Category Archives: INDIE MUSIC NEWS

The Flaming Lips, Miley Cyrus Plot Trippy Collaborative LP

The Flaming Lips and Miley Cyrus are continuing their weird sonic friendship with an upcoming collaborative LP. The seven-track album was co-written by the psychedelic rock band and pop star during the past year and is currently being mixed by Lips members Wayne Coyne and Steven Drozd, Billboard reports. “She does the pop thing so great, so it still feels pop, but a slightly wiser, sadder, more true version,” Coyne said of the set. “Some of it reminds me of Pink Floyd and Portishead.”

The unlikely partnership began in early 2014, when Cyrus – a huge Lips fan – tweeted a birthday greeting to Coyne. In response, the frontman sent his phone number and the two realized they shared a surreal approach to art and life. “We’ve just been getting in each other’s worlds,” Coyne said. “We text every day – sometimes three times, sometimes a thousand.” 

Coyne has been impressed with Cyrus’ commitment to the music, which was written and recorded in “stripped-down, DIY fashion” at the band’s studio and Cyrus’ Los Angeles home. “Her studio is just a little room with a desk, and Miley was sitting there mixing,” the Lips singer said. “I was like, ‘I can’t picture Beyoncé doing this!’ It’s not a putdown on Beyoncé. I just don’t see her recording her own vocals and then EQ’ing it. It’s so punk rock!”

The as-yet-untitled album currently has no release date, but will be the latest in several collaborations between the singer and the group. Cyrus added vocals to two Beatles covers – “With a Little Help From My Friends” and “A Day in the Life” – from the Lips’ 2014 Sgt. Pepper’s Lonely Hearts Club Band tribute, With a Little Help From My Fwends. They teamed up to perform the latter track last year on Conan, and Cyrus also appeared in the band’s trippy art video “Blonde SuperFreak Steals the Magic Brain.”

Roger Waters Slams Silicon Valley's 'Rogues and Thieves'

Roger Waters is the latest artist to slam streaming music as the Pink Floyd great accused Silicon Valley execs of being “rogues and thieves” for the way they have reshaped the music industry. In a new interview, Waters talks about how difficult it is for an artist to thrive in an age where their music is nearly given away. He also clearly states that, for him, a Pink Floyd reunion “is out of the question.”

“I feel enormously privileged to have been born in 1943 and not 1983,” Waters told the Times UK (via NME). “To have been around when there was a music business and the takeover by Silicon Valley hadn’t happened, and in consequence, you could still make a living writing and recording songs and playing them to people. When this gallery of rogues and thieves had not yet injected themselves between the people who aspire to be creative and their potential audience and steal every fucking cent anybody ever made.”

Waters joins a growing number of artists who have either spoken out against Spotify and its ilk or who have pulled their catalogs from the services entirely. Much of the debate over streaming music centers around the low pay-per-stream these services offer artists while the services themselves rack up profits in subscriptions and advertising. “The amounts these services pay per stream is minuscule – their idea being that if enough people use the service those tiny grains of sand will pile up,” David Byrne wrote in his own criticism of Spotify.

Waters’ comments are also similar to those made by Pink Floyd drummer Nick Mason, who faulted Apple over the way U2’s Songs of Innocence was distributed. “Look, U2 are a great band, and Bono’s an extraordinary individual, so this isn’t an anti-U2 tirade,” Mason said. “But it highlights a vital aspect to the whole idea of music in the 21st century. What’s also interesting is that Apple seem to have got off scot-free. No one’s blaming them. Apple has done great things, but it has also contributed to the devaluation process [of music].”

Following the release of Pink Floyd’s The Endless River, guitarist David Gilmour repeatedly stated in interviews that the LP would mark the final chapter in the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame band’s story. However, the Times UK asked Waters whether he could rejoin Gilmour and Mason in the future, and the bassist reiterated that his Floyd days are over.

“A reunion is out of the question,” Waters said. “Life after all gets shorter and shorter the closer you get to the end of it and time becomes more and more precious and in my view should be entirely devoted to doing the things you want to do. One can’t look backwards.”

