Listen: Samuel L. Jackson sings Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'
Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Samuel L. Jackson sings Taylor Swift's 'We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together'

Instantly qualifies for best cover ever

This may be the best cover ever: Samuel L. Jackson took a go at Taylor Swift’s “We Are Never Ever Getting Back Together,” when he appeared on U.K.  radio station Capital FM recently.

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Dawes set to release 'Stories Don't End' in April

Band looks for a more 'modern' sound

Southern California folk rockers Dawes will release their third album, “Stories Don’t End,” on April 9.  The set marks the band’s first since its departure from ATO Records. "Stories" is the follow-up to 2011's "Nothing Is Wrong," a collection that made many critics' best-of lists, including mine.

Lead singer Taylor Goldsmith says to expect the band to wear its influences a little less on its collective musical sleeve this time out. “"I feel like a big part of our existence is, 'Dawes is this cool band that takes us back to the Seventies,' which is never something we wanted at all," Goldsmith tells Rolling Stone. "Obviously we have our influences, and I know that some of what we do as a band is of another time, even simple aspects like guitar solos. So I get it, I'm not mad at it, but at the same time, we just wanted to make sure people saw us as a modern band as well.” Of course, when you're backing Robbie Robertson or Jackson Browne, being seen as a little retro is part of the package.

Working with producer Jacquire King, Dawes recorded the album over five weeks in Asheville, N.C. 

A spring and summer tour will follow the album’s release.

<p>Lady Antebellum</p>

Lady Antebellum

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks come together for CMT's 'Crossroads'

Edition of genre-mixing show will air later this year

Lady Antebellum and Stevie Nicks will come together for an edition of CMT’s “Crossroads,” which will air later this year on the cable outlet.

The Fleetwood Mac singer and the country trio will tape the show, which features each act singing the other’s biggest hits. The show generally pairs a country artist with one of his or her musical heroes from another genre. Past collaborations include Taylor Swift with Def Leppard, The Avett Brothers with Randy Travis, Ryan Adams with Elton John and Carrie Underwood and Steven Tyler.

The episode will tape later this month in Los Angeles. The taping comes at a period of great activity for Nicks: in addition to the deluxe re-issue of “Rumours” out Jan. 29, Nicks and her Fleetwood Mac band mates will kick off a tour later this spring. Additionally, she is part of Dave Grohl’s “Sound City” band, composed of musicians featured in his new documentary about the landmark Van Nuys, Calif., recording studio.  The band will play at the film’s premiere at Sundance, as well as a Los Angeles premiere on Jan. 31.


<p>&quot;X Factor&quot;&nbsp;Season 2 winner Tate Stevens performs during the show's December finale.</p>

"X Factor" Season 2 winner Tate Stevens performs during the show's December finale.

Credit: AP Photo/FOX, Ray Mickshaw

'The X Factor's' Tate Stevens signs with Syco/RCA Records Nashville

When will the country crooner's album come out?

Tate Stevens, the winner of “The X Factor’s” second season, has signed with Syco Music/RCA Records Nashville.

The country singer, whose musical heroes are George Strait and Garth Brooks, is writing and recording material for his debut album, which will come out this spring. He began working on the album earlier this month.

Stevens was a member of L.A. Reid’s Over 25s team.

Melanie Amaro, the winner of the first season of “The X Factor,” is also expected to release her debut album, “Truly,” this  spring.  The is signed to Reid’s label, Epic Records.

Watch: Bono and Rolling Stones herald Muscle Shoals' studios in new doc

Watch: Bono and Rolling Stones herald Muscle Shoals' studios in new doc

Film about two top Alabama recording studios premieres at Sundance

“You’re in rock and roll heaven, man.”  That’s how The Rolling Stones’ Keith Richards describes recording at Alabama’s  legendary FAME Studios.

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Credit: Ap Photo

Is 'Stay' a good choice for Rihanna's next single from 'Unapogetic?'

Can it shine as brightly as 'Diamonds?'

With “Diamonds” still shining brightly on the Billboard Hot 100, Rihanna’s label has chosen “Stay” as the second pop single from “Unapologetic.”

The quiet, plaintive ballad caused a ripple when she debuted the tune on “Saturday Night Live” in November, bolstered by her stark performance.

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Watch: Paramore takes you in the studio for new single, 'Now'

Watch: Paramore takes you in the studio for new single, 'Now'

Five things we learned from the clip

There’s a lot of information to parse from the 58-second clip Paramore released to tease the arrival of “Now,” the group’s new single out Jan. 22. The track comes from “Paramore,” the rock band’s next album —and first to feature them as a trio— out April 9. Justin Meldal-Johnson produced the album, the group's first since 2009's "Brand New Eyes" and the 2010 departure of founding members/brothers Josh and Zac Farro. The band is now singer Hayley Williams, bassist Jeremy Davis and guitarist Taylor York.

