Category Archives: INDIE MUSIC NEWS

Listen to 'Rolling Stone Music Now' Podcast: Music and Activism

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

For this episode, we discuss the fact that many pop stars and rockers have causes – but when are they really able to make a difference, and when should they keep their mouth shut? Rolling Stone music and politics editors run down the most successful examples of pop activism, from the No Nukes concert in 1978 to Bruce Springsteen’s North Carolina boycott. Plus, new music from D.R.A.M., Cate Le Bon and Pity Sex

Rolling Stone Music Now, hosted by Executive Editor Nathan Brackett, is a new weekly podcast that features interviews with marquee artists, a look inside the week’s hottest music news, a sampling of what’s playing in the Rolling Stone office and much more. Brackett is joined each week by a rotating panel of Rolling Stone’s writers and editors.

Subscribe now on iTunes and tune in next week for another episode.

Garbage Plan Summer Tour in Support of New Album

Garbage will support their new album Strange Little Birds, their first LP in four years, this summer with a month-long U.S. headlining tour. Shirley Manson, Butch Vig and company kick off their 20-date trek July 6th at Milwaukee’s Summerfest.

Tickets for the tour go on sale Friday, May 6th; check out Garbage’s site for full information. Along with tickets, the site is also offering VIP packages through Adventures in Wonderland that include early entry, meet-and-greets, soundcheck access and Q&A sessions at each stop.

On May 17th and 18th, Garbage will celebrate the arrival of their new LP with a pair of Los Angeles listening parties at EastWest Studios. In addition to debuting Strange Little Birds, the band will also perform a three-song set and host a Q&A session detailing the making of the album. Visit Adventures in Wonderland for tickets to those events.

Strange Little Birds is out June 10th. The band previously unveiled the LP’s first single “Empty.”

Garbage Tour Dates

July 6 – Milwaukee, WI @ Summerfest
July 7 – Minneapolis, MN @ Skyway Theatre
July 8 – Omaha, NE @ SumTur Amphitheater
July 10 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre
July 12 – St. Louis, MO @ The Pageant
July 13 – Tulsa, OK @ Brady Theater
July 15 – Indianapolis, IN @ Egyptian Room
July 16 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore
July 17 – Columbus, OH @ PromoWest Fest
July 19 – Knoxville, TN @ The Mill & Mine
July 20 – Nashville, TN @ Ryman Auditorium
July 22 – Atlanta, GA @ The Tabernacle
July 23 – Charlotte, NC @ Fillmore
July 25 – Richmond, VA @ The National
July 27 – Sayerville, NJ @ Starland Ballroom
July 28 – Boston, MA @ House Of Blues
July 30 – Philadelphia, PA @ The Fillmore
July 31 – Baltimore, MD @ Rams Head Live!
August 1 – New York, NY @ Summerstage
August 3 – Washington, DC @ The Lincoln Theater

Garbage’s Shirley Manson discusses the band’s upcoming album. Read excerpts from the interview here.

Deadmau5 Talks Video Game Obsession, Lazy DJs

“I’m no coach and I’m no pro myself,” Deadmau5 says of his relationship with video games. “I love watching professionals play more than I love sitting there 20 hours a day trying be a pro myself.” On Sunday afternoon, the DJ and Twitter provocateur found time for both, challenging a few professionals at a Call of Duty: Black Ops 3 event in New York City. An hour-long livestream captured every frag, frenzy and headshot. When the competition ended, Deadmau5 spoke to Rolling Stone about selling out, his place in music history and the connection between gaming and EDM.

Why did you get involved with the Call of Duty game?
I’m a video game enthusiast. I love video games! They were a huge part of my upbringing in their early form, when I was all about Dig Dug and River Raid. As they evolved, so did my music-making, and we just kind of grew up together like cool friends. It’s something I do still to this day. When I’m working on something and need to take a little break, I’ll go down and play some video games. It’s just a good time-sink to take your mind off shit.

Do you think your love for video games has influenced your music-making, besides being a distraction?
You know what? In terms of sound, yeah, absolutely. The first video games that I ever played didn’t even have soundtracks. It was just a bunch of blips and bloops, and then as the technology evolved we started hearing soundtracks to early NES titles and Super Nintendo titles. I was actually really taken by the – if you will – soundtrack for Castlevania and Super Castlevania for Super Nintendo. That was like, “Holy shit! These are cool songs!” Now you can just take professional-level recordings as is – sometimes better – and just throw them in games.

