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Flea + Former Mars Volta Members = Antemasque

flea-600-1397057872Rolling Stone reports: “Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea has teamed with Mars Volta nucleus Omar Rodrí­guez-López and Cedric Bixler-Zavala and mid-era Mars Volta drummer Dave Elitch to form the new band Antemasque.”

This should be interesting. As played-out as RHCP have been for well over a decade (more, if you’re like me), Flea is obviously great at what he does and is a natural musical adventurer. He previously collaborated with Mars Volta, who have since broken up, but were also known for experimentation and blurring genres.

Check out some studio footage of the new band at work.

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Watch Bruno Mars' Super Bowl Halftime Show

bruno-mars-super-bowl-half-time-photos-0001It doesn’t get more ridiculous, pompous, cliched, and overblown than starting your musical performance with the children of Benetton holding hands and singing innocently in front of a waving American flag digital bunting, but that’s pretty much the name of the game when you’re talking about the Super Bowl Halftime Show.

Such was the Bruno Mars version staged yesterday at Super Bowl XLVII. After that “I’d like to teach the world to sing” moment (ironically sponsored by Pepsi), Mars appeared on the drum kit for a brief instrumental spotlight, rightly establishing himself as an actual musician, despite what I think was a flub (hey, real musicians screw up), and then launched into “Locked Out Of Heaven” with a gold lamed band. A medley of songs followed, with some impressive Isley Brothers references and some serious James Brown moves.

Then the Red Hot Chili Peppers came out and played “Give It Away” and that’s all I have to say about that.

And then…bring it down, everyone…bring it down. A tribute to our service members in the form of “Just The Way You Are,” which, nice, god bless, and all was perfectly paced. It was pretty much all you can expect from a halftime show, and better than most. I still think they should try and get Up With People back.

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Great Poets Whose Words Inspired Songs

Tim Kinsella
Tim Kinsella

Tim Kinsella, the Chicago-based musician who accidentally helped invent what we know as emo while cutting his teeth in bands like Cap’n Jazz and Joan of Arc, just released one of the more interesting collaborations he’s done since the ’90s. Tim Kinsella Sings The Songs Of Marvin Tate By LeRoy Bach Featuring Angel Olsen finds Kinsella and ex-Wilco member LeRoy Bach setting the poems of fellow Chicago native Marvin Tate to music. And fear not, emo kids, they’re all pretty damn sad.

Kinsella and Bach aren’t the first musicians to lend their talents to preexisting poems. In fact, we could have compiled a list featuring hundreds of singers who have quoted writers, but we tried to reel it in. For time’s sake, you can check out four of our favorite music and poetry connections after the jump. And while you’re at it, pick up a copy of TKSTSOMTBLBFAO. Its title may be a mouthful, but its tracks are beautifully short, simple, and sparse, perfectly complimenting Tate’s stark and sometimes abrasive words.

1. Vladimir Nabokov and The Menzingers
Russian novelist Vladimir Nabokov may be most famous for penning Lolita, but it’s Pale Fire, his 1962 novel/999-line poem, that featured what is likely Nabokov’s most well-known couplet:

I was the shadow of the waxwing slain
By the false azure in the window pane

Definitely the most beautiful thing that anyone has ever written about birds flying into windows. Anyway, Scranton, PA’s The Menzingers quoted those lines almost verbatim during the bridge of “The Obituaries,” and while the rest of the song’s lyrical content has little to do with Pale Fire, the emotional impact of Nabokov’s words aren’t lessened at all. In fact, they compliment the track so well, it seems that the writer may have missed out on his calling as a punk lyricist.

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Lorde, The Beatles, Lady Gaga Contribute To Philippines Relief Album

What do The Beatles, Lorde, Cher, and Lady Gaga all have in common? No, this isn’t a bad joke. In fact, it’s pretty cool. The iconic superstars will be just some of the mega-acts contributing to a new relief album for Typhoon Haiyan. Coming in at a whopping 39 tracks, Songs for the Philippines is available on iTunes, with all proceeds being donated to the Philippine Red Cross. View the track list below and donate here. (more…)

What Do Sky Ferreira and Chumbawamba Have in Common? Nudity, Of Course.

Sky Ferreira‘s debut full-length Night Time, My Time garnered a lot of attention when it debuted this October, but not all of it was due to her catchy electropop tunes. Instead, some found fault with the album’s artwork, which features a damp Ferreira looking bored and a little grouchy in the shower. Oh, and also, her boobs are out.

In a conversation with MTV News earlier this week, the songstress addressed some of the criticism she received for deciding to appear naked in the album’s cover art.

“I wasn’t like, ‘OK, I’m going to be nude on my album cover,’ it just kind of happened,” Ferreira said to MTV News. “It wasn’t to sell records, because you don’t sell records by being nude and looking crazy.”

And, of course, Ferreira isn’t the first artist to feature nudity in her album artwork. Here are four other albums on which the artists, like this pop songstress, don’t find naked imagery to be that big of a deal.

Jane’s AddictionNothing’s Shocking

Many casual fans are familiar with this Jane’s Addiction record thanks to the poppy and inoffensive “Jane Says,” which is still played ad nauseam, day after day, on every single alternative rock station nationwide, but the album actually was pretty shocking when it debuted in 1988. With chants of “Sex! Is! Violent!” and a sample of an interview with serial killer Ted Bundy, Nothing’s Shocking created quite a stir. Of course, no one should have been surprised after seeing the album art: a pair of conjoined twins sitting completely naked in a rocking chair, hair ablaze.

