On their version, Blondie flip Johnston's folk ballad into a prog-tinged epic that begins with a spaced-out intro and morphs suddenly into a driving rocker. While a rollicking piano recalls the stripped-down instrumentals of Johnston's original, Blondie inject their rendition of "Fragments" with delirious synths, roaring guitar and gritty bass while Debbie Harry unleashes a vocal performance packed with plenty of potent theatricality.
British indie duo Aquilo stopped by the Rolling Stone offices to deliver a powerful performance of "Sorry" from their debut studio album, Silhouettes.
The tender torch song finds singer/guitarist Tom Higham delivering an impressive vocal performance over Ben Fletcher's deft piano playing. The duo play perfectly off each other, with Higham's soft falsetto wafting with Fletcher's delicate playing, then building to a heartbreaking chorus: "I'm reminded of the fool I was," Higham wails. "I cut you off and fucked it up again/ I'm sorry that I let you go, I'm sorry that I cared."
Aquilo released Silhouettes in January, four years after gaining attention for their first songs, "You There" and "Calling Me." The group's steady rise was punctuated with a string of EPs, while in 2015 they notched a SoundCloud smash, "Losing You," with Vancouver DJ Vanic.
Aquilo played a handful of North American concerts in March after embarking on a lengthier trip last fall. The duo's next set of live dates is a U.K. run scheduled for this September.
Frequent Happy Madison collaborator Robert Smigel will direct The Week Of, a comedy where Sandler's character's daughter marries Rock's character's son. The film will follow the week leading up to the wedding. Smigel and Sandler co-wrote the film, which will be the fourth installment of Sandler's first Netflix deal.
"Adam Sandler and Chris Rock are cornerstones of the Netflix comedy family and we are over the moon about these two legends reuniting to give our members worldwide a healthy dose of the hilarity that they have been creating together for years," Netflix's Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos told Deadline. "Similar in the romantic comedy tone of Sandler's most recent film Sandy Wexler, this film will be the perfect vehicle for Sandler and Rock and their millions of fans around the world."
Netflix recently revealed that Sandler's films released on the platform as part of their exclusivity deal have been some of their most-watched original films. So far, he has released the western spoof The Ridiculous 6, the spy-comedy The Do-Over and the Hollywood satire Sandy Wexler, which was released earlier this month. Sandler's deal made him the first major film star to completely bypass theaters in favor of at-home viewing.
Smigel, Sandler and Rock have all been working with one another since Saturday Night Live. Smigel co-wrote Grown-Ups, a comedy that co-starred Rock and Sandler alongside David Spade and Kevin James.
Detroit's Tee Grizzley is 2017's brightest rap upstart, thanks to his breakout hit "First Day Out." His hard-bitten, snapping rap style reflects years of pain as well as eventual redemption: Between 2015 and 2016, the man born Terry Wallace – who apparently earned his nickname for having a ferocious, brawling "grizzly" attitude while locked up – served an 18-month sentence for home invasion, the result of breaking into other students' dorm rooms while he attended Michigan State University. While he was incarcerated, he wrote the lyrics to My Moment, featuring the diaristic tale "First Day Out," released a month after his release in October 2016. It set off a label bidding war eventually won by 300 Entertainment, home to stars like Young Thug and Migos.
Despite his humble regional origins, My Moment strikes a careful balance between Tee Grizzley's street bona fides and his spirituality, his knack for hardcore raps and his talent for emotional singing. There's not only bouncing tracts like "No Effort," where he thumps hard over a DJ Mustard beat; but there's also "Testimony," where he harmonizes anxiously about his faith in Jesus. While My Moment earns critical acclaim, Tee Grizzley has dropped hot singles like "From the D to the A," a collaboration with Lil Yachty. During a phone interview, the admittedly circumspect rapper discusses adjusting to newfound fame and why his street persona doesn't affect his spiritual life.
You have said that you wrote My Moment while you were still in prison. Yeah, I wrote that when I was locked up. Yep.
Did you make any changes to it when you got out? Not for real, nope. I didn't make no changes.
What have the past couple of months been like for you? It was a lot just to have my freedom again after so many years in prison. So to have all this fame and love and all that is crazy, through the roof.
