Daily Archives: May 4, 2017

Review: Blondie Team With Sia, Charli XCX, Indie Pals on 'Pollinator'

Blondie worked with fans from throughout the musical spectrum on their latest album: Sia, Nick Valensi of the Strokes, U.K. pop-punk diva Charli XCX, avant-R&B star Blood Orange and more. Each puts their own reverent spin on the band’s vintage neon Nu Yawk garage rock, as 71-year-old Debbie Harry has a catty good time all over the place. On the blazing “My Monster,” written by Smiths guitar legend Johnny Marr, she drops the bored bon mot “human beings are stupid things,” like a Dorothy Parker of the Bowery.

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Young Dolph: Memphis Rapper on Life From 'Crack Baby' to Streaming Star

Over the past decade, Memphis rapper Young Dolph has ascended from a mixtape star approved by Dirty South royalty like Gucci Mane and Young Thug, to a legitimate contender. His latest mixtape, Bulletproof, debuted at Number 36 on the Billboard 200 album charts. With his plainspoken approach and penchant for bellicose but good-natured boasts, he has become one of the most popular rappers on streaming services despite being an independent artist on his own label, Paper Route Empire.

However, his rise hasn’t been without controversy. Last September, he released a video for “In My System,” a brutally honest track with Lil Boosie that discusses his birth to crack-addicted parents, originally on his mixtape Rich Crack Baby. But some misinterpreted “In My System” as a celebration of drugs. Iconic producer Pete Rock posted on Instagram, “Wat dat fool say? …cocaine running through his veins? This kinda shit has got to stop.” He then titled his album with Smoke DZA Don’t Smoke Rock. (Young Dolph responded on Twitter, “Sumbody tell pety rock that Dolph said eat a dick.”) Dolph’s simmering beef with fellow Memphis hood hero Yo Gotti culminated in “Play Wit Yo Bitch,” where Dolph dismembers his rival with ferocious (and homophobic) language: “You went from my biggest fan to my biggest hater/Begging me to sign with you but I had too much paper.” Shortly after, shooters targeted Young Dolph’s SUV with over 100 bullets during a February 25th club appearance in Charlotte, North Carolina.

Amidst the drama, Young Dolph released Bulletproof on April 1st. In an interview, he cagily avoids discussing his beef with Yo Gotti. The only thing he’ll say about the inspiration for his mixtape is, “It was just how I was feeling at the time.” Instead, the man who calls himself “Dolph Obama” talks about his hometown, his friendship with Gucci Mane and how he overcame a stormy childhood. “If there’s something negative about you,” he says, “you’ve got to bring out the positive to the front.”

You’re one of the top artists on streaming services right now, even though you’re not on a major label. Why do you think people are responding to your music?
Because it’s authentic music, and it’s just good music at the end of the day. You make good music, you’re going to get good results.

You’ve already put out two mixtapes this year, Gelato and Bulletproof. Are you afraid of diluting your market with too much product?
Mmm … not really, ’cause, like, I know that I like music, and all of my friends like music. So, once you put it out, and they been on it for a while, then you give ’em new music. They just love to have music, because it’s easy to get burnt out on new music real fast. Once you been listening to the same CD for, like, two weeks, three weeks, it get old to you. You need something new.

How does Bulletproof differ from Gelato?
They’re, like, different vibes. They put you in two different vibes. Bulletproof is more on a hardcore vibe and street vibe. And Gelato is more a peaceful, chill-out, smoke-out vibe, like, we chillin’, we smokin’ good weed vibe.

Gelato has a bunch of guests like Wiz Khalifa, Migos and Lil Yachty. But on Bulletproof, you only have one major guest, Gucci Mane.
Yeah, I was going to have no features on Bulletproof. But I ended up putting Gucci Mane on it. That’s just my partner. He’s just one of my personal friends. It ain’t no different for him from my homeboys in Memphis. I just have a real personal relationship. I met Gucci Mane through my partner Drumma Boy, the producer. We’re just two real individuals. Both of us, we like what we do. We just built a relationship off of that.

