Local Current Blog

Today’s Music News: N.E.R.D reunite—for SpongeBob

N.E.R.D—the group consisting of Pharrell WilliamsChad Hugo, and Shay Haley—haven’t made an album since 2010, before Pharrell’s rise to superstardom on the basis of songs like “Happy” and “Blurred Lines.” They just reunited to make a new song, though. What got the band back together? Hint: he lives in a pineapple under the sea. N.E.R.D’s “Squeeze Me” will appear on the soundtrack to the forthcoming SpongeBob Movie: Sponge Out of Water. (Billboard)

Beyoncé fired her father as her manager three years ago, as her parents divorced. Last Tuesday, Beyoncé’s father Matthew Knowles had what amounted to a yard sale outside the offices of his Music World Entertainment in Houston. Among the items offered in the sale, which Matthew Knowles said netted him a couple thousand dollars, were items of Beyoncé merch including outdated t-shirts, CDs, and concert DVDs. Some suggested that Matthew Knowles must be hard up for cash, but he dismissed that idea. “If I needed money, I wouldn’t sell $5 t-shirts. I’d sell a Grammy or an MTV award.” (Billboard)

The fastest-growing radio format of 2014 was classic hip-hop, a format that radio station owners rushed to adopt as they discovered that a significant portion of today’s radio listeners love to hear the likes of the Notorious B.I.G.Tupac ShakurDr. DreSnoop Dogg, and Missy Elliot. Atlanta now has, count ’em, three old-school hip-hop stations. Some observers are wondering if the format’s growing too quickly, speculating that some of these stations will flip as soon as a new format becomes faddish, but for the foreseeable future, it looks like old-school joints are going to continue to multiply on radio dials across the country. (Rolling Stone)

As he released his recent album Tomorrow’s Modern Boxes on Bandcamp after three months exclusively on BitTorrentThom Yorke also dropped a new track titled “Youwouldn’tlikemewhenI’mangry.” (Rolling Stone)

Bettye LaVette‘s new album Unworthy, set for release on Jan. 27, opens with an unexpected Bob Dylan cover choice: “Unbelievable,” from Dylan’s much-reviled 1990 album Under the Red Sky. Hear LaVette’s version at Rolling Stone.

Meanwhile, Hibbing’s annual Dylan Days celebration has been put on “indefinite hiatus,” with its organizing committee disbanding and encouraging fans to instead focus on the annual Duluth Dylan Fest. (Local Current)

If you’ve been on the fence as to whether you should go on Kiss Kruise V, here’s a little incentive: on board the boat, the band plan to play its 1975 live album Alive! in its entirety. (Billboard)

Among all the controversies accompanying the release of The Interview, here’s one from a perhaps unexpected source: two K-pop/hip-hop stars, Tiger JK and Yoon Mi Rae, claim that the use of their duet “Pay Day” in the film was unauthorized. The two say they were approached about their song being used in the film, but due to the sensitive nature of the film’s subject matter (the assassination of the North Korean leader), they were reluctant to approve and never signed a contract. They’re now threatening legal action. (Billboard)

Jazz clarinetist Buddy DeFranco, known for performing with the likes of Billie HolidayElla Fitzgerald, and Frank Sinatra, has died at age 91 after several years of declining health. (Billboard)