<p>Neil Young in his &quot;Americana&quot; silent film</p>

Neil Young in his "Americana" silent film

Watch: Neil Young and Crazy Horse's 'Americana' album, silent film streaming

Band crafts 40-minute silent film with Shepard Fairey's help

Neil Young and Crazy Horse's reunion album "Americana" is streaming in full, though the band is also offering 40-minutes of silence.

Rather, the rockers have released a 40-minute silent film that was crafted partly out of found footage to accompany each of "Americana's" 11 tracks. The opening scene features Young playing a writer who visits an art gallery -- which features works from designer Shepard Fairey -- "in hopes of finding illustrations for his new book about great American songs," according to NPR, which debuted the vid.

Young obviously finds what he's looking for, and thus starts "Americana," which is the Crazy-Horseian interpretation on classic songs like "Oh Susanna," "God Save the Queen" and "This Land Is Your Land." The remainder of the film is found footage from the silent film era, including works from director D.W. Griffith. Young -- under the name Bernard Shakey -- directed and cut the film.

Read Full Post
<p>Russell Brand, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta and Alec Baldwin in &quot;Rock of Ages&quot;</p>

Russell Brand, Julianne Hough, Diego Boneta and Alec Baldwin in "Rock of Ages"

Credit: Warner Bros.

Set Visit Preview: 'Rock of Ages' is Tom Cruise singing, Adam Shankman laughing

How to make straight guys rock-out with a gay kiss on the Sunset Strip

Julianne Hough’s character Sherrie in “Rock of Ages” arrives onto the scene in a floral-enhanced dress, with an obscenely cumbersome suitcase in hand while a skinny punk jerk is rattled between policemen and hookers. Skipping alongside ‘80s choppers and liquor ads, Sherrie sings “Just Like Paradize” as her nose points at a rack of girlie mags and cigarettes next to the Roxy. At the edge of her jaunt is one of the film’s fictional focal points, the Bourbon Room, sullied and dank like used chewing gum on the sidewalk. It’s like the opening of “Rock of Ages” is a whiskey-drunk “Wizard of Oz,” with the Sunset Strip as the Yellow Brick Road and the munchkins starring as gum-chewing, crimp-haired, Poison-baiting Lollipop Guild.

Judging from the promos that have arrived from director Adam Shankman’s new creation, there’s going to be a lot of jokes about hair, just as there were in his other film “Hairspray.” But the rebuilt Strip – carved out of a low-rent neighborhood in Miami – boasts some darkness and details: understated, celebrated, a stark contrast to Hough’s bright chirp.
 
“This whole movie is like meta-paced. Like if you blow on any of the sets they’ll fall down,” said Shankman during a film shoot last year. He’s bringing the jukebox musical to life with what he said is the same budget but half the time as “Hairspray.”
 
So the set may not be sturdy, but the cash reserves were seemingly saved for casting. Along with Hough, the all-star lineup includes Tom Cruise, Alec Baldwin, Russell Brand, Paul Giamatti, Mary J. Blige, Catherine Zeta-Jones and Bryan Cranston. But the real spotlights are on the songs, with roses and thorns from the ‘80s from artists like Def Leppard, Guns N’ Roses, Bon Jovi and, of course, Journey.
 
“I was singing ‘Don't Stop Believin’’ before ‘Glee,’ and there was someone before me too. These songs are timeless,” said Diego Boneta, who plays the romantic orbit around Hough’s Sherrie as would-be-rock-star Drew. “If it wasn't Glee, it would've been someone else.”
 
It’s Cruise who takes the last lead as Stacee Jaxx, an early-30-something rocker who tries splitting from his longtime band. It’s the 49-year-old “Mission Impossible” action star’s first musical film.
 
“We put him with Axl Rose's singing guy because I needed the songs to be really rock, I needed the voices to be rock ‘n’ roll, not Broadway,” Shankman recalls about the early “Rock of Ages” rehearsals. “And the guy got him to sing way the f*ck up, and it would have thick, amazing sound to it. Apparently, Tom has in his family, has, like, some opera singers. And so he's genetically predisposed to be able to sing.”
 
Dancing, at times, was a different matter, particularly since Cruise’s craft needs a little more... motivation.
 
“You have to be careful what you say, because he listens so much. He really takes what you say and then starts to pull it apart… You don't improv [dance] movement with him,” Shankman said, discussing working with choreographer Mia Michaels (“So You Think You Can Dance”). “There's nothing he does in the movie that wasn't choreographed to the knuckle. He wants to why you're doing, like, a hip roll or something like that. I don't want to f*cking have to tell you why you're doing a hip roll, because there's a piece of music that does it. Tom wants to know why.
 
“There's nothing bad about that, it's just very challenging to us to have to explain things that are just organic.”
 
