Tuesday, April 27, 2010

Top Summer 2010 Albums We Know That YOU Can't Wait To Hear


Last year, as fans devoured his comeback album Relapse, Em promised fans an even more diabolical sequel. Now with a new working title, he indicates a change in creative direction. 


After taking a hiatus to start a family and watch several new acts keep her dance-pop lane crowded. Christina now will try to show them how it's done with her first full-length album since 2006.

T.I., TITLE TBA (August)

Atlanta's sharpest lyricist is back home again after a a stint inside a cell block. The rap scene just hasn't felt complete without him. 

N.E.R.D., TITLE TBA (June) 

The Neptunes (a.k.a. super producers Pharrell Williams and Chad Hugo) have been quite in the past 5 years cutting from their omnipresence during the early millennium. With their upcoming fourth album, they once again team up with their old pal Shay Haley. 


Hip-hop's original Bad Boy has told fans that he'll explore dance music and more on this long-delayed album. 


Will the "tell-all-Maven" bring to her next disc anything as huge as ''I Kissed a Girl'' or ''Hot N Cold''? On the verge of changing her single status, she definitely will have new stories to tell. 


Details are scarce about the British producer's follow-up to 2007's all-star covers set Version, but we liked that one so much that we're dying to hear what he'll do next. 


The Montreal band became one of indie rock's biggest crossover acts with 2004's Funeral and 2007's Neon Bible. Little is known about its rumored follow-up, which may or may not arrive before summer turns to fall, but it's bound to be a big deal whenever


The last Twilight film scored exclusive tracks from indie and alt-rock all-stars like Thom Yorke, Death Cab for Cutie, and Grizzly Bear. This next chapter promises the same eclectic feel and sound.


New do, but same formula of surfer-laid-calm-tracks, a lot are all looking forward to the laid-back Hawaiian strummer's latest set.


Now going by just Game and taking out ''The'', he can always be relied upon for anthem beats, hit-em-up lyrics and street knowledge. This fourth album provides a Justin Timberlake collab.


With several hits under his belt as the frontman of Gym Class Heroes, the affable rapper is stepping out on his own for a solo debut.


It has been years since ''MMMBop,'' and this brotherly trio has already proven their well worth the price of growing up. They certainly have become accomplished pop-rock performers. Especially having lead singer Taylor Hanson making new fans by teaming with members of the Smashing Pumpkins, Cheap Trick, and Fountains of Wayne for the supergroup Tinted Windows in 2008. Now with their latest album since 2007, they once again prove that pop-stardom can be an evolutionary thing.


This young Degrassi: The Next Generation star is already one of rap's hottest artist on the strength of hits like ''Best I Ever Had'' and ''Forever.'' Expectations for his debut couldn't be any higher right now.


These electro-rap individuals has only gotten bigger since their 2008 single ''Don't Trust Me'' made it to the top 10 of Billboard's Hot 100. Now the they work with hitmakers like Dr. Luke, Benny Blanco, and Greg Kurstin for the new album.

M.I.A., TITLE TBA (June) 

The ''Paper Planes'' provocateur made headlines with a 2010 interview in which she trashed Lady Gaga as a rip-off artist. Now M.I.A. has a chance to back up her speech with a third album.  So much for those retirement announcements.

Monday, April 26, 2010

New Music : April 20, 2010 - April 26, 2010

Soundtrack "Glee: The Power of Madonna"
The MUCH anticipated all-Madonna episode of "Glee" aired twice last week, with a simultaneous soundtrack release. "Glee: The Power of Madonna" features nine songs from the Material Girl's back catalog, including a medley of "Borderline" and "Open Your Heart." Like previous "Glee" offerings, this collection seems a bit uneven: the Cheerios' full-throttle "Express Yourself" could rouse the dead, but the snippet of "Like a Virgin" we heard was convincingly sweet, although the guys' singing on it made for an uncomfortable moment. And the remake to "4 Minutes" made a danceable groove into a sit- down-fest.

