Tag Archives: RollingStone

On the Charts: Kendrick Lamar-Curated 'Black Panther' Opens at Number One

Black Panther finished atop both the box office and the Billboard 200 as the Marvel blockbuster’s Kendrick Lamar-curated soundtrack debuted at Number One on the album charts.

Black Panther: The Album – featuring new tracks by Lamar, Jay Rock, the Weeknd, Future, Vince Staples and more – sold 154,000 total albums in its first week of release, which preceded the superhero film’s opening by a week. 52,000 of that total were from traditional album sales.

While soundtracks often top the Billboard 200, albums “inspired by” a film – only three of Black Panther: The Album‘s 14 songs actually appear in the movie – less frequently reach Number One; 1997’s Men in Black: The Album and 2012’s The Hunger Games: Songs From District 12 and Beyond are two examples of companion albums topping the charts, Billboard notes.

The soundtrack’s success comes as the film itself shattered Marvel’s records for a standalone non-Avengers superhero film, with Black Panther expected to bring in $218 million over the four-day Presidents Day weekend, a record for a February opening, Variety reports.

Justin Timberlake’s Man of the Woods, last week’s Number One, fell one spot to Number Two and 74,000 total copies. Migos’ Culture II landed at Number Four sandwiched between a pair of soundtracks, The Greatest Showman (Number Three) and Fifty Shades Freed (Number Five). Billboard added that this week is only the second time in the past decade that three soundtracks simultaneously finished in the Top Five.

Black Panther: The Album was the lone new release to finish in the upper tier of the Billboard 200 as five returnees occupied the bottom half of the Top 10: Ed Sheeran’s Divide (Number Six), Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic (Seven), Post Malone’s Stoney (Eight), Lamar’s Damn. (Nine) and Camila Cabello’s Camila (Number 10).

Next week, Black Panther will attempt to ride its box office-shattering success – and a light slate of new releases – to another week atop the Billboard 200.

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Watch Kanye West Make Rare Onstage Appearance at Kid Cudi Concert

Kanye West made another rare onstage appearance Saturday when the rapper performed his “Father Stretch My Hands Pt. 1” during Kid Cudi‘s concert at an Adidas event in Los Angeles.

West also introduced Cudi – who wasn’t listed among the scheduled performers – at Adidas’ 747 Warehouse St. event, a two-day all-star event tied to the NBA All-Star Weekend in Los Angeles.

The two-minute cameo comes four months after West made his last onstage appearance, where the rapper again dropped by a Kid Cudi concert – this time at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom – to perform that Life of Pablo track.

That November 2017 visit marked West’s return to the stage in nearly a year; prior to that, West last appeared onstage on November 19th, 2016, the site of the rapper’s infamous Sacramento concert where – after arriving 90 minutes late and performing for 15 minutes – West went on a long rant that lashed out at Jay-Z and Beyoncé.

Following that Sacramento concert, West canceled the remainder of his Saint Pablo Tour, with the rapper settling a $10 million lawsuit with the insurer of the nixed trek earlier this week.

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Maynard James Keenan Offers Encouraging Update on New Tool Album

Maynard James Keenan offered an encouraging update on the long-awaited Tool album on Twitter, alerting the alt-metal band’s fans that he has finished composing – but hasn’t yet recorded – his contributions to the follow-up to 2006’s 10,000 Days.

“Started getting music files from the boys w the word FINAL in the title a few months ago after 11 years of begging. That in theory means the tracks wont change out from under me while I’m trying to write stories and melodies to them. In theory. Still waiting for the FINAL on 1,” the singer tweeted Friday night.

“Words & Melodies 100% DONE on all but 1. Someday we’ll track them. Long way from the finish line, but at least we’re closer.”

Keenan also reminded fans that A Perfect Circle, the singer’s other long-dormant project, will release Eat the Elephant, their first studio LP of original material since 2003’s Thirteenth Step and their first album since the 2004 covers collection Emotive, on April 20th. The prolific Keenan then hinted that he’s already working on new Puscifier material.

Earlier this month, Keenan was reticent about supplying a status report on the upcoming Tool LP in an interview with Rolling Stone, “I’ve got nothing.”

Keenan didn’t specify when he would track his contribution to Tool’s fifth studio album, so it’s unclear whether that will occur before or after A Perfect Circle’s upcoming trek, which kicks off April 14th and will keep Keenan on the road until June 1st.

