<p>Wilco, &quot;The Whole Love&quot;</p>

Wilco, "The Whole Love"

Credit: dBpm

Album review: Wilco's 'The Whole Love'

Let's quit talking about 'Yankee Hotel Foxtrot'

While we’re talking about the arbitrary, 5- or 10-year incremental celebrations of albums, let’s prepare for impending decade anniversary of Wilco’s “Yankee Hotel Foxtrot.” That seminal effort dropped in April 2002; pick through reviews of the Chicago-based band’s last three albums – 2009’s “Wilco (The Album),” 2007’s “Sky Blue Sky” and 2004’s “A Ghost Is Born” -- and see critics reaching and plucking out what they can of some semblance to “YHF.” 

That’s in part because Wilco still subscribes to those same influences like Beatles, Big Star and the Byrds. But it’s still evident on new “The Whole Love” that the band no interest in making “YHF 2.” Why would they? Every album since then has had a different tone and, for the most part, different personnel. (I write this, too, as more site continue appraising Ryan Adams' new material to that of "Heartbreaker." There's yet another artist who cannot escape criticism waged for not sounding like his past.)
Here, on “The Whole Love,” is where advancement is heard most in the musicianship. The lineup -- frontman Jeff Tweedy, bassist John Stirratt, guitarist Nels Cline, keyboardists/multi-instrumentalists Mikael Jorgensen and Patrick Sansone and drummer Glenn Kotche -- is now consistent, and there’s an even delegation of roles. Cline is like the weirdo ringer, adding volume and dangerous textures to tracks like “Dawned on Me,” and Kotche being the micomanager, with little details in his rhythms on otherwise-sleepy “Capitol City” and subtlety to already-subtle “Rising Red Lung.” Stirratt makes himself known on the biggest rockers, like single “I Might” and “Standing O,” the latter of which breaks up the soft middle section of the album (but why do both feature the same organ part, borrowed from Elvis Costello's Attractions?).
Which brings me to one of my major qualms with “The Whole Love,” in its sequencing and propensity to tease.
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<p>Kurt Cobain</p>

Kurt Cobain

Nirvana's 'Nevermind' 20th anniversary, R.E.M.'s demise and rock era mourning

The capitalization of death-iversaries

Nirvana thrived in contradiction: quiet and loud, passion and disassociation, melody and dissonance, clarity and obliqueness, pop-unfriendly and radio-baiting. Like their breakthrough single “Smells Like Teen Spirit,” the grunge pioneers headed a revolution and simultaneously made a cruel farce of it. 

The re-release of Nirvana’s “Nevermind” features that same clashing nature. Today (Sept. 24) is the exact day 20 years ago that the album dropped; on Tuesday, “Nevermind” can be found in multiple re-released formats, like on a single, or 2- or 4-disc set, or vinyl; there’s video on the DVD of the Paramount show from 1991, a digital version; newly unearthed demos, old alternative takes, live takes, remixes. It smacks of exhaustive capitalization from the get-go, but a celebratory injection of nostalgia and remembrance doesn’t serve to merely restock the raided coffers of Geffen records.
As acclaimed rock writer Simon Reynolds wrote for Slate on the recent Nirvana revisitation, it “feels rote, the predictable upshot of the way that commemorative cycles have become a structural, in-built component of the media and entertainment industry. This revival is largely top-down, not grass-roots.” There’s something particularly inauthentic about capitalizing on a band lauded for its authenticity, and on its face never registered as a capital-generating band.
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<p>Guided By Voices</p>

Guided By Voices

Guided By Voices releasing new album with reunited 'classic' lineup

'Lets Go Eat the Factory' due new year's day: will Robert Pollard be able to help himself?

It's been one hell of a week for '90s/rock-era news. R.E.M. split, Nirvana's "Nevermind" 20th anniversary is on Saturday, Guns N' Roses is touring America, Pearl Jam's rock doc and subsequent soundtrack is out and Radiohead is acting like Radiohead.

On a smaller scale -- but significantly -- Guided By Voices have taken their reunion to the next step and are releasing the first album of new material from its "classic" lineup for the first time since 1996. (The band's final lineup split on New Year's Eve in 2004).

Robert Pollard, Tobin Sprout, Greg Demos, Mitch Mitchell and Kevin Fennell (circa ~1992-1996) got back together last year for Matador Records' 21st birthday, and then hit the road in a full tour. Now, a 21-track set is on the way, "Let's Go Eat the Factory," and will be ready for a January 1, 2012 release. For those playing along at home -- in the words of another band celebrating a major anniversary soon -- that's "on New Year's Day."

