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Taylor Swift, Macklemore & Ryan Lewis, Paul McCartney Join Grammy Performance Lineup

Grammy AwardsThis year’s Grammy Awards lineup is nothing if not diverse. Recently announced Paul McCartney and Ringo Star will perform alongside Taylor Swift, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, John Legend, Keith Urban, Kacey Musgraves, Carole King, and Sara Bareilles. The crew joins several previously announced artists, such as Katy Perry, LordeRobin Thicke, and fun.‘s Nate Ruess. We’ll also see what one can only imagine will be a strange, yet intriguing collaboration between Daft Punk and Stevie Wonder.

Check out the full performance list here, and catch the 56th annual Grammy Awards Jan. 26th on CBS.

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New Release Roundup: The Week of September 18th

Today’s new albums are an eclectic batch in the world of pop! Looks like female vocalists are taking over this week.

The Killers – Battle Born (9/17)
The band’s fourth LP after their year-and-a-half hiatus.


Carly Rae Jepsen – Kiss (9/18)

The Canadian popstar’s sophomore album after skyrocketing to fame earlier this year with her smash hit of the summer “Call Me Maybe.”

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Riffs, Rants and Rumors: Is fun. Having Fun Yet?

First things first”while the official spelling of the band’s name is fun., with a lowercase “f” and a period at the end, the New York trio can not be held entirely accountable for the highly stylized nature of their moniker. According to multi-instrumentalist Andrew Dost, it was a decision born of pragmatism, not petulance. “We thought of the name ‘Ice Cream,’ but we all hated it,” he says of the name’s origin. “However, we liked what it made us think of, which was ‘fun.’ The period was added after another band called ‘fun’ asked us to distinguish ourselves from them in some way.”

But their name isn’t the only thing that might lead to misconceptions about fun.”there’s also their label, Fueled By Ramen, which is best known for bringing the world an avalanche of emo, with a roster encompassing Panic! at the Disco, Fall Out Boy, Paramore, Yellowcard, et al. But aside from a predilection for wearing their hearts on their sleeves, fun. possesses few of the musical traits one commonly associates with the emosphere. In fact, the group seems to stand apart from most of the pack when it comes to the current crop of high-profile indie-pop acts in general. (more…)

Exclusive Q and A: Sublime With Rome Remember the Past, Embrace the Future

OurStage Exclusive InterviewsLike most musicians at the age of twenty, singer-songwriter Rome Ramirez was inspired by the music he listened to growing up, including influential reggae group Sublime. Little did he know, he would not only be given the opportunity to jam with Sublime, but to also become their new frontman. The band had not performed as Sublime since the death of original vocalist Bradley Nowell in 1996, but founding members Eric Wilson and Bud Gaugh knew that Ramirez would be the right choice to sing for the newly reunited band. Sublime with Rome released their debut album, Yours Truly, in July 2011 and have been touring nonstop since. We had the opportunity to speak with Rome himself about fronting this legendary band, what it’s like to write with Bud and Eric and his future plans for a solo record.

OS: What is your musical background and how did it lead you to connecting with the members of Sublime?

RR: I started playing guitar when I was eleven years and I wanted to learn Sublime songs. I played other instruments too, but I was mainly a guitar player. I didn’t start singing until way, way later. I was in a studio in Orange County, and the studio owner was good friends with Eric, the bass player of the band. Eric would come by and hang out and shit, and over the course of time we started to jam. My soon-to-be-manager caught wave that a kid who kind of sounded like Brad was playing Sublime songs once in a while with Eric. She thought of the idea and talked to Eric, and Eric was like, “I was thinking the same thing!” Next thing was going up to Tahoe and seeing Bud…

OS: That’s crazy!

RR: Dude, it’s nuts. It happened so fast!

OS: What is like to be so young, but performing with a band that has a twenty year legacy?

RR: I grew up listening to that music, in particular, so to be able to pick up a phone and call them is just fucking weird [laughs], let alone being on stage and playing their songs!

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Rock 'n' Roll Call: 2011's Most Anticipated Rock Albums

Last week, we covered ten of our favorite rock albums for 2010, which included records from My Chemical Romance, VersaEmerge, Foxy Shazam and more.

With new records from Lady Gaga, Britney Spears, Kanye West, Coldplay and Beyoncé scheduled to drop, 2011 is already shaping up to be a big year for music.  This week, we’re taking a look at ten of the most anticipated rock releases, which stretch across subgenres from hardcore to electronica to indie rock.

