Daily Archives: April 24, 2017

Hispanic Eighth-Graders Improve in Music, Lower-Income Eighth-Graders Improve in Visual Arts, Overall Scores Remain Steady in Music and Visual Arts

WASHINGTON, April 25, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The Nation’s Report Card: 2016 Arts shows that Hispanic eighth-grade students scored higher in music in 2016 than in 2008 and that score gaps narrowed between Hispanic and white eighth-graders in both music and the visual arts. In the visual…


Snoop Dogg Preps New LP 'Neva Left'

Snoop Dogg has announced the impending arrival of the rapper’s latest album Neva Left.

“Throughout the years, I’ve had my hands in a lot of different projects, but music has always remained at my core. This album reflects every phase of me throughout my career,” Snoop Dogg said in a statement. “I’m excited for ya’ll to hear this new project that highlights the evolution of the Dogg.”

The cover art for Neva Left, due out May 19th, features a classic photo of Doggystyle-era Snoop standing next to a sign for California’s Route 187. The shot was photographed by Chi Modu.

Fans who preorder the 16-track album will receive an instant download of the rapper’s “Mount Kushmore,” the LP’s first single featuring Redman, Method Man and Cypress Hill’s B-Real.

It’s unclear whether Neva Left will feature Snoop Dogg’s recent singles “Promise You This” and “Lavender,” which was paired with a controversial mock assassination video that drew the ire of Donald Trump as well as Marco Rubio.

Earlier this month, Snoop Dogg inducted his friend and collaborator Tupac Shakur into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame with an emotional acceptance speech.

“When I sat down to gather my thoughts about my label mate, my homie and my brother – there’s one thought that kept coming back to me. Tupac, the actual HUMAN BEING,” the rapper said at the Brooklyn ceremony.

“And while many remember him now as some kind of thugged out super hero. Tupac knew he was only human. And he represented this through his music like no one before. It’s a fact he never shied away from. He wore it like a badge of honor.”

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Madonna Biopic 'Blonde Ambition' in the Works

Blonde Ambition, a Black List-winning screenplay about Madonna‘s early years as a recording artist in New York City, has been picked up by Universal.

The script, penned by Elyse Hollander, focuses on Madonna’s life in the early Eighties as she works on her debut album while trying to break into a music industry Madonna herself has called misogynistic.

The film will also highlight the Material Girl balancing her burgeoning fame with her love life, the Hollywood Reporter writes.

While it’s unclear whether the project is Madonna-approved, among Blonde Ambition‘s producers is Brett Ratner, who directed the singer’s “Beautiful Stranger” video in 1999.

It’s also unknown whether Universal has secured rights to use Madonna’s early hits like “Holiday,” “Lucky Star,” “Borderline” and other Madonna-era hits.

Blonde Ambition is the second straight music-related script to win the Black List, Hollywood’s annual breakdown of the best unproduced screenplays, and move into the development phase: Bubbles, a script about Michael Jackson’s pet chimpanzee, is also in the works as a stop-motion film, with Dan Harmon producing and Thor: Ragnarok director Taika Waititi on board to co-direct.

Previous Black List scripts that turned into Best Picture-winning or nominated films include Spotlight, The Revenant, Argo, American Hustle and more.

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Phoenix Announce New Album 'Ti Amo'

Phoenix have announced their new album Ti Amo, the French rock group’s first LP since 2013’s Bankrupt!

The album is due out June 9th via Glassnote, the band told the New York Times, with guitarist Laurent Brancowitz adding that the LP sounds like “summer and Italian discos.”

This past weekend, Phoenix played their first two gigs in three years, a pair of Antwerp, Belgium concerts that featured the debut of new songs like Ti Amo opener “J-Boy,” “Role Model,” “Lovelife” and the album’s title track. In addition to those four songs, the New York Times writes “Fleur de Lys” is another cut on the Te Amo track list.

Phoenix began working on Ti Amo in 2014 in a former Paris operahouse that was rebuilt as a tech incubator, museum and concert hall, where the band worked eight hours a day, accruing material.

“We did a lot of experimenting,” singer Thomas Mars told the New York Times. “We could go back and say, ‘Let’s get the MIDI from February 12th,’ or, ‘Let’s get the first take.'”

