Jay-Z: 99 Problems, $35 Million; Pearl Jam Readies Its Ninth; Vampire Weekend Gets "Hero"ic
Headlines: The annual Hip-Hop Cash Kings list from Forbes is out and Jay-Z has overtaken 2008 leader 50 Cent for the top spot even though the $35 million he made over the past 12 months was way down from the $82 million he made in 2008 and nowhere near the $150 million Fitty pulled in last year. Economic downturn and all that. Call it a hunch, but here's saying that Fitty probably won't be seeing that top spot again. The top five: Jay-Z, Puff Daddy, Kanye West, Fitty, Akon. Pearl Jam - "Nine." Well, the grunge icons will release their ninth album in September but it's actually called "Backspacer." Which sounds like the title of a cheap, cable-only horror movie about an Internet stalker or something. The first single will be "The Fixer," which sounds like a new drama on TNT. As for buying "Backspacer" ... "the album will be released in the U.S. through Target, the exclusive mass retail partner, Pearl Jam's own Ten Club and independent retailers, as well as online through digital, and gaming platforms yet to be announced." Speaking of independent retailers, don't look for EMI releases to turn up there. The label is going to stop servicing small stores in the name of cost cutting. An unlimited supply???
Bob Dylan may not play guitar much anymore but you can play as him on "Guitar Hero 5." Also on the new list: Elliott Smith, Kings of Leon and Vampire Weekend. Scarf not included. Look for Maxwell to be at the top of the Billboard charts next week. The R&B star's first album in eight years should sell approximately 300,000 copies in its debut. Even if it's the official No. 1, Michael Jackson might still have one more week as the unofficial top seller, as sales were reportedly brisk on Tuesday, the day of his memorial service. Didn't Trent Reznor say he was going to stop using the Internet or something? We've all said similar things, right? "I'm going to read more and do more outdoor activities!" But man, the Internet, hard to resist. Anyway, Reznor offers another mini-missive on the Nine Inch Nails Web site about how to succeed as a new or unknown artist.
Some new album news ... Rosanne Cash has a covers album due out in October inspired by a list of 100 essential country songs that her father gave her in 1973. It will be heavy on duets, and no slouches either: Bruce Springsteen, Elvis Costello, Jeff Tweedy and Rufus Wainwright. There's a new sorta-not-really Sufjan Stevens project on the way. It's actually a re-recording of Sufjan's 2001 album, "Enjoy Your Rabbit," by a handful of composers. As for his 50-State Project ... 48 left. Also this fall, look forward to the new one from Atlas Sound, the side project from Deerhunter's Bradford Cox, which will feature contributions from Panda Bear and Laetitia Sadier from Stereolab. Everyone with all the collaborating these days. For all his quirks, Cox has released almost consistently-excellent albums over the last few years with his various bands. This one should continue that streak. And word on the street is that there may be a fall tour with recently-dormant U.K. indie-electronic band Broadcast, which would just be all kinds of fantastic.
Video of the Day: Jenny Lewis - "See Fernando"
A nice enough rollicking tune from "Acid Tongue" gets the '60s-spy-movie-trailer treatment. Lots of absurd hats but don't worry -- the hot pants are still there.
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