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Lana Del Rey Brings Her Sultry, Tortured Love Songs To New York’s Bowery Ballroom

Posted by MTV News On December - 6 - 2011

Lana Del Rey

By Rya Backer

NEW YORK – It’s hard to know what to make of Lana Del Rey at first glance. Is she as Jools Holland once dubbed her an “Internet phenomenon” worth no more than a few salacious blog posts? Or is she a legitimate chanteuse wrapped in the hyper feminine, yet innately American (and admittedly well-curated) image she’s projected in videos for such tracks as “Video Games” and “Blue Jeans”?

Regardless of where one stands on the issue, last night at her sold-out show at Bowery Ballroom, Del Rey offered skeptics and fans alike a recital in the most literal sense: she played all the songs she’d practiced, hoping to show both the crowd how much she’s improved since she first appeared – seemingly out of nowhere – less than six months ago.

Arriving on stage shortly after 9:15, looking like a Real Housewife (perfect makeup and blow-out? Check) dressed up for a night downtown, pairing her low-top Chuck Taylors with a tailored, white pleated dress, Del Rey sauntered onto a stage aglow with white balloons projecting the stock footage and vintage-treated videos that would look familiar to those privy to her YouTube account.

She timidly opened with “Without You,” a tune about tortured love, a through-line of sorts in her songbook, and toyed with the microphone cord as she strolled the stage. From there, she flirted with the fans up front and continued her nearly hour-long set with the known (the aforementioned “Blue Jeans,” “Video Games” and her latest single, “Born To Die,” received rousing responses) and the new (from her Born to Die album, which is due out January 31, 2012). Standouts included “Million Dollar Man” – a track so over-the-top dramatic and sexy that it wouldn’t be out of place being covered by Jessica Rabbit – and the pop rock-tinged “Summertime Sadness,” which Del Rey sheepishly assured, “You’re gonna f**king like it when it’s on the record.”

That statement was a theme of the evening. As Del Rey sang with her inimitable voice – modulating between a high, breathy pitch and deep, sultry tone – she, like that sound, wavered between the confident and the vulnerable. She concluded some songs with a nod, a shoulder shrug or a sheepish grin, as if to admit that she’s read all the blogs about her as well and she’s trying her very best to make it right. By the evening’s last song, “Off to the Races,” another innocent-yet-sultry track with a vocal delivery that can only be described as viscous, Del Rey had found her footing as she wandered the stage. At the song’s end, she placed the mic in its stand and declared, “Thank you! I hope you like it!” It was a genuine plea, and from the crowd’s response, Del Rey would be happy to know that the fans – and maybe even the skeptics – liked it just fine.

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Keith Urban Joins Adele And John Mayer As Latest Star To Tackle Vocal Chord Issues

Posted by MTV News On November - 4 - 2011

Keith Urban

By Zachary Swickey

Country star Keith Urban is the latest in a long list of musicians to require throat surgery to remove a polyp from his vocal cords. The singer made the announcement on his website, stating the surgery will be minor, although it is undetermined how much vocal rest he will actually need.

This has forced Urban to postpone his “All for the Hall” benefit concert for the Country Music Hall of Fame and Museum, which was scheduled for Jan. 18 in Nashville. It was to include performances from Rascal Flatts, Vince Gill and Allison Krauss with Urban acting as emcee for the evening. Urban will still honor any one-song performances leading up to his surgery later this month.

There seems to be some sort of throat epidemic going around considering the growing list of musicians facing serious vocal ailments. Adele, the best selling artist in the U.S. this year, has nixed her tour of the states twice (which had been selling tickets like hotcakes) due to her persisting vocal problems that now require the amazing British songbird to undergo surgery. (Word of advice: lay off the cigs my dear). But trust us; she’s just as bummed as we are about it.

Who else is on doctor-ordered vocal rest? Read on for more.

