Despite a career that’s now crossed the 20-year plateau, Guster remains one of the most criminally underrated pop acts working in the music industry these days. Unfairly lumped into the widely maligned “college rock” genre, their last two long players, 2006′s Ganging Up On The Sun and 2010′s Easy Wonderful, are, in fact, chock full of melodic pop gems that offer insight on topics as diverse as righting the wrongs of the past, frustration with the political system, and becoming a parent. But don’t get it twisted: “Dad rock,” this most certainly isn’t.
On August 2, Guster will release a new six song EP, On The Ocean. After 14 years in the major label system, this will be the band’s first self-released album since 1994′s Parachute. As a way of introducing their new material to the world, the band has decided to take the novel approach of debuting their new material by way of the wildly popular social media listening post, Turntable.fm. Why there? “Mostly because it feels organic,” Guster lead singer Ryan Miller told VH1 exclusively earlier today. “I’ve spent time on Turntable [under the moniker DJ Mitchell Spinach] and I use it. It doesn’t feel ‘market-y’ to me if it’s something I actually interact with and understand. These sites that are popping up are incredible, it’s so f***in easy to get turned onto new and old music.”
Miller will be debuting the group’s new material —”I’m at least gonna play the ‘Mitchell Spinach Remix’ of ‘This Is How It Feels To Have A Broken Heart,’ probably another one or two?”, he explained— in a Turntable.fm room entitled Guster’s Polka Party at 9 p.m. ET tonight, but don’t expect an all-accordion playlist. Expect to hear tracks from current Miller faves The Poison Tree, The Rosebuds, Cults and Washed Out (“Love this band”), too. And what about the folks at the Universal Music Group, the distributor that put out their last album (the sessions from which were the genesis of a few of these tracks)? Miller isn’t sweating it. “Well, this will be our first self-released record in almost 14 years, so, I don’t think they give a sh*t.”
Robyn Covers “Every Teardrop Is A Waterfall” For BBC
Listen to Robyn‘s rendition of the Coldplay single, on BBC’s Radio 1 Live Lounge, on YouTube.
Anniversaries: Nevermind Reissue To Contain Demos; Is This It Tribute
The 20th Anniversary reissue of Nevermind, due out September 27, will come in 1-CD, 2-CD, and 4-CD/1-DVD formats, the lattermost of which will contain all of producer Butch Vig‘s original mixes as well as boombox recordings. And here we thought there was no unheard Nirvana in the vault. [Spin]
Meanwhile, Stereogum celebrates the tenth anniversary of the Strokes’ Is This It (released July 30, 2001 in Britain) with Stroked, a front-to-back tribute to the album (in its original form; there’s no cover of “When It Started,” the song that replaced the critical “New York City Cops” when the album was released in the United States less than a month after the September 11 attacks). [Stereogum] Read more…
Third-place American Idol finisher Haley Reinhart has become the fourth contestant from season 10 to sign with an imprint of Universal Music Group, the Los Angeles Times reported yesterday. After winner Scotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina were scooped up by Mercury Nashville for forthcoming country-skewing debuts, ninth-place finisher (and possibly the most divisive Idol contestant ever) Pia Toscano signed to Interscope earlier this month. Toscano’s first single “This Time” was announced at the same time as her deal, but the single premiered and flopped.
There is no word yet when we can expect to hear music from Reinhart, though one might wonder whether the chilly response to Toscano had any influence on the decision to sign another more pop-oriented Idol contestant. At the very least, Jimmy Iovine seems determined to find someone from this past season who will have success on the pop charts. McCreery and Alaina have already proven themselves too country for the task, and unless Toscano has another single up her sleeve, Reinhart might be his new hope. Her most popular Idol performance, after all, was her rendition of the biggest single of the year (“Rolling in the Deep,” natch). The signing could also be less calculated than all that?she may merely have impressed on the first two weeks of this summer’s Idols Tour. One thing’s for sure: we’ll be hearing more from Reinhart, not too long from now.
You would be forgiven if, at first, you don’t quite recognize the striking blonde above with the feathered hair. After all, we’re not accustomed to seeing pictures of Kesha Rose Sebert —better known as Ke$ha— sans copious amounts of eye shadow, glitter and day-glo face paint smeared all over her visage. However, famed celebrity photographer Terry Richardson was seemingly able to convince the garbage bag enthusiast to trade her patented Hefty Bag Chic style for something that more closely resembles Charlie’s Angels era Farrah Fawcett (if only temporarily) for an as-yet-unknown photoshoot. Nicely played, Terry!
To say Jason Derulo has been on the move for his Posted month would be a gross understatement. He spent the first two weeks traversing the breadth of Europe on a promotional tour, then returned to the United States?but only for long enough to shoot his new video in Los Angeles, without even a stop home in Miami?before heading directly to Australia for more promotion. We’re a little jealous of all the places he’s been and the gorgeous weather he appears to be experiencing wherever he goes, but we certainly don’t begrudge him the hours upon hours of interviews and photo shoots! His latest guest-blog entry just hit our inbox, so here it is for you:
I’m sitting in this hut on a private island called Double Island in Australia. Join me as I watch the sun go down. So much to be thankful for ay? Sad to say, that this is the fourth and final week of my VH1 Posted. How does it feel to have traveled around the world and back with me?
