Music News: Music movies land major Oscar nominations

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Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga on the poster for 'A Star is Born.'
Bradley Cooper and Lady Gaga on the poster for 'A Star is Born.' (Warner Bros.)
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Music movies land major Oscar nominations
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Above, listen to an episode of The Current's daily Music News podcast. Subscribe on Apple Podcasts, Google Play, Spotify, or wherever else you get your podcasts. You can also sign up for a daily Music News e-mail and join our Facebook group.


The Oscars may not have a host, but the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences has announced this year's nominees — and the music movies that we've been talking about all year are leading the way.

A Star is Born came in with eight nods, including nominations for Lady Gaga as best actress, Bradley Cooper for best actor, Sam Elliott for supporting actor, best adapted screenplay, cinematography, and sound mixing, plus best picture, and Gaga and Mark Ronson for best original song for "Shallow."

Other music nominations? The Kendrick Lamar and SZA contribution to the Black Panther soundtrack; as well as Diane Warren's "I'll Fight" for RBG, performed by Jennifer Hudson; "The Place Where Lost Things Go" from Mary Poppins Returns, sung by actress Emily Blunt; and "When A Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings" by David Rawlings and Gillian Welch, from The Ballad of Buster Scruggs, performed by Tim Blake Nelson and Willie Watson.

And where's the Bohemian Rhapsody love? Don't fear, it's nominated for best picture and Rami Malek is up for best actor for his portrayal of Freddie Mercury. The show airs on ABC on Feb. 24. (Billboard)

Chris Brown detained in France

French police detained singer Chris Brown and two other people — his bodyguard and a friend — on Monday on suspicion of aggravated rape and drug violations, according to multiple reports. The R&B singer was arrested after a 24-year-old woman said she was raped at the singer's suite at the Mandarin Oriental hotel on Jan. 15. She told investigators that she had met the men at a club earlier in the evening. Officials have two days to file preliminary charges, or they have to let Brown go. (Noisey)

Guitarist Reggie Young dies at 82

The Missouri native and session guitar legend Reggie Young passed away from heart failure on Thursday at his home just outside Nashville. He was 82.

He was lead guitarist for the American Sound Studio house band, the Memphis Boys, and a sought-after session musician playing on records by John Prine, Dusty Springfield, Willie Nelson, Johnny Cash, and Waylon Jennings among others.

As part of the Memphis Boys at American Studio, he played the signature sitar intro on "Hooked on a Feeling," by B.J. Thomas, and played guitar on "Son of a Preacher Man" by Dusty Springfield, "Sweet Caroline" by Neil Diamond, and "Suspicious Minds" by Elvis Presley.

Young was nominated for a Grammy, and performed at the Kennedy Center in honor of Johnny Cash and Willie Nelson. In 2008, the Country Music Hall of Fame recognized Young as a "Nashville Cat" and recalled a quote from Eric Clapton's autobiography where Clapton wrote, "As for technique, tons of white American guitar players were better than me. Reggie Young, for example [...] was one of the best guitarists I ever heard."

Listen for his guitar in the Box Tops' number one hit "The Letter." (New York Times)

New mute feature on Spotify

Have you ever been listening to a random stream of music, enjoying your afternoon activities, only to be interrupted by an artist that you hate? Or maybe you are ready to mute R. Kelly, like people have been calling for on social media.

Spotify has heard your pleas and, while you might not have noticed it yet, added a feature that allows you to block any artist that you don't like. The new feature shows up as a toggle switch to turn on or off in the menu bar on each artist's page. And then, you can play with no worries: the artist won't play for you, even though they'll stay in the playlist.

If you are ready to go mute happy, just know that it's currently only available on the Spotify mobile app, and isn't on the desktop or web player just yet.

This seems like a welcome compromise after a decision Spotify made last year, when they removed songs from XXXTentacion and R. Kelly and then quickly added those songs back into playlists after a backlash from users. Now the power is completely in the hands of the users, who can opt-in or mute the artists they want. (Pitchfork)

Viral clip: A calming taste of the new Vampire Weekend album

Our viral clip today comes to us from Vampire Weekend, who announced last week that they have new music coming out this year. What do we know so far?

The long-awaited fourth album is coming out sometime in April or early May. It's going to be called FOTB. It's going to be an 18-track double album. They'll be releasing two songs this Thursday and two more two song releases will be dropped in the next few months.

The two songs this week are teased as "HH" and "2021" — and now we know "HH" stands for "Harmony Hall" and apparently, the band enjoyed the guitar riff from the tune, because today they released a two-hour long loop of it for all of us to enjoy. (Stereogum)


Audio sampled in podcast
Jahzzar: "Comedie" (CC BY 4.0)
BoxCat Games: "Against the Wall" (CC BY 3.0)
Lady Gaga and Bradley Cooper: "Shallow"
Kendrick Lamar and SZA (Black Panther): "All The Stars"
Jennifer Hudson: "I'll Fight"
Emily Blunt: "The Place Where Lost Things Go"
Willie Watson and Tim Blake Nelson: "When a Cowboy Trades His Spurs For Wings"
Queen: "Bohemian Rhapsody"
The Box Tops: "The Letter"
Vampire Weekend: "120 Minutes of Harmony Hall Guitars"


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