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Chester Bennington: An Honest Voice of Pain and Anger for a Generation

July 25th, 2017 · Guitar

After the shocking news of Chester Bennington’s suicide broke on Thursday afternoon, many of the tributes from fellow artists and fans had one thing in common.

A Thousand Suns got me through a horribly dark time,” Joss Whedon wrote, referencing Linkin Park‘s 2010 album.

“Linkin Park means a lot of things to a lot of people…definitely means a lot to me,” Lupe Fiasco tweeted. “[Chester's] words and vibes helped me in my own dark times.”

Machine Gun Kelly, who had been tapped to open for Linkin Park on tour later this summer, called Bennington “a voice for those who wanted to scream out” in an Instagram post. “You were that for me since [I was] 11 years old,” he added.

At the dawn of the new millennium, Linkin Park was part of a new youth revolution, and Bennington’s voice was its blaring trumpet. Both his delivery and lyrics melded earnest vulnerability with unhinged anger. Songs like “In the End” and “Crawling” have him violently shifting between those moods, tenderly delivering declarations of defeat before rage bubbled up through his throat for vein-popping screams of angst.

For the young people who stumbled upon Bennington’s fits of sadness of rage when Linkin Park first broke, he embodied their repressed pain that could not be expressed or released or even understood. Once they dug deeper beyond the anger, they found passionate expressions of desperation, hopelessness and fear. He spent his career being honest and upfront about his struggles with depression, addiction and trauma, specifically from being sexually abused as a child.

In songs like the visceral “One Step Closer,” those bearing similar demons to Bennington found a defiant mirror image. “Everything you say to me takes me one step closer to the edge, and I’m about to break,” he howls into the atmosphere, delivering frustration as only a then-24-year-old could.

Though Hybrid Theory was released in 2000, it broke in 2001 and became the biggest album of that year. The late Nineties found angst heroes in rising stars like Eminem and Limp Bizkit and veterans like Nine Inch Nails, but the national taste was being dominated by a Disney-fied bubblegum pop movement, led by boy bands and budding divas in their late teens. For Linkin Park to break through and outsell more family-friendly acts like ‘N Sync and Britney Spears meant that the market needed a mainstream icon that also reflected increasingly blurred lines of genre with a rock edge. 

As nu-metal blazed on, they re-wrote its possibility. The genre’s Limp Bizkit-fueled machismo became less potent with how nimbly Bennington’s voice would play off of Mike Shinoda’s subtle yet effective rapping. They embraced electronic music in a way that complemented their musicianship rather than overpowered it. All the while, it was the vulnerability between the screams, heavy riffs and icy tones that set Linkin Park a step ahead.

Even as he got older and more successful, Bennington served as a primary example of how mental illness is a daily, lifelong struggle and unpacked his pain in more complex, mature ways up through his final album with Linkin Park, this year’s One More Light. In an interview with Music Choice earlier this year, he described his mind as a “bad neighborhood, and I should not going walking alone.” For a conversation with The Mirror, in what is claimed to be his final interview, Bennington seemed to find a light at the end of the tunnel, seeing the creation of his last LP album as “therapeutic”

For many, listening to Linkin Park is like recalling a memory of survival, further adding to the tragedy and circumstances of how Bennington’s life came to an end. He offered catharsis to those who wished they could scream like him, the same type of catharsis he felt listening to bands like Stone Temple Pilots and Soundgarden as a teenager. Bennington would go on to front STP after Scott Weiland was fired in 2013, the fulfillment of a lifelong dream. With Linkin Park, Bennington got to tour with Chris Cornell back in 2008 and even sang “Hunger Strike,” the Temple of the Dog hit, with his hero on stage.

In the same way Bennington’s fans lost their own light that had inspired them during their youth, Bennington witnessed the tragically young deaths of Weiland and Cornell, the latter of whom had been a close friend of his for years and whose birthday would have been on the same day Bennington took his own life.

“Your voice was joy and pain, anger and forgiveness, love and heartache all wrapped up into one,” Bennington wrote in an open letter following Cornell’s own suicide, his words echoing much of what his listeners over the years heard in Linkin Park songs like “Numb” and “Heavy.” “I suppose that’s what we all are. You helped me understand that.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/chester-bennington-a-voice-of-pain-and-anger-for-a-generation-w493596

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Hear Stephen Stills, Judy Collins Unite on Moody Leonard Cohen Tribute

July 25th, 2017 · Guitar

Stephen Stills and Judy Collins intertwine their voices on a duet cover of Leonard Cohen‘s 1988 song “Everybody Knows.” The song will be featured on the duo’s upcoming collaborative LP of the same name.

Stills and Collins harmonize throughout the minor-key ballad, singing Cohen’s philosophical lyrics over purring organ chords and a jazzy drum groove. “Everybody knows that the boat is leaking/ Everybody knows that the captain lied,” they proclaim. “Everybody got this broken feeling/ Like their father or their dog just died.” The track is available to stream below, via NPR.

