Music News: Karl Rove and The National have beef


Matt Berninger of The National, and Karl Rove.
Left: Matt Berninger of The National performs at Roy Wilkins Auditorium in 2013. Right: Karl Rove at a panel discussion in 2008. (Nate Ryan/MPR (The National), Justin Sullivan/Getty Images (Karl Rove))

"Starts with a Euro Tech Pop thing and transition into a more peppy tune that's easier to dance to." That's a description of The National's new song "Walk It Back," written by an unlikely music critic: former presidential advisor Karl Rove.

The song interpolates a spoken-word passage drawn from a 2004 quote in the New York Times. The quote was attributed to an anonymous senior advisor to then-president George W. Bush, and the speaker has been widely presumed to be Rove. The quote, which dismisses the idea of a "reality-based community," quickly became infamous.

After The National song came out on their new album Sleep Well Beast, a reporter from Newsweek reached out to Rove for comment. Rove denied he was the source of the quote, and in fact called the whole quote "fictitious." The original New York Times reporter, Ron Suskind, stands by the quote, and has never said the speaker was Rove.

Rove then went on to offer his take on the track, including a hypothesis that "it won't make Casey Kasem’s Top 40." The National — who are giving a share of the song's royalties to Suskind, and hope he gives the money to Rove — responded with a pithy tweet. (Billboard)

Remembering two country stars

A major country music star has been killed in a helicopter accident. Troy Gentry, 50, was half of the duo Montgomery Gentry. The crash, which occurred for reasons that remain unexplained, happened at a Medford, N.J. airport that was attached to a resort where the band were scheduled to perform. The band, who reached their commercial peak with a trio of loud and proud platinum albums in the late '90s and early 2000s, were inducted into the Grand Ole Opry in 2009. (New York Times)

Country singer-songwriter Don Williams has died of emphysema at age 78. Williams performed in a plainspoken style that made him a popular star in the 1970s — and one who found an unusual degree of success, for an American country singer, in the U.K., where his fans included Eric Clapton and Pete Townshend. He was particularly known for his songs praising romantic commitment. As the New York Times puts it, "he made marital fidelity not just appealing but sexy."

ATCQ say goodbye, Manchester Arena says hello again

On Saturday night at Bestival in England, A Tribe Called Quest performed what Q-Tip said will be their last show ever. The band have been drawing their career to a close in the wake of core member Phife Dawg's death last year. (Pitchfork)

#atribecalledquest #bestival #excursions #tribecalledquest #atcq #hiphop @qtiptheabstract

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Also on Saturday, the Manchester Arena reopened for the first time since a terror attack claimed 22 lives after an Ariana Grande concert on May 22. Native son Noel Gallagher headlined the benefit show, playing eight songs including Oasis’s "Don't Look Back in Anger." His brother and former bandmate Liam Gallagher, though, still hasn't forgiven Noel for missing the One Love Manchester concert on June 4. On Twitter, Liam scoffed at the news that his brother became tearful, calling it a "PR stunt." (Rolling Stone)

Today's album news

With comeback disc American Dream, LCD Soundsystem have their first-ever number one album on the Billboard 200. The album's sales were boosted by a trick originated by Prince: copies were bundled with sales of tickets to the band's upcoming tour. (Rolling Stone)

Björk has announced her follow-up to 2015's Vulnicura. The still-untitled LP, described by the artist as her "Tinder album," will be out in November. (Billboard)

While he hasn't specified which, if any, app inspired his new songs, Bob Seger has also announced a new album — his first since 2014. A first single's coming out later this month. (Billboard)

The Muppets come alive

On Friday night at the Hollywood Bowl, the Muppets played their first-ever "live" music show. They covered songs by artists including David Bowie ("Suffragette City"), the Beatles ("With a Little Help From My Friends"), and Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros ("Home") as well as playing numbers from their own TV shows and movies. For "Rainbow Connection," Kermit the Frog was joined by a very special guest: Paul Williams, who co-wrote the 1979 song with Kenneth Ascher. (Rolling Stone)

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