaining. Every minute that the sun isn’t shining is a minute where we don’t mind being inside, nerding out listening to some of the most influential and interesting people who operate in the music world.

Case in point, today’s panel discussion about the new VH1 Rock Doc Downloaded. We mozied our way over to the Austin Convention Center to watch Downloaded director Alex Winter moderate a discussion with the two co-founders of Napster, Shawn Fanning and Sean Parker. This full length documentary film will premiere on VH1 later this year — the only footage screened today was a five-minute long teaser clip — but Fanning and Parker had a lot to say about their invention, their company, the effect that it had on the music business, and companies —like Spotify and iTunes— that were launched in their wake.

In particular, the always controversial Sean Parker made a couple of statements during the panel discussion that made the audience gasp and will certainly get tongues wagging. Here’s a sample of his five most controversial quotes.

“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.” —Sean Parker throws down the gauntlet that Spotify will drive more revenue for the record industry than iTunes

“Even the iTunes store, to this day, is SO SLOW [compared to Napster]. I’m amazed. It’s like this embedded website within their client that when you click buy [makes spinning motion with his hands].”—Sean Parker on Apple’s laziness with regards to improving the iTunes Store

“In some sense, YouTube is much more liable [than Napster]. If you’re hosting the content, you’re liable, potentially, for direct infringement. We had to be sued for the much more esoteric contributory, vicarious copyright infringement … The funny thing about YouTube is that all of the user-generated content was accounting for such a small fraction of [their traffic]. In reality, it was a smokescreen. They had all this UGC, tons of it, and they were able to make a case in the various lawsuits against YouTube that that was the bulk of their content. When, in actuality, the traffic was largely being generated by SNL clips and other copyrighted content.” —Sean Parker on the injustice and inconsistency of the United States legal system

“Suddenly, [Napter] was taken over by lawyers. Our CEO was literally an attorney. Not to begrudge our CEO at the time, but one of our important lessons learned is that your CEO should never be an attorney. It became like a law firm.” —Sean Parker on how NOT to run a business that depends on creativity and innovation

“The record business was terrified of it. And there wasn’t even room for conversation. These guys were such dinosaurs that they were just for the first time waking up to the idea of digital media. They hadn’t even considered the implications of what was coming … [But during our meetings with the major labels], they were grinf*cking the sh*t out of us.” —Sean Parker on the record industry’s reaction to Napster

And one bonus quote for you after the jump!
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by (@kat_george)

The Fray’s Video For “Run For Your Life” Will Inspire You To Get Up And Run

behind the scenes on the set for The Fray‘s “Run For Your Life” video, and now we’re even luckier to be able to present you the full video! From their new album Scars and Stories, “Run For Your Life” is an inspirational ode urging you to get up out of your seat and run — not away from anything, but towards something, or even just for the simple joy of it. While there’s a lot of literal running going on in the clip, we have a feeling the message is more figurative, hinting at a more spiritual sort of running, if you will. As such, the video is inspirational, driven by hope and the sprawling beauty of the wide open expanse of the Californian desert. As Isaac Slade’s raw vocal sings “You don’t have to go it alone,” and is coupled with the slow motion running of some regular people, just try not to pump your fist in the air, and run towards whatever it is you’re looking for.

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by (@kat_george)

Madonna Is About To Be A “Girl Gone Wild” With Her New Video Premier On March 20th

Madonna is ensuring that 2012 is the unofficial year of the Material Girl, first with her “Give Me All Your Luvin'” video, then her Super Bowl half time show, and soon the release of her new album MDNA and world tour. To add to the drama and anticipation, Madonna has now also added the premier of the video for “Girl Gone Wild” to the list of awesome things to look forward to. The official video will drop on March 20th, and you can watch a teaser for the track here. The video is shot in black and white and features a decidedly vintage looking Madonna gyrating amongst a slew of buff, oiled male bodies. While the track is a club-thumping anthem with hints of dub, the visual harks back to 80s Madonna, and we’re hoping there’s some of the boundary pushing Madonna is known and revered for in the aesthetic theme.

Madonna’s “Girl Gone Wild” Video To Premiere March 20 [Idolator]
Girl Gone Wild! Preview Madonna’s New Music Video HERE! [Perez Hilton]

[Photo: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

The Boss’s Wrecking Ball Dethrones Adele For Number One Spot On The Charts

Well. It’s happened. The thing we thought might never happen: Adele‘s 21 has been knocked off the top of the Billboard chart. Sure, there’s every likelihood she’ll reclaim the throne but for now, it’s The Boss who is king. 21 has been number one for 23 weeks, but, somewhat aptly, has been smashed off the top by a Wrecking Ball. Bruce Springsteen‘s new album, after a shaky start and only 196,000 copies sold in the first week, has managed to oust Adele from what seemed like a never ending reign. If Adele wants to get back on top next week, her sales will have to outstrip new releases including The Shins’ Port of Morrow, One Direction’s Up All Night, and The Hunger Games soundtrack (which might be a hard one to beat given the prolonged hype surrounding the movie).

The Queen Is Dead: Bruce Over Adele On Billboard Charts [Pop Dust]

[Photos: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

Radiohead’s Video For “Staircase” Is Intimate And Compelling

It’s no “Lotus Flower” — that is to say, Thom Yorke isn’t writhing around and pulling crazy shapes — but it’s an intimate and compelling video nonetheless. The clip for “Staircase” from Radiohead‘s The King Of Limbs sees the band performing in an enclosed setting, surrounded by a myriad array of instruments and technical equipment. And yes, Thom Yorke is moving in the way only Thom Yorke can move. “Staircase” is as close to a Radiohead renaissance as one could hope for, with Yorke’s chilling, heart palpitating vocals against a dynamic backdrop of broken beats, synthesisers and soaring orchestral compositions, and the video staying true to a music-centric credence, the visual taking nothing from the sound. Lighting appears to be the key here, with bright lights breaking through the dusty air to backlight the band and create an otherworldly presence that amplifies as Yorke’s falsetto croons towards the end.

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by (@kat_george)

Lana Del Rey To Perform (?) On American Idol

We all remember Lana Del Rey’s controversial Saturday Night Live performance, right? Or has selective memory caused you to block it out? Either way, Lana Del Rey seems to be stepping up to the plate again, with reports that she’ll be performing this week on American Idol, although it’s not clear what that performance will entail. According to rumours, it may be a live performance, or it may be a pre-taping for a later show. Lana’s appearance on Idol was drawn to public attention when her name was listed on tickets along with Demi Lovato and Daughtry. We’d love to see Lana get up on stage and deliver an amazing vocal performance — it’s about time she won America back after the vitriol with which she was met following SNL.

Lana del Rey Appearing On Or Taping American Idol on Thursday [MJS Big Blog]

[Photo: Getty Images]