• Olivia Rodrigo shares 18-track playlist of favourite songs for her 18th birthday

    Olivia Rodrigo has shared an 18-song playlist to mark her 18th birthday – you can listen to it below.

    The singer, who has enjoyed break-out success already this year with her debut single ‘Drivers License’, turned 18 on Saturday (February 20).

    Rodrigo marked her birthday last weekend by sharing a new video where she selected “18 of my favourite songs that have shaped me into the girl that I am today”.

    The clip, which you can watch in full below, sees Rodrigo expand on why she selected tracks by the likes of Taylor Swift, The White Stripes and Fiona Apple for her playlist.

    Rodrigo has also shared a playlist of the songs, titled ‘18 years, 18 tracks’, on Spotify.

    The collection, which includes tracks by the likes of Lorde, The Killers and Black Sabbath, is available to listen to below.

    Earlier this month, Rodrigo performed a stripped-back rendition of ‘Drivers License’ for the Grammy Museum’s online streaming service Collection:live.

    Rodrigo spoke after her performance about the recent challenge she’s set herself to write music on a daily basis.

    “Before quarantine, it was always kind of a, ‘Oh, if I have a spark of inspiration, then I’ll write a song’. I’ll just vomit all of my feelings onto my piano keyboard,” she explained.

    “But doing that challenge kind of really taught me how to have creativity as a tap and be able to work on something and kind of craft something from the ground up, even if you’re not feeling particularly inspired.”

    Speaking to NME last month, Rodrigo reflected on the massive commercial success of ‘Drivers License’.

    “I truly don’t feel like my brain can process all of it: I see all the numbers, but it doesn’t really sink in totally. I’m sort of in a state of disbelief,” Rodrigo said.

  • Kid Rock Has 18 Songs Ready for Next Studio Album

    It’s been a few years since Kid Rock released his last album, Sweet Southern Sugar, but it looks as though a new record is in the works. During Detroit radio station WRIF’s 50th Anniversary feature checking in with multiple musicians, Rock offered an update on his next album.

    Rock says (at around the 34 minute mark in the player below), “This Covid thing has been crazy for everybody. And my heart goes out to everybody who’s been affected by it, especially people who’ve lost people. But it’s kind of afforded me… I haven’t had this feeling since my first big record, Devil Without a Cause, where I’ve had this much time to sit around and re-write, zero in, replay — just meticulously go song to song to song.”

    He continued, “I’ve got 18 that I’m in love with now, and four more that I wanna record. And I don’t know what the hell I’m gonna do with them. But thank God I’ve got my studio. That’s been my saving grace through this thing.”

    No timeline for the new album’s release was revealed, but Rock sounds well into the record at this point.

    Though Sweet Southern Sugar was Rock’s last studio album in 2017, he did release a greatest hits collection the following year and he issued an ’80s electro song “Quarantine” under the pseudonym DJ Bobby Shazam last year.

    Kid Rock Speaks to Detroit’s WRIF-FM

    2021’s Most Anticipated Rock + Metal Albums

  • Children of Bodom’s 11 Best Cover Songs

    Children of Bodom’s cover song discography is flat-out weird. Amid the handful of earnest metal selections are songs that may make some people cringe, but Alexi Laiho and his crew didn’t give a flying fuck, motherfucker (an ethos made evident on “In Your Face”) and went all-in on the cheese, showcasing the fun-loving spirit that dominated their music for over two decades. Let’s dive in to Children of Bodom’s 11 Best Cover Songs, shall we?

    It’s difficult to say exactly what was going through the band’s collective mind each time they stepped into the studio and cut a cover song, but we can surmise a few things here — the band loves party rock, screaming arena anthems, strong melodies and pop-song structures.

    With all the demands that come with recording an album, especially music as technical as Bodom’s, you’ve just got to cut loose at some point and take a step back from the seriousness of it all. How else would you wind up recording a Britney Spears cover?

    Sure, we may have wanted more covers from neoclassical-leaning bands that inspired Bodom — Yngwie Malmsteen, Deep Purple, Rainbow, Randy Rhoads-era Ozzy and so on — but we all have a general idea of what that would’ve sounded like anyway, right?

