Daily Archives: May 8, 2017

On the Charts: Kendrick Lamar Fends Off Gorillaz to Stay Number One

Kendrick Lamar fended off new releases by Gorillaz and Mary J. Blige as Damn. captured Number One on the Billboard 200 for the third straight week.

Damn. added 173,000 total albums to its haul, which crossed the million-selling platinum barrier earlier in the week, Billboard reported. Damn. also became the rapper’s longest-lasting Number One LP, breaking the two-week tie it held with 2015’s To Pimp a Butterfly.

Gorillaz finished one spot behind Lamar as Humanz debuted at Number Two, matching Damon Albarn and company’s previous peak registered in 2010 by Plastic Beach. However, Humanz‘ 140,000 opening week sales exceeded Plastic Beach’s 112,000 haul seven years ago.

Mary J. Blige’s Strength of a Woman entered the Billboard 200 at Number Three, giving the singer 14 career Top 10 albums. Strength of a Woman sold 78,000 copies in its debut week.

Two more new releases cracked the Top 10: Sony’s latest Epic AF compilation – featuring recently released tracks by Future, Big Boi and DJ Khaled – opened at Number Six thanks entirely to Khaled’s “I’m the One” with Bieber, Migos’ Quavo, Chance the Rapper and Lil Wayne. Since the compilation is the only place to hear that hit, Epic AF cashed in on streaming equivalent albums (SEAs) and track equivalent albums (TEAs).

Willie Nelson’s God’s Problem Child was the Top 10’s final new release, bowing at Number 10.

Drake’s More Life dropped to Number Four, one spot ahead of Ed Sheeran’s Divide. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic (Number Seven), the Guardians of the Galaxy, Vol.2: Awesome Mix soundtrack (Eight) and Chainsmokers’ Memories… Do Not Open (Nine).

Lamar’s impressive run atop the Billboard 200 will likely end next week thanks to Chris Stapleton’s From a Room: Volume 1.

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Katy Perry on New Album: 'It's Fun and Dance-y and Dark and Light'

In a new interview with Entertainment Weekly, Katy Perry described her upcoming fifth LP as both “definitely a change” and within her usual sonic wheelhouse: “It’s fun and dance-y and dark and light,” she said. “It’s all of these things.”

The singer said she began work on the record, which follows 2013’s Prism, in June 2016, inspired by the “Zen-like” atmosphere of her Santa Barbara, California home base. She wound up with roughly 40 songs, which she trimmed to 15, and the end project reflects a personal maturation in recent years.

“I left my 20s, and I’ve gone to my 30s,” she said. “I’ve embraced. I’ve surrendered. I’ve healed some of my issues with my family, with my relationships. Today I’m sober, but I don’t know about tomorrow! One day at a time, right? [Laughs] It’s all kind of beautiful. I built up Katy Perry and she was so fun. And I still am Katy Perry, and I love her so much but at the core, I’m Katheryn Hudson, and I think that’s being revealed as I embrace who I really am.”

Though Perry didn’t unveil the full track list, she teased a track called “Bigger Than Me,” inspired by the result of the 2016 presidential election, and an upbeat dance song titled “Swish Swish.” The as-yet-untitled LP will also include recently released singles “Chained to the Rhythm” and “Bon Appetit.”

Perry also denied that the album is a response to Taylor Swift’s 1989 hit “Bad Blood,” which is rumored to be about Perry. (In a 2014 Rolling Stone cover story, Swift said the song is about a female musician who “tried to sabotage an entire arena tour,” though she didn’t specify the person by name.)

The Prism singer said it’s “not [her] question to answer” whether Swift wrote “Bad Blood” about her – and that her new songs are more concerned with “healing” and “vulnerability” than bitterness. 

“I think [it’s] a very empowered record,” she said. “There is no one thing that’s calling out any one person. One thing to note is: You can’t mistake kindness for weakness and don’t come for me. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. Anyone. And that’s not to any one person and don’t quote me that it is, because it’s not. It’s not about that. Honestly, when women come together and they decide to unite, this world is going to be a better place. Period, end of story.”

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OZY Media Announces Second Annual OZY FEST

MOUNTAIN VIEW, Calif., May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — OZY Media, the daily information source for important stories told nowhere else, announced today the second annual OZY FEST to take place Saturday, July 22nd, 2017 at Rumsey Playfield in New York City’s Central Park (OZY.com/ozyfest2017)….


Willie Nelson's Topping The Charts Again!

