<p>Maxwell</p>

Maxwell

Watch: Maxwell's styling new clip for 'Fistful of Tears'

Singer goes back in time in B&W shoot

It’s a great time to be Maxwell. His “Blacksummer’s Night” album is a big hit, he nabbed himself some Grammys earlier this year, he’s got a great tour going on and now he has another new glossy video for “Fistful of Tears” to add to his portfolio.

In the black and white video (Hmmm, John Mayer released a B&W video this week too… I smell a trend),  Maxwell is bathed in gorgeous light—not that he needs any help in looking amazing.

He’s alone on a television stage-- no audience, no band-- on a set that looks straight out the late ‘50s, early ‘60s, as does his sartorially splendid suit. As he sings the beautiful ballad about a relationship with a very troubled girl, a ghost band all in black or white silhouette appears behind him.

It’s a very classy video befitting a classy song and classy artist. Maxwell is compelling enough of a performer that he can carry a clip with no major bells and whistles.

 

 

 

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<p>Mary J. Blige</p>

Mary J. Blige

Listen: Mary J. Blige tears through Led Zeppelin's 'Whole Lotta Love,' 'Stairway to Heaven'

We have Bono to thank for the brilliant covers

 There’s really nothing that Mary J. Blige can’t do, so we didn’t even blink an eye when we heard she’s now covering Led Zeppelin, but even we didn’t expect it to be so great.  We’re calling it right now:  her version of “Whole Lotta Love” is going to become a cult classic and is headed straight to No. 1 on the Dance Club Play charts.

 Today, Blige released her versions of “Whole Lotta Love” and “Stairway to Heaven” on iTunes. She sings the latter on “Oprah” today as well (which you can still catch it you're on the West Coast). The tunes are also on the U.K. version of her latest album,  "Stronger with Each Tear." Embeds for both are below so you can hear for yourself.
 
She tears through “Whole Lotta Love,” turning it into a spacey, dance, guitar-driven jam. She even replicates Robert Plant’s orgasmic sighs, although they’re very muted. She honors the original—the guitar riffs are pretty much note for note—but still turns it on its head with her beat-driven, relentlessly uptempo take instead of Plant’s sexy, slow grind. But the real magic comes at the end.  At around 2:45, with the whisper of Plant singing in the background, Blige slows it down and growls, in a cross between Plant and Janis Joplin,  “Way down inside, Honey, you need me…”  If that doesn’t make the hair on the back of your head stand up, check for a pulse. If she’d done the entire song in such a fashion, I’m not sure any of us would be left standing it’s so powerful. We’d just be little puddles of goo on the floor.
 
We, apparently, have Bono to thank for this rendition. After the two tackled U2’s “One” so successfully in 2005, he suggested that she take on “Whole Lotta Love.” If the music thing doesn’t work out for him, Bono would make one hell of an A&R guy. Joining Blige on the tracks are Blink-182 drummer Travis Barker, guitarists Steve Vai and Orianthi (from Michael Jackson's band)  and bassist Randy Jackson (yeah, the “American Idol” judge).
 
Blige also tackles “Stairway to Heaven,” but it’s in a much more straightforward manner, although the string arrangement changes at the end. She nails it and infuses it with an emotional weight. But the simple fact is if you listen to “Whole Lotta Love,” your brain will still be so singed from that that “Stairway to Heaven” sounds gorgeous, but not earth shattering. Nice cover, but the revelation here is “Whole Lotta Love.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

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<p>MGMT</p>

MGMT

'Congratulations' MGMT, you lead the top new album releases for April 13

Jeff Beck, American Idol's Jason Castro and Coheed and Cambria also have fresh sets

MGMT’s second Columbia release is Tuesday’s (April 13) biggest release, but there are other goodies: For “American Idol” fans, as Jason Castro puts out his first full-length set,  vets Jeff Beck and Natalie Merchant return after seven-year absences, and Coheed & Cambria rock your world with their fifth studio album.

Jeff Beck, “Emotion & Commotion” (Atco/Rhino): In Beck’s first album in seven years, he uses his stunning guitar work to unite a hodgepodge of music including a few originals, covers of “Somewhere Over the Rainbow” and “Nessun Dorma,” and portion of a movie score to “Atonement” into a somewhat cohesive work.?)

Laura Bell Bundy, “Achin’ and Shakin’” (Mercury Nashville): She may be a Broadway baby, but Laura Bell Bundy certainly has a name made for country music. Bundy, who’s appeared in “Legally Blonde,” “Wicked” and “Hairspray,” has traded in the Great White Way for Music Row. First single “Giddy on Up” is climbing both the country chart and the dance chart, courtesy of a kicking remix.

