Daily Archives: May 19, 2017

The Accidentals Embark On Extraordinary Odyssey With Sony Masterworks Debut Album

NEW YORK, May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ –Sony Music Masterworks has announced the release of ODYSSEY, the extraordinary label debut album from The Accidentals. ODYSSEY – which includes the genre-defying first single, “KW” – is available for preorder in June. The powerful opening track,…


See Roger Waters' Moving New 'Last Refugee' Video

A new video for Roger Waters‘ “The Last Refugee” shows all of the mixed emotions a woman who’s been displaced from her homeland might feel. Beginning in a squalid hovel, between an open-fire stove and a mattress, she dances while wearing a long parka. The scene changes to a clean, refined stage where she’s practicing classical dance in a gown, perhaps a flashback to her previous life or a fantasy for the future. As it progresses, it shows her wearing a hijab, visiting a daughter playing on a beach leading up to an emotional climax.

Waters made the short film with his close collaborator Sean Evans. Evans previously co-directed the 2015 concert film Roger Waters: The Wall with the former Pink Floyd singer-songwriter.

The video comes two weeks before the release of Waters’ latest album – and first rock release in 25 years – Is This the Life We Really Want? He made the 12-song record with producer Nigel Godrich (Radiohead) and a press release announcing the LP described it as an “unflinching commentary on the modern world and uncertain times.”

Waters will be supporting the record with an extensive tour, dubbed Us + Them, which kicks off on May 26th in Kansas City, Missouri. He’ll visit arenas around the U.S. and Canada through October 28th, when it wraps in Vancouver.

In the meantime, Waters has been rigorously promoting the album. He released the songs “Smell the Roses” and “Déjà Vu,” performing the latter with orchestral accompaniment on The Late Show With Stephen Colbert.

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Review: Rock Revivalists Low Cut Connie Face Reality on 'Dirty Pictures'

On their first three for the most part excellent records, Brooklyn-via-Philly punk and rock and rock & roll revivalists Low Cut Connie partied like their biggest worldly concern was trying to find the next good excuse to dump a bunch of Yuengling on their drummer. But the weight of the world is really with them on album four, and it’s helped add depth and power to their music: “Never paid attention in my twenties,” Adam Weiner sings over a roadhouse garage-soul boogie “Death And Destruction,” a come-to-Jesus with reality that parties on the edge of apocalypse.

The Connies traveled to Memphis to record at ArdentStudios, where the Replacements and Big Star made great records, and their mixof Seventies Stones (but dirtier), the New York Dolls (but tighter) and JerryLee Lewis (but Westerberg-ier) comes with an extra sense of bare-knuckled gritand sonic thwump to fight against the darkness. “Revolution Rock &Roll” is a slamming gospel-tinged get-woke anthem, while the strikinglyspare piano ballad “Montreal” evokes Big Star’s “Thirteen”and Dylan’s “It’s All Over Now, Baby Blue,” and turns on the lines “Igave conjunctivitis to a girl in a bar/I gave conjunctivitis like a star.”Death also haunts the album via a fine cover of Prince’s “Controversy,”and “Forever,” which laments fallen music heroes with a TomWaits-at-closing-time ragged beauty. The LP ends with “What Size Shoe,”a war cry of personal and political abjection that creeps like side four ofExile On Main Street and ends with Weiner asking “Ain’t this the UnitedStates/Ain’t this the home of the brave?” Maybe not anymore. But thisrecord proves they’re ginned up for the resistance.

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See Red Hot Chili Peppers Cover Chris Cornell's 'Seasons'

Red Hot Chili Peppers paid tribute to Chris Cornell at their Indianapolis concert Thursday night. Guitarist Josh Klinghoffer came out onstage alone to sing the acoustic Singles track, “Seasons.”

The “Seasons” performance wasn’t the first time Klinghoffer performed a Cornell-penned classic during a Red Hot Chili Peppers concert: In November 2016, at the band’s concert in Vienna, Austria, the guitarist delivered a solo rendition of Temple of the Dog’s “All Night Thing” as a tribute to that grunge supergroup’s reunion tour taking place that same month in America.

