Lady GaGa at the 2010 Grammy Awards

Lady GaGa at the 2010 Grammy Awards.

Credit: AP Photo

Lady GaGa announces North American tour dates for Monster Ball outing

Is it a given that she'll dress like the Statue of Liberty in New York-themed production?

Lady GaGa keeps on rolling.  Her first major North American arena tour will start June 28 at Montreal’s Bell Centre, stopping at 31 cities before wrapping at Raleigh’s RBC Center on Sept. 19.

The most-covered person on the planet by the pop media announced the dates on her website this morning. Tickets for the Live Nation-presented, Monster Ball  tour go on sale starting March 19.

The show will have a New York theme and will boast bigger production than the Monster Ball that swung through smaller venues last year. “It’s a story, and the story is that me and my friends are  in New York and we’re going to the Monster Ball and we get lost,”  LG told Ryan Seacrest  last month.

As notes, the dates around the Aug. 6-8 Lollapalooza remain open on GaGa’s schedule, fueling the continued speculation that we reported last month the she’ll be headlining the Chicago festival.
No word yet on ticket pricing or opening acts.

JUNE 28        MONTREAL, QC        BELL CENTRE                ON SALE TBA
JULY 01        BOSTON, MA               TD GARDEN                ON SALE MARCH 22
JULY 11        TORONTO, ON            AIR CANADA CENTRE            ON SALE MARCH 19
JULY 17        ST. LOUIS, MO            SCOTTRADE CENTER            ON SALE TBA
JULY 20        OKLAHOMA CITY, OK    FORD CENTER                ON SALE TBA
JULY 25        HOUSTON, TX              TOYOTA CENTER                ON SALE TBA
JULY 28        DENVER, CO                PEPSI CENTER                ON SALE TBA
JULY 31        PHOENIX, AZ                US AIRWAYS CENTER            ON SALE TBA
AUGUST 03    KANSAS CITY, MO    SPRINT CENTER                ON SALE TBA                                  
AUGUST 13    LAS VEGAS, NV          MGM GRAND                ON SALE TBA
AUGUST 16    SAN JOSE, CA             HP PAVILION                ON SALE MARCH 19
AUGUST 19    PORTLAND, OR        ROSE GARDEN                ON SALE TBA
AUGUST 21    TACOMA, WA              TACOMA DOME            ON SALE TBA
AUGUST 26    EDMONTON, AB        REXALL PLACE                ON SALE TBA
AUGUST 30    ST. PAUL, MN             XCEL ENERGY CENTER            ON SALE TBA
SEPT. 01        MILWAUKEE, WI        BRADLEY CENTER            ON SALE TBA
SEPT. 16        HARTFORD, CT           XL CENTER                ON SALE TBA
SEPT. 19        RALEIGH, NC                RBC CENTER

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Credit: AP Photo

Who knocks Lady Antebellum out of No. 1? Can Ludacris 'Battle' his way to the top?

Which soundtrack soars after the Oscars?

Next week looks to be an active one in the Top 10 as five new titles will debut.

Topping the list is  Ludacris’s “Battle of the Sexes,” which looks to sell around 130,000 units, according to Hits Daily Double.  Luda’s seventh album features the rapper duetting with the likes of Nicki Minaj, Nicki Minaj, Lil Kim, Eve, Ciara, Ne-Yo, Flo Rida, Plies and Pharrell.

Coming in at No. 3, and also possibly cracking the 100,000 mark, will be “Plastic Beach” by Gorillaz, the virtual group’s third album.  Also debuting in the top 10 will be “Valleys of Neptune,” a posthumous album by the guitarist including a dozen previously unreleased studio recordings.  That title may also top 100,000 to come in at No. 4.

Country singer Gary Allan’s latest will debut at around No. 5, while “Broken Bells,” the self-titled album from the make-shift duo of Danger Mouse and Shins lead singer James Mercer, will come in at No. 9.

The rest of the Top 10 features veterans, such as Lady Antebellum, who, after returning briefly to No. 1 last week, take back up residence at No. 2, while Sade slips to No. 6, Lady GaGa hangs in at No. 7, the Blackeyed Peas at No. 8 and “Almost Alice,” inspired by hotter-than-hot movie “Alice in Wonderland,”  closes out the Top 10.

The Oscars look like they will provide a major boost to the “Crazy Heart” soundtrack, following “The Weary Kind’s” win for best original song and Jeff Bridges’ trophy for Best Actor. It leaps to No. 12. The previous week it was No. 30.

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Lady Gaga wears the American flag in her new video for 'Telephone.'

Lady GaGa goes red, white and blue for her new video with Beyonce, "Telephone."

Watch: Lady GaGa and Beyonce in 'Telephone.' Are they or aren't they 'special friends?'

Lady GaGa gets it on in prison and uses crime scene tape in creative ways

Like few artists before her, Lady GaGa has already established her desire to use music videos as far more than mere promotional clips. Instead, they are mini-movies that stand alone as their own creative expression.

