Monday, August 25, 2014

Prince Set to Release First Solo Album in Four Years

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Prince is back.

The musician announced Monday morning that he will release his first solo album in four years, entitled ART OFFICIAL AGE, out Sept. 30.

The news was delivered via 3rd Eye Girl, who also noted that the funk 'n' roll band will release a full-length album,

PLECTRUMELECTRUM, on Sept. 30 as well. Both albums are currently available for presale online.

The all-female ensemble -- American drummer Hannah Ford, Canadian guitarist Donna Grantis and Danish bassist Ida Nielsen -- made the announcement when they stopped by Good Morning America (below_ on Monday, also previewing Prince's new song "Clouds."

While Prince has not released a full-length album since 2010, the singer did record a duet with Zooey Deschanel in March and premiered the track on the post-Super Bowl episode of New Girl. He has been touring with 3rd Eye Girl in Europe.

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Roots Reggae Making Comeback in Jamaica

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Julian Marley, son of the late reggae icon Bob Marley, performs at a concert celebrating his father's 69th birthday at the National Stadium in Kingston, February 7, 2014. 
Credit: Reuters/Gilbert Bellamy
(Reuters) - The main event at fight night in Kingston, a popular boxing showcase, was hours away, but the crowd at the National Stadium's indoor arena, from the young and hip to the elderly, was already pumped.

When reggae artist Tarrus Riley entered the stage, the screams of the full house were deafening, and the fervor persisted throughout his performance.

A musical and social roots movement called "Reggae Revival" is on the rise in Jamaica, where the raunchier dancehall genre has been king for the last two decades. The revival evokes music from reggae’s golden era of the 1970s, dominated by the late, laid-back legend, Bob Marley, who put reggae on the global map with his catchy tunes and spiritual and socially conscious lyrics.

"Reggae is bouncing back," said Chris Blackwell, the founder of Island Records who introduced the group Bob Marley and the Wailers to the world. "It got lost somewhat in a negative and violent direction (but) I think it's finding itself again," he added.

The revival of traditional "roots reggae" also stands as "a peaceful revolution in a nation that is often typecasted as violent," said Dutty Bookman, a Jamaican writer who has been documenting the movement which he says goes beyond music, likening it to the Arab Spring.
"Love, unity, positivity, truth-seeking, these things form the basis of the movement," he said.

Jamaica is the birthplace of reggae, which became an international phenomenon thanks to Marley who died of cancer in 1981 at age 36.
"Reggae is the heartbeat of Jamaica," said Ziggy Marley, one of Bob Marley's reggae-playing sons, currently on tour for his “Fly Rasta” album.

"I think Jamaica misses it,” added the younger Marley. "In the past years a lot of the younger artists have been trying to move away from it with dancehall, but reggae is something that is needed because music affects our society deeply."


After reggae’s golden age, the music degenerated as artists moved from marijuana, considered a spiritual drug by Jamaica’s Rastafarian Christian sect, to harder drugs like cocaine, Herbie Miller, Jamaica Music Museum’s director, said.

“Slackness,” a catch-all term for bad behavior, including explicit sexuality and violence, became the norm, and with it came the rise of dancehall.

Dancehall is an offshoot of reggae with a hyper-energetic sound and often violent, misogynistic as well as sexually explicit lyrics.

In 1991, dancehall artists famously upstaged roots reggae performers at the popular annual Reggae Sunsplash music festival and dancehall artists such as Shabba Ranks, Yellowman, Buju Banton and Ninjaman became all the rage.

Dancehall moved reggae closer to the American gangster rap scene, led by artists like Snoop Dogg, one the biggest selling American rappers.

But dancehall was rocked by a series of scandals involving some of its stars. The Grammy-winning singer Buju Banton was convicted in 2011 on cocaine conspiracy and trafficking charges and is serving a 10-year sentence.

In April dancehall star Vybz Kartel was sentenced to life in prison in Jamaica for the murder of a former associate.

