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Soundcheck: Nicki M Wins Big At 2011 AMA’s

With performances from Will.i.am, Jennifer Lopez, Chris Brown, Pitbull and Drake among others, the 2011 American Music Awards provided an eclectic mix of music this year.Andthanks to thenineteen performances sprinkled throughout the show, fans were able to see some of musics brightest stars shine on the big stage.

Nicki Minaj was on top of the world last night after nabbing two of the biggest hip hop honors of the night. She scored Favorite Artist and Favorite Album for Pink Friday, beating out Jay-Z and Kanye Wests Watch The Throne and mentor Lil Waynes The Carter IV. She also delivered a killer show-opening performance of Superbass and Turn Me On alongside David Guetta, and some serious wardrobe that included speakers in her backside. In her acceptance speeches, a truly touched Minaj thanked her Young Money crew, Weezy, and Taylor Swift and wore an unusually classy, green gown, proving this girl really does clean up nice.

50 Cent was on deck to introduce Chris Brown, who he called the main event, noting youve never really seen this performer unless youve seen him live, before Brown and his bleached-blonde hair hit the stage for dance-heavy renditions of All Back and Say It With Me. Although Brown was nominated for two awards, he wasnt a winner, getting beat out by ex, Rihanna for Favorite Album and Usher for Favorite Male Artist.

Since RiRi was in Europe on her Loud tour, she accepted her award via satellite, as did Beyonc, who scored the award for Favorite Female Artist beating out Rihanna and ex-band mate, Kelly Rowland.

Another big winner for the night was Jennifer Lopez. Aside from two show-stopping performances (one with Pittbul and a Fiat, and one with Will.i.am), she also nabbed Favorite Latin Artist, breaking a five-year winning streak for Enrique Iglesias. When she first hit the stage in a jeweled, skin-colored bodysuit (Britney, anyone?) and danced in, around, and through, her perfectly placed Fiat, she proved to the world that shes still got the moves of a fly girl. Later, she gave an amped-up performance alongside Will.i.am, performing his new single, T.H.E. (The Hardest Ever) which also features rock icon, Mick Jagger.

Enrique Iglesias hit the stage later to perform his hit, I Like How It Feels backed by the Crenshaw High School choir, and was later joined by Ludacris, who spit his verse on Tonight (Im Loving You) in a preppy sweater look. British import Adele, racked up three awards including Favorite Artist, Favorite Album, and Favorite Female Artist for her groundbreaking project, 21.

Mary J. Blige hit the stage in an all-white suit to perform Mr. Wrong without Drake, who later took the stage to give his own performance of Headlines in front of a live band. After her performance, MJB gave a heartfelt tribute to fallen friend, Heavy D.

Missing from the audience this year were Jay-Z, Kanye West, Lil Wayne, Rick Ross and a handful of other hip hop heavyweights. In their defense, with only two real hip hop categories, the AMAs are not a major destination for these guys, unless they have an album to promote.

UTG: MUSIC VIDEO: Fleet Foxes – The Shrine/An Argument

Fleet Foxes have unleashed their incredible animated music video for the song “The Shrine/An Argument” and can be viewed right here on [OS]. The animation for this eight-minute video portrays a variety of creative figures blending into the different landscapes.

The music video was co-animated and directed by Sean Pecknold.

This song comes off of the group’s latest effort, Helplessness Blues, which has received tons of praise from the across the blogosphere. Check out the review and please tell us what you think of the video.

The Shrine / An Argument from Sean Pecknold on Vimeo.

View original article on Under The Gun Review.

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Justin Timberlake attends Marine Corps Ball

Corporal Kelsey DeSantis had some serious arm candy at the Marine Corps Ball this year. Justin Timberlake accompanied the twenty-three year old as her date, and was so moved by the evening that he blogged about it. During a video about Pearl Harbor, World War II and September 11, the “Motherlover” singer confessed he almost cried … himself a river.

Google Music launches

This week Google unveiled Google Music, a cloud-based service that lets users upload their music, purchase new music on Android Market and access their library on multiple devices. And look out iTunes, cause Google Music lets you listen to the whole song before buying it, and then lets you share it with your friends. Sharing is caring, Apple. For more about Google Music, go here.

The Bad

Lil B releases “I Got AIDS”

Making bold and controversial statements is nothing new for Lil B. He named his last album I’m Gay (I’m Happy) after all. Now the rapper has released a song called “I Got AIDS.” And though it appears he’s making light of a terrible disease, Lil B made sure to include a public service announcement for safe sex along on his YouTube page. If his message is sincere and not a gimmick, then we’re gay (we’re happy).

Paul Simonon arrested for occupying oil rig

Clash bassist Paul Simonon revealed this week that he was jailed for two weeks in June for boarding an oil rig with Greenpeace and demanding to see the rig’s emergency response plan. You can hear Simonon describe his daring caper in the video below.

