For the fifth time in as many years, Mary J. Blige graced the Essence Music Festival stage last night in New Orleans. Galvanizing her legion of ravenous fans during a set that followed main-stage performances from Tank, Mary Mary, Ledisi and comedian Kevin Hart, even the ushers were two-stepping unapologetically; in between performing a number of hits that spanned her entire twenty-year career, Blige also made time to unleash covers of Chaka Khan’s “Ain’t Nobody” and Charlie Wilson’s “Outstanding” for the Mercedes Benz Superdome crowd.
When the beat dropped for songs like “Real Love,” “Family Affair,” “Just Fine,” and “Not Gon’ Cry,” audience members took to their feet and assisted the sequin-clad star with lyrics and adlibs alike, creating an energetic exchange with their heroine that was, on more than one occasion, acknowledged by a grateful, “so pleased” Mary J. Blige. Read more…
Each year in early July, the city of New Orleans welcomes fans of R and B, soul, and gospel music to flood its streets and enjoy three days of empowerment panels and concerts at Essence Music Festival. Listeners of all ages can take to the Mercedes Benz Superdome and find something they like, be it budding stars like yesterday’s blues-infused Gary Clark Jr. performing at one of the festival’s Superlounges, 70s and 80s family-trio The Pointer Sisters kicking off the main stage headliners, or Trey Songz, a radio-friendly artist who makes young girls and their mothers scream uncontrollably as he slowly disrobes on stage with each passing song in his set.
After The Pointer Sisters, last night’s main stage headliners shifted to Keyshia Cole and Trey, the former of which was likely booked to help promote her new BET reality show and upcoming album since she’s been on hiatus from making music while starting her family with husband, NBA player Daniel Gibson. Woman To Woman, Cole’s fifth studio record, is expected to be released in the Fall. Trey too has an upcoming album to promote; also his fifth LP, the August 21st release is aptly titled Chapter V. The highlight of the evening, however, was a set from neo-soul crooner D’Angelo.
PEARL JAM DIEHARD GETS HIS DREAM SET
Superfan Brian Farias has been to 108 Pearl Jam shows but none so special as the 109th, when the band played a setlist (complete with two encores!) he had drafted for them. [RS]
DO YOU DRIP.FM?
Music nerds, behold! Based on HBO’s “quality, consistency and catalog” model, this new music subscription service “drips” new releases straight from the labels to your inbox several times a month. [LAWeekly]
KEEP COOL IN JAMES HETFIELD’S SUNGLASSES
The “road dog” Metallica frontman is releasing “faster than a speeding riff” pair of shades through Sutro Eyewear. And for just $219.99, they’re yours! [Vulture]
EXTRA! EXTRA! READ ALL ABOUT IT
In the New York Times this weekend, Frank Ocean talks about love and life and his new album; and James Murphy talks about his almost starring role in Noah Baumbach’s since slashed The Corrections adaptation. And to soundtrack your reading, “Sweet Life,” a Pharrell assisted leak from Channel Orange. Happy weekend! [NYT/NYT / Fader]
The Zac Brown Band got a make over from the man behind Beavis & Butthead and King of the Hill for the video for “The Wind,” the first single off their upcoming album Uncaged (due out next week). The song itself is, in many ways, your typical country love song, complete with a chorus that rings of love that “will find you anywhere.” Animator Mike Judge’s treatment is decidedly less lovey-dovey and way more country fried. And for that it’s all the more awesome.
Judge’s video tells the tale of “Robo Redneck,” aka “The Six Million Dollar Honky,” aka Zac Brown, returned to life bigger and badder after a dramatic back-country trucking accident. Half-man, half-robot, Robo Redneck is like your average beer swigging, duck hunting, guitar playing robo-country star, except with bottle openers implanted into the tip of each finger and automatic weapons built into his biceps. And wait ’till you see the way he shreds, swapping guitar for guitar for a fiddle until he pops a valve. The video ends with a “To Be Continued,” teasing of a Robo Redneck versus Bionic Peckerwood sequel. Is there more to come from this Judge/Brown partnership? We can only hope! Read more…
This week’s release of Nas‘ “Cherry Wine” featuring the late Amy Winehouse sparked a trip down memory lane on the greatness that was Amy. Fortunately, the magic that is her voice will forever live on record. In addition to dusting off our ancient CDs of her first two albums, her father, Mitch Winehouse, gave fans something to look forward to in the near future. Mr. Winehouse recently sat down with BBC Radio 6 Music News and revealed there should be at least one more album released of his daughter’s material. “I’m not sure that there is much more but I’m sure that we will get at least one other album out, if not two,” he said. Anywhere Amy’s voice is, we are there. Read more…
Def Leppard is one of the most creatively and commercially successful rock acts of the last thirty years. Thanks to selling over 60 million albums worldwide and remaining a popular touring act to this day, they’ve earned themselves way more money than they’ll ever be able to spend. However, they have become increasingly irritated with their business associates at the Universal Music Group of late, mainly due to the fact that they feel like they haven’t been paid their fair share of royalties generated from past digital music sales. This is hardly a novel problem, but Joe Elliott and the rest of the Def Leppard camp have come up with a fairly novel approach to solving it: Instead of letting their lawyers haggle in court over fractions of a penny that they should be paid per download or stream of their catalog, Billboard is reporting that they have gone into the studio to re-record new versions of their old songs so that they’ll earn ALL of the money from future purchases of their music.
