Mark Foster receives a deep facial at his local salon in the music video for "Houdini".
Mark Foster receives a deep facial at his local salon in the music video for "Houdini".
Credit: Columbia Records

Watch: Foster The People's 'Houdini' video shows the band's sleight of hand

Is it a social commentary on the music business?

After repeated viewings of Foster the People’s video for “Houdini,” we’re not sure if the trio is making a fun video or a much deeper commentary on life in the pop music machine... either way, it works.

The boys are playing live when a lighting rig crashes down on them to disastrous effect putting their concert that night in jeopardy. But never fear, a league of scientists and masterminds put the band back together again, fixing all their wiring and moving parts (leaving the question as to whether they were real to begin with or always a creation). The team of scientists resurrecting them even turns the group into a boy band with dance moves straight out of N’Sync’s “Bye, Bye, Bye” video. Mystery men in green suits (who, like a green screen in filming won't be visible to those watching)  manipulate their every move.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Zac Brown in June 2011</p>

Zac Brown in June 2011

Credit: AP Photo

Zac Brown Band plots new album 'Uncaged' for July release

ZBB expands with new percussionist, Brown talks current tour

Zac Brown Band will bow its new studio album and newest band member on July 10.

Uncaged,” the group’s third major label set, features the addition of percussionist Daniel de los Reyes. Brown told the AP that the ZBB, which is already quite the collective, was inspired to add the percussionist to “create a new kind of pulse within the band.”  De los Reyes previously played with Earth, Wind & Fire and Jennifer Lopez. No word yet on who will produce the set.

The band’s last album was 2010’s “You Get What You Give" on Southern Ground/Atlantic.

We’re not sure how they’re finding time to record since ZBB is on tour now through the rest of the summer behind its biggest, most expansive production so far.  “We always want to exceed everyone’s expectations,” Brown told Hitfix when we talked to him at the Academy of Country Music Awards a few weeks ago. “We want them to come in expecting one thing and get way more than that.” The tour includes ZBB’s Southern Ground label mates Sonia Leigh and Blackberry Smoke.

Brown is also hands-on in getting Camp Southern Ground off the ground. A pet project of Brown's ever since he was a camp counselor when he was 14, the Camp, based in Fayetteville, Ga.,  will be "a state-of-the-art camp where kids can come—mainstream, underprivileged, and kids with developmental disorders," the father of four says. "It's a big project, a big undertaking. It's coming together so far and I believe it will the rest of the way, but we need help." Folks can make donations to the camp, which plans to open in 2014, at  www.campsouthernground.org.

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<p>Gotye</p>

Gotye

Credit: AP Photo

Gotye's 'Somebody' gleefully stays at No. 1, Maroon 5 bows big on Hot 100

What else happens in the top 10 this week?

Gotye, who has been backpedaling after criticizing “Glee’s” cover of “Somebody That I Used To Know,” stays at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 with the song this week, but he fends off a heavy challenge from Maroon 5.

The group’s “Payphone” zooms onto the chart at No. 3, propelled by digital sales of 493,000. That’s the most sold by any group (not solo artist) in one week, according to Billboard. The previous group high was 465,000 for Black Eyed Peas’ Boom Boom Pow,” according to Billboard.  (The best week total for all acts remains Flo Rida’s “Right Round” with 636,000). While digital sales are the main driver in Maroon 5’s success, “Payphone” gets a strong start at radio as well, entering at No. 36 on Billboard’s Radio Songs chart.   The No. 3 entry is the group’s best Hot 100 start.

In the rest of the top 5,  fun.’s “We Are Young” featuring Janelle Monae remains at No. 2, while Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend” gains a spot, moving No. 4-5. The Wanted’s “Glad You Came” falls from No. 3-5.

“Payphone” is the only new entry in the Top 10 (Train’s “Drive By” just misses by climbing from No. 13 to No. 11).  Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” featuring Sia stays at No. 6. Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe” rises one spot to No. 7. Three other titles slide, but remain in the top 10:  One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful” slips from No. 4 to No. 8; Nicki Minaj’s “Starships” drops two to No. 9 and Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” weakens, falling one spot to No. 10.

