<p>Kacey Musgraves</p>

Kacey Musgraves

Interview: Kacey Musgraves on new album and her It Girl status

Country newcomer on why she won't edit her controversial lyrics

Kacey Musgraves’ breakthrough single, “Merry ‘Go Round” ends with “Jack and Jill went up a hill/Jack burned out on booze and pills/And Mary had a little lamb/Mary just don’t give a damn no more.”

And there’s plenty more where that came from on “Same Trailer, Different Park,” the country singer’s major label debut, out today. Full of fractured fairy tales and broken dreams, “Same Trailer, Different Park” takes the listener through a spellbinding cascade of downwardly mobile characters, each one spiraling further than the next, stuck in dead end jobs and even deader-end relationships.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>'The 20/20 Experience'</p>

'The 20/20 Experience'

Review Round-Up: What are critics saying about Justin Timberlake's 'The 20/20 Experience?'

Look for Vol. 2 later this year

Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” comes out today. Bolstered by non-stop television appearances (including his CW special tonight) it looks like the title will sell at least 500,000 copies in its opening frame, making it the best first week of any album in 2013.

Reviews have ranged from stellar to moderate. In my HitFix review, I  wrote: “At its best, “The 20/20 Experience” feels like its own invention: an exploration into what it means to take the traditional confines of pop and then see how far those boundaries can be pushed...At its worst, “The 20/20 Experience”  feel like sets of unfinished lab experiments stretched far too thin. Every one of the 10 tunes here creeps up to or surpasses the seven-minute mark, often to their own detriment.”

How are other critics seeing it? Here’s what some major outlets have to say about “The 20/20 Experience.”


AP’s Mesfin Fekadu calls “The 20/20 Experiment” “a brilliant piece of work that plays like a musical movement. The 10 tracks (which average seven minutes) weave into one another beautifully as his falsetto glides over each beat. It's an unconventional adventure that makes your bones groove. Seriously.
It's hard to think of another performer who can make a seven-minute track continuously engaging and refreshing, especially at a time when a five-minute song screams "problem" for radio stations and our attention span gets shorter with every tweet or text.

Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz says, “Six-and-a-half years after effectively conquering pop music with a highly sexual, fashionably futuristic album, Justin Timberlake has returned as a more relaxed version of himself, with a brand new palette of musical shades...The propulsive moans and aggressive come-ons of his 2006 smash single "Sexyback," for instance, have been traded for big-band brass, creeping bass and open-hearted professions of love


The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica
is not a fan: “He could have made a cabaret standards album, an acoustic singer-songwriter folk record, a ghastly dance-music immersion, a pseudo-Drake sing-rap hybrid. Any of those would have been more risky and more distinctive than what ended up on “The 20/20 Experience,” an amiable, anodyne album that hopes not to alienate anyone but also doesn’t offer new reasons to commit. It’s an album of largely inconsequential beauty, showing Mr. Timberlake as an artist with no incentive to innovate, making this primarily a paean to brand maintenance.

Vibe’s Clover Hope is similarly not entranced: At its best, 20/20 is a reliable product in a Justin Timberlake assembly line. You’ll find great records—the bedroom soul-trip “Spaceship Coupe” and “Tunnel Vision,” the track you’d say, “This again?” to, if it was released as a lead single instead of “Suit & Tie”—as well as some groan moments: “I can’t wait to get you home and get you in my veins,” a metaphor on “Pusher Love Girl.”


USA Today’s Elysa Gardner
appreciates the tag-team approach:  “Justin Timberlake's first studio album in nearly seven years is a tribute to two of the most important people in his life: Jessica Biel and Timbaland — though not necessarily in that order....The new collection picks up where 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds left off and, eventually, explores love and sex from the perspective of a more mature chap. Timbaland is the R&B savant with whom Timberlake has teamed on most of his best material since shedding the bubblegum stigma of 'N Sync.

The good news for those who like "The 20/20 Experience" is there's more coming later this year. After Questlove spilled the beans that the new album was only the first half, Timberlake confirmed to reporters, according to Reuters, that a second half would, indeed, come out in 2013.

