<p>Rush</p>

Rush

Credit: Roadrunner Records

Listen: Rush takes off on new single, 'Headlong Flight'

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New album, tour coming as well for venerated rock trio

Rock titans Rush return with “Clockwork Angels,” the band's first studio album in five years, on June 12.

First single, “Headlong Flight” landed at rock radio today (19). The full song, embedded below,  is more than 7 minutes long. As the title suggests, the protagonist longs to take flight. Neil Peart’s drumming sounds as amazing as always:  it anchors the shifting tempos and moods, as Alex Lifeson’s guitar work soars above it all.  Geddy Lee’s vocals are strong, but they don’t stand out as his most potent, especially since they are fairly down in the mix (until near the end). It’s an opus that floats along without a hint of a chorus, but is compelling as different elements come into play. Plus, given there’s a mechanical voiceover that comes in around 4:15, it seems as if there’s a narrative here that will become clearer as we hear more of the album.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Carrie Underwood</p>

Carrie Underwood

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Six things we learned from Carrie Underwood's 'Blown Away' sampler

Hear snippets of the May 1 album now

Carrie Underwood’s new album, “Blown Away,” doesn’t come out for almost two more weeks, but a 7-minute sampler of snippets from  the “American Idol” winner’s fourth studio album has surfaced on jonalisblog.com and they're very revealing. Click on the link to hear.

We’ll review the album when we get to hear the whole thing in full, but here are five things we can glean from the sampling. Mark Bright produced the set.

1) She’s dealing with a few demons from her past. In the dramatic title cut, she sings “There’s not enough rain in Oklahoma to wash the sins out of that house.”  Like Martina McBride, she does drama well.

2) Underwood only grows more and more confident in her vocal abilities. After “Idol,” she didn’t quite seem to know how to harness her talents, but she’s only gotten stronger and stronger with each album in terms of knowing when to belt, when to hold back, and feeling sure about her choices.

3) She’s wasn't done with the cheating songs after "Before He Cheats."  On “Two Black Cadillacs,”  her man has been caught fooling around and there’s going to be hell to pay.

4) Though first single, “Good Girl” is a raucous affair, it sounds like the album is a strong mix of ballads and uptempo tunes, plus she straddles the line between pop and country (listen to how many fiddles and banjos are in this sampler alone). Sounds like there’s a lot of depth on “Blown Away.”

5) Even though Underwood has said that the time isn’t right for her and hubby, hockey player Mike Fisher,  to  have kids yet, she’s ready to sing about it. “Forever Changed” includes a verse about “blooming” from within when pregnant.

6) She wants to make us cry again. We've barely dried our tears from "Temporary Home," but even the little bit of "Good In Goodbye" was enough to make us sniffle a little.

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Dick Clark in 1959
Dick Clark in 1959
Credit: AP Photo

Reflections on a childhood spent with Dick Clark and his unforgettable advice

Memories of "American Bandstand" and more

My childhood had two DJs: Casey Kasem and Dick Clark.

Long before I started to develop my own musical taste, it was dictated to me weekly by these musical titans: Clark through my weekly dose of “American Bandstand” on TV and Kasem via “American Top 40” on radio, which started at noon on Sundays (which meant I inevitably missed hearing Nos 40-36 since we wouldn’t be home from church yet when the countdown started, but that’s a story for another time).

When word came down of Clark’s passing today from a massive heart attack at 82, my memory immediately turned to Saturdays at 12:30 p.m. in my living room in our house in Raleigh, N.C.  My older sister, Jeannie,  and I would plunk down in front of the TV and watch Dick Clark and his long white microphone.  We knew all the star dancers by name (I vaguely remember a Louis and a Karen), and wondered if they were couples off-screen. We’d ooh and aah as they gyrated in a very G-rated fashion—unlike on “Soul Train”— in their polyester prints (this was the ‘70s, after all). The boys/men all had their hair parted in the middle, with their shirts unbuttoned down their chests, and the girls’ hair was straight as a stick, until “Charlie’s Angels” debuted, and then imitating Farrah Fawcett’s feathered locks became all the rage—for both the guys and girls. When The Village People craze began, there were  cowboy and construction worker wanna bes strutting their stuff on “AB.”  As much as “American Bandstand” set trends, it picked up on them just as quickly, especially during the “Saturday Night Fever” days.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Nelly Furtado's &quot;Big Hoops&quot;</p>

Nelly Furtado's "Big Hoops"

Listen: Nelly Furtado returns with 'Big Hoops' from new album

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Who does she sound like to you?

Nelly Furtado, who’s traversed a number of musical styles over her decade-long career, lands squarely in Rihanna territory with “Big Hoops (Bigger The Better),” the first single from her June 19 album,  “The Spirit Indestructible.”

