For some reason, it’s a power-pop band’s lot in life to be underrated and undernoticed?a fact that’s been true at least since the sixties, when entire life cycles of under-the-radar garage-rock bands went by before Lenny Kaye compiled their hits into the first Nuggets collection. It’s no less true now. To be successful as a power-pop band, you need something extra. For Fountains of Wayne, it was a catchy gag-single (“Stacey’s Mom”) plus financing from Adam Schlesinger‘s side-hustle as a commercial composer. For Sloan, it’s been Canadian arts-socialism (via FACTOR).
OK Go‘s angle, starting with the mega-success of the video for “Here It Goes Again,” has been eye-catching visuals. This has led to the unusual challenge of outdoing the last video with the next one, most successfully with last year’s Rube Goldberg video “This Too Shall Pass.” Their antics have even inspired other artists like Death Cab for Cutie to shoot art-gimmick videos, even as OK Go’s own sound has drifted more towards the indie-guitar-pop of those same bands.
Their latest eye-catching clip, for “All Is Not Lost,” features the band?accompanied by the Pilobolus Dance Company?contorting themselves on a transparent surface, through which the video is shot. In the clip, viewable above, the band and dancers spell out some of the lyrics with their feet.
At the interactive site allisnotlo.st, you can enter your own message, and the dancers walk across the screen and spell it out (even if your message is explicit?so teenagers and teenage-minded adults, have fun spelling out OK Go foot obscenities).
Mark Ronson is, it would seem, a firm believer in the old saying, “the show must go on.” Less than thirty-six hours after he attended the funeral of his dear friend and musical collaborator Amy Winehouse, he and his band The Business Intl. were slated to play an open-air concert as part of the weeklong Greenwich Summer Sessions festival, and rather than cancel the engagement, he dedicated the show to his late friend and played several of her songs, including “Valerie”:
The song was already part of the band’s repertoire, but last night’s performance was particularly poignant. “Usually when we sing this song, Kyle [Falconer, previously of The View] sings it,” Ronson said, introducing the song, “But you know what? I think the only thing that would be right tonight is if you guys sing it.” He then introduced Winehouse’s two backup singers: “We’re gonna help you?I’m not gonna say that Zalon and Ade don’t have much better voices than all of you?but it’s not really about that. We want you to sing this s?t as loud as you can.” The crowd gladly obliged. The band?and crowd?were also joined on vocals by Dave McCabe, who’d originally written “Valerie” for his band The Zutons.
Ronson’s tributes spanned the entire evening; while DJing before his set, he played “Rehab,” and he later related a quotation from Tuesday’s service while speaking to the crowd: “There was a rabbi that spoke, and he said that somebody’s life is measured in deeds and not years, and that’s the best thing I heard yesterday.” Near the end of his performance he returned again to Winehouse’s catalog, performing “Back to Black,” which is viewable below.
We love a good rumor as much as the next pop-culture junkie, but thanks to the internet, gossip has sort of spiraled out of control, and sometimes, we like to think of ourselves as rumor-busters?like when we busted rumors about Beyonc?‘s album getting pushed back…by calling her publicist, which no rumor-monger had yet bothered to do.
Now we have more evidence to support our continuing “Destiny’s Child are not beefing” coverage. We’re not so na?ve that we blindly believe everything that Beyonc? and Kelly Rowland have to say on the topic, of course, but the rumors have been getting more and more ridiculous in the face of what seemed to be growing evidence to the contrary.
When we heard that, at the launch party for Rowland’s Here I Am, the duo (and Michelle Williams) had been as friendly as Rowland claimed on Tuesday that they always had been, we reported as much. But one thing puzzled us: why was Beyonc? only photographed entering and leaving the party, and not at all with Rowland, inside? The New York Daily News gossip blog Gatecrasher gave us an answer this morning, which may also explain what has continued to fuel rumors.
