Obama Looks To The Music Community For Support President Obama has a wishlist of musicians he wants to support his re-election campaign including Arcade Fire, Janelle Monae, John Legend and Alicia Keys. What can we say? The guy’s got serious style. [NME]
Lana Del Rey’s People Get Sassy
Gawker has been unable to retrieve a comment from Lana Del Rey about the backlash from the weekend’s SNL performance, and her publicist has given a coy middle finger to the request by asking if Brian Williams has commented yet. Sassy. [Gawker]
The Boss is back for 2012, and it seems as though everyone is waiting on tenterhooks for what is expected to be an earth shattering release from the legend. And tomorrow, “We Take Care of Our Own,” the first single off Bruce Springsteen’s new album, will be released on Amazon.com. We don’t know about you, but our excitement is palpable. Especially since Bruce’s manager, Jon Landau, told Rolling Stone the new record is a “big-picture piece of work. It’s a rock record that combines elements of both Bruce’s classic sound and his Seeger Sessions experience, with new textures and styles.”
He also says that the record has, “social overtones” and a “very pronounced spiritual dimension. It extends and deepens the vision that has animated all of Bruce’s work.” As Springsteen fans, we’re obviously elated to hear that The Boss is playing off the blue collar concerns that have characterized his music since the 70s. The album will also feature the E Street Band (for the first time without Clarence Clemons) and other musicians including Rage Against The Machine‘s Tom Morello, and Pearl Jam drummer Matt Chamberlain.
An undisclosed source has allegedly told The Hollywood Reporter of The Boss and his new record, “He gets into economic justice quite a bit. It’s very rock ’n’ roll. He feels it’s the angriest album he’s ever made. Bear in mind, though, that [Springsteen] wrote and recorded the majority of the album before the Occupy movements started, so he’s not just setting headlines to music.” As if that weren’t enough to set you on fire, Bruce is also touring with The E Street Band this year, and will appear as keynote speaker at the SXSW festival.
Turns out Bruno Mars isn’t just good at catching grenades; he dodges them pretty well, too. Mars managed to avoid a conviction after being busted with a not insubstantial amount of cocaine — 2.6 grams, to be precise — after performing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas back in September of 2010, and he’s about to walk away from the ordeal conviction free after strictly adhering to the terms of his plea deal. At the time, he was apprehended after a toilet attendant informed security that someone might be taking drugs in the stall — doing it hard, just like a the rest of us.
Mars pleaded guilty to the possession charge (telling police he had never done drugs before), and was given a probationary sentence that included a $2,000 fine, 200 hours of community service for a non-profit organization and eight hours of drug counseling. And now that Mars has fulfilled all these “punishments,” and kept himself out of the powder room for an entire year, it looks like he’s going to walk off with a completely unmarred criminal record. So what have we learned here folks? We’d like to think the message is “Don’t do drugs,” but it seems more to the tune of “Don’t get caught doing drugs, and if you do, you better be rich enough that you can afford a lawyer who will get you off with little more than a slap on the wrist.” Although, we can’t quite imagine Mars spending 4 years in a state prison (which would have been his punishment if he were convicted), so the outcome is definitely lucky for both Mars and his fans.
Pazz + Jop, The Village Voice‘s annual music poll that aggregates the opinions of thousands of music critics based on their votes for single and album of the year, has just been released, and it’s very similar to all the other ‘Best Of 2011′ lists we’ve read. That is to say, there aren’t really any surprises, maybe just a slight reshuffling of the order. In that vein, Adele appears on both lists, with 21 ranking at number 6 for albums, and “Rolling In The Deep,” and “Someone Like You,” featuring at number one and nine respectively on the singles list.
Perhaps the most unexpected thing about the lists is the order itself — while Adele sits snugly where she’s always sat, several pop stars have found their way into Pazz + Jop’s top ten singles, where other end of year lists had them pulling up the ranks much further down the line. For instance, Beyoncé‘s “Countdown” makes it to number two on the singles list, with Nicki Minaj‘s “Super Bass” at number three and Britney Spears’ “Til The World Ends” at number seven. All in all, however, the top 10 singles featured the usual suspects, from Azealia Banks, Jay-Z and Kayne West, M83, Lana Del Rey, Tyler The Creator and Foster The People, there was nothing particularly shocking about the ballot-topping artists.
It was a similar story in the albums list, which, as already mentioned, saw Adele near the top, followed closely by Bon Iver‘s Bon Iver at number nine. Perhaps of a slightly “buzzier” lien than the singles, the albums list saw critically acclaimed tUnE-yArDs‘, w h o k i l l come in at number one, with PJ Harvey‘s fawned over artwork, Let England Shake at number two, and Wild Flag‘s unexpected success, Wild Flag, at number four. Jay-Z and Kayne West, Destroyer, Drake, Tom Waits and Shabazz Palaces also make the top ten albums but again, no surprises other than ranking — these are names we heard all through 2011 and that at the end of the year were plastered across the lists we saw online in both blogs and music industry and expert websites.
