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Archives for: May 31, 2018

Carrie Underwood Announces New Album

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Carrie Underwood has announced the official release of her upcoming album “Cry Pretty”, which is due out September 14th. The 2018 release will be Underwood’s sixth studio album and her first with Capitol Records Nashville. Her previous albums were recorded Arista Nashville.

Underwood released the title track from her upcoming album on April 11th. The song quickly became the top single on iTunes and impressively topped 1.3 million streams in its first two days. “Cry Pretty” is a relatable take on the impossible struggle to hold back your emotions.

Underwood skyrocketed to fame following her 2005 American Idol win. Her debut album, “Some Hearts”, was released later that year with great success. “Some Hearts” became the best-selling debut album in history by a female country artist. Among its many notable achievements, her debut album earned three Grammy wins and was named the ACM Album of the Year. Underwood’s subsequent albums have also achieved tremendous commercial and critical success. Underwood has also released a Greatest Hits album, and it joined her five prior studio albums in debuting in the No. 1 spot on Billboard’s Top Country Albums chart, a distinction not shared by any other artist.

Underwood has kept a relatively low profile in recent months, following a fall at her Nashville home. She recently revealed she suffered a wrist fracture and required more than 40 stitches to her face as a result of the fall. Underwood released her single “Cry Pretty” to great reception from both fans and industry insiders. She received a standing ovation for her emotional performance of “Cry Pretty” at the 2018 ACM Awards. This event marked her first public appearance since her injury.

Lynyrd Skynyrd Announces Jacksonville Concert Date

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Legendary Southern rock band Lynyrd Skynyrd announced a new concert date for their farewell tour earlier this week. The band will conclude their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour in their hometown of Jacksonville, Florida on September 2, 2018. The group originally planned for their last concert to be on September 1 in Atlanta, Georgia, but decided that it would be more fitting to have their last show in the city where they started their music career in 1964. The band will be joined by Kid Rock and Jason Aldean, and the event will be held at Everbank Field, home of the Jacksonville Jaguars NFL franchise. Tickets to the general public are scheduled to go on sale April 30 at 10 a.m., while a special VIP presale starts on April 24.

During the group’s announcement for the Jacksonville concert, lead singer Johnny Van Zandt expressed his excitement for the show, telling reporters, “This is a dream come true for the Lynyrd Skynyrd band. We’re going to rock the house here.” Lead guitarist Gary Rossington also expressed satisfaction to perform in the band’s hometown and that Kid Rock and Aldean will make the show even better, saying, “Playing where the band got its start all those years ago is always special but having these guys with us makes it even sweeter.”

Lynyrd Skynyrd’s The Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour begins May 4th in Palm Beach, Florida. Throughout the summer, the group will perform 31 shows at various concerts and festivals throughout the country. In addition to Aldean and Kid Rock, the group will be joined by numerous other guest musicians throughout their tour, including the Charlie Daniels Band, Hank Williams Jr., .38 Special, and the Marshall Tucker Band.

Ariana Grande Makes Surprise Visit to Coachella

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Singer Ariana Grande surprised fans last week with an impromptu performance of her latest single. Grande performed “No Tears Left to Cry” during Kygo’s set during the second week of the Coachella Music Festival in California. Grande dedicated her performance to Avicii, a Swedish musician and DJ who died earlier this week. Grande noted that Avicii was an inspiration to her and many others in the music industry, saying, “He was the reason I started making music.” Kygo echoed Grande’s feelings about Avicii, telling the crowd, “Avicii was my biggest musical inspiration, and he was the reason I started making music. So I don’t think I would have been on the stage if it wasn’t for him.” Kygo concluded his set with Avicii’s hit “Without You.” In addition to “No Tears Left to Cry,” Grande also performed the Marvin Gaye classic “Sexual Healing” in her visit to Coachella.

Grande released “No Tears Left to Cry” last week to rave reviews from critics and fans alike. The foundation of Grande’s song lies in overcoming obstacles and embracing hope and positivity. As the lead single for her currently untitled fourth album, Grande hopes to express some of the difficulties she has faced in the last two years. Specifically, the album is inspired in part by Grande’s tragic concert in Manchester in May of last year, where 23 people died and 500 were injured in a terrorist bombing. Since the bombing, Grande has devoted herself to numerous charity and social causes, helping to organize the One Love Manchester benefit concert to provide financial support to victims of the attack. Additionally, Grande has been a supporter of the March for Our Lives gun control movement.

Green Day’s Billie Joe Armstrong Debuts New Band, New Album

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Green Day fans have been clamoring for new music since shortly after the band’s last album, Revolution Radio, dropped in 2016. And while there aren’t any fresh Green Day tracks to celebrate quite yet, the group’s frontman, Billie Joe Armstrong, surprised the music community by revealing his new “side” band, The Longshot, and releasing a full-length album, Love is for Losers, on 20 April.