Produced by  Rodney Jerkins, the tune, co-written by Furtado and Jerkins, has the rat-a-tat swagger of “Rude Boy” as Furtado, in her best street patois, lets us know, “I can go fast, I can go slow, I can go places nobody else goes.” It’s a meaningless little ditty that is all about the military beat and bragging rights (though she throws out a fun shout out to early ‘90s R&B boy band Another Bad Creation). It doesn’t have enough of a hook to work its way up the radio charts (especially since the shift to pure pop), but will likely do very well in the clubs.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Gotye at Coachella</p>

Gotye at Coachella

Credit: AP Photo

Gotye becomes 'Somebody' with a No. 1 hit on the Billboard Hot 100

Australian singer displaces fun.'s 'We Are Young'

It started as a internet viral sensation months ago, and now Gotye’s “Somebody That I Used To Know” featuring Kimbra has found its way to the top of the Billboard Hot 100.

Propelled by Gotye’s performance on “Saturday Night Live” on April 14 and Darren Criss and guest Matt Bomer’s remake of the song on April 11’s “Glee,” the song rocketed in digital downloads last week, soaring to 542,000 copies. That was enough to send it past the  521,000 tally that Justin Bieber hit just two weeks ago with “Boyfriend.” The highest weekly total still belongs to Flo Rida’s “Right Round,” according to Billboard, at 636,000 in 2009.

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<p>Axl Rose performing in London in 2010.</p>

Axl Rose performing in London in 2010.

Credit: AP Photo

He's Back! Axl Rose pens another missive, apologizes to Cleveland and fans

Does he regret standing up the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame?

Is Axl Rose having second thoughts about not showing up for Guns N' Roses' induction into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame on April 14?

For the second time in a week, Rose has taken pen to paper to eloquently reveal his thoughts about the matter.  As you recall, last week, he wrote a letter about why he would not attend the ceremonies.On Tuesday night, he posted a letter on Guns N' Roses website apologizing to the city of Cleveland for not showing up. We've printed it in full below, but it sounds like part of him was just plain scared of the reception he'd get (By the way, the former members of GNR who did show up looked like they were having a blast).

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Justin Bieber on this evening's episode of "The Voice".
Justin Bieber on this evening's episode of "The Voice".
Credit: NBC

Watch: Justin Bieber announces release date for 'Believe' on 'The Voice'

Plus, gives the 4,356 sneak peak of 'Boyfriend'

OK, this is getting ridiculous. Justin Bieber showed up on “The Voice” tonight to show “the world premiere from a clip of my video, ‘Boyfriend’.”

For those who are counting, this is the fourth teaser from the video and we still don’t know when the full music video is premiering. That will be an announcement for another day. Drip, drip, drip.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Maxwell</p>

Maxwell

Credit: AP Photo

Maxwell is probably not coming to a town near you on 3-city tour

R&B superstar will play entire albums each night

Maxwell will hit the road, in a very limited way,  for the first time in two years this summer when stops in three cities to perform his four albums in their entirety.

Taking a page from acts like Steely Dan and Bruce Springsteen, the R&B superstar will devote the evening’s performance to “Maxwell’s Urban Hang Suite” and “Embrya” or the combo of “Now” and “Blacksummers’night.”

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<p>Jason Mraz</p>

Jason Mraz

Album Review: Jason Mraz's 'Love is a Four Letter Word'

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The 'I'm Yours' gets all 'we are the world' on new set

We’ll have whatever Jason Mraz is smoking, please. On “Love Is A Four Letter Word,” out today, Mraz is at his hippie-dippiest, peace-loving, live-in-the-now best. If you thought he was mellow before, just wait until you check out the new material. Throughout the album’s 12 songs, he explores love in all its forms and it’s safe to say, he’s for it.

In these troubled times, Mraz is here to tell us that everything is just as it should be, right here and right now. It’s Up With People set to a slight reggae beat. If such affirmations were used sparingly, it would be fine, but “Love” drowns in them so aggressively that it feels like the album should come complete with rainbows, unicorns, fluffy puppies, and tweeting love birds.

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From L-R: Kiss, The Monkees, Heart
From L-R: Kiss, The Monkees, Heart

The next 10 acts who should go into the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame

Let the debate begin: Kiss, Rush, and Chic top the list

The Rock & Roll Hall of Fame inducted the Class of 2012 over the weekend amid a slew of no shows and controversy, once again, over acts that have not been invited to join the Cleveland edifice.

Here are the 10 acts that should be the next to get in. The Hall only inducts five performers at a time so we know they aren’t all going in in 2013, but all are eligible. Some of them have been on the ballot before and been denied, others, like Kiss, like to shout it, shout it out loud, that they have been wronged over and over.

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