Curious About This Year’s Grammy Nominees? Join Popdust’s Listening Party!

by (@unclegrambo)

Our friends over at Popdust came up with a fairly ingenious (if also a wee bit insane) way to educate themselves with the contenders for this year’s Grammy Awards. Since 10 a.m. this morning, they have been hosting a Grammy Listening Marathon, during which they have been playing all 108 of the songs that have been nominated for Grammys this year in alphabetical order. VH1′s own Carrie Keagan, host of Big Morning Buzz Live, is joining their conversation from 4-5 p.m. today, as should you! (As of 4 p.m., they’re at the “R” section of the alphabet.)

Below, you can find a USTREAM player so you can listen to the songs, as well as a way to join in on the chatting festivities. Enjoy!
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President Obama Releases His 28 Song Campaign Playlist On Spotify

by (@kat_george)

Hot on the campaign trail pending this year’s election, President Obama is yet again proving why he’s a cut above the rest by releasing a Spotify playlist to soundtrack his campaign. No matter what you think of the Obama presidency, you can’t accuse the man and his minions of being inept when it comes to new technologies and social media. Indeed, the Spotify playlist, which itself is the primary “of the moment” device for music sharing, was promoted using Obama’s Facebook page and Twitter feed, giving the incumbent somewhat of a modern edge against would-be Presidential candidates. Not to mention making him unspeakably cool, which counts for almost everything to the social media generation.

The list has some notable inclusions as well — especially Al Green‘s “Let’s Stay Together”, which the President recently worked out his vocal cords to. Bruce Springsteen seems like a must for any “all American” campaign, and The Boss’s new track “We Take Care Of Our Own” is right at home in a play list that covers the USA’s musical heart from the middle to the coasts — from soul to country to indie-pop. Showing that he’s “down with the kids” Obama’s playlist includes Arcade Fire and Wilco and even some of our favorite DIVAS: Ledisi, Florence + The Machine, Sugarland and Jennifer Hudson. The only minor criticisms we have of the list is that there’s no representation for Watch The Throne — it seems that Jay-Z and Kayne West‘s Frank Ocean chorused “Made In America” would have been the perfect track to accompany Obama’s campaign. Also, where’s Beyoncé?

You can see the full track listing after the jump.
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Good News, Bad News For Lana Del Rey: Born To Die Debuts At #2, But She Cancels SXSW

by (@unclegrambo)

After her widely-maligned performance on Saturday Night Live a few weeks ago, many bloodthirsty people pronounced Lana Del Rey‘s career over before it even began, utilizing everything from thousand-plus word thinkpieces to snarktastic 140 character tweets to make their opinions heard. Much like we saw in the initial hours after LDR appeared on SNL, though, all the controversy ended up working in her favor. According to a press release issued by her record label, Born To Die sold 77,000 copies in the United States last week, good enough for a #2 debut on the Billboard charts (and significantly outpacing early projections of a 55-60K sales week). The record also debuted at #1 in the UK, where it sold 117,000 copies, and ended up moving some 800,000 copies worldwide. Somewhere in Los Angeles, we hope that Juliette Lewis is scarfing down a plate of crow and chasing it with a slice of humble pie!

However, it isn’t all peaches and cream in Lana Del Rey’s world this week. Despite the fact that she played a well-received set on Letterman last week and performed an intimate gig for her passionate fanbase at the Los Angeles outpost of Amoeba Records yesterday, it seems that Interscope is determined to limit her exposure at this point in time. Earlier this week, the New York Post erroneously reported that she had cancelled a planned Spring tour of the United States; her reps firmly denied this to be the case, but then confirmed to Pitchfork that LDR had indeed cancelled a planned outing to Australia, as well as her highly-anticipated SXSW dates in March. So, for now, LDR fans will have to make do with repeated listens to Born To Die, as well as a still unscheduled appearance on Ellen, to get their Lana fix.

Lana Del Rey Denies Tour Cancellation Rumors [Pitchfork]

[Photo: Getty Images]

Jay-Z And Kanye West’s Video For “Paris” Kaleidoscopes So Hard (That S**t Cray!)

by (@kat_george)

Have you ever wondered exactly what’s going on inside Kayne West‘s brain? There’s been at least one occasion where we’ve lost sleep over it, but now we can put our questions to rest once and for all, as the Kanye directed video for his Watch The Throne hit “Paris” with Jay-Z gives us a glimpse into the cray goings on inside the West cranial cavity. And it’s exactly what we’d pictured — a kaleidoscopic, ordered chaos in which buxom women are commodified and appear in double while regal black panthers lurk in the shadows.

Comprised mostly of footage of Hov and Ye playing to an audience, there’s a cameo from Will Ferrell and plenty avant-bricolage consisting of found images of Paris, digital geometry and the same kaleidoscopic effects that are used throughout. There are the requisite thrown up diamonds by the audience’s hands; but our favorite part is an almost poignant moment where Kanye looks out over the crowd. We can only see the back of his head — his vantage point becomes ours as the crowd, for blink-and-you’ll-miss-it split seconds turns to a thrilling kaleidoscope and back. A visual narrative that accompanies the banging “ball so hard” themed track, the video brings elements of the surreal and the absurd to Kanye and Jay’s world of money, fame, and Paris.

