Daily Archives: April 21, 2017

Ted Nugent, David Crosby Spar Over White House Visit

David Crosby and Ted Nugent have engaged in a war of words following the ultra-conservative rocker’s White House visit.

On Thursday, Nugent and Kid Rock served as Sarah Palin’s guests when the former vice presidential candidate visited Donald Trump in the White House. Nugent later posted a photo of him and Trump, which Crosby retweeted with the caption, “This picture says it all… the two most insincere smiles in history what a pair of assholes.”

Nugent was informed of Crosby’s tweet Friday during an interview with WABC Radio’s Rita Cosby and lit into the CSNY singer. “David Crosby, he’s kind of a lost soul, and he’s done so much substance abuse throughout his life that his logic meter is gone,” Nugent said. “His reasoning and his depth of understanding is pretty much gone, so it doesn’t surprise me, I feel quite sad for the guy.”

Nugent compared the criticism to “the hate from dopers out there, if you smoke enough dope, you just become overwhelmed with hate and ignorance.”

“I’ll never forget when Paul McCartney condemned me for murdering innocent animals because we eat venison,” Nugent added. “And I just responded by saying, you know, I don’t really care what you eat, I’d just like to thank Paul McCartney for enriching our lives with his amazing music.”

When informed of Nugent’s remarks Friday, Crosby responded on Twitter, “Nugent is a brainless twit… I can out-think him without even trying hard.”

Also during the WABC interview, Nugent raved about Trump, giving his term so far an “A-plus” and marveling at Trump’s stamina.

“I was surprised because I know with North Korea, and Russia, and with the border, and with the draining of the swamp, how overwhelming those demands must be, but he didn’t show any of that,” Nugent said. “And I fancy myself quite an energized individual at 68.6 years clean and sober, but I’m afraid I met my match – Donald Trump at 70, I’m telling you, he was a ball of fire.”

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National Honors Handbell Ensemble to "Put a Ring on It" in Fredericksburg

Last year's ensemble preparing for the concertFREDERICKSBURG, Va., April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The National Honors Handbell Ensemble features 30 of America’s top handbell musicians performing together for the first time after an intense weekend of rehearsals. The group is comprised entirely of teen musicians, but that doesn’t mean…


See Tinashe Burn Down the House in 'Flame' Video

Tinashe has released her sizzling new video for “Flame,” the Eighties-inspired first single off the singer’s upcoming Joyride LP.

The video traces a relationship as it literally goes up in flames: In the beginning, things between Tinashe and her man are copacetic, but as “Flame” progresses, the couple splinters, with the singer eventually seeking revenge against her ex.

The solution: Burning down her lover’s house with the help of two bottles of vodka and a sparkler. Tinashe then dances in the glow of the blazing structure while her ex stares stupefied at the charred remains of his home and their relationship.

“Flame” is Tinashe’s first new song since the surprise arrival of her 2016 LP Nightride, a precursor of sorts to the perpetually delayed Joyride.

“I see them as two things that are equally the same,” Tinashe told Rolling Stone in November of Nightride and Joyride. “I think you can be a combination of things, and that’s what makes people human and complex. They are equally me. I don’t like to be limited to one particular thing so I want to represent that duality and that sense of boundlessness in my art.” 

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Neil Young Preps New High-Quality Streaming Service Xstream

Neil Young is preparing to launch a new high-definition streaming service called Xstream, a continuation of the rocker’s search for top-quality digital sound that Young started with his Pono player.

In a post in the members section of the Pono site, Young detailed the new streaming service, as well as some of the shortcomings of the Pono project that Young hopes to improve upon with Xstream.

“It’s been almost five years since we kicked off the [Pono] campaign at SXSW to offer a player and download content that could fulfill my dream of bringing to you a music experience unlike any other for the cost. Thanks to our supporters on Kickstarter, the follow-on customers and some very good friends that supported the effort, we delivered on that promise… We sold tens of thousands of players, every unit that we made,” Young wrote.

“But, despite that success, I was not satisfied. I had to put up with lots of criticism for the high cost of music delivered in the way all music should be provided, at full resolution and not hollowed out. I had no control over the pricing, but I was the one that felt the criticism, because I was the face of it. And I pretty much agreed with the criticism. Music should not be priced this way.”

Pono hit another roadblock in 2016 when Omnifone, their download store partner, was “was bought and shut down with no notice by Apple.” Young and the Pono team attempted to rebuild their download store, but the necessary price of the high-quality downloads made it cost prohibitive, especially considering Young’s desire to keep the price down.