Album CoverNEW YORK, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — God’s Problem Child, Willie Nelson’s new studio album (and 9th for Sony/Legacy Recordings) has entered the Billboard Country chart at #1, making it the artist’s second US country chart-topper in less than two years. Nelson’s 6th Legacy release, Django…


Fyre Festival Organizers Hit With Sixth Lawsuit

Another day, another class action lawsuit as the organizers of the Fyre Festival are now facing a sixth lawsuit following the ill-fated “luxury” music fest.

The latest legal action against co-founders Jeffrey “Ja Rule” Atkins and Billy McFarland comes from Kenneth and Emily Reel, a North Carolina couple that paid $4,600 for a VIP villa at the Bahamas festival. However, like many other ticket buyers, they never actually made it to the Exumas, having been stuck at a Miami airport after the fest shut down following its disastrous first day.

“Defendants sold tickets for a music festival of unparalleled luxury,” the lawsuit, filed Friday in a south Florida district court, states; the festival’s headquarters listed a Florida address. “In reality, Fyre Festival was the opposite. The event fell woefully short of what was advertised in virtually every way.”

The Reels are seeking $5 million from Fyre organizers, as well as the festival’s PR agency 42West and advertising company Matte Projects, since both “did not take any steps, let alone reasonable steps, to ensure that their promotional materials and marketing campaigns were accurate.” All defendants are being sued for fraudulent misrepresentation, negligent misrepresentation, fraud in the inducement and violation of the Florida Unfair and Deceptive Trade Practices Act. In addition, Fyre Festival organizers are being sued for breach of contract.

“Instead of world-class cuisine and entertainment, concert goers found themselves without adequate food, water, shelter, and basic medical care,” the lawsuit continues. “Still others [en] route to the event found themselves stranded in Miami, Florida unsure of how to proceed or of what was occurring on the island.”

“Anyone who suffered damages from this fiasco needs to be made whole,” Jeffrey Backman, a lawyer for the Reels, said in an email statement to Rolling Stone. “The Defendants also need to understand financially that they cannot commit fraud and get away with it in the hopes of becoming legends. It’s one thing for a first time event to have unexpected issues. It’s something completely different when they (a) knew it was falling apart, (b) continued to pretend everything was fine, (c) threatened people who dared to expose what was going on, and (d) are now acting like they care about doing the right thing. Miami is the hub through which every concert-goer, vendor, and organizer went, so we fully expect this case to be heard and ultimately concluded in Miami.”

A representative for 42West declined to comment. Reps for Fyre Festival and Matte Projects did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

Following an article that questioned whether Fyre had the capital necessary to host a music festival, one of the plaintiffs emailed organizers expressing his concerns that the festival was “not on a ‘private island’ as advertised.” The lengthy email laid out the discrepancies between promise and reality, with Kenneth Reel writing organizers that altering basic resources such as location of the festival “inherently change the value of the services being offered at the time of purchase.”

“Marketing the event to be held on a private island when in fact, it will take place on a defunct landholding which is semi-industrial/manmade is extremely misleading,” Reel wrote. “I could continue to dissect your marketing providing several other areas of concern which appear to be clear misrepresentations specifically designed to mislead prospective buyers but we both know the event is ultimately not what [it] was marketing as.” Reel asked for a refund in his email but the defendants “completely ignored the well-articulated request for a refund.”

The latest lawsuit also points out the cease-and-desist letters that Fyre’s lawyers reportedly sent to people who relayed disparaging information about the festival on social media.

“Specifically, if the social media comments were not taken down, the Defendants claim they could ‘incite violence, rioting, or civil unrest,’ with the caveat that if ‘someone innocent does get hurt as a result … Fyre Festival will hold you accountable and responsible,'” the lawsuit stated.

Ja Rule and McFarland are already facing four other class action lawsuits – including one spearheaded by celebrity lawyer Mark Geragos that has 300 plaintiffs, TMZ reports – as well as one lawsuit from the company that was hired to provide medical services at the festival.

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Against Me! Plot Headlining North American Fall Tour

Against Me! announced a headlining North American tour during September and October. The 39-date trek launches September 2nd in Winnipeg, Manitoba and concludes October 28th with an appearance at Gainesville, Florida festival the Fest.

L.A. punk act Bleached and Canadian alt-rock group the Dirty Nil will open each of the gigs, excluding the tour-concluding Fest slot. Tickets go on sale Friday, May 12th. More details are available at the Against Me! website.

The punk-rock quartet recently wrapped a month of dates supporting Green Day and they’re currently on tour in Australia. On Sunday, the group canceled a date in Melbourne due to issues with singer Laura Jane Grace‘s voice, which she tweeted was “shredded gone.”

