Archive | August, 2012

No Doubt, Green Day Go For Gold In MTV’s Summer Jam Games

3 Aug

As the Olympics continue over in London, we’ve found ourselves asking several questions: "Why is Gabby Douglas so awesome?" "The U.S. is good at judo?" and, perhaps most important, "How much more swimming can we watch?"

We’re not gonna lie, we’re over the pool. And we suspect the rest of the world is too, which is why we’re focusing on a competition that is anything but all wet (see what we did there?!?), MTV’s Summer Jam Games, the race to determine just who had the hottest songs of the summer.

Vote now in MTV’s Summer Jam Games!

All week, we’ve been giving you updates on the ultra-close battles going on in Hip-Hop, Pop, R&B and EDM … and today, we’re wrapping up our coverage by taking a look at the Rock category, which features plenty of upset-minded upstarts, not to mention returning champions, each battling it out for summer-jam gold.

Voting in all Summer Jam Games categories closes Sunday (August 5) at midnight E.T., so there’s still plenty of time to help guide your favorite acts to the medal stand. And here are the 10 hopefuls going head-to-head in Rock.

Vote for your favorite song, discuss and share on Facebook and Twitter in the Summer Jam Games!

Alex Clare’s "Too Close": Also known as "that awesome song in the Internet Explorer commercial," it’s become a hit both here in the States and back home in Clare’s native England, where its success must be particularly sweet for the 26-year-old singer/songwriter. After all, not long after he released his debut album, The Lateness of the Hour (which features "Too Close"), he was dropped by his record label. Oops.

Fun.’s "Some Nights": The title track off their breakout album, and the follow-up to their smash "We Are Young," "Some Nights" has helped assure that Fun. will never be known as one-hit wonders. With its breezy beat and easy harmonies (reminiscent of Simon and Garfunkel’s "Cecilia"), it’s a perfect summer jam, and fans seem to agree … the song is poised to break in to the top 10 Billboard Hot 100 as early as this week.

The Gaslight Anthem’s "45": A bruising blast of blue-collar bop from New Jersey’s latest crop of Springsteen acolytes, "45" doesn’t seem like a traditional summer jam … after all, with its bleeding guitars and frontman Brian Fallon’s trademark growl, it’s not exactly beach-approved. But hey, we guarantee you this is what the Boss listens to when he tans, and that’s good enough for us.

Green Day’s "Oh Love": At this point in their careers, about the only thing Green Day haven’t done is win a summer jam sweepstakes. That might change with "Oh Love," the first single off their upcoming trio of new albums, and the current leader in our rock category. We can’t blame folks for voting for it … after all, like all great summer jams, this one came from "the crotch area."

Grouplove’s "Tongue Tied": The latest in a long stream of Apple-approved indie hits (it was featured in an iPod Touch ad last year), "Tongue Tied" has blasted to the top of Billboard‘s Alternative charts, and has made unlikely stars out of this L.A. act. And thanks to this song — and their blissed-out live performances — they could be the surprise winners of our Summer Jam Games, too.

Jack White’s "Freedom at 21": It’s entirely possible Jack White never even ventures outside during daylight hours, which makes the prospect of him winning the Summer Jam Games all the more amazing. But with "21" (and its oddball, Hype-Williams directed video), he’s got a legitimate shot. Not bad for a guy so pale he’s practically translucent.

JEFF the Brotherhood’s "Sixpack": Rip-roaring single from Nashville bashers (and actual brothers) Jake and Jamin Orrall, otherwise known as JEFF the Brotherhood. They’ve already earned the praise of critics and fans like Jack White, but now, with the beery, cheery "Sixpack," they might also take home Summer Jam gold. And then probably celebrate by drinking several sixers.

The Killers’ "Runaways": It’s a classic Killers tune, all wide-screen choruses and huge guitars, but can it also be a classic summer jam? Well, given that newly humble frontman Brandon Flowers isn’t going to talk smack about any of his competitors, it’s gonna be up to the Killers’ fans to guide them to the gold. Still, there’s just about nothing this band hasn’t accomplished, so we wouldn’t bet against them here.

