NEWS ROUNDUP: Venues, Videos, New Releases & More

Venues, Videos, New Releases & More

By Jasmine Williams

RIP Webster Hall, hello Arc!

New York City – well, to be specific, Long Island City – is getting a new venue next year. The Arc will have a capacity of about 2,000 and is set to open early next year. Former Webster Hall COO, Rich Pawelczyk, has just joined the venture.

Childish Gambino Teams Up with Rashida Jones

Maybe Childish Gambino will help the #MeToo movement cross over from Hollywood to music? His real-life actor persona, Donald Glover, just lent his voice to an “anti-harassment” video directed by Rashida Jones. The short animated film covers the topic of appropriate behavior in the workplace.

A Grammy Update

In an effort to address the lack of diversity and female nominees at last year’s Grammys, The Recording Academy has announced that they will expand some of the major categories. There will now be eight instead of five nominees for record of the year, album of the year, song of the year, and best new artist.

Protection for Songwriters

The Senate Judiciary Committee just voted in favor of The Music Modernization act, a bill that aims to establish a licensing system that would be controlled by songwriters and publishers and paid for by digital services like Spotify.

Joe Jackson

Michael Jackson’s father and longtime manager, Joe Jackson, died yesterday at the age of 89.

The New New

Three heavy hitters from very different genres dropped new releases today. Only a year after the last Gorillaz album, Damon Albarn is back with a new one. The Now Now follows last spring’s release of Humanz. Some of the beauty of Gorillaz has always been held in the band’s animated appearance – cartoon facades allow for new collaborators to become characters on each album. In contrast, The Now Now allows Albarn to play the many parts himself. His sixth Gorillaz album features fewer collaborations than his usual offerings – some might even consider it to be more of a solo session. Longtime fans will hear lyrics that reference melancholy days on tour and draw comparisons to 2010’s The Fall, which was also released in a short span after a collab-heavy star-studded drop Plastic Beach.

In contrast to Albarn’s lightening up of collaborators, Florence Welch grabbed a couple of A-list partners for the brand new Florence + The Machine album, High As Hope. As executive producer for the album (her first time in the position), Welch tapped Kamasi Washington, Sampha, and Jamie XX for contributions. For Hope, Welch dials down her bombastic vocals for tracks that delve into the personal, including her battles with alcohol addiction. Of the album she reportedly told an LA crowd, “It’s just I’m less drunk, and there is less glitter.”

Drake’s new 25-track double album, Scorpion, is out today. It features collaborations with big names, including Jay-Z and Michael Jackson.

The album touches on his very publicized feud with Pusha-T; in a bit of self deprecation, it even goes so far as to reference Pusha’s insults in the editor notes for Apple Music. Some of Drake’s new tracks have the internet ablaze with lyrics that seem to confirm the existence of the Canadian rapper’s son with Sophie Brussaux.

NEWS ROUNDUP: Nas, A Sony Payout & More


Nas, A Sony Payout & More

By Jasmine Williams

The Internet’s Hip-Hop Hypocrisy

Last night Kanye West was involved in yet another livestream event. He produced the new Nas album, Nasir, which debuted via a listening party in Queens, New York. While many Illmatic fanboys have lit up the internet with their excitement and praise for the album, others are seeing its open-armed reception as more evidence that the #MeToo movement is having trouble gaining a foothold in an industry where some of the biggest money makers and critical darlings happen to be raging misogynists.

Wear a MAGA hat in a bi-polar frenzy and get scorned by all of the internet but hit a woman? No big deal! West has had his fair share of criticism for recent remarks and Twitter tirades but Nas has barely suffered a scratch following the April allegations of ex-wife Kelis, who claimed that the NYC legend physically and mentally abused her over the course of their four year marriage. Her accusations echo that of Nas’ ex-girflfriend, Carmen Bryan, who said that the rapper punched her in the face during their relationship.

Sony Loves You

Sony recently made $750 million from selling half of their Spotify shares and this week the industry giant pledged to share some of those profits with indie artists. Around 100,000 artists will potentially be able to take part in Sony’s new compensation program, which is outlined in a memo stating that because of the giant stakes sale Sony now has an “opportunity to pay additional compensation to all of our eligible artists and participants.”

That New New

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Christina Aguilera photographed by Luke Gilford.

Christina Aguilera’s highly anticipated new album dropped today! It’s her first album in six years and proves that the noughties superstar is no longer concerned with your concerns. As she says in the Zoe Grossman-directed album trailer, “Fuck it, this is who I am and…whoever’s not on board can suck my dick.”

Ryan Adams went from troubadour to weatherman and back again on Wednesday night when he took over Denver7’s weather report. In exchange for letting him play forecaster, (something Adams called a “longtime dream”) the singer-songwriter wrote about Denver7 and dropped a new animated music video on their channel.

Dirty Projectors also released an animated video in support of the single, “That’s A Lifestyle.”

Drake has been accused of keeping fatherhood a secret and blackface photoshoots swept under the rug but there are some parts of his past that the rapper does not shy away from. Case in point? His latest video for “I’m Upset” features a Degrassi reunion, although some are wondering, “Where’s JT?”

End Notes

~Now concluding its 176th season, the New York Philharmonic is the oldest orchestra in the country. For all of these years, they’ve had a pretty strict dress code but that may finally change. The orchestra is now considering loosening up the rules so that female players may no longer be required to wear dress and skirts and men could possible stop wearing white ties and tails.

~Two weeks ahead of the June 29th release of her next Florence + The Machine album, High As Hope, Florence Welch gave an extensive interview to The New York Times. Of her upcoming LP She told journalist Melena Ryzik, “This one, I had a lot of joy in making it.”

~The expression “high seas” may soon take on a new meaning. Kesha just announced a new cruise tour – Kesha’s Weird and Wonderful Rainbow Ride will sail from Florida to the Bahamas in February.