    Let’s remember a band — and an inspiring musician, Alexi Laiho, who left us far too early at the age of 41 — for what they were, which was a wellspring of joyous melodies and the attitude that you don’t have to take everything so damn seriously all the time.

    • Britney Spears, “Oops!… I Did It Again”

      This one is probably Bodom’s most well-known cover song. Whether it’s any good is entirely subjective and, really, it’s not worth arguing because the point of tackling the Britney Spears song wasn’t to provoke internal revelations within the minds of the narrow-minded, metal-obsessed masses. Recorded during the Are You Dead Yet?, sessions, this “Oops!… I Did It Again” rendition is a genuine piss-take and a smart business move to get some added attention as the band broke out in the American market.

    • Kenny Loggins, “Danger Zone”

      This Top Gun theme song by Kenny Loggins is irresistibly fun and twice as cheesy. But who cares? It’s too catchy to hate and largely set the stereotypical standard for rock-edged thematics in action movies and montages. If Judas Priest hadn’t balked at their chance to have their song “Reckless” (which was instead included on 1986’s Turbo album), perhaps Children of Bodom would’ve been tackling that instead of “Danger Zone.” We’re thrilled nonetheless — this song finally has the truly heavy balance it so desperately cried out for decades ago.

    • Scorpions, “Don’t Stop at the Top”

      Few bands in all of recorded music have authored as many arena-built anthems as the Scorpions. AC/DC once said “It’s a long way to the top if you wanna rock ‘n’ roll” and the Scorps upped the ante and screamed, “Don’t Stop at the Top.” This late ‘80s Scorpions song got a thrashier reboot in 2000 as Bodom recorded what many assert is their best record — Follow the Reaper. Motivation, maybe?

    • Ramones, “Somebody Put Something In My Drink”

      On paper, punk originals the Ramones and Children of Bodom are stylistically at odds. Alexi Laiho was far from the ‘50s-inspired crooner Joey Ramone was, but both bands had a strong feel for pop-oriented hooks, offering at least a hint of commonality. Fortunately for Laiho, Joey came off as a gritty, grizzled barstool warrior (to borrow a term from Dream Theater) on “Somebody Put Something In My Drink” off the band’s 1984 album, Animal Boy, a title that certainly lent itself to Bodom’s self-proclaimed ‘Wild Child.’ Leave it to Bodom to turn a steely Ramones song into a fun-time track more redolent of what everyone expects from the Ramones.

    • Slayer, “Silent Scream”

      A rare instance where the boys of Bodom were earnest in their cover song selection, this one is culled from Slayer’s change-of-pace album, South of Heaven. Despite the record’s affinity for slower tempos, the Finns tabbed one of the faster songs on the record and kept it fairly on par with the original. We’re not treated to overindulgent keyboard theatrics, just red-lined, adrenalized aggression. Let’s face it — deviating from Slayer’s style is too heretical, even for Bodom.

    • Iron Maiden, “Aces High”

      It seems pretty fair to say if there was no Iron Maiden, there would be no Children of Bodom — at least not as we know them. The band’s influences are numerous and diverse, but when it comes to overtly melodic metal, Maiden are the gold standard, no question. “Aces High” is as melodic as any Maiden original gets, so it was a natural fit for a teenage Bodom to showcase the electrifying skills of both Alexi Laiho and keyboardist Janne Warman.

    • Billy Idol, “Rebel Yell”

      At the heart of all of Children of Bodom’s music was a sense of hugeness wrought by the biggest rock and metal bands of the ‘80s. Writing a hit song doesn’t mean selling out, contrary to what modern metal fans may think. It’s possible to be an absolute badass and write something that reaches a massive audience, something Laiho knew all so well as he crafted high-flying extreme metal bent with soaring hooks. The Bodom frontman adopts a half-talking-half-singing approach here, unfurling his gravely screams over the chorus.