Last October, after Waters was barraged with questions about The Endless River, he wrote a note on Facebook alerting fans, “I am not part of Pink Floyd. I left Pink Floyd in 1985, that’s 29 years ago.” Waters is currently working on a reissued, remixed version of his 1992 solo album Amused to Death.

Zac Brown Band Take Chances at Jekyll + Hyde Tour Opener

Zac Brown and his band of nimble-fingered shredders never shy away from taking risks and don’t back down from broadening an already exceedingly eclectic sonic palette. And Friday night in Nashville, where — following a warm-up show Wednesday night in Tupelo, Mississippi — the band officially opened its bold and adventurous Jekyll + Hyde Tour at Bridgestone Arena, was no exception.

“Thank you for your patience throughout the evening,” Brown bantered after leading his 10-piece band through an opening “Homegrown.” “We’ve got a lot of new tricks up our sleeve.”

That was an understatement. Among said tricks in the two-and-a-half-hour show: a tiered, three-story stage made of LED screens; guest appearances from the likes of Jewel, Kid Rock, Bela Fleck and up-and-coming fellow bearded-and-behatted country crooner, Drake White; covers of “Let It Be” and “Bohemian Rhapsody”; left-field forays into EDM territory; at least one fully dedicated faux show tune; and a 26-song set that featured no less than 14 of 15 cuts from Jekyll + Hyde, an album that, released last week, rivals Clash records in the amount of genres it tries to take on. Notably, the Chris Cornell collaboration, “Heavy Is the Head,” was the one Jekyll track conspicuously absent from the set list.

It was an ambitious show, rife with a head-spinning variety of sounds highlighted by vivid visuals, but not necessarily the type of loose, down-home, spontaneous shred-fest ZBB faithful have come to expect. With nine stadium dates on the books — including two shows at New York’s Citi Field and a three-night stand at Boston’s Fenway Park — this is Brown and company’s biggest tour to date, and they want to make a statement: that they want to be, and can be, a million feel-good things to a million feel-good people. But, typical of a big, bold tour kickoff, at this early stage in the jaunt they’re still figuring out how to strike that balance.

Last night, ZBB’s best moments weren’t the big ones planned out on paper — the star-studded guest appearances, Beatles and Queen covers or stadium-ready production — but instead came when they simply just did what they do best: emotionally delivered airtight renditions of sprightly Jimmy Buffett-indebted summer jams, soaring Southern-rock stompers and lush, heartfelt ballads. Naturally, the band nailed it when handily delivering inevitable crowd-pleaser staples like “Sweet Annie,” “Toes” and “Chicken Fried.” And they executed Jekyll jams like the tender acoustic-turned-full-cranked power-ballad “Bittersweet” and the bouncy, confetti-cannon-featuring “Castaway” with the same confidence. Meanwhile, performances of gospel-Celtic mashup “Remedy,” which featured Darrell Scott guesting on Dobro, and the breezy, blue-eyed R&B tune “Loving You Easy” were simply exquisite.

On the flipside were some more adventurous left-field moments, like the almost heroically hokey big band excursion “Mango Tree” (which, like a 6 a.m. alarm clock, jarringly interrupted a rousing arena-wide “USA! USA! USA!” chant in the wake of “Dress Blues,” the Jason Isbell song Brown and guest star Jewel had just performed). Or like the transparently crossover-aiming, EDM-tinged endeavor “Beautiful Drug,” which showed the band isn’t quite comfortable in its new skin. . . yet.

On “Mango,” Brown in crooner mode wore a nervous smirk like a first-time skydiver as he worked the stage in search of duet partner Jewel, never really finding a groove. And on “Beautiful Drug,” it seemed the band was at war with its own song, battling throbbing bass loops and club-ready synths that threatened to swallow acoustic guitars and actual drums whole. That juxtaposition between processed sounds of the day and the organic tones of a traditional string band might be at the musical heart of Jekyll + Hyde, but last night it was hard to tell which side of the fence Brown and band were on.

