Last night’s television lineup was a bounty of musical riches: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros played Conan‘s Summer Concert Series; Bono and The Edge, promoting Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (the show’s musical guests), performed “Stuck In a Moment” off-the-cuff; Britpop revivalists Viva Brother made their US television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Plus Jordan Knight and Imelda May! It’s not often that we have difficulty choosing a highlight among the evening’s musical performances, so we encourage you to check them all out (linked below).
That said, Baltimore’s Wye Oak won the night with their performance of “Holy Holy,” from their third album Civilian, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The duo has a knack for sounding bigger and louder than they appear, and this performance was no exception. Drummer Andy Stack always keeps his left hand free for backing keyboard chords, and lead singer Jenn Wasner‘s deceptively simple electric guitar playing alternately hangs back for verses and fills the air for choruses. The band has been slowly but steadily building a following since their 2007 debut If Children (re-released by Merge in 2008), and refining their sound with each new release. Last night’s television debut was a great showcase of March’s Civilian, their best album yet, and we expect even better from the band in the future.
Patti Smith Weighs In On Song Of The Summer Competition
We heard on Friday that Patti Smith had covered Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep” at a NYC show on Thursday night, and even dubbed it “Song Of The Summer,” but evidence didn’t surface until Saturday. Hear it below!
Paramore, Foster The People Premiere Videos Paramore‘s Transformers 3 single “Monster” has a new video, in which the band is trapped in a time loop, accidentally tormenting themselves in an abandoned hospital. You Oughta Know band Foster The People go even more brutal and higher-concept with a video in which the band is tortured by a post-apocalyptic band of pre-teens who, judging frontman Mark Foster fit (as opposed to, say, the guy they run down with a van), transform him into a child by stealing the life of an old man with a bizarro hockey-mask/electricity contraption. ["Monster,""Helena Beat"] Read more…
Sadly, we weren’t able to make it out to Chicago for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, but we were closely following along at home?a task made somewhat easier this year with (now-dead) livestreams of some bands’ sets?and we wanted to share the fruits of that labor with you. So here’s what you (and we) missed:
By our count, there were three saxophonists onstage at the festival for this Summer of Sax: one as part of Destroyer‘s smooth-rock band, and two playing with Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards. Those looking for a smooth sax solo could find it at Destroyer’s set, but the harmonic and punctuating use of saxophones was a highlight of Thursday’s Tune-Yards performance at Pier 54 in New York City, and judging from this clip of “Do You Want To Live?” Friday’s Pitchfork set was no different. Read more…
At the moment, everyone who isn’t named either Adele or Katy Perry is currently playing for third place, but that’s a tight race, too. Pitbull and LMFAO each continue to hold strong with their club-friendly megahits, while Lady Gaga‘s “The Edge Of Glory” makes its highest appearance on the charts so far this summer, despite its video being widely panned as being too underwhelming and not up to snuff with the rest of Gaga’s video canon. It’s also worth noting that OneRepublic‘s “Good Life” would also find itself in the running for the top prize, if not for a total lack of traction on YouTube and LastFM.
One last note: Rebecca Black‘s follow-up to “Friday”—a song which might just be the most popular (and hated) song of 2011 so far—is scheduled to be released at 8 p.m. this evening. We should know in less than 24 hours time whether this song has got what it takes to make a late summer run at #1.
Lil Wayne‘s New York State prison term for gun possession may have come and gone, but Ja Rule‘s?stemming from an arrest made that same night after the same concert?just began last month, and the rapper has taken his moment of public penance to address other misdeeds, including a five-year stretch during which he paid none of the over $1 million in taxes that he owed. Today, just six weeks into his two-year rap for the gun case, Ja Rule was sentenced to 28 months in prison on the tax charges, resulting from a deal in which he pled guilty to charges relating to three of the five years of nonpayment. The sentence will be served concurrently with his current sentence, and is predicated on the payment of all back taxes and penalties.
We can’t imagine that getting one’s finances in order is an easy job when one is facing a gun possession rap (not to mention when one’s past financial mentor was Irv Gotti), but Ja Rule made no excuses. When he spoke to MTV’s RapFix a month before beginning his gun-possession sentence, he expressed only regret concerning his actions, particularly in terms of how their consequences would affect his family.
Brooklyn rap fans were abuzz before Q-Tip‘s headlining set at the 2011 Brooklyn Hip Hop Festival on Saturday. After all, “Q-Tip + Friends” couldn’t just refer to the supporting sets by Random Axe, M.O.P. and others, right? Rumor had it that A Tribe Called Quest would reunite?which makes a sort of sense, since Ali Shaheed Muhammad was also on the bill and Beats, Rhymes, and Life is in theaters. What the crowd wasn’t expecting was that Q-Tip’s “friends” would include Kanye West. After performing “Dark Fantasy” and “All of the Lights,” Kanye backed Q-Tip on ATCQ classic “Award Tour” (something Kanye knows a little bit about). Watch the performance above!
