Category Archives: INDIE MUSIC NEWS

Ariana Grande Blasts Gender Double Standards, Slut-Shaming

Ariana Grande reminded the world that neither she, nor any woman, is the “property/possession” of a man in a smart, scathing note posted to Twitter. The singer addressed the way she has been treated and labeled in the wake of her split from ex-boyfriend Big Sean, as well as the double standards women continue to face in American society.

“I come from a long bloodline of female activists,” Grande wrote on Sunday. “My aunt Judy was the first Italian-American female president of the National Press Club in Washington D.C. I think she would have been proud of me for speaking up about something that has been bothering me personally for so long.”

Referencing Gloria Steinem’s seminal 1969 article, “After Black Power, Women’s Liberation,” Grande wrote that there’s still a vast disparity between how men and women are treated, specifically in regards to sex. “If a woman has a lot of sex (or any sex for that matter), she’s a ‘slut.’ If a man has sex, he’s a STUD, a BOSSSSSS, a KING,” Grande wrote. “If a woman is seen with a friend with a penis, there is an immediate assumption of romance or sex and she is labeled! If a man is seen with a woman, he is elevated/celebrated. AWW SHIIIT HE SMASHED!!!!1!!1!”

The singer went on to note the value of each person’s individual worth. “I can’t wait to live in a world where people are not valued by who they’re dating, married to, attached to, having sex with (or not), seen with… but by their value as an individual,” Grande wrote. “I want the people reading this to know that they are more than enough on their own.”

Grande added that for the last eight years, she’s felt that she’s needed to have a boyfriend. But in the wake of her breakup, the singer has realized that’s not true. “I have never felt more present, grounded and satisfied,” she wrote. “I’ve never laughed harder or had more fun or enjoyed my life more.”

Grande concluded her note with the Steinem quote, “Any woman who chooses to behave like a full human being should be warned that the armies of the status quo will treat her as something of a dirty joke. She will need her sisterhood.” In a follow-up tweet, Grande wrote: “Y’all being the ‘sisterhood’ mentioned at the end… love u.”

Metallica Shred National Anthem at X Games

Metallica‘s Kirk Hammett and James Hetfield delivered a six string salute to the United States with a tasteful, but heavy rendition of “The Star-Spangled Banner” at the X Games in Austin, Texas on Saturday.

Hammett took lead on the instrumental version of the national anthem, subtly nudging his wah-wah pedal throughout, while Hetfield backed up his bandmate with fiendish harmonies and stadium-sized power chords. The duo even allowed themselves a brief descent into feedback — à la Jimi Hendrix’s famed rendition at Woodstock — before concluding the song in dramatic, fret-tapping fashion, complete with banging heads and pumping fists.

Metallica also performed a full concert at the X Games on Saturday, co-headlining the Super Stage alongside Nicki Minaj. The lineup also featured Talib Kweli, Kid Ink, Pennywise, Deltron 3030, Joywave and the Glitch Mob. A professionally mixed recording of that show is available to pre-order via Metallica’s website, and will cost $5 through July 15th. Audio will be posted in the next few days, and all proceeds will benefit efforts to assist victims of the recent floods in Central Texas.

Capping off their partnership with the X Games, Metallica provided the extreme sports showcase with a fresh theme song this year. The group partnered with the Glitch Mob for a remix of “Lords of Summer,” an eight minute cut they debuted at a concert in Bogotá, Colombia last summer.

For the past three years, Hetfield and Hammett have performed their version of “The Star-Spangled Banner” as part of the San Francisco Giants’ annual “Metallica Day” (though they formed in Los Angeles, Metallica’s career began in earnest in the Bay Area). The group returned to AT&T Park most recently on May 2nd.

Ronnie Gilbert of the Weavers Dead at 88

Singer Ronnie Gilbert, who helped catalyze the folk revolution of the 1960s as one fourth of the Weavers, died of natural causes on Saturday in a retirement community outside of San Francisco, The New York Times reports. Her longtime partner, Donna Korones, confirmed the death. She was 88.