Certainly the most adventurous moment came in the encore, when the group reclaimed the stage dressed like 1800s coal miners for an elaborate performance of “Junkyard.” Hammed-up dialogue between Brown and multi-instrumentalist John Driskell Hopkins was lovably self-aware and almost purpose-built for a This Is Spinal Tap moment. They came dangerously close to such a moment when, mid-song, roadies emerged and placed connected portions of a cartoonish inflatable dragon atop band members’ heads. Bandmates then tried their best to keep coordinated while making a conga line loop around the stage, before stopping and finishing the song while dancing in place.

Earlier, during the main set, the band busted out an endearingly ramshackle cover of Queen’s “Bohemian Rhapsody,” which elicited almost as deafening a response to surprise guest Kid Rock. Rock sprinted out to lead the crowd through a campfire-like sing-along of Stephen Stills’ “Love the One You’re With” during a mid-show acoustic set on the B-stage. Far from perfect in execution (the fact that Rock even tried to pull off scream-singing that Stills classic in a key miles above his range is emblematic of his star-making bravado), those adventurous moments made the show.

Through it all, the band never lost the cold-beers-in-hand Friday-night crowd, and near show’s end, Brown, in a tone suggesting he himself wasn’t fully convinced all the new tricks were working yet, thanked his rapt fans for following the band “wherever [the] adventure takes us.” And that’s what’s long made ZBB one of modern country’s most exciting acts — they’re always headed somewhere.

Paul McCartney: 'Let It Be' Inspired Kanye West's 'Only One'

Paul McCartney has revealed in a new interview that he and Kanye West‘s collaborative single “Only One,” written from the perspective of the rapper’s late mother Donda West, was inspired by the Beatles‘ classic “Let It Be.” Speaking to The Sun, McCartney also said that he and Kanye employed a similar process that McCartney and John Lennon used when they wrote Beatles songs together.

“When I wrote with John, he would sit down with a guitar. I would sit down. We’d ping-pong till we had a song,” McCartney said. “[Working with West] was like that.” From there, McCartney and West just chatted – at one point, West asked, “What was pussy like in the Sixties?” – before the topic eventually turned to “Let It Be.” “We sat around and talked an awful lot just to break the ice,” McCartney told The Sun. “One of the stories I told him was about how I happened to have written ‘Let It Be.'”

McCartney, who like West lost his mother at a young age, told the rapper, “My mum came to me in a dream when she’d died years previously. I was in a bit of a state – it was the Sixties and I was overdoing it. In the dream she said, ‘Don’t worry it’s all going to be fine, just let it be.’ And I woke up and thought, ‘Woah’ and wrote the song.” After sharing that anecdote, “[Kanye] said, ‘I’m going to write a song with my mum.’ So then I sat down at the piano,” McCartney said, and “Only One” was born.

A representative for McCartney confirmed the accuracy of the quotes to Rolling Stone. In the interview, McCartney also admits he was initially apprehensive about working with West. “My first thought was, ‘Woah, what am I going to get into here,'” the bassist wondered. “He is amazingly talented but controversial and can make eccentric moves. I realized if it didn’t work out we’d just say so and shake hands and leave.” Instead of leaving, the duo crafted “Only One” and later teamed with Rihanna for “FourFiveSeconds.”

Speaking to Rolling Stone at the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony, where he enshrined his Beatle bandmate Ringo Starr, McCartney said of working with West, “Oh, it was great, man! It was really exciting. I didn’t know what was going to happen from one minute to the next. But then he’d send me these hits! Suddenly I’m working with Kanye – and then suddenly I’ve got a hit with Rihanna! But it’s cool!”

From Autumn to Ashes Announces New Tour

From Autumn to Ashes has reunited after a 6 year hiatus to go on their own headlining tour with support coming from Hawthorne Heights, Sleepwave and Extinction A.D. Check out the dates below! TOUR DATES: …Read More

The Blue Dolphin’s Duo Victoria and Alfonso Walk into the Sun

Pop rock electric go getters The Blue Dolphins are a Los Angeles, California-based songwriting duo composed of singer/songwriter Victoria C. Scott and two-time Grammy Award-winning producer/engineer Alfonso G. Rodenas. They have been hard at work writing …Read More

Hear Rolling Stones' Alternate 'Bitch' With Different Lyrics, Sax Breakdown

When the Rolling Stones‘ classic Sticky Fingers is reissued next month, it will feature a number of previously unreleased studio takes of songs on the LP. The most recent to be unveiled is this ragged, extended version of “Bitch,” which features almost completely different lyrics and a saxophone breakdown toward the end.

