Inside Music with Katie Hasty

Lil Wayne takes off the handcuffs to promote 'Def Jam Rapstar' video game

Is this the Young Money's star's attempt to coddle brick-and-mortar retailers?

<p>Lil Wayne in the new ad for &quot;Def Jam Rapstar&quot;</p>

Lil Wayne in the new ad for "Def Jam Rapstar"

Lil Wayne is obviously excited about getting out of jail, but he's not the only one. Aside from promoting music videos from the clink, calling Drake from Rikers on his birthday and digitally releasing an EP-no-wait-that's-a-full-length, Weezy has been hyping the forthcoming "Def Jam Rapstar" video game, out Oct. 5.

Ads have started appearing with the tattooed non-human sporting unclasped handcuffs. "I am the beast. Feed me rappers or feed me beats," the text demands. (Interestingly, those are lyrics culled from his guest spot on  "We Takin' Over," by DJ Khaled, not Wayne.)

The spot comes after a brief announcement from the "Rapstar" camp yesterday. "Yes, the rumors are true. In celebration of our video game release and Lil' Wayne's album I Am Not A Human Being dropping October 12, we've decided to team up and make it a big deal. We've got even more information coming in a little bit so keep your eyes and ears open."

Interestingly, "I Am Not a Human" has already dropped, as of today, at digital and -- as you can imagine -- physical retailers were none-too-pleased about it. It meant that stores like iTunes had first dibs on hugely anticipated tracks, with featured guest spots from Drake and Nicki Minaj. The album will likely sell a ton more when it hits physical shelves on Oct. 12, but not without having hurt those feelings.

[More after the jump...]

Interview: David Archuleta heads 'Down' new path, plots Spanish-language album

The “American Idol” star sets his sights on producing, talks on Jennifer Lopez as AI judge

<p>David Archuleta</p>

David Archuleta

Credit: 19/Jive

The first time David Archuleta released a full-length album, he’d co-written two of the 12 songs. For his newest “The Other Side of Down,” he’s credited for 10. The result, he says, is a set of songs that lift the veil on some of his quirks.

“This album is about personality,” Archuleta says in a phone interview. “It’s embracing that I’m not perfect, but I have to be the way I am or I’m not gonna be happy.”
 
One fair example is “Elevator,” which was recently added at radio, as promoting the single “Something ‘Bout Love” winds down. The 19-year-old former “American Idol” star describes how the track is about “a dream I had. It’s kind of dumb,” he says, laughing. “Its just kind of a goofy, quirky song, just the kind of thing I’m wanting to show people this time around. It’s just kind of my dorkiness.”
 
Dork or not, Archuleta is pleased that he achieved his songwriting goals with “Down.” Next stop: production. A handful of producers like S*A*M & Sluggo contributed to this effort, but the 2008 AI runner-up sees himself running his own show from behind the decks on a follow-up.
 
“Production is so influential. I think it’d be good to… have a more cohesive sound. The first album [his 2008 self-titled set], was a huge learning experience. This album, the biggest thing is the lyrics. Especially with songs from ‘American idol,’ those served a different purpose. After this, I want to make every song my own.”
 
And that may even mean making them his own in another language.
 
“I really wanna do a Spanish album,” the Utah native mentions, noting that his mom is from Honduras. “I have that Latin culture background. It’s a part of me. I’m not the best Spanish speaker, but I have a longing to connect with that. I just think how supportive the Latin community has been, even during ‘Idol.’ I’d like to give back with something like that.”
 
 He says he hasn’t laid down any tracks for the project yet, noting that it’s all about “the right time. I’m just focusing on getting this project together and stuff.”
 
Archuleta says he appreciates that “AI” producers went with Jennifer Lopez as a new judge on the show considering the pop star’s Latin background. But no matter who judges, he says, it’s ultimately the crop of contestants and finalists that will keep the FOX singing competition fresh. “It’s always best when you’ve got a lot of personalities.”
 
David Archuleta’s “The Other Side of Down” hits shelves on Oct. 5. The album is streaming in its entirety here.

 

Watch: Lady Gaga on 'Don't Ask Don't Tell' and an embarrassing phone call

What do you think of the pop star's latest plea to abolish the federal law?

