MUSIC

Three Questions for Adam Levine About That Haircut

I need to ask Adam Levine a few questions about his new haircut.

Niko / Lastarpix / Backgrid

Hey, Adam Levine, nice haircut, man.

I'm a big fan and really admire your fashion. I just wanted to ask you a few quick questions. Hope that's okay, I wouldn't want to take time away from you making such awesome songs with all of your vast musical talent!

Adam Levine Corn Hawk Instagram

1. Are you paying homage to Mad Max: Fury Road or American History X?

Both great movies, so no judgment either way! It's always cool to see a fellow movie buff doing something wacky in tribute to their favorite film. I'm just curious if your look is more inspired by those pasty white dudes who spray chrome all over their faces or the other pasty white dudes who, you know, hate black people?

2. Did you deeply offend your barber?

I hope this question doesn't rub you the wrong way—not trying to pry or anything! It just dawned on me that maybe you wronged your barber in a massive, life-altering capacity. Otherwise, I feel fairly confident that he would have tried to steer you in a different direction. I'm not saying you look terrible, really! I'm just saying other people might feel differently, and if you did irreparable damage to your barber's life, maybe you should apologize?

3. Why?

Why would you ask for this haircut, Adam? I'm trying to give you the benefit of the doubt, but I think I'm probably stretching. If I'm being perfectly honest, I don't think you were really paying tribute to either of the aforementioned movies. I'm starting to worry that you just have really bad taste in literally everything, and I'm hoping that's not the case because I'm a big fan of your overwhelmingly generic music. Please write back.

Sincerely,

Everyone


MUSIC

Johnny Gates: Dive Bars, Back Roads, and Church Girls

The Voice Season 12 alumnus is back in Nashville, and turning heads with his new EP.

Blake Shelton called him "the next Mick Jagger." Alicia Keys called him "a male Gwen Stefani."

Whatever you want to call Johnny Gates, you can't say he doesn't turn heads. Former lead singer of The Runaway Saints and notable for his appearance on Season 12 of The Voice, his first two singles have already amassed more than two million listens on Spotify alone. The young trailblazer has recently returned to Nashville to ignite a solo career with his debut EP, "Hell Outta Here."

The project opens with a slow guitar riff with drifting John Mayer overtones. "Hell Outta Here" is the story of running away, running inward, and running into another person. These three acts blend together in a black-and-white haze. It's a mellow opening that sets the stage for the melancholic sound Gates is cultivating.

Plucked guitar chords are also the foundation for "Dive Bar." Here, he brings out the classic American tropes for coping with grief: alcohol, bars, and more alcohol. He mixes them together in a smooth, bittersweet track that feels like it has already started haunting your dreams.

"Bandit" has a sparse acoustic riff, married with the EP's distinctive use of airy/synthy slide. It's a pained love song, and he gives his voice a sharp metallic edge that lets his lyrics plunge straight down into your soul. Gates appears to be cultivating his own vision of Americana on this EP: a hybrid of old and new that alternates between angelic and chimeric.

Photo by Meghan Cummings

He evokes John Legend in the soulful intro to "Church Girl," though he cultivates a classic country sound when the song starts to kick in. The production then blends electronic and live drums, giving the impression of a heartbeat moving from stationary to transcendent between verse and chorus. Lyrically, it's a wistful love song that holds its heart out in its hands as they stretch up towards the heavens.

It's hard not to be enamored with how Johnny Gates' EP sonically blends rough and smooth tones. This medley crystallizes the contrast between the coarseness of the stories he tells and the fineness of the tools he uses to tell those stories. This EP doesn't feel like it was recorded; it feels like it was discovered, hidden in the sands of a desert somewhere, calling out to whoever might be aching to hear it.

Follow Johnny Gates Online!

