<p>Grace Potter</p>

Grace Potter

Credit: Katie Hasty

New SXSW Music lineups announced: Magnetic Fields, Grace Potter, Metric

More to come: Who else will be seeing Bruce Springsteen around town?

Three rounds of musical performers at next year's South By Southwest music conference have been announced, with plenty of rock to go 'round.

Bruce Springsteen may be the keynote speaker, but acts like Built to Spill, Metric, the Magnetic Fields, Against Me!, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Talib Kweli, Oh Land and Thomas Dolby will be among the week's music-playing headliners.

The music portion at the Austin, Texas-based conference runs March 13-18 next year, preceded by the Interactive and Film conferences.

Stars, the Expressions, Delta Spirit, Grimes, The Big Pink, Screaming Females, Dan Mangan, Gross Magic, Ganglians, Daughter, The War on Drugs, Blood Orange, Bleached, Suckers, Spector, Miracles of Modern Science, Ear Pwr, Beach Fossils, Prince Rama, Zeus and Zorch were among the other newly announced artists added today. Check out the 2012 SXSW site for all the confirmed performers thus far.

I'll be particularly interested to see what the yield is from the Magnetic Fields set -- what the lineup will be, and if new songs will be introduced (or, if time is good, supported): I feel like Stephen Merritt's last "Realism" was released rather quietly, though his previous output "Distortion" was fairly loud, by his standards.

Metric has also been on the steady rise for more than a half dozen years. They opened for Muse just a couple years ago, but it seems now that they'd be the obvious headliner at any venue in Austin. Perhaps they'll be previewing new cuts, too.

<p>Andrew Bird</p>

Andrew Bird

Watch: Andrew Bird announces new album, 'Break It Yourself'

A tour date ticket earns you lots of free stuff

For as soothing as Andrew Bird's music can be, the title to his next effort is delightfully aggressive. The Chicago bard's next effort "Break It Yourself" will be out on March 6 next year through Mom + Pop.

And it will presumably have some singing on it. Bird's last effort was the score and soundtrack for Jonathan Segal-directed "Norman," which was mostly instrumental. There was also "Useless Creatures," the 2010 all-instrumental companion set to his last traditional studio set "Noble Creatures," out in 2009.

And if you've seen "The Muppets" this past month, then you heard his whistling workmanship in the "Whistling Caruso" bit.

Below is a short teaser for the set, his second for Mom + Pop. That label has done a helluva job adding established artists to its roster -- those who've paved their own way label-less (Ingrid Michaelson) or have earned their keep through previous label deals (Metric).

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<p>From &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo&quot; poster: Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara</p>

From "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" poster: Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara

Credit: Columbia

Listen: 6 cuts from Trent Reznor's 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' soundtrack

Nine Inch Nails mastermind released complete tracklist, sells it the only way he knows how

Any excuse to type the words "Academy Award winner Trent Reznor" is a good one, so with that, there may be another chance to give the guy an honor: the Nine Inch Nails frontman has finished constructing his score to forthcoming flick "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross, and now he's giving some of it away.

Check out the beautiful album artwork.

I'll write more about the sound once I've actually seen the film, but this moody, dynamic sampler is enough to know that there's a lot going on here. The lush six-track teaser can be downloaded for free, through Reznor's NullCo site, with pre-orders for the usual purchases, like a digi download, a deluxe and standard CD. The best part of all that, is the album is actually three CDs long, for the price of about one.

Click here for your free sampler.

The digital set will hit on Dec. 9, this Friday. The physical merchandise arrives week of release, when David Fincher's film drops on Dec. 21.

Reznor and Fincher worked together on last year's "The Social Network," which earned Reznor and Ross an Oscar for Original Score.

The "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" tracklist is as follows:

    (CD1)
    1. Immigrant Song
    2. She Reminds Me Of You
    3. People Lie All The Time
    4. Pinned And Mounted
    5. Perihelion
    6. What If We Could?
    7. With The Flies
    8. Hidden In Snow
    9. A Thousand Details
    10. One Particular Moment
    11. I Can't Take It Anymore
    12. How Brittle The Bones
    13. Please Take Your Hand Away

    (CD2)
    14. Cut Into Pieces
    15. The Splinter
    16. An Itch
    17. Hypomania
    18. Under The Midnight Sun
    19. Aphelion
    20. You're Here
    21. The Same As The Others
    22. A Pause For Reflection
    23. While Waiting
    24. The Seconds Drag
    25. Later Into The Night
    26. Parallel Timeline With Alternate Outcome

    (CD3)
    27. Another Way Of Caring
    28. A Viable Construct
    29. Revealed In The Thaw
    30. Millennia
    31. We Could Wait Forever
    32. Oraculum
    33. Great Bird Of Prey
    34. The Heretics
    35. A Pair Of Doves
    36. Infiltrator
    37. The Sound Of Forgetting
    38. Of Secrets
    39. Is Your Love Strong Enough?
 

