Category Archives: INDIE MUSIC NEWS

See Logic's Moving '1-800-273-8255' Suicide Prevention Video

A gay teenager contemplates suicide in Logic’s powerful new “1-800-273-8255” video. The song, which features Alessia Cara and Khalid, takes its name from the actual phone number of the National Suicide Prevention Lifeline, which provides free and confidential support to those in distress and their loved ones.

The clip tells the story of a gay teenage boy (played by Coy Stewart) who is developing a close relationship with another boy (played by Modern Family‘s Nolan Gould). But as he comes to terms with his sexuality, his father (played by Don Cheadle) and the other boy’s dad (played by Matthew Modine) do not react supportively.

“I’ve been on the low/ I’ve been taking my time,” Logic sings as the scenes play out. “I feel like I’m out of my mind/ I feel like my life ain’t mine/ Who can relate?” The rapper, Cara and Khalid appear in the video via screens on computers and on a school wall, where they deliver their verses of encouragement and empathy.

The teenager is also bullied by his track teammates at school. His coach, played by Luis Guzman, consoles him. However, the teenager becomes so despondent that he’s on the verge of suicide and wielding a gun, before deciding to call the suicide prevention hotline. Fortunately, mirroring the song’s uplifting verses, the video ends on a hopeful, inspiring note.

“1-800-273-8255” appears on Logic’s new LP, Everybody, which bowed at Number One on the Billboard 200 in May. It’s Logic’s first album to hit the top of that chart.

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MTV Plots 'Unplugged' Series Revival

MTV will be reviving its popular Unplugged franchise this fall. Shawn Mendes will be the first artist to appear on the reboot, which will air on September 8th.

MTV Unplugged first premiered in 1989 and featured a host of classic episodes with artists, including Nirvana, Jay-Z, Adele, Bruce Springsteen, Eric Clapton, Mariah Carey and Katy Perry doing acoustic versions of their own songs alongside covers. While never a weekly show, Unplugged occurred semi-regularly for two decades, halting in 2009. Previously, the channel had plotted for the revival to launch last year.

“At MTV, the brand equity is still so strong. It gives an opportunity to bring back nostalgia and also recruit an entirely new consumer who may not know what Unplugged was because they weren’t born,” MTV’s SVP of Music and Executive in Charge of Music for Unplugged, Armani Duncan, told Variety.

Mendes’ episode will be filmed in Los Angeles’ Theater at Ace Hotel. The 19-year-old found himself drawn to the franchise after watching a clip of Pearl Jam’s 1992 episode. “It wasn’t so much about the commercial, showman side of it; it was really about the music,” he told Variety.

In late July, MTV also announced that it would bring back another nostalgic franchise: Total Request Live. The popular video countdown series that was most famously hosted by Carson Daly in the early 2000s will return on October 2nd, nearly a decade after the show wrapped up. It will feature five rotating hosts and broadcast from a brand new Times Square studio, the same location of the original incarnation.

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Eazy-E's Widow Sues Stepson Over Ruthless Records, N.W.A Trademarks

Eazy-E‘s widow, Tomica Woods-Wright, is suing her stepson, Eric Darnell Wright, among others, for trademark infringement over his use of the Ruthless Records name and N.W.A.

Per the lawsuit obtained by Rolling Stone, Woods-Wright and her company, Comptown Records, assumed control of Eazy-E’s Ruthless Records after the N.W.A rapper’s death in 1995. However, the suit alleges that Wright – who also goes by Lil Eazy-E – and his partner, Arnold E. White (a.k.a. Bigg A), launched their own company that piggybacks off both Ruthless and N.W.A.

A lawyer for Woods-Wright declined to comment on the case. Representatives for Wright and White did not immediately reply to requests for comment.

In 2016, Wright and White allegedly formed a corporation called NWA-LLC and subsequently tried to obtain a trademark for Ruthless Records Inc. to use for an online retail store. However, according to the lawsuit, the U.S. Patent office rejected their application on the basis that their mark was “confusingly similar” with the Ruthless Records marks Woods-Wright already owned.

