Kimbra is going on her first headlining tour of the US & Canada starting in September!
From ‘Moves Like Jagger’ to ‘Call Me Maybe’ - What are the most maddeningly catchy songs ever?
I don’t know about you guys but I always get “Stacy’s Mom” stuck in my head hahaha. Also “Somebody That I Used To Know” a lot as well. What songs get stuck in your head?
Converse sneakers are the shoes that have set the beat for several generations over time. Rock stars from Elvis Presley and the Rolling Stones to Nirvana all have worn the infamous hi-tops. The brand recognizes that it has a cultural impact among the music scene. Made of canvas and rubber, the century-old American brand’s shoes have epitomized countercultural cool for decades. In this ABC news article it discusses the brief history of Converse from the beginning to its current state in the 21st century. First stitched outside of Boston in 1908, Converse was born as a basketball shoe, though it quickly outgrew its place in the sportswear market and the Chuck Taylor emerged as a piece of American pop culture. Even in these tough economic times, sales have been on the rise.
However, in the last decade, Converse found itself struggling, filing for bankruptcy and failing to compete in a saturated sports market. ”I think we tried to go down a sports performance path when there were other brands, frankly, that were spending more money and were better at it than us,” said CEO Joe Calhoun. Ironically, it was Nike, one of the biggest sports performance companies in the world, that bought up and bailed out Converse. Calhoun said the company now sells about 200,000 pairs of Chuck Taylors each day around the world.
Despite the controversies and financial problems, the company is now betting its future on a return to its musical roots. Converse began inviting musicians, including Pharrell and Gorillaz to cut original tracks to build social buzz around the brand. They’ve also built an empire on special shoe collaborations with U2’s The Edge, Metallica and Lupe Fiasco. The goal is to win back that “rebel consumer” of hard-to-woo hipsters.
Converse also recently built a 5,200-square-foot state-of-the-art recording studio in Brooklyn called Rubber Tracks. ”The idea around the studio was to build a place to say thank you, thank you to all the artists who have done all this great work in our shoes over the years, and a way for us to give back to the community,” said Converse Chief Marketing Officer Geoff Cottrill. So far, 150 up-start acts, short on cash with big dreams, have been invited to record on Converse’s dime. ”We’re not measuring every single band that comes in here and how many shoes they’re going to sell,” Cottrill said. “We truly believe in the idea of doing good things for our consumers. Good things will happen to us in return.” The recording sessions are free for these garage bands and bedroom musicians, but the artists are invited to post their music on the Converse Facebook pages, one of the most significant apparel brands in social media.
Kimbra, Mark Foster and A-Trak have announced a collaboration for the song “Warrior” to be featured on Converse’ Three Artists One Song series. The track and video for “Warrior” were recorded and filmed at Rubber Track Studios and will conincide with the launch of Converse’ footwear collection available exclusively at Journeys. The song will be available for free download on April 5th.
Best Coast released today the title track from their forthcoming LP, The Only Place, which frontwoman Bethany Cosentino said on Twitter is the band’s “love song to California.” In exchange for your email address, you can download the track, which features Cosentino asking listeners “Why would you live anywhere else?”
The track is significantly more produced and cleaner. Best Coast’s signature distorted sound is no where to be found on this love ode to Cali but its beachy vibe still remains. Cosentino’s short writing style also hasn’t changed. The song is made up of typical girly indie rock catchy choruses that repeat again, again and again.
I kind of miss the distortion but it’s a step in a different direction. I’m looking forward to hearing more.
One of the panels at this year’s SXSW discussed Korean pop’s transition from Asian music craze to American crossover, as well as the big business that already exists in the U.S. David Zedeck, a music agent who books bands like Girls Generation for Creative Artists Agency, said K-pop is already selling out 1,700 to 2,500-capacity venues in cities like Chicago, Houston, Dallas, Atlanta and Denver, and often at record rates. According to Jeff Yang, writer for the Wall Street Journal, between K-pop’s growing U.S. presence and enormous popularity in Japan, more people are listening to Korean pop around the world (most of whom don’t understand the language) than Koreans themselves. He claims, “All sorts of things are happening that are establishing this opportunity for K-Pop to crossover. It could be essentially like Latin music for the Asian immigrant community.”
However, the genre is highly competitive and productive. New boy bands, girl bands and solo artists are cropping up on a monthly basis and established acts are racing to maintain a steady stream of new product. “With K-pop, even if they take two months off, it’s so bad for them. They need to consider their comeback every time they do a release,” said Flowsion Shekar, founder and CEO of Koreaboo, a Korean news blog. “Right after they finish, they need to come back with a repackaged album. Then a year after they have to consider their comeback. If they take a couple months off, they could fade away.” Wonder Girls, one of the leading K-pop girl groups, struggled to keep up with their competitors in Korea and Japan after taking a few months to develop their fanbase in the U.S. “Their leaving Korea opened the door for Girls Generation,” CAA’s Zedeck said.
