Monthly Archives: June 2017

Foo Fighters Plot Concert at Historic Greek Acropolis for PBS Docu-Series

Foo Fighters announced a July 10th concert at the Acropolis of Athens, Greece, marking a rare rock performance at the historical site. The show will be filmed to air this fall as part of PBS’ docu-series Landmarks Live in Concert, which highlights live shows from iconic locations around the world.

Ticket information is available at the Tickethour site. Sales from the show will benefit an unspecified local Greek charity.

Red Hot Chili Peppers drummer Chad Smith hosts the Landmarks series, conducting one-on-one interviews with the performers while exploring the locale of each venue. The series premiered in January with an episode featuring Alicia Keys’ show at New York City’s Apollo Theatre; the next installment, airing Friday, June 30th, will feature Andrea Bocelli at Florence’s Palazzo Vecchio.

Last week, Foo Fighters detailed their ninth album, Concrete and Gold, out September 15th. The band recorded the LP with Greg Kurstin after frontman Dave Grohl discovered the producer’s work with indie-pop act the Bird and the Bee. “I think maybe Greg is the guy that we ask to be our producer because he’s never made a heavy rock record before and we’ve never worked with a pop producer,” Grohl said in a statement.

Foo Fighters previously teased Concrete and Gold by releasing new song “Run” and debuting another track, “Lah Dee Da,” onstage in Iceland. The band will support the LP with a tour launching October 12th in Washington D.C. The sextet will also headline a massive, one-day festival, Calm Jam 17, alongside Queens of the Stone Age, Cage the Elephant, Liam Gallagher, the Kills and more.

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Jay-Z Lashes Out at Prince Estate on '4:44' Song 'Caught Their Eye'

Jay-Z lashed out at the Prince estate over their ruptured Tidal deal and ensuing legal battle on the 4:44 song “Caught Their Eyes.”

On the track, Jay Z accuses the estate – and namely former advisor Londell McMillan – of going against what Prince would have wanted for his own catalog following his death in April 2016.

“I sat down with Prince, eye to eye / He told me his wishes before he died,” Jay-Z recounts on the track.

In the years before his death, Prince aligned with Jay-Z’s Tidal and gave exclusivity of his catalog to the streaming service. Prince also released albums, performed live shows and unearthed rarities from his vault for Tidal.

However, after Prince died without a will, his estate – which employed Prince’s attorney McMillan as an adviser – discovered there was no official agreement between Prince and Jay-Z, allowing them to pursue publishing and streaming deals with other music companies.

“Now, Londell McMillan, he must be color blind / They only see green from them purple eyes,” Jay-Z said of the advisor, who was ultimately replaced in April after the contentious and soon-to-be-canceled publishing deal with Universal was structured.

As Jay-Z notes on “Caught Their Eyes,” the estate’s dealings with the major labels go against what Prince fought for as an artist, and accused the estate of profiting off Prince’s legacy in any way possible.

This guy had ‘Slave’ on his face / You think he wanted the masters with his masters?,” Jay-Z said. “You greedy bastards sold tickets to walk through his house / I’m surprised you ain’t auction off the casket.”

In an interview with iHeartRadio, Jay-Z said of the Frank Ocean-featuring song, “‘[Caught Their Eyes]’ is a song that’s dealing with just being aware of your surroundings. There’s a line in it, and it says, ‘Your body language is all remedial, how could you see the difference between you and I?’ Just being so sharp about your surroundings.”

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OneRepublic Release "Truth To Power" Today

OneRepublic releases "Truth To Power" TodaySANTA MONICA, Calif., June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Multi-platinum, Grammy-nominated quintet OneRepublic release “Truth To Power” today, June 30th, on Mosley Music/Interscope Records. “Truth To Power” was written and produced by Ryan Tedder and T Bone Burnett and will be featured in the Pa…


Hear St. Vincent's Melancholy New Song 'New York'

St. Vincent released a melancholy new song, “New York,” that finds Annie Clark crooning lovelorn lyrics throughout the low-simmering ballad. “You’re the only motherfucker in the city who can handle me,” she pleads over a muted piano, strings and kick-drum pulse. Though the song feels primed for a grandiose crescendo, Clark harnesses the power of brevity, ending “New York” after two-and-a-half minutes.

Clark debuted the track last year during a New York City benefit show that also featured Rufus Wainwright and Father John Misty. Notably, the St. Vincent mastermind performed while wearing an oversized toilet costume.

“New York” follows 2015’s “Teenage Talk,” featured in HBO’s Girls, and her self-titled 2014 LP. While Clark has yet to officially announce her fifth album, Bleachers’ Jack Antonoff recently told The New York Times that he’s working on new music with the art-rock musician.

