Bruno Mars Avoids Cocaine Conviction By Sticking To Terms Of Plea Deal

by (@kat_george)

Turns out Bruno Mars isn’t just good at catching grenades; he dodges them pretty well, too. Mars managed to avoid a conviction after being busted with a not insubstantial amount of cocaine — 2.6 grams, to be precise — after performing at the Hard Rock Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas back in September of 2010, and he’s about to walk away from the ordeal conviction free after strictly adhering to the terms of his plea deal. At the time, he was apprehended after a toilet attendant informed security that someone might be taking drugs in the stall — doing it hard, just like a the rest of us.

Mars pleaded guilty to the possession charge (telling police he had never done drugs before), and was given a probationary sentence that included a $2,000 fine, 200 hours of community service for a non-profit organization and eight hours of drug counseling. And now that Mars has fulfilled all these “punishments,” and kept himself out of the powder room for an entire year, it looks like he’s going to walk off with a completely unmarred criminal record. So what have we learned here folks? We’d like to think the message is “Don’t do drugs,” but it seems more to the tune of “Don’t get caught doing drugs, and if you do, you better be rich enough that you can afford a lawyer who will get you off with little more than a slap on the wrist.” Although, we can’t quite imagine Mars spending 4 years in a state prison (which would have been his punishment if he were convicted), so the outcome is definitely lucky for both Mars and his fans.

Bruno Mars to avoid cocaine conviction after keeping his nose clean and serving probationary sentence [Daily Mail]

tUnE-yArDs, Adele Top The Annual Pazz + Jop Music Critics Poll

by (@kat_george)

Pazz + Jop, The Village Voice‘s annual music poll that aggregates the opinions of thousands of music critics based on their votes for single and album of the year, has just been released, and it’s very similar to all the other ‘Best Of 2011′ lists we’ve read. That is to say, there aren’t really any surprises, maybe just a slight reshuffling of the order. In that vein, Adele appears on both lists, with 21 ranking at number 6 for albums, and “Rolling In The Deep,” and “Someone Like You,” featuring at number one and nine respectively on the singles list.

Perhaps the most unexpected thing about the lists is the order itself — while Adele sits snugly where she’s always sat, several pop stars have found their way into Pazz + Jop’s top ten singles, where other end of year lists had them pulling up the ranks much further down the line. For instance, Beyoncé‘s “Countdown” makes it to number two on the singles list, with Nicki Minaj‘s “Super Bass” at number three and Britney Spears’ “Til The World Ends” at number seven. All in all, however, the top 10 singles featured the usual suspects, from Azealia Banks, Jay-Z and Kayne West, M83, Lana Del Rey, Tyler The Creator and Foster The People, there was nothing particularly shocking about the ballot-topping artists.

It was a similar story in the albums list, which, as already mentioned, saw Adele near the top, followed closely by Bon Iver‘s Bon Iver at number nine. Perhaps of a slightly “buzzier” lien than the singles, the albums list saw critically acclaimed tUnE-yArDs‘, w h o k i l l come in at number one, with PJ Harvey‘s fawned over artwork, Let England Shake at number two, and Wild Flag‘s unexpected success, Wild Flag, at number four. Jay-Z and Kayne West, Destroyer, Drake, Tom Waits and Shabazz Palaces also make the top ten albums but again, no surprises other than ranking — these are names we heard all through 2011 and that at the end of the year were plastered across the lists we saw online in both blogs and music industry and expert websites.

