Music News: Target apologizes for CBGB stunt

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The exterior of CBGB as it appeared in 2003.
The exterior of CBGB as it appeared in 2003, three years before it closed. (Teresa Lee/Getty Images)

Target has apologized for a recent stunt in which the Minnesota-based retail chain created a branded imitation of CBGB's iconic facade. The stunt was part of a launch celebration for a new East Village store last weekend in Manhattan, but it immediately sparked criticism from New Yorkers and music fans who called it a "deplorable commodification of local neighborhood culture," in the words of gentrification critic Jeremiah Moss.

Among those criticizing the stunt were musicians who played at the legendary club, which closed in 1996. Chris Stamey, who played the club with Alex Chilton and the db's, said, "Everybody was trying to find something new at that time. Nobody is trying to find something new at Target."

In a statement, Target said, "We sincerely apologize if some eventgoers felt it was not the best way to capture the spirit of the neighborhood. We always appreciate guest feedback and will take it into consideration as we plan for future opening events."

Mercury Prize shortlist revealed

Florence and the Machine, Noel Gallagher, and Arctic Monkeys are at the front of the race for this year's Mercury Prize, estimate bookies perusing the shortlist of finalists for the prize, which annually honors a single album from the U.K. and Ireland.

This year's remaining shortlisters, in descending order of predicted likelihood to win, are Lily Allen, Jorja Smith, Wolf Alice, Everything Everything, King Krule, Everything is Recorded, Nadine Shah, Novelist, and Sons of Kemet.

The prize will be presented on Sept. 20 in London.

Kennedy Center honorees announced

Cher, Wayne Shorter, Reba McEntire, and composer Philip Glass have been named as this year's Kennedy Center honorees — along with the musical Hamilton, which will receive a special award, the first time a Kennedy Center honor has been given to a show or group instead of an individual. This year's ceremony will take place on Dec. 2.

Traditionally, the president and first lady have attended the Kennedy Center Honors, but last year Donald and Melania Trump chose to skip the ceremony so as "to allow the honorees to celebrate without any political distraction."

The Trumps have not yet announced whether they'll attend this year's ceremony, but the odds would seem to be against it — given that Trump has famously feuded with Cher on Twitter, and called the cast of Hamilton "very rude" after they told Vice President Mike Pence they were "alarmed and anxious" about Trump's election. (New York Times)

Bluegrass Hall of Fame inductees announced

Ricky Skaggs, Paul Williams, and Tom T. and Dixie Hall have been announced as this year's inductees into the International Bluegrass Music Association Hall of Fame. Skaggs and Tom T. Hall will "join a rarefied club in being members of both the Country Music and Bluegrass Hall of Fame," reports Billboard, "joining the ranks of [Bill] Monroe, Lester Flatt, Earl Scruggs, Mac Wiseman, and the Carter Family."

The inductees will be honored at a Sept. 27 ceremony in Raleigh, North Carolina, at which this year's International Bluegrass Music Awards will also be presented. Among the recipients of those awards: Live from Here host Chris Thile, who will received a Distinguished Achievement Award.

Tom Waits cast in Coen Brothers movie

Variety reports that music legend and sometime actor Tom Waits has a role in the next Coen Brothers movie, which is premiering later this summer at the Venice Film Festival. The Ballad of Buster Scruggs also stars Liam Neeson, Tim Blake Nelson, and Zoe Kazan.

New hot signings: Musicians who weren't musicians

Although she didn't have a thing to do with music before she gained viral fame as the "cash me outside" girl on Dr. Phil, Danielle Bregoli — a.k.a. Bhad Bhabie — now has three times as many Hot 100 hits as the Replacements ever had. They only had one ("I'll Be You"), and she already has three.

She's one of a new wave of record label signees based on viral video fame, Rolling Stone reports. Among the others: yodeling Walmart boy Mason Ramsey, Italian silver-fox millionaire Gianluca Vacchi, and English comedian Big Shaq.

"We're living in the clout age," says A&R man Angelo Torres. "These kids have a big social media game, and the labels are in this game of, who has the numbers? Millions of followers on Instagram — 'I'm pretty sure if this person drops a song, it's gonna reach millions of views.'"


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