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Lollapalooza 2013 Day 2: Mumford & Sons set the tone, Kendrick Lamar ascends, and Postal Service run a victory lap

Most of the time, Lollapalooza’s scheduling seems left to the whims of fate, the daily lineup strung together seemingly at random so that indie poppers bump up against metal acts and soul throwbacks open for folky singer-songwriters. It makes for some wildly jarring juxtapositions, with occasional stumbles into transcendence.

Saturday was different, at least at the south end of Chicago’s Grant Park. The ascendance of headliners Mumford & Sons rippled all the way into the afternoon, where banjo-friendly arrangements and country twang informed the bulk of the performances: Court Yard Hounds brought their pop-friendly version of crossover bluegrass, Eric Church stomped through a set of outlaw Southern rock, and twee Irish strummers Little Green Cars crafted colorful tapestries out of all manner of acoustic thread. (The National, sandwiched in between Church and semi-main eventers the Lumineers, must have been deeply confused by all the headband-wearing sunflower girls hanging around, as they’re used to playing for broodier types. Still, they did dedicate “England” to Mumford & Sons.)

It all led up to a triumphant turn by Mumford & Sons, who drew a massive throng of folk-hungry youth to sing along with Marcus Mumford’s every bellow and wail. There wasn’t a single tune across Mumford’s nearly two-hour set that wasn’t greeted as a massive hit, though the gathering masses reserved extra glee for “Little Lion Man,” “I Will Wait,” and “Lover of the Light.”

Mumford & Sons are not showmen, and their performance was free of both bells and whistles, but their songs clearly resonate across a wide spectrum, and they’re savvy enough to get out of the way of their trainload of sing-alongs.

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Lollapalooza 2013 Day 1: The Killers and New Order bridge the gap, Nine Inch Nails challenges, Imagine Dragons blow up, and Icona Pop make it rain

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In the video for New Order’s “Crystal”—which opened the veteran Manchester dance-rockers’ twilight set on the first day of Lollapalooza—there is a fake band called the Killers that inspired the name of the real band known as the Killers, who headlined the southernmost stage in Chicago’s Grant Park on Friday night. Those who spent the evening parked in front of that stage were treated to four hours of blissful, rhythmic, guitar-based pop that tapped into Lollapalooza’s spirit of eclecticism and brotherhood.

Even in their first-album youth, the Killers have always played the role of a big rock band—they seem custom-built for festival headlining slots. They did not disappoint; their 90-minute Friday finale was a gimmick-free charge through their impressive, hook-filled back catalog.Frontman Brandon Flowers worked the tens of thousands in front of him like a Vegas lounge revue, strutting and pounding through neutron bombs like “Mr. Brightside” and “Somebody Told Me,” and in a charming bit of hero worship that brought the evening back around for a resolution, he welcomed New Order frontman Bernard Sumner to join the Killers for a cover of Joy Division’s “Shadowplay,” which they turned into a spry, jittery singalong.

In fact, the transformation of Joy Division songs might have been the highlight of Friday’s festivities. New Order finished their performance with three nods to the band they used to be, ripping through “Atmosphere,” “Transmission,” and “Love Will Tear Us Apart” as a tribute to late JD frontman Ian Curtis. In a remarkable bit of alchemy, Sumner (with a healthy assist from a game audience) turned “Love Will Tear Us Apart,” a downer of a song written by a guy who hanged himself, into a (pardon the pun) joyous anthem. Maybe that’s just the power of New Order, who ripped through a hit-filled set of effervescent synth-powered janglers like the dreamy “The Perfect Kiss” and a thudding “Blue Monday.” READ FULL STORY

Kanye West's dark, interactive 'Black Skinhead' video finally arrives

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A few weeks ago, an unfinished version of Kanye West’s video for “Black Skinhead” hit the Internet, and nobody knew what to think. Was it real? Was it incomplete? It turned out the answers to those questions were “Yes” and “Yes.”

Having finally gotten over the heartbreak of the leak, West has now pulled back the curtain on the finished version of “Black Skinhead.” The video was directed by Nick Knight (the British fashion photographer who also directed Lady Gaga’s unicorn-centric “Born This Way” clip and who also helmed that “New Slaves” video that was projected onto the sides of buildings), and it is designed to be a fully interactive experience — you can speed it up, slow it down, and capture images from it, which West hopes leads to a proliferation of images from the video on all Facebook pages everywhere.

Perhaps the most impressive element of the “Black Skinhead” experience is the middle-fingered cursor, which was an element my freshman year roommate added to his then-state-of-the-art computer to make it more “edgy.” (Did that overhaul also include a ton of quotes from the South Park movie? You better believe it did.)

Anyway, you can experience the madness of “Black Skinhead” (which, admittedly, looks pretty awesome) over at Kanye West’s official site. It’s impressive, though honestly it’s not nearly as good a promotional clip for “Black Skinhead” as the trailer for The Wolf of Wall Street. Could the “Black Skinhead” video be the thing that gives Yeezus a second life? And now that everybody has spent some time with it, what’s the final verdict? Sound off in the comments.

(Or, if you’d rather debate something else, just consider Kanye’s latest proposition. Never change, Kanye.)

