<p>&nbsp;Justin Bieber</p>

 Justin Bieber

Credit: Richard Drew/AP

Review: Justin Bieber hits all the right notes on 'My World 2.0'

Well-crafted pop not just for the tween set


I’m not exactly in Justin Bieber’s target demo, but he just himself got a new fan.
“My World 2.0” is chock full of shimmery pop songs that rely on great production and Bieber’s pleasant, slightly nasally, uncomplicated voice. Its sweet spot is girls who are at that tender age where they’re switching allegiances from their love of horses to their timid, giggly like of boys. Smartly, Bieber and his coterie of producers and songwriters make no sudden moves that could scare them off.  Bieber is the perfect gateway drug, musically speaking, to adult acts as his starter kit, last year’s “My World,” showed.  Every girl remembers her first love like this—whether it was as far back as Donny Osmond or David Cassidy or Justin Timberlake or, more recently, the Jonas Brothers. And we say thank god for them. Girls have the rest of their lives to listen to songs about adult problems
The result is an album full of songs, none of which are particularly original, but all are supremely crafted. The lyrics are straight-ahead, boy-meets-girl stuff that no parent could possibly object to. In every case, Bieber is either pining for the girl (the gloriously upbeat “Baby” featuring Ludacris and “That Should Be Me”) or is adoring her (“Never Let You Go” with its sample lyric: “It’s like an angel came by and took me to heaven”). In other words, the girl is always the one calling the shots here, not Bieber, especially on “Eenie Meenie,” the ridiculously catchy mid-tempo thumping duet with Sean Kingston about a girl playing the field. As he does with Ludacris on “Baby,” Bieber is completely able to hold his own with the much-more experienced Kingston.
A few of the songs are downright gems, such as the thumpy, sleek disco sheen of “Somebody to Love.” (We predict lots of dance remixes) and the mid-tempo piano ballad “U Smile,” that musically recalls Elton John’s “I Guess That’s Why They Call It the Blues.” “Runaway Love,” while not as strong as the previous two, sounds straight out of Janet Jackson’s “Someone to be My Lover” era.
The ballads are the weak link here. “Overboard,” a ballad that’s going to feed into every little girl’s “I’ll rescue you” complex (never too early to start cultivating that, ladies), is one of the few tunes that is so generic that it almost disappears into its own blandness. Plus, the label uses it to introduce 14-year old signing Jessica Jarrell, so it smells a little off to begin with. The propulsive “Up,” never gains altitude. However, third ballad and album closer, “That Should Be Me” is infinitely better than the previous two and is straight out of the All-4-One/Boyz II Men slow jam ballad school.
Of course, much of the credit for the album’s success goes to the talented phalanx surrounding Bieber like a cocoon, including The-Dream, Tricky Stewart and Bryan-Michael Cox, who lovingly craft every note and beat to provide maximum support for Bieber’s still–developing vocal style. Plus, they never pander to the younger audience.
Both Justin Timberlake and Usher vied for Bieber’s talents for their own labels (Usher was the ultimate winner) and it’s easy to see how they saw their younger selves in Bieber’s image. It’s way too soon to tell if Bieber will rise to their levels of stardom and be able to navigate through the extremely choppy waters from tween phenom to mainstream star, but so far, so good.


Read Full Post
Sam Worthington reveals his musical preferences

Sam Worthington reveals his musical preferences, can you guess who he likes?

Credit: AP Photo

What's on Sam Worthington's iPod? Probably not the 'Avatar' score

'Clash of the Titans'' star rocks it to Lemmy

What music becomes a movie hero most?