Neon Trees’ "Everybody Talks": Utah probably isn’t the first place you’d think of when listing potential summer-jam hotbeds, but thanks to Neon Trees (who hail from Provo) and their fantastic new single (currently crossing over at radio and inspiring people to buy Buicks), that’s about to change. Can they upset the big boys and really put the Beehive State on the map? We’ll just have to wait and see!

No Doubt’s "Settle Down": They’ve shaken off the rust that comes with a decade out of the game, and, as "Settle Down" proves, they haven’t lost a step, either. Funky, fun and lilting on a dancehall beat that’s custom-built for the club, the song is classic No Doubt, and now, if the votes hold, it may also take home summer-jam gold in the rock category, too.

Vote now in MTV’s Summer Jam Games! Polls in all categories close Sunday (August 5) at midnight E.T., so there’s still time to guide your favorites to the gold!

  1. image?.Caption No Doubt’s Gwen Stefani and Tony Kanal

    Photo: Kevin Mazur/Getty Images

Justin Bieber’s Respected Michael Jackson Connection: Michael Madsen

3 Aug

Justin Bieber tweeted that when he was looking for inspiration for his "As Long As You Love Me" video, there was no one he wanted to emulate more than Michael Jackson.

Coincidentally, when he needed someone to play his foe in the clip, he looked no further than a guy who has some experience working with Jackson.

That man is Michael Madsen, who appeared in Jackson’s 2001 gangster-themed video for "You Rock My World" off his Invincible album. Oddly enough, the only people that have ever really asked the hard-edged actor to appear in videos happen to be Bieber and Jackson.

"Hardly ever [am I asked to be in videos], that was why it was kind of funny cause that doesn’t usually happen," he told MTV News. "It came out of nowhere. It was the last thing in the world I expected, to be called by Justin Bieber. It was kind of funny. It took me off guard. It’s not the usual thing people think of me for, but considering the role, maybe."

In the video, Madsen plays a tough guy who beats up Bieber after the teen ignores his request to stay away from his daughter. It was that cinematic storyline that got Madsen interested.

"I didn’t want to imagine myself on a trampoline with a lollipop, so I asked for the story. I realized it was almost like a film production; and of course, I kind of figured that it might be an interesting thing to do," he said about the Anthony Mandler-directed video. "I didn’t know what to expect… I was surprised… They got me a good wardrobe. That was my shirt though. I brought my own shirt; those kinds of shirts are kind of rare.

"The story is so much Shakespearian; the couple, they run off together out the window," he later continued. "It’s rather like that, I thought that was interesting. And I thought the kid, he had an enormous talent and he was very gracious to my sons and was very gracious to my family."

It was actually those sons that convinced the Hawaiian-shirt-wearing "Kill Bill" star to make the video with Bieber. "Well I was surprised at first that the kid was interested in having me be part of his video," he recalled. "I went to my sons and I asked my boys, I asked my sons what they thought if I should if they thought I should do it or not. And, of course, they gently placed their hand on my shoulder and said ‘Dad don’t you realize who Justin Bieber is?’ And I said ‘Well, no, actually I didn’t.’ But with their blessing I decided I thought it might be interesting."

Do you think Michael Madsen’s appearance in "As Long As You Love Me" bumps Bieber to MJ status? Let us know in the comments!

  1. image?.Caption Justin Bieber and Michael Madsen in the "As Long as You Love Me" music video

    Photo: Island Def Jam Music Group

Lollapalooza 2012: Frank Ocean, Childish Gambino And More Can’t-Miss Acts

3 Aug

Starting Friday (August 3), the concert-going masses will slather on the sunscreen, gird their loins in moisture-wick underwear and descend on Chicago for the granddaddy of U.S. summer fests, Lollapalooza.

