Tuned In: Frank Ocean Gives Jimmy Fallon A Dose Of “Bad Religion” (Plus, A Surprise! Channel ORANGE Drops One Week Early)

by (@unclegrambo)

Rising R&B star Frank Ocean made his network TV debut on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night, creating a tsunami of trending topics along the way. A few hours before Fallon aired at 12:30 a.m., Pitchfork reported that Ocean’s highly anticipated Channel ORANGE LP would be hitting the iTunes Store at midnight, a full week before the album’s official July 17th street date; it promptly went straight to #1 on the charts, where it still sits at this time. Proving that he “gets it,” Ocean has also made his major label debut available to stream in its entirety on his Tumblr; as a result, the Internet is sure to be dominated by conversation about Frank Ocean again today, much like it has been for the last week and some change.

Ocean performed “Bad Religion,” a track off Channel ORANGE, aided by a string section and the legendary Roots crew. If you interpret the lyrics in a literal fashion, it can be read as a harsh critique of Islam (“If it brings me to my knees, it’s a bad religion”). However, peel back a layer or two and the song takes on an entirely different meaning, one in which Ocean struggles to deal with a love that’s both unreciprocated and, in the eyes of most of the world, unconventional. “This unrequited love/To me is nothing but a one man cult/Cyanide in my styrofoam cup/I could never make him love me,” he plaintively confesses, shedding some additional light on last week’s controversy regarding Ocean’s sexuality. It’s a bold statement from a very promising artist, and we look forward to spending a lot more time with the album over the coming days and weeks.

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Last Lap: Beyonce Shows Support For Frank Ocean

by (@zaragolden)

BEYONCE TAKES TO TUMBLR TO SHOW SUPPORT FOR FRANK OCEAN
In a short poem written for the man who wrote (and sometimes sings) “I Miss You” for her, Bey calls Ocean brave, free, and inspirational. Amen. [Beyonce]

PAUL MCCARTNEY IS TEAMING UP WITH HALO CREATORS FOR NEW PROJECT
The former Beatle has hooked up with the team behind the hugely popular video game Halo to make some new music for, well, nobody knows yet. Nevertheless, this sounds like a project worth keeping an eye on. [RS]
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Could Van Halen Be The 2013 Super Bowl Performers?

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Van Halen Addresses Super Bowl Performance Rumors

Performing for the Super Bowl halftime show is major, and an honor only bestowed on a select chosen few. The gossip mill was spinning with rumors that Van Halen was set to perform at next year’s Super Bowl. Despite the group’s mega success with over 56 million albums sold, people were apprehensive about the selection of a rock band doing the Super Bowl in 2013. According to Rolling Stone, lead singer David Roth addressed the rumor on the fan’s website. “That honor has not been bestowed upon us at this time though it is one we would accept in a NY minute,” Roth writes. But perhaps the loud chatter will put the group on NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell’s radar. Read more…

The Wanted Are Planning To Tour With Justin Bieber

by (@zaragolden)

It looks like The Wanted are headed out on tour with the Biebs! In an interview with Scotland’s Daily Record, they let slip that their new manager Scooter Braun has hooked them up with the ultimate gig for an act looking to break: opening for Justin Bieber when he kicks off his Believe tour this fall. You can bet that the next time you see them, their name will lead.

“Hopefully with Scooter now as our manager, things will really take off,” said a grateful sounding Jay McGuiness, before went on to make two other interesting points: 1. that they are working on some new, “Justin-worthy” stuff; and, 2. that they hope Scooter will help make them “presentable to America.” Bieber really expanded his musical horizons with Believe, singing sweetly on “Die In Your Arms,” courting groupies with “Out Of Town Girl,” and even rapping on “Boyfriend.” In many ways, it seems like he is working hard to keep his musical horizon as open as possible. The Wanted, meanwhile, lodged themselves comfortably into the club-pop circuit stateside with their synthy, Ibiza-after-dark anthem “Glad You Came.”  It’s hard to say if, with this match, Braun is trying to highlight the dancier tracks from Bieber’s catalog or if he is hoping to draw The Wanted away from the smoke-and-lasers show and towards someplace a little more “swaggy.”