<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

This morning, Lady Gaga posted a video of her speaking her mind on the military's current "Don't Ask Don't Tell" policy, which prevents homosexuals from serving openly in the military. She throws out statistics including how 14,000 soldiers had been discharged from the armed forces because of the law, including 400 during the Obama administration. She provides anecdotes of individual soldiers' outings. And then she gives a call to action, to contact senators who will be voting on the Defense Authorization Bill next Tuesday (Sept. 21), which includes language to deactivate DADT.

One minute of those seven-and-a-half minutes are spent watching Gaga watching her phone, as she attempts to dial her New York senators. It's kind of embarrassing -- but not for her. Here's one of the world's biggest pop cultural icons of 2010 trying to put democracy into action, and she gets a million rings and a busy signal, and a "this mail box is full." (Apparently, the Democratic senators Charles Schumer and Kirsten Gillibrand reached out to Gaga independently, if her Twitter is to be believed, but still: ouch.)

No matter your feelings on DADT, it is at least admirable to see a celebrity set a step-by-step course of action on a political issue. For one thing, when citizens are asked to call their senators, they don't know what that looks or sounds like, or what they're supposed to say. Another that -- thank goodness -- it doesn't finish with her asking for donations. It's not that kind of thing.

And here's a woman who's normal job is to make a spectacle of herself make a spectacle of an issue. She brought an entourage of soldiers from SLDN.org to accompany her to the MTV VMAs (hell, she's on their home page now), and presented them with honor in her voice during one of her acceptance speeches -- one after she thanked "the gays" for making the "Bad Romance" video over and over again on YouTube. Through her official videos, her Monster Ball tour, her public statements, Gaga has worked to establish that she's as much of a gay icon now as she is a pop icon.

Where it gets hazy for me is the that #BornThisWay hashtag.

[More after the jump...]

On The Rise: The Acorn harvests solid new album 'No Ghost,' gorgeous video

Watch: Canadian indie-rockers subtlely wow with 'Restoration' video, kick off Americna tour this weekend

<p>The Acorn</p>

The Acorn

Credit: Bella Union

I first fell in love with The Acorn in 2007, more specifically, when I saw the breathtakingly dramatic animated video for track "Flood Pt. 1." The song was culled from the larger narrative, "Glory Hope Mountain," a tribute to  frontman Rolf Klausener's mom's early journey from Honduras to Guatemala to Miami then to Montreal.

The Ottawa-based band's newest set "No Ghost" is just as epic, though doesn't necessarily boast a clear-cut concept. It still features the Latin-influenced rhythms, the woodsy hum of nylon-stringed guitar, those popping, earthy vocals. It's a solid set, with features like electric "I Made the Law" and "Misplaced," which Klausener told me briefly at a show in Brooklyn was his first real "sexy time" song.

Thankfully, too, the band has another animated video offering -- the subtle and endearing "Restoration," which, to be appropriately dramatic, is like a summer's exhale into autumn, a recharge with a shock before the long haul of winter.

[More after the jump...]

Inteview: Chromeo go 'Business Casual' on new set, plot album with Daryl Hall

Listen to 'I Could Be Wrong' featuring Vampire Weekend's Ezra Koenig

<p>Chromeo</p>

Chromeo

As Chromeo was recording new album “Business Casual,” the duo kept and updated a chart in the studio, categorizing each song as they made them. More than just a summary of work performed, it was a map of mood, lyrical content and tempo; it helped determine which tracks would make the cut and which would be highlighted. 

“We try to keep a self-contained universe,” Dave 1, aka Dave Macklovitch, explained in a phone interview. “Our music is retro but carefully calculated. We’re two guys who look different, but that’s part of the plan, too. We never had special guests until this record. We look up to bands like the White Stripes. They had their own little creative universe happening, like so self-efficient, impentetrable.”
 
Don’t worry, fans: Dave 1 and P-Thugg (Patrick Gemayel) haven’t adjusted their sound to the dirty garage blues rock of the ‘Stripes. Expect, though, a shift to more pop direction, with an emphasis on songwriting and not just the usual slew of ‘80s analog synths, talk box and “cheeky yet earnest” love songs for the dance floor. Dave calls it a record for “dancing in front of the mirror in my house, or get my swerve on before going to bed. A morning pep in my step,” concluding it’s more a “home” record than for the club.
 
“I was scared this record was too based around relationships and tension, so I made chart of which songs were about that. It ends up [‘Business Casual’] was a mix of beef and flirting. There were just too many beef songs,” he said. “But I’m happy if people think its all flirt.”
 
