Tuned In: Michael Kiwanuka Wows John Mayer With His David Letterman Performance

by (@zaragolden)

Michael Kiwanuka swung by the Late Show with David Letterman last night to share with the late night audience the indelible talent that we were so lucky to have experienced live last week. Armed with an acoustic guitar and a soft-playing backing band, the British singer performed the doleful “I’m Getting Ready.” With a voice soft and soulful beyond its 24-years, watching this made us wish that Kiwanuka would sing us to sleep everynight.

And we suspect we are not alone in that longing. For one, John Mayer — surely a man in the singing song/writing business worth wooing — was impressed. Or, rather, he was “dumbfounded.” “What a voice. What a song. What a vibe. What a soul. What a message,” he wrote breathlessly (or as breathlessly as one can write) on his Tumblr, thusly deeming Kiwanuka “a revelation.” Who are we to disagree?

Elsewhere in late night…
Shinedown performed an acoustic version of “Unity” on Conan Read more…

Last Lap: A$AP Rocky Will Star As JFK In The New Lana Del Rey Video

by (@zaragolden)

Not so sure about this plan? “People are going to get it in three years, and that’s the whole purpose of it,” he assures. [HipHopDX]

In a few more than 140 characters, the Flaming Lips‘ frontman gets to the bottom of that tiff of his with Erykah Badu. [CoCreate]

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INTERVIEW: Duran Duran Talks New Concert Film, Surprise Studio Visits From Paul McCartney, And The Role Cocaine Played In The Making Of Rio

by (@unclegrambo)

“You know, you’re interrupting our afternoon nap.”

Duran Duran has a right to be tired. After all, they arrived at ABC’s Times Square studios at 5:30 a.m. to prep for their appearance on Good Morning America, one of a few stops they’ve made during a brief, whirlwind promotional sojourn for their upcoming concert film release, A Diamond In The Mind. However, when we caught up with Nick Rhodes (synths) and Roger Taylor (drums) in the lobby of SoHo’s Mercer Hotel on Monday afternoon around 2 p.m. — Nick drinking a glass of rosé, Roger making his way through a bottle of sparkling water — the guys were full of energy. Their opening comment about naptime disturbance was presented with a good-hearted laugh and a smile, as the guys were snappily dressed —what else would you expect?— and excited to discuss their new film.

“I think when you make a concert film what you’re always trying to do is capture the energy of the performance,” Rhodes explained, “and the atmosphere and the spirit that was in the room when you actually played the show. And, obviously, that’s very hard to capture on film. But with this one, i think we definitely got as close as we ever have because you can see the intimacy and the interaction on stage.”

“It seems like the further north (in England) you get, the crazier the audiences get,” Taylor told us about the band’s choice to film the show in Manchester. “And on this night, it was Mad Friday, which is the last drinking night before Christmas, so the crowd was good and rowdy.”

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Girls Go Wild Over Justin Bieber’s “Die In Your Arms” Performances On The View And MTV


Everywhere Justin Bieber shows up you can expect a host of screaming young girls hoping to have one glance at the 18-year-old heartthrob. But young girls aren’t the only admirers of the pop sensation. When Bieber stopped by The View the admiration of the hosts was as obvious as his teeny bopper fans. Biebs kept it simple for his performance of the ballad “Die In Your Arms,” which seems to be the fan favorite from his album. Instead of gliding across the stage as he did for “Boyfriend,” he sits on a stool next to his guitar player and sings. The girls in the audience cry, sing along and reach out to touch him. Read more…

Walk The Moon Channel Summer With Their Performance Of “Anna Sun” On Big Morning Buzz Live

by (@zaragolden)

With or without the facepaint, Cincinnati indie-rockers Walk the Moon‘s “Anna Sun” sounds like a party. More specifically, the sort of party we want to drive us into the melting 90-degree days that are upon us. The lead single off their eponymous new album —which hit shelves yesterday— – “Anna Sun” takes its name from a professor at Kenyon College who was inspiring, lead singer/keyboardist Nicholas Petricca tells us, and it tells a story about growing up. The song mourns a race lost, a house falling apart, an a time when summer could erase it all. And then, over sun-drenched synths, the chorus signals a charge regardless. “We’re gonna rattle this ghost town,” Petricca sings in a falsetto that recalls the KillersBrandon Flowers. And “Anna Sun” is going to rattle our summer.

In the video for “Anna Sun,” Walk the Moon used facepaint to give the project a feeling they describe as “Peter Pan and the Lost Boys, Neverland sort of vibe.” Forever after, though, it’s like the paint hasn’t quite washed off. Instead, it’s kind of become their thing. “We tried to recreate the video in a live setting, and it was just so much fun that we did it again and people started coming to shows in facepaint,” Petricca says, warning also that unknowing concert-goers might get a pre-show, endoctrinating slather. “It’s kind of a thing to get you energized and ready to go,” explained bassist Kevin Ray.

