You might not know the name Graffiti6 yet, but there’s a very good chance that you would recognize some of their tunes. Even though their debut album, Colours (listen to it on Spotify), has only been out a week, nine of the 12 songs on the album have already been licensed, appearing on television shows like VH1’s Basketball Wives, MTV’s Teen Wolf, NBC’s Parenthood and the FIFA 2012 video game. They were here in New York City this week promoting their new record, and in addition to a performance on the set of Big Morning Buzz Live (which you can see above), they opened for Augustana at a sold-out show at Manhattan’s Gramercy Theater on Wednesday night.
From our stage right vantage point, we overheard a couple of twentysomething girls talking about the group before the show. “I like Augustana, but I don’t know Graffiti6 at all,” one said to the other, but by the third song of Graffiti6’s set, they were bantering back and forth about how they couldn’t wait to see the group again. Lead singer Jamie Scott has leading man looks and a tenor voice that reminded us more than a little of Maroon 5 frontman Adam Levine, but the two band’s dynamics could not be more different. Whereas Maroon 5 specializes in disco-driven pop, Graffiti6 fuses hip hop inspired backbeats with widescreen sonic textures courtesy of producer/guitarist Tommy D. Songs like “Annie You Save Me” and “Stare Into The Sun” come off a bit more propulsive in a live setting than their more layered studio versions, which really served to engage the audience, most of whom didn’t seem to be familiar with this new act when the show began. Consequently, by the time Graffiti6 got to their set-closing new single, “Free” (the music video for which we told you about earlier this week), there’s no denying that the band had won themselves a couple of hundred new fans. Read more…
Talk about the proverbial bird flip. Bon Iver font man Justin Vernon is giving a big one — two actually, one with each hand — to the Grammys. Yet again. Despite Bon Iver being nominated for four Grammys, throwing a medium sized hissy fit, Justin Vernon has refused to play at the illustrious awards show. He told Billboard that “We wanted to play our music, but were told that we couldn’t play. We had to do a collaboration with someone else, and we just felt like it was such a large stage — we’re getting nominated for this record that we made. Me and Brian [Joseph] and a bunch of our f***ing friends and we were given accolades for it, and all of a sudden we were being asked to play music that had nothing to do with that. We kind of said ‘f*** you’ a little bit, and they sort of acted like they wanted us to play, but I don’t think they wanted us to play.”
Oy oy oy! Talk about biting the hand that feeds! Vernon went on to say that they were asked to play with “Awesome people. People that I would love to play a song with. But you know what? F***in’ rock n’ roll should not be decided by people that have that job. Rock n’ roll should be the f***ing people with guitars around their backs. And their friends. And their managers.”
This isn’t the first time Vernon has lashed out at the Grammys — before Bon Iver was nominated Vernon said of the Grammys, “it’s just not important and people spend too much time thinking about it.” Sigh, we were looking forward to Bon Iver at the Grammys, but for now it looks like we’ll just have to settle for their SNL performance this weekend.
It’s Friday, and more than any other week, we’re extra excited about the weekend — it’s the Super Bowl! While we’re looking forward to Kelly Clarkson singing the national anthem for us, and Madonna’s hyped half time show, we threw a little party of our own to get in the mood. In anticipation of this weeks Super Bowl, VH1 and Pepsi put on the annual Fan Jam concert last night, and it really was a night to remember! Gym Class Heroes and rising star Neon Hitch played their hit single “Ass Back Home,” to a roaring reception from the audience. Neon Hitch looked sexy in a sparkling gold leotard and flame red hair and she danced around the stage, while Travie McCoy was his usual laid back self. We can’t get the tune out of our heads, and feel that it’s pertinent for Sunday — get your ass back home in time to watch the big game! Check out our gallery of images from the performance after the jump.
Forget Madonna Week for a second and take a moment to fawn all over Adam Lambert‘s new video for “Better Than I Know Myself.” But it’s not what you were expecting — instead of grappling with a lover, the video sees Adam’s personality split in two and confined to adjoining rooms, as if under observation, while he attempts to reconcile the dualling elements of his personality. The dichotomy is one that is as relateable to us as breathing — it’s the timeless battle of the little devil on one shoulder, and the little angel on the other. In one room, Adam is a Glampire, dark and brooding, restless and angsty, swigging liquor from the bottle and destroying his environment out of boredom and frustration. In the next room is a peaceful Adam, calm and happy, reading, relaxing, completely at ease in his solitude. With the two facets of Adam’s personality at such distinct odds, which one will rise to the top? We’ll let you watch the video to find out what happens, in the meantime, we’ve picked up on a few visual cues from popular culture that seem to have influenced the video. Do you agree?
It appears that the dual Glamberts are being watched — if only by each other. The imagery of the split room, the stark contrast between the aesthetic of the two rooms, and the voyeuristic wall of glass between them reminded us of the observational room in Pedro Almodóvar’s 2011 film The Skin I Live In, in which an unwitting prisoner is kept and tortured by her Peeping Tom. To an extent, it’s the same in “Better Than I Know Myself,” with each Lambert tormenting the other, simply by the fact of their existence.
Blake Shelton played a gorgeous “Drink On It” on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno. With something of the weariness of heartache, the song it still wistfully romantic, and even more so as Blake croons into the microphone, smiling every so often in a way that will have you literally swooning, a little weak at the knees. The luxuriously meandering song, coupled with Blake’s irresistible charm and the fact that he’s playing a guitar (give a man a guitar and you make him at least 6 times easier to fall in love with), will have you day dreaming of country bars and cowboys all day long.