The duo did decide to include two very special guests on this turn, with Solange Knowles on “When the Night Falls” and a bonus take on “I Could By Wrong” with Vampire Weekend’s Ezra Koenig (see below). But those haven’t been the only special vocalists with whom the band’s collaborated this year.
 
In June, the pair took to the stage with one of their biggest influences -- Daryl Hall of Hall & Oates -- performing that act’s biggest hits like “Kiss on My Lips” as well as Chromeo songs. And the band didn’t want that to be the end of the combo.
 
Dave says that Hall and Chromeo plan to craft an album together, sometime after “Business Casual has had its run and when 63-year-old Hall finishes his next solo album. “It’s gonna take minute... But when it comes together, it’ll come together fast,” Dave says. “We’re having an ongoing dialogue.”
 
"Business Casual" was released on Tuesday.

Click here to check out the music video to Chromeo's "Don't Turn Out the Lights."
 

 

Win! Tickets to see Phoenix or Vampire Weekend in Las Vegas this month

What are you doing on Sept. 22? Or Sept. 29? Wanna go to the Palm? It's easy...

Win! Tickets to see Phoenix or Vampire Weekend in Las Vegas this month
Credit: XL

Brandon Flowers' "Flamingo" album isn't the only good thing going on about Las Vegas this month.

The Palms Las Vegas is hosting dance-rockers Phoenix on Sept. 22 and indie darlings Vampire Weekend on Sept. 29 in concert, and I have a pair of tickets to give away for both.

Just in case you don't know what you're in for, Phoenix released one of the most beloved albums of 2009 ("Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix") and Vampire Weekend's "Contra" has been hot all year long. Two tickets to each show would set you back around $80+, but we've got 'em for free.

Here's how to win:
 
Become part of our social network by "Liking" HitFix's Fan Page. "Like" this story while you are there (or you can "Like" it at the top of this page). Then, email info@hitfix.com with the subject line "I Like Vampire Weekend," "I Like Phoenix" or "I like Vampire Weekend and Phoenix," depending on which show(s) you prefer.
 
Entries must be received by 10 a.m. PST on Friday (Sept. 16).
 
We will pick two winners -- one for each show -- from a random pool of entries. You must be 21+ to enter and be a resident of the United States. We will notify winners via email. HitFix does not provide transportation to/from Las Vegas but, hey, we'll get you into that show.
 
While you're on our Facebook, why don't you check out some of our Fanfix Pages in our Favorite Pages section?
 
If you can't make it to Sin City just yet, check out what the Palms has to offer on Facebook and Twitter.

And if you don't win, but still want tickets, you can purchase Phoenix here and Vampire weekend here.
 
Good luck!

 

Review: Brandon Flowers’ ‘Flamingo’ doubles down on Las Vegas, new wave

The Killers frontman explores Sin City in religious metaphors and dance-rock

<p>Brandon Flowers</p>

Brandon Flowers

If you’re gonna make an album shaming and praising Las Vegas in a milieu of styles inspired by your favorite new wave, pop and rock artists, then your album should sound like Brandon Flowers’. 

Flamingo,” the Killers singer’s first solo outing, isn’t just a tip of the hat toward U2 or the Cure. It encompasses Flowers’ idiosyncratic lyrics, stuffed with heavy-handed and –eyelidded gambling metaphors and stretched to connect to theology, sex, love and idolatry. It’s appropriate, coming from Vegas’ own son, born-and-raised-and-practicing Mormon, who now has the whole floor to himself to explore his concepts. It’s a continuation, too, of the Killers’ '80s dance-heavy “Day & Age.”
 
Of course, “Crossfire” has already been pushed out there as the set’s leading single – it’s a contained narrative, shifting between a warm bed to be had now and the bad weather to come later. It lingers on that jogging pace and crescendos without any embarrassment. A choir and Annie Lennox-loving synths create eddies around the redemptive “On the Floor,” Flowers’ closest attempt to a hymn, while opener “Welcome to Fabulous Las Vegas” greets visitors as a mecca of triumphal sounds and sarcasm.
 
With the Edge as an obvious influencer, “Only the Young” is awash with guitars and muddled divinity and a noteable mix of bells, harmonies, drum machine and puny slide guitar to vamping out at the end, like a lost track on “Pop.” Pete Townshend and, appropriately, Neil Diamond come to mind on “Was It Something I Said?”, a cutesy tune stringing a young lover on through his insecurities with his beloved Valentina.
 