Tool also has a May 18th headlining set booked at Somerset, Wisconsin’s Northern Invasion Festival, the band’s only scheduled date of 2018. Keenan and A Perfect Circle will also headline the opening night of that fest on May 17th.

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Solange Chosen as Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year

Solange was honored with the 2018 Harvard Foundation Artist of the Year distinction. Past winners have included Salma Hayek, Eva Longoria, Queen Latifah, Viola Davis, Shakira, John Legend and Jackie Chan.

Each year, the Artist of the Year selection is voted on by students and faculty of the Harvard Foundation for Intercultural and Race Relations. According to its website, the foundation aims to “improve relations among racial and ethnic groups within the University and to enhance the quality of our common life.” The award will be presented on March 3rd as part of the Cultural Rhythms Festival, an annual event put on by the Harvard Foundation that features “student performances and ethno-cultural cuisine from over 30 student organizations.”

Solange released the album A Seat at the Table in 2016. In the time following, she has taken a more unconventional touring route by putting a focus on museum spaces like the Guggenheim as settings for her music. She showed off her directing skills when she directed the gorgeous video for SZA’s breakout song “The Weekend” back in December. More recently, she announced her struggle with an autonomic disorder that forced her to cancel a New Year’s Eve show as part of South Africa’s AfroPunk Festival. “It’s a complicated diagnoses, and I’m still learning so much [about] myself, but right now, my doctors are not clearing me for such an extended lengthy flight,” she wrote in a lengthy Instagram post explaining the cancellation.

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A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane, 21 Savage Team Up in New 'Cocky' Video

A$AP Rocky, Gucci Mane and 21 Savage unite on “Cocky,” a collaborative single featured in the upcoming basketball comedy film Uncle Drew, out June 29th.

The rappers exchange verses over producer London on Da Track’s minimalist synth lines. “I’m too cold for these suckers; they ain’t got more money than me,” Gucci Mane boasts. “I wear my mink in the summer when its 103.” A$AP Rocky works in some hoops-themed rhymes in his section, rapping, “Make a cheerleader cream; so what, she on the other team?/For the cameras say ‘cheese,’ rap game like the league.”

Uncle Drew, inspired by a series of popular Pepsi commercials, stars Boston Celtics point guard Kyrie Irving alongside Lil Rel Howery, Tiffany Haddish, Nick Kroll and NBA legends Shaquille O’Neal and Reggie Miller.

A$AP Rocky recently revealed that he’s finished recording his third album, though he’s yet to detail the project or announce a release date. The emcee released his “Money Bags Freestyle” in January, along with two other new songs, “Above” and DRAM collaboration “5ive Stars.” 

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10 New Albums to Stream Now: Brandi Carlile, Belle and Sebastian and More Rolling Stone Editors' Picks