Have you always rapped, or did you come to later on life?
I started rapping later on in life, around the time I put out my first project [2008’s Paper Route Campaign]. That’s when I started rapping. It was, like, later on.

Why did you start?
I don’t know. I just like music. I’ve always been a big fan of music. Once I grew up and got older in age, I just … it’s like, when you love to do something, the love for it don’t go nowhere. It always get stronger and stronger, whatever you have love for. My passion for music has just gotten stronger, and I found myself involved in music.

So it wasn’t just a moneymaking venture for you.
Naw, I just love music, know what I mean? Music just sets the tone, it puts you in a different vibe, different mode, different moods. I just like music. You hear music every day. It’s something you can’t dodge. I don’t care what you do, you’re going to hear music every day.

At this point in your career, you have a lot of fans that have never been to Memphis. Can you describe what the city is like?
It’s cool. It’s real cool and it makes you feel like you’re in the South. You know you’re in the South. It smell good in the air. You have good barbecue, good restaurants around the city. It’s a good place, you know what I’m saying? There’s certain areas you gotta stay out of, but it’s just like everywhere else in the world, you know what I mean? You’ve got the bullshit areas. But for the most part, it’s a cool place to be at. It’s a down-to-earth spot, it’s not too fast, not too congested, not too many people and shit. It’s just a cool spot.

Do you still live in Memphis?
Naw, I’m in Atlanta right now.

Memphis is synonymous with groups like Three 6 Mafia, but they’re obviously from an earlier era. What is Memphis rap like now?
You’ve got a lot of different styles. But the thing is, it’s always been the same. Memphis, we’ve got our own flow. When you listen to it, it’s like you hear it in the rap game more than ever. The Memphis style, from the rapping to the beats, we created a lot of the sound that’s going on in today’s rap. Our flow, our whole delivery, everything, it’s just the style of Memphis.

One of your nicknames is “Dolph Obama.”
My partners came up with that name. We moving like the president out here, out campaigning on 10. We campaigning hard like the president.

One of your most controversial and powerful songs is “In My System.” But it seems like a lot of people misinterpreted it as a celebration of drug use.
Shit, really man, it was me describing my life, and how I was made and how I came about. The song “In My System” is saying, “I got cocaine running through my system.” It’s really me describing where I come from, my background, and who made me and how I was made. It’s my mama and daddy. I got the cocaine running through my system because, like, I was saying that because that’s what my mama and daddy was. That’s what they was on. That’s what they was into.

Some listeners believed that you were celebrating cocaine and crack use.
No … they’re really dumb, or they’re really just need to pay more attention to the words. I don’t see how you could think that it meant that, because it didn’t at all.

Another one of your most popular tracks is “Preach.” There’s a line that stands out: “Nine years old, I seen a nigga get shot. Damn.”
Yeah, it was just a growing up in South Memphis thang. It’s like, yeah, it’s all good, and it’s cool around, but ain’t no telling when some bullshit will break out, or when it will happen, or where it will happen. It was just what you were exposed to growing in the city and living in the hood there.

How were you able to rise above your circumstances and become successful?
Man, just by giving negativity no attention. Any negative thoughts, negative thinking, negative people, negative anything, you just push that shit out your life. You push that shit out the way and give it no attention, none whatsoever, and focus on nothing but positivity. Focus on taking care of your family and making money, your relationship with God. It’s like, you don’t even have time for negativity. You ain’t got time to give it no attention, none of that shit. And that’s what I’ve been on my whole life.

Are you talking to major labels, or do you plan to stay indie?
I’m planning to stay independent, but at the same time I’m talking to majors, just because I’ve got so many offers out on the table. So many people want to do deals, want to do business that I can’t just overlook it and pay it no attention. So I’ve gotta pay it some attention. I’ve gotta see what’s going on. So yeah, I’m fucking with the major labels, too.

What’s the status on your beef with Yo Gotti? Your diss song, “Play Wit Yo Bitch,” is pretty rough.
Shit, ain’t no status. The song is what it is. That’s the end of it. That’s a wrap. What you hear is what you get. What you see is what you get. You’ve got the song, and now it’s over with. Everything is in that song, and now it’s over with. It’s done. So all the playing can cease, all the playing can stop and ain’t no more playing going on or none of that shit. 