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The Staves talk debut album, plus band's EXCLUSIVE SXSW photo diary

The Staves talk debut album, plus band's EXCLUSIVE SXSW photo diary

Join the British trio as the drink, eat, and play their way through Austin

On the Staves’ debut album, “Dead & Born & Grown,” the three sisters,  Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Stavely-Taylor, get away with singing about the darkest depths while their angelic harmonies sound like they are soaring to the heavens.

“Oh, I don’t think we sound like angels,” says Jessica Stavely-Taylor. “I think we sound just like us. I think sometimes there’s a downside to sounding [so lovely]. We spend a lot of time writing our music and making sure they sound as good as they can and sometimes people are just like, ‘You sound so sweet!’ The [songs] are not really happy or super chill. We’re talking about serious stuff in them.”

Indeed, on “Tongue Behind My Teeth,” the British trio is dressing down a liar and a cheat. “I’d hurt you if I could,” they sing, in glorious spite. “Oh, I will never belong to anyone,” they declare with an equal mix of independence and sadness on “Snow.”

Of course, there’s plenty of romance as well. On the lulling, gentle “Mexico,” they sing, “Carry me home on your shoulders, lower me on to my bed, show me the night that I dreamed about before” so dreamily that it feels like the invitation comes wrapped in lace and perfect lighting and whispers.

Relying largely on acoustic instruments, the pop-folk trio recalls Simon & Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with heavy doses of Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling thrown in.

Stavely-Taylor is calling from Austin, where the band had just played one of its two shows at SXSW.  The band chronicled their SXSW experience for us in the exclusive photo gallery below.  The group’s own promotional duties had left little opportunity to see other acts, although they had seen fellow British sister act Haim and Montreal-based Half Moon Run.

Out tomorrow (March 19) in the U.S., the album, and the trio, have already found favor in their native U.K. with the set, produced by the legendary father-and-son duo Glyn and Ethan Johns.

“They work in an old-fashioned way; they both record to tape and they like to record everything as possible,” Stavely-Taylor says. “We recorded it in a pretty old-fashioned way, which is really cool, given it’s an old-fashioned sound.” On the down side, since the album was recorded largely live, any time someone goofed, “you have to redo it every single time.”  On the plus side, Glyn Johns has no shortage of stories about the legends he’s produced. “We’d be sitting there having lunch and Glyn would be name dropping Mick Jagger, Keith Richards or Paul McCartney. It was incredible.”

Stavely-Taylor laughs when she’s asked who the trio would work with if they wanted to turn their sound completely on its ear: “We’re all really big fans of Daft Punk. It would be amazing to have someone like that. Or the Gorillaz or Hot Chip!”

The Staves sent much of the last several months touring in the U.S., playing Sasquatch! Music Festival and Bonnaroo, as well as opening for Bon Iver and The Civil Wars.

As the trio gets ready to embark on its first headlining tour in the U.K. next month, Stavely-Taylor says she and her sisters learned much from both acts. “With The Civil Wars, it was really inspiring to see the two of them holding an audience of thousands captive every night,” she says. “We thought, could we ever pull that off for an hour and a half? We play with a band already, so we won’t be doing it like them. That was really special. Not many bands have it as stripped down as they do.”

Bon Iver was just the reverse: “Bon Iver has a huge show. It’s such an epic sound,” she says. “It makes you think about where you can take your music, the possibilities.”

She also gives both acts high marks for being lovely to their opening act. “We’ve had other bands that haven’t been quite as nice as that,” she says, of course, declining to say whom.

The Staves will headline a U.S. tour in May. After years of playing open mic nights in their English hometown of Watford before they got signed, Stavely-Taylor says they’ve witnessed plenty from the stage, but she’s sure there’s more to come: "I think a guy’s taken his top off, but we haven’t been flashed, so I think there’s a lot that you could do to shock us.”

Check out our exclusive photo gallery of The Staves as they take Austin for SXSW.
 

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<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Questlove reveals another Justin Timberlake album coming in 2013

Does the Roots drummer have the inside track on 'The 20/20 Experience: Vol. 2?"

Could Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” out Tuesday, be just half of his 2013 output?