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Coachella 2013 Announces Lineup: Phoenix, The Postal Service, Red Hot Chili Peppers Headlining

Coachella has released the official line up for the 2013 festival. Among the headliners are Blur, The Stone Roses, Phoenix, and Red Hot Chili Peppers. But that’s just the beginning of a very long (and very awesome) list of bands slated to play this year’s event.

Other noteable acts include The Postal Service, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Lou Reed, Passion Pit, Of Monsters and Men, Alt-J, Dropkick Murphys, Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, Social Distortion, and the Lumineers. Check out the full lineup after the jump, and be sure to get your tickets beginning Jan. 29 at 10am PST.  (more…)

Beyoncé, Eminem, Bruno Mars And More Team Up For Charity

Rhythms Del Mundo: Africa is the latest project from Artists Project Earth, an organization that aims to raise awareness and funds for climate change and disaster relief projects. The vocals of stars including Coldplay, Eminem, Red Hot Chili Peppers, Beyoncé, Fleet Foxes, Mumford & Sons, and Bruno Mars, combined with the instrumentation of high profile African musicians like Toumani Diabaté and Rokia Traoré, result in a collaboration of epic proportions.  Previous releases from APE include Rhythms Del Mundo: Cuba, Rhythms Del Mundo: Classics and Rhythms Del Mundo: Revival.

Listen to some clips in the player below while you learn more about the project!

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Jekyll & Hyde: Rockers And Their Alter Ego Side Projects

It’s always interesting to find out that one of your favorite artists, known for a particular genre, is quite talented in another style of music. Sometimes fans get so used to a person as a specific character fulfilling a familiar role that, at times, it can be a surprise to hear the musician’s alter ego. Often times though, it can be and eye-opening experience, creating crossovers and introducing listeners to a new style of music that they would have otherwise been oblivious to. So, with that in mind, I’d like to acknowledge and pay respect to a few eclectic rockers who have challenged their fanbases with side-projects that are almost polar opposites from their main work. Some you may know, others may surprise you. In the end, you may feel inspired to finally start that pseudo-electronic jazz fusion folk band you’ve been dreaming about for so long. (more…)

Pussy Riot Declared Guilty Of Hooliganism, Receive Two Years In Prison, Remain Punk As Hell

This morning, inside of a Russian court surrounded outside by furious protesters, a judge declared Russian punk band Pussy Riot guilty of “hooliganism motivated by religious hatred.” The charge ultimately came with a sentence of two years in jail, and the ruling comes five months after band members Nadezhda Tolokonnikova, Maria Alyokhina, and Yekaterina Samutsevich were initially imprisoned for performing a “punk prayer” in the Cathedral of Christ the Savior in Moscow. In the February 2012 performance, the group donned neon“colored balaclavas and played a song entitled “Mother of God, Chase Putin Out,” which resulted in their immediate arrest and detention at the hands of Russian police.

Over the course of their time in custody, the band members have received support from numerous high“profile musicians, including Paul McCartney, Peaches, Madonna, Sting, Peter Gabriel, The Red Hot Chili Peppers, and Bjí¶rk. Despite the mounting global pressure from celebrity musicians and human rights organizations on Russian authorities to release the women, the judge declared that the two“year sentence is a “caution to others” according to the Wall Street Journal’s live blogging of the trial.

In their closing statements preceding the sentencing, band members defended their actions against the prosecution’s accusations of religious hatred. Samutsevich declared that Vladimir Putin‘s government had appropriated the Orthodox Church as a political tool in order to control the Russian populace, and repress human rights and civil liberties. The band’s performance, Samutsevich continued, was an attempt to reclaim the Orthodox culture, which the government had co“opted as an oppressive arm of the Putin regime. Contrary to the charges against them, the band members claim, their performance was meant to reunite the church with the Russian spirit of “civic revolt and protest.” Alyokhina and Tolokonnikova also drew parallels with persecuted Soviet“era poet Joseph Brodsky and the absurdist Oberiu poets of the 1920s and ’30s. Brodsky was denounced and eventually expelled from the USSR, while the Oberiu poets were condemned for “literary hooliganism” and arrested.

Russia’s notably troubled history with media censorship has been worsening, as the trial’s outcome suggests. The Huffington Post claims that recent laws have increased fines to almost $9,000 for those who take part in unauthorized demonstrations, and that NGOs must register as “foreign agents” if they are to engage in any political activity. Though the three members of Pussy Riot supposedly laughed after their sentence was announced, it remains to be seen whether their sentencing will trigger a larger backlash against Russia’s draconian censorship laws, as they implied in their closing statements.

Below, watch a bystander video of the protest gig that resulted in the band’s arrest.

After sentencing, the band remained defiant, with Alyokhina stating bluntly, “I am not afraid of you and I am not afraid of the thinly veneered deceit of your verdict at this ˜so-called’ trial. My truth lives with me. I believe that honesty, free-speaking and the thirst for truth will make us all a little freer. We will see this come to pass.”

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The Good

Madonna defends incarcerated Russian band

Madonna may not have been winning many fans lately (see: hydrangeas, Lady Gaga, Elton John, and Marine Le Pen) but this week she redeemed herself by speaking out against the arrest of Russian punk trio Pussy Riot. The group has been incarcerated since March for performing a punk prayer in Moscow’s Christ the Savior Cathedral in protest of Vladimir Putin on the eve of his re-election. Hear Madonna’s speech below.

Introducing Frank + Derol

Frank + Derol are a new Los Angeles pop duo made up of singer/keyboardist Cody Caraco and singer/guitarist Brandi Cyrus, a.k.a. sis of Miley. You can get to know them by watching the video below, or by checking out their excellent new track, Barely Love You Too right here. (more…)