Daily Archives: July 11, 2017

Thom Yorke Rejects New Calls to Cancel Radiohead's Israel Concert

Thom Yorke continued to defend Radiohead‘s decision to play a concert in Israel after British filmmaker Ken Loach once again urged the band to call off their July 19th gig in Tel Aviv in an op-ed for The Independent. Loach is among many musicians and activists calling on Radiohead to cancel the show in solidarity with the BDS (Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions) movement, which calls for a complete cultural boycott of Israel until Palestinians are granted the “right of return” and the West Bank barrier is demolished.

“Playing in a country isn’t the same as endorsing its government,” Yorke wrote in a note posted to Twitter. “We’ve played in Israel for over 20 years through a succession of governments, some more liberal than others. As we have in America. We don’t endorse [Israeli Prime Minister] Netanyahu any more than Trump, but we still play in America. Music, art and academia is about crossing borders not building them, about open minds not closed ones, about shared humanity, dialogue and freedom of expression. I hope that makes it clear Ken.”

In The Independent, Loach rejected Yorke’s previous assertion to Rolling Stone that the director and others had decided to, “rather than engage with us personally, throw shit at us in public.” According to Loach, many artists, including Palestinian and progressive Israeli artists, have tried to appeal to the band. Radiohead ignored them. Loach said the band’s management had not responded to multiple requests for meetings.

“I and others are still willing to meet Yorke and his colleagues, together with Palestinian artists,” Loach said. “Radiohead are important to a lot of people around the world, not just because they are accomplished and very distinguished musicians, but also because they are perceived to be a progressive political band. None of us want to see them make the mistake of appearing to endorse or cover up Israeli oppression. If they go to Tel Aviv, they may never live it down.”

In April, 47 prominent figures, including Roger Waters and Desmond Tutu, signed an Artists for Palestine U.K. petition urging Radiohead to cancel their Israel concert. Last month, Artists for Palestine U.K. issued another statement in response to Yorke’s statement to Rolling Stone, while a fan group, Radiohead Fans for Palestine, also published an open-letter criticizing the group.

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LiveXLive and Paleo Festival Enter Exclusive, Multi-Year Production and Worldwide Distribution Partnership

LiveXLive (PRNewsFoto/Loton, Corp.)BEVERLY HILLS, Calif., July 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — Loton, Corp.’s (OTC: LIVX) subsidiary LiveXLive, the worldwide premium live music video streaming network, today announced that the Paleo Festival de Nyon has entered into an agreement with LiveXLive to produce, curate, and amplify the…


Mura Masa: How 'Geographical Isolation' Spawned a Singular EDM Producer

Mura Masa, the recording project of 21-year-old producer Alex Crossan, has spent a year riding an incredible amount of buzz with tracks that wiggle between trap, EDM and pop. After being featured on Diplo’s BBC1 radio show, he recorded the A$AP Rocky collaboration “Love$ick,” which hit the U.K. charts and currently sits at more than 29 million YouTube plays. He’s produced tracks for songwriter Låpsley and grime sensation Stormzy and has spent this year hitting festivals like Glastonbury, Coachella and Field Day. His protean sound is a singular strain of modern pop, taking cues from the wickedest trap snares and neon-smeared EDM as well as glints of Caribbean steel drum and African kalimba.

“He makes intelligent and beautiful pop music like no other,” guest vocalist and collaborator Bonzai told Rolling Stone. “I could spend forever in a studio with him.”

Bonzai was not alone in joining Crossan, as the likes of Gorillaz’ Damon Albarn, Charli XCX, Desiigner and Jamie Lidell all hopped into a studio with the producer. This month sees Mura Masa drop his highly anticipated, self-titled Downtown/Interscope debut, an assured amalgam of hip-hop, electronic dance music and sheer pleasure-center pop, with glints of hardcore punk, Himalayan folk and harps thrown in for good measure. Despite having so many distinct pop personalities on the album, Crossan combines them for a vision that is distinctly his own.

“I chose not to restrict myself in any way when making the record, to take influence from wherever I saw fit, to try and include people from all over,” Crossan tells Rolling Stone. “What I try to do as Mura Masa involves any kind of voice. I wouldn’t limit myself to any one genre or person. It could be anyone.”