Web | Facebook | Instagram | Twitter | Spotify

With songs like "Mama's Broken Heart" and "Kerosene," Miranda Lambert has long proven that she has no interest in what's polite. Like an event right out of one of her songs, the CMA award winner was reportedly dining out at a Nashville restaurant with her mother and a "family friend" on February 10th when the group got into an altercation with another diner.

According to TMZ, Lambert's "friend" was in the restroom when another man became angry over a statement about millennials' cellphone use. The man later approached Lambert's table and raised his voice at the singer and her companions, prompting Lambert to dump a salad in his wife's lap. The police were called, but the two-time Grammy award winner and her companions had left by the time they arrived. Thus far, neither Lambert nor her team have commented on the event.

Now, the recordings of the various 911 calls that were made at the time have been released. They're exceptionally entertaining.

Highlights include:

"Miranda's trying to hit people and she's flipping over on 'em!"

"One guy says he's a cop and the other says he works for homeland security."

The manager of the restaurant describing the two men's weights very specifically.

The calls have made it very clear that one of the perpetrators of the fight was Miranda Lambert's new husband, Brendan Mcloughlin, a NYPD police officer who matches the descriptions relayed in the calls. At the time of the incident, Lambert had yet to announce her marriage, waiting until Valentine's Day to post the following:

We guess a couple that throws salad together, stays together. Maybe. It appears Lambert's new man has a bit of a track record of infidelity. The 27-year-old welcomed a new baby into the world with a woman named Kaihla Rettinger just 3 months ago, despite being engaged to Jackie Bruno at the time of the baby's conception and birth. According to Bruno's mother, Rettinger called Bruno to inform her about the baby while Bruno was in Sweden playing professional soccer, "[Brendan] tried to deny it and then begged her to stay with him," she continued. "She was only going for a few months to play, he was begging her to marry him before she left, even though he knew the girl was pregnant." It remains unclear when the law enforcement officer began dating Lambert.

While we don't blame Lambert for the restaurant throw down because we're also tired of salad, the constant criticism of millennials, and we're definitely tired of old men who think they have the right to your attention. We are a little concerned about the reliability of her new man, though. But then again, if he does end up being a scum bag, we'll inevitably get more iconic break up anthems from the least lady-like lady in country music.


Brooke Ivey Johnson is a Brooklyn based writer, playwright, and human woman. To read more of her work visit her blog or follow her twitter @BrookeIJohnson.


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RECAP | The Voice Comes Back for Its 15th Season

Our favorite bickering Voice veterans Blake Shelton and Adam Levine are joined by Jennifer Hudson and Kelly Clarkson

It's hard to believe that The Voice is on its 15th season, but here we are.

The two hour season premiere boasted all of our favorite parts of the show — playful banter between the judges, tear-jerking sob stories by contestants, and of course, an epic episode finale with the revered four chair turn.

The episode starts off with a longer title sequence — a playful short that feature the judges as superheros being called for their jobs. We find Kelly Clarkson on tour, Jennifer Hudson in the studio, Blake Shelton on a porch, and finally, Adam Levine driving around in a vintage car. After that, we get a round-up of key events this season with an obvious emotional undertone of "chasing your dreams."

First up, we have Sarah Grace, a 15-year-old with synesthesia from Houston who loves the blues — she sang "Ball and Chain" by Janis Joplin and turned the first chair of the evening by Clarkson. Shelton and Hudson followed after, but Levine did not. After a scene of seemingly forced banter between the judges that was longer than the actual performance, Sarah Grace picked Clarkson.

We were also introduced to the "fifth judge," country singer Kelsea Ballerini, who will host The Comeback Stage — an online show that picks six artists that don't make it past the blind auditions to compete for a spot in the finals.

Next up, we have Tyshawn Colquitt from Cincinnati — he owns Pound4Sound with his mom, a business in which he delivers pound cake with a song. The 23-year-old sang "Like I Can" by Sam Smith and caught the eye of both Hudson and Shelton. In the end, he picked Hudson and gifted pound cake to all the judges.