Has there been an adjustment period for you? I assume that getting out and then having all this success must be a big shift. Oh yeah, definitely. It's definitely been one of the biggest impacts in my life. I've had a lot of big impacts before the music as far as deaths and tragedies and experiences in my life. It's definitely one of the things, that's for sure. … I learned that I've gotta move more careful because a lot of people waiting on me to mess up or do something crazy. So I gotta move more careful. I gotta move more protected, you know what I'm saying? I've never needed security because me and my group, we was our own security. We protected ourselves. But now, I'm in a whole 'nother position, so I move more secure now. People treat you different. A lot of people switch up and say you switched up. A whole bunch of stuff.
Do you still live in Detroit? No, I don't live in Detroit no more. I live in Michigan because I'm on parole, I can't leave. But yeah, I'm still in Michigan. The city is Birmingham, Michigan.
Is there anybody that inspired you to get into rapping? Yep, my uncles and my pops.
Did your uncles and your pops rap professionally? Naw. They rapped around the hood, but they ain't never got a check off music.
What was it about the way they did it that inspired you? I thought it was sweet to hear your voice on a song. And when they finally took me to the studio, and I heard my voice, I fell in love with it.
Was there anything about their style, or the way that they rapped? No, they rapped regular Detroit stuff. They wasn't rapping crazy like that.
What does it mean to have a "regular" Detroit style? It means, basically, you rap about the local stuff that's going on. This neighborhood, that neighborhood, the clothes and the fashion, and just basically give you our point of view. Talk about drugs, murder, all that type of stuff.
On your mixtape, you do a lot of rapping, but you also do a bit of singing. As an artist, how do you choose when you're going to use which method? Man, I ain't gonna lie to you, I feel like the singing puts soul on top of the rap. I feel like the rapping's good, but the singing puts that feeling on it that makes you feel [the song] more. I don't know what it was. I be like, it's more real. I can be more real and more vulnerable when I sing. I just like the feeling more.
On My Moment, you have a song called "Testimony," where you talk about your relationship with God. Do you consider yourself a spiritual person? Yeah, I'm spiritual. I believe in God. I pray. You know, I used to go to church, all that. I read the Bible, all that type of stuff.
Do you still go to church? Not really. I don't believe in God [so I can] go to church, though. Like, you can have church at your house. I feel like as long as you're giving him praise, you can do it wherever. You don't have to be inside of a church to give praise to him.
On the one hand, you have a song like "Testimony," where you talk about your relationship with God. Then, on the other hand, you're talking about street stuff. How do you resolve those two things? Because at the end of the day, the street stuff is my life, and the testimony is what I feel. I still believe in God. But the hand that I was dealt in my life, that's just what that is. Yeah, I believe in God, but as I was saying in "Testimony," that side is true. But at the same time, it still what it is. It's how I was raised. It's who I am.
Do you feel like you can get closer to God if you get out of the street life? Or do you have to strike a balance between being spiritual and being in the streets? I feel like [I carry God with me] regardless, because if what I was doing was terrible or really horrible, then I would have never been born. And if what I was doing wasn't really supposed to happen, I would have never made it. So I never question what He got going on. I was in the streets and [now] I'm doing my music. I don't really have a lot of time to do this or that. But I'm not going to question it, though, because at the end of the day, it's His will.
What can you say about the track "Day Ones." "Day Ones," that's a song I wrote with a heavy heart because it was, like, everything in it was true. I lost a lot of people: family, parents. So I really wanted to dedicate that song to them. I wished that they was here. I wrote it when I was locked up, but when I was locked up I knew that I was going to be something, and whatever I was going to do, they wouldn't get to be any part of it.
Which books did you read while you were in prison? I read a lot of Louis L'amour Western books. I read Rich Dad, Poor Dad, all of them. I read The Art of War. What else did I read? … I read a lot of black novels, too. I read a lot of Five Percenter books.
It's interesting that you read Five Percent Nation books. Is that a religion that you're studying closely? Naw, I ain't study it. But I read what they got to say. It's not something that I considered converting to, but I definitely appreciate what they had to say, though.
You attended Michigan State University before you got locked up. Are you planning to go back to college?| I ain't going back to school before I'm ready to focus 100% on school, because that's where I messed up the first time with my mind, and got into that situation. I want to go back to school, but right now, I don't need it.