The lawsuit details the numerous trademarks Woods-Wright’s company has already registered. These include the use of Ruthless and N.W.A for music, film, video games and clothing. Nevertheless, the suit accuses Wright and White of launching a website, RuthlessRecordsInc.com, and using Ruthless Records and N.W.A to “advertise and promote musical artists and events.” 

Furthermore, the suit points out that Ruthless Records Inc. has used language that is “intentionally false and misleading.” For instance, the suit accuses Wright and White of describing Ruthless Records Inc. as “founded by legendary gangsta rap artist Eazy-E,” while the company’s website states, “Ruthless Records Inc. is an exclusive branding and marketing agency for NWA Entertainment and signed artists under NWA Entertainment.” The suit claims that Wright and White’s conduct is “malicious, fraudulent, deliberate, and/or willful.”

It’s unclear how much Woods-Wright is suing for, though the suit does ask for Wright and White to pay punitive and statutory damages, costs of the suit and attorneys fees and “further relief as the Court may deem just and appropriate.”

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Flashback: Pre-Fame Eddie Vedder Sings 'Better Man' in 1989

Two years before joining Pearl Jam, Eddie Vedder fronted the San Diego rock band Bad Radio. The group had a decent local following, but they never recorded anything besides a handful of demos and after a couple of years Vedder grew frustrated by their lack of progress. “We’d win ‘battle of the bands’ on intensity alone, but it was coming from me,” he later said. “I couldn’t get anybody else to give up their fucking bullshit. As far as songs and stuff, they weren’t reading, they weren’t living. They knew how big [Mötley Crüe drummer] Tommy Lee’s new drum kit was, but, you know, fuck that.”

The band did have at least one song in their repertoire that could have been a huge hit under the right circumstances: “Better Man.” Vedder wrote the song in high school and fiddled around with it for years, likely inspired by his desire to see his mother leave his stepfather for someone he deemed a better match. Bad Radio never recorded the song in the studio, but you can watch them play it at a 1989 gig right here. It’s nowhere near as powerful as the rendition that Pearl Jam eventually released, but the core of the song is definitely there.

Vedder would be in Pearl Jam for four years before he finally relented and let them release the song. After seeing early tracks like “Jeremy,” “Even Flow” and “Alive” blow up rock radio and MTV, he was very reluctant to put out another song with such obvious mass appeal. A rendition was cut for Vs in 1993 that producer Brendan O’Brien was anxious to include on the album, but it wouldn’t happen until they cut Vitalogy the next year. Even then though the group didn’t officially release it as a single, it still climbed to #1 on the Mainstream Rock Chart.

Pearl Jam has played the song in concert over 500 times, and it was one of four tunes they played during their Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction ceremony set earlier this year. Clearly, Vedder no longer feels reservations about the song. He’d probably just rather nobody watch him play it with Bad Radio back in 1989, but in the era of YouTube that just isn’t possible. 

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Weezer Preview New Album With Video About Seagull Love

A seagull searches for love in the goofy video for Weezer‘s new song “Mexican Fender.” The track will appear on the band’s forthcoming LP, Pacific Daydream, out October 27th via Crush Music/Atlantic Records.

The hair metal-style riffs of “Mexican Fender” and frontman Rivers Cuomo’s lyrics about nerdy, unrequited love provide the perfect soundtrack for the Lior Molcho-directed clip, which chronicles one lowly seagull’s efforts to impress a young woman at the beach. The seagull resorts to all sorts of antics to win the woman’s affections, stealing popsicles, flowers and even car keys from other beachgoers. However, the gull’s efforts backfire when the woman catches him trying to pilfer a purse. After a scolding, the seagull stalks off to wallow in the dunes, but ultimately the woman returns to give the bird a surprise sunset peck.

“Mexican Fender” follows previously released Pacific Daydream track, “Feels Like Summer.” Pacific Daydream marks Weezer’s 11th LP and follows their 2016 self-titled album, also known as The White Album. Butch Walker produced Pacific Daydream, which is available to pre-order.

Weezer have spent much of the summer on tour and they’ll kick off another North American trek September 2nd with a set at Bumbershoot in Seattle.

