Grammys 2014: Best New Artist contenders pit Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vs. everyone else
Credit: AP Photo

Grammys 2014: Best New Artist contenders pit Macklemore & Ryan Lewis vs. everyone else

Nope it's not too early to speculate

The Grammy nominations won’t be announced until December, but an important date is coming up: the eligibility period ends Sept. 30. So as that date approaches, we look at some of the leading contenders for Best New Artist. It’s not as strong a field as last year, and, in fact, we’ll go out on a limb and say that it’s Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’s to lose, but there are always some wild cards in the category.

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<p>Keith Urban</p>

Keith Urban

Credit: Donn Jones/AP

Keith Urban's 'Fuse' will ignite the Billboard 200 next week

Country superstar's title will be one of seven debuts

It’s another big week for the Top 10 of the Billboard 200 as seven of the Top 10 will likely be debuting titles.

Leading the pack with a lock on No. 1 is Keith Urban’s “Fuse” (read our review here), which will be the only title to sell more than 100,000. Hits Daily Double forecasts it will top out at around 105,000. 

Bowing at No. 2 will likely be The Weeknd’s “Kiss Land” at 95,000.  The numbers drop off drastically for 2 Chainz’ “B.O.A.T.S. II: Me Time,”  which will probably come in at No. 3 with sales of 55,00-60,000.

Luke Bryan’s “Crash My Party” hangs on at No. 4, surrounded by debuts, as Janelle Monae’s “The Electric Lady” lights up the chart at No. 5 (45,000-50,000).

The debuts continue in the bottom 5, as Arctic Monkeys’ Mercury Prize-nominated “AM” bows at No. 6 (35,000-40,000) and Sheryl Crow’s first country album, “Feels Like Home,” at No. 7 (30,000-35,000).

This week’s No. 1 album, Ariana Grande’s “Yours Truly” and the No. 2 album, Tamar Braxton’s “Love & War,” slide to Nos. 8 and 9, respectively, while vintage R&B group Earth Wind & Fire comes in at No. 10 with “Now, Then & Forever.”

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<p>Robin Thicke performing in Malaysia</p>

Robin Thicke performing in Malaysia

Credit: AP Photo/Lai Seng Sin

Robin Thicke sets tour dates for 2014

Jessie J and DJ Cassidy are onboard

Robin Thicke will take “Blurred Lines” on the road early next year.

The theater tour starts Feb. 21 at Atlanta’s Fox Theater, before wrapping five weeks and 15 dates later in March 29 at Bill Graham Civic Auditorium in San Francisco. The tour is concentrated primarily on the east coast, although it does hit a few midwest cities before ending on the west coast. Missing? Cities like Los Angeles and any city in the south.

Opening the shows will be Jessie J and DJ Cassidy.

Tickets go on sale Sept. 20 at 10 a.m. If you feel like combining your love for Thicke with your love for good causes, Thicke has partnered with Tickets for Charity to sell specific seats with proceeds going to St Jude Children’s Research Hospital and Natural Resources Defense Council. Those can be found at www.ticketsforcharity.com.

In related “Blurred Lines” news, co-writer (and performer) Pharrell told the Associated Press that he sees no similarity between the mega hit, which spent 12 weeks atop Billboard’s Hot 100, and Marvin Gaye’s “Got To Give It Up.” Thicke has filed a lawsuit asking a judge to preemptively rule that “Blurred Lines” does not infringe on the Gaye classic. “If you read music, all you have to do is read the sheet music. It’s completely different,” Pharrell said.


Robin Thicke Tour dates

February 21                        Atlanta, GA                         Fox Theatre
February 25                        Camden, NJ                        Susquehanna Bank Center                
February 27                        Washington, DC                Patriot Center
March 1                                Mashantucket, CT           MGM Grand Theatre
March 2                                Atlantic City, NJ                 Borgata
March 4                                Boston, MA                        Agannis Arena
March 7                                New York, NY                    Theatre at MSG
March 12                             Detroit, MI                          Fox Theatre
March 15                             St. Louis, MO                     Fox Theatre
March 20                             Austin, TX                            ACL Live at The Moody Theater
March 21                             Thackerville, OK                Winstar Casino      
March 23                             Denver, CO                         Fillmore Auditorium
March 26                             Seattle, WA                        WAMU Theater
March 27                             Vancouver, BC                  Rogers Arena
March 29                             San Francisco, CA             Bill Graham Civic Auditorium

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<p>Kelly Clarkson</p>

Kelly Clarkson

Credit: AP Photo

Kelly Clarkson has full country album in the works

Set will follow holiday release

With “Tie It Up” doing well at country radio, Kelly Clarkson finally confirmed that she is doing what we all suspected: recording an entire country album.Not only that, she’s almost done with it!

