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A very disguised Justin Bieber photobombs people in Central Park

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Justin Bieber is the kind of celebrity who is sure to get swarmed once he’s seen in public.

So in the latest edition of Jimmy Fallon’s photobombing segment, Bieber and the late show host went in disguise to surprise people in New York’s Central Park, ahead of The Tonight Show‘s special outdoor broadcast from the park later that evening.

Despite dancing along to Bieber’s “What Do You Mean?” no-one in the segment manages to recognise the pop superstar, until right at the end when they pull their wigs off.

Also, like everyone these days, Bieber is really good at those Fortnite floss dances. As he should be. Read more…

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John Legend is the youngest ever to achieve EGOT status

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John Legend has made history as the youngest person ever to achieve that sweet, sweet coveted EGOT status.

That’s someone who has received the big four, the holy grail of performance accolades: Emmy, Grammy, Oscar, and Tony Awards. 

Legend, 39, completed the acronym at the Creative Arts Emmy Awards in Los Angeles on Sunday, as did Andrew Lloyd Webber and Tim Rice, all for producing best variety special winner Jesus Christ Superstar Live in Concert.

He’s also the first black man to land EGOT status, making history in more ways than one.  Read more…

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Madonna’s self-indulgent tribute to Aretha Franklin gets criticised by fans

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The death of Aretha Franklin still continues to inspire tributes from across the world, and the MTV VMAs are no different.

At the ceremony on Monday, Madonna gave a tribute to the Queen of Soul. But fans have complained the speech was more about herself, rather than Franklin.

Madonna launched into a long-winded anecdote about the start of her career before presenting the Video of the Year award — Camila Cabello won, in case you’re wondering.

“Aretha Louise Franklin changed the course of my life. I left Detroit when I was 18, $35 in my pocket,” she said.  Read more…

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Read the beautiful letter that allowed ‘Crazy Rich Asians’ to use Coldplay’s ‘Yellow’

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One of the most emotional moments in Jon M. Chu’s much talked-about rom-com Crazy Rich Asians almost didn’t happen. 

Luckily, the director wrote one hell of a beautiful letter to Coldplay.

Soundtracking one of the final scenes of the film, a Mandarin cover of Coldplay’s hit “Yellow,” sung by former The Voice contestant Chinese-American singer Katherine Ho, will have you in tears.

But the song almost didn’t make it into the film. In a Quartz interview, Chu said both Warner Bros. and the band were worried that although the song is not about race, the title of the song would be associated with the racial slur used against Asian people.  Read more…

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Hip-hop edition of ‘Mean Tweets’ features rappers reading out nasty comments

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Mean Tweets is back, and this time it’s featuring the kind of people who you’d think are used to nasty comments: rappers.

On Tuesday, Jimmy Kimmel featured the likes of 50 Cent, A$AP Rocky, Eve, Pusha-T, Big Sean, Remy Ma, Rae Sremmurd, Anderson .Paak, DJ Khaled, and more reading out the bilious comments directed at them on Twitter.

You have to love them for being good sports though, even if their entire discography gets compared to a fart, as Wale gets told. Read more…

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Drake’s ‘Scorpion’ destroyed major Apple Music and Spotify streaming records

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It’s been a big week for Drake. 

First the artist confirmed on multiple tracks off his album Scorpion that he is indeed a father. Now, one day after the new album’s Friday launch, we’ve also learned that Scorpion broke a big streaming record: It earned the most streams on its very first day, on both Spotify and Apple Music. 

Apple Music confirmed the broken record on Instagram, noting that Scorpion was streamed more than 170 million times in its first 24 hours of release. An earlier post also noted that the album had hit #1 in 92 countries. Read more…

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Holy sh*t, Beyoncé and Jay Z just dropped a surprise album

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Sad about missing Beyoncé and Jay Z’s “On the Run II” tour? Well, now you don’t have to be.

Not exactly, anyway. The wife-and-husband power duo surprise released a new album — exclusively for Tidal, of course — on Saturday afternoon. The long-rumored joint album bears the title “Everything Is Love.”

To whet the appetites of all those non-Tidal subscribers out there, Bey shared a video snippet from one of the album’s nine tracks on Instagram. In the video, which is for a track called “APES**T,” she and Jay wander around the Louvre in a variety of different outfits while dancers do their thing. Read more…

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Christina Aguilera covers Aretha Franklin in disguise on the subway

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World-famous musicians busking on the subway is totally a Jimmy Fallon thing now.