Pazz + Jop [The Village Voice]

For The First Time In 7 Years, The Grammys Will Have A Host: LL Cool J

by (@kat_george)

The Grammys is set to have a host for the first time in seven years, and performing the illustrious role at next month’s award show will be none other than rapper LL Cool J. LL Cool J has hosted the Grammy nominations show for the past four years, so is an obvious choice to take the role of master of ceremonies at the awards show itself. In a statement, LL Cool J said “I’m thrilled to be part of Music’s Biggest Night. I will always have fond memories of my first Grammys Awards and to now be hosting the Grammy show, in the company of so many other incredible artists, is a dream come true.” The last person to host the Grammys was Queen Latifah in 2005. Next month’s Grammys will also feature performances from nominees the Foo Fighters, Nicki Minaj, Taylor Swift, Kelly Clarkson, Bruno Mars and Jason Aldean, while rumors continue to circulate that Adele will also sing.

The 54th Grammy Awards airs on February 12 on CBS at 8 p.m. ET/PT.

LL Cool J Is Named the First Grammys Host in 7 Years [People]

Tuned In: Adam Lambert Sings “Better Than I Know Myself” On Leno

by (@kat_george)

Adam Lambert fans — this is what you’ve been waiting for. Performing his first single, “Better Than I Know Myself,” from his forthcoming album Trespassing, last night on The Tonight Show With Jay Leno, Lambert owned the stage with his compelling presence. Looking sharp as always in his signature glam-goth style and vertiginous hair, Lambert gave an emotional performance. With an 80s, synth-led sound shaping the song, Lambert’s voice soared through “Better Than I Know Myself” with confidence and ease, both chilling and uplifting, especially when he hit the high notes with his flawless rock-style vocal.

Read more…

Last Lap: Katy Perry Gets Her Own Video Game, Katy Perry Sims 3: Showtime

by (@kat_george)

Katy Perry Gets Her Own Video Game, Katy Perry Sims 3: Showtime
We’re not entirely sure what the story line is, but this sweet animated trailer for Katy Perry‘s forthcoming video game, Katy Perry Sims 3: Showtime, makes a cute, and sort of trippy, mini-video for “The One That Got Away.” [Prefix]

Kanye West Is In The New Kobe System Ad
Along with a slew of famous faces, Kanye West is in the new Kobe System commercial, and gets his 5 seconds of fame asking the pertinent and deeply philosophical question, “what if you’re really successful?” [Rap Radar]

Read more…

SXSW Line Up Annouced: Buzz Bands And Bruce Springsteen

by (@kat_george)

If you like your bands buzzy and your keynote addresses delivered by Bruce Springsteen, then you’re going to be just as excited about the announcement of the line up for this year’s SXSW festival in Austin, Texas, as we are. As always, there will be sun and parties, and a showcase of the buzziest bands of the past year and the proverbial “ones to watch” for the year to come. Notably, the hyper-cool line up includes Lana Del Rey, who was not only controversially snubbed by the Coachella festival, but whose SNL performance on the weekend has drawn a lot of heat over the past few days. It seems like the Internet sensation can’t be deterred by a little bit of bad press, and that no matter what her criticisms, she is still one of the most relevant and “of the moment” artists as we dive into the new year.

Other big buzz names on the line up include Talib Kweli, who last year released his first solo album in 4 years, and who is set to join Mos Def as Black Star for their first album since they first appeared under the joint moniker 14 years ago; A$AP Rocky, a new comer who was at the forefront of left-of-the-mainstream hip hop last year; SBTRKT, the James Blake-but-better dub act that wrapped 2011 with critical accolades across industry publications; Best Coast, the buzz band tagged as one of the pioneers the new chillwave genre that is becoming increasingly popular, and Zola Jesus, the girl whose trippy, post-grunge vocalism has captured music aficionados with deeply referential yet highly experimental sounds. You can check out the full line up at the SXSW website, here.

Also featuring at the festival, and possibly what we’re most excited about — sorry up-and-coming young music things — is Bruce Springsteen’s keynote speech. As part of the music conference, The Boss will no doubt address a room full of attentive, reverential ears. We’ll be down in Austin for the festival (March 13-18) covering all the action and bringing you daily updates — so watch this space, there’s more to come!

