<p>Kanye West</p>

Kanye West

Credit: Jason DeCrow/AP

Watch: Kanye West's 'All of the Lights' video featuring a nearly topless Rihanna

Someone's been watching Gasper Noe's 'Enter the Void'

Kanye West’s “All of the Lights” video opens to beautiful black and white footage of an urban snowscape with a little girl trying to find her way, as a piano and string interlude gently lull us into thinking all is okay in the world.

What were we thinking?  Before you can say “Im’ma gonna let you finish,” the peaceful image explodes into a kaleidoscope of color and controversy.

[More after the jump...]

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

Lady Antebellum

Credit: Jae C. Hong/AP

Music Power Rankings: Ladies Antebellum and Gaga rise to the top

'Glee,' Justin Bieber and Arcade Fire and, of course, Esperanza Spalding

The Grammys deserve a place on this week's music power rankings as the annual music awards drew its largest audience in 11 years at 26.7 million. However, we decided to look, instead, at some of the artists who got the biggest tailwind from broadcast, as well as the week's other top movers.

1) Lady Antebellum (not ranked last week): Five Grammys and a return to the No. 1 album on iTunes. Looks like we definitely Need Them Now.

2) Lady Gaga (No. 2): “Born This Way” is the fastest selling single ever for iTunes worldwide, arriving at No. 1 in 23 countries and surpassing sales of 1 million tracks in five days. It is also the 1,000 No. 1 on The Billboard Hot 100.

3) “Glee” (not ranked):
The ultimate high school musical has now charted more Hot 100 singles than any other entity, surpassing Elvis Presley’s former record of 108. We understand how the charts work, but we feel there should be an asterisk by “Glee’s” name. Presley will always be the King to us.

4) Esperanza Spalding (are you kidding?): Sure, she went from 99% of the world having a clue she exists to everyone going, “Who?,” after snagging the Best New Artist Grammy, but that’s a step in the right direction. Plus, she’s ABC World News’ “Person of the Week.” That has to count for something.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Watch: Reggie Watts tosses around Eagle and Talon in 'For the Bond' video

Watch: Reggie Watts tosses around Eagle and Talon in 'For the Bond' video

Comedian/musician joins Los Angeles duo for new EP and live dates

Comedian/musician Reggie Watts adds a new job description to his resume: puppet master.  In the new video for Los Angeles female duo Eagle and Talon’s “For the Bond,” he bodily manipulates the twosome like rag dolls.

Watts doesn’t sing a lick in the clip, which looks like it cost about $5 to shoot, although he pretends to provide the voice for the bass. Our favorite part is when he seemingly plays the tambourine part, although he doesn’t have a tambourine, and when the duo tries to run a comb through his Afro and gets nowhere.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine</p>

Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Florence + the Machine plot April studio return for next album

British band may book Abbey Road for 'Lungs' follow up

Florence + the Machine will likely enter the studio in April to record the follow-up to its 2009 breakthrough set, “Lungs.”

The band’s Rob Ackroyd tells gibson.com, “the second album has begun with Paul Epworth and there is talk of booking out Abbey Road for a month in April/May to record.”

Epworth most recently worked on Adele’s new album, “21,” which drops on Tuesday (Feb. 22).

The band has a short window to record: Welch is filling in for a pregnant Dido at the Feb. 27 Academy Awards and will since “If I Rise” from “127 Hours.”  (read our interview with Dido here). Later that night,  the band will be the musical guest at Elton John’s annual Oscar party.  After heading into the studio, Florence + the Machine will open for U2  for the month of June in North America.

In a funny note, Ackroyd says that while he and Florence + the Machine’s lead singer Florence Welch have many intersecting musical tastes, they definitely don’t overlap in one area: “she’s also a big fan of unadulterated pop music, which cuts through me like a knife...in terms of our own music, though, we are perfectly matched.”

Read Full Post
<p>Britney Spears goes old school tacky or decides to steal Kim Zolciak's look from the &quot;Real Housewives of Atlanta&quot;&nbsp;in her new video &quot;Hold It Against Me.&quot;</p>

Britney Spears goes old school tacky or decides to steal Kim Zolciak's look from the "Real Housewives of Atlanta" in her new video "Hold It Against Me."

Watch: Britney Spears' new video for 'Hold It Against Me'

She's coming after you next

It’s planet earth and an alien in the form of Britney Spears, or at least someone who looks like her and  has a fondness for her Radiance perfume, is inside a space module, full of screens and wires and, oddly, an ever expanding wedding dress that has magical powers (and all the product placement any earth-loving martian could ask for).