Another challenge to the “Rock of Ages” shoot was the combination of sex and rock ‘n’ roll: not that it’s not a natural, erm, coming-together, but it’s a PG-13 flick. “Sex and humor are the two big choreographic sort of points in this,” Shankman says.
 
That means Malin Akerman singing the tune of “I Want to Know What Love Is” as she pulls apart the laces to Stacee’s pants with her teeth. It’s world-class pole dancing champions accompanying essentially the rock version of “Be Our Guest.” Drew’s dreams are altered into a New Kids on the Block-style boy band while there’s a gay love story between Baldwin and Brand’s characters. Zeta-Jones’ Patricia Whitmore is essentially the First Lady of Los Angeles circa 1987 (not exactly what audiences grew to love from her role in “Chicago”).
 
“You have incredibly famous people doing incredibly weird sh*t. And it's all through my filter. And they've all given over to me, and I feel very grateful that they have, because I feel incredibly lucky,” Shankman continues. “I was so stunned when I went to see the [original] play, that the house was full of straight guys rocking out, freaking out and loving a musical. I was like, if I can make a musical for straight guys… are you f*cking kidding me? Then I’d be a rock star.”
 

 

Read Full Post
<p>Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta in &quot;Rock of Ages&quot;</p>

Julianne Hough and Diego Boneta in "Rock of Ages"

Interview: Julianne Hough on 'Rock of Ages' and a Tom Cruise lap dance

Country pop singer reports in from the set of the Broadway-movie conversion

Apart from her country music career, Julianne Hough has built a reputation for showing up in musical films lately, including “Burlesque” with Christina Aguilera and the “Footloose” remake. Of course, the convincing powers of co-starring in a flick with Tom Cruise didn’t hurt to say “yes” to one more, now with cinematic adaptation of Broadway show “Rock of Ages.” 

Hough will hit the stage, the Sunset Strip and the stripper pole for her role as Sherrie in the film, due in theaters June 15, with other co-stars like Paul Giamatti, Diego Boneta, Alec Baldwin and Catherine Zeta-Jones. But then again, not all of them will get a lap dance from the rising star…
 
Read Full Post
<p>Hugh Jackman in &quot;Les Mis&eacute;rables&quot;</p>

Hugh Jackman in "Les Misérables"

Watch: 'Les Miserables' teaser trailer unveiled

Curtain is lifted on Hugh Jackman plus Anne Hathaway's big musical number

Taking beloved stage musical "Les Misérables" to the big screen is no easy feat, but in the new teaser trailer that dropped today, it seems the newest incarnation's filmmakers at least got the scale right. 

Featured in the clip is Professional High School Theater Girl Anne Hathaway singing her character Fantine's money shot "I Dreamed a Dream," as Hugh Jackman's Jean Valjean, Amanda Seyfried's pure-faced Cosette, Russel Crowe's militant Javert and others are revealed between sobs. There's even a blink of Samantha Barks, who is making a huge leap from stage to film as Eponine.

Victor Hugo's novel, set in 19th century, elegantly compounded the human condition and challenged the high and low ground of ethics and class loyalty, which made for good stage material and even romance when it was first adapted as plays -- and then as a musical in the 1980s. The music of that show is why the show is so fiercely defended and well-worn, because of its strong feminine arcs around Jean Valjean's hard-scrabble for redemption.

Which brings us back to size. What a stage musical can't do is reveal sweeping landscape aerials and assemble enough bodies to amp a student rebellion to scale. Capturing songs in close, quiet quarters also has the appeal of nixing full-throated stage sound, for much more intimate performances in-studio. Director Tom Hooper -- on whom every eye is fallen after "The King's Speech" -- seems unafraid to let the "Les Mis' actors look like dirt and, hopefully, let them act, fight and die like dirt, too, without the quick costume changes between acts.

Read Full Post
<p>From &quot;Shut Up and Play the Hits&quot;</p>
<br />

From "Shut Up and Play the Hits"


Credit: Oscilloscope Laboratories

LCD Soundsystem's 'Shut Up and Play the Hits' hits theaters one-night-only

Documentary-feature playing in six dozen movie theaters nationwide on July 18

On July 18, James Murphy and his band LCD Soundsystem will be taking the stage at Madison Square Garden once more -- on the screens at about six dozen movie theaters nationwide.

More than six months after the dance-rock band bid adieu in "Shut Up and Play the Hits" at its Sundance Film Festival premiere, Oscilloscope Laboratories is taking the documentary-feature on a one-day tour all over the country, with many tickets going on sale June 8.

Click here to check out all the cities and screenings details.