“The more we worked on it, the more we realized how difficult it would be to recreate what we had and how costly it was to run it: to deliver the Pono promise, meaning you’d never have to buy the same album again if was released at a higher quality; the ability to access just high res music, and not the same performances at lower quality, and the ability to do special sales,” Young wrote. “Each of these features was expensive to implement. I also realized that just bringing back the store was not enough.”

In a December 2016 interview with Rolling Stone, Young hinted that he would be pivoting the Pono vision away from a download store and music device and toward streaming, even though Young previously disparaged the medium, saying in July 2015, “Streaming sucks. Streaming is the worst audio in history.” Young’s decision came as he struggled to find investors to commit money toward a high-quality download company while streaming was overtaking the music industry.

“So now, sadly with Pono offline, for more than eight months I’ve been working with our small team to look for alternatives. Finding a way to deliver the quality music without the expense and to bring it to a larger audience has been our goal,” Young continued.

“That effort has led to a technology developed by Orastream, a small company in Singapore that we’ve been working with. Together we created Xstream, the next generation of streaming, an adaptive streaming service that changes with available bandwidth. It is absolutely amazing because it is capable of complete high resolution playback.”

As Young lamented in that December interview, while he wanted to move toward streaming, he expressed doubts that the internal chip found in smartphones could adequately decipher the high-quality files. However, Young and the team at Orastream have found a flexible solution.

“Unlike all other streaming services that are limited to playing at a single low or moderate resolution, Xstream plays at the highest quality your network condition allows at that moment and adapts as the network conditions change,” Young wrote. “It’s a single high resolution bit-perfect file that essentially compresses as needed to never stop playing. As a result, it always sounds better than the other streaming services and it never stops or buffers like other higher res services.”

In July 2015, Young pulled the vast majority of his catalog from streaming services like Apple Music and Spotify as the rocker lamented the sound quality of the files. However, 16 months later, Young’s catalogs suddenly appeared back on the major streaming services prior to the arrival of Peace Trail. It’s unclear whether Young will again pull his catalog from services when Xstream debuts.

“I want you to know that I’m still trying to make the case for bringing you the best music possible, at a reasonable price, the same message we brought to you five years ago. I don’t know whether we will succeed, but it’s still as important to us as it ever was,” Young concluded in his Pono post.

“Thankfully, for those of my audience who care and want to hear all the music, every recording I have ever released will soon be available in Xstream high resolution quality at my complete online archive. Check it out. We will be announcing it very soon.”

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Ford Lauderdale Air Show Kicks Off With Friday Night Sound Waves Concert featuring the Shane Duncan Band

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla., April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Friday Night Sound Waves concert series will help the Ford Lauderdale Air Show fly into Fort Lauderdale Beach this year! On Friday, May 5, 2017 from 6 p.m. to 9 p.m., Friday Night Sound Waves will host the official Air Show kic…


Ivan Moody Sets The Record Straight

LOS ANGELES, April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The following is a statement by Ivan Moody:
“It’s no secret that this has been a tough year for me and for my bandmates in Five Finger Death Punch. When you put everything you have into making music, both on and off the stage, it can be…


Review: Brad Paisley's 'Love and War' Is a Defiant Classic Rock Rewind

Social critique’s been in country’s heritage since Loretta Lynn gave thanks for the pill and Johnny Cash explained his sartorial taste for black. So consider Brad Paisley’s protest-song devotion part of his traditionalism, which continues with the title track of his 11th studio LP: a bullseye John Fogerty collaboration denouncing America’s shameful treatment of vets. “They ship you out to die for us, forget about you when you don’t,” the men holler, while guitar and pedal steel wail.

It’snot the only classic rock rewind on satisfyingly pro-forma Paisley set. “Driveof Shame” conjures latter-day Stones with new BFF Mick Jagger, whoprotests being kicked out of bed. Equally entertaining is “selfie#theinternetisforever,”a singalong punchline feed about Instagramming idiots that rhymes “tweetit,” “delete it” and “unsee it” in the interest of ahealthier media ecosystem. Timbaland drops by to sharpen beats (thebluegrass-charged “Grey Goose Chase”), and per usual, Paisley peelsoff fantastically hot-shit guitar solos (the bluesy “Contact High”).Also per usual, there’s filler, none too embarrassing – Paisley’s pro enoughthat even his apparent phone-ins are well-crafted. But over 16 tracks, you can’thelp but wish that one of country’s greatest would shoot consistently higherthan easy chuckles and sentimental homilies. 

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Hear Never-Released Dr. Octagon Song From Art-Rap Classic Reissue

The legacy of Dr. Octagon, the deliriously bent time-traveling gynecologist who blew open the space hatch for the next 20 years of underground hip-hop, is being celebrated with a deluxe reissue of the 1996 landmark Dr. Octagonecologyst.

