Monthly Archives March 2017

Jay Z Applauds New York Mayor’s Promise to Close Rikers Island

March 31, 2017 Music

Jay Z applauded New York mayor Bill de Blasio's announcement Friday that the city plans on shuttering its Rikers Island prison facility.

The rapper's recent six-part documentary Time: The Kalief Browder Story focused on a 16-year-old Bronx kid who spent over 1,000 days in Rikers – many of them in solitary confinement – while awaiting trial for allegedly stealing a backpack. 

Although the case was eventually dismissed, Browder committed suicide at the age of 22, with the severe PTSD he suffered while imprisoned at Rikers cited as the reason he took his own life. Browder's story led to an upheaval of the criminal justice system and served as a catalyst for de Blasio's announcement Friday.

"Kalief is a prophet. His story will save lives," Jay Z tweeted

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Tracing the History of the Triple Album, One of Rock’s Most Elusive Formats

March 31, 2017 Music

Triplicate, Bob Dylan's latest ramble into the wilds of American popular song, continues in the stylistic vein of its predecessors, Shadows in the Night and Fallen Angels. But in the literal sense, it also extends an even weightier tradition.

Comprised of three CDs, Triplicate is that rarity in pop, the triple-record set. Once dismissed as one of rock's most bloated, needlessly over-the-top formats, Triplicate is the latest example of the way in which the three-disc package simply refuses to die. Despite all attempts to snuff it out, it's become a perversely durable format, taking on a new context every time it's revived.

Seemingly, the first three-LP sets plopped onto the scene in 1970 with the release of the first Woodstock

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Chance the Rapper Launches New Chance Arts and Literature Fund

March 31, 2017 Music

After a disappointing meeting with Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner earlier this month, Chance the Rapper promised he would come back with a plan on how to better support Chicago's public school system. Today, he announced the New Chance Arts and Literature Fund.

This afternoon, the Grammy Award winner held a press conference at Robeson High School that was streamed across social media platforms. "We all know the Illinois education system is one of the most underfunded in the nation," he said before noting the importance of the arts to young students. "I'm excited to announce the creation, in collaboration with the Children's First Fund, of the New Chance Arts & Literature Fund."

Working with the Ingenuity fund, Chance's non-profit Social Works will work to identify CPS

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Inside Disney’s Attempt to Go Metal on New Covers Compilation

March 31, 2017 Music

The phrase "Disney music" often conjures up images of doe-eyed princesses belting out Broadway ballads. But a new album comprised of classic tracks from the House of Mouse re-imagined with power metal vocals, crushing guitars and breakneck drumming is looking to upend that stereotype.

Metal Disney was released in Japan last year and became a hit, climbing to number three in the Amazon rock/metal charts and number two on the Kids charts. Disney has released the album stateside today, March 31st.

The well-respected heavy metal musicians that comprise the "D-Metal Stars" include Obsession vocalist Mike Vescera, who's previously worked with Yngwie Malmsteen, and former Ozzy Osbourne bassist Rudy Sarzo. The band is rounded out by fellow Obsession guitarist John Bruno and

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Bob Dylan, Mastodon, Wire and 17 More New Albums to Hear Right Now

March 31, 2017 Music

Rolling Stone Recommends

Bob Dylan, TriplicateBob Dylan's third foray into songs previously recorded by Frank Sinatra isn't only the largest set of new recordings he's ever released (three CDs, 30 songs), it's also majestic in its own right. Dylan moves through this area – the region of Sinatra, and also of standards songwriters like Irving Berlin, Jerome Kern, Hoagy Carmichael, Richard Rodgers and Oscar Hammerstein – as if it's territory for him to chart and command.Read Our Review: Bob Dylan's 'Triplicate' Exudes, Celebrates a Majestic DarknessHear: Spotify / Apple Music / Tidal / Amazon Music Unlimited

Mastodon, Emperor of Sand Perma-frowned doomsayers Mastodon are back with yet another friendly reminder that someday

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Hear Amber Coffman’s Breezy New Song ‘No Coffee’

March 31, 2017 Music

Former Dirty Projectors member Amber Coffman has unveiled her new track "No Coffee," the second single off her upcoming debut solo LP City of No Reply.