The Grammys is set to have a host for the first time in seven years, and performing the illustrious role at next month’s award show will be none other than rapper LL Cool J. LL Cool J has hosted the Grammy nominations show for the past four years, so is an obvious choice to take the role of master of ceremonies at the awards show itself. In a statement, LL Cool J said “I’m thrilled to be part of Music’s Biggest Night. I will always have fond memories of my first Grammys Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show, in the company of so many other incredible artists, is a dream come true.” The last person to host the Grammys was Queen Latifah in 2005. Next month’s Grammys will also feature performances from nominees the Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars and Jason Aldean, while rumors continue to circulate that Adele will also sing.
The 54th Grammy Awards airs on February 12 on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT.
Adam Lambert fans — this is what you’ve been waiting for. Performing his first single, “Better Than I Know Myself,” from his forthcoming album Trespassing, last night on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Lambert owned the stage with his compelling presence. Looking sharp as always in his signature glam-goth style and vertiginous hair, Lambert gave an emotional performance. With an 80s, synth-led sound shaping the song, Lambert’s voice soared through “Better Than I Know Myself” with confidence and ease, both chilling and uplifting, especially when he hit the high notes with his flawless rock-style vocal.
Katy Perry Gets Her Own Video Game, Katy Perry Sims 3: Showtime
We’re not entirely sure what the story line is, but this sweet animated trailer for Katy Perry‘s forthcoming video game, Katy Perry Sims 3: Showtime, makes a cute, and sort of trippy, mini-video for “The One That Got Away.” [Prefix]
Kanye West Is In The New Kobe System Ad
Along with a slew of famous faces, Kanye West is in the new Kobe System commercial, and gets his 5 seconds of fame asking the pertinent and deeply philosophical question, “what if you’re really successful?” [Rap Radar]
If you like your bands buzzy and your keynote addresses delivered by Bruce Springsteen, then you’re going to be just as excited about the announcement of the line up for this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, as we are. As always, there will be sun and parties, and a showcase of the buzziest bands of the past year and the proverbial “ones to watch” for the year to come. Notably, the hyper-cool line up includes Lana Del Rey, who was not only controversially snubbed by the Coachella festival, but whose SNL performance on the weekend has drawn a lot of heat over the past few days. It seems like the Internet sensation can’t be deterred by a little bit of bad press, and that no matter what her criticisms, she is still one of the most relevant and “of the moment” artists as we dive into the new year.
Other big buzz names on the line up include Talib Kweli, who last year released his first solo album in 4 years, and who is set to join Mos Def as Black Star for their first album since they first appeared under the joint moniker 14 years ago; A$AP Rocky, a new comer who was at the forefront of left-of-the-mainstream hip hop last year; SBTRKT, the James Blake-but-better dub act that wrapped 2011 with critical accolades across industry publications; Best Coast, the buzz band tagged as one of the pioneers the new chillwave genre that is becoming increasingly popular, and Zola Jesus, the girl whose trippy, post-grunge vocalism has captured music aficionados with deeply referential yet highly experimental sounds. You can check out the full line up at the SXSW website, here.
Also featuring at the festival, and possibly what we’re most excited about — sorry up-and-coming young music things — is Bruce Springsteen’s keynote speech. As part of the music conference, The Boss will no doubt address a room full of attentive, reverential ears. We’ll be down in Austin for the festival (March 13-18) covering all the action and bringing you daily updates — so watch this space, there’s more to come!
Actor and musician Scarlett Johansson got behind the camera for Jessie Baylin‘s video for the first single, “Hurry Hurry,” of her album Little Spark. Old school buddies, Johansson and Baylin attended New York’s Professional Children’s School together, and Johansson told MTV Hive that, “One of the greatest gifts of growing up with Jessie has been watching her develop as a musician.” This affection is not lost on the video, which is a simple, tender portrayal of Baylin singing on the rain soaked Manhattan Bridge in New York City. The video itself is romantic and lends an extra air of whimsy to Baylin’s already ethereal sound. As Baylin strolls back and forth on one section of the bridge, she is sporadically illuminated as light glows from her back and hair, as if by magic. The song itself is sweet and sentimental, matching the visual to perfection, and her lofty vocal is both melodic and captivating.
The Daily Mail is reporting today that the 23-year-old Adele has found love in a swampy place; specifically, in the arms of Simon “Swampy” Konecki. However, much like the troubled relationship that fueled the narrative of 21, this burgeoning relationship is not without its own bit of controversy. You see, “Swampy” is not only a wealthy investment manager 14 years her senior, but —gulp— is also a married (ED.NOTE—Or is he? See our update below!) man with a 5-year-old daughter of his own. Lest you place the “homewrecker” tag on Adele, though, reports seem to suggest his marriage is all but kaput; he’s “in the process of divorcing” his current wife (the pair has been separated since 2010). Either way, we’re happy for Adele and excited for the possibility of her penning a bunch of lovestruck anthems.
UPDATE: According to a post on Adele’s personal site, Swampy is actually divorced. Here’s what Adele herself wrote about the situation: “This is the first and last time I will comment on the details of my relationship with Simon. Contrary to reports and headlines in the press today, Simon is divorced and has been for 4 years. Everyone in our lives separately and together wish us nothing but the best, and vice versa. These are the facts. Take care and see you all in February xx”