    • Johnny Cash, “Ghostriders in the Sky”

      Metalheads love outlaw country legend Johnny Cash. For all the shit country takes from headbangers, it’s refreshing to know at least one ‘real one’ is acknowledged within that scene. Cash’s music was honest and dark, something that widely resonates with fans of heavy music, and the light gallop in his music offered plenty of wiggle room for a band bred on Iron Maiden’s triplet-based rhythms. As heard here, the chord progressions on “Ghostriders in the Sky” make for a pretty menacing metal rendition.

    • Andrew W.K., “She Is Beautiful”

      Andrew W.K. is all about the party and so were Children of Bodom, as much as they have differing opinions on what constitutes a good party. It’s refreshing to hear the fellas mess around with a pop-punk flavored song on “She Is Beautiful” from Andrew W.K.’s 2001 breakout record, I Get Wet. This is another one where the band can’t resist adding some double kick drums at the very end of the song, as if they keep forgetting to make it all heavier until the last moment.

    • Dropkick Murphys, “I’m Shipping Up to Boston”

      Truly, nothing was off limits in the grand discussion of potential songs for Children of Bodom to cover. Obviously, their penchant for left-field covers was well-established by the time this Dropkick Murphys cover hit the shelves in 2012 as part of a 15-year compilation release. This Celtic punk belter is transformed into a total pirate metal rager.

    • Poison, “Talk Dirty To Me”

      You may loathe hair metal and be of the mindset that Poison were among the most unpardonable betrayers of true heavy metal, but, clearly, Alexi Laiho held different sentiments. In the era of big hair and bigger hit songs, we got some seriously slick and sleazy riffs that hold up remarkably well, even if singing about shagging in some girl’s parents’ basement hasn’t aged quite as nicely. Still, “Talk Dirty To Me” is a classic, and it’s possible Bodom turned some fans on to metal’s most notorious era.

  • 10 Best Dark Love Songs by Empty Streets Singer / Adult Film Star

    Hello friends! Aaron Thompson here from Empty Streets — some of you may also know me from “something else,” and I’ll let the rest of you figure it out on Google!

    [Editor’s note: Don’t Google that at work. It is as NSFW as it gets. If you’re under 18, don’t do it.]

    I’m the singer/songwriter/creative mind behind Empty Streets, a one man mess of dark, brooding synthpop.

    Valentine’s Day to me has always felt a bit corny in the “chocolates and teddy bears” sense, but I’m a sucker for any occasion that celebrates love, passion and usually involves tears — good or bad.

    So whether you’re hunkered down with a loved one, or alone as hell this Valentine’s Day, this playlist has something for both sides of the coin.

    In no particular order here are my 10 Favorite Dark Love Songs.

    Empty Streets’ ‘Age of Regret’ EP is set to drop in June. Watch the video for the latest single, “Age of Regret” below. Of the song, Thompson said, “Often the hand that grants us our dreams also forever darkens our door. This is a song about how painful it is to make peace with a world that’s fed you beautiful poison since day one. You want to conquer the world, defeat your demons… but at what cost? This is the cost…this is the age that I regret.”

    Follow Aaron ‘Small Hands’ Thompson on Instagram, Twitter and Spotify.

    Empty Streets, “Age of Regret” Music Video

     

    • Danzig, “How the Gods Kill”

      Lyrically this isn’t actually a “love” song (although I’ve always found everything Glenn does to have an air of romance to it) , but I was once a young inexperienced punk who started dating an older, much more experienced goth girl. One night she put this song on, turned the lights low, and gave me the best Valentines Day I’d ever had at that point in my life.

      Sorry, Danzig. Whether you intended it to be or not, this forever will be a love song in my mind.

    • Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds, “Into My Arms”

      This is simply one of the most beautiful songs in every way possible of all time. I can’t even put it into words so I won’t try. Bonus points — Nick weaves a good ol’ middle finger to God and religion throughout the lyrics, which is tough to do in a love song.

    • VNV Nation, “Beloved”

      To me this is an ode to a former partner and relationship long past, a beautiful love song because it shows you can look back on someone you may not presently be with — but be so proud of what you were together. It’s a song that ascends to the heavens to let two souls meet again in eternity.

