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Rolling Stone News
  • A week before the Foo Fighters' show at London’s O2 Arena on Tuesday, Kate Coulson – a risk manager for a nearby bank - bought two tickets for the show on StubHub for $965. The price was steep, but she wanted to give her husband, Paul, an early birthday present. But the couple were surprised when, after they arrived and made it through security, they were asked to present their IDs. When neither ID matched the name on the Foos tickets, they were sent to the box office, where they were told they wouldn't be getting in. "It was just awful,” says Coulson. “And there were hundreds of people in the same boat, and people were genuinely really upset. I really love them. It was horrible."

    They weren't alone. The Coulsons were two of about 200 Foo Fighters fans who, after buying from resale websites like StubHub and Viagogo, were turned away from the venue for not having IDs that did not match the names displayed on tickets, a new requirement that was an attempt to stave off ticket resellers. The venue argues that the stipulation"was clearly stated at the time of announcement and was explicitly noticed at the point of purchase." But many fans didn’t get the message. "Not the ideal time to start enforcing that rule," a fan tweeted. "[It's] only the fans that miss out.”

    In a statement, the Foos were unrepentant about the policy, saying only that they were "frustrated and saddened" that some fans who'd bought "bogus tickets from these unscrupulous outlets" couldn't get in. 

    But some fans argue that the outlets they bought tickets from were not necessarily "unscrupulous." StubHub is a legitimate, official O2 partner that stations ticket machines throughout the arena, and many fans who bought via the site say they were not made aware of the rule. "We don't think this is fair at all. Lots of innocent people, if you will, were denied entry," says Aimee Campbell, a spokesperson for StubHub, which quickly issued refunds for all purchasers who didn't get into the show. "It was happening not just from people who purchased on resale sites, but also people whose brother bought tickets, and somebody went at the last minute." 

    A concert-business source with knowledge of the show says 200 tickets out of a total of 20,000 in attendance is a small price to pay for highlighting a venue’s no-scalping policy. "The promoter really wanted to cut down on the touts,” says the source, using the British term for scalpers. "Unfortunately, people didn't pay attention to what was going on, and certainly none of the brokers were very interested in dissuading their own sales, so they probably just ignored it and figured everybody would not ask for a refund."

    As the $8 billion resale market continues to grow, certain artists have become more aggressive in fighting against scalping. Earlier this year, Eric Church canceled 25,000 ticket sales because his managers determined them to be purchased by brokers. Bruce Springsteen and Taylor Swift are using Ticketmaster's new Verified Fan system to weed out resellers for their upcoming tours.

    The band and venue's explanation did not sit well with Jinky Espanol, a University of East London psychology student, bought her ticket in advance for more than $300 and took a three-hour train from her home in Norfolk, England. O2 security denied her entry because she'd purchased her ticket from Viagogo, and her name was not on the ticket. For a few anxious minutes, she was in line at the box office, on the phone with Viagogo and searching for new tickets on Facebook.

    Espanol got lucky—another fan sold her a ticket for $90. Her original seat was in the front row, and this one was "near the roof," but she was able to get in. "It wasn't fair," she says. "I was there early and they turned me away—and later in the evening, they let me in, even though the name on the ticket was not the same. Which is ridiculous."

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  • Justin Bieber, who has largely abstained from political discourse on social media, posted a black-and-yellow text graphic reading "Black Lives Matter" to his Instagram with a lengthy caption about the movement. The post comes one week after the pop star appeared on the Hand in Hand telethon supporting hurricane relief. 

    "I am a white Canadian and I will never know what it feels like to be an African American," Bieber wrote. "But what I do know is I am willing to stand up and use my voice to shine light on racism, because it's a real thing and it's more prevalent now than I have ever seen in my lifetime," he wrote. "We are all God's children and we are ALL EQUAL."

    In late July, the "Sorry" singer canceled the remaining 15 shows on his Purpose World Tour. "I'm sorry for anyone who feels, like, disappointed or betrayed, it's not in my heart," Bieber told TMZ at the time. People reported that the singer was "super exhausted" after 18 months on the road.

    Bieber's manager, Scooter Braun, appeared on CBS This Morning Thursday and reassured fans that the singer would eventually open up about why he pulled latter part of his tour and also supports the artist's decision.

