<p>Cypress Hill, out on 4/20. Duh.</p>

Cypress Hill, out on 4/20. Duh.

Cypress Hill, Willie Nelson, 'Glee' cast lead diverse April 20 release slate

Madonna gets an overhaul in one new release

Cypress Hill leads the list of artists with new releases out April 20 with its first set in several years. The Latin rappers are joined by fresh sets from hot British newcomer V.V. Brown, Foo Fighters' Taylor Hawkins and country legends Willie Nelson and Merle Haggard.

AC/DC: “Iron Man 2” (Columbia): “Iron Man 2” open May 7, but you can get this CD/DVD set comes out tomorrow and features 15 classic AC/DC tunes, many of which are featured in the Robert Downey Jr. blockbuster.

Aqualung, “Magnetic North” (Verve Forecast): British singer/songwriter Matt Hales, who leads the band Aqualung, returns with a sparkly set of layered pop songs about romantic relationships and their various phases.

V.V. Brown, “Travelling Like the Light” (Capitol): Soulful British singer mines a failed relationship on this blend of retro pop and rock.

Cypress Hill, “Rise Up” (Priority/EMI); Latin rappers Sen Dog and B-Real get a little help from such friends as Tom Morello, Mike Shinoda, Cheech & Chong, Pete Rock, Mark Anthony and Pitbull on their first set in four years.

Roky Erickson and the Okkervil River
, “True Love Cast Out All Evil” (Anti-Epitaph): Eccentric founder of 13th Floor Elevators releases first album in 14 years. Okkervil leader Will Sheff produced the set.

Merle Haggard, “I Am What I Am” (Vanguard); Country legend, dubbed “the poet of the common man,” releases his first album for Vanguard and his 76th overall.

Taylor Hawkins & the Coattail Riders, “Red Light Fever” (Shanabelle/RCA): Foo Fighters drummer Hawkins releases his latest set with the Coattail Riders. FF bandmate Dave Grohl guests on the rock set, as do the Cars’ Elliot Easton and Queen’s Brian May and Roger Taylor.

Willie Nelson, “Country Music” (Rounder): Nelson and producer T Bone Burnett take on a number of classic country songs most from decade ago.

Various Artists, “Glee: The Music—The Power of Madonna” (Columbia): The cast of “Glee” takes on Madge in this set of seven Madonna songs, including “Express Yourself,” “4 Minutes,” “Like a Prayer” and the instant classic, “Vogue.”

Rufus Wainwright, “All Days are Nights: Songs for Lulu” (Decca): No, this isn’t a salute to the “To Sir with Love” singer. It’s inspired by a Shakespearean sonnet, with some of the songs using the Bard’s words.

Read Full Post
<p>Bon Jovi</p>

Bon Jovi

Bon Jovi delivers special editions for fans of its first 10 albums

Sets will be reissued with live tracks from the same era

Bon Jovi is going back to its beginnings. The band synonymous with New Jersey will re-release its first 10 albums on May 11. Each will include live recordings taken from the same time the albums were originally made.

For example, the group’s debut, “Bon Jovi,” will include bonus tracks taken from club dates.
The releases, which go through 2007’s “Lost Highway,” will feature new artwork, liner notes, and photos from each era. Purchase of the special editions will also allow fans to access a website that includes exclusive content, including more live tracks.

Back to the present:  Bon Jovi is on a world tour in support of its 2009 album, “The Circle.”

Read Full Post
<p>Courtney Love</p>

Courtney Love

Credit: Katie Hasty

Courtney Love takes to the road to promote 'Nobody's Daughter'

Four mid-Atlantic dates revealed

We’re guessing that “Courtney Love sets headlining Mid-Atlantic tour” doesn’t have quite the same ring as “Courtney Love sets headlining North American summer tour.” Or there’s a lot more coming from Love’s pr team. Today, her label announced a “North American” tour by Love and the re-configured Hole with only four dates on it. We don’t know if that’s the tour in toto or if the plan is to annoyingly roll out dates every week or so  a la Lilith 2010.

Regardless, Hole’s first album in a decade, “Nobody’s Daughter,” comes out April 27.  We have to qualify that Love is the only remaining member in Hole, but since it was always her band, we guess she still has the right to use the name. In addition to dates in L.A. and N.Y. around the release of the album,  below are the announced dates in Hole’s “North American” tour. Maybe we’re being too harsh. These cities are all in North America, after all.

