Saturday, November 24, 2007


Gorillaz' second rarities compilation covers "phase two" of the cartoon-avatar band's career, centering on its second album, 2005's "Demon Days." It's not all killer, but some impressive tracks lurk within.

Opener "68 State" is a sexy, fractured instrumental, propelled by a haunting bassline. "People" is also a great listen; the song is a demo version of "Demon Days" single "DARE," but here it has a completely different lyric and melody, sung by bandleader Damon Albarn (aka 2D) instead of eventual guest vocalist Shaun Ryder. "Hong Kong," originally recorded for a Warchild benefit album, is a different animal: Albarn is at his Blurriest, his voice melancholy yet hopeful as he muses over a river of gently plucked strings. A bonus disc features a host of remixes, including three versions each of "DARE" and "Kids With Guns."


So guess who got the last laugh? "Gimme More," Britney Spears' launch single from fifth studio album "Blackout," peaked at a robust No. 3 on The Billboard Hot 100, garnering plenty of top 40 attention and consumer download love, while the album catapulted in at No. 2.

Follow-up "Piece of Me" has already fostered scrutiny with lyrical response to obsessive media attention: "I'm Mrs. Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, I'm Mrs. Oh my God that Britney's shameless/ I'm Mrs. 'Extra,' 'Extra,' this just in, I'm Mrs. she's too big, now she's too thin." Musically, the song drips and drools '80s synths, alongside a drowsy midtempo clip, as Brit sings in a heavily layered near-monotone. Again, the cover of Us will be as big a catalyst for radio as vocal prowess.

SIMPLE PLAN - When I'm Gone

It may be a cliché to say that Simple Plan has developed a more mature sound on its self-titled third LP, but judging from infectious new single "When I'm Gone," teen angst has given way to a quarter-life crisis. Like Good Charlotte, the Montreal-based pop-punkers have made inroads at top 40 radio by exchanging punk attitude for pop accessibility.

They've also enlisted producers Dave Fortman and Timbaland protégé Danja to help redefine their sound. Fans distressed by the new direction can take solace in the fact that the quintet has retained its youthful exuberance and bratty charisma. "When I'm Gone" sputters to life with beats and beeps straight out of Timbaland's playbook, but it quickly morphs into an arena-ready anthem highlighted by rousing choruses and earnest lyrics.

Pitbull - The Boatlift

Pitbull's signature combination of clever, in-your-face Spanglish lyrics and frenetic dance beats is at its best on this album, where he plays to his less excessively crude sensibilities. The talented Miami MC shows his range here, deftly transitioning from uptempo dance to R&B to everything in between.

There are some party-perfect club tracks, particularly "The Anthem," a fun hip-shaker featuring Lil Jon, and "Midnight," featuring Casely on the hook. "Fuego," produced by Mr. Collipark and featuring Don Omar, has pleasing retro touches that recall "Planet Rock." Of the slower songs, the best is the refreshingly serious "My Life" ("I apologize, but this game made me a monster/I'm sorry"). The production is top-notch—if you don't mind the 2 Live Crew-ish blue streak, turn it up.


The hip producers (Calvin Harris, Bloodshy & Avant) and heavy-hitting songwriters (Guy Chambers, Cathy Dennis) are all present and correct, but they never overshadow Minogue's perky/ saucy pop/dance formula. You'll search in vain for insight into her recent personal traumas, but there's still plenty of heart and soul and, in the shape of "Sensitized," "In My Arms," "The One" and lead single "Two Hearts," her best batch of tunes in a while. A truly welcome return.

Even after a four-year absence and a courageous battle against cancer, Kylie Minogue's appetite for pop perfection remains undimmed. Indeed, her 10th studio album (due next year in the United States) is stuffed with pointers as to why she's one of the few pure pop artists to sustain a career into a third decade without ever pulling a Britney.

Maroon 5 - Won't Go Home Without You

Best new artist Maroon 5 and a Grammy Award winner sure is breaking the curse that so often follows the accolade. Following runaway hits "Makes Me Wonder" and "Wake Up Call," the quintet maintains strapping momentum of No. 1 platinum second album "It Won't Be Soon Before Long" with third single "Won't Go Home Without You," another track so organically hitworthy that one almost pities whomever had to decide the order of radio releases.

The tempo slows a bit this time, as singer/ songwriter Adam Levine laments letting go of a lady, though the chorus kicks in nicely with plugged guitars and spin-wheel percussion. Man, this guy can write hooks. Maroon 5 serves up songs that never seem to burn and will sound as relevant in years as they do now, while scaling the charts. The act is about two hits from becoming the premier pop band of the millennium.

