Credit: Derek Branscombe

Exclusive: Watch Zeus' live video version of 'Hello, Tender Love'

Rockers unfurl the blues for this morning-starter

Zeus have their own studio, III Eagle, and like any good showmen, the Canadian group like to show off their toys.

The quartet have recorded a "Live from III Eagle" version of every song from their newest album "Busting Visions," and today HitFix gets to unveil "Hello, Tender Love" from those sessions.

The rock act has been garnering comparisons to T Rex and The Who, but here they wring out a swaying bluesy ode like a heart-hurt Link Wray or contemporaries the Black Keys. Three-quarters of the band can sing, and sing they do, though here Mike O'Brien (who looks suspiciously like Gary Oldman) counters his own lead guitar with this striking melody.

"Busting Visions" was out at the end of March. You can sample it here.

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<p>2 Chainz' &quot;No Lie&quot; feat. Drake</p>

2 Chainz' "No Lie" feat. Drake

Credit: Def Jam/T.R.U.

Listen: 2 Chainz and Drake tell you 'No Lie'

'T.R.U.' track arrives way ahead of an August album release

2 Chainz has been the hot name featured on a lot of tracks lately, like on Nicki Minaj's endlessly catchy "Beez in the Trap," Kanye West's G.O.O.D. Music love-in "Mercy" and T.I.'s "Spend It." Now he's got a Drake on his side for his first single "No Lie" from his forthcoming full-length album debut.

And, weirdly, Drake seems to dominate much of "No Lie," as he carries the hook and takes up most of the first half. It's your typical Drizzy boasts with 2 Chainz' bobbing, choppy rhymes coming in later on, with his "Thug life, one wife, a mistress and a girlfriend," along with some fashionable name-drops. It's a good combo of talents, for where street meets the club.

2 Chainz, aka Tity Boi, seems to take a tip from Rick Ross on the synth lines, giving an impression a spaceship may touch-down in the middle of this seemingly sci-fi soundtrack. This "clean" version plays a lot with the foul English, so it might as well be alien tongue.

"No Lie" -- out on digital retailers on May 8 -- is the first single from 2 Chainz' Def Jam debut "Based on a T.R.U. Story," which goes on sale toward the end of the summer, on Aug. 14. Can't wait that long? Check out the half-a-dozen mixtapes the MC's put out over the last five years, or spin some Playaz Club, his duo with Dolla Boy.

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<p>Dot Hacker (Josh Klinghoffer second from left)</p>

Dot Hacker (Josh Klinghoffer second from left)

Credit: Geoff Moore

Interview: Josh Klinghoffer talks Red Hot Chili Peppers, Dot Hacker, Rock Hall of Fame

Exclusive premiere of Dot Hacker’s full 'Inhibition' album stream from Soundcloud

Josh Klinghoffer has toured with and recorded with an astounding array of critically and commercially renowned artists, from his current crew Red Hot Chili Peppers to Beck, PJ Harvey and Gnarls Barkley. But for the career musician, his most recent project has fulfilled a lifelong career fantasy: he wanted to start his own band, to plays his own songs, in a band of friends.

Sounds pretty attainable, right? Imagine, though, the guitarist and drummer has been in other people’s touring bands since he was in his teens. For years, he’s plotted song demos but rarely had the time and personnel to flesh them out. And in the last couple years, he joined RHCP to replace his friend, former collaborator and longtime guitarist John Frusciante.

“You’d think that [Red Hot Chili Peppers] is my main thing. And of course I love being in that band,” Klinghoffer said in our recent interview. “But since I was a teenager, I wanted to be in a band with my mates, my pure image of a band. My path in life has never led me to that until now.”

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Listen: Usher and Rick Ross combine for 'Lemme See'

Usher goes under the covers as Bawse name-drops Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman

While Usher's single "Scream" was generically top 40 rhythmic, he's gone much more urban/R&B for latest "Lemme See," yet another track from his forthcoming album "Looking for Myself."

In short: Usher wants to show you his chest, girl. Y'all explicit. And then Rick Ross loosely follows the theme by promising valet service and forcing some sort of comparison to Trayvon Martin and George Zimmerman. It was weird.