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Alanis Morissette's Ex-Manager Sentenced to Six Years in Prison for Fraud

Jonathan Schwartz, who pleaded guilty to embezzling millions of dollars while working as the business manager for Alanis Morissette and others, was sentenced to six years in prison on Wednesday, according to The Hollywood Reporter. In addition, Schwartz must pay $8.6 million in restitution.

Schwartz confessed to stealing $4.8 million from Morissette in court in January. He pleaded guilty to wire fraud and filing a false tax return and asked for a sentence of one year and one day in jail, another year of house arrest and an additional 2,000 hours of community service. Schwartz also wrote a public letter in The Hollywood Reporter in which he said that he was addicted to gambling and caught in a “toxic” downward spiral.

The U.S. Attorney’s office sought a more serious punishment, as did Morissette – who took the stand and asked the court to hand down “a sentence​ that sends a crystal-clear message” – and Schwartz’s former partner Bernard Gudvi. “It’s important for our industry to know you can’t take money out of people’s accounts,” Gudvi told the court. The maximum allowed sentence for someone found guilty of Schwartz’s crimes is 78 months in prison; Judge Dolly Gee sentenced him to 72.

Schwartz worked for Morissette from 2009 to 2016, “collecting income, managing investment accounts and paying bills on her behalf.” During this time, he also siphoned money into his own accounts. When confronted with evidence of his transfers, he attempted to play them off as investments into “one or more illegal marijuana ‘grow’ businesses.” Morissette filed suit against him in May 2016.

“I lied repeatedly to the people who mattered most to me,” Schwartz said in court this week. “I alone am responsible for the devastation I have caused. Regardless of how long I spend in prison, I will serve a lifetime sentence of shame.”

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Cafe Tacvba Talk 27 Years of Rock Experimentation

Just as the U.S. has the Red Hot Chili Peppers and the U.K. has Radiohead, Mexico has Café Tacvba, a band that boldly reinvents itself with every album. For more than a quarter-century, the mercurial quartet – composed of Rubén Albarrán, Joselo Rangel, Quique Rangel and Emmanuel del Real – has continually defined the cutting edge of Latin alternative music.

The band formed in the suburbs of Mexico City in the late Eighties during the height of the rock en español explosion, a Latin American movement that found musicians interweaving rock with regional folkloric fusions. “It was a very beautiful era of Mexican music,” recalls frontman Albarrán. “All [the bands of the scene] had the same intention: to seek elements from within for creation. We were all very different and each group had their unique way of expressing themselves.” 

The band’s landmark second LP, 1994’s Re, marked rock en español‘s final chapter and ushered in a new kind of Latin alternative. The eclectic opus found the band’s four prolific composers frolicking through tender pop baladas, frothing up son jarocho rhythms, rumbling via boisterous corridos and tearing into punk with exhilarating urgency. Disparate releases followed – a covers album, a tribute release, a two-disc instrumental/pop LP, a proggy experimental outing – all cornerstones for south-of-the-border rock. 

On Café Tacvba’s eighth studio album, Jei Beibi, out Friday – just a few months shy of the 25th anniversary of their self-titled debut – the ever-morphing group continues to evolve, touching on everything from reggae and rock balladry to dubstep and Beach Boys–style harmonies. On Saturday, the band kicks off a lengthy North American tour in support of the LP. Rolling Stone caught up with Albarrán and Joselo Rangel in New York, days before a sold-out Terminal 5 gig, to discuss how Café Tacvba have continuously rewritten the Latin rock playbook. (This interview was originally conducted in Spanish.)

The title of the new album, Jei Beibi, pronounced “Hey Baby,” is a sort of Spanglish pun. What inspired that bit of wordplay?
Rubén Albarrán: We took the title from one of our songs’ lyrics [“1-2-3”] from the new album. We wanted to give it our accent and amplify the language. But precisely, we wanted to break the rules that we self-impose and show that we can renovate. That gives us energy, it nourishes us. If we continue doing the same thing, then we’ll get bored and wear out. The title was Joselo’s idea and we thought it was attractive. For me personally, I feel like it’s a wake-up call, as if to get closer to someone and wanting to say something. It’s a good way to start a conversation.