After Colquitt left, Tyke James from Laie, Hawaii took the stage — the 17-year-old, laid back surfer dude sang "Perfect" by Ed Sheeran and signed with Levine, the only judge that turned. James was also met by weird, flirty remarks from Clarkson and Hudson.

Ayanna Joni, a 29-year-old from Yonkers, was the first no-turn contestant of the night. Joni had a career on the rise, but when pregnant with her daughter at 18, decided to focus on her child instead. The former girl group singer performed "Sorry Not Sorry" by Demi Lovato and was the first contestant chosen for The Comeback Stage.

Mercedes Ferreira-Dias already competed once last season — the 17-year-old from Miami came back to sing "She Used To Be Mine" by Sara Bareilles and turned both Shelton and Clarkson. In the end, she picked Shelton, but seemed to be under some pressure to.

We're then introduced to "blocks" — the practice that one judge can prohibit a contestant from choosing another one.

Next up is Radha, a 19-year-old from Jersey City who does live performances and music videos in her free time. She sings "Mamma Knows Best" by Jessie J and turns Levine first, who blocks Hudson even though she turns, and also Shelton. In the end, she picks Levine — but she tells us that she would've picked Hudson, which seems like the judges are playing with the dreams of these contestants.

In the second half, country singer Kameron Marlowe sings "One Number Away" by Luke Combs and turned both Clarkson and obviously, Shelton. In the end she picks Shelton, but Clarkson gets the next country singer, Mikele Buck who sang "She Used To Be Mine" by Brooks & Dunn.

Sam Hastings was the second no-turn of the evening, singing "Angela" by The Lumineers. Patrique Fortson then came on and performed "Get Here" by Oleta Adams and turned both Levine and Hudson. Having sang gospel since he was seven, Fortson picked Hudson.

The last spectacle of the night was 13 year old Kennedy Holmes who sang "Turning Tables" by Adele. Of course, she gets all four chairs turned and the audience has a field day watching the judges fight over her. In the end, Hudson plays the "get on stage and sing with the contestant" trick and gets Holmes on her team.

The Blind Auditions will continue tonight on NBC and you can watch this episode on their website.


Amber Wang is a freelancer for Popdust, Gearbrain and various other sites. She is also a student at NYU, a photographer and a marketing intern.


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Mother-Daughter Duo Creates Sweet Music

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"It's tough out here for independent artists. We have to look out for each other! We have to have each other's backs!"

A mother-daughter duo is on our radar this week, who were first discovered on Season 3 of The Voice. 2Steel Girls have been passing milestone moments since they first hit the scene and are continuing to make history. Read on to find out what the challenges are of working with family, the experience of writing their new album, and more.

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MUSIC MONDAY | Caroline Kole – “What If” Just Released by the Indie Pop Powerhouse

July 16 | The Nashville-Based 21-Year-Old Nails Her Crossover from Country Flawlessly

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by Caroline Kole

07.16.18 | "These are the songs that inspired my latest track "What If" that dropped Friday July 13th (omg YAY!), and the songs that just inspire me on the daily too! Enjoy the jams!"

Listen to "What If" and experience Kole's newest release.

At just 21, indie pop recording artist Caroline Kole has the whole world ahead of her yet has already made quite the name for herself with some of the majors in the music biz. She has opened for stars like Reba McEntire and Blake Shelton, touring through her teens as a country up-and-comer who is now parlaying into the pop scene with success.

Singing since she was small, Kole, with a Top 20 album on iTunes and two #1 CMT music videos is taking the pop world by storm with her infectious sound and songwriting skills. Her latest release, “What If" is garnering attention from critics who say she's “Oozing with charisma" (Born Music), “The only artist of her kind" (Uranium Waves), and “A person of interest for 2018's indie pop canon" (Atwood Magazine).

Playful and passionate, Caroline Kole brings on the pop like a pro.

Follow Caroline Kole on Facebook | Twitter | Instagram | Snapchat | YouTube

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