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<p>Rihanna's &quot;Where Have You Been&quot;</p>

Rihanna's "Where Have You Been"

Credit: Island/Def Jam

Watch: Rihanna gets a dance video with 'Where Have You Been'

Rihanna shows off some similar moves from her recent Coldplay clip

As evident in his work with Pink and Missy Elliott, video director Dave Meyers is a big fan of darkly poppy and bold backdrops for his music videos, sometimes letting those border on fake and cheesy. Meyers has now combined with Rihanna for her latest dance single "Where Have You Been" from "Talk That Talk," and that predisposition continues.

Ri-Ri is finally featured in a dance-heavy video, leading the troupe of nation-less natives around a little bonfire, or inside a teepee or as a heavy-lidded sprite hiding in the forest. Meyers' team makes no qualms about making each locale look shallow, like a diorama from a museum, rather than sending the singer and her team out into an actual wilderness. What troubles the clip, however, isn't the dance team's navigation of these sets, but the director's constant need to shake the frame or blur the focus, like the apocalypse from Britney Spears' "Till the World Ends" apocalyptic journey.

Speaking of apocalypses, Rihanna gives a nod to "Apocalypse Now" with her half-headed emergence from black waters, as she seeks her prey, er, lover. (Lately, though, the 24-year-old lately has been promoting "Battleship," out May 18 in the U.S., which is her first major movie role. She's off the ship and now back into the waves.) The video also alludes to Rihanna's tour video clip for Coldplay's "Princess of China," with the multiple arms fanning out like a Hindu god.

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Listen: Metric unleashes single 'Youth Without Youth'

Band finally gets its Gary Glitter on

Metric were right in that their first single "finally" get to utilize the omnipresent Gary Glitter "Rock and Roll" beat -- it'll have you saying "Hey!" to boot.

"Youth Without Youth" is the initial track to arrive from "Synthetica," and is going on sale on May 1.

The band pushes crunchy, smarmy guitars way up front in the mix as a Muse-like synthy underbelly balances out Emily Haines' penchant creepy-little-girl voice. The child-like front is appopriate for "Youth," which explores what the band describes as a "slow sad story." It tackles "the decaying social state through the eyes of a depraved child... into a teenager," Haines explains in a song commentary, streaming after the track. It ends, predictably, with a bang and a whimper, both sonically and lyrically.

The song certainly has mass appeal, but a lot of instrumental space, too, with sparse verses and a non-traditional chorus. I don't think I'll grow out of it too soon.

"Synthetica" is due on June 12.

<p>Tony Bennett in &quot;The Zen of Bennett&quot;</p>

Tony Bennett in "The Zen of Bennett"

Credit: Dion Beebe

Tony Bennett talks Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and ‘Zen’

Review: Tribeca Film Festival debut of 'Zen' is as much about age as it is entertainment

Most of Tony Bennett’s family, Lady Gaga’s parents, Amy Winehouse’s parents and even Harry Belafonte were on hand for the premiere of “The Zen of Bennett” on Monday night, making a one-show-only bow at the Tribeca Film Festival. It was a temperate all-ages event, but it's fine if it wasn't too flashy: “Conceived, created, and produced by his son,” the documentary was what Danny Bennett described as a “love letter” to his 85-year-old father. 

The 84-minute portrait covers the period during which Bennett collaborated with more than a dozen popular artists for his “Duets II” album, his most commercially successful full-length studio album in his 70 years performing. While it tries to encompass a lot of personal history – like his dad’s origins in Podàrgoni, Italy, or his front-lines experience with death in the service during WWII – most of Bennett’s “Zen” unfolds like an archival, of-the-moment record of Bennett, Octogenarian. 
The singer recounts little stories told to him by Duke Ellington or zingers from Fred Astaire, as he shrewdly negotiates tempos with the band and amps up his other passion and pasttime, painting. His “I remember…” moments were balanced out with the minor trifles of the modern music business: like an older family relative, Bennett would repeat himself in order to get a joke about his tie to land. He shows cranky impatience when Andrea Boccelli keeps him waiting and when Michael Buble vocally steps on his toes. He'd always wanted to record duets with Louis Armstrong but never got to.
In one scene, Bennett haggles with Danny and his other handlers when he felt slighted by perpetual mid-careerist John Mayer, who made some comment about his mother’s admiration for the multi-generational star. But even before moment unfolded, I couldn’t but help to think to myself, “Man, my dad’s gonna love this movie.”
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<p>Nas' &quot;Daughters&quot;</p>