Clark, this year’s Record Store Day Ambassador, told Guitar World in December that her next record will be her “deepest, boldest” to date. “I feel the playing field is really open for creative people to do whatever you want, and that risk will be rewarded – especially now that we have such high stakes from a political and geo-political standpoint,” she said.

The guitarist’s “Fear the Future” U.S. tour launches November 14th in Detroit and concludes December 3rd in Brooklyn. 

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Blake Shelton to Sign Bottles of Smithworks® Vodka at Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium Collection Store in Hummelstown

HUMMELSTOWN, Pa., June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — The Pennsylvania Liquor Control Board today announced that award-winning singer, songwriter, and television personality Blake Shelton will sign bottles of Smithworks® Vodka at the Fine Wine & Good Spirits Premium…


Indie Music Star Chelsea Williams Hits Wondrous Creative Heights on Her Blue Élan debut, "Boomerang," out August 18

Indie Music Star Chelsea Williams Hits Wondrous Creative Heights on Her Blue Élan debut, “Boomerang,” out August 18LOS ANGELES, June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Critically hailed and top-selling independent music sensation Chelsea Williams will release her debut for Blue Élan Records, Boomerang, on August 18. The album was recorded at the Heritage Recording Company in Burbank, CA, with the gifted…


See Arcade Fire Search for Aliens in 'Signs of Life' Video

Arcade Fire search for extraterrestrial life in their new video for “Signs of Life,” the latest video off their upcoming LP Everything Now.

The video is The X Files meets Art Basel – Fox Mulder’s trademark I Want to Believe poster makes a cameo – as two hip Miami investigators uncover actual proof of alien life in the form of video footage of Arcade Fire dancing in the desert.

The search for “signs of life” takes the agents on airboats and speed boats while the Everything Now track paces the action.

The “Signs of Life” video, directed by Miami art collective Borscht, is the latest Everything Now clip, following a pair of clips dedicated to “Creature Comfort” – the original video and its Pop-Up Video version – as well as the title track.

In addition to the “Signs of Life” video, Arcade Fire also finalized the track list for Everything Now, which features three occurrences of the title track:

Everything Now Track List

1. “Everything_Now (continued)”
2. “Everything Now”
3. “Signs of Life”
4. “Creature Comfort”
5. “Peter Pan’
6. “Chemistry”
7. “Infinite Content”
8. “Infinite_Content”
9. “Electric Blue”
10. “Good God Damn”
11. “Put Your Money on Me”
12. “We Don’t Deserve Love”
13. “Everything Now (continued)”

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Jay-Z Apologizes to Beyonce for Infidelity in New Song '4:44'

Jay-Z apologizes to Beyoncé for his past infidelities and fallacies as a husband in the rapper’s brutally honest “4:44,” the title track off his just-released new album.

“And if my children knew / I don’t even know what I would do / If they ain’t look at me the same / I would probably die with all the shame,” Jay-Z says in song’s closing verse. “‘You did what with who?’ / What good is a ménage à trois when you have a soulmate? / ‘You risked that for Blue?'”

Elsewhere on the track – Jay-Z’s response-of-sorts to Beyoncé’s similarly personal Lemonade – the rapper apologizes for marrying her before he was ready to commit, robbing her of her “innocence” and not being there during crucial moments of their relationship.

“I apologize for all the stillborns / Cause I wasn’t present, your body wouldn’t accept it,” Jay Z said in one especially candid lyric.

“I never wanted another woman to know / Something about me that you didn’t know,” he raps. “I promised, I cried, I couldn’t hold / I suck at love, I think I need a do-over / I will be emotionally available if I invited you over / I stew over what if you over my shit?”

In an interview with iHeartRadio, Jay-Z said of the title track, “‘4:44’ is a song that I wrote, and it’s the crux of the album, just right in the middle of the album. And I woke up, literally, at 4:44 in the morning, 4:44 AM, to write this song. So it became the title of the album and everything. It’s the title track because it’s such a powerful song, and I just believe one of the best songs I’ve ever written.”

“I apologize, often womanize / Took for my child to be born to see through a woman’s eyes,” Jay-Z admits in the song’s first verse. “Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles / Took me too long for this song.”

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Inside Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers' Last Big Tour

It’s about an hour before Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers play Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre for what may be the last time. Backstage, Petty is in his dressing room putting on a frontier rebel’s headdress to fight the chill. Keyboardist Benmont Tench is tweeting about the sad state of our country under Donald Trump. Bassist Ron Blair has battled stage fright for years since rejoining the Heartbreakers in 2002, after a 20-year sanity break. He wanders into Petty and cops to something you’re not likely to admit to your bandleader unless you’ve known him for 40 years. “I’m kinda nervous, you know,” says Blair in a quiet voice.

