Category Archives: INDIE MUSIC NEWS

Frank Ocean Sues 'Blonde' Producer Over Songwriting Credits

Frank Ocean is suing producer Om’Mas Keith over songwriting credits on the singer’s 2016 album, Blonde. The suit also names Keith’s Analog Genius Corporation and several unnamed John Does as defendants, arguing none of them “own any portion of the copyright rights” to Ocean’s music.

The suit claims that Ocean’s lawyers tried several times between 2014 and 2016 to get Keith to sign a written agreement stating that he did not write any of the songs on Blonde. However, the producer allegedly refused and in 2016 tried to register as a co-writer on 11 Blonde tracks with the publishing giant ASCAP. 

The suit states that Ocean “has never written any compositions with [Keith]… Moreover, all of the Compositions and the ASCAP Compositions were written well before Defendants, or any of them, rendered any services whatsoever in connection with any of the masters. Defendants did not contribute any lyrics, melodies, or music that would give rise to any claim of authorship.”

Lawyers for Ocean were not available for comment. Keith did not immediately return Rolling Stone‘s request for comment. 

Prior to his work on Blonde, Keith helped produce Ocean’s breakout album, Channel Orange. When Ocean approached him to work on Blonde, the suit alleges, they entered into an oral agreement that mirrored the written agreement Keith signed for his work on Channel Orange. That agreement stipulated that Keith would produce certain master recordings, receive a flat rate and acknowledge that he did not write or co-write any of the tracks.

In all, Keith was given 12 songs to produce from the Blonde sessions, including “Nikes,” White Ferrari” and “Pink and White.” But when Ocean’s lawyers approached him in 2014 with a draft of a written agreement, Keith refused to sign it. He supposedly even refused to acknowledge that he had not served as a writer on “(At Your Best) You Are Love,” an Isley Brothers tune Ocean covered in 2015 (it later appeared on Ocean’s visual album, Endless). Keith supposedly refused to sign another agreement when Ocean’s lawyers approached him again in 2016.

After Keith refused to sign the 2016 agreement, Ocean’s team tried to get the producer to “provide a detailed account” of the writing work he did on Blonde, though the suit claims the “Defendants and their counsel failed to respond.” Not long after, Keith allegedly tried to register with ASCAP as a co-writer on 11 Blonde songs. Similar to the supposed Isley Brothers issue, one of the songs Keith reportedly tried to claim he co-wrote was “Be Yourself,” which comprises a sample of Buddy Ross’ “Runnin Around” and a spoken word segment.

Ocean is asking a judge to rule that Keith and the other defendants do not own any portion of his songs and must stop claiming that they helped write them. The singer is also seeking legal fees and additional relief the court deems necessary.  

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Watch Vic Mensa Perform Tender 'We Could Be Free'

Vic Mensa recently stopped by Rolling Stone’s headquarters for a stirring performance of “We Could Be Free,” as part of our Take One series.

Accompanied by a pianist and a guitarist, Mensa taps into the emotion of the tune – which featured samples, beats and an cameo by Ty Dolla $ign on the recorded version off last year’s The Autobiography album – for an especially moving rendition. “You fools, saying ‘all lives matter,’ but it’s black lives you refuse include,” Mensa raps at one point before singing the chorus, “We could be free, truly/ If we’d only knew we were slaves to the pains of each other.”

Previously, Mensa told Rolling Stone about how making The Autobiography had been a soul-baring journey for him. “I’m not one of the people who started rapping because of the music videos and chains and bitches and flashy shit and the pursuit of dollar bills,” he said. “That’s a lot of people’s reality, but for me, I started making this rap music because it was a way for me to analyze this tumultuous world that I grew up in. And for me to cope with things in my own life and pain and struggle.”

He also maintained it was his intention to continue making introspective music beyond The Autobiography. “It’s definitely not something I’m turning my back on,” he said. “Right now I’m really just focused on getting better and approaching my next album with a new set of skills and some new angles. But it’s still very personal, very honest. It’s just real, you know? That’s one thing I can’t lose: I can’t lose the realness in my music.”

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Flashback: Pink Floyd, Genesis, Queen, Clapton Unite For Charity

On September 18th, 1993, a crowd of about 1,000 lucky rock fans dressed in their finest black tie evening wear gathered on the charred ruins of Cowdray Castle at West Sussex, England to witness a once-in-a-lifetime superstar concert featuring Pink Floyd, Queen, Genesis and Eric Clapton. The event was put together to raise money for King Edward VII Hospital in Midhurst. Fans that shelled out £160 got to enjoy an elaborate dinner, while those that paid a £45 had to bring their own food and picnic. All in all, it was an incredible bargain for anyone fortunate enough to be invited.

