Helping You Make The Tough Decisions At Bonnaroo 2011

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Festival season continues this weekend with Bonnaroo‘s 10th anniversary in Manchester, Tennessee, so we’re here again to help guide the 80,000 wristband holders through the tough choices of the weekend’s lineup. (Don’t have a ticket? You’re in luck! Some of the big-tent performances will be webcast at VEVO.) As always, we recommend checking out at least one band you haven?t heard before; might we recommend country-rocker Hayes Carll, (who plays one set each today and tomorrow)?

Jam-band and bluegrass aficionados have a plethora of options all weekend?perhaps too many tough choices. For the more pop-minded among us, here are five big intersection points to break down for you:

FRIDAY AFTERNOON
Choices: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals (3:15 p.m., What Stage) and Matt & Kim (3:15 p.m., This Tent)
Decision: Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. Both groups are embarking on summer tours in midsize venues with reasonable ticket prices, but Matt & Kim, though they showed at the OMAs that they can play bigger, do have a certain energy that’s amplified when it’s contained in a club full of kids that are ridiculously hyped up. You Oughta Know artists Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, on the other hand, don’t lose any of their power from midday open-air big-tent staging.
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Top 10 Bonnaroo Acts With The Fastest Growing Fan Bases

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Previously in our “Bonnaroo By the Numbers” series, we discovered that hip-hop acts dominate Bonnaroo’s lineup in terms of sheer volume of social media fans. Now, we’ve compiled data from Next Big Sound to create a list of the bands that are growing their fan base (Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, MySpace, YouTube, etc.) the fastest. It’s based on month-over-month percentage change leading up to Bonnaroo. The list is topped with the always-animated, experimental band Man Man, presumably because their fourth album, Life Fantastic, was released last month. The Brooklyn-based, get-the-party-started band Matt & Kim are next on the list with a 209% increase in fans, including an enormous one-time spike of 35,000 fans on May 19 — the day after the duo announced their “Sidewalks” tour and the day they released their official video for “CAMERA” on their Facebook page.

Also on the list are some up-and-comers like Sallie Ford and the Sound Outside, a Portland rock quartet that’s as comfortable playing jazz and blues as it is rock. The foursome, ranked #3 on the list, increased their social media fan base by 151%. They’ve been around since 2008, but released their debut album last month. After the jump, see all 10 bands on our list.

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Natasha Bedingfield Spreads Well Wishes To Her Ailing Friend, Sean Kingston

by (@unclegrambo)

Sean Kingston nearly lost his life after he crashed his jet ski into a bridge over Memorial Day weekend. Thankfully, though, reports have surfaced that confirm that he has made it out of the woods, so much so that Kingston is now reportedly now walking on his own and he’s scheduled to make a full recovery.

Yesterday morning, we spoke with Big Morning Buzz Live guest Natasha Bedingfield after she got done performing and asked her if she had spoken to Kingston, her collaborator on one of the biggest hits of 2007, “Love Like This.” Natasha (who looks positively lovely up close and in person) told us that she hadn’t spoke to him yet, but she did offer up some really kind words about one of the gentle giants of R&B.

We’ll have more from our interview with Natasha Bedingfield tomorrow! Until then, be sure to tune into Big Morning Buzz Live each and every weekday at 9:30 a.m.!

Lady Antebellum Offer Prince Belated Birthday “Kiss” On CMT Awards

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With Kid Rock as host, it’s no surprise that the CMT Music Awards went pop last night. After a gag entrance in which Kid Rock tried to open the show with “Bawitdaba” only to be interrupted by Wynonna for a duet debut of her “Till My Dying Day.” Later in the show, The Band Perry introduced their performance of single “You Lie” with a snippet of “Love the Way You Lie.”

The undisputed crossover champions of the night were Lady Antebellum, who halfway through their performance of “Just a Kiss” switched over to a much funkier “Kiss”?the 1986 single from Prince and the Revolution‘s Parade. Lady A, who have showed their pop potential at the Grammys, on the charts, and, increasingly, in performance, turned out a great rendition (though admittedly, Prince songs are really hard to cover poorly). They didn’t explicitly mention Prince’s 53rd birthday the day before, but we’d like to think the performance was, in part, a birthday tribute.