Soundtrack/AC/DC "Iron Man 2"
Another notable soundtrack is the AC/DC movie collaborative, "Iron Man 2." Features music used in the 1986 Stephen King misfire "Maximum Overdrive," "Iron Man 2" includes 15 previously released tunes from the Australian titans of metal, serving as a de facto "Greatest Hits"--which is cool, since the band had consistently eschewed issuing just such a collection. The selections span their entire career from "T.N.T." to "War Machine." While their sound may not have changed much, their fortunes sure have. It's hard to believe the band that entered the charts at No. 1 in 29 countries with "Black Ice" in 2008 barely troubled the lower reaches of the Billboard 200 with its 1976 international debut "High Voltage."

Rufus Wainwright "All Days Are Nights: Songs for Lulu"
This talented singer/songwriter/producer marks a sharp departure from his previous project, the original opera "Prima Donna." After working with a 70-piece orchestra on that extravaganza, the brooding troubadour opts for just voice and piano here. Wainwright's sixth studio album is his first since the death of his mother, Kate McGarrigle. For those in the dark, she is a folk music great who died last January. Rufus brings out a character that is more bittersweet than melancholy. The program opens strongly with the beguiling "Who Are You New York?" and also includes stripped down renditions of the "Prima Donna" aria "Les Feux D'Artifice T'Appellent" and three of the Shakespearan sonnets he set to music for a Robert Wilson theater piece last year.

Sevendust "Cold Day Memory"
The first full-length from this ever loud, grundge industials since the modern metal quintet reunited with original guitarist Clint Lowery in 2008. Not breaking from previous and obviously successful formula, thier new album delivers the same pummeling sound, albeit with the occasional moment to catch your breath; check out the sudden dynamic shift toward the end of the otherwise brutal opener "Splinter." The eighth album from the Atlanta combo was produced by 2009 Producer of the Year Grammy Award nominee Johnny K (Disturbed, Staind, Plain White T's).

Cydepress Hill "Rise Up"
Four years in the making, these ever adapting "hip-mash-hoppers" finally drop thier follow-up to 2004's "Till Death Do Us Part." The Latino stars are in plenty of good company, with guest turns from guitarists Tommy Morello (of the defunct Rage Against the Machine and the original SUPER-GROUP, Audioslave) and Daron Malakian (System of a Down), Linkin Park's Mike Shinoda, Everlast, and even Cheech & Chong, plus producers like Pete Rock, Jim Jonsin, and, of course, DJ Muggs. These former Lollapalooza headliners also have an early contender for one the year's best summer jams in "Armada Latina," a groovy tune featuring Marc Anthony, Pitbull, and a ridiculously catchy sample from the 1969 CS&N hit "Suite: Judy Blue Eyes." We like the feel of this and hope it does "rise up" both on the charts and the volume level.

  • Dan Snaith: "Swim"
  • Sam Amidon "I See the Sign" 
  • Merle Haggard "I Am What I Am" 
  • Shelby Lynne: "Tears, Lies and Alibis" 
  • The Infamous Stringdusters: "Things That Fly" 

Thursday, April 22, 2010

American Idol Recap - Down to the Wire With 6 Contestants Left

Last night's American Idol, the yearly Idol Gives Back show, had the bottom three consisting of Tim Urban, Casey James, or Aaron Kelly. Fortunately the best choice was sent home packing. Smiles and hair alone can't win you a seat as the top idol. But since Justin Beiber IS thrilling millions of fans without the help of A.I., Tim, you should have a great path in which to follow after all this subsides.

Sweet Tim Urban is apparently not the invincible Tim Urban-a-tor after all and the Tim Urban-Myth is gone. The true myth was if this guy could really sing after an awkward karaoke moment with the Goo Goo Dolls' "Better Days" that probably hurt our ears more than his outstretched vocal.

He's certainly got the look and the feel of a star...until of course he opens his mouth. The great things he has going for him is that he is very young, has time to develop and no matter what he does, he'll always have young screaming girls after him. Hey Tim, if you're reading this, (NOT!!) talk to Jason Castro - he'll have plenty of advice.

