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2014 Grammy Awards Reactions: The Triumphs And Fails

January 28th, 2014 10:30am EST
2014 Grammy Awards Reactions: The Triumphs And Fails
Another year and another Grammys ceremony has come and passed. As always, there were moments that thrilled while others made me curse under my breath. Luckily, as a music journalist, this guy has learned how to think like the Recording Academy, hence the accuracy of many of my picks this year. Still, even being correct, you have to wonder what the Academy is thinking sometimes. Yes, I’m specifically referencing the fact that Kendrick Lamar was shut out – ridiculous! But here goes nothing examining the awards given.

The Big Four: Record, Album and Song of the Year & Best New Artist

Record ...
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The 51 Best Albums Of 2013 - What Made Your List?

December 30th, 2013 6:00pm EST
Daft Punk
Ranking the very best albums of any year is incredibly difficult; there are always misses. 2013 was filled with some triumphant musical moments, though not all of their parent albums were necessarily ‘worthy’ of being considered the best of the year. Because of various factors, this list has its surprises and like any album reviewed, its triumphs and flaws. One thing’s for sure – the top ten to fifteen albums are pretty close to the cream of the crop from my perspective. Here are the 50 (+1) best albums of 2013!

1) Vampire Weekend - Modern Vampires of the City
XL

The Ivy Leaguers outdo th...
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Thoughts On The 56th Annual Grammy Nominations

December 9th, 2013 8:50pm EST
Macklemore & Ryan Lewis
The Grammys are like a musician’s Super Bowl, even if the nominations and victorious artists are flawed.  I won’t lie to you, I complain every year that someone won a Grammy that didn’t deserve it while someone else was snubbed. Just last year, during the 55th Annual Grammys, I lobbied hard for Frank Ocean (looking back, I have reservations now) while Mumford & Sons walked out with the Album of the Year trophy.  The year that Taylor Swift won for Fearless, my girl Beyoncé was on a roll until the coveted Album of the Year award was read.  You get my position though! This year,  I find myself...
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2013 Album Playlist: Favorites, Least Favorites, and Honorable Mentions - Part 1

October 11th, 2013 9:15pm EDT
The 20/20 Experience: 2 of 2
As I look over my 2013 playlist from my iPod, I realize I have listened to numerous albums this year.  In fact, the amount of music that my ears have consumed and my pen has analyzed is pretty scary…and I still missed lots of albums! SMH! Some were special, some made me cringe, and some fell somewhere in between the two extremes.  As difficult as it was, as of October 7, 2013, I have compiled a list housing my favorites, least favorites, and honorable mentions.  I’m almost certain I’ve slighted someone and I’m sure there will be continual revisions, but for now, here’s what you should’ve sp...
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Justin Timberlake Brings 'Memphis Soul' To The White House

April 10th, 2013 5:10pm EDT
Justin Timberlake
Pop star Justin Timberlake was a big hit at the White House on Tuesday night, where he performed during a music education event held by First Lady Michelle Obama.

"In Performance at the White House: Memphis Soul" celebrated the sounds of the 60s from the singer's native Memphis, Tennessee, and included a mix of acts old and new.

Mavis Staples, Booker T. Jones, Ben Harper and newcomers Alabama Shakes were on hand interact with music students at the "Soulsville, USA: The History of Memphis Soul" workshop, but it was Timberlake who had the crowd buzzing.

"Oh, watching you all's faces - pric...
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Laura Dern and Ben Harper's Divorce Is Back On

July 9th, 2012 10:13am EDT
Laura Dern
Laura Dern is moving forward with her divorce from singer Ben Harper, despite recent attempts to reconcile.

The Wild at Heart star, 45, reconnected with Harper earlier this year after the Burn One Down hit-maker filed for divorce in 2010, but the reunion didn't last, with multiple gossips reporting the pair - parents to Ellery, 10, and Jaya, seven - split last month.

And on Friday Dern filed new legal papers at the Los Angeles County Superior Court in response to Harper's divorce petition, requesting joint legal and primary physical custody of their two kids.