Yes, ever since it brought Alternative Nation to the masses way back in 1991 (and not counting the six-year hiatus it took between 1997 and 2003), Lolla has been a rite of passage for music fans from all over the world and, in recent years, though it has seen increased competition in the summer season, its influence — and scope — have only continued to grow. It was one of the first major festivals to embrace dance music, showcasing some of EDM’s brightest stars, including Skrillex, Bassnectar, Afrojack and Pretty Lights. It has also expanded to South America, where massively successful spinoffs have staked turf in Chile and Brazil.

Meanwhile, back in the States, Lolla organizers have assembled a 2012 lineup that runs the gamut from meat-and-potatoes rock (headliners the Black Keys, the Red Hot Chili Peppers, Jack White, etc.) and adventurous electronic music (M83, Porter Robinson, Skream & Benga, Justice) to much-buzzed-about newcomers (Frank Ocean, the Weeknd, Totally Enormous Extinct Dinosaurs) and returning indie elite (Franz Ferdinand, Bloc Part, the recharged Afghan Whigs). There’s plenty to see and, of course, MTV News will be on the ground in Chicago, bringing you live reports, behind-the-scenes photos and interviews with all your favorite acts.

So, in preparation for what’s shaping up to be another epic edition of Lollapalooza, here’s a look at some acts that we can’t wait to check out … and hopefully, we’ll be watching them alongside you on Central Time (be on the lookout for James Montgomery; he’ll be the gangly white dude in the glasses). We’ve packed our bags and purchased some SPF 9000 so now, let’s rock.

Tame Impala (Friday, 3:15 p.m.): These Australian psych-rockers have been melting our minds ever since they released 2010’s Innerspeak, and their upcoming follow-up, Lonerism, promises to only continue that trip (at least if first single "Elephant" is to be believed). We’re willing to brave the midday heat to hear what else they’ve cooked up in the lab.

Passion Pit (Friday, 6 p.m.): Not only is their new Gossamer album one of the year’s best, but given frontman Michael Angelakos’s recent mental-health issues (which have led to band to cancel nearly all> of their tour dates), their Lolla set may be the only time in the near future you’ll be able to see them. Get well soon, Mike.

Black Sabbath (Friday, 8:05 p.m.): Sure, they might not be touring with original drummer Bill Ward (c’mon Ozzy!), but any chance we get to check out the godfathers of bludgeoning, brute-force metal, we’re gonna take it. And given that this is their only U.S. date in 2012, their Friday-night headlining slot is an official can’t miss.

The Weeknd (Saturday, 6 p.m.): Ever since appearing on the radar last year with a trio of excellent (and free!) albums, Abel Tesfaye has haunted R&B like a ghost, making only a handful of live appearances. Despite that, his influence over the current morose, minimal era of the genre is undeniable, and we can’t wait to see how his artfully abstract songs come off in person.

Bloc Party (Saturday, 7 p.m.): Back after a two-year hiatus, these criminally underrated art-rockers have a new album coming down the pipeline (it’s called Four) and they’ve been shaking off the rust with a run of fest shows. Have they still got the old magic? We’ll just have to wait and see (though, c’mon, you know they do).

Frank Ocean (Saturday, 8:45 p.m.): Over the past year, no one’s risen quite as fast as VMA-nominated Ocean has, and that has very little to do with recent revelations about his personal life. His Channel Orange album is one of 2012’s finest, and his Lolla set is shaping up to be one of fest’s highlights … especially if reports of recent live gigs are to be believed.

Justice (Sunday, 8:30 p.m.): Theirs is a sound tailor-made to massive spaces so, appropriately, they’re closing the fest with a headlining set on Sunday. And we’re sure it’s going to be monumental, featuring plenty of big beats, bright lights and balls-to-the-wall energy, all of which has turned them into a colossally popular live act. What better way to end Lollapalooza than with some sensory overload?