The Ugly

Courtney Love melts down, strips down in Brazil

Courtney Love played the SWU Festival in São Paulo, Brazil, in her typical fashion, meaning she completely lost her mind. After yanking off her top, Love unleashed her ire on an audience member holding up a picture of her late husband Kirk Cobain. Then Dave Grohl got a piece of her mind. Let’s hope most of the members of the audience didn’t speak English.

Miscellany

Drugs, Music And The Media Hype Machine

Substance abuse has been a consistent theme within the world of music, and the media hype that surrounds the artists who get involved with drugs is constant. Bashed hotel rooms, cancelled tours, multiple arrests… the list of tabloid headlines stemming from the topic is limitless. Now, there are very unique relationships between drugs and media in different genres, in the way that artists approach illegal substances and in the coverage that major newspapers and blogs choose to give these incidents. Some try to stay away from the public eye as much as possible, others can’t help but stumble into the limelight. But how does this relationship actually work?

Sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll

Not only does the media constantly cover the antics of rock stars, but the musicians themselves seem to go out of their way to remind us of their ridiculous lifestyles. From Iggy Pop‘s bloody paintings to Michael Todd’s arrest after holding up a pharmacy, the self-destructive lifestyle has been well-documented throughout the history of rock music. Many have even written anthems about their preferred method of addiction. Unfortunately, this widespread abuse has led to the untimely passing of many artists who still had many years of creative output ahead of them (see the 27 Club). It comes to no surprise to us that rock music and drugs go hand-in-hand in the press: it’s almost a required vice to be considered a true rock star.

Continue reading ‘Drugs, Music And The Media Hype Machine’

The Heartwarming Heartbreak Behind The Greatest Album Never Made

Named ”most famous unfinished album” by Rolling Stone, the Beach Boys SMiLE was slated to be the much-anticipated follow up to the highly-influential eleventh studio album Pet Sounds. The recording of SMiLE was strange in itself, as it marked creator Brian Wilson‘s spiral into a state of depression and paranoia, famously concerned that fires breaking out in the neighborhood of the studio where they were recording were a result of the music.

Session musicians were made to wear fireman’s hats to record songs, a grand piano was placed in a colossal sandbox in the living room and another room was decorated as a bedouin tent. Despite bizarre behavior and mental collapse, Wilson was praised as both functional and professional in the studio. “Our next album will be better than ‘Pet Sounds,’” he said in 1966.  But it never happened, and SMiLE was shelved, presumably because it was just too far out for the time and the other band members.

Now, almost fifty years later, SMiLE has been unleashed on a new generation. Wilson tells us via phone that the simple hope behind releasing The SMiLE Sessions is that “people like what we did, because it was really good music.”

And good music it is, perhaps made all the more intriguing by its twisted past. Listening to an album meant to push the boundaries of popular music forty years ago in this new strange future where Lady Gaga rules the charts is enough to make any music fan reassess the road to rock revolution. You’d be hard pressed to find a band these days that doesn’t count the Beach Boys as an influence. Daniel Rosen of Grizzly Bear “fell in love with [SMiLE] as a piece of music, even though I didn’t know quite what it was supposed to be.”

You can either be confused by SMiLE or just go with it. A sprawling, contorted work with a massive track listing and disorienting cycle of orchestral miniatures that fight each other in transition from one song to the next. But the highlight here is imagining what was, and what could have been. The sessions material provide a glimpse at Wilson’s madness-fueled-genius as he patiently discusses mood, tempo and timing, with only the occasional hash or LSD discussion. “We were quite thrilled with what we discovered in the can,” he says.  ”It was hard to remember because we were doing so many drugs, you know.”

Wilson resurrected SMiLE in 2003, and released the newly recorded version the next year. But he calls this month’s release “a more extensive and extrapolation of the theme, like many, many extrapolations of ‘Heroes and Villains’.” Almost a full disc of “Heroes and Villains” fragments, actually, with another entire CD of “Good Vibrations” available as part of a limited edition 5CD box set.

“If you’re gonna write the song,” Wilson says, “Write the whole song. Don’t crap out halfway through it.” SMiLE may never be completely finished, but its certainly more than just a collection of songs that were never fully realized. The SMiLE Sessions are a deep and disturbing relic of what may have been the Beach Boys’ magnum opus, an unanswered love letter to the psychedelic era. No crapping out here.

Buy SMiLE now and check out the extensive track listing after the jump.

Continue reading ‘The Heartwarming Heartbreak Behind The Greatest Album Never Made’

UTG: Footage of What Could Be Sonic Youth’s Final Show Ever

Sonic Youth may have very well performed live for the final time last night. Don’t worry, we have the footage.

Taking into consideration Thurston Moore and Kim Gordon’s recent separation, the future of Sonic Youth has been unknown for months. Last night’s show at the SWU Music and Arts Festival in Sao Paulo, Brazil was the last on their website and no statement about future plans have been announced or revealed. You can view video from the show of the band performing “Death Valley ’69″ after the jump.

