Daily Archives: May 18, 2017

Elvis Presley's first jet set for auction

BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Hidden away in the famous “aircraft boneyard” in Roswell, N.M., where retired commercial airplanes are routinely ripped up for scrap, is a treasure no one has dared to touch: Elvis Presley’s first jet — the 1962 Lockheed Jetstar custom…


Faith Evans on Her 'Musical Movie' About Life With the Notorious B.I.G.

At the 1992 Grammy Awards, Natalie Cole took the stage at Radio City Music Hall to perform “Unforgettable,” a tune popularized by her father, Nat “King” Cole. As a swanky band played behind her, the singer traded couplets from the standard with her long-deceased father, seen in black-and-white footage on a large video screen. The performance awed the Grammy committee – Cole won multiple awards, including Record of the Year and best Traditional Pop Performance. More recently, it also impressed the R&B singer Faith Evans: She cites the Cole segment as part of the inspiration behind The King & I, her new LP of duet-like recordings with her first husband, the Notorious B.I.G., who was shot and killed in 1997.

In the decades since Cole’s appearance, these sorts of posthumous collaborations have become increasingly popular. In 1999, Kenny G duetted with a long-deceased Louis Armstrong on ”What a Wonderful World.” In the fall of 2014, Timbaland and other star producers reimagined Michael Jackson’s work for Xscape, and Barry Manilow sang opposite Marilyn Monroe and Whitney Houston on My Dream Duets. The next year, Kendrick Lamar inserted himself into conversation with Tupac on To Pimp a Butterfly, and Elvis Presley was placed in a symphonic context on If I Can Dream.

Understandably, these projects often spark controversy. Aside from the estate battles and complicated legal wrangling involved, they’re also easily characterized as historically irreverent and sometimes even seem to pander to a lurid fascination with celebrity death.

Evans is aware that a posthumous album instantly raises hackles — especially for a beloved artist like Notorious B.I.G. “I wouldn’t say it was a worry,” she explains. “I know that thought, but that’s the creative element of it, for it to go somewhere else that you don’t even expect. As long as it’s not going somewhere that’s whack.”

Evans is nursing a gimlet at a Williamsburg bar. Though she grew up in Newark, New Jersey, and will forever be associated with the pop-friendly mixture of hip-hop and R&B that stormed out of New York City in the mid-Nineties, she now lives in L.A. She’s a gifted impersonator, capable of rapping old B.I.G. lines with his exact cadence and imitating the precise, lilting accent of her Jamaican mother-in-law, Voletta Wallace. (The key, she says, is remembering that “she was a teacher, so her pronunciation is very sharp.”) She also nails the raspy, frenetic energy of Busta Rhymes, wiggling her shoulders as she lets loose a “Yah! Yah!”

Evans gently pushes back against the idea of The King & I as a cash grab. “If it was just a money thing, I probably would have thought about doing it a long time ago,” she asserts. “I have every right to do it, don’t get me wrong. But it certainly wasn’t about, ‘Oh, that would be super big, money, money, money!’ It’s going to extend his legacy.”

DJ Premier produced a vicious highlight on each of Biggie’s two albums as well as The King & I single “NYC;” in his eyes, the potential benefits of a posthumous record – the chance to recontextualize the work of great vocalists or rappers, and possibly create more greatness in the process – mostly outweigh the costs. “A good record’s a good record,” he says. He characterizes the right way of approaching a posthumous album as, “always honoring, never diluting.” “DJ’ing helps me judge that better than most people,” he continues. “I’ve been DJ’ing since the whole hip-hop culture was born. I know how to approach it.”

Another former B.I.G. collaborator who reappears on The King & I, the rapper Jadakiss, sees posthumous records in a different light: as important acts of historical preservation. “With the new era, the new kids, some of them never really listened to B.I.G., and they don’t understand his legacy or his catalog,” Jadakiss points out. (Perhaps he was thinking of Atlanta hitmaker Lil Yachty, who cheerfully confessed his ignorance regarding B.I.G.’s discography.) “It’s about bringing B.I.G. back, letting them know what he did for the culture.”

The King & I also offers a modest archeological contribution by unearthing two previously unreleased B.I.G. vocals. In contrast to artists like Tupac and Prince, B.I.G. “didn’t have a great amount of stuff that people didn’t hear and definitely didn’t have a lot of unreleased stuff,” Evans says. But she had access to some old tapes from Atlantic records, which was once the home of the B.I.G. affiliates Junior M.A.F.I.A. and Lil Kim. “I actually used a couple of B.I.G.’s reference demos on The King & I, one that he wrote for Lil Kim and one that he wrote on a Junior M.A.F.I.A. album,” Evans explains. “Unless you were in that studio when he laid ’em, you haven’t heard it.” She also pulled an old B.I.G. radio freestyle, which would’ve only been heard by those who happened to be tuning into the airwaves at that moment.

