Daily Archives: July 10, 2017

Hear Dr. Dre Boast on New Song 'Gunfire' From 'Defiant Ones' Doc

Dr. Dre trumpets his own business acumen in the surprise new song “Gunfire,” which premiered during Sunday’s debut episode of The Defiant Ones. The HBO documentary explores the lives and careers of the rapper and record executive Jimmy Iovine.

“How you spell C.E.O.? D.R.E./ What a nigga dream he could try to be,” the MC rhymes in a rapid-fire flow over droning horn samples and a skittering beat. “Even though I’m from a place where niggas got TECs, don’t mean technology/ Grew up ’round Blood niggas, real camaraderie/ Plus Crip niggas on the other side of me/ But I’m the only nigga that I ever tried to be.”

It’s unclear whether “Gunfire” is a newly recorded track or an archival piece revived for the documentary project. The song is Dr. Dre’s first since 2015’s Compton, the pseudo-soundtrack to that year’s N.W.A. biopic Straight Outta Compton. A rep for the rapper-producer tells Rolling Stone that he has no plans to release the song commercially.

In the four-part The Defiant Ones, director Allen Hughes explores Dr. Dre’s unlikely partnership with Iovine – from their individual career paths (Iovine as a prominent producer, Dre as a founding member of N.W.A) to their 2006 co-launch of Beats Electronics in 2006 and its $3 billion sale to Apple eight years later.

The film includes interviews with the duo’s numerous respective collaborators, including Eminem, Bruce Springsteen, U2’s Bono, Kendrick Lamar, Patti Smith, Gwen Stefani, Ice Cube and Nine Inch Nails’ Trent Reznor.

The doc’s second installment premieres Monday, July 10th on HBO.

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My Morning Jacket's Jim James on Onstage Surprises, Band's Lost LP

When My Morning Jacket frontman Jim James is faced with the question of what the band’s fans should be ready for at this summer’s shows, he has a cliché ready: “Expect the unexpected.”

But for James and his bandmates, who have put out seven albums of jammy psych rock since 1999 and have amassed a mighty arsenal of cover songs that they whip out on a whim in concerts, the phrase is more than a platitude. “I feel like we’re fortunate to have so much material now that we’re trying to really switch it up a lot,” says the singer and guitarist, whose band last put out an album, The Waterfall, in 2015. “We can try different things, and we’ve really been enjoying doing so lately.”

The band is currently working its way around North America with gigs that run through August. Prior to the tour, the singer spoke with Rolling Stone about the many surprises that can occur when My Morning Jacket take the stage.

What types of things have you been switching up lately?
When we did our One Big Holiday concert in Mexico [this past February], we played multiple nights and we had no repeats in the set list. People got a different show every night. We feel really fortunate now to have enough catalogue and we know enough covers to do that.

The band is also known for playing songs differently than they were recorded.
That stuff just kind of happens. You’ll be playing, and sometimes accidentally you do something too fast or too slow or a guitar breaks and it will change a song. We try to be open to that. I love a lot of those happy accidents that can happen where your amp goes out and at the time you’re really pissed and you have to limp through the rest of the song, but then later you realize that because there was a problem somebody else has to do something different and it actually created a cool new way of doing it.

Can you remember a specific time when something like that happened?
“Phone Went West” [off 2001’s At Dawn] has changed several times because of that or just the mood you’re in. We have a lot of songs that have open passages for improv, so that really changes depending on what mood you’re in. We had this joke in the beginning that we made these really super slow dreamy records but then played them like a metal band. It’s weird how the energy of a show can be different than the energy you had in the studio, trying to get whatever you were going for in that point in time. And also just as you age and change and grow or learn, your taste changes and sometimes that changes a song.

Since you don’t have an album to promote this summer, do you have anything new to play?
I don’t know if we will, but I’ve got some new stuff I’ve been excited about. Everybody’s been busy with their family so we haven’t had any time to learn new stuff yet, but hopefully we’ll find the time.

Are the new songs you’re working on for the band or for you solo?
It’s kind of a big pile right now. I’m not really sure what will go where.

Around the time you did The Waterfall, you were saying you had enough music for two albums. What happened to the rest of it?
Yeah, we basically made two records. We finished the one that was The Waterfall, and then we went on tour and did yadda yadda yadda, and then in between I’d written all this new stuff that has, like, taken over my focus. So it’s almost like the other record kind of got forgotten or shelved for a minute, but just the other day I went back and I was listening to the rough mixes we made at the time, and was really getting into them again. So I feel like that’s something that will definitely come out. I don’t know if it will be called Behind the Waterfall or something related, but it still exists. It just needs to be mixed.