Despite fading, reggae's influence can still be heard in mainstream American pop, including the Bruno Mars 2012 hit "Locked Out of Heaven."

Mars performed a rousing reggae tribute to Bob Marley at the 2013 Grammys alongside Sting, Rihanna and two Marley sons, Ziggy and Damian, singing a cover of his 1980 song "Could You Be Loved."

In a sign of the times, Snoop Dogg changed his name in 2012 after a trip to Jamaica and announced a conversion to the Rastafari movement and a new alias, Snoop Lion. His 2013 chart-topping, Grammy-nominated album, "Reincarnated", put reggae firmly back on the map, featuring a fusion of reggae and dancehall.


For the week of Aug. 23, Billboard ranks Chronixx’s “Dread & Terrible” the fourth bestselling reggae album. Ziggy Marley’s “Fly Rasta” ranks third and Snoop Lion’s “Reincarnated” ranks sixth.

The new crop of artists in the reggae revival include Protoje, Tarrus Riley, Chronixx, Jah9, and Kabaka Pyramid, who all play music with messages rooted in Rastafarianism.
What you have and how you look and what you don't have, that's dancehall," said Kabaka Pyramid, who was ranked at the top of Billboard's Next Big Sound chart last year. In the reggae revival, "ego is being taken out of the music," he said.

The revival is being fostered by Billy Wilmot, a Jamaican surfing legend the vocalist, guitarist and songwriter for the Mystic Revealers, a Jamaican reggae band that formed in the late 1970s.

His surf camp, Jamnesia, became a seminal place where Reggae Revival artists cut their teeth on live performance.

"Reggae is always socially conscious music and socially relevant," said Wilmot. "It might not be what you want to hear, but it's what's going on in society."

Roots reggae and dancehall may have very different sounds and messages, but they’re not mutually exclusive. Some reggae artists have incorporated rap elements of dancehall, including Damian Marley and Tanya Stephens.

“Both can exist and live,” says Ziggy Marley. "The roots revival can bring things back into balance without being judgmental of one or the other."

(Editing by David Adams and Lisa Shumaker)


Friday, August 22, 2014

News Bytes - SoundCloud Debuts Monetization Plan: Ticketfly Acquires "WillCall" App: Trans World Ent. Loses $5.1 mil in Q2

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SoundCloud Debuts Monetization Play With 'On SoundCloud', Announces $100 Million In Funding
It’s a new era for SoundCloud. The audio platform has long been a home to unsigned, independent and even established artists to debut new material -- from Lorde’s The Love Club EP (which ultimately earned her a record deal with Lava/Republic) to Drake’s OVO page, which is often the first place the Toronto rapper debuts new material from himself as well as his OVO-affiliated artists. Heretofore, SoundCloud’s revenue was derived primarily from its Pro accounts and private funding. But beginning today (Aug. 21), the company has announced a three-tiered monetization strategy that will introduce advertising to the platform for the first time, as well the news that SoundCloud has received more than $100 million in funding since its 2007 launch. Jeff Toig, SoundCloud’s chief business officer since September 2013, tells Billboard that the company’s growth has come in three phases -- first was the creation of tools that have allowed users to upload new content and track its engagement, the second was scaling the audience (175 million unique users globally per month, the company has announced), and the new third phase. “This is where we start to figure out how to generate revenue and help our creators make money in order to enable them to build careers with us,” Toig says. “When Alex [Ljung, SoundCloud’s CEO] and Eric [Wahlforss, SoundCloud’s CTO] founded the company, they really saw an opportunity to build a business with a global, open platform that would kind of evolve over time.”

