Category: Breaking News

M.I.A. signs deal with Jay-Z's Roc Nation

Jay-Z’s Roc Nation will now manage electro-pop rapper M.I.A., the company announced Thursday.

“The nation just keeps on growing...,” read a tweet from Roc Nation directed to the politically charged Sri Lankan femcee. Roc Nation’s homepage also features a welcome to the performer, whose real name is Maya Arulpragasam.

Arulpragasam joins an eclectic mix of superstars that Jay’s company also manages including Rihanna, Santigold, Melanie Fiona, Wale, Mark Ronson and Shakira. Roc Nation also manages a slew of songwriters, producers, DJs, engineers and mixers.

Jay-Z protégé J. Cole, Willow Smith, R&B singer Bridget Kelly, Jay Electronica and British urban pop chameleon Rita Ora have all been signed to the label. M.I.A. is signed to Interscope Records.

Rihanna sent her well wishes to M.I.A., tweeting, “welcome home MIA.” On Monday, the singer teased her fans when she posted pictures of the two of them hanging out backstage at a Jay-Z and Kanye West concert in London.

M.I.A. is readying her fourth album, “Matangi,” which is due this fall through Interscope. She also announced a remix of her anthemic single, “Bad Girls,” which is set to feature Missy Elliott, Azealia Banks and her protégé, Rye Rye.


Live review: M.I.A. at the Mayan

M.I.A. dishes on Super Bowl appearance with Madonna

The lady gangsta fantasy of M.I.A.'s video for 'Bad Girls'

-- Gerrick D. Kennedy

Photo: Screen shot of Roc Nation's home page announcing it had signed M.I.A. Credit: Gerrick Kennedy / Los Angeles Times.

Library of Congress names new entries for National Recording Registry

Donna Summer's 'I Feel Love' has been chosen for the National Recording RegistryLeonard Bernstein's debut conducting the New York Philharmonic has been chosen for the National Recording RegistryDolly Parton's 'Coat of Many Colors' has been chosen for the National Recording Registry

Donna Summer's throbbing 1977 hit "I Feel Love"; Prince's 1984 "Purple Rain" album; the first known commercial sound recording, dating to 1888; the Sugar Hill Gang's watershed rap record "Rapper's Delight"; and 1930s and '40s news reports and speech excerpts from journalist Edward R. Murrow's "I Can Hear It Now" radio program are among 25 sound recordings newly enshrined in the Library of Congress' National Recording Registry, library officials announced Wednesday.

Among the other new entries are Dolly Parton's 1971 hit "Coat of Many Colors"; Parliament's 1975 funk classic "Mothership Connection"; Stan Kenton and His Orchestra's 1943 recording of "Artistry in Rhythm"; and Leonard Bernstein's debut performance conducting the New York Philharmonic, also from 1943. Plus, the new registrees include field recordings with the voices of former slaves made from 1932 to 1941; Bo Diddley's "I'm a Man" and "Bo Diddley," both from 1955, and Booker T. & the MGs' 1962 soul instrumental "Green Onions."

"America's sound heritage is an important part of the nation's history and culture and this year's selections reflect the diversity and creativity of the American experience," Librarian of Congress James H. Billington said in a statement.

Case in point: The first commercial sound recording is a version of "Twinkle, Twinkle Little Star" from a small cylinder created in 1888 by Thomas Edison's company for use in a talking doll that was a commercial failure. The recording, discovered in 1967, was considered unplayable until 2011, when it was scanned in three dimensions using digital mapping tools created at the Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory in collaboration with the Library of Congress.  

The latest batch of inductees expands the registry's total to 350 recordings that are "culturally, historically or aesthetically significant" and which span the history of recorded sound. The recordings must be at least 10 years old to be eligible. A full list of this year's songs chosen for the registry can be found on the library's website.  Each year, 25 recordings are added to the registry. The public can nominate recordings at


Library of Congress builds the record collection of the century

Hal David, Burt Bacharach honored in D.C. with Gershwin Prize

Library of Congress and Sony Music team for "National Jukebox" free streaming of vintage recordings

-- Randy Lewis

Left photo: Donna Summer. Credit Universal Music Group

Center photo: Dolly Parton. Credit: RCA Records.

Right photo: Leonard Bernstein. Credit: Vandamm, N.Y.