Jason Castro, “Jason Castro”  (Atlantic): “American Idol” contestant as best known for his long dreadlocks as his strong vocals releases his first full-length post-“Idol” album. Assisting him were producer Eric Rosse, as well as songwriters Marc Roberge of O.A.R, and Zac Maloy, who wrote for David Cook’s set.  Castro starts a tour April 17 in Dallas.

Coheed and Cambria, “Year of the Black Rainbow” (Columbia): Shades of “Star Wars 1: The Phantom Menace.” For its fifth studio album, hard rock band C&C goes back to the future. The latest in its series of concept albums, “Year of the Black Rainbow” is, thematically, a prequel to its previous four albums.  It comes with a novel for your reading pleasure.

Kaki King, “Junior” (Rounder): Guitarist known for her impressive fretboard tapping abilities turns to producer Malcolm Burn to create a dreamscape with her airiest vocals yet.

Natalie Merchant, “Leave Your Sleep” (Nonesuch): Really? This is what we get after a seven-year wait?  Merchant takes lyrics from such brilliant poets as Robert Louis Stevenson and e.e. cummings and writes music around their words.  Maybe she’s got writer’s block?

MGMT, “Congratulations” (Columbia):  Duo of Ben Goldwasser and Andrew VanWyngarden’s second Columbia set, and follow up to “Oracular Spectacular,” is a trippy serving of electro-psychedelic pop, but we’re sure you already know that since it leaked a month ago and has been available for streaming since then.

Straight No Chaser, “With a Twist” (Atco/Atlantic): This male a capella group has been around much longer than “Glee,” but maybe the interest in that show’s reinvention of pop classics by ensembles will help propel these former Indiana University students into the stratosphere and leave listeners not shaken, but stirred. After two successful holiday sets, the ten piece now tackles such tunes as Red Hot Chili Peppers’ “Under the Bridge,” Oasis’s “Wonderwall” and Coldplay’s “Fix You.”

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<p>John Mayer</p>

John Mayer

Watch: John Mayer's video for 'Heartbreak Warfare'

Do Jessica or Jennifer make cameo appearances?

So here’s your chance to know what it feels like to be John Mayer. No, not the John Mayer who can’t keep his mouth shut when it comes to talking about masturbation or sleeping with Jessica Simpson or breaking up with Jennifer Aniston. We mean the John Mayer who plays before sold-out audiences each night.

It should come as really no surprise after all the brick bats thrown his way lately for his lug-headed comments to Playboy  that Mayer decided to play it safe-- really artfully, tastefully safe-- with his new black and white video for “Heartbreak Warfare,” the latest single from “Battle Studies.”

The video for the song, about the war between men and women in affairs of the heart, takes us on the stage with Mayer. As the album version of the song plays, we’re treated to live footage (Why didn’t they just record a live version? That would be more compelling and he can certainly pull that off.)  We get the live crowd noise in the beginning, but that’s a live as this one gets. Heck, the audience cheering could be from a Scorpions concert for all we know.

The idea is clearly to remind us that before he became known for dating other celebrities and reaching a million followers on Twitter and saying things that turned into tabloid fodder for weeks, Mayer used to be known as a musician and a fine one at that.  Call it Damage Control 101 or call it ignoring the elephant in the room, but the video will appeal to the folks who still want the focus squarely on Mayer’s music. For those interested in Simpson in the bedroom, this video can’t help you. You're on your own for that one.
 

 

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<p>Drake</p>

Drake

Watch: Drake deals with meteoric rise to fame in 'Over' music video

It's lonely at the top

It’s hard to be Drake… everyone wants you and, even worse, everyone wants something from you.

As hectic as life is for Drake, he took the time out to shoot a video for “Over,” the song where he’s chronicling how crazy his life has been lately, but not too crazy to still give a special shout out to a lady that’s “too fine to go home alone.”  Even though he shot a video, it would appear that life is moving too quickly for him to really put much time and effort into a clip. The video for “Over” primarily consists of him sitting in a bedroom with images projected over him or he is standing there looking very pained over his fame. Pulling the hood of your sweatshirt tighter around your head = pain.