Twenty-one tracks is about on par with GBV releases (average number of tracks: 2,389), but it'd be shocking if the rockers have just one album in their back pocket.

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<p>Radiohead at 2011 Glastonbury</p>

Radiohead at 2011 Glastonbury

Credit: AP Photo

Radiohead to tour in 2012; Thom Yorke releasing Atoms For Peace album

Jonny Greenwood plots album with Polish composer Krzysztof Penderecki

Radiohead is continuing to show renewed interest in actually promoting "King of Limbs" -- or simply their own legacy -- with plans to tour in 2012.

Frontman Thom Yorke was guest DJing on BBC's Radio 1 this week and revealed to host Gille Peterson that the British band will be on the road "on and off during the year" next year, though not specifying if they'd be returning to America after the quick spate of dates at the end of this month.

Were the 2012 tour to be in support of their latest album from February, Radiohead are a bit behind the ball; however, it seems more than just "KoL" and forthcoming remix album "KOL 12345657" are slated for promotion.

Yorke also said during the program that he's continuing to pursue efforts with his side project Atoms of Peace, which features Red Hot Chili Peppers bassist Flea and longtime Radiohead collaborator Nigel Godrich. The band did a handful of dates last year, which “sparked something off, it was really exciting … It had really good energy.” Thus, he's currently "finishing" an AFP album with Godrich, drop date to be determined.

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<p>Rihanna: a yellow diamond in the light</p>

Rihanna: a yellow diamond in the light

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Rihanna's new single 'We Found Love,' plus new album details

Take that, Lady Gaga

Rihanna has "found love in a hopeless place," and that place is squarely in the middle of a busy, arena-sized dance floor. The Bajan singer dropped her new single "We Found Love" (featuring Calvin Harris) at 9 a.m. EST this morning (Sept. 22), simultaneously detailing her next, as-yet-untitled album. And throwing a trump card at Lady Gaga.

"We Found Love" was "unlocked" once Ri-Ri's Facebook fans reached 45 million, which is a few hundred thousand more than Mother Monster's 43.7 million. Thus, Rihanna becomes the most popular solo female artist on Facebook (for the moment). Ain't nothing wrong with a little friendly competition.

The great unveiling sent this song straight to all the usual outlets, and, in all likelihood, straight to the top of my heart. Er, charts. Ugh, did I just say that?

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<p>Lisa Hannigan</p>

Lisa Hannigan

Credit: Nicholas LaClair

Interview: Lisa Hannigan talks new album, Joe Henry, Ray Lamontagne collabs

Watch Irish songwriter covered in paint for ‘Knots’; finishes Dave Matthews Caravan stops

In the single-shot video for Lisa Hannigan’s “Knots,” the Irish singer-songwriter is bombarded by paint at all angles in the world’s easiest target practice. She’s a good sport, but she is solid, keeping her place.

In “Passenger,” her new album for ATO, she’s everywhere. The title itself refers to “what you take with you – love, heartbreak, friendships and all the problems – that you take across hundreds of miles and over a year. It’s all your passenger, moving on, moving along, meeting new people,” she told me in our recent interview.
And move it does. If you blinked, you could have missed Hannigan’s Mercury Prize-nominated solo debut “Sea Sew” from 2008: it excelled in subtlety, the calm of small-scale songs and melodies. It was beautiful. “Passenger” is bold, and in no small part due to Joe Henry.
The veteran songwriter and producer pushed instrumentation forward in the mix, as is evidenced in tracks like “Knots” and opener “Home.” Henry joined the project after hearing her sing during a tribute concert. He’d contacted Hannigan’s manager, “and with such a gentlemanly email style… and in classic lady style, when someone really want to talk to you, I’m like, ‘yeah whatever, blah blah.’ But then the moment I saw him… he was such an incredible spirit. I had a wonderful feeling about him.”
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My Morning Jacket slate December tour dates, with eye-catching openers

My Morning Jacket slate December tour dates, with eye-catching openers

Head and the Heart, Sharon Jones, Band of Horses, Delta Spirit on tap this fall/winter

My Morning Jacket have helped to headline music festivals all summer -- including at jam-happy Bonnaroo and at Austin City Limits just this past weekend. Now, the band has posted a spate of December U.S. tour dates, and have proved yet again that they have quite the eye for the perfect openers.

