<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Britney Spears sets 'Femme Fatale' tour: Enrique Iglesias quits tour

Is Spears coming to your city?

Britney Spears will kick off a world tour June 17, starting at Sacramento’s Power Balance Pavilion. The first leg ends  Aug. 13 at Toronto’s Air Canada Centre.

Spears’ rumored tour was confirmed this morning at “Good Morning America,” which featured taped pieces of Spears performing in San Francisco Sunday night. Spears’ new album, “Femme Fatale,” drops today. Read our review here.

Even before the first ticket for the Live Nation-produced out is sold, however, there seems to be some controversy. Touring partner Enrique Iglesias has already dropped out. Billboard reports that Iglesias, who is undergoing a bit of a career resurgence himself, was to have his own complete production, an unusual move for a support act. More as the story develops.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Paramore</p>

Paramore

Paramore joins Vans Warped Tour

Will we have new music before they hit the road?

Paramore has joined the line up for the 2011 Vans Warped Tour. The group, fronted by Hayley Williams, will play seven dates on the 45-date outing.

Previously announced mainstage acts include 3Oh3!, A Day to Remember, Against Me! and Gym Class Heroes.  The bulk of the roster was announced March 25, although many of the names leaked out before the official launch party at the new House of Vans in Brooklyn, N.Y.

More than 100 acts will hits the stage before the tour, which begins June 24 at Dallas’s Gexa Energy Pavillion, comes to a close at the Hillsboro, Ore.‘ Washington Country Fairgrounds.  Among the artists taking a Warped stage this summer include Yelawolf, Unwritten Law, The Ready Set, Simple Plan, Middle Class Rut, Less Than Jake, Foxy Shazam and Jack’s Mannequin.

The big question is if we'll have new music before Paramore hits the stage. The group, which is now a trio, following the departures of guitarist Josh Farro and drummer Zac Farro, are back in the studio with producer Rob Cavallo.



 

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<p>Rihanna</p>

Rihanna

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Say what? Rihanna set to perform at Sunday's Academy of Country Music Awards

She joins Sugarland's Jennifer Nettles for 'California King Bed'

As we established last week, Cher is not going country, but it would appear that Rihanna is. She will perform her ballad “California King Bed” with Sugarland’s Jennifer Nettles during the 46th annual Academy of Country Music Awards Sunday (April 3).

Rihanna and Nettles will appear at the first ACM Fan Jam, a live concert taking place during the ACM Awards at Las Vegas’ Mandalay Bay. The ACM Awards will be happening down the street at the MGM Grand.  The pair’s performance will be remotely broadcast during the awards show to the country masses.

Sugarland headlines the Fan Jam, which will also include appearances by Eric Church, the Band Perry, Randy Houser, Little Big Town and many more. Looks like there’s going to be a lot of shuttling going back and forth between the MGM Grand and Mandalay Bay.

While we’re not so sure that Rihanna has many country fans, the song lends itself to a country audience; after all, it treads the same themes covered in the ‘70s by Barbara Mandrell’s country classic, “Sleeping Single in a Double Bed.” Also, Nettles and her Sugarland partner Kristian Bush are well known for launching into pop songs in concert, whether it by Beyonce’s “Single Ladies” or Kings of Leon’s “Sex on Fire.”





 

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<p>Britney Spears</p>

Britney Spears

Credit: AP Photo/Tony Avelar

Britney Spears, Snoop Dogg and Wiz Khalifa spring forth with March 29 releases

Pearl Jam reissues also highlight busy album slate

Britney Spears’ “Femme Fatale” will likely suck all the air out of the room for the plethora of other March 29 releases, but there’s a little something here for everyone. For headbangers, we’ve got new sets from Sum 41 and Cavalera Conspiracy. Nerdrockers can chew on a new Mountain Goats album and stoners can vege out to a new Snoop Dogg. Plus, Pearl Jam has something old and new for fans as part of the Seattle band’s ongoing 20th anniversary party. And just a reminder--if you'd prefer Radiohead's "The King of Limbs" as a physical CD, this is your week.

Cavalera Conspiracy, “Blunt Force Trauma” (Roadrunner): The Cavalera brothers, Max and Iggor, reunite for their second Cavalera Conspiracy album, the follow-up to 2008’s “Inflikted.” How loud do you think it can go? Think Sepultura and then go to 11.