Crossan grew up on the island of Guernsey, a 25 square mile island off the coast of Normandy, situated between Great Britain and France. His father had played bass in a rock band in the early 1980s, though Crossan says bad management ripped them off. He turned his son onto the likes of Joni Mitchell and Yes, but more importantly he imparted the lesson on “how to be a mindful musician,” Crossan says. “He told me that music is so much more about what you aren’t playing than what you are; silence and space are so important.”

On Guernsey, he had to imagine his own music scene, in a sense. Having a sound that pulls from hip-hop, dubstep, trap, EDM, ambient and bubblegum from around the world “comes from geographical isolation more than anything,” he said.

“Where I grew up, it’s so far-removed and serene and isolated with no underground culture. I had to perceive all music culture through the lens of the internet.”

The trickiest part for Mura Masa has now been about translating internet clicks into real-world success. But despite signing with a major and having a worthy handful stars on the album, Crossan says his approach remains bare bones: “Up to the point where I started working on the album, I just had my laptop. I didn’t have any gear or any fancy stuff. I still don’t have a studio or own a pair of fancy speakers. I’m just making music on my laptop with my headphones.”

So while that meant discussing fashion designers and a shared love of Tame Impala with A$AP Rocky and working in the studio with Albarn, Crossan stayed true to his roots.

“I intentionally didn’t change the process so that it remained authentic, sounding like I made it in my bedroom,” he said. “That’s what’s been my bedrock, my style, that lonely bedroom sound. I decided to keep that exactly the same.”

It’s also meant negotiating his newfound life as a musician in London, where he moved in 2015, after spending his entire life on Guernsey. He still worries about getting lost in the massive city, though such a big new city to call home has its advantages.

“The city swallows you up. There’s always things to do and people have places to be,” Crossan says. “If you have work to do, it’s amazing because you become engulfed. You live your work.” It also means that Crossan is ready to emerge from his bedroom and put his music out in the world.

“It’s easy to sit in your room and make something that you think is cool, it’s a different thing to give music to a fanbase,” he says about playing live. “It’s been amazing for me to see people, real people care about this, beyond numbers ticking up on the internet.”

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Listen to 'Rolling Stone Music Now' Podcast: Radiohead and Making of 'OK Computer'

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

How Thom Yorke and his bandmates channeled millennial angst, a haunted castle and the agonies of touring into the final masterpiece of the alt-rock era: Rolling Stone‘s Andy Greene joins host Brian Hiatt to talk about his cover-story interviews with the band.

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

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Flashback: Bruce Springsteen Debuts 'Tom Joad' on Leno

Very few people have anything but a vague recollection of Tony Danza’s 1995 sitcom Hudson Street. The ABC show featured him as a detective that falls in love with a crime reporter played by Full House’s Lori Loughlin. It was his third straight network sitcom where he played a Tony (after Taxi’s Tony Banta and Who’s the Boss’ Tony Micelli), but this one didn’t connect and it was yanked after a single season.

The show did bring him to Jay Leno’s couch on November 27th, 1995, right before Bruce Springsteen came out to perform “The Ghost of Tom Joad,” the title track to his album that hit just five days earlier. Danza was pumped. “I’ve seen him a bunch of times,” he told Leno. “And let me tell you, he puts on a show. He puts on a show! Bruuuuuuce!”

Danza stood up to cheer like he was about to see him play “Glory Days,” but this was a very different Springsteen than the one he remembered from the 1980s. He had little more than an acoustic guitar, a harmonica rack, a receding hairline and a stunning new song about the urban homeless. He debuted the tune less than a month earlier at Neil Young’s Bridge School Benefit. The single wouldn’t even dent the charts, but it would have a very long afterlife and get covered by everyone from Rage Against the Machine to Pete Seeger.

The Tonight Show performance came near the end of a very bizarre year in Springsteen’s career. It began with him picking up three Grammy’s for “Streets of Philadelphia” and reforming the E Street Band to cut new songs for his Greatest Hits album. They played a handful of promotional shows that had fans salivating over the idea of a reunion tour, but when he finally went on the road in October it was as a guitarist in his buddy Joe Grushecky’s band. When he could have been playing multiple nights at Giants Stadium he was at the 600-seat Nick’s Fat City in Pittsburgh.

