Japanese Rock Star Yoshiki Makes His Classical Debut at Carnegie Hall

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Known primarily as the founder and drummer of Japan’s hardest heavy metal act, X Japan, Yoshiki also has a softer side. The multi-instrumentalist composer will be making his Carnegie Hall debut this Thursday and Friday accompanied by the Tokyo Philharmonic.  Yoshiki will be performing pieces from his recent album, Yoshiki Classical, which features collaborations with legendary Beatles producer Sir George Martin, the London Philharmonic Orchestra, the Tokyo City Philharmonic Orchestra, and Quartet San Francisco.

Along with original compositions, Yoshiki will also perform well-known classics, using his heavy metal background as inspiration for his work. As a leading voice in the Japanese metal world, Yoshiki Classical at Carnegie Hall, will solidify the composer’s place in the American classical canon, as he transcends genre in what is sure to be a groundbreaking performance.

Yoshiki Classical at Carnegie Hall runs from January 12 to the 13, at the Perelman Hall in New York. Buy tickets, here.

Lady Gaga Goes Full-Rodeo in New Single ‘A-Yo’

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Lady Gaga continues to dazzle middle America with her Bud Light Dive Bar Tour, which yielded another song off of Joanne today: the cheeky, country-pop single “A-Yo.”

The song comes equipped with the bluesiest, most cowboy-ish lyrics Gaga’s ever written: She opens with “I can’t wait to smoke them all/Whole pack like Marlboro” and goes on to use car references like, “I can’t wait to rev you up/Faster than you can say ‘Ferrari.'” Quite the departure from the “I wanna take a ride on your disco stick” of Gaga’s past.

Mother Monster co-wrote the song with Mark Ronson, BloodPop, and “Girl Crush” scribe Hillary Lindsey.

Take a listen below (you may want to find a cowboy hat and a mug of beer first):

Mad Decent’s LIZ Unveils Exclusive Mix Tape and Fashion Shoot

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As the reigning Princess of Diplo’s label Mad Decent, LIZ is a veritable zeitgeist of one. Fittingly, she’s gone and teamed up with Nicola Formichetti’s Nicopanda brand, for this exclusive autumn mixtape, fiercely titled Cross Your Heart. Featured is 33 minutes of previously unreleased music, in collaboration with top producers like Lido, Branchez and King Henry (who has worked withJustin Bieber). Chicago rapper Vic Mensa provides a guest verse, as well.

Accompanying is a cool, mind-bending fashion editorial, styled exclusively with Nicopanda’s F/W 2016 collection. You’ll never look at her the same again.

“I’ve always had an element of fantasy to my music and visuals,” LIZ says, “and this is more wild and experimental than ever.” She then adds, “I was honored to collaborate with Nicopanda. And with Cross Your Heart, I’m sharing a taste of what’s to come in the near future.”

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DNCE’s ‘Body Moves’ Video Features Lots of Skin and Sweat (Watch)

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DNCE has released their new music video for “Body Moves,” and it leaves little to the imagination.

Much of the clip shows lead singer Joe Jonas sans-shirt, entwined with models in elevators and/or surrounded by other semi-nude dancing club kids.

The video is directed by Hannah Lux Davis, and promotes DNCE’s forthcoming debut self-titled full studio album, available for pre-order here. The CD is out November 16.

Check out the racy video below:

AMA Noms: Drake Breaks Michael Jackson’s Record

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Drake has broken Michael Jackson’s previously held record for most American Music Award nominations in a single year. Drake, who released his album Views this year, as well as a collaborative album, What a Time To Be Alive, with Future, and projects with Rihanna, Wizkid, and Kyla, raked in 13 noms, beating out Jackson’s record of 11 in 1984 during the Thriller era.

Rihanna grabbed 7 noms, and Adele 5.

The AMA’s are chosen by fan votes – click here to cast yours. Voting closes November 17, and the show airs on ABC November 20 at 8 PM EST.

