<p>Lil' Wayne</p>

Lil' Wayne

Credit: AP

Lil Wayne, Eric Clapton, Kenny Chesney, and Jimmy Eat World lead Sept. 28 releases

Weezy's digital-only release streets on his birthday

A number of veteran acts, such as Eric Clapton, Phil Collins, OMD and The Doobie Bros. returns with their first albums in years, but the top releases of the week belong to country superstar Kenny Chesney and a still-incarcerated Lil Wayne.

Kenny Chesney,
“Hemingway’s Whiskey” (BNA): Country superstar’s latest takes its name from a Guy Clark song and contains his usual blend of feel-good and heartbreak songs.

Eric Clapton, “Clapton” (Reprise): It may be the guitar god’s 19th solo album, but he’s seldom alone. He’s joined by Steve Winwood, Wynton Marsalis, Sheryl Crow, Allen Toussaint, Derek Trucks and others on this blues-flavored outing. Our favorite title? “My Very Good Friend The Milkman.”

Phil Collins
, “Going Back” (Atlantic): Collins’ love affair with classic R&B continues with this set of Motown and soul covers, his first new studio album in eight years.  Tracks including “Going to a Go-Go,” “Love is Here” and “Papa was a Rolling Stone.”

The Doobie Bros.
, “World Gone Crazy” (HOR Entertainment):  Venerable rock outlet releases first studio album in 10 years. Guests include Willie Nelson and one-time Doobie, Michael McDonald.

The 88, “The 88” (88/Rocket Science): After serving as The Kinks’ Ray Davies back up band and sharing bills with the Flaming Kips and Rilo Kiley, Los Angeles pop-rock band returns with a energetic new set of catchy tunes.

Ben Folds & Nick Hornby
, “Lonely Avenue” (Nonesuch): Folds provides the music and the vocals, novelist Hornby provides the lyrics. Legendary arranger Paul Buckmaster provides the string arrangements. Hornby, best known for penning “High Fidelity,” would send Folds the lyrics who would set them to music.  It’s as accessibly, melodic and clever as you’d think it would be.

Jimmy Eat World, “Invented” (DGC/Interscope): Popmeisters’ sixth studio album reunites them with producer Mark Trombino. who helmed their first three sets. http://www.hitfix.com/events/jimmy-eat-world-invented

Lil Wayne, “I am Not a Human Being” (Young Money/Cash Money): On Monday,  his 28th birthday,  Lil Wayne releases this download only set. Guests include Nicki Minaj (of course), Drake, Jay Sean, Tyga and Lil Twist. CD version comes out Oct. 12. Lil Wayne comes out of prison in November.

Gucci Mane,
“The Appeal: Georgia’s Most Wanted” (1017/Bricksquad/Asylum/Warner): Rapper’s latest, produced by Swizz Beatz, kicked off with first single, “Gucci Time,” which peaked at No. 18 on Billboard’s Rap Songs chart.

Orchestral Manoeuvres in the Dark
. “History of Modern” (Bright Antenna):  It’s been 21 years since Andy McClusky and Paul Humphries quit making records together, but it sounds like no time has passed on this new set that recalls the band’s electro pop of yore.

Mark Ronson and the Business Intl,
“Record Collection” (RCA): Producer, best known for his work with Amy Winehouse, releases his third album as an artist, this time backed by a rotating core of seven musicians. We also hear him sing for the first time instead of leaving the vocal chores to others.

Seal, “Seal VI—Commitment” (Reprise): Smooth baritone releases a new album of self-written material produced by David Foster, who helmed Seal’s 2008 cover album, “Soul.”

Soundgarden,” Telephantism” (A&M/UMe) Deluxe CD and DVD version (single disc comes out next Tuesday) of greatest hits set includes all the hits, some rarities and live versions spanning the Seattle rock band’s career.  http://www.hitfix.com/events/telephantasm-a

Neil Young,
“Le Noise” (Reprise): Eight tracks of stripped-down Young produced by Daniel Lanois features both acoustic and electric tunes, handled solo by Young. The songs are meditations on life and death.

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<p>Billie Joe Armstrong</p>

Billie Joe Armstrong

Credit: AP

Green Day frontman Billie Joe Armstrong heads to Broadway

Hmmm? What play could he possibly appear in?