'The Upstairs Bar Is Empty': Ticketfly Acquires Forward-Thinking App WillCall

San Francisco-based digital ticketing firm Ticketfly has acquired WillCall, a concert discovery, ticketing, and in-venue commerce application for iOS and Android. The acquisition adds another layer to Ticketfly’s music discovery assets and, perhaps more importantly, gives Ticketfly an entre into the live music entre toward cashless events and all the valuable data that entails.
Founded in 2008, Ticketfly has been a pioneer in mobile ticketing and integrating ticketing, marketing, and analytics, and now boasts over 1,300 clients in venues, promoters, and festivals in North America, including 9:30 Club, Pitchfork Music Festival, and Brooklyn Bowl. Founder/co-CEO Andrew Dreskin says the WillCall acquisition will be a key asset in Ticketfly’s goal to enhance the live music experience for both fans and clients. Early on, the sleek look and overall functionality of the WillCall app appealed to the “tech geek” in Dreskin. “Universally, when you talk to people about WillCall, one of the first things that comes up is how striking the app is, both the aesthetics and the underlying architecture,” he tells Billboard. “This [acquisition] is really about re-imagining the live event experience. I’ve been espousing this notion for awhile: the way people experience live events going forward is going to be very different from how it was in the very recent past. We tell people we’re not a ticketing company, our goal is to build or buy interesting technologies to layer in around the ticketing transaction.
Trans World Entertainment Doubles Losses in Second Quarter
Trans World Entertainment has lost $5.1 million on revenues of $71.9 million, or 16 cents per share, for the quarter that ended Aug. 2. That loss is double the $2.54 million, or 8 cents per share, in red ink the company posted last year in the corresponding period when its revenues were $80.8 million.


Thursday, August 21, 2014

All About Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.


Read Variety's review on 'Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

Frank Miller and Robert Rodriguez join forces again in this long-delayed, self-admiring sequel to their 2005 hit.

by Justin Chang
Chief Film Critic for Variety

It may be in 3D this time around, but Robert Rodriguez and Frank Miller’s monotone, monochrome comicbook universe feels flatter than ever in “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For.” Rare indeed is the movie that features this many bared breasts, pummeled crotches and severed noggins and still leaves you checking your watch every 10 minutes. But that’s the dubious accomplishment of this visually arresting but grimly repetitive exercise in style, set against a sordid neo-noir landscape populated almost exclusively by tormented tough guys and femme-fatale fetish objects. Nearly a decade after the first “Sin City” grossed more than $158 million worldwide, it’s doubtful whether the directors’ overlapping fanbases can muster the same level of excitement for a picture about which the best one can really say is, “It sure beats ‘The Spirit.’ ”

Set in motion not long after the 2005 release of “Sin City,” but delayed following the commercial failure of Rodriguez and Quentin Tarantino’s “Grindhouse” (2007), this long-gestating sequel proudly announces itself, like the first film, as a work of slavish fidelity to its source. The full title is “Frank Miller’s Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” as if to reassure those pulp purists in the audience that nothing they see and hear, from the silky black-and-white images to the sub-Spillane hard-boiled dialogue, will deviate from the graphic novelist’s original vision. Still, Miller has adapted his own work with a slightly freer hand this time: Two of the four twisted tales presented here were written specifically for the movie, though they’re all of a narrative piece, revealing loose connections with each other as well as with the characters and events of the first film.

Some viewers may be a bit fuzzy on those earlier plot points, a possibility that the filmmakers seem to have taken into account. The opening vignette, adapted from Miller’s short story “Just Another Saturday Night,” begins in a haze of confusion: The hulking fighter known as Marv (once again played with an outsized schnoz and a smidgin of soul by Mickey Rourke) awakens somewhere near the Sin City projects, with no memory of how he got there. A few jolts of violence aside, this prologue mainly serves to reacquaint us with Miller and Rodriguez’s high-contrast aesthetic — a sophisticated merging of live-action and green screen in which shades of gray are offset by daubs of digital color, accentuating, say, the red light of a police car or the golden glow of a stripper’s blonde wig. The story also re-establishes Marv as the most indelible fixture of this highly artificial world, even if Rourke’s growling voiceover seems directed mainly at those viewers who found Christian Bale’s Batman too comprehensible. If gravel could get lung cancer, it would sound like Marv.

