Quick Hits: Lenny Kravitz, Nas, Nicki Minaj, Neil Young, Duran Duran & John Frusciante, Arctic Monkeys
April 24, 2014

Lenny Kravitz
Lenny Kravitz will release a new studio album, titled Strut, via his own Roxie Records label and a worldwide deal with Kobalt Label Services. Billboard reports the new record is due September 23, and Kravitz is expected to announce a 2014 tour in the near future.

In a new interview with NPR, Nas says he is working on a new record with a number of collaborators. The rapper revealed he had spent some time in the studio with Timbaland circa 2012, but stepped away from the material, and is now ready to revisit it. "I jumpstarted the album again ‒ the new one," Nas said. "Now I'm at a place where I could play a song for somebody and they really get it and they really understand ‒ they really feel it. At first I didn't, so I'm happy to say I'm at a place where it feels right. I talked to Swizz [Beatz], and we went through joints. And No I.D. and Timbaland, you know. This the only interview I'ma talk about it, 'cause I know once this comes out, people might ask me about the record and, man, I just want to finish it and get it done."

Nicki Minaj previewed a taste of her next album in an unusual way. The rapper posted a pair of clips on Instagram of her booty shaking to some new music. Meanwhile, Minaj will be appearing in theaters this weekend as part of the cast of the comedy The Other Woman.

Neil Young's new covers album, A Letter Home, was released on vinyl as a surprise on Record Store Day, but it will get a more traditional release next month. The album is due out in a deluxe package with a CD, download card, DVD and two vinyl records on May 27. A standard CD edition will be out that day as well, reports Rolling Stone.

Ex-Red Hot Chili Peppers guitarist John Frusciante is laying down tracks with Duran Duran for the band's 14th studio album. The British veteran rockers confirmed the news on their website, writing: "The extraordinarily talented John Frusciante has indeed been doing some work from his home base in California on our new album. The tracks have been going back and forth via the internet, and we are thrilled with the results. We are all such big fans of John’s work and are honoured to have him adding his magic to the record! There are no current plans for John to tour with us, but his guitars sound incredible on the tracks."

The annual Ivor Novello Award nominees have been announced, which honor British musicians. Arctic Monkeys' AM is up for the Album Award, against Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds' Push The Sky Away and Sing To The Moon by Laura Mvula. Passenger's hit "Let Her Go" is nominated for the PRS for Music Most Performed Work award, against Emeli Sandé's "Clown" and "Troublemaker" by Olly Murs f/Flo Rida. The Novello Awards will be handed out on May 22.

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Mark Adams
San Francisco

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