<p>Bon Iver</p>

Bon Iver

Listen: Bon Iver and James Blake collaborate in 'Boys Choir'

A meeting of the minds at SXSW

Yesterday, I heard the song "Fall Creek Boys Choir," a collaboration between Bon Iver and indie's favorite fellated object James Blake.

I promptly and mysteriously fell asleep, and I only just now awoke to say something about it. And it is that.

"Boys Choir" is the first of what could be many songs to come out of the pairing, a project that began when Bon Iver's Justin Vernon met Blake at what should and could be a regular meeting-of-the-minds.

According to a release, "Over the past year James has cited Justin as a key influence and it was via a chance meeting at this years SXSW festival in Austin, Texas that the seed was sown for a future collaboration."

On the song's YouTube page, there's an insinuation that there's another song due soon: "Enough Thunder - Oct 2011."

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<p>Lil Wayne: doing it for the ladies</p>

Lil Wayne: doing it for the ladies

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Lil Wayne thinks he knows 'How to Love' in official music video

How's this emo garbage treating in lieu of Weezy's feminist stance?

Lil Wayne's "How to Love" from forthcoming "Tha Carter IV" is the rapper at his most emo. And now Weezy's launched an official music video that matches.

The slow-jammer is a lamentation that a "beautiful" girl has never known love; and because she hasn't, our protagonist in the video endures abuse and rape; signs up for an abortion and then skips out; she "dates" evil men, becomes a stripper and then has sex for money. SPOILER ALERT: she gets HIV.

Then the scenario gets a rewind. It begins again and ends in rainbows.

It's a moral tale, one hardly even approachable in under five minutes, and I'd argue it's one that Weezy is unfit to present.

My problem with this patronizing garbage is that simplifies the cycle of abuses toward women into one aching, arching worst-case scenario. And at the center: if the woman had originally learned "how to love" from her mother (read: had a healthy marriage to a man), none of this would have ever happened. The central character's self-worth was regularly degraded by her departed father, her abusive boyfriends and by men who only view her as a sex object.

And in the alternate scenario, you can tell the woman's become a good girl because she gets an education, gets married and has a baby (note: sex for reproduction).

It's offensive not because I don't thing people can't see past the pageantry, but because it's simple pandering and to detrimental effect. Serial objectification and a ritual tearing-down of women is a regular feature in pop culture, and there are many, many Lil Wayn songs that treat women as mere sex objects (hell, I like Lil Wayne songs, and that's for another day...). But the moralizing would have been more honest if Wayne "sang" his little song from the front row of that fateful strip club -- considering that's where he's localized his other tracks -- as opposed to his sad-sacking from a dark hallway next to a guitar.

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<p>Ryan Adams</p>

Ryan Adams

Listen: Ryan Adams is 'Lucky Now' ahead of forthcoming new album

'Ashes & Fire' out in October; features Norah Jones and Benmont Tench

One of my favorite perennial sad bastards Ryan Adams is releasing a new album this fall. "Ashes & Fire" is out Oct. 11, sans the Cardinals name, and we have our first official taste.

"Lucky Now" its the songwriter more stripped, as a result, and with an undeniable melody.

What more, "Ashes" will feature Norah Jones on vocals and piano, and Benmont Tench of Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers fame. Furthermore, it was produced by legend Glyn Johns; his son Ethan Johns helmed some of Adams' other sets like "Heartbreaker" and "Gold."

Adams' own small-time PAX AM imprint has made a deal with EMI -- Capitol, more specifically -- to put this one out.

Ryan Adams - Lucky Now by theaudioperv

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<p>Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine</p>

Florence Welch of Florence + The Machine

Watch and listen: Florence + The Machine debut 'Watery' new song

As-yet-untitled sophomore set due this fall

For a song that goes for 5+ minutes, about a legendary writer that drowns herself, titled for a famous painted work and performed by Florence + The Machine, the word "epic" is perfectly acceptable.

