<p>Death Cab For Cutie</p>

Death Cab For Cutie

Death Cab, My Morning Jacket, DMB, Eddie Vedder lead new May 31 releases

Kate Bush and NKOTB's Jordan Knight also return

It’s a rock bonanza this week with new releases from Death Cab for Cutie, My Morning Jacket, Flogging Molly, Eddie Vedder and Dave Matthews Band on May 31. Then, of course, New Kids on the Block’s Jordan Knight is sure to make all the ladies scream. Are any of the titles likely to dislodge Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” from the No. 1 spot? No, but they should log some strong numbers.

Kate Bush, “Director’s Cut” (Fish People/EMI): British singing icon revamps 11 songs from 1989’s  “The Sensual World” and 1993’s “The Red Shoes" on this new effort.

Death Cab for Cutie, “Codes and Keys” (Atlantic): Fronted by alterna-hit “You Are A Tourist,” “Codes and Keys” is the Bellingham, Wash.- quartet’s seventh studio album and is filled with gentle, low-key, melodic rock.

Flogging Molly, “Speed of Darkness” (SideOne Dummy): College faves and Celtic punk rockers recorded their latest in a church near Asheville, N.C. with producer Ryan Hewillt, best known for his work with Avett Bros. and Red Hot Chili Peppers.

Jordan Knight, “Unfinished” (JK Music/Mass Appeal): Two weeks after New Kids on the Block release their album with bandmates Backstreet Boys, NKOTB’s Knight goes it alone with his first solo album since 2006’s “Love Songs.” Could someone explain to me how he can still be a new kid when he’s 41?

Dave Matthews Band, “Live At Wrigley Field” (Bama Rags/RCA): Hardcore fans will have, of course, taped the show, but for the rest of us, here’s a chance to grab our own copy of the group’s 2010 Chi-Town show.

My Morning Jacket, “Circuital” (ATO):
Louisville alt-rockers latest was recorded in their hometown and Nashville with lead singer Jim James and Tucker Martine (R.E.M., the Decemberists) at the help. From the quietly building title track to the retro, funky “Holdin’ On to Black Metal,” MMJ mixes it up on its first release since 2008’s “Evil Urges.”  Fans won’t want to miss the live YouTube stream of the band’s 5/31 concert directed by Todd Haynes.

The Vaccines, “What Did You Expect From the Vaccines?” (Columbia): British rockers attempt to dominate on this side of the Atlantic following the album’s No. 4 debut in the U.K. Catch them on tour with the Arctic Monkeys this summer.

Eddie Vedder, “Ukulele Songs” (Monkey Wrench): Pearl Jam frontman’s solo album salutes the ukulele with this album of originals and covers. Also out on May 31, “Water on the Road: Eddie Vedder Live,” from Aug. 16-17, 2008 solo shows at Warner Theater, Washington, D.C. 


Read Full Post
<p>Lady Gaga</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Lady Gaga

Credit: Charles Sykes/AP

Lady Gaga poised to sail past 1 million on Billboard 200 next week

How far does Adele's '21' fall?

She worked hard for every single copy sold, but it looks like Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” will join the rarified club of artists whose album sells more than 1 million copies in its opening week.

Original predictions were that “Born This Way” would move around 800,000 copies, but that was before Amazon sold it for 99 cents for two days. The promotion, as troubled as it was by some downloading problems, will help send the album over the 1.15 million mark, predicts Billboard. The last artist to surpass the mark was Taylor Swift with "Speak Now" last fall.

Brad Paisley’s “This Is Country Music” comes in at second place on the Billboard 200 with sales of around 155,000, meaning Adele’s “21” slips to third place, but still tops the 100,000 mark.

In addition to Lady Gaga and Paisley’s sets, five other titles bow in the top 10: “Glee Cast: Vol. 6” flies in at No. 4 with sales of around 80,000; Maybach Music Group Presents: Self Made, Vol. 1,” a collection of artists on Mayback, debuts at No. 6. The co-joined New Kids on the Block and Back Street Boys combo comes in at No. 7, as NKOTBSB's self-titled setis poised to sell around 40,000.