<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Nicki Minaj's tough-talking 'Roman' takes on Moscow in new song

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A 'teaser' track has emerged in promoting 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded'

Nicki Minaj's rabid, firey hater-man persona Roman is back -- rather, "Reloaded" -- and with this new teaser track, its obvious "Moscow" makes him meaner.

"Roman in Moscow" is the first glimpse into Minaj's forthcoming sophomore set, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," which hopefully alludes to many more rap songs (rather than urban pop) than "Pink Friday" the First had.

Shape-shifting Nicki says the word "bitch" 22 times in this track, with at least a couple of them hurled at Lil Kim, who has spent the last year deciding between sh***ing or getting off the pot.

"Bitch, I’m thicker than a midget / Yeah I’m crazy, just a smidgen / Motherf*ck me, get my wumble / And some Kimmy for my knuckle... Yeah I golf, putt too / Swallow balls; nuts toooooooo."

What's interesting is that Nicki has explained that her alter-ego Roman is explicitly gay, a classification to which, really, no mainstream rappers have ascribed. While artists like Lil Wayne and Kanye West bluster for women and men to "suck it" or "kiss my a**hole," that invite is strictly an aggressive assault to gay old Roman. The juxtaposition is sexual one.

And her threat is an ambiguous one, as Barbie talks down to just about everybody, an equal opportunity trash-talker.

The high end on those fakey strings and the beat is almost overwhelming, but the speedy flow and the fun are what keep this thing afloat. It's a good teaser, because I look forward to more.

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<p>B.o.B. in &quot;Strange Clouds&quot;</p>

B.o.B. in "Strange Clouds"

Watch: Lil Wayne joins B.o.B. in the 'Strange Clouds,' with a T.I. cameo

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Does this farmland clip make you like the song more?

This is the Lil Wayne we like: the pespeckled rapper can straight-face his own vids, but give the man room to goof around like he did recently in Birdman's "Y U Mad" and in B.o.B's latest, "Strange Clouds."

The two bound around some faceless farmland, with the help of a dance routine between trailers and a T.I. cameo. B.o.B brings all his energy while Tunechi brings his smiling weirdness. Also weird -- though completely unnecessary -- a model gyrating on a horse. Like nobody's ever thought of that before. There goes your budget.

"Strange Clouds" is Bobby Ray's current single, in advance of his next full-length, which is supposed to drop in March.

As for T.I., he's trying to get back on his, um, horse; he's pushing new track "I'm Flexin'" featuring Big K.R.I.T. in advance of album "Trouble Man," which has no release date currently. In the meantime, his meh-worthy VH1 reality show "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle."

 

 

<p>Young Jeezy's &quot;TM103&quot;</p>

Young Jeezy's "TM103"

Listen: Eminem helps out on Young Jeezy's 'Talk To Me,' feat. Freddie Gibbs

Jeezy has the starpower coming for 'TM:103'; does he have the rhymes?

Young Jeezy's new album is so most definitely coming no joke, and his newest track touts a very serious guest of starpower. Eminem joins Jeezy's CTE  label signee Freddie Gibbs on "Talk to Me," the latest track to arrive from "TM103."

It's a little slower of a jam than I was expecting, and it feels like Eminem's hook is carrying it more than it should. Drumma Boy's beat seems to require the ATL MC to drag it out, like he's still fitting out some syllables. Still, I think it may be a grower of epic proportions, much more than the rapper's collaboration with Jay-Z and Andre 3000 on "I Do" (though Andre was CUTTING IT UP).

"TM 103: Hustlerz Ambition" is out Dec. 20, now. Click here for more info on other guests.

Listen to the full track at Rap Radar.

<p>Bowerbirds</p>

Bowerbirds

Song Of The Day: Bowerbirds announce new album, bliss out in the 'Darkness'

North Carolinian lovebirds back with ambitious sound

The Bowerbirds are back with, literally, more electricity.