Little had been said about The Longshot, Love is for Losers, and/or Armstrong’s involvement in the project, prior to this full-scale reveal. Armstrong released a few “teaser” tracks and posted some cryptic social media messages directing users to the band’s account, but fans were left unaware of who its members were, what type of album Love is for Losers would be, how long it’d been in development, and so on and so forth.

There’s a lot more information available presently. First, the album itself features 11 tracks—eight of which are less than three minutes in length, and are accordingly thought to represent a return for Armstrong to the “short and sweet” style of his early-career music. Next, an official video has been released for “Love is for Losers,” a song that shares the name of the album itself, and can be viewed here. Lastly, The Longshot is comprised of Armstrong, and Jeff Matika (Green Day’s “on-tour” guitarist), David Field, and Kevin Preston.

As was noted, Love is for Losers isn’t quite the album that Green Day fans have been anticipating. But, the album is a readily available offering from Green Day’s frontman, and if the attention the work has attracted thus far is any indication, quite a few listeners are enjoying it.

The Longshot is presently touring in support of their album. Additional tour dates will be revealed in the near future, according to the band’s social media pages.

Lynard Skynyrd Goes Home for Final Concert

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The end of an era will take place on September 2, 2018, when Lynard Skynyrd performs the final concert of their Last of the Street Survivors Farewell Tour in the band’s hometown, Jacksonville, Florida.

Original plans had scheduled their last appearance on September 1 in Atlanta, but the band added one last farewell at the Florida stadium where the Jaguars play. Skynyrd was formed in Jacksonville in 1964 and inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame in 2006.

Jason Aldean and Kid Rock, friends of the band, will join them for their final show. Guest performers for the farewell tour, which kicks off in West Palm Beach, Florida, on May 4, 2018, include rock greats like Hank Williams, the Charlie Daniels Band, the Marshall Tucker Band, Bad Company, 38 Special, and Blackberry Smoke.

At a press conference, Johnny Van Zant called the concert “a dream come true for the Lynyrd Skynyrd Band” and credited his brother Ronnie Van Zant, Alan Collins, and Gary Rossington with founding the band over 50 years ago.

“We are on our farewell tour. It’s time to wrap it up. To be able to play Jacksonville, here, with the Jags, come on. It doesn’t get any better than that,” Van Zant said to News 4 Jax.

Ronnie Van Zant died in 1977 with two other members of the band in a plane crash, bringing Skynyrd’s Southern rock to a halt. The group came together for a reunion tour in 1987 with Johnny Van Zant as the lead singer. Lynard Skynyrd, best known for their classics “Freebird” and “Sweet Home Alabama”, has sold 28 million records in the United States.

Amanda Shires To Release New Music

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Americana singer-songwriter and violinist Amanda Shires has announced an August 3rd release date for her fifth studio album, “To The Sunset”. Shires worked with Nashville producer and Grammy winner Dave Cobb, who also produced her 2016 album “My Piece of Land”. Cobb has been involved with some of the most acclaimed album releases in recent years, working with such names as Chris Stapleton, Sturgill Simpson, Brandi Carlile and Shires’ husband Jason Isbell. “To The Sunset” was recorded in Nashville’s iconic RCA Studio A.

A native of Lubbock, Texas, Shires is well-known in Americana circles for her insightful lyrics and vivid imagery. Shires’ focus on storytelling is evidenced by her MFA in creative writing from Sewanee University. While Shires is certainly not a newcomer to the Americana scene, her recent successes earned her the Americana Music Association’s Emerging Artist award in 2017.

The upcoming album is said to take Shires’ music in a bolder, edgier direction. Shires is known for speaking her mind and is a champion for women in the male-dominated music industry. Shires received national attention when she wore a shirt emblazoned with Isbell’s lyric “Mama wants to change that Nashville sound” on the red carpet at the 2017 CMA Awards. Shires will continue to shine a light on important themes from a woman’s perspective with her new album.

Shires got her first violin at the age of 10, and has toured in bands since she was 15. She released her debut solo album in 2005. Shires has also toured and recorded as a member of Isbell’s band, The 400 Unit. Isbell joins Shires as a collaborator and guest on her upcoming album. Shires will tour with Isbell as a support act in addition to headlining her own tour in 2018.

J.Cole Release of KOD Dives Deep

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J. Cole is developing a reputation in the music industry for his devout dedication to activism portrayed through his choice of song lyrics. His new album, KOD, is a continuation of this theme first regaled on his 2016 release, For Your Eyez Only. With three different meanings associated with KOD, Cole is able to dive deep into various societal issues near to him, exploring Kids On Drugs, King OverDosed, and Kill Our Demons.

The 42 minute album spans across 12 tracks, delivering a cornucopia of commentary on issues such as depression, gun violence, infidelity, and dependency on money, drugs, and sex. Cole steps into the government fray with the song “Brackets”, taking the issue of excessive taxation to task. “Photograph” warns of the dangers of letting social media dictate relationships.

Without coming across as overly preachy, Cole sets out to encourage listeners to avoid drugs. The song “Once an Addict” is a manifestation of his own mother’s issues with addiction and the problems that caused in their relationship. Cole has spent considerable time in the past rapping about losing friends to addiction and this album does not stray from that message.