Check out the full list of nominees below:

ARTIST OF THE YEAR
·       Adele
·       Beyoncé
·       Justin Bieber
·       Drake
·       Selena Gomez
·       Ariana Grande
·       Rihanna
·       Twenty One Pilots
·       Carrie Underwood
·       The Weeknd

NEW ARTIST OF THE YEAR UN-LEASHED BY T-MOBILE
·       Alessia Cara
·       The Chainsmokers
·       DNCE
·       Shawn Mendes
·       ZAYN

COLLABORATION OF THE YEAR
·       The Chainsmokers Featuring Daya “Don’t Let Me Down”
·       Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla “One Dance”
·       Fifth Harmony Featuring Ty Dolla $ign “Work From Home”
·       Rihanna Featuring Drake “Work”
·       Meghan Trainor Featuring John Legend “Like I’m Gonna Lose You”

TOUR OF THE YEAR
·       Beyoncé
·       Madonna
·       Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band

VIDEO OF THE YEAR
·       Justin Bieber “Sorry”
·       Desiigner “Panda”
·       Rihanna Featuring Drake “Work”

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST – POP/ROCK
·       Justin Bieber
·       Drake
·       The Weeknd

FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST – POP/ROCK
·       Adele
·       Selena Gomez
·       Rihanna

FAVORITE DUO OR GROUP – POP/ROCK
·       The Chainsmokers
·       DNCE
·       Twenty One Pilots

FAVORITE ALBUM – POP/ROCK
·       Adele “25”
·       Justin Bieber “Purpose”
·       Drake “Views”

FAVORITE SONG —  POP/ROCK
·       Adele “Hello”
·       Justin Bieber “Love Yourself”
·       Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla “One Dance”

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST — COUNTRY
·       Luke Bryan
·       Thomas Rhett
·       Blake Shelton

FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST — COUNTRY
·       Kelsea Ballerini
·       Cam
·       Carrie Underwood

FAVORITE DUO or GROUP — COUNTRY
·       Florida Georgia Line
·       Old Dominion
·       Zac Brown Band

FAVORITE ALBUM – COUNTRY
·       Luke Bryan “Kill the Lights”
·       Chris Stapleton “Traveller”
·       Carrie Underwood “Storyteller”

FAVORITE SONG — COUNTRY
·       Florida Georgia Line “H.O.L.Y.”
·       Tim McGraw “Humble And Kind”
·       Thomas Rhett “Die A Happy Man”

FAVORITE ARTIST — RAP/HIP-HOP
·       Drake
·       Fetty Wap
·       Future

FAVORITE ALBUM — RAP/HIP-HOP
·       Drake “Views”
·       Drake & Future “What a Time to Be Alive”
·       Fetty Wap “Fetty Wap”

FAVORITE SONG — RAP/HIP-HOP
·       Desiigner “Panda”
·       Drake “Hotline Bling”
·       Fetty Wap “679”

FAVORITE MALE ARTIST — SOUL/R&B
·       Chris Brown
·       Bryson Tiller
·       The Weeknd

FAVORITE FEMALE ARTIST — SOUL/R&B
·       Beyoncé
·       Janet Jackson
·       Rihanna

FAVORITE ALBUM — SOUL/R&B
·       Beyoncé “Lemonade”
·       Rihanna “Anti”
·       Bryson Tiller “T R A P S O U L”

FAVORITE SONG — SOUL/R&B
·       Drake Featuring Wizkid & Kyla “One Dance”
·       Rihanna Featuring Drake “Work”
·       Bryson Tiller “Don’t”

FAVORITE ARTIST — ALTERNATIVE ROCK
·       Coldplay
·       Twenty One Pilots
·       X Ambassadors

FAVORITE ARTIST — ADULT CONTEMPORARY
·       Adele
·       Rachel Platten
·       Meghan Trainor

FAVORITE ARTIST — LATIN
·       J Balvin
·       Enrique Iglesias
·       Nicky Jam

FAVORITE ARTIST – CONTEMPORARY INSPIRATIONAL
·       Lauren Daigle
·       Hillsong UNITED
·       Chris Tomlin

FAVORITE ARTIST — ELECTRONIC DANCE MUSIC (EDM)
·       The Chainsmokers
·       Calvin Harris
·       Major Lazer

TOP SOUNDTRACK
·       Purple Rain
·       Star Wars: The Force Awakens
·       Suicide Squad: The Album

Former Cure Drummer Lol Tolhurst on Memory, Music, and the Abyss

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Lol Tolhurst founded iconic punk band The Cure with lead vocalist Robert Smith in Crawley, UK in 1976. After performing as the band’s drummer and keyboardist for over a decade, his alcoholism caused him to leave the band. After a quarter of a century of legal battles, divorce, and pain, Tolhurst and his lifelong friends in The Cure made amends and played a series of reunion shows at the Sydney Opera House in 2011.