If you’re Sam Worthington, it’s all about the rock. Worthington may like acting, but he loves music. We interviewed the “Avatar” and “Clash of the Titans” star on Saturday. After the cameras stopped rolling, we spent a few minutes talking music.
Worthington was sporting a t-shirt for Baroness, a Georgia metal band. Worthington said he wore t-shirts emblazoned with his fave bands every chance he gets during TV interviews since it can serve as a little free promotion for acts he loves, he said.
Read Full Post
<p>The Dead Weather</p>

The Dead Weather

Credit: David Swanson

Listen: The Dead Weather's 'Die by the Drop' from 'Sea of Cowards'

Video is directed by 'The Runaways' helmer Floria Sigismondi


The Dead Weather has set May 11 as the release date for “Sea of Cowards,” the Jack White-led band’s follow up to “Horehound.”
First single will likely be the fierce “Die By the Drop,” which features White and Alison Mosshart trading off vocals. Here a brief snippet of it here, as well as the B-side.
The set was previously slated for March, but moved to May 7 internationally and May 11 stateside, according to entertainment.ie.
Floria Sigismondi, director of “The Runaways,” directed the video for the tune, which goes to radio next week, according to video static. Sigismondi previously directed the White Stripes’ clip for “Blue Orchid.”
The band, whose forthcoming tour will include stops at Coachella and Bonnaroo, only has that "Sea of Cowards" is "coming soon," according to its website.


Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Alex Chilton</p>

 Alex Chilton

Credit: Jack Plunkett/AP

R.E.M.'s Mike Mills, John Doe and others slated for Saturday's SXSW Big Star tribute

Current Big Star members will serve as 'house band' for SXSW show


What was meant to be one of the highlights of SXSW:--Big Star’s show Saturday night—will now turn into a tribute to Big Star’s lead singer, Alex Chilton, who died of a heart attack on March 17.
Among the artists who are expected to join the Big Star founding member, Jody Stephens, and current members Ken Stringfellow and Jon Auer, are R.E.M.’s Mike Mills, M.Ward, John Doe and the dB’s Chris Stamey.
Stephens told Billboard that Big Star will act as the “house band” for the evening. The band may be joined by Andy Hummel, Big Star’s original bassist and only remaining founding member other than Stephens. Chris Bell died in 1978.
Since his death three days ago, SXSW has turned into a make-shift memorial to Chilton with acts ranging from Stone Temple Pilots, the Bodeans and Radney Foster all paying tribute to Chilton and the influence his music had on their careers.


Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Lady Antebellum</p>

 Lady Antebellum

Credit: Mark J. Terrill/AP

Will Lady A ride back to No. 1 and who are these other people on next week's album chart?

Look for some unfamiliar names in next week's Top 10


 Look for Lady Antebellum to hop back up to No. 1 next week in a relatively slow chart week. “Need You Now” had pinballed between No. 1 and No. 3 ever since its release eight weeks ago and is about to surpass 1.4 million copies in sales.  With projected sales of 95,000, this will mark the first time the title claiming the top spot has dipped below six figures.
The No. 2 slot on the Billboard 200 goes to a man of God: Gospel singer Marvin Sapp’s latest on Verity, “Here I Am,” is poised to sell around 75,000 copies, but on a slow sales week, that’s enough to land at in the second slot, according to Hits Daily Double.
This week’s chart topper, Ludacris’s “The Battle of the Sexes,” will likely fall to No. 3, while “The Edge,” a collection of previously released rock tracks (Think “Now That's What I Call Music"  for headbangers), will slip in at No. 4 with virtually no fan fare and may creep into the No. 3 spot.
Otherwise, the rest of the Top 10 will likely be retreads and now-familiar warhorses such as Sade’s “Soldier of Love,” Black Eyed Peas’ “The E.N.D.” and Lady GaGa’s “The Fame.”
The White Stripes’ live CD/DVD, “Under Great White Northern Lights,” is slated to miss the Top 10 by very little, although it could nudge Gary Allan out of the no. 10 slot.
The following week we’ll see how big Justin Bieber really is when his first full album, “My World 2.0” hits the street.


Read Full Post
<p>Sarah McLachlan</p>

Sarah McLachlan

Sarah McLachlan's first new album in seven years slated for June 15

Pre-order 'The Laws of Illusion' and get the chance to buy Lilith tickets before all of your friends

 Sarah McLachlan’s first album of new material in seven years will come out on June 15. And it looks like she has a little tour called Lilith 2010 coming around to help promote it.

