Daily Archives: May 16, 2017

KOVAX RELEASES NEW EP "IF THERE WAS ANY DOUBT"

Rising British rock outfit ‘KOVAX’ release news that their debut EP ‘If There Was Any Doubt’ is now unleashed upon the world. The self-proclaimed ‘shouty alternative hard rock’ quartet have condensed their loud adrenaline fuelled …Read More

INDIE MUSIC NEWS

Watch Lorde Talk 'Emotional Renaissance,' Life as 'Baby Adult'

Back in April, Lorde and Rolling Stone contributing editor Alex Morris sat down at a helipad in L.A. for a candid conversation about the 20-year-old pop star’s post-Pure Heroine hiatus and the creation of her forthcoming sophomore album Melodrama. The singer is featured on the cover of the latest Rolling Stone.

As a helicopter hovers above them, Lorde and Morris discuss the Grammy winner’s “emotional renaissance” after her blockbuster debut album and the end of her adolescence – a period that included a break-up (with longtime boyfriend James Lowe) and reconnecting with old friends in her native New Zealand after years touring around the world. 

“Becoming an adult, you all of a sudden access all these different emotions but also you’re in very different situations,” she reflects. “[Melodrama] feels like the record of a new adult, a new baby adult stepping out.”

Still, Lorde did spend time mourning her teenaged self.  As she nears her 21st birthday this coming November, she says she now feels much more “comfortably 20.”

Lorde also explains the meaning behind the title of Melodrama: a nod to Greek melodrama and her abiding love of theater, which peeks through in her stage persona, music and everyday life. Watch the video now. 

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PRG Launches New Technology Solutions as Concert Firsts on U2 The Joshua Tree Tour 2017

Production Resource Group LogoInnovative Touring Frame and 4K Broadcast Camera System Elevate Operational Performance, Stage Design and Fan Experience
LOS ANGELES, May 16, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Production Resource Group LLC, (PRG), the world’s leading provider of entertainment and event technology solutions,…

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Watch Soundgarden, Pearl Jam, Alice in Chains Members Look Back on 'Singles'

Members of Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, Heart and other bands featured on the soundtrack to Cameron Crowe’s 1992 romantic comedy Singles – and in some cases in the movie itself – look back on the experience in a new video short, premiering here. The clip arrives in advance of a new expanded reissue of the soundtrack.

In the clip, musicians such as Alice in Chains’ Sean Kinney recall their surprise when they found out that Crowe was making a movie that featured their homegrown Seattle music scene. “I just remember thinking, ‘Cameron’s magic,'” Kinney recalls. “‘You’re gonna go to Seattle and make a movie about stuff that just a small sect of people know?’ At the time, there was no ‘the grunge.'”

“Because the film was conceived and shot before the international explosion of all of the bands,” Chris Cornell adds, “that ended up being kind of a key factor in what was referred to as the Seattle scene and the Seattle movement.”

Other artists touch on the significance of the soundtrack itself, which also included Mother Love Bone, Mudhoney, Screaming Trees and the Replacements’ Paul Westerberg. Pearl Jam’s Mike McCready calls Soundgarden’s contribution – the pummeling metal track “Birth Ritual” – “ridiculously good, one of the greatest songs ever written.”

“It bottles a moment in time,” Screaming Trees drummer Barrett Martin adds of the soundtrack as a whole.

“It was such an amazing thing to see the freight train of pop culture coming full blast at your little town,” says Crowe in the clip, describing the moment he was hoping to capture in the film.

The deluxe edition of Singles: Original Motion Picture Soundtrack arrives Friday. In addition to the 13 tracks found on the initial release, the new version features a bonus disc of rarities, including Chris Cornell’s 1992 EP Poncier (named after Matt Dillon’s character in the movie, Cliff Poncier) and “Touch Me I’m Dick,” a song by the film’s fictional grunge band Citizen Dick.

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See Dave Grohl Debut Emphatic New Song 'The Sky Is a Neighborhood'

Dave Grohl debuted a new song on Monday night at the Acoustic 4 a Cure benefit show in San Francisco. Despite the acoustic nature of the concert, Grohl, backed by Foo Fighters’ Taylor Hawkins and longtime collaborator Rami Jaffee, sang as if his full band was roaring behind him, hurling his scratchy, urgent voice to the back of the Fillmore. 