So I was like, “Wow! This totally caught up.” And it runs parallel to me. I love making music, and some of mine lends itself to video-game-soundtrack-type stuff. We’ve been back and forth, of course, in and out of each other’s industries, kind of playing off each other. We’re just cool buddies, me and video games. Back in the day we even did a thing for DJ Hero where we went in a mo-cap studio and recorded me “DJ’ing” or whatever.

Another part of video games – and this event in particular – is competition. Does your competitive side show up in the way you approach music?
Nah. Music is 80 percent fun and 20 percent work. Video games for me is all fun.

I think that would surprise some people who associate you with calling other artists out on social media.
Well, with gaming, I’m more into hosting competitions, like the guy who owns the football team. It wouldn’t shock me to see myself in a position where we sponsor some talented young gamers to come and fight the good fight.

There has been a lot of talk in dance music about the cost of touring and people retiring from touring. As you get more into these other ventures, could you see yourself making a move like that?
No, no. Never. No. Because I owe it to my fans to tour. If I wanted to just cash out and do my own thing and go ride ATVs for the rest of my life, then I’d just cash the fuck out and stop spending money in the music and show up to festivals with a couple of USB sticks, stick ’em in the player and just make money like a fucking madman. I’d be Calvin fuckin’ Harris. But that’s not what I want to do. I like the challenges that touring provides: all the logistics involved, all the technology and constantly keeping in the front of production that looks great.

“That’s my goal: to be the guy who unveils that crazy fucking thing that people saw. …”

There were only so many moments in music history where precedents had been set, like Daft Punk in their pyramid and then me with my LED mouse head at Coachella in the cube. I can count that on one hand, how many times those things have happened, across the fucking span of music. That’s my goal: to be the guy who unveils that crazy fucking thing that people saw and then tour it a little while so we can share it with everyone else.

If you want to retire because you’re sick of fucking playing a CD, do it! Fuck, we won’t miss you. Yeah, that was rough for you. Anyways, I have the “me” thing going on, so I’ll just be over there.

Usually a new generation comes up and displaces the older one. What do you do to avoid that, to keep pushing boundaries?
You can of course cheap out on something or not perform to your fullest or not keep updated on technology and just use some existing stuff. But I like to really throw a lot of wrenches in my fucking program just to see if it works. There’s no limit to how hard you can push your shit. I like to talk to my set designers, which is pretty rare for this day in electronic music. I’m no master of any particular trade, but I have knowledge about all of the ones that are involved with putting on production.

What new projects can we expect from you now?
You know what? I couldn’t even tell you because I don’t know myself.

Kacey Musgraves Leads G Fest Lineup

Kacey Musgraves has been announced as one of the performers at the inaugural G Fest in honor of late country legend Merle Haggard. Set for June 16th through the 18th in the Haggard-immortalized town Muskogee, Oklahoma, the three-day festival also includes Old Crow Medicine Show, the Avett Brothers, Marty Stuart, Aubrie Sellers, Robert Randolph and the Family and others. See the full lineup here

Additionally, a project five years in the making — the placement of Haggard memorial on the north lawn of the Muskogee Civic Center — is progressing, with the Oklahoma Music Hall of Fame leading the charge. Plans call for the memorial to include a bronze sculpture of the entertainer, who will be depicted sitting on a bench with a guitar case and hat. An iconic line in “Okie from Muskogee” will come to life for memorial visitors, who will be able to take photos of “Old Glory down at the courthouse” near the Civic Center, where Haggard recorded his ACM- and CMA-winning live LP, Okie from Muskogee.

For Musgraves and many other artists, Haggard — who passed away on his 79th birthday last month — was an invaluable role model.

“Artists like Merle Haggard are important because they became legends and set trends not by worrying about money and fame but just by being themselves,” says the “Follow Your Arrow” singer. “So it just inspires me even more to uphold what’s important to me as a person and songwriter first and not worry about the rest.”

The Haggard memorial in Muskogee could also be the future site of a monument Haggard himself designed. Ponca City, Oklahoma, artist Dan Jones created a Haggard monument he planned to have placed at his ranch near Bakersfield, California, but now individuals within Haggard’s organization have expressed a desire to have the monument become part of the Muskogee memorial site. In addition, a “Merle Haggard Avenue” street sign will reportedly be unveiled in the coming months.