Even though Young Jeezy is gearing up to release his fourth solo album?later this year, his show last night at Highline Ballroom in New York was dedicated to his first. Commemorating Let’s Get It: Thug Motivation 101′s sixth anniversary, the rapper who reps Atlanta looked both svelte and hungry while performing alongside a full band in the hot, filled to the brim venue. For those in attendance, however, it was a welcomed experience, especially once the star-studded guests began spilling out on stage.
First to show his face was Jay-Z, making a supportive cameo to spit his verse from the debut album’s third single, “Go Crazy,” making the crowd do just that. Kanye was next up to bat, joining Jeezy for their 2008 collabo, “Put On,” followed soon after by UGK legend Bun B who helped perform TM101 track “Trap or Die.” Next to hit the stage was Brooklyn rapper Fabolous, who, after performing “Flexin’” from Jeezy’s recent Real Is Back mixtape, also delivered radio favorite “You Be Killin’ Em” to the already-spoiled audience. And to cap off the laundry list of appearances, Jeezy then brought out the entire L.O.X. to perform a medley of their strongest tracks, again forcing the crowd to lose their minds.
While Jeezy’s recruits may be the impressive lynchpin in the show’s dossier, it’s absolutely worth mentioning that his fans were thoroughly content with solo performances from just the man himself. As each song dropped, the audience recognized it instantly, and the room would soon be filled with audible word-for-word rapping accompaniment. Not just some people either, it was pretty much everyone; something you don’t see at every rap show. And considering Jeezy announced that his new album, Thug Motivation 103, will be hitting stores on September 30th, I’m sure he’d appreciate it if every person rapping along to his lyrics in that room actually BUYS it.
Just a week after the premiere of “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win,” the latest collaboration between the Beastie Boys and Spike Jonze (who returned to music-video direction after somewhat of an absence), another director from his era has returned thanks to an artist with whom the director has collaborated a number of times before. Today’s returning talent: Michel Gondry, helming the mostly stop-motion video for Bj?rk‘s new single “Crystalline.”
Kelly Rowland‘s new album Here I Am drops today, and last night she participated in a live Q&A with Billboard to discuss the record, its R&B/Hip-Hop chart-topper “Motivation,” and Destiny’s Child reunion rumors.
Rowland, thrilled at the success of “Motivation” (not only for its own sake, but because it signaled that the record would not be pushed back again, as it had last year), was breathless with praise for all of her collaborators, but especially for Lil Wayne’s verse on her single: “I literally was at a loss for words.” To hear Rowland tell it, her process in preparing the record was not dissimilar to Dr. Dre’s in preparing Detox (though she herself did not make that comparison). “The only thing that could have been holding me back would be myself,” she told Billboard. Read more…
Mariah Carey returned to the Home Shopping Network Sunday and yesterday to share her perfume, jewelry, and most of all, love with the viewing audience. Yesterday Gawker posted a four-minute edit of the six-hour appearance, but it left a bad taste in our mouths, like the clip was a decade-old riff on Mariah’s TRL appearance. She’s so crazy!
For our money (if we had any money) the recap to watch is Rich Juzwiak‘s, above. Full disclosure: Rich is a former writer for this blog, but we guarantee that his devotion to Mariah far predates and far precedes any devotion he might have had to this blog. He’s even recapped Mariah on HSN before. Juzwiak’s recap delineates the many loves of Mariah Carey, and it’s also unbelievably entertaining. Enjoy!
Amy Winehouse‘s family and friends?including Kelly Osbourne, who had her hair styled in a beehive after Winehouse’s iconic ‘do, and Mark Ronson?gathered at Edgewarebury Cemetery in north London this morning for a private funeral service for the departed singer. Her father Mitch Winehouse gave a eulogy before the service, one that closed with Carole King‘s “So Far Away.” Mourners reportedly gathered afterward at a local synagogue, before the singer was cremated and her family began to sit Shiva.
Winehouse’s untimely passing has spiked interest in revisiting her woefully small body of work; Back to Black is likely to re-enter album sales charts this week. Even still, Microsoft came under fire for encouraging followers of its UK PR Twitter account @tweetbox360 to remember the singer by downloading the album via Zune.
We certainly understand (and share) the desire to revisit her work, which is why we went into our archives to find the tape of Amy Winehouse’s performance at the 2008 Oxygen Festival in Ireland. We’ve aired a handful of clips from this performance before, like her rendition of her now eerie classic “Rehab,” below, but we wanted to share the concert in full. MTV Live: Amy Winehouse will premiere tonight on Palladia at 8 p.m. ET/PT, with encore airings on tomorrow at 11:30 p.m. ET/PT and Thursday, July 28 at 7:00 p.m. ET/PT.