Petty rarely describes himself as the leader of his band, but as “the older brother they sometimes have to listen to.” Tonight, he gives Blair some fatherly assurance and a toothy Southern smile: “Let me be nervous for you.”

The band takes the stage and blows through “Rockin’ Around (With You),” the first song on its self-titled first album, from 1976. Petty ends the next few songs strumming in front of the drum set, trading man-crush smiles with drummer Steve Ferrone (Tench jokes, “They should get a room”). Petty even grins through a joyous version of “Walls,” from 1996’s She’s the One, an album he’s complained about for nearly 20 years.

And then there’s a flash of lightning. Rain pours down. The Heartbreakers are shooed into the catacombs of Red Rocks, and 9,000 fans head for cover.

There’s been a valedictory feel to the Heartbreakers’ 40th-anniversary tour, which Petty says is the band’s final country-spanning run – the “last big one.” Everyone else is a bit skeptical. “I’ve been hearing that for 15 years,” says guitarist and original Heartbreaker Mike Campbell. “We’ll see.”

The crowds are still there, something Petty is clearly proud of when we sit down in a hotel room on an off day. To be honest, he looks more jittery offstage than on. This may be because he is chain-smoking, alternating between Marlboros and vaping, perhaps as a concession to the Denver Ritz-Carlton’s smoking policy.

The band now travels like pashas: playing shows in weeklong bursts, flying privately to the gig and then returning every night to a hub city like Denver. Backstage is no longer the den of iniquity it used to be, no longer full of starlets, hangers-on and good drugs. Petty says sleep is now his friend. “I need a new Netflix show, does anyone have any suggestions?” he asks just before his assistant ducks out of the room. Someone suggests Bloodline, a noirish series set in his native Florida.

Petty is defiant about the hyper pace of the tour, which hits 30 cities this spring and summer. “Unless you’ve done it, you can’t understand what it is,” says Petty, brushing his scarecrow hair out of his face. “And if you’re not really experienced, you will fall.”

What keeps the Heartbreakers together is simple: The band has been their life since 1976. (How close are they? Multi-instrumentalist Scott Thurston recently sold his house to Campbell.) That’s when Petty met Campbell – then painfully shy – at a friend’s house in Gainesville, Florida. Petty would be in the front room, and the bedroom would be dark except for the pilot light from a Fender amp. “I felt like I had to go down a dark tunnel and coax him out,” says Petty.

He soon met Benjamin Montmorency Tench III, a prep-school kid and piano prodigy. Tench wears suits and went to Exeter, but he’s the fiery one. In a Peter Bogdanovich documentary on the Heartbreakers, 2007’s Runnin’ Down a Dream, Tench can be heard screaming at his bandmates to take things seriously. His nickname is Mad Dog. When Tench used to go on one of his tirades, a roadie would slide a dog bowl of water under his piano.

Petty, Campbell and 
Tench formed the nucleus of Mudcrutch,
which morphed into the
 Heartbreakers in 1976,
 after adding San Diegan Blair on bass and 
Stan Lynch on drums.
 Blair fried out and
 bailed in 1982. He opened a bikini shop in the Valley and was replaced by Howie Epstein, but the band loomed in his subconscious. “I’d dream I’d be walking to the stage, and be like, ‘I don’t know “Mary Jane’s Last Dance,”‘ ” remembers Blair. “I had half a dozen of those nightmares, so I started learning those songs so I could get a night’s sleep.”

This proved fortuitous when Epstein died of heroin-related complications in 2003. “I don’t think the band continues without Ron,” Tench tells me. “Bringing in someone new wouldn’t have worked.”

You can argue that Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers are the most successful and longest-running American rock band in history, the Beach Boys be damned. Tench, Campbell and Petty attribute the group’s longevity to two epochal moments: one logistical and one creative.

“About 20 years ago, we stopped doing soundchecks,” says Petty. “It eats up the whole day and we’d argue, and then you’d come back and the sound would be completely different with a crowd.” 

The other game-changer was Bob Dylan. By 1986, the band had toured relentlessly for a decade. Off the road, everyone was a mess – some members dealing with substance issues, some just dealing with real life. “The road and the studio are the only places I’ve ever felt completely OK,” says Petty, lighting another Marlboro. “In any other life situation I’m terribly retarded.” Petty got a call from Dylan asking if the band would back him on a tour. Petty raced out a “hell, yes.” Watching footage, you can see him smiling his head off, ecstatic to not be leading the show. The experience taught him how to be in the Heartbreakers, not just lead them. “That’s when we learned how to really be a band,” says Petty.

