Watch: Jason Aldean goes back to '1994' in new video with Lady Antebellum and more
Credit: Broken Bow Records

Watch: Jason Aldean goes back to '1994' in new video with Lady Antebellum and more

Where's the man of the hour, Joe Diffie?

Jason Aldean takes us back in time with the video for “1994” with help from some of 2013’s biggest country stars.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Avril Lavigne</p>

Avril Lavigne

Listen: Avril Lavigne's new song, 'Here's To Never Growing Up'

Singer releases 14 seconds of new track for crowd-sourced video

Wonder what Avril Lavigne’s been up to? The “Sk8ter Boi” girl is making new music. She teased fans with a 14-second snippet on Wednesday night of her new song, “Here’s To Never Growing Up.”

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
Baauer's 'Harlem Shake' keeps a shaky hold atop the Billboard Hot 100
Credit: Mad Decent

Baauer's 'Harlem Shake' keeps a shaky hold atop the Billboard Hot 100

Pink lands her 14th top 10 with 'Just Give Me A Reason'

“Harlem Shake” shakily holds on to the top spot on the Billboard Hot 100 for a fifth week, despite another week of declining YouTube streaming.

Baauer’s viral sensation also sees digital downloads slide, but sees on-demand audio streaming rise, according to Billboard.


“Shake’s” success keeps former No. 1, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis’s  “Thrift Shop,” featuring Wanz at No. 2 again, while Bruno Mars’ “When I Was Your Man” stays at No. 3.

Justin Timberlake’s “Suit & Tie” featuring Jay Z climbs 5-4, flipping places with Rihanna’s “Stay” featuring Mikky Ekko.

Also swapping spots are Drake’s “Started From The Bottom,” which rises 7-6, trading with Taylor Swift’s “I Knew You Were Trouble,” which moves 6-7.

Rounding out the top 10, will.i.am and Britney Spears’ “Scream & Shout” holds at No. 8, Pink lands her 14th top 10 as “Just Give Me A Reason,” featuring Nate Ruess from fun.,  soars 18-9, and Lil Wayne’s “Love Me” featuring Drake slips 9-10.

Read Full Post
<p>Michelle Shocked performs at the Madison, WI&nbsp;state Capitol in 2011.</p>

Michelle Shocked performs at the Madison, WI state Capitol in 2011.

Credit: AP Photo/Andy Manis

Michelle Shocked responds to her alleged anti-gay comments

Hear the tape from Sunday's concert

Michelle Shocked has responded with two open letters regarding reports of her anti-gay comments she made from the stage at San Francisco club Yoshi’s on Sunday night. In the wake of her comments (the audio is below), she apologizes for what fans “think they’ve heard.”

She says she’s speaking for others below, but when she starts to talk about her faith and Jesus, she says. “I was in a prayer meeting yesterday. You’ve got to appreciate how scared, how scared, folks on that side of the equation are. I mean, from their vantage point, and I really shouldn’t say their, because it’s mine too, we nearly are at the end of time. From our vantage point, we’re going to be, I think maybe Chinese Water Torture is going to be the method, once Prop 8 gets instated and once preachers are held at gunpoint and forced to marry the homosexuals, I’m pretty sure that that will be the signal for God to come on back. You said you wanted reality...”    She later says “I am so committed to loving each and every soul in this room tonight that I could not come here and ignore you. I could not come here and pretend that I was above the conversation.” (And just to clarify, Prop 8 has been passed in California and it does not allow gays to marry, so she actually means once Prop 8 is repealed).

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Mumford and Sons</p>

Mumford and Sons

Credit: AP Photo

Reports: Mumford & Sons, NIN, Vampire Weekend to headline Lollapalooza 2013

Killers, Phoenix, and The National also on the bill

Lollapalooza’s 2013 headliners wll be Mumford & Sons, Phoenix, Vampire Weekend and the Killers, according to the Chicago Tribunes Greg Kot.

Kot, who has covered the Chicago festival for years, says he confirmed the headliners, but does not cite his sources. He also writes that the National and the Postal Service will also be on the Grant Park bill for the Aug. 2-4 festival.

Meanwhile, Billboard has reported  that Nine Inch Nails is confirmed for the fest.

As far as when the line-up will be officially announced, promoter C3 Presents says it will happen next month.

Read Full Post
Justin Timberlake's emotional  video for 'Mirrors': Watch
Credit: RCA

Justin Timberlake's emotional video for 'Mirrors': Watch

HitFix
A-
Readers
A+
Love doesn't come without its tears

In current single, “Mirrors,” Justin Timberlake looks at his relationship (presumably with now-wife Jessica Biel) and lovingly looks back at how they are so close now, when he sees, “The other half of me.”

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>Kacey Musgraves</p>

Kacey Musgraves

Interview: Kacey Musgraves on new album and her It Girl status

Country newcomer on why she won't edit her controversial lyrics

Kacey Musgraves’ breakthrough single, “Merry ‘Go Round” ends with “Jack and Jill went up a hill/Jack burned out on booze and pills/And Mary had a little lamb/Mary just don’t give a damn no more.”

