“Keep in mind I’m not here, I’m from a different world.”
That line is from the chorus of “Different”, the lead single from Ximena Sariñana‘s recent self-titled album, and it speaks volumes about where she is as an artist at the moment. Her debut LP, Mediocre, was released in her native Mexico in 2008 and performed well both commercially and critically, earning her two Latin Grammy nominations, but when it came time to record her second record, she was faced with a dilemna. “Either stay in my country, where everyone knows who I am, or start from scratch and convince people that I’m worth it,” Ximena was quoted as saying. Well, she chose the latter, and her efforts are just starting to pay off. She was named our You Oughta Know artist last August, she played a gig for a couple of hundred die-hard fans at New York City’s Mercury Lounge last night, and she was able to land a highly-coveted spot at this year’s Coachella Festival, too.
Ximena’s set last night was a mix of songs from her first two albums; she sung three songs in Spanish, and the remaining seven were in English. The 25-year-old stood confidently center stage, singing and playing her Nord keyboard (accompanied by a guitarist, a bassist, a drummer and a percussionist), and slowly sipped from a single glass of whiskey throughout the course of the show. “I’m totally drinking whiskey instead of water,” she bantered. “It’s like the worst thing for a singer, but it’s either my voice is better, or my general mood and perkiness.”
London band Graffiti6 released their debut album, Colours, two days ago, and the video for the first single, “Free”, off the LP, has us hooked already. “Free” is a song about passionate, all consuming love, and the visuals display both a sense of desperation and hope. Set against a hazy city skyline, it features front man Jamie Scott taking to the streets and the foggy rooftops of tall buildings to fight his inner battle, while his gorgeous model-esque love interest luxuriates in a bed. With a sense of frustration ringing true in the lyricism, the visual compliments the feeling by moving between the minimalist bedroom scene and the quiet streets at odd camera angles, always focusing on Scott’s pained expression. The video gets an injection of whimsy from animated colored geometries that appear across the screen at different intervals, and acts as a brilliant precursor to the wonderful album.
If you’re looking to inject your day with a dose of pretty we suggest listening to singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson‘s cover of R.E.M.‘s classic “Nightswimming”. Michaelson took the piano-led original and infused it with her own magical vocal on SiriusXM Satellite Radio. Layering her voice and putting the various melodies on loop, Michaelson was her own full a Capella band, radiating a cool charm as her mesmerizing voice melted like honey over the dynamic vocal backing track. And it’s not only Michaelson’s a Capella that’s amazing, her album, Human Again, is doing well too, sitting pretty at number one on the iTunes charts.
What’s more valuable to 50 Cent: his jewels or, um… his jewels? It seems that maybe neither are that important to him, as he’s willing to wager both on the Super Bowl result. Over the weekend, 50 Tweeted that he’d be willing to post a picture of his special bits to Twitter if the giants lost:
Where the first Tweet trails off the challenger says that if the Giants win, she’ll post a photo of her more northern regions to Twitter — so 50 clearly isn’t the only one laying down high stakes. But late last night 50 upped the stakes even higher, throwing a cool one million into the mix:
The bet comes after the high rolling over the weekend where 50 bet $500,000 on the Giants and won, which was followed by Birdman putting down a whopping $5 million on the New England Patriots to win the Super Bowl. So 50 is challenging Birdman with his million dollar bet, and we want to know if hip hop beef has officially spilled over into sports, or if this is an entirely new genre of beef? One of these guys is going to lose — and we can only hope they can afford to part with the money, although it seems with 50’s recent flaunting (see Twit Pic above) he’s got at least a few stacks of cash laying about.
It’s on — with the Super Bowl looming ever closer, everyone is talking about that half time show, and what the Queen Of Pop, Madonna, will bring to the stage for the momentous occasion. Never one to do things by halves, suspicions that Madonna’s show will be spectacular are well founded, with reports flooding in that she’ll appear with special guests M.I.A. and Nicki Minaj, and that she’ll be “bringing gay” to the performance. Now, will.i.am has got everyone in a flap by commenting that seizure-dance club kids LMFAO will be joining Madge for the show. In an interview with UK radio station Capital FM, will.i.am said, “I’m going to the Super Bowl this year to see my group LMFAO perform with Madonna. Check that out, will.i.am Music Group is pretty freaking two for two, one year the Super Bowl, the next year another group part of the Super Bowl in collaboration with Madonna. That’s still happening.”
We’re not casting an aspersions on will.i.am’s integrity, but it does seem like a very odd pairing. Yes, “Party Rock Anthem” was a chart topper, but LMFAO’s high energy, doof-blasting dance music doesn’t even come close to being similar with Madonna’s perfectly curated pop sound and image. And from what’s been leaked of MDNA, for instance, the demo to “Gimme All Your Luvin'” it doesn’t seem like Madonna is going down the euro-trance path with her music either. So what would they even play together? Are we looking at a mash-up of the two artists’ music? Or has Madge got something else up her sleeve — a secret collaboration perhaps? And will Nicki and M.I.A still be there? What’s going on? will.i.am has sure ruffled our feathers this morning, and we need answers!