Yes,  if we are to believe Roots drummer Questlove. In a chat board posting on okayplayer.com  over the weekend, he said that we’ve only heard half of the story:  “Spoiler alert. 20/20 Vol 2 comes out in nov. (10 songs now...10 songs later = 20 vision).”

Furthermore, Questlove has heard the tunes: “He played me songs out of order and off both records so I don’t know what made the final cut.

It’s one of those things that just makes sense, doesn’t it? Regardless, we’ve contacted Timberlake’s representative to see if we can get any confirmation.

Questlove may be spilling the beans inappropriately, but it’s also possible that he got the news straight from JT’s mouth since they were hanging together last week while Timberlake performed nightly on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and he DJ’d before Timberlake’s well-received SXSW set on Saturday night.

As far s Questlove’s review of the album? He calls it “overly ambitious," in response to the New York Times' middling review.  He also gives JT credit for sticking with Timbaland. “I admire the balls it took to make this record. cause he coulda easily urshurd [cq] his work in and made diplo his teddy riley to 20/20’s dangerous instead of sticking with Timb’s Quincy.”  Lots of different references there to follow...

But he’s not done, Questlove also reveals that Timberlake figured that “Suit & Tie” would  not appeal to those under 35. Says Questlove, after he told JT that his 25-year old assistant wasn’t a “Suit & Tie” fan, Timberlake  “was like, ‘why do we put all of our power in the hands of 18 year olds... I wanted to make a joint that 40 year olds would love too.”

Sadly, Questlove came back a few hours later and was made that he couldn’t post on Okeyplayer (“I thought okayplayer was a place I could trust) about Timberlake and not have bloggers pick up on it.

Here's my  review of "The 20/20 Experience." 


 

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Watch: 2 Chainz's new video for 'Crack'

Watch: 2 Chainz's new video for 'Crack'

Rapper has all he needs, including a car with a stripper pole

I have a new goal in life: I want to be the girl in the 2 Chainz video whose entire performance is relegated to seeing her high-heeled legs from the knees down moving sexily from the backseat of a convertible in a garage. That’s a credit that’s going to be hard to prove. We guess she’s the stripper since he notes that his car is so big it has a stripper pole. What will they think of next?

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Thom Yorke</p>

Thom Yorke

Atoms for Peace set U.S. tour dates

Band led by Radiohead's Thom Yorke plans fall outing

Atoms for Peace will start a U.S. fall tour in September at Philadelphia’s Liacouras Center.

Individually known as Radiohead’s Thom Yorke, producer Nigel Godrich, Red Hot Chili Peppers’ Flea, drummer Joey Waronker and percussionist Mauro Refosco, Atoms For Peace released its debut set, “Amok,”  in February. The album entered the Billboard charts at No. 2.

It was uncertain that the collective would actually tour; instead, in February and March, Yorke and Godrich hosted Atoms for Peace DJ sets in London, Berlin and New York.

The good news is that it looks like the six dates are just the start, not the tour in full, as the press release calls them “the first dates of a U.S. tour.”   Tickets go on sale March 23.  Prior to the U.S. tour, the group will play continental  Europe and the U.K. in July.

ATOMS FOR PEACE
U.S. Tour 2013
 
Sept. 24           Philadelphia PA                    Liacouras Center
Sept. 27           Brooklyn NY                         Barclays Center
Sept. 30           Fairfax, VA                           Patriot Center
Oct. 2              Chicago IL                             UIC Pavilion
Oct. 16            Los Angeles CA                     Hollywood Bowl
Oct. 17            Santa Barbara CA                Santa Barbara Bowl
 

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<p>Rihanna</p>

Rihanna

Credit: Markus Schreiber/AP

Rihanna's 777 tour documentary set to fly on FOX

Superstar's diary of seven shows in seven countries will air May 6

Rihanna 777,” an hour-long concert film about Rihanna’s November promotional tour where she performed seven shows in seven days in seven countries, will air on Fox May 6 at 8 p.m.