Yes, you read that right. Instead of being able to hear albums like Hysteria or Pyromania in their original form as recorded by legendary superproducer Robert “Mutt” Lange, newcomers to the Def Leppard fold will instead hear the 2012 incarnation of the band’s re-recordings of their hits. Singer Joe Elliott admits to Billboard that the process wasn’t exactly easy, either. “You just don’t go in and say: ‘Hey guys, let’s record it,’ and it’s done in three minutes. I had to sing myself into a certain throat shape to be able to sing that way again. It was really hard work, but we did have a good laugh over it here and there.”
Well, their hard work notwithstanding, how do the songs measure up? Take a listen to a :30 snippet of the 2012 version of their 1987 anthem, “Pour Some Sugar On Me.”
Go shorty, it’s your birthday, we gon’ party like it’s your birthday. Not only did 50 Cent drop 5 (Murder By Numbers) for free today, it’s the Queens rapper’s 36th birthday. Nine years ago he rose to massive fame with his debut album Get Rich or Die Tryin’ at the age of 27. Along with his crazy story of being shot nine times and his distinctive flow from having his jaw wired shut, 50′s success was also partly due to his ongoing beef with Ja Rule that ultimately ended Ja’s very popular career. Fifty’s war with the Murder Inc. rapper eventually simmered out, but 50 saw an opportunity in beef with his peers–if he was constantly dissing others on wax then he’d remain relevant because people would be listening. Thus began 50′s countless diss records and feuds. It’s only right that we celebrate his birthday by highlighting the top 10 beefs of his career. Happy Beef-day, Fiddy! Read more…
Looks like it’s going to be a Cruel Summer, and then straight back to work for Kanye West! Speaking with MTV News, Def Jam VP and long time Kanye collaborator No I.D. let slip that he has been working with Kanye on a new solo project that is slated to follow-up the G.O.O.D. crew project. “It’s what you expect and everything you don’t expect,” he teased, reminding also that Kanye “hasn’t missed yet.” Besides greatness, though, what exactly do we expect?
Of course, every breathe Kanye starts a rumor. Based on a few of the things we know, and a few of the things we have heard, a few things you might considered when deciding what to expect of this sixth studio album:
BIG BOI IS LAUNCHING A NEW SOCK LINE
Andre 3000 might be the Outkast member better known for his style, but does has he ever designed a sock line of his own? We don’t think so. It’s also worth mentioning that his new album is “coming good.” [Complex]
ELECTRONIC MUSICIAN DAN DEACON LAYERS ‘CALL ME MAYBE’ 147 TIMES
This is what we imagine it would sound like if everyone on the subway/airplane/gym unplugged their headphones all at once. [HuffPost]
NORAH JONES GETS THAT “EVERYONE NEEDS A BEST FRIEND”
Jones lent Family Guy creator Seth McFarlane this brassy, big-band number for his debut movie, Ted. No ticket stub required to enjoy this one. [Stereogum]
MAN SINGS “KISS FROM A ROSE” TO HIS CAT
Watch as an eager feline lover serenades his cat with a Seal classic. What say you: the most lucky or the least lucky cat in the world?
In a battle of rock versus pop, the rock won this week with Linkin Park edging Maroon 5 out for the top spot on Billboard‘s Top 200 chart. But just barely.
According to Nielsen SoundScan numbers, Linkin Park’s Living Things sold 223,000 copies in its first week on the shelves, just more than the 222,000 that Maroon 5′s Overexposed sold. Accordingly, Linkin Park will enter the charts at No. 1 for the fourth consecutive album. And like they did with 2010′s Hands All Over, Maroon 5 will take the runners-up spot.