Just weeks after the brief run of Grushecky shows, he began the solo acoustic Tom Joad tour that would take him to theaters all over the world until May of 1997. By that point, Tony Danza was gearing up to go back on the air with The Tony Danza Show. This time around he played Tony DiMeo, a sportswriter and single father of two young daughters. They filmed 14 episodes, but NBC pulled it after just four. 

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DNCE To Star In Total Eclipse Concert On Royal Caribbean's Oasis Of The Seas

Multi-platinum selling band DNCE and a special guest will headline Royal Caribbean's Total Eclipse Cruise aboard Oasis of the Seas on Aug. 21, 2017, celebrating the Great American Eclipse -- a celestial phenomenon 99 years in the making.MIAMI, July 11, 2017 /PRNewswire/ — The stars have aligned with the return of multi-platinum selling band DNCE aboard Royal Caribbean International for a live musical performance to celebrate the Great American Eclipse, a phenomenon 99 years in the making. On Aug. 21, DNCE will headline…


Jay-Z on Beyonce Marriage: It 'Wasn't Totally Built on 100 Percent Truth'

As if Jay-Z‘s confessional 4:44 wasn’t enough, the rapper has newly released an addendum to his raw and revealing album, a short documentary film titled “Footnotes for 4:44.”

The 11-minute video includes interviews with some of Hollywood and the music industry’s most famous men of color – from Kendrick Lamar to Will Smith to Chris Rock to Spike Lee – opening up about topics ranging from toxic masculinity to black love.

Hova himself opens up about his tumultuous marriage to Beyoncé, explaining the reasons why he struggled to both maintain the relationship, and then rebuild it once he broke her trust (the rapper chronicles the ups and downs of their love, including his infidelity and an infamous 2014 elevator incident with Solange, throughout 4:44).

“What I thought … when I met my dad was, ‘Oh, you’re free to love now,'” he says in the clip. “But it’s like, yeah, OK, but how’re you gonna do it? You wanna do it, I get it. Now how’re you gonna do this? You’ve never done this before, no one informed you how to do this. You don’t even have the tools to do it.”

The hip-hop artist continues: “This is my real life. I just ran into this place and we built this big, beautiful mansion of a relationship that wasn’t totally built on the 100 percent truth and it starts cracking. Things start happening that the public can see. Then we had to get to a point of ‘OK, tear this down and let’s start from the beginning … It’s the hardest thing I’ve ever done. Most humans, us, you know what I mean? We’re not willing to put ourselves through that. Most people give up.”

The multi-hyphenate even compared fighting for his relationship to growing up in the Marcy Projects and being shot at, noting that rebuilding their relationship was scarier, and more challenging, than living in the hood.

In the “Footnotes” clip, Jay-Z also reflects on the moment when he finally woke up to the reality that he could lose the mother of his child because of his actions.

“I was on a boat, and I had the best time. I was like, ‘Man, this is great.’ Then she had to leave,” he says. “I was, like, crushed. I was like, ‘Man, I don’t even feel like this. What is happening to my body right now?’ I was like, ‘Don’t go.’ I was like, ‘Did I just say … all this is new for me. Don’t leave.'”

On the titular track, Jay-Z addresses his adultery head-on: “I apologize, often womanize/ Took for my child to be born/ See through a woman’s eyes/ Took for these natural twins to believe in miracles/ Took me too long for this song/ I don’t deserve you.” His confessional album is seen by fans and critics as the response to Beyoncé’s seminal 2016 album Lemonade, which identified infidelity as the root of their relationship troubles.

Toward the end of the clip, Jay-Z sums up the couple’s decision to stay together, and his vow to put in the effort to make their marriage work.

“We just got to a place where in order for this to work, this can’t be fake,” he says. “Not one ounce. I’m not saying it wasn’t uncomfortable because obviously it was.”

Jay-Z released the music video for 4:44 just a few days prior, on Friday, July 7th.

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LCD Soundsystem: David Bowie Convinced Us to Reunite

LCD Soundsystem mastermind James Murphy said David Bowie helped convince him to reassemble his band after they split in 2011. Murphy also discussed working on the late musician’s final album, Blackstar, during an interview with Lauren Laverne on BBC 6 Music radio.