Journey and Walmart prove the strength of both brands as “Eclipse” starts at No. 8, despite being available only at the mass marketer.  Up-and-coming Los Angeles band Foster the People benefits from a long, well-developed set-up by Columbia Records as  “Torches” begins its chart life at No. 9 with sales of 30,000. Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” hangs in there at No. 10, moving around 30,000 copies.

Read Full Post
<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: Evan Agostini/AP

Music Power Rankings: Lady Gaga delivers 'Born This Way' after longest gestation period ever

Scotty, Beyonce and LMFAO also make the list

C’mon. Did anyone really think that the Rapture was going to happen before Lady Gaga put out “Born This Way?” Trust me, if Momma Monster had any inkling that the Rapture might be real, she would have popped that puppy two weeks ago.

Read Full Post
<p>Scotty McCreery</p>
<div id="myEventWatcherDiv" style="display:none;">&nbsp;</div>

Scotty McCreery

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

'American Idol' winner Scotty McCreery soars to the top of iTunes

How does Lauren Alaina fare?

Scotty McCreery is a winner in more ways than one. Wednesday night’s “American Idol” champ’s first single, “I Love You This Big” soared to No. 1 on iTunes.

Runner-Up Lauren Alaina is second to McCreery on iTunes’ chart as well, as her tune “Like My Mother Does” stands at No. 2.

Both singles were released by Mercury Records, a Nashville country imprint under the Universal Music Group label. Season 10 marked a switch of labels for the “American Idol” franchise from Sony Music to UMG. Though nothing has been announced, depending upon how the singles perform, this could be an indicator of which label will release their post-”Idol” albums.

Speaking of, both artists already have full albums available on iTunes of their “American Idol” performances (credited only to 19 Recordings, which is the imprint for all "Idol" sets).  On iTunes album chart, McCreery has to give way to Lady Gaga; his compilation is No. 2, while Alaina’s stands at No. 5.

Read Full Post
<p>Jason Derulo</p>

Jason Derulo

Watch: Jason Derulo keeps the party going in 'Don't Wanna Go Home'

First single from 'Future History' should be summer smash

Jason Derulo doesn’t want to go home and who could blame him? In the video for “Don’t Wanna Go Home,” he’s surrounded by scantily-clad, long-legged beauties and it’s clear that even though they party has already started, it has a long way to go.

The track, the first from Derulo’s upcoming album, “Future History,” bowed on the Hot 100 this week and seems like a natural to become a summer smash. Interestingly,  he sings Harry Belafonte’s “Day-O (Banana Boat Song),” making it the second time in recent months the Calypso classic has been used as the basis for a pop hit.  Lil Wayne’s “Six Foot Seven Foot” featuring Corey Gunz.

Derulo seems eager to become the new Chris Brown as he shows off some crazy mad dancing skills in the clip. He and his lovelies continue their party in a warehouse that has a full bar, but, oddly, must have no roof since everyone gets showered on mid-song. As far as plot, there is none, other than making us jealous that our invite got lost in the mail.

Read Full Post


Does Adele make it three in a row on the Billboard Hot 100?

LMFAO laughs its way to No. 9. What's going on with Gaga?

Adele continues her reign atop both the Billboard 200 and Hot 100 singles as “Rolling in the Deep” stays at No. 1 for the third week. Amazingly, the song is still gaining steam at radio.

It’s also a great week for LMFAO, whose “Party Rock Anthem,” one of the contenders for song of the summer, soars 20-9. The Los Angeles duo’s tune, featuring Lauren Bennett and GoonRock,” already spent four weeks at No. 1 in the U.K.  Lupe Fiasco’s “The Show Goes On” also ascends into the Top 10, rising 12-9. The move has been slow, but steady: the 21 weeks “Show” has needed to reach the top 10 is the longest climb since Kings of Leon’s “Use Somebody” in August 2009, according to Billboard.

Surveying the rest of the Hot 100, Katy Perry’s “E.T.”  continues its residence at No. 3, “Give Me Everything,” the first single from Pitbull’s upcoming album moves 4-3, while The Black Eyed Peas’ “Just Can’t Give Enough” also ups a notch. Similarly, Jennifer Lopez’s  “On the Floor” featuring Pitbull (who’s having a good week), Bruno Mars’ “The Lazy Song” and Britney Spears’ “Till The World Ends” all up one slot to No. 5, 6,and 7 respectively.

