From Saturday Night Live to a stadium near you: Ed Sheeran has announced his first-ever headlining arena tour of North America, to follow the June 23 release of his sophomore LP x. The tour starts August 22 in Seattle and wraps September 18 in Toronto, though more dates are to come.
Sheeran’s tour fulfills a goal that he recently disclosed when talking about x and three sold-out nights at Madison Square Garden, a feat for any solo singer-songwriter – “I want to headline a stadium,” as he told Billboard. (Previously, he held the opening slot for Taylor Swift‘s Red Tour.) Meanwhile, on April 12 on SNL, Sheeran previewed how x would sound live by performing lead single “Sing” and a new song called “Don’t.” Both songs show that he’s beefed up his acoustic folk-meets-hip-hop roots, the former being produced by Pharrell and the latter channeling one of Pharrell’s key influences, new jack swing pioneer Teddy Riley (Blackstreet, Bobby Brown, Michael Jackson‘s Dangerous).
Pre-sale tickets for Sheeran’s stops in Toronto, Boston and Chicago go on sale on April 22, while other dates are available starting April 25. See the full list of tour dates after the jump. More »
For her follow-up to 2011 sophomore LP I Remember Me, Jennifer Hudson is said to be working with Pharrell Williams (of course), R. Kelly (projectile vomit into a bucket of piss) and Timbaland (nice one). The first hint at what’s to come is the new Timbo callab “Walk It Out,” which clocks in at nearly five minutes long. (If you’re at all familiar with Justin Timberlake‘s recent output, then you’ll know this is actually a short run time for a Timbaland production these days.)
The track is a beautifully smooth and sexy slow jam that mashes some old-school Philly soul vibes with a modern-day R&B sensibility. And it’s got Timbland chiming in with a barrage of ad-libs, hence, we guess, his “featuring” credit. That said, “Walk It Out” isn’t the most obvious choice of lead-single material as we head toward radio’s sure-to-be busy summer.
Give J-Hud and Timbaland’s pair-up a listen below. More »
Durable, Ryan Tedder-led pop outfit OneRepublic surprised fans today by re-releasing their third LP Native, which comes repacked with a few new tracks — chief among them: new single “Love Runs Out,” “Life In Color” and the Alesso vs. OneRepublic Remix of “If I Lose Myself.”
Last week a short snippet was made available for “Love Runs Out,” a song Tedder had apparently been kicking around for awhile, but ultimately discarded before the original version of Native was released last year, because the chorus didn’t come together just right. The tune now has said chorus, and, to be honest, it sounds mighty similar to that of Kanye West‘s 808s & Heartbreak smash “Love Lockdown.” Another past hit single “Love Runs Out” is reminiscent of: Adele‘s “Rumour Has It”…though, we’ll give Tedder a pass on that since he produced and co-wrote it. (There’s also the whole ’70s-era Rolling Stones rock & soul vibe that everyone seems to be jumping all over these days, but I digress.)
Compare OneRepublic’s new song to Kanye’s “Love Lockdown” and Adele’s “Rumour Has It” below, and see if your love for the band is locked down or just plain running out. More »
Lana Del Rey‘s “West Coast” dropped today (April 14), and the lead single off Ultraviolence keeps Lana’s feet firmly planted in retro territory. But instead of channeling some warped hip-pop version of ’50s glamour, it has a seedier, vaguely psychedelic ’60s vibe. Producer Dan Auerbach eschewed a swollen orchestral arrangement in favor of some lean, analog noir, while Lana sings about smoking and loving and leaving, alternating between a husky whisper and a heavenly coo. It’s equal parts sullen and dreamy, which means its classic Lana — with some new tricks. Oh, and it’s pretty great.
So what did everyone else have to say about the new track? Head below for our roundup of reactions to “West Coast.” More »
Robyn and Röyksopp are heading out on tour together starting in June, and as they promised back in December, they’ve been working on new material leading up to the shows. Today (April 14), the Scandinavian acts announced they’ve teamed up for Do It Again, a five-track mini-album set for a May 26 release.
“I’ve been going back and forth to Bergen to record and write with the Röyksopp boys up until recently,” Robyn said in a statement. “It started to feel more like a band thing than songs for a Röyksopp or Robyn album so we’re releasing this music together as a band you could say.” The Norwegian duo added, “This doesn’t sound like Röyksopp featuring Robyn or Robyn produced by Röyksopp, it’s just something else entirely.” However, this description of “Sayit” is by far the best quote in the press release: “features a near duet between Robyn and what sounds like an aroused robot.”