The King & I might actually be called The King & Us: Evans marshals a large group of former B.I.G. associates for the album, starting with his mother, Ms. Wallace, who provides several interludes, and extending to Busta Rhymes, Lil Kim, Junior M.A.F.I.A.’s Lil Cease, Styles P, Sheek Louch and the R&B group 112. She refers to the album as “a musical movie,” and it’s roughly sequenced to tell the story of Evans’ initial encounter with B.I.G., their legendarily fast courtship (they married nine days after meeting), their time together and the aftermath of B.I.G.’s death.

Evans inserts herself into B.I.G. classics like “10 Crack Commandments,” which she transforms into “10 Wife Commandments,” and “The Sky Is the Limit,” where multi-tracked tales of perseverance from Evans appear in between B.I.G.’s rapped lines. In the album’s giddy mid-section, when Evans suddenly falls in love, she leaves the duet concept completely and sings “Fool for You” as a classic soul ballad, with no audible B.I.G. vocals. “That’s that church joint,” she says proudly. Towards the end of the album, she sometimes directly addresses the rapper, as in “Somebody Knows,” a mournful record lamenting B.I.G.’s unsolved murder, which can be uncomfortable to hear, like listening to a private grieving session.

Evans portrays the recording process, even during some of the rawest numbers, as upbeat. “People ask me a lot, ‘Was there ever an emotional moment?'” she says. Just one, and it didn’t happen until after the album was finished and she was listening back to it. “I’m not a cryer,” Evans says. But “I felt a tap on my shoulder, and I was bawling like, ‘I think that was him!’ I really feel like [B.I.G.] tapped me on my shoulder, like, ‘This is dope.’ He felt proud.”

“It doesn’t make me sad,” adds DJ Premier, when asked about revisiting the work of his former collaborator. “I got my cry on when he passed. Now, it’s more about saluting, celebrating and making another banger that keeps B.I.G.’s voice ringing – in an updated type of way.”

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See Chance the Rapper, Francis and the Lights' Quirky New Dance Video

Chance the Rapper joins Francis and the Lights for some light footwork in the gorgeous video for their remix of “May I Have This Dance.” The original track appears on Francis and the Lights’ 2016 LP, Farewell, Starlite!

The Jake Schreier-directed clip for “May I Have This Dance” serves as a follow-up to his 2016 video for Francis and the Lights’ “Friends,” which featured Bon Iver and Kanye West. Both are set in a simple studio space and feature endearing and simple choreography. The entire “May I Have This Dance” video was filmed in a single shot.

The clip opens on Francis Farewell Starlite shimmying alongside Chance, though as the camera pulls back it’s revealed they’re standing in front of a mirror and that Chance is alone. The rapper bops and twists exuberantly across a white platform. Francis returns to close out the clip with a spritely routine that matches the glistening “May I Have This Dance” chorus.

Chance the Rapper and Francis and the Lights previously collaborated on the Chicago MC’s Coloring Book, with Francis reworking “Friends” into “Summer Friends.” 

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DISNEY•PIXAR'S "CARS 3" FUELS TWO SOUNDTRACKS–Cars 3 Original Motion Picture Soundtrack with Original Song by Dan Auerbach, Instrumental Tracks by Brad Paisley and End Credit Track by ZZ Ward; and Cars 3 Original Score Composed and Conducted by Ran

Cars Original Motion Picture soundtrack cover art (PRNewsfoto/Walt Disney Records)BURBANK, Calif., May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — As Lightning McQueen heads to the big screen alongside his new tech-savvy trainer Cruz Ramirez, Disney•Pixar’s “Cars 3” fuels two soundtrack releases—both available from Walt Disney Records on June 16 as the film opens in theaters nationwide….


Vince Staples Previews New LP With Striking 'Big Fish' Video

Vince Staples goes down fighting in the video for “Big Fish,” the new single off the Long Beach MC’s upcoming album, Big Fish Theory. The album arrives June 23rd via BlackSmith, ARTium and Def Jam.