New Music : April 13, 2010 - April 20, 2010

MGMT "Congratulations"
 While their Dave Fridmann-produced 2008 debut "Oracular Spectacular" got these guys on the airwaves and into hipster ears, their sophomore set goes much further. Sonic Boom (Spacemen 3, Spectrum, E.A.R.) overseeing things, Andrew Van Wyngarden and Ben Goldwasser reach out and stretch their imaginative experiments more with mesmerizing results: the trippy, surf rockin' hit "It's Working"; a post- Roxy Music-solo of oddities; and "Dan Treacy," another ambient sounding groove typical of this duo's M.O.

Coheed and Cambria "Year of the Black Rainbow."
The latest concept album from the scream-o-metal band with fictional story lines in their lyrics. The album pretty much functions sort of as a prequel to "The Armory Wars" narrative outlined on their four previous interrelated albums. They are putting out a deluxe edition that comes packaged with a 300-plus-page novel authored by Claudio Sanchez and New York Times best-selling writer Peter David (of the "Dark Tower" series). Produced by in collaboration with Atticus Ross (NIN, Jane's Addiction) and Joe Baressi (QOTSA, Tool). The album is the first Coheed and Cambria album featuring drummer Chris Pennie, formerly of Dillinger Escape Plan.

Natalie Merchant "Leave Your Sleep"
Merchant tries a time-honored practice of putting out an album of poetry songs. Her first album in seven years features original settings of poet scribes including Ogden Nash, Robert Louis Stevenson, e.e. cummings, Robert Graves, and many more. Just to up the stakes, each of the 26 pieces boasts a distinct musical flavor: Dixieland jazz, reggae, traditional Celtic and Balkan folk. Just might be the intriguing project that has an effortless quality that belies Merchant's intense commitment and a supporting cast of 125 musicians. Merchant partners up with the likes of the Wynton Marsalis Quintet, the Klezmatics, the Chinese Music Ensemble of New York, Medeski, MArtin & Wood and even players from the New York Philharmonic.

Jason Castro  "Self Titled"
While you won't find the "American Idol" finalist's popular version of "Over the Rainbow" on his self-titled debut, his rendition of "Hallelujah" (a song popularized by the immortal Jeff Buckley) closes out the set. In light of how many "Idol" contestants now accompany themselves on the show, it's startling to realize that just a couple of seasons ago the dreadlock-sporting Castro set a precedent when he played his own guitar. The album, produced Eric Rosse ( Chris Isaak, Sara Bareilles), features songwriting contributions from Marc Roberge of O.A.R.,  Norwegian pop duo Espionage plus a duet with Serena Ryder.
  • Nels Cline Singers: "Initiate" 
  • Straight No Chaser "With a Twist" 
  • The Contrast: "God of Malfunction" 
  • Jen Olive: "Warm Robot" 

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Guru :Legendary Rapper Unable to Beat Cancer After Heart Attack Last Month

He was was 43 years young and left a legacy for many to follow, but no one to ever fill in.  A little over a month after undergoing surgery following a heart attack, Gang Starr's dynamic MC, Guru has died. According to a statement, Guru died of cancer-related causes on Monday after a long fight with the disease.

Guru's longtime partner, French producer Solaar mourns his loss in the statement and reveals what Guru had written in a letter to his fans that was to be released upon his death.

"The world has lost one of the best MCs and hip-hop icons of all-time — my loyal best friend, partner, and brother, Guru," Solaar said. "Guru has been battling cancer for well over a year and has lost his battle! This is a matter that Guru wanted private until he could beat it, but tragically, this did not happen. The cancer took him. Now the world has lost a great man and a true genius."

Born Keith Elam on July 17, 1966, near Boston, Guru rose to fame in the late 80s as part of the duo Gang Starr with DJ Premier. The dynamic duo on the tracks helped define New York City's underground rap sound in the 1990s. Their underground sound combined Premier's production palette, which leaned heavily on sampled jazz records and scratched vocals on the choruses, with Guru's uncompromising lyrics and vocals. The two would work separately as often as they did together — Guru's Jazzmatazz series of albums and Premier's work with Nas, Jay-Z, and underground act Group Home — Gang Starr continued to release critically acclaimed material throughout the late '90s and early 2000s.