Joining the likes of Maroon 5 and Miley Cyrus in a (not so) random act of singing was pop queen Christina Aguilera, who hid under a floppy hat and sunglasses to sing a cover of Aretha Franklin’s “Think” at the 50th Street station in New York City.

Of course, what would a star be without the hits: Aguilera also performed an acoustic version of “Fighter” to a very enthusiastic crowd, and lots of cowbell from Fallon. Read more…

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Facebook’s Oculus Venues streams its first VR concert. Was it any good?

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When Australian artist Vance Joy performed at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre on Wednesday, there wasn’t a smartphone in sight. 

It wasn’t quite physically possible for audience members using Facebook’s Oculus Venues, a live VR concert experience that saw its debut run worldwide at 7:30 p.m. PST.

Announced in October last year, Oculus Venues, now available for Oculus Go and Samsung Gear VR, is a new feature that allows you to watch live events with your friends in VR. To kick things off, Facebook offered up a free concert by Australian artist Vance Joy broadcast live from the iconic Red Rocks venue on May 30. Read more…

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K-pop group BTS just smashed another world-first

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Aside from being very good at the music thing, Korean pop kings BTS are smashing records.

The group’s album Love Yourself: Tear will debut at number one on Billboard’s Top 200 album chart for the week of Jun. 2, becoming the first K-pop group to do so.

“It’s the first No. 1 for the seven-member group, and the first K-pop album to lead the tally,” according to Billboard’s announcement

The Billboard 200 chart ranks albums based on traditional album sales, downloads and streamsLove Yourself: Tear unseats Post Malone’s beerbongs & bentleys, which sat on top of the chart for three consecutive weeks and now drops to number two.  Read more…

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Ariana Grande, Jimmy Fallon play ‘No Tears Left to Cry’ on a Nintendo Labo

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Yes, they’re really playing music on Nintendo’s Labo.

Specifically Jimmy Fallon and The Roots, who joined Ariana Grande to play her newest single “No Tears Left To Cry” on The Tonight Show Monday night.

Fallon told IGN he and the band worked with Nintendo to create guitars and other instruments out of cardboard.

“It was totally bizarre and such a gamble,” he said. “I didn’t know if it was going to sound good, but Ariana is always down to try something fun and different. Anyone can do what we did really, it just takes time. Whatever you dream of, you can make it.” Read more…

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Sharks apparently don’t mind jazz music

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Turns out you can train a shark to like jazz.

Researchers at Australia’s Macquarie University have shown that the animal has a more discerning taste in music than you’d anticipate.

The study, published in Animal Cognition, shows that baby Port Jackson sharks can learn to associate music with food. If played jazz, the sharks would swim over to a feeding station to receive their delicious reward.

“Sound is really important for aquatic animals, it travels well under water and fish use it to find food, hiding places and even to communicate,” Catarina Vila-Pouca, the study’s lead author, said in a statement online. Read more…

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Pandora shares up 8% after surprise earnings beat

Pandora’s quarterly earnings report was music to investor’s ears.

The digital radio platform reported a better-than-expected first quarter report after the bell on Thursday, sending shares up 8% in after-hours trading.

Wall Street liked that the company showed a sizable increase in subscriber revenue, posting $104.7 million, a 63% increase from last year. Pandora has 5.63 million paid listeners, up 19% from the same timeframe in 2017.

By contrast, Apple Music says it has 40 million subscribers and Spotify has 75 million, so Pandora is a distant third in terms of paid users.

But the competition is already reflected in Pandora’s stock price. It closed Thursday at $5.75, which is up a buck for the past month. It’s also substantially beneath the $37 per share that the stock was trading at in 2014. Its market cap is currently $1.45 billion.

In addition to subscribers, Pandora makes money from its unpaid users via ads. The company had 72.3 million active listeners, bringing in $319.2 million in revenue. Analysts had expected $304.3 million.

Its adjusted loss per share was 27 cents, well above the negative 38 cents that Wall Street forecast.

“Pandora is exactly where we want to be: at the center of a growing market with huge potential,” said Roger Lynch, CEO of Pandora, in a statement.