“Everybody Knows is particularly poignant for Collins, who collaborated with the late Cohen since the early 1960s and helped launch the songwriter-poet’s career by recording his material (like “Suzanne” and “Bird on a Wire”) and encouraging him to perform.

Everybody Knows, out September 22nd via Wildflower/Cleopatra, marks a reunion between Stills and Collins. The duo first met five decades ago, in 1967, and began a short-lived romantic relationship immortalized in Crosby, Stills Nash’s 1969 classic “Suite: Judy Blue Eyes.” Their new LP will include a reworked version of the first song they ever wrote together, 1968′s “Who Knows Where the Time Goes,” and a duet version of “Judy,” a Stills demo recorded in the late Sixties.

The album also includes a revamped take on Crosby, Stills, Nash and Young’s 1970 track “Carry On” and a newly penned Collins original, “River of Gold.”

Stills and Collins will launch a U.S. tour on Wednesday, July 26th in Highland Park, Illinois. The trek runs throughout the fall and concludes November 4th in Brooks, California. 

 Everybody Knows Track List

1. “Handle With Care”
2. “So Begins The Task” 
3. “River Of Gold” 
4. “Judy” 
5. “Everybody Knows”
6. “Houses” 
7. “Reason To Believe” 
8. “Girl From The North Country” 
9. “Who Knows Where The Time Goes”
10. “Questions”

Stills Collins Tour Dates

July 26 – Highland Park, IL @ Ravinia Pavilion
July 28 – Cleveland Heights, OH @ Cain Park
July 30 – Overland Park, KS @ JCCC Carlsen Center
August 1 – Denver, CO @ Denver Botanic Gardens at York Street
August 2 – Arvada, CO @ Arvada Center For The Arts Humanities
August 3 – Steamboat Springs, CO @ Strings Music Festival
August 5 – Salina, KS @ Stiefel Theatre
August 7 – Meridian, MS @ Riley Center for the Performing Arts
August 9 – Atlanta, GA @ Atlanta Symphony Hall
August 11 – Alexandria, VA @ Birchmere
August 12 – Alexandria, VA @ Birchmere
August 14 – Ridgefield, CT @ Ridgefield Playhouse
August 16 – Red Bank, NJ @ Count Baise Theatre
August 17 – New Haven, CT @ College Street Music Hall
August 18 – Greensburg, PA @ Palace Theatre
August 20 – Lowell, MA @ Boarding House Park
August 21 – Great Barrington, MA @ Mahaiwe Performing Arts Center
August 23 – Morristown, NJ @ Mayo Performing Arts Center
August 25 – Glenside, PA @ Keswick Theatre
August 26 – Westbury, NY @ NYCB Theatre at Westbury
August 28 – Vestal, NY @ Anderson Center for the Performing Arts
September 1 – Beverly Hills, CA @ Saban Theatre
September 3 – Indio, CA @ Fantasy Springs Resort Casino
September 6 – San Diego, CA @ Humphrey’s Concerts by the Bay
September 8 – Jacksonville, OR @ Britt Pavilion
September 9 – Stateline, NV @ MontBleu Resort Casino Spa
September 27 – Wilkes Barre, PA @ Kirby Center For The Arts
September 28 – Lebanon, NH @ Lebanon Opera House
September 30 – Torrington, CT @ Warner Theater
October 1 – Newport News, VA @ Ferguson Performing Arts Center
October 2 – Huntington, WV @ Keith Albee Performing Arts Center
October 4 – Morgantown, WV @ West Virginia University
October 5 – Charlottesville, VA @ Sprint Pavilion
October 7 – Cranston, RI @ Rhode Island Center for the Performing Arts
October 8 – Albany, NY @ The Egg Center
October 11 – Lancaster, PA @ American Music Theater
October 12 – Tarrytown, NY @ Tarrytown Music Hall
October 13 – Englewood, NJ @ Bergen Performing Arts Center
October 15 – Youngstown, OH @ Powers Auditorium
October 17 – Godfrey, IL @ Olin Theater
October 21 – Las Vegas, NV @ Smith Center
October 22 – Tucson, AZ @ Fox Theater
October 25 – San Juan Capistrano, CA @ The Coach House
October 26 – San Juan Capistrano, CA @ The Coach House
October 28 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Arlington Theater
November 2 – Visalia, CA @ Fox Theater
November 4 – Brooks, CA @ Cacher Creek Casino

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/stephen-stills-judy-collins-sing-leonard-cohen-tribute-w493730

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Lilith Fair at 20: The Legacy of a Tour That Put Women First

July 25th, 2017 · Guitar

Twenty years ago this month, Sarah McLachlan and a rotating cast of fellow artists embarked on the women-centric traveling fest known as Lilith Fair. While the nostalgic view of the Nineties paints it as a decade where not just female-fronted, but female-populated acts surged on the pop and rock charts, Lilith’s presence bucked music-industry norms that were still, quietly but firmly, directing radio playlists and tour routing. The venture was also a smashing success, becoming the top-grossing festival of 1997.

