Inside Music with Melinda Newman

Lady GaGa rocks a little with her 'Rock Band' debut next week

Four LG hits plus 'South Park's' version of 'Poker Face' hit 'Rock Band's' store

<p>Lady GaGa</p>

Lady GaGa

Lady GaGa goes rock: The pop star will debut on Rock Band with four songs next week.

Bad Romance,” “Just Dance,” “Monster” and “Poker Face” will be available as part of the Rock Band music store’s downloadable content for Xbox 360, Playstation 3 and Wii.

To commemorate,  MTV Networks, which owns Harmonix, the developer of  “Rock Band,” will program Lady GaGa specials next week, including 30-minute Lady GaGa  video blocks on MTV Hits; Palladia will air Lady GaGa’s “London Live,” as will Logo and Palladia will air the Lady GaGa episode of  “America’s Best Dance Crew.”

Plus, practically every station under MTV Networks’ umbrella will be blasting “Telephone,” her new video with Beyonce, set to premiere later this week.

Also available will be Eric Cartman’s  version of  “Poker Face” originally featured on “South Park” in the “Whale Whores” episode. The tunes will be prices at $1.99 individually or $6.99 for the "Lady GaGa Pack  01." Given that the initial set doesn't include "Paparazzi," we're thinking it won't be long at all before "Lady GaGa Pack 02" makes its appearance.

If anyone is counting, this now brings the number of tracks available for “Rock Band” up to 1,119.

The Swell Season 'once' again return for a U.S. tour

Glen Hansard and Marketa from 'Once' play the Hollywood Bowl

<p>Swell Season</p>

Swell Season

Credit: Piper Ferguson

The Swell Season—otherwise known as those crazy kids from “Once,” Glen Hansard and Marketa—return for a new U.S. tour starting in May.

The dates, some of which are below,  include a headlining gig at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl on July 18.. The pair is touring behind its Anti- Records album,” Strict Joy.”

May 15 Kalamazoo, MI The State Theatre
May 16 Nelsonville, OH Nelsonville Music Festival
May 17 Pittsburgh, PA Byham Theater
May 18 Nashville, TN Ryman Auditorium
May 20 Asheville, NC Orange Peel
May 21 Raleigh, NC North Carolina Museum Of Art
May 22 Charleston, SC North Charleston Performing Arts Center
May 24 Miami, FL The Fillmore
May 25 Orlando, FL Hard Rock Live
May 26 Birmingham, AL Alys Robinson Stephens PAC - Jemison Concert Hall
May 28 Atlanta, GA Symphony Hall
May 29 Louisville, KY W.L. Lyons Brown Theatre
May 30 Cleveland, OH House Of Blues

Simon & Garfunkel set a new round of concert dates

They may not like each other, but they still make sweet music together

<p>Simon &amp; Garfunkel</p>

Simon & Garfunkel

Credit: AP Photo

We still think they can’t stand each other, but man, they make beautiful music together: Simon & Garfunkel, who stole the show at the 25th Anniversary Rock and Roll Hall of Fame concerts last year, will embark on one of their relatively rare tours starting April 24 at New Orleans Jazzfest.

We believe everyone should hear Art Garfunkel sing “Bridge over Troubled Water”—one of the most beautiful songs ever written—live at least once. Here's your chance.

Sat 4/24 - New Orleans LA - Jazz & Heritage Festival
Thu 4/29 - Vancouver BC - General Motors Place
Sat 5/1 - Edmonton AB - Rexall Place
Sun 5/2 - Calgary AB - Pengrowth Saddledome
Tue 5/4 - Saskatoon SK - Credit Union Centre
Wed 5/5 - Winnipeg MB - MTS Centre
Fri 5/7 - Fargo ND - Fargodome
Sat 5/8 - St. Paul MN - Xcel Energy Center
Sun 5/9 - Madison WI - Kohl Center Arena
Tue 5/11 - Detroit MI - TBA
Wed 5/12 - Toronto ON - Air Canada Centre
Fri 5/14 - Ottawa ON- Scotiabank Place
Sat 5/15 - Montreal QC - Bell Centre

Listen: T.I. declares 'I'm Back' on new single

Track from rapper is first from Aug. 24 album



On the tail end of his prison sentence on weapons charges, T.I. wants to let us know that he’s back and what better way to announce it than in song.

