<p>Kanye West performs &quot;New God Flow&quot; at the BET Awards in July</p>

Kanye West performs "New God Flow" at the BET Awards in July

Credit: AP Photo

Kanye and Co. confirm September arrival of G.O.O.D. Music's 'Cruel Summer'

2 Chainz clarifies label position; Kanye still on media moratorium

With "Mercy" and "New God Flow" permanently added to this summer's spinlist, Kanye West and the rest of his G.O.O.D. Music crew are ready to proceed with the larger album. "Cruel Summer" will be out officially on Sept. 4, featuring verses and music from West, John Legend, Common, Kid Cudi, Pusha T, Big Sean, Q-Tip, Mr. Hudson, Teyana Taylor, Cyhi, D’Banj, Hit-Boy and 2 Chainz.

The latter artist -- who has been the featured rapper of the year, it seems -- is not officially signed to Ye's label, though he clarifies in an interview with Complex magazine that he and the esteemed Watch the Throne rhymer are still sussing out a deal.

"I’m not officially signed, paperwork-wise, to G.O.O.D. Music. But I have a great rapport with ’Ye. He called me before 'Watch the Throne' came out," the Atlanta-bred rapper said. "I’ve talked to ’Ye 1,000 times about trying to make this situation work for the both of us, so it won’t feel like anyone is getting used or anything... I came from a situation with [Disturbing tha Peace], being under [Ludacris], where I got a phobia. Sometimes when an artist signs another artist, they’re so worried about themselves. And with ’Ye, he helps everybody."

Yeezy is keeping his word on press blackout, considering his bumpy past with interviews, Twitter, public appearances, and basically everything else that doesn't involve him rapping. But a press release touted the successful run of his "Cruel Summer" video concept, a seven-screen experience that bowed at the Cannes Film Festival earlier this year. It was conceptually built around the album, so if there is a live tour run of G.O.O.D. Music, perhaps fans will get a eyeful as well as an earful.

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Listen: Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre combine for less-than-regal '3 Kings'
Credit: Def Jam

Listen: Rick Ross, Jay-Z, Dr. Dre combine for less-than-regal '3 Kings'

Opportunistic wasted opportunity

A title like "3 Kings" with a combo Rick Ross, Jay-Z and Dr. Dre certainly sounds ambitious. But if this was to be a royal coalition, they should have called in some reinforcements -- or at least for a livelier beat.

Dr. Dre spends his spin on hocking his now-famous headphones instead of delivering of some intrepid new rhymes. Nobody expects "Detox" anymore. But for those rare verses he throws down the pipe, he should rest on laurels that consist more than weed, his headphone company and the Compton memories from a decade before.

Rick Ross takes his turn shilling -- lest we forget -- the Maybach Music name, the name that survives despite the fact that actual Maybach vehicles will be discontinued after 2013, making service a struggle. And speaking of servicing, Ross concedes he may not be a billionaire yet, but proposes, still "come and suck a d*ck for a millionaire," a come-hither as comical as when a similar sentiment was expressed in "The Big Lebowski."

It's kind of refreshing, then, when Jay-Z steps up to bat, not because he knocks his verse out, but he trips and laughs at himself in a real free style, even to check that the tape's still rolling after a boast about getting grills and shopping at TJ Maxx.

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<p>Pulp's Jarvis Cocker</p>

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker

Ahoy: Coachella sets sail with cruises featuring Pulp, Girl Talk, James Murphy

Goldenvoice expands music festival reach with two December trips

Coachella turned heads last year when its organizers announced there would be two identical music festival weekends in Indio, Calif. Now Goldenvoice has expanded Coachella's reach, with two Coachella-branded cruises, also with the same lineups.

Pulp, Hot Chip, Girl Talk, Yeasayer, Sleigh Bells, James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem, Simian Mobile Disco, Cloud Nothings, !!!, Warpaint, El-P, Killer Mike, Black Lips, Grimes, DJ Z-Trip, The Gaslamp Killer and more acts TBA are on the bill for late this year.

S.S. Coachella will be on the 2,800-cap Celebrity Silhouette, "a 1,000-foot, 122,000-ton ship," with the first trip leaving from Fort Lauderdale, Fla. to the Bahamas Dec. 16 for three days. The second also leaves from Fort Lauderdale, and sailing to Jamaica for a four-day excursion on Dec. 19.  

“It even has a half-acre of grass,” Goldenvoice prez Paul Tollett told the New York Times. “It wouldn’t be Coachella without grass.”

