Inside Music with Melinda Newman

Watch: Madonna plays coy for the cameras about Lady Gaga, announces album title

Catch Madonna on 'Nightline' and 'Graham Norton' and the Super Bowl and ....

<p>Madonna</p>

Madonna

Credit: AP Photo

Who does Madonna think she is? MGMT?  No, she’s “M.D.N.A.”  Or at least that’s the title of her 12th studio album out in late March. Actually, it's kind of cute, when you think it's also short for not just her name, but  Madonna DNA.

She announced the title to the world  during a taping of the BBC’s “Graham Norton Show.”  That episode will air on BBC One in the U.K. on Friday (and eventually on BBC America here), but before that, you can watch Madonna on “Nightline” on Thursday night.

In the downright embarrassing promo for the “Nightline” interview,  correspondent Christina McFadden acts as if she and her BFF are reuniting because “Madonna has never had any problem expressing herself to me.”

[More after the jump...]

Interview: Norah Jones talks The Little Willies and her solo next album

She and her buddies tackle classic country tunes on 'For The Good Times'

Interview: Norah Jones talks The Little Willies and her solo next album
Credit: Parlophone

She may be best known for tunes like “Don’t Know Why,” but below that soft, jazzy exterior, Norah Jones is a cowgirl.

Okay, that may be a bit of a stretch, but the New York-born, Texas-raised Jones grew up listening to country music and it’s the genre she returns to when she needs a little dose of home. 

“It reminds me of my childhood and my grandparents and growing up in Texas and spending Christmases in Oklahoma and listening to Dolly Parton on my grandma’s record player,” Jones says. “It just feels good, I guess.”

Given her love of traditional country, it’s no surprise that Jones reunited with her buddies in The Little Willies for a second serving of country tunes. On “For The Good Times,” out today, The Little Willies twang through such tunes as Loretta Lynn’s “Fist City” or “Remember Me,” made famous by Willie Nelson and written by Scott Wiseman.

Watch: 5 things we learned from Van Halen's new video 'Tattoo'

Do Eddie Van Halen and Diamond Dave still have it?

Watch: 5 things we learned from Van Halen's new video 'Tattoo'

Van Halen is officially back. We now have an album release date of Feb 7 for "A Different Kind Of Truth,"  a confirmed tour and our first video for new single, “Tattoo.”  Shot in an empty club (until the end at least),  the clip for “Tattoo” succeeds if the point is to show that David Lee Roth, Eddie Van Halen and Alex Van Halen (and Eddie's son, Wolfgang, on bass)  are still all upright, but if the purpose was to get this fan excited to buy tickets, mission not accomplished.

A few other thoughts:

[More after the jump...]

Miranda Lambert headed to 'Law & Order: Special Victims Unit'

Country star will play an assaulted actress

<p>Miranda Lambert poses backstage after winning Female Vocalist of the Year at November's CMA&nbsp;Awards in Nashville, TN.</p>

Miranda Lambert poses backstage after winning Female Vocalist of the Year at November's CMA Awards in Nashville, TN.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Miranda Lambert grew up the daughter of private eyes, so it’s no wonder that the girl likes a good who-done-it.

The country superstar will appear on an upcoming episode of “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” as an actress who is assaulted by a reality show producer (a you’ll recall, Lambert got her start on talent reality show, “Nashville Star”). The producer will be played by Michael McKean from “This is Spinal Tap.”

NBC has not announced the air date for the episode. TVguide.com broke the news of  Lambert's appearance. Harry Connick Jr., who has signed on for a four-episode arc as the love interest for Mariska Hargitay’s character, Detective Olivia Benson, will also be in the episode, which sounds very special indeed.

Lambert is quite happy about the development. Over the weekend, she tweeted, “Y’all, I’m so freaking excited to be on my favorite show ever!!!”


 

Radiohead, The Black Keys and Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg headline Coachella 2012

Bon Iver, the Shins, Pulp, Florence + the Machine also on April bill

<p>Thom Yorke performs with Radiohead in a surprise appearance at the UK's Glastonbury Park Festival last June.</p>

Thom Yorke performs with Radiohead in a surprise appearance at the UK's Glastonbury Park Festival last June.

Credit: AP Photo/Joel Ryan

The Black Keys, Radiohead and Dr. Dre & Snoop Dogg will headline the 2012 edition of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

As we previously noted, Coachella, held at the Empire Polo Grounds in Indio, Calif., will run two consecutive weekends this year, April 13-15 and April 20-22, with the exact same lineups both weekends.

In addition to The Black Keys, other big names on April 13/20 are Swedish House Mafia, a reconstituted Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Mazzy Star, M83, Cat Power and Frank Ocean.

On April 14/21, the top acts in addition to Radiohead are Bon Iver, the Shins, David Guetta, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds, Kaskade, Miike Snow, Fiest and St. Vincent

Dr. Dre & Snoop, who are headlining April 15/22, are joined by At the Drive in, Justice, Florence + The Machine, Avicii, Beirut, Girl Talk, Weeknd and the Hives.

As has been Coachella’s way the last few years, one night is headlined by a rapper, last year it was Jay-Z; in  2010 it was Kanye West. The other two nights tend to feature major alternative acts, with some big dance acts and a reunion or two throw in.This year, in addition to Pulp, we have Refused, At The Drive-In, and Mazzy Star in rare outings. Plus, Neutral Milk Hotel's Jeff Mangum makes a rare west coast appearance. Additionally, a number of up-and-coming rap artists,many of them highlighted in our Hip-Hop's New Class photo gallery, including Azealia Banks, Kendrick Lamar and A$AP Rocky will make their first Coachella appearances.