The sunny "No Coffee" is bolstered by a breezy AM Gold groove, a funky bass line and Coffman's in-demand vocal chops; the singer has collaborated with artists ranging from Frank Ocean to Major Lazer. However, despite the bubbly tone of the music, the lyrics hint at an undercurrent of pining.

"Don't need no coffee/ I'm wide awake/ I'm not much for sleeping when your love is at stake," Coffman sings. "I go out walking / I don't know what to do/ 'Cause I can't think about anything but you/ Babe I need you, in a serious way/ Can't give you all this love and you push me away."

Coffman previously shared

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Streaming Helps Music Industry Rebound in 2016 After Years of Decline

March 31, 2017 Music

The outbreak of streaming has officially helped the music industry rebound after nearly a decade of decline, with the Recording Industry Association of America reporting $7.7 billion in revenue in 2016. That's the music industry's highest gross since 2009 and, at an 11 percent improvement over 2015, its best gains percentage-wise since 1998.

For the first time, streaming was the biggest revenue generator for the music industry, overtaking digital downloads and physical sales combined. In total, streaming accounted for $3.9 billion – or 51 percent – of the music industry's $7.7 billion haul, the New York Times reports.

The chief catalyst for the revitalization was the increase in paid music streaming service subscribers: 22.6 million users now subscribe to services

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Elton John on Protege Ed Sheeran: ‘He’s Got a Lot of Balls’

March 31, 2017 Music

When he's not on the road, Elton John works as a manager, keeping tabs on the acts signed to his Rocket Music company. "That's why I wanted to start a management company, to say to these kids, 'I've been there. I can help you because I am who I am,'" says Elton. One of those acts is Ed Sheeran, whose career Elton helped get off the ground (with the help of Sheeran's official manager Stuart Camp, also of Rocket). In an interview, for our recent Ed Sheeran cover story, Elton opened up about his "naughty" client, including what advice he gives him and why Sheeran reminds him of himself in the early Seventies.

What do you think of Ed's recent singles, "Shape of You" and "Castle On The Hill?" They're great. It's just so funny to hear him singing "Tiny Dancer" I was very

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Tinashe Debuts ‘Flame’ Live Amid Smoke and Candles on ‘Fallon’

March 31, 2017 Music

Tinashe debuted her new single "Flame" live Thursday night on The Tonight Show With Jimmy Fallon. The pop number is the latest track to preview her upcoming album Joyride.

Clad in mostly red, Tinashe performed in front of her band and singers bathed in red light. As smoke shot up behind her, the light shifted to approximate the singer being surrounded in literal flames. The singer-dancer didn't do her usual complex choreography, opting to focus on belting the love song and jumping around to the chorus.

No release date has been set for the long-awaited Joyride. Last fall, Tinashe released the companion project Nightride, which featured previously released singles "Party Favors" and "Ride of Your Life." She followed Nightride with a guest

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Review: Bad Company Drummer Simon Kirke Simmers on ‘All Because of You’

March 31, 2017 Music

The term "busman's holiday" refers to avacation spent doing more or less the same thing you do to make a living. SimonKirke is best known as the drummer for two of England's most venerable rockoutfits, Free and Bad Company, so All Because of You, his thirdfull-length solo LP, qualifies as an escape – with a catch: The hard-groovingpercussionist spends most of his time in front of the band, crooning into amicrophone while strumming a guitar or ukulele. Though he's hung his hat in NewYork City for years, Kirke shows an enviable rapport with bandmates JoshSolomon, Erika Brett, Nate Bellon and Danny Rosenthal, members of polished yetrootsy Chicago outfit Empty Pockets. Kirke's likably scruffy voice and earnestdelivery ideally

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