Music News: Devo helmet face shields...and other timely music merch


The Current Music News for May 21, 2020 (MPR Video)

Anyone who's ever played a Beatles record player, used a Partridge Family lunchbox, or rocked a pair of Nelly's custom Air Force 1s knows that music merch changes with the times. The times right now are pretty dark, but musicians are here to bring humor and maybe even a little personal safety to the situation. (Billboard)

Devo, for example, have started selling a version of their iconic red "energy dome" that comes with a protective face shield. They do point out that you have to provide your own hard hat liner or it won't fit properly and "energy transfer" will not happen.

The Wu-Tang Clan, who told us in 1993 to "Protect Ya Neck," have now launched a "Protect ya Hands" sanitizer...and while their sound might be gritty, this personal care product is definitely not. It's a citrus-scented vegan gel that goes for $28 a bottle, but at least you have the satisfaction of knowing that for every bottle you buy, a Canadian homeless shelter also gets a bottle.

While KISS were famously unmasked on MTV in 1983, they've realized that now is not the time. That's why they're among many artists offering custom face masks...although not designing them to imitate Starchild or Catman makeup seems like a missed opportunity. The Juggalos are doing better at this one.

Lana Del Rey announces album with defensive letter

You have to scroll the the second page of Lana Del Rey's recent Instagram post to find out that she's releasing her next album on Sept. 5. The rest of the post goes into a lot of feelings that she says she'll also be detailing in two forthcoming books of poetry, but here's how it starts: "Now that Doja Cat, Ariana, Camila, Cardi B, Kehlani and Nicki Minaj and Beyonce have had number ones with songs about being sexy, wearing no clothes [...] etc - can I please go back to singing about being embodied, feeling beautiful by being in love even if the relationship is not perfect, or dancing for money - or whatever I want - without being crucified or saying that I'm glamorizing abuse?" She says her music is just honest about the "challenging" relationships that she and many other women have had.

Fans are excited about the new music, but people are also pointing out that, in the words of Shon Faye on Twitter, Del Rey is comparing herself to a group of mostly women of color "with the clear tone that she thinks she's been treated worse by the media when that's observably untrue."

Guitarist Jorge Santana dies at 68

Guitarist Jorge Santana has died, of an undisclosed cause, at age 68. Yes, he was related to Carlos Santana: his brother, in fact. While Jorge Santana wasn't as well known, he had a long and successful career that included a 1994 joint album with Carlos; he's best-known for being the guitarist in the Latin-rock group Malo, who had a Top 20 hit in 1972 with "Suavecito." (New York Times)

Ice Cube says he was sued by Mr. Rogers

Who doesn't Mr. Rogers like? Well, it doesn't seem like it was personal, but apparently he did once threaten to take Ice Cube to court. That tidbit comes from Cube himself, in a recent Instagram live listening party he held for the 30th anniversary of his album AmeriKKKa's Most Wanted. He pointed out that the track "A Gangsta's Fairytale" originally opened with the theme to Mister Rogers' Neighborhood, written by Fred Rogers himself. Rogers "sued us and was getting like five cents a record until we took that part off," says Cube. (Stereogum)

Sia announces directorial debut

Congratulations to Sia on adopting two teenage sons...which apparently happened some time ago, but we just found about it now when she mentioned the fact in a SiriusXM interview announcing her forthcoming directorial debut. Music, based on a story by Sia herself, stars dancer Maddie Ziegler as an teenager with autism who's under the care of a drug dealer half-sister played by Kate Hudson. We'll see how this turns out, but Sia's also recording ten new songs for the soundtrack. Here's a first look, and listen, with a clip that also features Leslie Odom Jr. (Consequence of Sound)

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