It seems like a long time since we’ve heard from lady-killer John Mayer, considering he’s been keeping a low profile in recent years, which is not what we’re used to from the singer. He was finally going to come out of hiding and give us a new album; however, he’s been forced to postpone it entirely after announcing on his Tumblr last month that he’d quietly undergone throat surgery to remove a throat lesion – a granuloma resting above his vocal cord.

“I am now on complete vocal rest for a month or more,” Mayer wrote candidly. “I stay in at night, picking guitar parts off of records and dreaming of playing on the big stage. The only difference between now and when I was 18 is that now I have this beautiful, meaningful record waiting for me when I can sing it. Until then, I’m taking off. Going to travel the country, look and listen.”

And yet there are two more artists whose throats have gone under the knife lately: R. Kelly and KISS singer-guitarist Paul Stanley. Kelly had emergency throat surgery to drain an abscess on one of his tonsils in July this year. Stanley is currently recovering from his throat procedure. He commented to CNN on his issues, saying, “I hold myself to a higher standard than others do. With that in mind, I wanted to remedy a few minor issues that come with 40 years of preaching rock and roll.”

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Joe Jonas Isn’t The Only Hottie To Get A Lap Dance From Britney Spears

Posted by Jocelyn Vena On November - 1 - 2011

She’s taken the stage with her kids, but it’s the guys that Britney Spears brings on stage to perform lap dances on that really make headlines. On Monday night, Joe Jonas ended his run opening for Spears in Europe and she rewarded the singer for all his hard work with a private lap dance during her song “Lace and Leather.”

“What a great night! LONDON! you rule! what a way to end the @britneyspears tour,” he tweeted, before this shout out for his Femme Fatale, “And.. @britneyspears thanks for the strip tease.. ;)

Joe is, of course, only the latest recipient of Spears’ sexy dances. Over the course of her last two tours, the singer has given some of her high-profile pals – and pals with benefits – a lap dance.

Britney Spears

Back in July, Brit Brit gave Titans receiver Kenny Britt one of her special lap dances when her tour stopped by Nashville. The footballer, decked out in a pink feather boa, had the pleasure of having Spears’ legs wrapped around his neck.

But weeks before Brit got to shimmy all over him, her real-life beau, Jason Trawick, received a lap dance from his lady love. He not only got one during a June dress rehearsal, but also during an August tour stop at New York’s Nassau Coliseum.

That same month, former tour mate DJ Pauly D had Spears all up on his business during a tour stop in Montreal. Spears wasn’t the only one giving out lap dances on the FF tour either. Nicki Minaj also had some fun giving a lap dance to fellow Young Money rapper Drake.

Iit’s a tradition that Spears started a while ago. Lance Bass received some special treatment from Spears during a stop on her Circus tour. When she closed out the over-the-top shows back in September 2009, she gave her old pal a little surprise. We’re sure it brought back some old memories.

Speaking of boy bands, Howie D is set to join the Femme Fatale tour next. We hope that he’s into the idea of some private entertainment from Spears herself. Brace yourself, buddy.

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Beyonce’s Roseland Live DVD: What To Look For

Posted by Jocelyn Vena On October - 27 - 2011


Beyonce is set to drop her live DVD special “Live At Roseland” on November 21. Filmed over four nights in August, the special will take fans right inside the venue for B’s intimate string of sold out shows in New York City. Not many had the chance to see it for themselves, so this is a nice holiday treat from the expectant singer.

We got the chance to be there (you’re so jealous, aren’t you?) and since the night remains ingrained on our memories forever, we decided to share the few moments you should be most excited to see once it drops.

That swirling cabaret-like monologue!
The first half of the show is Beyonce doing her best drag queen impersonation, performing many of her greatest hits while running through a sassy monologue revealing the back story to the songs and giving fans insight into her career highs and lows.

Her baby bump!
We intend to pause the concert frame by frame (yes, we have that kind of time) and figure out how she pulled one over on us and we didn’t notice she was expecting. You pulled a fast one on us, B, and it probably had something to do with that loose-fitting sparkly dress.