Beth Ditto, “Beth Ditto EP” (Deconstruction): Gossip lead singer goes on a busman’s holiday for her first official side project to collaborate with Simian Mobile Disco. SMD fans know she already collaborated with the duo on “Cruel Intentions” from its 2009 “Temporary Pleasures” album.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Chris Brown</p>

Chris Brown

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Will Chris Brown's bad behavior be rewarded on next week's Billboard 200?

Who are the six debuts in the top 10?

Chris Brown’s bad behavior hasn’t seemed to hurt his album sales:  “F.A.M.E.” is slated to come in at No. 1 this week by a wide margin.  The set will sell around 280,000, according to Hits Daily Double, more than 100,000 over Jennifer Hudson’s “I Remember Me,” which should hit around 170,000 copies.

Brown and "American Idol" formal contestant Hudson are two of six new titles in the top 10 of the Billboard 200. The Strokes’ “Angles” looks good for close to 95,000 units for No. 3. Last week’s No. 1, Adele’s “21,” slides to No. 4 and is in a tight race for that spot with Kirk Franklin’s “Hello Fear.” Hits Daily Double predicts they will each sell between 85,000-90,000.

Logging around 55,000 copies and landing at No. 6 should be Panic!At the Disco’s new set, “Vices & Virtues.” Mumford & Sons’ “Sigh No More” continues its post-Grammy surge at No. 7, while Bobby V’s “Fly on the Wall” will like land at No. 8. Rounding at the top 10 will be Pink’s great hits collection at No. 9 and Lupe Fiasco’s “LASERS,” which topped the chart two weeks ago.

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Listen: Will Lady Gaga's 'country road' remix of 'Born This Way' get airplay?

Listen: Will Lady Gaga's 'country road' remix of 'Born This Way' get airplay?

We ask the country experts what they think and give a little history

Are country music fans ready to put their paws up and chant “Don’t be a drag, just be a queen?”  Don’t count on it.

We’d come to expect the unexpected from her, but Lady Gaga surprised the hell out of us when she released  “The Country Road Version” of “Born This Way” late last night.

The country version, co-produced by Mama Monster herself, opens with the same spoken part about “H-I-M,” but then the synthesizers and thumping beat are replaced with a guitar, some wailing harmonica, a slowed-down tempo and a revised bridge. We like it. Just as “Poker Face” worked brilliantly  when Lady Gaga transformed it into a piano ballad, “Born This Way” makes a snappy little country tune.

Out is “Don't be a drag, just be a queen/Whether you're broke or evergreen/You're black, white, beige, chola descent/You're lebanese, you're orient/Whether life's disabilities/Left you outcast, bullied, or teased/Rejoice and love yourself today/'Cause baby you were born this way.” In is “If I want to make it country, baby, it’s okay/cause I was born, born, born, this way. From London, Paris, Japan back to U.S.A. I was born on the road, I was born to be brave.”

The song then goes picks up with the line about “no matter gay, straight or bi, lesbian, trangendered...”

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Eddie Vedder</p>

Eddie Vedder

Eddie Vedder sets solo tour dates in support of 'Ukulele Songs'

Pearl Jam frontman take Glen Hansard on the road with him

Pearl Jam’s Eddie Vedder will hit the road for a month-long tour starting June 15 in support of “Ukulele Songs.” his solo album out May 31. Hear the first single, "Longing to Belong," here

Joining Vedder will be The Swell Season’s Glen Hansard, who also appears on the album. Tickets for the general public go on sale April 1. The pre-sale for Pearl Jam’s Ten Club starts March 29.

On May 31, Vedder will also release “Water on the Road,” a live DVD from Vedder’s 2008 solo tour.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Lady Gaga</p>

Lady Gaga

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga makes it 6 weeks atop Hot 100, but big winners are BEP and 'Glee'

Read how Lady Gaga hold of Katy Perry's 'E.T.' for the top spot

It’s good to be Lady Gaga as “Born This Way” spends its sixth week at No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100, and it has a seeming relic from the past to thank.