When you do a tour like this, other than your instruments, what do you always bring with you?
That’s a good question. Ever since I got back surgery, everything in my life has been about reduction. I’ve got the lightest backpack I can carry and the lightest MacBook. I’ve gotten into doing electronic books and audiobooks, so I have an iPad. I still love reading a real book, but when you travel, it’s better than carrying around a bunch of books.

And I feel like the craziest breakthrough I’ve had in the last few months was Spotify. I was always kind of against streaming but I’ve been traveling so much and I usually carry a huge hard drive of digital music with me but I haven’t had time to deal with it, so I’ve been doing streaming. And I had this incredible breakthrough of weightlessness where I’ve really been loving streaming music.

What do you like about it?
The thing I’ve loved most is how when I’m done with, say, Jimi Hendrix, similar things start playing. It’s stuff that they think I’d like or things that are related to it, and it’s been blowing my mind, ’cause I feel like it’s this really cool way to hear about things that I would not have heard about otherwise.

What have you discovered from that?
Oh, my God. So much. It’s every day. I feel like the Spotify thing is such a fucking wormhole.

I had this moment the other day where I was like, “Oh, my God, I have now stepped my both feet firmly into the streaming world and I love it, but I’m still so pissed that they can’t figure out a way to pay us fairly.” It’s like, yeah, we have this new beautiful tool for people to discover and listen to music, and it’s great that you don’t even have to remember to sync your iTunes anymore. But you’ve got all the music in the world in your pocket and people aren’t being treated right and artists aren’t being paid, so it’s like how do we remedy that?

“You’ve got all the music in the world in your pocket and people aren’t being treated right and artists aren’t being paid.”

Are you ready to get involved on the advocacy level?
Yeah. I mean, I’ve talked about it with a lot of music industry people. It’s obviously been a huge question, and you hear stories of shady backdoor deals where the labels are getting paid but the artists aren’t getting paid, but it’s so hard to find the facts. It’s so hard to find what is actually true. So yeah, I guess I’m just trying to be a conversation piece about it because I feel like we really need to keep talking about it. But I don’t want to rebel against it, ’cause I don’t like the thought of taking our music off of Spotify or Apple Music or whatever, because I love those services, and I love the thought that people can experience our music on those services, or that somebody might listen to some record they already know and then maybe one of our songs will come up in the random shuffle after it’s over. I think that’s amazing, but it’s just wild that nobody can admit that this is not fair right now, that artists are being basically cheated, their work is being stolen for fractions of a cent. It’s wild how it’s devaluing music, but also really bringing this new crazy value to music.

It’s just about getting paid fairly. Music is expensive to make. It’s expensive to pay studio costs and pay performers fairly and do all the things you need to do to make a record. So yeah, I don’t know, it’s a real wormhole.

Lastly, since you do put so much into making your music, what feeling do you hope people take away from a My Morning Jacket show?
I hope it takes them to another place. There’s something very spiritual about it. Everybody knows there is a social aspect to going out to the concerts, but for us it’s so far beyond that. We hope that people who come have fun also can hopefully gain something spiritually from the experience as well.

I keep having this notion that I want to transcend the physical body or I want to transcend the physical experience. Music is one of the greatest vehicles we have for doing that. Live music is incredible because you get to be with people and you get to have this tactile, real-world experience, but at the end of the day, if your eyes are closed and you’re getting swept away, it’s like … I don’t know. I keep trying to figure out some way I can be there as a spirit or something – not as a person, even though my person has to be there. If you close your eyes and listen, you forget everything. You forget all your aches and pains or whatever problems you’re dealing with that moment in your life. So I think that’s a big thing about why I like to play music, and hopefully why people like to come see the music.

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Brian Evans Will Write Book on Hospital Negligence, Hospital Rating Companies, and Sleep Apnea

Brian Evans and Dr. Oz recently discussed Sleep Apnea on Maui. Evans provided him copies of the 35 Sleep Apnea Proclamations governors have given him so far. He awaits 15 more.BOSTON, July 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Brian Evans, the singer known for such classic music videos as “At Fenway” with William Shatner, and “Creature at The Bates Motel,” with comedian Carrot Top, has decided that he will write a book about hospital negligence.
According to a recent…


Kendrick Lamar Announces Damn. Pop-Up Shops

Kendrick Lamar will pair his upcoming Damn. Tour with pop-up shops in select cities on the tour itinerary.

The first Damn. Pop-Up Shop will open its doors in Dallas on July 14th, the same day the rapper performs at the city’s American Airlines Center.