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Posted: The Fray Play “Heartbeat” On Big Morning Buzz Live And Give Us A Second Intimate Blog Post

by (@kat_george)

VH1′s February Posted artist The Fray stopped by Big Morning Buzz Live today to play their new single “Heartbeat.” After their high energy performance of the song on Letterman, The Fray gave us a stripped back performance of the song, which was just as moving as the inspiring show they put on for Letterman. The guys also took the chance to give us the second installment of their Posted blog, and after the first poetic and intimate entry, this second post by lead guitarist Dave Welsh tells the story of the band’s Super Bowl experience. Read the post from February 6th after the jump.

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Tuned In: The Band Perry Sing “All Your Life” For You On Ellen

by (@kat_george)

video platformvideo managementvideo solutionsvideo player

Ahead of the Grammys this weekend, for which they’re nominated for Best New Artist, The Band Perry stopped by The Ellen Degeneres Show to play their song “All Your Life.” Melodic and sweet, The Band Perry played their soft, rolling country track to perfection, not putting a single note wrong. Their stirring harmonies and gently strumming guitar added dynamism to the romantic love song. The Band Perry will also be performing at the Grammys, with a whole host of new stars and old legends.

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Gala So Hard: Jay-Z Live At Carnegie Hall

by (@unclegrambo)

“We gon’ step on all those lines that separate us tonight; you’re about to witness music at a very high level.”

Jay-Z made this characteristically bravado-laden declaration three songs into his set at New York City’s Carnegie Hall last night, the second of two charity shows benefiting the United Way and the Shawn Carter Scholarship Foundation that he performed this week. Much has been said about cultural ramifications of a night like this, a triumphant chapter in a rags to riches story so improbable that Horatio Alger himself would never have envisioned penning it. It was clear from the outset of the show that Jay-Z had every intention of delivering on that ambitious bill of goods —when was the last time anyone attempted to put on a hip hop show featuring a 20-plus piece symphony orchestra for an audience filled with (primarily rich white) people in suits?—but by the end of the show, I couldn’t help but feel like he wasn’t quite able to achieve both of those audacious goals equally.

First, the scene. Carnegie Hall is one of our country’s most legendary musical venues, and also one of our most exclusive. Not just anyone is allowed to perform here, nor is just anyone necessarily allowed to attend a gig there. As a means of showing respect to the 121-year-old venue and all that it symbolizes, attendees of this two-night stand were encouraged to dress formally for the occasion; like a good general, Hov made sure to follow his own directive. Taking the stage a few minutes after 10 p.m. in white tuxedo jacket, black tux pants, a dapper black bow-tie and stylish shades, J-Hova looked like the long lost sixth member of the Rat Pack as he performed “Public Service Announcement” off his 2003 LP, The Black Album. The audience ate it up, leaping to their feet and waving their well-manicured hands in the air like they just didn’t care, perhaps no one more so than his wife Beyoncé. The new mom snuck into her box seat (stage right, closest to the stage) just as the house lights dimmed and proceeded to emphatically dance in a standing position for most of the show’s nearly two-hour runtime.

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Last Lap: Beyonce Will Release “End Of Time” As Her Next Single

by (@kat_george)

Beyoncé Will Release “End Of Time” As Her Next Single
New mom Beyoncé is set to release “End Of Time” from her 2011 album 4 as her next single. Makes sense — we can’t imagine that Bey is ready to get back to work on new material so soon after the bub, and of course the world is keen for more from Mamma Knowles. So she’s doing the best she can to appease our hungry eyes and ears, not that we ever had any doubt she would. [Pop Dust]

Lana Del Rey Is Swarmed By Hysterical Fans
You know you’ve made it when you have fans that cry hysterically in your presence. Lana Del Rey‘s fans shed more than a few tears, overwhelmed in her presence at a signing at Amoeba Records. [Hipster Runoff]

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Ellie Goulding’s New Video For “Lights” Is More Brilliant Than Blinding

by (@kat_george)

Ellie Goulding‘s new video for “Lights” is flashy, but it’s more brilliant than it is blinding. Featuring a glowing Goulding singing the dance-led track back lit by a glorious halo of clean light, the song has club anthem written all over it. Goulding begins playing the tambourine, and transitions to drums as the video picks up its pace. There are some great moments where Goulding is frozen in time, in a 360 degree view, surrounded by neon illustrations. If Goulding’s hair shaking and drum bashing while neon laser beams flash around her doesn’t get you dancing, then it’s probable that nothing will. Bright and fun, were thinking “Lights” is the perfect song to lead into spring toe tapping along with.

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Kelly Clarkson Is “Stronger” Than Adele On This Week’s Charts

by (@kat_george)

Last week we wondered if Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” could topple Adele’s “Set Fire To The Rain” to take the number one spot on the Billboard 100, after the song snuck up to number two, just behind the dominating Adele. Well, our Kelly has done us proud in the chart battle of the divas, usurping the as yet undefeated Adele to steal first. “Stronger” is Kelly’s third number one hit after 2002′s “A Moment Like This” and 2009′s “My Life Would Suck Without You.” We’re huge Adele fans, but we’re also pretty stoked to see Kelly take the lead — it’s wonderful that the top spot is getting shared amongst such deserving ladies! And the icing on the cake? Both ladies will be performing at this weekend’s Grammy awards show — it will be Adele’s first live performance since recovering from vocal chord surgery, and for Kelly the show will follow her moving rendition of the national anthem at last weekend’s Super Bowl.

54th Annual Grammy Awards will air on Sunday February 12th at 8 PM ET on CBS.

Kelly Clarkson Drives ‘Stronger’ to Hot 100 Summit [Billboard]

[Photos: Getty Images]