Bon Iver Announces Spring Tour Dates

Bon Iver may not be performing at the Grammys, but Billboard reports the indie-folk group will be performing for fans this spring. Fresh off their "Saturday Night Live" spot last week, Justin Vernon and co. have announced a short run of April tour dates surrounding Coachella. The eight-date tour kicks off April 12 in Las Vegas and finishes up at the New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival on April 27, stopping throughout California and Arizona along the way.

The April U.S. run will follow the band's previously-announced tour through Australia and New Zealand in March.

The band's frontman, Justin Vernon, recently hinted that a collaboration with Alicia Keys could be on the horizon, though a follow-up to 2011's critically-acclaimed self-titled effort could be a year in the making.

Bon Iver spring tour dates:
April 12: Las Vegas, Nev. (The Joint)
April 14: Indio, Calif. (Coachella)
April 17: Davis, Calif. (Freeborn Hall @ UC Davis)
April 19: San Francisco, Calif. (Bill Graham Civic Auditorium)
April 21: Indio, Calif. (Coachella)
April 22: Santa Barbara, Calif. (Santa Barbara Bowl)
April 23: Tucson, Ariz. (AVA Amphitheater)
April 27: New Orleans, La. (New Orleans Jazz & Heritage Festival)
May 27: George, Wash. (Sasquatch Music Festival)

Counting Crows Want Fans to Hear New Album for Free

According to their website, the Counting Crows, who amicably left longtime label Geffen Records in 2009 to make music independently, will release their first full-length in four years -- titled Underwater Sunshine (or What We Did on Our Summer Vacation) -- on April 10. But fans will get a first listen long before, when the Bay-area band streams the covers album in its entirety through Spotify and elsewhere online, including select radio stations.

"We don't want to keep it from people, I think we want to get it to people," frontman Adam Duritz told Billboard.com about the record, comprised of mostly obscure covers from Bob Dylan, Big Star, The Faces and more (full track-listing below).

"You can either try to treat the Internet like it is a big drain sucking your profit down the tubes, or you can realize it's also a conduit," he said. "There's got to be a better way than just bemoaning the loss."

The album represents Counting Crows' first effort in the Facebook/Twitter era, in which more powerhouse labels are passed up in favor of boutique management operations that help connect musicians directly with their fans. Beverly Hills-based independent label Collective Sounds will issue Underwater Sunshine digitally and on CD/vinyl.

Read the full story from Billboard

Track listing:

1. "Untitled (Love Song)" by The Romany Rye
2. "Start Again" by Teenage Fanclub
3. "Hospital" by Coby Brown
4. "Mercy" by Tender Mercies
5. "Meet On The Ledge" by Fairport Convention
6. "Like Teenage Gravity" by Kasey Anderson & The Honkies
7. "Amie" by Pure Prairie League
8. "Coming Around" by Travis
9. "Ooh La La" by The Faces
10. "All My Failures" by Dawes
11. "Return of the Grievous Angel" by Gram Parsons
12. "Four White Stallions" by Tender Mercies
13. "Jumping Jesus" by Sordid Humor
14. "You Ain't Going Nowhere" by Bob Dylan
15. "The Ballad of El Goodo" by Big Star

Facebook to Make Bono Richest Rock Star in the World

Bono's stake in Facebook is about to make him the richest rock star on the planet when the company floats on the stock exchange.

The U2 singer owns 1.5 percent of the shares in Facebook through his private equity firm, Elevation Partners. Under current valuations, when the social networking site floats on the stock exchange later this year, Bono's shares will be worth just under $1 billion (£630 million).

Bono's firm invested in Facebook in 2009, paying around $90 million (£56 million) for its shares.

The development means Bono could be worth, on paper at least, as much as $1.1 billion (£695 million), some $300 million (£189 million) richer than the current most-wealthy rock star, Sir Paul McCartney.

Read the full story at NME.com

Coldplay Add 'Mylo Xyloto' to Spotify

After selling over a million copies of last year's Mylo Xyloto, Coldplay have relented and handed their latest release over to Spotify. The band allowed iTunes to stream tracks from their fifth record to promote its October LP, but there was no sign of the album on any streaming sites — until this week. The band released their latest Mylo video for "Charlie Brown" on Friday.

Coldplay didn't explain their decision to avoid streaming sites, but a rep from their label issued a statement to CNET in October reading, "We always work with our artists and management on a case by case basis to deliver the best outcome for each release."

The Black Keys were more clear about their decision to keep their disc El Camino off streaming services. In an interview with VH1, the band said it's unfair both to artists receiving meager royalties and fans who shelled out cash for the album. "For a band that makes a living selling music, it's not at a point yet to be feasible for us," drummer Patrick Carney said.

They're not alone. Adele has also shunned streaming, along with U.K. music distributor STHoldings, who yanked more than 200 indie labels from the sites last November. Adele's blockbuster 21 is not available on Spotify; however, her smash single "Rolling in the Deep" does appear on the service.