In 1998, Moment of Truth was among their most critically lauded collections and Gang Starr's biggest selling project to date while their last group project, The Ownerz, was released in 2003.
Guru soared into solo fame in 1993 when he released the first volume of his Jazzmatazz series, an all-star project that featured a number of collaborations with jazz icons such as Branford Marsalis, Donald Byrd, Roy Ayers and Ronny Jordan, as well as vocals from Solaar and N'Dea Davenport of the Brand New Heavies. The album's mixture of jazz and rap was considered pioneering at the time, and the record spawned the hit "Trust Me." Guru would go on to make four volumes in the series.

Guru wrote a farewell letter while still lying in the hospital, according to Solaar. He recants the letter stating,  "I, Guru, am writing this letter to my fans, friends and loved ones around the world," it begins. "I have had a long battle with cancer and have succumbed to the disease. I have suffered with this illness for over a year. I have exhausted all medical options.
"I have a non-profit organization called Each One Counts dedicated to carrying on my charitable work on behalf of abused and disadvantaged children from around the world and also to educate and research a cure for this terrible disease that took my life. I write this with tears in my eyes, not of sorrow but of joy for what a wonderful life I have enjoyed and how many great people I have had the pleasure of meeting.
"My loyal best friend, partner and brother, Solar, has been at my side through it all and has been made my health proxy by myself on all matters relating to myself. He has been with me by my side on my many hospital stays, operations, doctors visits and stayed with me at my home and cared for me when I could not care for myself. Solar and his family is my family and I love them dearly and I expect my family, friends, and fans to respect that, regardless to anybody's feelings on the matter. It is my wish that counts. This being said I am survived by the love of my life, my sun KC, who I trust will be looked after by Solar and his family as their own. Any awards or tributes should be accepted, organized approved by Solar on behalf [of] myself and my son until he is of age to except on his own."

Guru very pointedly distanced himself from Premier in the letter, saying he didn't want his former musical collaborator to be able to participate in any tributes or events surrounding his death.

"I do not wish my ex-DJ to have anything to do with my name likeness, events, tributes etc. connected in anyway to my situation including any use of my name or circumstance for any reason and I have instructed my lawyers to enforce this," wrote Guru. "I had nothing to do with him in life for over 7 years and want nothing to do with him in death. Solar has my life story and is well informed on my family situation, as well as the real reason for separating from my ex-DJ.
"As the sole founder of Gang Starr, I am very proud of what Gang Starr has meant to the music world and fans. I equally am proud of my Jazzmatazz series and as the father of Hip-Hop/Jazz. I am most proud of my leadership and pioneering efforts on Jazzmatazz 4 for reinvigorating the Hip-Hop/Jazz genre in a time when music quality has reached an all time low. Solar and I have toured in places that I have never been before with Gang Starr or Jazzmatazz and we gained a reputation for being the best on the planet at Hip-Hop/Jazz, as well as the biggest and most influential Hip-Hop/Jazz record with Jazzmatazz 4 of the decade to now. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time. And we as a team were not afraid to push the envelope. To me this is what true artists do! As men of honor we stood tall in the face of small-mindedness, greed, and ignorance. As we fought for music and integrity at the cost of not earning millions and for this I will always be happy and proud, and would like to thank the million fans who have seen us perform over the years from all over the world. The work I have done with Solar represents a legacy far beyond its time and is my most creative and experimental to date. I hope that our music will receive the attention it deserves as it is some of the best work I have done and represents some of the best years of my life."

The legend knew this time was to come as news of it still ripples down the Hip-Hop nation, avenues and hallways. True to his craft, an industry loses, yet another rare genius that kept the veins of up and coming artists fed with pure talent, skill and knowledge. Guru, you, your work and your enigma will be sadly missed.


Monday, April 19, 2010

Carrie Underwood Wins ENTERTAINER OF THE YEAR at Country Music Awards


 Singer Carrie Underwood made history at the Academy of Country Music Awards as she is the first female artist to win Entertainer of the Year twice. The 27-year-old previously won the honor in 2009 and picked it up again at this year's awards show. The American Idol star also won a special triple crown prize.

Underwood beat other artists including Kenny Chesney, Brad Paisley and Taylor Swift. Taylor, 20, didn’t win any awards despite being nominated for five - but she gave an impressive performance of her song Change. Trio Lady Antebellum were presented with five awards.