In the 10-minute video for “Telephone,” which features Beyonce, Lady G creates a mini-spectacle that rips off “Caged Heat,” and then “Kill Bill” and finally “Thelma & Louise.”  It doesn’t have the warped sense of humor of “Paparazzi,” (which was also directed by Jonas Akerlund) or the wild futuristic bent of “Bad Romance,” but it’s wonderfully entertaining, if not very original.

The film opens as Lady GaGa, in the sharpest prison attire ever, has been arrested for some crime, perhaps of a crime against fashion, and is headed for a strip search by the butchest female prison guards ever. They declare “she doesn’t have a dick”—a reference to the recent rumor, based on a photo, that Lady GaGa was packing a penis.

She’s clearly sent to a prison full of Fashion Institute of Technology grads because they are all decked out in outfits straight off a trashy runway. Lady GaGa excels beyond all though, creatively dressing herself in chains, crafting eye glasses out of Marlboros and using Diet Coke cans for curlers. LG finds love immediately with her own tattooed love girl and has a little girl on girl action before she gets a mysterious phone call.

[If you are having problems with the embed, click here.]

She’s about to get out of jail, but first it’s time to break into a dance number as the lipstick lesbians get decked out in their black studded bras and panties.  Lady GaGa also decides to make a fashion statement out of crime scene tape. Girlfriend will never ever need to do anything as pedestrian as a Playboy photo shoot—she’s basically shown us everything but a full-on crotch shot in her videos. At least she keeps it interesting.

Once she’s done jailhouse rocking for the last time,  LG  reunites with Beyonce—or Honey B, as LG calls her, who has come to pick her up in, yes, the Pussy Wagon.

Their relationship is left deliberately vague but Beyonce provocatively feeds LG a bear claw in what would seem to be an allusion that they are more than just friends.

We’re not sure why, but Honey B decides to kill everyone in a diner with poison that Lady G, who’s now working in a kitchen without a hairnet but a bitching telephone made of hair, has used to spike coffee and Wonder Bread sandwiches (note the number of product placements. We stopped at four).

In case you’re wondering how to celebrate your next killing spree, the correct answer is by bursting into dance. If you can do it in a star-spangled bikini with your peeps, even better.  Lady GaGa brings out the nasty in Beyonce like no one else (as she did in the video for “Videophone”), but Beyonce can’t quite cross over to the dark side.  She appears in cut-offs, no bikini for her. Plus, Lady GaGa says “motherfucker,” but when Beyonce utters the same word, it’s bleeped.

In the final moments, the movie turns all “Thelma and Louise” after the two girls, dolled up perhaps ready to go to their own funeral, drive off, hands clasped as the words “To be continued” flash across the screen.  We can’t wait to see what they have in store for us next.

What do you think of the second GaGa/Beyonce collaboration?  Does it beat "Videophone"?

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<p>Madonna and daughter Lourdes</p>

Madonna and daughter Lourdes

Credit: AP Photo

Madonna and Lourdes launch Material Girl fashion line

Reasonably priced line debuts at Macy's this summer

The Material Girl is living up to her name—literally. Madonna had launched a fashion line with her daughter, Lourdes, that will focus on clothes for teenage girls.

The Material Girl brand, available through Macy’s, will bow in 200 stores in time for back-to-school shopping and will include shoes, purses and jewelry, as well as clothing, according to New York Daily News.  A perfume line is slated for a later launch.

Prices will range from a very reasonable $12-$40, leading us to wonder if Lourdes will wear her own designs.  Madonna’s partner in the venture, aside from her 13-year-old daughter, is Iconix Brand Group.


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<p>Foo Fighters</p>

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters end shortest hiatus on record with new Butch Vig-produced set

Warning to his neighbors: Album will be recorded in Dave Grohl's garage.

The Foo Fighters have tapped Butch Vig to produce their seventh studio album.  It marks a reunion for head Foo  Dave Grohl and Vig, who first worked together on Nirvana’s classic “Nevermind.”

The Foo Fighters had announced they were taking a brief hiatus, but that seems to be over now. During the brief break, Grohl recorded with Them Crooked Vultures, but now he's focused on the Foos. “Me and [Foos] drummer Taylor [Hawkins] have already started demoing songs,” Grohl told Rolling Stone at the Independent Spirit Awards late last week.

Grohl added that the album will truly be the epitome of garage rock: it will be recorded in analog in Grohl’s garage in Encino, Calif.  The album is the group’s first studio album since 2007’s   “Echoes, Silence, Patience & Grace.”  The foursome will also chronicle the making of the album as part of a documentary chronicling the group’s 16 (!!!) years  together.

Rolling Stone noted that Grohl said all this as he copiously swigged from a bottle of whiskey, to take it for what it’s worth.

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<p>Lady GaGa</p>

Lady GaGa

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

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.

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<p>Swell Season</p>

Swell Season

Credit: Piper Ferguson

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

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

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

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

Simon & Garfunkel

Credit: AP Photo

Simon & Garfunkel set a new round of concert dates

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

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

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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

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

Ryan Bingham holds his Grammy from Sunday

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Oscar winner Ryan Bingham heads out on the Country Throwdown tour

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

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

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