Gilbert’s striking contralto was a distinct voice in a quartet full of them. The Weavers, which also included Pete Seeger, Lee Hays and Fred Hellerman, drew from various strains of American and global roots music, but were best known for their renditions of folk standards like “Kisses Sweeter than Wine,” Woody Guthrie’s “So Long, It’s Been Good to Know Yuh” and Lead Belly’s “Goodnight Irene.”

The Weavers’ first concerts were often free performances at union meetings and on picket lines. In 1949, about to break up, they were offered a two week residency at the Village Vanguard in New York City that proved so successful they stayed for six months. The stint earned the Weavers a deal with Decca Records, which led to television and radio appearances, and extensive touring.

Amidst their success, the group maintained their progressive and leftist politics, which drew the eye and ire of those in the anti-communist movement of the 1950s. In 1951, the Weavers were investigated by the Senate Internal Security Subcommittee, which sought to probe potentially subversive citizen threats, and soon they were blacklisted from performing and recording.

The group split, and Gilbert moved to California with her then-husband to start a family. But in 1955, the Weavers’ manager, Harold Leventhal, arranged a concert at Carnegie Hall that sold out and revitalized interest in the band. While Seeger would leave the Weavers several years later, Gilbert, Hays, Hellerman and a series of replacement singers continued to perform and record until 1964. By then group’s influence was already being heard in the music of Peter, Paul and Mary, the Limeliters, the Kingston Trio and Bob Dylan.

Over the next several decades, Gilbert worked as an actress and therapist, and eventually returned to music as well. In 1980, she reunited with the Weavers at Carnegie Hall, and in 1984 she toured with Seeger, Arlo Guthrie and Holly Near in a group called HARP. Her memoir, Ronnie Gilbert: A Radical Life in Song, will be published posthumously this fall.

Gilbert was born in Brooklyn in 1926. Her father, Charles, was a milliner from the Ukraine and her mother, Sarah, was a garment worker and union activist from Poland. When Gilbert was around 10, her mother took her to a union rally where singer and civil rights activist Paul Robeson sang.

In a 2004 interview for Voices of Feminism, an oral history project at Smith College, Gilbert said, “That was the beginning of my life as a singer and a — I wouldn’t call myself an activist, but a singer, a singer with social conscience, let’s say.”

Chris Martin Honors Beau Biden With Poignant ''Til Kingdom Come'

Chris Martin performed Coldplay‘s “‘Til Kingdom Come” at the funeral for Beau Biden, the son of Vice President Joe Biden, who died May 30th of brain cancer at the age of 46. The funeral was held on Saturday at St. Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Biden’s longtime home of Wilmington, Delaware, The News Journal reports.

Martin offered to perform after learning that Beau Biden — an Iraq War veteran and the former attorney general for the state of Delaware — was a fan of his music. The uplifting, acoustic “‘Til Kingdom Come” originally appeared on Coldplay’s X&Y, and Martin’s performance in Biden’s memory was similarly stripped down and heartfelt: His voice strained during the bridge as he pulled back from the microphone and, throughout, the song was underlain by the poignant pulls of a church organ.

President Barack Obama was among the eulogists, praising Biden’s “mighty heart” and dedication to his family, friends and country, saying, “He did in 46 years what most of us could not do in 146.

“Here was a scion of an incredible family who brushed away the possibility of privilege for the harder, better reward of earning his own way,” Obama added. “Here was a soldier who dodged glory, and exuded true humility. A prosecutor who defended the defenseless. The rare politician who collected more fans than foes, and the rarer public figure who prioritized his private life above all else.”

Beau Biden was diagnosed with brain cancer in August 2013 after doctors removed a small lesion from his brain. He was given a clean bill of health after several months of chemotherapy, but the cancer returned this spring and he sought treatment at Walter Reed National Military Medical Center, where he died. Last November, Biden did not seek a third term as Delaware’s attorney general; instead, he announced his plans to run for governor in 2016.