More nasty doings await in the straight-to-screen yarn “The Long Bad Night,” about a confident young cardsharp named Johnny (Joseph Gordon-Levitt) who arrives in town and promptly makes his way to Kadie’s Saloon. (This seedy joint serves as a central hub of activity throughout, all the better to maintain a steady stream of gyrating, scantily clad background entertainment.) After playing a few slots and picking up a stripper (Julia Garner), Johnny brazenly begins a game of poker with the ruthless Sen. Roark (Powers Boothe), only to see his winning hand quickly become a losing one. Fans of the first film may recall Roark as the father of the notorious Yellow Bastard, and as Johnny soon finds out in excruciatingly painful ways, this powerful politico is not someone to be crossed or underestimated.

Johnny’s story is momentarily suspended by the film’s longest chapter, a 45-minute potboiler adapted from “A Dame to Kill For,” the second book in the “Sin City” cycle. The dame in question is Ava Lord (Eva Green), a temptress who seems to have been modeled on the likes of Barbara Stanwyck in “Double Indemnity” and Jane Greer in “Out of the Past,” then camped up several notches. (The crimson lips are fine; the emerald-green contact lenses, not so much.) Reaching out to her beaten-down ex-lover, private investigator Dwight McCarthy (Josh Brolin, taking over for Clive Owen), Ava begs him to free her from Damian (Marton Csokas), her abusive billionaire husband, and his henchman, a massive subhuman automaton called Manute (Dennis Haysbert, taking over for Michael Clarke Duncan). From there the movie quickly devolves into window-smashing, eyeball-gouging mayhem, every blow landing with a Dolby-fied crunch, and often accompanied by a burst of white blood that looks more like a bird-turd explosion.

Like most stories that come out Sin City, “A Dame to Kill For” is about a broken a man unable to resist the spell of a woman in trouble. (If Brolin is the movie’s tragic hero, then his comic counterpart is Christopher Meloni as Mort, a cop who falls pathetically in love with Ava.) Saving the girl, of course, means stalking her, possessing her and even smacking her around a little, and Ava makes a more willing lust object than most: Alluringly dressed in a shimmering blue coat the first time we see her, she thereafter develops a peculiar allergy to clothing of any kind. Green’s extended nude scenes have already accounted for much of the film’s pre-release ink, and they certainly represent a key selling point, even if the peek-a-boo framing and clever use of chiaroscuro (which surely merit an Oscar for best achievement in genital blurring) will leave some in the audience feeling more teased than turned on.

Which may be as fitting a way as any to describe the peculiar overall effect of “Sin City: A Dame to Kill For,” which clocks in 23 minutes shorter than its predecessor yet feels far more enervating. This is a movie that, in attempting to update the tawdry pleasures of classic American crime fiction, doesn’t hesitate to indulge its characters’ peeping-tom fantasies as well as ours. In scene after scene, voyeurism is less a subtext than a narrative constant, whether it’s a kinky tryst being secretly photographed from above, a woman diving naked into a moonlit swimming pool, or a squad of vigilante vixens (the familiar faces include Rosario Dawson and Jaime King, while Jamie Chung steps in for Devon Aoki) roaming the streets with crossbows while modeling the latest in designer dominatrix wear.

As ultra-stylized comicbook movies go, there’s no denying that Rodriguez and Miller’s lurid canvas has been realized with a certain single-minded purity. (Rodriguez again handled lensing and editing duties, in addition to collaborating on the score with Carl Thiel.) But it’s a deliberately airless, static vision, devoid of honest thrills and, aside from a few flakes of stereoscopic snow, absent the novelty that made the first “Sin City” so fascinating, at least before it bogged down in its own sadism. Once again the filmmakers have smothered Miller’s mean-street archetypes in a thick patina of cool — equal parts cut-rate nihilism and self-admiring style — but as a hundred Tarantino knockoffs have long since established, cool is not enough. It takes at least a sliver of human interest to make a noir pastiche more than the sum of its influences, and anything resembling authentic feeling has been neatly airbrushed away from this movie’s synthetic surface. The endless striped shadows that creep into Steve Joyner and Caylah Eddleblute’s production design don’t express the characters’ inner darkness; they merely put it in quotes.