Kanye West, Jay-Z's 'Throne' dominates BET Award nominations


Kanye West leads the list of nominations for the 2012 BET Awards, which the network announced on Tuesday.

West scored a leading seven, six of them the result of his heralded collaboration with Jay-Z.

When the two rap heavyweights announced they would join forces on “Watch the Throne,” under the equally royal moniker the Throne, it became one of last year’s most anticipated releases. Fans were eager to hear what the frequent collaborators would offer.

The pair bypassed traditional album promotion: They didn’t issue a handful of visuals for the singles outside of “Otis” and “ … In Paris” -- both of which compete for video of the year -- and if you wanted to see them perform together, the best chance was their massive fall tour, which became one of 2011’s highest grossing.

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Roger Waters unveils Pink Floyd channel for Sirius XM

Roger Waters introduces Sirius XM Pink Floyd satellite radio channel
In advance of his performance of “The Wall” on Saturday at the Los Angeles Coliseum, British rocker Roger Waters stopped in on veteran rock deejay Jim Ladd’s nightly show on Sirius XM on Thursday to announce the launch of a Pink Floyd channel. The new channel is slated to launch May 29 on the satellite network.

The channel will carry Pink Floyd concerts, interviews, rarities and will air the group’s full recorded catalog.

"I can't think of a better home for the Pink Floyd catalogue, and all the solo stuff, than SiriusXM,” Waters said in a statement. "How cool for all our fans and what a great way to introduce the work to new generations of listeners."

The channel will run May 25-28 on Sirius XM channel 27, and return June 29 to July 8 on Sirius Channel 142 and XM channel 43. It will be available online full-time on channel 802 and for an extended period for smartphones and mobile devices on the Sirius XM Internet Radio App.

Ladd is a longtime advocate of Pink Floyd and was recruited by Waters as the narrator for his 1987 concept album “Radio K.A.O.S.”

A full interview with Waters about his return to Los Angeles with “The Wall” will appear in Saturday’s Calendar.


Roger Waters will build 'The Wall' at L.A. Coliseum on May 19

Rock radio DJ Jim Ladd talks about KLOS dismissal

Live review: Roger Waters and 'The Wall' at Staples Center

---Randy Lewis

Photo of Roger Waters during his 2010 performance of "The Wall" at Staples Center in Los Angeles. Creidt: Ricardo de Aratanha / Los Angeles Times.


Taylor Swift pledges $4 million for Country Hall's education center

Taylor Swift is pledging $4 million for new education center at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum
Taylor Swift, the country superstar who became a professional songwriter at 14, scored a record deal at 15 and released her first album at 16, is kicking in $4 million toward the creation of an education center that will bear her name at the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum in Nashville, part of the museum’s $75-million expansion.

The Taylor Swift Educational Center will increase the museum’s educational facilities seven-fold, officials said in announcing her pledge Thursday.

“Taylor Swift represents country music’s best traditions,” museum Director Kyle Young said in a statement. “By stepping forward to fund our education center, she has once again demonstrated that she has an eye on our industry’s future. …It is not an overstatement to say that the Taylor Swift Education Center will have a profound impact on our museum, our new campus, our city and even our country.  It will truly be the heart of our living museum, educating and inspiring young people and families, teaching them country music history and helping them to make meaningful connections between the music and their own lives.”

It is being designed to include three classrooms and a children’s exhibition gallery. The museum’s capital campaign has raised $56.8 million to date. The expansion is scheduled to be completed early in 2014.


The Bakersfield Sound gets its due in Nashville

Country Music Hall of Fame gets $10 million from Country Music Assn.

Taylor Swift joins Kris Kristofferson, Vince Gill, Lionel Richie and Emmylou Harris at Country Hall of Fame benefit

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Taylor Swift receives Nickelodeon's Big Help Award in March from First Lady Michelle Obama. Swift was honored for her philanthropic work. Credit: Kevork Djansezian / Getty Images.


Kris Kristofferson tops 50th anniversary UFW concert tour

Kris Kristofferson tops the bill for six concerts saluting 50th anniversary of the United Farm Workers
Kris Kristofferson will headline half a dozen concerts across California in June to raise money and awareness for the United Farm Workers in recognition of the union’s 50th anniversary this year.

The singer and songwriter will be joined by a variety of support acts in different cities, including Los Lobos, Nydia Rojas, Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano, Los Texmaniacs featuring Mingo Saldivar, and  Mariachi Divas, all of whom are donating their services to benefit the UFW.