“I’m Back,” released Monday,  is more hypnotic than dynamic.  The languid beat feels more like an easy flowing river than a rushing current.  Plus, T.I. even throws in a spooky theremin sound on top of the Trackslayerz-produced beats.

Stream the track below.

Lyrically, T.I. says that the track reflects on his time in prison and what he observed going on in the rap world while he was gone.

“I appreciate the support and how hard I was going in during the brief hiatus," T.I. said in a brief conference call on Monday. "The support don't go unnoticed and I don't take it lightly. This marks a special day for us, because we putting out the first song off the album - not an official first single, just something to keep the streets warm… It's a lot of things that needed to be spoken on. In my absence, it was a lot of things that went down, a lot of matters that needed to be addressed. This was the greatest platform for me to do it. It was the first song I did when I came home.”

He’s not quite home yet: T.I. was released from prison in December to a halfway house. He hints that he’ll be free to roam starting next month.

In the song, T.I. also gives a shout out to other rappers like Lil Wayne, Boosie, Gucci Mane who have done time, and warns newcomers that the boys are back in town.

The tune is off of T.I.’s seventh studio album. The new release will come out Aug. 24

Oscar winner Ryan Bingham heads out on the Country Throwdown tour

The folks who brought you the Vans Warped tour have gone country

<p>Ryan Bingham holds his Grammy from Sunday</p>

Ryan Bingham holds his Grammy from Sunday

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

So if Superbowl-winning quarterbacks go to Disneyworld to celebrate their big victory, where do Oscar-winning songwriters go? Apparently, right back on the road.

Ryan Bingham, who, along with T Bone Burnett, snared the Academy Award for best original song at Sunday night’s Oscars for “The Weary Kind” from “Crazy Heart,” will be one of the big names on the Country Throwdown tour, which kicks off May 14 in Tampa, Fla.

Country Throwdown is brought to you by the same folks that put together the Vans Warped Tour and is an attempt to create a touring country show that appeals to younger—and certainly rowdier—fans than those who are grooving to their George Strait and Reba McEntire records (not that there’s anything  wrong with King George or Queen Reba).

In addition to Bingham and his band the Dead Horses, the multi-stage tour features Jamey Johnson, Little Big Town, Eric Church, Jack Ingram, Montgomery Gentry, Eli Young Band, the Lost Trailers, and Heidi Newfield, among others.

Additionally, the Bluebird Café Tent will highlight nine emerging snger/songwriters playing in the round. As many of you know, the Bluebird Café is the place in Nashville for singers/songwriters and many a performer, including Garth Brooks, got signed after performing there.

Below is the tour schedule with onsale dates, if available.