There are also some flames, but we’d be lying if we pretended to know what they were all about. There are a few shots of women, but the video is  mainly a blur and he's alone, despite singing that he has no idea who all these people are. We may not get the fire reference, but you don't have to hit us over the head for us to get that life is a blur right now for Drake, hence the blurry images, and, despite being surrounded by strangers, he feels alone.  Ahh... so that's what it feels like to be really famous---blurry and lonely. Thanks for letting us know, Drake.

 

 

 

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<p>Rihanna</p>

Rihanna

Rihanna added to Lilith 2010 line-up

Tour offers $99 four-packs for lawn seating

Rihanna will take a break from her tour to play Lilith 2010’s July 12 show in Salt Lake City. It is RiRi’s only Lilith date.

In other Lilith news, many venue along the 36-city route are offering $99 Ladies Night 4-Packs, meaning you and three of your friends (we don’t think they check to make sure you’re actually a lady) can nab four law seats for $99.

Each date will feature 11 acts.  The only artist slated to play every show on the route is Sarah McLachlan. Individual city line-up is on lillithfair.com so you can check out if your favorite artists are on your tour stop

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Sun, Jun 27                  Calgary, AB                 McMahon Stadium
Mon, Jun 28                 Edmonton, AB             Northlands Spectrum
Thur, Jul 1                    Vancouver, BC            Pitt Meadows Airport
Fri, Jul 2                       Portland, OR               Sleep Country Amphitheater
Sat, Jul 3                      Seattle, WA               The Gorge Amphitheatre
Mon, Jul 5                    San Francisco, CA       Shoreline Amphitheatre at Mountain View
Wed, Jul 7                    San Diego, CA           Cricket Wireless Amphitheatre
Thur, Jul 8                    Phoenix, AZ               Cricket Wireless Pavilion
Fri, Jul 9                       Las Vegas, NV            Mandalay Bay Events Center
Sat, Jul 10                    Los Angeles, CA         Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre
Mon, Jul 12                  Salt Lake City, UT       USANA Amphitheatre
Tue, Jul 13                   Denver, CO                Comfort Dental Amphitheatre
Thur, Jul 15                  Kansas City, MO         Capitol Federal Park @ Sandstone
Fri, Jul 16                     St. Louis, MO             Verizon Wireless Amphitheater St Louis
Sat, Jul 17                    Chicago, IL                First Midwest Bank Amphitheatre
Sun, Jul 18               Minneapolis, MN         Canterbury Park
Tues, July 20                Indianapolis, IN          Verizon Wireless Music Center
Wed, Jul 21                  Detroit, MI                 DTE Energy Music Theatre
Fri, Jul 23                 Montreal, QC              Parc Jean-Drapeau
Sat, Jul 24                    Toronto, ON              Molson Canadian Amphitheatre
Tues, July 27                Cleveland, OH             Blossom Music Center
Wed, Jul 28                  Philadelphia, PA           Susquehanna Bank Center
Fri, Jul 30                     Boston, MA                 Comcast Center
Sat, Jul 31                    New York, NY             PNC Bank Arts Center
Sun, Aug 1                   Hartford, CT               Comcast Theatre
Tues, Aug 3                  Washington, DC          Venue TBA
Wed, Aug 4                 Raleigh, NC                 Time Warner Cable Music Pavilion at Walnut Creek
Fri, Aug 6                     Charlotte, NC              Verizon Wireless Amphitheatre Charlotte
Sat, Aug 7                    Nashville, TN               Bridgestone Arena
Sun, Aug 8                   Atlanta, GA                Aaron’s Amphitheatre
Tues, Aug 10                W. Palm Beach, FL      Cruzan Amphitheatre
Wed, Aug 11               Tampa, FL                   Ford Amphitheatre
Thur, Aug 12                Birmingham, AL           Verizon Wireless Music Center Birmingham
Sat, Aug 14                  Austin, TX                  Venue TBA
Sun, Aug 15                 Houston, TX                Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
Mon, Aug 16                Dallas, TX                    Superpages.com Center
 

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<p>Slash</p>

Slash

Who will be No. 1 on the album chart next week? Usher, Slash or Justin Bieber?

Can Slash bring rock back to the top of the charts?

Look for Usher and his protégé, Justin Bieber, to switch positions on the album chart next week as Bieber’s “My World 2.0” scampers back to the top of the Billboard 200 and Usher’s “Raymond v. Raymond” drops to No. 2 after its stunning kickoff sales week of close to 350,000. Both fall off considerable, but still sell respectably. To put it in perspective, the combined total sales prediction of all albums in next week’s Top 10 is less than what Usher and Bieber sold together last week.