According to TMZ.com, sh...
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2010 Year In Entertainment Review: October

January 2nd, 2011 3:00pm EST
Katy Perry and Russell Brand
Celebrity break-ups were big news in October with a number of high-profile couples calling time on their relationship. Courteney Cox and David Arquette stunned the world by announcing they were taking a break from their 11-year marriage, and just days later singer Christina Aguilera confirmed her split from husband Jordan Bratman. Ben Harper and Laura Dern also filed for divorce after 10 years together.

But October also saw an influx of celebrity weddings - Katy Perry and Russell Brand sealed their love in a lavish Indian ceremony, and both Paul Weller and David Schwimmer hit the news when...
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Jessalyn Gilsig Files For Divorce

October 13th, 2010 8:45am EDT
Jessalyn Gilsig
Glee star Jessalyn Gilsig has filed for divorce from her movie producer husband Bobby Salomon.

The pair was high school sweethearts and wed in 2006 before welcoming a daughter, Penelope, later that same year. But the couple secretly split almost a year ago - and Gilsig has filed divorce papers at Los Angeles County Superior Court, citing irreconcilable differences.

The documents, obtained by TMZ.com, reveal Gilsig and Salomon have drawn up a private marital settlement "that will divide all community assets and obligations," including a custody arrangement for Penelope.

Gilsig's marria...
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Christina Aguilera Splits From Husband

October 12th, 2010 12:09pm EDT
Christina Aguilera
Pop superstar Christina Aguilera has split from her husband Jordan Bratman after almost five years of marriage.

The Beautiful hit-maker wed the music executive in November 2005 and they are parents to two-year-old son Max. A source tells UsMagazine.com the couple has been "separated for a few months."

The insider adds, "They are now living apart, and they will see how that goes. They are very much in love. But over the last six months, it became clear they were more like friends than husband and wife."

Aguilera's marriage breakdown is the latest in a spate of celebrity splits - on Mond...
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Ben Harper Files For Divorce From Laura Dern

October 10th, 2010 12:05pm EDT
Ben Harper
Ben Harper has filed for divorce from his actress wife Laura Dern.

The Grammy winner filed divorce papers in Los Angeles on Friday citing irreconcilable differences.

According to TMZ.com, Harper has asked a judge to deny the "Jurassic Park" actress spousal support and claims that the couple split in January.

He is seeking joint legal and physical custody of the pair's two children, Ellery and Jaya.

Dern and Harper married in 2005 after dating for five years.
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David Arquette Has No Time For The Homeless

August 6th, 2010 9:08pm EDT
David Arquette
David Arquette avoided a homeless man like the plague Thursday night on his way to Voyeur nightclub in L.A.

The "Scream 4" star looked like he was in a quite a hurry and unwilling to help out a "starving artist" looking for pretty much anything.

David recently let on that he's been taking sewing lessons to improve his skills making clothes. The actor owns his own clothing line, "Propr," with rocker Ben Harper and wants to take designing to the next level by honing his skills with a needle and thread.

He says, "It's a little worrying that I'm going into Jo-Ann (fabric store) and geeking o...
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Zack De La Rocha Planning Arizona Protest Concerts

June 29th, 2010 12:30pm EDT
Zack De La Rocha
Rage Against The Machine frontman Zack De La Rocha is planning a series of concerts to protest Arizona's controversial state immigration laws.

The outspoken rocker is spearheading the Sound Strike campaign aimed at prompting touring acts to boycott Arizona until state officials agree to repeal the new law, which requires local authorities to determine a person's immigration status if he or she is suspected of being undocumented. And now he's planning a series of protest concerts in July.