The most remarkable aspect of the show was that none of the bands were actually in tour mode, and these generally aren’t acts willing to play without months of elaborate rehearsal. Queen had been inactive since the tribute concert to Freddie Mercury the previous year, Genesis were on hiatus following the Way We Walk tour and Pink Floyd were busy putting the finishes touches on The Division Bell. But somehow or another, all of them were convinced to perform at the show.

The show began with Queen, though it was really just drummer Roger Taylor and bassist John Deacon because guitarist Brian May was busy on a solo tour. Taylor handled the vocals for “A Kind of Magic,” “I Want to Break Free,” “We Will Rock You,” “Radio Ga Ga” and “These Are the Days of Our Lives,” with Paul Young coming out to help out with “Another One Bites the Dust.”

“I must admit that I’ve done some crazy things in order to satisfy my passion for Queen,” one fan wrote in the Queen fanzine Princess Of The Universe, “but paying L80 and wearing a dinner suit (complete with dicky bow) to stand in a field must rank up there as one of the silliest. However to see a rare glimpse of a certain Mr. Deacon it was a sacrifice I was willing to make.” It was the only time in history that Taylor and Deacon played together as Queen, and the second-to-last time that Deacon played in public.

Next up was Genesis with Roger Taylor on drums. They played “Turn It on Again,” “Hold on My Heart,” “I Can’t Dance” and “Invisible Touch.” Years later, Phil Collins said it was a pivotal moment in his life since he was ripped away from the making of his solo LP Both Sides of the Story – an extremely personal collection of songs about the breakup of his marriage – to play the gig. Clowning around to “I Can’t Dance” just didn’t feel right. He wouldn’t announce his departure from the group for another three years, but the show was his his final stand with the band until their 2007 reunion tour.

Genesis guitarist Mike Rutherford handled bass duties for Pink Floyd. They played “Run Like Hell,” “Wish You Were Here” and “Comfortably Numb” with Paul Young helping out with the Roger Waters vocal parts. Eric Clapton wrapped things up with “Stone Free” and “Old Love” before everyone came back out to jam on “Gimme Some Lovin'” and “Ain’t That Pecular.”

It was indeed very, very peculiar. It was peculiar all of these stadium acts played for such a tiny audience on the remains of a castle that burned down in 1793. It was peculiar that fans were forced to wear tuxedos and ball gowns. It was peculiar they didn’t charge 10 times more for tickets. It was peculiar most people have never heard of the damn thing. It was peculiar they didn’t film it professionally and we are forced to look at the crappy, partial fan-shot video at the top of this article. At least it’s evidence the thing happened and it wasn’t some sort of classic rock fever dream. 

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Patty Griffin Plots Acoustic U.S. Tour

Grammy-winning singer-songwriter Patty Griffin will embark on a headlining acoustic tour this May.

The trek starts May 1st at the Blue Door in Oklahoma City and will feature Griffin performing with longtime guitarist, David Pulkingham. Canadian soul musician Ahi will serve as support throughout the trek.

Griffin’s tour will criss-cross the Midwest and South with stops in Des Moines, Iowa, St. Louis, Baton Rouge, Louisiana and Dallas. Griffin will close the tour May 19th at Gruene Hall in New Braunfels, Texas with a full-band show featuring Pulkingham, bassist Craig Ross and drummer Conrad Choucroun. Ticket information is available on Griffin’s website.

Griffin’s latest album, Servant of Love, arrived in 2015, and the musician is reportedly working on a new batch of songs. Griffin has toured regularly over the past few years, frequently in support of political causes. In 2016, she and Sara Watkins linked with the League of Women Voters for the “Use Your Voice” tour, while last year Griffin joined Dave Matthews, Joan Baez, Steve Earle, Emmylou Harris and more on the “Lampedusa Tour,” benefiting the Jesuit Refugee Service.

