New Prince Site

http://ickmusic.com/pics/lotusflow3r.png

For the first time in nearly a year Prince has an official web presence again. It’s a place holder at the moment but promises many of the features of the NPGMC. The media player is playing “Crimson & Clover”, “(There’ll Never B) Another Like Me” and Bria Valente‘s ““Here I Come”. Of particular interest is the TV on the bottom of the site featuring a scene from Purple Rain (the 25th aniversary is this year, could we finally get a remaster?)

You can find it all at www.lotusflow3r.com.

Bria Valente: Prince’s New Talent

If you saw the Lakers-Celtics game on Christmas Day, you may have seen Prince in the crowd, next to an attractive brunette. A shocker, I know! Her name is Bria Valente, and while I hesitate to call her Prince’s Flavor of the Month, or 21 st Century Vanity, he has spent some time with her in the studio. The track is “Here I Come”, and has Prince written all over it. The lyrics, guitars, and every other piece of instrumentation most likely.

Brias bedroom eyes
Bria's bedroom eyes

My mind is not blown, but it has a nice, quiet storm feel to it. You can hear it on P’s new playground on the web: MPLSound.com. Not sure who the tech gurus are behind this venture, maybe Prince himself? That, or someone in need of a tutorial in 21st century web design. But have a listen, and look at a slide show of the lovely Ms. Valente.

http://mplsound.com/

Prince emerges from the studio

Not one, not two, but FIVE new Prince songs made their debut yesterday. Four of them on L.A.’s Indie 103.1: “4Ever”, “Wall of Berlin”, “Colonized Mind”, and “Crimson & Clover”, a loose cover of Tommy James & the Shondells (with some new lyrics), interspersed with some Jimi-esque “Wild Thing”.

Also making its debut a couple of days ago was MPLSound.com, which is streaming the mp3 of another new tune, a retro “classic” Prince joint called “(There’ll Never B) Another Like Me”. Ch-check it out!

http://mplsound.com

[12/19 Update – Looks like mplsound.com has quickly faded to black, joining its cousin, 3121.com. Here’s hoping the purple man can get a web site going again, for more than a day or two next time…]

Psst… head over to EastofLA.com. Or S-Endz.com.

Working On A Dream’s Album Cover

Boss fans: How does this make you feel?

I have to admit, I’m pretty lenient when it comes to album covers from my favorite artists. I think it goes back to Lovesexy – possibly the most embarrassing album cover of all time. Regardless of one’s opinion, you’re gonna be spending a fair amount of time with the record, so you may as well learn to get along, right? As an 18 year old kid, I stepped into the record store, grabbed a copy of Prince’s new album, and with as much masculinity as I could muster, placed this on the counter and paid me my money down…

Nowadays we buy most of our music behind the anonymous curtain of the internet. In MY day, you suffered for your music!

More Prince Ramblings

I just read this short, what seems to be rather abbreviated piece in the New Yorker. Claire Hoffman was invited over to Prince’s 30,000 sq ft mansion in Beverly Park to chat over carrot soup. It got me once again to thinking about the purple man, so bear with me and my stream of consciousness typing…

As Prince has aged, he’s undergone some significant transformations. He’s always been someone who has changed styles with seemingly every album. The quiet, pompadoured lust king of Purple Rain, the 60’s psychedelic from Around the World in a Day; the outgoing, smiling, short-do’d comedian from Parade, and on and on.

In the 90’s, I watched in a sort of curious fascination as he changed his name to a unpronounceable symbol. The music still grabbed me though. The Gold Experience, Chaos and Disorder, Emancipation – I still ate it all up.

Since Prince joined up with the Jehovah’s Witnesses earlier in the 00’s, he still has managed to pump out some music that I enjoy – I can enjoy parts of The Rainbow Children, Musicology, 3121 and even Planet Earth.

But it’s not the same.

I guess I’ve resigned myself to the fact that I’m most enthralled with the Prince of the 80’s – the prolific wunderkind that produced, arranged, composed and performed music that was wholly original, groundbreaking, and off the wall… Sex, God, straight, gay, starfish, coffee, Head, cab drivers, tambourines, banana daiquiris at Christmas time, dirty minds, strange relationships, squirrel meat (uh! don’t try it), revolutionary rock & roll, girls & boys, old friends 4 sale…

Fast forward to 2008 – Prince performing at exclusive rooftop gigs for $1000 a head; changing the lyrics of his song “Sexuality” – an affirmation of complete individual freedom – now to be known only as “Spirituality”; chasing after web sites for posting his image; and not even maintaining his own web site, or offering any sort of presence on the web to connect with the people who have supported him all these years.

“I can’t understand all the things people say”, Prince sang in “Controversy”, “Am I black or white, am I straight or gay?”

Who was that guy? What was he all about? No one knew, not even Prince – and man was it fun to go along on that ride with him.

And in this interview, we get this gem, from the man who has spent his entire adult life blurring the lines between male and female, straight and gay:

When asked about his perspective on social issues—gay marriage, abortion—Prince tapped his Bible and said, “God came to earth and saw people sticking it wherever and doing it with whatever, and he just cleared it all out. He was, like, ‘Enough.’ ”

I’m not ready to jump off the train, mind you. I’ll always be interested in what he’s doing, and will always shell out the money when it comes time to buy albums or concert tickets (but sorry, no perfumes or coffee table books). But clearly, our paths have diverged. And nor do I want for Prince to ever return to the Prince of days past. I mean, we don’t need a 50 year old Prince jumping around stage in bikini briefs and leg warmers – no thank you very much.