Cornell died by suicide late Wednesday night following Soundgarden’s concert in Detroit. Many of Cornell’s rock peers, like Perry Farrell, Courtney Love and Cornell’s Audioslave band mate Tom Morello, remembered the singer following his death.

On Friday morning, Cornell’s wife Vicky issued a statement where she remembered her husband and questioned whether anxiety medication played a role in his suicide.

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Soundgarden's Chris Cornell on 'Superunknown,' Depression and Kurt Cobain

In 2014, Soundgarden issued a 20th anniversary edition of their landmark Superunknown album. To mark the occasion, frontman Chris Cornell sat for two extensive, revealing interviews with Rolling Stone to reflect on how the record was made, his mixed feelings on grunge and where his head was at when the band was at its biggest.

At times, he was earnest, and at others he was funny. By his own admission it was the first time he’d ever seriously reflected on his past work. The band had dug up demo recordings, B sides and rehearsal recordings for the release, and they’d even played the record live from front-to-back for the first time. In the interviews, he marveled at some of the things he learned in hindsight about both the album and himself at the time.

Portions of the interviews previously appeared in Rolling Stone magazine and others online. What’s below is a supersized director’s cut of everything the late frontman had to say about a crucial time in his life.

Do you look back on the era surrounding Superunknown fondly?
I never look back, ever. I’m always looking ahead, working on the next thing. This is the first time I’ve [worked on a reissue], and it’s most interesting because when Soundgarden made Superunknown, we had been a band for a long time – like, over eight years. Superunknown was one of the most dramatic shifts in what we were doing musically. I don’t think I realized it at the time.

What did that period feel like to you then?
At the time, at least for me personally, it was a time filled with a tremendous amount of responsibility and pressure to prove who we were. We wanted to show that we stood alone and outside of what was becoming a convenient geographic group that we were inside. I never felt bad about being lumped in with other Seattle bands. I thought it was great. But I also felt like all of us were going to have to prove that we could also exist with autonomy, and we deserved to be playing on an international stage, and we deserved to have videos on TV and songs on the radio, and it wasn’t just a fad like the “British invasion” or a “New York noise scene.”

Superunknown was that for me. It was showing what we were not just a flavor of the month. We had the responsibility to seize the moment, and I think we really did.

How was it following up your third record, 1991’s Badmotorfinger, which was also your breakthrough?
Somewhat stressful but also exciting. We were doing a follow-up to a huge record and a ginormous year for our town and all of our friends’ bands, and it was really surreal for us. It was like, “Wow, all of our dreams are coming true in ways we maybe would have never expected.” We were just an indie band, and that’s what we thought we’d always be. So there was pressure. The music came one song at a time. We were not a band that would sit down and discuss a direction of an album before we started writing. We just focused on song after song, and, as we would arrange them and learn more, the album slowly took shape. Superunknown, maybe more than most albums, didn’t reveal itself to be what it was until the very end – literally until we were three quarters of the way through mixing it.

A song like “Black Hole Sun” was more mainstream or traditional than those on Badmotorfinger. Was that a concern?
I don’t know if I thought about it in that context. I had done songs for Temple of the Dog, which for me were my hobby songs – ones I had written without having a destination for them. They were in more of a straightforward blues-rock style, with traditional arrangements and obvious choruses. I had introduced that a little bit on Badmotorfinger with something like “Outshined” – it clearly has a chorus and instrumental breakdown. I think the structure happened by accident.

I think one of the bigger focuses, to me, was that I wanted to embrace the fact that all four of us would contribute music. What that meant was a little bit like the White Album, where if somebody like Matt [Cameron, drums] brings a song he demoed on guitar, why not have him play guitar? I don’t know even if that happened, but that’s what I was thinking. So it was, “Let’s try to steer more into the initial inspirations and make the song a priority.”

