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Music News: Who's Really Buying CDs Anymore?

Cd

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

This morning I headed out to Target to pick up cat food and paper towels. And might as well grab a Mother's Day card. And one for grandma. And vinegar. And chewing gum.

I also could use new headphones. And there's the new Depeche Mode CD, for only $9.98. What's one more impulse buy at this point? 

Is buying music on CD completely passe now? Granted, I'll still pick up older stuff or imports not available here in the States on disc occasionally. Perhaps the real question should be whether actually driving to the store to buy music on CD is an outmoded concept.

RSD1 The three remaining U.S. Virgin Megastores (Los Angeles, Orlando, Denver) will shut their doors for good this year, joining defunct chains such as National Record Mart and Tower. And while those out there actually paying for music are still, percentage-wise, opting for CDs over MP3s, they're doing so online, at places like Amazon.

Hence retailers like Austin's Waterloo Records and San Francisco and L.A.'s Amoeba Records getting involved in the brick-and-mortar-supporting Record Store Day this past Saturday.

It sort of all comes full circle to the dilemma I had when I was a teenager—whether or not to buy an album on cassette or CD. My beat up '87 Dodge Shadow I used to tool around my hometown in during the early '90s had a tape player, so often cassettes won out, even though my parents invested in a CD player for their stereo system pretty early on.

Maybe it all just comes down to practicality.

Anyway, my friend—a big Depeche Mode fan—texted me later and said that I could have gotten their Sounds Of The Universe off Amazon's MP3 store for only $3.99 today. Just my luck.

I would have argued that I did it all for the artwork, but I've listened to the album three times now, and haven't even thought about opening the booklet inside.

STANDOUT TRACKS: "Peace," "Perfect" and the current single "Wrong."

road.jpg   TODAY'S NEW RELEASES:

Pet-shop-boys-yes Yes, the 10th studio album from the Pet Shop Boys. (Check out my track-by-track review.) Also available (though only as a physical CD) is a limited edition two-disc version called Yes, etc., containing the extra song "This Used To Be The Future" (which features both Neil Tennant and Chris Lowe singing, as well as Human League's Phil Oakey) and six dub mixes of Yes album tracks.

The Breeders' "Fate To Fatal" EP.

Walking On A Dream, the first album from Australian electronic duo Empire Of The Sun.

Let's Stay Here, an album of secular music from Oleta Adams.

New singles from Green Day ("Know Your Enemy"), Jarvis Cocker ("Angela"), Nick Lachey ("All In My Head") and Paolo Nutini ("Candy").


Music News: Frankmusik, Coachella, Jill Sobule, Pansy Division

Frankmusik-1

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW 

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Last July I wrote about 23-year-old musician Vincent Frank—better known now as Frankmusik—who was working at the time with producer Stuart Price (Madonna, The Killers, New Order) on his first album.

Back then his album Complete Me was set to come out in March 2009. Now it's been set for a July release. Frank supported Keane on tour earlier this year, and he's opening for the Pet Shop Boys this summer (He also remixed their current single, "Love, etc.") As well, his uncle apparently is a transvestite.

Meanwhile, Vincent posed for U.K. gay mag AXM's "nude issue" last year, wearing pretty much headphones and nothing else—a totally NSFW scan from which you can view here.

Here is Frankmusik's current European single, "Better Off As Two":


Coachella road.jpg   This week saw the release of singer-songwriter Jill Sobule's new album California Years, which was funded entirely by fans.

road.jpg   Lots of conflicting must-sees at Coachella this weekend. Meanwhile, the Los Angeles TImes has practically crowned Morrissey king of the festival.

road.jpg   Rolling Stone previews 45 upcoming albums. Do any of them seem good?

road.jpg   Rihanna set to perform for the first time since the alleged Chris Brown incident in February. And, Chris Brown...dating?

She_drives_me_crazy

road.jpg   Here's an innovative concept: MTV's got a new reality series called Starmaker that's looking to...well, you can guess the rest.

road.jpg   This week's top single on the Billboard Hot 100 is Black Eyed Peas' "Boom Boom Pow." Ten years ago the #1 song was TLC's "No Scrubs," and 20 years ago it was "She Drives Me Crazy" by Fine Young Cannibals.

road.jpg   A new album, a documentary and a memoir from frontman John Ginoli; what more could a Pansy Division fan ask for?

road.jpg   Record Store Day: The deluded fantasy of nostalgists?

road.jpg   Stevie Nicks wants to work with Timbaland: "I am really very, very R&B, for my own music. When I'm listening just for my own fun, when I'm dancing around my apartment, I'm pretty much listening to R&B"

road.jpg   THE WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:

Quicksand Swoon, the sophomore album from L.A-based indie rockers Silversun Pickups.

Forever In A Day, the second LP from the Sean "Diddy" Combs-concocted Making The Band group Day 26.