The week-long tour opens June 15 at the Spreckels Theatre in San Diego, where Kristofferson will be joined by Mariachi Divas, and continues with stops June 16 in Fresno (Rojas with Trio Ellas), June 16 in Stockton (support act to be arranged), June 19 in Bakersfield (Los Lobos), June 21 in Oxnard (Mariachi Los Camperos de Nati Cano) and June 22 in San Jose (Los Texmaniacs).

“It’s an honor for me to share my talent with an organization such as the UFW and its cause of advancing the lives of thousands of workers that put food on all of our tables,” Kristofferson said in a statement.  “Joining forces with renowned Latino performers through these special performances offers fans great music with a great cause.”

Other activities will be part of the UFW’s 50th anniversary convention being held Thursday through Sunday in Bakersfield. Details on the UFW’s website.

Live review: Kris Kristofferson at Disney Hall

Kris Kristofferson: Pop and country's semi-tough veteran

Exclusive video: Los Lobos' watershed 1992 'Kiko' album returns

-- Randy Lewis

Photo: Kris Kristofferson. Credit: Allen J. Schaben / Los Angeles Times.

Exclusive video: Los Lobos' watershed 1992 'Kiko' album returns

Los Lobos is revisiting its watershed 1992 album “Kiko” in a 20th anniversary reissue, adding to the original studio album with previously unreleased early and alternate takes of several songs. Simultaneously, a document of the band’s 2006 performance of “Kiko” in its entirety will be released separately on CD, DVD and Blu-ray, with both “Kiko” projects coming Aug. 21.

“Kiko” was hailed in 1992 as a new artistic pinnacle for the widely lauded East L.A. group and appeared on numerous critics’ yearly Top 10 lists. It was the No. 1 choice in The Times’ consensus Top 10 among its staff writers and regular contributors, and made the Top 10 of Village Voice magazine’s annual poll of some 300 pop music critics.

“ ‘Kiko’ is the band's masterpiece -- a startling leap forward in sonic reach and depth of vision,” Mike Boehm wrote in reviewing the album for The Times two decades ago. “ ‘Kiko’ is a long, troubled dream of an album that holds the temporal and the spiritual in a single gaze: It shows us a suffering humanity an angel's breath removed from an overarching realm of spirits, magic and hallucination.”

“Kiko Live” has never been released or broadcast, and includes interviews with the band members and others about the making of the album. In 2006, Los Lobos did a series of live performances focusing on it in its entirety. Above is exclusive video of the group's performance of "Kiko and the Lavendar Moon."

The CD also includes three tracks the band recorded live at Capitol Records in Hollywood for a “Hollywood House Party with Los Lobos” special that aired in 1992 on National Public Radio. The album reissue and the “Kiko Live” DVD/Blu-ray are being released by the Shout! Factory reissue specialty label.

Instead of “segregating our influences, treating them parochially,” as band member Steve Berlin described the band’s approach before “Kiko,” for that album “whatever our unconscious minds’ response was to the stimuli, that was what we wanted. We let our imagination take over and didn’t try to control it.”

The band is continuing on a tour that included the first Los Lobos Cinco de Mayo Festival at the Greek Theatre, at which the group headlined a bill that included Mariachi El Bronx and X and such guests appearing with Los Lobos as Neko Case, Alejandro Escovedo, Flaco Jimenez, and Dave and Phil Alvin.


Los Lobos songbook drives 'Evangeline, the Queen of Make-Believe'

Los Lobos discovers you can go home again

Los Lobos' Long, Troubled Dream: 'Kiko'

-- Randy Lewis

Posthumous Joey Ramone album due May 22; live performance set

Joey Ramone unfinished songs are finished for posthumous album coming  May 22
Punk rock has nothing if not a strong sense of the absurd, and Saturday will bring yet another example with the annual birthday bash honoring punk founding father Joey Ramone. It will include a live performance of a new album by a rocker who’s been dead for 11 years.

It’s no gag, though. The new album, “… ya know?” and scheduled for May 22 release,  consists of tracks left incomplete when Ramone, born Jeffry Hyman, died in 2001 of lymphoma. Ramone’s brother, Mickey Leigh, used demos and other unreleased recordings his brother made and completed the tracks with assistance from various friends and admirers including Joan Jett, E Street Band guitarist Steve Van Zandt (who has written the liner notes), Cheap Trick’s Bun E. Carlos, Patti Smith Group guitarist Lenny Kaye and Smithereens drummer Dennis Diken.

