Archive for March 23, 2013

<p>Justin Timberlake's "The 20/20 Experience"</p>

Justin Timberlake’s “The 20/20 Experience

Have you heard of the 800 lb. gorilla? Next week, Justin Timberlake will be the 800,000 lb. gorilla as it looks like “The 20/20 Experience” will sell up to 800,000 copies, making it the fifth biggest debut of the decade.

Sales projections for “20/20” keep increasing. At the beginning of the week, it appeared that his first album in seven years would sell at least 500,000; then the number soared to 750,000 and with two days left until the chart close, it’s at 800,000, according to Hits Daily Double.

At that rate, the title will handily sell more than the rest of the nine titles in Billboard 200 top 10 combined. In fact, no one else looks to even top 50,000 copies.

In addition to Timberlake, the other debuts will be Kacey Musgraves’ excellent “Same Trailer, Different Park” (read our interview with the up-and-comer here) at No. 4, with sales of around 40,000, and an expanded edition of the soundtrack to “Les Miserables” at No. 7.

Otherwise, it looks like Bruno Mars’ “Unorthodox Jukebox” will be at No. 2, Luke Bryan’s “Spring Break…Here To Party” at No. 3 and this week’s No. 1, Bon Jovi’s “What About Now” at No. 5.

Pink’s “The Truth About Love” climbs several notches to No. 6 on the strength of her well-received concert tour and her new single with fun.s’ Nate Ruess, “///. Rihanna’s “Unapologetic” is at No. 8,  Mumford & Sons’ “Babel” at No. 9, and Imagine Dragons’ “Night Visions” at No. 10, according to Hits Daily Double.

David Bowie’s “The Next Day” which bowed at No. 2 this week, likely drops to No. 11 with sales of 21,000-24,000.

In case you’re wondering, the top two biggest debuts of the decade so far belong to Taylor Swift, followed by Lady Gaga and Lil Wayne. Read more at


Fifty-one years ago today (19 March 1962), Bob Dylan’s debut album ‘Bob Dylan’ was unveiled to a largely disinterested United States. They’d soon change their tune as Dylan spread his artistic wings, but this album stands up as a snapshot of where he was at the time – mainly in a Greenwich Village café, cribbing Woody Guthrie’s notes. Here are some red-hot facts compiled by Matthew Horton for you might not know.

Bob Dylan

1. The album’s producer, John H. Hammond, was instrumental in Dylan signing to Columbia Records in 1961 after he heard his harmonica work on folk-revivalist Carolyn Hester’s third album.

2. In a pleasing piece of symmetry, Hammond also signed Bruce Springsteen – Dylan’s natural successor – to Columbia in 1972.

3. Check out any 60s Dylan cover that features the Columbia logo and you’ll see that it’s on left. The photo on the cover of ‘Bob Dylan’ has been flipped so the neck of the guitar doesn’t obscure it.

Bob Dylan

4. The cap Dylan’s wearing on the sleeve was a regular element of his walking, talking homage to hero Woody Guthrie.

5. ‘Song For Woody’ makes full use of its tribute status, basing itself on Guthrie’s own 1941 ballad ‘1913 Massacre’. David Bowie would make a Russian doll of it, aping Dylan’s “Hey hey, Woody Guthrie, I wrote you a song” with “Oh hear this, Robert Zimmerman, I wrote a song for you” on Hunky Dory’s ‘Song For Bob Dylan‘. As for songs about David Bowie, Bowie’s got that covered.

6. The album reputedly cost $402 to record.

7. Dylan had another go at ‘See That My Grave Is Kept Clean’ – originally recorded by Texan bluesman “Blind” Lemon Jefferson in 1927 – with The Band in 1967. It didn’t make the official release of ‘The Basement Tapes’ but was familiar to Dylan bootleggers.

8. Leading up to the recording of the album, Dylan immersed himself in listening to the Folkways label’s ‘Anthology Of American Folk Music’, an exhaustive collection of cuts that had been recorded between 1926 and 1932 but forgotten in the intervening years.

Bob Dylan

9. The liner notes on the original inner sleeve were written by a “Stacey Williams”. This turned out to be New York Times critic Robert Shelton – whose favourable live review had brought Dylan to label attention – moonlighting under a pseudonym.

10. ‘Gospel Plow’ is a traditional tune based on Luke 9:62 – “Jesus replied, ‘No one who puts a hand to the plow and looks back is fit for service in the kingdom of God.'” So there you go.

11. UK blues band The Animals claimed Dylan stopped playing his version of ‘House Of The Risin’ Sun‘ when The Animals hit big with theirs, because he was accused of ripping them off.