Onstage, Grohl told the crowd that he decided to debut a new tune earlier that day. “I figured on the way up here, I thought we would play a new song,” he said. “We’ve never played this before to anybody.”

Grohl accompanied himself with aggressive, emphatic acoustic guitar. “The sky is a neighborhood, don’t make a sound,” he barked, nearly drowning out his drummer and piano player. “Lights coming up ahead, don’t look down.”

It’s unclear if the song will appear as an official release on an upcoming Grohl or Foo Fighters project.

Grohl was filling in for Metallica’s James Hetfield at the Acoustic 4 a Cure show, which has been put on for four years by Hetfield and Sammy Hagar. (Hetfield was on the East Coast performing with Metallica on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.) The event raises money to fund pediatric cancer research at UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital; other performers this year included Pat Benatar, Mick Fleetwood, Sarah McLachlan, Steve Vai and Bob Weir. 

Foo Fighters released their last album, Sonic Highways, in November 2014. Speaking with Rolling Stone a month after that release, Grohl already knew how to describe his band’s next LP: “Bigger.”

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Watch Katy Perry Detail New Album, Make Ellen DeGeneres Squirm

Katy Perry discussed her upcoming Witness LP with Ellen DeGeneres in one of the singer’s first televised interviews since she announced that her new album arrives June 9th. Following the album’s release, Perry will embark on a 43-date tour in September.

After performing at the Super Bowl in 2015 and wrapping up a tour in support of her last album, Prism, Perry told DeGeneres that she needed a break. “I was tired, I’m human,” she explained. “So I took October to June off.”

Rejuvenated from her hiatus, Perry returned to the studio in the summer of 2016. “I started writing a record in June of last year,” she continued. “I wrote over 40 songs. Now I have 15 beautiful songs to represent this story I want to share with the world.”

The singer also discussed her new haircut – which she said was a tribute to DeGeneres’ style – and her recent visit to the Met Gala, where she was enveloped in an ornate, multi-layered crimson dress. “This [outfit] seems like it would be hard to use the rest room or do anything [in],” DeGeneres said.

Perry explained she gets around that problem with a nozzle device called GoGirl, “where you get to pee standing up.” DeGeneres’ blank look make Perry laugh. “I’ve used them in several music videos, because I always find myself in this predicament where I have a very extravagant, lavish, unpractical costume on,” Perry said. “Google it!” 

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Watch Harry Styles' Staggering 'Sign Of the Times' on 'Corden'

Harry Styles kicked off his week-long residency on The Late Late Show With James Corden Monday with a devastating performance of “Sign Of the Times.” The track appears on the former One Directioner’s self-titled debut album.

Styles struck a steady pose at the microphone to start “Sign of the Times,” leading his backing band with a smoldering mix of his rock croon and falsetto trill. As the band kicked out the song’s final, piano-heavy instrumental burst, Styles flung his head back and unleashed several mighty, pitch-perfect refrains, “We got to get away/ We got to get away!”

Styles also spoke with Corden about a recent surprise gig in London and a smaller solo show in New York City, where he attempted his first stage dive – with mixed results. “It doesn’t feel as cool as you think it’s going to feel,” Styles admitted. “I thought it’d feel like flying. I thought it was gonna feel like, ‘This is the most amazing feeling ever!’ And instead it was like, ‘I should get up now.’ It was like a float – and then a sinkhole.”

Styles will embark on a North American tour in support of his new album, Harry Styles, September 19th in San Francisco.

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Beatles' 'Sgt. Pepper' at 50: How Paul McCartney's Travels Inspired the Title Track

The Beatles Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band, which Rolling Stone named as the greatest album of all time, turns 50 on June 1st. In honor of the anniversary, and coinciding with a new deluxe reissue of Sgt. Pepper, we present a series of in-depth pieces – one for each of the album’s tracks, excluding the brief “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band” reprise on Side Two – that explore the background of this revolutionary and beloved LP. Today’s installment focuses on how Paul McCartney’s solo travels after the end of the Beatles’ final tour inspired the title track and gave Sgt. Pepper its famous “alter ego” concept.