Tuesday, November 20, 2007

American Idol Storms the Amerian Music Awards

'American Idol' alumni stole the show at the 35th American Music Awards, as country singer Carrie Underwood and rocker Chris Daughtry both go home with three awards each.

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 19) - "American Idol" alumni came out on top at the American Music Awards as Daughtry, the band fronted by ex-"Idol" loser Chris Daughtry, shared the triple-winner spotlight with "Idol" champ Carrie Underwood.

Daughtry capitalized on its three nominations to win favorite pop-rock album for its self-titled debut, as well as breakthrough artist and adult contemporary artist honors.

Underwood matched her three wins at the Country Music Association Awards this month with three trophies Sunday: female country artist, country album for "Some Hearts," and the T-Mobile text-in award.

Justin Timberlake was a long-distance winner, accepting by video from Australia as his name was called for male pop-rock artist and in the soul/R&B album category for his "FutureSex/LoveSounds."

Usher presented the international artist award to Beyonce, who was a featured performer but did not win in any of her three competitive nominations.

Backstage, Sugarland singer Jennifer Nettles said she was nervous to sing with Beyonce, who she described as "so beautiful."

Celine Dion performed her new song, "Taking Chances," and Lenny Kravitz sat at the piano to play his latest, "I'll Be Waiting."

Eighties band Duran Duran performed its new song, "Falling Down," as well as the old hit "Hungry Like the Wolf."

Fergie opened the show with a trio of songs from her debut album, then closed it by beating Beyonce and Avril Lavigne to win pop-rock female artist.

Alive 2007 DAFT PUNK

Zilch can fairly match the in-person thrills of the current Daft Punk live experience, what with the robot costumes, onstage pyramid and body-rattling beats radiating out into the blissed-out faithful.

Nevertheless "Alive 2007" comes pretty darn close, capturing a hometown Paris audience so jonesing for a Daft Punk fix that it loudly sings along with the synch melody on "Television Rules the Nation."

While it's great to hear the classics ("Da Funk," "One More Time") even if they're not played in full, perhaps the most useful service provided here is the rehabilitation of material from 2005's underwhelming 'Human After All." That album's massive "Robot Rock" proves a perfect table-setter for the dance party to come, while the industrial-strength house of "The Brainwasher" pushes things over the edge.

Friday, November 16, 2007

Red Carpet Ride For Duran Duran U.K. Date

Duran Duran has made a killing on a U.K. concert in support of its new album, "Red Carpet Massacre."

The scheduled Dec. 3 date at the historic 2,000-capacity Lyceum Theatre in London's West End sold out in just five minutes after going on sale this morning (Nov. 16), promoters AEG said today.

The two-hour performance, the British pop-rock veterans' first on home soil in two years, replaces an earlier date planned for the Odeon Leicester Square, which officials canceled over concerns the London landmark would be swamped by onlookers.

The Lyceum performance will follow the formula of the band's recent residency on Broadway, where, during a stint at the 1,100-seat Ethel Barrymore Theatre, they played a mix of old and new works, plus an electro set.

The group is also booked to perform a one-off concert Dec. 5 at Phoenix Park, Dublin, which forms part of the "Live At The Marquee Concert Series."

Van Halen Extends Tour With 2008 Dates

As expected, Van Halen's tour with original lead singer David Lee Roth has been extended into 2008.

The Live Nation-produced trek -- Roth, Eddie and Alex Van Halen and Eddie Van Halen's teenage son Wolfgang on bass -- kicked off Sept. 27 in Charlotte, N.C., with 40 dates in place.

Now, five additional shows have been added: Oklahoma City (Jan. 22); Houston (Jan. 28); Omaha, Neb. (Feb. 4); Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. (Feb. 12); and St. Louis (March 30), according to the band's official site.

The current tour is Roth's first with the Van Halen brothers in more than 20 years. Van Halen last toured in 2004 with vocalist Sammy Hagar, grossing nearly $40 million, according to Billboard Boxscore.

The Police -- Every Little Thing

NEW YORK (Nov. 16) - The reunion of rock trio The Police for their first concerts in more than 20 years was named the top grossing and top ticket selling tour of 2007 Thursday at the 4th annual Billboard Touring Awards.Singer/bass player Sting, drummer Stewart Copeland and guitarist Andy Summers began the tour in May and it is due to end early next year, after traveling through North America, Europe, Latin America, Japan, Australia and New Zealand.