In fact, when fans pre-order McLachlan’s album, “The Laws of Illusion,” from her website (www.sarahmclachlan.com), they are also offered the option to buy two tickets to Lilith Fair before they are available elsewhere.
Bundling tickets with pre-orders of a new CD isn’t new: Prince offered gave away his CD to fans who bought tickets to his shows several years ago and Bon Jovi has done a similar tie in as well.
McLachlan recorded “The Laws of Illusion” in Montreal and Vancouver with her longtime collaborator Pierre Marchand.


Read Full Post
<p>Dave Grohl</p>

Dave Grohl

Dave Grohl fights his 'Pots' addiction

See the Them Crooked Vultures drummer go caffeine crazy

Our love for Dave Grohl pretty much knows no bounds, but it’s just taken an exponential leap with “Fresh Pots!,” the hilarious Youtube video posted by Them Crooked Vultures as a cautionary tale to the dangers of caffeine addiction. Leave the heroin to other folks.

in the two-minute clip, we see Grohl, who is seriously the nicest guy in rock, get a little wacked out his drug of choice, coffee.

The epilogue swears that Grohl, who is now working on a new Foo Fighters album,  actually landed in the hospital a few weeks after this video was filmed for caffeine-related symptoms, but we have a feeling that may just be part a tall tale. If so, we sure hope a withdrawal video is forthcoming.

this is one addict we don’t think will need a stint with Dr. Drew.






Read Full Post


Watch: Santigold and David Byrne in video for 'Please Don't'

Tune is from Byrne and Fat Boy Slim's ode to Imelda Marcos

David Byrne is brilliant and he’s earned the right to do whatever appeals to his crazy little mind, but we do have to say that when we first heard about his plans for a two-CD concept album about the relationship between Imelda Marcos, wife of the former Philippines leader Ferdinand Marcos, and one of her servants, it sounded  like it could appeal to a very small niche market.

 However, that was before we heard any of  “Here Lies Love,” which he’s collaborating on with Fat Boy Slim. The pair have brought in lots of ladies to help execute their vision on the April 6 release, including Cyndi Lauper, Tori Amos, Sia, and, as you’re about to hear, Santigold.
What’s clear is as more of the songs roll out, the Marcos relationship is the starting point for the songs, but their appeal goes far beyond people interested in the shoe-collecting crazy lady.
Read Full Post
Alex Chilton perform with Big Star at SXSW in 2004.

Alex Chilton performs with Big Star at SXSW in 2004.

Credit: AP Photo/Jack Plunkett

Big Star's Alex Chilton dead of a heart attack at 59

Revered '70s band was set to play SXSW on Saturday

Alex Chilton, lead singer of Box Tops and tremendously influential pop indie band Big Star, died today of an apparent heart attack. He was 59.

Ironically, Big Star, who no doubt influenced 1000 of the 1500 acts playing at SXSW this week, was slated to play the Austin music festival on Saturday.

His Big Star bandmate and longtime friend, Jody Stephens, confirmed the news to Memphis’s Commercial Appeal, which broke the news. Chilton was from Memphis.

Chilton was only 16 when he sang the Box Tops’ huge hit, “The Letter” in the ‘60s. Shortly following that band’s break up in 1970 and a short-lived attempt at a solo career, Chilton joined with Chris Bell (who died in 1978), Andy Hummel and Jody Stephens, who, like him were obsessed with British pop. The foursome, known as Big Star, helped put Memphis on the modern day pop map, recording at Ardent Studio, as well as being the lead  act on the Stax-distributed label. It released three critically adored albums, but the band never achieved any true modicum of commercial success.

 Chilton, always a reluctant musical hero,  returned to his solo career and relocated to New Orleans. In the ‘90s, with their cult status secure, Big Star reunited with the addition of Jon Auer and Ken Stringfellow from the Posies. The last Big Star album, “In Space,” was released in 2005.