The indie-acoustic crew has increasingly plugged in on each album, with this new set "The Clearing" sounding like it will be no exception. The North Carolina-based couple-duo of Beth Tacular (spec-tacular!) and Phil Moore have unleashed the first view into the darkness -- that is, "Tuck the Darkness In," which provides about a minute and a half of guitar bliss at the end.

Bowerbirds' story is intriguing, considering they're absolutely 100% tree-hugging hippie Earth-love rural dwellers, and they are 0% obnoxious about it. Their lyrics have been consistently intelligent and uncloyingly endearing, with lots of natural imagery, like romantic poetry for ecological responsibility.

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<p>Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber in &quot;All I Want For Christmas Is You&quot;</p>

Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber in "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

Watch: Mariah Carey meets Justin Bieber for 'All I Want For Christmas' vid

Mariah Carey is a li'l helper, while the Bieb is a mannequin

Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey made a four minute commercial for a department store as they masqueraded for a music video.

The 17-year-old wunderkind combined with the 41-year-old vet for her smash holiday hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Consider the song a re-gifting of sorts, with the same wrapping paper and everything, only with Justin Bieber's face as the tag.

As for the red-green-gold-tinsiled clip, Carey is obviously eager to show of her post-babies bod in a skimpy Santa's little helper (or is it Mrs. Claus? I forget) slash french maid outfit while Bieber gives her his best boingy-eyes wolf whistle gaze. Bieber spends the rest of the time, appropriately, as a mannequin in said store, though it is unclear if he's sporting consumerist pleasures for the Men's or Women's Apparel department.

All they want for Christmas is... each other. Blush, gag. Cut scene. Exit left. Where's the eggnog.

The video premiered tonight (Nov. 30) on NBC during the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York.

 

<p>Nicki Minaj and LL&nbsp;Cool J at the Grammy Nominations Concert Live! event</p>

Nicki Minaj and LL Cool J at the Grammy Nominations Concert Live! event

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Live-blogging the 2011 Grammy Nominations Concert

LL Cool J hosting, Lady Gaga performing, Nicki Minaj presenting... what could go wrong?

Welcome to the 2011 Grammy Nominations Concert Live! from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. LL Cool J is hosting the hour-long event, with big names like Lady Gaga and Rihanna performing. Below, I will be live-blogging thoughts and a recap of the evening -- the good, the bad, the ugly and the uglier.

Here is the complete list of nominees.

Broadcast begins at 10 p.m. EST. Who will be the big names at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012?

10:01 p.m. EST: Only an hour for this thing folks. And Lady Gaga is ready to "Marry the Night,"  which LL Cool J takes no time to introduce.

10:03: After the melodramatic announcement that Laurieann Gibson was departing as Lady Gaga's Creative Director, this performance is a U.S. "coming out" for Gaga's next choreographer Richard Jackson. And It's looking very slick, if a little monogamous. I mean, monotonous. The skeletal get-up has been done for "Born This Way," but I'm glad this has gone the direction of "fun, active" living-dead, not "scary."

10:05: Record of the Year... Nicki Minaj announcing. "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele. Duh. "Holocene" by Bon Iver, pronounced by Nicki "Bon Ive-er." "Grenade," Bruno mars, "The Cave," Mumford and Sons, Katy Perry, "Firework."

10:06: "Firework's" only there because "Teenage Dream" didn't qualify anymore. Sad.

10:07: Rihanna's performance of "We Found Love" is double-tracked, obviously so. But she showers in a rain of applause and confetti, and she is looking fine fine fine. Ri's dancing entourage is feeling it. Looking forward to that Record of the Year nod... next year.

10:13: The Band Perry is literally sparkling, with sequins on sister Kimberly and a simple twee setup between the trio of mandolin, guitar and electric bass for newest country push "Independence." The backers are keeping it subtle with a fiddle and drums. What, no skeletons?

10:16: If The Band Perry got a nod tonight, will this track get people excited for them? No. But you know what gets people AMPED? Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'." To me, "Free Fallin'" and "Let's Get It On" are in the same boat: if you cover it in your concert, it's easy, cheap applause (even and especially if it's too low for your voice).

10:18: Song of the Year: "All of the Lights" Kanye West. "The Cave," Mumford. "Holocene," Bon Iver (well said). "Rolling in the Deep" Adele. "Grenade" Bruno Mars.