EPs from La Roux ("Quicksand"), TV On The Radio ("Read Silence"), Fischerspooner ("The Best Revenge/Danse En France" Kitsune Remixes), The Kills ("Black Balloon") and O.A.R. ("Hello, Tomorrow").

New singles from Tori Amos ("Welcome To England"), Eminem ("We Made You"), Reba McEntire ("Strange"), Ashley Tisdale ("It's Alright, It's OK"), Cassie ("Must Be Love") and 311 ("Hey You").


Music News: La Roux Hits The U.S., Plus Antigone, Little Boots, Kurt Cobain, iTunes, Calvin Harris

Laroux

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW 

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

This spring has seen somewhat of an electro-pop revolution coming out of England, and leading the charge, so to speak, is London-based duo La Roux (aka, Elly Jackson and Ben Langmaid).

Lroux  The pair's single "In For The Kill" cracked the Top 10 of the U.K. chart this week, and a remix of the tune is being included on the "Quicksand" EP that's to be released here in the States via Cherrytree/Interscope this coming Tuesday. In the meantime, you can download "Quicksand" in its original form, as well as several remixes, in an indie EP already up on U.S. iTunes.

La Roux have been doing several North American gigs this week. Tomorrow they perform at San Francisco's Popscene, while Saturday they'll be doing the Wyndham Palm Springs Hotel's Saturday Pool Party during White Party weekend. They wrap things up in the States at L.A.'s Roxy on Sunday night.

Below are some recent synth-heavy clips from across the pond:

LA ROUX: Their video for "In For The Kill."

ANTIGONE: The Aussie-born, London-based singer's "More Man Than Man." Her new single "Promiscuity" was added to iTunes this week, and her album AntigoneLand will be available on April 20.

CALVIN HARRIS: The 25-year-old Scottish songwriter/producer's new single "I'm Not Alone."

LITTLE BOOTS: A live clip of her upcoming late-May release "New In Town." Little Boots played South By Southwest in Austin last month.

road.jpg   It's hard to believe, but today marks 15 years since Kurt Cobain was found dead. Technically, his suicide is said to have taken place on April 5. Whether you're a fan of Nirvana's music or not, it certainly was a moment of cultural significance, and, as cliched as it sounds, the end of an era. Do you remember where you were when the news broke? (I'd just finished classes that Friday afternoon during my sophomore college year, and walked into the library where a bunch of students were talking about it.)

road.jpg   The entire Beatles catalog to be remastered and re-released on CD with extras this September. However, still no resolution in getting the songs onto iTunes.

road.jpg   Boom Boom Pow: The Black Eyed Peas land their first number one hit.

road.jpg   Notice some songs jumped in price from 99 cents to $1.29 on iTunes this week, while others dropped to 69 cents? Best get used to it.

road.jpg   There's a whole lot of smoke-jumpin' surrounding Chris Brown's felony case.

road.jpg   Has Katy Perry enlisted Calvin Harris—who swazzed up Kylie Minogue's "In My Arms"—to produce her next album

road.jpg   THE WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:

Erasure Two Suns, the second album from Bat For Lashes (aka Natasha Khan).

Erasure's career-spanning hits set Total Pop!—40 Hits. Also available in a 3-CD/DVD version is Total Pop!—Deluxe Box. Andy Bell will be signing copies of the collection at L.A.'s Amoeba Records tomorrow after doing an in-store DJ set.

Manchester band Doves' fourth LP, Kingdom Of Rust.

English rapper Lady Sovereign's second album Jigsaw, featuring production from Dr. Luke and Benny Blanco.

Death Cab For Cutie's Open Door EP.

New singles from Antony And The Johnson's ("Epilepsy Is Dancing"), Marilyn Manson ("We're From America") and Teena Marie ("Can't Last A Day").


Music News: Pet Shop Boys On iTunes, Talk U.S. Tour, Plus Velvet, Ciara, Justin Timberlake, Green Day, Utada

PSB

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW 

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Two EPs for the new Pet Shop Boys single "Love etc." were added to U.S. iTunes yesterday, one containing the regular version of the song plus two B-sides ("Gin And Jag" and "We're All Criminals Now"), and one that consists of five remixes (the best of which, IMO, being from Gui Borratto and the PSBs themselves). The remix EP is currently at #78 on the iTunes daily Top Albums tally.

Loveetc "Love etc." became the duo's 40th Top 20 hit in their home country last week, as it debuted at #14 on the official U.K. singles chart. Meanwhile, their 10th studio album Yes was released across Europe on Monday, and it's currently at #1 on British midweek charts, just barely selling over 1,000 copies more than a collection of Mother's Day ballads by Boyzone frontman Ronan Keating. If Yes does indeed land at the top in England, it'll be the Pet Shop Boys' first #1 album since 1993's Very, and only their second ever.