Fri    5/14    Tampa, FL    Ford Amphitheatre    3/12/10
Sat    5/15    W. Palm Beach, FL    Cruzan Amphitheatre    3/12/10
Sun    5/16    Jacksonville, FL    Metropolitan Park    Now
Thu    5/20    Cleveland, OH    Blossom Music Center    Now
Fri    5/21    Cincinnati, OH    Riverbend Music Center    3/12/10
Sat    5/22    Chicago, IL    First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre    3/12/10
Sun    5/23    Indianapolis, IN    Verizon Wireless Music Center    3/12/10
Thu    5/27    Charlotte, NC    Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre    3/12/10
Fri    5/28    Raleigh, NC    Time Warner Cable Pavilion     3/12/10
Sat    5/29    Pittsburgh, PA    Post Gazette Pavilion    3/12/10
Sun    5/30    Saratoga Springs, NY    SPAC Amphitheatre     3/12/10
Mon    5/31    Gilford, NH    Meadowbrook US Cellular    Now
Fri    6/4    Virginia Beach, VA    Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre    TBD
Sun    6/6    Bristow, VA    Jiffy Lube Live    TBD
Wed    6/9    Houston, TX    Sam Houston Racepark    3/12/10
Thu    6/10    Dallas, TX Center    3/12/10
Sat    6/12    Salt Lake City, UT    USANA Amphitheatre     3/12/10
Sun    6/13    Denver, CO    Comfort Dental Amphitheatre    3/12/10
Wed    6/16    Bakersfield, CA    Rabobank Arena    3/12/10
Thu    6/17    San Diego, CA    Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre     3/5/10
Fri    6/18    Phoenix, AZ    Cricket Wireless Pavilion     3/12/10
Sat    6/19    Irvine, CA    Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre     3/5/10
Sun    6/20    Mountain View, CA    Shoreline Amphitheatre     3/12/10

Ludacris, Gorillaz lead March 9 new music release slate

Luda battles the sexes, while Gorillaz take on Bruce Willis



Release schedules tend to heat back up as the spring thaw approaches, but it’s a fairly slow slate this Tuesday. But that doesn’t mean there aren’t some delights, including new titles from Broken Bells, Gorillaz and Ludacris.

Broken Bells, “Broken Bells” (Columbia): First collaboration between artist/producer Danger Mouse and the Shins’ James Mercer is a beautiful shimmery set of melodic, often gentle, tunes. Danger Mouse brings the slight edge that the Shins’ material often lacks. First single, "The High Road," is already doing great at Triple A radio.

Gorillaz, “Plastic Beach” (Virgin): Third set from Damon Albarn and his virtual band features such guests as Mos Def, Snoop Dogg, Bobby Womack  and Lou Reed.  See the Bruce-Willis starring video for first single, “Stylo,” here.

The Knife, “Tomorrow, in a Year” (Mute): Now here’s something you don’t hear every day: a work tagged as “A Darwin electro-opera.” But leave it to those wacky Swedes who make up The Knife to compose an experimental opera based on the world seen through the father of evolution, Charles Darwin. This is a studio version of the opera that was written for Danish performance artists Hotel Pro Forma.The opera premiered at the Royal Danish Theatre in Copenhagen last September.

Ludacris, “Battle of the Sexes” (Disturbing Tha Peace/Def Jam): Ludacris returns with his seventh album and he’s brought plenty of company. The set features the rapper from the ATL duetting with both male and female guests about the one subject no one can get enough of: Love (and all its forms). Collaborators include girl of the minute Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, Eve, Ciara, Ne-Yo, Flo Rida, Plies and Pharrell.

Listen: Hear White Stripes' 'Great White Northern Lights' concert doc soundtrack

Jack and Meg White take on Canada in this raw live set

<p>White Stripes' &quot;Under the Great White Northern Lights&quot;</p>

White Stripes' "Under the Great White Northern Lights"

Credit: Warner Bros. Records

On a tour across Canada in 2007, the White Stripes captured a little magic and you can hear it here a week before you can buy it.

“Under the Great White Northern Lights”  documents, both on CD and DVD, Jack and Meg White’s  trek across our neighbor to the north, on an outing that culminates in a 10th anniversary show. Hear all your White Stripes' faves, including "Icky Thump," "Blue Orchid," "Fell in Love with a Girl," and "Seven Nation Army," plus the pair's cover of Dolly Parton's classic "Jolene."

You can’t see the Emmett Malloy-directed DVD until its release March 16, but you can hear the accompanying  CD, culled from performances across Canada, here now, courtesy of NPR.

We love how the opening bagpipes segue into into Jack White’s immediate shredding on "Let's Shake Hands" and the 16-tune set  careens from one raw song to the next like a small boat navigating the high seas. Grab a seat and hold on. It’s going to be a bumpy, but wonderful ride.