With all eyes focused on digital downloads, Lady Gaga went old school, releasing a four-song CD single for “Born.” That title sold 24,000 copies last week, according to Billboard, which was enough to hold off a charge from Katy Perry’s “E.T.,” which lands at No. 2.

That means Cee Lo’s “F**k You” finally loses its long hold at No. 2, dropping to No. 4, replacing Rihanna’s “S&M,” which rises to No. 3.

There are two other big stories in this week’s Top 10: The Black Eyed Peas’ “Just Can’t Get Enough” soars 22-5 on the back of the group’s appearance on “American Idol.”  It is the Peas’ 10th Top 10 hit.  Even more remarkably, “Loser Like Me,” the Max Martin-penned original tune from “Glee” debuts on the Hot 100 at No. 6. Its success comes primarily from its 210,000 downloads. That tally is the second highest for a “Glee” cover, barely missing the 214,000 mark set with “Glee’s” cover of Katy Perry’s “Teenage Dream.”

In the rest of the Top 10, Pink’s “F**kin’ Perfect” moves 6-7, Chris Brown’s “Look At Me Now” featuring Lil Wayne and Busta Rhymes, climbs 12-8 (read our open letter to Brown here), Bruno Mars’ “Grenade” celebrates its 25th week on the Hot 100 at No. 9, while Jeremih’s “Down On Me” featuring 50 Cent makes it into the Top 10 rising 13-10.

As for the internet sensation Rebecca Black, “Friday” may have garnered 30 million YouTube views (a phenomenon we discuss here), but actual sales and airplay are only enough for her to debut at No. 72. By Sunday, the title had sold 37,000 digital copies. Radio has been staying away from the track: it has only received 12 plays.

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<p>Duran Duran with My Chemical Romance</p>

Duran Duran with My Chemical Romance

Credit: AP Photo

Concert Review: What do you get when you cross Duran Duran with David Lynch?

Band is joined by some very special guest for March 23 Los Angeles show

When I was an editor at  Billboard, I was guaranteed to get hate mail if I wrote remotely negative things about two acts: Kiss and Duran Duran. Long after both hit their radio heyday, both groups had fervent fans that revered them with an unabated loyalty.

The Durannies were out in full force last night (March 23) for Duran Duran’s concert at Los Angeles’ beautiful Mayan Theater. The show kicked off the second season of “American Express Unstaged,” a concert series beamed around the world live. Director David Lynch directed the performance. Since we were in the audience, we didn’t see what those watching on the internet saw, but from what we’ve read, they were treated to the full-on Lynchian experience, complete with such images as naked Barbies and stuff animals,floating around the band members.

Duran Duran is on the comeback trail. As my colleague Katie Hasty mentioned, the band played a well-received show at SXSW last week, and released its new Mark Ronson-produced  album, “All You Need is Now,” its first in four years, on Tuesday (March 22) on S-Curve Records.  (A shorter version of the album came out via iTunes three months ago). Also on its U.S. schedule are headlining dates at Coachella and Ultra Music Festival.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Chris Brown</p>

Chris Brown

Credit: AP Photo

An open letter to Chris Brown

Why we can't let his 'GMA' outburst go

Oh Chris Brown, what are we going to do with you? So many of us were willing to forgive--but not forget-- your horrible 2009 act of domestic violence against Rihanna, but you showed why we shouldn’t on “Good Morning America” yesterday.

You took what was a prime opportunity to graciously answer Robin Roberts’ questions--no matter how much they understandably roiled you--and let “GMA’s” soccer mom audience see that you weren’t the Big Bad. It was an opportunity to prove that you were no longer scary—despite the massive, tattooed biceps and blond hair— and if they wanted to buy their kids your brand new album, why not?

Instead, you acted like an arrogant jerk. Were you not media coached? Yes, Roberts wouldn’t let it go, but she pitched those questions to you as total softballs, as if she was embarrassed to even bring up that unpleasant stuff. “GMA,” as fluffy as it can be, comes under the ABC News banner, so they aren’t going to ignore it. Plus, you know she was going to ask about it, so she didn’t spring it on you. In Roberts’ 2009 interview with you after the incident, you seemed honestly contrite and gave great answers. All you had to do was parrot those responses again and tell people that you’d learned from the experience.

[More after the jump...]

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