Can you give me an example of what you’re talking about?
As an example, I think of “Half” as one that embraced that the most, because I’m not even on it. I remember having a brief conversation with Ben about me really thinking he should sing it, because his singing on the demo was so amazing to me. The whole mood of the song was never going to be as good if he didn’t do it, and his response was, “If I sing it, and you don’t, then this is a Soundgarden song on our album that you’re not even on.” My response was, “That’s what I’m talking about. This is about the album. This is about the songs. This about the song’s best foot forward, and that should always be the most important thing.” I thought it would help us expand and push the boundaries of what Soundgarden was at the time and do it in a way we’d never done before. I think it works well on the next album, Down on the Upside, as well as King Animal; they had “anything goes” approaches.

What was your headspace at the time of Superunknown? A lot of the lyrics are dark.
I don’t know if I would say I was in a particularly dark or moody headspace more than other times. I feel the lyrics have to be born from the music. Or if I had a lyrical idea, separate from Soundgarden music, I knew if it would work with the band because it tended to reflect what the music was and what the feeling of the music was – which was usually somewhat dark and somber or moody, or over-the-top, visceral, aggressive angry.

So it wasn’t an especially dark time?
No, not that I remember. No more than usual. I think that I always struggled with depression and isolation, so those could come out. I think that the mood of Seattle to me, and the way that I always interpreted that mood was something that was always a little bit introspective and dark. And I wouldn’t say “depressing,” but introspective in a way that could be moodier and darker.

This reissue includes several versions of “Fell on Black Days,” which is pretty dark. What inspired it?
Well, I had this idea, and I had it for a long time. I’d noticed already in my life where there would be periods where I would feel suddenly, “Things aren’t going so well, and I don’t feel that great about my life.” Not based on any particular thing. I’d sort of noticed that people have this tendency to look up one day and realize that things have changed. There wasn’t a catastrophe. There wasn’t a relationship split up. Nobody got in a car wreck. Nobody’s parents died or anything. The outlook had changed, while everything appears circumstantially the same. That was the song I wanted to write about.

No matter how happy you are, you can wake up one day without any specific thing occurring to bring you into a darker place, and you’ll just be in a darker place anyway. To me, that was always a terrifying thought, because that’s something that – as far as I know – we don’t necessarily have control over. So that was the song I wanted to write. It just took a while.

The box set contains several early demo versions of songs. What struck you about them when you heard them again?
That during the demo process, I have no objectivity at all. I don’t know if something is good or bad or what it is. So it was interesting hearing how similar they were to the final versions or how they’re different – like on “Black Hole Sun,” there was one particular thing I did on the demo that I just simply forgot to do on the album version.

What was that?
There’s a Leslie cabinet [a guitar amp with a spinning speaker] I was using – a specific one – and I used it on the demo and album version, and it had a two-speed control. On the verses, it’s this very fast spinning speaker and it gives it that sound for the melody, and as the chorus hit, I would click it and the speaker would slowly slow down, so the arpeggio part of the chorus would have this sweep that’s changing speeds and slowing down throughout it, giving it this really drunken, cough-syrupy feeling that I really like. I forgot to do it.

Thinking about it later, I thought, “Wow, that really made it more psychedelic.” But then of course I thought that could have been the one element that might have changed the appeal in terms of radio programmers wanting to play it, and they all did.

Did “Black Hole Sun” feel special when you were demoing it?
No, I felt like it was a success unto myself, being a fan of music and always wanting to write a song that would make you feel like that. I wasn’t sure if it was right for Soundgarden. I’m not sure if any of us were. Everyone responded really positively to the song, but I don’t know that any of us were a hundred percent confident it should be on a Soundgarden record until we recorded it.

I don’t think any of us – including [co-producer] Michael Beinhorn or [assistant engineer] Adam Kasper – thought it would be a single. If you read the lyrics to the verses, it’s sort of surreal, esoteric word painting. It was written very quickly. It was stream of consciousness. I wasn’t trying to say anything specific; I was really writing to the feel of the music and accepting whatever came out. I don’t know what it’s about, so how is it that this large pop audience is going to listen to it and immediately connect to it? It’s still a mystery to me, kind of.