The musicians who appeared at Lilith – including Paula Cole, Lisa Loeb, Natalie Merchant and the Indigo Girls – were used to being in the minority. “I started at Berklee College of Music, where the ratio of men to women was about 13 to one,” recalls Cole. “And that was pretty much a fair indication of what it would be like going forward. … And then we noticed that the record company [was] primarily male, and then the more success we had, I started to notice that the playlists at radio were generally male and they wouldn’t place [women] back to back. I found that actually to be a hard and fast rule at radio at the time – [higher-ups] instructed their DJs not to play women back to back.”

“That was a definite thing where in radio programming – there was a quota on how many female artists could be played in any one-hour set,” recalls Susanna Hoffs, who played on Lilith’s second stage in 1997 as a solo act and returned with the Bangles for its 2010 revival. “Even in the Eighties, with the Bangles, journalists would tend to say, ‘How do you feel about the Go-Gos?’ There weren’t many female bands, unfortunately, at that time, but still it always struck us.”

The seeds of Lilith were planted in 1996, when McLachlan played a handful of shows with all-woman-fronted bills that included Cole, Loeb and Suzanne Vega. “I was a little surprised when she asked, at first, as it’s true that you almost never had two women on the bill at that point in time, and certainly not three,” recalls Vega. Traveling festivals, which had grown in popularity since the early-Nineties launch of Lollapalooza, were at the time dominated by male-fronted acts; in 1996 Lollapalooza shifted its aesthetic to a harder sound by having Metallica headline, and that year the metal-forward Ozzfest debuted as well.

“We sort of became the antithesis of that,” recalls McLachlan. “And I enjoyed that. I enjoyed the fact that we were doing something unique and different. It was like, ‘Well, if you’re not gonna have any female artists on your tours, we’re just gonna do it ourselves. We’re gonna go over here and we’re gonna do it ourselves. It’s gonna be really fun.’ And it was.”

“I guess it was a radical idea at the time, but I thought it was a good radical idea,” recalls Merchant, who co-headlined the 1998 tour. “I remember when I started in the early Eighties, I was always the only girl in the room. Not just the musicians, but all of the tech people every time I went in the studio, record companies. As the Nineties progressed, I found that there were more and more women sound engineers and there were more women musicians – in my band, I had a female guitar player. It just felt like the Nineties was a time when there was a shift. I finally had an AR person who was a woman. My lawyer was a woman. My publicist was a woman. I was consciously moving in that direction.”

Lilith’s many acts, which for the most part rotated in and out over the course of the tour, were scattered over three stages, including a Village Stage that focused on up-and-coming and local artists. Having a woman-centric (but not woman-exclusive) space bucked music-business convention in a way that surprised observers. “It wasn’t about exclusion,” says McLachlan. “[Men would ask], ‘Why don’t you have men on the tour?’ And I said, ‘Well, honey, we do. The bands are full of men, there’s lots of males in the crew. And we’re all having a good time, too.’ It’s not exclusionary. It’s inclusive. We’re just celebrating women.

“The other really awful question that we got often was, ‘Why do you hate men?’ And I said, ‘What does celebrating women have to do with hating men? That says way more about you and your ego than anything else.’ But it was a question that got asked all the time, and it wasn’t about that. Our mission is great music being made by women. It’s not being represented, so we’re filling that gap – and we’re having a great time doing it.”

“What does celebrating women have to do with hating men?” –Sarah McLachlan

“I know as an artist, initially, I was hesitant to be a part of an all-women festival, because I don’t like to separate myself out as a woman musician,” says Lisa Loeb, who appeared on every year of Lilith’s Nineties incarnation. “But then I found out who the other bands were on the bill that she was inviting, and I just wanted to be a part of [something with] those other musicians – and they happened to be women. “

While the first year skewed heavily toward folk-tinged artists who were also getting lots of pop radio airplay – McLachlan, Cole, Loeb, Jewel, Sheryl Crow – the genre scope expanded over the tour’s second and third years. “We were not a ‘white chick folk fest,’ which was what we were labeled the first year,” says McLachlan. “That was extremely frustrating – we asked all sorts of artists from all sorts of different genres, and we basically got people who said yes. I think [the rejections were] partly because they didn’t know who we were, they didn’t know what we were capable of. Nor did we, quite frankly. After the first year, it was much easier to get artists, because managers looked at us and would say, ‘This is a great bridge. My artist can play in front of a new audience and get a whole new audience.’” In the years that followed, Lilith’s main-stage roster included genre-defying musicians like Neneh Cherry and Erykah Badu, as well as RB upstarts like Monica and Mya; then-nascent pop stars like Nelly Furtado and Christina Aguilera played the Village Stage, as did folk performers like Tegan and Sara and Lori McKennna.

Lilith’s 1997 edition brought in $16 million across its 37 North American dates, and it performed well in the two years that followed. “Back then everybody was really surprised about how successful [Lilith was], and how many tickets we could actually draw,” says Nettwerk Management president Dan Fraser, who organized Lilith Fair alongside McLachlan, Nettwerk Music Group CEO Terry McBride and McLachlan’s then-manager Marty Diamond. “Because we outdrew all of those festivals back in ’97, ’98 and ’99. The social side of the show was so much more forward-thinking than the angst and the aggression that was usually at the sheds – unless it was Jimmy Buffett coming through to have a party.”