Her futuristic module seems to be some kind of time machine since the screens often flash images of Britney past from a much more innocent time.  Even though she’s surrounded by men, she’s got marriage on her mind: we’re guessing from the wedding dress, that turns her into the 60-f00t woman, and the fact that she goes on  the Christian dating site, PlentyOfFish.com, looking for a man. We’re not sure how he’d get on in the pod.

There are all kinds of non-sensical images interspersed with the dance scenes, such as Britney seemingly at a press conference or painted-red lips singing against a blacked-out background like the opening for “Rocky Horror Picture Show.” Did we mention that at some point the back-up dancers have no eyes. We're sure it's some kind of trenchant statement about the debilitating effects of living in the spotlight. Wait, we're really not sure at all about that.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Rihanna</p>

Rihanna

Credit: AP Photo

Lady Gaga, Cee Lo and Rihanna soar on the Billboard Hot 100

The Grammy Awards provide a last-minute sales surge

Bolstered by a multi-media blitz and an eye-opening Grammy performance, Lady Gaga’s “Born This Way” becomes the 19th song to debut at the top of the Billboard Hot 100. However, Mamma Monster’s tune isn’t the only one to see an early Grammy bounce.

Grammy watchers clearly jumped to their computers to purchase their favorite tracks digitally, as Cee Lo Green’s “F*** You” leaps 16-7. The other biggest jumps in the Top 10 belong to Rihanna, whose “S&M” relieves itself of any bondage to soar 31-8; and to the Black Eyed Peas’ “The Time (Dirty Bit).” Some critics may have rained all over their Super Bowl half-time appearance, but it spurred fans on to buy the track as it jumps 19-9, according to Billboard.

[More after the jump...]

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

Lady Gaga

Lady Gaga talks afterbirth, her new album, smoking pot and Madonna

What was she thinking while she was in the Grammy egg?

In case you didn’t get the message when Lady Gaga arrived at the Grammys Sunday night in an “egg,” she was simulating rebirth. In a new interview with Billboard, she explains herself:  "I was thinking about birth. I was thinking about embryos. Even my hair color was a washed out rose color that I had at the Grammys, it was meant to be a hair expression, an after birth."  So maybe I was wrong when I suggested her hat was a fontanelle. It was actually the mucus plug. Ok, I just really grossed myself out.

She also addresses “Born This Way’s” striking similarity to Madonna’s “Express Yourself,” sort of: "Harkening back to the early '90s when Madonna, En Vogue, Whitney Houston and TLC were making very empowering music for women and the gay community...the lyrics and the melodies were very poignant and very gospel and very spiritual. I said, 'That's the kind of record I need to make.' "

If  you needed your daily drug reference from LG, who stressed that she couldn’t lie to her Little Monsters: she does, indeed, smoke pot when she writes songs:  "[The new album] is quite eclectic. It ranges from 'Born This Way' being very light, to the rest of the album becoming quite darker. I, in jest, say that 'Born This Way' is the marijuana to the heroins of the album, the ultimate intense intoxication of the record." We want to know what she’s smoking when she comes up with her outfits.

As you know, Lady Gaga, in a bit of news that even she couldn’t manufacture, earned the 1000th No. 1 on the Hot 100 this week with “Born This Way.”
 

Read Full Post
<p>Dido and A.R. Rahman on the set of the music video for &quot;If I Rise,&quot;&nbsp;the best original song nominee from &quot;127 Hours.&quot;</p>

Dido and A.R. Rahman on the set of the music video for "If I Rise," the best original song nominee from "127 Hours."

Credit: Dido

Dido doles out advice to her stand-in Florence Welch for Oscar night

Plus: Dido spills the beans on her two new bundles of joy

When it was announced a few weeks ago that Florence Welch of Florence + the Machine was filling in for Dido on the Feb. 27 Academy Awards to sing her nominated song, “If I Rise,” tongues started wagging as to why Dido wasn’t going to be on the show with co-writer AR Rahman.

As she posted shortly afterwards on her website, Dido was missing her “dream of going to the Oscars” for the best possible reason: she and her husband are expecting their first child this summer and she didn’t feel it was wise to travel from her British home. But even revealing that much about herself took some deliberation.

“I’m not a particularly public person about my private life,” she tells Hitfix. “I wanted to explain why I wasn’t going to be there. I didn’t want to upset fans. It’s the one thing you really can’t hide unless you sit in the house and don’t leave,” she laughs.