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Nas sets release date for 'Life is Good'; first new album in four years
Credit: Island Def Jam

Nas sets release date for 'Life is Good'; first new album in four years

Video for current single, 'The Don,' debuts on Friday, April 27

Rapper Nas returns with his first album in four years, “Life is Good,” on July 17.

Second track, “The Don,” which was produced by Da Internz, Salaam Remi and the late Heavy D, is at radio now, while fans heard an earlier track, “Nasty,” last summer.  A third track, “Daughters,” (not the John Mayer song, we’re sure), goes for sale on iTunes on May 1. The video for “The Don”  premieres on MTV and Vevo on Friday, April 27.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Credit: AP Photo

Justin Bieber writes new 'Believe' song about his paternity lawsuit

No word on if song about Mariah Yeager makes the cut

If Taylor Swift can write songs about relationships  she had with famous men, why can’t Justin Bieber write a song about a relationship he did not have with a now infamous woman?

Bieber, who, heretofore, has been almost preternaturally mature, is lashing out at Mariah Yeater, whom you will recall accused him last November of fathering her child. He maintained that the two never met. She filed legal action and then withdrew the suit.

Over the weekend, Bieber opened up what seemed to be a completely closed chapter in his life by tweeting about Yeater: “Dear Mariah Yeeter (sic)...we have never met...so from my heart, I just wanted to say...” (and then the link to Sasha Baron Cohen’s Borat character taunting “You will never get this...”  (Although at the end of Borat's speech, the person does break into the animal’s cage and “get this...” hmmm).

Then, as reported by Billboard, Monday night Bieber confirmed to reporters in London that he has written a song about Yeater for “Believe,” which comes out June 19.  “There’s a song about that girl --Mariah Yeater--that said she was gonna have my baby....There are songs about things I’m going through. I wrote songs about different situations.”

However, the BBC reports that Bieber has recorded 40 songs for “Believe,” so no word on whether Yeater's tune  will make the cut and go down in recorded history.

And speaking of Swift, she is one of his collaborators on “Believe,” as well as Drake, Kanye West, and Ludacris.



 

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<p>&quot;The Wanted&quot;</p>
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"The Wanted"


Credit: Universal

Album Review: Will you be glad you came to hear The Wanted's album debut?

HitFix
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British boy band hits high notes on self-titled debut, but never totally entrances

Unlike the other boy bands currently part of a new teen idol resurgence, The Wanted’s solid brand of electro-pop transcends much of the typical boy band material to ensure its appeal beyond a teen demographic.

For example, the crunchy “Glad You Came,” which has reached into the top 4 of the Billboard Hot 100, fits in perfectly beside LMFAO or Maroon 5. It’s also the strongest track on “The Wanted,” out Tuesday, April 24. The 10-song set (in the deluxe edition; the standard is seven tracks) combines selected songs from the group’s first two albums released in their native U.K. Both  “Glad You Came,” and Maroon 5-like “All Time Low” topped the British charts.

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<p>Snoop Dogg with Tupac at Coachella weekend one</p>

Snoop Dogg with Tupac at Coachella weekend one

Credit: AP Photo

Can we let Tupac Shakur rest in peace again now?

What kind of can of worms did Coachella unleash?

Dr. Dre’s non-denial denial yesterday that the Tupac Shakur hologram (or 2D image) was created solely for Coachella and not for a tour continues to bring lingering thoughts on what technology means when it comes to raising the dead.

As you know, the legendary rapper, who died in 1996, made projected appearances at both Snoop Dogg/Dr. Dre shows at the festival--on April 15 and April 22. The April 15 appearance, which started with Tupac greeting the Coachella attendees, was the resounding water cooler moment at the fest this year.

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<p>Colton Dixon of &quot;American Idol&quot;</p>
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Colton Dixon of "American Idol"

Credit: Michael Becker/FOX

Music Power Rankings: Tupac comes back from the dead to top the list

'American Idol's' Colton Dixon and Taylor Swift make this week's survey

1) Tupac Shakur: His hologram steals the show at Coachella and makes plans to go on the road. Celebrities everywhere amend their wills to dictate post-death image usage and declare which is their best side.

