Conor Oberst

Conor Oberst's sweet new video, 'You Are Your Mother's Child'

The video caps off a very last few months for the singer/songwriter

“Life’s a rollercoaster, keep your arms inside.”

So sings Conor Oberst in his new song, “You Are Your Mother’s Child.”  In the new video for the track, a puppet dad reflects on his very real children’s playful nature, as Oberst sings projected through an old television screen. It’s a sweet song, taken from his current album, “Upside Down Mountain,”  and even sweeter video that has an untainted, nostalgic innocence.

The lovely clip is a palate-cleanser of sorts to what has definitely been a tumultuous last few months for Oberst. This week, a woman, who, in February,  had accused Oberst of rape via comments section for an essay that ran on the  xoJane website recanted her statements and apologized to Oberst via a public statement.

Her false accusation is, of course, in-and-of itself terrible, but the story- more than any in recent weeks- is a reminder of how social media spreads tales with reckless disregard as to any veracity. A spark turns into an internet flame, which conflates into a roaring fire with the strike of one small match.

In a fascinating piece for The Washington Post, Caitlin Dewey chronicles the rumor’s path from the xoJane comment to Tumblr chatter to fan sites to mainstream.  She cites that one Tumblr post, which was merely a re-report of an earlier report, got 10,000 hits in one day. Similarly, in one 24-hour period, there were more than 700 tweets about the alleged rape.

On the internet, truth and fiction carry the same weight, but the most valuable  currency is scandal. The more salacious an item the faster it will travel. For too long (and HitFix is guilty of this as are most outlets), attributing a story to a site now counts the same as verifying the story with an informed source or publicist. And they are two very different things. Additionally, something posted as a comment to an essay or on a Tumblr account is not the same thing as actual journalism. We act like they are there’s no difference now, giving something that is reported on a gossip site the same traction as something in the New York Times.

So, as Dewey notes, by the time Oberst’s reps released a statement saying the accusations were false, the story had already been picked up so many times on the internet that it took on the sheen of true by sheer ubiquity.

Oberst, who filed a $1.2 million libel suit against his Joanie Faircloth, his accuser, in February. He has since accepted her apology, but for the rest of his life, he’ll know that when someone Googles his name, these accusations will come up and they won’t all be amended with the fact that Faircloth recanted. They should all be taken down, but that’s not how it works on the Internet. This is now part of his footprint.

Faircloth holds the ultimate responsibility, but as Dewey writes, “Everyone who ‘boosted her signal,’ in the words of one outspoken Oberst blogger, is also complicit.” Maybe, no matter whether we’re retweeting or linking on Facebook or writing for a website, it’s time to take a little responsibility for the boost.


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Katy Perry

Hear Katy Perry 'Roar' over MTV VMA snub

She has more than 500 million reasons not to worry

It doesn’t bother Katy Perry that her widely acclaimed and even-more-widely seen video for “Roar” didn’t get any love when the MTV Video Music Awards nominations were announced yesterday. It. Really. Doesn’t.

In fact, it doesn’t bother her so much that Perry took to Twitter early this morning to ever so playfully chide the VMAs for the snub and remind us all over the staggering stat that the video has received nearly 560 million views. That’s getting up there into Psy territory.

Of course, Perry doesn’t want to pour too much water on the VMAs given that her video for “Dark Horse” earned nods for best female video and best collaboration (with Juicy J).


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Lady Antebellum

Lady Antebellum's new album, '747,' set to land Sept. 30

'There's an urgency and an energy' to the new music, says Hillary Scott

Lady Antebellum’s fifth studio album, “747,” will take flight on Sept. 30.

The set, the trio’s first since 2013’s “Golden,” includes first single, “Bartender,” which bulleted at No. 11 on Billboard’s Country Airplay chart this week.

The band produced the album with Nathan Chapman, best know for his work with Taylor Swift.  “We are pushing ourselves as a band and as songwriters,” says Lady A’s Hillary Scott. “Taking ourselves out of our comfort zone and not taking ourselves too seriously.  There's an urgency and an energy to it that we've never released before.”

Lady Antebellum is in the middle of its 80-city Take Me Downtown arena tour.