    "Look, I think he'll decide to tell people when he's ready of what exactly happened," Braun said. "But I think he was making a decision, like he said, to protect himself. But he's 23 years old, now. And if he makes a decision as a man, as long as he's willing to listen to opinions and hear people out – if he has true conviction – I'm willing to have his back."

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  • Macklemore's first post-fame LP minus longtime partner Ryan Lewis finds the Seattle MC unburdened by stardom or the social concern that turns his woke anthems into online firestorms – "I'm a motherfuckin' icon/Boots made of python," he raps on "Willy Wonka," a creeping track with Offset of Migos. Partying tunes like the funky "Firebreather" sometimes feel like not much more than a rich white guy bragging. But Macklemore's trademark awkward humanity comes through on "Good Old Days," a reflection on aging (with Kesha), and "Church," a thank-you letter to making it that's warm, vivid, earnest and earned. 

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  • The title of the Killers' first LP in five years is sly, with its echo of the "wunnerful, wunnerful" signature of iconic "champagne music" accordionist Lawrence Welk, another shameless crowd-pleaser critics loved to shade. But what do we know? The Killers have made a huge career as bombastic rock magpies working the border between flamboyant earnestness and full-on camp, strategically declining full residency in either locale. What's great about Wonderful Wonderful, though, is that they seem in on the joke, doubling down on their hugeness fetish while wink-winking their way to the bank.

    Asalways, they bite from the best. The goofily self-aggrandizing "The Man"rides Kool and the Gang's "Spirit of the Boogie" groove whilefrontman Brandon Flowers declares himself a "household name." "Outof My Mind" is an Eighties meta-hit that never was, with Flowers pleading,"Take the needle off the record, I can't stand another chorus!" whilename-dropping Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney ("a heavy name to drop,"he stage-whispers). The anti-Trump gestures in "Run for Cover" arewelcome, but the less-arch bits grate, perhaps knowingly. The U2-Springsteen-NewOrder triangulation "Life to Come" is exasperatingly solemn untilFlowers urges, "Drop-kick the shame!" Hell, he sure has, and it'sserved him well. 

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  • Skrillex released an unruly remix of Kendrick Lamar's "Humble" on Friday, destabilizing the organized thump of the original to create a volatile new track.

    Skrillex rearranges "Humble" into a short, multi-section suite. The new version of the track opens with Lamar rapping a capella. Skrillex gradually adds a beat, but the elements under Lamar's voice keep changing – electronic screeches, steady handclaps, a drum-and-bass-like flurry of percussion, a brassy stomp. This version of "Humble" never stays in one place for long, and it ends in less than three minutes.

    Skrillex's "Humble" remix is the latest in a wide-ranging group of releases from the producer this year. In May, he curated a compilation of house music that included his own track "Chicken Soup." He also teamed up with Justin Bieber's ace writer Poo Bear on "Would You Ever" and contributed recently to Ty Dolla $ign's "So Am I." In addition, he is credited as a producer on Fifth Harmony's self-titled LP and Incubus' 8

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  • Demi Lovato pivots towards the dance floor on "Sexy Dirty Love," the latest in a flurry of singles she has released leading up Tell Me You Love Me, a new LP due out September 29th.

    Old and new collide in "Sexy Dirty Love." Instrumentally, the song borrows heavily from late Seventies disco and stabbing Eighties funk; lyrically, Lovato narrates a thoroughly modern romantic encounter initiated through sexting. "Now you're teasing me and I can't help but do the same," she sings, bringing her typical vocal firepower to each syllable. "Whispering through your phone, you're driving me insane." 

    "Sexy Dirty Love" is the third song on Tell Me You Love Me; it serves as a surge of energy on the album following the downtempo title track. It's not Lovato's only dance floor-friendly cut in circulation at the moment: her collaboration with Cheat Codes, "No Promises," also reached Number Seven on the Pop Radio chart this week.