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How Much Does Team StarKid Know About 50 Shades Of Grey? (VIDEO)

by (@raevotta)

Team StarKid — the Chicago-based theater company that boasts Glee’s Darren Criss among its primary collaborators – might be masters of pop culture parody with their Harry Potter and Batman-themed musicals blowing up on YouTube, but we wanted to see if they were really up-to-date on their pop culture references. When the troupe came through New York on their most recent Mayan-god themed Apocalyptour we sat them down for a little pop culture guessing game.

First up — 50 Shades of Grey. Do the StarKids know a thing or two about the most popular BDSM book series? We had them guess the fake quote amidst 3 real quotes from the novels. Let’s just say they weren’t as knowledgeable about kinky sex dungeons as they are about wizards and wands. (Warning: One swear word in this video, so it’s slightly NSFW!) Check back tomorrow when we quiz them on Hunger Games: Catching Fire.

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CONCERT REVIEW: Roger Waters Brings His Surreal Spectacle The Wall Live To Yankee Stadium

by (@unclegrambo)

I was 5-years-old when The Wall came out in 1979. Of course, I was far too young to grasp any of the deeply adult themes of loneliness, alienation and distrust of institutional power that dominate Pink Floyd‘s masterwork, but that didn’t stop my fellow first graders and I from chanting “We don’t need no education!” and “Hey, teacher, leave us kids alone!” while we walked to elementary school in the mornings. Some musical statements are just universal in that regard, I suppose. Yet, for whatever reason, I was never much of a Floyd fan growing up. Sure, I was familiar with a great deal of their catalog —if you grew up in the 70s or 80s had access to a car and FM radio, how could you not be?— but for whatever reason, my musical attention during my formative years was drawn primarily towards hip-hop and more accessible, distinctly American classic rock staples (Bruce Springsteen, Bob Seger, Eddie Money).

I bring up this confession (of sorts) because I went into Saturday night’s Roger Waters presents The Wall: Live concert at Yankee Stadium without a deep level of knowledge about either the album or the production. I purchased The Wall on iTunes just last week, and only had time to give it one end-to-end listen (which just so happened to be my first time doing so) before hopping on the 4 Train from my home in Brooklyn and making the trek up to 161st Street in the heart of the Bronx. Aside from cursory glances at a few reviews of recent dates on the stadium leg of this particular tour, I went into the evening with an open mind, fully prepared to be blown away. Well, suffice to say, that mission was accomplished. Quite literally, in fact.

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Swedish House Mafia’s Dublin Show Gets Violent

by (@zaragolden)

Is all well in the state of electronic dance music? In the past year, the electronic dance music — or EDM for short, and for those in the know –  has burst through the seams of the genre festivals and rave basements that used to house it, and into the mainstream. The Swedish House Mafia is just one group that rode the scene to success, selling out Madison Square Garden last year with virtually no traditional “big media” support before announcing just recently that their current tour would be their last. The trio thanked their fans in a note posted to their website, and signed off by saying, “We came, we raved, we loved.”  Their last few shows should be a victory lap, a celebration of how far they have come from their early days of dj-ing in pizza shop. What, then, went wrong this weekend at their show in Dublin?

According to reports, nine people were injured during the group’s headlining set at Phoenix Park in Dublin on Saturday night. A 23-year-old man has since been charged in connection with multiple stabbings — at least one victim was left if critical condition — and another young man died of a drug overdose. Many more concert goers were arrested for assault, drugs and public order offenses. Some of the violence was caught on video. And as for the group themselves, they responded to the melee on Facebook, writing that they were unaware of what was going on until after the fact, and promising to “deal with it in the best way we can.” Read more…

Music Royalty And Heartfelt Tributes Close Out Essence Music Fest

by (@Lacezilla)


After an already action-packed weekend of Superlounge performances, empowerment panels, and headline-grabbing mainstage sets, Essence Music Festival came to a close last night in New Orleans. Like many other festivals, Essence is notorious for headlining sets extending late into the early morning of the next day, but when the artists performing are esteemed members of music’s nobility, you stay put!

