by (@unclegrambo)

Train, The Shins, Fun. And Other Acts Come Out In Support Of Spotify (VIDEO)

While there seems to be near-universal consensus about the benefits of Spotify from a consumer-perspective, the same cannot be said for the artists whose work actually appears on streaming services. There are varied reports as to how much money musical acts actually make from services like Spotify, MOG and Rdio —one widely circulated report last summer claimed that Lady Gaga only made $167 after her song “Poker Face” was spun one million times on Spotify— and some acts like The Black Keys have been very vocal about the reasons they have NOT chosen to make their music available there (“For a band that makes a living selling music, it’s not at a point where it’s feasible for us.”)

This hot button issue was on the top of everyone’s mind at this year’s SXSW Festival, where the worlds of technology and music collided for a few days earlier this month. Spotify executive Sean Parker explained during a VH1 Rock Docs panel audience that “There’s definitely some sort of dissent brewing between record labels, publishing companies and artists [about the compensation they get from streaming services] … Spotify is returning a HUGE amount of money [to the record labels]. If we continue growing at our current rate in terms of subscriptions and downloads, we’ll overtake iTunes in terms of contributions to the recorded music business in under two years.”

But what do the musicians themselves think? We sat down with a number of artists at varying stages of their careers —veteran acts like Train, The Shins, and Keane, as well as relative newcomers like Alabama Shakes, Best Coast, Fun. and Gary Clark Jr.— to get their perspectives on this controversial subject. Find out what they have to say in this exclusive VH1 Tuner video!

Read more…

by (@unclegrambo)

SXSW 2012: The Shins Reveal The Symbolism Behind The Title Port Of Morrow, Discuss The Impact Of Portlandia

The brand new album from The Shins, Port Of Morrow, is their first since 2006′s Wincing The Night Away. Frontman James Mercer kept busy in the interim, teaming up with super-producer extraordinaire Danger Mouse on the Broken Bells project. So, the first thing we asked James when we caught up with him over the weekend at the 2012 SXSW Music Festival was what made him feel that the time was right to revisit The Shins?

“During the Broken Bells project, everything that I did creatively, I did on the spot with Brian [Burton, aka Danger Mouse],” he explained. “Since I made that conscious decision that I wouldn’t be bringing ideas I made up at home into the studio, all of the stuff that I came up with on my own went to The Shins. I just had a build-up of ideas for songs, and parts, and choruses and verses.”

Well, judging by the reaction to the new material —the band just graced the stage of Saturday Night Live a few Saturdays ago—he picked a perfect time to rededicate himself to this particular creative outlet of his. Port Of Morrow, which comes out tomorrow, is not only the name of the album and a song on the record, but also a real-life industrial port in Oregon. “[Port Of Morrow] is so poetic sounding, it sounds like something out of Shakespeare to me,” Mercer revealed. “I thought about it like this departure point that you would leave, but I also thought about the river Styx. So, it came to symbolize death, I guess? [Laughs] Maybe I shouldn’t have called the record ‘Death.’”

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Last Lap: Best Coast Launch A Line Of Clothing With Urban Outfitters

Best Coast Launch A Line Of Clothing With Urban Outfitters
Best Coast singer Bethany Cosentino is collaborating with Urban Outfitters in her first foray into fashion. We’re guessing that the line is going to mimic her indie-cool vintage style, with flirty florals and lots of cute dresses. [Pitchfork]

Listen To Kurt Cobain’s Isolated “Smells Like Teen Spirit” Vocal
This is absolutely haunting to say the least. Kurt Cobain‘s stunning isolated vocal from Nirvana‘s iconic “Sounds Like Teen Spirit” will send chills up and down your spine. [SPIN]

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Bonnaroo’s Awesome Lineup Is Revealed, Starring The Likes Of Radiohead, Bon Iver, Red Hot Chili Peppers And Foster The People

If you’ve been in front of a computer with a working Internet connection today you’re probably aware that Bonnaroo has announced the line up for this year’s festival, and that everyone is getting a little breathy and excited about it. And why not — the lineup is absolutely out of this world, with huge names Radiohead, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Phish, The Beach Boys, Grammy winners Bon Iver, The Avett Brothers and The Shins headlining the festival. While we’re a bit perplexed as to why the legendary Beach Boys are billed fourth (we can understand Radiohead as a firm first, but surely The Beach Boys have more clout on a lineup than Red Hot Chili Peppers or Phish, especially as they’ve reunited to tour this year?), it’s hard to maintain any kind of indignation with such a fun lineup.