She told Albany, N.Y. radio station WGNA, “We’ve almost made a whole record.” In fact, being on tour with Maroon 5 this summer is the only thing between Clarkson and the finished album.

Clarkson, who also has a holiday album, “Wrapped In Red,” coming in A few weeks, says she expects to pivot back and forth between country and pop. “With Jewel and Sheryl Crow, they kinda quit pop and came over the country,” she said. “I love both. I don’t necessarily know if I have one foot it it and one foot in the other.” Well, actually, Kels, that sounds exactly like what you have.  The "American Idol" winner has already won the Academy of Country Music Awards covered Vocal Event of the Year for “Don’t You Wanna Stay,” her No. 1 duet with Jason Aldean.

Check out the full interview with Kelly Clarkson here.
 

 

 

 

 

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Incubus' Mike Einziger on working with Avicii, The Internet and 'The Lone Ranger'

Incubus' Mike Einziger on working with Avicii, The Internet and 'The Lone Ranger'

When will we get a new Incubus album?

When Incubus guitarist Mike Einziger got the call that superstar DJ/producer Avicii (aka Tim Bergling) wanted to meet with him, he admits he wasn’t sure why. “I wasn’t too familiar with Tim’s world, and, also, specifically with Tim’s music. I knew the song ‘Levels,’ and I knew him as an electronic music producer, but I didn’t know how that would work with what I do.”

The answer, it turns out, is fabulously. The two co-wrote “Wake Me Up,” the first single from Avicii’s “True,” out Sept. 17. With its foot-stomping, hand-clapping, acoustic appeal (anchored by a fierce beat), “Wake Me Up” has soared to No. 1 in more than 22 countries and has become Bergling’s first Top 5 hit on the Billboard Hot 100.

[More after the jump...]

 

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<p>A moment from Icona Pop's new video</p>

A moment from Icona Pop's new video

Credit: Atlantic Records

Icona Pop pays homage to 'Paris Is Burning' in new 'All Night' video: Watch

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Swedish duo's debut album comes out Sept. 24

Icona Pop pays homage to ‘80s movie, “Paris is Burning,” in its new video for “All Night.”  The original film celebrated the culture of drag balls in New York, many of which focused on the African-American and Latino transgender community.

Icona Pop’s Caroline Hjelt and Aino Jawo perform the peppy, synthetic tune in a night club as the dancers swirl around them. The live footage is intercut with interviews with the drag artists talking about the community created by the balls. The drag queens are far more interesting than Icona Pop, and we’re quite sure the duo wouldn’t have it any other way.

After having to scrap the first several dates of its U.S. tour after Jawo fell ill, including an appearance at Seattle’s Bumbershoot Festival, the “I Love It” pair continues a U.S. club tour tonight in Chicago. The tour wraps in Brooklyn on Sept. 25.

On Sept. 24, Atlantic Records will release the act’s debut album, “This Is...Icona Pop.” Icona Pop will appear on “The Late Show with David Letterman” on Sept. 25 and “The Today Show” on Sept. 26.

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<p>Katy Perry</p>

Katy Perry

Katy Perry's 'Roar' dominates Billboard Hot 100, Lorde and Avicii score big

Drake's lucky No. 13

Katy Perry’s “Roar” remains king of the chart jungle for a second week, as the track also tops many of the charts that determine Hot 100 position: streaming songs, on-demand songs and digital songs, while the song rises 6-2 on radio songs.

The upward mobility gives “Roar” a commanding lead of Robin Thicke’s “Blurred Lines,” featuring T.I. and Pharrell, which remains at No. 2 for the second week, following its 12-week run at No. 1. (“Blurred Lines” beats “Roar” on one front: it is still receiving more radio airplay).