Read Full Post
<p>Mumford &amp; Sons</p>

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons slate mini-music festival Stopovers with acts like Gogol Bordello

'Traveling Victorian circus' features four stops with St. Vincent Dawes, Two Gallants and more

Mumford & Sons' North American tour last year proved to be rather unorthodox, so the British songwriters will continue to askew the traditional performance schedule with their Gentlemen of the Road Stopovers this summer.

The group has announced four one-day, mini-music festivals for August, with different lineups featured at each. The Mumfords will headline every night in Portland, Maine; Bristol, Va.; Dixon, Ill; and Monterey, Calif., and will be sharing the stage with "friends" like Gogol Bordello, St. Vincent, Dawes, the Maccabees, Justin Townes Earle and Two Gallants.

"The Gentlemen of the Road Stopover is based loosely upon our favorite festivals like Colorado's Telluride Bluegrass and Scotland's Loopallu Festivals. We want to stop off in towns where bands don't usually tour, and celebrate the local people, food and music," said Mumford & Sons in a statement. "We're keen to promote the town's local businesses, and we'll be using the local bars and venues for after-show parties, whilst working closely with the local people to get everyone involved in making these shows spectacular.

"There will be a host of our friends playing too, and the vibe falls somewhere between 'traveling Victorian circus' and 'Victorian traveling circus.'"

Read Full Post
<p>Wiz Khalifa</p>

Wiz Khalifa

Credit: Atlantic

Watch: Wiz Khalifa's 'Work Hard, Play Hard' video takes the mantra literally

Rapper grabs construction workers to ballerinas to the ball

Wiz Khalifa's single "Work Hard, Play Hard" has its music video companion, and it features the rappers' mantra taken quite literally, with ballers, hard laborers and even ballerinas setting to work, then landing at his pad to play.

The track -- culled ahead of Wiz' Aug. 28 drop of album "O.N.I.F.C." -- could use a good remix. And frankly I'd take that third verse and set it on all sorts of fire due to criminal laziness. But the refrains sticks well, his matter-of-fact yopfills in the them nicely and it could crossover into all sorts of playlists.

Look out, Springsteen. Maybe Wiz is the new populism spokesdude.

Read Full Post
<p>Beth Ditto in Gossip's &quot;Move in the Right Direction&quot;</p>

Beth Ditto in Gossip's "Move in the Right Direction"

Watch: Gossip 'Moves' back in time for 'Right Direction' video

Bad '90s hair for another cut from 'A Joyful Noise'

I love Beth Ditto and Gossip, but why did the band warp back to the 1990s No Doubt Hey Day to shoot their music video for "Move in the Right Direction?" What happened to the usually impeccable wardrobe? Why do the gay men look so sad and Ditto so happy? What's with the watered down flop-side-Donna-Summer?

Skip this particular green screen method in the future, it does no favors.

Read Full Post
<p>Redd Kross' &quot;Researching the Blues&quot;</p>

Redd Kross' "Researching the Blues"

Credit: Merge

Listen: Redd Kross' 'Blues' from first album in 15 years

Title track from Merge may take you back

Redd Kross haven't put out a new album in 15 years, but their return this year is marked with the "Blues."

"Researching the Blues" is the title track from the rock act's forthcoming Merge album, due on Aug. 7. Jeff McDonald is still sounding snotty as hell, bold in front of the matchy-matchy rhythm section. He wrote the record while brother Steven produced.

The lineup is rounded out by Roy McDonald (The Muffs) and a reunion with lead guitarist Robert Hecker, who played with the band through 1991.

Eddie Kurdziel replaced Hecker for 1993's "Phaseshifter," but died in 1999, after which the early-wave L.A. punk group went on indefinite hiatus, post-"Show World." Redd Kross has been performing in varying lineups for the last five years, but haven't released new music until now.

Check the group's website for tour dates.

What do you think of the song?

 

Read Full Post
<p>Chris Price's &quot;Homesick&quot;</p>

Chris Price's "Homesick"

Credit: PTB Music

Song Of The Day: Chris Price's 'That's Your Boyfriend'

So what have you done with your iPhone lately?

Chris Price's iPhone is essential -- not essential in the "I'd be lost if I broke my iPhone" sort of way, but the songwriter's latest creative output was wholly reliant on it.

L.A.-based Price recorded his entire solo debut "Homesick" on his phone, using the app Little Code Shop's 4Track Audio Recorder. Additionally, Price's friend Kyle Safieh shot a video for each of the album's 12 tracks on iPhone as well, with single "That's Your Boyfriend" chronicling the pop-rock singer and his string section's infiltration of the Greek Theatre by jumping some fences along the way.

Indeed, it's little wonder that the single "That's Your Boyfriend" is today's (May 22) iTunes Single of the Week: it shows off the capabilities of the device and the wide range of technique used in a mere four tracks.

Read Full Post