Throughout the heavy talk of the album, Cole makes it clear that his album is a warning and not a glorification of substance abuse. The vividly striking album cover contains the disclaimer that the music is not intended to glorify addiction. When listened to intently, the message becomes clear that this album run counterpoint to the many celebratory themes of this culture often depicted by the music of Cole’s peers. KOD is Cole’s fifth studio album and his first since November 2016.

Swedish DJ Avicii Dead at 28

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In a tragic turn of events, Swedish DJ Avicci died last week in Muscat, Oman. News of Avicii’s death was shared by his publicist, Diana Baron, on Friday. While no cause of death has been announced, the Royal Oman Police have concluded that there was no evidence of criminal activity or foul play. Avicci, whose real name is Tim Bergling, was only 28 years old. Baron told fans of the late DJ that his family was devastated by the news and asked that they respect their need for privacy.

News of Avicii’s death has caused an outpouring of grief in the music community. In his native Stockholm, fans gathered for a moment of silence in the city center. Afterwards, local DJs began playing many of Avicii’s songs, turning the city’s busiest area into an impromptu dance party. Meanwhile, at Coachella Music Festival in California, Kygo dedicated his set to Avicii’s memory. Fellow DJ Steve Aoki also talked at length about Avicii on Sirius XM’s BPM channel, calling him one of the most important figures in electronic dance music.

Avicii began his music career at the young age of 16, posting remixes of songs on electronic music forums. Avicii’s following and raw talent eventually landed him a record deal, with his song “Levels” catapulting him to mainstream success in 2011. With his rise to fame, Avicii’s released two records, 2013’s True and Stories, released in 2015. Avicii collaborated with other artists for both albums, including Aloe Blacc, Wyclef Jean, and Chris Martin. In 2016, Avicii shocked fans by announcing that he would no longer perform live shows due to health concerns. Nevertheless, Avicii promised to continue making music, often posting pictures of himself on Instagram working at his music studio.

Wu-Tang Clan Demands Return of Album on Colbert

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Rappers Ghostface Killah and Method Man of Wu-Tang Clan appeared on The Late Show with Stephen Colbert to voice their frustration over their album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin. The album’s only copy was bought by disgraced businessman Martin Shkreli in 2015 for $2 million. Following Shkreli’s conviction last year on conspiracy to commit securities fraud, the album has been in the possession of the federal government.

In their appearance on The Late Show, Ghostface Killah and Method Man humorously implored United States Attorney General Jeff Sessions to release the album. Although the fate of Once Upon a Time in Shaolin is in the hands of the U.S. attorney’s office for the Eastern District of New York, as head of the Department of Justice, Sessions has much sway over what will happen to the record. Speaking to a Keebler elf that was meant as a stand-in for Sessions, Method Man argued, “That album belongs to the people.” Colbert, speaking for Keebler Sessions, refused to turn over the album for free, saying that he was filled with C.R.E.A.M., or “Cash Rules Everything Around Me.” The two then warned Keebler Sessions that they would settle the dispute through the ancient ways of Shaolin before snatching the cookie from Colbert’s hand and eating it.

Despite the humorous skit, Wu-Tang Clan remains greatly concerned with the final fate of the album. Speaking to Rolling Stone Magazine last month, fellow member RZA told of how the group wants the album back and that the record has almost taken on a life of its own. Comparing the album to Leonardo da Vinci’s Mona Lisa, RZA hopes that whatever the final fate of the album is, it will be respected and treated in a proper manner.

Lynda Carter in Talks for “Wonder Woman 2”

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Lynda Carter confirmed that she is in talks with Warner Bros. for a possible role in Wonder Woman 2.

 

Nothing is confirmed however, and Carter admits that she is not sure what role she would only have, saying that that is up to director Patty Jenkins.

 

“I’ve been talking to her about it. She’s given me some hints about it and I guess it’s up to Warner Bros. if they want to spend the money,” she said. “It really is up to Patty, and if it works in an organic way it’ll be great fun and it’ll be wonderful to do.”

 

Carter played the Maid of Might back in the TV series which ran from 1975 until 1979; it was simply called Wonder Woman in its first season, which was set during World War II, and The New Adventures of Wonder Woman in its last two, which were in then-modern times.

 

Wonder Woman (real name Diana, a princess from the Amazon island of Themiscyra) has been underrepresented in adaptations, at least compared to her DC Comics colleagues Batman and Superman. She is played by former Israeli model Gal Gadot in the DC Extended Universe, whose film last year proved to be the franchise’s only unqualified success. Before that, Carter’s show was the only real live-action depiction of the character, save for some TV series that did not get past a pilot.

 

Carter has several roles that act as Easter eggs for her former status as the best-known actress for a superheroine: the president on Supergirl, Chloe Sullivan’s mom on Smallville and the principal of a superhero school in Sky High. What role she may have vis-a-vis her successor remains to be seen.