Helping You Make The Tough Decisions At Lollapalooza 2011

by (@unclegrambo)

Tens of thousands of music fans are, as we type, passing through Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports on a pilgramage to Grant Park for Lollapalooza 2011. After a torrid month of July in the Windy City, the weather forecast is calling for sunny temperatures in the low eighties for most of the weekend, which is perfect festival-going weather; there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms on Sunday, though. Still, what’s a little rain when you have over 150 of the world’s best bands and DJs all gathered within 1.2 square kilometers of each other?

As we have explained for you in the past at Coachella and Bonnaroo, festival-going is all about making tough decisions. At any given time this weekend, upwards of six acts will be performing simultaneously, and some of these overlaps are bound to involve bands that you care about equally. Sadly, because of the sheer size of the park (319 acres, yo) and the amount of people on the grounds, waffling on your decisions could lead you to missing both acts. So, in the interest of being as service-y as possible, we’re putting the spotlight on five of these potential conflicts and arming you with as much information as possible to help you make an educated decision.

FRIDAY, AUGUST 5

Foster The People (3-4 p.m.) OR Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (2:30-3:30 p.m.)?
Right at the time when most people will first be entering the festival grounds for the weekend comes our first tough decision as two of our You Oughta Know alums are going head-to-head. Foster The People have the #1 alternative song on the Billboard charts at the moment (“Pumped Up Kicks”), while Grace Potter and her Nocturnals are seasoned festival performers who lean on heavy riffs (and Potter’s famously long legs). This is a toughie, but based on their highly buzzed about “breakthrough performance” at Coachella this past April, we’re going to suggest you check out Mark Foster and his People as they perform to what will surely be their largest audience to date.


Coldplay OR Muse (8:15-10 p.m.)?

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Behind The Music Sneak Preview: Adam Lambert Opens Up About The “Deep Secret” Of His Sexuality

by (@unclegrambo)

The latest episode of Behind The Music will focus on the life and times of the one, the only Adam Lambert. Last week, we shared with you a clip from the show where Adam discussed his American Idol experience, particularly as it related to his struggle to keep his sexual orientation under wraps (as directed by Idol‘s producers).

And with the debut of Behind The Music: Adam Lambert now just three days away—it premieres this Sunday, August 7, at 10 p.m. ET/PT—we’ve got another sneak to share with you. In the video above, Adam discusses the early stages of when he “realized that I was probably not the same as the other boys.? This was around the time that he was 12, and he confesses that “to me, it was a deep secret … I didn?t know how my parents would react, and I didn?t know what that would be like, and I think, at at that age, it was something that I was ashamed of because it was so different.” For Glamberts the world over, this is a special not-to-be missed.

Adam Lambert on VH1′s ‘Behind the Music’: His struggle with his sexuality [EW]

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The Hunger Games Soundtrack Tracklisting (Of Our Dreams)

by (@unclegrambo)

While it will still be another 18 months or so until Twilight-mania finally subsides, the next big franchise poised to gobble up the disposable income of America’s rabid teenage girl fanbase will almost certainly be The Hunger Games¹. There is currently a film adaptation in the works, and it is scheduled to hit theaters next March. Earlier today, The Hollywood Reporter landed the scoop that there will be not one but TWO soundtrack albums produced for the Lionsgate film. One will feature the instrumental score co-composed by Grammy-winning soundtrack maestros T. Bone Burnett and Danny Elfman, while the other will feature “collections of the songs featured in the film and songs directly influenced by the themes — freedom, rebellion, survival, family — and subject matter of the film.” No specific artists have been announced yet, but we’re not going to let a silly thing like that stop us from speculating about the contents of said soundtrack. Here is the The Hunger Games soundtrack tracklisting … of our dreams.

(And if you’re into this sort of thing, check out The Hunger Games Soundtrack (Of Our Dreams) on Spotify.)

