<p>Bruno Mars</p>

Bruno Mars

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Bruno Mars' pens kiss-off 'Rain' track for 'Twilight: Breaking Dawn'

Is this sad jammer for Bella and Jacob?

Fans of the "Twilight" series -- or at least the soundtracks -- now have a first taste of the "Breaking Dawn" set.

Bruno Mars has dropped kiss-off single "It Will Rain" today (Sept. 27), and boy is it stormy.

I wish the acclaimed singer/songwriter wasn't yelling at me the entire time, but at least he's pushing his range and there's no irritating, requisite rap verse. The bass end is pushed way, way up in the mix, giving it a Timberlake sheen.

So what do you think this song with soundtrack in the movie? Does Jacob fall out of love with Edward? Does Bella have to put down a kitten?

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<p>Tom Waits</p>

Tom Waits

Listen: Tom Waits brings 'Back' a bawler

Songwriter releases another song from 'Bad As Me'

Tom Waits new album title "Bad as Me" certainly has a tinge of brawler, but his newly released song "Back in the Crowd" is trending bawler. And by that I mean I just slow-danced by myself and had a good cry.

Purchase the track through the usual digital suspects or listen for free on Spotify.

The Southwestern, nylon-string-enhanced loner ballad is the second track to arrive from the new Anti- album, after the stomping title track.

"Bad as Me" is out Oct. 24.

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<p>Mastodon, &quot;The Hunter&quot; (I mean, just look at it.)</p>

Mastodon, "The Hunter" (I mean, just look at it.)

Credit: Reprise

Album review: Mastodon, 'The Hunter'

Enter here, metal and non-metal fans

Now is the perfect time for Mastodon’s “The Hunter” arrival. This month has been a running log of grunge and ‘90s rock revisits, in addition to the speculation that the Lou Reed and Metallica collaboration album will equal a worst-case scenario. Plus, somehow, Mastodon has spent the last three records as the metal band added to the playlists of people who don’t typically listen to metal. 

The Atlanta-based foursome got a bump, in part, from scoring their first film, 2010’s “Jonah Hex,” and spent the last several years touring with more general rock groups like Cursive, Against Me! and Soundgarden as much as they have with Slayer, Metallica and Killswitch Engage. “Blood Mountain” (2006) and “Crack the Skye” (2009) shared the progressive temperaments of King Crimson and the serrated post-punk and -rock of Helmet along with other typically cited influences. But this latest set is the best testament of Mastodon’s expanding, diverse appeal.
“Curl of the Burl” is a good example of this: while it’s not nearly my favorite track on the album overall, it has all the trappings of a mainstream hard rock hit. The band flies into the triumphantly dark “All the Heavy Lifting” with the thrashy encouragement to “Just close your eyes / And pretend everything’s fine” during its enormous chorus – this right before the comparatively tender title track, its vocals ripped from an Ozzy instructional guide.
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'Breaking Dawn' soundtrack revealed: Iron & Wine, Bruno Mars, Noisettes
Credit: Atlantic/Summit/Chop Shop

'Breaking Dawn' soundtrack revealed: Iron & Wine, Bruno Mars, Noisettes

Surprise: No new Muse (or Robert Pattinson) on the 'Twilight Saga' songlist
The tracklist to "The Twiight Saga: Breaking Dawn - Part 1" has finally been unveiled, and there are a few surprises.
First, what we knew: all the tracks included are exclusive, or are exclusive remixes or alternate versions
The "fun" surprises: I love seeing Joy Formidable and Theophilus London on this list, they even out some of the sad bastards and emo bands like Sleeping at Last, Aqualung and Iron & Wine (as loveable as they are). The Daytrotter version of the Everly Brothers -- The Belle Brigade -- may surprise "Twilight's" long-time fans.
Here is the "bummer" surprises: No Muse, for the first time in "Twilight" soundtrack history. And it is actress Mia Maestro (Carmen) who contributed the Mystery Twilight Alumni track, not Robert Pattinson, Kristen Stewart or Jackson Rathbone.
And the "huh?" surprise: Who the hell is Cider Sky? The band has, at press time, exactly one dozen fans on Facebook... and is fronted by Simon Wilcox, the female "singer-songwriter with boys' name" that astoundingly showed up on the "Brothers" soundtrack a couple years ago. So this is apparently the band's debut?
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<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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