The big names appear next to some pretty “of the moment” new comers, including our You Oughta Know artists Foster The People (could this be Grammys round 2, performing with The Beach Boys again perchance?), The Civil Wars, Dawes and Fitz & The Tantrums (we LOVE to say we told ya so!). There’s also the dub act that’s taken the USA by storm, Grammy winner Skrillex, oldies but goodies like The Roots, Alice Cooper, Ludacris and Ben Folds Five. And is anyone as excited about the Black Star comeback as we are?? Hype acts on the list include Childish Gambino, 2011′s lauded tUnE-yArDs, St. Vincent, SBTRKT, Kendrick Lamar, Kurt Vile, EMA and Das Racist to name but a few! Bonnaroo might just have the leg up on the other festivals — sure Coachella has a hype-led lineup with a smattering of superstar at the top of the bill and SXSW is ready to introduce us to the hottest new talent, but Bonnaroo seems to balance the classic and timeless with still relevant veterans and hyped new names across genres. Basically, Bonnaroo’s got something for everyone.

Bonnaroo tickets go on sale February 18th at 12 p.m. EST.

[Photos: Getty Images]

by (@kat_george)

Coachella 2012 Line Up Analysis: Who’s In, Who’s Out And What’s What

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.

Coachella 2012: Now Starring Every Buzz Band From 2011…
If it buzzed in 2011, you’ll find it on a stage at Coachella 2012: Girls, Yuck, EMA, Kendrick Lamar, SBTRKT, Azealia Banka, A$AP Rocky, tUnE-YarDs, Childish Gambino, The Weeknd, Wild Flag, Real Estate, Gotye, Wild Beasts, Gardens & Villas etc. Oh and FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN FRANK OCEAN.

… 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.

Our You Oughta Know Friends
We called these ones in 2011, and now some of our favorite You Oughta Know artists are set to tear up Coachella which only makes us swell with pride. Our You Oughta Know friends in the lineup include Dawes, Ximena Sarinana, Grace Potter and the Nocturnals, and Fitz and the Tantrums.

Read more…

by (@kat_george)

Watch These Thrones: The Best Collaboration Albums

As Jay-Z and Kanye West‘s Watch The Throne tour kicks off this week, there’s really not all that much else to talk about. Between set lists, leather outfits, copious bling and “OMG WILL PREGONCÉ OR FRANK OCEAN OR BOTH MAKE AN APPEARANCE?”, it’s a truly immersive experience, permeating all facets of daily life and conversation. So while we wait very impatiently for our turn to Watch The Throne, we’ve compiled a list of some of our favorite collaboration albums of all-time.

Read more…

by

Top 20 Albums of the Year (11-15)

Thousands of discs were released this year, but only 20 could make the final cut. With the most scientific of instruments (headphones, and sometimes CD players) we whittled down this year?s releases, and for the past two Thursdays, we?ve delivered five of our faves. Let us know what we missed, and what you loved.

LCD Soundsystem, Sounds of Silver (DFA)

11_lcdsoundsystem.jpgJames Murphy is the patron saint of downtown cool, and anything he or his record label touches instantly becomes an indie treasure. What?s most extraordinary about his sophomore release is its accessibility — at its heart, this is a bubblegum pop record, and not the salty organic kind of gum you buy at the health food co-op, either. We?re talking Bubblicious here, people. Long renowned for long-playing dance-floor remixes and shoe-shopping house beats — his other record this year, 45:33, provides an excellent example of that — Murphy?s work on Sounds of Silver is discreet, short and frequently to the point. ?North American Scum? is precisely the kind of song you want with you at the gym, a self-deprecating slice of upbeat funk with lyrics that?ll never make the Republicans happy: ?New York?s the greatest if you get someone to pay the rent . . . and it?s the furthest you can live from the government.? Then there?s the new wavy ?Someone Great? and ?All My Friends,? a song so suffused with nostalgia and desire it sounds like it belongs in a John Hughes movie. It?s excellent, easy to listen to and innately underground, and it?s been a long time since those three elements intersected in a pop album. Yes, there?s a sense of unrequited longing here, but so much the better for Murphy if he keeps producing work like this.