1. Long Stretch of Love
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Josh Kear)

2. Bartender
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Rodney Clawson)

3. Lie With Me
(Marc Beeson, Abe Stoklasa)

4. Freestyle
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Shane McAnally)

5. Down South
(Stephanie Chapman, Christian Rada, Dave Thomson)

6. One Great Mystery
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Josh Kear)

 7. Sounded Good At The Time
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Brad Warren, Brett Warren)

 8. She Is
(Ben Rector, Jeff Pardo)

 9. Damn You Seventeen
(Rodney Clawson, Luke Laird, Shane McAnally)

10. 747
(Gordie Sampson, Caitlyn Smith, Cary Barlowe)

11. Just A Girl
(Dave Haywood, Charles Kelley, Hillary Scott, Shane McAnally)



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Johnny Winter

Fiery blues guitarist Johnny Winter dead at 70

Kiss's Paul Stanley, Tom Morello and more pay tribute on Twitter

Legendary blues guitarist Johnny Winter, known for his fiery, speedy playing and his long-flowing white hair, died yesterday in Zurich, where he was on tour. He was 70.

Winter, the older brother of Edgar Winter, was a contemporary of Eric Clapton and was one of the first blues guitarists so embraced by rock audiences that he was able to sell out arenas during his hey-day in the ‘70s. He was widely influenced by the blues guitarists who came before him, such as Muddy Waters, and he went on to inspire such guitarists as Stevie Ray Vaughan.

Born in Beaumont, Texas in 1944, Winter got his start playing in clubs as a teenager. He signed with Columbia Records in 1969 and appeared at The Woodstock Festival that year.  He performed with Janis Joplin, as well as his brother. He was inducted into The Blues Foundation Hall of Fame in 1988.

Artists including Tom Morello, Kiss’s Paul Stanley and Zakk Wylde took to Twitter today to remember Winter. Matt Sorum noted it has been a rough week for music lovers following the deaths of Tommy Ramone and Charlie Haden, and now Winter.






In addition to touring behind his 70th birthday, he was preparing for the release of his latest studio album, “Step Back,” which features guest appearances by Clapton, Ben Harper, Joe Perry, Dr. John and others.

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Beyonce leads all MTV VMA nominees with eight

Iggy Azalea and Eminem garner seven nods

Beyonce is Queen Bey when it comes to VMA voters. She leads all artists for the 2014 MTV Video Music Awards with eight nominations, including the coveted  video of the year for “Drunk In Love,” featuring Jay Z.

Hot on her heels are Eminem and Iggy Azalea with seven nominations each. The nominations were announced with MTV’s Shapchat account. The VMAs will be held Aug. 24 at The Forum in Los Angeles.

Among the artists who were ignored include Lady Gaga, Coldplay, and Justin Timberlake (although his duet with Michael Jackson, “Love Never Felt So Good,” was nominated for best choreography.)

Joining Beyonce as contenders for video of the year are Azalea’s “Fancy,”  Pharrell Williams’ “Happy,” Sia’s “Chandelier, and Miley Cyrus’ “Wrecking Ball.”  As you’ll recall, Cyrus’ twerk heard around the world occurred at last year’s VMAs.

Ariana Grande, Usher and 5 Seconds Of Summer are among the artists who will be performing at this year’s event.

VIDEO OF THE YEAR: Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX – "Fancy" Beyonce ft. Jay Z - "Drunk in Love" Pharrell Williams - "Happy" Sia - "Chandelier" Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball"

BEST HIP HOP: Eminem - "Bezerk" Drake ft. Majid Jordan - "Hold On (We're Going Home)" Childish Gambino - "3005" Kanye West - "Black Skinhead" Wiz Khalifa - "We Dem Boyz”

BEST MALE: Pharrell Williams - "Happy" John Legend - "All of Me" Ed Sheeran ft. Pharrell Williams - "Sing" Sam Smith - "Stay With Me" Eminem ft. Rihanna - "The Monster"

BEST FEMALE: Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy" Beyonce - "Partition" Lorde - "Royals" Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem" Katy Perry ft. Juicy J - "Dark Horse"

