Daily Archives: April 27, 2017

Why David Bowie Considered 'Never Let Me Down' LP a 'Bitter Disappointment'

Never Let Me Down was originally released 30 years ago, on April 27th, 1987

Between releasing the Tonight LP and making 1987’s Never Let Me Down, David Bowie experienced a surge in creativity. He appeared in the fantasy movie Labyrinth, recorded a raucous cover of “Dancing in the Street” with Mick Jagger, put out his last great single of the decade, the moving “Absolute Beginners,” and co-produced Iggy Pop’s well-received 1986 album Blah-Blah-Blah. Bowie liked the experience of the last project so much he kept working with its creative core – co-producer David Richards and multi-instrumentalist Erdal Kizilcay – on what would become Never Let Me Down.

“The album was reflective in a way, because it covers every style that I’ve ever written in, and also all the influences I’ve had in rock,” Bowie would say in 1987. “On one song, ‘Zeroes,’ I wanted to put in every cliché that was around in the Sixties – ‘letting the love in,’ those kinds of lines. But it was done with affection – it’s not supposed to be a snipe.” Bowie wrote the album at his home in Switzerland, with several songs taking up the unrealized political theme he’d intended for Tonight: The album’s lead single, “Day-In-Day-Out,” was about homelessness in the United States.

“We used to start at about 10 in the morning and finish in the evening about 8 o’clock,” Kizilcay recalls today. “David was very disciplined. … He was always trying something new.”

Along with the small band he’d assembled, Bowie drafted Peter Frampton to play guitar (“He had so much gear he was playing in the control room downstairs,” Kizilcay recalls) and Mickey Rourke to rap on “Shining Star.”

Despite his ambitions, Bowie was ultimately unhappy with the finished product – “He was at a loss,” recalls guitarist Carlos Alomar. “Day-In-Day-Out” and “Never Let Me Down,” an ode to his personal assistant, became hits, but sales soon stalled and reviews were lukewarm. Looking back, Bowie considered the response “a bitter disappointment.” It would be his last solo album until 1993.  

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Watch Stone Sour Perform New Song 'Fabuless' for Inflatable Fans

Metal band Stone Sour tear through their new song “Fabuless” for a raging crowd of inflatable fans in the first video from the group’s upcoming album, Hydrograd, out June 30th via Roadrunner.

The Paul Brown-directed clip opens in classic rock and roll fashion, with the band taking the stage in slow-motion as the crowd cheers, then launching into “Fabuless.” When the first punishing bridge hits, the camera finally turns to reveal an audience filled with gigantic air dancers moshing and head banging. By the end of the clip, the air dancers have replaced Stone Sour, leaving the band to watch from the front row. None too pleased about being replaced, singer Corey Taylor throws a few punches at his inflatable doppelgänger.

On Thursday afternoon, Stone Sour unveiled a second Hydrograd track, “Song #3.” The melodic rocker opens with Taylor singing over chugging power chords that move steadily towards a chorus that begins in half-time but deftly quickens. Stone Sour maintain this more propulsive pace throughout the rest of “Song #3,” which boasts an especially manic guitar solo and an energized chorus from Taylor: “If you cry out for more, if you reached out for me/ I would run into the storm/ Just to keep you hear with me.”

Hydrograd marks Stone Sour’s first album since 2013’s House of Gold and Bones – Part 2 (Part 1 arrived in 2012). The album is available to pre-order via the band’s website.

Stone Sour have a handful of festival dates scheduled for this May, after which they’ll embark on a full summer tour with Korn. The trek begins June 16th in Salt Lake City, Utah and wraps August 2nd in Cleveland, Ohio. 

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Haim Preview New LP 'Something to Tell You' With 'Right Now' Video

Haim plan to release their first album in four years, Something to Tell You, on July 7th. The trio announced the new record on Thursday and debuted the video for “Right Now,” directed by acclaimed filmmaker Paul Thomas Anderson.

“Right Now” builds slowly, starting with a skimpy, cymbal beat and a breathy, closely mic’d vocal. Haim add elements one by one: slabs of bass, ringing, distorted guitar chords and finally tentative piano. The band brings the song to a rousing close with a jolt of rat-a-tat percussion from two sisters. 