The American audience is broadening demographically, too, especially since the U.S. population is only roughly 5% Asian Americans. “What people respond to is that these guys represent something different that’s kinda cool. There’s nothing else out there like this,” said Ted Kim, senior VP of Korean entertainment company CJ. “It’s based on how you look, how you move, what your reactions are. That’s where people started responding and that’s the part where we get excited.”
The American hip-hop community’s recent interest in K-pop has helped open a lot of doors for other artists and managers Stateside, too. Snoop Dogg recently guested on a Girls Generation track, Kanye West teamed up with JYJ on a track in 2010 and Swizz Beatz recently announced his own plans to start a new venture with Korea’s O & Media to help break artists like Bigbang to American audiences. “We probably showed about 300 music videos to top producers and record labels. In the beginning there were relationships so they would be courteous, but it was not a serious conversation,” he said. “It’s a different dialogue now.”
Sara Bareilles performs “Let The Rain” on The Ellen Show
She’s a 3 time GRAMMY nominee. By far one of the most talented female singer/songwriters out there and also the most underrated. Give this woman a GRAMMY already. Her album ‘Kaleidoscope Heart” is one of my favorites which I still constantly listen to daily.
Lil Wayne Builds his “Brand” with Mountain Dew Campaign and Shoe Line to become Hip Hop’s Next Mogul
2012 is only three months in and Lil Wayne is hitting this year hard with his successful label and now he plans to further his global brand with a campaign with Mountain Dew and new shoe line.
Mountain Dew and Weezy are teaming up for a new campaign, dubbed DEWeezy, set to formally kick off at South by Southwest in Austin next week. Images of the campaign first started appearing on downtown New York City wallscapes earlier this week. Created by Mountain Dew and Blueprint Group in partnership with the Glu Agency, managed by hip-hop business veteran Derek Jackson, the DEWeezy campaign will include advertisements, public appearances and the creation of a skate park in Lil Wayne’s hometown of New Orleans. Blueprint’s release also hints at a possible touring component, noting that the deal was “anchored in Lil Wayne’s touring presence and outside interests including skateboarding and the rebuilding of New Orleans.”
“We are excited to partner Lil Wayne’s brand with a brand like Mountain Dew, a household name,” Cortez Bryant, co-CEO of Blueprint Group said in a statement. “[B]y showing interest in Lil Wayne, both Mountain Dew and the Glu Agency showed us they were forward thinking and valued the impact that Lil Wayne’s brand has had and will continue to have on global pop culture.” The Lil Wayne pairing is an interesting footnote in the evolution of PepsiCo (Mountain Dew’s parent company) and its history with hip-hop. In 2002, the company discontinued an ad campaign featuring then-upcoming rapper Ludacris after Fox News personality Bill O’Reilly called for a boycott over the rapper’s lyrics. The company later tapped rap/pop group Black Eyed Peas in 2007 for a wide-ranging campaign, later teaming up with rappers like Busta Rhymes for a Pepsi Max Super Cowl commercial.
Mountain Dew, meanwhile, has been more directly involved with hip-hop and indie music via its Green Label Sound, partnering with groups like The Cool Kids and U-N-I and rapper Theophilus London for exclusive music releases. Another PepsiCo brand, Lipton Brisk, was aggressive in hip-hop marketing in 2011, enlisting Eminem for a Super Bowl commercial and sponsoring the rapper’s Shady Records tour featuring Yelawolf and Slaughterhouse.
Although I am not a fan of Wayne, this campaign is a smart move. Not only will he receive even more global promotion but may also improve his image because of its philanthropic cause.
Besides taking on the world by storm, he also wants to get involved in the fashion industry. Lil Wayne’s attention grabbing fashion has ranged from leopard print skintight pants to shirtless ensembles complete with enough bling to light a city. Now Weezy will hone his fashion expertise and craft a signature brand of kicks. “It’s not a Nike or Reebok, I can tell you that much,” Wayne told VIBE about the shoe. The rapper who tends to perform shirtless is pulling a Kanye and deepening his connection to the fashion world. His Trukfit brand has already took the streetwear market by storm, and now Young Money will branch out from the already established brand with a new famed company. “I do have a shoe coming out soon but it won’t be Trukfit. I have a shoe with a well-known company. I just don’t want to say yet because I haven’t dotted the line yet,” he said. “But it’s done.”
Add this to the other projects Wayne has going on, and he’s turning himself into quite the multi-platform mogul. He just dropped his first single off Tha Carter IV (which sold nearly a million copies in its debut week in September), titled ” Mirror” and featuring Bruno Mars, at the end of January, and Cash Money CEO Birdman revealed a few days before that that Wayne’s next album, I Am Not A Human Being 2, would be out before the summer. Wayne’s even turned to writing; earlier this year it was revealed that his prison memoir, “Gone Til November,” would be published this coming November 28 by Grand Central Publishing.
As much as I love Florence Welch, I got to say she pretty much made a bad video for one of the best songs on her album. I’m sorry I just think it’s kind of trying a little bit too hard to be “dark.”
Watch “Never Let Me Go”Here