“The success of it was a big surprise for me, because, like I said, I didn’t go into it with an agenda,” says McLachlan. “It just kind of happened. I hate to use the word ‘organic,’ but it did feel that way. It felt that it was a natural thing that we all got to participate in something that was way bigger than ourselves. And I think it’s the closest thing to church that I understand – getting to sing, to share my purpose, to live my purpose, and to connect with other people who are feeling the same way, doing a similar thing, and creating that great energy of creating positive special change. That’s what music does. It connects us, it brings us closer to ourselves and to each other.”

“There was word that initially an all-women tour wouldn’t sell tickets,” said Emily Saliers of folk duo Indigo Girls, who came up with the idea for the night-closing singalong, which would bring all the evening’s performers onstage. “The legacy of Lilith is kick-ass business, powerful music, a great example for girls to see women onstage, and the marriage of music and activism. The tours were legendary, as they should be.”

Lilith came to a close in 1999, and its attempted return in 2010 proved frustrating, with 10 canceled dates and performers like Kelly Clarkson dropping out. “Our intentions, in hindsight, weren’t really pure,” says McLachlan. “It’s like, ‘Oh, this would be great to do this again. I’ve got a new record out and it worked last time.’ We didn’t look at how all those women who came to the shows in the Nineties now have children and jobs and mortgages.”

McLachlan still has people asking her to bring Lilith back. Her response? “Someone of this generation needs to do it, if they choose.” Grassroots efforts like Ladyfest, which has outposts around the world, combine Lilith’s spirit with DIY mechanics and radical politics. But a larger-scale Lilith reboot, or a festival that operates in its image, would make a statement, especially since some of the prevailing attitudes that led to Lilith being such a watershed festival still dominate music in the 2010s. In 2015, radio consultant Keith Hill sparked “Tomatogate” when he made an awkward metaphor about women getting airplay at country radio: “I’ve got about 40 music databases in front of me and the percentage of females in the one with the most is 19 percent. Trust me, I play great female records and we’ve got some right now; they’re just not the lettuce in our salad,” he told Country Aircheck. “The lettuce is Luke Bryan and Blake Shelton, Keith Urban and artists like that. The tomatoes of our salad are the females.” Two years later, despite much-lauded releases by female solo artists like Miranda Lambert and Kelsea Ballerini, the country charts still skew heavily male.

The pop charts, meanwhile, have swung back to being male-dominated after the surge in the 2010s that led to artists like Lady Gaga, Katy Perry and Beyoncé dominating the conversation. While the Billboard 200 album chart recently had three back-to-back female solo artists – Halsey, Katy Perry and Lorde – at its summit, the Hot 100 singles chart, which factors airplay, streaming and sales, has been a boys’ club for much of the year. Right now, the only woman in its top 10 is Rihanna, who appears on DJ Khaled’s massive Santana-sampling hit “Wild Thoughts”; the highest-placing female solo artist is Julia Michaels, whose hazy “Issues” is at Number 20 and has been bobbing around the lower reaches of the Top 20 for a few weeks. The way streaming habits are tallied reverberates too; Ed Sheeran and Drake’s 2017 chart-topping LPs led to the Hot 100 being flooded with those collections’ album cuts, but none of the female artists who hit the Number One spot earlier this summer experienced a similar streaming-occasioned bump.

This summer’s crop of big tours skews heavily male, particularly on the double-bill front. While the Blondie/Garbage Rage and Rapture double bill (which features openers like sullen pop upstart Sky Ferreira and bash-happy duo Deap Vally) puts ladies first, the summer’s other shed offerings (Muse/30 Seconds to Mars, Stone Sour/Korn, Incubus/Jimmy Eat World) recall the Ozzfest and Lollapalooza lineups of the mid-to-late Nineties. Club and theater tours are more balanced, with a few lady-forward bills traveling the country – chugging indie rock act Waxahatchee is touring with Boston trio Palehound, while daughter of Lilith Michelle Branch is taking Brooklynites Haerts on the road – but the overall idea of women as some sort of musical other that should be taken in regimented doses still prevails.

While it’s tempting to view analyses like the above as simple score-tallying, thinking about how women are presented in the pop landscape remains a worthy exercise 20 years after Lilith made its first go-round. Back when it started, some observers took potshots at Lilith for creating a space that was focused on women; others critiqued the festival for being too focused on female-fronted acts and ignoring women who were playing instruments. Over the years, “women in rock” ideals have still largely focused on white cis-presenting singers, but female musicians, including female musicians of color as well as trans and non-binary artists, have released and been recognized for their vital music as well, from the bass-wielding funk explorer Esperanza Spalding to the thundering punk act Against Me! to the many instrumentalists who have backed up Beyoncé over the course of her career, including the 10-piece collective Suga Mama, who played with her in the late 2000s.

