Headliners include Bad Religion, Fishbone, NOFX and Saosin
The 2009 Vans Warped Tour kicks off its 15th edition on June 26 in Pomona, Calif. Tickets go on sales for the 46-date outing April 1 through www.warpedtour.com. Presale prices are $25, which includes a CD compilation of artists on the 2009 tour and all service fees.
The tour will feature one main stage instead of the usual two main stages this year. Ten bands will play the main stage at each city with 40-minute sets. There will still be all the other side attractions affiliated with Warped. In a statement, tour founder and producer Kevin Lyman said "We went to one main stage for a couple reasons. Many of these bands have been around for a long time and have lots of songs to choose from, so this year, instead of limiting them to five or six songs, they will have 40 minutes to play all your favorite songs from the past and a couple of new ones. This year's lineup is a great mix of the old and the new and continues our attempt to keep the lineup as diverse as possible. Since times are tough, it was also important to me to figure out how to keep the ticket price low this year. This way we can accomplish that AND still put on an awesome show."
Band set to preview new material on the road with No Doubt
Rock band Paramore is in a Los Angeles studio working on the follow-up to its 2007 platinum-certified sophomore album, "Riot," Hitfix has learned.
The Nashville-based group is working with Rob Cavallo, one of rock's hottest producers. He's the man behind the latest Green Day, Kid Rock and My Chemical Romance albums.
The new album will come out later this year, but fans will get a taste of new songs when Paramore debuts new material on the road as the opening act for No Doubt. That tour starts May 16.
In the meantime, fans can also turn to the "Twilight" soundtrack (the original and newly-issued deluxe version) which contains two new Paramore songs.
Even Jimmy Fallon and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog head to Tennessee
The three-day concert takes place June 11-14 in Manchester, Tenn. Other new additions include the Itals, Wailing Souls, Amadou & Mariam, Murs, High On Fire, Pretty Lights, Tony Rice, Passion Pit, Hockey and White Rabbits.
Fallon is one of a number of comedians who will play the festival as part of "The Comedy Sweet," an air-conditioned venue (ensuring its popularity). Among the other comics are Michael Ian Black, Michael Showalter, Tom Barry, John Oliver, Nick Thune and Triumph the Insult Comic Dog (okay, we're applying the ‘comic' term loosely here).
Among the already -announced performers are Bruce Springsteen, Phish, Beastie Boys, Nine Inch Nails, David Byrne, Wilco, TV on the Radio and Yeah, Yeah, Yeahs. Go to www.bonnaroo.com for the full line-up.
"Twilight" leaps up chart, Gorilla Zoe scores highest debut
Kelly Clarkson extends her reign at the top of the charts another week as only one new release cracks this week's Billboard 200. Clarkson's "All I Ever Wanted" drops 65% in sales for a tally of around 90,000, but that's enough to hold off former charttoppers U2, who climb from 3-2 with sales of 76,300.
Clarkson's two-week tally is 345,000 copies. The album's second single, "I Do Not Hook Up," goes to radio on April 13. First single, "My Life Would Suck Without You," soared to No. 1.
Want further proof that a DVD release boosts soundtrack sales? The soundtrack to "Twilight" leaps higher than Rob Pattinson through the trees as it receives a boost both from a new, deluxe version with five new tracks and the March 21 release of the film on DVD. It soars 14-3.
Lady GaGa continues her slow, steady dance toward No. 1-who knows if she'll make it. "The Fame" moves one step closer this week as she goes from 6-5. Her highest mark so far was No. 4 two weeks ago.
Other noteworthy debuts include Twixtid's "W.I.C.K.E.D.," which comes in at No. 11 and The Decemberists prog-opera "Hazards of Love" comes in at No. 14, based solely on digital sales and limited vinyl sales (the physical CD came out Tuesday; the digital and vinyl versions last Tuesday).
Next week, it's possible The Decemberists will climb higher, but we're betting that Miley Cyrus comes in at No. 1 with the soundtrack to "Hannah Montana: The Movie." Also likely to debut in the top 10 are new sets from Martina McBride, Keri Hilson and possibly, Mastadon.
New album, divided into 3 parts, comes out May 15
Green Day's new album, "21st Century Breakdown," will break the normal release cycle and come out on Friday, May 15. CDs usually come out on Tuesday.