Kanye wasn’t the only high-profile guest during Q-Tip’s set. Black Thought of The Roots performed with Q-Tip on a number of songs. And while Phife Dawg did not appear to complete a Tribe reunion, Busta Rhymes did, to perform his verse on “Scenario.” Watch below:
The “world premiere” of “The Adventures of Raindance Maggie,” the lead single from Red Hot Chili Peppers‘ forthcoming albumI’m With You, hit Los Angeles rock radio mainstay KROQ’s soundcloud late Friday afternoon. Why debut a song at such a press-unfriendly time? Simple: the song leaked in advance of its Monday debut, so the “world premiere” was quickly bumped forward. (According to RHCP forum Stadium Arcadium, the leak was accidental: a stream of the song, hosted on the band’s website, was accidentally made public early, and ripped by a fan before the error was corrected.)
The always controversial Lady Gaga paid a visit to the always controversial Howard Stern this morning but, somewhat surprisingly, the results were anything but controversial (if you missed it, you can listen to the full Gaga/Stern interview here). Howard being Howard, he tried to get Gaga to spill the beans on her acknowledged history with cocaine and bisexuality, but with tons of Little Monsters listening in, Gaga refused to get too tawdry with the tales she told the King of All Media.
“I regret every line [of cocaine] I ever did,” Gaga confessed. “So to all of the little sweethearts who are listening – don’t ever touch it. It’s the devil.” Proving that she’s taking the maternal responsibilities of being the Mother Monster very seriously, she also advised her littlest Monsters that abstinence is the best policy. “I really think that kids have sex way too young,” she said, and “I’ve got a lot of young fans and I love you and I respect your show and I know you want to talk about sex and cocaine – but honestly you should wait as long as you possibly can to have sex.”
Now, this isn’t to say that Gaga was boring because she refused to get down and dirty with the shockiest jock. Rather, her 90 minute(ish) interview was full of candid and emotionally powerful moments. Her conversation near the end of the interview with High Pitch Mike (one of Stern’s regulars) resulted in one of the more touching moments of the Howard Stern Show’s last few years, and Gaga’s soaring, piano-only performances of “The Edge of Glory” (listen here) and “Hair” (listen here) made the hair on the back of this writer’s neck stand at attention. It made us wish that Gaga would release a stripped-down, acoustic version of her Born This Way, one that would allow her lyrics and melodies to dazzle in the way that they were intended to without listeners getting barraged by overly trance-y production.
Meanwhile, in the Twitterverse, last week’s MermaidGate continued to rage on, spurred on by none other than the original wheelchair bound mermaid herself, Miss Bette Midler.
But wait! That’s not what Minaj had been saying. As recently as June of last year, Minaj was reporting her birth year as 1984 (ironically, in a Vibe cover story entitled “Just How Real Is Nicki Minaj?”) Two months earlier, Media TakeOut had already reported her real birth year as 1982, but without corroboration, the revelation didn’t stick. Last week’s Dallas police report is, it would seem, more than enough independent confirmation. This clarification doesn’t exactly lend credence to Minaj’s series of Twitter denials last week about the incident with Samuels. Minaj has not yet spoken out about the age question.
When NBC’s a capella singing competition The Sing-Off returns this fall, there will be some changes to the judging panel since the series last aired. With Nicole Scherzinger departing for a spot on Simon Cowell’s X-Factor panel, the Peacock Network made the wise decision that longtime VH1 fave Sara Bareilles was the perfect person to join Ben Folds and Boyz II Men‘s Shawn Stockman on the judging panel. Once we heard the news, we decided to give Sara a ring to congratulate her. We caught up with her by phone this afternoon while she was in Missoula, Montana, preparing for a sold-out show this evening. Sara spoke to us about whether her judging style on The Sing-Off will lean more towards Simon or Paula, her new “old soul/kind of Motown feeling” EP that she’s about to record with Ben Folds in the fall, and what director Jonah Hill brought to the next video she’s going to make for her single, “Gonna Get Over You.” (Hint: It may have a “kind of a ’50s greaser vibe.”)
VH1: When did you first hear that becoming a judge on The Sing-Off might be a possibility, and what was it about the project that appealed to you?
Sara Bareilles: I’ve been a fan of the show since the beginning, so it was really exciting to me to have the opportunity to even be considered as a potential judge. A couple of weeks ago, my manager came to me to gauge my interest in doing it. And I was like, “Oh my God, yes, of course.” Then I had a meeting with the executive producers, who are super sweet, and it felt like I was a really good fit for the show. Because I have a background in a capella, it just felt like a very organic, natural, worlds colliding kind of thing. It’s very exciting.
Did you ever harbor any desire to be on television in any capacity other than as a performer?
It didn’t really cross my mind until this show. This is the only way I would sort of consider it, because I can bring something to the show in terms of a level of expertise with a capella performing. I get a little nervous about being put in the position of having to judge people, but I know from experience that we can always improve in our craft. I really love getting constructive criticism from people I respect when it’s put in a good way. To me, it’s all about how you phrase things and how you deliver your opinions. It’s something that I’m going to have to feel out and test the waters a little bit, but I think it’s going to be a lot of fun. The best part is that I still get to watch the show, but now I get to watch it closer.
If you were to describe your judging style, would you say you?re more of a Simon or a Paula?