Keith Urban Plans Special Shows for 'Ripcord' Release

Keith Urban’s summer tour doesn’t officially kick off until June 2nd, nearly a month after his new album Ripcord hits stores. To celebrate the release in a timelier fashion, though, the singer will hit the road this week for a string of one-off launch events in three cities.

First up is a May 4th performance at New York City’s Stage 48. Built in the 1950s as a horse stable, Stage 48 will feature the live premiere of many Ripcord songs, whose mix of synth pads, drum loops and organic instrumentation finds Urban picking up where 2013’s genre-jumping Fuse left off. The show will also be broadcast that same evening on, which premiered Beyonce’s Lemonade last month.

During the week following Ripcord‘s May 6th release, Urban will return to Nashville for a free show outside of Nashville’s Bridgestone Arena on Monday, May 9th. Scheduled for 12 p.m. CT, the gig will set the stage for Urban’s full hometown performance on November 11th, when he returns to the Bridgestone with opening acts Maren Morris and Brett Eldredge. Following the May 9th set, Urban will fly to Los Angeles for the following day’s showcase at the Grammy Museum. The 200-capacity show will be held inside the Clive Davis Theater, with an Inside the Actor’s Studio-influenced format organized by moderator (and Grammy Foundation Vice President) Scott Goldman.

With cameos by Pitbull, Chic’s Nile Rodgers and upcoming tour partner Carrie Underwood, Ripcord finds Urban reaching beyond country music’s borders without alienating the genre that helped launch his career. “This is way more than I’ve ever cut before,” Urban told Rolling Stone Country earlier this spring, referencing the nearly two dozen songs that were tracked during Ripcord‘s 15-month recording sessions. “It was a lot of searching, a lot of experimenting, and when you get to work with as many people as I did, you end up with a lot of stuff.”

See Dixie Chicks' Stripped-Down Cover of Beyonce's 'Daddy Lessons'

The Dixie Chicks’ North American tour just got an upgrade, with nine shows added to what is now a 50-city run. Kicking off June 1st in Cincinnati, the DCX MMXVI Tour will stretch a wide arc across North America before wrapping up on October 10th in Natalie Maines’ adopted hometown of Los Angeles.

The news arrives during the final stretch of a European tour that’s kept the country trio busy since mid-April. Recent shows have found the Chicks not only digging deep into their own catalog of hits, but offering up harmony-heavy versions of pop songs and R&B covers, too, from the Weeknd’s “Can’t Feel My Face” to Prince’s “Nothing Compares 2 U.” Last weekend, during a pair of arena shows in Manchester and London, the group also trotted out a tribute to Beyonce, tackling “Daddy Lessons” from the singer’s newly-released Lemonade.

In the video above, Maines, Emily Robison and Martie Maguire line up against the lip of the stage, joined by a seated version of their touring band. “Daddy Lessons” gets off to a rocky start — “Alright, hold up, y’all; I’ve already messed this whole thing up,” Maines admits during the intro, before asking Robison for her starting note — but finishes strong, backed by thick harmonies and the percussive clatter of two drummers. 

The Dixie Chicks will head back home later this week, following two sold-out shows in Scotland and Ireland. Augustana, Elle King, Josh Herbert, Anderson East, Vintage Trouble and Smooth Hound Smith are all lined up to open a handful of shows during the American tour.

Rolling Stones, Paul McCartney, the Who Tease Mega-Festival

The Rolling Stones, Bob Dylan, Paul McCartney, the Who and Roger Waters have all released teasers surrounding their involvement in a rumored mega-festival set to take place at the Coachella festival grounds in October.

All of the acts posted teasers for the blockbuster fall event on their social media accounts. In a 30-second clip, the Stones showed a record spinning “All Down The Line” while cigarette smoke wafted upward. Waters’ clip showed a grainy black-and-white concert footage playing a stadium show. Dylan posted a brief career reel to the song “Ballad of a Thin Man.” McCartney posted live audio footage singing the Beatles’ “I’ve Got a Feeling.” All of posts involved the same cryptic word “October…” hinting at the massive event. 


— Paul McCartney (@PaulMcCartney) May 1, 2016

Neil Young is also rumored to appear at the event, but did not post anything to his social media accounts. A representative for Young did not immediately return a request for comment. Tentatively, two of the six Rock and Roll Hall of Fame inductees will play each night, with Dylan and the Rolling Stones opening up the festival Friday night. Saturday would see Young and the Promise of the Real performing before McCartney. The Who and Waters would end the festival on Sunday night. 