As the bandmates wait out the rain, Petty asks if they want to add their 1999 song “Swingin'” to the second half of the set. Everyone agrees: They do. The Heartbreakers aren’t a democracy, but more of a benevolent dictatorship. This is true when it comes to the set list. “We can make suggestions,” says Tench with a wry smile. “Sometimes they’re even accepted.”

After 20 minutes, the Heartbreakers retake the stage. They play “Swingin’,” which has a chorus where Petty lists icons who “went down swinging,” including Sonny Liston and Sammy Davis. Tench, who sings with Petty on the song, switches it up. Epstein provided the beautiful high harmonies on the record, so Tench sneaks in a tribute to his departed friend: “He went down swingin’/Just like Howie Epstein.” When I mention Epstein to Campbell later, he starts to cry.

Petty is supposed to do some acoustic numbers from Wildflowers, his 1994 solo album. There’s just one problem: His guitar is dead, soaked by the rain. There’s confusion and uncertainty on the bandmates’ faces for a moment, like it’s a 1975 show at a honky-tonk in Gainesville. Then Petty and Campbell shout across the stage, “Ben, play something!”

Tench, the best keyboardist in American rock, breaks into a pastiche of boogie-woogie, a homage to pianist Pete Johnson. The group chimes in, not quite in sync, until Petty switches to Chuck Berry’s “Carol.” The Heartbreakers fall in line, sounding like the best bar band you don’t want to tell your friends about because it’ll get too big and leave your favorite saloon.

“It’s still a wild pace. I might be away for two years, but I’ve worked myself to death on different projects.”

They encore with “American Girl.” The bandmates take a bow, wiping sweat and rain off their faces. Everyone exits, but Petty seems reluctant to leave. He takes a few steps toward the front of the stage and gives a last wave.

One word Petty and the band never mention: retirement. Petty still goes into his Malibu home office to write songs – right across from his home studio. He’s mostly a homebody, rarely even venturing the 45 minutes into Los Angeles unless it’s to see his two daughters and his young granddaughter. There was a Mudcrutch tour last year and a turn producing a record for former Byrds bassist Chris Hillman. The Heartbreakers will record again and play live in some capacity. “It’s still a wild pace,” says Petty. “I might be away for two years, but I’ve worked myself to death on different projects, you know?”

After 40 years, it would be surprising if there weren’t a few regrets. “Howie should’ve gotten some lead on a record,” Tench says of Epstein. “He should’ve produced a record for the Heartbreakers. I would’ve loved that.” Then he shrugs. “But I’m not in charge.”

Petty often thinks about songs that should have been left out on the street, like the closing track on Full Moon Fever. “I hate ‘Zombie Zoo,’ ” he says with a shake of his head. “I do not understand how that got on the record. I had better stuff. What frame of mind produced that? That was nearly a perfect album.”

But that’s on the dark side of town. Petty also mentions the stories of fans telling him how they walked down the aisle to “Here Comes My Girl” or got strength from “I Won’t Back Down.” He remembers a recent encounter in L.A. with a young fan. She mentioned that she got solace from the band’s 1999 album, Echo. She knew that it was one of Petty’s stepchildren – an opportunity Petty feels he squandered while he was out of his head from his divorce, and Epstein was slipping away into heroin abuse. Petty signed the woman’s copy of the record, then thought about the encounter when he got back home to Malibu.

“Well, see?” says Petty with a shrug of wonder. “Things can work even when you don’t realize it.” He pauses for a moment. “You know?”

Campbell and Tench use words like “miracle” and “magic” to explain how the Heartbreakers still crank out a show every bit as good as they did in 1985. Campbell describes moments when the band is working in sync, and he feels almost like he’s watching from above.

“I’ll be looking at this going, ‘Wow. How did I get here? How lucky am I?'” says Campbell with wonderment.

He rubs his eyes and then smiles.

“Then I’ll come back and be like, ‘OK, I’ve gotta work.’ ” 

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Steve Winwood to Release 'Greatest Hits Live' – His First Album in Nearly a Decade and A Definitive Musical Portrait of His Five-Decade Career – on September 1

Steve Winwood to Release ‘Greatest Hits Live’& – His First Album in Nearly a Decade and A Definitive Musical Portrait of His Five-Decade Career – on September 1NASHVILLE, Tenn., June 30, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Singer-songwriter, legendary vocalist, guitarist, keyboardist, mandolin player, producer, Grammy winner and BMI Icon Steve Winwood will release ‘Winwood: Greatest Hits Live,’ his first-ever live album as a solo artist on Friday, September 1…