The Christopher Brothers a Trio Young in Age but Fun at Heart

The Christopher Brothers, are a trio of pop punks who may be young in age but possess such musical talent it’s well beyond their years. Cameron, the drummer (18), Charles, the guitarist (16), and Ethan, …Read More



Phinehas will embark on a co-headlining tour with Silent Planet (on select dates noted below) that runs through June + July. Invent Animate will support. Phinehas vocalist Sean McCulloch said, “We all couldn’t be more …Read More


WARBRINGER Announces Co-Headlining Tour with ENFORCER

Southern California thrash-metal five piece, WARBRINGER have built a reputation for themselves over the past five years having recorded four albums and touring the planet with relentless drive and passion.  Now after a year long …Read More


Marco Rubio Declares Allegiance to West Coast Rap on 'Outnumbered'

Marco Rubio is well known for his love of hip-hop, so the Republican primary candidate was given the opportunity to expound on the subject of “modern-day poets” during a visit to the Fox News talk show Outnumbered on Thursday.

After some discussion of the Florida Senator’s record on immigration, one of the hosts got the cultural portion of the panel started by asking Rubio to name his favorite member of the Wu-Tang Clan, but the Senator demurred. “That’s like early Nineties stuff, right?” he said.

Despite that apparent dismissal, he went on to declare his abiding affection for Nineties hip-hop, while attempting to deliver a sort of rap history lesson. “I don’t know, maybe I’m getting old. I still love it,” he said. “Especially the stuff that came out of the West Coast and California in the Nineties, when Dre and, you know, then Tupac went West Coast and abandoned the East Coast. That was a good time.”

When the hosts speculated that, as an easterner, perhaps he might like the Notorious B.I.G., Rubio stuck to his coastal preference. “I’m a West Coast fan. I don’t think they should have shot each other and had a dispute that way, but I was a West Coast fan,” he said. “So Tupac went over to the West Coast and went to Death Row records and they produced one of the greatest rap albums ever, which was the one that Dre put out, where it had ‘California’ and all these other songs.”

Asked about more contemporary tastes, Rubio dished out a little hometown love, declaring Pitbull “great,” while noting that he doesn’t listen to the Miami rapper when his kids are around. He has previously expressed admiration for the work of Eminem and Nicki Minaj. For anyone hoping to pick up some hot new moves from the presidential hopeful, Rubio might disappoint. Asked if he dances, he grimaced and said, “Not on camera.” 

Rubio’s not the only Republican presidential candidate with a taste for rap. Former Texas Governor Rick Perry launched his campaign last week with a remix of remix of Colt Ford and the Pete Scobell Band’s rap-country hit “Answer to No One.”

'90 Percent of 'Montage of Heck' is Bulls–t,' Says Melvins Founder

Buzz Osbourne, founding member of the Melvins and longtime friend of Kurt Cobain, has quite a few quibbles with the new documentary Kurt Cobain: Montage of Heck. “People need to understand that 90 percent of Montage of Heck is bullshit. Total bullshit,” he declares in a review of the film for The Talkhouse.

The documentary, directed by Brett Morgan, has been widely praised for creating an intimate portrait of the late Nirvana frontman through the use of Cobain’s own home movies, journals and audio recordings. The fact that much of the information in the film comes directly from Cobain might lend it some credence, but Osborne says that’s where the problem lies. “That’s the one thing no one gets about Cobain — he was a master of jerking your chain.”

Osborne says there’s absolutely no truth to tales Cobain tells in the film of attempting suicide on the train tracks and trying to hook up with a developmentally challenged girl from his high school. “That’s too good a story to have gone this long without me hearing about it, especially if, as he suggests, the girl’s father freaked out about it at the high school,” he writes. “In that small-town shit-hole, exciting news of that nature would have been common knowledge before the sun set.”

Osborne also says that the stomach-troubles that reportedly plagued Cobain were an invention. “He made it up for sympathy and so he could use it as an excuse to stay loaded,” he explains. “Of course he was vomiting — that’s what people on heroin do, they vomit. It’s called ‘vomiting with a smile on your face.'”

As for Courtney Love, the Melvins frontman says that a lot of what she says doesn’t match up with versions of events related to Osborne by Cobain, and he ridicules the notion that “Kurt tried to off himself when she’d only thought about cheating on him.”