Hole's tour:

June 22  Electric Factory  Philadelphia
June 23  House of Blues    Boston
June 25  Welmont Theater  Montclair, N.J.
June 27  930 Club, Washington, D.C.

Read Full Post
<p>Lady Antebellum at the Academy of Country Music Awards</p>

Lady Antebellum at the Academy of Country Music Awards

Credit: Dan Steinberg/AP

Live Blogging the Academy of Country Music Awards from Las Vegas

Is Taylor Swift the sure bet or is Lady Antebellum the odds-on favorite?

Welcome to  Hitfix's live blog of the Academy of Country Music  Awards, live from Las Vegas. We're sitting backstage with lots of other reporters, crammed into a room watching the show feed on two monitors and waiting for artists to come backstage. The blog will be a hybrid of watching the show and backstage comments as they happen.

8 p.m. Miranda Lambert and Carrie Underwood open the show with Creedence Clearwater Revival's "Traveling Band," and, as rumored, are joined by the song's author, John Fogerty. Both women instantly start trying to mimic Fogerty's strange inflection.

Reba McEntire is back to host for the 12th time and for good reason. She gets it. She is funny, fast on her feet and can get away by saying mean things with a smile that others couldn't do --such as a zinger about Kirstie Alley. The dress she wore on the red carpet was much prettier than the one she's wearing now.

8:10: Cher just came out to present. What? She says her bonafides are real: her mom played with Bob Wills and the first song she learned to sing was "Hey Good Lookin'," plus she's been talking to Merle Haggard about a duet. Now that we'd love to hear.

8:13: Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins are singing "Hillbilly Bone." I know it's a hit, but it's the kind of country song that 95% of the fans can't relate to. I am quite sure, as much as I love country, I do not have a "Hillbilly Bone" down deep inside. Okay, the ending was funny when Adkins said he couldn't believe they'd won the award, presented earlier, for best vocal event and Shelton looked at him and said, "What do you mean you can't believe we won?" Now so sure that was scripted.. or meant to be on camera.

8:27: Blake Shelton and Trace Adkins are now on stage, busting on the other nominees in their best vocal event, including Dave Matthews, who recorded a duet with Kenny Chesney. Chesney just performed "Ain't Back Yet," and his sound is so much clearer than everyone else's. How did he manage that.  Shelton is now talking about "doing a lot of drinking" with his girlfriend Miranda Lambert, but how jazzed he is that Cher said his name when she introduced them. Watch out, Miranda...Blake just said this was the first time he'd been nominated for an award, and thanked Trace for helping make it happen. Trace just said, "You lose a lot more than you win."

8:32: Lady Antebellum wins song of the year, but I'm focused on Blake and Trace backstage. Oh my. Laura Bell Bundy, who's best known as a Broadway star is strutting her stuff with "Giddy On Up." It's horrible, which means it's headed to the top of the chart...  Brad Paisley can barely manage a polite golf clap when they pan to him.

8:41: Toby Keith is playing "Cryin'  for Me," the song he wrote about his friend, pro basketball player and jazz bassist Wayman Tisdale. He's joined by saxophonist Dave Koz, who was also very close to Tisdale. Full disclosure: I knew Wayman through Dave and he was one of the gentlest, sweetest men ever. Very worthy tribute. Plus they got in a plug for a cancer charity so hopefully this performance will raise some funds--if you buy the song on iTunes...goes to Stand Up For Cancer.  Nice shot of Tisdale's family. Toby seems genuinely choked up. When we first talked to him after he wrote the song, he told us he had a tough time recording it, he was crying so hard.

8:52: Toby Keith is backstage talking about a cancer charity he started. Like Ronald McDonald's house, he's now building housing for families who have a member going through treatment, so they can be near their loved ones. he's talking about writing the song after Wayman passed, but he was too emotional to sing it at his funeral. "It was a month before I could sing it and get through it," he says. Wayman came with Toby to the awards last year and three weeks later he was dead. Toby is getting ready to go overseas to play for his troops, his 142nd show for them. Say what you will about Toby, he walks the walk when it comes to his support of the troops in the way that few artists do.