Chronicling his journey to international stardom, down to the darkest depths of addiction and isolation, and back to inner peace and creative fulfillment, Tolhurst has penned a memoir of his time with Smith in The Cure and on his own, aptly titled Cured: The Tale of Two Imaginary Boys, out tomorrow. We chatted with the artist about what it was like reliving such wild, sometimes painful memories, and what it means to be a true artist.

The book feels like a celebration of the band, and then an admission of guilt, an apology, and an atonement. What prompted the book? Was it part of your healing process? Did you feel like you owed fans the whole story? 

That’s an interesting question – I wanted to explain my life to myself. I got to a point where I was wondering, “What has gone on?” And I had an epiphany in 2013. I was in Hawaii, on vacation, and I went to see Robert, because The Cure were playing for the first time in Honolulu. I went to see them play, and we were sitting on the beach at 4 o’clock in the morning, chatting away, and I woke up the next day and thought, “I have to write this down. I have to record this, because otherwise I’m not going to understand the story.”
But also, as I went along in it, I realized, “Ok, there’s a bunch of people out there who I haven’t seen in years, who would like to know as well.” I wanted to set things right. I don’t want to leave all of that crap for other people to deal with. I want to be rid of it, because I want to go out just the way I came in.

In the process of writing the book, and talking to all these people you wanted to give the story to, did you find there to be a lot of difficult conversations you had to have in your research? Or was it mostly positive reunions?

Mostly positive – I didn’t really call people up and go, “Do you remember what happened?” Because I didn’t want it to be somebody else’s view of what happened. You’re bound to incorporate that into your thought process. So I thought, “I’m just going to mine my memories and find out what I want to write from them.” But what I did do, is if I hadn’t seen these people, I’d talk to them and say, “Ok, get out all your old albums.” And that’s what they’d do. And I went to London last year, because I live in California, and I visited people I hadn’t seen in 25-30 years, and I said, “Show me your photo albums. With me in it.” And that way we’d start a conversation.

Have Robert, or Porl, or Simon (other Cure members) been able to read the manuscript? Have they had any reactions?

Definitely Porl has, because he designed the cover. He lives in California now. I gave the manuscript to Robert in probably April or May – this year’s very busy for The Cure, and the thing about it is, I know that with Robert, if I don’t hear anything from him, that’s fine. Because if he doesn’t like something, he’ll call me up straight away and be very direct with me. We’ve known each other for a million years. I did hear from Simon – he told me he thinks it’s a great idea I’m writing a book. I think overall it’s all positive. A lot of memoirs tend to be score-settling exercises, and I really didn’t want to do that – the book was a vehicle for something a bit different for me. I didn’t want to be “Behind The Music Part 1000.” I wanted something that would evolve. That would be the framework, but it wasn’t going to be the story. I really loved Patti Smith’s book about her and Robert Mapplethorpe. That’s a beautiful story about two people finding themselves in a very different world. So that’s how I felt I could write about me and Robert, and then out of that comes the healing. 

You get super personal in the book. You talk about your mom passing. And that’s what you’re saying – it’s not just a “Behind the Music” story, but an emotional chronicle of feelings and experiences. So I wonder how this compared to writing a song. Did you find it to be more emotional?