SXSW Reveals Full Music Lineup & Schedule [Crave Online]

Scarlett Johansson Directs Jessie Baylin’s New Video For “Hurry Hurry”

by (@kat_george)

Actor and musician Scarlett Johansson got behind the camera for Jessie Baylin‘s video for the first single, “Hurry Hurry,” of her album Little Spark. Old school buddies, Johansson and Baylin attended New York’s Professional Children’s School together, and Johansson told MTV Hive that, “One of the greatest gifts of growing up with Jessie has been watching her develop as a musician.” This affection is not lost on the video, which is a simple, tender portrayal of Baylin singing on the rain soaked Manhattan Bridge in New York City. The video itself is romantic and lends an extra air of whimsy to Baylin’s already ethereal sound. As Baylin strolls back and forth on one section of the bridge, she is sporadically illuminated as light glows from her back and hair, as if by magic. The song itself is sweet and sentimental, matching the visual to perfection, and her lofty vocal is both melodic and captivating.

Read more…

Adele Finds Love In A Swampy Place

by (@unclegrambo)

You might think that after selling 5.8 million copies of 21 in 2011, everyone who had any sort of interest in buying Adele’s sophomore LP would have already done so. Well, you’d be wrong: Adele is still #1 on the Billboard 200 and iTunes charts, and now rumor has it that she’ll be performing at the 2012 Grammy Awards in February, an event which she is virtually guaranteed to win ALL of the awards. Adele has already warned that it will be a few years before she releases her next album, but word out of the UK leads us to believe that her next LP might be significantly happier.

The Daily Mail is reporting today that the 23-year-old Adele has found love in a swampy place; specifically, in the arms of Simon “Swampy” Konecki. However, much like the troubled relationship that fueled the narrative of 21, this burgeoning relationship is not without its own bit of controversy. You see, “Swampy” is not only a wealthy investment manager 14 years her senior, but —gulp— is also a married (ED.NOTE—Or is he? See our update below!) man with a 5-year-old daughter of his own. Lest you place the “homewrecker” tag on Adele, though, reports seem to suggest his marriage is all but kaput; he’s “in the process of divorcing” his current wife (the pair has been separated since 2010). Either way, we’re happy for Adele and excited for the possibility of her penning a bunch of lovestruck anthems.

UPDATE: According to a post on Adele’s personal site, Swampy is actually divorced. Here’s what Adele herself wrote about the situation: “This is the first and last time I will comment on the details of my relationship with Simon. Contrary to reports and headlines in the press today, Simon is divorced and has been for 4 years. Everyone in our lives separately and together wish us nothing but the best, and vice versa. These are the facts. Take care and see you all in February xx”

Revealed: Adele’s Old Etonian lover Simon Konecki is a married dad [Daily Mail]

[Photo: Getty Images]

Jay-Z Goes Into Over Protective New Dad Mode, Drops Misogyny In Favor Of Blue Ivy’s Honor

by (@kat_george)

Is Jay-Z the most gushing new dad of all time? By all reports, it seems like, yes, yes he really is. Following the birth of his and Beyoncé‘s daughter, Blue Ivy, last week, Hov wasted no time in releasing a song, “Glory,” in tribute to the blushing babe. And now, in the most recent chapter of Jay-Z Is An Amazing Dad, the rapper has vowed to stop using the word “b***h.” In a poem he wrote for baby Blue Ivy, Jay says, “Before I got in the game, made a change, and got rich, I didn’t think hard about using the word b***h. I rapped, I flipped it, I sold it, I lived it. Now with my daughter in this world I curse those that give it. No man will degrade her, or call her names, I’m so focused on your future, the degradation has passed. I wish you wealth, health and insight. Forever young you may pass. Blue Ivy Carter, my angel.”