Gone are Mick Jagger‘s references to salivating “like a Pavlov dog” and heating “horse-meat pie,” replaced with ones about feeling lonely and “so stoned” and, “When you kiss me down lowly, can’t you see I’m the only one?” In this version, he also sings that he feels “so satisfied.” The group recorded the track concurrently with the version that made the album at Mick Jagger’s country home, Stargroves, in October 1970, according to Spin.

The deluxe edition of Sticky Fingers, which will come out on June 9th, will also contain a version of “Brown Sugar” featuring Eric Clapton, an acoustic version of “Wild Horses” and alternate versions of “Can’t You Hear Me Knocking” and “Dead Flowers.” The reissue will also contain five songs the band recorded at London’s Roundhouse venue in 1971: “Live With Me,” “Stray Cat Blues,” “Love in Vain,” “Midnight Rambler” and “Honky Tonk Woman.”

The deluxe edition box set also contains a DVD featuring video of the group playing “Midnight Rambler” and “Bitch” at the Marquee in 1971. A super-deluxe edition will includes 10 songs from a concert the group recorded in Leeds. It will be available in standard CD and LP formats without the bonus tracks, and in a version with the limited-edition album cover that came out in Spain.

Jagger told Rolling Stone in early April that the band was considering playing Sticky Fingers in its entirety on the group’s upcoming U.S. stadium tour. “It’s a really great album, but it has a lot of slow songs,” he said. “Normally in a show we’d just do one or two ballads. Sticky Fingers has about five slow songs. I’m just worried that it might be problematic in stadiums. Maybe we’d play it and everyone would say, ‘Great,’ but maybe they’ll get restless and start going to get drinks.”

Austin City Limits: Foo Fighters, Drake, the Strokes Set to Headline

Foo Fighters will return to Austin’s Zilker Park to headline this year’s Austin City Limits festival alongside the Strokes, Florence + the Machine, Drake, the Weeknd, Disclosure and Deadmau5. The festival will feature more than 140 acts and will take place over two weekends: October 2nd – 4th and 9th – 11th.

The lineup, as always, will feature an eclectic roster spanning a wide array of genres, including Bassnectar, Alt-J, Hozier, Alabama Shakes, Of Monsters and Men and Modest Mouse, Tame Impala, Sturgill Simpson, The Decemberists, Ben Howard, Gary Clark Jr., Chance the Rapper, Brand New, TV on the Radio, Walk the Moon, A$AP Rocky, Billy Idol, Twenty One Pilots, Nero and Dwight Yoakam.

Like Coachella, nearly every act will play both weekends, with the exception of the Strokes and Alabama Shakes, who will only play the first weekend, and Florence + the Machine and Modest Mouse, who will appear the following week.

Three-day passes for the festival go on-sale at 11 a.m. EST at the festival’s website. Those unable to attend can check out select acts on the ACL Festival Livestream on Red Bull TV. Organizers will reveal more details, including a list of participating bands, in September.

Foo Fighters should be well-prepared for large crowds by the time ACL hits. The group will perform at European stadiums throughout June, including two nights at Wembley Stadium, before beginning their U.S. tour July 4th at Washington, D.C.’s RFK Stadium. To celebrate both the musical travelogue Sonic Highways and 20th anniversary of the group’s 1995 debut album, the D.C. show will feature guest appearances by Chicago’s Buddy Guy, Austin’s Gary Clark Jr., Seattle’s Heart, Los Angeles’ Joan Jett and the Blackhearts, New York City’s LL Cool J with DJ Z-Trip, D.C.’s Trouble Funk and New Orleans’ Trombone Shorty. 

Last year, Foo Fighters frontman Dave Grohl and Co. visited Austin as part of the Sonic Highways series. Speaking to Rolling Stone, Grohl used Austin as an example of the increasing gentrification of U.S. cities.

