Tupac Among the 2017 Rock Hall of Fame Honorees

Photo: GeorgeHannzD via Wikipedia

The nominations for the 2017 Rock Hall of Fame inductees have been announced: first time nominees Journey, Pearl Jam, Electric Light Orchestra, Joan Baez, and Tupac Shakur are joined by three-time nominee Yes.

The ceremony will take place at the Barclays Center in Brooklyn on April 7, and will be streamed by SiriusXM and filmed to be featured on HBO.

Yes drummer shared his reaction to the news with Billboard“It’s totally exciting. It’s a great pleasure to be recognized for something you’ve been doing all your life and get recognition in the industry for the amount of work you’ve put in and to have done something that changed the course of history, I guess, over time.”

Joan Baez also released a statement in light of the honor, according to The Hollywood Reporter“I never considered myself to be a rock and roll artist. But as part of the folk music boom which contributed to and influenced the rock revolution of the 60’s, I am proud that some of the songs I sang made their way into the rock lexicon. I very much appreciate this honor and acknowledgement by the Hall of Fame.”

To be considered for the Rock Hall of Fame, 25 years must have passed since a musical group’s first recording. Others considered this year were Chic, Bad Brains, Chaka Khan, Depeche Mode, Jane’s Addiction, the J. Geils Band, Janet Jackson, Joe Tex, Kraftwerk, MC5, Steppenwolf, The Cars and The Zombies.

The Pains of Being Pure At Heart Threaten Stability Of ’90s Music Wormhole

Have Brooklyn fuzz-poppers and acolytes of all things alternative rock from a decade and a half ago The Pains of Being Pure At Heart gone too far? Their latest 7” release has the wonderful audacity to cover “Jeremy”—thankfully, a song The Magnetic Fields put out in 1995, not that godforsaken Pearl Jam single. Believe me, I nearly had a heart attack due to a momentary conflation of the two.

Which brings me to my point: the ’90s renaissance is going just fine right now, but it’s only a matter of time before someone disturbs what should remain buried there. I’m sure none of us want to find out that Cee Lo is putting out a grunge album or that Nickelodeon slime turned out to be carcinogenic. Worst of all, what if everyone started drinking coffee at Starbucks?

Well, for the moment we appear to be okay. TPOBPAH’s (I am contractually obligated to use this annoying initialism with this band) version of Stephin Merritt’s “Jeremy” without the distorted harpsichord of whatever vintage instrument it features, is good, clean fun. Makes me feel like I know how to skateboard. But in a ’90s PSA about always wearing pads and a helmet when you skateboard. Oh god, we’ll never get back to 2012, will we. Not looking forward to having braces again.

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Grunge Comes Back With a Vengeance

It was 1992 when Kurt Cobain posed with infant daughter Frances Bean wearing a T-shirt emblazoned with three words: grunge is dead. Of course it was a goof; at the time, the major labels were in full thrall with grunge, lustily courting greasy-haired Seattleites.

Years later, after Cobain took his own life, the phrase became an accepted truth. Labels started dropping grunge acts en masse. Bands imploded or slid into irrelevancy—few survived the decade.

Cut to 2012. Grunge’s influence has peppered popular culture for years, but the comeback began in earnest last fall with the hoopla surrounding the 20th anniversary of Nirvana’s game-changer Nevermind and Pearl Jam, who celebrated two decades of Ten with a Cameron Crowe documentary, a best-selling retrospective book, and a festival in Alpine Valley, Wisconsin.

Of the Big Four grunge bands, three are active concerns working on new albums: Pearl Jam never went away; Soundgarden reunited in 2010 after a 13-year break; Alice in Chains have fully integrated singer William DuVall, who replaced the late Layne Staley. A Nirvana reunion is out of the question—replacing Cobain would be a crime against music—but Dave Grohl, Krist Novoselic, and producer Butch Vig collaborated on the Foo Fighters’ Wasting Life last year.

In April, Vig tweeted that he’d spent the day recording with Grohl, Novoselic, and an unnamed “special guest” (the session was likely to do with Grohl’s forthcoming documentary on Sound City, the studio where Nevermind was recorded). After a surprise reunion at the Williamsburg after-party for the grunge-era rock documentary Hit So Hard, which chronicles the travails of Hole drummer Patty Schemel, the band’s guitarist, Eric Erlandson, hinted at the possibility of a “White Album” featuring unreleased Cobain solo material he hopes will someday see the light of day.

But it’s not all ’90s nostalgia. GrungeReport.net estimates 40 percent of readers are under 20, some of whom weren’t even born when Kurt Cobain killed himself. Patty Schemel, for one, witnessed the younger generation’s grunge love firsthand as she traveled the country promoting Hit So Hard. “Maybe it’s a backlash to what’s going on with pop music today—everything is so packaged and slick. Something dirty needs to show up,” Schemel says. “It’s weird seeing a Nirvana T-shirt in H&M. For kids, Nirvana are what Jimi Hendrix was to me. Grunge has become classic rock.”

