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Rock News

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Rolling Stone News
  • Foo Fighters ended their brief hiatus with a surprise, intimate concert at the Cheese and Grain, a nonprofit event space in Frome, England. Fans can live stream the event above. 

    The concert is sparking speculation that the rock band will headline the U.K.'s Glastonbury Festival alongside Radiohead in 2017. Two years ago, Foo Fighters were scheduled to headline the festival but had to cancel when singer-guitarist Dave Grohl broke his leg at a concert in Sweden.

    "You know I hate to do it, but I'm afraid it's just not physically possible for me at the moment,” Grohl said on his website at the time. "We're doing our best right now to work out a plan, so bear with us. You know we’re good for our word."

    This week, the band is giving signs that it will be making good on that promise this year. On Wednesday, they launched Obelisk Airlines, a website with a cryptic countdown to "in-flight entertainment" alluding to the secret Cheese and Grain show.

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  • Frank Ocean and Jay Z chatted about the state of radio and pop music in a conversation that aired during Ocean's surprise Blonded radio show on Beats 1 Friday afternoon.

    During the conversation, Jay Z bemoaned that radio had become "an advertisement model," Pitchfork reports.

    "You take these pop stations, they're reaching 18-34 young white females. So they're playing music based on those tastes," the rapper pointed out. "And then they're taking those numbers and they're going to advertising agencies and people are paying numbers based on the audience that they have. So these places are not even based on music. Their playlist isn't based on music."

    The interview was a rarity for both of the "No Church in the Wild" artists involved; ironically, the Jay Z conversation was broadcast on Apple Music, a streaming music competitor to the Jay Z-owned Tidal.

    The rapper also called up a movement to "revolutionize" radio to make it "more progressive." "It's unfortunate because with technology and everything moving forward ... it should be a better way that the music, the musicians, radio, and these things that are supposed to be instruments for the arts, should exist," Jay Z added. "And it shouldn't be about advertisement."

    Jay Z's comments on pop radio reflected Ocean's remarks about the Grammys in a scathing open letter to producers.

    "Believe the people. Believe the ones who'd rather watch select performances from your program on YouTube the day after because your show puts them to sleep," Ocean advised producer Ken Ehrlich and writer David Wild. "Use the old gramophone to actually listen bro. I'm one of the best alive. And if you're up for a discussion about the cultural bias and general nerve damage the show you produce suffers from, then I'm all for it."

    Ocean's Jay Z interview was the only time the singer actually appeared on the two-hour Blonded radio show, which featured a playlist that included songs by Prince, Sade, Ty Dolla $ign, Pixies, Future, Outkast and Ocean's own "Slide" with Calvin Harris and Migos.

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  • Young Thug returned Friday from a six-month post-Jeffery hiatus with his surprise new video for "Safe."

    Produced by his go-to collaborator Wheezy, the Atlanta rapper opens up about the insecurities and paranoia that comes with success. "I spend more money on security than I make," he says. "Just to be safe."

    The accompanying video is similarly understated as Young Thug brandishes high-end designer clothing and stacks of foreign currency while singing along to the song in an all-white office building and darkened elevator.

    Most importantly, Young Thug actually appears in "Safe" after bailing on the shoot for his "Wyclef Jean" video, which became a viral hit.

    Following a 2016 that saw the release of three Thugger LPs – I'm Up, Slime Season 3 and Jeffery, the latter earning a spot on Rolling Stone's 50 Best Albums of 2016 – the prolific rapper has eased back on the rapid-fire releases since Jeffrey dropped in August. However, as Young Thug notes in the caption of the "Safe" video, "I will never quit."

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  • Preservation Hall Jazz Band channel the verve of traditional Cuban music with new LP So It Is, out April 21st via Legacy Recordings. The New Orleans septet showcase that added influence with lead single "Santiago," featuring funky full-band interplay between the horn section and Kyle Rousell's piano. 

    Art-rock mastermind Dave Sitek (TV on the Radio) produced the album, their second featuring all original material. In a statement, bandleader-bassist Ben Jaffe explained that the sessions were invigorated by a 2015 trip to Cuba, where they came "face to face with [their] musical counterparts." 

    "There's been a connection between Cuba and New Orleans since day one – we're family," he said. "A gigantic light bulb went off, and we realized that New Orleans music is not just a thing by itself; it's part of something much bigger. It was almost like having a religious epiphany."

    Sitek recalled that, after arriving in New Orleans to meet the long-running band, he and Jaffe accidentally stumbled into one of the city's renowned second-line parades. "I was struck by the visceral energy of the live music all around, this spontaneous joy, everything so immediate," he said. "I knew I had to make sure that feeling came out of the studio. It needed to be alive. It needed to sound dangerous."