BEST POP: Pharrell Williams - "Happy" Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy" Jason Derulo ft. 2 Chainz - "Talk Dirty" Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem" Avicii ft. Aloe Blacc - "Wake Me Up”

BEST ROCK: Imagine Dragons - "Demons" Arctic Monkeys - "Do I Wanna Know" The Black Keys - "Fever" Lorde - “Royals” Linkin Park - "Until It's Gone"

MTV ARTIST TO WATCH: Sam Smith - "Stay With Me" 5 Seconds of Summer -"She Looks So Perfect" Charli XCX - "Boom Clap" Schoolboy Q - "Man of the Year" Fifth Harmony - "Miss Movin' On"

BEST COLLABORATION: Beyonce ft. Jay Z - "Drunk in Love" Ariana Grande ft. Iggy Azalea - "Problem" Pitbull ft. Ke$ha - "Timber" Chris Brown ft. Lil Wayne and Tyga - "Loyal" Eminem ft. Rihanna - "The Monster" Katy Perry ft. Juicy J - "Dark Horse”

MTV CLUBLAND AWARD: DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" Zedd ft. Hayley Williams - "Stay the Night" Calvin Harris - "Summer" Martin Garrix - "Animals" Disclosure - "Grab Her!"

BEST VIDEO WITH A SOCIAL MESSAGE Angel Haze ft. Sia - “Battle Cry“ Avicii - “Hey Brother” Beyonce - “Pretty Hurts” J. Cole ft. TLC - “Crooked Smile” Kelly Rowland - “Dirty Laundry” David Guetta ft. Mikky Ekko - “One Voice”

BEST CINEMATOGRAPHY 30 Seconds to Mars - "City of Angels" Beyonce - "Pretty Hurts" Arcade Fire - "Afterlife" Gesaffelstein - "Hate or Glory" Lana Del Rey - "West Coast”

BEST EDITING Eminem - "Rap God" MGMT - "Your Life is a Lie" Zedd ft. Hayley Williams - "Stay the Night" Beyonce - "Pretty Hurts" Fitz and the Tantrums - "The Walker"

BEST CHOREOGRAPHY Sia - "Chandelier" Beyonce - "Partition" Usher - “Good Kisser" Michael Jackson ft. Justin Timberlake - "Love Never Felt So Good" Jason Derulo ft. 2Chainz - "Talk Dirty" Kiesza - “Hideaway”

BEST DIRECTION DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" OK Go - "The Writing's On the Wall" Miley Cyrus - "Wrecking Ball" Beyonce - "Pretty Hurts" Eminem ft. Rihanna - "The Monster"

BEST ART DIRECTION DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" Iggy Azalea ft. Charli XCX - "Fancy" Eminem - "Rap God" Arcade Fire - "Reflektor" Tyler, The Creator - "Tamale"

BEST VISUAL EFFECTS DJ Snake & Lil Jon - "Turn Down for What" OK Go - "The Writing's On the Wall" Disclosure - "Grab Her!" Eminem - "Rap God" Jack White - "Lazaretto"


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The New Pornographers

The New Pornographers' new video for 'War On The East Coast'

Take a stroll through the danger zone

The New Pornographers continue their power pop ways with new song and video, “War in the East Coast.”  The catchy track has a bit of a ‘90s BritPop feel, which may account for the video’s style.

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Magic!'s 'Rude' casts a spell on the singles chart, topples Iggy Azalea's 'Fancy'

How long has it been since a reggae song or a Canadian act hit No. 1?

It took a little magic to finally topple Iggy Azalea from No. 1 on the Billboard Hot 100.

After seven weeks at the top, Azalea’s “Fancy,” featuring Charli XCX, falls to No. 2 as Magic!’s “Rude” ascends to the pole position. The pop/reggae track is the Canadian quartet’s first charting single. It is the first reggae song to top the Billboard Hot 100 since Sean Paul’s “Get Busy” in 2003, according to Billboard.  It has been even longer since and all-Canadian band ruled at No. 1: the last time was Nickleback with “How You Remind Me” in 2001.