M.I.A., Kala (INTERSCOPE)

12_mia.jpg For her second album, thinking-liberal’s pop star M.I.A. traded political sloganeering and an abundance of hooks for something much simpler: an album of bangers, bamboo and otherwise. Compared to her 2005 debut, Arular, Kala‘s beats are more propulsive, its messages are more opaque and its cultural mining is even stronger. The resulting album is all prowess and ire and recontextualized sound. It is, at heart, a hip-hop record, and because it’s so effective and singular and forward-thinking, it’s the heart of hip-hop in ’07, period. As always, M.I.A.’s speak-singy vocals turn charisma into a fine art. Her personality is so huge, she’d have Rihanna‘s career if the world were fair. But then, her whole point seems to lie in reminding us that it isn’t.

Band of Horses, Cease To Begin (SUB POP)

13_bandofhorses.jpg Let?s forgive them the fact that their songs are all about mood and aura, rather than ?feelings? or the problems that bring those ?feelings? about. And let?s forgive them the fact that the singer veers into Supertramp territory now and again. Let?s just bathe in the eerie pomp of the chiming guitars and the rhythm section?s splashy forward motion. Like U2 sleeping over at the Jayhawks? house, these guys make melancholy anthems that love to reverberate everywhere before they slink home with the echoes dissipating in the distance. Maybe it?s their recent move to North Carolina, but for a grandiose outfit there sure are quite a few moments where twang takes over. Dream pop disc of the year.

Radiohead, In Rainbows (ATO RECORDS)

14_radiohead.jpgIt was a David & Goliath tale, if David were a band of insanely talented mope rockers and Goliath was the desperately floundering record industry. In short, the band revolutionized the music industry in 42 minutes and 34 seconds, with 10 songs: The band would offer its newest effort, In Rainbows, and whatever folks felt fit to pay, well, that?s the price of the album. It would be considered an impressive move by a lesser band. That the band was one of the most popular, and simultaneously respected, outfits in music today only compounds the coup. But to concentrate solely on marketing techniques, the implications of morality and the free market economic discussions this generates would miss the point: the band has made a gorgeous album. From the glitchy snares and waltzing jazz guitar of ?15 Steps? to the stark, maker-meeting ?Videotape? that seems to take its percussion from a funeral march, the album shows a marked change in the four years its been since Hail to the Thief. Gone is the politically tinged rock invective, and the verse-chorus-verse songs. Radiohead has made an opus, difficult to splice into song, and utterly captivating throughout.

The Shins, Wincing the Night Away (SUB POP)

15_theshins.jpg It?s amazing James Mercer can get a word out, let alone an album, without choking altogether. Following the release of Oh, Inverted World, indie director Zach Braff latched on to it, using the majority of the album as the soundtrack to his movie, and even having his protagonist Natalie Portman utter the phrase: ?This band will change your life.? That the band went on to make two records improving on the home-recording-honed formulae James Mercer devised for their debut is a feat. With their melodic base well-established, the band appeared to move outward from that point; experimenting with sound (?Sea Legs,? with its plastic bags popping as percussion) as well as perspective (?Phantom Limb? tells the story of two teenage lesbians alienated at their school).

by

Rock on TV – The Shortlist

lohan.jpgJonesing for music on your television set? Don?t know what to watch? Love to see your favorite musicians tied up in absurd plots? Well, then, you?ve come to the right place, rockers! Check out our shortlist below. For more extensive listings, read VH1?s Rock on TV schedule daily.

A Prairie Home Companion, Monday, 9:30 AM (EST), HBOZ: We know, we know. You haven’t gotten quite enough of Lindsay Lohan lately, what with her recent trip to rehab. A thoroughly peroxided Lohan plays the suicide-obsessed daughter of Meryl Streep in the cinematic dramatization of the beloved NPR radio show.

The Gilmore Girls, “Girls In Bikinis, Boys Doin’ the Twist” Monday, 5PM (EST), FAM: Looked to as the death knell of indie culture, this was the moment the Shins came out of their (possibly scoliosis afflicted) shell and rocked this WB original series’ spring break episode. The performance by beloved, bespectacled indie outfit was more revolutionary than the Flaming Lips playing the Peach Pit on 90210. See also: Garden State.

by

Biz Beat-Boxes for Kids

Biz Markie!Few hip-hop artists do the human beat-box thing as well as Biz Markie. So consider it a boon for edutainment that the crazed old school MC was one of the artists who helped kick-off the new preschoolers show Yo Gabba Gabba! The Nick Jr. program has a decidedly hip slant. The Shins, Elijah Wood, Tony Hawk, Sean Kingston, and Rahzel all crop up on the first few episodes. Have a look at the Biz in action below, and take some time out of your day to enjoy his “Just a Friend” video over here.


Related Content
news_20?922.gifBiz Markie Artist Main
video_20?916.gifWatch Biz Markie Music Videos