So what do you think of this year's line-up?  It seems little tame and predictable to us. However, if you're an Anglophile, once again, you'll find plenty of reasons to rejoice, namely, of course, Radiohead, but also Pulp, Arctic Monkeys, Madness, Buzzcocks, Squeeze, the Horrors, and more.

Tickets go on sale on Friday. They are available only for the entire weekend at $285. There are no single-day passes.

Check out the poster below for the full lineup.

Follow me on Twitter @HitFixMelinda

The official poster announcing the Coachella 2012 lineup
 

UPDATED: 'American Idol's' Casey Abrams and Stefano Langone sign record deals

Who did they sign with and when can we expect new music?

<p>Casey Abrams walks the red carpet at last year's &quot;American Idol&quot;&nbsp;finale.</p>

Casey Abrams walks the red carpet at last year's "American Idol" finale.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Casey Abrams has signed with Concord Music Group. The “American Idol” season 10 finalist will release his debut album this summer.

Abrams’ linking with Concord Music Group marks the second signing of a contestant from last season to a non-Universal Music Group-owned label. UMG has the first right of refusal on the finalists. So far, UMG has snatched up at least five of the season’s finalists: Pia Toscano and Haley Reinhart  are both on Interscope, while Scotty McCreery and Lauren Alaina are on Mercury Nashville.

Both McCreery and Alaina have released their albums. We’re still waiting for sets from the others.  James Durbin released his post-”Idol” album, “Memories of a Beautiful Disaster,” via Wind-Up Records in November.  Paul McDonald self-released a single with wife Nikki Reed.

The press release announcing Abrams’ deal highlights his love of such artists as Ray Charles, Frank Sinatra and Oscar Peterson, so we have a feeling that the debut may focus more on Abrams’ jazzy, traditional side.

Please follow me on Twitter @HitFixMelinda

UPDATED: Fellow season 10 finalist Stefano Langone has signed with Hollywood Records

Paul McCartney reveals album title and track listing: 'Kisses on the Bottom'

The Beatle gets a little cheeky

<p>Paul McCartney's &quot;Kisses on the Bottom&quot;</p>

Paul McCartney's "Kisses on the Bottom"

Paul McCartney is really getting cheeky with the title of his new album,  “Kisses on the Bottom.”

Before you get all skeeved out (What? Too late?), the title comes from a line in Fats Wallers’ 1935 hit, “I’m Gonna Sit Write Down and Write Myself A Letter,” in which he describes that he’s going to close the letter with “a lot of kisses on the bottom.”  Yeah, it’s still a little gross.

Anyway, as we’ve previously reported, the McCartney album, out Feb. 7, includes standards that McCartney grew up listening to as well as two new originals, “My Valentine” and “Only Our Hearts.”

Listen: The Shins' new single, 'Simple Song' from album 'Port of Morrow'

Band sets first tour dates for 2012

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<p>The Shins' James Mercer</p>

The Shins' James Mercer

The Shins’ myriad influences bleed all over their new single, “Simple Song,” the first from new album “Port of Morrow.”

Head Shin James Mercer realigned the band over the last few years and this iteration provides some muscle and a little more heft. Hence, after opening with a very melodic Brian Wilson-esque feel, the tune grabs onto a Who-like guitar and drum rift before adding a sparkly glockenspiel later on. There’s a lot going on musically, but it never gets messy. It’s charming and it’s also about four songs in one.

The song, which streams for free today before going on sale on iTunes tomorrow, is about his girlfriend Mercer revealed when he first unveiled it at a small Shins concert last month.  “I know that things can really get rough when you go it alone, don’t go thinking you gotta be tough and play like a stone,” he sings over a cascading piano.

[More after the jump...]

Coachella line-up coming this week. Will Radiohead and Black Keys be on the bill?

The festival drops major hints about who's playing

Coachella line-up coming this week. Will Radiohead and Black Keys be on the bill?
Credit: Goldenvoice

Look for Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival to announce its 2012 line up very soon. The festival changed its Twitter feed photo to a screen stating “Next Week” on Friday. Plus, over the last several days, the festival has been teasing potential acts via linking to their videos.

So far, we’ve gotten and ever since then has been posting videos of potential bands who could play the fest. So far, we’ve gotten videos from Jimmy Cliff, Azealia Banks, Araab Muzik, Breakbot and, just a few minutes ago, Housse de Racket.

They’ve been followed by #Coachella2012. That’s a pretty big hint.

Album Review: The Little Willies featuring Norah Jones soar on sophomore set

Torch and twang combine with great musicianship on 'For The Good Times'

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<p>&nbsp;Norah Jones and her Little Willies bandmates</p>

 Norah Jones and her Little Willies bandmates

Credit: Parlaphone

It has taken the Little Willies six years to follow up its self-titled debut with “For The Good Times,” but the quintet, fronted by Norah Jones, has only improved with age.

The band name is, of course, a slightly naughty moniker, but the official explanation is that it comes from the members’ unabashed adoration for all things Willie Nelson, and his compadres...And let’s face it, the Little Merles wouldn’t have provided the same giggle value.

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