And there’s plenty more where that came from on “Same Trailer, Different Park,” the country singer’s major label debut, out today. Full of fractured fairy tales and broken dreams, “Same Trailer, Different Park” takes the listener through a spellbinding cascade of downwardly mobile characters, each one spiraling further than the next, stuck in dead end jobs and even deader-end relationships.

[More after the jump...]

Read Full Post
<p>'The 20/20 Experience'</p>

'The 20/20 Experience'

Review Round-Up: What are critics saying about Justin Timberlake's 'The 20/20 Experience?'

Look for Vol. 2 later this year

Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience” comes out today. Bolstered by non-stop television appearances (including his CW special tonight) it looks like the title will sell at least 500,000 copies in its opening frame, making it the best first week of any album in 2013.

Reviews have ranged from stellar to moderate. In my HitFix review, I  wrote: “At its best, “The 20/20 Experience” feels like its own invention: an exploration into what it means to take the traditional confines of pop and then see how far those boundaries can be pushed...At its worst, “The 20/20 Experience”  feel like sets of unfinished lab experiments stretched far too thin. Every one of the 10 tunes here creeps up to or surpasses the seven-minute mark, often to their own detriment.”

How are other critics seeing it? Here’s what some major outlets have to say about “The 20/20 Experience.”


AP’s Mesfin Fekadu calls “The 20/20 Experiment” “a brilliant piece of work that plays like a musical movement. The 10 tracks (which average seven minutes) weave into one another beautifully as his falsetto glides over each beat. It's an unconventional adventure that makes your bones groove. Seriously.
It's hard to think of another performer who can make a seven-minute track continuously engaging and refreshing, especially at a time when a five-minute song screams "problem" for radio stations and our attention span gets shorter with every tweet or text.

Billboard’s Jason Lipshutz says, “Six-and-a-half years after effectively conquering pop music with a highly sexual, fashionably futuristic album, Justin Timberlake has returned as a more relaxed version of himself, with a brand new palette of musical shades...The propulsive moans and aggressive come-ons of his 2006 smash single "Sexyback," for instance, have been traded for big-band brass, creeping bass and open-hearted professions of love


The New York Times’ Jon Caramanica
is not a fan: “He could have made a cabaret standards album, an acoustic singer-songwriter folk record, a ghastly dance-music immersion, a pseudo-Drake sing-rap hybrid. Any of those would have been more risky and more distinctive than what ended up on “The 20/20 Experience,” an amiable, anodyne album that hopes not to alienate anyone but also doesn’t offer new reasons to commit. It’s an album of largely inconsequential beauty, showing Mr. Timberlake as an artist with no incentive to innovate, making this primarily a paean to brand maintenance.

Vibe’s Clover Hope is similarly not entranced: At its best, 20/20 is a reliable product in a Justin Timberlake assembly line. You’ll find great records—the bedroom soul-trip “Spaceship Coupe” and “Tunnel Vision,” the track you’d say, “This again?” to, if it was released as a lead single instead of “Suit & Tie”—as well as some groan moments: “I can’t wait to get you home and get you in my veins,” a metaphor on “Pusher Love Girl.”


USA Today’s Elysa Gardner
appreciates the tag-team approach:  “Justin Timberlake's first studio album in nearly seven years is a tribute to two of the most important people in his life: Jessica Biel and Timbaland — though not necessarily in that order....The new collection picks up where 2006's FutureSex/LoveSounds left off and, eventually, explores love and sex from the perspective of a more mature chap. Timbaland is the R&B savant with whom Timberlake has teamed on most of his best material since shedding the bubblegum stigma of 'N Sync.

The good news for those who like "The 20/20 Experience" is there's more coming later this year. After Questlove spilled the beans that the new album was only the first half, Timberlake confirmed to reporters, according to Reuters, that a second half would, indeed, come out in 2013.

Read Full Post
The Staves talk debut album, plus band's EXCLUSIVE SXSW photo diary

The Staves talk debut album, plus band's EXCLUSIVE SXSW photo diary

Join the British trio as the drink, eat, and play their way through Austin

On the Staves’ debut album, “Dead & Born & Grown,” the three sisters,  Emily, Jessica, and Camilla Stavely-Taylor, get away with singing about the darkest depths while their angelic harmonies sound like they are soaring to the heavens.

“Oh, I don’t think we sound like angels,” says Jessica Stavely-Taylor. “I think we sound just like us. I think sometimes there’s a downside to sounding [so lovely]. We spend a lot of time writing our music and making sure they sound as good as they can and sometimes people are just like, ‘You sound so sweet!’ The [songs] are not really happy or super chill. We’re talking about serious stuff in them.”

Indeed, on “Tongue Behind My Teeth,” the British trio is dressing down a liar and a cheat. “I’d hurt you if I could,” they sing, in glorious spite. “Oh, I will never belong to anyone,” they declare with an equal mix of independence and sadness on “Snow.”