T-Pain has unleashed a furious new song, "See Me Comin." Dre Moon and X-Plosive co-produced the blistering track, which clocks in at under three minutes but bursts rumbling bass, hard-hitting drums and an uncompromising litany of bars from T-Pain.
T-Pain opens the track with an Auto-Tune-soaked growl, breaking off a punchy first verse that settles into a smoother, but no less ominous second half. "Break bread by any means," he boasts. "I'm Malcolm X with the lean and the zoot suit."
"See Me Comin" marks T-Pain's latest offering and follows recently released tracks "Thanx,""Feel Like I'm Haitian" with Zoey Dollaz and "Dan Bilzerian" with Lil Yachty. The rapper/singer has been releasing loose tracks for the past few years, though has yet to offer any details about his long-awaited new album, Stoicville: The Phoenix, which he first teased in 2015. T-Pain released his last album, Revolver, in 2011.
Baltimore synth-pop outfit Future Islands added another 20 North American tour dates to an already packed 2017 itinerary in support of their new album, The Far Field. The new dates kick off September 5th in Richmond, Virginia, right on the heels of a summer international run.
During the fall trek, the group will hit Houston, Dallas, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle, Denver, Minneapolis, Toronto and more before wrapping October 9th in Boston. Two dates – September 17th in San Diego, California and 30th in Omaha, Nebraska – will be co-headlining gigs with Explosions In the Sky. Tickets for some shows begin to go on sale April 26th, though complete information for individual dates is available on Future Islands' website.
Future Islands recently performed at Coachella and will embark on a European tour April 27th before returning to North American for a previously announced run that starts May 25th in Providence, Rhode Island.
Since forming in 2006, Future Islands' engrossing live show has helped them build a devoted cult following and cross over when they delivered an instantly viral performance of "Seasons (Waiting on You)" on The Late Show With David Letterman in 2014.
In a recent interview with Rolling Stone, singer Samuel Herring spoke about how important the band's live show is to him, saying, "I don't really have a 'happy place'; a happy memory is also something you long for, something that's not there, so I don't really have them. I go to the coast when I'm home and it makes me feel like a kid again. It's beautiful to hear the sounds, to smell it. … But it all becomes the longing for something that's not there. My happiest place in this world is the stage. That's where I have purpose. It's what makes me know I deserve to be – not that I need to be – on this earth."
Future Islands North American Tour Dates
September 5 – Richmond, VA @ The National September 11 – Baton Rouge, LA @ The Varsity September 12 – Houston, TX @ White Oak Music Hall September 13 – Dallas, TX @ Bomb Factory September 15 – Santa Fe, NM @ Meow Wolf September 17 – San Diego, CA @ Open Air Theatre September 19 – Los Angeles, CA @ Greek Theatre September 22 – Portland, OR @ Crystal Ballroom September 23 – Seattle, WA @ Neptune Theatre September 27 – Missoula, MT @ The Wilma September 28 – Jackson, WY @ Pink Garter Theatre September 29 – Denver, CO @ The Fillmore September 30 – Omaha, NE @ The Waiting Room Outside October 1 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Ave October 2 – Madison, WI @ Orpheum Theatre October 5 – Royal Oak, MI @ Royal Oak Music Theatre October 6 – Toronto, ON @ Massey Hall October 7 – Montreal, QC @ Metropolis Theatre October 9 – Boston, MA @ Orpheum Theatre
Following the release of his debut solo album, Harry Styles will appear for a week-long residence on The Late Late Show With James Corden. The singer will unveil Harry Styles on May 12th.
In a video preview, Corden is seen reading the issue of Rolling Stone with Styles on the cover while listening to the single "Sign of the Times." He suddenly receives a video chat from the 23-year-old who is looking for a place to stay while visiting Los Angeles. He refuses a bed at the late-night host's home, asking if he could sleep at the studio instead. "I just wanna stay somewhere that feels like home," Styles explains.
Corden then jokes that the One Direction member can't bring by any house guests and notes that he'll have to "pitch in" at the show. Styles offers to sing, but Corden makes it clear that as host, he is the official singer. The pair then engage in a bit about who hangs up first.
It's unclear if Styles will sing each night of his Late Late Show residency, help host or appear in clips, though it seems like the appearance could be similar to Justin Timberlake's Tonight Show residency. In his interview with Rolling Stone, it was revealed that Styles is close friends with Corden and producer Ben Winston and he frequently stops by the show's offices.
