<p>Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden</p>

Bruce Springsteen at Madison Square Garden

Credit: AP Photo

Bruce Springsteen sets summer US stadium dates

Check out what you're missing with live 'Death To My Hometown' video

If this Spring’s first leg of Bruce Springsteen’s “Wrecking Ball” tour isn’t  stopping in your hometown, the Boss released eight new cities he and the E Street Band will visit the fall following a summer European jaunt.

Centered primarily on the East Coast (with the obvious exception of Chicago), the tour will start a stadium run in Boston at Gillette Stadium on Aug. 18 and finish with a three-night stand at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J., Sept. 19-22. It will be Springsteen’s first time playing the new Jets/Giants home and as “Wrecking Ball” fans know, the song was written about the old stadium being torn down in 2009.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: Kris Allen talks about inspiration behind 'The Vision of Love'

'American Idol' says song is a 'call not to be scared'

Kris Allen’s new single “The Vision of Love” and accompanying video seems to have arrived at just the right time. As bullying remains all too prevalent in schools, the song and music clip encourage us to be our best selves and  take those small extra steps to help those in need.

“We tried to make sure we created these characters...that people can relate to,” he says about co-writing “The Vision of Love.” “I wanted people to feel like they knew those people. It’s a call for us to not be scared... to not be afraid to offer up ourselves to help people.”

“The Vision of Love” is from “Thank You Camellia,” the “American Idol” winner’s second full-length set.  Allen co-wrote every song on the album, and collaborated with such writeres and producers as Nasri & Adam Messinger, Tim Pagnotta and Boots Ottestad.

The album’s title is a nod of appreciation to Camellia St. in Los Angeles and the house on that street where Allen and his band stayed as they worked on the new project.  He explained the album title’s meaning last week, but in our longer interview with Allen, which will run closer to the album’s May 22 release date, he reveals some of the crazy guesses fans had on Camellia’s identity.


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<p>&nbsp;One Direction</p>

 One Direction

Credit: AP Photo

Why One Direction is brilliant to set 2013 tour dates

Do you know where you'll be summer 2013?

Talk about striking while the iron is hot. One Direction is the leading the charge in the new boy band craze we find ourselves in. Tickets to their shows are selling so fast that they have very smartly, 14 months in advance, announced a summer 2013 tour.

The group opened for fellow boy band Big Time Rush this spring, but very quickly overtook BTR in popularity. First album, “Up All Night” bowed at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 a few weeks ago, the first album by a British band to ever come in in the top spot, and the group’s first headlining U.S. tour, which starts later this Spring, sold out in minutes.

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<p>&nbsp;Adam Lambert</p>

 Adam Lambert

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Adam Lambert's new single, 'Never Close Our Eyes'

Bruno Mars and Dr. Luke write and produce for the 'American Idol' runner-up

Adam Lambert gets it right on “Never Close Our Eyes,” the second single from “Trespassing.” Listen to it here.

The mid-tempo love song, written and produced by Bruno Mars and Dr. Luke, has a grand, anthemic feel and is much stronger than first single, “Better Than I Know Myself.” The electro-pop feel sounds a little dated (even though we know it’s all the rage right now and it is part of Lambert’s sound), but we’d love to hear a remix that doesn’t have that. Having said that, this version is only a very short leap to some undoubtedly great dance remixes of the song (especially after the bridge). Plus, the cold ending is very compelling.

Thematically, the song takes the same approach as Aerosmith’s massive “I Don’t Want To Miss A Thing,” in that Lambert doesn’t want to waste any time with his loved one by sleeping. That’s time they could be spending together living life.

A different version of this song emerged a few weeks ago. We like this one better, especially the opening that focuses on how strong Lambert’s voice is.

“Trespassing” comes out May 15.

What do you think of “Never Close Our Eyes?”


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<p>Britney Spears: Can she do it?</p>

Britney Spears: Can she do it?

Credit: AP Photo

Why Britney Spears is not a good fit for 'The X Factor'

Singer on verge of inking deal for Simon Cowell's talent show

As Britney Spears' signing on a judge on the U.S. edition of “The X Factor” appears to be moving closer and closer to reality, we have serious doubts that the pop singer could add anything of merit to the program.