In 2014, Mars told Rolling Stone as recording on the Bankrupt! follow-up was underway, “It’s the beginning of something – the base of the pyramid. Right now, it could go anywhere. It’s this moment of pure freedom. The possibilities are endless. It’s very exciting.”

Phoenix recently scheduled their first North American tour in three years, with the band basing a month-long trek around previously announced festival gigs like Atlanta’s Shaky Knees, New York’s Governors Ball and San Diego’s X Fest.

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I'll Fly Away Foundation to host Power of Music Festival in Bentonville

BENTONVILLE, Ark., April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/– The I’ll Fly Away Foundation will host a multi-genre songwriter festival in Bentonville from April 27-29, where musicians and songwriters from around the world will gather in Northwest Arkansas to host shows in nine Bentonville venues and…


Elton John Cancels Eight Shows After Infection, Intensive Care Visit

A “harmful and unusual bacterial infection” has forced Elton John to cancel his upcoming April and May run of “The Million Dollar Piano” gigs at the Colosseum at Caesars Palace in Las Vegas, as well as his May 6th show in Bakersfield, California.

The singer contracted the illness on a recent tour of South America and became violently ill on a flight home from Santiago, Chile. He spent two nights in intensive care at a U.K. hospital, where he received treatment to remove the infection and was released on April 22nd.

“Thankfully, Elton’s medical team identified this quickly and treated it successfully,” the singer’s rep wrote in a statement. “He is expected to make a full and complete recovery.”

The singer plans on returning to the stage on June 3rd for a performance in Twickenham, England. He currently has no other dates to perform in the U.S. this year.

“I am so fortunate to have the most incredible and loyal fans and apologize for disappointing them,” John said in a statement. “I am extremely grateful to the medical team for their excellence in looking after me so well.”

Fans who purchased tickets via credit card will receive refunds on the card they used to buy the tickets. Those who paid in cash should return to the original point of sale for a refund.

John originally was to perform in Sin City from April 25th until May 5th at the casino outpost, where he would play a piano decked out with 68 LED video screens he claims is worth $1 million. He first played his Million Dollar Piano show at the same venue in September 2011 and has played there every year since. A video release of his 2012 residency, also titled The Milloin Dollar Piano, was broadcast in cinemas and released in stores in April 2014. He played a leg of Million Dollar Piano gigs there this past February. 

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Gregg Allman Denies Hospice Rumors

Gregg Allman denied rumors that he’d entered a hospice facility on Monday, with the Allman Brothers Band singer noting in a brief statement on Facebook that he’s “currently home in Savannah resting” on doctor’s orders. “I want to thank you for all the love that you are sending,” he continued. “Looking forward to seeing everyone again. Keep Rockin’.”

Earlier Monday, a news report, based on an unverified post on Facebook, claimed that the singer had entered hospice care.

The musician has battled major medical issues in recent years, though he’s often kept the full details private. Last month, Allman canceled a series of scheduled June concerts and announced he wouldn’t be touring in 2017. No reason was specified for the axed gigs, which included four rescheduled performances in his hometown of Macon, Georgia.

In August 2016, the singer canceled 28 gigs, including several festival appearances, due to unspecified “serious health issues.” The Southern rock great returned to the stage in October for two shows at his own Laid Back Festival in Atlanta, but he later postponed his entire winter tour after suffering a vocal injury that required months of recovery.

Some of those dates were rescheduled for summer 2017 before their subsequent cancellation.

“This is the hardest thing I’ve had to do in a long, long, time,” Allman said in a statement after canceling the winter trek. “I’ve been on the road for 45 years because I live to play music with my friends for my fans. As much as I hate it, it’s time for me to take some real time off to heal.”

The multi-instrumentalist also nixed a solo tour in 2011 after battling an upper respiratory condition stemming from a successful liver transplant from the previous year.

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Steely Dan's Donald Fagen Plots Tour With New Solo Band

Steely Dan frontman Donald Fagen announced a tour with his newly formed solo band, the Nightflyers. The U.S. leg launches with a two-night stint, August 3rd and 4th, in Port Chester, New York and concludes September 16th in San Francisco, followed by a spot at the Yokohama Blue Note Jazz Fest in Japan.

Fagen will perform a mixture of material from Steely Dan and his solo catalog, along with some “swell surprises,” Ultimate Classic Rock reports. Tickets go on sale April 28th.