The group never scored a major hit, but it—and Chilton’s—influence on modern day pop music can’t be underestimated, especially when it comes to ‘80s acts like REM and the Replacements, who revered  Chilton so much that they wrote and recorded a song, “Alex Chilton,”  as a tribute for its 1987 album, “Pleased To Meet Me.”

Additionally, scores of artists, ranging from Wilco, the Bangles, Jeff Buckley and Counting Crows have recorded his songs.  However, for many people, their only exposure to Big Star was the group's  "In the Street," a version of which was used as the opening theme for "That '70s Show." 

Chilton is survived by his wife, Laura, and son, Timothy.

Read Full Post
<p>&nbsp;Jason Wade of Lifehouse</p>

 Jason Wade of Lifehouse

Credit: Steve Nesius/AP

Ten Minutes with Lifehouse's Jason Wade

Band co-founder shares his secret obsession, what's on his iPod and Chris Daughtry stories

Lifehouse may not grab the headlines for their offstage antics or celebrity hook-ups. Instead, the quartet quietly goes about topping the charts with tunes that stick to radio playlists like glue. Since its 2001 major label debut, “No Name Face,” the Los Angeles-based band has crafted hit after hit, including “Hanging by a Moment,” “Breathing,” “You and Me,” “Whatever It Takes” and, now, adult contemporary chart topper, “Halfway Gone,” the first single from the group’s fifth album, “Smoke and Mirrors.”

Released March 2, “Smoke and Mirrors” debuted at a career-high No. 6 on the Billboard 200 last week. It features Lifehouse’s stock-in-trade: instantly recognizable, mid-tempo, lyrically dramatic rock tracks, but also switches up rhythms and instrumentation in the way the band had never attempted before.

Hitfix chatted with founding member/lead singer/primary songwriter Jason Wade, who got his geek on with us.  

“Smoke and Mirrors” is a hybrid of rawer material that you wrote on the road and more polished studio songs How deliberate was that?

It wasn’t really that deliberate in the beginning, but about halfway through the record, we started to realize we were kind of making a more organic rock record and neglecting the polished radio side that’s kind of kept us alive over the past 10 years. So we kind of shifted our focus to kind of bring some balance to the record, I guess you could say. And that’s where the whole smoke and mirrors concept came from. We were really kind of showcasing two different sides of the band that’s reflected on this album.

Some bands would say let’s just go with the organic side and see if our fans will follow us. Did you feel that wouldn’t fully represent who you were?

I kind of feel like we already did that on our album, [2002’s]  “Stanley Climbfall,” and it didn’t really work out too well (laughs). We’ve kind of been down that road before and I think it’s really important to see yourself from the outside. That’s a problem that a lot of bands have: they can’t really see who their fans are and where they’re at in their career. I think we took a healthy glance of where we’re at after 10 years. We had a lot of fun making this record, to be honest.

What was so fun about it?

Just kind of pushing the sonic space a bit more. We didn’t want to just recreate “No Name Face” or the last record. We really had a lot of fun, we pulled out some synth basses and we kind of just messed with some of the rhythms and just didn’t take it that serious, you know.

Did your producer, Jude Cole, encourage that in the studio?

Yeah, he’s been a huge catalyst. He’s always the one pushing us forward and is always the first one to scrap a song and take it back to the beginning. He pushed us pretty hard on this record which I think was kind of necessary.


Because I think that when you get to a certain place where you’re having a certain amount of success, it’s easy to just get complacent and just make the same record over and over just because it’s working and I don’t really think that’s a healthy thing, especially for us, because we felt we just needed to continue to move forward and try some new things and Jude was a huge catalyst for that.

Smoke and mirrors as a saying means that things are all an illusion. How do you feel that also fits into making music these days?

Well, I think it’s funny because I feel like our band has always been the kind of antithesis to smoke and mirrors. Even though we’re in the studio making some albums that are more polished than others, we’re still not really flying anything in, using Autotune live; we’re just two guitars, bass and drums. A lot of people are shocked when they see us live. When they hear us on the radio, they think it’s going to be this big production with a lot of smoke and mirrors, I guess you could say, but really, when we are out on the road, it’s just two guitarists, bass and drums.