Patty Griffin Tour Dates

May 1 – Oklahoma City, OK @ The Blue Door
May 2 – Lawrence, KS @ Liberty Hall
May 3 – Des Moines, IA @ The Temple for Performing Arts
May 5 – Columbia, MO @ The Blue Note
May 6 – St. Louis, MO @ The Sheldon Concert Hall
May 7 – Bloomington, IN @ Buskirk-Chumley Theater
May 9 – Franklin, TN @ Franklin Theatre
May 10 – Duluth, GA @ Red Clay Theatre
May 11 – Duluth, GA @ Red Clay Theatre
May 13 – Baton Rouge, LA @ Manship Theatre
May 15 – Dallas, TX @ Dallas Arboretum and Botanical Garden
May 19 – New Braunfels, TX @ Gruene Hall

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Pete Townshend Details Massive 'Who Came First' Reissue

The Who‘s Pete Townshend will mark the 45th anniversary of his debut solo album, Who Came First, with an expansive reissue featuring eight unreleased tracks. The two-CD set arrives April 20th via UME.

Among the previously unreleased songs are three cuts, “Nothing Is Everything,” “There’s a Fortune In Those Hills” and “Meher Baba in Italy.” The track list also boasts new edits and alternate versions of songs like “Parvardigar” and “Content,” as well as a live version of “Drowned” recorded in India.

The collection will also feature new liner notes from Townshend, the album’s original poster and a 24-page booklet packed with rare photos of Townshend and his guru, Meher Baba, in the recording studio. Who collaborator Jon Astley remastered the 45th anniversary edition of Who Came First using the original master tapes.

Released in 1972, Who Came First found Townshend collecting tracks from two previously released, but rare, collaborative tribute albums to Baba, Happy Birthday and I Am. Townshend then fleshed out the record with a handful of demos from the Who’s unfinished rock opera, Lifehouse

Along with Townshend’s reissue of Who Came First, the Who will commemorate the 50th anniversary of a two-night stand at the Fillmore East with a double CD, Live at the Fillmore East 1968, also out April 20th

Who Came First 45th Anniversary Edition Track List

CD 1
1. “Pure and Easy”
2. “Evolution”
3. “Forever’s No Time At All”
4. “Let’s See Action”
5. “Time Is Passing”
6. “There’s a Heartache Following Me”
7. ” “Sheraton Gibson”
8. “Content”
9. “Parvardigar”

CD2 
1. “His Hands”
2. “The Seeker” (2017 edit)
3. “Day Of Silence”
4. “Sleeping Dog”
5. “Mary Jane” (Stage A Version)
6. “I Always Say” (2017 Edit)
7. “Begin The Beguine” (2017 edit)
8. “Baba O’Reilly” (Instrumental)
9. “The Love Man” (Stage C)*
10. “Content” (Stage A)*
11. “Day Of Silence” (Alternate Version)*
12. “Parvardigar” (Alternate take)*
13. “Nothing Is Everything”*
14. “There’s A Fortune In Those Hills”*
15. “Meher Baba In Italy”*
16. “Drowned” (live in India)*
17. “Evolution” (live at Ronnie Lane Memorial)
(* denotes previously unreleased song)

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Watch Tinashe Dance Alone in New 'Faded Love' Video

In Tinashe‘s alluring new video for “Faded Love,” the singer dances inside an empty warehouse decorated with gauzy curtains and broken mirrors. While the choreography and costume are plenty sultry alone, the tightly-composed vertical frame adds another level of intensity to the clip.

“Faded Love” follows Tinashe’s previously released single, “No Drama,” which arrived in January and features Migos’ Offset. At the time, Tinashe teased “No Drama,” “Faded Love” and “Me So Bad.” “Faded Love” also marks Tinashe’s second collaboration with Future, following “How Many Times,” which appeared on her 2014 debut album, Aquarius.

Tinashe has been prepping her long-awaited third album, tentatively titled Joyride, though a release date has yet to be announced. The singer’s last LP, Nightride, arrived in 2016.

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Hear Father John Misty Battle a Hotel Clerk in New Song 'Mr. Tillman'

Father John Misty runs afoul of hotel policies in his new song “Mr. Tillman.” The singer released the track on Tuesday along with a brief, lighthearted music video. 

Father John Misty narrates the verses of his latest song from the perspective of a flustered hotel employee trying to keep the singer in line. “Is there someone we can call/ Perhaps you shouldn’t drink alone,” he sings. But despite the narrator’s alarm, “Mr. Tillman” is unerringly smooth, full of soothing multi-part harmonies and cheerful glockenspiel.

The video for “Mr. Tillman” does not start until around the two-minute mark. It’s a low budget affair, with shots of Father John Misty imposed over photographs of hotel scenes. Everyone in the pictures seems happy and content, straight out a hotel brochure, while Father John Misty wanders around aimlessly and breaks into an amusing dance.