Friday, April 16, 2010

American Idol Recap - After TWO get Ousted, Its Down to the SUPER 7

So the termination went to two instead of the usual one for the 8th week of American Idol's elimination round. A.I. watchers and trigger fingers did not disappoint with the two ousted wanna-be's and did some serious house cleaning, stuffing not one but two contestants into tear-resistant baggies and setting them to sit and wait out on the curb.

Finally!!  Andrew Garcia, gets an overdue trip to the curb. How he even lasted was beyond this blogger's mind!! His Elvis-week performance of “Hound Dog” must have caused the King to roll over a few times - surely, one of the more disappointing runs for an early front-runner in recent show history. His sing-off to “You Give Me Something” only affirmed the fact that A.I.'s voters DO have taste.

The other evicted tenant, Katie Stevens,  bested only by fellow candidates - Big Mike Lynche and Tim Urban, struggled to get through “Let It Be” without completely collapsing - moving moment from a contestant who’s often seemed remote and robotic. Not a bad pick A.I. voters ... Sorry, Katie, but you do have plenty of years to develop!!

Next week’s theme: Inspirational songs! Hmmmmmm, suspect.... real suspect.  Next week’s industry mentor: Alicia Keys ... for inspirational songs???!!

Tuesday, April 13, 2010

New Music : April 06, 2010 - April 12, 2010

Slash "Self- Titled"
Growing up as Saul Hudson and maturing to be the front man for one of the more edgy and outlandish rock bands in the late 80's and into the 90's, Slash has been talking up his all-star solo record since 2007. Now, it's finally here. Having worked with two of rock's most notorious vocalists in Guns N' Roses in and Velvet Revolver, the guitar icon recruited all the other singers imaginable for his self-titled bliss. His entourage of vocalists include aging legend, Iggy Pop, Kid Rock, Ozzy Osbourne, Chris Cornell, surprisingly, Fergie and more. -- Those lending a hand in other aspects of the album are members of the bands Maroon 5, Avenged Sevenfold, Alter Bridge, Wolfmother and former GNR cohorts Duff McKagan, Izzy Stradlin, and Steven Adler all contribute, too, as well as Flea  and Travis Barker.

David Byrne & Fatboy Slim " Here Lies Love"
Strangely enough as the pairing is, this album is inspired by the Philippines' most famous first lady, Imelda Marcos, the album sounds as appealing as its inspiration, but as strangely put together. Its creators seem misdirected as to where they want to go with this album evident more in their lyric. Though told only from a few points of view of a few characters, the artists rendering the POV include Tori Amos, Steve Earle, Cyndi Lauper, Natalie Merchant, and Kate Pierson (of the B-52's). Byrne pays lip service to lyrics embodying Marcos' love of nightclubs and disco music while Fatboy Slim's rhythmic contributions are uncharacteristically bland. While there are a few tolerable vocal performances (Alice Russell's biting "Men Will Do Anything," Nellie McKay's playful back-and-forth on "How Are You?"), the program never fully comes together.

Jakob Dylan "Women and Cuuntry"
With a more folk setting, smaller supporting band, Dylan's second solo album certainly shoots for more quality and not quantity. Neko Case and Kelly Hogan step up to do vocals to eight of the 11 originals. T-Bone Burnett is behind the control board for the production of the album and keeps the sound close to traditional roots music flavors with stripped down arrangements. This gives Dylan's writing and wry delivery room to glow. Includes "Smile When You Call Me That" and "Truth for a Truth."

Sharon Jones & the Dap-Kings "I Learned the Hard Way"
These soulful giants titans were busy being on other artists' albums, they finally put out one with each other. They reunite after being in different parts of the world in different studios. They put together a Kick-a** new album speaking of lovers in "Window Shopping" and "The Game Gets Old". The group's funky '70s sound provides a perfect complement for the concerns over financial matters - "Money".  They tackle the troublesome youth issues that most would relate to in "She Ain't a Child No More" with that ageless funk that makes you want to listen, learn, reminisce and jive all at the same time!! They even throw you back in the 60's with the subtle "Mama Don't Like My Man."


Twitter's New Revenue Plan - Will It Satisfy Both Users and Advertisers??