Green Day frontman/leader Billie Joe Armstrong is headed to Broadway. He’ll take over the role of drug dealer, St. Jimmy, Sept. 28-Oct. 3 in “American Idiot,” the play based on the band’s music.

Armstrong is filling in for the current St. Jimmy, Tony Vincent, who is on a leave of absence. Armstrong’s stint is a short one, in part, because Green Day resumes its South American tour in Venezuela on Oct. 8.

Armstrong should have no problem remembering his lines since he wrote the music and co-wrote the book (although the show has very, very few spoken words). “American Idiot” opened on April 20, 2010 to primarily positive reviews.

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Maroon 5's latest album "Hands All Over"
Credit: A&M/Octone Records

Who's coming in atop the Billboard 200? Zac Brown Band or Maroon 5?

What happens to this week's No. 1, Linkin Park?

Just as this week’s race for No. 1 on the Billboard 200 came down to the bitter end, it looks like we’ll have another horse race next week.

As of Friday, Zac Brown Band’s “You Get What You Give” and Maroon 5’s “Hands All Over”  were both on track to sell between 145,000-155,000 copies, according to Hits Daily Double. Maroon 5 may pull ahead after lead singer Adam Levine has vowed to give away his Harley Davidson motorcycle to a fan should his band come in at No. 1.

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Matthew Morrison on "Glee"

Matthew Morrison of "Glee."

Credit: FOX

Music Power Rankings: 'Glee,' Lady Gaga and Linkin Park flex their muscles

How did Michael Jackson end up back on the list?

The power of MTV, which topped our list last week, goes on as Florence and the Machine continue to reap huge sales rewards for the British band's breakthrough appearance on the Sept. 12's Video Music Awards. But we're looking to another TV program to come in at No. 1. There's no denying that "Glee" has far surpassed "American Idol" in its ability to boost singles sales. All five songs featured in Tuesday's season debut charted in the top 10 on iTunes the next day. No wonder everyone from Coldplay to Bruce Springsteen are clamoring for New Directions to cover their songs.

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My Chemical Romance

My Chemical Romance during a New Jersey show in 1987.  Yep, it's been that long.

Credit: AP Photo

My Chemical Romance sets release date for first album in four years

'Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys' comes out Nov. 22

We can’t judge the music yet, but My Chemical Romance wins the award for most pretentious album and song title of the year. On Nov. 22, Warner Bros. will release “Danger Days: The True Lives of the Fabulous Killjoys,” MCR’s follow-up to its fantastic 2006 set, “The Black Parade.”

The single — get ready — “Na Na Na (Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na Na)” comes out Sept. 28. We're rolling our eyes and we're big fans.

Rob Cavallo, new Warner Bros. Records chairman, produced the set. He also produced “The Black Parade,” as well as albums from Green Day, Dave Matthews Band, The Goo Good Dolls and many others.

In advance of the album’s release, MCR will play seven European dates, starting Oct. 23 at London’s HMV Apollo. No word on a U.S. tour yet. 

Are you excited about the return of My Chemical Romance? 


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<p>Barry Bostwick of 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'</p>

Barry Bostwick of 'Rocky Horror Picture Show'

Credit: rockymusic.org

Hitfix Interview: Barry Bostwick discusses 'Rocky Horror Picture Show' and his role on 'Glee'

Brad Majors hosts Sept. 25's special showing and heralds the Oct. 19 Blu-Ray release

The void will be calling on Sept. 25 as Sins O’The Flesh presents a 35th anniversary screening of “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” hosted by Barry Bostwick in Los Angeles. The movie comes out on Blu-Ray on Oct. 19.

As Hitfix found, the genial Bostwick is surprisingly still game to discuss playing Brad Majors in the classic film after years of moviegoers screaming “Asshole!” whenever his character appears on screen and having countless dinners interrupted by fans requesting him to sputter “Dammit Janet.”

Bostwick was already a Tony-nominated Broadway star (for originating the role of “Grease’s” Danny Zuko) by the time he went to England to film 1975’s “Rocky Horror.” The movie was shot sequentially. Like uptight Brad — whom he based on his growing up in a “very Republican family”— Bostwick says he felt a bit like an outsider at first, but by the time they filmed the floor show, he fit right in.

