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Tag: Rock (71-80 of 525)

On the scene: Prince electrifies the Mohegan Sun Arena

Over the course of his long, storied, and downright weird career, Prince has proven he can make just about any room his home—from the teeny (dig his epic sets at New York’s tiny City Winery earlier this year) to the gargantuan (he played the greatest Super Bowl halftime show of the modern era in 2007—sorry, Beyoncé).

But the Purple One’s ideal stomping ground is an arena, which he proved yet again Friday night (December 27) when he stampeded through the first of three shows at the Mohegan Sun Arena in Uncasville, Connecticut. Those rooms are intimate enough for Prince to individually invite women onto the stage to dance with him, but also large enough to contain his royal histrionics.

Decked out in an all-yellow suit and situated behind a microphone stand bearing the glyph that once stood in place of his name, Prince treated the first night of his three-night stay like an old-school soul review. “We’re just gonna jam tonight,” he told the crowd while introducing the New Power Generation, and he lived up to his word. The early part of Prince’s two and a half hour set featured him teasing out extra-long versions of staples both classic (“Let’s Go Crazy”) and modern (“Musicology”), and vacillating between being a living avatar of James Brown and the greatest descendent of Jimi Hendrix.

The most remarkable thing about seeing Prince live is the fact that the guy is a ridiculously great guitar player (or, as one bearded dude said to another during the solo that highlighted “Something In the Water (Does Not Compute),” “That motherf—er can shred!”). His guitar heroics showed up early and often, especially on the slowed-down, Zeppelin-ized version of “Let’s Go Crazy.”

When he wasn’t melting his six-string, he was holding court as the ringmaster of a sprawling funk band whose numbers seemed to keep multiplying (there were at least 18 other musicians on stage). READ FULL STORY

Best and Worst 2013: The six best metal albums of the year

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There’s a scene in the also-ran ’90s teen film Empire Records where one of the titular music store’s employees sorts through the CDs snatched by a just-caught shoplifter. The clerk is appalled that said juvenile criminal would only be jacking rap and metal and encourages him to listen to some jazz.

The passive suggestion in that scene is that obsession over those genres is best suited to 14-year-olds who haven’t yet grown out of their age of aggression. If that’s true, then I am undoubtedly regressing, as I spent roughly 79 percent of 2013 listening to fantastically guttural hip-hop and ultra-intense metal.

Luckily, metal’s constant shape-shifting and envelope-pushing provide a multitude of approaches and attitudes. The six albums listed below all fall under the heading of “metal,” but no two are the same. The only thing they share is a fundamental intensity that taps into something pure and primal. This year wasn’t as great a year as 2012, when stalwarts Baroness, Converge, High on Fire, and Gojira all hit remarkable peaks. But there was still plenty of shredding majesty and genuflections before darkness.

So enjoy my picks for the six (the most evil number) best metal albums of 2013. Apologies to Watain, Skeletonwitch, Kvelertak, Tombstoned, Amon Amarth, Ancient VVisdom, and Avatarium, all of whom made metal records I loved and just missed the cut for the top. Try ‘em all, and play ‘em loud.  READ FULL STORY

Best and Worst 2013: The Worst Albums of the Year, starring Lil Wayne, Five Finger Death Punch, and John Fogerty

Let’s face it: Outside of a few exceptions, the bulk of the music that came out this year (or any given year) falls into the “pretty much okay” category. It takes a remarkable feat to cross the bridge from “merely disappointing” or “aggressively sub par” over to “truly, remarkably heinous.”

Which is to say: The five albums listed below aren’t merely boring or trite or annoying (though they are in fact all of those things). Each of the five long-players below had to go the extra mile. As many have taught us in the past, it takes quite a bit of work to be this terrible.

So here are EW’s picks for the five worst albums of 2013. They are all terrible. Let us never speak of them again. READ FULL STORY

Grammy nomination snubs and surprises: Justin Timberlake, Sara Bareilles, Lorde and more

The nominations for the Grammy Awards always seem to lead to more arguments than any other music awards shows’ choices do. That’s inevitable, since the Grammys’ list of categories is so vast and sometimes confusing, and the criteria by which the nominating committee settles on its selections is often inexplicable.

The announcement of the list of potential Grammy winners last night was no different, and it starts at the top: Jay Z lead all artists with nine total nominations, even though his 2013 release Magna Carta…Holy Grail was considered tepid at best (an adjudication Jigga himself seems to share). What’s even stranger is that none of those nine nominations are in the Big Three categories: Song of the Year, Album of the Year, and Record of the Year. He also shares a couple of those nominations with Justin Timberlake for “Suit & Tie.” So Jay taking home the most nominations is a little deceptive — it’s not like the year Adele scored a boatload of nods and then dominated the proceedings.

That’s only the beginning. Here are nine more confusing snubs and pleasant surprises embedded within the Grammy nominations.

Surprise: Justin Timberlake
Weep not for JT; he picked up seven nominations across a multitude of categories, including Best Pop Duo/Group Performance.

READ FULL STORY

Daft Punk, Elton John, The Clash, and other join Tony Hawk and Ben Harper for second 'Boards + Bands' charity auction

Last year, Tony Hawk launched the first Boards + Bands auction, which raised over $126,000 to build skate parks for at-risk youth by auctioning off custom skateboard decks featuring hand-written lyrics from famous artists — and this year, the participants include Daft Punk, Ben Harper, members of the Clash, Elton John, and John Lydon.

The idea is that Hawk’s friends donated decks they actually rode. Then Hawk sent those boards to some of his rock star friends, who wrote lyrics to their skateboarder-approved tunes on the decks. “Last Year’s Boards + Bands auction surpassed all expectations,” Hawk said in a statement. “This year we have equal caliber of skaters and musicians contributing, so I am looking forward to seeing the excitement (and high bidding) they bring.”