The next four songs on the chart hold stationary:  Ariana Grande’s “Problem,” featuring Azalea, is No. 3; Nico & Vinz’s “Am I Wrong” at No. 4, Sam Smith’s “Stay With Me” at No. 5 and Jason Derulo’s “Wiggle,” featuring Snoop Dog” at No. 6.

John Legend’s former No. 1,  “All of Me,” moves back up one spot to No. 7. Maroon 5’s latest, Maps,” inches 9-8. Calvin Harris’ “Summer” drops 7-9 and Disclosure’s “Latch,” featuring Smith, finally makes it into the Top 10, as it moves 11-10.

In other chart-worthy news: Azalea’s newest single, “Black Widow,” featuring Rita Ora, zooms 97-65.

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The Beatles
Credit: Apple Corps Ltd.

Ron Howard to direct new Beatles documentary

Feature film will focus on the band's touring years

Academy Award-winning director Ron Howard will helm a new authorized documentary about The Beatles based on the early part of the Fab Four’s career.

The feature film, which has the full cooperation of surviving Beatles Paul McCartney and Ringo Starr, as well as John Lennon’s widow, Yoko Ono, and George Harrison’s widow, Olivia, will focus on The Beatles’ early days at the Cavern Club in Liverpool, England through their last public concert at San Francisco’s Candlestick Park in 1966. 

The Cavern Club was the small Liverpool venue where the Beatles played more than 200 times between 1961-1963 and were discovered by their manager Brian Epstein (the Quarrymen, the earlier version of The Beatles, started by Lennon and eventually joined by McCartney and Harrison, played their first gig at the vaunted club in 1957).  The film will include clips of home movies and photos captured by fans who were at the gigs.

“I am excited and honored to be working with Apple and the White Horse team on this astounding story of these four young men who stormed the world in 1964,” Howard said in a statement. “Their impact on popular culture and the human experience cannot be exaggerated.”  Apple is the entity that controls the Beatles' business ventures.

White Horse Pictures, the team behind the Emmy-winning Martin Scorsese’s “George Harrison: Living in the Material World” HBO documentary, will produce the untitled film, along with Imagine Entertainment’s Brian Grazer, and Howard.

No word on when the documentary will be released theatrically.



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Colbie Caillat

Welcome to the new Girl Power era from Colbie Caillat, Mary Lambert and more

Check out our 'Beautiful' playlist


In a time when a woman allowing herself to be photographed without make-up is often seen as a revolutionary and courageous act, there have been a number of videos/songs in the past week that serve as reminders that females don’t have to paint their faces, look like models, or have it together emotionally every moment to feel good about themselves.

Welcome to a new age of  Girl Power.

In Colbie Caillat’s “Try,” the singer/songwriter sings of her experience of always making sure she looked perfect—nails and hair done, right outfit— so people in the music industry would like her. The song serves as reminder to herself that she doesn’t have to try so hard; that people will respond to her authenticity. In the video, she expands the notion to women of different shapes and sizes, as they follow her lead by taking out their hair extensions (or wig) and removing their make up looking straight into the camera. Caillat sings the last part of the song with her face stripped bare—the ultimate sigh of vulnerability in today’s world.

In Mary Lambert’s “Secrets,” she reveals perceived flaw after flaw that she tries to keep hidden over an irrepressibly jaunty tune— whether it’s that she’s bi-polar, comes from a dysfunctional family, cries all day, is gay, is overweight…she has a catalog full. But her message it that we all have our secrets and keeping them locked away in a place of shame is far more damaging than letting them out.

Both these songs/videos are about women reclaiming their power by letting go of the messages that society pounds into us over and over that we are not good enough as we are and that there is always some unattainable goal —losing 5 more pounds, having longer eyelashes, going a shade blonde — that would make us acceptable to the world. Of course, every time someone meets that goal, the goal line moves.

Ideally, we teach these self-acceptance messages to ourselves and don’t need them to be validated externally, but sometimes they still seem more believable coming from the outside. For that, we got John Legend’s “You & I” video last week. The stirring clip opens with Legend waiting as his wife, model Chrissy Teigen, gets dressed. But then, as he sings that he loves her without all the bells and whistles and all the machinations she puts herself through for an evening out, the video broadens to females of all ages and ethnic groups looking into the camera as if it were a mirror as they examine their faces for flaws, putting their features under impossible-to-pass scrutiny. Pull the camera back and the video reveals women bald from cancer treatments, women who have undergone mastectomies, a lovely girl with Down Syndrome in a colorful dress. It’s a vivid reminder that beauty, despite the strictures that magazines, TV shows, films, and magazines put on it, does not come in a one-size-fits-package.

