Daily Archives: May 11, 2017

Review: Harry Styles Is a True Rock Star on Superb Solo Debut

Harry Styles doesn’t just want to be a rock star – he wants to be the rock star. And on his superb solo debut, the One Direction heartthrob claims his turf as a true rock & roll prince, a sunshine superman, a cosmic dancer in touch with his introspective acoustic side as well as his glam flash. He avoids the celebrity-guest debutante ball he could have thrown himself – instead, he goes for a intimately emotional Seventies soft-rock vibe. No club-hopping or bottles popping – it’s the after-hours balladry of a 23-year-old star wondering why he spends so much time in lonely hotel rooms staring at his phone. Harry digs so deep into classic California mellow gold, you might suspect his enigmatic new tattoos that say “Jackson” and “Arlo” refer to Browne and Guthrie.

“You can’t bribe the door on your way to the sky,” he warns early on in “Sign of the Times,” but the sky is where he’s aiming, and his sheer brazen confidence is dazzling – he never sounds like he’s trying too hard or scrounging for cred, which is where boy-band alumni usually screw up their solo records. The whole album has the personal yet witty spirit of the cover photo, where a topless Harry has a moment of doubt and pain in a bathtub full of pink unicorn tears. (His original title was Pink, because it’s “the only true rock & roll color.”) He spends a lot of the album wet, actually – whether it’s tears, other bodily fluids, or just “candy dripping on me till my feet are wet.”

Harry’s soft-rock fetish won’t surprise fans of One Direction gems like “Olivia” or “Stockholm Syndrome,” but this is the first time we’ve heard Sweet Baby Styles run with it for a whole album. The songs he tipped in advance didn’t play coy about his old-school inspirations – the Badfinger hook of “Ever Since New York,” the “Blackbird” guitar of “Sweet Creature,” the way “Sign of the Times” tweaks Queen and Bowie in candelabra mode – yet they all sound like him, playful and tender in equal measure. In most of these songs, he mourns a dead-end relationship, the kind where “comfortable silence is so overrated,” and you can hear that he’s been binging on singer-songwriter confessionals from Harry Nilsson’s Nilsson Schmillson to Taylor Swift’s Red. “Meet Me In The Hallway” sets the tone – a touch of John Lennon echo in his voice, a touch of Jimmy Page in the acoustic guitar – as he pleads like a love junkie craving a fix. “Carolina” rides a tropical low-rider summer groove, while the lovelorn “Two Ghosts” could pass for vintage Bread. “Woman” could be a lost slow-jam duet between Prince and Joe Walsh, as Harry asks, “Should we just search romantic comedies on Netflix and see what we can find?”

Hedabbles in hard rock raunch with “Kiwi” (“She worked her waythrough a cheap pack of cigarettes/Hard liquor mixed with a bit of intellect”)and “Only Angel.” Yet he sounds brassiest, most confident, most himself whenhe gets vulnerable. He ends with “From the Dining Table,” an acousticlament where he wakes up alone in yet another hotel room. (“Played withmyself, where were you?/I fell back asleep and was drunk by noon/I’ve never felt less cool.”) Through it all, he manages to steer clear ofall the traps that ordinarily sabotage a boy-band star’s solo move. But as thewhole album proves, there’s not a thing ordinary about this guy.

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Desert Trip Will Not Return in 2017

The classic rock festival Desert Trip – which featured Bob Dylan, the Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, The Who, Neil Young and Roger Waters in its inaugural weekends last year –will not take place in 2017, Billboard reports.

“We’re not doing Desert Trip this year,” concert promoter Goldenvoice CEO Paul Tollett told Billboard.

Goldenvoice also produces Coachella and Stagecoach, which are both held at the Empire Polo Club in Indio, CA, where Desert Trip took place. FYF, Firefly, Hangout Music Fest and Camp Flog Gnaw Carnival, are among its other festivals.

Tollett did not disclose the reasoning behind skipping Desert Trip this year, but he left the door open for a similar event at a later date. “We loved 2016 Desert Trip – that was a special moment in time. Maybe someday in the future we’ll do something similar,” Tollett told Billboard.

Held over two weekends last October, Desert Trip sold 150,000 tickets and grossed $160 million, a new industry world record.

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Hear Justin Bieber Rap on Diplo's Rubbery New Song 'Bankroll'

Diplo brought in Justin Bieber, Young Thug and Rich the Kid to rap on his bouncy new trap song, “Bankroll.” Boaz and King Henry co-produced the track with Diplo.

Atop a squeaky beat, all three take turns serving up boastful, nimble bars, with singer Bieber making a rare performance as a rapper on the first verse. Young Thug takes lead on the catchy, Auto-Tuned chorus.

In recent years, Dipli has taken a break from releasing singles and focused on other collaborations with his group Major Lazer or with Skrillex’s Jack Ü project. This year, Major Lazer will release their fourth album, Music Is the Weapon, which will include Diplo’s last Bieber collaboration, “Cold Water.” The EDM trio debuted the fiery “Run Up” featuring Nicki Minaj and PartyNextDoor.