    Tell Me You Love Me's lead single, "Sorry Not Sorry," recently climbed to Number 13 on the Hot 100. It's likely to climb further after Lovato's recent visit to The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon

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  • On new Wu-Tang Clan-related song "Lesson Learn'd," Inspectah Deck disses Martin Shkreli, the infamous "Pharma bro" who reportedly paid $2 million for a copy of the group's one-of-a-kind LP, Once Upon a Time in Shaolin (before selling it on eBay), and exchanged widely publicized barbs with Ghostface Killah. "My price hikin' like the pills Martin Shkreli sells," the rapper boasts on the cut, alluding to the former Turing Pharmaceuticals CEO's widely derided move to raise the cost of antiparasitic drug Daraprim by 5,000 percent. 

    Redman joins on the low-key, Mathematics-produced track, rhyming over cinematic string samples and a thudding beat. The rapper sneaks in some hilarious lines, including, "Never fell off, look in the mirror/ When I drop somethin', you like Martin – all ears." 

    "Lesson Learn'd" is featured on the group's upcoming LP Wu-Tang: The Saga Continues, out October 13th. RZA executive produced the album, with Mathematics handling "creative production." "Lesson Learn'd," available as an instant download with pre-orders of the album, follows lead single "People Say," which features Method Man, Reakwon, Inspektah Deck, Master Kill and Redman.

    "For years, Math has had the idea of putting together a body of music using modern and legendary equipment such as ASR10 with vocal performances by Wu-Tang Clan members and other prominent MCs," the producer said.

    This summer, Wu-Tang Clan/Shkreli drama took a comedic left turn with the Off-Broadway premiere of a musical comedy about the bizarre saga.

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  • Leon Russell, On A Distant Shore
    The farewell album from storied songwriter and musician Leon Russell is his "most unflinching yet," writes David Browne.
    Read Our Review: Leon Russell's On a Distant Shore Is a Powerful Posthumous Goodbye
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    The Killers, Wonderful Wonderful
    On the Killers' first album in four years, Brandon Flowers and his bandmates "seem in on the joke, doubling down on their hugeness fetish while wink-winking their way to the bank," writes Will Hermes. They "bite from the best," he adds, name-checking Bruce Springsteen and Paul McCartney while borrowing ideas from pop greats like Kool and the Gang and the Bee Gees. 
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    Kevin Gates, By Any Means 2
    Baton Rouge rapper Kevin Gates quietly went Platinum last year with Islah, a debut album of raps that mix modern sing-song flow with old-school technicality, boastful crime rhymes with raw confessionals. His something-teenth mixtape was presumably written before he went to prison (he's expected for parole in 2018) and covers no shortage of woes ­– from love's battlescars to industry bruises to legal run-ins. Christopher R. Weingarten
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    Chris Hillman, Bidin' My Time
    The founding member of the Byrds and the Flying Burrito Brothers releases his first solo album in a decade, which includes his reworkings of the Byrds' 1968 chestnut "Old John Robertson" and the Gene Clark composition "She Don't Care About Time." The record, which was produced by Tom Petty, counts fellow Byrds David Crosby and Roger McGuinn among its many guests.
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    Midland, On the Rocks
    On their debut album, this Texas-based trio (whose membership includes soap opera actor Mark Wystrach and "Uptown Funk" video director Cameron Duddy) mines the smoothed-out strains of early-Eighties George Strait and Alabama to cook up something fresh. "Make a Little," with its Dwight Yoakam-evoking riffs, emphasizes love as the safest refuge from a harsh world, while breakout single "Drinkin' Problem" mixes its down-and-out premise with precise harmonies and a generous helping of Music Row songwriting polish. Slotted next to pop-leaning acts Kelsea Ballerini and Thomas Rhett on country radio playlists, it sounds a little bit radical. Jon Freeman
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    Jhené Aiko, Trip
    This week's surprise release from the R&B singer-songwriter is a vulnerable, heady concept album that traces her reaction to her grief over the death of her brother, who passed away from cancer in 2012. Aiko also released a short film that she co-directed with Girls Trip writer Tracy Oliver. 
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    Laraaji, Bring On the Sun
    First appearing on Brian Eno's Editions E.G. label in 1980, zither-hammering ambient artist and Harlem-based astro-traveller Laraaji has spent decades creating shimmering soundscape via cassette and CD-R. He's spent the last five years as a fave of the psych-drone hipster set thanks to a surge of private-press new age reissues, collaborations with bands like Blues Control and Sun Araw and a cassette campaign courtesy of Stones Throw's Leaving Records. The second of two studio albums released this month (his first mass-produced studio LPs since 2001), Bring on the Sun is occasionally a huge, engulfing, swallowing wash of sound; occasionally a gently rollicking pluck of organ and strings. The beautifully meandering "Change" is a singer-songwriter piece and "Ocean Flow Zither" is 15 minutes of bubble and strum. Christopher R. Weingarten
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Spotify