Finally— and it’s surprising it took so long—newcomers Maddie and Tae have countered all the bro-country songs that reduce women to a nameless (“girl” is not a name) stereotype, who wears tight jeans or a short skirt and cowboy boots and is very happy for the opportunity to ride shotgun in her boyfriend’s car. Main requirements are looking good, not having a first name, and keeping her mouth shut.  

But Maddie and Tae want none of that as they sing, “It ain’t easy being the girl in a country song. How in the world did it go so wrong. Like all we’re good for is looking good for you and your friends on the weekend, nothing more. We used to get a little respect, now we’re lucky if we even get to climb up in your truck, keep our mouths shut, ride along and be the girl in a country song.” Yeah, it might be time to aim a little higher.

The modern day patron saint for female empowerment in song is, of course, Beyonce. None of these songs have the strident feel of “Run The World (Girls)”; the message here is more akin to her song, “Pretty Hurts” and its lines, “We try to fix something but you can’t fix what you can’t see/It’s the soul that needs the surgery.” For the most part, these are reminders to be gentle to ourselves, not manifestos.

Will any of these songs ever change anything? I don’t know. It feels like they are mere drops of water into a pool spilling over with messages that we aren’t good enough as we are and they lose their potency. But maybe it’s simply good enough that they exist in the moment and for the moment. If watching the video for “Secrets” or “Try” makes a girl feel like she’s OK for the four minutes that clip lasts, maybe that’s the most we can hope for in this world that constantly and exhaustingly tells women  that they are not good enough as long as they have wrinkles, as long as they aren’t model thin, as long as they aren’t this or aren’t that. The message is delivered in surround sound and it is everywhere.

If I could, I would pipe the below playlist continuously  into every baby girl’s room so that from the minute she is born these songs counteract the images and messages that make her feel bad about herself. As she got older, any time some one made her feel less than, she could put the playlist on and hear a strong, powerful woman tell her that she is complete, she is everything she needs to be, and that she is enough.

By the time she got to middle school and high school and started dating, no boy, no peer pressure, and no societal norm could force her to be something that she is not just because the these positive message would have already taken hold and they would drown out the ones that tell her she can’t compete unless she conforms to a extremely narrow, impossible, unnecessary ideal.

And now we have several more entries to add to the list.  

"Beautiful" Playlist

“Beautiful,” Christina Aguilera
“I’m Beautiful,” Bette Midler
“Firework,” Katy Perry
“Roar,” Katy Perry
“Unpretty,” TLC
“This One’s for the Girls,” Martina McBride
“Unwritten,” Natasha Bedingfield
“Born This Way,” Lady Gaga”
“Stronger,” Kelly Clarkson
“Girl On Fire,” Alicia Keys
"Run The World (Girls)"


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Drake emulates JLo with his new album title

When can we expect his latest masterpiece?

Jennifer Lopez had “On The 6,” now Drake has  “Views From The 6.” That will be the title of his fourth studio album and follow up to 2013's "Nothing Was The Same."

The Toronto rapper confirmed the title today. As you may recall, in his new track “0 to 100/The Catch-Up,” which he released in June, he gave us an update on the goings on at OVO headquarters, as he ran down a list of his label’s artists who will have new sets coming out in Spring 2015, including himself.

Drake has a lot of his plate as Billboard notes: He hosts the ESPYS on ESPN tomorrow (16), two OVO artists, Majid Jordan and PartyNextDoor, will release albums July 29.

In August, OVO hosts its fifth festival in Toronto. Among the artists playing the Aug. 3-4 event are Drake and Outkast.  On Aug. 8, Drake goes on tour with Lil Wayne.

No word on what “Views From The 6” means, although speculation has been that it ties in with Toronto’s 416 area code.


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