Quick Hits: Chris Brown, Smashing Pumpkins, Forecastle Festival, Lou Reed, Deke Richards
March 26, 2013

Chris Brown

Chris Brown is focusing more on his R&B roots, with just a taste of Rap, on his upcoming sixth studio album, X, which is due in August. The first single, "Fine China," was penned with producer Diplo. "For the first single, I wanted to go more nostalgic, bring Stevie Wonder, Michael Jackson, Sam Cooke to it, but also bring a new sound to what my audience and fans are listening to," Brown told MTV News. "For this album, I wanted to have the same mentality as I did with the first album — me being green, me not thinking I know what's hot and what's next, me just being Chris Brown. I think this will show my vocal ability a lot more. I've developed a falsetto, I can sing at a higher register, and I can elaborate more on my skill." As for the album title, Brown said it can have different meanings. "It can refer to an ex-girlfriend, in terms of you always look forward to moving forward from," he said. "It's also about being a reject in a sense. In me being myself, being able to grow up, me not always hanging around the right crowd or doing the right thing all the time — it's me saying, 'I'm over it. I'm past the bulls**t now.'"

The Smashing Pumpkins are back to work on a new album, as Billy Corgan tweeted yesterday: "Excited to announce today's our 1st official day of writing for new SP album. Wish us luck!" Corgan had told Billboard about six months ago that his band's next album "definitely seems like it's going to be more of a rockin' affair," but it's unclear if that is still the case. Meanwhile, the Pumpkins are set to begin an extensive tour starting on April 29 in Melbourne, FL that will also take them to Europe and Japan this summer.

The Forecastle Festival has added several acts to the lineup for the 11th annual three-day event, including Robert Plant & The Sensational Space Shifters. The event will take place July 12 - 14 at Louisville's Waterfront Park. Also added to the lineup are German producer Boys Noize, singer/songwriter Sarah Jarosz and the soulful group Inc. They join previously announced acts The Black Keys, The Avett Brothers, The Flaming Lips, Alabama Shakes, Jim James, Young the Giant, Big Boi, Matt & Kim and many more.

Lou Reed has reportedly canceled five shows in April, including his two gigs at the Coachella Festival, an April 14 show in San Francisco, April 16 in Monterrey and April 17 at the Orpheum in Los Angeles. No official reason has been given for the canceled dates, and the Goldenvoice page for the Orpheum Theatre show reads simply: "This show has been cancelled due to unavoidable complications." There also is no word on whether the dates will be rescheduled.

Deke Richards, the founder of The Corporation songwriting team that wrote the Jackson 5's "I Want You Back," "ABC," "The Love You Save" and other Motown hits, died Sunday at the age of 68. Richards passed away at a hospice house in Bellingham, WA, after a battle with esophageal cancer. Richards also wrote songs for Bobby Darin, Martha Reeves and the Vandellas and Bonnie Bramlett. In recent years, he ran PosterPalace.com, which collected and sold old movie posters. However, Richards also helped produce a 2012 Jackson 5 rarities box set, mixed eight unreleased tracks on the upcoming Martha and the Vandellas box set, and spoke with Jackie Jackson about possibly collaborating with the surviving Jackson 5 members, according to Rolling Stone.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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