    • Andrew W.K., “She Is Beautiful”

      I feel like every Andrew WK track is a love song to life and existence itself, but this one is the most direct one to a person. Not a ballad or “dark” at all just a rip-shit banger professing love for a beautiful girl as loud as possible. If you’re ever blasting down the highway at 100 mph because you’re just TOO FREAKING EXCITED to pick up your date and you can’t get there fast enough…this is what you’re playing.

    • Depeche Mode, “Stripped”

      There are countless great Depeche Mode love songs, but what makes this one my favorite is the fact that even though it has such a cold, sexy beat slithering around, that massive brooding synth, and one of the greatest chorus lines to sing in an arena ever….yet at it’s core it’s a simple love song about just wanting to get away from the big city and have sex out in nature.

    • Roky Erickson, “I Walked With a Zombie”

      Next time you want to slow dance with your goth sweetie and harken back to simpler times and better days put this song on. If a zombie appears, make it a thruple.

    • Joan Jett & The Blackhearts, “I Hate Myself For Loving You”

      The ultimate anthem for the lover that you hate to love and love to hate. This is the song you play right before you have very aggressive make-up sex.

    • Prayers, “Black Leather” (Feat. Kat Von D)

      The only duet on this list, real life lovers Leafar and Kat sound absolutely intertwined in a beautiful hellscape that’s as haunting as it is romantic. Leafar’s dark poetry is on full display here with lines such as “Let my ashes dance with the wind, I’m countin my blessings, I’m shedding my skin”.

    • Nine Inch Nails, “Closer”

      I don’t think theres a way to have this list and not have this song on it. Absolutely iconic in every way, I listened for years as a youth to this and imagined that having sex while this song was playing would be the way I wanted to die…kinda still is.

    • Elvis Costello, “Alison”

      In my opinion, one of the saddest love songs of all time. Costello’s inner monologue with himself — coming to grips with the fact that not only will he never get the girl he loves, but he has to silently exist by her side as a friend and watch her die a slow, miserable death at the hands of other’s abuse is heartbreaking. Additionally, “My aim is true” just might be the second best way to say “I Love You” EVER.

  • The Band’s Robbie Robertson doesn’t mind Bob Dylan selling the rights to his songs

    Robbie Robertson of The Band has addressed Bob Dylan‘s recent decision to sell the rights to a number of songs, including some by The Band.

    The $300 million deal struck by Dylan with Universal Music Group for the publishing of his catalogue includes songs that Dylan’s company published on behalf of the Band, meaning their songs could be approved for use against Robertson’s wishes.

    In a new interview, Robertson said that he has no hard feelings over the deal and respects Dylan’s decision.

    “They have the publishing on the songs from [The Band’s 1968 album] ‘Music From Big Pink’ but it comes back to the Band in a couple of years,” Robertson told Rolling Stone.

    “I haven’t for a second thought, ‘Oh, my God, what are these people doing to me?’ or ‘Where has it gone?’ I’m part of that family. So it wasn’t upsetting at all. And I’m happy for Bob.”

    He said he believes Dylan made the deal after “seeing when some people pass away, like Prince or Tom Petty, and then the families are stuck with a mess, and everybody hates one another and all of that shit.

    “It’s not a bad idea to get this shit sorted out while you’re still around. It’s a different time now. All of us — we’re in a completely different stage of all these things. At one time, rule number one was you never sell your publishing. You never sell your songwriting. You never sell your record royalties. And that’s changed.”

    Dylan’s sale has not been without friction, however. Last month it was reported that he is being sued by the wife of his late collaborator Jacques Levy after she alleged that they had not been sufficiently compensated for his songwriting credits

  • Smashing Pumpkins’ ‘Machina II’ Update Could Hit 80 Songs

    Smashing Pumpkins are in a particularly prolific period, not only pushing forward with new music but going back and completing a vision from the 2000 Machina records that never was fully realized.

    In a new chat with Radio.com (heard below), Billy Corgan offers an update on the Machina II revision. “It’s being mastered now. The album reconstituted comes in at about 50-plus tracks and with the extra tracks I think with the whole project will be somewhere about in the 80 track range,” explained the singer.