In total, 15 of the Damn. Tour’s stops will feature an accompanying pop-up shop, which will likely feature some of the Lamar-related apparel Top Dawg Entertainment has unveiled in recent weeks.

For New York and Los Angeles, the Damn. Pop-Up Shop will occupy a space for a series of days: New York’s pop-up will run from July 20th to 23rd to correspond with Lamar’s gig at Brooklyn’s Barclays Center, while the rapper’s three-night stand at Los Angeles’ Staples Center will also result in a multi-day pop-up shop August 6th to 11th.

Check out complete details regarding the locations of the pop-up shops at Lamar’s website.

The Damn. Tour kicks off July 12th in Phoenix and concludes September 2nd in Miami.

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Caring Though Music: A New Short Film by CaringKind and Bang & Olufsen

NEW YORK, July 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Today, Caring Through Music, a short film by CaringKind, New York City’s leading expert on Alzheimer’s and dementia caregiving, with the support of B&O PLAY, a unit of audio company Bang & Olufsen, premiered to the public at large….


Motown Records Is Its Strongest in Years: How the Legendary Label Got Its Groove Back

Through the Sixties and Seventies, Motown Records was a culture-shifting force: Founded by Berry Gordy in 1959, it became one of the world’s most successful black-owned businesses, an independent, trend-setting, discrimination-defying juggernaut. Names like Smokey Robinson, the Supremes, the Temptations, Marvin Gaye, Stevie Wonder and the Jackson 5 that only hint at the label’s legacy.

Unfortunately, Motown has been hobbled ever since. Starting in the late 1980s, the label was absorbed by a series of large corporate entities, losing both its standalone status and its identity. Boyz II Men, Brian McKnight and Erykah Badu provided no small successes in the Nineties and beyond, but Kedar Massenburg, who helmed Motown from 1999 to 2005, describes its path over the last decade as “ever-shrinking.”

“I’ve watched it go from 200 [employees] to 100 to being basically looked at as an imprint,” he says. “I would hate it for it to just go away, which is what tends to happen with legendary African-American organizations.” In 2011, longtime Motown recording artist Erykah Badu went so far as to tweet, “Motown folded.”

But surprisingly, the label has transformed back into an organization worth watching. Three young singers – Kevin Ross, La’Porsha Renae and BJ the Chicago Kid – all recently scored sharp singles that earned Urban Adult Contemporary radio play. And crucially for a label once dubbed “the sound of Young America,” Motown is enticing teen listeners again, establishing its first significant beachhead in rap with artists like Lil Yachty and Migos.

“With the hip-hop side and what they’re doing with singers, they’re getting the best of both worlds,” Massenburg says. “I think they’re on the right path.”

The decline of Motown was in many ways inevitable given the remarkable evolutions of the label’s tentpole artists – like Stevie Wonder, Diana Ross and Marvin Gaye – along with the development of the one of the biggest stars of all time in Michael Jackson: It stands to reason that no label could continue to function at this level forever. Nonetheless, Motown deserves part of the blame for its icy streak. As hip-hop became more popular in the 1980s, R&B responded by slimming down and toughening up. But Motown maintained its old stable of stars, all recording for fewer and fewer listeners, and many of the label’s new additions were explicitly modeled as throwbacks. Think of Johnny Gill, often compared to Seventies great Teddy Pendergrass, and Boyz II Men, whose ornate, feathery ballads reached back to the glory days of Motown vocal groups. While these acts enjoyed commercial success, they elaborated on old traditions rather than starting new ones, leading to creative stasis.

The label’s refusal to adapt hurt profit margins, which led to its acquisition by a series of parent companies – first MCA in 1988, and then Polygram, which announced its plans to buy Motown in 1993. Danny Goldberg, who oversaw Motown from a distance as the head of Polygram’s Mercury Records group, remembers a label with “costs that were wildly out of proportion to the sales.”

Motown changed hands again when Seagram consolidated Polygram with Universal Music Group, and Kedar Massenburg ended up in charge of a label he remembers as “already buried in the ground.” He pushed Motown towards the style that he helped name – neo-soul. The sub-genre’s emphasis on the principles of 1970s R&B was a temporary hit for the label, if not a sustainable path forward, and Massenburg picked up Indie.Arie, Kem and Erykah Badu, who are still on Motown’s roster today.

But as the corporate re-shuffling continued, Massenburg was replaced by Sylvia Rhone, and even Motown’s staunch attachment to R&B tradition disappeared. The label was joined with part of Republic, then cut away and put under Island Def Jam. 

“It wasn’t really Motown anymore, it was just an imprint owned by Universal,” says Sha Money XL, a veteran producer for 50 Cent and others who also spent time working as an A&R at Def Jam. “You didn’t feel the aesthetic of something black-owned, the aesthetic of something that had great cultural acts,” Sha adds. “It really became nothing.”