I guess all my ranting and rambling here is a chance for me to affirm to myself that we’re all getting older, people change, and some things are just gone forever.

This Prince is gone forever…

Shocker: Prince Videos Online!

Wowee! The artist formerly known as one who embraced the internet but got all grumpy and now has no official internet presence (T.A.F.K.A…eh never mind) has a slew of videos available on MTV’s new video site, MTVMUSIC.COM.

Lordy only knows exactly how long it will be before the cease & desists hit MTV, but in the meantime, let’s embed legally while we can!

They even have the 17 + minute live video of “I Would Die 4 U” / “Baby I’m a Star” – the very same one I still have on VHS from a late 1984 Friday Night Videos. Prince in his prime. Huzzah!

Prince hips me to Janelle Monáe

(Photo from Nastassia A. Davis’s Flickr photostream.)

There’s lots of ways to hear about a new artist. Find a cool blog posting. Hear it on the radio. Have a friend tell you about it. Or in this case, have one of your favorite artists wait outside of the Viper Room for the artist’s gig to end so he can talk to her.

Prince drove down the hill to the Sunset Strip last night to meet with Atlanta-based, futuristic R&B singer Janelle Monáe after her gig. E Online found it newsworthy enough to write about it, and I apparently find it newsworthy enough to repeat it here. It’s just that I often wonder what my purple friend is up to. The man still doesn’t have a functional official web site, which is stupefying to me. For all the fuss he makes about people posting his images, songs, and videos on the internet, you’d think that he would have something to offer us. But nope, still zilch on the internet front.

But on to Janelle. The music is unique, fresh, funky, and you can hear influences from Prince to Outkast to smooth singers like Shirley Bassey (she sang some of the James Bond themes). Janelle was recently signed to Diddy’s Bad Boy Records, which is okay as long as he keeps his paws off. I don’t feel like hearing his “yeah”s and “uh”s in her songs.

Janelle’s well on her way to establishing herself as the next best thing on the scene. As usual, I’m a little behind. So thanks Mr. Nelson for swinging by the Viper Room last night. I owe you. No, not actual money. Man, that Prince… always looking for a payday!

Janelle Monáe – Sincerely, Jane (mp3)

Buy her new EP, Metropolis: the Chase Suite:

Sites: Official | MySpace

New Wendy & Lisa: Balloon

Prince may have dropped Wendy & Lisa from the band back in the 80’s, but the ladies certainly never hung it up and called it a day. They’ve released a number of well received albums over the years, and contributed to film and television scores (e.g. Heroes).

Late this week, Wendy & Lisa announced a new album, White Flags of Winter Chimneys. Along with the news comes the lead track available for download on their website and their MySpace. The song is called “Balloon”, an atmospheric, gently haunting tune. Check out the stream here, then go over to W&L’s place to download.

Wendy & Lisa – “Balloon”

Wendy & Lisa Links: Official Site | MySpace

The Time in Vegas: Go to the Flamingo, do The Bird

Taking a cue from their old boss, Morris Day and the boys have taken up a residency at a Las Vegas hotel/casino to kick out the jams for a couple of months. Last year, Prince took over the Rio for a few months of very well received shows at his makeshift club, 3121 (complete with his own “jazz cuisine” restaurant).

Well it’s 2008, and after getting back together to jam with Rihanna at the Grammys earlier this year, the boys are ready for more. Starting last Tuesday, and running through August 2nd, the “classic” Time lineup (sorry, St. Paul Peterson) will be performing a series of shows at the Flamingo Hotel/Casino in Vegas.  We’re talkin’ Morris Day, his sidekick Jerome Benton, Jesse Johnson, über-producers Jimmy Jam & Terry Lewis, Monte Moir, and Jellybean Johnson.

Check out this AP article for an interview with the boys. Might be worth a weekend getaway this summer. Who can babysit?

Prince continues to make friends, says “No Way, Norway!”

Our purple friend is at it again. This time, his sights are set on Norway’s C+C Records, who organized a tribute box set made up of 50 artists doing covers of Prince tunes. Tip # 1, C+C Records: next time, don’t contact Prince’s people to try to send him a free copy. Odds are he won’t say “Thanks.”….

In a rare defense of the purple one, how wise is it really to put together a box set of Prince tunes without making any legal arrangements at all? Even if you are giving it away for free?

Eliot at Wired’s Listening Post blog has the story:

Fifty artists who recorded Prince covers in honor of his purpleness’s 50th birthday on June 7 have been slapped with a lawsuit by the short-tempered star, whose lawyers demand that all copies of the tribute, which had reached number eight on Norway’s album charts and received several popular reviews by the Norwegian press, be destroyed.

It’s perfectly legal to record and sell cover songs of someone else’s material, so long as you pay the compulsory licensing fee of about ten cents per song. To sell their five-disc set of 81 Prince cover songs, they would have to remit around $8 per unit sold to Prince under a compulsory mechanical license.

However, Norway’s C+C Records distributed 5,000 of the box sets for free earlier this month, and claim that no one made any money from the giveaway. As a result, they didn’t think they owed Prince anything except maybe a free copy.

C+C Records owner and Prince fan Christer Falck contacted the purple one’s people to try to send one to Prince, and that’s when the trouble began [bold text by Ickmusic], according to the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet (now offline, via Daily Swarm), one of many publications to post positive reviews of the collection.

For now, all 81 songs can be previewed for free on C+C Records‘ website, and some are also available on MySpace in streamable medley form.

When this giveaway first began, there were 5,000 copies of this compilation in circulation. Thanks to Prince’s lawsuit and the publicity it will generate, we expect that number to balloon significantly in the coming weeks.