Last Lap: Wednesday’s Odds & Ends In Music News

by (@unclegrambo)

You’ve got to hand it to the Sleazy one. Between this and “Till The World Ends,” she sure knows how to write a pop song about the end of days. [Popdust]

When the nation’s number two bookstore chain decided to liquidate earlier this week, most of the initial attention rightly focused on the fact that 10,000 hardworking Americans are now out of a job. However, as we all know, the news cycle moves fast, and today NPR took a look at what the closure of Borders means for classical music fans. Borders sold more music in the classical genre than any other store in the nation, and apparently, classical music fans are still more apt to discover new music to purchase by traditional retail “browsing” than anything the internet has been able to replicate so far. [NPR]

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Pray For His Pipes: R. Kelly Rushed Into Emergency Throat Surgery

by (@Lacezilla)

Gather around, y’all … we’ve got scoop. After undergoing emergency surgery to drain an abcess from his tonsils, it’s been announced that R. Kelly is currently recovering in Northwestern Memorial Hospital in his native Chicago. Reps for the 44-year-old singer, famous for his incredible vocal ability on naughty songs like “Bump N Grind,” “Feelin’ On Yo Booty,” “Thoia Thoing” and “I’m a Flirt,” report that he’ll be “laid up indefinitely.” On this end, we certainly wish the R&B crooner a speedy recovery and hope that he can return home soon. Going under the knife is never fun, especially when the area being treated affects your livelihood!


R. Kelly “Laid Up Indefinitely” After Emergency Throat Surgery [UsMagazine]

[Photoshop credit to the one and only Lauren Deiman]

Music Seen: Foster The People Pay A Visit To NYC Right As Their Popularity Starts To Soar (PHOTOS)

by (@unclegrambo)

Foster The People are on a roll. At this time last year, their catchy and distinctly unique sounding hit single “Pumped Up Kicks” had just started gaining some steam on the bleeding edge music discovery site, The Hype Machine. Flash-forward to present day, and that song is steadily climbing both the Billboard (#1 on Alternative) and iTunes (#21 in Singles) charts, propelling the Los Angeles-based indie pop act forward as they sell their club dates coast to coast.

We here at VH1 recognized the potential of the band early on, which is why we named them as our You Oughta Know artist earlier this month. Just prior to that announcement, Foster The People –which, if you’re keeping score at home, is made up of Mark Foster (lead vocals, keyboards, piano, synthesizers, guitar, programming, percussion), Mark Pontius (drums) and Cubbie Fink (bass) stopped by our offices here in the heart of Times Square and dazzled a particularly-enthused audience with a four song You Oughta Know Live set, just hours before performing a sold-out show at New York’s famed Bowery Ballroom. Our cameras followed them along all day long, and we’ve got the tantalizing results for you below in the latest installment of our recurring series, Music Seen. Enjoy!

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Beyonc? Rejects Complex Rumor-Baiting: “There Is Room On This Earth For Many Queens”


Beyonc?‘s collaborators may be interested in taking shots at Kelly Rowland on her behalf, but Beyonc? herself has no interest in female-star infighting. In the cover story for the August/September 2011 issue of Complex, she refused to provide any grist about Rowland or any other female pop stars for the ever-churning rumor mill.

Interviewer Gabriel Alvarez tries to hedge a bit about rumors. “The fact that both released singles on the same day back in ?08 was somehow interpreted to mean that Bey was trying to sabotage Kelly,” he notes, implying a conflict on the level of Blur and Oasis in 1995, even while denying its veracity. In fact, Rowland’s “single” was actually the digital-only deluxe reissue of Miss Kelly, and Beyonc?’s “release” was “Sweet Dreams,” leaked the day after it was recorded, and months before the release of I Am…Sasha Fierce, so even a Beyonc? collaborator who might identify with Bhasker‘s Twitter outburst yesterday wouldn’t have purposefully made the song public.

To be fair, when Alvarez asks about drama, he does observes that “you can tell the question irks her, simply in the asking.” Beyonc?’s response, though, shuts the line of questioning down, despite Alvarez’s suggestion of “not-at-all subtle lines of distinction”:

There is room on this earth for many queens. I have an authentic, God-given talent, drive, and longevity that will always separate me from everyone else. I?ve been fortunate to accomplish things that the younger generation of queens dream of accomplishing. I have no desire for anyone else?s throne. I am very comfortable in the throne I?ve been building for the past 15 years.

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POSTED: Jason Derulo Gives An Exclusive Sneak Peek At His New Video Shoot


We’ve got another missive from July’s Posted artist, Jason Derulo. Yesterday he sent us a video message from his wardrobe fitting for the new video, and today, he shared some on-set photographs and his thoughts on the music video process. Take it away, Jason Derulo:

What’s up, what’s up, back in the USA. Europe was fun, exciting, exhausting and productive, and the fans were really amazing. I am excited to be back in LA shooting the video for my second single today. As “Don’t Wanna Go Home” continues to grow, I am thankful for all the support and love, as we prepare for single #2.

This is actually my 7th video shoot, and where did the time go? I can remember being so excited and nervous on the “Whatcha Say” video. It was my first single, my first big video shoot and I had no idea what to expect. I stayed up all night anticipating and looking forward to the shoot day, and it ended up being an incredible learning experience. Seven videos later and I really feel that both I and the quality of my videos have grown tremendously. But there is still so much more growth ahead of me, and that is exciting and challenging at the same time. Have to shoot a scene now, but it is always great to write about my past, present and future, as I embark on the road to “Future History”.

Keep checking for more from Jason Derulo all month.