So there’s no illusion when you’re out on the road.

Exactly. What you see is what you get.

You guys are road dogs. What’s the one item you’ve learned you can’t live without on the road?

I’d have to say probably my iPod for listening to music before the show. I’m just a huge fan of every genre as long as it’s quality music.

What’s on your iPod that would surprise us?

The last couple of years, I’ve just been obsessed with film music. I have over 350 soundtracks on my iPod. I really hope to get into film music someday in the future.

Who’s your favorite composer?

I’d have to say, right now, Thomas Newman. He’s just brilliant. Just in how he uses the clarinets. “American Beauty” is one of my favorites. The stuff he did for “Six Feet Under,” he’s a genius.

First single, “Halfway Gone,” you wrote with Kevin Rudolf. That’s a bit of a switch up for you guys.

We were about 90% done with the record. At that point we felt like we had our pop songs covered. We had our rock songs covered, but it was funny, every time that song “Let it Rock” would come on Top 40, it was the only song I would turn up in my car. Jude and I had the idea to reach out to him for a collaboration and see if we could kind of fuse together these two sides of the record that we were making. It turned out that he was a big Lifehouse fan and he happened to be in L.A. at the time so he came down to the studio. It was a really different kind of collaboration because I usually write on acoustic guitar and Kevin brought all these keyboards in and all these drum loops and it sounded like a dance party. It was like these two different worlds colliding in a good way. So it was a really interesting collaboration.

You also wrote with Chris Daughtry and Richard Marx on “Had Enough.”  What was that like?

It was interesting. The whole collaboration came out of me and Chris Daughtry had become good friends over the last couple of years.  Chris wrote a song with Richard and [Nickelback’s] Chad Kroeger and so he had the idea to fly Richard in from Chicago. To be honest, I knew his stuff, but I wasn’t that familiar and once I got to know Richard during those two days, I realized I knew all these songs that he wrote from everyone from Keith Urban to Luther Vandross. It was kind of going to a professional songwriting clinic, you know what I mean?  And for me, that’s different because I’ve always come from a visceral place. Not really professional, I just kind of pick up a guitar and go where it takes me, so it was definitely a really good learning experience.

You’re touring with Daughtry and Cavo. How is it different from your previous tours?

We’re playing a 45-minute set and it’s going to give us a chance to highlight a lot of the new stuff and really sink our teeth into this record. It’s a long tour, it’s three and half months and it just  came out of a natural progression of being friends and getting to know those guys and I think we share a lot of the same fans, so it just kind of made sense.

You turn 30 in a few months. You were 18 when you started this band. What are your thoughts about this milestone?

You know what?  I think I’ve felt 30 since I was 25 with all the wear and tear on the road. I don’t think it’s going to be a huge deal. I already feel 30, to be honest, so I’ve got that going for me.

Do you have a gig that day?

I don’t think so. The Daughtry tour wraps up mid-June, so I’m thinking about maybe going to Mexico with my wife.

As you mentioned, the band has been together a dozen years. Are there times you can see it ending or can you see that in the blink of an eye it will be 24 years together.

I kind of think as long as we’re all having fun doing this, we’re going to keep it going. I hit a point about mid-way through the band’s existence in 2005 where everyone started growing apart. Me and Rick [Woolstenhulme] the drummer became good friends, but [band co-founder/bassist] Sergio [Andrade] and I kind of grew apart and we were kind of childhood friends.

So when that happened, just no one was having fun anymore and it just became a job and when music becomes just a job, it becomes miserable and I don’t think any band has any right sticking around when they’re not having fun. So as soon as [current bassist] Bryce [Soderberg] joined the band, the chemistry just really locked it. We’re just having a blast right now, so as long as that attitude is prevalent, we’re still going to be doing it.


Read Full Post