I’m sure you were happy it was a hit.
I was glad. Considering all the different songs we had, I really liked the fact that this song, stylistically, sat outside of any genre, and it wasn’t really comparable to anything anyone else was doing at the time or before or since. It seems to stand on its own. And it very much did seem to lend itself to Soundgarden. But I don’t think for one second I have the ability to sit down and write a hit song.

The song you workshopped the most was “Like Suicide.” In the liner notes, you say it kind of became a metaphor for how you were feeling at the time about late Mother Love Bone frontman Andy Wood.
Yeah, the lyrics were actually this simple moment that happened to me. I don’t know that I ever directly related it to Andy, though there are a lot of songs that people probably don’t know where there were references to him or how I was feeling about what happened with him. I just think that that was something that happened to me that was a traumatic thing and that I had a difficult time resolving it. I still never really have. I still live with it, and that’s one of the moments where maybe in some ways it could have shown up, but I’m not really sure specifically where.

You said the lyrics were literal?
Yeah, the narrative is not a metaphor. It’s a big moment that happened while I was recording the song. I had all the music and was recording a demo arrangement in my basement. And when I came upstairs, I heard a thud against the window, and it was a female robin that had fallen into the window and broke her neck, and was just laying there. I didn’t know what to do. So I ended up smashing her with a brick, putting her out of her misery. I didn’t want to sit there and watch her suffer. Then when I went back down to finish recording, I decided that would be the lyrics to the song. As much as it sounds like I’m singing about a person and the metaphor is sort of the bird in flight and then [it] dies … it was literal [laughs].

There’s a story about “Spoonman” that Jeff Ament wrote those words as one of a few fake titles on a cassette for Singles and you decided to write a song with that title. What was his reaction to you presenting the song to him?
By the time it came out, he’d already known I’d created songs out of his five titles. My first recollection of his opinion about that came from Cameron Crowe, who gave me a play-by-play of how he responded to the songs. It was just extremely flattering and warm, and I felt very supported by him. I wanted to reciprocate that; I felt like these titles were brilliant. They inspired me. I never would have written that song or the other four songs that were part of that if the titles weren’t compelling.

Many times since then, I’ve looked back on that moment and thought, “Maybe I should write down 10 titles and write songs to the titles and make an album.” It’s never that easy. So there was something in there. I never had a conversation about it with Jeff; I did make sure that he was thanked on the album when it came out, though.

When is the last time you saw Artis the Spoonman, who inspired the song?
During the first national Audioslave tour. We played an arena in Everett, Washington, and I invited him out. I don’t remember if he played or not. Every memory of Artis is a fond one. I have never been in a room with him when he wasn’t the center of attention. He’s a force of nature, and I’ve seen him in a lot of different situations. I’ve seen him perform in front of seven people in a room and 10,000 people. I’ve seen him in a hospital bed right after he had a heart attack and listened to his stories. He was always an amazing person to be around.

He also changed my life in that the only thing I do outside of Soundgarden is this one-man acoustic show that I tour with. He was a big inspiration for me that anyone can do that. I remember sitting in a room, probably with eight or 10 people, and he walked in with his leather satchel he always carries with him and took out spoons. Everyone’s jaw dropped. I thought, “It’s amazing this guy performs at festivals, fairs and street corners.” This guy can walk into a room and get a reaction. Suddenly, I felt embarrassed and smaller, ’cause I felt like I call myself a singer, a songwriter, a musician, and I’ve sold millions of records and toured the world, but I can’t do what he can. I can’t just walk into a room and pick up an instrument and perform and entertain everyone and their jaws drop. So that stuck in the back of my mind, and at some point I started to pursue that. He was the main inspiration for that.