Brandi Carlile, By the Way, I Forgive You
Long beloved by champions of songcraft – as evidenced by last year’s tribute album featuring the likes of Adele, Pearl Jam and Dolly Parton – this troubadour has released “a moving and righteous piece of Americana-infused pop,” writes Brittany Spanos. Carlile “belts with gusto, whether offering nostalgic, harmonized forgiveness … or a shoulder to cry on.”
Read Our Review: Brandi Carlile’s By the Way, I Forgive You Is Righteous Americana
Read Our Feature: New Album I Forgive You Is About Life “Being F–king Hard”
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Belle & Sebastian, How To Solve Our Human Problems, Vol. 3
The third EP in the Scottish twee legends’ Human Problems trilogy (which has also been collected into a single set on CD and vinyl) features “Best Friend,” which Simon Vozick-Levinson calls “an enchanting Motown throwback about pining for the wrong person.”
Read Our Review of the Compilation: Belle and Sebastian Deliver Bright Pop Throwbacks, a Few Left-Field Moves
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Laurie Anderson & Kronos Quartet, Landfall
While the first recorded collaboration between artist and storyteller Laurie Anderson and avant-string institution Kronos Quartet is nominally about the period when Hurricane Sandy hit New York City in 2012, the gentle gravitas of Anderson’s poetry and the string-bending techniques used by Kronos make this song cycle a gorgeously unnerving treatise on temporality and loss in which the electronically processed blends with the imperfectly human. “Dreams” is a plaint about others’ monologues about their subconscious travels that bends into a surrealistic description of a recording session, with thunder clapping and strings fluttering around Anderson’s arched-eyebrow retelling. “Nothing Left But Their Names” pitch-shifts Anderson’s precise diction, her low-register voice lurking under shimmering keyboards. “All the things I’d carefully saved all my life becoming nothing but junk – and I thought, ‘How beautiful; how magic; and how catastrophic,'” she murmurs over the trembling drones of “Everything Is Floating.” Landfall‘s studies in contrasts – the analog and the computerized, the terrifying and the divine, the immediate and the eternal – give that observation even more weight. Maura Johnston
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Nipsey Hussle, Victory Lap
We’ve been watching Nipsey’s hustle for nearly a decade now: nominated XXL Freshman in 2010; rapping on tracks with Rick Ross, Snoop and T.I.; dropping an incendiary verse on YG’s 2016 “FDT” (“Fuck Donald Trump”). He’s been promising a project called Victory Lap since 2012 and his official major label debut is finally here, complete with appearances from Kendrick Lamar, Diddy and YG. The wait or timing doesn’t matter since this is timeless West Coast rap – that nimble, funky, slightly-yelled, slightly-cool flow of turn-of-the-Nineties stars like the D.O.C., Kurupt and Daz Dillinger – all with a modern, unflinching narrative. Christopher R. Weingarten
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Superchunk, What a Time To Be Alive
North Carolina quartet Superchunk has crafted “a perfect half-hour of punky, poppy vitriol” in response to the current political climate, writes Kory Grow. “Superchunk have grown up mightily since they became indie-rock heroes with their breakout 1992 single ‘Slack Motherfucker,’ and its insolent chorus, ‘I’m working but I’m not working for you,’ but while the times have changed, the songs remain the same – if not a little better.” 
Read Our Review: Superchunk, Purple-State Punks, Take It to Trump on Their Best Album in Years
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

Fischerspooner, Sir
The first album in nearly a decade from electroclash pioneers Warren Fisher and Casey Spooner finds the pair in gay-disco-ready, libidinal form – yet there’s a ruminative aspect to this album’s party that implies a wariness borne by bigger concerns than the average hangover. “What am I looking for? Why do I need more? What do I really want want want want want?” Spooner yelps over the pulsing beats of “TopBrazil,” and that existential-crisis refrain haunts Sir even on its more upbeat songs. The glitterball-refracted “Have Fun Tonight” utters its title as if it’s a command, contrasting with Spooner’s longing beckon to his lover, while the sparse “Butterscotch Goddam” wrestles with the heart-mind connection. “To me, what has become important is a conjoining – no pun intended – of sexuality and emotionality,” Spooner told Sir producer Michael Stipe in an interview for Billboard. Sir examines that pairing with moody grooves and tightly wound beats that are given extra heat by Spooner’s bravado. Maura Johnston  
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

U.S. Girls, In a Poem Unlimited
Canadian recording artist Meghan Remy dishes up art-pop delights on her second LP as U.S. Girls. Songs are elegant yet forceful, full of shape-shifts but smooth, tuneful and fun. “Velvet 4 Sale” sets billowing synth noise over a moodily predatory groove as Remy makes the line “It’s all just friction/but don’t forget the revenge” sound like a viable pop hook. Scary Monsters-era Bowie, Madonna, Kate Bush and early-Eighties downtown NYC punk-funk pop up among the glistening touchstones. But Poem isn’t just solid retro. Remy bounces between genres effortlessly, from the P.M. Dawn dreaminess of “Rosebud” to the rich, inviting synth-pop of “Poem” to the “La Isla Bonita”-tinged bounce of “Pearly Gates,” holding it all together with songwriting chops, searching, self-possessed lyrics and a sense of old-school record-making craft. The result: Rewarding repeated listens. Jon Dolan
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Ought, Room Inside the World
Montreal post-punkers Ought blend thudding basslines and razor-wire guitars with the smoothed-out crooning of frontman Tim Darcy in a way that recalls both buttoned-up New Romanticism and sweat-drenched post-punk, sometimes simultaneously. “Take Everything” see-saws between a swooning reel around the fountain and short-circuited, reverb-heavy riffage; “Desire” finds Darcy engaging in show-stopping balladry, a choir backing him up until the song’s sheer force of emotion causes a woodwind-assisted slowcore explosion. Maura Johnston
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