Despite performing on the Late Show With David Letterman AND in front of a sold-out crowd at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last night, these four Ohio boys showed up to our Times Square offices bright-eyed and bushy-tailed. And soon as the driving beat of “Anna Sun” hit, we fell immediately into the performance, which was pared-down slightly from the album version — less synth, more thump, all the same soaring energy. “We want it to be fun,” Petricca says. “We want the record to be a party as much as the concert is.” The facepaint may be optional, but the fun? That’s inescapable. Read more…

Summer Jams: Bene Viera Picks Three Of Her Fave “Song of the Summer” Candidates


Song of the Summer

Along with cocktails on rooftops and sunbathing by the pool, summer grants the official ok to zip by in your car with windows down blaring music from the speakers. Whether hearing someone’s music blasting from their headphones on the A train, or eating outdoors at my favorite low-key Brooklyn cafe, I look forward to observing what music gets the people going. Only hours into the official first day of summer there are already countless songs that are on constant replay on iPods or car stereos. For whatever reason, warm weather tends to bring proper music odes to the beauty of the new season. Cheers to this summer being one of producing music that makes you feel something. Here are three songs that I plan to have in heavy rotation over the next few months…

NOMINATION: Meek Mill ft. Drake & Jeremih, “Amen”
Summer time is when I indulge in rap music. The beats, instrumentation, samples and lyrics boost my energy for jam packed days. Unless you were a music journalist or a diehard hip-hop fan, it’s likely you hadn’t heard of Meek Mill at this time last year. That all changed with his successful single “I’m A Boss” and later the Dreamchasers mixtape. The buzz around the Philly rapper grew with praises of his storytelling ability in tracks from the mixtape like “Tony’s Story.” He signed to Maybach Music Group where his buzz blossomed due to his first mixtape, but it’s the followup, Dreamchasers 2, that was the real attention grabber. “Amen’s” church choir sound can be attributed to the organ, a common instrument that has been used in black church spirituals for forever. Although “amen, preach and church” are rattled off through the chorus, don’t expect to hear anything church-y. The only thing spiritual about “Amen” is its divine sound.

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Artist Of The Day: Rita Ora Is The Real Deal

by (@fdot415)

The temperature isn’t the only thing heating up this summer. Rita Ora‘s career is clearly about to boil over. The soulful Roc Nation rookie is already hot back home in the U.K. where her Drake-penned single “R.I.P.” reached No. 1. The Tinie Tempah featured record is the second chart-topper for the Kosovo-born, London-raised Rita whose own guest spot on DJ Fresh‘s track “Hot Right Now” landed her atop the UK Top 40 back in February.

Despite capping all the accomplishments of the past four months by opening up for Coldplay’s European tour, 21-year-old Rita is determined to go global.  Boss man Jay-Z‘s ringing endorsement plus heavy-hitter collaborations with producers like Will.I.Am, The-Dream, and Stargate to name a few, almost guarantees Rita’s eponymous debut album will officially usher in the Ora era in the States.

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Tuned In: Dirty Projectors Perform “Gun Has No Trigger” On Fallon

by (@zaragolden)

Brooklyn-based indie rockers Dirty Projectors dropped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon last night to play the lead single “Gun Has No Trigger” off the forthcoming Swing Lo Magellan, which is out July 10 on Domino. As Fallon points out, this was their first live appearance in more than a year; and moreover, it was for many a first taste of Dirty Projectors sans wily vocalist Angel Deradoorian, who is on hiatus from the band. No fear, though! A shaggy looking David Longstreth took reign over a pared down backing band (drums, bass) and a gaggle cooing back-up vocalists, leading a performance of the new song so sharp with focus that it penetrated the airwaves and had us at home completely gripped. Stillness of course being their move, the song builds through soft, harmonizing “oohs,” but never triggers. And for that, it’s all the more powerful.   Read more…

Lil’ Kim Went H.A.M. On Drake, Says He’s “B*tch Made”


Lil' Kim Thinks Drake Is To Blame For Chris Brown  Brawl

UPDATE: Lil’ Kim’s publicist sent out a PSA regarding her alleged comment on Drake. He accuses The Phoenix Times of concocting a false story.

Last Lap: G.O.O.D. Music Will Kick Off Their Cruel Summer At The BET Awards

by (@zaragolden)

Kicking off their Cruel Summer, Kanye West and his G.O.O.D. Music crew will join Usher, Nicki Minaj, and Chris Brown (not an award show does he miss!) as performers at the 2012 BET Awards on July 1st. [RapFix]

Do the knock-off versions of songs that float around on iTunes mess with sales? Clearly the answer is yes! [Billboard]

Read more…