Odd Future’s Frank Ocean, you’ll remember, has been signed to Island Def Jam since 2009. After growing increasingly frustrated by how long they were taking to get his album out, Ocean posted Nostalgia, Ultra to his Tumblr and watched the “Like” count soar. Def Jam was watching too, apparently, because this summer they are giving Ocean the record release he has so earned.
Last night, Ocean previewed his major label debut Channel Orange, out officially July 17, for a lucky few journalists at KMA Studios in New York. And from the sounds of it, with amped up production and stronger songwriting, as well as all-star guest spots from fell Odd Future member Earl Sweatshirt and Outkast’s Andre 3000, this second round will be even better than the last.
Performing at Coachella for two consecutive weekends must be intense for artists. They understand that each show is different, as is each audience. Doing an exact repeat performance of a set that has already been viewed around the ‘net by thousands of fans could be career suicide. (Well, at least Coachella career suicide.) Frank Ocean, an artist whose reputation has been built up by the Internet, is definitely someone who recognizes this, so he made sure to switch things up a bit this weekend by covering Lauryn Hill’s beloved “Tell Him” right out of the gates. The minute the crowd recognized the words, they went crazy. Not just because they were familiar, though, but because of the way Frank took the slow steady route, singing smoothly over the mellow instrumentals.
Ocean also gave the crowd another treat with his new song, “Forrest Gump,” which he explained to the rabid crowd as being on “one of his new jams” from his upcoming LP.
As we type this, the gates are about to open in Indio, California for the thirteenth incarnation of the Coachella Festival, and for the lucky few (hundred thousand) with wristbands (and the jealous/curious rest of us), the festival has posted set times for this weekend’s insanely strong lineup. There’s at least one performer worth seeing at any given time, so if you’re going, definitely try to check out at least one band you haven’t heard before. (If you’re like us and are sitting hundreds or thousands of miles away from the Empire Polo Club, YouTube will be livestreaming much of this year’s fest.)
As anyone who has ever attended a music festival will attest, the most difficult part of the weekend is choosing between one or more of your favorite acts who are scheduled to play at overlapping times. With that in mind, we’re here to help! Here are this weekend’s five most crowded time slots, along with our recommendations about who you should see at Coachella this weekend.
We’re trying to write this through tears so we’re sorry if what we’re about to say comes off as overly emotional or melancholy, but we’re broken hearted. Frank Ocean has announced via his Tumblr that he won’t be turning his critically acclaimed mixtape Nostalgia, Ultra, into the hotly anticipated Nostalgia, Lite, full album after all. He wrote, “‘Nostalgia, Lite.’ is never coming out… Hahaha. What I look like a year later re-releasing my last album? Not icey. B*tch I’m icey.” Ocean had previously promised the album for summer this year, but instead has left us shattered and hopeless. There will, however, be a Def Jam debut from Ocean this spring, of which Ocean said, “[It felt like Def Jam was] signing a kid with dreams and talent with no intention of following through… [But now] we’re cool. There is a new album coming. I’m super proud of it.” So we suppose all hope is not lost after all!
Earlier this week, Frank Oceanposted to his Tumblr that Don Henley was threatening to sue him if he played “American Wedding” (a track from Ocean’s mixtape, Nostalgia, Ultra that heavily samples The Eagles‘ “Hotel California”) ever again, but today modified the post to confirm that it’s Henley’s label, Warner Music, and not Henley himself that is threatening legal action. Ocean updated his Tumblr to say, “Don Henley(’s label — Rhino) is apparently intimidated by my rendition of Hotel California… He (They) threatened to sue if I perform it again. I think that’s f**kin awesome. I guess if I play it at Coachella it’ll cost me a couple hundred racks. If I don’t show up to court, it’ll be a judgement against me & will probably show up on my credit report. Oh well. I try to buy my sh*t cash anyway. They also asked that I release a statement expressing my admiration for Mr. Henley, along with my assistance pulling it off the web as much as possible. Sh*t’s weird. Ain’t this guy rich as f**k? Why sue the new guy? I didn’t make a dime off that song. I released it for free. If anything I’m paying homage.”
Apparently, however, Warner Music doesn’t see it the same way, with Larry Solters, a representative for the Eagles, telling SPIN, “Frank Ocean did not merely ‘sample’ a portion of the Eagles’ Hotel California; he took the whole master track, plus the song’s existing melody, and replaced the lyrics with his own. This is not creative, let alone ‘intimidating.’ It’s illegal. For the record, Don Henley has not threatened or instituted any legal action against Frank Ocean, although the Eagles are now considering whether they should. Any further questions regarding this matter should be directed to Warner Music Group as it is the entity that currently owns the master recording and made the contact with Frank Ocean’s representatives concerning his infringement of the master recording.”
