By now, OK Go’s creative video aptitude has likely made its way to your world in one way or another. Be it through your TV screen via their 2006 VMA reinactment of the attention-grabbing treadmill dance from “Here It Goes Again,” or more recently, through your inbox via either of the one-shot versions of “This Too Shall Pass,” pooch-friendly “White Knuckles,”or kaleidoscope-esque “All Is Not Lost,” it’s becoming clear that the visuals they cook up seem to continuously out-do the last. So naturally, when we got word that they’d be collaborating with The Muppets, we didn’t know what kind of madness to expect.
Muppets: The Green Album hit stores today, and besides OK Go, also features artists like Weezer, The Fray and My Morning Jacket, all covering Muppet classics that we know and love. Batting first, OK Go kick-off the album with the “Muppet Show Theme Song” and synchronized with the album’s release, liberated a video for the lively collaboration earlier today. Piggy-backing on throwback visuals from the band’s previous viral hits, the colorful clip shows some (adorable) intermingling with the entire cast of characters, and reeks of childhood-awakening, make-you-smile potential. Go ahead: press play and don’t act like you forgot about the most sen-sational, in-spir-ational, celeb-rational, Muppet-ational show that life has to offer.
Rest In Peace, Jerry Leiber Jerry Leiber, one half of the songwriting team Leiber and Stoller, passed away today of heart failure. He was 78. With Mike Stoller, he wrote six top ten hits for the Coasters, three top tens for the Drifters, three #1 and four other top 20 Elvis Presley singles, and “Stand By Me”; we could go on for some time about the duo’s indispensable contributions to pre-Beatles rock and R&B, their other Billboard chart appearances (the total is over 100, for the record), their production credits (e.g. Stealers Wheel‘s “Stuck In The Middle With You”), their jukebox musical (Smokey Joe’s Cafe), their American Idol theme episode this season, and more, but sadly we can’t offer the tribute Leiber deserves. For more, check out Michaelangelo Matos‘s brisk, informative, and YouTube-embed-packed eulogy at Sound of the City, or seek out the second episode of the 1995 PBS documentary Rock & Roll.
We may not have been able to attend Lollapalooza 2011 ourselves, but the photographers we sent in our stead got some great shots. Yesterday, we shared their fashion roundup of attendees, but of course we wanted lenses be pointed at the stage at least some of the time, and this gallery definitely delivers. Click through for shots of performances all weekend, including shots from must-see sets like Eminem‘s, as well as some great snaps of You Oughta Know alums like Grace Potter & The Nocturnals, Lissie, and more!
Tens of thousands of music fans are, as we type, passing through Chicago’s O’Hare and Midway airports on a pilgramage to Grant Park for Lollapalooza 2011. After a torrid month of July in the Windy City, the weather forecast is calling for sunny temperatures in the low eighties for most of the weekend, which is perfect festival-going weather; there is a chance of isolated thunderstorms on Sunday, though. Still, what’s a little rain when you have over 150 of the world’s best bands and DJs all gathered within 1.2 square kilometers of each other?
As we have explained for you in the past at Coachella and Bonnaroo, festival-going is all about making tough decisions. At any given time this weekend, upwards of six acts will be performing simultaneously, and some of these overlaps are bound to involve bands that you care about equally. Sadly, because of the sheer size of the park (319 acres, yo) and the amount of people on the grounds, waffling on your decisions could lead you to missing both acts. So, in the interest of being as service-y as possible, we’re putting the spotlight on five of these potential conflicts and arming you with as much information as possible to help you make an educated decision.
FRIDAY, AUGUST 5
Foster The People (3-4 p.m.) OR Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (2:30-3:30 p.m.)?
Right at the time when most people will first be entering the festival grounds for the weekend comes our first tough decision as two of our You Oughta Know alums are going head-to-head. Foster The People have the #1 alternative song on the Billboard charts at the moment (“Pumped Up Kicks”), while Grace Potter and her Nocturnals are seasoned festival performers who lean on heavy riffs (and Potter’s famously long legs). This is a toughie, but based on their highly buzzed about “breakthrough performance” at Coachella this past April, we’re going to suggest you check out Mark Foster and his People as they perform to what will surely be their largest audience to date.
