Quick Hits: Justin Timberlake, Rihanna, Prince, Smashing Pumpkins, Album Sales, NIN, Arctic Monkeys, Van Halen, Brandon Boyd, Notorious B.I.G., Bob Dylan
March 13, 2013

Justin Timberlake

Justin Timberlake has been on a promotional blitz for his new album, The 20/20 Experience, and the next stop is a one-hour TV special. Target Presents the iHeartRadio Album Release Party With Justin Timberlake will air on the CW network at 8 p.m. ET next Tuesday, March 19, the same day his new album hits stores. According to The Hollywood Reporter, the show will essentially be a taping of his album release party, which goes down at Los Angeles' El Rey Theater on Monday. It will include a 30-minute radio special discussing the story behind the album and the eight-minute world premiere of JT's new music video, most likely for second single "Mirrors." The full album is already streaming on iTunes up until release day.

Rihanna is still suffering from the flu and laryngitis, which forced her to cancel a concert in Baltimore on Tuesday night, after already missing her Sunday night show in Boston. The next date on Rihanna's tour is Thursday in Philadelphia, and there has been no word yet on whether she will be well enough to sing. In her last tweet to fans about the tour, Rihanna said she was "embarrassed" about letting them down. "#Boston this is the hardest thing for me to deal with!" she wrote. "I feel like we've been waiting on this day forever, and I'm hurt that I let you down."

It's official: Prince will perform at SXSW this Saturday night. The Purple icon will play La Zona Rosa and festivalgoers can only get into the show via a random drawing through the SXSW website, unless they are a Samsung Galaxy owner, as Samsung is sponsoring the event.

Smashing Pumpkins will rock Austin's SXSW festival on Saturday, March 16 for Red Bull's showcase, Sound Select: 120 Hours. Also on the bill are The Sword and Girl in a Coma. The show will happen in downtown Austin, with the exact location being revealed the morning of the show via the Twitter handle @rbsoundselect. After that, the Pumpkins will kick off a U.S. tour on April 29 in Melbourne, FL.

Country star Luke Bryan earns his first #1 album on the sales chart this week as his new compilation, Spring Break... Here to Party, debuts atop the list. It sold 150,000 copies in its first week, according to Nielsen SoundScan, and marks Bryan's best sales week yet. At #2 is the return of Jimi Hendrix, who scores his highest-charting album in 44 years. Hendrix's new set of 12 previously unreleased studio recordings, People, Hell and Angels, enters the chart with 72,000 units sold (not bad for a guy who has been dead for 43 years). Bruno Mars' Unorthodox Jukebox falls to #3 this week with 51,000, Mumford & Sons' Babel is #4 with 35,000, and Macklemore & Ryan Lewis' The Heist is #5 with 29,000.

In an interview with NME, Trent Reznor says that NIN's upcoming tour dates may contain performances of new material. Reznor said he has worked on "a couple of tracks" with King Crimson guitarist Adrian Belew that are intended to go on NIN's greatest hits album, which has been pushed back to 2014, but he added that there's no new NIN album planned for the time being. As for the upcoming tour, Reznor explained, "The intention is to reconstruct songs based on this new instrumentation and only play songs we as a band feel good about. With Nine Inch Nails last time, I felt that I'd explored that kind of bludgeoning rock thing in a lot of different ways, like I'd done everything I could do with that format."

Arctic Monkeys

Arctic Monkeys have been in the U.S. recording the follow up to 2011's Suck It and See, and it looks like the new record will be released sometime this year. Drummer Matt Helders told NME that "There's no time deadlines or anything like that for release. We're just getting back into it, because it always takes a while to get back into it." Asked what the album will sound like, Helders replied simply, "2013." Then asked if that meant the album will definitely be out by the end of the year, he added: "Well, we'd be stupid if we made a 2013 album and released it next year."

After David Lee Roth said on the Opie & Anthony show that Van Halen will be touring Europe later this year, band manager Irving Azoff has said that's not true. "Nothing's been discussed yet," Azoff told Rolling Stone. "Why would he say this? Hey, Dave's a talkative guy. Why don't you call and ask him?" Azoff confirmed that the band's only scheduled shows remain two April festival dates with Billy Joel in Australia, three June dates in Japan, and the Rock USA festival on July 20 at Ford Festival Park in Oshkosh, WI.

Incubus singer Brandon Boyd has completed his second solo album, which he hopes to release this summer. "I wrote it and recorded it with [producer] Brendan O'Brien," Boyd told Billboard.com. "I'm ready for it to come out now but there is all this logistical stuff that has to take place before it can come out." Boyd added that he will most likely go out on a solo tour, and he'd love to share the stage with The Rolling Stones or U2. "I'll open for anybody," he said. "I'll play for anybody… whoever will have me."

Notorious B.I.G. will be resurrected in a new animated series titled House of Wallace, which will star his two children. In the show, Biggie's kids — 16-year-old C.J. Wallace and 19-year-old T'yanna Wallace — work to save their father's Brooklyn recording studio from a corporate take over. Biggie himself will make brief appearances as a ghost who helps to inspire the kids and keep them motivated on their quest to preserve a true piece of hip-hop culture, according to a report from MTV News. So far, it has not been determined on which network the show will air.

Bob Dylan has become the first rock artist voted into the elite American Academy of Arts and Letters. According to executive director Virginia Dajani, officials couldn't decide whether he belonged for his words or for his music, so they settled on making him an honorary member. "The board of directors considered the diversity of his work and acknowledged his iconic place in the American culture," Dajani said, according to BIllboard.com. "Bob Dylan is a multi-talented artist whose work so thoroughly crosses several disciplines that it defies categorization." Dylan will be inducted in May.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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