On the music video for “Futuro,” there’s a lot of extreme characters featured, like Trump wearing a mini skirt, a priest, a Santa Muerte, a Native American, among others. What unites these figures together?
Albarrán: Oftentimes, our videos are collective ideas from the group, but others, they’re personal ideas. I wanted to represent this video as humanity in its current state, with some characters who, unfortunately, make decisions for the rest of us. The [flying] bus on which they’re traveling represents life, or the historic moment that we are going through. That’s what I wanted to convey.

That same song has a message that roughly says “destiny is written for all of us.” Is there a certain spirituality or philosophy that influences your creativity?
Joselo Rangel: That song “Futuro” was written by Quique [Rangel], the bassist. I wouldn’t know how to explain the song, but each would have to give their own interpretation. If the lyrics generate that message for you, then that’s good. I suppose Quique could be talking about different things, and many readings are possible. Each one of us is a composer and we come to the group with songs written out, musically and lyrically. Occasionally, there’s a collaboration between us. But each song is almost always written by one of us, and then we all figure out the arrangements. Up until now there hasn’t been a moment where the composer explains the song and says, “I want to say this or that.” It’s always open for interpretation. Personally, the songs that I’ve written, when they arrive to the group, they become something more. Some begin to take spiritual aspects, political aspects, aspects that I had not initially put into the song. I think that’s something magical that happens in our creations.

Rubén, previous albums have seen you introducing alter egos like Cosme, Élfego Buendía, Pinche Juan, among many others. Who will we meet on Jei Beibi?
Albarrán: Well, on this occasion, I have not created any characters nor have I changed my name. The last time I did, the band turned 20, and I said, “I’m going to stop changing my names. I’ll present myself as Rubén Albarrán.” During that time, I was visiting certain communities and one of them baptized me with my [birth] name. So I said, “OK, I’ve received it, now I will use it,” and I have. If another one comes, then it will come, but it hasn’t arrived yet and I’m fine for now.

Joselo, the new album features many new sounds, like Sixties and Seventies classic rock, that the band hasn’t explored previously. As the main guitarist, what were you inspired by this time around?
Rangel: We try different things every time there’s an arrangement opportunity with a new song. But I’m not the only one who plays guitar. Actually, it’s the instrument we all play. Ruben will occasionally play it, and Quique played many guitars this time. As Rubén was saying, exploring distinct paths is a way for us to feel alive, or feel like we’re doing something different. “Que No,” our latest single, has Sixties characteristics which we haven’t done before, and “Matando” also has certain elements we hadn’t come across. For me, it’s difficult to say “it’s this influence” or “it comes from there.” Maybe it’s easy for one to listen externally and identify influences. 

But yes, I like listening to classic rock. I know that all band members have different influences and sometimes they show and other times they don’t. Right now, I feel very close to the album, which we recently completed. So with time, I’ll take some distance and see what happens.

Looking back to when Café Tacvba was emerging in the late Eighties during the rock en español wave, what was that experience like, and how did you see yourselves within the movement?
Albarrán: It was something very beautiful because we all had that interest. We were very close to all of the different groups of the time – the ones that we began to play with in the same venues [e.g. Maldita Vecindad, Caifanes, Botellita de Jerez]. Suddenly, each started to have their own tours and we stopped seeing each other. But we all had the same intention: to seek elements from within for our creation. However, we were all very different, and each group had their unique way of expressing themselves; their own original voice. It was a very beautiful era of Mexican music, and the truth is that we are very fortunate to have been part of it.

At the time, there was a collective notion from bands to return to their roots, sonically. Hearing Latin alternative music today, how have you seen the scene evolve as insiders?
Albarrán: I think it fluctuates. … I feel like there are moments where musicians may be more interested – or culture in general – to show roots and where one comes from. And later there comes a time where that has lesser importance for artists, and instead they become more interested in affiliating themselves with global or international trends. Fortunately, we were in the right place at the right time, and that allowed us to experiment, play and enjoy.