1) Temple Of The Dog, “Hunger Strike”
2) Lenny Kravitz, “Always On The Run”
3) Eric Carmen, “Hungry Eyes”
4) Weird Al Yankovic, “Eat It”
5) The Clash, “Career Opportunities”

6) Duran Duran, “Hungry Like The Wolf”
7) The Postal Service, “The District Sleeps Alone Tonight”
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Last Lap: Wednesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

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Kanye Joins Nicki Minaj Onstage For “Monster”
There are plenty of fan-shot videos of Kanye‘s surprise appearance during Minaj‘s opening set at Britney Spears‘s Nassau Coliseum show; the best one we’ve found is here. [Sound of the City]

Foo Fighters Played Fans’ Garages
The Foos recorded the eight shows for a 40-minute documentary, viewable above. [Spin]
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Coldplay Pays Brief But Respectful Musical Tribute To Amy Winehouse In Australia

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Coldplay paid tribute to the late Amy Winehouse in concert on Sunday night at the Splendour in the Grass festival in Australia, and in their latest tour-blog update, they shared what sounds like a soundboard recording of the chorus of “Rehab,” which they played during their encore as an introduction to their own “Fix You.” “There?s little that can be said about Amy Winehouse?s passing that hasn?t already been said,” the band writes in the post. “It?s just such a sad waste. We?ll leave aside the awful irony and just let the Aussie choir sing” (referring to the audience’s unprompted singalong). The tribute is understated and respectful, and as far as we can tell from reviews and other clips, the band didn’t say any words, letting the music (not to mention the audience) speak for itself.

Coldplay The Latest To Pay Musical Tribute To Amy Winehouse [Popdust]

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Raw “Dancing In The Dark” Footage Reminds Us That Bruce Springsteen Does Not Have Moves

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Bruce Springsteen is a man of many talents. Dancing is not one of them.

This was somewhat evident in the 1984 video for “Dancing In The Dark” but became brutally clear when home-video rehearsal footage for the video surfaced online a bit back. (In case you haven’t seen it, we’ve embedded it below. One highlight is actually after the routine, when Springsteen mockingly imitates the “guitar face” of someone they’d seen playing at the Stone Pony in Asbury Park.) Without any context, the dance just seemed like a series of moves Springsteen (and the late Clarence Clemons) were testing out, to see how they’d look on film.

Newly surfaced footage, above, suggests otherwise. Apparently these proto-Carlton Dance-meets-Jets from West Side Story moves were choreographed! The clip above is clearly either the raw footage for Jeff Stein‘s rejected cut of the video, or at the very least, on-set in-costume test footage. No wonder Stein was replaced (by Brian de Palma, no less); the concept, featuring dancing in the dark may as well have been dreamt up by the DeMarco Brothers (the literal-minded choreography duo played by Chris Parnell and Chris Kattan on Saturday Night Live). The addition of Courteney Cox, a backing band, and a large crowd definitely improved this video.

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Is Michael Jackson’s Bad Chart Record Safe From Katy Perry?

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Back in May, when Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” was announced as the artist’s fifth single from Teenage Dream, we predicted that her chart record as the longest occupant of the Billboard Hot 100 top ten would continue, and sure enough, that single leapt to #4 last month, and has not fallen below that mark since. Our sophisticated Song Of The Summer tracking system (a spreadsheet is sophisticated, right?) could have told you that: Perry just racked up her fourth week on top. But now Perry seems within reach of a much more rarefied record: five #1 singles from the same record, tying the record set by Michael Jackson with Bad (and never repeated). Billboard announced yesterday afternoon that Katy Perry’s “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” had, in its ninth chart week, completed its climb to #1 on the Pop Songs chart, which measures radio airplay. Radio tends to lag behind sales chronologically, but oftentimes an airplay gain like this can be the much-needed push for a single to hit #1. As it turned out, it wasn’t enough this week; an almost comically appropriate cast of characters has, it seems, protected Jackson’s record for now (and possibly going forward). The motley crew:
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Ronan Parke Has The Looks Of Justin Bieber And The Voice Of Greyson Chance, But The Emotional Empathy Of A 12 Year-Old (Which He Is)

by (@unclegrambo)

If you were a Mad Scientist and were looking to create the Perfect Pre-Teen Pop Star in a laboratory, your end result would probably look something like Britain’s Got Talent finalist Ronan Parke (that is, if you were any good at being a Mad Scientist). He’s got Justin Bieber‘s adorably dreamy hair helmet, Greyson Chance‘s vocal range, and the irresistible British accent of a young Davy Jones. However, unlike those other teenage dreamboats, there’s an undeniable air of melancholy that permeates all of his performances, which has us wondering whether he’s cut out for international superstardom.