“The worst thing about the shoot was whenever I had to pee, I’d have to leave the soundstage and go to another building where the bathroom was,” he says. “We shot in October, November and December in England. I was always wet. The castle where we shot was leaking. We’d have to walk through a field to get to it.” He laughs and adds, “It was a miserable shoot. Susan [Sarandon] got pneumonia.”

Even though the movie has never stopped running in theaters since it opened  35 years ago, Bostwick says he didn’t fully realize “Rocky Horror’s” iconic place in pop culture until a second generation of fans embraced it. Now, he says, “I have 12-year olds coming up to me telling me they’ve seen it with their grandparents.”

As for his own children — his 15-year-old son and 13-year-old daughter — “My son says he’s seen it several times, but not with me, so I’m not really sure how.” His daughter hasn’t seen it.

Now a whole new generation of fans may be exposed to the movie via a “Rocky Horror”-themed episode of “Glee,” airing Oct. 26. Bostwick and Meat Loaf, who played Eddie in the movie, play right-wing station managers at the television station where Sue Sylvester delivers her biting “As Sue Sees It” commentaries. Bostwick doesn’t sing in the episode, but he hints that his character may come back and be “involved” with Sylvester. “We were stunt casting and our parts are small, but the cast was great. They showed me sufficient adoration.”

Bostwick watched the movie again for his commentary on the Blu-Ray DVD. “I like it more and more every time I see it,” he says. On the rare occasion he’s gone into a theater to catch the film, he enjoys the spectacle, “but I wish that maybe once a month there was a showing where people would just watch the movie as we made it.”

The Tony and Golden Globe winner has always found steady work, doing many parts he loves, including playing George Washington in two acclaimed mini-series and a six-year stint as Randall Winston, the slightly befuddled mayor of New York City in “Spin City.”  We’re pretty sure Bostwick is joking when he says, “I’ve only had to do two or three porn films, but you’ll never find those.”

Bostwick recently played the obsessed Captain Ahab in a modern adaptation of “Moby Dick.” Instead of a small boat, the action takes place on a submarine, meaning the great white whale had to be commensurately larger. “So you can imagine how big he is,” Bostwick says. “Definitely bigger than a bread box.” The producers are shopping the movie to potential television outlets now.

Saturday’s “Rocky Horror Picture Show” screening, at the Million Dollar Theater in downtown Los Angeles, is part of the Sept. 23-25 SinsCon, a three-day festival dedicated to all things “Rocky Horror.” The screening includes a live shadowcast performance, featuring many performers who are featured in the Blu-Ray disc. For more information, go to http://sinscon.com/

The movie is the same night as the Hollywood Bowl’s much loved “Sound of Music” sing-a-long, so we couldn’t resist asking Bostwick which selection from “Rocky Horror” he’d like to see Maria, the nun played by Julie Andrews in “The Sound of Music,” sing. Without missing a beat, he replied, “Oh, it would have to be ‘Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch-A, Touch Me.’” Conversely, he’d love to see the cast of “Rocky Horror” remake “The Sound of Music.” If he had to pick one song, he’d pick “Edelweiss.” “But it would have to be ‘Edel-Vice,’” he says and continues riffing on the title until he comes up with something so hilariously profane that it would make Brad Majors blush. But Frank-N-Furter would be very proud...and willing.

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Bruno Mars

Bruno Mars during rehearsals for the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards.

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Bruno Mars tops the Billboard Hot 100...but not for long

Rihanna and Florence + the Machine come on strong

Let’s just call it a mixed week for Bruno Mars. On the down side, there’s the arrest for cocaine possession earlier this week. On the up side, he scores his first No. 1 as a lead artist as “Just the Way You Are” goes 3-1 to top the Billboard Hot 100.

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<p>Jimmy Iovine</p>

Jimmy Iovine

Credit: Peter Kramer

Who is Jimmy Iovine and will he save 'American Idol'?

The respected producer and label exec is the new 'in-house mentor'

Along with the official announcement that Jennifer Lopez and Steven Tyler would be the new “American Idol” judges, the powers-that-be confirmed today that Interscope/Geffen/A&M chairman Jimmy Iovine would be the “in-house mentor.”

