Beth Ditto-led trio's stint also includes Southern sweep
Gossip may not have yet made the impact stateside that they have in the U.K., but the Portland, Ore.-based band is still a must-see o the live circuit. The Beth Ditto-led trio kicks off a short U.S. tour April 17 at Coachella. Before then comes a video for the new single, “Pop Goes the World,” which we’ll post as soon as can.
Here are the dates for Gossip’s headlining tour.
April 17 Indio, CA Coachella Valley Arts & Music Festival
April 19 San Francisco, CA Regency Ballroom
April 22 Lawrence, KS Bottleneck
April 23 St Louis, MO Firebird
April 24 Nashville, TN Mercy Lounge
April 26 Atlanta, GA The Loft
April 27 Chapel Hill, NC Cat’s Cradle
April 30 New York, NY Terminal 5
Director Tom DiCillo presents a 'human' look at iconic Jim Morrison-led band
“When You’re Strange,” director Tom DiCillo’s documentary about the Doors, will open theatrically April 9.
If you’ve followed the life of the film, like many documentaries, it has had an interesting birth. “Strange,” which DiCillo says is a combo between a documentary and a narrative, screened at the Sundance Film Festival in 2009. But it took on a new life after Johnny Depp agreed last spring to narrate the piece. The film was produced by Wolf Films/Strange Pictures, in association with Rhino Entertainment. Rhino, which has the Doors’ musical catalog, will release the soundtrack on March 30.
I interviewed DiCillo last year after the film for a piece in Variety and we discussed Morrison’s enduring magical aura that combined danger, sex and art. “[Morrison] was the first to really do that,” DiCillo said. “Elvis was pretty and sexy, but he wasn’t a poet. Jagger was a little dirty, but he wasn’t mythological.”
Of course, part of Morrison’s appeal is that he’s also dead. And while, like Elvis, he had his periods of bloat, the image most of us hold of the Lizard King is the iconic, tortured, impossibly beautiful man shirtless and in leather pants.
For feature director DiCillo, his mandate for his first documentary was that he present a new side to the Doors. “What I most definitely didn’t want to do was paraphrase everything already said about the Doors,” he said. “I [had] to find something personal about this band that hasn’t been said before. That’s what made it very, very challenging. I present Jim Morrison and the band in the way that no one has before. We see them as very human.”
Meanwhile, Depp is quite the music fan. He is now working on a documentary about Keith Richards.
Lady Antebellum holds off Jaheim for No. 2 spot
Nearly 25 years after its first No. 1 album, Sade—the singer and the group—returns to the summit with “Soldier of Love.” Not only does the act score its first No. 1 since 1986’s “Promise,” Sade does it really convincingly with 502,000 copies sold, making it the top selling debut of the year. It also marks the first time the group has debuted at No. 1
The album is Sade’s first set of new material since 2000’s “Lovers Rock,” which debuted No. 3 with sales of 370,000, according to Billboard. Just as Susan Boyle debuted with extremely high sales, Sade's numbers show that older demos are still more than willing to plunk down their money for full albums and don't just cherrypick a song or two off of iTunes.
Lady Antebellum slips to No. 2, but with extremely respectable sales of 208,000, for total sales of 897,000 in three weeks.
R&B singer Jaheim’s “Another Round” comes in at No. 3 with a tally of 112,000. Rounding out the top 10 in terms of debuts, country singer Josh Turner lands at No. 5 with “Haywire,” while contemporary Christian singer TobyMac enters the chart at No. 6.
Look! It's the robots from 'Transformers'... kind of
Times are tough all over, so maybe the Black Eyed Peas are trying to economize by combining “Imma Be” and “Rock Your Body” into one mega-video called “Imma Be Rocking That Body.”
We kid...there’s nothing cheap about the 10-minute clip. It’s one of the priciest videos we’ve seen come down the pike in a while. This one definitely cost a pretty penny. At least you don't have to feed robots and some of those product placements, like Tuborg beer, clearly helped defray costs.
The clip starts with Will.I.Am arguing with his band-mates about technology and if machines can do everything that humans do. His new studio wizardry is going to take them into “3008.” Enough with the endless plugs, already…Next thing you know, they're in the future, we think...
Like most of the Peas’ songs, the combined tune is all about the beats and partying and the future. And they provide an excellent forum for a video that’s basically a more entertaining remake of “Transformers” complete with breakdancing robots. The ultimate take away? Even gun-toting robots dig the BEP and getting down to them.
And thumbs up to Fergie—all that time in the gyms is clearly paying off. You look awesome rocking that unitard and the space age suit.