The video treatment is simple: Anderson’s camera follows the members of Haim around their empty studio as they take up positions at a variety of instruments. As the group told Apple Music’s Zane Lowe on Thursday, Anderson shot the video in one day “before he was going to work.” 

“You can really hear the room mics are really loud and us stomping around,” Danielle Haim said. “Paul was adamant about wanting to hear Alana click on her pedal. You can hear that click when she does it and you can hear our heels and we were like, ‘Wow, this Is crazy I can’t believe we pulled this off in a day.'”

Haim debuted in 2013 with Days Are Gone, but since that Grammy-nominated release, the band hasn’t released so much as a Soundcloud one-off. Fans looking for a Haim fix were forced to make do with collaborations – the trio appeared on songs by Calvin Harris, Primal Scream and more – and soundtracks: Haim teamed up with Lorde, Q-Tip and Stromae to contribute a song to The Hunger Games: Mockingjay, Part 1 and joined M83 for a track that appeared in The Divergent Series: Insurgent.

But the group started dropping hints about a Days Are Gone follow-up last year. In an interview with Rolling Stone, Danielle Haim said the group was working on new songs, many of which focused on “trying to go back to your normal life, but realizing there is a difference.” In July of 2016, Haim shared an album update on Twitter, writing, “We’re at a critical point of finishing up [the new LP] and need to stay close to home until it’s complete.”

The band released a more direct teaser last week, posting a short video on Twitter that ended with the words, “Haim April 27th.” This week, the group also announced an upcoming performance on Saturday Night Live.

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Review: Willie Nelson Stares Down Mortality on Most Moving LP in Years

“I woke up still not dead again today,” Willie Nelson sings on his new album, “the internet said I had passed away.” Addressing recent rumors of declining health, Nelson plays the idea for laughs, but it’s no joke. On his new album, the 83-year-old singer probes his own mortality and wrestles with death head-on for the first time on record.

The main pitfall for an artist as prolific as Nelson is maintaining a sense of coherent urgency with each release. But old age has sharpened Nelson’s focus as a songwriter, providing him with renewed purpose as a lyricist and heightened vulnerability as a vocalist. So unlike 2014’s retrospective smorgasbord Band of Brothers, 2015’s loving collaboration with Merle Haggard Django & Jimmie, or his recent collections of reverent tributes to Ray Price and Gershwin, God’s Problem Child is a tightly-woven, poignant collection of ruminations on aging and fading faculties that amounts to Nelson’s most moving album in decades.

Setto longtime producer Buddy Cannon’s sparse, elegant country arrangements, these songs are brimmingwith bleak prophecy and spiritual acceptance, as Nelson ponders his eternalhome (“Little House on the Hill”), everlasting compassion (“TrueLove”), and his fallen comrade Merle Haggard (“He Won’t Ever Be Gone”).On songs like “Your Memory Has a Mind of Its Own” and “OldTimer,” Nelson addresses his devastating second-person meditations about physicaldeterioration to himself, a clevernarrative device that packs a heavy punch: “You think that you’restill a young bull rider/Till you look in the mirror and see/An old timer,”Nelson sings with impeccable phrasing in the latter, delivering the titlephrase in a quivering melody that lays bare the song’s heavy emotion.

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Review: Gorillaz' 'Humanz' Rings in the Apocalypse in Style

For all its charms, Britpop was the Brexit of Nineties rock: a cultural wagon-circle telegraphing a monocultural vision of fin de siècle England. To his credit, Damon Albarn has shaped his post-Blur career largely as a border-crashing counter-argument – most successfully with Gorillaz, his hip-hop-centric “virtual” band. Presenting its radio-friendly fusions via animated characters, it’s among the most pop-savvy, and least cringe-inducing, rap-rock crossovers in history.