Even if this is the end of Sonic Youth’s live run, that doesn’t necessarily rule out future studio albums. I know the future looks bleak to fans, but try and stay positive until we have more definite answers. We’ll let you know as soon as anything changes.

View original article on Under The Gun Review.

Drake Doesn’t Like Those Tumblr Girls

Aubrey Graham is never one to bottle up his emotions. Late night tales of romance, scorn, jealousy and intoxication are the basis for some of the man’s best work! There are no sacred cows to Drake; the rapper has even publicly aired grievances with his record label in the past. And while Drake is not known for beefing with other rappers, there is one big target that he’s facing head on.

The Internet. Specifically, Tumblr.

In an interview with The Source, Drake has some interesting thoughts regarding the web. Drake made it clear that he thinks little of social media and the impact it has had on shaping the current generation, taking time to single out Twitter and Tumblr in particular. In fact, Drake has some special words for the popular blogging platform.

“The thing that scares me the most is tumblr. I hate what tumblr has become. Because it like, it reminds me of those clique-y girls in high school that used to make fun of everyone else and define what was cool, but in five years, when you graduate, that shit doesn’t matter,” says Drake. “They don’t actually embody any of those things. They just emulate.”

Continue reading ‘Drake Doesn’t Like Those Tumblr Girls’

Discourse & Dischord

The Good

Portlandia: Season 2 to feature gads of rock stars

Clear your schedules or set your DVRs on January 6. Portlandia is coming back for round two, and this time Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein are recruiting some of their famous musician buds for some hi-larious cameos. Johanna Newsom, Isaac Brock, Eddie Vedder, Johnny Marr and St. Vincent’s Annie Clark are all scheduled to make funnies. Check out the new promo below.

The Bad

R. Kelly strikes again

Famous for penning lines like “OK cool, climax, just get off of my legs” and “I like the crotch on you,” it’s obvious that no one will be handing R. Kelley the Nobel Prize in Literature anytime soon. But that shouldn’t stop you from enjoying the rapper’s first tome: Soula Coaster: The Diary of Me. We repeat, the name of his book is Soula Coaster. And, judging by the cover, it’s about R. Kelly trying to levitate while being attacked by an army of microphones. This one’s going to be a real page-turner—if it ever sees the light of day.

Heavy D dead at forty-four

Sad news for hip hop fans this week. Rapper Heavy D, born Dwight Arrington Myers, died suddenly inside his Beverly Hills home on Tuesday. The cause of death is thought to be pneumonia-related respiratory issues. Heavy D and the Boys rose to fame in the early ‘90s with hits like “Now That We Found Love” and the theme song to the TV show In Living Color. The self-proclaimed “overweight lover” was forty-four. R.I.P.

The Ugly

Avril Lavigne involved in bar brawl

Avril Lavigne got roughed up at the Roosevelt Hotel in Los Angeles along with her boyfriend, Brody Jenner. Apparently Lavigne got into a verbal altercation with a female patron, which led to fisticuffs with an angry mob. The singer tweeted her injuries the next day, saying, “Black eye, bloody nose, hair ripped out, scratches, bruises and cuts. So not OK to be abusive to others. Violence is NEVER the answer.”

Pitbull countersuing Lindsay Lohan

Lawsuit? Two can play this game, sayeth Pitbull. The rapper is countersuing Lindsay Lohan, who is taking him to court for defamation of character. You know, for saying he had it “locked up like Lindsay Lohan” on his song, “Give Me Everything.” Pitbull claims it’s a totally legit lyric considering the venerable Ms. Lohan’s multiple jail stints. Snap.

Miscellany

 

UTG: Gym Class Heroes Stream New Album

Gym Class Heroes are streaming their upcoming release, The Papercut Chronicles II, over on the bands’ Facebook. This material seems to be a healthy departure from their past releases and is pretty catchy.

The album drops this coming Tuesday, November 15, through Decaydance/Fueled By Ramen.

Give the album a spin and be sure to let us know what you think of it!

View original article on Under The Gun Review.

 

Winehouse’s Lionness And The Tricky Prospect Of The Posthumous Release

We haven’t heard the last of Amy Winehouse yet, folks.

The BBC reports that Lioness: Hidden Treasures will be the third and potentially final release from the tragic singer. Coming out in December—just in time for the holidays—the twelve-track collection consists of assorted curios; b-sides, demos, covers, reworks and outtakes. Lioness supposedly shows fans where Winehouse was going with her sound at the time of her death and includes some unreleased material that gives the listener a true sense of her musical identity and influences. The project was curated by members of Winehouse’s family along with producers that Winehouse had worked with in the past, and though there is “a trove” of live performances from which to cull more material for future releases, this appears to be the final studio offering of the late singer.

Continue reading ‘Winehouse’s Lionness And The Tricky Prospect Of The Posthumous Release’

 


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