Ingrid Michaelson Debuts at No. 5 on Charts

According to Billboard, singer/songwriter Ingrid Michaelson notches her best sales week and highest charting album ever as Human Again takes a bow at No. 5 with 40,000 units sold. Until this week, her best frame came when her last set, 2009's Everybody, bowed and peaked at No. 18 with 23,000 sold. The new album's current single "Ghost" rises from No. 22 to No. 21 on the Triple A airplay chart this week (viewable at billboard.biz/charts).

Adele continues her reign at No. 1, while Tim McGraw's Emotional Traffic debuts at No. 2. Kellie Pickler scores her third straight top 10 with 100 Proof and Christian singer Kari Jobe rounds out the top 10 with her sophomore release of Where I Find You.

For the full details on this week's charts, continue reading the Billboard story.

Adele to Make Much Anticipated Return at Grammys

SANTA MONICA, Calif. —Current GRAMMY® nominee Adele will make her much anticipated return to the live stage on the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards (www.grammy.com). This will be her first time performing live in nearly five months since being forced to cancel a sold-out U.S. tour to undergo surgery on her vocal cords. Music's Biggest Night® — hosted by two-time GRAMMY winner LL COOL J — takes place live on Sunday, Feb. 12 at STAPLES Center in Los Angeles and will be broadcast in high definition and 5.1 surround sound on the CBS Television Networkfrom 8 – 11:30 p.m. (ET/PT).

"I'm immensely proud to have been asked to perform at this year's GRAMMY Awards," said Adele. "It's an absolute honor to be included in such a night, and for it to be my first performance in months is very exciting and of course nerve-racking, but what a way to get back into it all."

Two-time GRAMMY winner Adele has six nominations: Record Of The Year, Song Of The Year and Best Short Form Music Video for "Rolling In The Deep"; Album Of The Year and Best Pop Vocal Album for 21; and Best Pop Solo Performance for "Someone Like You."

Previously announced performers for the 54th Annual GRAMMY Awards include Jason Aldean and Kelly Clarkson; Glen Campbell with The Band Perry and Blake Shelton; Coldplay and Rihanna; Foo Fighters; Bruno Mars; Paul McCartney; Nicki Minaj; and Taylor Swift.

EXCLUSIVE: The End of a Journey for David Crowder*Band

by Jonathan Robles

Conventional wisdom in the music industry says you don’t quit when you’re on top. Not when your latest album has just debuted at No. 2—behind only Adele. Not when it’s your first album and most certainly not when it’s your seventh major release.

David Crowder*Band, one of the most groundbreaking bands in contemporary Christian music, is familiar with the unconventional. Their seventh and final LP, Give Us Rest or (A Requiem Mass in C [The Happiest of All Keys]), released earlier this month and became the No. 1 new album in the country, charting higher than any of their previous records. For most bands, this would mark the beginning, but for this group of guys from Waco, Texas, it marks the end of a journey.

“It’s a perfect backwards moment,” acknowledges David Crowder, speaking with Variance. “What I love most about what we’re doing is that it’s so counter-cultural. That’s part of what we’ve done for the entire time as a band. We’ve shaped our lifestyles around the idea that our definition of success isn’t what you see in culture. I understand this doesn’t make sense on paper, but it feels like the perfect ending.”

The band recently played together for the last time as a group, marking the end of a journey that began in 1995 when Crowder helped start a church after realizing many of his peers at Baylor University were not attending one.

Looking back nearly 17 years later, Crowder believes he has fulfilled what he set out to do.

“We always looked at what we’re doing in a very utilitarian way,” he recalls. “What we’re doing is useful to a group of people who are wanting to express themselves to God using music. It made things very simple. We honestly never thought, ‘We’re going to express ourselves artistically.’ Our band was really formed just to sing to God and to help others do so. If that wasn’t happening then in our minds it wasn’t worth our time. We didn’t have that ‘artistic itch’ that we needed to scratch. It was more about serving a purpose. If it’s been useful then we’ve done something good.”

He maintains that same perspective when reflecting on one of the band’s more controversial moments among churchgoers. In 2009, they covered John Mark McMillan's song "How He Loves” and replaced the words “sloppy wet kiss” with “unforeseen kiss.” The Christian blogosphere was rattled. But Crowder would do it again if given the chance.

“Again, it’s about whether or not it’s useful,” he explains. “At that time, the song had been rejected in most settings simply because of those lyrics, so it took changing two words to give that song a life that it previously hadn’t had, making it useful for a whole new group of people. The main thematic element of the song was not about a kiss. It was about the love of God. The way this song happens, you rediscover that, and that made it worth it to us.”

As for the final album, it’s still too early to tell how many will react over time. At many points, it certainly plays like a funeral mass—marking an end to a journey but also celebrating the past. It’s appropriate, given the bittersweet conclusion that is nothing like the typical “band breakup.”