If you look at the whole catalogue of The Cure’s material, that’s the area we go into anyway. It’s always very connected with emotions, and that outsider stance. So for me, writing the book, to connect to my emotions, it seemed very natural. But unlike a song, it’s a much longer process. It was a year of being in that space, every day. That’s what I did. I thought, “If I sit at home and try and write it, it won’t happen.” I rented myself a little office about a mile from where I live. It was a co-working space. I went in there every day 5 days a week, and tried to bash out as many words as I could. Sometimes I’d be sitting there, and one of them would go, “Are you OK?” There’d be a tear that had come up, because when you write something like that, that’s close to the emotional side, it’s like reliving it. Writing about my mother was very painful. I wanted the book to have weight and depth. Before I wrote it I read a bunch of memoirs – the ones that struck me the best were always the ones that were honest and open about their emotions. Not just a commercial for somebody’s life. 

Whose memoirs did you like best?

A couple I found really good. One was surprising, but not really since I’ve talked to him. It was Duff McKagan’s, from Guns N’ Roses. And I also liked Steve Martin’s, Born Standing Up. It’s the ones where people reveal themselves. It’s much more human.

There’s a passage in the book where you talk about the process of songwriting that you and Robert experienced, where you go into “the abyss.” And you and Robert were able to go into the abyss and come out unscathed. I’m wondering if you can say any more about that, because it’s so fascinating.

My basic premise there is what unites most artists of any fashion is that they are willing to look at things that most of the time the rest of society tells us we have to keep hidden. And that’s the abyss. I know that for us, our most intense moments as musicians were going a little further and looking at this stuff, and writing about it, or reliving it. Sometimes, though, you can fall over into the abyss. I’m pretty sure that’s what happened to me for a couple years. And I’m just glad I came out the other side, and didn’t fall into this club – most people in bands die at about 27, if they’re going to die from misadventure, it’s about then. Luckily, I’m about twice that.

You talked about going to these dark times with alcoholism. And you mention a few different low points in the book, with the divorce, and the court drama. What would you imagine is your lowest low and highest high, if you can pick.

My lowest low in lots of ways is that point, and I can see it in my mind as I’m talking to you about it, where I got the letter (asking Tolhurst to leave the band) from Robert after Disintegration, and I went for a walk with my dog and I’m sitting up in the Moors, which is a very lonely, wild place – there’s nobody there, and there’s stormy skies, it’s very evocative. And I lay on a rock, and I started crying. And I couldn’t feel anything. That was about my lowest point. I had the emotional response, but I felt dead. Highs – it might sound cliche, but having this book done and finished is pretty much a high for me. It’s something I’ve wanted to do for a very long time, and it’s surreal at the moment because I’m going through a whirlwind of press. But that’s what I’d call a high-class problem. 

When did you first have the idea to do this book?

Twenty years ago, I got a tattoo on my arm that’s two feathers my son found, crossed like writing quills. So somewhere in there, twenty years ago, I wanted to write this. I’ve talked to my book agent, who said “I have clients in their thirties who are writing books about their lives, and they have no perspective. Things that happened in their twenties are really close, so they can’t see what the true meaning of those events were. You’re at the perfect time to do it, because you’re not so old you can’t remember, but you also have a little space between the events.” I’ve always thought about our music – people will say “some of it’s depressing.” It’s not depressing, it’s a willingness to feel how you feel. It’s not always pretty.

Musically, do you have a proudest contribution or moment? A song, a moment onstage that’s your proudest moment in the band?

I think it was really awesome, in 1985 we played a festival in Athens. One of the other bands that was playing was Culture Club, and Boy George had a terrible time, because he had to stand behind a screen, because people in the audience were throwing rocks at him. And about a week ago George and I did the same TV show in England. And I was talking to him, we’ve known each other from back in the club days, and I said “Do you remember that? Remember the festival?” And he was laughing, but he said, basically, “I’m still here.” That’s one of my best memories. It’s awesome to walk onstage to a hundred thousand people, but it’s also awesome to remember, “I’m still here. I’m still doing stuff.” When you think about memories, you bring them from the past into the present.

Do you have a favorite gig?

I liked in 2011 when I met up with everybody again and we went down to Australia and played at the Opera House. In the space of about a few minutes onstage I was transported back to being a teenager, instantly. We were doing the same thing again that we used to do. It felt great. It was a high point.

Are there any musicians of the moment now who you like, and listen to?

