<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Credit: John Marshall/AP

Can Justin Timberlake keep his lead at No. 1 on the Billboard 200?

Strong challengers include Lil Wayne, Blake Shelton and Depeche Mode

Justin Timberlake holds onto the No. 1 spot on the Billboard 200 next despite strong charges from Lil Wayne and Blake Shelton.

Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” which sold 968,000 copies in its opening frame this week, will likely sell up to 325,000 units before the charts close on Sunday, according to Hits Daily Double.

Then comes a parade of new titles: five in a row to be exact. Lil Wayne’s “I Am Not A Human Being II” will sell up to 210,000 copies to come in at No. 2, followed by Blake Shelton’s “Based on a True Story” at No. 3, with career-high opening numbers for “The Voice” coach of up to 190,000.

The numbers drop drastically for the next set of newbies as One Republic’s “Native” and Depeche Mode’s “Delta Machine” are both poised to sell between 55,000-60,000 copies as they vie for the No. 4 and No. 5 positions on the chart.

Alan Jackson’s “Precious Memories Vol. 2” will likely bow at No. 6 with sales of up to 50,000. Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” holds its Top 10 ground at No. 7, then another debut, the Strokes’ “Comedown Machine” likely starts its chart run at No. 8.

Rounding out the Top 10 are Pink’s “The Truth About Love,” and Mumford & Sons’ “Babel,” both of which are projected to sell between 30,000-35,000.
 

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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo

Britney Spears, Bruno Mars, Maroon 5 set for Wango Tango

Demi Lovato, Fall Out Boy also on KIIS-FM bill

Britney Spears will guest host KIIS-FM’s annual Wango Tango on May 11 with Ryan Seacrest.  Will.i.am will also be on the bill so can a duet on “Scream & Shout” be far behind?

Also appearing will be Bruno Mars, Maroon 5, Demi Lovato, Flo Rida, Fall Out Boy, Afrojack, Icona Pop, Jason Derulo, Emeli Sande and Ariana Grande.

The event will be held at Carson, Calif.s Home Depot Center. Tickets go on sale April 5.

 

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Watch: Ariana Grande's video for 'The Way' featuring Mac Miller
Credit: Republic Records

Watch: Ariana Grande's video for 'The Way' featuring Mac Miller

'Nickelodeon' star leapt out of nowhere to claim top iTunes spot

Unless you’re a fan of Nickelodeon’s “Victorious,” you can be forgivenfor seeing Ariana Grande’s name at the top of the iTunes singles chart and saying, “Who?”

That’s understandable as her hit, “The Way,” has seemingly come out of nowhere to grab the top download spot.

“The Way,” which features Mac Miller prominently (you may remember that he debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 last year with “Blue Slide Park” ), catapulted to the top spot on iTunes after its release a few days ago through Republic Records.

[More after the jump...]

 

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<p>Album art for LL&nbsp;Cool J's &quot;Authentic&quot;</p>

Album art for LL Cool J's "Authentic"

Credit: 429 Records

LL Cool J has guests galore on new album 'Authentic'

Fitz & The Tantrums, Snoop Dogg, and Travis Barker are also on new set

LL Cool J showed he still had it when his performance closed this year’s Grammy Awards. Now fans left wanting more will get plenty of LL Cool J, aka Todd Smith, when the “NCSI Los Angeles" star's” 14th studio album comes out April 30.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Macklemore &amp; Ryan Lewis at the 2013 Woodies</p>

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis at the 2013 Woodies

Macklemore & Ryan Lewis return to No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100

'Thrift Shop' knocks 'Harlem Shake' to the curb

After holding at No. 2 for five weeks, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s “Thrift Shop” featuring Wanz returns to the No. 1 spot, trading places with Baauer’s “Harlem Shake.”

“Shake” ends its five-week run at the top after entering at No. 1 on the strength of YouTube views of the novelty song.

At No. 3 is Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay-Z, up one slot, as the tune swaps places with Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man.” Though it falls back a spot, “When I Was Your Man” retains the Airplay Gainer award for the seventh straight week, tying it with three other tracks for the longest run. Rihanna’s “Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko stays at No. 5.

Rounding out the top 10, Pink’s “Just Give Me a Reason” featuring Nate Ruess continues its upward climb, leaping 9-6 on the Hot 100. Drake’s “Started From The Bottom” falls 6-7, and Pitbull’s “Feel This Moment” featuring Christina Aguilera moves into the top 10, soaring 11-8.  Lil Wayne’s “Love Me” featuring Drake and Future rises 10-9 and Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble” slides 7-10.

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<p>Sara Bareilles</p>

Sara Bareilles

Sara Bareilles set to release new album this summer

First single 'Brave' followed by 18-city solo tour

Singer/songwriter Sara Bareilles will release her third album this summer. First single, “Brave,” will come out April 23, and will be followed by her 18-city "Brave Enough" solo tour.

