The Horrors may have burst onto the UK scene in 2006 with their noisy distortion-punk single “Sheena Is A Parasite” (with a Chris Cunningham video to boot) but they’ve evolved and settled quite a bit in the intervening years. The excited fans packed into the Studio at Webster Hall for the band’s United States album release show, filmed for MTV Hive’s Live in NYC series, were expecting shambolic grooves, not frenetic yelps, and that’s what they got for eleven songs spanning just over an hour last night. The band alternated between songs from their brand-new Skying and 2009’s Primary Colours, sounding somewhere between the Psychedelic Furs and the Chameleons, but with the guitar wash (and at one point, “Be My Baby”-aping drumbeat) of Jesus and Mary Chain.
The inexactitude of live performance erased the boundaries of time that can be heard on the records; there, the band is influenced by the sometimes dour proto-shoegazers, but live, the Horrors could actually be their lost peers. When they closed their set with new song “Moving Further Away,” the appreciative audience applauded in vain for an encore until the house music came on. The whole set is streaming above and at MTVHive. Set list below: Read more…
Ever heard of Cage the Elephant? They’re a young rock band from Kentucky whose second album Thank You Happy Birthday was critically acclaimed but popularly ignored earlier this year. There’s no home for the band on the radio, and yet there the band was on The Tonight Show with Jay Leno yesterday.?
This isn’t a story of “indie band makes good,” though?at least, not exactly. See, Cage the Elephant is signed to Jive, which may be why the American indie-rock world remains inexplicably uninterested in what otherwise fits the bill perfectly: nineties-inspired, thoughtful alt-rock. Sardonic pop critic Chris Weingarten recently started a Twitter list of “major label bands no one listens to” that included the band, along with their tourmates Manchester Orchestra.
We’re not sure how much the Leno billing did for Cage the Elephant?the band’s (mostly young) fans aren’t necessarily the Tonight Show‘s audience, nor vice versa?but we’d like to hope otherwise. As weird as it still feels to be pulling for a young band on a major label, we know that there are few things a major label can do for a young guitar-rock band these days. One is to write the check for an eye-catching music video (see Manchester Orchestra‘s VMA-nominated “Simple Math”); another is to shoot for exposure via, say, a prime late-night booking. (Another is to get a good tour opening slot, but Foo Fighters are pretty picky about whom they’ll bring on tour, so we suspect that booking had little to do with the label.) We’re crossing our fingers that the Tonight Show audience liked their performance as much as we did. ?
Electro-sleaze goofballs LMFAO are, at this moment, the only thing standing between Katy Perry and the history books. As we told you last week, their smash single “Party Rock Anthem” is blocking “Last Friday Night (T.G.I.F.)” from ascending to the top of the Billboard 100 chart (which would be Perry’s fifth Number One off her Teenage Dream LP). LMFAO is also currently besting Perry on the YouTube and iTunes charts, while Katy is maintaining dominance on Last.fm as well as airplay on our station. And our friends over at New York Magazine‘s Vulture just named “Party Rock Anthem”—a song they described as “a contrived, effective bit of nonsense about how ‘everybody?s gonna have a good time'”—as their current Song of the Summer.
Despite this onslaught from the progeny of Motown records founder Berry Gordy, our highly scientific formula still shows Perry atop our charts for the seventh consecutive week. While it will be incredibly difficult to topple her, it’s good to see Foster The People making a run at the Top Five. After a standout performance at Lollapalooza this weekend, their outstanding single “Pumped Up Kicks” is quickly climbing the charts; if the word “alternative” still carried any weight as a genre, there’s little doubt that Mark Foster could lay claim to the “alternative” Song of the Summer crown.
“Moves Like Jagger” Video Premieres Online
Lots of quick cuts between file footage of Jagger himself, performance clips of Maroon 5 and Christina Aguilera, a number of mostly-female, mostly-scantily-clad Jagger impersonators dancing?was that a boob? This one’s not going to clear our standards board without edits. [YouTube]
Sony Warehouse Packed With Independent Labels’ Stock Burns In North London
One of the many and far-reaching consequences of the civil unrest in the United Kingdom is the effect the destruction of a distribution warehouse will have on the independent labels who housed stock there. A follow-up report by Pitchfork suggests that physical losses will be covered by insurance, but many labels (listed in full in both reports) will simply not have physical stock to sell for the foreseeable future. [The Guardian] Read more…
The hotly anticipated Watch the Throne dropped on iTunes yesterday at midnight, and the entertainment world has been abuzz about the Jay-Z-Kanye West project for the not-yet-thirty-six hours since. Here’s what’s on everyone’s minds, lips, Twitter accounts, and RSS feeds:
The first thing you need to know about Frank Ocean is that he’s a singer-songwriter, not an “R&B singer.” Seriously: he may be African-American, but please don’t genre-pigeonhole him; not only does he hate it, but his skills at penning intricate, category-less songs are far more expansive than what parameters of contemporary Urban radio will allow. That’s not a shot at R&B, though; we’re just stating a fact.