While she is “gutted,” that she won’t be at the show, she is delighted that Welch will stand in for her and had a hand in Welch becoming her replacement. “We all threw some [names] around and she seemed like the best choice,” she says. “I can’t wait to hear her. I was so happy she could do it." Her advice to her fellow Brit on that big night? "I just want her to enjoy it. She’s got a unique and special voice.”

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Amy Winehouse in January</p>

Amy Winehouse in January

Credit: AP Photo

Exclusive: Tony Bennett taps Amy Winehouse, Carrie Underwood for 'Duets 2'

Josh Groban, Michael Buble and Aretha Franklin also planned for 85th birthday salute

Amy Winehouse, Josh Groban and Carrie Underwood are among the artists Tony Bennett is recording with for  “Duets 2,” a follow-up to his tremendously successful 2006 effort, “Duets.”

That first project celebrated the legendary Bennett’s 80th birthday. Similarly, “Duets 2” will honor the star for his 85th birthday and will come out in September on Columbia.  Bennett turns 85 on Aug. 3.

Over the weekend, The New York Post broke the news that Winehouse and Bennett were recording together, but we have the exclusive details about “Duets 2” from Bennett’s manager/son Danny Bennett, whom we saw at the MusiCares tribute to Barbra Streisand on Feb. 11.

The set will also include new songs recorded with k.d. lang and Michael Buble, both of whom appeared on “Duets,” as well as, Danny hopes,  Aretha Franklin.

Winehouse attended Bennett’s two London shows this past summer and Danny tells Hitfix that Winehouse took advantage of the meeting to seek Bennett’s counsel. Bennett advised her to take care of herself and her voice.

The album, like “Duets,” will be composed mainly of jazz standards, including “Body & Soul,” written in the ‘30s and recorded by the likes of Coleman Hawkins and Billie Holiday, as well as “Stranger in Paradise,” which Bennett first recorded in 1955.

Read Full Post
Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae hit the road together

Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae hit the road together

In other tour news, Cee Lo and Rihanna hook up

Fresh off their star turn at the Feb. 13 Grammys, Bruno Mars and Janelle Monae are taking their show on the road. The “Hooligans in Wondaland” tour starts May 4 at New York’s Roseland Ballroom. The outing ends June 15 at Phoenix’s Comerica Theater.

Opening the first set of dates will be British sensation Plan B, while Mayer Hawthorne & the County will support the later half. The pre-sale starts today; tickets go on sale to the general public starting Feb. 26.

We also love the poster for the tour, which salutes the ‘50s Caravan of Stars tours that featured artists like James Brown and Solomon Burke.

Speaking of Grammy performers, Cee Lo (without the red fluffy suit, we believe) has been added to Rihanna’s summer tour as the support act. The arena tour starts June 4 at Baltimore’s 1st Mariner Arena.

Here are the Bruno Mars/Janelle Monae tour dates:

May
4          Roseland Ballroom                                 New York, NY*
7          Agganis Arena                                       Boston, MA*
8          Susquehanna Bank Ctr.                         Camden, NJ*
10        Fox Theatre                                          Atlanta, GA*
11        Fillmore Miami Beach                            Miami Beach, FL*
17        Verizon Theatre at Grand Prarie              Grand Prarie, TX*
18        Reliant Arena                                        Houston, TX*
20        Jubliee CityFest                                     Montgomery, AL*
22        Caesars Windsor                                   Windsor, ON*
24        Eagles Ballroom                                    Milwaukee, WI*
25        Roy Wilkins Auditorium                           St. Paul, MN*
27        Aragon Ballroom                                    Chicago, IL*
28        Uptown Theatre                                    Kansas City, MO**
29        1st Bank Center                                    Broomfield, CO**
30        McKay Events Center                            Oren, UT**
 
June
2          WAMU Theater @ Qwest Field              Seattle, WA**
3          Rogers Arena                                        Vancouver, BC**
4          Roseland Theatre                                  Portland, OR**
7          Grand Sierra Resort & Casino                 Reno, NV**
8          Bill Graham Civic Auditiorium                  San Francisco, CA**
10        Spotlight 29 Casino                                Coachella, CA**
11        San Diego County Fair                           Del Mar, CA**
12        Gibson Amphitheatre                             Universal City, CA**
15        Comerica Theatre                                  Phoenix, AZ**
 

Read Full Post