Happy Invasion Australia Day! For those of you who have never had the immense pleasure of visiting the land down under (where this particular music writer was both born and raised), you could be forgiven for thinking it’s all about koalas, surfing and barbeques (although you’re definitely not forgiven, please read a book or something). Not only do Australians play with koalas, surf, throw shrimps on barbies, and relish in promoting untrue cultural stereotypes overseas (it’s so easy), they also make some really good art from time to time, and music is no exception. This isn’t a boast, but: Men At Work, Crowded House, AC/DC, Olivia Newton John, Kylie Minogue, Cold Chisel, Daryl Braithwaite, Rick Springfield, INXS, Air Supply, Paul Kelly, Nick Cave, Natalie Imbruglia, Savage Garden, Silverchair… And that’s only a scratch! Australia is still turning out some amazing artists, with 2011 being a big year for the Aussies. Here are seven artists that rocked that great southern land last year, and that will soon be rocking the rest of the world (that means YOU!):
We’ve already introduced you to Gotye, whose track “Somebody I That Used To Know” is taking the world by storm. In the tradition of Australia Day, Australia’s premier radio station, Triple J, known for launching new talent, runs a Hottest 100 show, as voted by listeners. “Somebody I Used To Know” came in at number one, but it’s no surprise really; the track was the highest selling Australian song of the year, the video has 50 million views on YouTube and is sitting comfortably at 21 and 58 on the UK and US charts respectively. Gotye also won an ARIA (Australia’s answer to the Grammys) for Best Male Artist and Best Pop Release, as it soon to be VH1’s featured You Oughta Know artist (squee!) so watch this space… Read more…
Ah, Aspen. While not exactly known as a music mecca, it is by all accounts a place where the beer flows like wine, where beautiful women instinctively flock like the salmon of Capistrano! (Clearly, we’ve watched Dumb & Dumber one too many times.) It was also where J. Lo, Steven Tyler, Randy and Ryan Seacrest hunkered down to try out contestants on this week’s episode of American Idol.
We don’t know if it was a result of the altitude or what, but something in the mountain air inspired Steven this week. He was able to avoid falling prey to the charms of 19-year-old nose-ring enthusiast Tealana Hedgespeth (“I’m more of the outgoing person, I’m more of the person who would go up to you and be like, ‘Hey, i like your shirt'”), but our bescarfed host planted a giant smacker right on the lips of 24-year-old music teacher Jenny Schick right at the top of this week’s episode, scoring a perfect 5 out of 5 on the Dude Is Acting Shady Meter. We’ll cover this, as well as Tyler’s other flirtations, below:
WHO: Jenni Schick SET-UP: Jenni started off reminding us a bit of Week One contestant Erika Nowak, confessing that she’s got a hankerin’ for reality singing competition judges like Steven Tyler and The Voice‘s Adam Levine. However, her performance of Pat Benatar’s “Heartbreaker” got Steven all hot and bothered, resulting in him clutching her face with his grubby fingers and kissing her mouth. (Can we talk about that kissing technique for a second? Face touching is one thing, but outright face grabbing? WEIRDZIES.) TYLER’S COMMENTS: “Holy shick! You better be able to sing, good girl … Whoa, I’m gonna get in trouble for that.” DUDE IS ACTING SHADY METER SCORE: 5/5 – EWWWWWWWWW!
If your disposition can deal with fast, loud music, frenetic light flashing and a whole lot of high energy movement, then Big Freedia is for you. Performing “Na Who Mad” on Jimmy Kimmel Live! last night, Big Freedia gave a spectacular dance performance amidst flashing lights in lurid colors. Clad in zebra print and not resting for even a second, Big Freedia’s reggaeton style music made us want to throw our bodies around too. And with a beat similar to Nicki Minaj‘s “Stupid Hoe,” were sensing that the chaotic pace of “Na Who Mad” might be a trend for music going into 2012.
Simon Cowell’s Latest Talent Show Will Find The World’s Best DJ Simon Cowell (and Overbrook Entertainment, Will Smith and Jada Pinkett-Smith‘s company) is preparing to launch a new reality show to search for the world’s best DJ. Cowell says, “DJs are the new rock stars, it feels like the right time to make this show.” What with all the club led anthems of 2011, we’re thinking Cowell might be hitting the doof-doof nail on the turntable. [BBC]
Lana Del Rey Still Babysits Lana Del Rey is just a regular girl after all. Telling MTV that she still babysits when she’s at home, we can hear a resounding “naw!” echoing across the Internet. [MTV Buzz Worthy]
In the post-Nipplegate era of Super Bowl halftime shows, a majority of the performers have been stadium rock acts, carefully chosen by the NFL because they, to borrow a political expression, play to the base. Acts like Bruce Springsteen, The Who and Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are all Rock And Roll Hall of Famers with undeniable chops and impressive catalogs, but also artists that are unquestionably “safe” (meaning, no one’s gonna get pissed and flip the channel when The Boss launches into “Born To Run”). However, this year’s selection of Madonna —one of the most controversial artists of the Eighties and Nineties— might very well push some of Joe Six-Pack’s buttons.