Re-released by whimsical hip-hop deluxe edition specialists Get On Down, the new version features a massive octagon-shaped box, three pieces of vinyl and a 40-page liner note history, all at the nice price of $69.69. The project, originally released on producer Dan “the Automator” Nakamura’s Bulk Recordings before being picked up by a young DreamWorks, exposed alt-rock audiences to golden-age avant-gardist Kool Keith and established the musical careers of both Automator and turntable mutilator DJ Qbert.

The track list of the reissue appends the 20-track DreamWorks version with an entire disc of rarities and remixes, including vintage Prince Paul and Automator interpretations and three previously unreleased tracks from the Octagonecologyst sessions.

“Essentially, they’re tracks done at the time that didn’t make the record,” Nakamura tells Rolling Stone of the tracks “Astro Embalming Fluid,” “Redeye” and “I’ll Be There For You.” “Actually one of ’em probably should’ve been on the record. The record was long enough.”

The project was revisited after Automator converted a pile of ADAT tapes from his old studio, the Glue Factory (a.k.a., his parent’s basement), into ProTools. One of the tracks, “Redeye,” which you can hear below, bumps with the same synth-noise and stream-of-consciousness raps that made Octagonecologyst an instant art-rap classic.

“Well, the reason it wasn’t on the album was because I think it brought down the futuristic level,” says Automator. “But what was cool about it was the chaos. I equate that one with Airplane! the movie. I don’t know why.”

The Dr. Octagon project began after the then-unknown Automator started constructing a pastiche of sci-fi burbles to expand a concept that Kool Keith introduced on two tracks with Kutmasta Kurt (“Dr. Octagon,” “Technical Difficulties”). Automator pitched Keith on the idea of a concept LP and they soon convened in his parents’ San Francisco basement.

“My parents liked Keith. Keith is a very nice guy. He’s got the sex style porno side of him, but it’s funny, ’cause when we work, he’s a polite guy. When he works, he works really hard. When he ends up going out, especially during that period of that time… it’s like, I learned way more about porno than I ever thought I would,” says Automator. “I learned about new release day. I don’t know if you’ve ever been to one of those porno stores [in the] Nineties, with just boxes of VHS and DVD, and everything looks the fuckin’ same after about five minutes. But somehow for a discerning connoisseur, you can spend hours in there.”

“I learned way more about porno than I ever thought I would” – Dan the Automator

For cuts, Automator recruited DJ Qbert, a San Francisco cut specialist who was already a co-winner of a DMC world championship and is still regarded as the Eddie Van Halen of the turntables.

“This is a skills record and Q is obviously, when it comes to skills, top of the pile for scratching,” says Automator. “When I met Qbert, I was DJing a party in Stockton. And when I DJed this party, I was like, ‘I’m a hotshot DJ.’ I’m in high school. I thought I was really good. In the middle of the party, they had this little DJ battle. These two guys went up and started scratching and cutting and doing all this stuff. And I seen them and I was like, ‘Man, these local kids, man, they’re crazy. I’ll never be this good.’ At that moment, I realized I should really focus on making beats a little bit more. Because these local kids are just rippin’ it. And, of course, it turns out that these two local kids were Qbert and Mixmaster Mike.”

Dr. Octagonecologyst had far-reaching implications for the genre, establishing the commercial demand for leftfield “underground” hip-hop that would fuel labels like Rawkus and Stones Throw. Kool Keith would rocket to a ridiculously prolific post-Ultramagnetic MC’s solo career and ended up the favorite rapper of alterna-types for years, appearing on records by the Prodigy, Yeah Yeah Yeahs and Mike Patton’s Peeping Tom. Qbert became one of the most famous faces of press/MTV obsession with turntablism that would emerge at the latter part of the Nineties. For about four years, Automator became one of the most in-demand producers in the world, recording a slew of pastiches for Gorillaz, Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Cornershop and his own Handsome Boy Modeling School. He recently did the theme song to Moshe Kasher’s Comedy Central show Problematic.

The trio recently reunited in Los Angeles for their first live shows ever, and will be hitting the road for more, including Minneapolis’ Soundset Festival and San Fransisco’s Outside Lands. Twenty-one years later, people are still clamoring for the Doc.

“[A unique reaction to Octagonecologyst] doesn’t surprise me any more because from the beginning, the weirdest people came out of the woodwork and were like ‘I like this record,’ says Automator. Girls from the Go-Gos, alt-rock people. When that record came out is when I started going to New York and the whole Lower East Side was into that record, all the Blues Explosion guys, the Beasties, Sean Lennon, Cibo Matto, that whole side really liked that record.