Nas' "Daughters"

Credit: Def Jam

Listen: Nas talks parenthood on 'Daughters'

Daddy's princess Instagramming condoms: beauty and the thug

It's refreshing to hear Nas -- one of hip-hop's most esteemed, lasting voices -- taking on more than swagger and girls in his latest song. Or, rather, he's rhyming about girls, but more specifically his own "little" girl, who is now 17.

"Daughters" is another new track to arrive from Nas' "Life Is Good" album, due on July 17. "Daughters" goes on sale in the usual spots on May 1.

Among Nas' temptations is to blaze through another elder-statesman "I'm still top of the game" kind of jam, but this super-specific track touches on a tender topic oft-ignored (or undercooked) by hip-hop on the whole. Raising a daughter and rapping aren't mutually exclusive, and Nas tackles his own daugther Destiny's parenting head-on. He addresses the fact that his little princess posted a photo of condoms on her bedside table to Twitter, and that she's already fielding numerous calls from, erm, suitors.

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Watch this awful Nicki Minaj music video

'Starships' is the visual essence of unknowing

As I said in my review of Nicki Minaj's "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," the star's output has suffered from her and her label's attempt to throw just about anything at the wall in hopes something sticks. In her music video for hopeless radio bait "Starships," they use the same method, only this time with Dayglo paint and bikinis.

Minaj is seen emerging from the water, a beam from a "starship" of manufactured Girldom, the centerpiece of every cheap beach rave and Vicky's Secret cliche you can think of. Certainly, Minaj looks beautiful, bound inside of strappy and stringy two pieces and body glitter on the beaches of Hawaii. But she doesn't look comfortable. Signalling that Minaj's dance moves are still unready for primetime, she's a bumbling, posturing siren in a sea of hippie-trippies and professional hoofers (in bowler hats, to boot).

For everything wrong with this video and this type of video, just fast forward to the final scenes, where the party jumps around and Minaj has to literally hold onto her bouncing bountiful breasts: is it to mirror very similar actions that everyday party-going girls have to endure or a true reflection of the waste and half-baked madness Barbz must endure? Either way: it requires endruance to get through this mess.

Cash Money has got to quit trying to make Minaj into Rihanna With Raps. She's got too much savage personality to fit into a sweetheart mold, too much talent as a rapper to squander and not enough know-how to navigate this kind of generic pop pageantry. It's like watching "Toddlers & Tiaras" -- she's not ready, which makes "Starships" well-meaning but completely off-course.

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<p>Brandy's &quot;Put It Down&quot; featuring Chris Brown</p>

Brandy's "Put It Down" featuring Chris Brown

Listen: Brandy combines with Chris Brown for 'Put It Down'

Does the R&B icon need him?

The latest R&B/hip-hop star has added liner to Chris Brown's pockets, as Brandy releases her second single from "Two Eleven": "Put It Down."

I love the beat, I love how Brandy is bringing her brand of alto, low-loving vocals back into this salty-sweet pop formula. It lumbers but it bangs.

Breezy, on the other hand, brings as much personality to the mix as an ATM. I've made no qualms with my general distaste of Brown, mostly because I find him to be an abhorrent human being and his creative contributions, lately, as uneven. For every brilliant "Turn Up the Music" there's a pitiless "How I Feel."

I don't think Brandy needs Brown here -- not his name, not his vocals. He gets the co-write, sure, but his guest verse brings nothing to the table, particularly rhyming "Brandy" with "candy" and another stereotypical phone-in about girls and their purses.

The track's sparse as is. Consider in the future getting rid of the dead weight (or deadbeat).

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