You recently played Superunknown in its entirety with Soundgarden. Did you gain any new insights on the songs?
“Limo Wreck” is one we haven’t played since getting back together in 2010. It was one of those where if it were someone else’s songs, I would have thought, “God, why didn’t I write that?” or “How brilliant is that?” And it’s complicated. There’s a lot going on, and it’s in a strange tuning and there are a lot of things musically that don’t make sense; those things are fascinating to me. I was listening with fresh ears, so I was maybe not quite as cynical.

As for doing the album in context, I’d forgotten some of the songs that were on there. I’d forgotten “Fresh Tendrils” and “Let Me Drown,” which I’d viewed as an older song, came from there. Then the songs we played a lot, like “My Wave,” in the context of the album in order [were] interesting. I had a really welcome feeling that it belongs on the album; it rescues it from too much of other moods. Usually when we play it live, it’s bunched into a bunch of midtempo rockers, and it isn’t as important there.

Between Badmotorfinger and Superunknown, you cut your hair. Was that a symbolic gesture?
When I did it, I was writing songs, isolated and never left the house, as far as I remember. A blurb in the entertainment section of, I believe, Time magazine mentioned I had cut my hair. And it was a really strange thing. It would have been different had we been pop stars, but we weren’t. We didn’t even have an enormous hit. So it seemed on the one hand to show that there was something culturally valued in what Seattle musicians and bands were doing, but it seems backhanded and ridiculous that they would choose to focus something as silly as a haircut.

If you understand there’s a cultural value, why not figure out what that is? I remember seeing an interview with Mike Nesmith of the Monkees when I was probably six, and they asked him a question: “Do you think that all young people should have long hair?” And his answer was, “I think they should have their hair any way they want.” Fast forward to 1992, I was thinking news media didn’t grow at all. From ’67 to ’92, nothing’s changed. Nobody’s gotten smarter. It’s strange and funny.

People made a big deal out of Metallica cutting their hair.
Yeah, I blazed the trail for Metallica when I cut my hair [laughs]. But then they set the bar higher by smoking cigars.

Speaking of the media, what do you think about “grunge” now?
I can’t look at it as anything but positive. My view of rock history now includes grunge as a major genre shift in the history of rock, the same as you would look at punk rock or the British Invasion. And we’re clearly pioneers of that genre and are recognized as being that. When the story is told – which it will get told over and over and over and over – we will be there as opposed to maybe not being there. And that comparison could be like Jane’s Addiction or Smashing Pumpkins, for example, that won’t necessarily get mentioned when some new rock fan is researching these dramatic, pivotal moments. So for that reason I feel like whatever we had to put up with over the years: the Seattle questions and the Seattle-sound questions and the Seattle-scene questions, it’s wroth it. Every time I do a Spanish interview, we still get, “Tell me about grunge.”

About a month after Superunknown came out, Kurt Cobain died. How did it color that time for you?
I wasn’t one of his close friends. Kim [Thayil, guitar] knew him better and Ben was very close with them and with him. He had toured with them early on; there was a time when he was going to be a fourth member of Nirvana, but he didn’t do it because he wasn’t really necessarily invited to write songs.

It was something in a way similar to losing Andy, or losing friends that died after that. It’s not so much the person and the relationship with them, but the creative inspiration that person has and I would get from that person. My perception of the world of music at large artistically shrank, because suddenly this brilliant guy was gone. I’m not even talking about what he meant culturally; I’m talking about his creativity. It was super inspiring from the very first demo I ever heard. It broadened my mental picture of what the world was creatively, and suddenly a big chunk of it fell off.

And that’s how you felt about Andy?
Yeah. The tragedy was much more than the fact that I would never see him again – it was that I would never hear him again. There’s this projection I had with Andy, Kurt, Jeff Buckley and other friends of mine that died of looking into the future at all these amazing things they’re going to do. I’ll never be able to predict what that is. All this music that will come out that will challenge me and inspire me – that sort of romantic, dramatic version of the perspective. When that goes away, for me in particular, it was a really hard thing. And it continues to be a hard thing.