'Crazy Heart' party brings out the stars including Elton John, Jon Hamm and Woody Harrelson
It’s good to be in Los Angeles during Oscar season because you get to attend events like the one Hitfix went to last night: a star-studded party held for “Crazy Heart” with performances by the movie’s Oscar nominees Jeff Bridges, T Bone Burnett and Ryan Bingham.
Did we mention yet that Sir Elton John joined them on stage, as did co-star/Oscar winner Robert Duvall and Harry Dean Stanton? And that fellow “Crazy Heart” nominee Maggie Gyllenhaal and her brother Jake were grooving to the performances as were Jon Hamm, Jennifer Westfeldt, Oscar nominee Woody Harrelson and Peter Fonda?
Held at Vibrato, a restaurant/jazz club off famed Mulholland Drive and owned by Herb Alpert, the party, thrown by New West Records, which released the movie’s fantastic soundtrack, had no red carpet or paparazzi outside. Inside there were no VIP or roped off areas. We chatted with Burnett about running the Oscar gauntlet. He joked that he’s ready for the March 7 award ceremony to get here. “I wish I could be like a bear and just hibernate for the next three weeks.”
Burnett and Bingham are up for best original song for the “Crazy Heart” theme, “The Weary Kind.” You could practically imagine every Oscar voter in the room rushing home to mark his or her ballot for Team Crazy Heart after Bingham gave a weather-beaten performance of the song. Then Bridges, who is nominated for best actor for his performance of dissolute singer/songwriter Bad Blake, and Burnett took the stage, joined by Duvall, who sang “Red River Valley,” backed by Stanton on harmonica. Bridges and Burnett played the movie’s “Fallin’ & Flying,” which is a country hit just waiting to happen. Elton John hopped on stage to pound the ivories on “I Don’t Know,” also from the movie. (Sir Elton's connection? Burnett is producing John's new album with John's musical hero Leon Russell).
Content to take in the music from the balcony, Hamm and Westfeldt raved about the performance and the hidden away venue. “We couldn’t believe this place was in a strip mall with a kid’s clothing store,” Hamm said.
Also watching from upstairs was Judy Cairo, one of “Crazy Heart’s” producers, who admits the whole ride has been like a dream. As is now part of the movie’s lore, “Crazy Heart” was shot in fall of 2008 and was originally supposed to come out on Vantage, Paramount’s indie division. When Vantage shuttered, the movie was temporarily homeless until Fox Searchlight picked it up. Cairo had nothing but praise for how Paramount treated the movie as the film sought to find a new distributor. And talk about a 180-degree turn in subject matter: Cairo’s next movie is “Hysteria,” a comedy about the invention of the vibrator during Victorian times starring Rupert Everett and Jonathan Pryce. We’d like to hear what kind of song Bad Blake would write about that.
We humbly suggest that Paul McCartney buy it
As you may know, EMI, which has owned Abbey Road since 1929, is in a mess of financial trouble. EMI is one of the four major record companies (along with Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music). Therefore, in an effort to clear itself of some of its debt, it has put the legendary London studio up for sale, according to the Financial Times. EMI wouldn’t comment and the purchase price, in case you were interested in buying it, isn’t listed.
Abbey Road is best known as the Beatles’ studio—the fab four loved it so much that they named their classic 1969 album after it—and, of course, the cross walk in front of the studio where every tourist now feels compelled to replicate the “Abbey Road” album cover.
However, its history is far more vast than just the mop tops. As home of the London Symphony Orchestra, it is one of the few recording studios that can house an orchestra, musicians love it for its pristine sound. When British superstar Clift Richard began recording there in the ‘50s, it entered its rock phase. Among the artists who have recorded at Abbey Road include Pink Floyd, The Zombies, Kate Bush, Duran Duran, Radiohead, Oasis, Kanye West and U2. We've interviewed artists who recorded there and they state that it's magical. It's plainer than they expected, but the feeling of history practically seeps out of the walls.
The Financial Times says it is unclear if EMI will sell the Abbey Road brand name (apparently they own the rights to the name) along with the studio.
Studios like Abbey Road are pretty much seen as relics and I can’t imagine it’s possible to run it at a profit as a studio, but if someone is smart, they should buy it and turn it into a tourist attraction, like Sun Studios in Memphis. Yes, we’re talking to you Paul McCartney.
New clip comes from duo's 2007 10th anniversary show in Nova Scotia
Even though we don't know if we’ll get new music from the pair, March is a big month for White Stripes fans. That’s when a box set will come out that covers all things White Stripes. Plus, a documentary capturing the band’s 2007 Canadian tour, “The White Stripes: Under Great White Northern Lights,” also premieres at SXSW. The tour culminated in the band’s 10th anniversary show in Nova Scotia.