Alva Noto + Ryuichi Sakamoto, Glass
The fruitful relationship between legendary polymath Ryuichi Sakamoto and glitch-centric producer Alva Noto has yielded some of the 21st Century’s most beguiling mixes of modern classical, ambient, electronica and improv: the five gently skipping and drifting CDs of the “Virus Series” and the score for Alejandro González Iñárritu’s Revenant, nominated for both a Golden Globes and a BAFTA. Their first longform piece, the nearly 37-minute Glass, is a live improvised set in Connecticut’s Glass House, Philip Johnson’s famous architectural coup of a glass-walled modernist prism. Glass and Noto seem to capture not it’s bucolic surroundings, but instead the structure’s moody presence and unique materials. The piece crunches, twinkles and wooshes – a sound almost like tiny glass balls plinging against a porcelain floor. The back end teams this with touches of Badalamenti or Morricone. Christopher R. Weingarten
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify | Tidal

Painted Doll, Painted Doll
“Chris is a death metal legend from the Bay Area and I’m a guy from Cleveland who worships the Kinks,” Painted Doll vocalist and multi-instrumentalist Dave Hill has said of this project’s unlikely make-up. More specifically, Chris is Chris Reifert, drummer and bellower for gore-obsessed 30-year-old metal institution Autopsy; Hill is a comedian, author, radio host and retro-minded rock savant. Their backgrounds might suggest some mutant genre hybrid, but the pair’s self-titled debut – on which Reifert drums, and both members share guitar and bass duties – turns out to be a refreshingly straightforward ode to their shared love of vintage garage and psych rock. Album opener “Together Alone” is a jangly, patchouli-scented gem shot through with “(Don’t Fear) the Reaper”-style eeriness, while “Carousel” nails the wistful side of early-Seventies glam. Even on its more raucous tracks (the Stooges-y “Eclipse”; a fuzz-guitar-bathed cover of Screamin’ Jay Hawkins’ “I Put a Spell on You”), this brief, beautifully recorded set drips with a sensuous, and vaguely sinister, aura. Hank Shteamer 
Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | BandcampSpotify | Tidal

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Review: Brandi Carlile's 'By the Way, I Forgive You' Is Righteous Americana

Cozy up to the year’s early standout: On her sixth LP, veteran songwriter Brandi Carlile teams up with co-producers Shooter Jennings and Dave Cobb for a moving and righteous piece of Americana-infused pop. Across the 10-track LP, the folk-tinged singer belts with gusto, whether offering nostalgic, harmonized forgiveness on album opener “Everytime I Hear That Song” or a shoulder to cry on with anthemic ballad “The Joke.” She flexes her country roots on the quaint “Fulton County Jane Doe,” which references the opening chords of Buffalo Springfield’s “For What It’s Worth” before telling a tried-and-true story of a long-lost memory of a girl with “Jesus on [her] hand.” The album’s strongest moments, however, are Carlile’s riskier departures towards the LP’s end. She hits a bouncy pop chord on the tender “Harder to Forgive” and settles into a booming Adele-meets-Joni moment with lonely, reflective tour de force “Party of One,” a delicate masterpiece that teems with the most effective delivery of the album’s underlying tones of forlorn, affectionate sadness. 

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Hear David Byrne Team With Oneohtrix Point Never on 'This Is That'

David Byrne teams with producer Oneohtrix Point Never for the new song “This Is That,” the latest offering from the former Talking Heads singer’s upcoming LP, American Utopia.

Over sparse beats manipulated pianos and icy synths, Byrne sings, “That’s when I got your message / That’s when I sing this song / That’s when he says it’s over / That’s when my life is in your hands now / That’s when I call you up / That’s when my river overflows / That’s when I use my cash card / That’s when I think of who you are.”

Byrne previously shared “Everybody’s Coming to My House,” co-written by longtime collaborator Brian Eno, from American Utopia, Byrne’s first solo album in 14 years.

Speaking to Rolling Stone about the pop-oriented sound of his new album, Byrne said, “I’m comfortable with that partly because the lyrics are so very, very far away from what you would hear in a normal pop song. I mean, with a lot of artists I just go, ‘You’ve gotta write about something other than your boyfriend and your girlfriend! The world is a big place. You’re not 18 anymore – you can do this!'” 