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Beyoncé’s Producer Trashes Kelly Rowland’s “Motivation” on Twitter

by (@Lacezilla)

Jeff Bhasker has worked with a slew of talented artists, penning and producing songs for Drake’s Thank Me Later, Alicia Keys’ The Element of Freedom, Jay-z’s Blueprint III, and Kanye’s 808s and Heartbreaks and My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy. With legit hits under his belt, it should be no surprise that his discerning ear also has some strong opinions. But sometimes, opinions are like a-holes, are they not??

Yesterday, when the producer who most recently worked on Beyonc?’s 4 album (“I Care,” “Party,” and “Rather Die Young”) took to Twitter to?criticize former Destiny’s Child vocalist Kelly Rowland’s current hit “Motivation,” you could almost hear the record player come to a screeching stop. Confused as to why a song “with the weakest beat and melody of all time” could catapult Kelly to #1 on the Urban chart, Bhasker wound up justifying the feat by crediting at the song’s featured verse from rapper Lil Wayne.

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Tuned In: Justin Timberlake And Jimmy Fallon Revisit “The History Of Rap” With An Equally-Thrilling Part 2


Sorry, Emmylou Harris! You’re a very talented performer and your rendition of “New Orleans” on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon yesterday was great. But when Justin Timberlake is also a guest, and he and Jimmy Fallon provide a sequel to their raucously entertaining “History of Rap” from September, you’re going to get upstaged.

Transitioning effortlessly from old-school classics like Kurtis Blow‘s “The Breaks” to early-nineties hip-hop head favorites like Black Sheep‘s “The Choice Is Yours,” to more recent hits like Lil Wayne‘s “A Milli,” the duo entertained the heck out of the audience in the crowd and at home. Wisely, the two touched on a number of dance-associated tracks, so Timberlake, in particular, could show off his best Dougie, robot, and even Ed Lover dance. They even rattled off a few bars of “Up In Here,” possibly in honor of DMX‘s recent release from incarceration. This is the rare sequel that matches the original, and it’s a must-watch.

Elsewhere on late night…
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A Group Of Overage Hangers-On Threaten To Bogart Rebecca Black’s “Moment”

by (@unclegrambo)

While most 14 year-olds are concerned with everyday things like getting good grades and surviving the wretchedness that is puberty, teen songstress Rebecca Black has spent the better part of this year absorbing heavy artillery fire on the frontlines of the social media war. After her supremely catchy (or, depending on your opinion, totally annoying) song “Friday” launched into the viral stratosphere back in March, an army of haters mobilized to take shots at her from every corner of the Internet; just google “rebecca black friday worst song ever” and 222,000 results pop up. A tsunami of negative feedback this immense would cause many full-grown adults, let alone a 14 year-old girl, to change their name and skip town. When you add in the fact that her relations with the company that she partnered with on “Friday,” Ark Entertainment, soured to the point that they found themselves a Hermione Granger lookalike to replace her, no one would’ve said a word edgewise had Rebecca Black chosen to drop out of the limelight forever and press the “reset” button on her life.

Instead, Rebecca Black released “My Moment,” which is pretty much the Millenial equivalent of the old playground rhyme “Sticks and stones may break my bones / But words will never hurt me.” In the parlance of our times, the song “is what it is”; however, the video treatment is problematic in the way it depicts a group of adults whose only concern seems to be how to most efficiently monetize the phenomenon that is Rebecca Black.

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


Rough Cut Of Britney’s “Gimme More” Video Surfaces
The most notable contrast between this leaked cut and the official video (besides this clip’s inclusion of a sequence in which Britney is topless save for a leather jacket she holds against her chest) is the lack of the post-production wizardry that was applied to make Britney look thinner. We wonder whether that’s why the original is full of dutch angles, while delighting that, for the moment, the YouTube comments about Britney largely avoid body judgments. [Billboard]

30 Seconds To Mars Cover U2 For Unplugged
For their episode of MTV Unplugged (premiering tonight at 8PM ET on, 30 Seconds to Mars recruited a gospel choir at the eleventh hour for a take on U2‘s “Where the Streets Have No Name.” MTV shared the video with Entertainment Weekly‘s Music Mix. We can’t help being a teensy bit disappointed that the band didn’t cover Fleetwood Mac, as they had apparently considered, but their U2 cover does the trick anyway. [EW Music Mix]
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Nirvana’s Nevermind Is About To Turn 20, And Spin Got Thirteen Bands To Celebrate


Nevermind 20th Anniversary coverage dominates Spin‘s August 2011 issue, which hits newsstands in a week. Cover story “What Nevermind Means Now” is supplemented by Newermind, a track-by-track cover version of Nevermind. Cobain favorites Meat Puppets and The Vaselines share billing with new kids on the block like Surfer Blood, whose guitarist told the magazine, “Kurt Cobain was dead before I could tie my shoes,” and Jessica Lee Mayfield, who admits, “I found out about Nirvana through the Foo Fighters. I’m sure I’m not the only one who walked that discovery trail.”

The bands who have been most directly influenced by Nirvana are the most reverent in their takes, although Telekinesis, at least, has an excuse: their contribution was last-minute, “when one someone?no need to name names, so let’s just say it was Wavves?went AWOL.” On the other end of the spectrum, we’re rather fascinated by Foxy Shazam‘s transformation of “Drain You” into a glam epic complete with horn section.

The album is available for free download now in exchange for “liking” Spin on Facebook and giving an email address; non-Facebook users can get the tribute directly from Spin‘s site on July 26 when the issue streets.

Free Album: Spin Tribute To Nirvana’s Nevermind [Spin]

[John Paul Pitts (Surfer Blood guitarist) Image: Getty Images]