He goes on to criticize the filmmakers for failing to fact-check Cobain’s and Love’s statements. “Unfortunately, it matters very little what the facts are; what matters is what people believe. And when it comes to Cobain, most of what they believe is fabricated nonsense. Montage of Heck does nothing to counter that.”

In spite of all the faults he found with the film, Osborne did have two positive things to say about Montage of Heck. “I did enjoy the really cool animation, though, and they did a fantastic job of showing what a depressing shit-hole Aberdeen really was and still is,” he writes. “For that, I salute them!”

Shania Twain Kicks Off Fiery Final Tour in Seattle

A lot has changed in the worlds of pop and country since Shania Twain last released an album (2002’s Up!) and last went out on tour. In that time, she’s witnessed the rise of crossover stars such as Taylor Swift and Carrie Underwood, as well as the chart-topping reigns of Miley Cyrus and Rihanna. Although she hasn’t been resting on her laurels, thanks to a two-year residency at Caesar’s Palace in Las Vegas, it’s a wonder Twain waited until now to step back onstage and remind the rest of the world what she’s capable of.

If any of that was weighing on Twain’s mind when she took the stage at Key Arena in Seattle, Washington, Friday night to kick off her first U.S. tour in 11 years, the 49-year-old superstar sure didn’t let it show. In fact, the closest she came to acknowledging the female pop powerhouses of today was the Beyoncé-like bedazzled bodysuit she wore as she closed out the nearly two-hour show with a fierce version of her 1999 classic, “Man! I Feel Like a Woman!”

Outside of that wardrobe choice, the newly blonde Twain didn’t attempt to use this nationwide tour as a way to compete with the pop and country stars of today. Rather, she stayed true to herself, strutting around the stage confidently in a variety of other body hugging outfits and managing to appear humble amid the meticulously planned spectacle.

Everything else about the show was set up to live up to the tour’s name, Rock This Country. Twain’s sturdy, seven-piece band was decked out in all black attire, with an emphasis on leather. And during the superstar’s costume changes, the ensemble showed off their voluminous chops, rousing the crowd with bombastic guitar shredding instrumentals. The staging of the nearly two-hour set was pure arena rock overkill, with lots of pyrotechnics and a colorful laser light show.

The setlist, though, put the emphasis on Twain’s country side. After a raucous opening version of “Rock This Country!,” she settled into a stomping groove, running through fan favorites like the fiddle-heavy “Don’t Be Stupid” and a punchy take on her first country radio hit, “Whose Bed Have Your Boots Been Under?”

Lest anyone forget where Twain’s roots are planted, she and the band set up at the lip of the stage with acoustic instruments to add a little old-timey flavor to “No One Needs to Know” and the heartfelt “Today Is Your Day.” There was a little wink added to the countrified proceedings, as well: During the title track to her last album Up!, Twain mounted a fringed saddle that lifted in the air and took her in a long slow circle above the audience as she sang.

Between tunes, Twain sounded downright awestruck at the rapturous response she was getting from the packed arena. Her between-song banter had an “aw shucks” charm to it, with her letting out lots of audible laughter. And prior to her skyward saddle ride, she spoke haltingly about losing all of her confidence a few years ago, and called her return to the stage nothing short of a miracle. It was a wonderfully humanizing moment rarely seen in a concert of this size.

This being the first night of a long U.S. tour, the kinks were visibly and audibly still being worked out, and Twain had yet to settle into any kind of routine. She flubbed a couple of lines during “Come On Over,” nearly missed a couple of cues (thankfully not any that put her in danger of being hurt by the flames and fireworks shooting from the stage), and ran out of vocal steam trying to hit a big note during an otherwise great version of “Any Man of Mine.”

Rock This Country is billed as Twain’s farewell tour, but as she told Rolling Stone Country recently, she feels like she has “so many other things to do musically.” She also acknowledged that she’s not closing the door on touring completely. And after the reception that she received in Seattle last night, and will surely receive as she criss-crosses North America this summer, she might soon be rethinking those retirement plans.