<p>'Captain America:&nbsp;The First Avenger'</p>

'Captain America: The First Avenger'

Credit: Marvel Studios

What do the Oscar voters have against music?

Some thoughts on today's shocking best original song choices

Why do the Oscar voters hate songs so much?  Once again, the music branch has shown utter contempt for contemporary songwriters as they nominated only two tunes in the best original song category out of the 39 deemed eligible. What an insult.

A few years ago the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences changed the way it nominated songs, making it much harder for a tune to qualify.  The Academy now holds a session to screen movie clips featuring the eligible songs. The members of the music branch then assign the songs a score. Those scores are then averaged; to be eligible a song must receive an average score of 8.25 or more (if only one song achieves that criteria, the second highest score is also selected). If two or more songs achieve the 8.25 benchmark, they will be the nominees up to a total of five.

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Bruce Springsteen starts U.S tour in March, adds New Orleans Jazz Fest gig
Credit: AP Photo

Bruce Springsteen starts U.S tour in March, adds New Orleans Jazz Fest gig

Six-week tour for 'Wrecking Ball' starts in Atlanta

Bruce Springsteen will kick off a 19-date U.S. tour two weeks after his new album, “Wrecking Ball,” comes out.

The Boss had already announced a European tour that started in May, but today he confirmed rumors that the E Street Band would have a short U.S. swing before crossing the Atlantic.

The tour opens March 18 at Atlanta’s Philips Arena and closes May 2 at Newark, N.J’s  Prudential Center. The European leg kicks off May 13 in Seville, Spain. “Wrecking Ball” comes out March 6. Springsteen is slated to deliver the keynote address at this year's South By Southwest March 15.

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Adam Lambert reveals cover art for 'Trespassing'

Adam Lambert reveals cover art for 'Trespassing'

Does the cover make you want to cross the line?

The release of Adam Lambert’s sophomore set, “Trespassing,” is still two months away, but the “American Idol” runner up revealed the album cover via Twitter late Monday night.

Lambert also divulged that he has a major hand in all facets of “Trespassing”: he is the album’s executive producer and creative director. He made a special shout out to Lee Cherry, his art director and photographer.

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<p>Norah Jones</p>

Norah Jones

Credit: AP Photo

Norah Jones and Danger Mouse pair for new set, 'Little Broken Hearts'

Pair co-write Jones' fifth studio album following 'Rome' connection

Norah Jones and Danger Mouse have collaborated on the Grammy winner’s next set, “Little Broken Hearts.”

The exact release date has yet to be firmed: Jones’ label, Blue Note, will only narrow the time table down to Spring. However, when we talked to Jones in December about the Little Wilies, she hinted that the release may be in May.

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Watch: Miley Cyrus as you've never seen her on Dylan cover
Credit: Amnesty International

Watch: Miley Cyrus as you've never seen her on Dylan cover

Teenager shows her maturity on 'You're Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go'

Miley Cyrus’s second act starts now. Her country-fied cover of Bob Dylan’s “You’re Gonna Make Me Lonesome When You Go” shows off a more mature, lovely side of her.

The video for the track, recorded for the 73-song “Chimes of Freedom: The Songs of Bob Dylan: Honoring 50 Years of Amnesty International,” showcases Cyrus in an empty apartment, accompanied only by three sidemen as she plaintively sings the song seated on a stool beside guitarist Johnzo West. She sounds great. She doesn’t overplay it or underplay it. She’s could have a great country record inside of her.

[More after the jump...]

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Garbage launches own label for new set

Garbage launches own label for new set

First album in seven years due this spring

Garbage has launched its own label, Stunvolume, to put out its first new album in seven years.

The still-untitled set will come out this Spring via separate licensing deals worldwide including via Universal Music Group-owned Fontana in the U.S. The group had previously recorded for Interscope Records.