He tells Billboard.com, "In the coming weeks we are going to be organizing a series of concerts that...
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Alanis & Alicia's Road Trip, 'Michael & Michael Have Issues', 'America's Got Talent', Lily Allen's New Single & More (Videos)

July 15th, 2009 2:00pm EDT
Today's videos include the hilarious "My Mother's Red Hat", from Funny or Die, which features Alicia Silverstone, Alanis Morissette and lots of bad music; a clip from the new Comedy Central original show "Michael & Michael Have Issues"; Lily Allen's latest single, "22", Ben Harper and Relentless7's "Fly One Time" video; and a trio of clips from last night's "America's Got Talent". Check 'em all out!

Alicia Silverstone and Alanis Morissette are two friends who go on a road trip together for the sake of a film soundtrack with lots of sappy bands...

"Michael & Michael Have Issu...
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Ben Harper And Relentless7 Set To Release 'White Lies For Dark Times' Tuesday

May 3rd, 2009 6:55pm EDT
Ben Harper
Coming off an incredible showing at this year’s SXSW including a headlining performance at Stubb’s, an over-capacity crowd at DirecTV’s “SXSW Live,” and a legendary taping of Austin City Limits, Ben Harper And Relentelss7 proudly announce the release of their debut record, White Lies For Dark Times on May 5 on Virgin Records. The album will be available as CD, deluxe CD with bonus DVD, digital download and 180-gram 2xLP. Rolling Stone calls the new album “an 11-song set soaked with hard rock and Delta Blues.”

Ben Harper and Relentless7’s energetic live performance is the heart of the b...
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Cutest Celebrity Valentine's Day Couples

February 13th, 2009 10:00am EST
Angelina Jolie
Everyone's least (or most) favorite holiday is...Valentine's Day! If you're in a relationship be fortunate that every smooch you two share won't be plastered all over Us Weekly. For all you single people out there, don't call out sick from work and mope around your house in your pajamas with Ben and Jerry. You'll find love one day, just like these cute celebrity couples!

Kevin Bacon & Kyra Sedgwick - This couple gives you hope that Hollywood marriage can work!

- Click here for the next couple! -

Brad Pitt & Angelina Jolie - What do you get when you cr...
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Bryan Adams & Ben Harper 'Live From Abbey Road' Tonight On Sundance

August 28th, 2008 3:45pm EDT
Bryan Adams
Each episode of the acclaimed Sundance series, Live From Abbey Road keeps getting better with interviews and performances from the most accredited artists and bands. Academy Award nominee for songwriting in films, Bryan Adams will start off episode 11 with his first #1 single, "Heaven." Off the five time platinum album, Reckless, this strong ballad was featured on "A Night In Heaven" soundtrack. The Canadian rock singer follows with a performance of "She's Got A Way" from his eleventh and latest album, 11. Pursuing the "eleven theory," 11 features 11 tracks, and is sold in most retail store...
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Donavon Frankenreiter's 'Pass It Around' Drops Aug. 19

August 14th, 2008 6:00pm EDT
Donavon Frankenreiter
On August 19 Lost Highway will release Pass It Around, the new album from Donavon Frankenreiter. Pass It Around boasts 10 new songs from the musician/pro-surfer, and also features some special guests and a new approach for Frankenreiter.

On his 2006 self-produced Lost Highway debut, Move By Yourself Frankenreiter set out on his own and began to find his musical identity as an artist as he moved away from the acoustic stylings of his 2004 self-titled debut by plugging in and opening up. Pass It Around shows that identity fully realized. The songs incorporate some of the acoustic and ele...
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Tonight's 'Live From Abbey Road' Features Black Keys, Manu Chao

July 24th, 2008 5:31pm EDT
The Black Keys
Live From Abbey Road, the Sundance original music series, reaches its halfway point in episode 6 of the twelve part series.

The episode begins by featuring British self-described "Odd Pop" band, The Hoosiers. After recording their first album, The Trick To Life and securing two top ten hits on the UK charts, The Hoosiers are currently touring. They stop by the legendary recording studio Abbey Road to perform their hits "Goodbye Mr. A" and "Run Rabbit Run" off of their debut album along with Billy Joel's classic hit "We Didn't Start the Fire".