Childish Gambino (Sunday, 8:45 p.m.): He’s on opposite Justice, which shows you just how far 2012 Best Hip-Hop Video nominee Donald Glover has come in a few short years. His rhymes are tight-fitting, his shorts above the knee and his performances off the cuff. Gambino may still not get mainstream love, but his fans know what he’s all about, and his Lolla set could serve as his coming-out party for the masses.

MTV News is at Lollapalooza slathering on the sunscreen! Stick with us for the best festival coverage, as we bring you up-to-the-minute access to the shows, performers and more.

  1. image?.Caption Frank Ocean

    Photo: Karl Walter/ Getty Images

T.I. Aiming To Complete Trouble Man By Year’s End

3 Aug

When T.I. returned home from prison last fall, he hit the ground running, filming his VH1 reality series "The Family Hustle" and immediately beginning work on his eighth solo album Trouble Man. Since then, Tip has remained on the grind, but he’s slowed things down a bit when it comes to finishing up his anticipated LP.

Though the album was most recently expected to debut in September, the Atlanta rapper said he refuses to rush the process.

"Me being the perfectionist that I am, I’m still tweaking and fine-tuning, trying to perfect all parts of this project," Tip told MTV News, confirming that the album won’t be complete for another few months. "I did, like, 124 songs, and I’ve narrowed it down to 86 now, so now I have to continue to narrow down and continue to make it better.

"I’m not trying to paint myself into a corner with a date," he added. "I’m trying to make sure that the project is the absolute best it could be, and I’m trying to get it down by the end of the year."

From those 86 options, T.I. is hoping to whittle his track list down to 14 or 15 tracks that will create a uniform project. In the meantime, he’s promoting his recurring role on the Starz series "Boss" and keeping an open dialog about a tour with the entire Grand Hustle team.

"That’s a very likely possibility," he said of heading out on the road with B.o.B, Iggy Azalea and crew. "We just have to find the right time and right opportunity to get it done, but we’ve been talking about it ever since I came home."

  1. image?.Caption T.I.

    Photo: MTV News

Band Of Horses Help Kick Off Lollapalooza Weekend With Loose Show

3 Aug

Chicago— There’s always a show the night before Lollapalooza that it seems like everyone needs to get into. (Last year, it was a super-rare club show by the Foo Fighters.)

On Thursday night, as usual, that gig was at the city’s beloved northside rock club Metro, where South Carolina-via-Portland Band of Horses brought their aw shucks Southern gothic roar to a packed house primed for a weekend of thunder from the likes of the Black Keys, Jack White, the Red Hot Chili Peppers and more than 100 other bands [LINK TO JAMES’ LOLLA PREVIEW].

They opened big with two favorites, "The Great Salt Lake" and the hypnotic "Is There a Ghost" and from there singer/guitarist Ben Birdwell charmed the packed crowd with a set that jumped from familiar sing-alongs to new tunes from their upcoming second major-label album, Mirage Rock.

The fresh tracks were of a piece with the band’s catalog, from the Creedence Clearwater Revival-esque country rocker "Hot To Live," to the mellow- down-easy Eagles vibe of "Slow Cruel Hands of Time," which sounded like an AM radio ballad that time forgot.

Things got thick and swampy for "Cigarettes, Wedding Bands" and the beat got to swinging for "Laredo," during which the formerly-stage-shy Birdwell bounced around on the toes of his scuffed cowboy boots with a big smile plastered on his face.

Another new tune, "Dumpster World," seemed poised for instant adoption as a crowd favorite, as it slogged along patiently until bursting open midway into an angry thunder before easing back down into a loungey bubble.

The title track of the band’s 2010 breakthrough, "Infinite Arms" started out as the perfect ethereal tune for stargazing on a warm, clear night, until it blew up into a ringing double guitar blitz that sounded like a swarm of electric bees. That tip of the trucker hat to Neil Young and Crazy Horse perfectly set up the first single from the new album, "Knock Knock," a speedy cowpunk tune that sounds like BOH’s best bet to date for a Kings of Leon-type breakthrough.