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<p>Ingrid Michaelson accompanied by children from Newtown, Conn. and Sandy Hook Elementary school perform &quot;Somewhere Over the Rainbow&quot; on ABC's &quot;Good Morning America&quot; </p>

Ingrid Michaelson accompanied by children from Newtown, Conn. and Sandy Hook Elementary school perform "Somewhere Over the Rainbow" on ABC's "Good Morning America"

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Sandy Hook students sing 'Over the Rainbow' with Ingrid Michaelson

Train releases 'Imagine' single to benefit Sandy-devastated Sea Bright

Grab your tissues. There’s no way you can get  watch students from Newtown, Conn’s Sandy Hook Elementary performing “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” without tearing up.

One month after the shooting that claimed 26 lives at the school, 21 current and former students from the school sang the “Wizard Of Oz” classic on “Good Morning America.” Singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson accompanied the children ukulele on an arrangement of the song made famous by Hawaiian artist Israel Kamakawiwo’ole.

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Justin Timberlake
Justin Timberlake
Credit: Matt Sayles/Invision/AP

How is Justin Timberlake's new song 'Suit & Tie' selling?

Read what other critics are saying about his comeback single

We weighed in on “Suit & Tie,”  Justin Timberlake’s first new song in more than six years, last night. We felt it was a good start and a nice, retro-soundng track.

And you are responding loud and clear as well: the song is on top of the iTunes Songs chart (in part because Timberlake’s label, RCA, is swatting the song down any time it appears on YouTube). The response at radio has been strong with many Clear Channel  and CBS-owned stations playing it hourly.  Billboard predicts the single could sell as many as 400,000 copies in its first week.

Here’s what some other critics are saying about the song, the first tune from Timberlake’s forthcoming album “The 20/20 Experience.”

The Los Angeles Times’ August Brown says: "We’re pleased to report that the results are quite sexy. "Suit & Tie" is a radiant, ramshackle song that's less of a coherent single and more of a coronation event. It grafts at least three different Timberlake settings -- the slow-rolling futurist, crisp-collared soul man and backseat driver to a rap kingpin (here, Jay-Z) -- into one strange track that comes off like a best-man wedding toast. It’s rambling and full of awkward transitions; yet occasionally finds its feet and ultimately heralds a joyful event:  Justin Timberlake making music again."

People Magazine’s Chuck Arnold give it a thumbs up: "JT goes for a more retro vibe on this suave single, which previews his much-anticipated third solo album, The 20/20 Experience, due out later this year. With its smooth, horn-kissed lushness, it recalls the '70s R&B of Marvin Gaye as well as Robin Thicke's modern-day take on old-school soul." 

PItchfork likes Timberlake, Jay-Z not so much. Writes Stephen M. Deusner: "While not quite as risky as "SexyBack" or as rewarding as "My Love", "Suit & Tie" is still one hell of a wedding reception jam, as bubbly as champagne. Timbaland creates a smooth beat out of a marimba roll and harp gliassando that Marvin Gaye must have left on the cutting-room floor, and Timberlake rides it with that fluid, effortless falsetto. "Let me show you a few things," he sings by way of seduction. Because it’s a song called "Suit & Tie", Jay-Z is on here, delivering the obligatory rapped verse like he's crashed a wedding. It's another in a string of uninspired cameos by Hova."  

Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz is Team Timberlake...with reservations: "Suit and Tie" is a good song, but it's not the artifact from another planet that we've been expecting, nor it is the ambitious experiment that Timberlake alludes to when he describes heading into the studio and "just creating with no rules." Comparing "SexyBack" with "Suit And Tie" makes the latter seem almost impossibly safe: it's a sumptuous, fairly straightforward love song with forgettable lyrics ("Love is swinging in the air tonight"?), a useless opening 40 seconds and a Jay-Z verse that dutifully penetrates the beat while offering nothing unexpected."

Rolling Stone’s Dan Hyman
says "Suit and Tie," a horn-addled shuffler likely to inspire many new dance routines, finds JT waxing poetic about his love for dapper duds. "I be on my suit and tie shit/ Can I show you a few things, little baby?" he croons. Jay-Z later joins in with lines about "truffle season," wearing tuxedos for no reason and the trendy designer Alexander Wang

How do you feel about "Suit & Tie?" Hear it here.

Watch: Johnny Marr's new video for 'Upstarts'

Watch: Johnny Marr's new video for 'Upstarts'

Bouncy first single from Smiths' first solo album, 'The Messenger'

Johnny Marr recently told The Guardian that The Smiths “invented indie.” I’m not so sure that he’s right about that, much less what that actually means.

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