Against Me! released their seventh LP, Shape Shift With Me, in September. In a statement, Grace said she wrote the album with the goal of addressing “relationships from a trans perspective.”

Last year, Grace also released a memoir, Tranny: Confessions of Punk Rock’s Most Infamous Anarchist Sellout, in which she chronicled her gender dysphoria, music career, falling in love and making the decision to transition.

Against Me! 2017 Tour Dates

September 2 – Winnipeg, MB @ Garrick Theatre
September 3 – Saskatoon, SK @ Louis’ Pub
September 5 – Edmonton, AB @ Union Hall
September 6 – Calgary, AB @ Marquee Room
September 8 – Vancouver, BC @ Vogue Theatre
September 9 – Seattle, WA @ Showbox at the Market
September 10 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
September 12 – Sacramento, CA @ Ace of Spades
September 13 – San Francisco, CA @ Regency Ballroom
September 14 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Fonda Theatre
September 15 – Pomona, CA @ The Glass House
September 16 – San Diego, CA @ The Observatory-North Park
September 19 – Albuquerque, NM @ Sunshine Theater
September 21 – El Paso, TX @ Tricky Falls
September 22 – San Antonio, TX @ Paper Tiger
September 23 – Dallas, TX @ Granada Theater
September 24 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall
September 26 – Oklahoma City, OK @ Diamond Ballroom
September 27 – St. Louis, MO @ The Ready Room
September 30 – Chicago, IL @ Concord Music Hall
October 1 – Detroit, MI @ Majestic Theatre
October 3 – Cincinnati, OH @ Bogart’s
October 4 – Cleveland, OH @ House of Blues
October 5 – Buffalo, NY @ The Waiting Room
October 6 – Toronto, ON @ The Phoenix
October 7 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
October 8 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Mr. Small’s Theatre
October 10 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Lounge
October 12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
October 13 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club
October 14 – Brooklyn, NY @ Brooklyn Steel
October 15 – Asbury Park, NJ @ The Stone Pony
October 17 – Norfolk, VA @ Norva Theater
October 18 – Charlotte, NC @ Neighborhood Theatre
October 20 – Nashville, TN @ The Cannery Ballroom
October 21 – Asheville, NC @ The Orange Peel
October 22 – Atlanta, GA @ CenterStage
October 24 – Ft. Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room
October 28 – Gainesville, FL – The Fest @ Bo Diddley Plaza 

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Watch Josh Homme Gush About Producing Iggy Pop in New Doc Trailer

Queens of the Stone Age mastermind Josh Homme marvels at the gravity of producing Iggy Pop in the debut trailer for American Valhalla, a documentary detailing the collaborative process behind Pop’s 2016 solo LP, Post Pop Depression.

“When [Pop] texted me about recording together, I was just like [explosion noise],” Homme says in the clip. “You’re in the Stooges. I’m in Queens. And those are heavy things.” The Queens singer adds that his aim with producing the LP wasn’t to “blend” two generations of rock or “out-rock the Stooges.” 

The trailer highlights that creative collision, incorporating snippets of studio sessions (also featuring Queens guitarist Dean Fertita and Arctic Monkeys drummer Matt Helders) and promotional tour. Pop admits that, prior to the solo venture, his career had become “a slave to his band [the Stooges].” And by uniting with Homme, he pursued an “emotional escape” in order to gauge his own creative worth.

Pop recently collaborated with Danger Mouse on the spaghetti-Western-styled “Gold,” the title song from Stephen Gaghan’s new thriller film. Queens of the Stone Age reportedly finished mixing their follow-up to 2013’s …Like Clockwork in April, though the band has yet to officially announce the LP.

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Broken Social Scene Detail First LP in Seven Years, 'Hug of Thunder'

Broken Social Scene will issue their long-awaited fifth LP, Hug of Thunder, on July 7th via City Slang/Arts & Crafts. The 12-track album, which follows 2010’s Forgiveness Rock Record, features the Canadian indie-rock collective’s comeback single, “Halfway Home.”

The group first played the brass-laden song on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert with a brisk, expansive arrangement. The performance featured Kevin Drew, Brendan Canning, Stars’ Amy Millan and Evan Cranley, Metric’s Emily Haines and James Shaw, Justin Peroff, Andrew Whiteman and Charles Spearin.