It’s not such a bold pronouncement for a dad, but a pretty revolutionary thing from a hip hop star, given the proliferation of misogynistic lyricism that characterizes a lot of rap music. We wonder if Jay will now proceed to censor his back catalog, given that the degrading term appears in many of his songs. For instance, will he now sing, “I got 99 Problems but the strong, empowered woman in my life ain’t one”? Will he force Kanye West to change the lyrics of their Watch The Throne hit, “That’s My B***h” to, “That’s my wonderful, intelligent young woman whom I respect unconditionally”?

Moreover, we want to know what Hov plans to do about everyone else — it’s all well and good for him to fly the feminist flag, but he can’t control the rest of the world now, can he? In that vein, some marijuana dealers in LA have developed a strain of weed dubbed “OG Blue Ivy.” We’re wondering how Jay, who often raps about his penchant for the green stuff, feels about the moniker? Obviously Jay can’t keep baby Blue completely away from the big bad world — she is as close as you can come to being infant pop royalty, after all, so she’ll always be in the spotlight. But if daddy really is on the war path, will Blue Ivy be the most sheltered/over protected baby on earth? Is Blue Ivy Carter the new Blanket Jackson?

‘No man will degrade her': Rapper Jay-Z vows to stop using the word ‘b***h’ following birth of daughter Blue Ivy [The Daily Mail]
‘Blue Ivy’ Strain Marijuana Sprouting Up In LA Weed Shops [Huffington Post]

How Will Lana Del Rey’s SNL Performance Affect Her Career?

by (@kat_george)

After the Lana Del Rey carnage that was Saturday Night Live this weekend, the Internet is still buzzing with conversation, from the Lana haters to the staunch defenders, it seems that everyone has something to say about her controversial performances. With high profile personalities tearing at Lana Del Rey like rabid hyenas, it would be easy to concede that the young pop star has stalled her career before it even reached full throttle. NBC Nightly News anchor and all-around good guy Brian Williams roasted Lana, writing in an email published by Gawker, “Brooklyn hippster [sic] Lana Del Rey had one of the worst outings in SNL history last night — booked on the strength of her TWO SONG web EP, the least-experienced musical guest in the show’s history, for starters.” On the other hand however, Daniel Radcliffe, host of the same episode of SNL was quick to jump to Lana’s defense, saying, “It was unfortunate that people seemed to turn on her so quickly. I also think people are making it about things other than the performance. If you read what people are saying about her online, it’s all about her past and her family and stuff that’s nobody else’s business. I don’t think it warranted anywhere near that reaction.”

Despite the onslaught of criticism, Lana Del Rey has made it to number two on the iTunes charts — so it can’t be all bad news. Despite her impressive chart rankings, however, conversation has now turned to her future, and what path her career will take from here. Grantland presented an essay with several options, including focusing on her international audience, redeeming herself in upcoming television appearances for The Ellen Degeneres Show and The Late Show With David Letterman, and sabotaging next week’s SNL musical guest, Bon Iver. One observant commentator on Stereogum’s website suggested the following, which seems most pertinent after the seemingly disastrous SNL appearance:

We recently spoke to Lana and she said of her performance capabilities, “I am not a natural performer but my fans that go to see the show are there because they want to be there not because you’re going to watch and see me fall and mess up and die. The reason that they are there is because they want to listen to songs off of the record. I am getting better on stage. Like when I was in Europe before I even got on stage people were smiling and waving at me and that was unexpected and that was very helpful because I could tell they didn’t really care if I wasn’t amazing. They were just there because they wanted to be there. So that’s all I can really ask for at this point.” What do you think about the performance? Did it affect Lana Del Rey’s career or your interest in her music? Is her music good enough to stand independent of her shaky performances? Let us know in the poll below!

Watch Lana Del Rey On SNL [Stereogum]
Career Advice for Post-SNL-Fiasco Lana Del Rey [Grantland]
Brian Williams Says Gawker Should Have Torched Lana Del Rey: “One Of The Worst Outings In SNL History” [Gawker]
Daniel Radcliffe defends Lana Del Rey US TV performance [BBC Newsbeat]