American Utopia, Byrne’s first solo album since 2004’s Grown Backwards, arrives March 6th.

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Hear Albert Hammond Jr.'s Romantic New Song 'Far Away Truths'

Albert Hammond Jr. released a new single, “Far Away Truths,” from his upcoming fourth solo LP, Francis Trouble, out March 9th. The Strokes guitarist belts power-pop hooks anchored by distorted riffs and a driving rhythm section.

“Far Away Truths” is Hammond Jr.’s second sample from the new album, following “Muted Beatings.” The songwriter paired that track with a romantic video starring himself and actress Portia Doubleday.

Francis Trouble, the guitarist’s first solo record since 2015’s Momentary Masters, was partially inspired by the stillborn death of his twin and the effects that tragedy had on his life and art. Hammond Jr. knew about Francis throughout his life, but it wasn’t until age 36 that he learned a piece of his twin – a fingernail – remained with him in the womb until birth.

“What the music says may be serious, but as a medium it should not be questioned, analyzed or taken too seriously,” the Strokes member said in a statement. “I think it should be tarted up, made into a character, a parody of itself. The music is the mask the message wears and I, the performer, am the message.”

Both “Far Away Truths” and “Muted Beatings” are available as instant downloads with pre-orders of Francis Trouble.

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Recording Academy Counters Recent Study Showing Gender Disparity at Grammys

The Recording Academy sent a letter to its members this week to counter recent reports that the Grammys have traditionally favorited men over women. Shortly before the awards show last month, a study by the USC Annenberg Inclusion Initiative reported that only 9.3 percent of Grammy nominees from 2013 to 2018 were female and that a mere 6.1 percent of Album of the Year nominees were women.

“When we read the headlines, ‘Only 9 percent of Grammy nominees are women,’ we were troubled,” Academy organizers wrote in the letter. “Could we really be that far behind the rest of the industry? … The Recording Academy Board takes gender parity and inclusion very seriously. We are establishing a task force to review every aspect of what we do to ensure that our commitment to diversity is reflected in our organization and community.”

The organization’s letter said that the headlines about the lack of female representation spurred it to conduct an internal review. It took umbrage with the USC Annenberg report looking closely at only five of its 84 categories (Best New Artist, Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year, Album Of The Year, and Producer Of The Year, Non-Classical) and presented its own numbers, which it said were more in line with the rest of the industry.

It notes that 17 percent of nominees across all of its categories over the same period as the study have been women versus a 12 percent “industry index.” The Recording Academy calculated this index using the Annenberg study data across six years and 600 popular songs for performers and songwriters and across three years and 300 popular songs for producers. “To calculate a total industry average across all three creator segments (performers, songwriters, and producers), we analyzed figures from the three years in which complete data sets were available (2012, 2015, 2017),” the academy said in their letter.

It also found that zero percent of its non-classical producer nominees have been women and that eight percent of Record of the Year and six percent of Album of the Year nominees were female, with a note that “this is largely because most nominees in these categories are producers and engineers, who are almost exclusively male.” Best New Artist and Song of the Year nominees came in at 36 percent and 21 percent women, respectively, compared to 22 percent industry index for Best New Artist and 12 percent for Song of the Year.

The letter offered data that suggested that 21 percent of all voting members of the organization, as of 2018, were women and 11 percent of voters in the producers and engineers’ wing were female, though it said its data was incomplete. These numbers, it said, were in line with, and in some cases better than, the industry averages that the USC Annenberg study reported.

After the awards show, the Recording Academy’s president, Neil Portnow, told Variety that “women who have the creativity in their hearts and souls, who want to be musicians, who want to be engineers, producers, and want to be part of the industry on the executive level … [They need] to step up, because I think they would be welcome.” Portnow later walked back his comment, saying, “I wasn’t as articulate as I should have been.” But in light of the statement, Pink, Sheryl Crow and others subsequently criticized him and the Recording Academy for what they felt was a lack of gender diversification at the show. In the new email to members, the Academy admitted Portnow’s comments were a “poor choice of words.”

The Academy conceded that while its numbers were better than the industry average, the stats could be better. “The gender composition of our membership and nominations reflect that of the music community, according to the study,” the letter stated. “But it’s not enough to reflect the community. We must be leaders in moving our industry toward greater inclusion and representation. Women are 50 percent of our world. We need their voice and presence at every level.”

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