Local Current Blog

Music News: Damon Albarn made ‘local king’ in Mali

Damon Albarn performs in 2015 (Cassandra Hannagan/Getty Images)

Damon Albarn has been named a “local king” in Mali, where he’s frequently visited to perform and collaborate with Malian musicians. When Albarn performed at the Festival Acoustik Bamako, he was given the honorary status of “local king” and an elementary classroom was named after him. “I’m not used to this sort of thing,” said the Blur and Gorillaz mastermind. (Rolling Stone)


Pop star Kesha has been denied permission to record outside her contract with producer Dr. Luke and his label, part of Sony Music. New York Supreme Court justice Shirley Kornreich didn’t accept Kesha’s argument that her career is being “irreparably harmed” by the court’s refusal to nullify her Sony contract. In 2014, Kesha sued to be released from her contract, accusing Dr. Luke of emotional and sexual abuse including rape. Dr. Luke denied the accusations and countersued. (Rolling Stone)

The decision sparked an outpouring of support from Kesha’s peers and fans alike — and Taylor Swift has donated $250,000 to Kesha “to help with any of her financial needs during this trying time,” said Swift’s spokesperson. (Rolling Stone)

Police unions call for Beyoncé boycott

Police unions in Miami, Tampa, and Nashville are calling for boycotts of shows on Beyoncé‘s upcoming tour, asking officers not to volunteer to provide security at the concerts. According to Miami union president Javier Ortiz, the unions believe that “Beyoncé used this year’s Super Bowl to divide Americans by promoting the Black Panthers and her anti-police message shows how she does not support law enforcement.” (Billboard)

Bon Iver show up in Seoul

Bon Iver have returned to the stage for their first performances since last year’s Eaux Claires Music & Arts Festival. A Sunday show in South Korea opened the band’s first-ever Asian tour. Bon Iver have also been added to the lineup for this summer’s Eaux Claires festival, and Justin Vernon says he’s working on new music. (Pitchfork)

Blackmore beef

Ritchie Blackmore, founding guitarist of Deep Purple, has announced that he will not be attending the band’s Rock and Roll Hall of Fame induction. Blackmore is apparently upset that he’s not being asked to perform with the band, who have opted to perform in their current incarnation — despite the fact that some members of the band’s current lineup are not being inducted for their work in the band, and some past members (including Blackmore and singer David Coverdale) are. The band say they’ve reached a “compromise” with the Rock Hall: the award will be accepted by the actual inductees, and then the band’s current lineup will perform. (Billboard)

Today’s Beatles news

A lock of John Lennon‘s hair has sold at auction for $35,000. The hair was trimmed from the Beatle‘s head as he prepared for his role in the 1967 movie How I Won the War. (Billboard)

Eric Clapton has revealed that his forthcoming album I Still Do will include vocals and acoustic guitar from the late George Harrison — under Harrison’s longtime pseudonym Angelo Mysterioso, which he first used as a songwriter with Cream due to contractual limitations that would have otherwise prevented him from collaborating with that band. (Billboard)

Demi Lovato to sing Ray Charles for Barack Obama

On Wednesday, the White House will host a Smithsonian tribute to Ray Charles that will be broadcast Friday on PBS. Among the artists who have been invited to perform at the tribute are Sam MooreBrittany Howard (Alabama Shakes), Leon BridgesAndra DayUsher, and Demi Lovato. (Billboard)

Vinyl will return

After broadcasting only one episode of the current ten-episode season, HBO opted to renew Vinyl — a fictional series set in the New York record industry circa 1973, executive produced by Mick Jagger and Martin Scorsese. (Billboard) Mary Lucia’s a fan of the show; here’s why.

New CHVRCHES video

CHVRCHES have released a new video for their song “Clearest Blue.” (Pitchfork)