The still-untitled Epic set will be Bareilles’ first full-length album since 2010’s  “Kaleidoscope Heart,” which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard 200.  Since then, Bareilles appeared as a judge on NBC’s singing competition, “The Sing-Off,” and released a documentary, “A Trace of the Sun: Volunteering in Japan,” about her time in Japan with relief-effort team All Hands Volunteer following the 2011 earthquake and tsunami. Last year, she released an EP, “Once Upon Another Time,” produced by Ben Folds.

The album comes after some challenging times in her life. “I have been confronting some of my greatest fears in the last handful of months and have been amazed at how empowered I can feel when I muster up the courage to turn and growl back at those monsters under the bed,” she said in a statement “The songs on this album are a true reflection of everything I’ve come to experience in recent months.”

 

BRAVE ENOUGH TOUR DATES:
 
Date:               City:                            Venue:                                    On Sale                                 
4/25/13           Washington DC           9:30 Club                                 March 28th
4/27/13           New Haven, CT           Toad’s Place                            March 29th
4/28/13           Boston, MA                 Tsai Performance Center       March 29th                
4/29/13           Toronto, ON                Phoenix Concert Theater        March 28th
4/30/13           Philadelphia, PA          Union Transfer                        March 29th    
5/2/13             Chicago, IL                  Park West                                March 30th
5/3/13             Milwaukee, WI            Pabst Theater                          March 29th
5/4/13             Minneapolis, MN        Cedar Cultural Center            March 29th
5/6/13             Englewood, CO           Gothic Theater                        March 30th
5/9/13             Vancouver, BC            Rio Theater                             March 28th
5/10/13           Portland, OR               Roseland Theater                    March 29th
5/11/13           Seattle, WA                 Showbox @ The Market         March 29th
5/13/13           San Francisco, CA        Slim’s                                       March 31st
5/14/13           Los Angeles, CA           El Rey                                      March 30th
5/17/13           Austin, TX                    Parish                                      March 29th
5/20/13           Atlanta, GA                  Variety Playhouse                   March 29th
5/21/13           Charlotte, NC              Booth Playhouse                     March 29th
5/23/13           New York, NY              Highline Ballroom                   March 29th
 

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<p>Chris Brown</p>

Chris Brown

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Chris Brown's new single, 'Fine China,' breaks next week

What else do we know about his next album?

Chris Brown’s new single, “Fine China,” will drop Monday, April 1. The song comes from Brown’s sixth album, “X,” which will come out on RCA in late August/early September, according to Billboard.

“Fine China” was influenced by Michael Jackson, Stevie Wonder and Sam Cooke, Brown told a handful of reporters for whom he played five new tracks recently.

Among the producers on the set are Timbaland, Danja, Diplo, BAM, Drumma Boy, CP Dubb, Mel and Mus, Verse Simmonds and Camper.

Guests on the album include Kendrick Lamar, who is on “Autumn Leaves,” a potential single.

“X” will be Brown’s first album since last year’s “Fortune.” Like girlfriend Rihanna, Brown is releasing an album a year.

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Album Review: Blake Shelton's 'Based On A True Story...'
Credit: Warner Bros. Records

Album Review: Blake Shelton's 'Based On A True Story...'

HitFix
B-
Readers
C+
Does 'The Voice' mentor's new album give the whole picture?

Blake Shelton’s is a country mouse who’s become a part-time city mouse. By virtue of his stint as a mentor on “The Voice,” he’s now got one foot squarely in Los Angeles just as much as he has the other in Nashville (or actually Oklahoma, as the case may be), but he seems determined to make sure his redneck bonafides stay intact on “Based On A True Story...,” his seventh studio album.

In fact, the only tune that addresses his Los Angeles life is “Small Town Big Time,” a ditty that pokes fun at Hollywood, while still yearning to be back in a one-stoplight town. Most of the album is devoted to his country roots in ways both clever and disappointingly mundane. On album opener “Boys ‘Round Here,”  Shelton takes on Jason Aldean’s sloping success with a song that’s as much talking as it is singing, set to a pointed guitar melody. It even includes the refrain, “chew tobacco, chew tobacco, chew tobacco, spit...” The mid-tempo “Country On the Radio” panders to the usual tired country tropes of pick-ups, cut-offs, and, of course, a name check to King George, George Strait.

Shelton has said in interviews for this album that he is in such a happy place with his career and private life (as private as his marriage to fellow country superstar Miranda Lambert can be) that he only wanted to record upbeat tunes. For the most part, that’s what he’s done here. He displays an appealing cross between Johnny Paycheck’s feistiness and Jimmy Buffett’s good timing swagger on “I Still Got A Finger,” a modern update on “Take This Job & Shove It.”

With his easy-going voice and attitude, Shelton makes it all sound effortless, especially on current No. 1 country hit, the infectious “Sure Be Cool If You Did,” but if you’re looking for any kind of depth, look elsewhere. This is an album for popping in the car on a sunny day that will serve as the soundtrack for a day at the beach as much as a night at your favorite honky tonk.