Instead, her main draw will be to curiosity seekers who tune in to see if she can form a sentence unaided by others. And guess what? The people who view to see a potential  train wreck count just as much in the ratings as those who honestly watch to see the talent competition. And at this point, show founder Simon Cowell, who has not delivered the ratings he bragged his program would, needs a big name to bring in eyeballs. And he’s apparently willing to pay $15 million to Spears to do just that.

Here’s why we have doubts about Spears as a viable draw: While she remains a ubiquitous fixture in the gossip pages as we see pictures of her and her two sons or her and her fiancee out and about, any actual speaking that we’ve heard from Spears in the past few years has been as carefully controlled as a politician’s and about as revealing.

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'We Are Young' from fun. continues its good time on the Billboard Hot 100

How many teen idols are in the top 10?

Fun.’s “We Are Young” continues to age gracefully on the Billboard Hot 100 as it spends its sixth week atop the chart.

In doing so, it also becomes the first song to sell 300,000 downloads for six consecutive weeks, according to Billboard. The Hot 100 tallies airplay, social media play/streaming and digital sales. “We Are Young” is the first song to surpass the 3 million mark in digital downloads this year.

No new titles enter the Top 10 this week so it’s really a matter of a little rearranging in the top tier. “Somebody That I Used To Know” by Gotye featuring Kimbra slides  3-2, a position he should easily hold as he appears on “Saturday Night Live” this week. The tune replaces Justin Bieber’s “Boyfriend,” which drops from 2 to 5. In between in the top 5 are The Wanted’s “Glad You Came,” which inches 4-3 and  One Direction’s “What Makes You Beautiful,” which leaps 9-4, in part based on their appearance on “SNL” last Saturday.

In case you had any doubt that we are back in pop land after a long dry spell, that means No. 3-5 are occupied by teen idols. I don’t know if that’s ever happened. If so, it was at least 10 years ago when Backstreet Boys and N’Sync ruled supreme.

Nicki Minaj, whose album “Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded” is at the top of the Billboard 200,  remains at No. 6 with “Starships,” while Flo Rida’s “Wild Ones” featuring Sia holds at No. 7, and Carly Rae Jepsen’s “Call Me Maybe”  stays at No. 10. Kelly Clarkson’s “Stronger” falls 5-8 and Katy Perry’s “Part of Me” declines one from 8-9.

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<p>Red Hot Chili Peppers</p>

Red Hot Chili Peppers

Credit: AP Photo/Chris Pizzello

Black Keys, Black Sabbath and Red Hot Chili Peppers headline Lollapalooza 2012

Jack White, The Shins join more than 120 acts on the Chicago fest bill

It will be a colorful Lollapalooza this August as headliners include Red Hot Chili Peppers, Black Sabbath, the Black Keys and Jack White.

The line-up for the Aug. 3-5 festival, held at Chicago’s Grant Park, broke on the Lollapalooza website at midnight Central time.

The Black Keys are also headlining this year's Coachella, which will be held April 13-15 and April 20-22. Similarly,  RHCP are headlining both Lollapalooza and June's Bonnaroo. They last headlined Lollapalooza in 2006. The Black Keys played Lollapalooza in 2010, but this is their first go-round as a headliner.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Lady Gaga</p>

 Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga sets summer European dates: Will the U.S. be next?

Already announced Asian leg starts later this month

Is Lady Gaga bringing her show back to the U.S. It’s too soon to tell, but she unspooled some new European dates today that give her little monsters hope that she’ll keep adding dates and working her way around the globe.

Momma Monster took to Twitter to unveil 21 dates on the Born This Way Ball tour, opening in Sofia, Bulgaria on Aug. 14 and concluding on Oct. 6 in Barcelona. It’s a healthy mix of arena and stadium dates. There are also no consecutive nights listed, meaning she is either holding dates for possible multiples in some cities or will fill in some more cities soon or needs to rest between dates. We’re guessing there will be some dates filled in. For example, there are no dates between a Sept. 17  Amsterdam show and and Sept. 22 Paris show. The list of European dates are here.