The documentary is included in the limited edition box set as well as a double vinyl LP featuring 16 live songs from the 2007 Canadian tour, a hardcover photography book, a CD that covers the same songs as the vinyl, a 7-inch colored vinyl single, a silkscreened print and a lock of Jack White and Meg White’s hair (we’re kidding about the last part—who do you think they are, Lady GaGa?) This is all yours for $229.
If you can’t wait until March 16 or don’t have that kind of moolah, enjoy this little sneak peak from the documentary, courtesy of our friends at Spinner. It’s the duo performing “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” at the Nova Scotia show.
How will sales of new 'We are the World' compare?
It’s the battle of the charity singles and the winner will be Haitian earthquake relief organizations. The star-studded remake of R.E.M.’s “Everybody Hurts,” coordinated by Simon Cowell, debuted at No. 1 on the U.K. Singles chart on Monday. It debuted rather convincingly: with sales of 453,000, it is the fastest-selling charity single in the U.K. of the 2000s, according to Billboard.
We’ll see on Wednesday how “Everybody Hurts” is faring in the U.S., as well as what kind of a start “We Are the World 25 for Haiti” achieved in its first three days of sales. “We Are the World,” which also benefits Haitian relief efforts, debuted during the opening ceremonies of the Olympics.
Although the remake of the song originally recorded in 1984 to aid African famine relief efforts has been widely panned (read our assessment here), there are surely enough people who want to download it to help the cause to propel it to No. 1 on the Billboard 100 on sales alone. The official video has been watched more than 5.7 million times on YouTube alone since its Friday release and also tops iTunes’ singles and video chart. “World” features Jennifer Hudson, Justin Bieber, Jennifer Nettles, Barbra Streisand, Kanye West, Josh Groban, Fergie, Pink and footage of Michael Jackson from the 1984 recording.
Jason Falkner, Juliana Hatfield and Madonna remix single lead the release slate
Hopefully you have some Valentine's Day candy to last you through this week for your excitement because the album pickings are slim. After a few stellar weeks with new releases from Lady Antebellum, Lil Wayne and Sade, the slate slows to a stop this week. Valentine’s Day has become a major sales pivot (look for sales of Michael Buble and Susan Boyle to go up next week), but the week after is low key. Here are a few of the Feb. 16 releases worth cheering about, but none of them will make a dent on the upper reaches of the charts.
Jason Falkner, “I’m OK, You’re OK” (Cobraside): Fans of smart pop love Jason Falkner for a good reason: he writes melodies that embed themselves in your brain and don’t let go. But if you were a Jellyfish fan, Falkner’s brilliant earlier band, you already knew that.
Juliana Hatfield, “Peace & Love” (Ye Olde): Indie rocker’s releases her 11th studio album via her own label. The set is her most acoustic effort yet and is truly a DIY project: Hatfield wrote, performed, produced, engineered and mixed everything herself. In fact, she’s probably at the CD pressing plant right now putting the CDs in the jewel cases.
Madonna, “Revolver” (Warner Bros.): Madonna’s soon-to-be former label just keeps churning out material. This time it’s an 8-song remix project featuring six remixes of “Revolver,” her single with Lil Wayne that went nowhere, plus two versions of “Celebration,” a single that should have done better. Remixers include David Guetta and Paul van Dyk. We know it's a glorified single, but we wanted to throw in some well-known name here.
Story of the Year, “The Constant” (Epitaph): St. Louis band, and former Vans Warped tour headliner, releases its second album for Epitaph. Hear the rock band’s new album for free before you buy it:
On latest single from 'Echo,' Lewis lends a helping hand
Things haven’t gone quite as planned for Leona Lewis with “Echo,” her follow up to her platinum plus debut “Spirit.” The album has only sold 175,000 in its first three months of release. Additionally, “I See You,” her end-title song from “Avatar,” is about the only thing from the movie that didn’t score an Oscar nod.
But despite her own personal setbacks, she’s got your back. That’s the message in “I Got You,” her brand new video for her current melodramatic, sweet single. Although it would appear she’s here for you from a distance.
As various beautiful people go through various states of breakdown—from what, we’re not sure-- Lewis assures us from the safety of her gorgeous penthouse suite, that she’s “got you… a place to crash, no need to ask, I got you.”
No one here has a standard breakdown on their standard issue sofa; they’re either in the middle of the desert or in a pool, in their bathroom, a stairwell or on the side of the road. But don’t worry, Lewis is coming.