The label’s lack of identity was exemplified by major missed opportunities. Motown executives failed to recognize the potential of Bruno Mars, signing him and then dropping him. Drake even mocked Rhone for passing up the chance to sign him in a song on his 2009 mixtape So Far Gone. This period is like Motown’s lost weekend: Hardly anyone who was signed after Massenburg left still records for the label.

After years of corporate dismemberment, Motown unexpectedly found itself benefiting from an outside takeover that allowed it to reestablish a coherent artistic vision. Universal’s purchase of EMI led to the break-up of Island, Def Jam and Motown; Motown returned to L.A., where Gordy had moved it in 1972, and became a subsidiary of Capitol, another prestige brand. Ethiopia Habtemariam, previously the label’s Senior VP, was promoted to president.

Habtemariam is tactful when asked about Motown’s prior treatment by its corporate bosses. “That scenario wasn’t the best scenario in place,” she says. “We focused on what would be the best opportunity to really grow as a label and get the resources we needed. Like Motown, Capitol has an historic presence that means a lot to a lot of people. It’s been much better for all of us.”

The latest iteration of Motown started with a slim roster that included three artists – Arie, Kem and Badu – from the Massenburg era. Ne-Yo, one of the most astute R&B songwriters and singers of the 2000s, moved over to Motown from Def Jam as an artist, songwriter and Senior VP of A&R. Habtemariam and her other Senior VP of A&R, Ezekiel Lewis, had already signed BJ the Chicago Kid and Kevin Ross, though neither had released music through the label; La’Porsha Renae came aboard later after finishing in second place on American Idol.

BJ, Ross and Renae are un-trendy singers squarely in line with Motown’s historical strengths. Like Gill or Massenburg’s neo-soul cohort, all three flaunt, rather than flout, their links with tradition. Renae has the brassy tone, once popular in southern soul, that is almost extinct in R&B’s mainstream; BJ celebrated three Grammy nominations by releasing a tribute dedicated to Marvin Gaye.

“I view them in the classic sense of Motown: young, gifted, vibrant artists, a testament to the sound that Motown had so much success with,” says Terri Thomas, Operations Manager and Programming Director for Radio One, who has been adding Motown’s young singers to her playlists at Houston’s Majic 102.1. Bryson Tiller, a popular R&B singer on rival label RCA, agrees with Thomas, describing Ross’ debut album, The Awakening, as “true R&B,” and adding, “Hat’s off to him for keeping the R&B sound alive.”

The price of being off-trend is frequently exacted on the radio. Songs embraced first by the audience of Urban AC are rarely picked up by Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop programmers, who want to pull in a younger crowd. Still, Ross’ lovely, understated “Long Song Away” managed to climb to Number 12 on the Mainstream R&B/Hip-Hop Airplay chart, a small triumph.

Breaking away from Island and Def Jam also means that Motown can aggressively sign cutting-edge rappers, finally acknowledging today’s “sound of Young America.” (Motown had never had much success in hip-hop beyond the 1991 Top 40 hit “Oochie Coochie” by M.C. Brains.) Many of these rappers have come through a connection with Quality Control – the Atlanta independent label founded by seasoned hip-hop operators Pierre Thomas and Coach K – which also serves to rekindle Motown’s links with black-owned business.

In the past, “there wasn’t a need for us to focus on [rap], because we had our Def Jam partners who did hip-hop,” says Lewis. When the label relocated under Capitol, it didn’t have a single rapper on its roster.

Habtemariam and Lewis moved to change that immediately. “[Lewis] being a songwriter and producer, and me coming from a creative background, we both understood that we can’t say it’s just one genre of music that we’re in,” Habtemariam explains. “We definitely wanted to be relevant to youth culture and where it was going.”

“The original Motown was always rooted in youth,” Thomas, Radio One Programming Director, points out. “The canvas may be painted a little differently now. But [working with rappers] speaks to the spirit of how and why the label was established.”

Two years ago, Motown entered into a joint venture with Quality Control to take advantage of the indie’s expertise in the strains of southern rap currently dominating the airwaves. Habtemariam also sees this alliance as a step towards reestablishing the vision of Motown’s original founder. “I look at Mr. Gordy as one of the first black entrepreneurs that broke boundaries,” she notes. “We want to support young black entrepreneurs who built something special.”