2) Taylor Swift: So she didn’t end up playing Eponine in “Les Miserables,” but now comes word that she may play Joni Mitchell in the adaptation of “Girls Like Us.” I’ve looked at this from Both Sides Now and I just don’t see it.

3) Lionel Richie: He has to wait a few weeks, but justice is his as “Tuskegee” makes it to No. 1 on the Billboard 200 after Madonna’s crafty concert ticket tie in propels “MDNA” over him.

4) Dick Clark: The World’s Oldest Teenager is rating records in the sky.  New Year’s Eve will never be the same

5) Colton Dixon: Fan fave on “American Idol” is voted off.  Record label deal to come in 5...4...3...2...1 (or as soon as the season is over).

6) Ted Nugent: He hasn’t made a decent record since “Cat Scratch Fever”  and now he may have a police record if he keeps up the trash talk about the president. Or as one of my friends joked, the secret service may have cleared him, but we bet he gets audited by the IRS for the next 20 years. 

7) Bob Marley: The largest musical star in the world gets treated right in Kevin MacDonald’s documentary, “Marley.”  Interesting factoid: Marley fathered 11 children with seven different women. That’s not “One Love,” that’s “Whole Lotta Love.”

8) Record Store Day: In five short years, it has become THE day for independent retailers. More than 400 artists are participating in this year’s April 21 extravaganza. Did you go hug your local retail store on Saturday? 

9) Willie Nelson: At 4:20 p.m. on 4/20 (no kidding), an 8-foot tall bronze statue of Nelson was unveiled outside the W Hotel in Austin. That’s nice, but we think he belongs on Mt. Rushmore #sodoesjohnnycash

10) Levon Helm: The Weight is off the best drummer/singer ever. Take a load off, Levon and thank you.
 

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<p>Lionel Richie</p>
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Lionel Richie

Credit: CBS

Can Lionel Richie make it two weeks atop the Billboard 200?

Who is primed to steal the Commodore's crown?

Predictions can be wildly uneven, as we saw last week when it looked like Adele’s “21” was a lock to go back to No. 1 on the Billboard 200, as of the Friday before the chart’s Sunday close.

However, Lionel Richie’s CBS special, which aired Friday night after Hits Daily Double had already run its predictions, propelling “Tuskegee” to the top spot.

So this week, it’s even more of a horserace to see who will snag the No. 1 spot when the chart is released on Wednesday. Right now, “Tuskegee” and “Love is a Four-Letter Word” from Jason Mraz are in a dead heat, with both targeted to sell between 100,000 and 110,000.

Mraz will be joined in the top 10 by two other debuts, Train’s “California 37,” which will likely bow at No. 4 and hip hop artist Future’s debut studio set, “Pluto,” looks strong for No. 7.

Adele’s “21” continues to be in the Top 5, and should easily claim the No. 3 spot with up to 90,000 copies sold.  Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” rounds out the top 5 at No. 5 (although at this point, “Roman Reloaded” and One Direction’s “Up All Night” are too close to call, so she may be at No. 6 and the boy band at No. 5.

Top 10 veterans round out the rest of the top slots:  Gotye, whose “Somebody That I Used To Know” is No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100 this week, will likely be at No. 8 with “Making Mirrors,” Bonnie Raitt at No. 9 with “Slipstream” and Rascal Flatts at No. 10 with “Changed.”

 

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<p>Snoop Dogg being Snoop Dogg</p>

Snoop Dogg being Snoop Dogg

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg pay homage to 420 Day

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Asher Roth also weighs in

Happy 420! Could the international day to hail all things pot have any better spokespeople than Willie Nelson and Snoop Dogg? The answer is resoundingly no. And just in case they haven’t made their love of the herb clear enough, they return today with “Roll Me Up & Smoke Me When I Die,” from Nelson’s forthcoming album, “Heroes.” Listen to it here.

If the song is new to you— it's a standard in Nelson's live show —the surprise is that this version is a rollicking, country tune that stands on its own merits as a truly enjoyable song, as opposed to some novelty. The musicianship is great, the outlaw country attitude is essential, the picking is delicious, guests Jamey Johnson and Kris Kristofferson add just the right amount of gravel, and, believe it or not, Snoop is totally convincing on a a country track.

[More after the jump...]

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