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On the Scene at the iHeart Radio Awards: Imagine Dragons, Juicy J, more tease upcoming albums

Rockers, rappers, country stars, and more took center stage at the first ever iHeart Radio Music Awards on Thursday at L.A’s Shrine Auditorium. EW was on the scene for the event and caught up with the likes of Imagine Dragons, Austin Mahone, Juicy J and more:
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Mock stars: The era of anonymous bands, from Foster the People to Imagine Dragons

Who wears the leather pants in music these days? Men still turn out smash songs by singing over guitars. But not since Mumford & Sons strapped on their suspenders have any rock hitmakers broken out as true stars, famous for anything other than scaling the charts. What do you know about the guys in Bastille or OneRepublic, the two bands currently sitting pretty in the Hot 100 top 10? Maybe you can name their singles (“Pompeii” and “Counting Stars,” respectively). But they don’t give off even a glimmer of the cherished emblems of the classic Rock Star: turbulent souls, incendiary lyrics, boa-draped fashion statements, dangerous good looks.

Instead, we’re saddled with mock stars: guys with paltry backstories, little apparent fire under their asses, and indifferent bedhead. And dudes these recent chart-cloggers be. In addition to Bastille and OneRepublic, there’s Imagine Dragons, Capital Cities, AWOLNATION, and Foster the People—all entirely male. They are not entirely terrible. Their modern rock does sound approachably modern, folding in synths and drum machines, with hooks that resonate rather than kick you directly in the acorns. These songs live in the rock fan’s friend zone: ever present, not unpleasant, but deeply unsexy.

L.A. trio Foster the People (pictured) were responsible for one of the biggest and most compelling mock-star smashes to date: “Pumped Up Kicks,” from their debut Torches, has sold more than 5 million copies since the song’s release in 2010. The deceptively sunny track, which frontman Mark Foster made as a demo and never rerecorded, takes the perspective of an unhinged, gun-toting kid; it’s like “Jeremy,” Pearl Jam’s schoolboy-psycho song, minus the anguish and that poor recess lady.

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On the Charts: Eric Church rules, Beatles get a bump, Imagine Dragons break a record

Though the year is still young, Eric Church has established himself as the 2014 music sales king. His just-released fifth album The Outsiders debuted with a walloping 288,000 copies in its opening week. That’s Church’s second number one debut and his biggest sales week ever (his previous high was his fourth album Chief, which moved 145,000 units on its way to a chart-topping bow back in 2011).

Church didn’t have much competition at the marketplace, as there were not any other top 10 debuts this week—the next highest debut was the new album by Glitch Mob, which came in at number 13 with 22,000 copies sold. But elsewhere on the Billboard 200, there was one clear trend: the rise of the Beatles. READ FULL STORY

SXSW 2014: Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Pitbull, more to play Austin's first iTunes Festival

Apple is looking for its own bite out of SXSW. The company just announced the first-ever iTunes Festival in Austin, Texas, running for five nights during the city’s South by Southwest music, film, and interactive conference.

The first announced performers are Coldplay, Imagine Dragons, Pitbull, Keith Urban, and Zedd, who will take the stage March 11-15 at ACL Live at the Moody Theatre, where Austin City Limits is also held.

Not heading to Austin? You can stream all five nights of music through the iTunes Store.

While this is the first iTunes Festival in the U.S., a U.K. fest of the same name has been held annually at London’s Roundhouse theater since 2007, this past fall boasting headliners like Justin Timberlake and Lady Gaga. More performers and concert details for the Austin incarnation will be announced over the next few weeks.

Katy Perry, Lorde, Imagine Dragons all get early post-Grammys sales boosts

If Katy Perry is actually a witch, then she certainly cast the right spell on music buyers.

Though her performance during the 56th Annual Grammy Awards was met with mixed reviews (EW loved it; the rest of the Internet was more lukewarm), Perry has the biggest post-Grammys sales bump so far.

We won’t know which albums got the biggest spikes until next week (the sales numbers close Sunday night), though a number of songs—including Perry’s “Dark Horse,” featuring rapper Juicy J—have already seen noticeable increases following their appearance on Sunday night’s show.