Jay-Z’s Made In America Festival Has A Lineup

Last week, we learned that Jay-Z would be curating and headlining an eclectic music festival called "Made In America" that would be held over Labor Day weekend in Philadelphia. Today, organizers released the lineup for Made In America, which will be held September 1st and 2nd at the Benjamin Franklin Parkway and benefit United Way.

Our bet on The Roots as a headliner was apparently wrong (for now—could still happen), and so far, Hov hasn’t seemed to bag President Obama for a guest cameo to sing "Let’s Stay Together." That said, the fest does have a pretty formidable lineup spreading over hip-hop, rap, dance music, indie-rock and mainstream alternative heavy headliners and even some California punk icons.

So here’s your Made In America top-billing acts so far, in handy YouTube playlist format. The rest can be found over at the festival’s Facebook page.

Jay-Z:

D’Angelo:

Pearl Jam:

Dirty Projectors:

Afrojack:

Calvin Harris:

Passion Pit:

Santigold:

Miike Snow:

Odd Future:

Maybach Music (feat. Rick Ross, Wale and Meek Mill):

Janelle Monáe:

Skrillex:

X:

‘Pearl Jam’ Sings about Jeremy Lin on ‘Late Night With Jimmy Fallon’

During last night’s Last Night With Jimmy Fallon show, Pearl Jam showed up to sing a retooled version of their smash hit "Jeremy" about everyone’s favorite Asian-American sensation: Jeremy Lin, the New York Knicks point guard currently redefining the way we think about race, or something. Okay, it wasn’t really Eddie Vedder but Fallon himself, wearing a floppy wig and doing his best mumbly demon voice on an ominously lit stage. Try to make out the lyrics, if you can. It’s a very realistic parody! Watch the video after the click, via Spin.

It’s a good thing that Fallon squeaked in his bit before today: During last night’s game against the Miami Heat, Linsanity officially turned Linzophrenic as Lin had a completely awful outing, shooting 1-11 and with 8 turnovers. Yikes! Here’s hoping he returns to form after this weekend’s All-Star Game, so that us (half-) Asians continue to have someone carrying that stereotype-busting torch now that Yao Ming is back within within Red China.

Unreleased Pearl Jam Track ‘Better Days’ Surfaces

When all is said and done, Pearl Jam might just be the Rolling Stones of their day—an excellent, epoch defining band that continued to churn out quality songs and performances long after they lost cultural currency. That’s not a knock against them, it’s simply the reality of age and the music business— it doesn’t matter how incredible you are, at a certain point, you simply can’t brim at the top of the conversation. But perhaps the days of irrelevancy (remember, you can be excellent and irrelevant; also, remember their surprisingly stirring SNL gig last season) aren’t here quite yet for Pearl Jam. An unreleased track has accidentally hit the web and it’s making waves in the musical blog-o-sphere. The track is called ‘Better Days’ and it’s got that gentle, passionate, tension-filled touch that Pearl Jam can excel at. Check it out after the break.

Sources point to ‘Better Days’ being a leftover from the sessions for 2002’s Riot Act, but no one is quite sure yet.

The falsetto, the mounting tension, the shakers chugging away in the background. Yup, I’m loving this.

Pearl Jam’s Early Birthday Inspires Hip-Hop Covers

imageIt may be difficult to believe this — because the beautiful face of Eddie Vedder never ages — but 2011 marks the 20th anniversary of the formation of one of the influential 90s pied pipers of angst, Pearl Jam. They’re starting the celebration early, with today being both their Rock Band debut and the beginning of two years of catalog reissues, starting with their seminal album Ten. MTV2 is paying homage (even though most of their target audience wasn’t alive when Pearl Jam was formed) by having bands like Hoobastank and Staind cover their songs. But in a stroke of genius, and in demonstration of the lasting and far reaches of the band, a Minneapolis rapper called P.O.S was snuck in there. Grab some flannel and check out his phenomenal cover of “Why Go.”


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BlackBook does Bonnaroo (Sort Of)

The Bonnaroo Music Festival happened this weekend, and although we didn’t attend, reading enough blogs, rundowns, and roundups of the festivities makes us feel like we did (we love you, www). And now, some of the high and low lights:

-My Morning Jacket played a four-hour set on Friday night in torrential rain. Calls of “Best. Show. Ever.” abound.

-Olsen Twins are spotted backstage at Cat Power’s Saturday show, as is Eddie Vedder, who they mistake for “the guy from MGMT”.

Read more highlights after the jump!

-Kanye West is over two hours late for his Saturday night, er, morning set. He finally took the stage well after 4 a.m. When he sung his hit “Gone,” he unintentionally described half the crowd.

-For the third time in just over a week, M.I.A announces her “last show,” this time in a Bonnaroo tent. We hope so. The sooner she stops touring, the sooner we get a new album.

-Pearl Jam plays their first festival show since the tragedy in 2000 Roskilde, where nine fans were trampled to death. When their three-hour set reached “Better Man,” Vedder looked into the massive crowd to see a sea of lighters, and said “That’s beautiful.”

-Worthwhile Chris Rock zinger during his hour-long stand-up performance: “”Flavor Flav must be killed in order for black people to be truly free.”