 

 

 

Man, Shania Twain regrets saying she would have voted for Trump

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Well, that was fast.

Perennial country star of our hearts, Shania Twain, has backtracked on saying she would’ve voted for Donald Trump in the 2016 U.S. election.

The revelation came from an interview with The Guardian published on Sunday, which focused on the Canadian artist’s musical career and her shattering divorce with her collaborator and husband Robert Lange. 

On Trump, Twain said, “I would have voted for him because, even though he was offensive, he seemed honest.”

“Do you want straight or polite? Not that you shouldn’t be able to have both. If I were voting, I just don’t want bullshit. I would have voted for a feeling that it was transparent. And politics has a reputation of not being that, right?” she added.  Read more…

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Fergie performed a jazzy rendition of the national anthem. It did not go well.

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Alright, where do you even start with a performance like this.

Pop star and Black Eyed Peas singer Fergie opened the NBA All-Star game with her rendition of the national anthem, and by goodness, it was an interesting rendition to say the least.

While other singers may have opted for a straight-up, no fuss performance; Fergie gave the anthem a jazzy twist, which is incredible in both its braveness and repugnance for the ear. 

There’s no saving jazz this time, folks.

Throughout the performance, Fergie wildly shifts between different keys for some reason.  Read more…

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Watch Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright freestyle a ‘Black Panther’ inspired rap

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The best freestyle rapper in Wakanda is clearly Letitia Wright.

Celebrating the release of the already-smash-hit Marvel superhero movie Black Panther, co-stars  Lupita Nyong’o and Letitia Wright decided to share a few impromptu bars. 

The Black Panther lives… and so does Troublemaker! Introducing MC Underbite (@LetitiaWright), best freestyler in Wakanda. All cred to my girl @RobynHoodmusic for the original inspiration and my bars
Happy #BlackPantherDay! #BlackPanther 🎵🎶 @travbryanmusic pic.twitter.com/pIwO9DNBfP

— Lupita Nyong’o (@Lupita_Nyongo) February 16, 2018 Read more…

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Spotify is testing a new playlist-based music app that’s a lot like Pandora

 Spotify is testing an app that sees it move firmly into Pandora’s territory.
‘Stations’ is a new Android-only app that is being piloted by the company in Australia — it was first noticed by app analytics firm Sensor Tower on Tuesday.
This app offers a ‘lean-back’ option to listen to music based on genres and managed playlists. In the description, Spotify… Read More

Celebrities at the Grammys will wear white roses in support of Time’s Up

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#TimesUp is set to make its mark on the Grammys, too.

Celebrities attending the awards ceremony on Sunday have been asked to wear a white rose in support of the campaign.

The encouragement comes from a letter penned by a group calling itself Voices in Entertainment, consisting of women in the music industry, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

Addressed to its “brothers and sisters in music,” the letter explained the group “is inspired by the #timesup campaign” and is encouraging “the artists that we work with and our colleagues attending the 60th Annual Grammy Awards in New York City to wear a white rose to the ceremony on Sunday, January 28th.” Read more…

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Watch Joey Bada$$ spin a Prince cover with ‘When Thugs Cry’

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Rapper Joey Bada$$ put his own spin on a Prince classic on Friday, with a cover dubbed “When Thugs Cry.”

Performed at Australian radio station triple j on Friday, for the popular, weekly “Like a Version” cover songs segment, the Brooklyn artist paid tribute to The Purple One. 

“To this day my mum is the biggest Prince fan, she always played Prince around the house, put me on to Prince at such an early age. Me and her we used to always sing “When Doves Cry” together, so I made my own version. It’s called “When Thugs Cry,” he told triple j.

Joey Bada$$ is currently touring Australia, performing at Melbourne’s Sugar Mountain festival in Melbourne alongside Actress, A.B. Original, Jamila Woods and more on Saturday, Jan. 20. Read more…

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Lorde’s cancellation of Israel show sparks meeting request with its ambassador

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Lorde’s decision to cancel her performance in Israel has been suitably contentious.

Now Israel’s ambassador to New Zealand has requested to meet with the Grammy-winning singer following her decision to pull out of her Tel Aviv show in May.