While Ocean hasn’t actually made any money from sales of “American Wedding” (Nostalgia, Ultra was released as a free mix tape) it seems that Warner Music is ready to contest the use of “Hotel California” regardless. So Ocean’s not going to be forced to cough up any royalties for sales because there are none, although we question whether he’s liable to pay for performances of the song, given that he’s been paid for touring. Or worse yet — could Ocean be forced to delete “American Wedding” from his repertoire all together? Given that Nostalgia, Ultra was released over a year ago on Feburary 18th, 2011, it seems like Warner Music might have been a bit slow on the uptake — although given Ocean’s ever-growing profile and forthcoming official debut album, it seems like a pertinent time to curb the use of “Hotel California” especially with Ocean set to hit the tour circuit again, including his Coachella performance and mysterious Kanye West and Tyler The Creator collaboration.
See A Teenage Adele Being Interviewed By Pete Townshend While Smoking
She was technically Adele then, but she wasn’t really Adele then, if you know what we mean. Watch this blast from the past video of a teenage Adele being interviewed by Pete Townshend while smoking a cigarette, and try to reconcile the cheeky girl with the devilishly charming young woman she’s become. [Rolling Stone]
Madonna Is Accused Of Copying, We Yawn
Are you as bored as us by every man and his amateur act accusing big stars of copying? Art is such a strange thing — everything inspires and informs everything else, and unless it’s a blunt, shameless copy we’re just a bit tired of the whole schtick. Now, a Brazilian popstar has accused Madonna of copying him in “Gimme All Your Luvin’”. We’re guessing very little will come of this accusation, if anything at all. [NME]
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]
We’ve been plagued with all sort of thoughts since the official 2012 Coachella lineup was unveiled last night. Mostly, we’ve just been wetting our pants with excitement (which isn’t doing much for our social lives), but between all the puppy dog-like urination we’ve been able to take some time to reflect on the line up — what we like and what we’re not so fond of, and how it all fits together with the 2011-12 music landscape.
… But Where’s Lana Del Rey?
Noticeably missing from the lineup is THE buzz artist of 2011, Lana Del Rey. We’re assuming this would have been a conscious choice on the part of either Coachella organizers or Lana’s team, but given that her debut album, Born To Die, is about to drop it doesn’t seem likely that Lana Del Rey would pass up the opportunity to promote it at Coachella, which leaves us wondering why her name isn’t on that poster.
Find Out Why America Loves Skrillex Nitsuh Abebe reflects on America’s obsession with Skrillex, the mainstreaming of dubstep and dissects what dance/club music means to American music consumers. [Vulture]
Lady Gaga Accused Of Stealing
New York artist and general kooky lady, Colette, has made a protest video claiming that Lady Gaga stole her “art” for a Barney’s window installation. Colette’s work is similar to Gaga’s, but we’re starting to get sick of the whole “Someone famous stole my art” game. [Gothamist]
Now that we’re done with reflecting on 2011, it’s time to start projecting into 2012. With the reign of Adele perhaps taking a brief hiatus, and buzz building around several newcomers, some legendary reunions and highly anticipated sophomore albums, 2012 is already shaping up to be a year filled with some pretty amazing music. We’ve put together a list of 20 of our most anticipated albums for 2012 — what are you looking forward to in 2012?
Lana Del Rey – Born To Die (Expected Release Date: 01/27): Possibly the most hyped artist of 2011, we’re excited for the record to finally come out so we can stop judging the hype and start judging the material! She landed a highly coveted spot as the musical guest on the January 14th episode of Saturday Night Live, so expect the clamor to grow.
Van Halen – A Different Kind Of Truth (Expected Release Date: 02/07): Aside from a couple of songs that made it onto the band’s 1996 Best Of set, the band hasn’t cut any new material in the studio with original lead singer David Lee Roth since 1984, so anticipation for this project is through the roof. After a blistering reunion set at Cafe Wha? in New York City last night, there’s a good chance the boys still have it in ‘em.
Sleigh Bells – Reign Of Terror (Expected Release Date: 02/14): After Sleigh Bells’ killer debut with Treats, we’re biting our nails to find out whether their sophomore effort will be just as good. If the release of the first single off the new album, “Born To Lose”, is anything to go by, we won’t be disappointed.
Nicki Minaj – Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded (Expected Release Date: 02/14): Since Nicki Minaj Tweeted that the new album will feature all new material (as opposed to a re-release), we’ve been painting everything pink in anticipation. Barbz at the ready!