Which isn’t to say it’s always been consistent. Like the four previous Gorillaz sets, Humanz‘ selling point is the crazy breadth of its diversity, which skews refreshingly young this time: Vince Staples, Popcaan, Benjamin Clementine, D.R.A.M., Zebra Katz, Kilo Kish, Kali Uchis, Kelela, Danny Brown and Savages frontwoman Jehnny Beth take the lead alongside more seasoned vets Mavis Staples, Pusha T, Carly Simon, Grace Jones, Anthony Hamilton, house heroes Jamie Principal and Peven Everett, and Gorillaz emeritus Posdnous of De La Soul. Even Albarn’s old nemesis Noel Gallagher turns up to sing a little (“We Got the Power”). This mix-and-match mob is never dull, but it yields magic just intermittently. When it does, however, it’s something to behold.

“Ascension” opens the set with a warped air-raid-siren tone, Vince Staples pleading “The sky’s fallin’ baby, drop that ass ‘fore it crash!” while a pickup gospel choir shouts “higher!” – at each other, the sky, maybe the ass too. According to Albarn, the pre-production prompt for Team Gorillaz was to make party music while imagining “how you’d feel if Trump won” – this months before the unimaginable came to pass. When Albarn’s processed voice declares “In these times of sedition/Well, nothing is dull!” like some dude wasted in his crib, spitting lines into his phone while the world crumbles entertainingly on the Twitter feed, it’s funny, infuriating and chilling all at once. Then Staples, changing the dystopian channel, delivers the K.O.: “This the land of the free/Where you can get a glock and a gram for the cheap/Where you can live your dreams long as you don’t look like me/Be a puppet on a string hangin’ from a fuckin’ tree.” Apocalyptic booty-drop anthems don’t come more politically engaged.

“Let Me Out” is another timely bit of future shock, with Pusha T preaching (“Together we mourn, I’m praying for my neighbors”) through a censor’s bleeps, while “Mama Mavis” Staples instructs “Change is coming/Best be ready for it.” The most stirring moment might be Benjamin Clementine’s “Hallelujah Money,” a gospel-style paean to capitalism, power, wall-building and moral relativism sung in Clementine’s ravishingly strange Nina Simone-ish tenor, throbbing with muted sarcasm while the choir invokes “chemtrails.” Somewhere, Leonard Cohen is grinning.

Elsewhere, skits drag,sluggish grooves beg for remixing, hot singers are underutilized on half-bakedmaterial, and an inspirational anthem can’t quite rise to the occasion. YetAlbarn’s curation is sharp, and he keeps things moving quickly, so the energyrarely flags, even over 26 songs (on the deluxe edition). If it’s an uneven LP,it’s fairly brilliant by mixtape standards, which may be the best way tomeasure it – a meta party mix where Jamaica’s Popcaan rocks space-stationdancehall beats while Albarn rues dancing alone “in a mirrored world,”selfie stick no doubt in hand. He claims to have 40-some additional tracks fromthese session in various states of completion – including an Arabic version of “Bustedand Blue,” his haunting ballad about Lithium-dazed life “in the echochamber.” So keep it coming, pal – we’re going to be needing all theempathetic jams we can get.

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Review: Feist Steps Into the Dark and Dreamlike on 'Pleasure'

If you haven’t checked in with Feist since back when she was the chill Toronto folk-pop charmer happily counting us off on her left-field 2007 hit “1234,” you might be in for a surprise. Pleasure, her first LP in six years, trades the sweater-wearing kitchen-jam vibe of her breakthrough The Reminder for a stark intimacy that can suggest Kate & Anna McGarrigle if they’d been big fans of the Young Marble Giants’ post-punk bedroom mumblings or PJ Harvey’s blues-wrath epistle To Bring You My Love. “There’s no pleasure in your pleasure,” Feist sings, her voice low, raw-nerved and right in your ear against dank, stressed-out guitar roil.

Of course, there’s always more to a Feist record than meets the eye, especially when she’s navigating in the dark. These songs build slow as they add instrumental muscle on a skeletal form, arriving at something at once scary and lovely. The musical palette is wide and subtle: Her voice sleepily skates above West African-tinged blues guitar and coolly tumbling percussion on “Get Not High, Get Not Low,” and stays closer to the ground on “Lost Dreams,” as the instrumentation makes like a distant train whistle. The narrative shadow play and alluringly mysterious delivery that have always been her hallmarks define the set. Often they reveal bracing truths (“How could I live if you’re still alive?” she opines, almost slamming her acoustic guitar on “I Wish I Didn’t Miss You”).