The five-piece Nightflyers, named after the singer-keyboardist’s 1982 debut solo LP, The Nightfly, also features guitarist Connor Kennedy, drummer Lee Falco, bassist Brandon Morrison and keyboardist Will Bryant. The band warmed up for the tour with a series of gigs in small venues throughout New York’s Hudson River Valley.

Fagen has released four solo LPs, including his most recent, 2012’s Sunken Condos. While Steely Dan have remained active on the touring circuit – including a 2016 trek, “The Dan Who Knew Too Much,” with Steve Winwood – the band hasn’t released a studio album since 2003’s Everything Must Go.

The songwriter told Rolling Stone last year that “it’s hard to say” whether Steely Dan will record another LP. “Now that reality is indistinguishable from, say, a wacky Kurt Vonnegut novel, it’d be a challenge to overcome the paradigm shift,” he said. “Maybe some sad chorales?”

Donald Fagen and the Nightflyers 2017 Tour Dates

August 3-4 – Port Chester, NY @ Capitol Theatre
August 8 – Miami, FL @ The Fillmore at Gleason
August 9 – Clearwater, FL @ Ruth Eckerd Hall
August 11 – Orlando, FL @ Hard Rock Live
August 12 – Saint Augustine, FL @ Saint Augustine Amphitheatre
August 14 – Montgomery, AL @ Montgomery Performing Arts Center
August 16 – Atlanta, GA @ Atlanta Symphony Hall
August 17 – Wilmington, NC @ Cape Fear Stage
August 19 – Chattanooga, TN @ Tivoli Theatre
August 20 – Nashville, TN @ Schermerhorn Symphony Center
August 22 – Louisville, KY @ The Palace
August 23 – Cincinnati, OH @ Taft Theatre
August 25 – Northfield, OH @ Hard Rock Live
August 26 – New Buffalo, MI @ Four Winds Casino
August 28 – Indianapolis, IN @ Murat Theatre
August 29 – Milwaukee, WI @ Riverside Theater
August 31 – Salina, KS @ Stiefel Theatre
September 2 – Austin, TX @ ACL Live at Moody Theater
September 3 – San Antonio, TX @ Majestic Theatre
September 12 – Portland, OR @ Arlene Schnitzer Concert Hall
September 13 – Seattle, WA @ The Paramount
September 15 – Saratoga, CA @ Mountain Winery
September 16 – San Francisco, CA @ Masonic
September 23-24 – Yokohama, Japan @ Yokohama Blue Note Jazz Fest

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Hear Gorillaz' Synth-Heavy New Song 'The Apprentice'

Gorillaz listen to the “distance voice” inside their heads on “The Apprentice,” a bonus track from the upcoming deluxe edition of their fifth LP, Humanz. Singers Rag’n’Bone Man and RAY BLK appear on the lightly funky, synth-heavy track, highlighted by Zebra Katz’s rap vivid verse: “Yo, new black king, New York dream/ Tell these motherfuckers everything I’m seeing,” he boasts. “My world’s darker than the young black dream/ Of the first black prince of a new white king.”

To promote Humanz, Gorillaz’ virtual members Murdoc Niccals and 2D joined BBC Radio 1 DJ MistaJam for their first-ever live, on-camera interview. The “musicians” – voiced by Phil Cornwell and Nelson De Freitas, respectively – answered fan questions about their new LP, outside April 28th.

In March, Gorillaz previewed Humanz at a secret London concert, and they briefly premiered the album via their “augmented reality” app. The carton crew have also released several other new songs: “Hallelujah Money” (featuring Benjamin Clementine), “Andromeda” (featuring D.R.A.M.), “Saturn Barnz” (with Popcaan), “Let Me Out” (featuring Mavis Staples and Pusha T), “Ascension” (featuring Vince Staples) and “We Got the Power” (with Savages’ Jehnny Beth).

Humanz also features guest spots from Danny Brown, De La Soul, Even Everett, Anthony Hamilton, Grace Jones, Kelela, Jamie Principe and Kali Uchis, among others.

The group recently announced a North American tour – their first since the promotional trek behind 2010’s Plastic Beach – that commences July 8th in Chicago. 

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Brad Battle Releases Debut EP 'Always Easy'

Artwork for EP release.ST. CATHARINES, Ontario, April 24, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — It’s been a landmark year for rising Canadian country artist Brad Battle. Battle, who is from St. Catharines, Ontario, is a country singer whose story is similar to many of the country artists that currently top today’s charts….