    Rapsody, Laila's Wisdom
    The second album from this North Carolina MC (and first since her signing with Roc Nation) puts the spotlight on her fearless, honest rhymes while including guest spots from Kendrick Lamar, Busta Rhymes and Anderson .Paak. 
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    Ledisi, Let Love Rule
    A forthright journey through the process of finding love – and not just the romantic kind – Ledisi's ninth album showcases her powerful voice on songs that pivot off classic R&B's ideals while deftly adding modern touches. The sparse "Forgiveness" and the all-in piano ballad "All the Way" are lightly arranged, allowing the New Orleans-born vocalist to introduce listeners to her instrument's sheer power, while the woozy "High" is a brass-accented dream where she displays its saucy low end. BJ the Chicago Kid and John Legend drop by for duets, and sound bites from Soledad O'Brien and Iyanla "Fix My Life" Vanzant add to the album's inspirational vibe, but Ledisi's star burns brightly at this confident, sing-along-ready record's center. Maura Johnston  
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

    Moses Sumney, Aromanticism
    Stark and stirring, this "concept album about lovelessness as a sonic dreamscape” doubles as an introduction to the Los Angeles-based composer and arranger's overwhelming talent. The glittering, stretched-out "Quarrel" pits delicate harps and keyboards against a weary depiction of a person drained by arguments; "Lonely World" spirals from chaotic, ominous dread into manic disco; "Indulge Me" floats along on a simple acoustic-guitar riff that frames its isolation-minded lyrics in resignation. A headphone masterpiece that defies genre as its lyrics interrogate Sumney's existence. Maura Johnston
    Hear: Amazon Music Unlimited | Apple Music | Bandcamp | SoundCloud Go | Spotify | Tidal

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  • Morrissey announced a 16-date U.S. tour in support of his upcoming Low in High School LP, due out November 17th.

    The tour begins October 31st in Portland, Oregon. After performing in Seattle, San Francisco and Paso Robles, Morrissey stops for two previously announced shows in Los Angeles at the Hollywood Bowl with Billy Idol. He then gigs his way across the country before finishing the tour with a northward swing up I-95: D.C., Philadelphia, New York and Boston.

    Low in High School is Morrissey's first LP since 2014 and his first for the label BMG. In between albums, he also published the book List of the Lost, a novel about an American track team in the 1970s that is slowly killed off after an encounter with the "devil incarnate."

    Earlier this week, Morrissey released his album's lead single, "Spent the Day in Bed." The song advises listeners to blow off work, turn off the news and enjoy some personal time. Morrissey also created a Twitter account which he used to hint at both the title of his new single and the stops on his upcoming tour.

    Morrissey Tour Dates

    October 31 – Portland, OR @ Schnitzer Concert Hall
    November 2 – Seattle, WA @ Paramount Theatre
    November 4 – San Francisco, CA @ Masonic Auditorium
    November 5 – Paso Robles, CA @ Vina Robles Amphitheare
    November 10 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl w/ Billy Idol 
    November 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Hollywood Bowl w/ Billy Idol
    November 16 – Phoenix, AZ @ Marquee
    November 18 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Kingsbury Hall
    November 20 – Denver, CO @ Paramount Theatre
    November 22 – St. Louis, MO @ Peabody Opera House
    November 25 – Chicago, IL @ Riviera Theater
    November 28 – Detroit, MI @ The Fillmore Detroit
    November 30 – Washington, DC @ The Anthem
    December 2 – New York, NY @ Theatre at Madison Square Garden
    December 4 – Philadelphia, PA @ Fillmore
    December 7 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre

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  • In April 2010, the musical American Idiot, adapted from the hit Green Day album of the same name, opened on Broadway. On Thursday night, Green Day's Billie Joe Armstrong was back in Manhattan's Theater District in a very different setting: dancing amiably while flanked by a pair of buff male strippers (who are clad nightly in nothing but snug, sequined American-flag speedos) as C C Music Factory's "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)" blared through the speakers at the Belasco Theater.