And Lilith Fair’s legacy of supporting charities devoted to helping women, which was commemorated at a daily press conference where McLachlan would present a local nonprofit with a check representing a percentage of ticket sales, reverberates today with artists who speak up, play benefit shows and raise money for causes they believe in – including McLachlan. “I took all the money that I made from Lilith and put it into a foundation,” she says. “I started a free music school for [at-risk] kids in Vancouver, which I’ve been running and funding for the last 16 years. That’s a beautiful legacy, and it was born out of, ‘What does music mean to me?’ Music is about connecting and community and creating joy and creating love for music. And I get to see that every day now. We’ve got 1,100 kids in the program. We’ve opened a school up in Edmonton. We’re going strong 16 years later. So that’s a pretty cool legacy.”

It’s one that reverberates far beyond music, too. “I was at the Juno Awards,” recalls McLachlan, “and this woman, she was probably close to 40, came up to me and said, ‘You know, I was at Lilith, all three of them, when I was a teenager. And you guys showed me that I could do anything. And I’m now running a company. You all inspired me to understand that I could actually do anything that I wanted to do.’ Lots of women would come up to me and say things like, ‘You showed us that you were living your dream and you were succeeding at that, and it kind of opened up my eyes, that we could do whatever we wanted to do.’”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/sarah-mclachlan-and-others-on-lilith-fairs-20th-anniversary-w492950

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Dead Cross Take Brutal Look at Cockfighting in ‘Obedience School’ Video

July 24th, 2017 · Guitar

Hardcore supergroup Dead Cross take a grisly look at cockfighting in their new video for “Obedience School,” a cut off the band’s self-titled debut LP.

Dead Cross – featuring Faith No More’s Mike Patton, Slayer’s Dave Lombardo and Retox’s Michael Crain and Justin Pearson – teamed with director Dennis Bersales for the brutal black-and-white visual, which plants the viewer center-ring as roosters attempt to tear each other apart at a south-of-the-border arena.

“This band provokes my aggression,” Lombardi previously told Rolling Stone of Dead Cross. “We, Ross included, all have fearless musical mindsets. Our collective résumés definitely reflect that. I believe that when you have musicians in a room that share that particular attribute, it takes you to another level in every way. With this band, I play harder, I play faster, and I play with the fury that this music demands. Each member brings a great deal of intensity and skill to the table. It’s invigorating to work with them.”

Dead Cross will hit the road starting August 10th for a six-week North American tour in support of their debut album.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-dead-cross-brutal-obedience-school-video-w493800

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Meek Mill Talks About Regaining His Hunger for ‘Wins & Losses’

July 24th, 2017 · Guitar

Few rappers today spit with as much passion and verve as Meek Mill. The Philadelphia MC raps as if his life depends on it, his voice frequently – and famously – ascending into a shout. When he talks about having run-ins with law enforcement, losing loved ones or celebrating his status as one of the best in the business, you can feel his joy and pain.

On his third studio album, Wins Losses, he focuses on his penchant for vivid and incendiary raps, and mostly avoids the urban contemporary tracks that have sometimes muddied his past work. Yes, Wins Losses is dropping amidst a spate of fresh controversies: a bizarre dustup with reality TV star Safaree Samuels, the continuing fallout from his highly publicized breakup with former girlfriend Nicki Minaj and a high-profile beef with Drake. However, during a conversation with Rolling Stone, Meek focused on why he’s one of the most vital hip-hop talents of recent years, from his strategy for composing raps from memory to why he’s “catering to street rap” this time around.

One of the things you’re most known for is painting vivid pictures through your raps. What’s your writing process like?
I don’t actually write. I just go in the studio and rap, throw verses together. I just use visuals in my head, and I try to make them rhyme. As I go, I just try to remember it, keep a good memory and make them rhyme.

You’ve put out hundreds of songs at this point. How are you able to keep all those word schemes in your head?
I don’t know. I just think it’s a talent, a God-given talent that God gives us. But, you know, I try to work on my memory and when I’m in the studio, I just focus it up. I love to make music. I have fun doing it, spending hours and hours and relentless hours in the studio, and days putting things together. So I don’t really mind, like, being on one subject for an hour straight if I have to. Sometimes it can take several hours, sometimes it can take 10 minutes.

One of your new tracks from the Meekend Music EP is “Left Hollywood.” Did you literally leave Hollywood, or is that just a metaphor?
It’s more like a metaphor. I did move from L.A., but it’s more like a metaphor. I’m catering back towards the streets, like, the culture that helped build me up from day one. The street culture, the street rap. 

Where did you move to?
I moved back to Philly. I live in a few different places. I live in Philly, Delaware…but that’s all surrounding Philly or is close to the Philly area. Basically, back to the trenches.

Wins Losses goes a lot harder than some of your previous albums. Was that a conscious decision on your part?
Yeah. I wanted to do more rapping, and I wanted to turn it into a rap album. You know, there’s a lot of music out, you’ve got different platforms like SoundCloud, iTunes, Spotify, Tidal. People can listen to what they want, and we’ve got so many different genres of rap now, like you’ve got trap music, mumble music, street rap, pop rap. I just wanted to cater to, like, my side, you know what I’m saying? One day I hope [the platforms] are going to give us official genres. This is my side. I’m catering to street rap. So I wanted to open the gate back up to Meek Milly rapping, what people know me for, actually spitting and, you know what I mean, touching the heart.