The David Helman-directed clip finds Staples sitting on a sailboat that’s slowly sinking into shark-infested waters. Despite the circumstances, Staples casually leans back and fires a few flares while he tears through the relentless “Big Fish,” his voice bounding over an infectious beat of big drums, handclaps and gooey synths. Juicy J provides the song’s hook. 

“It was funny I was going crazy not too long ago,” Staples spits. “Women problems every morning like The Maury Show/ Swimming upstream while I’m tryna keep my bread/ From the sharks make we wanna put the hammer to my head.”

“Big Fish” follows previously released Big Fish Theory track “BagBak,” which arrived in February. A full track list for the LP has yet to be released. Big Fish Theory follows Staples’ 2016 EP, Prima Donna, and his acclaimed 2015 debut album, Summertime ’06.

Staples recently wrapped up a North American tour, but has a handful of dates scheduled throughout the summer starting June 1st in San Francisco.

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Sycuan Casino Announces the 2017 Summer of Sycuan Concert Series

http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/05/Sycuan_Casino_Logo.jpg?p=captionSAN DIEGO, May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Sycuan Casino is pleased to announce this year’s Summer of Sycuan concert series. Kicking off the summer series is world-famous drummer Sheila E. performing at Sycuan on Friday, June 9. Multi-platinum music group Bell Biv DeVoe will follow with…


Hear Shirley Manson's Sinister 'American Gods' Song 'Queen of the Bored'

Garbage‘s Shirley Manson and composer Brian Reitzell unveiled a menacing new song, “Queen of the Bored,” off the soundtrack to the new Starz series, American Gods. The soundtrack boasts Reitzell’s score for the show, as well as contributions from Blondie’s Debbie Harry and Mark Lanegan. It arrives digitally June 16th via Milan Records

“Queen of the Bored” is a swift, ruthless rocker that finds Manson sneering over snappy percussion and a buzzsaw guitar. “I fuck with the fates because it’s so much fun,” Manson boasts. “And I don’t feel a thing cause I got so numb/ I lean in but then I check right out/ I don’t flinch because it doesn’t hurt.”

“Queen of the Bored” follows previously released American Gods offerings, including Reitzell’s “Main Title Theme” and two collaborations with Lanegan, covers of Lead Belly’s “In the Pines” and the standard “St. James Infirmary Blues.” The forthcoming soundtrack also boasts a collaboration between Manson and Harry, “Tehran 1978.”

American Gods premiered in April and is based on Neil Gaiman’s 2001 novel of the same name. The series follows an ex-prisoner who joins the Norse God Odin on a journey across America to gather the ancient Gods so that they can confront the New Gods.

Manson and Garbage released their most recent album, Strange Little Birds, last year. The group is set to embark on a summer co-headlining tour with Blondie July 5th at the Mountain Winery in Saratoga, California.

American Gods Soundtrack Track List

1. “Main Title Theme”
2. “Out of Time”
3. “Gumball”
4. “In the Pines” (ft. Mark Lanegan)
5. “Shopping”
6. “Bilquis Gets to Work”
7. “Salim Waits”
8. “Salim and Jinn”
9. “St. James Infirmary Blues” (ft. Mark Lanegan)
10. “Queen of the Bored” (ft. Shirley Manson)
11. “Laura’s Affair”
12. “Nunnyunnini”
13. “Media Bowie”
14. “Wednesday Heals Shadow”
15. “Vulcan”
16. “I Put a Spell on You” (ft. Mark Lanegan)
17. “Essie Accused”
18. “Bilquis Orgy”
19. “Tehran 1978 (ft. Debbie Harry and Shirley Manson)
20. “There Here Finale”

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Mixtape Primer: Reviewing Kendrick Lamar's Pre-Fame Output

      **   The Hub City Threat: Minor of the Year (YNIC) (Konkrete Jungle Muzik, 2004 or 2005)
 **1/2   Training Day (Top Dawg Ent., 2007)
     ***   No Sleep ‘Til NYC (with Jay Rock) (Top Dawg Ent., 2007)
 **1/2   C4 (Top Dawg Ent.) (Top Dawg Ent., 2009)
***1/2   Kendrick Lamar EP (Top Dawg Ent., 2009)
***1/2   OD: Overly Dedicated (Top Dawg Ent., 2010) 

Kendrick Lamar is the rare musician to enjoy being called the “greatest rapper alive,” a testament to his uncanny power as a verbal pugilist, his intoxicatingly complex lyrical themes and no small amount of pop savvy. But the MC didn’t emerge as a fully formed virtuoso. Instead, much like Jay Z in the years before his 1996 debut, Reasonable Doubt, Lamar honed his technique out of the spotlight for years, save for a few cameos with boldfaced names like the Game and help from music industry mentors. When the world was finally ready to hear Lamar, he was ready.