It’s funny, because a lot of people my age will say “There’s no good bands anymore.” And I’ll tell them, “That’s not true!” What’s true is you don’t know where to look anymore, you’ve forgotten where to look for it.” My son is 24, he lives in San Francisco. So I go to him, and I say, “Show me what you’re listening to. Something you think I’d like.” And he showed me an electronic artist, Caribou, who I liked a lot. Things like that. I try to keep an open mind. Although I do know that as I get older, there’s not that much new. There’s variations on a theme from a while back, but there’s not much startlingly original. But there are good permutations. Meg Myers, I saw recently. I liked her. So I like different things. I like anything that’s honest.

Cured is available for pre-order now and in bookstores tomorrow.

Lady Gaga Releases Country-Tinged Ballad “Million Reasons”

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Lady Gaga’s next Joanne track is here, and it’s pretty fantastic. If any Little Monster out there doubted “Perfect Illusion” and the direction Gaga would take with this album, they need not worry anymore. “Million Reasons” is a soft rock-country anthem with “You and I” vibes. It’s incredibly simple, stripped down, and lets Gaga show off her incredible vocal cords.

“I’ve got a hundred million reasons to walk away, but baby I just need one good one to stay,” Gaga sings on the track.

The song appears to be about a breakup and the pain of leaving someone you love behind. Gaga co-wrote it with “Jesus Take the Wheel” writer Hillary Lindsey. On working with her, Gaga told Yahoo:

“I wanted to sit together, play her some of the music, and write with another woman — and write with a woman that was sort of in the center of the type of women, and men, that I wanted to speak to with this music. So what was so wonderful was when we sat down and started working, it was like this instant connection that we had. We’re two girls that are so different — she grew up somewhere so different from me, and you’d think that maybe we’d never get along, that it would never work — but somehow we created these songs together.”

Listen to the song below:

Gaga performed “Million Reasons,” as well as two other Joanne tracks, “A-Yo” and “Sinner’s Prayer,” at the first stop of her three-date Dive Bar Tour. You can watch the livestream below:

Joanne is now available for pre-order at ladygaga.com.

Solange Drops Two Music Videos From ‘Seat at the Table’

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There must be something in the water at the Knowles residence in Texas.

Last week, Solange released her first album in four years, A Seat at the Table, to glowing reviews. The record is a gorgeous, calm, quietly powerful collection of beautiful tracks perfect for listening to while, say, throwing a fall wine party, or luxuriating in a bathtub.

Sunday night, Solange dropped two videos for songs on the album: one, for “Don’t Touch My Hair,” and the other for “Cranes In the Sky,” two of the dreamiest singles of the bunch.

Many critics have compared A Seat At the Table to Beyonce’s Lemonade, considering the two companion pieces. Solange told Fader“I’m really proud of my sister and I’m really proud of her record and her work and I’ve always been. As far as I’m concerned, she’s always been an activist from the beginning of her career and she’s always been very, very black. My sister has always been a voice for black people and black empowerment. And I give so much of that credit to my parents.”

A Seat At the Table reached #1 on the iTunes charts over the weekend.

Green Day to Play Intimate Show in Williamsburg

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On Saturday, iconic “idiots” Green Day will play a sold out show at Webster Hall, but tonight a lucky few will be able to see the band perform for free (with purchase of their new CD) at Rough Trade in Williamsburg.

The rockers will be performing songs off their newest album, “Revolution Radio,” the group’s staggering twelfth studio album, out today. The lead single, “Bang Bang,” reached #1 on the Mainstream Rock chart and already has a frightening, bank robbery-themed music video. Check it out below.

Talking about “Bang Bang” Billie Joe Armstrong told Rolling Stone

“It’s about the culture of mass shooting that happens in America mixed with narcissistic social media. There’s this sort of rage happening, but it’s also now being filmed and we all have ourselves under surveillance. To me, that is so twisted. To get into the brain of someone like that was freaky. It freaked me out. After I wrote it, all I wanted to do was get that out of my brain because it just freaked me out.”

The album is available for purchase here. Green Day’s show tonight starts at 7 PM EST, with doors open at 6:30.