There are a few fine performances here. Whether wielding a pistol or a wrench, Boothe is a suitably menacing villain; Rourke and Brolin make a likable ass-kicking duo; and Lady Gaga has a nice, quick cameo as a sympathetic barmaid. But the main attraction here is Green, who, in addition to serving as the film’s most eye-popping design element, invests Ava with a wild-eyed intensity worthy of Medea, adding another to the actress’ gallery of murderous screen sirens following her performances in “300: Rise of an Empire” and “Dark Shadows.” It seems almost churlish to point out that Ava is merely the most extreme manifestation of the picture’s seriously stunted view of human femininity, given that its take on masculinity is in the end no less wearyingly reductive.

The fourth and final story here is “Nancy’s Last Dance,” in which Nancy (Jessica Alba), the stripper terrorized by Yellow Bastard in the previous pic, seeks to avenge her late protector, John Hartigan (a spectral, underused Bruce Willis). It’s a late, limp attempt to turn Alba’s character from an exploited figure into an empowered one, but by this point, we no longer seem to be watching a movie so much as wandering blindfolded through a series of interconnected torture chambers, where the spectacle of human suffering is ever present, yet always kept at an antiseptic remove. In the words of one tough-sounding character, “Sin City’s where you go with your eyes open, or you don’t come out at all.” It’s not a bad slogan, though in retrospect, it sounds less like a plausible threat than an invitation to take a nap.

Film Review: 'Frank Miller's Sin City: A Dame to Kill For'

Reviewed at TCL Chinese Theater, Hollywood, Aug. 19, 2014. MPAA Rating: R. Running time: 101 MIN.


A Dimension Films release presented in association with Aldamisa Entertainment of a Troublemaker Studios, AR Films production. Produced by Robert Rodriguez, Aaron Kaufman, Stephen L'Heureux, Sergei Bespalov, Alexander Rodnyansky, Mark Manuel. Executive producers, Frank Miller, Harvey Weinstein, Bob Weinstein, Zanne Devine, Adam Fields, Elizabeth Avellan, Marci Madison, Tim Smith, Alastair Burlingham, Oleg Boyko, Kia Jam, Kipp Nelson, Theodore O'Neal, Allyn Stewart, Samuel Hadida, Victor Hadida, Marina Bespalov, Boris Teterev, John Paul DeJoria, Jere Hausfater. Co-producer, Tom Proper.


Directed by Robert Rodriguez, Frank Miller. Screenplay, Miller, based on his graphic novels. Camera (B&W/color, Arri Alexa digital, 3D), Rodriguez; editor, Rodriguez; music, Rodriguez, Carl Thiel; production designers, Steve Joyner, Caylah Eddleblute; set decorators, Bart Brown, Jennifer Long; set designer, Jeff B. Adams Jr.; costume designer, Nina Proctor; sound (Dolby Digital), Ethan Andrus; special effects coordinator, John McLeod; visual effects supervisor, Stefen Fangmeier; visual effects producer, Crys Forsyth-Smith; visual effects, Prime Focus; special effects makeup, Greg Nicotero, special makeup effects, KNB EFX Group; Howard Berger; stunt coordinator, Jeff Dashnaw; line producer, Marty Ewing; assistant director, Brian Bettwy; casting, Mary Vernieu.


Mickey Rourke, Jessica Alba, Josh Brolin, Joseph Gordon-Levitt, Rosario Dawson, Bruce Willis, Eva Green, Powers Boothe, Dennis Haysbert, Ray Liotta, Jaime King, Christopher Lloyd, Jamie Chung, Jeremy Piven, Christopher Meloni, Juno Temple, Julia Garner.