“We’re still the closest of friends,” Crowder affirms. “Part of why I’m loving this ending—it’s the reason I freakin’ love them—is that they’re the kind of people who at the end can say we’re supposed to lay this down and move forward. It makes you that much more excited that you’ve spent so much of your life with these people, that when the end comes you all just know. There have been so many times that my favorite band has called it quits and I griped, so I understand, but we have to do what is in our chest to do and that’s to put a period—an end to the sentence—and head off somewhere else.”

This certainly isn’t the last to be heard from a band that has played a pivotal role in modern worship music—and perhaps Christianity as a whole. Some of the band members are already taking steps toward new projects (some of which will include working together). For Crowder himself, the future looks slightly different.

“There’s a lot of collaboration that I’ve wanted to do,” he reveals. “People I’ve wanted to play with. The most startling part is doing all of this without the guys in my near proximity. That still gets to me, but if it gets to the point where they’re all making music and I’m still making music it would be amazing because it would feel almost as if everything was multiplied in a sense.”

While the future is unclear, Crowder knows he will be making music again.

“There’s still this pretty significantly-sized hole that I’d like to keep contributing to,” he says. “I feel like there’s still not a lot of music that’s corporate-oriented that fits into the left-of-center churches. I really feel like we’re headed in a direction that we need to be headed in, wherever that may be. For right now, I’m just going to take some time and make sure my foot is falling where it needs to fall. Ultimately, that’s what matters.”

Give Us Rest is available now on iTunes and wherever music is sold.

Mindy Kaling Getting Her Own Show on Fox?

When news broke last week of NBC's plans to develop a spin-off of The Office around Dwight Schrute, many fans were quick to suggest other characters who deserved their own series. At the top of the list: Mindy Kaling's Kelly Kapoor. The good news? Kaling may be getting her own series. The bad news? This may be her final season on The Office.

According to Variety, Fox has ordered a trio of pilots including a comedy pilot from actress/producer Kaling and Universal Television. In addition to starring, Kaling would executive produce with Howard Klein (who also produces The Office). The project was originally intended for NBC, which passed, opening it up for other bidders.

The untitled pilot is described as a young "Bridget Jones"-type OB/GYN trying to navigate both her personal and professional lives. (A possible lead-in for Zooey Deschanel's New Girl?)

First her successful new book, and now a TV pilot? 2012 is looking good for Kaling!

'Safety Not Guaranteed' a Hit at Sundance

It's official. Sundance Film Festival loves Safety Not Guaranteed.

"A small movie with a big heart, "Safety Not Guaranteed" is a sci-fi-tinged oddball comedy about love as the ultimate risky adventure," according to Variety.

Inspired by a real-life story, the film received an enormous standing ovation at its premiere this week, and critics have overwhelmingly had positive things to say about the cast which stars Aubrey Plaza (Parks and Recreation), Mark Duplass (The League) and Jake Johnson (New Girl).

Read the full review from Wired.

This is all good news for Jake Johnson, whose New Girl is one of the most popular shows of the season. He discusses that and more in the new issue of Variance.

NBC Developing 'Office' Spin-off About Dwight Schrute

According to TV Guide and Deadline, NBC is planting the seeds for a spin-off of The Office centered on Dwight Schrute (Rainn Wilson) and the Schrute family beet farm.

The series, which would tentatively launch in early 2013, would follow Dwight's life outside of Dunder Mifflin at his family's beet farm and bed and breakfast. The beet farm has been featured in several episodes stemming back to Season 2, with The Office and Parks and Recreation executive producer Mike Schur playing the role of Dwight's business partner and oddball cousin Mose.

The potential spin-off will be introduced later this season in an Office episode set at Schrute Farms.

Wilson and his co-star/series executive producer Paul Lieberstein would executive-produce the new show with fellow Office executive producer (and former NBC Entertainment Chief) Ben Silverman, who has been helping develop the spin-off. Greg Daniels, who first adapted The Office for the U.S., is not involved.

News of the potential spin-off comes at a time when the flagship series is still in a transitional period. After longtime star Steve Carell left last April, some viewers (and the character Dwight himself) have not completely warmed to the idea of Andy (Ed Helms) being in charge. The comedy's ratings have slipped since Carell left; the most recent new episode drew a 3.0 rating in the adults ages 18-49 demographic compared to Season 7's average of a 4 rating, but The Office is still one of NBC's highest rated scripted series.

Is a spin-off a good idea? Would you watch? If an Office character is to get his or her own show, might someone else be more worthy?

William Fitzsimmons Releases Free Sampler

Since 2005, William Fitzsimmons has created three full-length albums, each thoroughly themed and embossed with matters of family history, intimate disclosure and bold confession, yielding rich folk music. Fitzsimmons’ music ranges from the stark and acoustic to the voluminous and electronic, all the while, reflecting Fitzsimmons’ commitment to addressing what is always pressing and yet all too often ignored. Fitzsimmons’ critically acclaimed fourth album, Gold In the Shadow, has been released as a Deluxe version, which includes 14 bonus tracks featuring 3 previously unavailable recordings, including a new acoustic version of “Let You Break.”

He is releasing his new free sampler courtesy of NoiseTrade.

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