“Playing with Fire” is histrionic, and with its knowledge of that, proceeds into some fun but sad sonic directions; Flowers let’s that whiney inner-Robert Smith play with fire as a distorted guitar is imperfectly irritated with a pick in the background. I love how Flowers’ voice comfortably dips around the melody on the terribly titled but well-meaning “Swallow It,” further convincing me he should be involved in that Cars reunion rumor that’s been swirling around, just in case Queen doesn’t call. He's a "perfooormer."
 
He shows his cards on Jenny Lewis-enhanced “Hard Enough” but hides them again behind tracks like “Magdelena,” which just have far too much going on; “Jilted Lovers & Broken Hearts” puts on a real Vegas-style rock show.
 
Overall, it’s a solid set brimming with personality, even if -- sometimes -- it’s not Flowers’ own. Sin City obviously has an effect on Flowers temperament, his writing and delivery, so it’s not like he can arrive on the other side pure of any other influences anyway.

"Flamingo" flies onto shelves today (Sept. 14).

 

Album Review: Weezer's new 'Hurley' stays the alt-rock course

Despite moving from a major to an indie, Rivers Cuomo and Co. show no signs of changing the formula

<p>Weezer's &quot;Hurley&quot;</p>

Weezer's "Hurley"

Credit: Epitaph

Weezer may be releasing their very first independent record with "Hurley," but don't count on the move marking any change in the quartet's sound trajectory.

The Epitaph effort has is dummy rockers, electro rockers, jokey rockers, Serious singles and ballads essentially remade into rockers. The band won't allow itself to drop below a certain midtempo BPM even once, and, as per usual, the mastering pummels every note an inch into your face, desensitizing the listener to any changes in sonic or subject matter.

Not that it matters. "Hurley" doesn't really play like an album, just more like a collection of licenseable songs and a little something for the kids. It's front-loaded with proof that Rivers Cuomo can still write the hell out of hook, like on the unwinking "Trainwrecks" and "Ruling Me," which very well should be the second single after straight-forward "Memories."

"Where's My Sex?" is like a dirty children's tune, akin to "The Cat Came Back" with dorky jokes about procreation. Cuomo extols "Smart Girls" with some awfully lazy rhyming schemes but also with a cute trickle of memorable lines. "Run Away," the band's collaboration with songwriter Ryan Adams, sadly loses steam mid-song, like dialing in a favor.

As Weezer's older fans skim for any inkling that the band has another "Pinkerton" or even a "Maladroit," in them, there may be some joy in "Hang On" and striking, vulnerable "Unspoken" (up until the dam breaks and the grinding guitars return to irritate your skin). Closer "Time Flies" interestingly features the sounds of clipped guitar and vocals, giving it a lo-fi calculated textures.

More songs with gang vocals, more of the 1-6-4-5, more tracks about girls and waxing nostaligic on the days when we were single. It's not weird, or more pop or experimental, revolutionary, sensitive or off-beat. It's just more of what we've come to expect.

"Hurley" is out tomorrow (Sept. 14). Listen to the album in its entirety here.

Click here to check out the band's recent video for "Memories," featuring the crew from "Jackass 3D."

Click here to follow Katie Hasty on Twitter.

Interview: Cee Lo speaks on ‘F*ck You,’ Sade, Gnarls Barkley and Goodie Mob

Green is a 'Lady Killer,' superhero and freak -- and he's out to play the field

<p>Cee Lo Green</p>

Cee Lo Green

Credit: Atlantic

As he was stitching together his new solo album “The Lady Killer,” Cee Lo Green didn’t have much intention to rope in special guests or featured vocalists. There was one name, though, that he at least tried to get.

“I reached out to Sade. She’d never done a song with anyone else before. That makes her Madame Butterfly,” the singer/rapper told me in our phone interview, noting that the Soldier of Love never managed to give him a reply. “It was a longshot to begin with, but I thought, ‘If she does this, this will truly signify my being a professional or not.’ Not that I feel any less special. I guess I still have a ways to go.”
 
On the other hand, Cee Lo concludes that “Lady Killer” doesn’t need any “elaborate guest appearances. Just a lady and a nice car,” he says  “It’s varied enough over the course of a whole record. You’ll have your hands full with me.”
 
The founding Goodie Mob and Gnarls Barkley member is already off to a good start. The runaway viral single “F*ck You” (and it’s radio-friendly edit “Forget You”) is at No. 33 on the Hot 100 and rising and already capped the iTunes top downloads list. Two music video versions are floating around. And one of its principal songwriters, Bruno Mars, has been a hot topic all summer.
 