Read More on EW.com:
Album Review: Kanye West, Yeezus
Kanye West scuffles with paparazzi at LAX
Kanye West’s pricey clothing line sells out, crashes site
Album sales: Wale tops chart, Kanye West sees ‘Yeezus’ fall big
Kanye West’s ‘Yeezus’ gets a single after all: ‘Black Skinhead’ heading to radio

An acoustic summer jam by... the Backstreet Boys? Hear it here first!

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“Trust Me” has a laid-back vibe that feels very Jack Johnson. Its gentle guitar brings Jason Mraz to mind. Sultry lyrics like “Oh love/You and me/Underneath the willow tree/Kissin’, lovin’/Makin’ sweet sexy babies” sound like they could be a PG-13 version of Robin Thicke.

But listen closer to the distinctive voices crooning each verse — not to mention the occasional tight harmony — and you’ll realize that this sweet, acoustic earworm actually comes from the last source you’d expect: the Backstreet Boys, all grown up and unplugged.

“Trust Me” is a new song off their upcoming album, In a World Like This. Get an exclusive preview below — for maximum effect, listen while swinging in a hammock and sipping something cold.

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Beyonce holds moment of silence for Trayvon Martin

Beyonce called in a concert for a moment of silence for Trayvon Martin, Young Jeezy released a song in Martin’s memory, and Russell Simmons called for peace after George Zimmerman was acquitted by a Florida jury in the death of the teenager.

There was a wide range of reactions by celebrities after jurors cleared Zimmerman late Saturday of all charges in the 2012 shooting death of the unarmed 17-year-old Martin.

Beyonce took a moment to honor Martin during her Mrs. Carter Show World Tour concert at Bridgestone Arena in Nashville, Tenn. Her concert started about 30 minutes after the Zimmerman verdict began to circulate.

“I’d like to have a moment of silence for Trayvon,” the pop star said as the stage grew dark with just a few key lights shining. READ FULL STORY

Aretha Franklin cancels hometown show citing treatment

Aretha Franklin has canceled a Detroit-area performance set for July 27, citing ongoing treatment.

The show at DTE Energy Music Theatre in Clarkston, Michigan, initially had been scheduled for June 22, but Franklin postponed it to later this month.

Then, in a letter written by the Grammy-winning singer and distributed Friday by her publicist, Franklin says she was canceling the show “one last time” due to an unspecified ongoing treatment.

The 71-year-old Queen of Soul had announced in May that she was putting off scheduled performances in Chicago and Connecticut to undergo medical treatment.

Justin Timberlake will 'Take Back the Night' with upcoming single -- VIDEO

Pop quiz time! “Take Back the Night” is:

a) an internationally held event that aims to help end sexual assault, domestic violence, dating violence, and sexual abuse

b) the name of the foundation that oversees Take Back the Night events

c) the name, apparently, of a Justin Timberlake song

d) all of the above

(Do you need me to tell you the answer?)
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Metallica to perform at Comic-Con

Metallica are bringing heavy metal to Hall H. The band will promote the upcoming 3-D film Metallica Through the Never with a panel and live performance at Comic-Con on Friday, July 19. The 6:30 p.m. Hall H panel — which marks the band’s debut appearance at the San Diego pop-culture fest — will be followed by an intimate concert at a secret location.

In addition to all four Metallica members — James Hetfield, Lars Ulrich, Kirk Hammett and Robert Trujillo — Through the Never star Dane DeHaan, director/writer Nimrod Antal and producer Charlotte Huggins will also answer fan questions on the panel, where the film’s trailer and poster will make their debut.

Through the Never, which hits theaters September 27, combines Metallica performance footage with a narrative story about Trip (DeHaan), a roadie sent on a mission during a sold-out show.
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New Edition, Charlie Wilson, Trey Songz pump up the Superdome at Essence Music Fest

When five members of New Edition walked out onto the Superdome stage to close out the Saturday night show of the Essence Music Festival, some fans in the audience questioned the whereabouts of the group’s most famous member. Ronnie DeVoe, Ricky Bell, Michael Bivins, Ralph Tresvant, and Johnny Gill, dressed in their matching gray suits, launched into the group’s early hits and fans were right there with them. But the nostalgia party really got started when Bobby Brown strutted out, jacket in hand and slung over his shoulder. The six singers stuck to their well known canon of hits like “Candy Girl,” “Mr. Telephone Man,” “Poison,” and “My Prerogative” while doing the kind of choreographed dancing that helped make them famous 30 years ago.
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BET Awards: Jamie Foxx, Nicki Minaj win; Justin Timberlake performs with Charlie Wilson

Who won video of the year again?

The BET Awards were barely about the actual awards as wild performances stole the night. They also didn’t present the top honor Sunday.

Janelle Monae ended the three and a half hour-plus event with a top notch performance of “Q.U.E.E.N.” alongside Erykah Badu, who brought a white poodle onstage. It was just one of the night’s best performances, which also featured stolen moments from a seductive Ciara, a slick Miguel, a random — but welcomed — reggae set and a playful Justin Timberlake with an even more playful Charlie Wilson.

Timberlake took a backseat to the soul singer, joining Wilson onstage for a medley of his solo and Gap Band hits.

Stevie Wonder, Jamie Foxx, Pharrell, Snoop Dogg and India.Arie were also part of the tribute to 60-year-old Wilson, who earned the lifetime achievement award.
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