Reunited British glam band The Darkness got the call to open the European dates. They wrote on their website that they were “honoured to announce their addition to the bill,” (originally reported by MTV).

The newly-announced shows are on top of Lady Gaga's Asian and Australian tour that kicks off later this month on April 27 in Seoul and concludes July 8 in Perth, Australia. For a complete list of those dates, go here.

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Watch: Justin Bieber unleashes another teaser for 'Boyfriend' video

Watch: Justin Bieber unleashes another teaser for 'Boyfriend' video

What's up with those rings?

If the other two teasers weren’t enough, we know from teaser No. 3 that Justin Bieber’s video for “Boyfriend” is likely to be some big, lavish mini-movie.

In this 14-second clip, we see Bieber, looking slightly menacing (or as menacing as he can) and dragging knuckle rings, diamond encrusted and looking like tiger’s teeth (or claws), across a woman’s cheek.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>&nbsp;Alabama Shakes</p>

 Alabama Shakes

Credit: AP Photo

Album Review: Is Alabama Shakes' 'Boys & Girls' worth the hype?

Rock quartet conjures up ghosts of the greats on full-length debut

Critics have been falling all over themselves to praise Alabama Shakes for the past several months: Paste named the act its best new band of 2011, they were a must-see show at SXSW, and already have a big U.K. following.

Before the inevitable backlash begins, we suggest you grab a copy of “Boys & Girls,” the quartet’s debut album out today, April 10 (it follows last fall's 4-song EP) and find out what all the fuss is about.

The album’s rush of music —11 songs delivered in around 38 minutes —swirls around lead singer Brittany Howard’s bluesy, nuanced vocals. When she sings “Bless my heart/bless my soul/didn’t think I’d make it to 22 years old,” in opening track “Hold On,” instead of sounding pretentious and overly precious, she sounds like an old soul for whom a real world  22 is her weary heart’s equivalent of  92. On “You Ain’t Alone” she conjures up Otis Redding’s ghost in a shivering, memorable performance.

Howard is the primary reason tastemakers have fallen all over themselves to praise this group from Athens, Ala. (as opposed to that other southern musical hotbed of yore, Athens, Ga.), but not the only one: the band’s appeal is that Alabama Shakes are so clearly the antidote to what is dominating pop music these days. There are no plastic princesses in pink or blue hair here (though The Shakes’ music is so friendly, they’d probably be welcome to grab a tambourine and join in). Plus, “B&G’s” rootsy naturalism sounds as if it were created in a vacuum, not only without any concessions to current radio trends, but without even any knowledge of them.

Instead, ghosts of the aforementioned Redding, Solomon Burke, Janis Joplin and even Amy Winehouse haunt their music and Howard’s vocal style.  Just listen to the soulful “I Found You” or, more significantly, “Rise To the Sun” and try not to imagine Winehouse singing the organ-drenched tunes.

Without sounding deliberately retro or from a specific era, Alabama Shakes’ big drums, echo-y guitars and striking keyboards recalls a time when pre-recorded loops were nonexistent and when synthesizers weren’t many producers’ instrument of choice.

In that way, Alabama Shakes—which also includes guitarist Heath Fogg, bassist Zac Cockrell and drummer Steve Johnson— are more akin to Jack White and the White Stripes than any other current outfit (in fact, White released a live 7”  from the band on his Third Man Records).  They share his same often ramshackle, often shambolic sound that sounds unschooled, but then closer listens reveal that it is deliberate in its primitiveness. In fact, the music grows more precise as the record rolls on, as keys, drums and guitars all slyly start to move in the same direction instead of seemingly battling each other as they do on some of the early tracks.  Listen to the spooky, delicate “Goin’ To The Party” and how the guitar and drum dance around each other.

While it’s clear the best way to see Alabama Shakes is live—they will be opening for Jack White in May—”Boys & Girls” is a very fair representation of what to expect. Alabama Shakes’ music may be too looselimbed and raw for folks who like their music with a little more spit and polish, but fans of acts like Jack White and the Black Keys will eat this stuff up with a spoon.

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