    Armstrong was a guest on Michael Moore's one-man show The Terms of My Surrender, which mixes anecdotes about affecting political change, critiques of ineptitude on the political left, excoriations of leaders on the right and, at the very end, a happy pair of police-officers-turned-strippers. Moore keeps the show unpredictable by inserting an interview segment toward the end of the proceedings on most nights; previous visitors include Representative Maxine Waters, Jim Carrey, Gloria Steinem, Mark Ruffalo, Bill Maher, Arianna Huffington and Pink Floyd founder Roger Waters.

    Armstrong was a sensible pick: Like Moore, he's vocally committed to a number of left-wing causes, and both men were outspoken critics of the Iraq War and George W. Bush's presidency. They also happen to share a Broadway director – Armstrong occasionally acted in American Idiot, which was directed by Michael Mayer, who's now the director of The Terms of My Surrender. "This is your long-awaited return to Broadway tonight," Moore told his guest. The two sat in a pair of leather armchairs on an otherwise bare stage, Armstrong's spiffy-punk attire – dark-striped blazer and tight blue pants – contrasting with Moore's cheerful dishevelment.

    Armstrong's statements aligned neatly with the previous 100 minutes of Moore's show. "The first time I heard of Trump [who apparently came to American Idiot on opening night seven years ago] legitimately running for president, the first thing I thought of was fascism," the singer said. "I was just thinking of all the buildings he's got his name on. That type of narcissism – wow, that's not that much different from Saddam Hussein. He's batshit crazy."

    "This isn't just a Republican that you're dealing with," Armstrong added later. "He's no longer the leader of the free world. I've never seen a president that was no longer that."

    The singer didn't hesitate to critique the Democratic establishment either, suggesting that the current crop of left-wing leaders are low on young blood and good ideas. "They don't have any cojones," Armstrong said. "You look at what's going on in the Democratic party, I look at some of the people talking, I'm like, I'm looking at you again?! It's a bummer."

    "I met Joe Biden, he's a nice guy–" Moore began.

    "We don't need nice guys any more," Armstrong said firmly. "Nice guys finish last." The crowd cheered furiously.

    Armstrong was heartened by the response to the overtly political statements he made onstage during his most recent Green Day tour, which took him around the U.S. in support of the Revolution Radio album. "We played in Alabama; we played in Florida; we played in Wisconsin," he explained, mentioning a series of states that helped elect Donald Trump president. "People know what they're getting into when they come to a show, these are sold-out shows, and that is really hopeful for me. They're not just going there for entertainment; they know what the lyrics are about… Literally people are using their voice and doing it in song and doing it together. There've been a couple times when I said, 'Fuck you, Donald Trump.' And when you hear coming out of 15,000 Alabamans, it's a lot different from hearing it in California and New York."

    The singer also urged lefty voters to show that same level of enthusiasm during next year's midterm elections. "That's the bummer about a lot of liberals, they don't vote during the off-elections – and demonstrate their power at the ballot box," he said. "[My sons] look at it and they're like, 'We have Satan as the President of the United States.' And I was like, 'We've had Satan before, and we voted Satan out. Just remember that.'" Moore expressed a similar sentiment. "Every year, three million 18-year-olds are eligible to vote," he noted. "That means, since Obama was elected in 2008, that's 27 million [new voters], if we can reach them, encourage them, and let them have a say."

    After a few more Trump digs – "American Idiot must return to Times Square blocks away from the headquarters of the American Idiot," Moore quipped, referring to the president's New York Trump Tower home just 15 blocks north of the theater – Armstrong exited stage left, and Moore carried on with The Terms of My Surrender solo. But the singer couldn't resist the siren call of "Gonna Make You Sweat (Everybody Dance Now)," which soundtracked the show's final scene: Moore agrees to do the thing he fears most, which is dance, in order to encourage the audience to face their own phobias and engage in politics. Armstrong returned to clap along to the beat with Moore and his chiseled friends, and then singer and director formed a short conga line and trooped off stage. 

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