Immaculate Noise Lollapalooza favorite Delta Spirit are on for the majority, while eye-catching Sharon Jones and the Dap-Kings are on for the first couple. Then, in reverb-drenched guitar heaven, MMJ is joined by Band of Horses at the newly renovated Madison Square Garden on Dec. 14. It'll be like a marathon of long vowel sounds.

And in case you missed it, the perennially awesome Neko Case has been on hand for shows this summer, and recent interviewees The Head and the Heart are helping the Jim James-helmed band overseas.

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<p>Metallica and Lou Reed</p>

Metallica and Lou Reed

Listen: Lou Reed and Metallica release 'The View' preview ahead of album

Is Loutallica ill-fated?

News continues to trickle out about the new Lou Reed and Metallica collaboration album "Lulu," and today brings with it the first listen.

Loutallica provide a 30-second, erm, preview into "The View," with the Velvets legend doing some spoken-word over Metallica just doing what Metallica does. It sounds like your drunk uncle talking about sex over a blasting radio and then everyone improvising a refrain when it looks like he's lost your interest.

Granted, the audio is ridiculously overly compressed, and it's only 30 seconds of verse with an inch of chorus. But my personal initial reaction: uh oh.

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<p>Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke performs at the Glastonbury music festival in June 2011</p>

Radiohead frontman Thom Yorke performs at the Glastonbury music festival in June 2011

Credit: AP Photo

Radiohead slates two New York shows, 'SNL,' 'Colbert' in sole U.S. concerts

Thom Yorke & Co. just kind of barely promoting 'King of Limbs' finally

Radiohead's slow-burning promotion of "The King of Limbs" has finally crossed the Atlantic, first with the announcement of a "Colbert Report" stop, "Saturday Night Live" and now a pair of shows later this month in New York.

The British band has announced Sept. 28 and 29 concerts at New York's Roseland Ballroom, with tickets going up just a couple days before at 10 a.m. on Sept. 26 via Ticketmaster. That room has the comparitively tiny capacity of ~3,200.

The last time Radiohead regularly gigged in the U.S. was in Aug. 2008. These mark the first concerts in support of newest album "The King of Limbs," released earlier this year.

In addition to these live shows, the band will initiate "The Colbert Report's" very first hour-long episode on Sept. 26; according to a release from Comedy Central, the group will play tracks from "TKoL" and "The Daily Mail," one of their unreleased tracks promoted during their "TKoL" stints overseas.

Additionally, Radiohead is scheduled for a stop on "Saturday Night Live" on Sept. 24, the comedy show's season premiere.

And at the moment, it doesn't look like they're going to stray far from the NYC area.

So why the comedy/variety shows? Perhaps those appearances will appeal to the widest swatch of people, and for a band so private, perhaps this is their way of showing more personality.

And why now? As we previously reported, "The King of Limbs" has been getting a remix makeover all summer long, culminating in double-disc release "TKOL 1234567" out on Oct. 11.

I'm a little surprised they're not promoting themselves in the U.S. closer to that release date, but maybe Colbert and "SNL" have scheduling ideas of their own around that release date, like AI's Lauren Alaina, the comeback of Evanescence or solo boy-brother band breakout Joe Jonas. But for a band that hasn't tried too terribly hard to push this latest album, any uptick is notable.

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Listen: Jay-Z assists on J. Cole's single 'Mr. Nice Watch'

Listen: Jay-Z assists on J. Cole's single 'Mr. Nice Watch'

Tim Tebow timepieces

Big Sean declared earlier this summer that he's "Finally Famous," that despite fame's fickleness, "I'm a celebrity!" Drake spends much of his time boo-hooing his still-rising star's affinity for the camera's flashbulbs. Now J. Cole is musing his famous-ness with his new face: the face of a watch.

"No more Mr. Nice Guy," the Roc Nation signee warns on "Mr. Nice Watch," which features the very man responsible for Cole's expensive timepieces: Jay-Z. The space-aged electronic, beat-by-math production is more akin to a Justin Timberlake track were he still in the game, and it grows bigger and bigger...

And then lays low. Hov's contribution, despite his typical breathlessness, remains understated. But he's out the gate with a Tim Tebow reference, right in time for the first week of NFL regular season. "I got a Hublot, I call it Tebow/I strap that b*tch with a 'gator band," he raps, then parsing through some other watch references and letting that building beat just kinda sit there.

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