“Fortunately, we were in the right place at the right time, and that allowed us to experiment, play and enjoy.” –Rubén Albarrán

Rangel: Perhaps the bands emerging nowadays don’t have the right context around them to help them grow. We were born at the right moment where everything was happening. There was a great interest for rock en español and it was everywhere. The audience, labels and the media were all interested; everything was there. We wanted to present music that was very personal to us, and it continues being that way. We make the music that naturally comes out of us. Since the beginning we’ve done what we wanted and people were interested. The public liked it and we were able to grow without any issues from the industry – well, when that record industry existed. I don’t know how it went for other bands [of the time], but we had that liberty. In that respect, we were able to experiment in many ways, since our first [self-titled] album, and later with Re, our second album of 20 songs. It was followed by an album of pure covers [Avalancha de Éxitos] and an instrumental release that was complemented with a songs release [Revés/Yo Soy]. Without realizing it, we continued with our career, and suddenly 27 years had gone by. The entire panorama changed.

“Ingrata” has been one of the band’s biggest hits, but you recently decided to stop playing it in concerts. Why?
Albarrán: There are two reasons for that. There are songs that we’ve been playing our whole career and eventually we have to let them rest. But there came a situation in Argentina during an interview when the femicides were happening, and the interviewer questioned us on that song. [Note: The lyrics follow a heartbroken man who considers firing at his “ungrateful” lover.] I personally responded that maybe it was time to ask ourselves whether we should even be playing it, because on social media, some people also questioned it. I thought it was a great idea to let the song rest because it gives room for conversation, and that’s the most important thing. 

At the end of the day, these are issues that need to be discussed: femicides, among other things – immigrant rights, women’s’ rights, indigenous people’s rights, animal rights, Mother Earth’s rights. If we don’t talk about these topics, then we have no place in democracy. It won’t exist. Democracy isn’t just voting; it’s relegating your rights.

We made this [1994] song in a playful way, and we take elements from culture when creating music. But it so happens that certain songs becomes part of culture, and culture is a form of preserving patterns. Yes, we’re Mexican, and we’re proud to be, but we’re also human. But like all cultures, there are retrograde elements and evolutionary elements. I think we’ll chose to head towards the evolutionary ones and leave the [others] behind.

For many Mexicans who attend your shows in the U.S., there seems to be a tremendous nostalgia for Mexico. How would you compare the experience of playing in the U.S. to performing in your home country?
Albarrán: There’s definitely a melancholic ingredient in our concerts in the United States versus in other places. Not only with Mexicans, but Ecuadorians, Salvadorans, Colombians, etc. Many times they feel far away from their place of origin, from their traditions, from their people. And in a way, Café Tacvba’s music brings them memories. It seems to connect them with all that they miss, because the concerts are very emotive and have lots of energy. We’re very fortunate to have our music connect in that way.

How does it feel to be considered representatives of Mexican music?
Rangel: We don’t think of ourselves as representatives. When we go and make new material, we feel that our creations are more authentic if we think of ourselves. It’s beyond representing, but more like thinking, “What moment are we living? Where am I when making this video? What do I want to demonstrate? What do I want to say lyrically?” Sure, in any given moment that can convert itself into some form of representation, because there are other people living the exact experiences as we are. It’s not something we assume when creating. We don’t say, “Let’s be the representatives and show the moment that our society is in.” But when it comes to performing and we visit other countries, like New York, many people approach us, people who are outside of their own country, and we become a referent, as Ruben was saying. Our shows become this sort of ritual, and our performances become that moment of identity. 

Now I’m not sure how each one of us sees ourselves [in the band], but we’re being part of this ritual of identity where people see Café Tacvba as something Mexican, as a representation of the Mexican. The songs, the music, the energy given in a concert. Sometimes I question that there’s not much decision from our part, like there’s something that leads us to this. Something beyond.