Goldenvoice and AEG Live, the organizers behind Coachella, Stagecoach, FYF, Firefly and Panorama, are reportedly involved in producing the festival, but have not officially confirmed their involvement.

— The Rolling Stones (@RollingStones) May 2, 2016

The Stones and McCartney are consistently among the highest-priced concert tours, while Coachella has become the highest-grossing music festival in the world, according to concert industry-tracking publication Pollstar. In 2015, the music juggernaut grossed over $84.3 million with attendance at 99,000 a day, Pollstar said.  

The as-yet unnamed mega-concert will also mark the first time that Dylan and McCartney have appeared on the same bill at a music festival, the Los Angeles Times reports. In July 1985, Dylan, Young, Mick Jagger, Keith Richards and Ron Wood performed at the Philadelphia faction of the Live Aid event, while McCartney and the Who played the Wembley Stadium stage for the London concert.

#TheWhoHits50 #October . . .

— The Who (@TheWho) April 29, 2016


— Roger Waters (@rogerwaters) April 29, 2016


— (@bobdylan) April 29, 2016

See Carrie Underwood Channel Freddie Mercury and C-3PO at ACC Awards

Carrie Underwood’s current single goes by the name “Church Bells,” and at the May 1st American Country Countdown Awards she seemed to be paying tribute to two saints from the house of pop.

The newly-crowned ACC Awards Female Vocalist of the Year delivered a strutting performance of the song that must have been somebody’s idea of heaven, carrying a golden half-staff mic stand just like Queen’s immortal front man Freddie Mercury, and also looking like the sexiest C-3PO the galaxy has ever seen. Her epic attire perfectly complemented the song’s equally epic story line, a revenge romper all about spousal abuse and righteously reconciled murder.

The song is only just now starting to work its way up to the country-radio pulpit, but judging by the crowd at the ACC Awards, Carrie’s clearly leading a congregation of the faithful. Check out her gilded “Church Bells” performance below.

Toby Keith on ACCA Haggard Tribute: 'He's a Big Part of My Life'

When the producers of Sunday night’s American Country Countdown Awards approached Toby Keith about playing a tribute to his musical hero, Merle Haggard, he didn’t have to think twice.

“He was always really a good person to me,” said Keith of Haggard, who died April 6th. “Between the closeness we had and how much he meant to me inspirationally, when they called me and asked me to play the tribute, I said absolutely.”

Keith was equally sure about who should back him. When producers suggested his band or a studio band, Keith said to get the Strangers, Haggard’s longtime backing musicians. It was just two months before the legend’s death that Keith joined them onstage in Las Vegas to lend a hand when Haggard wasn’t feeling well.

“I said, ‘I’ve worked with them before and they’ll be more comfortable with this than anybody else,'” Keith recalls. “To get to work with the Strangers is a big deal to me. I’ve been listening to them since I was a baby.”

In an emotional high point of the show, Keith and the Strangers ran through a number of Haggard classics before an audience that included Haggard’s widow, Theresa, and his son, Ben.

Haggard’s affection for Keith extended to much of the younger singer’s family. “If he’d come through Oklahoma and my mother wasn’t [at the show], he’d call me and say, ‘Is your mother okay?'” Keith remembers. “And I would say, “Yeah, my mom’s OK. She’s 75. She don’t make them all, Merle. She’ll be at the next one.'”

The two would call each other to play their new songs, and often hung out on Haggard’s tour bus. “He always got a guitar down, we’d swap songs, pick on guitars,” Keith says. “It was always musical around him.”

Despite his hardscrabble life, which included a prison term for burglary, Haggard expressed to Keith that he had no regrets. “He told me one time if his dad wouldn’t have died early, there never would have been a Merle Haggard because, he said, ‘The patriarchs in my family kept everybody in line. I was a rebel child because I didn’t have a father. That’s what led me down this path to be a rebel and play music. We were hard working people and our fathers kept us in line.’ To hear his story and hear what he’s been through, he was a great man.”

To help cope with Haggard’s death, Keith has turned back to the music. “About every day, I’ve been turning him on and shuffling through his songs. I’ve got everything,” he says. “He’s just such a part of my life. He was the best.”

Artists paid their respects to legendary country singer Merle Haggard. Watch here.

I Am Ghost’s Frontman Steven Responds to Retirement and Return of I Am Ghost

I Am Ghost’s frontman vocalist Steven Juliano has given a reason as to returning to music, after announcing not that long ago of retiring from music, via his social media profile; “MY REPLY ON RETURNING …Read More