In an open letter posted on Facebook Wednesday, ambassador Itzhak Gerberg called the decision “regrettable” and criticised the Boycott, Divestment and Sanctions (BDS) movement for pressuring the singer into cancelling her show.

“Music is a wonderful language of tolerance and friendship, which brings people together,” the letter reads. “Your concert in Israel could have spread the message that solutions come from constructive engagement that leads to compromise and cooperation.” Read more…

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Cyborg strums ‘Star Wars’ theme song with bionic hand

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Jason Barnes has used robotic prosthetics before, but this is the first time he has been able to move each finger independently and even play the piano again. 

Researchers at Georgia Tech’s Center for Music Technology developed the unique robotic arm using ultrasound sensors that allow amputees to control each prosthetic finger using muscles in their residual limbs. Read more…

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Madonna brings back Photo Booth, covers ‘Toxic’ for Britney Spears’s birthday

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Saturday was singer and internationally renowned artist Britney Spears’s 36th birthday, and to celebrate, Madonna booted up her Photo Booth app (#tbt) and covered “Toxic.”

In an Instagram post, the icon explained that the cover was also her song for World AIDS Day, which was Friday. (She certainly did a better job raising awareness than the president.)

Watch the wonderful, thermal-y cover below.

A post shared by Madonna (@madonna) on

And yes, Britney liked the post.

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Feds want to take Martin Shkreli’s $2 million Wu-Tang album

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Feds want to seize everything around Martin Shkreli.

Prosecutors asked a Brooklyn court on Friday to force the incarcerated “pharma bro” to forfeit some of his most valuable possessions, including the $2 million single-copy Wu-Tang Clan album Once Upon a Time in Shaolin, the unreleased Lil Wayne album Tha Carter V, a Picasso, and an antique World War II Enigma machine.

Shkreli, who gained notoriety when he spiked the price of a life-saving AIDS drug as CEO of Turing Pharmaceuticals, was convicted in August of defrauding hedge fund investors in an incident unrelated to the pricing debacle. He’s currently in jail as he awaits a sentencing in which he could see up to 20 years in prison.     Read more…

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Taylor Swift seems to diss on Kanye West in ‘This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things’ and Twitter’s loving it

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Squad, Taylor Swift’s reputation has landed, and it was never going to be without a few swipes.

The pop mogul’s highly anticipated sixth studio album has dropped, with one of the tracks generating a significant amount of buzz, “This Is Why We Can’t Have Nice Things.” 

It’s (look, probably) a big swipe at Swift’s big frenemy, Kanye West.

Co-written with producer pal Jack Antonoff, the track appears to make a few digs at the rapper, who Swift has had a complicated friendship with over the last few years, from the 2015 Grammys to the West’s “Famous” lyric, right up until that phone call. Read more…

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Listen to Linkin Park’s new song ‘Looking for an Answer’

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On Friday, Linkin Park played a star-studded show at the Hollywood Bowl, the band’s first since Chester Bennington’s death in July. 

At the concert, they debuted “Looking for an Answer,” a ballad written by band member Mike Shinoda shortly after Bennington’s death. Shinoda performed the song solo, accompanied only by piano. 

It’s sparse, lovely, and poignant — a must-listen for Linkin Park fans and, to be honest, everyone else. Read more…

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Crunch Report | Hey Dillon Francis, iPhone X Is Now Available For Pre-Order

Today we’re hanging out with EDM artist Dillon Francis, Apple opens for iPhone X pre-orders and releases a sleeve for MacBooks, Walmart starts using robots in stores and Russia condemns Twitter for banning two of its media companies from advertising on the platform. All this on Crunch Report. Read More

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Yeah, so here's Lil Wayne's weird cover of the 'Friends' theme

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Feel free to file this in the “unlikeliest covers ever” folder.

Lil Wayne covered the Friends theme song, poking fun at the San Francisco 49ers’ poor start to the NFL season in a promotion for the league’s second week on Fox.

Well, as fans would know the 49ers did indeed go 0-2 with their loss to the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, but the upshot is that we’ve got this utterly bizarre Lil Wayne cover to store in our minds forever.  Read more…

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How the heart-stopping music for blockbuster film trailers gets made

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In terms of box office takings, a trailer can make or break a movie.

On the one hand, it could go viral. It could be like the IT teaser trailer. That one’s had almost 31 million YouTube views at the time of writing, and it even set a record for the most online views in a single day.