NEW YORK (AdAge.com) -- In the four years since Twitter launched, two questions have hung over the micro-blog service: Can it make money? If so, how? Twitter is expected an answer to both questions on Tuesday in the form of "promoted tweets," which will put ads on Twitter, first in search results and later in user feeds both on Twitter.com and the myriad third-party clients that access the service, such as TweetDeck, twhirl, TwitterBerry and Tweetie, the last of which was just acquired by Twitter last week. Initially, Twitter's version of keyword ads will appear only on searches conducted on its website; users will start seeing those Tuesday afternoon. A single ad will appear at the top of a search. That ad is itself a tweet, and users can "re-tweet" the ad to pass it around, make the ad a favorite or reply to it.

Tweets as ads
Not surprisingly, Twitter's first advertisers, Starbucks, Bravo and Virgin America, are also heavily into Twitter as a communications medium. "We wanted to do something that just enhances the conversation that companies are already having with their customers on Twitter," said Twitter Chief Operating Officer Dick Costolo, who is a keynote speaker at Ad Age's Digital Conference opening Tuesday in New York. Promoted tweets also have the potential to scale revenue quickly for the company, backed by $160 million in funding from a coterie of elite VC firms including Union Square Ventures, Institutional Ventures Partners, Benchmark Capital and Spark Capital. Twitter recently said the service handles 50 million tweets, or 140-character-maximum messages, a day. Mr. Costolo didn't say how many search queries Twitter gets, but did say that "a lot of people use Twitter for search; the volume is huge."

No rush for revenue
That said, Mr. Costolo cautioned that quick profitability is not the goal, and that the ads would be rolled out slowly to see how users react to them. "We are not in a rush to make a certain amount of money this year," said Mr. Costolo, who is also, incidentally, one of Twitter's earliest investors. "We want to get this right. We don't want to force a model on people that is based on incorrect hypotheses." Twitter is also not the first to try to build an ad model around Twitter search results. Search-ad pioneer Bill Gross unveiled TweetUp on Monday, which allows marketers to promote their own tweets by buying keywords. Twitter has been testing promoted tweets internally for months, and once they're released to the public, Twitter will closely watch how they perform. Initially, advertisers will bid on keywords on a cost-per-thousand basis, but Twitter is developing a performance model that could be the basis for pricing based on a metric called "resonance" -- impact judged on how much a tweet is passed around, marked as a favorite or how often a user clicks through a posted link. Ads that perform well will stay in the system; ads that don't rise above the resonance score of a typical tweet from a marketer will fall out. Ultimately, Mr. Costolo wants marketers to pay for ads based on the lift in resonance over a standard tweet.

Unlike search ads on Google, Bing or Yahoo, there will only ever be one Twitter ad displayed at a time. Marketers will be able to use them to start conversations, such as Starbucks' "Tell us something a barista did to make your day?" Starbucks could buy keywords to keep its question atop a search that turns up those results. Film studios could use promoted tweets to get the word out before opening weekend, and then to participate in the dialog about the film after opening night. Twitter is rolling out promoted tweets slowly over the course of the year; initially on Twitter.com, and then to Twitter clients, which can include the ads and get a cut of the revenue. Ultimately, Twitter could syndicate results to Google or Bing, though no deal is close to making that happen.
Ads in timeline?
During this roll-out, Twitter will study how resonance works and decide in the fourth quarter whether -- or how -- to take ads beyond search and into users' Twitter feeds. "Is it great in search and horrible in the timeline? We are going to test and test and test," Mr. Costolo said.
The promoted tweet is one of three streams of revenue Twitter will have available, including a data fee from search engines indexing Twitter in real time, such as Google, Yahoo and Bing, and the coming "professional accounts." Professional accounts will include the ability to have multiple users on one account -- much like some of the clients such as CoTweet do today -- plus a dashboard that shows what's happening with a brand on Twitter and integration with promoted tweets.

   The system looks good on paper. The stand and the approach that Twitter is taking on ensuring that profitability is not the main concern is commendable, but is left to be seen as this plan goes in flames or is a hit. The non-traditional way of attracting the users through search and giving them a choice to re-tweet or like will keep users happy as opposed to the traditional, in-your-face pop-ups. With popularity of the "like" or "dislike" function in most social media platforms, Twitter is just riding a trend and using it to benefit both the users and advertisers.