Lamar has long said that he and DJ Dave Free made Hub City Threat (2004 or 2005), a tape that helped him land a deal with then-local rap label Top Dawg Entertainment, when he was 16. However, he freestyles over the Game and 50 Cent’s fall 2004 hit “How We Do,” which means he would have finished the project at the age of 17. (Details are murky since the demo wasn’t widely distributed on the internet until 2013.) Regardless, Hub City sounds like the work of a teenager, albeit one who’d eventually mature into the best in the business. He has an unerring sense of rhythm and timing, but his flow is overly beholden to thought leaders like Jay Z and Lil Wayne, and his off-the-dome bars are clumsy: “I’m a talented brother/Plus I move so quick/It’s like my name came with a joystick,” he raps over Jay Z’s “Hovi Baby.” There’s one original track, “Compton Life,” a would-be radio single that celebrates “Chevy lights/Women you like.”

Thanks to TDE’s mentorship, Training Day (2007) sounds better than his neophyte debut, with more varied production and a well-executed (if somewhat cliché) concept that intersperses snippets of Denzel Washington in full “King Kong ain’t got nothin’ on me” mode. Though Lamar still occasionally stumbles with an eye roll-inducing couplet, he had certainly improved as a rapper. “You forgot you left the West Coast for dead, play it off/Like the paramedics was coming, instead we dusted off/Pulled the bullet out of our heads, left a permanent scar,” he raps impressively on “Good Morning America,” one of the tape’s few original tracks. He also alludes to his short-lived development deal with Def Jam, which led to studio time but not much else. “Does he really fuck with President Carter/My reply is that I can’t stay away from the bosses,” he brags during a freestyle over DJ Khaled’s “Grammy Family.” Plus, there’s the added pleasure of hearing him rhyme over a J Dilla beat, namely Slum Village’s “Players.”

By the time of No Sleep Til NYC (2007), Lamar’s collaborative tape with then-TDE breadwinner Jay Rock, he had evolved into a terrific bar-for-bar microphone fiend. It’s fun to hear the duo (along with TDE family like Ab-Soul, Punch and Bo) spit punchlines over vintage Eighties and Nineties beats. Check how Lamar casually twists Jay Z’s opening bar on “Brooklyn’s Finest” to his own ends: “Peep the style and the way the cops sweat us/Artillery, got a gun for every letter/In the alphabet, while your family in pajamas/I’ll be stepping in your house like Alpha Beta Gamma.” He also offered a decent 2Pac impression on the latter’s “Death Around the Corner,” and recites the Notorious B.I.G.’s first verse on “Kick in the Door” word for word. No Sleep Til NYC is a fun cipher session, nothing more, nothing less.

Oddly, Lamar then embarked on a tape-long tribute to Lil Wayne’s 2008 world conqueror Tha Carter III, which his camp promoted as “blessed” by Weezy himself. (Wayne and Jay Rock collaborated on a track for the latter’s would-be Warner Bros. debut Follow Me Home. After Jay Rock left the label, Tech N9ne’s Strange Music released the album in 2011.) Given the fact that Lil Wayne’s No Ceilings – which many fans consider the last great release of his classic “best rapper alive” era – dropped around the same time, Lamar’s C4 (2009) felt like a wrongheaded homage to a year-old, well-worn album. There are a few interesting but inessential digressions. On “Compton Chemistry,” Lamar propagates a “how to make crack” stereotype over a loop of David Axelrod’s “Holy Thursday.” Somewhat better is “West Coast Wu-Tang,” a roundelay with Ab-Soul and Punch where he brags, “I’m in the booth with an apron/Cooking up shit like Martha Stewart was my bitch.” He tries to posit “I’m Single” as a pseudo-trap jam in the key of Shawty Lo, but it falls flat.