If the trailer misses the mark, though — if it’s a bit drab or, even worse, it gets panned — it could significantly damage the hype around a movie’s release.

One man who’s well aware of this is 26-year-old Frederick Lloyd. Under the name Ursine Vulpine, he has composed music that’s featured in a huge number of blockbuster trailers: everything from Mad Max: Fury Road to the recent Professor Marston & The Wonder Women: Read more…

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HAIM's cover of Shania Twain's 'That Don't Impress Me Much' is seriously unreal

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The ’90s song you probably won’t admit you like — but secretly really, really do — got a cover from HAIM, and it’s out of this world.

Shania Twain’s “That Don’t Impress Me Much” was covered on Australian radio station triple j, but instead of extending the rambunctiousness of the 1997 hit, the three piece went for a stripped back version that is really, seriously, quite unexpected.

HAIM also covered Twain’s “Man! I Feel Like a Woman” last month, so look, it’s probably not going to be the last cover of the Canadian country singer we’ll hear from the band.

Can we get “From This Moment On” next? Read more…

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Ed Sheeran cracks down on ticket scalpers to save his fans money

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Ed Sheeran may have found a way to redeem himself for his dud of a cameo in this week’s Game of Thrones.

The singer has cancelled 10,000 of the tickets to his forthcoming London shows next June to prevent ticket resale sites from turning them around at massively inflated prices.

Third-party dealers had reportedly been selling the affected tickets at prices of as much as eight times the face value, which was between £49 ($64) and £88 ($115). One pair of seats was even rumored to have been listed at a whopping £174,000 ($227,700).   Read more…

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Did Justin Trudeau just Google 'Canada music' to make his summer playlist?

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Justin Trudeau needs your help because he has absolutely no clue what music he should be listening to this summer.

On Saturday morning the Canadian Prime Minister dropped his hot seasonal Spotify playlist on Twitter, featuring some lovely artists like Drake, Shawn Mendes, k.d. lang, The Tragically Hip and holy smokes wait just a minute, these artists are all CANADIAN.

What am I listening to this summer? What should I be? Check out the PM Mix playlist on Spotify: https://t.co/HXZxCVeree pic.twitter.com/zvK7ZJuG99

— Justin Trudeau (@JustinTrudeau) July 15, 2017 Read more…

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Ozzy Osbourne's favorite metal albums

Rolling Stone magazine asked the Prince of Darkness to list his ten favorite metal albums. Here are five of Ozzy’s sure-shots:

AC/DC, ‘Highway to Hell’ (1979)

“I love Brian Johnson but to me my good friend, the late Bon Scott, was the best singer AC/DC ever had. This album was like an addiction to me.”

Guns N’ Roses, ‘Appetite for Destruction’ (1987)

“One of the greatest debut albums of all time. There’s not a weak song in the bunch. I never get tired of hearing it.”

Led Zeppelin, ‘Led Zeppelin IV’ (1971)

“I’ve always been a huge Led Zeppelin fan. All of their studio albums are classics but this is one of my all-time favorites.”

Metallica, ‘Master of Puppets’ (1986)

“I took Metallica on tour with me after the release of Master of Puppets. The album was a milestone for the band and for heavy metal.”

Motörhead, ‘Ace of Spades’ (1980)

“The album that put Motörhead over the top. The title track “Ace of Spades” is Motörhead’s “Paranoid.” It’s one of the great metal anthems and, to me, a band hasn’t made it until they have their own anthem. This is theirs.”

Ozzy Osbourne: My 10 Favorite Metal Albums (Rolling Stone)

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Youtube artist SamuraiGuitarist does music from Final Fantasy VII

I’ve been a huge fan of Steve Onotera, a Canadian Youtube vlogger and musician, since David posted his earlier video last year.

I decided to support him on Patreon, and as one of the perks of my support, I got to choose a song for him to do a version of. Of course, I chose Final Fantasy, specifically the Bombing Mission theme from Final Fantasy VII. Not only did he do an awesome bluegrass rendition for me, he presented it complete with in-game combat visuals!

Patreon has been a great way to support independent artists across a huge spectrum of genres, and a great way to discover and support musicians, authors, artists, and makers.