“Dark Horse” has been on top of the iTunes singles chart all week, and it’s the number one song on Billboard‘s Digital Songs chart (which includes Monday’s sales) this week. It sold 294,000 downloads last week, up 12 percent from last week’s tally. That boost was enough to push “Dark Horse” into the number one spot on the Billboard Hot 100, which is Perry’s ninth trip to that plateau.

Other big gainers on the Billboard Digital Songs chart include Daft Punk’s “Get Lucky” (up 206 percent), John Legend’s “All Of Me” (a 110 percent gain), and Pink & Nate Ruess’ “Just Give Me a Reason” (a 122 percent boost). Imagine Dragons also got a jolt with the release of the Kendrick Lamar-assisted remix of “Radioactive,” which helped the song to a 58 percent sales gain.

It’ll be interesting to see who will see their album sales boosted by the Grammys, which were watched by nearly 30 million people. Daft Punk’s Random Access Memories will almost certainly see a giant bounce, as should Lorde’s Pure Heroine, Kacey Musgraves’ Same Trailer, Different Park, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis’ The Heist. However, it’s entirely possible the biggest winner of the post-Grammys week could be 2014 Grammy Nominees, the compilation album that debuted at number two with 59,000 copies sold.

What music did you buy in the wake of the Grammys? Let us know in the comments.

How Kendrick Lamar (and Imagine Dragons) won the Grammys

Beloved stars hit their marks over and over on last night’s Grammys: Beyoncé pulled off a paradoxically classy chair dance, an ecstatic Pharrell led Daft Punk in a music nerdgasm with Stevie Wonder and Nile Rodgers, Lorde fully blew out her bedroom sound, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis staged a mass wedding as corny and obvious and touching as any ceremony you’d share with family.

And then there was Kendrick Lamar. Although he’s beloved among rap fans and recognized as an indefatigable performer at festivals and opening for Kanye West, the Academy reminded us that Kendrick’s just not the type they want to celebrate, awarding him zero Grammys, not even for Best Rap Album. Macklemore—in his own words—”robbed” that one from Kendrick.

Nor did Kendrick merely hit his marks when it came time for him to perform. Instead, he offered up his own reminder of just how wily and amorphous he is compared to virtually any other artist competing, even in futility, in any kind of industry popularity contest. Rather than simply come out and rap, maybe surrounded by a set evoking his hometown of Compton or with a guest rapper who once managed to find the Academy’s favor, he teamed up with Imagine Dragons, one of rock’s most successful and least acclaimed bands, to try and reinvent a smash (“Radioactive”) that has already worn a groove in pop’s collective consciousness. (Plus perform part of his own ”m.A.A.D City.”)

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The Roots, Foo Fighters to perform Super Bowl weekend

Foo Fighters, The Roots, and Imagine Dragons will perform on a cruise ship ahead of the Super Bowl.

The bands will hit the stage on the Bud Light Hotel New York, which will be docked at Pier 88 in Manhattan on the Hudson River. The Super Bowl will be played Feb. 2 at the MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

The Roots will perform with Run-DMC and Busta Rhymes on Jan. 30, while Grammy-nominated Imagine Dragons will perform a day later.

Foo Fighters will headline the main event on Feb. 1, where Zac Brown Band will also perform.

Fall Out Boy and country singer Jake Owen will play a concert before the Super Bowl.

The cruise ship will offer lodging for 4,000 guests in 1,900 staterooms.

AMAs 2013: See the complete winners list

Lady Gaga and Miley Cyrus made big splashes on the red carpet and on stage, but it was Taylor Swift and Justin Timberlake who each continued to break out of their respective genres Sunday night, taking home American Music Awards across several categories. Rihanna was honored with an AMA Icon Award (at only 25!) and country stars Lady Antebellum took away the night’s biggest country category prize.

See the full list of winners below! READ FULL STORY

What's your pick for Song of the Summer?

We narrowed it down to the 10 songs we felt made the biggest waves this summer. Now tell us which is YOUR favorite of the season. Vote below, then return next week to see which tune will be crowned EW’s Song of the Summer! READ FULL STORY

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

Imagine-Dragons

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

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