Saturday, September 5, 2015

POSTED: Friday, September 4, 2015, 12:18 PM
Metric play the Rocky stage at the Budweiser Made In America festival on Sunday afternoon. (Norman Wong.)

Three dozen tunes to set the mood.

Get ready, people. Pope Francis may not arrive in town for three weeks, but the  fourth annual Budweiser Made In America festival - helmed by Jay Z, nicknamed Hova, a sort of pop music pontiff in his own right - brings a preliminary round of madness to the Benjamin Franklin Parkway this weekend.

Here's your pre-game homework: a 36 song, 2 hour plus Spotify playlist full of big hits and deep cuts by a wide range of hip-hop, rock, EDM and indie acts playing the fests. It kicks off with Saturday night headliner Beyonce and closes down with Sunday night closer The Weeknd. In between you will find the likes of Odd Future rapper Earl Sweatshirt, Philly folk-rockers Hop Along, California DJ-producer Bassnectar, Brit glam rockers The Struts and old school Daisy Age rappers De La Soul. And so much more!

POSTED: Monday, August 31, 2015, 12:49 PM
The 2013 Budweiser Made In America Festival at Benjamin Franklin Parkway on September 1, 2013, in Philadelphia. (Kevin Mazur / Getty Images)

At long last, the schedule and set times for this weekend's Budweiser Made in America festival on the Benjamin Franklin Parkway have been announced.

Jay Z's Tidal will exclusively livestream selected acts from the festival, and the streaming service released the complete schedule this afternoon. The fest will be live streamed on

As expected, Beyonce will headline on Satuday night, and The Weeknd will close out the weekend on Sunday. The alliterative Meek Mill and Modest Mouse precede Beyonce on the main Rocky stage on Saturday; Big Sean and J. Cole come before The Weeknd on Sunday.

POSTED: Monday, August 31, 2015, 7:39 AM
Miley Cyrus at the MTV Video Music Awards on Sunday night. (Kevork Djansezian/Getty Images Entertainment/Getty Images)

As she got done hosting last evening's MTV Video Music Awards - you know, the show that will be remembered as the night Kanye West announced he is running for President in 2020 - Miley Cyrus announced that she's releasing a free new album.

It's called Miley Cyrus And Her Dead Petz, and it's principally a collaboration with Wayne Coyne of the Flaming Lips, whose influence can be heard all over psychedelic, full-of-feeling songs like "Karen Don't Be Sad." 

The album also includes contributions from Bangerz producer Mike Will Made It, plus Oren Yoel, Big Sean, Ariel Pink and Sara Barthel of Phantogram. The title of the album - and the name of Cyrus' new band - refers the the deaths of her dog Floyd, her blowfish Pablow and her friend's cat Twinkle

POSTED: Wednesday, August 26, 2015, 11:45 AM
Filed Under: Made In America | Music News
Fans cheer during the Budweiser Made in America Festival, on the Ben Franklin Parkway, in Philadelphia, Pa. on August 30, 2014. (Elizabeth Robertson / Staff Photographer)

Beyonce fans and anybody else hoping to go to the Budweiser Made in America festival who haven't grabbed tickets will have to start looking on the secondary market: The Labor Day weekend concert on the Ben Franklin Parkway is already sold out.

Despite the absence of a major rock headliner, the Jay Z curated two-day multistage show has sold out quicker than in any previous year. There are plenty of reasons for that, from the tried and true drawing power of Beyonce - who also headlined the festival in 2013 - to the growing pop success of The Weeknd, the dirty-minded Canadian R&B singer (real name: Abel Tesfaye) whose new album Beauty Behind The Madness, comes out Friday and is headed to the top of the charts.

This year's fest also features a hot hip-hop undercard with Future, J. Cole, Earl Sweatshirt, Action Bronson and Philadelphia's own Meek Mill, plus a straight up pop element with Nick Jonas and rising Badlands star Halsey, as well as EDM headliners Bassnectar and Axwell Ingrosso, and a strong Philadelphia indie rock contigent led by Hop Along and Waxahatchee.

POSTED: Saturday, August 22, 2015, 1:00 AM
The Beach Boys.

In this Sunday's Inquirer Live Life Love Arts & Entertainment section, my In the Mix column annotates a summer road trip playlist, heading down the highway, with lot of songs about cars, and in some cases, motorcycles. Read all about it here.