Take his cover of Lady Gaga‘s “Edge Of Glory,” for example. Whereas Gaga’s song wears its anthemic qualities proudly on its sleeve (regardless of whether you’re listening to the album version or her acoustic take on Howard Stern), Parke’s take is stark, haunting and dripping with sadness. Gone are the joyous, celebratory punctuations of Gaga’s original (“Alright, ALRIGHT!”), which makes us wonder why this 12 year-old boy is so darn depressed!

And it’s not just this song. He chose to perform Kelly Clarkson’s ballad “Because Of You” on the finale of Britain’s Got Talent, but rather than concentrating on emphasizing the air of defiance present in Clarkson’s anthem, he made the creative decision to instead sing it from the perspective of someone who feels defeated. And Parke’s take on Adele’s “Someone Like You” makes Adele sound positively chipper.

Now, don’t get it twisted, we’re not haters. Parke’s vocal chops are undeniable (at least until he hits puberty and his voice breaks), but right now, he’s little more than a chameleon. He doesn’t yet have the life experience to understand the underlying themes of the music that he has been covering—don’t EVEN get us started on his take on Bob Dylan’s “To Make You Feel My Love”—which is why his cuts feel just a bit off, emotionally speaking. Time will tell as to whether he’ll be able to capitalize on the fame that his Britain’s Got Talent appearance netted him, but if he is to succeed, his minders would be wise to have him concentrate on laying down some more age-appropriate tracks that will hit his target audience of teens and tweens right where it counts — their wallets.

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Tuned In: Mat Kearney Takes A Cue From Hanson On Leno

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Last night, we were all about the Explosions in the Sky performance on the Late Show with David Letterman?not necessarily because we’re the biggest fans of their sweeping-guitar post-rock (which is not bad) but because for four precious minutes we could close our eyes and pretend that Friday Night Lights was still on the air. (We miss you, Coach Taylor!) As a result, we underrated the unassuming performance taking place simultaneously on the Tonight Show: Mat Kearney‘s “Hey Mama.” Back in 2006 Kearney was a You Oughta Know artist whose songwriting (and vocals) reminded us of parts of what we like about Coldplay.

In the intervening years, he’s added not-inconsiderable pep, and a full horn section, to his band, which pushes yet another set of our pop-music buttons. Think Chris Martin fronting Hanson on a “Give a Little” b-side. In fact, it was so catchy that we’re willing to forgive the lyric “Met her at Anthropologie.” Check it out!

Elsewhere on late night…

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Last Lap: Tuesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

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Jennifer Lopez Will Return To American Idol Next Season
Jennifer Lopez is having a great day. Her September 2011 Vanity Fair cover story was announced (and teased), and on top of that, a deal has allegedly been struck?though not yet signed?that will bring her back to an American Idol judge’s chair…to the tune of just over $20 million, which is a touch more than the $12 million she made for last season’s stint. [Popdust]

Two New Albums Forthcoming From The-Dream, One Of Which Won’t Be By The-Dream
According to his Twitter, The-Dream plans to work on a new album (his fourth) for Def Jam, slated for a fourth-quarter release. He will also be releasing a 10-song album called 1977 under his given name Terius Nash on August 31. He claims, “BTW NO ONE AT DEFJAM IS HAPPY ABOUT A FREE ALBUM LOL…. they are trying to stop it!” So this may not play out as The-Dream has planned. [@mrteriusnash]
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