8:55 Lady Antebellum just won single record of the year for "Need You Now." They're having a good night.

9:00: LL Cool J introduced Taylor Swift. I'm pretty sure this is her first televised performance since the Grammy debacle.  She's in a cage flying over the audience---shades of Garth Brooks flying over the audience during his televised Texas Stadium special, but he didn't use a cage... but Garth also didn't seemingly change outfits mid-air, as she just did. Swift is singing "Change." No horrible missteps. Her voice sounds stronger than it did that night. She still has trouble staying on key. We'll called it a qualified redemptive performance. She knows how to make each performance an event and for that, we salute her.

9:05 Julianne Hough on Taylor's performance: "Was that not so amazing?" What about just saying "Wasn't that amazing." Hough stumbles a few more times. There's a reason presenters are supposed to show up at rehearsal... She introduces the acts who are up for best new artist: Gloriana,  Luke Bryan (who's singing "Do I," written by Charles and Dave from Lady Antebellum-- they are everywhere!--and Joey and Rory singing their hilarious romp, "Cheater Cheater."  They're god-fearing Christians who talk about their faith a lot. You would not know it from listening to this song. Bryan is the winner, who thanks his brother, "up in heaven." 

9:12: Lady Antebellum is performing "American Honey," the second single from "Need You Now." I saw Lady A at the Wiltern Theater in Los Angeles Thursday night--it was one of their few headlining dates off from the Tim McGraw tour. They are the real deal. I'm not crazy about this song or this performance though, it seems too slow.

9:22: Like Bryan is backstage. Good God, he lost both his brother AND sister. He's talking about how when something good happens, he and his family feel the closeness of his departed siblings. "We say, 'Life is good tonight, life is good tonight.'"  Rascal Flatts are performing. They got tough news this week when their label, Disney's  country imprint Lyric Street, was shut down. They'll shuttle to another Disney-owned label, but Disney doesn't have another label in Music City.

9:28: Miranda Lambert just won album of the year for "Revolution." The ACMs love Miranda. Her last album, "Crazy Ex-Girlfriend" won this award two years ago. She gives a very short speech in order to save some time for the album's producer, whom the show's producers promptly play off. That was uncomfortable to watch.

9:31: Jason Aldean is performing "Crazy Town." He helped lead a revolution in Nashville. He's signed to an independent label, Broken Bow. Only just a few years ago, the majors had such a stranglehold on the charts, it would have been tough for an indie label to have the resources to compete when it comes to radio promotion, but Aldean has scored four No. 1s.

9:38: Ten minutes after her best-album win, Miranda Lambert is performing one of the best songs from "Revolution": the gorgeous "The House that Built Me."  Hard not to tear up every time i hear that one.

9:44: Montgomery Gentry is receiving the award for their humanitarian efforts. Troy Gentry is tearing up and Eddie Montgomery uses his speech as an opportunity to tell us this is the greatest country in the world.

9:54: Carrie Underwood is singing "Temporary Home" in a dress with a skirt so flaired--it's practically a hoop skirt-- that a family of four could live underneath it; but that's not the kind of temporary home she's singing about, we imagine. Vocally, she's delivering one of the best performances of the night. Man, she loves these weepers that pull at your heartstrings no matter how you try to resist.

10:00: Eddie Cibrian presents Top Vocal Group to Lady Antebellum. He is Le Ann Rimes' other half after their affair busted up his marriage last year. Someone in the press room started singing Miranda's "White Liar" when he came on. Nice. .Tim McGraw is now performing "Still." Clearly he and the ACMs made up after he walked out during rehearsal on last year's show and left producers with a hole to fill.

10:03: Word of Reba's cutting comment about Kirstie Alley's weight got back to Alley pretty quickly. She tweeted to Reba: "Wow... thought we girls would stick together... next time you need a fat joke about me, just ask. Mine are funny." We bet you within 24 hours, Reba tweets an apology to Kirstie.

10:12: Brad Paisley's new single, "Water," reminds us of Alabama's "Dixieland Delight." Are we crazy? Paisley does a backward plunge into a pool of water.