Initially, the liaison with Quality Control connected Motown with OG Maco, of viral “U Guessed It” fame, and Young Greatness, who scored his first hit with the irresistible “Moolah.” Last year, Motown signed Lil Yachty, the self-proclaimed “Kings of Teens,” and he subsequently cracked the Top 10 on the Hot 100 twice as a collaborator. In 2017, the label added Migos, a trio enjoying months of cultural ubiquity, and Motown hopes to capitalize with a new record from them by year’s end. A Quality Control compilation is slated for summer release, and an LP from Atlanta rapper Rich Homie Quan is in the works as well.

The historical significance of Berry Gordy’s accomplishments helped convince Coach K, who was being wooed by multiple labels, that Motown was the right home for Quality Control. “Every executive should study Berry Gordy’s blueprint: We’re an independent company, and we built our whole label around how Motown was built,” Coach K says. “It was a perfect match. The old Motown was youthful and groundbreaking; that’s what the new Motown is now.”

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Niall Horan Plots Intimate 'Flicker Sessions 2017' World Tour

Niall Horan will perform new solo music on his upcoming Flicker Sessions 2017 world tour. The theater trek kicks off August 29th in his hometown, Dublin, and goes through London, Stockholm, Sydney, Tokyo, Mexico City, Los Angeles and Rio de Janeiro.

The 21-date jaunt closes with a full North American leg that kicks off October 29th in Philadelphia and concludes November 22nd in San Francisco. Tickets for the U.S. and Canadian shows go on sale Saturday, July 15th at 10 a.m. local time.

The former One Direction singer has released two solo singles – the funky “Slow Hands” and folky “This Town” – following his former band’s 2015 hiatus announcement. Last month, Horan performed as part of Ariana Grande’s all-star One Love Manchester concert benefitting the victims of the May 22nd attack at Manchester Arena.

In a recent SiriusXM interview, Horan also teased a potential collaboration with Don Henley. “I’ve got quite a close relationship with [Henley], and Don had spoke about before maybe doing some writing together,” he said. “So even just sitting there having a jam with him would be enough for me.”

Niall Horan Tour Dates

August 29 – Dublin, Ireland @ Olympia Theatre
August 31 – London, UK @ O2 Shepherd’s Bush Empire
September 3 – Stockholm, Sweden @ Annexet
September 10 – Sydney, Australia @ Enmore Theatre
September 14 – Tokyo, Japan @ EX Theater
September 19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Palladium
September 26 – Mexico City, Mexico @ El Plaza Condesa
October 1 – Rio de Janeiro, Brazil @ Vivo Rio
October 29 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore Philadelphia
October 31 – New York, NY @ Beacon Theatre
November 1 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall
November 3 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
November 4 – Washington, DC @ The Fillmore Silver Spring
November 6 – Miami Beach, FL @ The Fillmore Miami Beach
November 9 – Orlando, FL @ House of Blues Orlando
November 10 – Atlanta, GA @ Tabernacle
November 13 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
November 15 – Chicago, IL @ Rosemont Theatre
November 17 – Dallas, TX @ South Side Ballroom
November 20 – Phoenix, AZ @ Comerica Theatre
November 22 – San Francisco, CA @ The Masonic

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Beatles Mark 'Yellow Submarine' 50th Anniversary With Comic Book

For the 50th anniversary of the Beatles‘ Yellow Submarine, the Apple Corporation is authorizing a comic book adaptation of the classic film with Titan Comics. The book is slated for release in 2018. 

“We’re thrilled to be publishing The Beatles: Yellow Submarine for the 50th Anniversary of this fantastic movie,” Titan publishing director Chris Teather told the Hollywood Reporter. “We can’t wait for Beatles fans to experience this official adaptation.” 

Incoming MAD Magazine editor Bill Morrison wrote and illustrated The Beatles: Yellow Submarine, which follows the band and the titular nautical craft as they encounter the Blue Meanies.

Yellow Submarine, one of Rolling Stone‘s 40 Greatest Animated Movies Ever, previously received its own Lego set in 2016. However, Disney canceled a planned Robert Zemeckis CGI remake of the 1968 film over budgetary concerns in 2011.

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Niall Horan Announces "Flicker Sessions 2017"

http://rockbands.net/wp-content/blogs.dir/3/files/2017/07/Live_Nation_Entertainment_Niall_Horan_Tour.jpg?p=captionLOS ANGELES, July 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Fresh from the huge success of his global smash hit “Slow Hands,” Niall Horan today announces that he will embark on the Flicker Sessions 2017.  
Niall has spent the past year working on his debut solo album and is set to bring new music…


JAY-Z Announces 4:44 Tour

JAY-Z Announces 4:44 TourLOS ANGELES, July 10, 2017 /PRNewswire/ —


4:44 TOUR  …