Stung by criticism over C4, Lamar returned with the first standout project of his career. Kendrick Lamar EP (2009) is redolent of peak blog-rap – there’s a track, “Is It Love,” where he delivers a long verse that reads like a soliloquy over a wash of laptop blues, just like Mickey Factz, Charles Hamilton and other then-leaders of the new cool. Yet the EP is also a Rosetta Stone of ideas Lamar would perfect in the near future. On “Thanksgiving,” he refers to himself as a “good kid from the mad city holding a cereal box instead of a glock.” For “Faith,” he describes himself as a man who embraces God out of necessity as well as love: “And this from a person who never believed in religion/But shit my life is so fucked up I can’t help but give in.” Throughout, he unburdens himself with disarming honesty. Gone are the dreams of being the next Jay Z and pretending that he’s a gang-banging shooter out of Compton. He doesn’t waste time freestyling over radio hits anymore, instead focusing on his songwriting over lovely yet doleful production by Sounwave, Dave Free and others. “She Needs Me” is a generous and perhaps even feminist take on romance. He harmonizes the chorus for “P&P,” a melancholic song that shows how the working class distracts itself from everyday troubles with liquor and sex: “I grew up with killers, man/People who killed men/But my character never could be like them, man/And they respect that/Say that I’m real, man,” he protests on “Let Me Be Me,” leaving behind once and for all past gangsta pretensions like “Compton Chemistry.” And in a preview of the rivalry Lamar would nourish with Drake – who dominated conversations at the time with his So Far Gone mixtape – he raps on “Determined,” “She listening to Drake/And all I can say/Is damn, these niggas that much better than me, baby?”

The excellent, cathartic Kendrick Lamar EP didn’t get the major attention it deserved, but it restored his reputation, and the single “She Needs Me” fomented enough of an underground buzz that there was real expectation surrounding his next project. OD: Overly Dedicated (2010) is partly a victory lap – he revisits four of the EP’s tracks, and brags on the superior “The Heart Pt. 2,” “Got all of these niggas approaching they mixtapes different/They said seven tracks, I said 15/Called it an EP, they said I’m tripping/But little did they know I’m trying to change the rules/That we’ve been confined to so the corporate won’t make decisions.” He pushes back against the “conscious” tag that resulted from his EP, instead striking a middle ground between the flag-waving gangster-ism of West Coast street rap, and the “street knowledge” of forebears like Ice Cube and 2Pac, while making G-funk homage like “Average Joe” that anticipated later, slicker efforts like “King Kunta.” “The critics are calling me conscious/But truthfully, every shooter be calling me Compton,” Lamar asserts on “Ignorance is Bliss,” a track that subtly picks apart the gangsta rap archetype, and which reportedly led Dr. Dre to recruit Lamar to his Aftermath imprint.

In fact, these songs mark the emergence of Kendrick as over-thinker, composing songs that shift in perspective and tones. He switches “Opposites Attract”‘s point of view from second to third person; for “Growing Apart (To Get Closer),” he questions his devotion to God, and then subjects the world around him to the same analysis. The tape ends disappointingly with two superfluous remixes: “She Needs Me (Remix),” which doesn’t have the softness of the original (though it gives underrated L.A. vets Murs and Dom Kennedy a chance to shine), and “I Do This (RMX).” Yet the dense personal journals of Overly Dedicated set the stage for his next project, his widely hailed 2011 “debut” Section.80, and the commercial and critical acclaim that would follow.

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See Muse's Violent, Kung-Fu-Filled 'Dig Down' Video

Model/activist Lauren Wasser, who lost a leg to toxic shock syndrome in real life, battles her way out of a building under attack in the new clip for Muse‘s “Dig Down.” “Dig Down” is the first new music from the English rock band since the Drones album in 2015.

“When God decides to look the other way and a clown takes the throne, we must find a way,” sings Matt Bellamy. “Face the firing squad, against all the odds, you will find a way.” The band conjure a fierce, clomping sound behind him, full of nasty drums and ominous synthesizers. The chorus is a call to arms – “Dig down!” – and it’s delivered as rock-gospel.

The video, directed by Lance Drake, makes the song’s message literal. As Bellamy sings encouraging phrases, Wasser’s character, outnumbered at least 20-to-1, defeats a series of shadowy assailants in hand-to-hand combat.

Bellamy discussed the inspiration behind the clip in a recent interview with Zane Lowe on Beats 1 Radio. “We wanted this sort of story of catching a person going through some kind of real major struggle on screen but also like finding a person who’s actually been through a real struggle in real life to play that part,” he explained. “And so somehow we’ve got all these parts to come together and we found this amazing, amazing lady.”

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http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/05/Eat_RED_SaveLives_Logo.jpg?p=captionNEW YORK, May 18, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — June marks the fourth annual EAT (RED) SAVE LIVES campaign to raise money for the Global Fund and awareness for the fight to end AIDS, with tickets going on sale today to the first-ever EAT (RED) Food & Film Fest. Led by Chef Mario…