Coachella can apparently be whatever it wants to be at this point, grass or not.

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<p>Ben Gibbard</p>

Ben Gibbard

Credit: AP Photo

Death Cab For Cutie's Ben Gibbard releasing debut solo album

'Former Lives' drops in October

It was process that nearly took a decade, but in October, Ben Gibbard's first solo effort will be "fully realized." According to a press release, the Death Cab for Cutie frontman's "Former Lives" will drop on Oct. 16 via indie Barsuk.

"The 12 tracks were written over the course of eight years," but the compositions apparently didn't hit their stride until Gibbard moved from Seattle to Los Angeles, which he did about halfway through 2008.

The release didn't describe precisely what inspiration the move made on the recordings, which were crafted at Earlimart's Aaron Espinoza's studio. However, Gibbard may have a lot of history to rehash on this set.

First, it's curious that the set will drop via Barsuk, the earliest home for DCFC's output. The rock band has been on Atlantic since 2004, and the major saw an increasing success with each release, particularly from Death Cab's last two albums "Narrow Stairs" (2008) and last year's "Codes and Keys." Gibbard's collaboration with DNTEL in The Postal Service was also a surprising hit, and that album "Give Up" was through Sub Pop.

Gibbard also had a very public romance and subsequent divorce from actress/singer Zooey Deschanel, who one could argue was the muse behind "Codes and Keys," their sunniest set yet.

The songwriter also teamed with Son Volt's Jay Farrar for the soundtrack to "One Fast Move or I'm Gone," a documentary that told the story of Jack Kerouac's "Big Sur." The 2009 project was a personal one for Gibbard, who penned the tracks with the energy he culled from the novel.

What this makes me think is that we can expect a low-key and personal affair out of "Former Lives," a title that has a major whiff of nostalgia and some melancholy. Do you hope this is Gibbard's break-up album? Does it signal a departure from the DCFC band format?

Gibbard will be touring behind the effort for a limited number of dates, TBA.

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<p>Dave Matthews Bands' &quot;Away from the World&quot;</p>

Dave Matthews Bands' "Away from the World"

Credit: RCA

Listen: Dave Matthews Band's 'Mercy' will have you crying for it

Means well.

Dave Matthews Band's new single "Mercy" means well. With album "Away From the World" en route for September, the group is trying to set a tone, with a sentimental song on par with John Mayer's "Waiting on the World to Change." Which was his version of "People Get Ready."

Neither compare to the latter, and DMB's furthermore lacks a real discernible melody.

Matthews is featured spouting off truisms in an awe-inspiring stream-of-conscious, like a beauty pageant competitor caught off-guard with the question, "How do we end war among the nations?" Lift up your heart, yeah. We could turn it around, baby. Stand up for where we need to be.

It's cool-headed and honest, but tamely unedited. Will there be any real rock on this record?

"Away from the World" is out on Sept. 11 and is now up for pre-sale on iTunes. Those who purchase will get "Mercy" for free, bless your heart. Jam to fade.

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<p>Jack White in &quot;Freedom at 21&quot;</p>

Jack White in "Freedom at 21"

Watch: Jack White and a hot cop don't stop in 'Freedom at 21' video

Prison: Not so bad

Leave it to director Hype Williams to suspend color along with reality and disbelief in an action-packed clip for Jack White. "Freedom at 21" is the celebration and dissent of women who do whatever the hell they please, and in this case, it's a hot cop who shirks her regular duties in order to turn. you. on.

White, as is his nature, is looking gaunt and borderline batsh*t in the video, the track culled from his eccentric solo debut "Blunderbuss." It's further evidence of the mystery that you never see the Third Man main man and Johnny Depp in the same room.

And, much like his "Sixteen Saltines" clip, this one leaves viewers on the edge of their seat, without resolve. White seemingly craves a violent death involving his car.

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<p>Green Day</p>

Green Day

Listen: Green Day unleash tame 'Oh Love' lyric video

Does this power-pop mid-tempo rocker put your heart in a noose?

Green Day are much more power-pop than pop-punk on the first offering -- "Oh Love" -- from their album trilogy. They're much more Cheap Trick and Big Star than they are Sticky Little Fingers and the Buzzcocks on this mid-tempo rocker, which features frontman Billie Joe Armstrong's "heart in a noose."

But to bassist Mike Dirnt, they had Rolling Stones in mind.