Watch: Lil Wayne and Eminem in video for 'Drop the World'

The two rappers go apocalyptic, set world on fire

<p>Eminem and Lil Wayne at the 2010 Grammy Awards</p>

Eminem and Lil Wayne at the 2010 Grammy Awards

Credit: AP Photo

Before Lil Wayne hops up in his spaceship and leaves earth—or goes to prison—whichever comes first, he and Eminem settle scores in the video for Lil Wayne’s “Drop the Earth.”  The mesmerizing track is one of the best on Lil Wayne’s otherwise disappointing “Rebirth.”

The gritty clip recalls “Escape from New York” or any movie, really, where marauding gangs, perhaps seeking vigilante justice or, in some cases, just a night of wilding, take to the abandoned city streets bringing destruction with them.

Eminem stops by around the 2:10 mark and pretty much raps better here than on anything on his recent album. When Eminem talks about  feeling like the walls are closing in, I believe him every time.

It’s a grim song in a grim world. except for that weird line about the cabbage and the lettuce, but by the looks of things, the veggies don’t fare any better than the rest of us in the melee.

Watch the video below, courtesy of Tuffjamma TV. 


Review: The Bird and The Bee are joined by Oates for Hall & Oates tribute show

Jazz/synth duo pay homage to another famous duo in Los Angeles

Greg Kurstin and Inara George, better known as The Bird and The Bee

Greg Kurstin and Inara George, better known as The Bird and The Bee.

One surefire way to know the artist you’re paying homage to gives you his blessing? He shows up at your gig.
John Oates, the dark-haired half of Hall & Oates, paid The Bird and the Bee the ultimate compliment Friday night when he joined the alternative/synth pop duo’s packed show at the El Rey in Los Angeles.

Singer Inara George and keyboardist Greg Kurstin’s new set is a tribute to Hall & Oates, the most successful duo in pop history. “Interpreting the Masters Volume1: A Tribute to Daryl Hall and John Oates” comes out March 23 on Blue Note Records and includes eight classic Hall & Oates tunes.

Listen: Drake's new single, 'Over'

Hear him complain about how tough it is to be famous



Awwww, what happened Drake?  Did you miss your nap?

An extremely cranky Drake spews about how difficult fame is in “Over,” his new single: “I know way too many people here that I didn’t know last year/Who the fuck are y’all?,” he sings in the first stanza. The song opens with a string-led flourish, but goes nowhere fast lyrically, despite a very compelling beat.

Yeah, yeah, we get it, Drake. Fame’s a bitch. Women who wouldn’t give you a second look otherwise are falling all over you. We can see where you wouldn’t want that.  You’re traveling all over the world like a rock star. Total drag that… we get it.

Maybe with Lil Wayne, his protégé, headed off to jail,  there’s no one to keep a check on Drake, but this is not the message you put out before anyone really knows your name.  In some circles, the rapper is already huge because of the superior “Best I Ever Had,” but he’s hardly reached critical mass and may we remind him that he has yet to even release a full album yet? (“Over” is the first single from the modestly named “Thank Me Later.” )

Anyway, after bitching for awhile, he starts bragging about how “no one’s done it like I did it” and he’s made every skeptic a believer and he has the “shit that makes the bitches go insane.” Drake has considerable talent, but this is a bit much, even by typical rapper braggadocio standards. We'd like to see how Jada Pinkett feels about being called a bitch. And just a warning, in case it bothers you, he drops the N word.

Drake declares that he will be performing “until it’s over/but it’s far from over” and that he has no right to complain, but we have every right to complain about this song. Drake, if you’re really that tired of hanging out with folks you don’t know and all the trappings of fame, just keep putting out singles like this. Your little problem will take care of itself. And if you're just having a bad day, we're sorry, but keep it to yourself.


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