Quick Hits: Madonna, Justin Bieber, M.I.A., The Voice, Anthrax, Killswitch Engage, Jane's Addiction, Biz Markie
January 7, 2013

Madonna scored the higest grossing concert tour of 2012, according to data released on Friday by concert trade publication Pollstar. Madge grossed about $296.1 million in ticket sales in her 88-show world tour, followed by Bruce Springsteen and the E Street Band (with $210.2 million) and Roger Waters (with $186.4 million). British rockers Coldplay were #4 on the list, raking in $171.3 million, while Lady Gaga landed at #5, grossing $161.4 million.

Justin Bieber
Justin Bieber tweeted out the titles for two new tracks that will make their debut on his January 29 acoustic album, Believe Acoustic: "I Would" and "Yellow Raincoat." The album was originally set to include 10 songs, but Bieber's manager Scooter Braun revelaed that one more song has been recorded for the release. Braun tweeted: "up early working hard to get this last minute very heartfelt song the kid just wrote onto the #BelieveAcoustic album. #11songs."

M.I.A.'s long-awaited fourth album, Matangi, will be coming out this spring. However, the rapper told Australia's Gold Coast Bulletin that her record label would like her to tweak the album a bit before it comes out. "I thought I'd finished it. I finished it and then I handed the record in a couple of months ago," M.I.A. said in the interview. "At the moment, I've been told it's too positive. So we're having a bit of an issue at the label." Matangi, which is a reference to M.I.A.'s birth name, Mathangi, and a Hindu goddess of wisdom, is tentatively due in April.

Producers of NBC's The Voice are unsure of who will be sitting in the judge's chairs for future seasons. This of course means that Christina Aguilera and Cee Lo Green may have to put up a fight in order to keep their jobs. Shakira and Usher are said to be selected as temporary judges for the show's fourth season, though Paul Telegdy, NBC's head of alternative programming, said he would like to see both of them return in future seasons, according to the New York Post. Aguilera, who frequently ends up being the target of fellow judge Adam Levine's criticism and jokes, is reported to make $225,000 per hour – three times the amount of her fellow judges.

After twelve years, guitarist Rob Caggiano of the legendary metal band Anthrax has decided to leave the band in pursuit of his own goals of studio production work. He has already built up quite a list of production credits, having worked with The Damned Things, Jesse Malin and Cradle of Filth for their Grammy-nominated album Nymphetamine. Caggiano said that he's excited to get to work with producing, recording, and writing within his immediate future. The decision to leave Anthrax, however, was not an easy one for him, having said, "This is an extremely difficult and emotional decision for me to make but my heart is just steering me in a different direction right now."

Killswitch Engage has announce the title of their new album to be Disarm The Descent, due for release on April 2. The 12-track album will again be released via their longtime label home Roadrunner Records. Disarm The Descent will be the first album with original vocalist Jesse Leach since his decade-long absence after the band's first album Alive or Just Breathing, released in 2002. The first single, "In Due Time," will be digitally released on February 5.

Jane's Addiction frontman Perry Farrell is planning his next project, but it won't be a new album. In fact, he's working on a musical play which will include performances by Jane's Addiction. The kicker, though, is that the theatrical performance will not be held in a theater. Farrell told Prefix, "...it's going to be immersive theater. It's not going to be in a theater, I'm going to create an environment and the music will be within that environment, and Jane's Addiction will be within that environment." Farrell was vague about the details of the project, though mentioned, “There are going to be different environments for people to play music. Musicals! Musicals make more sense because they're telling stories and they have costumes and something to look at. But it's going to turn into something else. It already is turning into something else. The agony and the frustration is that it's not developed yet."

"Just a Friend" rapper and Yo Gabba Gabba star Biz Markie is getting ready to unleash his first album in nine years. Markie says the album is halfway finished and it will consist of "singing covers like I used to do with the Beastie Boys and real rap records." "I'm doing it now, doing the ground work, doing it slowly," Markie told Billboard.com. "It's going to be timeless. I've got a couple people (guesting) but they told me not to say their names. It's gonna be lots of fun."

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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