Of course, there’s plenty of romance as well. On the lulling, gentle “Mexico,” they sing, “Carry me home on your shoulders, lower me on to my bed, show me the night that I dreamed about before” so dreamily that it feels like the invitation comes wrapped in lace and perfect lighting and whispers.

Relying largely on acoustic instruments, the pop-folk trio recalls Simon & Garfunkel or Crosby, Stills, Nash & Young with heavy doses of Joni Mitchell and Laura Marling thrown in.

Stavely-Taylor is calling from Austin, where the band had just played one of its two shows at SXSW.  The band chronicled their SXSW experience for us in the exclusive photo gallery below.  The group’s own promotional duties had left little opportunity to see other acts, although they had seen fellow British sister act Haim and Montreal-based Half Moon Run.

Out tomorrow (March 19) in the U.S., the album, and the trio, have already found favor in their native U.K. with the set, produced by the legendary father-and-son duo Glyn and Ethan Johns.

“They work in an old-fashioned way; they both record to tape and they like to record everything as possible,” Stavely-Taylor says. “We recorded it in a pretty old-fashioned way, which is really cool, given it’s an old-fashioned sound.” On the down side, since the album was recorded largely live, any time someone goofed, “you have to redo it every single time.”  On the plus side, Glyn Johns has no shortage of stories about the legends he’s produced. “We’d be sitting there having lunch and Glyn would be name dropping Mick Jagger, Keith Richards or Paul McCartney. It was incredible.”

Stavely-Taylor laughs when she’s asked who the trio would work with if they wanted to turn their sound completely on its ear: “We’re all really big fans of Daft Punk. It would be amazing to have someone like that. Or the Gorillaz or Hot Chip!”

The Staves sent much of the last several months touring in the U.S., playing Sasquatch! Music Festival and Bonnaroo, as well as opening for Bon Iver and The Civil Wars.

As the trio gets ready to embark on its first headlining tour in the U.K. next month, Stavely-Taylor says she and her sisters learned much from both acts. “With The Civil Wars, it was really inspiring to see the two of them holding an audience of thousands captive every night,” she says. “We thought, could we ever pull that off for an hour and a half? We play with a band already, so we won’t be doing it like them. That was really special. Not many bands have it as stripped down as they do.”

Bon Iver was just the reverse: “Bon Iver has a huge show. It’s such an epic sound,” she says. “It makes you think about where you can take your music, the possibilities.”

She also gives both acts high marks for being lovely to their opening act. “We’ve had other bands that haven’t been quite as nice as that,” she says, of course, declining to say whom.

The Staves will headline a U.S. tour in May. After years of playing open mic nights in their English hometown of Watford before they got signed, Stavely-Taylor says they’ve witnessed plenty from the stage, but she’s sure there’s more to come: "I think a guy’s taken his top off, but we haven’t been flashed, so I think there’s a lot that you could do to shock us.”

Check out our exclusive photo gallery of The Staves as they take Austin for SXSW.
 

Read Full Post
<p>Justin Timberlake</p>

Justin Timberlake

Questlove reveals another Justin Timberlake album coming in 2013

Does the Roots drummer have the inside track on 'The 20/20 Experience: Vol. 2?"

Could Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience,” out Tuesday, be just half of his 2013 output?

Yes,  if we are to believe Roots drummer Questlove. In a chat board posting on okayplayer.com  over the weekend, he said that we’ve only heard half of the story:  “Spoiler alert. 20/20 Vol 2 comes out in nov. (10 songs now...10 songs later = 20 vision).”

Furthermore, Questlove has heard the tunes: “He played me songs out of order and off both records so I don’t know what made the final cut.

It’s one of those things that just makes sense, doesn’t it? Regardless, we’ve contacted Timberlake’s representative to see if we can get any confirmation.

Questlove may be spilling the beans inappropriately, but it’s also possible that he got the news straight from JT’s mouth since they were hanging together last week while Timberlake performed nightly on “Late Night with Jimmy Fallon” and he DJ’d before Timberlake’s well-received SXSW set on Saturday night.

As far s Questlove’s review of the album? He calls it “overly ambitious," in response to the New York Times' middling review.  He also gives JT credit for sticking with Timbaland. “I admire the balls it took to make this record. cause he coulda easily urshurd [cq] his work in and made diplo his teddy riley to 20/20’s dangerous instead of sticking with Timb’s Quincy.”  Lots of different references there to follow...

But he’s not done, Questlove also reveals that Timberlake figured that “Suit & Tie” would  not appeal to those under 35. Says Questlove, after he told JT that his 25-year old assistant wasn’t a “Suit & Tie” fan, Timberlake  “was like, ‘why do we put all of our power in the hands of 18 year olds... I wanted to make a joint that 40 year olds would love too.”

Sadly, Questlove came back a few hours later and was made that he couldn’t post on Okeyplayer (“I thought okayplayer was a place I could trust) about Timberlake and not have bloggers pick up on it.

Here's my  review of "The 20/20 Experience." 


 

Read Full Post