The band, which includes Shirley Manson,  Butch Vig, Duke Erikson and Steve Marker, is recording the set in Los Angeles, marking the first time the group has not recorded in Madison, Wis., where the foursome formed 16 years ago. In an interview in the December issue of British music magazine Mojo, Manson says the new album includes such title as “Automatic Systematic,” “Habit, “Blood Poppies,” and “I Hate Love.” Manson partially blamed the long hiatus on  Interscope’s reaction to  2005''s "Bleed Like Me,” which debuted at No. 4 on the Billboard 200, but didn’t sell as well as its predecessors. She and Vig saw each other at a friend’s memorial service in 2010 and that got the reunion discussion rolling.

On its Facebook page, the group included a cryptic message about the album:

Our intention is to make a great record that we have written, recorded and produced as a band.
We intend to tell the truth.
We are one.
Even though it's hard.

The album will be accompanied by a previously-announced tour, which kicks off May 11 in St. Petersburg, Russia.


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<p>Tim McGraw wants to get you all emotional.</p>

Tim McGraw wants to get you all emotional.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Album Review: Does Tim McGraw's 'Emotional Traffic' get in gear?

Will he knock Adele out of the top spot?

In recent interviews, Tim McGraw has repeatedly said that he feels like he’s achieved only about 30% of his potential in his music career.

With Jan. 24's  “Emotional Traffic,” his last studio album for Curb, he moves that needle slightly forward. Though he doesn’t achieve any major breakthroughs, he hits most of the musical and lyrical notes that have helped make him a country superstar for nearly two decades.

On album opener, the midtempo “Halo,” McGraw is weathering, none to well, the fall out of an ended love affair, as he sings, with barely concealed contempt: “I’ll crawl out of my cradle, down into my black hole and you just lay low under your halo.”

It's a great opening shot  that shows off McGraw’s voice, which has always been full of rough edges and nuance, despite its limited range. Somewhere around  2001’s “Set This Circus Down,” he harnessed its strength and power and figured out what songs work best for it, not only musically, but thematically.

[More after the jump...]

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Eddie Vedder hits the road on solo tour before Pearl Jam heads to Europe

Eddie Vedder hits the road on solo tour before Pearl Jam heads to Europe

Florence + the Machine also set Spring outing

Eddie Vedder will hit the road this Spring for a 13-date solo tour to support his Grammy-nominated “Ukulele Songs.”  Primarily a  theater outing, the tour includes a May 3 stop at the New Orleans Jazz and Heritage Festival.

The dates precede Pearl Jam’s European tour, which starts Jane 20 in Manchester, England. Opening the solo outing, which starts April 11,  will be Swell Season’s Glen Hansard, who appears on “Ukulele Songs.”  Tickets go on sale Feb. 3.

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<p>Pulp's Jarvis Cocker</p>

Pulp's Jarvis Cocker

Credit: AP Photo

Pulp adds more dates to U.S. jaunt in April

Where else is the reunited British band playing besides Coachella?

In addition to its previously announced show at Coachella, Pulp will play two other date while in the U.S. for the Indio, Calif. festival.

The Jarvis Cocker-led British outfit will also appear at  New York’s Radio City Music Hall on April 11 and San Francisco’s  The Warfield on April 17. Its Coachella appears are April 13 and April 20.Similarly, Radiohead recently announced additional dates around its Coachella set.

In addition to Cocker, the band includes all the original members, including drummer Nick Banks, keyboardist Candida Doyle, bassist Steve Mackey, violinist/guitarist Russell Senior and guitarist Mark Webber.

So do you think the inevitable full-on U.S. tour and album will follow? Pulp came off a nine-year hiatus to play festivals in Europe and Australia last summer, but these U.S. dates mark the first time the group has performed in the U.S. since June 1998 in support of their “This Is Hardcore” album.

Follow Melinda Newman on Twitter @HitFixMelinda

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Nicki Minaj pushes back 'Roman Reloaded' to when?

Plus, watch new video 'Stupid Hoe'

“Roman Reloaded,” Nicki Minaj’s follow-up to “Pink Friday” will have to wait just a little to unload: the album has been pushed back from Feb. 14 to April 3.

Minaj tweeted the news herself. She gave no reason for the delay, but added “But have no fear. Tons of surprises before then.” She later added “The initials for a song ur gna love on the album: COAC” and then “And the new one I’m wrkng on rt now.”  So maybe she’s just adding more ammo.

[More after the jump...]

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