See more of SamuraiGuitarist’s work on Patreon, or his Youtube channel for more of his videos.

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Dom Flemons, late of the Carolina Chocolate Drops, plays music that makes me very happy

I was listening to the latest Judge John Hodgman podcast today (as I do every week!) which was performed live in Washington DC; as with every live show, there was a musical guest, and this guest was so completely awesome I made a note to post about him when I got home.
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11 obscenely optimistic songs for ukulele

Jeremy Messersmith writes, “I have a new record coming out on Friday and I’ve released it early as a songbook over at my website (free with an email). It’s called ’11 Obscenely Optimistic Songs For Ukulele: A Micro-Folk Record For The 21st Century And Beyond.’ It has songs about kittens, unicorns, wealth redistribution, critical thinking, and the power of love. I wrote it to be an antidote to all the toxic news as of late; a musical unicorn chaser. I’m also embarking on a 50 show, Atlas Obscura inspired sing-along tour; all free and in scenic public spaces. I’ve compiled a collection of songs that fans have covered so far into a YouTube playlist over at my website. Thanks for considering!

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Of course Drake admits to drunk texting J-Lo on 'More Life'

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For a fleeting, exquisite moment in December, we all thought Drake and J-Lo might be dating or at least collaborating.

They cuddledThey selfied. They reminded us we are on this Earth for only a heartbeat; there is only loving and being loved. And yet, when Drake’s new “playlist” More Life appeared on Saturday, there was no new track featuring Ms. Lopez. How cruel.

She’s gone, but not forgotten. In the opening track “Free Smoke,” Drake raps that he sends J-Lo messages while under the influence. Apparently, she has declined to update him with her new digits. Read more…

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Steve Reich-ian iPhone ringtone composition

Seth Kranzler created “Steve Reich is calling,” a delightful composition for two iPhones that celebrates (and parodies) legendary minimalist composer Reich’s early phase music. This form of composition employs two or more identical phrases of music played at slightly different tempos so that they shift in and out of phase. Reich’s most famous phase music compositions are “Clapping Music” (1972), “Piano Phase” (1967), and the fantastic tape music pieces “Come Out” (1966) and “It’s Gonna Rain” (1965). Listen to the latter two below.

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Spotify reaches 50 million paying users

spotify black history month Thank you to our 50 million subscribers. #Spotify50 pic.twitter.com/eXkOV71bwu — Spotify (@Spotify) March 2, 2017 Spotify has reached a new milestone after it crossed 50 million paying users. The service is currently available in over 60 markets, with a total catalog of more than 30 million songs on off. The streaming firm clocked 40 million ‘Premium’ subscribers in… Read More

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SXSW threatens to narc musicians out to immigration authorities if they play unauthorized gigs

Evan Greer writes, “SXSW is one of the most popular music festivals in the US. It was just revealed that they are actively threatening bands from outside the US with “immediate deportation’ and immigration investigations if they perform at ‘unofficial’ events during the festival. At a time when immigrants are under attack, this policy is all the more chilling. Sign the petition to tell them to drop this practice.” SXSW has had this policy for years, apparently, but it still sucks.
(more…)

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Lorde is back with a euphoric breakup song, 'Green Light'

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Lorde as a woman scorned is furious, yes, but thriving. 

After an appropriate dose of mystery, Lorde dropped her new single, “Green Light,” Thursday, the first off her album, Melodrama. 

In the video, she dances around town shaking her legendary head of hair. 

She left some clues in her native Auckland.  

auckland thank you so much for coming out last night.pic.twitter.com/2AYtggOpGc

— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017

i am so proud of this song. it’s very different, and kinda unexpected. it’s complex and funny and sad and joyous and it’ll make you DANCE

— Lorde (@lorde) March 1, 2017 Read more…

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Waste away at Jimmy Buffet's new retirement community

Aging Jimmy Buffett fans, aka Parrotheads, take note! Latitude Margaritavile is a new senior housing community under construction in Daytona Beach, Florida. The facility is scheduled to open in the fall and promises to “reflect Margaritaville’s authentic, ‘no worries,’ tropical vibe.” Sounds lovely. I can just imagine my life there, “nibblin’ on sponge cake, watchin’ the sun bake.”

A Margaritaville-Themed Retirement Community is Coming to Florida(Mental Floss)

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