Local Current Blog

Today’s Music News: Sony brings the Walkman back as a luxury MP3 player

In 1980, the Sony Walkman cassette player revolutionized music listening, turning it into a mobile, personal experience. The Walkman has largely lost its cachet in the MP3 era—eclipsed by the iPod and iPhone—but Sony is aiming to bring some of the Walkman’s mojo back with a high-end player. The Walkman ZX2, set to launch this spring, has a powerful processor that will allow it to play high-res audio similar to that which will be available from Neil Young‘s Pono player. The price? Just $1,199.99. (Pitchfork)

In other tech news, Beats Electronics is being sued by a company called Monster in a lawsuit that alleges SocialNetwork-like backstabbing and duplicity. Here’s the (relatively) short version of the story: Monster, an electronics company, partnered with Beats to design the headphones that became wildly popular—and, ultimately, made Beats co-founders Dr. Dre and Jimmy Iovine outrageously wealthy when Beats was acquired by Apple last year. Beats dumped Monster back in 2012, and after various shifts in ownership, when the lucrative Apple deal went down Dre and Iovine came out on top—while Monster was left in the cold. The question now is whether those shifts in ownership were merely shrewd business moves on the part of the Beats team, or whether they involved illegally fraudulent activity. This lawsuit will probably become the basis of a TV miniseries in a few years, so you may want to head over to Gizmodo now and bone up on the details of the unfolding case.

Sam Smith is defending his decision to visit SeaWorld, a destination reviled by many who have seen the 2013 documentary Blackfish. “Seaworld Australia and Seaworld America are two very different things. Please remember this guys x,” Smith tweeted in response to fan criticism of photos he posted from the Queensland resort. “There’s no whales here.” (Music Times)

Lana Del Rey has announced the title of her next album: Honeymoon, she says, will hark back to the pop sound of her debut Born to Die and will include a cover of Nina Simone‘s “Don’t Let Me Be Misunderstood.” No word yet on a release date. (Billboard)

Nick Cave now has his own signature skateboard deck, despite the fact that Cave has never been known to ride a skateboard. The deck features lyrics from Cave’s song “Nature Boy” and a drawing of a nude woman. It was available for $100 as recently as yesterday, but quickly sold out. (AV Club)

Jack WhiteDrake, and AC/DC will headline the 2015 Coachella music festival in April, joined by dozens of other artists. (Local Current)

Meanwhile, Third Man Records will celebrate the tenth anniversary of the White Stripes‘ album Get Behind Me Satan by issuing a never-before-released live album and video of a 2005 White Stripes show in Brazil. (Rolling Stone)

Eminem‘s 2013 song “Rap God” is in the Guinness Book of World Records for containing the most words ever used in a hit single (1,560). Now, Eminem is being sued for $8 million by rapper Raydio G, who contends that the song contains a 25-second sample illegally lifted from the song “Lookin’ Boy” by his group Hotstylz. (AV Club)

The New York Times has video of Courtney Love performing a song from Kansas City Choir Boy, a new opera premiering on Thursday.

In local news, the downtown St. Paul venue formerly known as the Artists’ Quarter has re-opened exactly a year after it closed; on New Year’s Eve, the jazz room, now called Vieux Carre and run by the Dakota Jazz Club, hosted a show by the Southside Aces. (Local Current)

Finally, a few musician relationship updates—er, rumors:

  • John Mayer and Katy Perry seem to be canoodling again. (Defamer)
  • This probably won’t do anything to cool Perry’s ongoing feud with Mayer’s ex Taylor Swift, especially since rumors that Swift wants to date Bradley Cooper seem to be false. (Billboard)
  • Chris Martin and Jennifer Lawrence, who also supposedly aren’t dating, went out together on New Year’s Eve and had sushi, so there’s that. (Bustle)