ACM host Shelton is a man’s man, but he knows he has great appeal to the ladies, who love his romantic side: hence tunes like ballad “Mine Would Be You.” It’s one of those impossibly romantic songs about a man whose “best day/finest hour/wildest dream come true” is the woman by his side. Chicks dig that stuff, but this one comes with a twist in the last verse that gives it a kick you don’t see coming.

Similarly aimed for his female audience are My Eyes,” a sly, sultry song, where he declares, “My eyes are the only thing I don’t wanna take off of you" and  “Lay Low,” which, other than the line about “stay high,”  has the musical feel of ‘80s country tune with just the right amount of cheesiness.

The album ends with “Granddaddy’s Gun,” a touching salute to his grandfather, who suggested handling a gun with the same care as a man handles a woman. The gun has taken the place of the family Bible as the keeper of generations of memories.

There’s nothing wrong with “Based On A True Story,” but there’s also nothing particularly excellent other than “Granddaddy’s Gun” and “Mine Would Be You.” The production is predictable, as are most of the songs. Shelton is a true talent and yet this album doesn’t match up with his abilities. Maybe he’s simply too stretched to spend the amount of time writing or recording an album that would reflect the totality of his talents, but it would be great to get an album from him that really showed what he could do. While pleasing in many ways, "Based On A True Story..." rarely scratches below the surface.

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<p>Queens of the Stone Age</p>

Queens of the Stone Age

Queens of The Stone Age headed out on tour to support June release

'...Like Clockwork' will be group's first for Matador Records

As we previously reported, Queens of the Stone Age’s first album in six years, “...Like Clockwork,” will come out in June. We still don’t have an exact date, but the label will be Matador, best known for releasing albums by acts like Belle & Sebastian, Yo La Tengo and Interpol over the years.

In addition to playing at Lollapalooza Brazil this weekend, the band will go on an “extensive world tour,” according to a press release. It will make the first time the band hit the stage since its limited dates in 2011 around the re-release of QOTSA’s 1998 debut.

So who exactly is in the band now? It’s Josh Homme, Troy Van Leeuwen, Dean Fertita, and MIchael Shuman.  Handling drumming  duties on the album were Dave Grohl, Joey Castillo and Jon Theodore. Among the guests on “...Like Clockwork” are Elton John, Trent Reznor, Jake Shears, Mark Lanegan. Josh Homme and the band produced the set, which was recorded by Mark Rankin at Pink Duck Studios in Burbank, Calif.  “...Like Clockwork” is the band’s first album since 2007’s “Era Vulgaris.”

Exact release date and tour dates are coming soon. So is June.
 

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<p>Mumford &amp;&nbsp;Sons arrive at the 2013 Grammy Awards</p>

Mumford & Sons arrive at the 2013 Grammy Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Mumford & Sons' summer tour swings through the West and Southwest

No Lollapalooza date listed yet

Mumford & Sons are rumored to be headlining Lollapalooza, which runs Aug. 2-4, but as the Grammy-winning group’s new tour schedule reveals, they definitely won’t be playing the first night of the Chicago festival.

On Aug. 2, they will be headlining Montreal’s Osheaga Festival. However, after that, the band has a three-week break before its North American Gentlemen of the Road Stopover dates begin. The Lollapalooza line-up will be announced in April.

The tour, announced today, also includes stops at  Washington’s Sasquatch Music Festival and Manchester, Tenn.’s Bonnaroo. Opening acts are Michael Kiwanuka and Mystery Jets. The outing, dubbed Summer Stampede 2013, starts at Calgary's

 

Mumford & Sons Upcoming Tour Dates
5/21 - Calgary, AB @ Scotiabank Saddledome*
5/22 - Edmonton, AB @ Rexall Place*
5/24 - Surrey, BC @ Holland Park*
5/26 - George, WA @ Sasquatch Music Festival
5/27 - Portland, OR @ Rose Garden Arena*
5/29 - Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre*
5/30 - Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre*
5/31 - Berkeley, CA @ Greek Theatre*
6/02 - San Bernardino, CA @ Glen Helen Regional Park*
6/03 - Chula Vista, CA @ Sleep Train Amphitheatre*
6/05 - Phoenix, AZ @ Desert Sky Pavilion*
6/06 - Taos, NM @ Kit Carson Park*
6/08 - Austin, TX @ Austin 360 Amphitheater*
6/09 - Austin, TX @ Austin 360 Amphitheater*
6/11 - Dallas, TX @ Gexa Energy Pavilion*
6/12 - The Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion*
6/13 - New Orleans, LA @ Mardi Gras World*
6/15 - Manchester, TN @ Bonnaroo Music Festival
6/17 - Bonner Springs, KS @ Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre*
6/20 - Telluride, CO @ Telluride Bluegrass Festival
8/02-04 - Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
8/23-24 - Simcoe, ON @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
8/30-31 - Troy, OH @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
9/06-07 - Guthrie, OK @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
9/13-14 - St. Augustine, FL @ Gentlemen of the Road Stopover
 

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