There doesn’t seem to be many dudes like yourself that spit a lot of bars and are successful on the charts as well. How are you able to maintain that?
I try to remain hungry no matter what position I get in. It was, like, a year ago, I was kinda laid-back. I wasn’t as hungry as I wanted to. Me being through a lot of trials and tribulations, seeing people talk about me, saying bad things and good things. The bad things inspired me more to want to go harder, and it helped me gain some of my hunger back. On this album, I’m coming from a more hungrier standpoint.

“Young Black America” from Wins Losses is one of your most political songs to date.
The people I make music for [is the] environment I come from, and the images I’m rapping about I’ve seen about and lived it. It’s kinda, like, ignorant sometimes. I just wanted to dedicate one song to open the eyes to the people who don’t come from my culture, or the people who are caught up in this jungle and the things that are taking place in the video. It’s an eye-opener out to the culture, and to keep people woke.

How are you and Rick Ross doing? You two have been through a lot together at this point.
Rick Ross is the person that put me on in the game and gave me my shot. It’ll always be, like, a big brother/little brother relationship with him. Everything’s always been good. We never really had any, like, super-bad spots where we feel like things had gone wrong. It’s the music industry, so there’s always times we’ve got to buckle down and get down to business, and no fun, and just get straight to business. And, you know, we do that. That’s how we met, on business terms, getting money, and we built a family relationship in time. It’s always been great.

It was good to see Wale in the first installment of your Wins Losses movie. You guys have crossed paths in the past.
Yeah, Wale’s in the video. You know, sometimes family, we cross paths at certain times. But, if anything, we came in the game together. We never let [our issues] get to a serious level. I just think sometimes we handled it the wrong way in the public eye, where we shouldn’t of did it that way. But yeah, everything’s good.

You’re known for your street raps, yet you’ve also scored your biggest chart hits with urban/RB tracks like “All Eyes on You” and, now, “Whatever You Need.” How do you balance doing music for the clubs, and doing music for the streets?
I don’t really balance it. I just do what I feel. When I’m in the studio I do what I feel. I probably create about 100 songs and then, you know, I balance it through picking out my songs. I know some people want to dance in the club, and some people want to ride in the car and hear something that’ll make them think. Some people want to be touched and relate to the music. So I try to level it out in a way that I can touch a mass amount of people.

What’s up with your Dreamchasers label?
I signed a new artist out of Baltimore. He’s, like, flaming hot out of Baltimore. His name is YBS Skola. We’ve got Omelly coming out on Dreamchasers Records. He’s working on a mixtape. We’re just looking for up and coming, new, raw talent. Something nobody’s ever seen before, some young stars, like, in a way, Lil Snupe was. He was a fast-growing star. He set the tone for Dreamchasers. So I make sure I pick a star, somebody we can get behind and make some money with, and be legendary with.

It sounds like you pour so much emotion into songs like “Cold Hearted,” the closing track on 2015′s Dreams Worth More Than Money. Where does that come from?
Music from the heart is actually the most easiest kind of music to make, because it’s just coming and flowing. All you have to do is make the words rhyme for the thought. It’s not just having to come up with a bunch of random thoughts. It’s just coming straight from the heart. The heart inspired it. It’s written by the heart. You know, I’m just delivering it and making it rhyme.

Do you consider yourself a spiritual person?
Yeah, I believe in God. I pray. I put all faith in God. It helps keep me focused.

How do you maintain that focus in the rap industry?
It’s kinda hard when it comes down to politics and, like, the way the game is structured. I just continue to try to make good music, man. I’m talented, and I’ve been rapping for a long time. Music’s a big thing to me. … Sometimes it can get a little frustrating. But, you know, I come from the trenches, from the bottom. So it’s nothing new in facing adversity and facing new problems. So we can stand on our feet and we can go at it head on.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/features/meek-mill-on-regaining-his-hunger-for-wins-losses-w493813

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Justin Bieber Cancels Rest of ‘Purpose’ World Tour

July 24th, 2017 · Guitar

Justin Bieber canceled the remaining dates of his Purpose World Tour. The singer announced the decision in a statement on his website, though he didn’t elaborate on his reasoning for axing the final promotional dates behind his 2015 LP.

“Due to unforeseen circumstances, Justin Bieber will cancel the remainder of the Purpose World Tour concerts,” the statement reads. “Justin loves his fans and hates to disappoint them. He thanks his fans for the incredible experience of the Purpose World Tour over last 18 months. He is grateful and honored to have shared that experience with his cast and crew for over 150 successful shows across six continents during this run. However, after careful consideration, he has decided he will not be performing any further dates. Tickets will be refunded at point of purchase.”