Hug of Thunder will reportedly feature many of the ever-rotating band’s most famous members, including Feist, Haines, Shaw, Millan and Cranley. During a recent interview with Sirius XMU, frontman Kevin Drew said the LP would likely be out in the fall.

Broken Social Scene have a brief run of tour dates, mostly in Europe, scheduled for the summer. Their next concert is May 23rd in Manchester, U.K.

Broken Social Scene – Hug of Thunder Track List

1. “Sol Luna”
2. “Halfway Home”
3. “Protest Song”
4. “Skyline”
5. “Stay Happy”
6. “Vanity Pail Kids”
7. “Hug of Thunder”
8. “Towers and Masons”
9. “Victim Lover”
10. “Please Take Me With You”
11. “Gonna Get Better”
12. “Mouth Guards of the Apocalypse”

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How Preservation Hall Jazz Band Found Their New Sound in Cuba

Walter Harris is a drummer and a man of faith from New Orleans, a place where those two aspects of his identity could never be separate. He grew up in the Spiritual church, which synthesizes Catholicism with elements of African and Caribbean religion and whose worship services included plenty of music. As a member of the Hard Head Hunters, based out of the lower Ninth Ward, Harris also masked as a Mardi Gras Indian, taking to the streets before daybreak on Carnival day decked out in bright feathers and elaborate beadwork to drum and shout. When he went to Cuba for the first time in 2015, as a new member of the Preservation Hall Jazz Band, he met an unexpected counterpart.

“Coming from a family that was intensively spiritual, I was seeking to find out a little more about what’s going on with that aspect of Cuba, in relation to the music and the drumming,” Harris tells Rolling Stone. Anchoring their trip around the Havana Jazz Festival, the band also plotted out a visit to the city of Santiago – whose name they wound up borrowing for the funky first single from their new Dave Sitek–produced LP So It Is – and set aside time to ramble around the country meeting other artists and musicians. In one small village, Harris talked to a drummer, Luis, “who was very much in touch with his spirituality and the history of his people,” he says.

“He brought us to this shrine they’d been having in the family for a long time, and was explaining the intent of the shrine, and it was being translated through a guy in English – but the experience was so intense that it felt like I understood exactly what he was saying before it was translated. It was a very emotional time we had, in that moment.”

Harris, who had joined the band only a month before the trip, turned out to be a true engine of the album, which thunders with insistent, ferocious Afro-Cuban rhythms.

“It’s so fresh and exciting and vibrant, and it’s so reverent. You can hear the entire history of New Orleans drumming in his playing,” says Ben Jaffe, the sousaphone and bass player who serves as the Hall’s creative director.

“I mean, I’ve known for a while that that’s where the band has been heading. There’s hints of it on That’s It,” Jaffe says of the group’s booming, swinging 2013 release. “You can start to hear us exploring this very important side of our music. It’s sort of putting rhythm in the forefront.”

Musically speaking, there isn’t a huge language barrier between Cuba and New Orleans. The building blocks of son, rumba and habanera are also unmistakably audible in New Orleans funk and jazz, and particularly in the city’s famed second-line parade beat. When Jelly Roll Morton told Alan Lomax that New Orleans music had the “Spanish tinge,” during their landmark 1938 recordings for the Library of Congress, he was referring to the Afro-Cuban rhythms that made their way to New Orleans via the transatlantic slave trade, and asserted themselves in the city’s music from Morton’s Storyville stomp and boogie to 21st-century bounce music. 

Jaffe didn’t plan the group’s trek to Cuba as a research trip for their new album. But once they were there, he said, it became clear that Cuba – so much a part of where the band’s sound comes from – was also key to where they were going.

“It’s kind of like it had been pulling us,” Jaffe says. “I mean, we had spent time in Brazil, but had never had the opportunity to spend time in some of these other environments that you can actually physically see and taste and smell a lot of the same history that made its way to New Orleans.

“It just became really clear that part of our discovery of ourselves as a band was discovering Cuba,” he says.

Discovering who Preservation Hall is has, in its way, been Jaffe’s task since he took over the group in 1995, shortly after graduating from Oberlin. In 1961, when his parents took its helm, the Hall itself – a narrow 19th-century building with a dim, stone-paved carriageway opening into a lush French Quarter courtyard – was a bohemian art gallery that drew an integrated crowd of young beatniks, artists and old-record nerds, in defiance of Jim Crow laws, to pass the hat for aging musicians who literally remembered the birth of jazz. The venue still hosts three sets a night of traditional jazz played by the core Preservation Hall Jazz Band (the personnel on So It Is) or, when they’re on the road, combos formed from its broad roster of associated players.