“To me the real impact was white skater culture,” he adds. “Dr. Octagon is the skaters’ record. Like Shepard Fairey, he’s an old friend of mine from years and years. He’s like, ‘How many records did that sell?’ I’m like, ‘Eh, it sold a bunch of records.’ He’d like, “Man, I thought it sold millions ’cause every one of us were just bumping that on every skate.” 

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Jeremy Gentry Wins Exhibit On Superior's Musician-In-Residence Contest

CHICAGO, April 21, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — It was a night to remember, indeed, as Exhibit on Superior hosted Chicago’s first-ever Musician-In-Residence contest on Thursday, April 20, in coordination with Magellan Development Group and MAC Management. More than 75 guests rocked out as the…


Fansplaining: How Harry Styles Defies His Own Mythology

In her Fansplaining column, Brittany Spanos dives into what’s happening in fan culture on the Internet.

For most of the week — and even months — leading up to Saturday Night Live, Harry Styles went unseen. Outside of 30 Rock last week, where fans began lining up on Tuesday to nab standby tickets for the show on Saturday morning, they only had a slim chance of even attending the show that night. But what was most perplexing to those fans on the sidewalk was that they never got more than just a glimpse of his silhouette in an Escalade as it entered the parking garage for show rehearsals.

Styles makes a point to address his desire for mystery in his recent Rolling Stone cover story, an admirable goal for someone whose every move has been documented on Twitter, Tumblr and group chats around the world for years. His hotel information and flight times were plastered across accounts whenever he would tour with One Direction or even take a vacation. According to a few fans, he had put up decoy hotel reservations around Manhattan this time around, and not a single fan photo of him had been taken at a restaurant or bar or on the streets of New York City. 

To be fair, Styles has always been more of a closed book about his relationships and private life than the rest of his bandmates. He’s spoken very little about his dating life, often using gender neutral pronouns in a move that has encouraged many fans to believe he is queer, at the very least. Conspiracies and opinions on his sexuality have been tossed around since he lived with bandmate Louis Tomlinson following The X-Factor, leading to fanfiction, art and the blurred lines between allyship/support with a dangerous desire for public and forced outing.

Honesty is, above all else, the most make-or-break aspect of any fandom. Fan reaction was positive to “Sign of the Times,” mostly because the sound they heard felt like a genuine expression of the Harry they’ve studied: a woke, Seventies-loving rock singer with no qualms about defying bro-y masculinity. Bathing in millennial-pink water on his album cover further encapsulated what they loved and desired from Styles as a beacon of pop’s gender-bending future, though he’s currently playing it much safer than David Bowie and Prince before him.

For the fans who had felt like he had dropped breadcrumbs when he was finally spotted in New York wearing a rainbow flag pin or the more feminine style direction of his album rollout, any mention of women and celebrity exes in his first interview as a solo artist felt like a betrayal. In the space of mystery, the fiction of Harry Styles had become canon. In many ways, this is one of the most difficult aspects of celebrity, in-depth profiles in the Internet fandom age in which the curated idea of an artist by their fans reigns supreme over an outsider’s perspective on time shared with them.

“I think negative fan reaction is a combination of expectations going into the piece that aren’t met and projections of what people think, or want him to address, such as his sexuality,” says 23-year-old fan Allyson Gross, who runs a forum for adult One Direction fans. “[There’s] dissatisfaction with what’s actually said that doesn’t align with those expectations or projections. Fandom reaction to profiles of their fan subjects is only ever half in response to what’s actually on the page.”

That being said, in some ways a new Styles was born over the last week. The fans outside of SNL were happy to show their support and create one of the show’s longest standby lines in recent history for the singer. For the more casual Directioner, Styles’ validation of his young female fans felt like a coup of post-Justin Timberlake image destruction for male pop stars who desperately want to shake their teen past and appeal to a broader, more adult audience. The charming and sweet Styles that fans had known for years – and helped make famous – finally reached beyond the communities made online, at concerts or even while sleeping on the streets to catch his first performance as a solo artist. For many, hearing new music from a pop star whose boy band’s discography they were most likely unfamiliar with gave a glimpse at a mature, rising star.

Styles could easily and safely tuck himself back away from the spotlight, engaging and relishing in his more mysterious, discrete lifestyle away. There’s a fandom fear there that what they hear from Styles ahead of the album could be less and less as he lets the music speak for itself. However, doing exactly that could be an iconic, unprecedented move for a massive celebrity about to launch a new career outside of what made them initially famous, a move that Styles may be most equipped to achieve.

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