10:16: TMI: Matthew McConaughey reveals that he and his wife conceived their second child last year after the ACM awards, but says they probably won't get lucky tonight since two kids is enough.  Top male vocalist winner Brad Paisley, still soaking wet from his pool dive, decides to do a stand-up routine. "Can I borrow your shirt? You're used to not wearing one," he asked Matthew. He then jokes about how his wife, Kimberly Williams-Paisley loved playing McConaughey's wife in  'We Are Marshall," but "She said I'm a better kisser. You had no kissing scenes, so I don't know how she knows that." Paisley is the first artist to thank Sony Music Nashville's head Joe Galante, who's a legend in Nashville, who stepped down as chairman last week sending shock waves through Music Row.

10:24: McEntire chokes up while introducing her friends, Brooks & Dunn, who are hanging up their spurs after 20 years following their "Last Rodeo" tour. The fans picked "My Maria" for B&D's last ACM performance--that is until they inevitably reunite. Although they haven't liked each other for 20 years, so I'm not so sure a reunion will ever come to pass. B&D's cover runs rings around  the original version by B.W. Stevenson, primarily because Ronnie Dunn has such a great, great voice. If we could only do something about that hair..  People are actually singing along in the press room. Can't wait to hear his solo stuff and we won't have a long wait. Dunn drops his first single later this Spring.

10:30: Brooks & Dunn win top vocal duo, stealing it from Sugarland. B&D won this award an unprecedented 14 times in a row or something like that. Kix Brooks says "we're in therapy with Brett Favre on how to waffle on this." So not true... They're so ready to be done, you can tell.

10:38; The preternaturally tanned Montgomery Gentry arrive backstage as Reba started her performance. We can't hear her, but she looks lovely and we like that it's a tribute of some sort to Brooks & Dunn (or so we think... the sound is down). There's a strong charity component to the show tonight. That's nice. The duo is talking about how even before they made it big, they'd play money to raise music for families in their neighborhoods who needed help paying bills. They haven't stopped helping folks since. Montgomery Gentry fans: new single, "While You're Still Young,"  goes to radio on Monday with a new album coming out in September. Montgomery says the new material is "in your face."

Miranda Lambert just won top female vocalist and seems pretty shocked about it, as is Taylor Swift, who would appear to be going home empty handed tonight.

10:44: Lady Antebellum just came in the press room. When we wrote "Need You Now," I don't think we knew what we had on our hands," says Charles Kelley.  "It wasn't until [producer] Paul Worley interpreted it. You never know where a song can take you...It almost didn't make the record." Lead singer Hilary Scott looks breathtakingly gorgeous in a magenta dress with her green eyes sparkling. "We want to be doing what Brooks & Dunn are doing, 20 years from now saying 'we need to take a break'," Charles says.  Asked if it's shocking to hear "Need You Now" played alongside  Lady GaGa  on pop radio, he says, although Hilary notes they both write songs about phones.

10:51: Brooks & Dunn are backstage. Kix says the tribute that's taping tomorrow night honoring them is one of the most "humbling" things for them since they know how busy people are. (The tribute to Brooks & Dunn airs on CBS May 23). Ronnie says that a friend of his, a therapist, "Not that I need one," he hastens to add, has told him to feel his feelings. Don't just rush through this and remember the ride. He recounted opening for Reba in '92 when he and Brooks were still on the way up and marveling at her production, planes and limos, "and now we're friends with her. I played black jack with George Strait awhile ago."  "And lost," added Brooks.

 11:00: While Brooks & Dunn were backstage, it appears Carrie Underwood won entertainer of the year, marking her second year in a row and she is the only female to ever win it twice... that's a dubious honor to hold. This also means that Taylor Swift was shut out tonight. Entertainer of the year is voted on the fans, which makes Swift's loss in this category all the more surprising. At her show on Friday night in Los Angeles, she was still shilling for votes.

11:07: The show is over, closing with a performance by Darius Rucker, but backstage continues to hop as Miranda Lambert comes in. "Are you freaking kidding me," she says about winning top female vocalist, tearing up backstage, recalling the moment. 'I'd just watched Reba perform. She's everything we want to be in country music. I looked over at Carrie and she hugged me and said, 'Long time coming.'" As far as winning  album of the year, she see leaned over to boyfriend Blake Shelton and said, "I really want this one" as the nominees were announced tonight. She's feeling the love of her peers. "I never cry, but I'm crying tonight. You cracked me, people."  A little preview: she's performing "Hillbilly Deluxe" at the Brooks & Dunn tribute.