According to Billboard data up to Sept. 30, The Police have so far grossed more than $171 million from 53 shows seen by more than 1.5 million people.

Arthur Fogel, chairman of music for concert touring company Live Nation Inc who produced The Police tour, told the Billboard Touring Conference that the potential success of the tour was not taken for granted.

"Clearly there was pent-up demand from 20 plus years of them not touring and the fact that they were, when they split up in the mid-80s, ... at their peak and they were very prolific and very successful," he said.

But none of those factors could be taken for granted and that "from day one" it was determined that a high-profile launch was needed to ensure the tour was successful, said Fogel, who has produced 10 of the top 15 money-making tours of all time, according to Billboard.

The Police launched their tour in February at the famed Whisky A Go Go nightclub in West Hollywood with a news conference and mini-concert.

The top package award went to the country tour of Kenny Chesney with Sugarland, Pat Green, Brooks & Dunn, Sara Evans, which grossed more than $71.2 million from 55 shows seen by more than 1.1 million people.

Chesney was also awarded the top Country Music Association award for "Entertainer of the Year" last week.

The Police Win Big At Billboard Touring Awards

The Police reunion tour was the big winner at the fourth annual Billboard Touring Awards, held tonight (Nov. 15) at the Roosevelt Hotel in New York. The global trek by the Police, produced by TNA International, took home awards for top tour and top draw, which recognize the top-grossing tour and the top ticket-selling tour, respectively. Additionally, Kathy Schenker Management, management company for the Police tour, was named top manager. The Billboard Touring Awards honor the industry's top artists, venues and professionals for the year, based on the Billboard Boxscore chart. They are determined by actual box office performance from Jan. 1, 2007, to Sept. 30, 2007. The awards reception wrapped the 2007 Billboard Touring Conference. Other artist awards went to the Kenny Chesney Flip Flop Summer tour (with Sugarland, Pat Green, Brooks & Dunn and Sara Evans), which captured top package for the third straight year, and Justin Timberlake, who was named breakthrough artist on the strength of his FutureSex LoveShow tour.

Wednesday, November 14, 2007

Radiohead Sets U.S. 'Rainbows' Deal

NEW YORK (Nov. 14) - British rock group Radiohead has completed a deal with Dave Matthews' ATO Records Group for the U.S. release of its new album, which fans can download from the Web for a price of their choosing.

"In Rainbows," to be released on a new imprint dubbed TBD Records, will arrive Jan. 1, one day after being issued in the United Kindgdom by XL Recordings, which handles such acts as the White Stripes and Devendra Banhart.

In recent weeks, ATO quickly emerged as the front-runner and most attractive U.S. home for Radiohead, which recorded for EMI until 2005. Although no official relationship with the band was announced beforehand, ATO has been working the Radiohead tracks "Bodysnatchers" and "Jigsaw Falling Into Place" to U.S. radio for the past couple of weeks.

As for the meaning of TBD Records, a spokesperson said, "we ran into trouble in trying to clear all previously discussed potential label names."

"In Rainbows" was first made available Oct. 10 via, just 10 days after the band announced the album was complete. Fans were given the option to name their own price for a download of the album, which is also being sold in a deluxe discbox edition with CD and vinyl. That package ships "on or before Dec. 3," according to the site.

Radiohead will support "In Rainbows" with world tour dates beginning next spring. The group returned to action with a live Webcast Friday on its site, featuring performances of songs from the new album.

Other ATO acts include Patty Griffin, Gomez, My Morning Jacket and Crowded House. Matthews co-founded New York-based ATO (According To Our) Records with his manager and two associates.

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2007-11-14 07:10:50

Friday, November 2, 2007

Carlos Santana's Wife Files for Divorce

Carlos Santana says that he'd "probably be a hobo" without his wife Deborah. Yet she splits from the guitar legend after 34 years of marriage citing irreconcilable differences.

- Carlos and Deborah Santana's marriage is over after 34 years. She splits from the guitar icon, citing "irreconcilable differences." -

LOS ANGELES (Nov. 2) - Rock guitarist Carlos Santana's wife has filed to dissolve the couple's 34-year marriage, the Marin Independent Journal reported.

Deborah Santana cited irreconcilable differences in her Oct. 19 filing in Marin County Superior Court, the California paper said on its Web site Thursday

It quoted the musician's publicist as saying the pending divorce was "a private matter and there is no comment."

The couple, who live in San Rafael, 20 miles north of San Francisco, have three children.