In the wake of Amy Winehouse‘s untimely death, many of her obituaries have focused on how little recorded material of hers actually exists. Since releasing her second studio album, Back In Black, in 2006, the soul-influenced vocalist went five years without officially releasing any new material. And while speculation and rumors of new songs have been swirling around since her unfortunate passing on Saturday, a source close to Winehouse’s management has told The Guardian that there may actually be a treasure trove of songs to release. Enough for an album, or, dare we say it, even two.
According to the source, the late singer “had put down the bare bones of tracks and some were further along than others.” Constantly writing over these past few years, it was understood that Winehouse was recording and amassing a pile of demos in the studios within her home. In 2008, Chairman and CEO of Universal Music Group, Lucian Grainge publically boasted that Amy’s new material was “sensational,” and just a year ago, the artist who already penned Frank and Back to Black vowed that a third album was in the works, and would be released in January of 2011.
Like the gifted singer, that date has now come and gone, and as fans, we can only hope that the purity in the groundwork Winehouse already created will be handled with care and built upon in the most respectful manner possible. And while her label Island Records is maintaining a universal (no pun intended) don’t-confirm-or-deny position, we’ve been told by our own sources over there that there is “no new music as of now.” Translation: it’s coming, but we have to be patient.
DEMI LOVATO, FOSTER THE PEOPLE AND ONEREPUBLIC WITH B.O.B TO PERFORM AT THE 2011 DO SOMETHING AWARDS
Hosted by Jane Lynch the Awards will Air on VH1 Thursday, August 18th
NEW YORK, NY (July XX, 2011) ?DoSomething.org and VH1 announced today that Demi Lovato, OneRepublic with B.O.B. and Foster the People will perform as part of the star-studded 2011 Do Something Awards. Hosted by Glee star Jane Lynch, the ceremony will honor and celebrate the nation?s best young world-changers who represent the pivotal ?do-ers? in their field, cause or issue. Celebrities such as Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Prince William and Duchess Catherine, David Beckham, Scarlett Johansson, Russell Brand and Will Ferrell have been nominated in a variety of categories from ?Do Something Movie Star? to ?Do Something Couple? for all they have done to inspire young people. Many will be on hand to accept and present the awards at the show which will air Thursday, August 18, 2011 at 9 p.m. EST on VH1.
The show will mark the first time Demi Lovato will perform her hit single ?Skyscraper? live. Her fans played a big part in making this performance happen by enthusiastically tweeting the word ?Skyscraper? to @DoSomething multiple times over the last month. Lovato is also nominated for two awards in the Do Something Charity Song and Do Something TV Star categories.
“If you are expecting anything less than ‘wow,’ you’ve got the wrong award show. We are so psyched to have Demi’s first public performance, a hot break-out band like Foster the People, and expect OneRepublic with B.o.B to be very loud!” said Nancy Lublin, CEO and Chief Old Person of DoSomething.org.
We whet your appetite with a 30-second sneak peek of The Script’s new video for “Nothing” on Monday, but now that the full masterpiece has arrived in the form of an exclusive Top 20 Video Countdown premiere, feel free to feast! Watching the trio leave a bar in rare form in the initial clip, we were curious to see what would come of their wild night on the town, especially since the song’s lyrics don’t try to mask the “Am I better off dead?” pain that can come hand in hand with a horrible breakup.
Brooding over his former love, a downtrodden Danny has one drink too many, prompting him to get a little rowdy and uncontrollably shout his ex’s name in the street. While bandmates Mark and Glen were initially contributing to his getting liquored up, they then somehow manage to lose track of him while crossing a quaint, Monet-arched bridge over a canal. After looking introspectively down at the water below, Danny proceeds to climb to the bridge’s ledge (are those studded Louboutin sneakers or Chucks?!) and jump in. And since we all know shots and swimming don’t mix, there is a clear cause for concern.