As far as the States, Yes will be released on April 21, with a full North American tour planned for this fall. The dates aren't yet set, but Neil Tennant tells Billboard, "They are just talking about it now. On our last tour we sold out Radio City Music hall really quickly. We played there on our first tour in 1991 so nothing's really changed. We always had this following in Los Angeles which to a certain extent we still do. Years ago I met Monica Lewinsky. I introduced myself and she said 'oh yeah, I know who you are, I grew up in L.A. in the '80s.'"

Adds Chris Lowe, "I think the idea is to be more high-tech and more multi-media than the last [tour] show. It's not going to be a costume drama but there might be a few wigs."

road.jpg   AUDIO VISUALS:

VELVET: The Swedish singer's "Chemistry" gets a full retro overhaul from Stock Aitken Waterman's onetime mixer, Pete Hammond.

LADY GAGA: A leather-clad, stripped-down performance of "Poker Face" for Chicago's B96-FM.

CIARA + JUSTIN TIMBERLAKE: The official video for new single, "Love Sex Magic."

GREEN DAY: New songs from forthcoming album 21st Century Breakdown, which was announced today as having a May 15 release date.


road.jpg   THE WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:

UtadaThis Is The One, the third English-language release from Japanese pop star Utada. The album is released digitally from Island Def Jam this week and will have a physical CD release on May 12.

The Indigo Girls' two-disc Poseidon And The Bitter Bug—the first half of which is 10 songs with a full backing band, while the second half is the same songs with only Amy Ray and Emily Sailiers on acoustic guitars and vocals.

Royksopp's third album Junior, featuring Robyn singing vocals on the track "The Girl And The Robot."

Timbaland protege Keri Hilson's debut set, In A Perfect World...

The Hannah Montana: The Movie soundtrack.

Radiohead's 2-CD/DVD reissued albums Pablo Honey, The Bends and OK Computer (not available digitally).


Music News: Rick Ross Calls 50 Cent a Fag, Plus M.I.A., 2 Unlimited, Pet Shop Boys Vs. Kylie MInogue, Jane's Addiction

Rickross50

GuestbloggerROBBIE DAW 

Robbie Daw presents a weekly pop music update here on Towleroad. Robbie runs his own site called Chart Rigger.

Here's a transcription of an interview with rapper Rick Ross from Los Angeles radio station 93.5 The Beat FM, wherein Ross proceeds to explain to DJ Devi Dev why he calls 50 Cent "Curly."

Rick Ross: "He's not straight. He's gay. He's a fag. You know it. I know it. Listen, we're not gonna waste time on Curly. He's a monkey."

He then tries to get Dev to confirm on air that 50 Cent is gay, to which she replies, "Ross, I'm not gonna say that." She then asks him how he, in fact, knows this to be true.

Says Ross, "He's gay.The world knows he's gay. But more importantly, it's the truth that you heard he was gay. 'Cause everybody in the room said they heard he was gay, so I know you heard it."

Devi Dev: "Stop it. I didn't hear that."

Wow, it's like being in the lunchroom in second grade all over again. But with less of a maturity level. And speaking of which, Ross ambles out of the room at the end, because he says he's "starving."

2_Unlimited_-_twilightzone road.jpg   The grim truth about indie label survival discussed at this year's South By Southwest festival in Austin, Texas.

road.jpg   It's out with Amy Winehouse and in with M.I.A. at Coachella.

road.jpg   Meanwhile, across the globe in Belgium, Ray Slijingaard and Anita Doth—aka 2 Unlimited!—are performing together for the first time in 13 years at the I Love The 90's: The Party fest in April.

road.jpg   Jane's Addiction are offering two free songs ("Chip Away" and "Whores") for download. Both tracks were produced by Trent Reznor of Nine Inch Nails.

road.jpg    The American Idol alumni to date, ranked by album and single sales.

Martina1 road.jpg   Martina McBride (left), when asked by Out if America is ready for a gay country star: "Honestly, that’s a tough one. [Sighs] Our core audience, like you said, is very conservative, is very Middle America, very Bible belt. I don’t know. That might be a hard sell. I mean, I would be fine with it. But that’s -- I don’t know if we’re ready for that. I would hope so. I would love it!"

road.jpg   Pet Shop Boys vs. Kylie Minogue?: When asked how some of the more upbeat pop numbers ended up on their new album Yes, Neil Tennant was quoted by the BBC saying the Pet Shop Boys and "every songrwiter in London wrote songs for Kylie's last album... We never heard anything back." Chris Lowe then "flatly" adds, "We won't be doing it again." Lowe later Twittered, "Don't always believe what you read in the press."

road.jpg   THIS WEEK'S NEW RELEASES:

Decemberists DecemberistsThe Decemberists' fifth album, The Hazards Of Love.

Lessons To Be Learned, the debut from Austrialian pop singer Gabriella Cilmi. The tracks were produced by U.K. team Xenomania, who also worked on the new Pet Shop Boys album Yes, and have recorded with Cher, Dannii Minogue and Girls Aloud.

The Grand, the latest mix from Chicago-based DJ Kaskade.

Ciara's new single "Love Sex Magic," which also features and was written by Justin Timberlake.


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