Andrew McMahon of Jack's Mannequin

Jack’s Mannequin – TBA

After 2008’s heartfelt release The Glass Passenger, Jack’s Mannequin frontman Andrew McMahon is ready to release new material. Passenger, which chronicled McMahon’s battle with leukemia, was a darker record then sunny debut Everything in Transit. But going on what we’ve heard so far, the new release will be yet another masterpiece, with plenty of well-executed piano-drenched pop rock.

Death Cab for Cutie – Codes and Keys (Spring)

Indie rock kings Death Cab for Cutie will be releasing their seventh album early next year. Frontman Ben Gibbard promises that this record will be “less guitar-centric” than any of Death Cab’s previous records, which have typically been of slower, chord-based song structure. Lyrically, bassist Nick Harmer insists that this album will have a much broader emotional scope than 2008’s Narrow Stairs.

Pete Wentz and Bebe Rexha of Black Cards

Black Cards – TBA

After the band announced their hiatus, Fall Out Boy‘s Pete Wentz decided to keep doing what he does best”make undeniably catchy pop music. Teaming up with then-unknown vocalist Bebe Rexha, Saves the Day drummer Spencer Peterson and The Receiving End of Sirens guitarist Nate Patterson, Wentz created Black Cards. The group’s music (especially Rexha’s vibrato-soaked vocals) is reminscent of early No Doubt, with an influx of dance-worthy electronic beats.

Taking Back Sunday – TBA (Spring)

Taking Back Sunday‘s lineup has changed so many times that their Wikipedia page has a full chart to help fans understand the eleven-year timeline of the group’s career. After a few missteps with new members”even frontman Adam Lazzara apologized for 2009’s New Again”the original lineup is back, making this one of the most anticipated releases for any fan of TBS’ genre-defining album, Tell All Your Friends. From the sounds of the demos that have already been posted, it looks like TBS is returning to their roots and ready to make a big comeback.

No Doubt – TBA

No Doubt

It’s amazing to think that ska-princess-turned-pop-superstar Gwen Stefani had any time in 2010 to return to the studio and make a brand new record with her band, No Doubt. Since the band’s humble beginnings in the late ’80s, Stefani has become a powerhouse solo artist, entrepreneur, fashion designer, wife and mother. But, somehow, she was able to make some time for writing music, and No Doubt’s comeback album is eagerly awaited by fans young and old. As of now, details have been pretty hush-hush about this release, but we’re betting that the new No Doubt will be bigger and better than ever.

Destroy Rebuild Until God Shows (D.R.U.G.S.) – February

After a full-year hiatus from the stage, charismatic ex-Chiodos frontman Craig Owens is back. Joined by members of Underminded, From First to Last, Story of the Year and Matchbook Romance, Owens has already made a huge splash on the modern rock scene with his new project, D.R.U.G.S. The band will be releasing their album in February, before they head out on Alternative Press’ AP Spring Tour 2011. From the sounds of the tracks already released, this post-hardcore supergroup is poised for a massive takeover.

fun.

fun. –  TBA (Summer)

As we learned in our Q&A with Nate Ruess of fun., the group is hard at work on their sophomore LP and are hoping to release it next summer. The band’s debut album, Aim and Ignite, was an exciting, refreshing and eclectic mix of everything from indie pop to showtunes. Fans are definitely on the edge of their seats, waiting to see what this band will do next.

Cobra Starship – TBA

Still riding high off the success of their latest record, Hot Mess, Cobra Starship have already begun recording their next album. Hot Mess spawned the 2009 smash “Good Girls Go Bad” and launched the band from the small-scale modern rock scene to rulers of Top 40 radio. Though no details have been released about the new album, Cobra’s history dictates that it will be chock-full of undeniably catchy, dance-worthy rock numbers.

The Mars Volta – TBA

Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez of The Mars Volta

GRAMMY-award winning experimental rock group The Mars Volta have kept pretty quiet about their upcoming release, which will be the sixth in the band’s career. The band entered pre-production back in May, and guitarist Omar Rodriguez-Lopez recently announced via Twitter that they were putting the finishing touches on the record. This will also be the first record where vocalist Cedric Bixler-Zavala will be writing all of his own lyrics, with no guidelines or concept provided by chief songwriter Lopez.