Bieber released his Grammy nominated album Purpose in 2015 and has made multiple guest appearances on other artists’ tracks. The pop star is featured on a remix of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s “Despacito” and joined Chance the Rapper, Quavo and Lil Wayne for DJ Khaled’s “I’m the One.” Both songs are in the Top 10 on the Billboard Hot 100.

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Shawn "JAY Z" Carter Signs 10-Year Touring Contract With Live Nation

http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/05/Live_Nation_Entertainment_JAY_Z.jpg?p=captionNEW YORK, May 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Shawn “JAY Z” Carter and Live Nation announced an exclusive touring partnership. The agreement continues JAY Z’s longstanding partnership with the world’s leading live entertainment company. The deal includes worldwide touring, in which Live Na…


Offspring's Dexter Holland Finishes Ph.D, Thesis on HIV Research

The Offspring‘s Dexter Holland has finally finished the Ph.D program in molecular biology he put on hold years ago to focus on rock & roll. Amidst years of touring and recording, the singer-guitarist chipped away at his degree, conducting research and eventually publishing a 175-page dissertation on the molecular dynamics of HIV and general virus/host interactions. Holland graduated from the University of Southern California Thursday – and will return to the stage with the Offspring May 13th.

Holland’s dissertation boasts the interminably scientific title Discovery of Mature MicroRNA Sequences within the Protein-Coding Regions of Global HIV-1 Genomes: Predictions of Novel Mechanisms for Viral Infection and Pathogenicity. It’s available to read in full via USC.

“My research focused on the human immunodeficiency virus, or HIV, the virus which causes AIDS,” Holland said in a statement. “I am interested in virology and wanted to contribute in some small way to the knowledge which has been learned about HIV and AIDS. This terrible disease remains a worldwide epidemic – over 35 million people worldwide are currently infected and living with the HIV virus. Over 1 million people a year die from this disease.”

While Holland noted that his research was neither meant to be a cure, nor an immediate step towards a cure, he said, “I believe that by adding to the vast amount of information that we’ve learned about HIV in the last 30 years or so, we’ll get there. Toward that end, I’m going to continue to do research, and you’ll probably see some of my research papers get published here and there over the next few years.”

Holland was working on his Ph.D during the Offspring’s early years, but stepped away from the program when the band’s touring schedule increased following the release of their seminal 1994 album, Smash, which became the best-selling independent record ever. In a recent 20-year retrospective on Smash, Holland recalled to Rolling Stone: “I was pursuing a Ph.D. in molecular biology [at University of Southern California]. And then I put it on hold. My mom wasn’t too happy about that! My professor thought I was making a terrible mistake. But it wasn’t just like I was saying, ‘Fuck it.’ We could tell this was going to be something. And we had to see it through.”

With school officially over, Holland noted that the Offspring are about to embark on a massive world tour, with North American dates scheduled through July and another leg set to begin September 8th in Chicago. Holland added that the band would be “recording new stuff every chance we get. Look for new music by us out soon.”

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The Cars Plot Expanded 'Candy-O,' 'Panorama' Reissues

The Cars will reissue their second and third albums, Candy-O and Panorama, with a slew of rare and unreleased recordings July 28th via Rhino. The records will be available digitally, as well as on CD and double-LP vinyl.

The Cars released Candy-O in 1979, just one year after their hugely successful self-titled debut. Reuniting with producer Roy Thomas Baker, Candy-O peaked at Number Three on the Billboard album chart and boasted the hit “Let’s Go,” which became the band’s first single to reach the Top 15 of the Hot 100 (The Cars classics like “Just What I Needed” and “My Best Friend’s Girl” never cracked the Top 20).

The expanded edition of Candy-O will feature the original album, plus seven bonus tracks including a previously unissued version of “They Won’t See You,” recorded at Northern Studios, and alternate mixes of “Let’s Go” and “Lust for Kicks.” Rock critic and Rolling Stone contributor David Wild penned the liner notes and conducted a new interview with Cars guitarist Elliot Easton.

The new edition of Panorama – the Cars’ 1980 follow-up – will include three previously unreleased songs, “Shooting For You,” “Be My Baby” and “The Edge,” plus the B-side, “Don’t Go to Pieces.” Wild also wrote the liner notes for the Panorama reissue and conducted an interview with keyboardist Greg Hawkes. 