11:19: Brad Paisley set a record for fourth consecutive award for best male vocalist. he says tonight feels like a dream. "Before the show, they said, you're going to fall in. Don't bend your knees, you'll hit your head," of falling back into the pool. He notes this is a strong time for women in country music, "which is something I'm very happy about," noting how pleased he is that his buddy Carrie Underwood won entertainer of the year and that Taylor Swift took home the same award from the Country Music Assn. last fall. Paisley's tour this summer is a blockbuster with two stages of acts-- six artists every night--including Easton Corbin on the second stage, or as Paisley called him, "Aston Martin." "I really hope that people leave there feeling they got 10 times what they bargained for." Paisley is singing "Working on my Next Broken Heart" at the Brooks & Dunn tribute. He also expanded on his comments from the stage about departing exec Joe Galante: "I'm optimistic about the future, but I'll miss him. He's the greatest partner. He listens to my vision and he talks me out of stupid ideas."  What more could you ask for.

11:32: Our last artist backstage: Carrie Underwood, who looks amazing. "I got to sing with John Fogerty. Oh my gosh," she says of the show opener.  She doesn't want to reveal her Brooks & Dunn selection, but she says it came out when she was eight years old. "They've been part of raising me in country music. They're my neighbors. I see them all over Nashville.  I'm sad they are leaving." Man, she's come far from a girl who just admitted, "When I was on 'American Idol,' I just hoped I'd get to stay on another week."

Read Full Post


Is it 'Congratulations' or condolences to MGMT on next week's album chart?

Will Justin Bieber keep the rockers out of the top spot?

We’ve got a horse race for the No. 1 album spot next week. Will teen moppet Justin Bieber stay at No. 1 or will “Congratulations” be in order for psychedelic rockers MGMT forge ahead to debut at No. 1 on the Billboard 200? It’s too soon to tell with three more days of sales.

Right now, Hits Daily Double gives a slight edge to Bieber’s “My World 2.0,” in part because of the boost the title received from Bieber’s appearance on “Saturday Night Live”  on April 10, but only 5,000 or so copies split the two right now.  After weeks of 100,000+ titles at No. 1, it also looks like the threshold for the top spot will be around 85,000 copies.

In all likelihood, Usher will be at No. 3, Lady Antebellum will hang at No. 4 and we’ll see the new title from Coheed & Cambria  come in at No. 5 with sales of around 60,000. No other acts debut in the Top 10, although Jeff Beck’s first set in seven years will debut around No. 14, with Natalie Merchant’s new set is poised to bow at No. 16.

Read Full Post
Christina Aguilera performs on "Hope for Haiti."

Christina Aguilera performs on the "Hope for Haiti" telethon earlier this year.

Credit: AP Photo

Christina Aguilera set to tape VH-1's 'Storytellers' May 4

Fair warning: Photo required with ticket request

Christina Aguilera will tape an episode of VH1’s “Storytellers”  May 4 in Los Angeles, according to her website. Fans can’t buy tickets, but they can enter to win them by sending their name, address, age, and a recent photo to tickets@gothamcasting.com. While the alert stresses  “we want her biggest fans to be a part of it,” we think by asking for photos, they probably mean her prettiest fans.

Read Full Post
Ke$ha is going to get herself out of bed for Today's summer concert series.

Ke$ha is going to get herself out of bed for Today's summer concert series.

Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Ke$ha and John Mayer set for 'Today' concert series

Sting opens summer season at New York's Rockefeller Plaza on May 14

Sting will kick off the "Today Show’s" summer concert series on May 14.

This year marks the 15th  consecutive year of the concerts at New York City’s Rockefeller Plaza.  Many of the artists, including Sting and Christina Aguilera will play 30-minute shows.

Among the other acts on the series are Lady GaGa, Justin Bieber, Carrie Underwood, Katy Perry, Ke$ha and  Katy Perry.

The line-up is below. Additional artists will be added.

14 Sting
21 The Script
27 “American Idol” winner and runner-up

Read Full Post

Soundgarden back in the day.