“Mr. Tillman” is one of the first new tracks from Father John Misty since he released Pure Comedy in 2017. He was also captured singing an impromptu song about Donald Trump’s firing of former FBI director James Comey last year, and he recorded a version of the Velvet Underground’s “Who Loves the Sun” for the movie Shangri-La Suite.

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See Doors' Epic 'When the Music's Over' at Last Filmed Show

When the Doors flew to England for their appearance at the Isle of Wight Festival in the summer of 1970, the band was at one of its lowest points. In the spring of the previous year, Jim Morrison had been arrested at a Miami concert and charged with “lewd and lascivious behavior” when he allegedly exposed himself to an audience; the group canceled its touring plans and the courtroom drama never seemed to end. So when he and his bandmates took the stage, he was in an unusual mood. “He was like a pot of boiling water with a lid on top,” drummer John Densmore recalls. “He didn’t move a lot, but he sang really strong.”

Footage of the concert, which was the band’s last gig to be captured on film, will come out as Live at the Isle of Wight Festival 1970 on home video this Friday. It was an unusual show for the group – the Doors played at 2 a.m. in near dark, as they didn’t know they needed to bring their own lighting – but its performances of hits like “Break on Through,” “Light My Fire” and “Roadhouse Blues” were spot on. Even if Morrison was out of sorts – “Roger Daltrey offered Jim some peppermint schnapps, and he didn’t have any,” Densmore remembers, “I thought, ‘Whoa, that’s different'” – the chemistry was there. “Some nights Jim would get a little more, how should I say, possessed,” he says with a laugh. “It wasn’t like that that night, but there was a feeling.”

The clip premiering here, of the Strange Days album’s 11-minute closing track “When the Music’s Over,” shows the group vibing out under a soft red light, as a fully bearded Morrison (“He was incognito,” Densmore jokes) clenches his microphone. “Playing that song was intense,” the drummer says with a laugh. “I had to take a deep breath before playing it, because it’s not a little three-minute pop ditty.” Keyboardist Ray Manzarek nods along to the beat while he bangs out the song’s hypnotic intro, and then they all hit with one heavy note as Morrison bellows. From there, it’s on.

“This was our second epic, after ‘The End,'” Densmore says. “‘The End’ was like a love song and then ‘When the Music’s Over was a statement. You know, ‘We want the world and we want it now.’ We developed it over time, vamping in the middle section, as Jim would throw in whatever poetry things he wanted. I’m real proud of it, because I had this impulse to stop the beat in the middle, and Ray kept the bass line going and Jim said, ‘What have they done to the Earth? … They stuck her with knives.’ And I started stabbing the cymbals like knives. It was like freeform poetry in music.

“The Who did Tommy that night at the Isle of Wight,” he continues. “They did an opera, we did a symphony.”

It was a unique moment at a festival that Densmore considers the end of an era. An estimated 600,000 to 700,000 rock fans showed up to the concert, which also featured Jimi Hendrix, Leonard Cohen, Miles David and Joan Baez, among others. In the drummer’s opinion, the festival scene had reached critical mass. Joni Mitchell had to kick a hippie offstage when he interrupted her set. “I don’t know what was going on with the fans,” Densmore says. “I don’t know if the tickets were priced too high or there was not enough toilets or what the hell. I wasn’t near the stage when Joni Mitchell threw out a fan for being obnoxious, but it was odd. So it’s an interesting document. It was like the last pop-concert vibe.”

If things were bursting loose around the Doors at the Isle of Wight, it hardly compared to what was going on behind the scenes for the band. Morrison had become more and more unpredictable, due to his alcoholism, and Densmore remembers feeling a sense of relief that they’d had to cancel concerts while the singer awaited trial. “I was lobbying to get off the road for a while,” he says. “If he was too drunk in the studio, we could go home.”

The Doors only played a handful of shows after the Isle of Wight: a couple of sets in Dallas and what would be their final show with Morrison in New Orleans on December 12th, 1970. The last gig is not an especially fond memory for Densmore.

“Jim knew I loved him and his creativity and hated his self-destruction.” –John Densmore

“That was the one that really put the nail in the coffin of our live careers,” he says. “The night before in Dallas was pretty good. We had never played ‘Riders on the Storm’ live and it worked. We thought, ‘Wow, maybe we’ll be like a jazz group.’ And then in New Orleans, Jim was … I don’t know. He wasn’t loaded, but he had no energy. No chi. I’d made a set list and we couldn’t agree past four songs. So Jim sat down on the drum riser in the middle of the show, and I walked around and sat next to him. ‘What do you want to play, man?’ And this is in front of an audience, and he just sighed. There was no energy. We’d stop and start, and Jim told some jokes that weren’t funny.