“I think the message in the Austin episode is that we have to be careful that we don’t overlook the reasons why people are drawn to these cities,” he said. “There’s something about Austin and its alternative culture that’s an oasis in the middle of this country that attracted people to it in the first place. The personality and the fingerprint of this city is unlike anywhere else. The preservation of that needs to be a priority because if you’re not careful, that could be wiped away and you’re just left with a strip mall.”

Lawyer: Joni Mitchell May Leave Hospital Soon

A lawyer representing Joni Mitchell‘s longtime friend in her efforts to gain temporary conservatorship over the singer told a Los Angeles judge that Mitchell could be leaving the hospital soon. Following the brief hearing, Superior Court Judge David S. Cunningham III appointed Leslie Morris, Mitchell’s friend for over 40 years, as the singer’s conservator, putting her in charge of Mitchell’s post-hospital medical decisions, The Associated Press reports.

Morris’ attorney Alan Watenmaker cited Mitchell’s impending release as one of the reasons why Morris should receive emergency conservator powers. A lawyer appointed to represent Mitchell at the hearing also agreed that Morris should be named conservator. The specifics of Mitchell’s current condition and prognosis were not disclosed at the hearing. Although granted temporary conservatorship, Morris will have no control of Mitchell’s finances.

Mitchell was hospitalized on March 31st after being found unresponsive in her Los Angeles home; although the singer remained in the hospital, her website let fans know that Mitchell “continues to improve and get stronger each day.” However, after it was revealed that Morris sought conservatorship of the Rock and Roll Hall of Famer, rumors began to circulate that Mitchell was in a coma. Mitchell’s website, with permission from Morris, clarified that Mitchell was “alert” and still expected to make a full recovery.

“Contrary to rumors circulating on the Internet today, Joni is not in a coma. Joni is still in the hospital – but she comprehends, she’s alert, and she has her full senses. A full recovery is expected,” Mitchell’s site wrote in a statement. “The document obtained by a certain media outlet simply gives her longtime friend Leslie Morris the authority – in the absence of 24-hour doctor care – to make care decisions for Joni once she leaves the hospital. As we all know, Joni is a strong-willed woman and is nowhere near giving up the fight. Please continue to keep Joni in your thoughts.”

Watch the Band Perry Cover 'Uptown Funk' in Texas

The crowd at this weekend’s second annual iHeartRadio Country Festival in Austin brought plenty of noise, but it was the Band Perry who brought the funk, thanks to a sizzling, well-choreographed version of the ubiquitous Bruno Mars-Mark Ronson jam, “Uptown Funk.” (Don’t believe us? Just watch a teaser of the performance above.)

The Tennessee-born siblings — Kimberly, Neil and Reid Perry — adopted their best funkified Minneapolis swagger to deliver the tune, whose original version has dominated the pop charts and inspired countless parody videos on YouTube, including one in which President Barack Obama “recites” the lyrics. Influenced heavily by (or, some would say, borrowing liberally from) such post-disco acts as the Time and the Gap Band, the wildly catchy song has already received country makeovers from Dot Records newcomer Drake White and Arista label newbie Cam. The Band Perry’s own version of “Uptown Funk” isn’t the first time Ronson and the three Perry sibs have worked together, either. Earlier this year, the British-born producer served as Ambassador for the Grammy Amplifier contest, in which Kimberly, Neil and Reid were curators who helped discover new musical talent and mentored a select group of finalists.

Meanwhile, the Band Perry have already revealed that their upcoming third album will reflect their eclectic musical tastes, and will also include harmonies from pop superstar Pharrell. While a hectic tour schedule during the making of their now-gold-certified Pioneer album complicated the recording process, the group resolved to take a different approach with the upcoming LP.

“We’re trying to have a little more romance about this new album,” Kimberly Perry told Rolling Stone Country last summer. “We are definitely ping-ponging between things again… but we’re allowing more time for creative flow, too.”

A release date and first single for the award-winning trio’s upcoming album have yet to be revealed.

Other acts who took the Erwin Center stage during the iHeartRadio Country Festival were Tim McGraw, Little Big Town, Dierks Bentley, Brad Paisley, Darius Rucker, Rascal Flatts, Tyler Farr, Brantley Gilbert, Justin Moore and Sam Hunt.