What does this mean? First off, a little background on Iovine. Iovine began his career as an engineer on such albums as Bruce Springsteen’s “Born to Run.” He then progressed to producing artists like Stevie Nicks, U2, Tom Petty & the Heartbreakers and other rockers. As head of Interscope/Geffen/A&M, he’s overseen the careers of artists like Eminem, Pussycat Dolls, Lady Gaga, No Doubt and many more. Although Interscope, like all labels, has gone through its tough periods, there have been times under Iovine’s watch in the ‘90s and early ‘2000s, when Interscope was seen as the gold standard among labels--for several years running. The Black Eyed Peas and Lady Gaga’s success has helped usher in a new pop age for the record company, but it's not on a hot streak right now as it has been sometimes in the past.

There is no doubt that, given his production background and his label expertise, Iovine is uniquely poised to advise the contestants from both an artistic and commercial perspective. Also by eliminating, for the most part, the guest mentor, “American Idol” gets rid of what was one of the most awkward parts of the show: an artist like Barry Manilow, Tony Bennett or Neil Sedaka would come on as guest mentor and the poor contestants, none of whom were born when these acts were having hits, would have to act as if they were in the presence of one of their musical heroes. It was disingenuous and stunk, quite frankly.

Iovine and his baseball cap (as you’ll see, he’s never without it), keep a relatively low profile in the music industry in that you don’t see him out and about that much like you do other executives, but he’s certainly not adverse to raising his own profile a little. Plus, he’s got a new boss (Lucian Grange) to impress.  Pussycat Dolls and a few other acts aside, manufactured pop princes and princesses have not really been what Iovine is known for, so it will be interesting to see him dealing with singers who, by and large, are not self-contained acts.

At the same time, Interscope/Geffen/A&M’s parent company, Universal Music Group, has taken over Sony’s deal with “American Idol” to sign and distribute albums from contestants starting with Season 10. Therefore, Iovine is getting early hands-on experience with singers, at least two of whom will end up on his label each season.

Iovine says he’ll bring in top producers like Timbaland to work with the contestants as well. Again, it’s a way for Interscope to do early reconnaissance on whom they want to sign under the guise of trying to hip up the show and give viewers a little more of an idea of how the sausage is made. In the end though, no matter what they do, it’s still a glorified karaoke contest.

It’s unclear how often we’ll see the behind-the-scenes work Iovine and friends are doing on the show and what kind of “artist development” they’re really offering as opposed to just coaching the kids to take the test, i.e., teaching them tricks that will help them get votes as opposed to develop their own voice.

We’ll be watching this season and give an update after we see what Iovine brings to the party.

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<p>Taylor Swift</p>

Taylor Swift

Credit: Chris Pizzello/AP

Taylor Swift reveals track listing for new album 'Speak Now'

Follow up to 'Fearless' comes out Oct. 25

Let the guessing games begin. Taylor Swift has released the track listing for her third album, “Speak Now,” out Oct. 25. As Swift said in a conference call with her fans this summer, each song is about a specific person or event. We know that  track 11, “Innocent,” is about a certain Mr. West, but the rest, including first single “Mine,” are still up for grabs.

As we previously reported, Swift will release a deluxe version through Target, which will include three additional songs, remixes and video content.

“Speak Now” track listing:

1. Mine
2. Sparks Fly
3. Back to December
4. Speak Now
5. Dear John
6. Mean
7. The Story of Us
8. Never Grow Up
9. Enchanted
10. Better Than Revenge
11. Innocent
12. Haunted
13. Last Kiss
14. Long Live

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Wyclef Jean

Wyclef Jean

Credit: AP Photo

Wyclef Jean hangs up presidential bid to focus on new album

Fugees co-founder decides not to appeal after being disqualified from running

Wyclef Jean’s political career is over before it even began--at least for now. The Fugees-founder-turned solo artist has given up his big for president of his native Haiti and, instead, will focus on promoting his new album.

The campaign was beleaguered from the start as Jean presented no clear platform. He was officially disqualified from the race last month by the powers that be, but he had vowed to fight that decision until yesterday, according to The Guardian. Although no reason for his expulsion was given, it was believe to be because he did not meet Haiti’s five-year residency requirement.

Jean, whose Yele Haiti Foundation provides services and aid for impoverished Haitians, initially told the Guardian, “Singing is not enough. I'm being drafted. Every year I probably do 200 shows and I have a very comfortable life. But people are saying to me, 'Clef, if you don't put yourself on the ground, in 10 years' time you will look at it and say you could have.'"

Perhaps we will learn more about his presidential platform in his new album, out in February. Its title? “If I were President, the Haitian Experience.”


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