"What the Water Gave Me" is the first official new song release from the British rock group, headed by singer Florence Welch, from its sophomore set. The as-yet-untitled album obviously has other details to suss out, but it will be due on Nov. 7 in the U.K. and on some other date in November in the U.S.

The song title is the same as a Frida Kahlo painting; and there are several references in the song to Virginia Woolf, who suffered from depression and drowned herself by filling the pockets of her overcoat with stones and walked into a river. So yeah. Light stuff. Welch truly stepped outside of herself for these lyrics, though sonically, the band goes big rather than goes home in a similar fashion to the heavier songs from their first album "Lungs."

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<p>Tom Waits in 2011</p>

Tom Waits in 2011

Credit: AP Photo

Watch: Tom Waits releases title track from new album, 'Bad As Me'

Veteran songwriter is re-thinking the whole 'internet thing'

Tom Waits has announced a new album, and he's out the gate, teeth bared and hooves ready to put a hurt on.

At least that's what "Bad As Me" sounds like; that would be the title track from the set, due Oct. 25.

It sounds like a live, one-take affair, with all sorts of warts and scars, his wily voice bending around a series of proud nightmares. It's got all the ragged edges of "Temptation" from "Frank's Wild Years" or "All the Time" squarely from the Brawlers disc of "Orphans," with that barroom hollow-body line and Waits brrr of harmonica. He also throws in a few lines of lispy speak-singing and some enthusiastic "huhs!".

The song's up for sale through all the usual digital outlets now. The 13-track album -- or 16-track, if you're getting the deluxe -- has a presale going on now on iTunes. Tracklist below.

In a YouTube video on his website, Waits makes less of an announcement about the record itself than he addresses the rapid and rabid nature of internet dissemination, and how he can't just host a traditional listening party anymore. Preceded by a few clips of other songs, he puts a kabosh on his little event early.

"It's an internet thing," he explains, acting exasperated, comparing leaks to spoiling a birthday party and to the bile of gargling raw sewage during a root canal. Always one with words, that guy.

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<p>Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst center)</p>

Bright Eyes (Conor Oberst center)

Interview: Conor Oberst talks Bright Eyes’ future, New York state of mind

Is his rock band really done?

“I’m fortunate enough to move around a lot.”

That’s the truth in more ways than one for Conor Oberst, who’s lived in a number of cities, made records in even more of them, and bounced from project to project  with the same liquidity.

These days, the Nebraska-born singer-songwriter has made New York his physical home (he’ll be celebrating it soon with a headlining stint at the Brooklyn Waterfront on Aug. 31, next week). Everything else is up in the air.

The big news this year was that his band Bright Eyes’ album “The People’s Key” may be its swan song. Speaking to me from the road, though, Oberst played down any order of finality.

“I don’t think it’s anything official,” he said over the phone, mentioning that the Bright Eyes configuration is partly endangered because he, Mike Mogis and Nate Walcott currently live in different cities. And while there will not be another Bright Eyes album any time soon, Oberst isn’t counting another one out in the distant future. “I hope there is,” he said.

So the band continues to tour through the end of the year, with U.S. shows ending in September and a few scheduled international shows. Like Bright Eyes’ stop-off at Lollapalooza earlier this month, the setlists show-to-show have boasted tracks from more than a half-dozen studio albums, and even more singles and EPs. It’s been like a roving greatest hits collection from the crew, with Oberst, 31, still spewing his f-bombs from songs like “Lover I Don’t Have to Love” with the same gusto as the self-philosophizing of recent “Jejune Stars.”

“This year has been really good for us. When I was solo, we were playing smaller rooms, and that was perfect for [the Mystic Valley Band project],” he says. “I didn’t play a lot of big festivals in 2010. This has been the year for that.”

So if Bright Eyes isn’t on the docket, what does that mean for new output? Oberst said he has no definite plans for any single project, even for a solo record. As previously indicated, his other group Monsters of Folk is in stasis, according to M. Ward. He hasn’t had any idea yet what songs he’ll be writing next, whether it’d country-influenced, dance-loving or rocking.