Black Sabbath Drummer Bill Ward Contemplates Dropping Out Of Reunion Tour And New Album Black Sabbath drummer Bill Ward has made the following statement regarding the band’s highly anticipated reunion tour and new album, “I would love nothing more than to be able to proceed with the Black Sabbath album and tour, however, I am unable to continue unless a ‘signable’ contract is drawn up; a contract that reflects some dignity and respect toward me as an original member of the band. Several days ago, after nearly a year of trying to negotiate, another ‘unsignable’ contract was handed to me. If I sign as-is, I stand to lose my rights, dignity and respectability as a rock musician.” Oh no — looks like there might be a spanner in the works! [A.V. Club]
Jessie J Says VH1 DIVAS Was A Career Defining Moment Jessie J has sung praise for her appearance on VH1’s DIVAS, Tweeting that it was, “An honour to be on stage with so many of the singers I have grown up listening to. Was defo one for the diary.” Of all the wonderful things Jessie J does in her career, we think it’s pretty neat that she picked DIVAS as a highlight. [Capital FM]
The All American Rejects new video for “The Beekeeper’s Daughter” is less of a fail than their moniker would have you expect. The video is an all singing, all dancing extravaganza; there’s impromptu synchronized dances in the street, explosions of color and a whole lot of sex appeal. The poppy beat will almost make you forget that the song is about an inability to commit to a relationship and have you dancing instead, much like the girls in the video. “The Beekeeper’s Daughter” is The All American Rejects’ first single off the album Kids In The Street, and while it’s not much of a romantic track, it’s definitely a fun one. We’re really loving the joy of the video — especially the final scenes where the band is playing on a parade float, a giant inflatable bee buzzing above the celebrations!
Nicki Minaj‘s “Stupid Hoe” isn’t exactly brand new, but if you found the original a tad offensive when it was released, try our slightly more friendly version (re-branded as “Stupid Stupid”), that is the same song and video, minus the eleventy-billion references to “hoes.” The frenetic pace of the song is matched with a schizophrenic video that is a bit creepy, a bit sexy, and a bit both at once, which is a bit confusing. And that confusion has been something of a controversy — that’s not even mentioning the alleged Lil Kim beef, in which “Stupid Hoe” is a not so subtle response to Kim’s not so subtle Black Friday mix tape (claws are out!) — but it hasn’t stopped legends like Madonna heaping praise on Nicki. So while we wait for Nicki’s Roman Reloaded to drop after the release date was pushed back to April 3rd, we’re just going to have to get our Nicki fix from “Stupid Stupid,” and from her Super Bowl appearance with Madonna this weekend.
It might be Madonna Week, but it seems like there’s a generous helping of Kelly Clarkson scooped on top of the Madonna madness. While Madge is taking care of half time entertainment at the Super Bowl, Kelly has been tasked with the honor of singing the national anthem, and we’re just as excited to see her belt it out as we are to see Madonna leaping across the stage in a sparkly catsuit. And it looks like it’s not only us jumping on the Clarkson band wagon — Kelly is shooting up the charts with some impressive steam.
Kelly’s track “Stronger (What Doesn’t Kill You)” (watch the video after the jump) has made it to number two on the Billboard Hot 100 today, and if we were in primary school we’d be singing something like “First is the worst, second is the best!” (although number one placeholder, Adele, is most certainly not the worst!). And speaking of Adele, will Kelly be able to topple her this week? We learned the power of an Adele number one last year; and as we’re learning this year, her reign is absolutely unassailable. Adele’s latest number one “Set Fire To The Rain” will be a tough one to beat, especially with Adele’s record at the top, and her forthcoming first post-surgery performance at the Grammys (where Kelly is also performing, albeit less momentously). But interest in Kelly has certainly been piqued this week — will she prove to be the stronger of the two?
You haven’t seen excitement until you’ve seen us talking about Madonna’s Super Bowl half time show. It’s palpable, electric, maybe a little bit Pointer Sisters — basically, we’re doing all that we can to stay calm for the next 72 hours or so. In order to curb our energy into something a bit more productive, we’ve spent the morning playing Madonna‘s Musical Director and coming up with both predicted and dream setlists for her roughly 12-15 minute show. See what you think and if you agree — let us know what your dream set is in the comments section!
PREDICTED SET LIST by Mark Graham (@unclegrambo):
“Ray Of Light” / “Give Me All Your Luvin’ (featuring Nicki Minaj & M.I.A.)” / “Express Yourself” / “Vogue” / “Music”
Billions of people will be watching Madonna’s Super Bowl halftime show, so there’s no doubt that she’ll be feeling the adrenaline and deliver a high energy, dance-y set for the fans. “Ray Of Light” is a very recognizable track that will get fans out of their seats and grooving from the get-go, at which point she can safely transition into the requisite “Go buy my new single!” part of the show. After she welcomes (and then quickly boots) Nicki Minaj and M.I.A to/from the stage, she’ll move into the portion of her set that, to paraphrase her backup dancer, “brings the gay.” Playing “Express Yourself” will be a subtle “In your face!” to Lady Gaga, and “Vogue” (maybe with Cee Lo?) would get both the fans in Indianapolis and on their couches all over the world going berserk. Closing with “Music” —featuring its anthemic chorus of “Music makes the people get together”— would be the most frenzied way to end her short set, and send everyone who’s watching off thinking “I LOVE MADONNA!”