One of the last (and best) new tracks was the spare acoustic shuffle "Everything’s Gonna Be Undone," during which Birdwell set down his guitar and instead smashed a tambourine with a drum stick.

The unofficial slow dance prom anthem of the nose ring nation (in a totally awesome way), "No One’s Gonna Love You," managed to sound like a crushing Led Zeppelin ballad anchored by a throbbing Cure-like base line. If that sounds like something that couldn’t, or shouldn’t work, you’re wrong, because it does. Every time.

The 90-plus minute show crashed to a close with the new punked up Eagles-like "Electric Music," into the buzz nation anthem "Weed Party," swirling "Ode to LRC" and a haunting "The Funeral." Birdwell started the latter by himself on electric guitar, his vocals echoing throughout the club like a cold chill before the band kicked in with an explosion of psychedelic swamp rock.

It’s gonna be a long, hot weekend by the lake, but Band of Horses may just have set the pace perfectly.

MTV News is at Lollapalooza slathering on the sunscreen! Stick with us for the best festival coverage, as we bring you up-to-the-minute access to the shows, performers and more.

  1. image?.Caption Band Of Horses perform at Lollapalooza

    Photo: Gil Kaufman/MTV News

Wiz Khalifa And Mac Miller Bring Their Party To The Beach

3 Aug

WANTAGH, New York — There was smoke in the air but not a cloud in the sky when Wiz Khalifa and Mac Miller touched down at the Nikon at Jones Beach for the Under the Influence of Music Tour.

Rostrum Records’ latest rap signee, Boaz, set things off as fans made their way from the parking lot party into the 15,000-seat outdoor venue, which sits on the edge of the ocean. With a lineup resembling one of this summer’s many rap festivals, Chevy Woods, Chiddy Bang and Top Dawg Entertainment’s Schoolboy Q and Kendrick Lamar lifted the crowd with their own individually flavored sets.

As the sun set shortly after 8 p.m., Mac Miller strolled out onstage to his mixtape fave "Best Day Ever." After his intro song, Mac properly addressed the crowd by remembering the first time he took in a Nas concert at Jones Beach, wishing he could one day rock the stage. Looking to start off with a bang, Miller tore into his 2010 track "Knock, Knock," and from there ran effortlessly through songs from his K.I.D.S., Best Day Ever and Macadellic mixtapes, plus his #1 selling album Blue Slide Park.

The truth is, Mac or Wiz Khalifa could have packed the amphitheater by themselves, so when two artists of their caliber co-headline a tour, it’s the fans who come away with the biggest win.

Wiz hit the stage with a rock star’s swagger rocking a white T-shirt, fancy fedora and an American flag tied to his mic stand, and he was backed by a full band. Opening with the title track from his 2011 Cabin Fever tape, Khalifa saluted the women in the crowd with his Taylor Gang charm, chanting, "There’s a bad bitch in here, if you see her point her out," over and over and over.

Though he’s only one major album in, Wiz’s cavernous catalog of mixtapes allows him to build a deep and diverse set list. In fact, the Pittsburgh spitter was several songs in before he even touched anything from his gold-selling Rolling Papers LP. Instead, Wiz mined his breakout Kush and Orange Juice mixtape and his most recent Taylor Allderdice tape, performing tracks like "California," "In the Cut" and "The Kid Frankie." The lively crowd backed their hero word for word when he launched into the latter, spitting, "I live life sucker free," during the opening moments of the 1980s-inspired cut.

Khalifa went back even further, performing songs from his 2009 tape, Flight School, as well as Star Power and Prince of the City 2 from years prior. There was balance, however, as Wiz rocked chart-toppers like "On My Level" and his #1 hit "Black & Yellow." The crowd mouthed every word to his most recent heater "Work Hard, Play Hard" and clapped in time with the beat when he closed with "O.N.I.F.C."

Rather than bask in the crowd’s praise by his lonesome, Khalifa invited his entire Taylor Gang squad onstage to close out with him, as well as specially invited guest J. Cole.

If Wiz could offer his fans only one night in first class, this was surely it.