Damon Albarn can easily fill an hour with stories of how he seeks, wrangles and records the motley armies of guest vocalists, players and contributing producers that pack the Blur singer's periodic albums of apocalyptically charged hip-hop, credited to the cartoon-avatar quartet Gorillaz. On a recent afternoon in his New York hotel, a few weeks before the release of Gorillaz' fifth album, Humanz, Albarn – who launched the animated band in 1998 with fellow Englishman, illustrator Jamie Hewlett – rhapsodized about an encounter in Chicago with the American gospel-soul queen Mavis Staples, who delivers the emergency wail in Humanz' "Let Me Out," and revealed that rappers De La Soul hijacked the track "Momentz" from Albarn's original choice, comedian Dave Chappelle. Albarn also confessed that he produced Carly Simon's surprise appearance on the deluxe-edition track "Ticker Tape" – with the Latin hip-hop singer Kali Uchis – by phone and Internet. He and Simon have never met.
Then there are ones that get away – twice, in the case of Dionne Warwick, whose intended vocal cameo for Gorillaz' 2005 album, Demon Days, was left on the cutting room floor. "She nearly did something on this record again,' Albarn explains. "I've just been with Mavis Staples, and now I'm at the piano in Brooklyn with Dionne Warwick. But I think my lyrics are just one step too far for her to assimilate. We got to the point of singing but not recording.
"It never got to posterity," Albarn says with what sounds like resignation, delivered with a mischievous smile. "But I have sat and played the piano while Dionne Warwick sort of sang a bit of one of my songs. I have got that far."
"There's really nobody like him," Hewlett, the creator of the graphic-novel heroine Tank Girl, says of Albarn. "Everybody of his generation, bands like Oasis and Suede – he's gone beyond that. If Blur experimented the way he does with Gorillaz, Blur fans would say, 'Why are they doing hip-hop? Why are they electronic?' That was a frustration for Damon. It isn't for me. I can draw whatever I fucking want. But for a songwriter, it's great – to suddenly realize you can do what you want."
Albarn is taking Gorillaz on the road in America this summer, with as many Humanz guests as he can muster at stops along the way. In this conversation, he also unveils other concurrent projects: a new album with his band the Good the Bad and the Queen and a theatrical adaption of the Sundiata Keita, an epic poem of the ancient Mali Empire in West Africa. For authenticity's sake, Albarn – who has worked with Malian musicians – is studying that country's principal language, Bamberra.
Alabarn didn't know any Mandarin when he and Hewlett created their pop-opera variation on the Chinese folktale Monkey Goes to the West. "We got away with it," Albarn says, grinning. Learning Bamberra "is quite time consuming. But I want to do it. And I find I'm really good at learning stuff when I want to – and being creative with it."
When I saw Blur at Madison Square Garden in October 2015, had you started writing – or even thinking of – a new Gorillaz album yet? I was starting to think. I was accumulating iPad information, which is how I make records these days. I usually write in an eight-bar loop with GarageBand. You can get a chord sequence that works every eight bars, something with a nice buoyance. Sometimes I put vocals on there. Sometimes I can't get the vocals that good ever again.
"She's My Collar" [on Humanz, also featuring Kali Uchis] was literally written under my duvet one night in bed. It's a song about the loneliness of the nocturnal journey, into the digital ether. Sometimes a tune is a very nice mirror of the situation you're in. I do a lot on the Tube, on planes. Sometimes I get the sound of the compression in the cabin. I sample it. Everybody says, "That can't just be iPad." Well, a lot of this record is just iPad.
It makes me wonder why you ever bother with bands. Thankfully, I'm very lucky. I'm doing another record with the Good the Bad and the Queen. We're doing that in May. That's not GarageBand at all. That's just the four of us [Albarn, ex-Clash bassist Paul Simonon, former Verve keyboard player Simon Tong and Afrobeat drumming legend Tony Allen] playing live, straight on the floor.
It's not like I'm stuck in that [digital] world. I enjoy both worlds. I enjoy many worlds. And I'm equally comfortable in any of them.