Blues-rock duo The Black Keys will al...
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Surfer Rockers Makin' Waves

March 25th, 2008 12:12pm EDT
Jack Johnson
Unless you've been living under a rock, the hottest thing right now in music is the beachy sounds of Surfer Rock. It makes you want to hit the waves, soak in some sun, or just chill. We've rounded up our top 10 Surfer Rockers makin' waves. Let us know what you think!

1. Rocker Jack Johnson's #1 one album, Sleep Through The Static, just spent three weeks atop of Billboard's Top 200 Album Charts, which shows America is really feeling his surfer rock.

2. Ben Harper, who often tours with Jack Johnson, has that gritty soul vibe that when combined with his wave rock brings hi...
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Battle Of The Campaign Songs: How Music Affects The Presidential Race

March 25th, 2008 11:23am EDT
John Mellencamp
Music is a universal hobby. It's one that everyone can - and likely does - share. You don’t have to know a whole lot about it to like it, and you don’t have to be "good at it" to listen to what it has to say. Thus, music is a powerful way for politicians to speak to their voting public. And where words and speeches fail, a campaign song can intervene and convey the message.

John Mellencamp must have been very aware of these facts when he asked GOP frontrunner John McCain to remove his anthem "Our Country" from his political campaign (after McCain usurped the song from campaign drop-out...
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Celebrity Birthdays, October 28

October 28th, 2007 3:00am EDT
Joaquin Phoenix
Happy Birthday to actor Joaquin Phoenix (1974), Former Denver Broncos running back Terrell Davis (1972), singer/songwriter Ben Harper (1968), Pretty Woman Julia Roberts (1967), software tycoon Bill Gates (1955), Olympic gold medalist Bruce Jenner (1949), NYPD Blue actor Dennis Franz (1944), southern rock fiddler, Charlie Daniels (1937), and discoverer of the polio vaccine Dr. Jonas Salk (1914).
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Voodoo Music Experience Gets New Site Within New Orleans City Park

October 2nd, 2007 4:35pm EDT
Rage Against the Machine
This year's Voodoo Music Experience--set for October 26, 27 and 28--has a new location within its New Orleans City Park home. Adjacent to the site utilized in 2006, the new location is situated closer to Tad Gormley Stadium where the Voodoo Music Experience was born in 1999.

After festival-goers enter the grounds in front of the New Orleans Museum Of Art (NOMA), they'll walk by the 200, newly planted 6 foot Crepe Myrtle and Oak trees. These new trees are part of the ongoing efforts outlined in the park's master plan to "preserve and improve park spaces for recreational, educational, ...
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Voodoo Music Experience Expands To 3 Days In New Orleans' City Park, October 26, 27, 28

September 10th, 2007 9:00pm EDT
Rage Against The Machine
Rage Against The Machine, The Smashing Pumpkins and Dr. John are among the more than 110 acts confirmed for the 2007 Voodoo Music Experience, which expands this year to three days to accommodate the number of artists who comprise the diverse talent line-up.

Set for Halloween weekend in City Park, New Orleans' signature fall music event encompasses three full days of music--October 26, 27 and 28--with performances from Wilco, Tiesto in Concert, Kings of Leon, Sinead O'Connor, Common, Ben Harper and Galactic, among others (full list below). These acts will appear in the Voodoo Music E...
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Fantasy Records To Release 'Light Your Light,' The New Album From Toots & The Maytals

August 28th, 2007 7:07pm EDT
Toots & The Maytals
New York, NY - On August 28, 2007 Fantasy Records will release Light Your Light, the latest album from Toots & The Maytals. On the heels of his Grammy triumph for 2004's True Love, Toots comes roaring back with an equally powerful collection of standards and instant classics on his Fantasy Records debut, Light Your Light.