Once he actually hits the water’s surface (an action that could be viewed as a suicide attempt), Danny discovers that his lady is there, too, in the form of a water goddess, and happily cashes in on some intimate, underwater smooches. While her presence is seemingly a fantasy, we soon realize that our beloved lead vocalist is, in fact, in the water, for real. Does he wind up drowning in this analogy of sadness come to life, or will he live to sing another day?
50 Cent’s “I’m On It” Premieres; 50 Cent’s Tweets Confuse
“Man I’m not releasing a album i can’t believe interscope is this f?ked up right now. I apologize to all my fans,” 50 Centtweeted late last night, before “I’m On It” surfaced on Soundcloud, ostensibly uploaded by 50 himself. But when he threatened to leak a Dr. Dre single (he didn’t) and then tweeted this afternoon, “I don’t know how I can record 41 song for my album and the one song I give interscope leaks,” he completely turned us around. Is it damage control for his self-leak? Is he throwing his weight around for a release date? Is this all a worked shoot? Who can tell? [Twitter]
Rihanna Helps United States Navy Prevent The Sinking Of Its Battleship
The trailer for next summer’s Navy-vs.-robot-alien-things blockbuster Battleship (yes, based on the board game) debuted today, featuring Rihanna as part of a task force investigating a bizarre disturbance in the Pacific. (Hint: it attacks them.) [Yahoo] Read more…
After friends and family of Amy Winehouse gathered yesterday for a private funeral ceremony, her father Mitch Winehouse released a statement that insisted that Winehouse had “conquered her drug dependency” three years ago, and “had just completed three weeks of abstinence” from alcohol. “She was not depressed,” he also noted. Implicitly his statement castigates the fatalistic tendencies of some of the Winehouse eulogies. None of this was to diminish his daughter’s struggle; in the same statement he renewed his commitment to helping others combat addictions through the soon to be formed Amy Winehouse Foundation: “In [Britain], if you cannot afford a private rehabilitation clinic, there is a two-year waiting list for help. With the help of Keith Vaz MP, we are trying to change that.” (The statement can be read in full at The Guardian)
Kelly Osbourne, however, was more openly critical of those who might be less than entirely respectful about the passing of her close friend. When she heard the news, she’d tweeted, “I cant even breath right my now im crying so hard i just lost 1 of my best friends. i love you forever Amy & will never forget the real you!” She called it “the saddest day of my life!” Today, she returned to Twitter to call out those who she sees as profiting off Winehouse’s death: “any ‘friend’ of amy’s talking 2 the press/tv are not her actual friend’s. her real friends have more dignity then to get $ 2 talk about her!”
One surprising but touching tribute that we suspect neither Winehouse nor Osbourne would have a problem with came from Sixties girl-group veteran Ronnie Spector. Spector was a clear influence on Winehouse, and, in turn, the ex-Ronette would regularly cover “Back to Black” in concert. The singer spoke to Matthew Perpetua at Rolling Stone about her grief over Winehouse’s passing. “Every time I looked at her, it was like I was looking at myself,” she told him. “She had my beehive, my eyeliner, my attitude.” But this was not an accusation of plagiarism?it was admiration that she returned.
Amy came to my show in London about six months ago, and she was so shy. She was hiding behind somebody, but I could see the hairstyle, and I knew she was there. That was all I needed. When I sang “Back to Black,” I could see the tears in her eyes, and there were tears in mine.
Spector will be releasing a cover of “Back to Black,” with proceeds going to substance abuse treatment center Daytop Village. The song can be streamed at Rolling Stone.
CORRECTION: The Adam Lambert episode of Behind The Music will air on Sunday, August 7, not Sunday, July 30 as originally stated.
The next episode of Behind The Music, premiering Sunday, August 7 at 10 p.m. ET/PT, looks into the life of American Idol star Adam Lambert. In this sneak peek, Lambert talks about his behind-the-scenes struggle with the public debate about his sexuality?and his inability to respond, thanks to the Idol contestant contract, which forbids contestants from giving one-on-one interviews before the competition is over.
This episode is sure to be a highlight of an already great season, so don’t miss it!