Sunday, February 7, 2016

POSTED: Sunday, February 7, 2016, 9:01 AM
(Screenshot from YouTube)

Ever the master of surprise, Beyonce released a new song, "Formation," on Saturday afternoon, timed to her announced appearance with Coldplay during the Super Bowl halftime show on Sunday night.

The song and its video is a vehicle for the Houston born super diva to embrace her identity as a black woman and a Southerner  - and timed to Black History Month, the #BlackLivesMatter movement.

"My daddy Alabama, mama Louisiana  / You mix that Negro with that Creole make a Texas bamma," she sings on the Mike Will Made It-produced track. "I like my baby hair with baby hair and Afros / I like my Negro nose with Jackson Five nostrils.”

POSTED: Thursday, February 4, 2016, 10:17 PM
Maurice White (in center) of Earth, Wind & Fire. (Legacy Recordings)

Maurice White, the founder of 1970s R & B hitmakers, Earth, Wind & Fire died at the age of 74 on Wednesday.

The Memphis born bandleader and former session drummer sufferered from Parkinson's and stopped touring with the band in 1995. White's death was announced on Thursday by his brother and bandmate Verdine White, who wrote "the world has lost another great musican and legend." His obiituary is here.

Earth Wind & Fire steadily scored joyous pop and R&B hits in the 1970s and 1980s, and were known for Philip Bailey's soaring vocals, punchy horn charts and lavish, pyrotechnic stage shows. White's loss was mourned around the music world. Nile Rodgers of Chic called him "one of the most amazing innovators of all time." On Facebook, Roots drummer Ahmir "Questlove" Thompson wrote "Maurice truly made African art so sophisticated & beautiful."

POSTED: Friday, January 29, 2016, 11:47 AM
Rihanna, with 'ANTI' album art. (Christopher Polk / Getty Images)

Like everything about Rihanna’s eighth album, the launch of ANTI (Roc Nation ** 1/2) was a bit of a muddle.  

The unexpected album release in the middle of the night has become an essential element of music superstar marketing, perfected, naturally, by Beyonce, with her out-of-the-blue 2013 self-titled release. By contrast, by the time ANTI became finally available late Wednesday night on Jay Z’s Tidal streaming service, we had known about it for what seemed like forever.

Three would-be album launching singles - the ill conceived “American Oxygen,” belligerent “Bitch Better Have My Money,” and not bad “FourFiveSeconds” (a Kanye West and Paul McCartney collaboration) - came and went in 2015, with none of them winding up on the final album.

POSTED: Thursday, January 28, 2016, 7:58 AM
Chris Martin of Coldplay. (Matt Syales / Associated Press)

British soft-rockers Coldplay will embark on a seven date stadium tour this summer, with an August date in South Philadelphia at Lincoln Financial Field on the itinerary on August 6.

It will be the first time that the Chris Martin-led band, who will play the Super Bowl half time show on Feb. 7 (with Beyonce as a guest), has played the Linc. The quartet, who released their album A Head Full Of Dreams late last year, has performed at the Wells Fargo Center across the street many times before. 

There's a pre-sale this Friday though Citi credit cards - the tour sponsor - and tickets go on sale to the general public at 10 a.m. on Feb. 5 at

POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 11:26 PM
The "ANTI" album artwork. (Roy Nachum)

As of Wednesday night, Rihanna's long awaited album, ANTI, is finally seeing the light of day. But it's not yet available on iTunes, Spotify or Apple Music.

If you want to hear the Barbadian pop singer's first full length work since 2012's Unapologetic, you need to have Tidal, the Jay Z overseen streaming service that has exclusive dibs on the album, whose most recent single "Work" is a pas de deux with Canadian rapper Drake, for one week. After that, it goes wide on all services.

Here's the deal: A 13 song version of the surprisingly low-key ANTI is streaming live on Rihanna's Tidal artist page here. It's a lure to get people to sign up for the beleaguered service, which many industry observers have predicted is not long for this world, what with heavy competition from more broadly popular services Apple and Spotify, the later of which offers an ad driven "freemium" version which Tidal does not.

POSTED: Wednesday, January 27, 2016, 10:00 AM
John Homme and Iggy Pop. (Andreas Neumann )

Celebrate tax day in Philadelphia with the Godfather of Punk: Iggy Pop and Josh Homme are coming to the Academy of Music on April 15. 

The Stooges founder - born James Osterberg - has completed a new album, Post-Pop Depression, with production handled by Homme, the leader of Queens of the Stone Age and sometime member of Eagles of Death Metal. (He was not with the band in Paris in November on the night of the terror attacks.)

The tour planned for Post-Pop, which comes out on March 18, will be for 20 dates only.   Homme told the New York Times:  “There won’t be hardly any shows, and they won’t be in big places, and you won’t be able to get a ticket. So almost everyone won’t see it. It will be like trying to catch smoke in your hands. And that makes it even better. It will be special, and it will be over in the blink of an eye.”

POSTED: Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 11:14 PM
Stevie Wonder performs at Dilworth Park in Philadelphia, Pa. on Monday August 19, 2015. ( Colin Kerrigan /

The New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival lineup is eye-popping this year.

Stevie Wonder, Neil Young, Pearl Jam, J. Cole, Van Morrison, Elvis Costello, Bonnie Raitt, Snoop Dogg, Beck, Los Lobos, Mavis Staples, Buddy Guy, Steely Dan, Herbie Hancock and Wayne Shorter, Jazmine Sullivan, Paul Simon, My Morning Jacket, Ms. Lauryn Hill, Maxwell, and Gary Clark Jr. are all slated to play the Fair Grounds race course in late April and May. With audiences skewing younger at fests heavy on EDM, hip-hop and indie-rock, Jazz Fest, which pulls in a diverse, multi-generational crowd, has done a bang-up job
of booking a wide range of still compelling older acts. 

Of course, the allure of Jazz Fest is only partly about such big name headliners who, yes it’s true, have little to do with “jazz.” The attraction is really the Louisiana acts that make the two weekend gathering a one-of-a-kind event second only to Mardi Gras in drawing visitors to New Orleans. Acts that fit that bill this year include Dr. John, Hurray For The Riff Raff, Dirty Dozen, Soul Rebels, Nathan & the Zydeco Cha-Chas, John Boutte, Irma Thomas, White Cloud Hunter Mardi Gras Indians, New Orleans Swamp Donkeys, Single Ladies Social and Pleasure Club and ... you get the idea. 

POSTED: Tuesday, January 19, 2016, 12:03 PM
Toby Leaman of Dr. Dog performs onstage during day 1 of the 2014 Budweiser Made in America Festival at Los Angeles Grand Park on August 30, 2014 in Los Angeles, California. (Christopher Polk/Getty Images for Anheuser-Busch)

Philadelphia indie band Dr. Dog will release their new The Psychedelic Swamp on Feb. 5. It's a remake of the Scott McMicken and Toby Leaman-led sextet's first, cassette-only release from 2001, which they revisited in the studio after presenting the music in a collaboration with Pig Iron Theatre Company at the Philadelphia Fringe Festival last fall. 

In support of the revamped Swamp, the band will head out on tour this month, and today they're announcing two show at Fishtown's Fillmore. Dr. Dog will play the first of those on March 17 and the second a month later, on April 16. Tickets go on sale this Friday at 10 a.m. at

Watch Psychedelic's 'Bring My Baby Back" below.

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