The punk pop trio is clearly staying with the concept album idea it realized so brilliantly on 2004's According to Reprise, Green Day's label, "Breakdown" will be divided into three acts: "Heroes and Cons," "Charlatans and Saints" and Horseshoes and Handgrenades." The songs are seen through the eyes of a young couple, Christian and Gloria (I'm sure we could read volumes into the name choices). Song titles include "Know Your Enemy," which is the first single; "21 Guns," "East Jesus Nowhere," "Before the Lobotomy" and "Restless Heart Syndrome." The album's producer is Butch Vig, best known for his work with Nirvana and Smashing Pumpkins, as well as being in Garbage.
We've seen labels increasingly flirt with changing release days over the last few years-Emimem did in several years ago and Metallica did it more recently with its latest album. It's a way to get more attention, drive traffic into the stores still selling the CDs physically. (Despite the digital age, roughly 80% of all CDs are still sold physically, not digitally-although that number is falling and many acts already sell more in the digital format), and show off a little when the album debuts at No. 1 based on only three days of sales. (SoundScan numbers run Monday-Sunday.)
CMT.com posted an interesting interview with Rascal Flatts about the country trio's new song, "Love Who You Love." The mid-tempo ballad is available for download starting today on iTunes as a teaser toward the April 7 release of new album, "Unstoppable."
The song covers the well-trod territory about not getting so caught up in the day-to-day troubles in life that we forget to tell our loved ones how we feel. However, the CMT interview stresses that its lyrics can be interpreted as support for same-sex relationships as well. And that's just fine with the boys in Rascal Flatts.
"We actually have some gay people that work with us, and we have a lot of friends that are gay, too, and I know that this song has inspired them,"singer Gary LeVox tells CMT (I will add that any time, whether it's Sarah Palin or LeVox or Mr. Magoo, someone says they actually intersect with gay people, it sounds as if they still consider homosexuals to be like martians, when that is clearly not the case here). "I know that coming out was tough on their parents and on them and the whole entire family. For a long time, some of them didn't get to hear ‘I love you' from their dads or be accepted in that way. ... It's helped a lot of our friends."
"That's what's cool about our music," says guitarist Joe Don Rooney. "You can interpret (it like) that. If you get that - it's perfect. If you are someone who's gay or someone who's straight, you still feel something from the song, and that's what we want."
"We don't judge anybody's lives," says bassist Jay DeMarcus.
How sad that in 2009, it's considered a possibly risky move-career or otherwise-- to allow a line to be interpreted to include gays, but good for Rascal Flatts. I love everything they say here. They've always been on the pop tip of country, so their "countrypolitan" audience doesn't intersect much with the more traditional, conservative fans of someone like, say, Hank Williams Jr., but it's still an issue in country music.
CMT's journalist Craig Shelburne compares the song to Garth Brooks' "We Shall Be Free," which contains the lines "When we're free to love anyone we choose" and "When the last thing we notice is the color of skin." My first of many interviews with Brooks took place just as that song was coming out in 1992. I was working for Billboard in New York, and although I was raised in the South and had lived in a number of other conservative towns before arriving in NYC, my memory was blessedly short that anyone could possibly still judge someone for whom they chose to love.
Brooks was more circumspect. He told me he planned to take a break from touring to spend time with his then-infant daughter, but added, because of the song's lyrics, "I might not need to worry about retiring; my career might be over,'' he said with a laugh.
In the interview, he went a step further, adding, "As long as you think the color of skin affects how someone can do their job, as long as you think who someone chooses to sleep with affects how they do their job, it's not a free country, it's an ignorant nation. The fact that homosexuals feel they have to have individual rights is a direct failure of people to realize that we're all human beings. The fact that there is a word 'minority' represents a failure that we all realize we're human beings.''
It should be noted, "We Shall Be Free" was one of Brooks' lowest-charting singles. But as the years have passed, the song has taken on its rightful place as an equality anthem. Was there ever a more appropriate place for it to be played than on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial as part of Brooks' appearance at HBO's "We Are One" inaugural concerts on Jan. 18?
We hope Rascal Flatts' song finds its home too since as the November passage of Prop 8 in California showed, there are still people who have an issue with equality for same-sex couples.
Does Norwegian sensation live up to the hype?
One of the buzz acts at last week's SXSW, Norwegian singer Ida Maria, already has a tailwind behind her that's propelled her into critical darling status here. Now the trick is to see if she can live up to the hype. As we've seen time and time again, it's easy to crash and burn when the expectations are so high.