We feel that choice is always a great thing.

Friday, April 9, 2010

Malcolm Mclaren : A Legend in the Music Industry as a Manager and More Dies at the Age of 64

Malcolm McLaren, to a large extent, helped mold punk bands like the Sex Pistols. He died on Thursday, April 8, 2010 in Switzerland of mesothelioma. He was still at a youthful age of 64 and was far more than just a music impresario.McLaren was thought of as being very unconventional.

Born on January 22, 1946, he opened a clothing store in London called Let It Rock with his then partner, the designer Vivienne Westwood in the 1970's. They renamed the store SEX, and the S&M-inspired clothing they sold at the revamped emporium would play a large part in the creation of the punk “look.”  McLaren managed proto-punkers, the New York Dolls, for a while but it was his masterminding of the Sex Pistols’ career from 1975 made his rise in status within the industry. He was crucial in getting the band together and marketing them as extreme musicians and artists in and out of the punk scene. He was labeled as the "extra" Pistol as a 1980 film about the band was told in his perspective. McLaren self proclaimed himself as an artist – but without the portfolio. He stated during an interview - "If you say an artist, then at least it means you’re a dreamer. That element of being able to dream has to stay with you for you, to be able to do anything that breaks convention.”

 Following the Pistols break up,  McLaren went on to manage Bow Wow Wow, a new wave act. The group tried to be as controversial as McLaren's first band,  with an E.P. cover that depicted singer Annabella Lwin, then just 14, naked. The photo was a typical McLaren styled stunt as it was inspired by a Manet painting.  In 1983, after helping out Johnny Rotten, McLaren tried his hand at actually making an album that was a mix of world music and hip-hop. His album's title was Duck Rock and included the UK charting hits "Double Dutch" and "Buffalo Gals", a track later sampled by Eminem. McLaren then released a follow up with his 1984 opera-inspired Fans In 1989 he put out Waltz Darling, a collaboration with Bootsy Collins that was disco driven.

McLaren spent the rest of his working on various projects like writing a film for the U.K.’s Channel 4 network called the Ghosts of Oxford Street featuring songs by Tom Jones and the Happy Mondays, among others. He also helped produce Fast Food Nation, a 2006 film. During the summer of 2009,  a video installation by McLaren called Shallow was shown in Times Square.

McLaren saved a lot of his great works for the artists and musicians he worked with and kept his profile low enough to not outshine the acts he was helping. Not all of his endeavors were major success, but he attributes his many flamboyant projects to his philosophy of wanting to be noticed MORE for edginess, controversy and being outrageous than being quiet in your success. To McLaren and a few others, that's the definition of being punk rock.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

American Idol Recap - Down to the ELITE 8 ... But Wait, MAYBE NOT

   American Idol 2010 has been pretty interesting and "watchable" this season to say the least. It was the 7th week for eliminations and viewers, including yours truly, couldn’t have been more surprised.

   Early on in the show, the three remaining ladies of Crystal Bowersox, Siobhan Magnus and Katie Stevens were announced safe...of course, not without the over dramatic and often dragging Suspense!!

   The group of guys that were pretty assuredly safe was Lee DeWyze, Casey James and Tim Urban.  Shockingly, Big Mike Lynche was on the bottom along with Aaron Kelly and Andrew Garcia...yet, Tim Urban was granted safety for the week over a more appealing and more talented Mike Lynche?? Proves the power that A.I. has over TEENY BOPPERS!!

    In the end, Mike Lynche, didn’t get enough of America’s votes to move on to the next week. WHAAAAAAAT? How is he under Andrew Garcia??  Voters had to have thought Big Mike was safe and didn't vote ... sending him to a close "early exit". But, Big Mike sang a rendition of "This Woman's Work" to vie for the only “save” vote allowed to the judges. The song and his performance worked as it was unanimously decided that he should stay.

    Below is the list of the remaining acts and the odds of them taking the crown. And since we constantly love to remind ourselves of our shortcomings, we also added the original top #24 list with our very own top pick big winners ...