“Right – that’s it, I’m not a Beatle anymore!” George Harrison was heard to exclaim as the band concluded their touring career on August 29th, 1966, with a set at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park. His remark bore a touch of hyperbole, but for the next few months, the Beatles effectively didn’t exist. That fall afforded the foursome the most substantial stretch of personal time they had ever known as adults, allowing each to finally get to know the man he had become after four years as part of a collective identity.

John Lennon had been the first to venture out, accepting a part in director Richard Lester’s satire How I Won the War. It was little more than a glorified cameo, but the role required him to be shorn of his famous mop-top – a metaphor if there ever was one – and film on location in West Germany and Spain. Harrison also went abroad several weeks later, pursuing his love of Indian culture by going to the source. Accompanied by his wife Patti, he made a pilgrimage to Mumbai to study sitar under the tutelage of virtuoso Ravi Shankar. Ringo Starr was joyfully playing the family man, spending time with his wife Maureen and baby son Zak in his Surrey estate, Sunny Heights.

That left Paul McCartney. “I’m just looking for something I enjoy doing,” he told the Sunday Times that September. “There’s no hurry. I have the time and the money.” For a while he followed his songwriting partner into the cinematic realm by seeking offers to compose a soundtrack. He was ultimately hired to provide music for a dramatic comedy, The Family Way, though the work did little to inspire his creativity. His status as the sole London-based Beatle made him a familiar face at gallery openings, theatrical events, experimental music seminars and avant-garde freak-outs, but the barrage of external stimuli caused him to turn inward. As a youth in Liverpool he relished his solitary moments, sitting on a park bench or the top deck of a bus, playing the detached observer while scribbling in his notebook. He was far too famous to ever indulge in such simple pleasures again, but perhaps a solo road trip – with some extra precautions – would clear his head.  

On November 6th, McCartney drove his new dark-green Aston Martin DB6 to Lydd Airport in Kent, where it was loaded into the bay of a Silver City Airways superfreighter. McCartney himself relaxed in the 20-seat passenger area for the duration of the plane-ferry’s brief flight to Le Touquet, France. After clearing customs, he disguised his world-famous face with a false mustache specially made by Wig Creations, who had worked with the Beatles on the set of A Hard Day’s Night. “They measure you and match the color of your hair, so it was like a genuine moustache with real glue,” he told biographer Barry Miles in Many Years From Now. “And I had a couple of pairs of glasses made with clear lenses, which just made me look a bit different. I put a long blue overcoat on and slicked my hair back with Vaseline and just wandered around and of course nobody recognized me at all. It was good, it was quite liberating for me.” For the first time in years, McCartney shed the weighty cloak of superstardom and assumed the identity of an anonymous everyman. “I was a lonely little poet on the road with my car,” he later recalled.

It’s fitting that the undercover Beatle drove James Bond’s favorite automobile, even though the flashy sports car was hardly inconspicuous in the French countryside. “I was pretty proud of the car. It was a great motor for a young guy to have, pretty impressive,” he recalls. He aimed it towards Paris and the Loire Valley, leisurely pausing to visit chateaus and antique stores along the way. By almost anyone else’s standards, much of his vacation was painfully ordinarily. “I’d cruise, find a hotel and park. … I’d walk around the town and then in the evening go down to dinner, sit on my own at the table, at the height of all this Beatle thing, to balance the high-key pressure. Having a holiday and also not be recognized. And re-taste anonymity.”

He kept a journal of the trip, and shot reel after reel of 8 mm film, making short, atmospheric movies partially inspired by his acquaintance, Andy Warhol. Like many of his lyrics, they were poetic, sometimes surreal twists on the everyday – a Ferris wheel in motion, a policeman directing traffic, an elderly woman tending a grave like a real-life Eleanor Rigby. Sadly, both the journal and much of the film were later stolen by fans, but a few reels survive. 

McCartney’s Gallic Clark Kent disguise sometimes worked a little too well. The night before he was due to meet up with friend and Beatles roadie Mal Evans, he was turned away from a Bordeaux nightclub for appearing like a regular scruff. “I looked like an old jerko. ‘No, no, monsieur, non – you schmuck, we can’t let you in!’ So I thought, ‘Sod this, I might as well go back to the hotel and come as him!’ I came back as a normal Beatle, and was welcomed in with open arms.”