Oberst has “gotten out of the music business” in regards to his former label ventures, with Saddle Creek and Team Love. Were he to release an album next year, he’s not even positive what label it’d be on.

“Will there even be records in a couple years?” he asked. When it comes to digital channels and pay models like newly launched Spotify, “It’s still sort of the Wild West.”

Here are Bright Eyes' current tour dates.

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Watch: Bon Iver's 'Holocene' music video takes a tour of Iceland

Watch: Bon Iver's 'Holocene' music video takes a tour of Iceland

Pack your bags

Hey, I know where your next vacation's gonna be.

Bon Iver's video for "Holocene" is as calming as the song itself, as a boy-child traipsing around the varied countrysides in Iceland. It's gorgeous. You're going now. I wish this kid's job was my job (sometimes).

The clip was directed by Nabil, aka Nabil Elderkin, who's showed up on this site before, for his work with Kanye West and Estelle. He was also behind Frank Ocean's recent vid for "Novacane," which is hot like sun.

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<p>Red Hot Chili Peppers</p>
<br />

Red Hot Chili Peppers


Watch: Red Hot Chili Peppers do a rooftop 'Rain Dance' for video

Venice, Calif. got a free show

U2 did it for "Where the Streets Have No Name." The Beatles promoted a whole album with it. Now, Red Hot Chili Peppers have taken their turn in a tradition of performing songs on a rooftop for a partly unsuspecting audience.

The official music video for "The Adventures of Rain Dance Maggie" features the rock troupe on a roof, a crowd building below them on the streets of Venice, Calif. The short show took place in the early evening on July 30, just two weeks ago; it was cut and directed by Mark Klasfeld.

Flea thankfully wears pants and a wild hair color. I love a man in tails, too, which Anthony Kiedis sports for a while before shedding in favor of a frequently bare chest. The facial hair, while hip, is still a little creepy.

The music to the clip is the album/studio version, not of the actual live performance. This is all in promotion of RHCP's next "I'm With You," due Aug. 30. The group is plotting a live concert event for 450 movie theaters on the day of release, footage broadcast live from their gig in Cologne, Germany.

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<p>J. Cole in &quot;Work Out&quot;</p>

J. Cole in "Work Out"

Watch: J. Cole's official 'Work Out' music video

Remember the '90s?

J. Cole isn't the global superstar he deserves to be yet, which is probably why his music video for "Work Out" was budgeted only $16, for solo cups, lanterns and some masking tape. A certain liquor brand product placement likely paid for the rest.

I don't mean to be cruel. I'm a fan of this first single from his Roc Nation debut, "Cole World: The Sideline Story." But this clips certainly brings it back -- with the voice box sample and the basketball-in-the-yard, it's the '90s, and it looks the part. (He also rips from Paula Abdul's "Straight Up," but the '80s has no place here.)

Cole also looks a little stiff here, and a little hallow-eyed. Loosen up, guy, you've got a Sept. 27 drop date to promote.

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<p>Hi, Tom Waits! Hi!</p>
<br />

Hi, Tom Waits! Hi!


'Bad' new Tom Waits song due next week

Songwriter has something up his sleeve

Did you hear that thud? That was me falling out of my chair. In excitement. That's what happens.

Tom Waits has let his newsletter subscribers and Twitter followers know that he's aware of the "rumors," and that soon he'll be setting the record straight.

Amazon has posted a pre-order option for a little 3:10-clocked MP3 called "Bad As Me," which could very well be the title track from an upcoming album from the legendary singer-songwriter. The listed drop date: Aug. 23. That's next Tuesday, people.

The Anti- Records-signed artist also encouraged fans to head to his website on that date. This may be all the more entertaining, considering another time he "set the record straight" during a "press conference" in 2008. He's hiding something from the rest of us.

Waits' last studio release was "Real Gone" from 2004. He also dropped triple-disc compilation "Orphans" in 2006.

CARRY ON.

Tom Waits Bad as Me

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