Credit: Interscope

Soundgarden reunites for first gig in 13 years Friday night

Four months before its Lollapalooza gig, see the band in Seattle

Most of us have to wait until August's Lollapalooza to see a reunited Soundgarden, but if you’re in Seattle, you can see them tomorrow night.

The band, who last performed together in 1997, will play Friday night at Seattle’s Showbox at the Market, according to billboard.com. It marks the quartet’s first gig since announcing its reunion earlier this year.

On the next day, fans all over the country can go to their local indie record shop as part of National Record Store Day and purchase the group’s first 7-inch single, “Hunted Down," backed with “Nothing to Say.” The single first came out 23 years ago on Sub Pop.  The band's website notes that for one week and $10, fans can order a t-shirt featuring the vinyl artwork.

Soundgarden is comprised of singer Chris Cornell, bassist Ben Shepherd, guitarist Kim Thayil and drummer Matt Cameron, who is also Pearl Jam’s drummer.


Read Full Post
<p>Frightened Rabbit</p>

Frightened Rabbit

Updated: Will the volcano in Iceland mess with your Coachella experience?

Bands across the U.K. are grounded as they try to reach California

Well here’s something no one could have predicted. The spewing volcano is Iceland is wreaking havoc on air travel around the globe and it turns out, it may keep several acts slated for Coachella from arriving in Indio, Calif.  in time for their gigs.

The latest news has many planes in Europe (and flights headed there as well) grounded because of ash clouds. The Daily Swarm compiled a list of Coachella-bound acts who are now finding their gigs in peril, including Scotland’s Frightened Rabbit and England’s Cribs, Los Campesinos!, Bad Lieutenant and Mary Anne Hobbs. Coachella runs April 16-18.

“I’d decided which films I was going to see, chosen my meal and was just falling asleep then I got told we had to get off the plane,” Cribs singer Gary Jarman told the BBC. He added  the band “were a little stressed”. NME reports that the band, which also includes Smiths guitarist Johnny Marr, is now unsure as to whether it will make its Coachella gig, while other online reports have the gig definitely canceled.

Bad Lieutenant, which includes New Order’s Bernard Sumner, was set to make its U.S. debut at Coachella after it cancelled its stateside tour last fall. However, the band is now stuck in Manchester, England, according to sluicingupeyeballs.com

Updated: This just in from Coachella's promoters at Golden Voice: All the headliners are in the country  and we're in contact wtih the acts that are having travel issues based on the ash," says Golden Voice's Paul Tollett. That's a good thing since some of the headliners, including Gorillaz and Muse, are British.


Read Full Post


Watch: Hanson's new clip for jubilant 'Thinking 'Bout Somethin''

Trio takes a page from the Blues Brothers; dancing in the streets ensues

We love the fact that history is looking very positively at  Hanson, whom some critics dismissed as a just another boy band when the three boys first appeared in the mid-‘90s. “MMMBop” routinely shows up on best pop singles of all time lists, as it rightfully should. (The notoriously snooty Village Voice Pazz & Jop Poll named it best single of the year in 1997).

The three brothers,  Isaac, Taylor and Zac, debuted a new video today on Myspace for the apostrophe-challenged “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’,” the first single from the trio’s forthcoming album, “ Shout It Out.”

The clip replicates a scene in “The Blues Brothers,” (hence the ever-present shades) where their music causes a spontaneous outburst of dancing in the streets---now known as a flashmob. Hanson begins playing the tune, which sounds like it belongs on Stax Records with its horns and jubilant beats—in a music store in downtown Tulsa and as the sounds pour forth, 300 locals break into dance. Among the locals? Two of Taylor Hanson’s kids. Tell me you don’t feel old now…

Watch the video a few times and you’ll catch new stuff each time: Who’s playing tambourine?  (Hint: he looks very different than how you’re used to seeing him). Also check out who the hippie dude playing the bass is. 
Just for fun, after the embed for the “Thinking ‘Bout Somethin’,” we embedded our go-to clip when we need to go to our happy place:  as my fellow fans will know, “The Late Late Show with Craig Ferguson” occasionally opens with a musical number, often with puppets and Bondage Boy. Here,  Ferguson, Wavy the the Alligator and a few friends perform an absolutely joyous version of  “MMMBop.” It’s guaranteed to make your day a little brighter.





Read Full Post