    Jaffe and saxophonist Charlie Gabriel composed most of the music on So It Is, in collaboration with the full band. The current line-up features Jaffe, Gabriel, saxophonist Clint Maedgen and trombonist Ronell Johnson joined by new recruits Roussel, trumpet player Branden Lewis and drummer Walter Harris.

    The Preservation Hall Jazz Band will kick off a North American tour April 13th in Solana Beach, California.

    Preservation Hall Jazz Band So It Is Track List

    1. "So It Is"
    2. "Santiago"
    3. "Innocence"
    4. "La Malanga"
    5. "Convergence"
    6. "One Hundred Fires"
    7. "Mad"

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  • Leon Ware, the renowned songwriter, producer and singer who penned hits for artists like Marvin Gaye, Michael Jackson and Quincy Jones, died Thursday. His manager confirmed the singer's death to NPR. He was 77.

    Ware co-produced and co-wrote Gaye's classic 1976 LP I Want You, which featured the chart-topping title track and "After the Dance." Ware also co-wrote hits like Jackson's "I Wanna Be Where You Are," Minnie Riperton's "Inside My Love," Quincy Jones' "If I Ever Lose This Heaven" and Maxwell's "Sumthin', Sumthin'."

    "Rest in heavenly peace, Mr. Leon Ware, you will be missed," Maxwell tweeted.

    In an Instagram tribute, Questlove listed Ware-penned classics like "I Wanna Be Where You Are," "I Want You" and "Inside My Love." "These jams made the world better. All due respect to the author of the sexiest pen game #LeonWare. Master Craftsman. Will be missed. Master of words," the drummer wrote. Questlove previously placed "Inside My Love" on his 2002 compilation Babies Makin' Babies.

    Born in Detroit, the home of Motown, Ware began his career writing for artists like the Isley Brothers, Ike & Tina Turner, the Four Tops and Bobby Womack. Ware also formed a successful songwriting tandem with Diana Ross' brother Arthur "T-Boy" Ross in addition to his own solo singing career, which began in 1972 with his own self-titled LP.

    In the early half of the Seventies, Ware began working with Jones and Riperton, who turned Ware's "Inside My Love" into a hit in 1975. Soon after, Ware was recruited to work with Gaye after Motown honcho Berry Gordy gave the singer Ware's demo for "I Want You."

    In a 2016 interview with the Red Bull Music Academy, Ware talked about his first encounter with Gaye. "When we met, I was sitting in his apartment for a good 20 minutes. I already smelled the welcoming aroma in the place. I had a joint in my pocket, so I pulled it out and started smoking it," Ware said. "As soon as I lit the joint, he came in the room and I reached over and gave it to him. We smoked a good joint before we even introduced ourselves to each other. We were always on the same page."

    After Ware played Gaye a collection of songs he wrote for Minnie Riperton, Gaye suggested that Ware write the entirety of what would become I Want You.

    "'That is a great idea, but Berry will never go for that,'" Ware recalled saying. "[Gaye] turned around with this look in his eye and said, 'We don’t have to tell him.' That collaboration turned out to be the most enjoyable, important and enduring experience of my entire life."

    In later years, Ware worked with artists like Maxwell, Theophilus London and Michael McDonald. Ware-penned tracks have also been widely sampled in hip-hop, with artists like Ice Cube, Tupac Shakur and A Tribe Called Quest among those utilizing Ware's music.

    "Tokyo," a song on bass extraordinaire Thundercat's just-released new LP Drunk, was also inspired by Ware.

    "Just so you know, Tokyo was written about my first time going to Japan with Leon Ware. I was never the same after. Thank you Leon," the bassist tweeted.

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  • Ryan Adams unleashed arena-rock anthem "Do You Still Love Me?" Thursday on The Late Late Show. Performing on a stage flanked by massive Fender amplifiers (and featuring a stuffed tiger), the singer-songwriter led his four-piece band through the thunderous power-ballad, highlighted by rippling organ and distorted power chords.

    Adams released "Do You Still Love Me?" in December as the first single from his recently issued 16th solo album, Prisoner. Last week, he performed both "Love Me?" and the LP's folky second single, "To Be Without You," on The Tonight Show

    In addition to the traditional album formats, Adams packaged Prisoner in a quirky, deluxe "End of the World" box set featuring seven-inch vinyl versions of each song, 17 previously unreleased B-sides and a 2-D action playset.

    Adams will kick off a North American tour March 5th in Richmond, Virginia. 