The lead single will be the title track, which drops April 28, but the trio released a snippet of the EP’s opening 10-minute epic “Monument.” Hear the 90-second “Monument” preview below and check out the full tracklist. More »
Back when Drake performed on SNL in January, he brought out Jhene Aiko for part of “From Time,” and the young singer capitalized on that moment in the national spotlight. Sunday (April 13) at Coachella, Aiko returned the favor, bringing out her YMCMB pal for that same Nothing Was The Same track. Rather improbably, this served as Drake’s Coachella debut.
“This is my first time at Coachella, by the way,” Drake told the crowd. “So I want to let you know that it’s a motherfuckin’ honor to be here with you tonight, and you better make some noise for Jhene one more time.” What’s more, Drizzy made it out to the desert just after attending the MTV Movie Awards earlier that night to catch his maybe-girlfriend Rihanna‘s performance of “The Monster” with Eminem.
Watch video of the live collab below. More »
Lana Del Rey‘s “West Coast” premiered this morning (April 14) with a black-and-white video loop. The first taste of Ultraviolence comes after the singer performed it live for the first time last night at Coachella. As with her prior material, she’s singing about love and vices and having the music in you, and as with much of her other work, the new song is atmospheric — but in a different way.
For much of the track, there’s nothing elegant or glamorous about it; instead, it’s brooding and spare. The verses are smoky, with mumbled vocals, before a tempo change hits for a swaying, breathy chorus accompanied by a Spaghetti Western guitar riff. It’s in the refrain where Lana’s voice does the heavy lifting as she sings “Oh baby, I’m in love” over a cloud of her own ghostly chants, and where an orchestral arrangement might’ve been used to add a sense of grandeur before, here we get a completely unexpected, squealing Moog line to close things out.
“West Coast” was written by Lana and Rick Nowels, and produced by Dan Auerbach (who presumably handled guitar duties). It’s out now digitally via Interscope. Hear it below. More »
Did You Hear?
:: Jennifer Lopez was honored April 12 at this year’s GLAAD Media Awards with the Vanguard Award, for being an advocate for gay rights and serving as executive producer of The Fosters, an ABC Family series about a lesbian couple raising their children. Watch her touching speech above. [AP]
:: Nick Carter of Backstreet Boys married Lauren Kitt in Santa Barbara on April 11. “I said I’d never get married,” Carter has said, a sentiment that fellow Backstret Boy AJ McLean repeated on Instagram (“the wedding that most of u thought would never happen”). [PEOPLE]
:: While Beyonce crashed her sister Solange‘s set at Coachella, Jay Z joined Nas on stage to perform vintage cuts “Dead Presidents II” and “Where I’m From,” reestablishing that their beef is officially a distant memory. [Billboard]
:: Speaking of Nas, the trailer for Time Is Illmatic debuted on April 11. The documentary details the making of the Queens rapper’s rap debut, which turns 20 this year and is still considered his best work. [MTV]
:: Muse paid tribute at Coachella to Nirvana with a cover of “Lithium,” which the English band debuted a week prior at Lollapalooza Brazil. “This next song’s for a great singer who died 20 years ago,” frontman Matt Bellamy said, referring to the recent anniversary of Kurt Cobain‘s death. [Billboard]
After the jump, find out what music you can catch on TV today. More »
Eminem and Rihanna weren’t only pop pair to make a showing at the MTV Movie Awards on Sunday (April 13) night. British songbird Ellie Goulding and Russian producer/DJ Zedd were also on hand, and their appearance fit slightly more with the evening’s events, given that they both performed songs from the Divergent soundtrack. (You know — a movie, as opposed to Em and RiRi’s “Hey, we’re going on tour together, so here’s our big promo for that” spectacle.)
At any rate, Ellie kicked things off by ditching the leather she wore just two days before at Coachella and showing her softer side as she performed “Beating Heart,” complete with fire burning all around her. Zedd played piano during her bit then segued into his own Divergent track “Find You,” while being joined by vocalists Matthew Koma and Miriam Bryant. More »
This year’s Coachella music festival has been more star-studded than most with surprise on-stage appearances from Beyonce, Jay Z and Gwen Stefani as well as random cameos from Katy Perry, Kesha and Selena Gomez. Perhaps the latter diva’s attendance inspired on-again/off-again boyfriend Justin Bieber to crash the party.
The oft-arrested Canadian superstar joined Chance The Rapper on the main stage to perform their catchy single “Confident”. Justin rocked a black t-shirt, red bandana and white baggy shorts as he crooned the lusty slow jam and indulged in some killer choreography. He didn’t receive the warmest reception initially but might have won a couple of new fans by the end of the performance. Watch a snippet after the jump. More »