But that sense of foreboding comes balanced against a gathering warmth. The gusts on the “The Wind” threatens to rip her to shreds but they also shoulder her toward epiphany; “keep on the horizon,” she demands, as subtle orchestral jazz textures and a softly puttering synth-drum move the song forward. Young Up,” which is kind of like a Canadian indie crooner’s notion of Laura Nyro’s Seventies work with Labelle, opens with intimations of her own death, a coming attraction she seems to take in relative stride. Here even the bleakest truths feel like the stuff of half-remembered dreams. 

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TuneCore Revolutionizes Social Media Management For Independent Artists And Rolls Out Educational Resources

TuneCore Revolutionizes Social Media Management for Independent Artists and Rolls Out Educational ResourcesNEW YORK, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — TuneCore, the leading digital music distribution and publishing administration provider for independent musicians, today announced the launch of TuneCore Social Pro, an innovative social media management platform that allows artists to manage their…


Live Nation Productions And Sean "Diddy" Combs' Can't Stop Won't Stop: A Bad Boy Story* Coming To Apple Music

http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/04/Sean_Diddy_Combs_Production.jpg?p=captionNEW YORK, and LOS ANGELES, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Live Nation Productions announced today that Can’t Stop Won’t Stop: A Bad Boy Story is coming exclusively to Apple Music. The film will have its World Premiere at the 2017 Tribeca Film Festival and will be available to watch on…


Aretha Franklin Accuses Dionne Warwick of 'Libel'

Aretha Franklin accused Dionne Warwick of making dishonest and slanderous statements about her on Wednesday, according to the the Associated Press. 

“At this point, it isn’t about an apology, it’s about libel,” said Franklin, who had great success with some songs originally associated with Warwick, notably “I Say a Little Prayer.” “We’ve never been friends,” Franklin added, “and I don’t think that Dionne has ever liked me.”

The incident that offended Franklin took place five years ago at Whitney Houston’s funeral. At the time, Warwick reportedly told the crowd that Franklin was at the event before determining that she was absent. “Ree’s [Franklin’s nickname] not here, but she is here,” Warwick assured the mourners. “She loves Whitney as if she were born to her. She is her godmother.”

In fact, Franklin was not Houston’s godmother – that honor belonged to Darlene Love of “He’s a Rebel” fame – and she was home with swollen feet before a performance at New York City’s Radio City Music Hall. Though Franklin claims she was hurt by Warwick’s words at the time, she said she avoided making an issue of the misinformation out of respect for Houston. “There [had] been so much going on around [Houston], around the service, around the drugs, around her and Bobby [Brown] supposed to be fighting, I didn’t want to add anything to that, and I didn’t want to be a part of that,” Franklin told the AP.

But the wound re-opened last week when Franklin encountered Warwick at the Tribeca Film Festival premiere of the documentary Clive Davis: The Soundtrack of Our Lives. Warwick attempted to speak with Franklin, but was rebuffed. “She said, ‘Give me a hug,'” Franklin recalled. “I said, ‘Oh, hell no. You can’t be serious.'” The legendary soul singer subsequently sent the AP “a lengthy fax” outlining her position.

Replying to Franklin’s accusations, Warwick’s representative Angelo Ellerbee declared that “[Warwick] will not dignify a response to the statement made by Aretha Franklin.”

Franklin recently said that she will minimize performances and potentially retire from recording after releasing an album this fall. 

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Dirty Water Records Presents Brooklyn's Dirty Fences: 'Sell The Truth' – New Video Single Premiere, EP Release

http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/04/Dirty_Fences_new_video.jpg?p=captionLONDON and NEW YORK, April 27, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —
Dirty Fences premiere their video for new song “Sell The Truth” off their latest release, First “EP” Plus Two Xtra Songs. Keeping in theme with the band’s eccentric image, the video takes you on a journey through various montages of…