“I spent a good amount of time with David Bowie, and I was talking about coming back and getting the band back together,” Murphy recalled. “He said, ‘Does it make you uncomfortable?’ I said ‘Yeah,’ and he said, ‘Good – it should. You should be uncomfortable.’ 

And the first thing that popped into my mind was, ‘What the? What do you know? You don’t know what it’s like to be uncomfortable.’ Because I’m imagining if I was David Bowie, I’d just walk into the room and flip everybody off, like ‘I’m David Bowie!’ And nobody can say anything – unless maybe Lou Reed’s there … But then of course that’s not who he was ever in his life. He was always making himself uncomfortable. It was such a great feeling of, you just don’t know what you are to anybody else.”

LCD Soundsystem announced their retirement in 2011 after touring extensively behind their 2010 album This Is Happening. Following the group’s dissolution, Murphy focused on an array of projects, including movie soundtracks, producing Arcade Fire and working on various remixes (including some for Bowie). He ended up contributing percussion to two songs on Bowie’s Blackstar – “Sue (Or In a Season of Crime)” and “Girl Loves Me” – and almost co-produced the LP alongside Bowie and longtime collaborator Tony Visconti. However, Visconti told Rolling Stone that Murphy ultimately left the sessions to focus on his own projects. 

More recently, Murphy admitted to the BBC’s Annie Mac that his nerves got the better of him. “I got overwhelmed,” he said. “It takes a different kind of person than me to walk into that room and be like, I belong here, I should definitely insert myself in this relationship because they just can’t manage to make a record without me.”

LCD Soundsystem announced that they were reuniting in January 2016, right around the same time Bowie released Blackstar (the musician died just a few days later). After spending much of last year on the road, LCD Soundsystem are prepping their new album, American Dream, which arrives September 1st.

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Spotify Reaches Deal Over Royalties With Sony Music

Sony Music Entertainment reached a licensing deal with Spotify this week, according to Billboard, in a deal that may set up the streaming service to go public.

The particulars of the agreement are unclear. However, Sony is the second major label to forge a new licensing deal with the popular streaming platform this year. (Universal Music Group announced a global, multiyear agreement with Spotify in April.) That puts additional pressure on Warner Music Group, the lone holdout remaining in the so-called “Big Three,” to make its own deal with Spotify.

Spotify, whose 50 million subscribers makes it the largest streaming service – Apple Music is a distant second with 27 million – is expected to go public in the near future. Last year, it raised $1 billion in convertible debt, which can be traded in for equity in Spotify once the company goes public.

Before the streaming service does that, however, it needs deals with the Big Three to assure potential public market investors that the music on the platform will not be disappearing anytime soon.

Under the terms of the new UMG/Spotify agreement, Universal artists are allowed to release albums only to premium Spotify users – those who pay for a subscription to the service – for up to two weeks before that product becomes available on Spotify’s free tier, which pays lower royalty rates. (Singles are exempt from this rule.) Taylor Swift, a fan of the exclusive provision, returned her albums to Spotify in June – she pulled them off the platform in 2014 – as a sign of support for the new deal.

In exchange for this concession to Universal, Spotify will pay out a smaller portion of royalties to the label: approximately 52% instead of 55%, according to The New York Times.

Spotify is in ongoing talks with Warner Music Group. 

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Hear Haim's DIY Cover of Selena Gomez's 'Bad Liar'

Haim delivered a crafty cover of Selena Gomez’s “Bad Liar” on BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge. The band recreated the song’s minimalist vibe using a makeshift percussion setup, which Danielle Haim said comprised a coffee mug, two glasses, a box and two coffee canisters. Check out the full performance at the 2:19:00 mark via the BBC’s website

The kitchen-sink drum kit lent Haim’s cover of “Bad Liar” a ramshackle feel, though Danielle’s rhythm never slipped as she jumped between the mugs and glasses. Este and Alana Haim fleshed out the rest of the arrangement with a steady bass groove and long, angelic synth lines, while Alana also handled lead vocals and Este joined for some subtle harmonies during the delightfully demure chorus.

Haim recently released their long-awaited second album Something to Tell You, which follows 2013’s Days Are Gone. The trio will embark on a North American tour this fall in support of the record September 3rd with a set at Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle, Washington.

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