Last week, the singer was banned from performing in China after the Beijing Municipal Bureau of Culture criticized the 23-year-old, stressing its aim to “purify” the Chinese performance market.

“Justin Bieber is a gifted singer, but he is also a controversial young foreign singer,” the Bureau wrote on its website. “As far as we are concerned, he has engaged in a series of bad behaviors, both in his social life and during a previous performance in China, which caused discontent among the public.

Bieber’s world tour was set to conclude in September and October with a run of Asian dates, including Hong Kong, Tokyo, the Philippines and Singapore.

In June, the singer teamed with EDM powerhouse David Guetta for collaborative single “2U.”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/justin-bieber-cancels-rest-of-purpose-world-tour-w493849

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Hear Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ Joyous New Song ‘See What Love Did to Me’

July 24th, 2017 · Guitar

Yusuf / Cat Stevens will release a new album in the fall, his fourth since returning to the folk-pop style of his classic Sixties and Seventies work. The Laughing Apple bridges the artist’s present and past, combining newly written songs with covers of tracks from his early repertoire. Hear “See What Love Did to Me” – one of the brand-new selections – here.

The song offers a charming update on the breezy, singalong-friendly sound that Yusuf / Cat Stevens helped to pioneer on classic albums such as Tea for the Tillerman. Over a simple acoustic-guitar-driven arrangement, he praises love’s transformative powers, comparing it to forces of nature. “Just like the wind, my heart’s rushing fast/A piece of dust too high to catch,” he sings. The song’s lyric video features animations of Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ own drawings, made especially for the album. The artist himself turns up for a cameo near the end of the clip, as the song takes a religious turn: “And now I see what God did for me.”

“‘See What Love Did to Me’ is a a song which extolls the virtue of Love and its destructive properties,” Yusuf / Cat Stevens tells Rolling Stone in a statement. “Based on a poem written by Yunus Emre, a Thirteenth Century Turkish poet. I fell upon the guitar riff back in 2006, while recording An Other Cup. It took eight years to find the right words and sentiments to marry with the joyous tune. It has musical ripples of Africa as well as India flowing through.”

“Like a blindfolded bee, guided only by his heart to the bosom of the flower, Love is the greatest Divine instinct that gives us wings to fly to the supreme heights of our humanity,” he explains, alluding to the song’s repeated line “Like a blindfolded bumblebee.” “It takes us to a garden where our minds can surrender reason in exchange for the nectar of Love. Worship is in essence a state total devotion to whoever we adore the most and expressing our yearning for closeness and proximity to our Beloved and where we forever want to be.”

The Laughing Apple celebrates the 50th anniversary of the artist’s 1967 debut, Matthew and Son, and will come out on Yusuf / Cat Stevens’ Cat-O-Log Records imprint, via Decca, the label he worked with back then. It also reunites him with producer Paul Samwell-Smith, who helmed Tea for the Tillerman, Teaser and the Firecat and other releases from his early-Seventies heyday.

Among the old songs that Yusuf / Cat Stevens revived and revamped for The Laughing Apple are “Mighty Peace” and “Mary and the Little Lamb,” neither of which ever made it onto an album. Four other songs, including the title track, appeared in their original forms on his 1967 LP New Masters. And “You Can Do (Whatever)” was originally intended for the Harold and Maude soundtrack but was left unfinished at the time. “Many of my earlier recordings were overcooked with big band arrangements,” he explains in a press release of his decision to revisit this material. “They crowded the song out a lot of times.”

The Laughing Apple will be released on September 15th. Last year, Yusuf / Cat Stevens celebrated the 50th anniversary of his first hit single “I Love My Dog” on the retrospective tour A Cat’s Attic.

The Laughing Apple Track List

1. “Blackness of the Night”
2. “See What Love Did to Me”
3. “The Laughing Apple”
4. “Olive Hill”
5. “Grandsons”
6. “Mighty Peace”
7. “Mary and the Little Lamb”
8. “You Can Do (Whatever)”
9. “Northern Wind (Death of Billy the Kid)”
10. “Don’t Blame Them”
11. “I’m So Sleepy”

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/hear-yusuf-cat-stevens-new-song-from-the-laughing-apple-w493019

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Hear Dan Auerbach, Robert Finley’s Grisly New Outlaw Tune ‘Bang Bang’

July 23rd, 2017 · Guitar

Dan Auerbach and blues musician Robert Finely have teamed for a gritty and brassy new outlaw tune, “Bang Bang.” The track will appear on Auerbach and Finley’s forthcoming soundtrack for the graphic novel Murder Ballads.

“Bang Bang” is one of four original tunes Auerbach and Finley composed for the Murder Ballads Soundtrack. Over a sinister blues-rock shuffle of prickly guitars, slick piano and boozy horns, Finley paints a delightfully brash picture of the exploits of a criminal contingent: “We want the queen and gold and the silver too,” he sings. “Everything we want before the night is through/When the day is done we never make no amend/We do it all over again.”