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  • Gucci Mane and Nicki Minaj reunite on record for the first time in seven years with "Make Love," the first single from Gucci Mane's upcoming Droptop Wop project.

    "I'm dropping the hardest song of the year at midnight," Mane tweeted of the sparse, downbeat cut Thursday night. The track arrives just days after the rapper announced his first-ever tour.

    "You think you're colder than me / You're more bipolar than me / You're talking crazy," Gucci raps. "I'm trying to book Beyonce for my wedding day/I'm the type of nigga to spend a million on a wedding cake."

    Minaj appears on the second half of "Make Love" to deliver a feisty verse that takes aim at an unnamed challenger to her throne (with Remy Ma the rumored target). "You see, silly rabbit / To be the queen of rap / You gotta sell / You gotta get plaques / S, plural / Like the S on my chest / Now sit your ass down / You got an 'F' on the test," she says on the track.

    Mane and Minaj last partnered for 2010's "Haterade," off Gucci's The Appeal: Georgia's Most Wanted.

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  • Shortly after 2014's "Girl Crush" provided Little Big Town with their first taste of pop crossover stardom, the country group quietly released Wanderlust, a left-of-center Pharrell collaboration that drew from funk, R&B and dance music. Less than a year later, the vocal quartet is back with The Breaker, a back-to-basics country record that returns the spotlight to the group's unmatched ability to transform subtle Nashville lyricism into major pop drama – this time with no small assist from songwriters like Taylor Swift and industry scribes like Lori McKenna and Natalie Hemby.

    Produced by Jay Joyce, who helmed 2014's Pain Killer, the group's Fleetwood Mac power harmonies return front and center, forming the emotional backbone of tearjerkers like "When Someone Stops Loving You" and "Better Man," the Hot Country chart-topping showcase for lead singer Karen Fairchild. Elsewhere, crisp drums, light acoustic instrumentation and subtle synths decorate understated highlights like "Happy People" and "Don't Die Young, Don't Get Old."

    Oneof Little Big Town's greatest strengths has always been the ease in which theirtop-notch party records ("Pontoon," "Day Drinking") havecoincided alongside heavier, adult-oriented ballads ("Your Side of theBed," "Shut Up Train"). The group strives to walk that line onceagain this time around, but The Breaker is the group's first recordsince their rise to stardom in which downtempo, more contemplative materialcompletely outweighs the muscular, radio fodder like "Night on OurSide" and "Drivin' Around," songs that feel too vague in theirworry-free escapism to sound convincing. At the top of their game, LittleBig Town are taking an unlikely path: respectable, mid-career albumartist.

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  • With Friday's release of John Mayer's The Search for Everything: Wave Two, another four-song preview from the singer's upcoming LP, Mayer has announced the North American summer leg of his 2017 world tour.

    Following a spring U.S. trek and European jaunt, the latest slate of 32 North American dates for the tour – which will feature Mayer performing three unique sets: solo acoustic, fronting a full band and with the John Mayer Trio – begins July 18th in Albuquerque and concludes September 3rd in Noblesville, Indiana.

    When the initial run of spring Search for Everything dates were announced, Mayer shared a video summarizing what fans could expect on the trek:

    Tickets for the latest dates go on sale March 4th; check out Mayer's site for full ticket information.

    Following the January 20th release of The Search for Everything: Wave One – which debuted at Number Two on the Billboard 200 – Mayer dropped Wave Two on Friday, featuring four new songs: "Still Feel Like Your Man," "Emoji of a Wave," "Helpless" and "Roll it on Home."

    The Search for Everything will be released in its entirety on April 14th.