But the spot was never meant to be a museum, and neither was the band. So during the past 20 years, Ben Jaffe and his crew have walked a cautious line between hallowed heritage and innovation. They play Bonnaroo and Coachella. They throw midnight shows at the Hall, playing with artists like Neko Case, Elvis Costello and Shovels and Rope, and record with Jason Isbell, My Morning Jacket’s Jim James, Tom Waits and others. Arcade Fire’s Win Butler and Regine Chassagne, who have a house in New Orleans, partnered up with Preservation Hall to put on a memorial parade for David Bowie in early 2016. Dave Grohl shot an episode of his Sonic Highways miniseries at the Hall in 2014, and reconnected with the group during an April appearance on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert, sitting in on the drums for “Santiago.”

Over the years, members of the main ensemble have retired or passed on, and their replacements have different musical foundations than their forebears. “We’re not going to be able to pretend that James Brown isn’t a part of us now, or hip-hop,” says Clint Maedgen, a sax and clarinet player who both studied with famed avant-garde jazz clarinetist Alvin Batiste and fronted several Nineties and early-2000s-era punk bands in New Orleans. Now in his late 40s, when Maedgen joined the band in 2003 he was one of its youngest members. Among the So It Is band, he’s practically an elder statesman (along with 84-year-old fellow reed player Charlie Gabriel, that is, who has writing credits on six of of the album’s seven tracks.)

“The band that recorded the album is the youngest incarnation of the Preservation Hall Band, and that’s beautiful,” Jaffe says.

Jaffe met Dave Sitek through mutual friends in Los Angeles. “We walked in, and it was immediately, ‘OK, we’re brothers, we just hadn’t met yet,'” says Jaffe. During that first meeting, the pair wrote a song together. The next time they hung out, he brought Gabriel and Maedgen, and the men all wrote another.

“So there was just this energy there,” he said. “When we were thinking about producers for this album, Dave was always somebody in my mind. And Dave was able to do something with us that we really needed at this moment in time. We needed a producer to come in and allow us to be the musicians that we are and the band that we could be. To me, that’s what Dave challenged us to be.”

“I didn’t want to be the guy that fucked up the Preservation Hall.” –Dave Sitek

“Originally, my excitement was masked as hesitation. I didn’t want to be the guy that fucked up the Preservation Hall,” Sitek says. “Then, when I found out how actually wild they are, that was reassuring.” One day during his five-week stay in New Orleans, he took an afternoon walk with Jaffe, and the pair ran smack into a second line, one of the city’s raucous street parades.

“I was like, ‘Oh, that’s where all the guys in this band come from,'” he says. “It was very visceral, and very present, and right there. Up until that point I was like, ‘I might be trying to make them too dangerous or something.’ Then I realized, they’re already that. They already have that vibe.

“I was like, how do I make the room sound like a parade?” he continues. “Jazz is famous for being meticulous about stuff, especially the recording. Everything’s isolated so you can control each sound and I have zero interest in that. I was like, ‘I’m going to record this like it’s X-Ray Spex or something.'”

Sitek took the band to Sonic Ranch studio in El Paso (“There’s so much New Orleans in these guys, you can’t take it out of them, even if you took them to outer space,” he said) and set them up to record live in the round, so they could build off of each other’s energy in real time. The end result is dynamic and urgent, with a tension and vitality that feels like it throws off sparks, from the menacing trombone growl on the hip-shaker “La Malanga” to the slow-burning “One Hundred Fires,” which juxtaposes snaky, slinky horns with slick soul-jazz organ. The aptly named “Convergence,” which credits all seven band members and Sitek as writers, is where all the moving parts come together: New Orleans piano rolls; clattering tambourine and cowbell; a popping shuffle beat; and joyous, meandering horns. Like the album as a whole, the track fuses old Cuba and new New Orleans, updating each city’s legacy with fresh perspectives and fresh blood.

“It’s just like a fire-starter kind of energy,” Clint Maedgen says. “Let’s see how we can push it, and what attention we can get out there in the universe. Let’s shine a really bright light, in maybe a little bit of a different way.”

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Armando Christian Perez (Pitbull) and Suze Orman Set to Discuss Entrepreneurship at eMerge Americas

Inspiration, Innovation, and a Nod to the Future Take Center Stage at eMERGE Americas 2016MIAMI, May 8, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — eMerge Americas, the technology conference that connects revolutionary startups, cutting-edge ideas, and global industry leaders and investors from the Americas, announced that Armando Christian Perez, also known to…