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Beastie Boys' Mike D's New Job: Sommelier

The Beastie BoysMichael “Mike D” Diamond has found his next gig curating the wine list at a new Los Angeles restaurant, Hearth & Hound, Bloomberg reports. The restaurant is the new project from Spotted Pig owner Ken Friedman and its acclaimed chef April Bloomfield. It’s expected to open September 22nd.

Diamond, an avid wine collector, will work with sommelier Taylor Parsons to select the wines for Hearth & Hound. “It’s going to be a fun list,” he said. “We are putting together a wine program that will get customers tasting things they might not taste. If you like California Syrah, I might point you towards a wine from another part of the world that’s better value. We’re going to pour half-bottles, so you can try different things.”

For those not well versed in the intricacies of the grape, Diamond promised that the wine list will be accessible. “If you want a glass of wine, you shouldn’t have to spend an hour figuring out what that wine is, what you’re going to drink,” he said. “The restaurant is in the middle of Hollywood. A lot of people will be using [Hearth & Hound] for work; a lot of people will use it to be social.”

Still, Diamond and Parsons are also compiling a list of rare vintage wines, though the musician preferred not to refer to that selection by its usual name, the reserve list. “It’s a list that digs deeper,” he said. “But a reserve list sounds full of shit. I’d rather say, it’s a ‘digging deeper in the crates’ list.”

The Hearth & Hound also boasts another notable connection to the music world, as it is located in the same space that used to house a British bar, Cat & Fiddle, which was a regular haunt for many musicians in Los Angeles. Prior to becoming a restaurateur, Friedman worked as a band manager and A&R rep and recalled seeing countless artists at the former pub.

“Every band would go to Cat & Fiddle,” he said. “Guns & Roses, Metallica. the Smiths, who I used to manage, would go there to get a proper pint. Liam Gallagher, Damon Albarn – I’d run into them all there.”

Along with joining the wine team at Hearth & Hound, Diamond has been working on a variety of projects, including hosting his own Beats 1 radio show for Apple Music, The Echo Chamber. He and fellow Beastie Boy Adam Horovitz are also working on a memoir about the band. 

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Watch Shawn Mendes, Ed Sheeran's Mighty 'Mercy' Duet

Ed Sheeran surprised fans at Shawn Mendes‘ concert at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn Wednesday, joining the Toronto musician for a duet of his 2016 hit, “Mercy.”

A fan-shot video captured the start of the performance, with Mendes delivering a stripped-down version of the track backed only by a keyboard. Halfway through, Sheeran snuck on to the stage and picked up the song – though in the clip, his vocals simmer well beneath the roar of the audience. Mendes soon rejoined Sheeran and even though they were both only playing acoustic guitars, the pair managed to bring “Mercy” to a mighty, arena-sized end.

Mendes has cited Sheeran as a major influence on his music and career. When Mendes was first starting out as a musician, posting songs on YouTube and Vine, he frequently covered Sheeran, but soon looked to the pop star for other inspiration.

“Ed Sheeran wrote his songs, so I wanted to write my own songs,” Mendes told Rolling Stone last year. “He’s just like an average guy and a very approachable person. I’ve actually gotten the chance to meet him, and he’s just like a very sweet guy. He is just so normal, and that’s the best part about him.” 

Mendes released his most recent album, Illuminate, in 2016. His current North American tour wraps August 23rd at TD Garden in Boston.

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Priscilla Presley Reflects on Elvis' Legacy: 'He Never Lost Who He Was'

Elvis Presley‘s former wife, Priscilla Presley, got candid about her life with the music legend and his enduring legacy in a recent interview that coincided with the 40th anniversary of his death.

“[I lost] everything,” she told Entertainment Tonight. “You have to remember, he was such an impact in my life, in every way. He was my mentor, he was my confidant. I wrote this in my book. He was everything. In my book I wrote ‘my God,’ because I lived and breathed him.”

The actress – who still spends much of her time at Graceland, Elvis’ famous estate in Memphis, Tennessee – added that she is always reminded of the extent of his influence around the anniversaries of his death.

“I’m around so many fans coming in and doing some interviews, and it’s a definite reminder of his passing, and of course, thinking about him at this particular time,” she said. “A devastating time for myself and of course, the world, to hear the news, and it’s still unbelievable because he’s so much a part of our lives – my life and my daughter’s life and everyone around him. When we get together, we talk about it, and the impact it made … for myself, and for my cohorts, who of course knew Elvis so well, we never thought he’d pass. We just never, ever had that in our minds.”