On her debut, "Fortress ‘Round My Heart," out digitally today, she doesn't disappoint. The punk pop songs on "Fortress," so full of tension and regret, are delivered with a fresh immediacy that makes them all the more resonant. Maria may growl like a tough chick, but she's as soft and mushy as the rest of us when it comes to love. Although only 24, Maria already has a slightly husky voice that suggests she's seen a lot of sunrises arrive from the business end of the night before.
Opening track, "Oh My God," (used in "Gossip Girl" promos) issues the warning that there's drama dead ahead, as she makes it clear that if you don't understand her panic, then you clearly don't understand the urgency of the situation.
She's got a little of Chrissie Hynde and Nico in her, but on the frenetic "Queen of the World," she recalls, oddly enough, Katrina and the Waves. Lyrically, she's certainly not walking on sunshine, but the drunken exuberance is infectious.
The novelty song and the obvious ringer here is the barreling "I Like You So Much Better When You're Naked," but the raucous sing-a-long doesn't hint at the depths she reaches on songs like on "Stella." The power pop track about a hooker, hits a nail straight to the heart when Maria sings "And it made me realize how much you wanna give away just to feel loved."
It's the vulnerability, not the obviously cleverness, that reels the listener in. A very auspicious debut.
Maria continues her U.S. tour for the next week and then returns for Coachella.
March 24 Atlanta, GA The Loft at Center Stag
March 26 Washington, DC Black Cat
March 27 West Chester, PA The Note
March 28 Brooklyn, NY Music Hall of Williamsburg
March 30 New York, NY Webster Hall
March 31 Boston, MA Paradise Rock Club
April 18 Indio, CA Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival
Expects late 2009 J Records CD release
J Records has signed BC Jean, co-writer of Beyonce's mega-hit, "If I Were a Boy."
Jean, is working on her debut album, with a notable slew of producers including Dallas Austin (Gwen Stefani, Pink), The Matrix (Christina Aguilera, Avril Lavigne), Zac Maloy (David Cook), and her "Boy' co-writer, Toby Gad .
The San Diego native's album will come out later this year.
Faith Hill, Toby Keith, LeAnn Rimes, Blake Shelton, Alan Jackson also aboard
Jamie Foxx, Miranda Lambert, LeAnn Rimes, Lee Ann Womack, Alan Jackson and Blake Shelton have all joined the parade of artists who will pay tribute to George Strait when he is honored as the Academy of Country Music's Artist of the Decade.
The show will tape April 6 in Las Vegas, the day after the Academy of County Music Awards, which will air live April 5 on CBS. The Strait special will air May 27 on CBS.
Will.I.Am tells Hitfix about new album, "The E.N.D."
Damn Will.I.Am! You know why? I can't get "Boom Boom Pow," the new single from the Black Eyed Peas out of our head and I hate that. I've always been a melody queen. I love songs. Songs you can sing, songs you can hum, songs whose melodies get into your brain and you wake up with them running through your head. They don't have to be particularly intelligent or deep. Some of my favorite songs of the last several years have combined beats with catchy melodies, like Beyonce's "Crazy in Love" or Gnarls Barkley's "Crazy."
"Boom Boom Pow" has none of that -by "that," we mean melody. It's all beats. But what catchy little beats they are. There's not a shred of it you can sing (not that you turn to BEP for sing-a-longs, but at least you could hum "Let's Get it Started.") But as an eclectro-influenced pop tune, it is instantly catchy and it gets your feet moving. All four members get a shot at the vocals, which is a very nice treat since we've been waiting a minute for this album. It's a cool re-introduction. I'm getting a little tired of the vocal vocoding that so many rap records are using these days, but I figure that's got to be coming near an end. In the meantime,
"Boom Boom Pow" came onto Billboard's Hot 100 at No. 71 last week and I expect it will zoom to the top as soon as it's available for download. It is the first single from the Black Eyed Peas' new album, "The E.N.D," which comes out in June.
I interviewed Will.I.Am at the Consumer Electronics Show in January and we talked about "The E.N.D." He told me it stands for "energy never dies," but it is also a literal title. "It's the end of a lot of things, it's the end of the traditional way of looking at music, and seeing the record stores," he says. "When's the last time you went into a record store" It's the end of a lot of things, when was the last time you carried around a CD with head phones, I don't know." He also said it may be the Peas' last CD, but he stresses that he means that only as a format, since physical CD sales are diminishing every year, as digital becomes a more dominant format. The group will continue recording and releasing music together long past "The E.N.D."
Listen to "Boom Boom Pow" below.