Murder Ballads tells the story of Nate Theodore, the owner of a struggling record label who’s desperate to save his marriage and business. During a fraught road trip, he discovers the musical duo of Donny and Marvell Fontweathers, who specialize in a “doom-laden country blues.” Gabe Soria wrote Murder Ballads with art from Paul Reinwand and Christopher Hunt. 

“Gabe Soria is a good friend of mine so it was great to hear his concept for the project and to try and write songs that way,” Auerbach tells Rolling Stone of crafting the Murder Ballads Soundtrack. “And working with Robert Finley was incredible. He’s the greatest living soul singer as far as I’m concerned.”

Along with “Bang Bang” and their three other new tracks, Auerbach and Finely also recorded a cover of Lead Belly’s famous cut “In the Pines.” A limited-edition 10-inch EP pressing of the Murder Ballads Soundtrack is available to pre-order via Mondo. The box set also comes with the full graphic novel and three exclusive prints. A digital download of the soundtrack will come with every purchase of the graphic novel via publisher Z2 Comics.

Murder Ballads is a noir tale, a story about desperate people doing desperate things in the hopes that they might see a little light in their desperate lives,” says Soria. “Its inspirations lay in the crime novels of David Goodis and Jim Thompson, the films noir of Robert Aldrich and the Coen Brothers, and Peter Guralnick’s profiles of soul, country and blues musicians, and it just so happens that it takes place in a dark little corner of the music industry. Not the part of the industry where it’s all hit singles and fantastic lifestyles and wealth and parties and such, but in the really interesting parts, the out-of-the-way places where people struggle and are looking, if not for a way to get rich, at least for a way to get by.”

Auerbach released his most recent solo album, Waiting on a Song, in June. 

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/premieres/hear-dan-auerbach-robert-finleys-new-song-bang-bang-w492796

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Watch Nine Inch Nails’ Mournful David Bowie Cover

July 23rd, 2017 · Guitar

Nine Inch Nails paid homage to David Bowie this week with a mournful cover of the Blackstar cut “I Can’t Give Everything Away” at their first live show in three years. 

Bowie’s original song, released two days before his death in 2016, is warm and pretty, with swelling strings, turbocharged bass and bright saxophone. Nine Inch Nails made the song spookier by cutting away layers of instrumentation to focus on keyboard and voice. Trent Reznor sang the title phrase over and over, leaving long, poignant pauses between “everything” and “away.”

Introducing the performance in Bakersfield, CA on Wednesday, Reznor called Bowie “a hero of all of ours.” “We were in the studio kind of messing around and when [the news of Bowie's death] hit, it felt like we needed to do something … to process it in some way,” Reznor explained. “So we worked a song of his that gave us some sort of closure. We didn’t release it, but we will play it for you now tonight.”

Following Bowie’s death in 2016, Reznor penned a letter about the star’s importance for Rolling Stone. “His music really helped me relate to myself and figure out who I was,” Reznor wrote. “He was a tremendous inspiration in terms of what was possible, what the role of an entertainer could be, that there are no rules.” 

As Stereogum points out, Nine Inch Nails anonymously uploaded a studio version of their “I Can’t Give Everything Away” cover last December. While there was some speculation at the time that Reznor was behind the track, it wasn’t confirmed until Nine Inch Nails performed it live with the same arrangement.

On Friday, the band will release a new EP titled Add Violence, and on Sunday, they will headline the FYF Fest in Los Angeles.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/watch-nine-inch-nails-mournful-david-bowie-cover-w493288

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On the Charts: Jay-Z’s ’4:44′ Number One Again

July 23rd, 2017 · Guitar

Jay-Z notched his second consecutive week atop the Billboard 200 as the rapper’s 4:44 sold 87,000 total copies in its second week of chart eligibility.

4:44 easily held onto Number One in a week where the album faced very little competition in terms of new releases: French Montana’s Jungle Rules was the lone new release this week to crack the Top 10, finishing at Number Three and 52,000 total copies, of which only 16,000 were traditional sales, Billboard reports.

The rest of the Top 10 was all returnees, with Kendrick Lamar’s Damn. leading the way at Number Two; since Lamar’s latest LP was released in mid-April, 14 weeks ago, Damn. hasn’t dropped lower than Number Three on the Billboard 200.

All five albums in the Top Five were hip-hop releases as DJ Khaled’s Grateful claimed Number Four and 21 Savage’s Issa Album dropped to Number Five.

Ed Sheeran’s Divide, Imagine Dragons’ Evolve and the Moana soundtrack grabbed Numbers Six, Seven and Eight, respectively. The week’s only other surprise was the return of Khalid’s American Teen, which crept back into the Top 10 at Number Nine, where it peaked upon its release in March. Bruno Mars’ 24K Magic rounded out the Top 10.

4:44′s time atop the Billboard 200 throne should end next week as Lana Del Rey’s Lust for Life, Meek Mill’s Wins Losses, Tyler, the Creator’s Flower Boy, the Descendants 2 soundtrack and renewed interest in the Linkin Park catalog following the death of singer Chester Bennington should shake up next week’s charts.

Article source: http://www.rollingstone.com/music/news/on-the-charts-jay-zs-444-number-one-again-w493685

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