    John Mayer Tour Dates

    March 31 - Albany, NY @ Times Union Center
    April 1 - Montreal, QC @ Bell Centre
    April 3 - Toronto, ON @ Air Canada Centre
    April 5 - New York, NY @ Madison Square Garden
    April 6 - Washington, DC @ Verizon Center
    April 7 - Philadelphia, PA @ Wells Fargo Center
    April 9 - Boston, MA @ TD Garden
    April 11 - Chicago, IL @ United Center
    April 12 - Columbus, OH @ Schottenstein Center
    April 14 - Kansas City, MO @ Sprint Center
    April 15 - St. Paul, MN @ Xcel Energy Center
    April 17 - Edmonton, AB @ Rogers Place
    April 19 - Vancouver, BC @ Pepsi Live at Rogers Arena
    April 21 - Inglewood, CA @ The Forum
    April 22 - Las Vegas, NV @ T-Mobile Arena
    July 18 - Albuquerque, NM @ Isleta Amphitheater
    July 19 - Denver, CO @ Pepsi Center
    July 21 - Quincy, WA @ Gorge Amphitheatre
    July 22 - Portland, OR @ Moda Center
    July 25 - Anaheim, CA @ Honda Center
    July 27 - Sacramento, CA @ Golden 1 Center
    July 29 - Mountain View, CA @ Shoreline Amphitheatre
    July 30 - Los Angeles, CA @ The Forum
    August 1 - Phoenix, AZ @ Talking Stick Resort Arena
    August 3 - San Antonio, TX @ AT&T Center
    August 5 - Dallas, TX @ American Airlines Center
    August 6 - Woodlands, TX @ Cynthia Woods Mitchell Pavilion
    August 8 - Nashville, TN @ Bridgestone Arena
    August 9 - New Orleans, LA @ Smoothie King Center
    August 10 - Atlanta, GA @ Lakewood Amphitheatre
    August 12 - Fort Lauderdale, FL @ BB&T Center
    August 13 - Tampa, FL @ Amalie Arena
    August 15 - Charlotte, NC @ PNC Music Pavilion
    August 16 - Raleigh, NC @ Coastal Credit Union Music Park
    August 18 - Camden, NJ @ BB&T Pavilion
    August 19 - Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center
    August 20 - Hartford, CT @ XFINITY Theatre
    August 22 - Syracuse, NY @ Lakeview Amphitheater
    August 23 - Wantagh, NY @ Northwell Health at Jones Beach Theater
    August 25 - Bristow, VA @ Jiffy Lube Live
    August 26 - Cincinnati, OH @ Riverbend Music Center
    August 27 - Darien Center, NY @ Darien Lake Amphitheater
    August 29 - Toronto, ON @ Budweiser Stage
    August 30 - Cuyahoga Falls, OH @ Blossom Music Center
    September 1 - Clarkston, MI @ DTE Energy Music Theatre
    September 2 - Tinley Park, IL @ Hollywood Casino Amphitheatre
    September 3 - Noblesville, IN @ Klipsch Music Center

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  • Alongside TV on the Radio, LCD Soundsystem and Vampire Weekend, Dirty Projectors were a key part of New York's radical rewiring of rock in the '00s. The Brooklynites were one of the more experimental bands on that scene, but also one of the most R&B-influenced; their 2009 breakout, Bitte Orca, so impressed Solange that she cut an exquisite cover of its philosophical slow-jam, "Stillness Is the Move." Suddenly, head Projector Dave Longstreth was
    getting work as a pop-song doctor (co-writing the Kanye-Rihanna-Macca summit "FourFive-Seconds"), an arranger (orchestrating Joanna Newsom's excellent Divers) and producer (the latest from North African guitar god Bombino). 

    Now, he's finally back to his main gig, and the result is as dazzling, inventive and soulful as anything he's done. The DPs' self-titled seventh LP is filled with freaky cyber-crooning, outrageous beats, startling sample flips and tasty guitar heroics; think 808s & Heartbreak: The Next Generation. To be sure, it's a breakup record – presumably involving Longstreth's relationship with ex-Projector Amber Coffman. The sense of separation is palpable. Once defined by talented female singers (Coffman foremost), the band is down to one lonely dude crooning into a digital hall of mirrors. "Now I'm listening to Kanye on the Taconic Parkway, riding fast," Longstreth reflects on "Up in Hudson," envisioning an ex "out in Echo Park blasting Tupac, drinkin' a fifth for my ass."

    Longstreth may be lonely, but he isn't alone, and his collaborators push him to new heights. Veteran engineer Jimmy Douglass, whose résumé includes Justin Timberlake's "SexyBack," helps craft a masterpiece of post-Auto-Tune vocal processing, and Solange co-writes the island vibe "Cool Your Heart."

    What emerges may be the funniest romantic train wreck since the Magnetic Fields' 69 Love Songs. On "Keep Your Name," Longstreth warbles like a chipmunk-soul Eeyore, then delivers a rap that name-checks Naomi Klein and "Kiss' shithead Gene Simmons." On "Death Spiral," the metaphor is manifested via the score from Hitchcock's Vertigo. On "Up in Hudson," a sample of Peggy Seeger's folk-song reading of "The First Time Ever I Saw Your Face" gets pitched up into cartoon territory.

    Remarkably,the humor and the heartbreak coexist beautifully. On the finale, "I SeeYou," Longstreth drops the vocal masking and sings against a "WhiterShade of Pale"-ish organ and Beatlesque backward-guitar smears, declaring,"The love we made is the art." It's sweet enough to make an exreconsider – and a fan could hope Longstreth suffers more heartache, if itresults in music this good.

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