When does Jamie enter the process in a Gorillaz record? Does he need music first to get visual? He's there from day one. Originally, his studio was next to my studio. [The two worked one floor apart in a London building.] I'd go, "Look what I did today!" and lay it out to him. He'd spend the next day listening to it and drawing. Now it's more of a correspondence thing, because he lives in Paris. But it's really important what he does. Sometimes, if I'm honest, I think, "Why am I putting my music to these cartoons still?" But it really is important. It is a wonderful frame for this music.
You open the record with a spoken line – "I switched off my robot" – and then the parade of singers starts: De La Soul, Mavis Staples, Grace Jones. And you close with a bracing dance-rock track, "We Got the Power," with that triumphant vocal hook by Jehnny Beth of Savages. It's a record of loops, topped with messages of personal empowerment. Absolutely. That's why it's called Humanz. Every conversation with every artist went like this: "I want this record to embody pain, joy and urgency. We are using our dark fantasies to imagine something happening in this town [gestures out the window at the New York skyline] in the near future, that is turning the world on its head."
No one was allowed to say "Trump" or "Obama." Those who tried, you can hear the bleeps on the record where their names were. I didn't want names, because this is not about that moment. That was the fuel for it. "Imagine how the world will be if that happens."
Does that make Humanz a political record? I cast a vote too and it didn't mean shit [Brexit]. Join the club [laughs]. This is an emotional response. I really try to keep it there. The topics come and go. But if you're not emotionally engaged with what you're doing, you couldn't perform it. I try to work concurrently. It's topical and something that comes from within me, which may be completely different.
Does using different vocalists with Gorillaz enable you to write more freely, more effectively, than if you had to sing everything as in the Good the Bad and the Queen or on a solo record? I see the Good, the Bad and the Queen record as being a soul version of [Blur's 1994 album] Parklife. It's stories about Britain – as it is now. We've been up in [the English seaside resort] Blackpool. That's where I've been getting my energy for that. I decide on places, and I like sticking to it. Everything has to happen in my head in that place. It's cinematic in my head.
Did you conceive of specific voices for each song on Humanz? For example, did you offer "Momentz" to De La Soul? I didn't hear De La Soul for that. [Rapper] Posdnous shows up. He said, "I want to do something." [De La Soul previously appeared on Demon Days and 2010's Plastic Beach.] We were trying to get Dave Chappelle to do that. But he knows Pos, and somehow, that's how that happened.
I don't tell people what to do. I let people listen to loads of different tunes, then they choose the one they're into. You're never going to get the best out of people if you tell them, "No, you have to do this."
Do you get artists doubling up – different singers trying to grab the same tune? I've had some terrible doubling-ups on this record – people I had to let down gently. [Pauses] This is such a good story. I just don't want to hurt the person. [Pauses again]
This person was on [Humanz'] "Charger." Then I was in Jamaica, and finally Grace Jones showed up. I played the tune to her. She was like, "Hmm, there's something not right about this." I said, "What is it? Do you want me to take out the keyboards?" "No, it's this noise on here." "What noise? That guitar?" [Makes pinging sound] "No, I love that."
She wouldn't say it was this other person's voice. Clearly, once the voice had been taken off, the track was ready to work on. [Shakes his head] Some people don't necessarily want to be on the same tune with somebody else.
How do you explain to older artists like Mavis Staples and Carly Simon that cartoon figures are involved? Probably the same way I explained it to [Cuban singer] Ibrahim Ferrer [on 2001's Gorillaz], Ike Turner [on Demon Days] and Bobby Womack [on Plastic Beaches]. They kind of like it. They're not necessarily super-engaged with that aspect. I don't know. Sometimes I don't even tell them.
It gives you a rare freedom as a writer and producer, to gather all of these collaborators without having to wrangle them into the same room. And then they all meet each other when we play live. It's so cumulative! [Laughs] If everyone on a Gorillaz album was still alive, it would be the most extroardinary roll call of individuals. It would just be fucking nuts.
Where does that leave Blur? Did you think of [2015's] The Magic Whip and that Garden show as your exclamation points for the band? We'd never done the Garden, and I felt bad that I'd done it before with Gorillaz [in 2010]. That was not fair. But in a way, Blur always felt that we terribly underachieved in America. It was hard to understand how bands like Radiohead and Coldplay are so successful here, and we weren't. Thankfully, I have Gorillaz. Otherwise, I might be a terribly bitter, aging Britpop-er.