Rounding out the top 10, “Look At Me Now” by Chris Brown featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes drops 9-10.

Lady Gaga’s “The Edge of Glory,” drops 3-19 in its second week on the chart, meaning her singles are just not catching on at radio. “Hair,” another tune from “Born This Way”  debuts at No. 12 this week, but that is almost totally based on digital sales as Interscope is not going for radio on the tune.

Read Full Post
<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Watch: Taylor Swift hits the books in 'The Story of Us' video

How's she look in her school girl uniform?

Taylor Swift takes us to school in her new clip for “The Story of Us,” which premiered on MTV. Why not CMT, you might ask?  In part, because she’s completely crossed over from country artist to pop star and, furthermore, the song, from "Speak Now,"  is about as country as the Empire State Building.

In the clip, which recalls Tears for Fears’ “Head Over Heels,” takes place in a school library (because, as Swift sings to her ex, she doesn’t even know “what page you’re on.”). Swift is decked out in a cute, prep-school uniform, not of the ravish-me-daddy Britney sort, but an appropriate, not gross version.

As she recounts the story of her relationship, which is supposedly about John Mayer,  we see it lived out through various chapters: from the meet cute to the betrayal to the post-break-up, awkward run in.  Though you couldn’t tell it from her acting in “Valentine’s Day,” Swift is a natural on camera and she seems to grow only more at ease.

Swift told MTV’s Sway that watching the video was tough. “The first thing you think of is the moment that inspired the song, which is that excruciating, awful moment when you run into an ex for the first time.”

What do you think of Swift’s “Story?”

Read Full Post
<p>Lady Gaga at a fan signing of her new CD&nbsp;&quot;Born this Way&quot; earlier this week in New York City.</p>

Lady Gaga at a fan signing of her new CD "Born this Way" earlier this week in New York City.

Credit: AP Photo/Charles Sykes

What tracks from Lady Gaga's 'Born This Way' are early fan favorites?

Are they picking the next single and it is a country tune?

Lady Gaga’s endless promotional tour rolls on: she’s on the cover of “Rolling Stone,” she’s on “American Idol” tonight and her MTV documentary airs soon. After that, she’ll start going house to house to make sure we’ve all bought our copy of “Born This Way.”

But what is actually selling? The album is No. 1 on iTunes and is poised to sell between 850,000 and 900,000 in its first week. This includes the somewhat suspect deal (others would just call it good marketing) with Amazon, which sold the entire album for 99 cents on Monday, as well as Best Buy’s decision to give away the album to everyone who buys a Smart Phone.

Read Full Post
<p>Adele has had a fantastic run, but Lady Gaga is about to capture her crown.</p>

Adele has had a fantastic run, but Lady Gaga is about to capture her crown.

Credit: Columbia Records

Adele's '21' makes its last stand atop the Billboard 200 before Lady Gaga arrives

Seether slithers to No. 2; while Justin Bieber and Jason Aldean surge

Adele makes it nine weeks at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 this week as “21” prepares to makes way for Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way.” However, even if this is “21’” final frame at the top, the album is just the fourth album to log that many weeks at the summit since 2000. However, "21" has ceded the top spot and bounced back up before.

Read Full Post
Why 'AI's' Scotty and Lauren may be dead in the water at country radio

Why 'AI's' Scotty and Lauren may be dead in the water at country radio

No matter who wins, they can expect a tough reception at radio

Regardless of whether Lauren Alaina or Scotty McCreery wins “American Idol” on tonight, it looks like these two crazy, country-loving teens are going to have a tough row to hoe at country radio.  Some radio programmers have resolutely declared themselves neither Team Lauren nor Team Scotty before they’ve heard the first note of any post-”Idol” project. We call that crazy talk.

My former Billboard colleague Phyllis Stark surveyed radio programmers recently for radio tip sheet Radio-Info to take their temperature on the two contestants. While 17-year old McCreery has been stone-cold country from day one, 16-year old Alaina has proven more versatile, but seems headed to Nashville as well given that most of her vocal selections have come straight off the Billboard country charts.

One would think that the younger audience that acts such as Taylor Swift have brought to the country format or the success that past “Idol” winner Carrie Underwood has experienced would make the appeal of McCreery or Alaina a slam dunk: Youth + a built-in fan base of millions= instant country radio play. That, however, would  be wrong. The general consensus from programmers interviewed by Stark was that McCreery was a Josh Turner wanna-be, who, quite frankly, creeped them out. McCreery loves him some Garth Brooks, he even sang Brooks’ “The River” for the week that the contestants got to perform a song by their personal idol, but his deep voice understandably brings comparisons to Turner and Randy Travis.

A number of programmers told Stark that they already had a Josh Turner and that they aren’t looking for another.  Some programmers were downright rude. “I wish people would quit comparing this kid to Josh Turner,” said Toni-Marie, music director for KUZZ Bakersfield, Calif. “He attempts to sound like him, but the only thing he is successful at is looking like the kid on MAD magazines“ Hey now, Toni-Marie, McCreery is only 17. Lighten up a little!

Buzz Jackson,  program director at KIIM in Tucson, Ariz., was even harsher, commenting on McCreery’s often weird mannerisms. “Scotty hasn’t demonstrated that he can be anything but creepy.” Others even joked (we think) that they would make sure to be gone the days Scotty made a promotional visit.

Alaina seems to have a better shot at country radio, although she could use a little seasoning. “Lauren is a doll and very talented, [but] needs some more experience,” Tony Randall, half of the syndicated morning show Tony & Kris told Stark.

One of the few voices of reason came from Gregg Swedberg, program director for KEEY, Minneapolis, who likes both Alaina and McCreery. Plus, as he points out, we have no idea how either singer will sound like away from “Idol’s” formula. “I just think it’s silly to unconditionally reject [Scotty],” Swedberg says. “It’s all about the songs. If they get him the songs, if he can do a good job choosing them, if he learns to write them himself, if he gets the music, he’ll make it...let’s see what the kid can do.”  Exactly. They should have to prove themselves like any new artist, but don't start them at so far down, they're in a hole they can never crawl out of no matter how good they are.

Stark’s initial article raised such a ruckus that she smartly followed up with responses from programmers who felt their colleagues had been unnecessarily harsh. Among them, of course, were the programmers at WQDR Raleigh, McCreery’s hometown station. “He’s an incredibly talented young man who sings God’s glory and looks you in the eye when he shakes your hand,” said WQDR’s music director Billy Dukes.  Wow. I’m from the same hometown as McCreery and I’m so glad I didn’t drink the Kool-aid that Dukes obviously did.

But we loved how, like Swedberg, Nate Deaton, general manager of KRTY in San Jose, Calif. interjected a teeny bit of common sense into the proceedings. “Let me get this straight,” he told Stark. “[Alaina and McCreery] are still in the competition because they get over 25 million votes each week and we are going to say, ‘Sorry, we are not interested.’ Are you crazy? We will welcome Scott and Lauren with open arms.”

Here’s the thing, however, if too many programmers are heading for the hills before giving either kid a chance,  then the Universal Music Group Nashville-based imprint that signs them (UMG has the right of first refusal to finalists) may have such an uphill battle that it simply puts together an album quickly, releases it with little fanfare and cuts its losses.

What about Carrie Underwood, you say. Underwood is now the most successful “Idol” alum of all genres. However, for every Underwood, there has been a legion of poor country performers from “Idol.” Some, such as Josh Gracin, Kellie Pickler or Bucky Covington, have had varying degrees of success, but others have flamed out quickly, such as Danny Gokey.  (Let's also note that, for the most part,  "AI" acts have not had a great batting average at pop or R&B either, with such notable exceptions as Kelly Clarkson, Chris Daughtry, Fantasia, David Cook, and, briefly, Clay Aiken and Jordin Sparks).

Quite frankly those odds-- one out of five-- are higher than the usual batting average for introducing new artists in any format (although country tends not to throw quite as many acts up against a wall to see what sticks as some other formats).

Plus, given that programmers constantly beat the drum about how new artists are the lifeblood of the format,  aren’t many of them being a little hasty to disregard a new talent with huge name recognition? We're calling it as all bluster. If either McCreery or Alaina shows up with a song that's a hit, these programmers will have blessedly short-term memories and be forced to eat their words. I say the kids are alright.

Read Full Post