Several tunes reach new highs on the Top 10: New Zealand teenager Lorde scores her first Top 5 hit as multi-format smash, “Royals,” moves 8-3. Jay Z’s “Holy Grail,” featuring Justin Timberlake,” rises 5-4 to reach a new summit, while Avicii lands his first top 5 as well, as “Wake Me Up” moves 7-5.

There’s also upward movement in the lower half of the Top 10 as Lana Del Rey and Cedric Gervais’ “Summertime Sadness” leaps 10-6, also a new peak. Del Rey’s gain is Lady Gaga’s loss as “Applause” drops one to No. 7. Drake’s “Hold On, We’re Going Home,” featuring Majid Jordan, marches 12-8, marking the rapper's 13th Top 10 hit  Capitol Cities’ “Safe and Sound” moves back into the Top 10, inching 11-9, and Eminem’s “Berzerk” drops 3-10. While airplay for the track continues to increase, Eminem's tune falls based on a 48% drop in digital sales, according to Billboard.

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<p>Cover art for Kings of Leon's new album, 'Mechanical Bull'</p>

Cover art for Kings of Leon's new album, 'Mechanical Bull'

Credit: RCA

Watch: Kings of Leon cover Robyn's 'Dancing On My Own'

Band also debuts new songs from 'Mechanical Bull'

Kings of Leon, whose new album, “Mechanical Bull, comes out Sept. 24, covered Robyn’s “Dancing On My Own,” a new twist yesterday on BBC Radio 1.

The Followill  family slowed the track down and bolstered it with a trembling, fuzzy guitar background to give it an emotional heft.  It’s a little as if they crossed Roxy Music with the Swedish dance diva. There’s also something very cool about Caleb Followill’s gruff voice singing the line, “I’m not the girl you’re taking home.”

On BBC Radio 1, the group also previewed several new songs from the forthcoming album, including “Beautiful War” (embedded beneath the video),  “Family Tree,” and “Wait For Me.”

What do you think of Kings of Leon’s cover? They are just the latest act to do so. Check out these other versions by Fleet FoxesThe Duke Spirit, and Cher Lloyd.
 

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<p>Britney Spears, seen here at the 'Smurfs 2' premiere</p>

Britney Spears, seen here at the 'Smurfs 2' premiere

Credit: Jordan Strauss/Invision/AP

Britney Spears will debut new single, 'Work Bitch,' on Sept. 16

Tune goes on sale on Sept. 17

As everyone’s been swinging back and forth like a pinata awaiting Britney Spears’ Sept. 17 news (Will it be a new single? Finally confirmation of her Las Vegas residency? A Las Vegas pizzeria?), Spears decided to break the news herself.

On Sept. 16, Spears’ new single, “Work Bitch,” according to a Spears tweet,  will premiere at 6 p.m. ET on Clear Channel’s iHeartRadio.com and at radio.  The track will go live on iTunes for digital download at 12:01 a.m. on Sept. 17. So is that the news that the countdown clock on her website is moving toward?

Spears has already shot the video for “Work Bitch,” according to Rolling Stone, in the desert with director Ben Mor, with whom she worked on will.i.am’s “Scream And Shout”  clip. As you recall, earlier this week, Spears sent into the world two photos of herself, including one in a bikini, from the video shoot, proving that the “Work Bitch” singer had definitely been working out.

There’s still no word on an album release date, though with the single dropping next week, it’s likely that Spears will put out the album this year in order to take advantage of the fourth quarter holiday shopping season. We predict a November release date. And if not, we know that Spears will be appearing on someone else's album coming out this year: yesterday, Miley Cyrus released the track list for her Oct. 8 release, "Bangerz," revealing the title of her collaboration with Spears is "SMS (Bangerz)." 

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Watch: Kanye West performs 'Bound 2' on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon'

Watch: Kanye West performs 'Bound 2' on 'Late Night with Jimmy Fallon'

Rapper's surprised appearances paired him with Charlie Wilson, The Roots

Kanye West made an unannounced stop at “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” last night where he performed "Yeezus" track “Bound 2” with Charlie Wilson and house band, The Roots.

West had been in New York for fashion week and while the performance was a surprise, word leaked out later in the day before the show aired.

West’s “Yeezus” tour, featuring Kendrick Lamar, starts Oct. 19 in Seattle. It is his first solo tour since 2008’s “Glow In The Dark.” 

 

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