“Ray, Robby and I went out for a drink afterwards – purposely just the three of us – and I said, ‘OK, are we done for a while?'” he continues. “And they said, ‘Yes, thank you.’ Because we were so fucking great live, and I hated seeing it erode.”

The band made one more album with Morrison before his death, 1971’s L.A. Woman, but the camaraderie within the band was different. “He’d ask me to go drinking with him, and I tended to do it less and less,” Densmore says. “You’d get pulled down with him. I knew he was in trouble, but there weren’t clinics. There wasn’t help. There was AA, but it wasn’t cool. It was just kids. Jim knew I loved him and his creativity and hated his self-destruction.” Morrison died of heart failure that July in Paris.

Incidentally, Densmore has changed his opinion about how Morrison would have fared had he lived. In the past he said he thought Morrison would have continued to be a drunk, but now he thinks differently. “I used to say he’d never be clean and sober because he was a kamikaze drunk,” he says, “but now I’ve changed my tune. Thinking about Eminem, who’s a real creative angry guy like Jim, and Clapton, of course, and maybe he would have. Why not? You know, Ray and Jim went to film school. Maybe he would have sorted it out and would have been making films.”

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Watch Paul Oakenfold Party on Mount Everest in New Doc Trailer

British DJ Paul Oakenfold grabs his decks and treks up Mount Everest for the most unique show of his career in the new trailer for the documentary, Soundtrek Everest.

The film chronicles Oakenfold’s 2017 trip to Nepal and eight-day hike to base camp – situated at 17,600 feet above ground – where he hosted the “highest party on Earth.” The trailer also teases the other component of Oakenfold’s journey as he ventures around Nepal, records an array of sounds and then stitches them together into a new piece of music with the help of a local musician.

In the trailer, Oakenfold says, “The most exciting part about this project is that it pushes me creatively. At this stage in my life, it’s important for me to have a challenge, to be pushed physically and mentally. There’s a lot of moments when you look at yourself in the mirror and you ask questions like, ‘Can I do this?'”

Oakenfold’s Everest gig raised money for the Himalayan Trust and Supporting Nepal’s Children, organizations that continue to assist survivors of the devastating 2015 earthquake in Nepal. The DJ also gifted his equipment to the local community, while additional proceeds benefited U.K. groups Youth Music and the Mayor’s New Music Fund

A release date for Soundtrek Everest has yet-to-be announced. Oakenfold unveiled a new album-length mix featuring his Everest set, The Base Camp Mix, which is available to stream and purchase.

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The Who Prep 'Live at the Fillmore East 1968' Album

The Who will commemorate the 50th anniversary of a two-night stint at Bill Graham’s famous New York venue with the double CD Live at the Fillmore East 1968, due out April 20th.

The album includes a previously unreleased cover of Eddie Cochran’s “C’Mon Everybody” and a rare version of “Fortune Teller,” which was penned by the New Orleans legend Allen Toussaint. The band also plays extended versions of “Relax” and “A Quick One,” which came out months before the April shows on The Who Sell Out. The second CD of Live at the Fillmore East 1968 is entirely devoted to a 33-minute rendition of the Who’s classic “My Generation,” which culminates in “guitar-smashing and drum demolishment.”

The Who performed at the Fillmore East on April 5th and April 6th of 1968, marking the first English rock act to headline the newly christened venue, formerly the Village Theatre. They were originally scheduled to play two sets each night, but due to concerns about unrest following Martin Luther King Jr.’s assassination in Memphis on April 4th, the Who combined two sets into one. Manager Kit Lambert recorded the shows, hoping to release them as a live album. The plan was abandoned when Lambert discovered that his equipment had failed to capture the whole first night.

The second night’s concert will makes up Live at the Fillmore East 1968. The sound was restored by the Who’s longtime sound engineer, Bob Pridden, using the original four-track tapes. The album will be available as a double CD or a triple LP.

The Who Live at the Fillmore East 1968 Track List

Disc One:
1. “Summertime Blues”
2. “Fortune Teller”
3. “Tattoo”
4. “Little Billy”
5. “I Can’t Explain”
6. “Happy Jack”
7. “Relax”
8. “I’m A Boy”
9. “A Quick One”
10. “My Way”
11. “C’mon Everybody”
12. “Shakin’ All Over”
13. “Boris The Spider”

Disc Two:
1. “My Generation” 

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