Beyonce being fierce!
She never sweats. She never misses a beat or a note or a step. In fact, she’s basically flawless. Wait, was B even there or did she send some pop star robot to ensure that these performances went off without a hitch? Hmm, we’re on to you gurl.

Want a taste of Beyonce live? Check out her performance of “Love On Top” from this year’s VMAs:

What are you looking forward to? Tell us in the comments!

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CMJ Week: A Roundup Of The Best Shows

Posted by MTV News On October - 24 - 2011


By Steven Roberts

Way back in 20 aught 7 when I started interning at MTV News, CMJ Week was one of the things that got me noticed and helped me stick around. The annual music showcase sees dozens of artists descend – well, some just take the L from Brooklyn – on New York City to try and prove themselves. As an intern, I loved the chance to run around my hometown to cover music. I was doing that already, but this time it was free and I could tell girls I was working for MTV News.

Fast-forward four years, I’m old and jaded, and CMJ isn’t that big of a deal. Well, that isn’t entirely true. It still provides kids an opportunity to see plenty of up-and-coming acts and it gives those acts a chance to broaden their fanbase. And I wasn’t mad at all of those invites in my inbox either.

My co-worker CJ and I decided to compile a list of some of our favorite shows this weekend, read on for more.


The Knitting Factory
CJ said the best band he saw (Fidlar) was at Brooklyn’s Knitting Factory on Friday. Hailing from LA, their band name is an acronym for “F*** it dog, life’s a risk.” They play tight multi-layered garage songs (think Black Lips or Davila 666) with incendiary break-downs that take that sound to the next level. Killer.

The Fader Fort
Although CMJ Week kicked off Thursday, I didn’t get out to my first show until Saturday at The Fader Fort by Fiat – that’s alliteration, homes. The main act I wanted to see was Atlanta’s Future. My family recently moved to A-T-L and whenever I go visit, the second generation Dungeon Family member’s music is playing on the radio. I’ve interviewed him twice, but I had yet to see him live. I may have to wait until I go back to Atlanta, because Future’s set was pushed up and I missed the Astronaut Kid.

I did get to check out really good sets from Polica and Purity Ring – and I really wish they had a better website, so I could hear more of their stuff. Kendrick Lamar took to the Fader Fort stage next for a surprise performance. It was the first time most of the crowd packed in front of the stage. The Compton emcee’s set was brief, but thankfully I was on the list for his headlining show at Gramercy, and after catching some of DC’s Fat Trel, I headed there.

The Gramercy
While the bill was titled “Kendrick Lamar and Friends,” I didn’t get to catch many of his friends (Rich Hill, Troy Ave and The AIRPLANE BOYS) because I was down by the bar in VIP. However, I flocked upstairs with everyone else to catch a full set from Lamar. It was amazing to hear the usually tough New York crowd rap along to his every word from his three projects, The Kendrick Lamar EP, The OD and his Section.80 (which is my pick for hip-hop’s album of the year). Lamar separated himself from the rest of the emcees I would see that evening and looked to be every much the star that he’s been touted.

The Spin Party
While I was at Kendrick, CJ was over at Spin’s secret CMJ show checking out the Rapture. He could not believe how well the staple of NYC’s early 2000′s post-punk revivalism had aged. Their new record sounded mature and refined but still paired nicely with their nearly decade-old hit “House of Jealous Lovers.” They still sounded current, considering 2011 is the year of the saxophone after all.

Fool’s Gold 4th Anniversary Party
I think I was at Fool’s Gold’s first CMJ party four years ago, which featured The Cool Kids and Kid Sister, so it was cool to bring this full circle to cap off the night. After a late night diner stop, I headed to the TriBeca Grand Hotel to catch sets from hip-hop acts Mr. Motherf**kin’ eXquire, Danny Brown (dressed as a Tigger) and Noreaga. The room was smoked out and a bit of a cluster f**k, but I highly doubt any of them would’ve had it any other way.

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