Led Zeppelin Reunion Show Postponed

Thanks to Jimmy Page's fractured finger, fans awaiting the first Led Zeppelin shows since their split in 1980 will have to wait just a few weeks longer.

LONDON (Nov. 2) - Led Zeppelin fans awaiting the rockers' reunion will have to wait a little longer.

The band's first concert in two decades, scheduled for Nov. 26, has been postponed until Dec. 10 after guitarist Jimmy Page fractured a finger, organizers said Friday

Led Zeppelin, who split up in 1980 after the death of drummer John Bonham, announced in September they were reuniting for a one-off show. The lineup includes Page, singer Robert Plant and bass player John Paul Jones, along with Bonham's son Jason.

More than 1 million fans entered a draw for a chance to buy one of the 10,000 tickets to the concert at London's O2 Arena, a tribute to Atlantic Records founder Ahmet Ertegun, who died last year. The lineup also includes former Rolling Stone Bill Wyman, Foreigner and young Scottish singer Paolo Nutini.

Organizers said tickets for the Nov. 26 gig will be honored at the rescheduled show.


After a debut album that sold 6 million-plus copies, Carrie Underwood is under significant pressure to keep the momentum going. Luckily, the Oklahoman delivers in spades on her sophomore effort, on which she was much more involved in the creative process.

First single "So Small," No. 4 on Billboard's Hot Country Songs chart, is a soaring song about the important things in life. "Just a Dream" is the tale of the death of a young soldier from the perspective of his girl back home, while "Last Name," about a drunken flirtation that turns into a Vegas marriage, is a fun diversion.

Underwood provides a growling and gritty vocal on the defiant "Flat on the Floor" and convincingly covers Randy Travis' 1988 hit "I Told You So," which has long deserved a second life. If only every follow-up was this good.

Carrie Underwood Tops Billboard Charts

'American Idol' winner Carrie Underwood's sophomore album 'Carnival Ride' landed at the top of the Billboard charts, selling more than a half million copies in it's first week in stores.

NEW YORK (Oct. 31) - For the first time ever, three country singers (with help from one rock star) grabbed the top three slots on the U.S. pop album charts Wednesday, with former "American Idol" champ Carrie Underwood leading the way.

Underwood's "Carnival Ride" sold 527,000 copies in the week ended Oct. 28, according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking her first No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Her Grammy-winning debut "Some Hearts" opened at No. 2 with 315,000 copies in 2005.

Country music ruled the Billboard charts this week as Allison Krauss' new album with Robert Plant took second place, Carrie Underwood's sophomore effort finished at the top and Gary Allan's 'Living Hard' rounded out the top three.

'American Idol' winner Carrie Underwood's sophomore album 'Carnival Ride' landed at the top of the Billboard charts, selling more than a half million copies in it's first week in stores.

NEW YORK (Oct. 31) - For the first time ever, three country singers (with help from one rock star) grabbed the top three slots on the U.S. pop album charts Wednesday, with former "American Idol" champ Carrie Underwood leading the way.

Underwood's "Carnival Ride" sold 527,000 copies in the week ended Oct. 28, according to Nielsen SoundScan, marking her first No. 1 on the Billboard 200. Her Grammy-winning debut "Some Hearts" opened at No. 2 with 315,000 copies in 2005.

Jennifer Lopez Is Pregnant Designer Says

NEW YORK (Nov. 1) - Roberto Cavalli has confirmed, perhaps inadvertently, that Jennifer Lopez is pregnant. Asked what types of clothing he designs for celebrities, the fashion designer told People magazine: "Well Jennifer Lopez, at this moment, she requests something very special because she is waiting for the baby."

"It is so complicated because every week she is getting bigger," Cavalli said in a story posted Tuesday on the magazine's Web site.

"Jennifer Lopez has continued promotional appearances for her new CD 'Brave' amidst rumors that she is expecting her first child."

"Us sources say that the singer is four months pregnant with twins. One source says Lopez's mother is proudly spreading the word to her friends."

Cavalli, known for his attention-getting designs, created free-flowing outfits for Lopez, who has been on tour with her husband, Marc Anthony.

His comment came after weeks of speculation, tabloid baby-bump pictures and raised eyebrows. Lopez, 39, has declined comment.

A telephone message left Wednesday for her publicist, Nancy Ryder, wasn't immediately returned.

"The thing about Jennifer Lopez, she is a singer, she is a dancer," Cavalli said. "Most of the time when I prepare something for the tour, the performer, they want something very soft so they can dance and so they can move free."