10:21: So those are almost identical. It's like a Bomb Pop. Tastes the same, without Katy Perry's boobs shooting pyrotechnics out of one.

10:23: Jason Aldean's guitarist is lunging like he's playing something really hard.

10:25: You know what I needed at 10:30 at night? Some country rap on a midtempo rocker. And then some real rap on a midtempo rocker. I also look forward to in-ear monitor complaints.

10:28: Aldean looks uncomfortable with his body language, gripping that waist band like it's Thanksgiving. But damn if this song isn't still catchy. Ludacris shows up for the last "ride"; it looks more like he rolled into the wrong bar drunk and is owning it. He even picks at a Les Paul. Oh, bless you.

10:29: Did you know Luda's last Grammy nom was in 2006?

10:30: Bruno Mars looks like he could fit in my pocket. Dude is tiny. We could go on little adventures together, y'know, on a "Lazy" day.

10:32: OK, so this guarantees another Mumford & Sons appearance at the 54th Grammys. Two major nods. They were the warm-up to Bob Dylan's frog opus last year, will they get a two-song segment at the ceremony in February? If so, that's two new songs, suckers, no more of this squeeze from a two-year-old album.

10:33: Best New Artist: The Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj (whose name is misspelled. BAD INTERN), Skrillex.

10:34: I predict 2,000 think-pieces on Bon Iver's multiple nominations. I predict 3,000 "Who the F is Skrillex? A guide for your mom" pieces.

10:35: Hi Common. Hi Common. Hi Common.You're pretty.

10:37: LL Cool J put on his performing hat, which is more obvious than his hosting hat. Grandmaster Flash is there with his legendary "Message," with Scorpio, Melle Mel, Common, Lupe Fiasco and LL. They're all celebrating 20 years of "The Message," and its relevant to a new music celebration... how? Don't get me wrong, I love a tribute, but aren't we supposed to be thinking about our think pieces? This is an hour-long nominations special: nominate something.

10:38: Also, QUIT YELLING AT ME. I get it: you're all close to the edge. Flash: Your skin is magnificent. Teach me.

10:43: In Memoriam, three months early. Usher never not wears sunglasses.

10:45: Ashford & Simpson getting a full break down. Leiber & Stoller getting theirs. "You're All I Need to Get Bad" getting me a little choked, not because Usher is wincing, but because Valerie Simpson is stone solid. I'd lose it.

10:47: Even with a tepid crowd which hasn't been properly warmed-up, "Stand By Me" is still so striking. As show producer Ken Ehrlich said before, "We lost two of the greatest songwriters of the formative rock and R&B era." August was a sad time, losing Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford.

10:50: In the words of Chris Berman, Katy Perry is fumblin' mumblin' stumblin' through this thing. Her hair and dress matching combo is, however, admirable.

10:51: Album of the year: Adele, "21." Foo Fighters, "Wasting Light." Lady Gaga, "Born This Way" (oh just shut up just stop it right now). Bruno Mars, "Doo Wops & Hooligans." Rihanna, "Loud."

10:52: Three singles artists for album of the year. This is the sound of haters hating. Bruno Mars' label handlers are each getting a Maybach for Christmas: those suckers are only going up in value, now.

10:53: Lady Gaga and Sugarland, performing together! A match made... in a lab. Lady Gaga has moved that beauty mark around (did she see "The Artist?"). Jennifer Nettles is singing "You and I" like she can't unpurse her lips.

10:55: Did I say pursed lips? I meant duck lips. In this oversinging competition, who's winning? Are we all losing? Lady Gaga over-saturation quota achieved.

10:58: When I die, I'd like to come back as that one-shoulder number on Gaga. But when I wake up tomorrow morning, I'd like to be wearing Jennifer Nettles' track pants.

11:00: Four major nomination categories announced, 78 total are up now.

<p>Mike Posner</p>

Mike Posner

Listen: Mike Posner is back, with 'Sex'

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Pop singer back with new album and single

I hate this song. I love this song. It's Mike Posner's "Looks Like Sex."

The urban/R&B/pop-dance singer is back with a slamming beat and a half-baked chorus that capitalizes on the word "sex." Sometimes, no other vocabulary can supply you with the, erm, drive you need. It's a one-liner at best, though -- like nudge your buddy and a nod, and be like, "(S)he looks like sex," and be done with it. It should have been reserved for a verse line, or at least, um, fleshed out in full during the refrain.

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