""We were just thinking about making a killer power-pop record – dirtier, back to basics," he told Rolling Stone. "We tapped into our version of 'Exile on Main Street.'"

"We wanted to get back to the simplicity of 'Dookie,'" Armstrong said, "... back to our love of Fifties and Sixties music, close-to-the-bone rock 'n' roll. You don't hear a gazillion parts. The majority of this is drums, bass, two guitars and vocals."

He's referring to "¡Uno!" which is due on Sept. 25, ahead of the Nov. 13 drop of "¡Dos!" and Jan. 15 arrival of -- you guessed it -- "¡Tres!" My hope is that the remainder of the first set shakes off the lethargy that "Love" leaves, or fans lose excitement for a second or third

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<p>Frank Ocean</p>

Frank Ocean

Frank Ocean's CDs pulled from Target, big box chain releases statement

'Knee-jerk' accusation fuels rumors that 'Channel Orange' refused over homophobia

Frank Ocean's "Channel Orange" was released a week and a day early on Monday, exclusively through iTunes, and brick-and-mortar retailers weren't pleased. Any music-sales shop would be, and has been, and will continue to be unhappy about it. Target reacted to the news by claiming it wouldn't stock physical CD copies of "Channel Orange" in its stores. Now, because of bad timing, Target has to defend its sales maneuver not just to fans, but to those who view its decision to be influenced by homophobia.

As widely reported, singer Ocean outed himself online two weeks ago. Since then, artists and labels have rallied to support this popular African-American solo male artist in hip-hop/R&B music, considering the dearth of openly gay African-American popular solo male artists in hip-hop/R&B music. Especially after his stint with Odd Future, his guest spots on Watch the Throne and the critical acclaim for his mixtape tracks, Ocean has become one of the hottest new items on Def Jam's roster, and subsequently one of their biggest third quarter releases this year.

When the surprise came that Ocean's album "Channel Orange" would be available for purchase more than a week early, Def Jam claimed the move was part of the marketing plan all along.

Meanwhile, a war has raged between labels/distributors and brick-and-mortar, particularly big box retailers who have the leverage to help or diminish sales of new titles in a major way. Retailers like Wal-Mart, Best Buy and Target already compete among themselves, with major slashes in price or exclusives like the AC/DC album release or extra-disc bonuses; however, they also compete with digital retail, which has the added benefit of never running out of "stock" and suffer no shipping costs.

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<p>Cookie Monster in &quot;Share It Maybe&quot;</p>

Cookie Monster in "Share It Maybe"

You're welcome: Sesame Street's Cookie Monster takes on 'Call Me Maybe'

'Hey, me just met you... Share it maybe?'

This is an entertainment news site, and new 'Call Me Maybe' covers and parodies is no new news. But sometimes something so momentous and earth-jolting happens, that our hand is forced, in order to give you what it is that you needed.

And what you needed was a version of Carly Rae Jepsen's "Call Me Maybe," as performed by "Sesame Street" star Cookie Monster in revamp "Share It Maybe.' We heard your halcyon cry. We answer it.

"Hey! Me just met you..." Prophet. Bard. Poet.

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<p>Beyonce's poem to Frank Ocean</p>

Beyonce's poem to Frank Ocean

Credit: beyonce.com

Beyonce, Jay-Z support Frank Ocean in open letters; R&B singer drops 'Sweet Life'

Outpouring of support from rising R&B star's 'outed' sexuality

After R&B crooner Frank Ocean came out as gay last week, there has been an outpouring of support fromt he urban music community, including some from another R&B pop star, Beyonce.

Bey posted an open letter -- OK, more of an open picture -- on her website to Frank Ocean with handwritten encouragements over his photo. Check the note below.

""Be fearless. Be honest. Be generous. Be brave. Be poetic. Be open. Be free. Be yourself. Be in love. Be happy. Be inspiration.," she wrote on Saturday.

Queen B's husband Jay-Z also wrote a note of support on his Life + Times website under the post "Thank You, Frank Ocean."

"Your relieving yourself of your 'secret' is as much about wanting to honestly connect as it is about exhibition. We are all made better by your decision to share publicly," the rapper wrote.

Another singer, Anthony Hamilton told GlobalGrind in an interview, "[Ocean's] creative, doesn't matter if it's his album or whatever album he puts his talent to, it'll be OK. I think he's creative enough and clever enough to go with what's needed - to adjust to whatever the climate is in the music business."

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