<p>Lars Ulrich during Metallica's LiveStream</p>

Lars Ulrich during Metallica's LiveStream

Metallica launching their own weekend-long Orion Music + More festival

Veteran metal trouple playing the Black Album in its entirety; Avenged Sevenfold, Modest Mouse on the bill

For years, Metallica has brought their music directly to the fans with endless tours. Now, with the launch of the metal act's own festival Orion Music + More, the fans can come to them.

Today, the quartet took to LiveStream to announce their weekend-long event, to take place in Atlantic City, N.J., on June 23-24. The band will close out both nights, and have tapped other bands like Arctic Monkeys, Avenged Sevenfold and Modest Mouse to play throughout. The band has also promised to play "Ride the Lightning" and the eponymous "Black album" in their entirety -- that marks the first time they've done the latter on U.S. soil.

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Counting Crows have a new album, and they'll be streaming it in full for free

Counting Crows have a new album, and they'll be streaming it in full for free

Band is experimenting with social media in their post-Geffen days

Yeah, what did happen to the Counting Crows?

I was thinking about that as I saw the movie "Gypsy Davy" at this year's Sundance Film Festival. The documentary film, in a tangent, reveals the origins of "a black-haired / flamenco dancer" and the father who plays guitar in the '90s hit "Mr. Jones." There's footage of the band's floppy-dreaded frontman Adam Duritz singing the song live and a reminder that Duritz and his bandmates had lives and other bands before Counting Crows. And they've seen some strange years after its inception.

The rock act parted ways from Geffen in 2009, and I honestly thought that may be the end of that. They'd released the immensely personal and very dark double-disc "Saturday Nights & Sunday Mornings" in 2008, with some interviews revealing some of heavy baggage. There were some good reasons why it took the band six years to release an album of new material after 2002's "Hard Candy," including Duritz' struggle with a dissociative disorder. It's a mental illness spurred on by pressure, which the band undoubtedly had after its string of hits starting in 1993 and throughout the '90s into the 2000s.

Being an immensely popular rock band from the 1990s doesn't always bode well in this jaded post-Internet age. Ask Bush, or the Wallflowers or Creed.

All this while, the Counting Crows have been touring consistently, and Duritz and the crew have been pretty lively on Twitter, with well over a million followers, and vibrant in other online community hotspots. It's this relationship that may have spurred an experiment from the band for the release of their next studio effort.

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<p>The Shins</p>

The Shins

Credit: Annie Beedy

Listen: The Shins ponder 'September' as they unleash tour dates for spring

The B-Side to 'Simple Song' arrives; James Mercer taps some cool touring buddies

The Shins have tacked on more headlining tour dates for their spring trek as they bow the B-Side to currently single "Simple Song."

The newly revamped rock-pop troupe have an aesthetically pleasing lyric video for "September" literally spinning on their website, the companion to the leading track from new album "Port of Morrow." While that set is due in March, the band brings it back to the fall, where this sweetly heartbroken song sounds more akin to leaves falling than buds blooming. Or something. James Mercer's wordplay again takes front and center, as little hints of alt-country and Americana rises through the guitar processors.

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<p>Tyson Ritter</p>

Tyson Ritter

Credit: HitFix

Watch: All-American Rejects' frontman talks 'Kids in the Street' and poisonous women

Band on the run as 'Beekeeper's Daughter' music video debuts

Tyson Ritter, in a few mere motions, slipped off his artfully ripped t-shirt in front of 15 people and slipped on a Mickey Mouse sweatshirt, all for the sake of being "twinsies," to match my last-ditch gray digs. He bounced on the balls of his feet between questions and smoothed his long hair during our interview at this year's 2012 Sundance Film Festival, cunningly throwing in a phrase like "bag of d*cks" with his philosophizing on his band's varietal fanbase.

Like their frontman, the All-American Rejects are kind of all over the place. The quartet has been finished with their newest album "Kids in the Street" for a year, and in between have been "finagling" with their record label Interscope and their core listeners, lining up dates with Warped Tour and mulling how to depart from the traditional album release cycle and the alt-pop mold.

"We're melodic, we have a pop orientation," Ritter tells me of "Kids," "but this record... has a story in it."

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<p>Bon Iver for &quot;Saturday Night Live&quot;</p>

Bon Iver for "Saturday Night Live"

Watch: Bon Iver on 'Saturday Night Live'; band announces West Coast shows

How'd Justin Vernon and his 8-piece band fare?

Bon Iver may not be a big fan of the Grammys at the moment, but that hasn't kept him from being on a pre-Awards blitz this month. Justin Vernon's stop-offs included his first appearance on "Saturday Night Live" over the weekend, performing his Grammy-nominated track "Holocene" and "Beth/Rest," both from his sophomore full-length "Bon Iver."