Emery – TBA (January/February)

Seattle-based rock group Emery delighted their fans when they returned to their roots on 2009’s …In Shallow Seas We Sail. Full of charging instrumentation, sweeping vocals and shimmering with top-notch production, the record left Emery fans satisfied, but also craving more. The band announced that they are planning to release the album in the early months of 2011, hopefully with some tour dates to follow!

What records are you most looking forward to hearing in 2011? Let us know in the comments!

Q&A With fun.

When indie rock band The Format announced their hiatus in early 2008, thousands of fans were devastated by the news. Luckily for them, frontman Nate Ruess had a new project up his sleeve. Teaming up with members of Anthallo and Steel Train, Ruess hit the studio a few months later to record the first fun. record, Aim and Ignite. In anticipation of the record release, the band hit the road, opening for pop rock powerhouses Jack’s Mannequin and Paramore.

The eclectic and whimsical Aim and Ignite received fantastic reviews across the board and left fans in eager anticipation of what’s next to come. As the band rounds out a few UK dates with Paramore and 2010’s hottest new rapper, B.o.B., we caught up with Nate to find out more about the story behind fun., touring and plans for a new release.

OS: You’re well known as the former lead vocalist and lyricist of The Format. For those who haven’t heard fun.’s music yet, how does it differ from The Format’s?

NR: Just different songwriters. Different approaches to writing songs. Different songs. Different band. Same vocals.

OS: Rounding out the fun.’s lineup are Jack Antonoff of Steel Train and Andrew Dost, formerly of Anthallo. How did the three of you come to collaborate on this project?

NR: It’s something we all had talked about in the past. And the time window opened up when The Format broke up. So we flew to Jersey and got to work.

OS: Your debut album Aim and Ignite is very eclectic, at times sounding like indie pop and other times sounding like a Broadway musical. Which artists were the biggest influences on that record?

NR: The Xanadu soundtrack. Really that was all we collectively listened to at the time. Otherwise, we all bring different influences to each song. I like how unique that is.

OS: Your song “Walking the Dog” was used in an ad for Expedia.com. What was it like to see your music in a national television commercial?

NR: I didn’t see it for a long time and then one day I was walking through the airport and saw it. I wanted to grab some random person, shake them, and say, “Hear that? That’s me. So stop judging how I look.”

OS: You’ve toured multiple times with Paramore and Jack’s Mannequin. What do you enjoy most about touring with those bands?

NR: The music, the members, their crew and their fans. All great things.

OS: Speaking of Paramore, you’ve embarked on three straight months of touring, including some dates in the UK playing stadium shows with them and B.o.B. How did you prepare for those dates?

NR: I built a mock stadium in my bathroom and I just practice my arena moves.

OS: You were recently signed to Fueled By Ramen. Why did you decide to choose to sign with them and how has it changed things for fun.?

NR: The ink is still really fresh. So nothing has changed yet. Hope it eventually does though. We went with them because we’ve known them for a long time and thought they could supply us a nice balance of artistic creativity and sheer power.

OS: What can fun.’s fans expect in terms of a new record? Any release plans for 2011?

NR: Working on it now. Plan on really digging deep into the new songs once we get home from tour. Not sure what it’s going to be stylistically. I do know these are my favorite lyrics I’ve written so far. Hopefully it will be out summer 2011.

Don’t miss out on the fun! Check out the band on tour this fall with Steel Train and The Postelles:

11/18 – Newcastle, UK @ Metro Radio Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.

11/19 – Manchester, UK @ Manchester Evening News Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.

11/20 – Aberdeen, SCT @ AECC Arena with Paramore & B.o.B.

11/27 – New York, NY @Webster Hall with Steel Train and The Postelles

11/29 – Montreal, QC @ La Sala Rossa with Steel Train and The Postelles

11/30 – Toronto, ON @The Mod Club Theatre with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/2 – Washington, DC @ 9:30 Club with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/3 – Boston, MA @ Royale Night Club with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/4 – Rochester, NY @ Water Street Music Hall with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/5 – Charlottesville, VA @ Jefferson Theater with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/7 – Tampa, FL @ The Orpheum with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/8 – Fort Lauderdale, FL @ Culture Room with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/9 – Orlando, FL @ The Social with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/11 – Atlanta, GA @ The Loft with Steel Train and The Postelles

12/13 – Ashland, KY @ Paramount Arts Center with Steel Train and The Postelles