Kirk Franklin kicked off the festival’s third and final night, handing the mic off to VH1 star Fantasia before soulful crooner Anthony Hamilton and his phenomenal back-up vocalists transformed the Mercedes Benz Superdome into a refreshing gospel experience. The big-ticket performers – Queen of Soul Aretha Franklin and Queen of Funk Chaka Khan – would soon follow.

As the first woman inducted into the Rock And Roll Hall Of Fame, Aretha Franklin has free reign to pretty much do whatever she wants on stage, and did just that. She’d open her mouth, and magic would pour out; graciously bestowing gifts like “(Your Love has Lifted me) Higher and Higher,” “Natural Woman,” “Think,” and “Something He Can Feel,” the 18-time Grammy winner who sang at President Obama’s inauguration was met with a respectful, hyper-attentive audience that contrasted the normal bustling-in-and-out-of-their-seats EMF crowd. Despite the fact that she would at times meander into telling stories and jokes, appropriating an audience-member’s fedora, complaining about the venue’s sound, and acknowledging friends of hers that were in the crowd by asking them to stand, Franklin’s lengthy 90-minute set was any music fan’s dream even that late in the evening.

While Franklin changed her wardrobe from an orange gown to a green and gold frock mid-performance, a presentation was held in her honor, giving Queen of Soul a key to the city of New Orleans by its mayor Mitch Landrieu, a state award by Lt. Gov. Jay Dardenne, and the Essence Power Award from Essence Communications President, Michelle Ebanks. Representing “entertainment, empowerment and elegance,” Franklin was clearly the ideal choice for this year’s awards, and once the Queen of Soul returned to the EMF stage, she performed crowd favorite “Chain of Fools,” sang from what she called “the book of Simon and Garfunkel,” performing a cover of “Bridge Over Troubled Water,” and even found time to pay tribute to the late and legendary Whitney Houston. “She was beautiful, she was warm, she was real,” recounted Franklin of her beloved “Christian sister” as she took to the piano to execute a rendition of Houston’s heart-wrenching “I Will Always Love You.”

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Rihanna, Drake, Jessie J And Nicki Minaj Take Over London’s Barclaycard Wireless Festival

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Nicki Minaj, Jessie J, Rihanna and Drake at Barclaycard Wireless Festival In London

Inclement weather wasn’t enough to stop the show for London’s three day Barclaycard Wireless Festival of live music from the hottest acts out today. Fans’ enthusiasm didn’t seem to wean either with the bad weather as they reveled in sets from Rihanna, Jessie J, Rita Ora, Drake, Deadmau5, Afrojack, The Roots, Labrinth and more. Deadmau5, Drake and Rihanna were the three headliners on Friday, Saturday and Sunday respectively. Despite both Drake and Rihanna’s personal matters in the states–the former being involved in a NYC nightclub brawl with Chris Brown and the latter grieving her deceased grandmother–they gave the people of London a mega show like the superstars they are. Read more…

iHeartRadio Music Festival Gets A Lineup

by (@zaragolden)

In a season busied with festivals, iHeartRadio has proven itself in just two years to be a formidable force when it comes to bringing in the big acts. The Clear Channel festival debuted last year with a lineup chocked full of marquee names like Jay-Z, Carrie Underwood, Lady Gaga, and Nicki Minaj. And by the looks of the lineup released this morning, this year’s show will be as big a blowout as the last.

Set for September 21 and 22 at the MGM in Las Vegas, this year’s line-up includes blockbuster pop stars P!nk, Lil Wayne, Rihanna, Adam Lambert, and Pitbull; shining country stars Taylor Swift, Jason Aldean, and Brad Paisley; R&B crooners Usher and Mary J. Blige; as well as old favorites who are steady on the comeback like Green Day, Aerosmith, and No Doubt. And as if that were not enough, more acts will be announced in the weeks prior to the event. Tickets for the festival go on sale July 14th, and more info can be found here.

Check out the full press release below:

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