Elsewhere on television?
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Three (Free!) Mixtapes That Will Help You Beat The Heat

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Temperatures are nearing 100?F here in New York City. (They’re probably even higher if you’re reading from elsewhere.) And over the next thirteen days, the northern hemisphere will tilt even closer towards the sun. In short, it’s disgusting outside. You know what you need? Summer mixtapes! Here are your three best bets:


1. DJ Bedbugs, Teenpop, Lock, and Drop Vol. 1
Bedbugs, aka music writer and former Pitchfork contributor Dave Moore, combined 1998-2001-era teenpop instrumentals with 2009-2011 rap a cappellas for an LP-length re-examination (via recontextualization) of the last (so far) cultural peak in teenpop. Think of it as a high-concept mashup record, only way better than that description sounds. Bedbugs also helpfully offers a bit of background information about the mix.
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The Voice Judges Take On Queen’s Catalog, With Varying Success

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To usher in the next stage of the Rube Goldberg competition structure on NBC’s The Voice, the show opened with another judge-quartet performance, this time a medley of three of Queen‘s biggest hits. For the myriad sing-alongs the band inspires, Queen is really tough to cover, and unfortunately, it shows a little in this performance.
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Scary Video Of Moby Getting Electrocuted And Passing Out In Amsterdam Surfaces

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Last week, a few slightly bizarre tweets in Moby‘s feed hinted at an electrocution, and yesterday some (admittedly choppy) footage of the incident surfaced on YouTube. The clip is extremely awkward, because as Moby lay supine on the floor, attendees snapped photographs for almost ten seconds before being told by an organizer, “This is?this isn’t a joke, by the way.”
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The Top 34 Moments That Shaped Kanye West (Also: Happy Birthday, Yeezy!)

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Today is Kanye West‘s 34th birthday, and while we would be happy to praise our favorite controversial artist to high heaven, we’re sure no amount of laudation would be enough for the notoriously immodest West. So we decided to take a different approach: pinpointing the 34 moments that shaped Kanye. Some shaped his life; some shaped his persona; some shaped the way he’s seen. All of them either have found or will find their way into his highly personal music. Happy birthday, Yeezy!

DATE: June 8, 1977
EVENT: Kanye West is born
It wouldn’t be Kanye’s birthday if he hadn’t been born thirty-four years ago today, in Atlanta, where his parents settled after they both finished graduate school.

DATE: August 28, 1980
EVENT: Kanye’s parents, Ray And Donda, divorce
In her memoir Raising Kanye, Donda West recalls that, to her mind, her husband Ray was putting his new photography studio ahead of his own family, so she filed for divorce and full custody of young Kanye. Two weeks after the divorce was final, Kanye and his mother left Atlanta for Chicago. Imagine the life he might have led had he grown up in Atlanta!

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At Bonnaroo, Hip-Hop Acts Crush The (Social Media) Competition

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It may seem surprising that hip-hop would dominate anything at Bonnaroo, the giant music festival (and party) that began in Tennessee a decade ago with hippie-ish jam bands and roots rock. But this is what we discovered when using Next Big Sound to gather social media stats on all 150 or so acts on the lineup. For our inaugural “Bonnaroo By the Numbers” feature, we’ve compared the top 20 acts on the lineup versus their total number of social media fans (Facebook, Twitter, LastFM, MySpace, YouTube, etc.).

While the top acts on the lineup are a solid mix of roots rock, hip-hop and indie rock, the hip-hop artists tear it up in the social space. Eminem, Lil Wayne and Wiz Khalifa would be the top three acts if Bonnaroo were to order its lineup based on which artists have the most social media fans. While Eminem tops both the bill and social media (nearly 50 million followers!), Lil Wayne is #7 on the lineup and Wiz is down at #44. Atmosphere would also be #10 on the lineup, not #39.

After the top three hip-hop acts, the next three would be a trio of indie luminaries: The Strokes, Arcade Fire and The Decemberists. It’s not too surprising that the roots rock or jam band contingents don’t register very high. To be fair, we didn’t break out the individual musicians of the reunited Buffalo Springfield — and Neil Young has more than a million Facebook followers alone. Then again, we can’t really imagine him sharing his knack for poetry on Twitter.

Last Night on Late Night: My Morning Jacket Heat Up Fallon With “Circuital”

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When My Morning Jacket played “Circuital” on their episode of VH1 Storytellers, frontman Jim James talked in almost spiritual tones about how the heat of recording conducted sound really well and made the recording sound great. Maybe it was really hot in the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon studio yesterday, too, because the band turned out not only a killer rendition of their single, but also one of the better-sounding musical performances we’ve ever seen on television.
 
Fallon’s staff deserves a bit of the credit: television performances are notorious for sounding bad (the audio equivalent of the old chestnut, “the camera adds ten pounds”), but somehow the band sounded as good as ever. Recently Billboard (in the May 28 print issue and an online supplement) and Pitchfork both ran features on the expanding role of late-night television in music promotion, especially for niche artists like My Morning Jacket. Both articles had kind words for Fallon’s music booker Jonathan Cohen. Judging from last night’s performance, the audio mixer needs some serious shine, too. It didn’t hurt that, even when it’s an open secret that musical performances get last billing because audiences are most likely to tune out, the show gave the band the full seven-plus minutes so they didn’t have to abbreviate the song or pick a different performance. The audience got the whole song?”greatest guitar solo of all time” (that’s Jim James on Storytellers again) and all.

Elsewhere on late night?
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