Win a Trip To The Fifty Shades of Grey World Premiere!


One lucky winner will win a trip to the world premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey! The Grand Prize includes:

  • Two tickets to the world premiere of Fifty Shades of Grey in 2015
  • Access to the star-studded Fifty Shades of Grey After Party
  • Roundtrip airfare and hotel accomodation for two
  • Ground transportation between airport and hotel

BLM Exclusive! Watch The November Man- Offical Trailer and Get Your Tickets Early!


 Click link for tickets


Code named The November Man’ Peter Devereaux (Pierce Brosnan) is a lethal and highly trained ex-CIA agent, who has been enjoying a quiet life in Switzerland. When Devereaux is lured out of retirement for one last mission, he must protect valuable witness, Alice Fournier, (Olga Kurylenko).He soon uncovers this assignment marks him a target of his former friend and CIA protégé David Mason (Luke Bracey). With growing suspicions of a mole in the agency, there is no one Devereaux can trust, no rules and no holds barred.

With a screenplay by Michael Finch & Karl Gajdusek based on Bill Granger’s novel “There are No Spies” from the bestselling November Man book series, THE NOVEMBER MAN is the ultimate cat and mouse game set in the world of international espionage. Directed by Roger Donaldson (The Bank Job, No Way Out, Thirteen Days), the film is produced by Beau St. Clair of Irish DreamTime and Sriram Das of Das Films.

Director: Roger Donaldson
Adapted from: There are no spies
Music composed by: Marco Beltrami
Story by: Bill Granger
Screenplay: Michael Finch, Karl Gajdusek


Get Your Coupon for Guitar Center's Labor Day Special

Attention Musicians, DJ's and Producers.
As a service to our followers and readers. BACKLINE MAGAZINE and our sponsor, Guitar Center, have teamed up to offer a special coupon for their Labor Day Sale. Just click the link below, get the coupon code, and save 15%.  It's that easy! Exclusions and Limitations do apply.

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Monday, August 11, 2014

BitTorrent Finally Comes to iOS


After years in the dog house, BitTorrent, the highly criticized, and equally undervalued file-sharing protocol, has entered the prolific world of iOS.

Until now, apps that enabled users to download torrents were rebuffed by Apple because they allowed widespread piracy on its devices, but a developer has created an app, Blue called Downloader. This piece of ingenuity only allows users access to above-board torrent sites, most of which offer content within the public domain. These include BitTorrent’s own Bundle, Bitlove (podcast archiving),, Public Domain Flicks and Librivox, among others.

The availability of Downloader is a plus for BitTorrent’s Bundle program, which now has 800 million devices (with 75 billion app downloads) to court. It could also be a godsend for the protocol itself, which has suffered from associations with piracy.

Bit Torrent has done some great PR, and a remarkable job in beefing up it less than stellar image. To date, they have attracted Madonna, Death Grips and Kayne West’s Brooklyn-based label, Fool’s Gold to use the digital distribution platform.


Sunday, August 3, 2014

Editor's Pick: "The Woman"

Family man and lawyer Christoper Cleek (Sean Bridgers) must do what he can to protect his family when he comes into contact with a feral woman (Pollyana McIntosh) living in the woods near his isolated country home. Through a series of harrowing encounters Cleek and his family quickly discover there is more to this woman than anyone would suspect and that sometimes the devil wears a handsome face.

Director: Lucky McKee - THE WOODS, RED, MAY

Writer Novel/Screenplay: Jack Ketchum - OFFSPRING, THE GIRL NEXT DOOR, THE LOST Writer Novel/Screenplay: Lucky McKee

Cast: Pollyanna McIntosh: OFFSPRING, EXAM, BURKE AND HARE Cast: Sean Bridgers: TRUE BLOOD, DEADWOOD Cast: Angella Bettis: GIRL, INTERRUPTED, MAY