As one of the 150 journalists from 32 countries on the tour, I love this description from Fox: “The film also provides an inside look at the singer’s ambitious and often turbulent tour, from the sound of popping champagne corks on the plane to the backstage chaos to the singer’s special worldwide appearances.” I wonder if the footage will include the journalists’ on-plane riot after we had no access for Rihanna for five days and were on our third red-eye in five days? What about the streaker? Or how she kept audiences in Stockholm and Berlin waiting for more than two hours? For my thoughts on the tour, read here.

The concert film chronicles Ri-ri’s travels from Los Angeles to Mexico, Toronto, Stockholm, Paris, Berlin, London and New York to promote “Unapologetic,” which came in at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 and has spawned the hits “Diamonds” and “Stay.”  Rihanna is now on a U.S. tour.


 

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Listen: Beyonce drops new track 'Bow Down / I Been On'

Listen: Beyonce drops new track 'Bow Down / I Been On'

HitFix
C+
Readers
D+
Gritty track produced by Hit-Boy

“I took some time to live my life, but don’t think I’m just his little wife,”  sings Mrs. Shawn Carter, i.e. Beyonce, on “Bow Down/I Been On,”  a track she dropped via SoundCloud on Sunday.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Credit: NBC

Music Power Rankings: Justin Timberlake narrowly tops David Bowie

Pink and Dave Grohl also make the list

1. Justin Timberlake: First he conquers “Saturday Night Live,” then he slays it on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” for five nights in a row. #EGOTby35

2. Luke Bryan: The country star lands his first No. 1 album on the Billboard 200 with “Spring Break...Here to Party.” Are we the only ones that find it a little creepy that at 36 he’s still celebrating Spring Break?

3. David Bowie: His first album in 10 years, “The Next Day” looks like it will enter at the top of the charts next week. Not bad for someone who did absolutely nothing to help promote the set.

4. SXSW: Hipsters decry the annual music convention in Austin is so over as they simultaneously whine that they can’t get into the Prince or “Sound City” shows.

5. Dave Grohl:
His status as most-beloved rock star remains intact after a passionate, soul-stirring keynote at SXSW.

6. Quincy Jones:
The legend turned 80 this week and he’s still more active than four 20 -year olds combined.

7. Pink: It’s looking like the biggest hit from “The Truth About Love” is still to come as “Just Give Me A Reason,” featuring fun’s Nate Ruess  soars 47-18 on the Billboard Hot 100.

8. The Grammys: NARAS will produce a Grammy-themed cruise with Norwegian Cruise Lines. Grammy winners and nominees will perform and there will be more than 4,000 Grammy artifacts on board.

9. AEG: In quite the surprise move, the concert promotion/live venue company is taken off the market (after not getting the $8 million it was asking for) and longterm majordomo Tim Leiweke departs. Is that just the start of the changes?

10. Yahoo: Because the world needs another festival, Yahoo announces “Yahoo on the Road,” a 21-date summer outing featuring such acts as Fun., The Lumineers, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Kendrick Lamar and Imagine Dragons.

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<p>The cover of Bon Jovi's &quot;What About Now&quot;</p>

The cover of Bon Jovi's "What About Now"

It's David Bowie vs. Bon Jovi for No. 1 on next week's Billboard 200

Which one of the veterans will come out on top? Six new entries slated for Top 10

It’s a battle of the veterans on the Billboard 200 next week as Bon Jovi and David Bowie duke it out for the top spot. They are far from the only entries in the top 10: potentially six new titles come on the chart.

With two days left in the chart week, Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” is slightly ahead of David Bowie’s first new album in 10 years, “The Next Day,” for No. 1. “Now” will sell up to 90,000, while it looks like “Next” will top out around 80,000.

Also looking good for Top 10 debuts are Christian Contemporary group Passion’s “Let The Future Begin” coming in at No. 5, Eric Clapton’s covers album, “Old Sock” (and the first on his own label, Bushbranch,” entering at No. 6, Dave Grohl’s “Sound City Soundtrack” at No. 7, and boy R&B group Mindless Behavior’s  “All Around The World” at No. 8.

Rounding out the Top 10 will be this week’s No. 1 set, Luke Bryan’s “Spring Break: Here To Party,” at No. 3, Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox,” at No. 4, Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” at No. 9 and Jimi Hendrix’s “People, Hell and Angels” at No. 10, according to Hits Daily Double.

 

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