There’s a large part of Soundgarden history, to me, that’s wrapped up in that conflict of losing these incredible creative lenses of what I imagine is this incredible, infinite world of the power of creativity. These were people, and people you could share experiences with while you’re learning what your power of that creativity is.

So part of my memory of every record, and certainly Superunknown, there’s an eeriness in there, a kind of unresolvable sadness or indescribable longing that I’ve never really tried to isolate and define and fully understand. But it’s always there. It’s like a haunted thing.

Then there were these miraculous moments existing around a similar time, one of which is Eddie [Vedder] showing up and starting a new band with your friends that just lost this amazing person and having that creative output and outpouring be so phenomenal. The degree to which it changed the face of rock music in the world is this pretty incredible thing. There were these huge, amazing ups, but also these difficult conflicts I’ve never been able to resolve.

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Chris Cornell's Wife Issues Statement, Blames Anxiety Medicine for Suicide

Vicky Cornell, the wife of Soundgarden singer Chris Cornell, issued a statement Friday morning where she remembered her late husband, who died Thursday morning at the age of 52, and speculated whether his suicide was the result of taking too much of his anxiety medication.

“Chris’s death is a loss that escapes words and has created an emptiness in my heart that will never be filled. As everyone who knew him commented, Chris was a devoted father and husband. He was my best friend,” Vicky wrote.

“His world revolved around his family first and, of course, his music second. He flew home for Mother’s Day to spend time with our family. He flew out mid-day Wednesday, the day of the show, after spending time with the children. When we spoke before the show, we discussed plans for a vacation over Memorial Day and other things we wanted to do.”

However, following Soundgarden’s concert Wednesday night, Vicky noticed a change in her husband’s demeanor when they talked on the phone after the show.

“When we spoke after the show, I noticed he was slurring his words; he was different. When he told me he may have taken an extra Ativan or two, I contacted security and asked that they check on him,” she continued. “What happened is inexplicable and I am hopeful that further medical reports will provide additional details. I know that he loved our children and he would not hurt them by intentionally taking his own life.”

An attorney for the Cornell family, Kirk Pasich, reiterated Vicky’s belief that an extra dosage of Ativan, an anxiety medication often employed by recovering addicts, altered Chris Cornell’s mental faculties after the Detroit show. Pasich added that the Cornell family is “disturbed at inferences that Chris knowingly and intentionally took his life.”

“Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris — or if any substances contributed to his demise,” Pasich said. “Chris, a recovering addict, had a prescription for Ativan and may have taken more Ativan than recommended dosages. The family believes that if Chris took his life, he did not know what he was doing, and that drugs or other substances may have affected his actions.”

Pasich added that side effects of Ativan include “paranoid or suicidal thoughts, slurred speech and impaired judgment”; Vicky Cornell noted her husband’s slurred speech following the Detroit concert in her statement.

She added, “The outpouring of love and support from his fans, friends and family means so much more to us than anyone can know. Thank you for that, and for understanding how difficult this is for us.”

Hours after Cornell’s death at a Detroit hotel, a medical examiner’s report confirmed that the singer had died by suicide.

Chris Cornell, lead singer for Soundgarden, has died at age 52. Watch here.

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Born U5: Bollywood Twins' debut against U5 Girls' Chinese ethnic vibe

The performance of the Indian TwinsHANGZHOU, China, May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — This Saturday, Born U5, the large reality TV show exclusively sponsored by JD.com, is going to air its 8th episode. It is a co-production of ZJTV, Leisure Work Studio and Authrule Digital Media. This week, the U5 Girls are going to face with…


Attorney for Chris Cornell family and Vicky Cornell issue statement on Chris Cornell's death

SEATTLE, May 19, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Kirk Pasich, an attorney for the Chris Cornell family, said that the family is disturbed at inferences that Chris knowingly and intentionally took his life. “Without the results of toxicology tests, we do not know what was going on with Chris—or if…