Like a twist in an old movie, the incident reminded McCartney what he missed about his extraordinary daily life. “I remembered what it was like to not be famous and it wasn’t necessarily any better than being famous,” he told Miles. “It made me remember why we all wanted to get famous; to get that thing. Of course, those of us in the Beatles have often thought that, because we wished for this great fame, and then it comes true but it brings with it all these great business pressures or the problems of fame, the problems of money, etc. And I just had to check whether I wanted to go back, and I ended up thinking, ‘No, all in all, I’m quite happy with this lot.'”

McCartney and Evans met at 1 p.m. the following day, November 12th, at a pre-arranged spot under the Grosse Cloche clock tower in Bordeaux’s Saint-Eloi Catholic church. Together they drove towards Spain, stopping off at the coastal town of San Sebastian, and then to Madrid, Cordoba and Malaga. The idea had been to visit Lennon on the set of How I Won the War in Almeria, but along the way they were informed that filming had moved on and Lennon was already back in England. Disappointed by drizzly weather and bored by the aimless driving, McCartney craved something more exotic. So, like many adventurous Englishmen before him, he booked a safari in Kenya.

Having arranged for the Aston Martin to be driven back to London, the men embarked on a flight to Nairobi, where McCartney’s girlfriend, actress Jane Asher, joined them. The trio took accommodations at a lodge in the Tsavo National Park and hired a man named Moses to drive them to the local sightseeing spots. At Mzima Springs they watched splashing crocodiles and hippos from an underwater viewing station, and followed wildlife through the Maasai Amboseli game reserve at the foot of Mt. Kilimanjaro. For an added treat, they stayed at the famous Treetops Hotel, built into an enormous chestnut tree overlooking an elephant watering hole in Aberdare National Park. Queen Elizabeth II had been residing there when she ascended to the throne in 1952. McCartney’s stay would provide another historical footnote. 

The group spent their final night in a YMCA on Nairobi’s State House Ave before boarding a flight bound for England on November 19th. Once elevated, McCartney reflected on the 13-day excursion. The time alone had been restorative, and the change of scenery had been stimulating, but he remained fascinated by the transformative properties of disguise. Unencumbered by the burden of celebrity and liberated from any preconceived expectations, he could indulge his every impulse or curiosity. It was total freedom.

As the jet hurtled towards London, bringing him ever closer to the epicenter of over-ripened Beatlemania, he contemplated how to apply these same principles to a band in danger of being suffocated by their own fame. It had already robbed them of live performance, and if they weren’t careful, it would crush their musical creativity. In five days he was due at EMI’s Abbey Road studios for the band’s first sessions since completing Revolver that June, and the way forward seemed murky. “We were fed up with being the Beatles,” he said. “We really hated that fucking four little mop-top boys approach. We were not boys, we were men. It was all gone, all that boy shit, all that screaming, we didn’t want any more.” They yearned to be accepted as artists, but most saw them as the same cuddly act they’d known for all these years.

Perhaps the Beatles needed a disguise. “I thought, ‘Let’s not be ourselves. Let’s develop alter egos so we don’t have to project an image that we know. It would be much more free. What would really be interesting would be to actually take on the personas of this different band. We could say, ‘How would somebody else sing this? He might approach it a bit more sarcastically, perhaps.’ So I had this idea of giving the Beatles alter egos simply to get a different approach.”

“I thought, ‘Let’s not be ourselves. Let’s develop alter egos so we don’t have to project an image that we know.'” –Paul McCartney

But the new group needed a new name. The Beatles’ moniker, for all its global recognition, belonged to a different pop era by the end of 1966. Had the band extended their stay in San Francisco after playing Candlestick Park, they would have encountered Big Brother and the Holding Company, Country Joe and the Fish, the Only Alternative and His Other Possibilities, and Quicksilver Messenger Service. “It was the start of the hippy times, and there was a jingly-jangly hippy aura all around in America,” McCartney remembered in the Beatles Anthology documentary. “I started thinking about what would be a really mad name to call a band. At the time there were lots of groups with names like ‘Laughing Joe and his Medicine Band’ or ‘Colonel Tucker’s Medicinal Brew and Compound’; all that old Western going-round-on-wagons stuff, with long rambling names.”