Candy-O Reissue Track List

1. “Let’s Go”
2. “Since I Held You”
3. “It’s All I Can Do”
4. “Double Life”
5. “Shoo Be Doo”
6. “Candy-O”
7. “Night Spots”
8. “You Can’t Hold On Too Long”
9. “Lust For Kicks”
10. “Got A Lot On My Head”
11. “Dangerous Type”
12. “Let’s Go” (Roy Thomas Baker Monitor Mix)
13. “Candy-O” (Northern Studios Version)
14. “Nights Spots” (Northern Studios Version)
15. “Lust for Kicks” (Roy Thomas Baker Monitor Mix)
16. “Dangerous Type” (Northern Studios Version)
17. “They Won’t See You” (Northern Studios Version, Previously Unissued)
18. “That’s It” (“Let’s Go” B-side)

Panorama Reissue Track List

1. “Panorama”
2. “Touch and Go”
3. “Gimme Some Slack”
4. “Don’t Tell Me No”
5. “Getting Through”
6. “Misfit Kid”
7. “Down Boys”
8. “You Wear Those Eyes”
9. “Running Up To You”
10. “Up and Down”
11. “Shooting For You” (Previously Unissued)
12. “Be My Baby” (Previously Unissued)
13. “The Edge” (Previously Unissued)
14. “Don’t Go To Pieces” (“Don’t Tell Me No” B-side)

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Universal Accuses Prince Estate of Fraud, Requests Deal Be Canceled

Universal Music Group is asking a court to cancel and refund their $31 million deal with Prince‘s estate over the late musician’s recorded catalog, Billboard reports. UMG is accusing the estate’s former entertainment advisor, L. Londell McMillan, of misleading them over the terms of the deal, according to a letter sent to the Carver County District Court in Minnesota on behalf of the estate’s current administrator, Comerica Bank.

In February, Universal struck a deal with Prince’s estate to obtain the rights to distribute the music he recorded after leaving Warner Bros. in 1996, as well as the classic albums he released on Warner between 1979 and 1995 and unreleased music from throughout his career. UMG expected it would be able to start re-releasing Prince’s pre-1996 catalog in 2018, though the label soon discovered that Warner’s existing deal with Prince did not expire until 2021. This revelation also muddled UMG’s deals with the the estate to take control of Prince’s publishing and merchandising because, per sources, those aren’t guaranteed beyond the next five years.

McMillan, who helmed the recorded-music deal with UMG, has denied misrepresenting the terms of Prince’s agreement with Warner Bros. In April, Spotify executive Troy Carter replaced McMillan as the estate’s entertainment advisor.

McMillan did not immediately reply to a request for comment.

UMG’s accusation against McMillan stem from court documents related to the potential release of a 1983 concert film, during which Prince debuted several songs from Purple Rain. Carter and the Prince estate were reportedly shopping the film to distributors when Comerica learned of the proposal and alerted Prince’s potential heirs. While they were instructed to keep the news confidential, three potential heirs – Prince’s half-sisters Sharon and Norrine Nelson and half-brother John Nelson – sought to draw up a non-disclosure agreement so that they could discuss the proposal with McMillan, whom they had retained as a business advisor.

Comerica, however, balked at the request, arguing they were adverse to McMillian because of UMG’s accusations of fraudulent inducement. A hearing on whether UMG will be able to rescind its deal with the Prince estate is scheduled for later this month. 

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Multi-Million Dollar Pink Floyd "The Wall" Collection at San Francisco Art Exchange, Exhibition Premieres July 2017

Own Art from The Wall! Gerald Scarfe San Francisco Art Exchange LLC SFAE.COMSAN FRANCISCO, May 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — During July 2017, San Francisco Art Exchange LLC (SFAE) will premiere one of the most valuable collections of rock and roll artwork to ever be offered for sale, hand-selected by artist Gerald Scarfe from Pink Floyd’s 1982 masterpiece The Wall….


Hear Danny Brown's Eccentric New Song 'Kool-Aid'

A new Danny Brown single will cap off the next episode of HBO’s tech-industry comedy Silicon Valley. “Kool-Aid” is Brown’s first new song since releasing the album Atrocity Exhibition last fall.

The manic single has Brown nimbly rapping over a jittery beat. On the catchy chorus, the rapper slows down to let his Midwestern accent deliver “my Kool-Aid, my Kool-Aid” repeatedly. 

Mike Judge’s HBO series based off his own experiences as a tech engineer in the Eighties has featured other strong hip-hop songs, both new and old. Previously, it featured the Nas and DJ Shadow collaboration “Systematic.” 

Brown released Atrocity Exhibition last September and has continued releasing new singles from it into the new year. Recently, he debuted the horrifying and surreal Jonah Hill-directed video for “Ain’t It Funny.” In the clip, Brown plays Uncle Danny in a “Too Many Cooks”-type parody of Eighties family sitcoms.

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Review: Todd Rundgren's All-Star LP 'White Knight' Is Predictably Odd

Todd Rundgren’s latest fuses his pop-wizard side and his studio-contrarian side more than usual, pulling an impressively odd array of stars into his vortex – from Trent Reznor (the android-apocalypse “Deaf Ears”) to soulstress Betty Lavette (the bleary electro-hustle “Naked & Afraid”) to Robyn (the Eighties tearjerker “That Could’ve Been Me”). Inconsistency is like a muse here, but he seems to work best with Seventies peers like Joe Walsh, Daryl Hall and Donald Fagen, whose smooth Donald Trump parody “Tin Foil Hat” is a timely highlight. 

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