At Bonnaroo‘s tenth anniversary, three things stood out: triple digit heat, a permeating dust, and an eclectic mix of music topped by hip-hop. If you wondered the 700-acre campground, you were bound to run into all kinds of music — even Mongolian folk. We saw, for instance, a pretty-as-expected set by Americana star Justin Townes Earles, hip-hop by Big Boi that unfortunately came off like it had Attention Deficit Disorder (why not play some full songs instead of 30-second samples of Outkast and Sir Luscious?), a promising set by indie/country newcomers Futureheads, the metal of The Sword, and the reggae of Black Uhuru. See Bonnaroo photos and video, then continue reading after the jump.
Bonnaroo 2011 kicked off its tenth anniversary Thursday afternoon, and reached its first climax with three massive headliners Friday night, including My Morning Jacket (8pm) followed by Arcade Fire (11pm) on the stadium-sized main stage (known as the “What Stage”) and then Lil Wayne at 2am on a large side stage (the “Which Stage”). Sure, there were dozens of solid shows (and some comedians) leading up to this amazing musical trifecta. But with more than 80,000 people — mostly kids braving extreme heat and humidity without being able to shower — camping out on festival grounds that stretch out over a 700-acre expanse under a vast sky, Bonnaroo was made for big moments. Plus, the smaller tents, if you can squeeze in, don’t always provide enough room for the hippie–ish contingent to properly dance and twirl glow sticks.
My Morning Jacket opened its two-hour set with with an extended, trumpet and voice only intro of “Victory Dance,” the first song off their new album Circuital. Much has been made about MMJ’s so-called return to their roots by recording the new album direct to analog tape in a gym in their hometown of Louisville, Kentucky as opposed to the NYC studio that served as headquarters for their last album (Evil Urges). By opening with the first track from Circuital, MMJ may have been announcing a homecoming of sorts to the mostly Southern audience. Regardless, “Victory Dance” was an apt choice to celebrate with the friendly Bonnaroo crowd how far the band has come. Having played the fest four times in the past, but never on the main stage, frontman Jim James noted, “it’s such an honor.”
When My Morning Jacket played “Circuital”on their episode of VH1 Storytellers, frontman Jim James talked in almost spiritual tones about how the heat of recording conducted sound really well and made the recording sound great. Maybe it was really hot in the Late Night with Jimmy Fallon studio yesterday, too, because the band turned out not only a killer rendition of their single, but also one of the better-sounding musical performances we’ve ever seen on television.
Fallon’s staff deserves a bit of the credit: television performances are notorious for sounding bad (the audio equivalent of the old chestnut, “the camera adds ten pounds”), but somehow the band sounded as good as ever. Recently Billboard (in the May 28 print issue and an online supplement) and Pitchfork both ran features on the expanding role of late-night television in music promotion, especially for niche artists like My Morning Jacket. Both articles had kind words for Fallon’s music booker Jonathan Cohen. Judging from last night’s performance, the audio mixer needs some serious shine, too. It didn’t hurt that, even when it’s an open secret that musical performances get last billing because audiences are most likely to tune out, the show gave the band the full seven-plus minutes so they didn’t have to abbreviate the song or pick a different performance. The audience got the whole song—”greatest guitar solo of all time” (that’s Jim James on Storytellers again) and all.
The 15th season of VH1 Storytellers is already being hailed as one of the strongest in franchise history, thanks to outstanding (and rather confessional) performances from the likes of Death Cab For Cutie, Cee Lo Green and the Kings of Leon. Well, we’ve got great news to report: The hot streak continues tonight on VH1 at 11:00 p.m. ET/PT when the pride of Louisville, My Morning Jacket, takes the stage for what we consider to be the most emotionally raw of the set of performances this season.
How do we know that to be true? Well, for starters, we were there when Jim James and the rest of the MMJ gang taped this episode of Storytellers back in February, and we can attest to the fact that there was nary a dry eye in the house during the band’s take on “Dondante.” We won’t spoil the moment for you here, we’ll let you experience it tonight, but trust us when we say that it’s a moment that you won’t want to miss.
For now, though, enjoy My Morning Jacket’s two playful covers of Shel Silverstein classics, “26 Second Song” and the Jimmy Buffett-esque, “Lullabies, Legends And Lies” (each presented by our friends over at Bing). Why two covers in one video? Well, once you watch the clip, you’ll see why. And don’t forget, VH1 Storytellers: My Morning Jacket airs TONIGHT, Friday, June 3, at 11 p.m. ET/PT. For a complete list of showtimes, you can always visit our official VH1 Storytellers page.