Top #9 Still in the Competition ( along with odds of winning):
Aaron Kelly - ODDS: 20/1       
Andrew Garcia  - ODDS: 20/1   
Casey James - ODDS: 7/1
Crystal Bowersox - ODDS: 1/1       
Katie Stevens  - ODDS: 40/1       
Lee Dewyze - ODDS: 3/1       
Michael Lynche  - ODDS:8 /1       
Siobhan Magnus - ODDS: 9/2   
Tim Urban - ODDS: 100/1  

The top #24 list is as follows - at no particular order:
( ** = Our TOP PICK)

Top 12 Males:
Michael “Big Mike” Lynche
Casey James
Aaron Kelly
Lee Dewyze
Todrick Hall**
Tyler Grady
Alex Lambert
Joe Munoz
Jermaine Sellers
John Park
Andrew Garcia
Tim Urban

Top 12 Females:
Didi Benami
Katelyn Epperly
Janell Wheeler
Lacey Brown **
Ashley Rodriguez
Crystal Bowersox
Katie Stevens
Lilly Scott
Paige Miles
Siobhan Magnus
Michelle Delamor
Haeley Vaughn

Monday, April 5, 2010

New Music : March 30, 2010 - April 05, 2010

Erykah Badu "New Amerykah Part Two: Return of the Ankh"
While 2008's "New Amerykah Part One: 4th World War" emphasized digital sounds and social or political concerns, the Nubian Princess now embraces an opposite approach - live instrumentation (strings, piano, Theremin, even a harp on the instrumental "Incense") and warmer sentiments, notably on the soulful and sunny "Window Seat." Badu once again collaborates with some of the finest producers in underground hip-hop, including Madlib, J. Dilla, members of SA-RA Creative Partners, Georgia Anne Muldrow, and James Poyser.

Usher "Raymond vs. Raymond"
The R&B Wonder Boy still growing up, now puts his either/or situation up front with "Raymond v. Raymond." Says he chose it because the 14 selections deal with reconciling life as a regular guy with superstar heartthrob status. Like his 2004 chart-topping breakthrough, "Confessions," this record comes on the heels of a painful romantic split: Usher and Tameka Raymond, the mother of his two young sons, divorced last November. Not surprisingly, the emotional character of the record swings back and forth, from the vitriolic "Papers" to the erotically charged "Hey Daddy (Daddy's Home)." The follow-up to 2008's "Here I Stand" features cameos from Nicki Minaj, Ludacris, Will.I.Am and T.I., as well as production by Polow Da Don, Danja, Jim Jonsin, and Jimmy Jam and Terry Lewis.

Barenaked Ladies "All in Good Time"
The album finds this Canadian pop combo re-establishing themselves as a quartet; the group's 11th album, which reunites them with producer Michael Phillip Wojewoda (who also worked on 1992's "Gordon"), is its first since founding member Steve Page parted ways with BNL last year. Singer-guitarist Ed Robertson, who co-founded the band with Page in 1988, reportedly took advantage of this new chapter to challenge himself as a songwriter; lead single "You Run Away" (which seems to address a failed friendship) showcases a melancholy tone one might not immediately associate with the smiling guys behind hits like "One Week" and "Pinch Me." A hugely popular live act, BNL begin their latest North American tour on April 6 in Victoria, British Columbia.

Gretchen Wilson " I Got Your Country Right Here"
After racking up three No. 1 country albums for the fat cats at Sony, everyone's favorite "Redneck Woman" has gone into business for herself: "I Got Your Country Right Here" is Wilson's debut for her own Redneck Records imprint. To hear Gretchen tell it, her fourth album is the most honest representation of who she is musically to date. She name checks Charlie Daniels and the Allman Brothers Band on the Southern rock title track, adds another surefire blue-collar crowd-pleaser to her repertoire with "Work Hard, Play Harder," and evokes the confrontational cool of Loretta Lynn on the don't-mess-with-my-man warning "The Earrings Song."

Other New Releases Worth Checking Out:
(Have not listened to, but please feel free to post a review)
  • Alan Jackson: "Freight Train"
  • Dum Dum Girls: "I Will Be"
  • Bettie Serveert: "Pharmacy of Love"