"Over the past eight years, I've been getting a barrage of emails and Facebook messages from Joey's fans, wanting to know when this album would be coming out,” Leigh said in a statement issued Tuesday. “So having it finally become a reality gives me a feeling of triumph -- not for me, but for my brother, and for his fans. And there's not the slightest doubt in my mind that people are gonna be blown away by it."

At Saturday’s 12th Joey Ramone birthday celebration in New York, Leigh will be joined in performing the album in its entirety by many of those who played on "... ya know?" including Jean Beauvoir, Richie Stotts, Ed Stasium, Amy Hartman, Al Maddy and JP “Thunderbolt” Patterson. Tommy Ramone, the sole surviving original member of the group, is slated to be among those making guest appearances along with David Peel, Joey Lanz and others. Additional performers for the show will include the Threads, the Brats, the Indecent, Ivan Julian and the Bullys. The event will be held at the Studio at Webster Hall.

Tickets are $40 and proceeds go to the Joey Ramone Foundation for Lymphoma Research.


Dee Dee Ramone, 49; One of Punk Rock's Pioneers

Johnny Ramone, 55: Punk Guitar Drove the Ramones

Joey Ramone, Lead Singer of Pioneer Punk Rock Band

-- Randy Lewis 

Photo of Dee Dee, Tommy, Joey and Johnny Ramone courtesy of Roberta Bayley.

Whitney Houston's family lands Lifetime reality show


Three months to the day after Whitney Houston’s untimely death, Lifetime has announced it has ordered a reality show anchored by the late pop titan’s family.

“The Houston Family Chronicles,” set to premiere later this year, will follow “those closest to the pop music icon as they try to pick up the pieces after her untimely death,” according to the network's description of the series.

The 10 hour-long episodes are focused on Whitney’s manager, sister-in-law and closest confidant Pat Houston, Whitney's brother Gary and the couple’s teenage daughter Rayah.

PHOTOS: Whitney Houston | 1963 - 2012

Houston’s only daughter, Bobbi Kristina, and her mother, Cissy Houston, will also appear on the show. Lifetime says the series will show Pat and Gary as they “take on their greatest challenge, supporting and guiding Bobbi Kristina as she faces the world alone, without the one person she relied on the most, her Mother.”

Continue reading »

Stagecoach 2012: Brad Paisley talks Tupac image, new album


Brad Paisley, the headliner for Sunday’s closing night of the 2012 edition of the Stagecoach Country Music Festival in Indio, Calif., has always been an unrepentant techno-geek, so he followed with fascination the worldwide media generated the previous two weekends by the "appearance" of Tupac Shakur during Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg’s reunion performance at this year’s Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival.

The thing is, Paisley beat them to the punch by two years, having pulled off a duet with a virtual partner at the 2010 Stagecoach Festival, where he surprised and confounded audiences with the materialization onstage of Alison Krauss, his collaborator on 2004’s “Whiskey Lullaby,” which generated multiple Academy of Country Music and Country Music Assn. awards.

“We did that Alison thing for a while, and it was as good as we could get it at the time,” Paisley said aboard his tour bus parked near Stagecoach’s Mane Stage, where a capacity crowd of 55,000 was waiting for him to go on after Sheryl Crow finished her penultimate set. “We’ve since then come up with some more tricks. It was interesting when I heard about the Tupac thing. The thing that was so interesting about that, the thing that was so shocking, of course, is that it was someone who was deceased. It’s insane. You go, ‘Whoa!’ But wait till you see what we’re doing tonight.”

PHOTOS: The scene at Stagecoach 2012

He was teasing the recurring presence of Carrie Underwood on his current Virtual Reality Tour. After Paisley launched into the opening of their hit duet “Remind Me,” audience members gasped and then cheered when a spotlight went on and there appeared the “American Idol” grad, harmonizing her lines and seeming to trade glances with her singing partner.

But it was an illusion -- like the Shakur "appearance," a realistic-looking video projection, not a true hologram. It's something Paisley touched on before that number, when he told fans: “We call this the ‘Virtual Reality Tour’ because reality is what country music is about. But it can sometimes also take you away from reality. So between the beer and our show, you’re well on your way.”

Continue reading »

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