Songs that are not available on Spotify with disqualified, which is why neither Prince's "Little Red Corvette" nor Neil Young's "Long May You Run" were included.

The 25 songs that did make the cut are included in the Spotify playlist below, along with some bonus tracks by Rosanne and Johnny Cash, The Blasters, among others.

POSTED: Thursday, August 20, 2015, 11:05 AM
Rob Pilatus and Fab Morvan of Milli Vanilli with their Best New Artist Grammys in 1990.

The new episode of The Dan and Dan Music Podcast playlist kicks around a very serious question: Historically speaking, what have been 'Music's Worst Ideas'?

Dan Reed of WXPN and I discuss Garth Brooks as Chris Gaines, Milli Vanilli, the 1978 Sgt. Pepper movie, and more, along with a variety of other topics, including Dr. Dre's Compton album and the Straight Outta Compton movie, the end of the Columbia House record club and the greatest album-opening tracks of all time. You can subscribe to the podcast on iTunes here, like it on Facebook here and follow on Twitter here and listen on Soundcloud here.

And before or after you do that, you can check to the Spotify playlist below, which is made up of songs discussed on the Worst Ideas episode. Which doesn't mean all the music contained therein is awful: We talked about some good stuff, too, like new songs by Foals and Titus Andronicus, and not-bad-at-all Sgt. Pepper Beatles covers by Earth, Wind & Fire and Aerosmith. And lucky for you, some of the sounds discussed, like the Cher-Gregg Allman album Allman & Woman are not available on Spotify.

POSTED: Tuesday, August 18, 2015, 11:14 AM

Before Wonder performed, Mayor Michael Nutter, whom Wonder later referred to as “Mayor Nutley,” talked to him backstage.
“He said he loves Philly,” the Mayor said. Asked who was cooler, Wonder, Pope Francis, or Jay Z (whose Made in America festival is due Sept. 5-6), Nutter gave a noncommittal response. “They’re all unique,” he said. “we’ve got Stevie Wonder now, then Jay Z, then the Pope then, the Dalai Lama in October. It’s not bad for Philadelphia.”
When asked about the relevance of the 1976 album and the response it has gathered from fans some nearly four decades after its release, Wonder spoke of the joy of recording “Isn’t She Lovely?” for the album, and how much he enjoys singing about being a “nappy-headed boy” on “I Wish.”
That masterpiece of gritty 1970s urban funk was one of two other Key Of Life songs he sang in its entirety, along with “As,” for which he was joined by a melismatic Jazmine Sullivan, with the Strawberry Mansion-reared singer reading the song’s lyrics on her phone.
Before Sullivan could leave the stage, Wonder made her promise she would “come jam with us” at the Wells Fargo center. And then — when she again started to exit — he again pulled her back by starting up “Superstition,” the climactic workout he normally closes shows with from 1972’s Talking Book. That  closed the show for real. “I love you!,” he said, and got up to go.
Wonder had reason to be in a hurry. Wonder had done a similar mini-performance/press conference at 10 in the morning in Washington, D.C. to announce the tour, which he said would be the last times the album is played in its entirety in the United States. He’ll perform in Washington on Oct. 3.
And after flying to Philadelphia — whose influence on his music he celebrated by name-dropping Kenny Gamble and Leon Huff, remembering American Bandstand, and singing a snippet of McFadden and Whitehead’s “Ain’t No Stoppin’ Us Now,” he was off to New York to repeat the ritual in Central Park. There’ll he’ll announce the tour’s final performance at Madison Square Garden on Nov. 24. He’ll thus end what’s become a yearlong tour in the same town where it began.
Asked if he had ever performed in two cities on the same day before, let alone three, Wonder genially answered — in song — that he had not, “never in my life.”
Tickets for Wonder’s Songs In the Key of Life show at the Wells Fargo Center go on sale at 10 a.m. on Friday on

POSTED: Monday, August 17, 2015, 4:07 PM

Stevie Wonder showed up on a stage on Dilworth Plaza on the west side of City Hall just after three o'clock on a sweltering Philadelphia day.

After warming up with a few instrumental selections before the highly excitable crowd gathered to see him, he took a few minutes to explain what he was doing there.

"Hello, Philadelphia, I'm so happy to be here," said the 65-year-old musical genius, who had just arrived from Washington, D.C., on a whirlwind tour to announce the final 20-city leg of his tour for the 1976 album Songs in The Key of Life. He'll play the Wells Fargo Center in south Philadelphia on Oct. 7.

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