On August 16, 1977, Elvis was found unresponsive in his bathroom at Graceland, and Priscilla, who amicably divorced the icon four years earlier, remembers getting a call from Elvis’ longtime road manager, Joe Esposito.

“The first thing I thought about was my daughter [Lisa Marie Presley], because my daughter was visiting and was supposed to come home that day because school started, so I was trying to rush home,” she said. “I think I ran every red light.”

Priscilla added that she vividly remembers from that day the sound of Elvis’ father, Vernon, “crying in such grief, howling.” As for Lisa Marie, who actually found out about Elvis’ death before she did, the nine-year-old girl didn’t quite understand the implications of her father’s death.

“It was funny, she had little playmates there and she’d gotten on the golf cart and was riding around the property on the golf cart,” Priscilla said. “I don’t think it resonated with her yet, the impact that had just happened because she was so young.”

Today, Priscilla said, she is still astonished by all the fans and artists who continue to be influenced by Elvis, mostly because he himself didn’t quite realize his impact back when he was at the peak of his career.

“When you come here [Graceland] and you see everything that he accomplished, I think even when he was able to afford so much, he never lost who he was,” she said. “He was still God-fearing, he still loved to entertain. He was very, very generous. He was very authentic. What you see is what you got with Elvis. He wasn’t trying to be anyone else. And he was a very, very special human being and we were all gifted to have him.”

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Hear Justin Bieber Make Amends With Ex on Upbeat 'Friends'

Though he canceled the remainder of his Purpose world tour, Justin Bieber is still keeping active. The pop star has released a catchy new single titled “Friends” in collaboration with producer-songwriter Bloodpop.

Above an uptempo, synth beat, Bieber trades in the tropical house leanings of his previous solo hits for a more pop direction. Above the Bloodpop-crafted beat, he wonders if he can still be friends with a former flame. “Now you’re wonderin’ why I’ve been calling?/Like I’ve got ulterior motives,” he defends on the pre-chorus. “No, we didn’t end this so good/But you know we had something so good.”

Bloodpop and Bieber previously teamed up on the Purpose single and hit “Sorry.” This is the singer’s first solo release since the 2015 album, though he has had two Number One collaborations this year: the star-studded DJ Khaled track “I’m the One” and a remix of Luis Fonsi and Daddy Yankee’s international smash “Despacito.”

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Watch Foo Fighters Rock the Acropolis in 'Landmarks Live' Trailer

The Foo Fighters rock the Acropolis and tour Athens in the new trailer for their upcoming concert special for PBS’ docu-series, Landmarks Live in Concert. The episode will air November 10th.

The new trailer teases monstrous performances of “Times Like These” and “Everlong,” as well as renditions of new songs “Dirty Water” and “La Dee Da,” both of which will appear on Foo Fighters’ upcoming album, Concrete and Gold. The clip also finds the band traveling around Athens with Landmarks Live host Chad Smith of the Red Hot Chili Peppers.

The band recorded their concert at the Odeon of Herodes Atticus, on the southwest slope of the Acropolis, in July. “We’ve done some crazy things over the last 20 years, but I think this might be the craziest thing the Foo Fighters have ever done,” Dave Grohl said in a statement.

Landmarks Live in Concert premiered in January. The series primarily features artists performing in or around special venues or landmarks in a city that’s close to them. They also travel around these locales with Smith in more traditional travel show segments. The first slate of episodes featured Alicia Keys, Brad Paisley and opera star Andrea Bocelli. 

As for Foo Fighters, the band will release Concrete and Gold September 15th. They recorded the LP with contemporary pop producer Greg Kurstin, who has worked with Adele, Sia, Pink and more. The album will also feature a guest appearance from Paul McCartney, who plays drums on one track.

Following the album’s release, Foo Fighters will embark on a North American tour October 14th in Richmond, Virginia. The group will also headline a new one-day festival, Cal Jam 17, October 7th in San Bernardino, California. The lineup also features Queens of the Stone Age, Cage the Elephant and Liam Gallagher.

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