What’s your favorite Wiz Khalifa show? Let us know in the comments!

  1. image?.Caption Wiz Khalifa

    Photo: Christie Goodwin/ Redferns

Ellie Goulding ‘Lights’ Up Summer Jam Games

3 Aug

With dance music being more popular in America than ever before, the summer EDM performance season means fans have much new music to rock out to since Miami.

And with so many medals being handed out across the pond as we speak, MTV News thought we should pay tribute to some of our favorite 2012 summer jams. We’ve come out with our picks, but the choice of which EDM song reigns supreme in our Summer Jam Games is in your hands!

Vote now for your favorite summertime smashes in our Summer Jam Games!

Avicii (featuring Salem Al Fakir), "Silhouettes"
After dominating 2011 with "Le7els" (nominated for a Best EDM Video VMA this year) and "Fade Into Darkness," the Swedish house-music king comes up with yet another monster in this sentimental pop-dance hit.

Calvin Harris (featuring Ne-Yo), "Let’s Go"
He may have given up singing for the moment, but the Scotsman sure can produce the heck out of a song. After banging successes with Kelis and Rihanna, "Let’s Go" with Ne-Yo is among three Harris super-singles on the Billboard Hot 100.

David Guetta (featuring Sia), "Titanium"
The electronic/urban crossover king combines a driving beat with one of the more powerful voices in existence for a pop-music smash. Put your house-heart hands up for Nothing but the Beat‘s "Without You" and "Titanium"!

Deniz Koyu, "Bong"
The Dutch rising star cooks up exquisite stadium house with "Bong" for Sebastian Ingrosso’s Refune Records. With runaway successes like "Hydra" and "Tung" already under his belt, "Bong" is one of the most mashed-up and bootlegged dance music songs this summer.

Vote for your favorite song, discuss and share on Facebook and Twitter in the Summer Jam Games!

Ellie Goulding, "Lights"
We first fell in love with Max Vangeli and AN21’s remix of the young British phenom’s "Starry Eyed," but since 2010, "Lights" has slowly but surely taken over U.S. radio, moving into the top five on the Billboard Hot 100. We love "Lights," and clearly you do too!

Eric Prydz, "Allein"
Championed by Tiësto and Sebastian Ingrosso, Prydz releases his much-awaited album Erick Prydz Presents Pryda with this sing-a-long gem. The song samples German pop band Polarkeis 18’s "Allein Allein," and if you’ve been to a big EDM festival since Miami Music Week, you’ve more than likely heard or sung along to this euphoric banger.

Havana Brown (featuring Pitbull), "We Run the Night"
RedOne’s redux of Australian artist Havana Brown proved an American pop radio hit, after much success overseas. And after his success with Afrojack on "Give Me Everything," how could adding Pitbull not kick things into a higher gear?

Knife Party, "Rage Valley"
Already producers of gritty, banging, frenzy-inducing electronica, with "Firehive" and "Internet Friends," former Pendulum members Gareth McGrillen and Rob Swire deliver a lethal, over-the-top bomb of a bass jam. "Rage" simply underscores what you probably already know in America: Bass is the new rock!

Nicky Romero and Z-Roq, "WTF"
When we first heard this banger, that’s exactly what we said: "Wow. WTF!" After the robo-rippin’ "Toulouse," Nicky Romero cooks up another dirty, rocking house tune that this has become a big-name DJ-set staple.

Porter Robinson, "Language"
Known already for punchy, aggressive electro tunes like "Unison" and "Say My Name," 19 year old PR releases a beautiful piece saluting his love of trance. The gushy "Language" makes you want to bounce — and cry!

Forget the Olympics: Vote now in MTV’s Summer Jam Games! Polls are open and will close at midnight ET Sunday (August 5). Guide your favorites to golden glory, and help spread the word via Twitter, using the hashtag #SummerJamGames.

  1. image?.Caption Ellie Goulding in the "Lights" music video

    Photo: Interscope