Produced by the masterful Richard Feldman, Light Your Light revisits some of Toots' favorite compositions, shining a modern light on hits such as "Johnny Coolman," which features an appearance by guitarist Derek Trucks, and "Pain in My Heart", an homage to Otis Reddi...
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Artists Donate Tracks To "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign To Save Darfur," Out June 12

May 17th, 2007 8:10pm EDT
Instant Karma
In an historic effort to mobilize activism around the human rights atrocities occurring in Darfur, Sudan, more than 50 international recording artists and over 30 record labels have united behind "Instant Karma: The Amnesty International Campaign to Save Darfur." The collection features iconic songs by legendary musician and peace activist John Lennon recorded by an array of best-selling artists and will be available for purchase both on CD and as digital downloads via online retailers.

In keeping with its long tradition of activism powered by music, Amnesty International, the world's...
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The Wailers Embark On A World Tour And Introduce Their Newest Member, Yvad

May 8th, 2007 5:30pm EDT
The Wailers
The Wailers are the most celebrated reggae outfit of all time having sold over 250 millions records worldwide. No other reggae group has so many well-known hits to draw upon, whilst their reputation as a live act is unchallenged after performing to an estimated 24 million people around the world.

The Wailers have now unearthed a major talent in the shape of Yvad. A gifted singer/songwriter from Jamaica, whose youthful good looks and memorable songs complement the Wailers' own timeless material to striking effect. Inspired by musicians like Bob Marley and the Wailers, he embraces Ras...
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Lollapalooza 2007 Lineup Announced

April 12th, 2007 12:13pm EDT
Pearl Jam
Tickets are now officially on sale for Lollapalooza 2007, August 3-5 in Chicago’s Grant Park. Among the 120-plus artists are behemoths Pearl Jam — in their sole U.S. show this year — as well as Daft Punk, Ben Harper & The Innocent Criminals, Muse, Iggy and the Stooges, Interpol, Kings of Leon, Modest Mouse, My Morning Jacket, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Perry Farrell’s Satellite Party, Snow Patrol, The Roots, Paolo Nutini, Femi Kuti and The Positive Force, and many more.

The 2006 edition of Lollapalooza filled Grant Park with more than 166,000 attendees of every stripe—figuratively and literally—...
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Stephen Marley To Release Debut Album, 'Mind Control,' March 20

March 7th, 2007 2:57pm EST
Stephen Marley
There's an old black and white photo of Stephen Marley; it's a portrait of the lion as a young man. He's standing against a wall of bamboo rocking short hair and an '80s-style I-Threes t-shirt—puffed up and proud the way only a rebel youth can be. But there's something else in the image—something about the intensity and focus in Stephen's face even as a teen—that shows in an instant that having the last name "Marley" has nothing to do with being the son of a musical icon or an heir to a throne. It does, however, have everything to do with being an individual with a purpose.

Stephen ham...
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Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival Announces Initial 2007 Lineup

February 14th, 2007 12:38pm EST
Police
Superfly Productions and A.C. Entertainment are proud to announce the initial lineup for the 2007 Bonnaroo Music and Arts Festival. The sixth annual four-day camping and music festival will be held on June 14-17 on the same beautiful 700-acre farm in Manchester, Tennessee, 60 miles south of Nashville.

A full list of confirmed acts follows, and more will be announced in the coming weeks. The final Bonnaroo 2007 lineup will total over 100 bands and 20 comedians performing on 13 stages over four days. Tickets go on sale exclusively through bonnaroo.com on Friday, February 23 at 12:00 PM ...
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2006: Year In Music (Pt. 1)

December 31st, 2006 12:00pm EST
Arctic Monkeys
From Arctic Monkeys to Zutons to Britney's divorce to the most overplayed song of the year (hint: it's not James Blunt's You're Beautiful), 2006 was unmatched in musical diversity. There were albums we didn't even realize came out and artists we didn't even realize were still around. There were reunions and breakups too. Here's a brief summary of 2006: The Year in Music...

The new year kicked off somewhat quietly; however, it was the debut album, Whatever People Say I Am, That's What I'm Not, from the Arctic Monkeys, the band that U.S. critics bashed despite storming to the top of the...
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