The soft-rock songs may feel sparse on record, but Vernon's eight-piece backing band made an example of how involved the production was. Check out the percussive elements of "Holocene," and take a deep breath. "Beth/Rest," the Jagjaguwar band's best impression homage to Steve Winwood is a rare performance of Vernon not singing in falsetto, which may be why it was chosen as the second track.

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<p>OK Go</p>


Credit: Nathaniel Wood

Watch: OK Go's 'Needing/Getting' gets a musical instrument-playing car

Two-mile driving course makes the remix

What takes two miles of desert, four days of shooting, four months of prep, 1,000 instruments, a car sponsorship and a song? The new OK Go video, of course.

The Chicago rock act's new single "Needing/Getting" features a Chevy outfitted with boom mics and retractable pneumatic arms that play upended pianos, guitars grafted to fences, bottles dangling from archways and such. The quartet sits helps noise-make in the car, with an impressive effort from frontman Damian Kulash, who sings and drives like a maniac (he took stunt driving courses).

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<p>&nbsp;M.I.A. has a posse</p>

 M.I.A. has a posse

Today in New Music Videos: M.I.A., Miike Snow and Neon Indian

Take a ride with a crazy stuntwoman, 18th century aliens or a buxom 'toon

Three left-of-center, electronic-influenced acts -- M.I.A., Miike Snow and Neon Indian -- invite us into their imaginations with visually striking new videos. 

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Sasquatch! Music Festival: Jack White tours, Tenacious D's new album and... is Beck back?

Listen to new material from Tenacious D's 'Fenix'

The lineup for the 2012 Sasquatch! music festival has been unveiled, but headliners like Jack White, Tenacious D, Bon Iver and Beck bring tidings of other news with them.

White, for one, will be performing at additional festivals plus will be announcing more tour dates in support of his solo debut "Blunderbuss." He'll be taking the stage at the Gorge in George, Wash., on May 26, and will also be heading up the Hangout Music Fest in Gulf Shores, Ala., on May 18 and to London's Radio 1 Hackney Weekend 2012 over June 23-24. A press release indicates the former White Stripes leader will be posting additional dates and music news soon.

"Blunderbuss" is due April 24; click here to hear White's first single "Love Interruption."

Then there's Beck, who has rarely toured in the last four or five years. His slot at the fest may indicate there are larger things at work.

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<p>Here is a round thing, for your face.</p>

Here is a round thing, for your face.

Watch: Drake's 'Practice' gets a voyeuristic, YouTube-style, sexy-time video

Breaking news: There are hot girls in Drake's employ to enhance the size... of his singles

Nothing says "pain and regret in your sweat" like an ass akin to a wavin' flag.

That's the gist of Drake's "Practice" music video, featuring the sex-time moves of Kyra Chaos, a model frequently featured in Smooth Girl magazine. If you are unfamiliar with Smooth Girl magazine, I highly recommend checking it out on a 17-inch screen, brightly lit, in a well-populated and professional setting such as a coffee shop or in and around your boss' office.

For more than three minutes, Chaos indicates to her audience what they're missing -- more specifically, what Drake's got and you not. She presents her greatest asset in front of a mirror and to the viewer, lo-fi YouTube style, in a pair of jeggings and a chopped and screwed top. Her dance is only interrupted, at the end, by the non-euphemistic entry of Drake.

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<p>Madonna in &quot;Give Me All Your Luvin'&quot;</p>

Madonna in "Give Me All Your Luvin'"

Watch: Madonna, Nicki Minaj and M.I.A. in 'Give Me All Your Luvin'' video

Madge and the girls have some f-u-n in time for the Super Bowl

After months of seriously promoting her film "W.E." and dropping some ballsy pull quotes on the press in recent days, it's nice to see Madonna simply have some fun.

The veteran pop star snagged "Give Me All Your Luvin'" guests M.I.A. and Nick Minaj for this football-themed clip, the two rappers donning cheerleader outfits while Madonna gets the royal treatment from a team of real tough players. The hair-flipping, lace-rocking walk-about was helmed by Megaforce, whose treatment of videos like Kid Cudi's "Pursuit of Happiness" and Tame Impala's "Solitude Is Bliss" includes similar elements of the odd adventure, a little bit of cruelty and toying with dimension.

In "Luvin'," Madonna is beaming about 90% of the time. It's easy to see why. In a move that playfully panders to the NFL as it does parody it, Madge is in the middle, calling the shots, in four ferocious outfits. She throws a baby, walks on walls and brings it back to her '80s look with that Marilyn blonde knockoff. I still find M.I.A. and Nicki's contributions to be superfluous at best -- particularly with Roman reloading her "Y U Mad" sleeper line -- but it makes it feel more like a girls night out.

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