    The original lineup of the group finished up their tenure in 2000 with Machina / The Machines of God, but the album’s companion – Machina II / The Friends & Enemies of Modern Music – was a little harder to come by being offered as a free Internet download. Now, revisiting that period, Billy Corgan is keen on sharing a more complete version of the vision from that time.

    “It was written to be kind of like a musical, but because it was never finished, it was like shooting a movie that wasn’t fully edited right,” said the singer. “Machina I was like one edit of the footage, and Machina II was some of the leftover footage – but there was even more stuff leftover. So, this was my attempt, 20 years later, to kind of finish the movie and in the process of trying to finish the movie, realizing the movie can never be finished because a lot of stuff wasn’t finished.”

    He adds, “Some stuff I was able to finish and some stuff is unfinished that I present. It’s almost like a sketch but in the aggregate of listening to it you kind of get the sense of the movie I was after.”

    Corgan also reveals that the record is very reflective of the band’s own story at the time. “On the one hand you have a band that’s breaking up and the band knows it’s breaking up so there’s this kind of sorrow that hangs over everything, but on the other hand we’re highly productive,” said the singer. “It’s like notating a breakup or something. It’s a very odd record and one that I don’t know if I could ever make again if I tried but I’m glad it’s there because now it will be presented in its best possible light.”

    Smashing Pumpkins released their Cyr double album last fall and Corgan has also discussed finishing a “rock opera” sequel to Melon Collie and the Infinite Sadness that he views as the third installment of a trilogy.

    Smashing Pumpkins’ Billy Corgan Speaks With Radio.com

    30 Best Rock Albums of 2000

  • Kings of Leon Announce New Album, Release Two New Songs

    Kings of Leon have returned with their first new music in five years with the release of two songs.

    “The Bandit” follows the group’s penchant for soaring vocals backed by driving rhythms. The familiar wail of frontman Caleb Followill breaks through on the chorus, as the singer croons “Must catch the bandit / Reckless abandon / Rundown and stranded / Must catch the bandit.”

    An accompanying music video features all four band members – Caleb, along with brothers Jared (bass), Nathan (drums) and cousin Matthew (guitar) – performing on a sparse sound stage. The clip, shot largely in black and white with various moments of color interspersed throughout, was helmed by Casey McGrath, who was previously nominated for a Grammy for his work on the band’s documentary Talihina Sky: The Story of Kings of Leon.

    “The Bandit” is the first official single from When You See Yourself, the band’s forthcoming album due out March 5. The LP follow’s 2016’s WALLS, which debuted at No. 1 on the Billboard chart.

    A second song from When You See Yourself, “100,000 People” has also been unveiled. The tune offers a slow burning sound that builds to an expansive chorus, featuring swirling synths and engaging percussion.

    Hear both of Kings of Leon’s new songs and see the artwork and complete track list for When You See Yourself below.

    Kings of Leon had been teasing new material in the past few weeks, posting clips of songs to their various social media accounts. In a Christmas Day tweet, Jared Followill noted the long delay between his band’s albums and asked fans for forgiveness.

    “Blame it on the holiday ‘cheer’, but I just feel like sharing,” the bassist began. “Kings of Leon tweeted ‘the w8 is nearly over’ TEN MONTHS ago. Enough. If you were promised new Kings music in 2 weeks, would you forgive us? Could you?”

    In conjunction with their new music, the band has also unveiled new merchandise on their website. Proceeds will go to Live Nation’s Crew Nation, a relief fund set up to help live music professionals struggling due to the coronavirus pandemic.

    Kings of Leon, ‘When You See Yourself’ Track List

    1. “When You See Yourself, Are You Far Away”
    2. “The Bandit”
    3. “100,000 People”
    4. “Stormy Weather”
    5. “A Wave”
    6. “Golden Restless Age”
    7. “Time in Disguise”
    8. “Supermarket”
    9. “Claire & Eddie”
    10. “Echoing”
    11. “Fairytale”