Cee Lo said that he and Mars tried to collaborate on a number of tracks, and “F*ck You” was “the one that stuck.” Green said he appreciated the anti-establishment tone to track, and then tangentially mused on the offending term itself.
 
“You think of the term, the verb, “f*ck” as something that’s fast. Efficient but urgent. It’s like that. This album is urgent for me, but that doesn’t mean it’s impersonal. It’s poetry in motion – poetry in slow motion, you know what I’m saying?” Yes. “Intimacy is always art.”
 
If it sounds like “The Lady Killer” is an album about feeling good, then you’re on the right track. At 35, Green (born Thomas DeCarlo Callaway) is in a pretty good spot, and he wants “Lady Killer” to be a reflection of that.
 
“I want people to know that I know what I’m doing. I’ve been written off as a freak before. I consider myself a closet freak, now out of the closet. I'm a freak of nature, a freak accident. Isn’t that how all superheroes start?" he deadpans. “I much rather [my success] be considered a freak accident that it being luck.
 
The solo set was the natural next step after a run with Danger Mouse in Gnarls Barkley, a duo whose “Crazy” threw Cee Lo further into the limelight. Green says that a third LP will “definitely happen” next year, but only after some time post-“Lady Killer.”
 
“I just got out a steady relationship with Danger Mouse,” he explains.
 
“Does that mean you’re playing the field?”
 
“Not all. I mean, I’m out in right field. I’m not playing the whole field, I’m just out where the girls are.”
 
He says that he’s had some ideas for songs with Danger, but “we’ve been out of each other’s space… He wanted to move in a different sound direction,” which explains his collaboration with James Mercer in Broken Bells. “He’s a jaded, moody kinda guy. When we met each other, we were married by that mood, because that’s where I was at the time. My seasons changed… We have this love/hate relationship for the things we do outside of each other. I felt shattered listening to [Broken Bells]. I thought, damn, Danger needs a girl.”
 
Green says he knows the brighter side of Danger Mouse, aka Brian Burton, but he has yet to hear it in sound. “Gnarls is awesome. Sometimes I wish it wasn’t so detached and sad. But, yo, I’m pretty sure adversity will arrive again, and that’s when I will seek out Danger Mouse.”
 
Cee Lo also seeks to finalize a new album with his Atlanta rap crew Goodie Mob, who has reunited in recent years in concert but not on tape. Green split from the group after 1999’s “World Party,” but says that the new effort -- also due next year -- is “well on its way” to being finished and that the quartet is now juggling deals for release.
 
“The stuff that we have is remarkable, nothing short of a signature Goodie Mob record. All fans are gonna thoroughly enjoy it.”
 
All this, and still working toward the Dec. 7 arrival of “The Lady Killer.” Cee Lo says all the elements are just combining to make him into the towering superhero he is. “I’m not being lifted up in my career. As we speak, I’m getting taller. You feelin’ me? I can’t be dropped on my ass. My balloon is not being popped by anyone. I’m just taller, that’s all. And my clothes fit me.”

 

Watch: Weezer revisit 'Memories' with the 'Jackass' dudes in new video

Bam, Steve-O, Johnny Knoxville and others join the Weez in Super-8, ahead of 'Hurley's' release

<p>Weezer's &quot;Memories&quot;</p>

Weezer's "Memories"

We told you yesterday that the dudes from "Jackass" were at least one good reason to tune into Sunday's 2010 MTV Video Music Awards. It also happens that Steve-O, Johnny Knoxville, Bam Margera and the rest of the stupid stunt crew are also a reason to check out the new music video for Weezer's "Memories."

According to MTV, Rivers Cuomo used to hang out with Knoxville in the early '90s, shooting hoops. The Weez was about to go mainstream, and Knoxville was trying to break into Hollywood. How times have changed.

The clip features mostly shots in Super-8 with the various cast skateboarding in an empty pool. Interstitial clips from forthcoming "Jackass 3D" -- the soundtrack to which "Memories" is included -- plus general shenaniganry are included. There's little kids, a fat guy in a pool, gang vocals, the ilk. It's kind of sweet.

"Memories" is the leading single from "Hurley," Weezer's newest, out on Tuesday (Sept. 14). You can listen to the set in its entirety here.

What do you think of the song and the video?


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