Raised in New Orleans, Louisiana, the 23-year-old music aficionado began writing for artists like Justin Bieber, Beyonc?, and John Legend when he moved to Los Angeles after Hurricane Katrina in 2009. Linking up with hip hop houligan collective OFWGKTA (aka Odd Future) around that time, Ocean (who was born Christopher, and formerly performed as Lonny Breaux) then secured a deal with Def Jam, but like many artists in the early phase of their careers, was put on the waiting shelf. Luckily for us, the talented songwriter turned insubordinate and rogue, releasing his now critically-acclaimed mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra via his Tumblr.
The mixtape may have been an unconventional move for most up-and-coming singers, but for Ocean, it created a compelling word of mouth domino effect. Taking songs like The Eagles’ “Hotel California,” MGMT’s “Electric Feel,” and Coldplay’s “Strawberry Swing” and making them very uniquely his own, Ocean was able to showcase his songwriting abilities and allow the audience that was hanging on his every word to get to know him, well. Back in May, when we were fearing for our lives during the Rapture, we suggested the MGMT re-worked cover “Nature Feels” as being a delightfully sexy Garden of Eden tune to “go out with a bang” to. But the tape possesses plenty more gems where that came from: a romance with a porn star dental student is illustrated beautifully on “Novacane,” an exorcism and disposal of broken hearts turns into an enchanting car ride to the ocean on “Swim Good,” and a snippet from Nicole Kidman’s character in Stanley Kubrick’sEyes Wide Shut anchors the end of fan favorite track, “Love Crimes.”
This morning saw the launch of the Popdust 40, the pop site’s “exhaustive pseudo-scientific survey” of today’s pop landscape, which ranks artists in eleven categories: Nowness (worth up to 20 points); Drama (15 points); R?sum?, Third-Best Song, Music Videos, Hotness (all 10 points each); Live Show, Non-Musical Ventures, Fashion/Hair, Who They’ve Dated, and Fan Craziness (all 5 points each). (The maximum possible score of 100 was based on Thriller-era Michael Jackson.) The full list (with scores) is here, but Rolling Stone Queen of PopLady Gaga ranked highest, with 93 points. (It’s all about the points.) Gaga outscored her nearest competitor, Justin Bieber, by five points. His 88 puts him ahead of Kanye West (87) and Taylor Swift (86), with Katy Perry (85) rounding out the top 5.
When Popdust caught up with Gaga during her press push for “Yo? and I” to congratulate her, she was probably all too happy to talk about her theories of pop music instead of reiterating the particulars of her new single. Key tidbits: she refers to “underground dance music” as “the voice of my generation” and claims Amy Winehouse “was the only contemporary artist I looked up to.” She also gleefully takes the bait of a leading question to reaffirm something we and Popdust agree on: art and artifice are not some sort of Cartesian duality, as purveyors of “authenticity” would have it. Or, in Gaga’s terms, “Show business has always been about the act.”
Over 270,000 fans (!) braved the elements and attended this year’s Lollapalooza festival in downtown Chicago, which was held this past weekend. Attendees got to enjoy a wide variety of musical performances from the 100+ acts that were on the bill, but as anyone who has ever attended a musical festival will attest, that’s only one of the many benefits of ponying up the 200 or so American dollars it costs to gain entrance. Of course, there’s the whole bonding with your friends thing, there’s the life experience of sharing a collective moment with tens of thousands of strangers, and then there’s the people watching.
Each music festival we’ve attended has had its own signature sense of style. At Bonnaroo, scantily-clad hippies freely roam the grounds in Manchester, Tennessee, and at SXSW, ticketholders and performers alike opted for more “of the moment” fashions. This weekend’s Lollapalooza ticketholders, however, tended to lean more towards a casual hipster aesthetic, which made plenty of functional sense considering the variety of weather conditions (heat, dust, rain) concertgoers had to deal with. Take a spin through our photo gallery for a sample of what people wore knowing that they were going to see and be seen!
Guitarist Jay Gore, who played with Lauryn Hill on her 2007 European tour has stepped up his legal claims against the singer. After initially seeking $3590 in back pay in small claims court two weeks ago (as reported by TMZ), Gore has now claimed that the tour was a hostile work environment and is asking for more than $20,000.
According to a follow-up TMZ report, the new documents claim that “after shows, Hill would demand that the musicians and road support personnel attend meetings where she would engage in a person-by-person critique and berating.” Sounds a lot like the touring prime of James Brown (not that the resemblance excuses Hill or Brown).
American Idol Season 10 winnerScotty McCreery and runner-up Lauren Alaina must not be in direct competition for fans or attention. How else to explain that the two new artists, who share not only a label, but also a manager (Idol guru Simon Fuller, natch), released videos within 24 hours of one another? That said, there’s no reason we can’t put them head-to-head: