<p>Arcade Fire</p>

Arcade Fire

Credit: Anton Corbijn

2011 Grammy Predictions: Best Alternative Music Album

Five strong contenders vie for the only alternative music Grammy presented

The 53rd annual Grammy Awards take place Feb. 13 live from Staples Center in Los Angeles. Little gramophones are given out in an overwhelming 109 categories. Each day between now and the awards ceremony, we’ll take a category or two and pick the act we believe will taken home the statue.  First up:  Best Alternative Music Album.

Best Alternative Music Album

“The Suburbs,” Arcade Fire
“Infinite Arms,” Band of Horses
“Brothers,” The Black Keys
“Broken Bells,” Broken Bells
“Contra,” Vampire Weekend

This is one of the strongest slates in this year’s awards with each album a stand-out—and there were, arguably, a number of albums waiting in the wings that could have also earned a spot among the top 5:  Best Coast’s “Crazy For You”, Beach House’s “Teen Dream,” Joanna Newsom’s  “Have One on Me,” etc. Plus, the Grammy powers-that-be parse things up further by taking someone like Ray LaMontagne and the Pariah Dogs and put them in the contemporary folk album category instead of alternative. Even we aren't sure where something like Mumford & Sons' "Sigh No More" should fit in. So there’s a lot of hair splitting. Having said that, despite the fact that “Broken Bells,” was my No. 1 album of the year across the board, this is most likely a race between “Brothers,” “Contra” and “The Suburbs,” all of which were strong, if occasionally spotty, efforts.  “The Suburbs” is also up for Best Album, which, in Grammyland, presumes some level of superiority over the other contenders. Hey Grammys: why no best alternative music song category?

WILL WIN: “The Suburbs,” Arcade Fire

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Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Eminem, Cee Lo, Katy Perry, Lady Gaga all slated to come in at No. 1

'2011 Grammy Nominees' compilation set to top Billboard 200

After The Decemberists debuted at No. 1 this week with a comparatively healthy  94,000 for “The King is Dead,” album sales plummet like the winter thermometer again as it looks like the “2011 Grammy Nominees” compilation will bow at No. 1 on the Billboard 200 with a record low of around 40,000.

There’s a chance that Nicki Minaj’s “Pink Friday” will finally reach the summit, as her set and the Grammy collection are too close to call right now.   “Pink Friday’s” first-week sales of 375,000 in November were only enough to bow at No. 2. Now it could climb to No. 1 on sales of 10% of that tally. 

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Trace Adkins</p>

Trace Adkins

Credit: NBC

New three-day Show-Me Festival festival stars Tim McGraw and Trace Adkins

Missouri country fest comes two months after Stagecoach

Make room for another festival. Two months after premier country festival Stagecoach in Indio, Calif., will come a new three-day fest headlined by Tim McGraw and Trace Adkins.

The Show-Me Music & Arts Festival will take place June 17-19 on an 800-acre site in Springfield, Mo., according to Billboard. Other artists confirmed to play include Joe Nichols, One Republic, Gloriana, Nitty Gritty Dirt Band and David Nail.

Producer Conway Entertainment Group expects the festival to feature 25 acts on the main stage, as well as a midway, a Kids Zone, and arts and crafts booths.

Headliners for Stagecoach, which takes play April 30-May 1, include Kenny Chesney, Rascal Flatts and Carrie Underwood.

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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: Matt Sayles/AP

Music Power Rankings: Britney Spears, Lady Gaga and 'Glee' all make the cut

How soon before the big four record companies are the big three?

Sure 2011 is off to a slow start album sales wise, but there's a beehive of activity happening and the promise of things really starting to heat up starting in late February the release of Adele's "22." Then March through May look unstoppable as a number of heavy hitters return. But in the meantime, as the industry licks its wounds over two weeks of unbelievably low album sales, the chatter is focused on how soon either Warner Music Group and EMI will be sold, possibly to each other. There's a lot of rearranging of deck chairs on the Titanic as Universal Music Group head Doug Morris prepares to move over to Sony Music (the only question is when) and Sony execs move over to UMG.

[More after the jump...]

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Watch: David Guetta's Sci-Fi video for 'Who's That Chick' featuring Rihanna

Watch: David Guetta's Sci-Fi video for 'Who's That Chick' featuring Rihanna

It's a Rainbow Brite world

Take that Katy Perry. Consider yourself served. After seemingly reserving the entire rainbow of colors for her vibrant videos such as “California Gurls,” former BFF Rihanna is striking out with a candy-coated video of her own for “Who’s That Chick.”

Hang on, we know totally that officially it’s a David Guetta tune featuring Rihanna, but if you break down the footage in the video, Rihanna has about 1000 times the screen time than the European DJ. Even when he is seen in his space-age prison and he’s watching Rihanna’s technicolor antics on his TV inside his spaceship, he’s all grey and barren.  I don’t know whether I feel sorry for the guy because he’s hands-down the most boring part of any video that he’s in for his songs or if I think he’s the luckiest SOB in the world because he gets richer and richer and gets to work with all these fun artists and yet gets to keep his privacy, since he’s not recognized by 99% of folks.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Nicki Minaj as her own fairy godmother in her 'Moment 4 Life' video.</p>

Nicki Minaj as her own fairy godmother in her 'Moment 4 Life' video.

Watch: Nicki Minaj buys into the fairy tale in new video for 'Moment 4 Life'

Drake shows up as her boyfriend/prince

Once upon a time, there was a female rapper named Nicki Minaj. She appeared on everyone’s records before finally releasing her own album, “Pink Friday,” in November.

But success isn’t enough. A girl’s mind turns to romance no matter her chart position. In the video for her new single “Moment 4 Life,”  Nicki (oddly playing King Nicki, according to the opening of the fairy tale) gets a visit  from her fairy godmother, who looks a lot like Nicki, but with a British accent and blonde wing (and may we say she does a better accent than Madonna).

After they make a few jokes, including a funny one about sending Slim Shady to boarding school,  Nicki attends her own ball, in a variety of wigs and dresses...and lots and lots of chocolate.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lady Gaga performs at Madison Square Garden in Jan, 2010.</p>

Lady Gaga performs at Madison Square Garden in Jan, 2010.

Credit: AP Photo/Evan Agostini

Lady Gaga releases the lyrics to first single, 'Born This Way'

Read below what she has to say in the new song

We don’t get to hear “Born This Way,” Lady Gaga’s new single from the forthcoming album of the same name, until Feb. 13, but she’s done the next best thing for her little monsters: she’s tweeted the lyrics.

As we could guess from what she’s said and from the title, the song’s lyrics are all about acceptance and believing that you are fine however you are because that is how God made you.

The tune, written by Lady Gaga and produced by Lady Gaga, Fernando Gariba, and DJ White Shadow, will undoubtedly raise the ire of the religious right (as if that were her core audience to begin with) with such lyrics as “A different lover is not a sin/Believe Capitol H-I-M.”  She also breaks the fourth wall by talking about “I love this record” in the middle of the record.  We do live the line about “Don’t be a drag/just be a queen.”

[More after the jump...]

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Wilco starts own label, working on post-Nonesuch set

Wilco starts own label, working on post-Nonesuch set

Band launches dBpm Records through Anti- Records

As Hitfix first reported last July, Wilco had left Nonesuch Records and was hinting that the beloved Americana band might strike out on its own. 

It turns out  the Jeff Tweedy-led band have done just that. Wilco has started dBpm Records, which will be distributed and marketed through Anti- Records, which is a part of Epitaph Records.

[More after the jump...]

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Listen: Jennifer Hudson's new single 'Where You At'

Listen: Jennifer Hudson's new single 'Where You At'

Former 'American Idol' gets help from R Kelly on first song from 'I Remember Me'

Jennifer Hudson may be skinny now, but that doesn’t mean all her troubles are over— just listen to her new single, “Where You At,” from her second album “I Remember Me.”  Sounds like she lost an additional 160 pounds of excess weight since she’s just been ditched by her man.

Or as she more poetically puts it: “I went to sleep in the cloud and woke up in the dirt/ Said you’d be my hero/but as it turns out you were a no show.”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Manson girls and the Doobie Brothers</p>

Manson girls and the Doobie Brothers

Credit: AP Photo

Music on Main Street with the Manson Girls, the Doobie Bros. and Low Anthem

Things from from weird to wonderful at Sundance

PARK CITY — Our Monday started off on a weird note, even for the “anything-can-happen-at-Sundance” vibe.
There is a new movie coming called “Manson Girls.”  Directed by Susanna Lo, the drama is about several of the women who followed murderer Charles Manson. Included in the cast is Monica Keena, who plays Lynette “Squeaky” Fromme, Laura Harring (Alice Rainer), Heather Matarazzo (Sadie Atkins), Jennifer Landon (Mary Brunner), Tania Ramonde (Leslie Van Houten) and Taryn Manning (we don’t whom she plays).

It turns out that two members of the Doobie Bros., John McFee and Guy Allison, wrote the theme to the movie, so someone thought it was a good idea to bring them all together in Park City and webcast the gals and the two Bros. playing some classic rock together.  The media event kicked off with McFee and Allison playing some cues they’ve written for the movie, which were appropriately dark and ominous. Then things got weird. Matarazzo came out to join them for the Beatles’  “Sexy Sadie.” It sounds like a smart move given Matarazzo is playing Sadie. However, Matarazzo looked panic-stricken. She greeted us with “Hi fuckers, you ready?,” then grabbed the mic stand with both hands and held on with a death grip, staring upward the whole time and sang as if she would rather be having root canal without novocaine. In her defense, the room was the size of a postage stamp and the closeness to the audiences would have daunted the most experienced of singers. She sounded decent, but she sang so softly that the band totally overpowered her. We all breathed a collective sigh of relief when it was over, not because she can’t sing, but because she seemed so damn uncomfortable.

[More after the jump...]

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