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Watch Ed Sheeran, Saoirse Ronan Roam Ireland in Wild 'Galway Girl' Video

Ed Sheeran runs through the pubs and streets with actress Saoirse Ronan in the new video for “Galway Girl.” Sheeran shot the video himself from the first-person perspective on location in Galway, Ireland.

The clip opens with the singer leaving a concert and immediately heading to a bar where he grabs a drink and runs in to Ronan. After Sheeran accidentally lands a dart in some bloke’s back, the pair take off and roam the streets, running in to fans who have Sheeran sign a cast – and a copy of his recent Rolling Stone cover story. Elsewhere, Ronan gives Sheeran a fresh tattoo – which turns out to be his already infamous “Galway Grill” mark.

After the ink settles, Sheeran and Ronan grab one last beer, though at the bar the singer accidentally spills his drink on the same fellow he stabbed earlier with the dart. Sheeran takes a swift punch to the face and blacks out, but wakes up the next morning with Ronan in a house overlooking the ocean.

“Galway Girl” appears on Sheeran’s new album, ÷ (Divide), which arrived in March. Sheeran will kick off a North American tour in support of the record June 29th in Kansas City, Missouri. 

Ed Sheeran performed an acoustic version of “Hearts Don’t Break Around Here” by candle light in the Rolling Stone office. Watch it here.

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Hear Niall Horan's Sexy New Funk-Pop Song 'Slow Hands'

Niall Horan has unveiled a new single from his forthcoming debut solo album, which will be released via Capitol. It’s the second song he released since One Direction announced their hiatus in 2015.

On “Slow Hands,” Horan takes a turn from the more reflective, slowed down “This Town” and goes for a more muted sound. Above a stomp-and-clap beat and muted guitar, Horan allows his lower register to showcase his more seductive side on the track which is reminiscent of early Aughts hits from Jack Johnson and John Mayer.

Prior to his new single’s release, the singer discussed the track in an interview with Mikey Piff on Sirius XM Hits 1 on Wednesday. Horan told Piff that after listening to some of the material he had, he wanted to add a bit more grit, funk and heavier bass. At the time he was listening to late Seventies and early Eighties music, like Don Henley. “When he went solo in the early Eighties, he just kinda had this funky kind of feel to it – heavy bass, heavy guitar – so I just thought, ‘Let’s give this a crack,'” he said of making “Slow Hands.”

Horan added that the song was off-the-cuff. “I wanted it to be a little bit cheeky with the lyric,” he explained. “And we wrote this concept.” He said that it’s set in a bar and the song’s theme changes up stereotypical roles. “The first line is ‘As long as we should take this back to my place’ – and usually that’s what the guy would say, but we flipped it that the girl would say that, and that’s what she said right to my face.

“‘Cause with the song, like before we even wrote lyrics, we had all this big track and it sounded kind of sexy,” he continued. “So we thought this concept would match the vibe of the song, and I think we might have been right.”

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Grammy-Award Winning Superstar Meghan Trainor to be Honored with Ascap Vanguard Award at 2017 ASCAP Pop Music Awards on May 18

ASCAP LogoNEW YORK, May 4, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — ASCAP, the American Society of Composers, Authors and Publishers, will present multi-platinum, award-winning pop star and songwriter Meghan Trainor with its ASCAP Vanguard Award at the 34th annual ASCAP Pop Music Awards Thursday, May 18. The same…

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Goatwhore To Release New Album and Releases Title Track

Goatwhore will release their anticipated Vengeful Ascension full-length worldwide on June 23rd via Metal Blade Records. The band’s seventh full-length and second recorded reel-to-reel, Vengeful Ascension was captured at Earth Analog in Tolono, Illinois near …Read More

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Pteroglyph Releases Video for "Red On You"

Pteroglyph has released a video for “Red On You”. Check it over HERE. http://www.nataliezworld.com/search/label/News

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MAC SABBATH Battles Rival Fast Food Mascots in Claymation Video for "Pair-A-Buns"

Mac Sabbath has a battle against their rival fast food mascots in claymation style video for “Pair-A-Buns”. Check it out HERE. http://www.nataliezworld.com/search/label/News

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