McCartney was mulling it over when the inflight meal arrived. Evans found himself momentarily confused by the packets marked “S” and “P” on the trays. “Salt and pepper,” McCartney reminded him, before making a quick aural joke: “Sgt. Pepper.”

It was merely a pun – just above groan-worthy, really. But something about the name was catchy. It evoked the Edwardian militaria that had recently come into vogue among London’s fashion-conscious elite. Beautiful young men and women delighted in subverting these emblems of the British empire, steeped in violence and rigid adherence to order, by turning them into stylish works of art. Ultra-hip boutiques like I Was Lord Kitchener’s Valet on King’s Road sold vintage dress tunics bedecked in stripes, frilly epaulettes and gleaming brass to Mick Jagger, Jimi Hendrix and lesser stars of the rock galaxy.

Apart from the cool cachet, “Sgt. Pepper” reminded McCartney of less-than-trendy community brass bands, a familiar sight when he was growing up in industrial Northern England. His grandfather Joe had played an E-flat bass tuba in the company band at Cope Brothers’ tobacco manufacturers. “It’s a roots thing for me,” he later told Miles. “Sgt. Pepper’s British Legion Band” sounded a little too normal, so from deep within his unconscious he retrieved “Lonely Hearts Club,” an antiquated term for a dating agency. “I threw those words together: ‘Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band.'”

But every band needs a tune. What would Sgt. Pepper and his group play? “They’re a bit of a brass band in a way, but also a bit of a rock band because they’ve got the San Francisco thing,” he explained to Alan Aldridge, author of The Beatles: Illustrated Lyrics. In his mind, McCartney began to sketch the bones of a song that blended the two disparate genres together. “I took an idea back to the guys in London: ‘As we’re trying to get away from ourselves – to get away from touring and into a more surreal thing – how about if we become an alter-ego band, something like, say, “Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts”? I’ve got a little bit of a song cooking with that title.'”

Which band members were high during the cover shoot, why the packaging was the most expensive to date and more little-known facts on the 1967 album’s legendary visuals. Watch Here.

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See Metallica's Vicious 'Now That We're Dead' on 'Colbert'

Metallica delivered a brutal, incendiary version of “Now That We’re Dead” on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert on Monday. The gnarled single appears on Hardwired … to Self-Destruct, the band’s latest double album.

Lead singer James Hetfield opened the performance with a dire warning, just as he did at a recent Baltimore show: “If you want to live forever, than first you must die.” “Now That We’re Dead” unfolded slowly, with the band cycling through a series of low-slung riffs for a full minute before Hetfield stepped to the microphone. Bassist Robert Trujillo joined Hetfield to shout parts of the hook, and guitarist Kirk Hammett unspooled a tightly wound solo played high on the neck of his guitar.

The song came to a close with Metallica’s twist on a hopeful ending. “Return to ashes, shed this skin,” Hetfield yowled. “Beyond the black, we rise again.”

Metallica kicked off the North American portion of their WorldWired Tour in Baltimore on May 10th. The cross-country jaunt is the band’s first full-scale trip around the U.S. since 2009. After playing stadiums in Houston, Chicago, Miami, Phoenix and more, the band wraps up in Edmonton, Alberta on August 16th.

Fans can purchase audio from each stop on the WorldWired Tour. The well-annotated recordings are sold through Metallica’s website (according to the band, the recent Baltimore show marked “the first time in 25 years that ‘The Unforgiven’ was played in Maryland.”)

Metallica released Hardwired … to Self-Destruct last November. The album was their sixth to reach No. 1 on the Billboard albums chart, selling 291,000 album equivalent units its first week.

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Listen to 'Rolling Stone Music Now' Podcast: Secret History of the Beatles

The latest episode of Rolling Stone Music Now podcast is now available. Listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes, Spotify or check it out below.

Rob Sheffield, author of the new book Dreaming the Beatles: The Love Story of One Band and the Whole World, joins host Brian Hiatt and Brittany Spanos to explain why the Fab Four will be relevant forever.

Listen and subscribe to the podcast on iTunes or Spotify and tune in Fridays at 1 p.m. ET to hear the show live on Sirius XM’s Volume Channel.

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