 Slash’s self-titled set, which features Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, Chris Cornell, Dave Grohl, Kid Rock and the Black Eyed Peas' Fergie, will be next week’s highest debut, coming in at No. 3 with sales of around 60,000, according to Hits Daily Double. The only other top 10 debut will be Madonna’s CD/DVD for “The Sticky & Sweet Tour,” which will take a bow around No. 7.
 
With a few days left to count, at this point, the rest of the Top 10 looks like it will round out with “Now 33” hanging strong at No. 4, Lady Antebellum, this year’s top seller so far, at No. 5, Monica at No. 6, Lady GaGa at No. 8, Bieber’s “My World” at No. 9 and Erykah Badu at No. 10. We’ll see if Bieber’s “Saturday Night Live” performance April 11 gives him a boost, but probably not until the following week—unless he is so inspiring that fans rush to buy his set before SoundScan closes out the sales week on Sunday.
 
Outside of the Top 10, Rihanna's upcoming  tour mate Ke$ha moves back up to No. 12, while Jakob Dylan’s second solo set debuts at No. 15.

 

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<p>Justin Bieber</p>

Justin Bieber

Justin Bieber and Drake plan to work together, says Bieber

Set your DVRs if it's past your bedtime: Bieber on 'SNL' this weekend

We can hear the girls screaming now. Justin Bieber, who appears on “Saturday Night Live” on April 11, and Drake have plans to work together, says the moppet pop star, whose “My World 2.0” debuted at the top of the Billboard 200 two last week.

 
“He’s a great artist and we’ve already talked about it; we haven’t done it yet, but it’s definitely in the works,” Bieber tells Complex.  (The rest of the interview is pretty mundane, expect you can feel Bieber’s publicist jerk when the interviewer asked him about Lesbians Who Look Like Justin Bieber ).
 
As you know, Drake also appeared in Bieber’s “Baby” video to show his love for his fellow Canadian. “We met through mutual people and became homies. He wanted to show love, so he came out to the music video,” explains Bieber.
 
Maybe the two can work on a photo shoot together since Bieber is clearly none too pleased with his cover shot on this week’s People magazine. As he tweeted earlier, “I look crazy as heck on the cover but if u can’t laugh at yourself u ain’t havin’ fun.”
Idolator reported a Bieber tweet that he seems to have taken down: “Dear @peoplemag Covershoot…next time I laugh real crazy warn me u r still taking pics… still appreciate u but let’s get on the same page.” Of course, JB's fans have furiously taken to Twitter to defend their poster boy.  We fully expect them to announce a People boycott next.

 

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Pitbull

Pitbull is bringing his ladies to a city near you.

Pitbull brings his 'Carnaval' to a venue near you

Rapper previews material from two new albums

He knows you want him. Latin rapper Pitbull will embark on his biggest U.S. tour yet when his “Mr. Worldwide’s Carnaval” outing starts May 25.

 
Pitbull will be playing his hits, including last year’s smash,  “I Know You Want Me (Calle Ocho),”  as well as previewing tunes from his June Spanish album, “Armando,” and his next English-language set, coming this fall.
The AEG-presented tour starts at Denver’s 1st Bank Center and concludes June 27 at Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom, according to Billboard.biz.
 
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<p>The Dream</p>

The Dream

Watch: The-Dream's video for 'Love King'

Women magically appear out of his back side

 

The-Dream’s dulcet tones are smooth and enticing enough to pull women out of the woodwork—or from behind his back. This is the lesson we learn in the video for “Love King,” The-Dream has to do nothing more than start to sing in front of a red screen and with each note a new lovely emerges. There are the ones he met in the bank, the ones he met on a plane and the ones he met in college (yay for the smarties, he declares). Some of them, based on the way they are dressed, he clearly met in da club.
 
There are no sets, no changes of locale, just The-Dream standing there singing while the women appear.  Any budget was clearly spent on hair and make up and post-production because there is nothing going on here. Every now and then four scantily clad women shake their booties.
 
The women never acknowledge each or, for that matter, pay that much attention to the man who conjured them up. But there’s something quite cool about the endless parade, if for nothing else, they are all very attractive, but not all size 0s. Plus, we love that he talks about how hot it is to be smart. We’re not quite sure we’d go so far as to show this to boost women’s self esteem—it’s not Dove commercial—but given how misogynist some videos are, this one is a delight in its own sexy (non-sexist)  way—even though there’s really not much to it.
 
The-Dream's label wants you to go to his site to see the video, so we can't embed it yet. Click here to be transported to Dream-land.
 
 

 

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