The auction kicks off tomorrow, December 5, at the auction’s official site. You can take a look at the wares available online, or if you’re in Los Angeles, check out the decks at the Grammy Museum. You can also donate to Hawk’s cause even if you don’t want to buy a custom Elton John skateboard.

Check out the highlights from last year’s auction below.

READ FULL STORY

Bruce Springsteen announces new album and single 'High Hopes' for January

While most artists of his age enter a fallow period brought on by the comforts of success or a lack of meaningful inspiration (or both), Bruce Springsteen just keeps getting up and going to work every day.

He just announced that his new album High Hopes will be out on January 14, and that the album’s first single of the same name is out right now. It will be Springsteen’s 18th studio album and his fifth in seven years—a remarkable accomplishment, especially considering he once went seven years without releasing much of anything.

The new album consists of a series of new tracks recorded with Rage Against the Machine guitarist Tom Morello, who sat in with Springsteen and the E Street Band on a bunch of shows during the band’s tour for 2012’s Wrecking Ball. It also contains a bunch of tracks previously recorded for other projects but never before released, which is how late E Streeters Danny Federici and Clarence Clemons came to be on High Hopes. READ FULL STORY

U2 unveil new song 'Ordinary Love' with lyric video: Watch it here

U2 recently started the process of getting back into the business of being U2, with a new manager settling into place and a new album arriving early next year.

Though that new album—their first since 2009’s No Line on the Horizon—still has no title or release date, we do have new U2 music in the form of “Ordinary Love” (which is thankfully not a cover of the fantastic Sade song of the same name).

The new tune was written and recorded specifically for the biopic Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which stars Idris Elba as the titular South African freedom-fighter. A snippet of the track first appeared in the trailer for Mandela, but now the band has put the whole thing up on Facebook, complete with a lyric video.

It sounds definitively U2-ish but is relatively unremarkable otherwise, though Bono does sound like he’s in fine form and the Edge has kept track of his guitar pedals during the band’s absence.

Check out the lyric video for U2’s “Ordinary Love” below.  READ FULL STORY

Report: U2 hint at album release date, reportedly undergo management change

Like the spy plane with which they share a moniker, U2 have been almost silent since they wrapped up the (admittedly massive) promotional tour for 2009’s No Line on the HorizonBut they plan on making a little noise in 2014.

According to Billboard, the band is sniffing around a tentative April release date for their still-untitled album that was produced by Brian “Danger Mouse” Burton. They are also reportedly searching for brand partners for an album-related announcement during the Super Bowl.

Fans have already gotten a taste of new U2 music in the trailer for Mandela: Long Walk to Freedom, which features a portion of a new song called “Ordinary Love,” which the band wrote specifically for the movie. Check it out below:

READ FULL STORY

Ed Sheeran on working with Peter Jackson on 'The Hobbit' song 'I See Fire': 'I'm a massive fan of Tolkien and of Peter' - EXCLUSIVE

Yesterday, The Hobbit director Peter Jackson pulled back the curtain on “I See Fire,” the Ed Sheeran song that will play over the closing credits of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug. As Jackson explained on his Facebook page, the process began when the two had lunch during Sheeran’s tour through New Zealand, and continued after Jackson brought Sheeran in to view the movie and work on the song.

Sheeran has worked with a number of high-profile musicians—including Taylor Swift and Lupe Fiasco—but “I See Fire” was his first collaboration with a filmmaker. “He was fantastic,” Sheeran tells EW. “At every point where I’d be adding something, I’d play him the song afterwards. I was there for three days, and at the end of every day he would come and listen to the song and give me notes.”

“He knows what he wants,” he continued, “but he doesn’t pretend to be musical in any way. He let me go on with it, but he also knows his movie, so he would tell me something needs to be less energetic, or more relaxed, or whatever. He knows the colors and templates of what the song should be rather than how the melody should go.”

Sheeran’s also a longtime devotee of the work of J.R.R. Tolkien—The Hobbit was the first book his dad read to him as a child, and Sheeran’s grandfather owns a first edition of the novel. READ FULL STORY

Charts: Arcade Fire open on top, Eminem set for huge debut

Back in 2010, Arcade Fire scored their first number one with The Suburbs, an album that would go on to win the Grammy for Album of the Year. The Canadian collective is back on top with their follow-up Reflektor, which opens its sales life at the top of the Billboard 200 with 140,000 copies sold. That’s a solid number, though its slightly below the kickoff week for The Suburbs, which picked up 156,000. 

Of course, Arcade Fire only spent a single week at number one last time around — The Suburbs was dethroned by Eminem’s Recovery, which had returned to the top of the chart in its eighth week of release. It looks like history will be repeating itself: Eminem’s just-released The Marshall Mathers LP 2 is on track to sell between 700,000 and 750,000 units this week, which would easily give Slim Shady his 11th chart-topper and the second-biggest opening of the year behind Justin Timberlake’s The 20/20 Experience.

That would also be right on pace with the opening week of Recovery, which opened with 741,000 copies sold. Of course, he’ll fall well short of the premiere week for 2000’s The Marshall Mathers LP, which hit a staggering 1.76 million copies. Em will even fall short of the first Marshall Mathers LP‘s second week, which saw it do another 800,000. Still, Slim Shady has shown remarkable durability despite shifting cultural allegiances and mixed reviews.

Eminem also finds himself on top of the Digital Songs chart this week, with “The Monster,” his Rihanna-assisted single, selling 373,000 downloads. READ FULL STORY

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