"In a way, Blur always felt that we terribly underachieved in America."
But we're all really good friends. And I feel like I've given many of my best years to Blur, so I don't feel guilty in that sense. I've never said I'd never make another record. It's all the same thing at the end of the day. It's the nuances that make it different. It's just more music, to add to the mountain of music there already is.
So how did you get guitarist Noel Gallagher, your Britpop archnemesis in Oasis, to play on "We Got the Power"? At one point, that track was Noel, me and [Blur's] Graham Coxon. It was the ultimate self-congratulatory Britpop moment. It was the victory lap, these geezers singing about all the power they had [laughs]. I went back and opted to doing it like you play something at the end of a film, as the credits roll. Jehnny Beth was necessary. The testosterone levels were off the fucking scale.
How is it that you and Noel can get along so well now, after Oasis' vicious sniping at Blur in the Nineties? Noel is not stupid. I love him for that. There was a point when they were set against us. And he had the advantage. He was from the working-class band. He was playing up to that and using it very successfully. I found it difficult to counter. What do you say? It's like when you get called "liberal elite" by right-wingers. The best I can say is "Call me liberal, but don't call me elite."
How easy is it to work with him now? You were both alpha males in your respective bands. He's really musical. He's got a great tone to his voice. I love his guitar playing. And he's funny as shit. He's fucking brilliant company.
You do manage to get the best out of some hard-boiled characters. Having interviewed Lou Reed so often, I always wondered how you got him to appear on "Plastic Beach." I have my ways [laughs maniacally]. I sent him quite a few tunes, and he just said they were all shit. Finally, I did this tune, and he liked it. I'm the perpetual suitor – but also not taking it too personally when someone turns you down. "I can do this without you. I'm only asking you because I think it would be cool." That's my attitude.
I don't get intimidated by famous people. I just look them in the eye and hope they look back. With Lou, we were in the studio. He'd written these lyrics. But he said, "Don't expect me to follow your verse-chorus thing. I'm just going to sing. And the way it drops is how it is."
It helps to be very flexible when you're working with people like Lou Reed. But you want that approach. You don't want someone just doing exactly what you want. You want that sense of opposition and independence. That's what it's all about.
Beyoncé celebrated the one-year anniversary of her album Lemonade with the announcement of her "Formation Scholars" program. The scholarship will launch for the 2017-2018 school year.
According to a statement posted on the artist's website, the "Formation Scholars" awards aim to "encourage and support young women who are unafraid to think outside the box and are bold, conscious and confident." Berklee College of Music, Howard University, Parsons School of Design and Spelman college are currently the only participating universities and each will award one female incoming, current or graduate student who is studying creative arts, music, literature or African-American Studies. Each college will provide information on how to apply to the program directly to matriculating students.
Throughout her career, Beyoncé has been supportive of charitable endeavors that encourage the education and professional achievements of young women. Earlier this year, she joined a lengthy list of celebrities who openly supported the anti-Trump Women's March and signed an open letter in support of International Women's Day.
Following the release of Lemonade, which was recently recognized with a Peabody Award, the singer set out on her Formation World Tour. Her album and its visual accompaniment were recognized at several award ceremonies and was nominated for Album of the Year at the Grammy Awards. Right before appearing at the Grammys, Beyoncé announced that she and husband Jay Z were expecting twins. She performed at the ceremony pregnant, though she cancelled her headlining set at Coachella due to her pregnancy.
Salt-N-Pepa, Vanilla Ice and Naughty By Nature will headline the Nineties-themed Ship-Hop cruise, which sails January 11th through 15th, 2018. Other performers include Blackstreet, Kid 'N Play, Coolio, Color Me Badd, Sisqo, Tone Loc, Biz Markie, Young MC, Rob Base, All-4-One, C C Music Factory and DJ Kool.
The full lineup and cruise details were revealed in a short video packed with decade-specific references – such as, "Oh my gosh Becky, look at that boat" – though inexplicably soundtracked by Rob Base and DJ E-Z Rock's 1988 hit, "It Takes Two."
The Ship-Hop cruise will travel from Miami to Key West to Cozumel, Mexico. Along with the performances, the cruise will include various activities and meet and greets with the artists, plus theme nights and more. Rooms go on sale April 26th at noon ET via the Ship-Hop website.