12. The line in ‘Talkin’ New York’ – one of only two Dylan originals on the album, alongside ‘Song For Woody’ – that goes “Now, a very great man once said/That some people rob you with a fountain pen,” is yet another fanboy reference to Guthrie. Specifically ‘Pretty Boy Floyd’, Guthrie’s 1939 ballad to the 1930s gangster.

13. The cover image was shot by Columbia in-house photographer Don Hunstein, later responsible for the iconic sleeve photos for ‘The Freewheelin’ Bob Dylan‘ and Simon & Garfunkel’s ‘Sounds Of Silence’.

14. ‘Fixin’ To Die’ is a cover of a track by delta blues dude Booker T. Washington “Bukka” White, but Dylan messed about with the melody and lyrics. When asked on a radio show in 1962 exactly how much of the recorded version was his, he replied, “I don’t know. I can’t remember.” That’s that cleared up then.

15. After the album shifted just 5,000 copies in its first year, reaching No.13 in the UK and absolutely nowhere in the States, Dylan was nicknamed “Hammond’s Folly” by waggish Columbia execs. They’d soon be eating their leopard-skin pill-box hats.

16. John H. Hammond himself was investigated by FBI Director J Edgar Hoover for alleged communist activities. In reality he was a determined campaigner against race discrimination in the music industry, cutting his teeth with the launch of Billie Holiday’s career.

Bob Dylan

17. “I first heard this from Rick Von Schmidt/He lives in Cambridge/Rick’s a blues guitar player/I met him one day in the green pastures of Harvard University,” goes the spoken opening of ‘Baby, Let Me Follow You Down’. That’s folkie Eric Von Schmidt, who was mistakenly credited as the writer of the song but had adapted it from a Blind Boy Fuller number.

18. Opening track ‘You’re No Good’ was incorrectly listed as ‘She’s No Good’ on the original record label.

19. ‘A Man Of Constant Sorrow’ is of course most famous for its appearance in the Coen Brothers’ movie O Brother, Where Art Thou? where it’s performed by the fictitious Soggy Bottom Boys, named in tribute to the Foggy Mountain Boys, the bluegrass duo who were know to perform several Dylan songs in the 60s. No, there’s nothing tenuous about that.

20. ‘Pretty Peggy-O’ is adapted from the Scottish folk song ‘The Bonnie Lass o’ Fyvie‘ and would later be tackled in various shape-shifting forms by Joan Baez, Simon & Garfunkel and former hairspray-rockers Jefferson Starship.


Pixies Surfer Rosa


Today marks the 25th anniversary of the Pixies‘ second album, “Surfer Rosa,” a seminal LP that has gone down in Rolling Stone history as one of the 500 greatest records of all time. Read more here:

Every indie rock band of the past two and half decades owes a great deal to the Pixies, the Boston-bred quartet that seamlessly merged psychedelia, noise rock and alternative grunge to create one of the 1980’s most memorable music projects. Formed in the collegiate environment of University of Massachusetts, the band — comprised of Black Francis, Joey Santiago, Kim Deal and David Lovering — predates Nirvana as a catalyst for the immeasurable rock boom of the 1990s.

Like most indie rock bands, the Pixies were not a chart topping force, but their second album, the lyrically named “Surfer Rosa,” earned accolades on its own after its 1988 release. Robert Christgau of The Village Voice dubbed the Steven Albini-produced record “the Amerindie find of the year,” while Kurt Cobain proclaimed it the inspiration for his band’s masterpiece, “Nevermind.”In celebration of the 25th anniversary of “Surfer Rosa,” we’ve put together a slideshow of 10 things you might not have known about the Pixies. Scroll through the slides below and let us know how you are celebrating this holy indie holiday in the comments.

sigur ros 2013

Just 14 months after the release of ValtariSigur Rós will return with a new studio albumKveikur will arrive June 18th through the band’s new label, XL Recordings. Described as “more aggressive” than their previous work, the latest entry marks the band’s seventh to date and first since the departure of multi-instrumentalist Kjartan Sveinsson.

In anticipation of the album’s release, the band has shared a video for the album track “Brennisteinn”, which you can watch below. Meanwhile, fan footage of the band performing three other album tracks, “Kveikur”, “Yfirborð”, and “Hrafntinna”, is streaming here.

Tonight, Sigur Rós will appear on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, before heading to Washington, D.C. for the start of their latest U.S. tour. All ticketholders will receive a free digital EP containing “Brennisteinn” and two bonus tracks.

Update: Check out the album’s artwork and tracklist below.

Kveikur Tracklist:
01. Brennisteinn
02. Hrafntinna
03. Isjaki
04. Yfirbord
05. Stormur
06. Kveikur
07. Rafstraumur
08. Bláprádur
09. Var

Sigur Rós 2013 Tour Dates:

sigur ros kveikur


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