<p>Stephen Colbert with the Black Belles</p>

Stephen Colbert with the Black Belles

Credit: Third Man Records

Watch: Stephen Colbert collabs with Jack White, Black Belles for single

Third Man Records releasing 'Charlene II'; watch Bon Iver, Florence + The Machine

Stephen Colbert spent three episodes this week on his "StePhest Colbchella '011: Rock You Like a Thirst-Icane!" television music festival, the highlight being his time spent with Jack White.

Last night, the Third Man Records love-in reached its inevitable conclusion, with the funnyman announcing a comedy single to be released by the Nashville-based, White-run imprint.

White helped Colbert form ideas, looks and sounds for the follow-up single to his fake '80s stalker hit "Charlene (I'm Right Behind You)," a spoofy song the comedian first introduced to the world in 2006. Witchy, overwrought spooky garage rock quartet The Black Belles, who are signed to Third Man, were on hand to complete the vision: "Charlene II (I'm Over You)."

The 7" single pressing of the track is available now through the Third Man Records site. White and Colbert were on hand in New York this morning selling the vinyl from the record shop's roving store-on-wheels.


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<p>Explosions In The Sky</p>

Explosions In The Sky

Song Of The Day: Explosions In The Sky debut very first music video

And how: 'Last Known Surroundings' is a gorgeous trip to the universe

Explosions in the Sky have a very cinematic sound, an arching yearning, fantastical approach to instrumental rock and post-rock. But the band has left a lot to the imagination as far as visuals go, with no music videos to their name. Until now.

"Last Known Surroundings" is a computer-animated journey to outer space, wormholes, fantasy planets and the underground. (Spoiler alert: my favorite part was with the floating islands.) This eight-plus minute adventure was created by boutique design house Ptarmak, based in the band's home city Austin.

"Surroundings" is culled from Explosions' perfectly titled album "Take Care, Take Care, Take Care," out now; It's extra odd that this mark's the band's first video because this set is their sixth full-length.

A word of warning, however: the crappy compression of the track does no favors for the band's well-deserved reputation for delivering an incredible and incredibly loud live show. Fans can have their opportunity to absorb "Last Know Surroundings" as the band tours various surroundings, dates below.


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Listen: Sublime With Rome collabs with Wiz Khalifa for song about weed

Listen: Sublime With Rome collabs with Wiz Khalifa for song about weed

'Can You Feel It' sounds just how you think it would

Sublime With Rome is a trio that consists of two of the three original members of California ska-stoners Sublime, sans late singer Bradley Nowell with singer Rome Ramirez in his stead. They mostly play old Sublime songs together

Wiz Khalifa is a rapper whose primary subject matter is on smoking weed and having sex.

These two artists have combined together for Sublime With Rome's new track, "Can You Feel It," a song about getting high.

It sounds exactly what you think it sounds like.

SWR's album "Yours Truly" is due July 12.


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<p>Grace Potter</p>

Grace Potter

Credit: AP Photo

HitFix Interview: Grace Potter on her inner-Beyonce, Radiohead, cartoon

What does the singer have to say about her Disney attachments?

Grace Potter looked, well, immaculate after her major stage performance at the Bonnaroo Music & Arts fest earlier this month, despite the 95+ degree days and rising dust for feet into the air. The rock singer and songwriter had told AP earlier in the month that she was in the middle of unleashing her “inner-Beyonce,” shedding her jeans for micro-minis and owning the stage like a Tina Turner.

It’s a good look for Potter (and yes, that’s her real name), and it’s a good time for Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, who released their self-titled album last year with the help of Queen B helmer Mark Batson. They’re hitting “Leno” and Cee Lo’s new show “Talking with Strangers” this month, are taking the stage at Lollapalooza for the first time in August and are headlining their own music festival off of Lake Champlain in Vermont. She’s also sharing the stage with Stevie Wonder, Sharon Jones and Janelle Monae at Los Angeles’ Hollywood Bowl on July 24 for KCRW’s World Festival.
This winter will mark a new step for the singer, as well, as she voices and sings as a cartoon in ABC/ABC Family’s holiday special “Prep & Landing.” It’s an opportunity she says she’d never have if she wasn’t attached to Hollywood Records, a Disney imprint.
“I wrote a song for it,” the vocalist laughed, “called ‘Naughty Naughty Children.’ You know I can’t really fully adhere to the Disney thing.”
Below is my chat with Potter, on her Beyonce thing, her Radiohead thing and splashing against rocks like Ariel.
How do you unwind after a big stage thing like Bonnaroo?
My favorite thing to do is to pick out my next outfit to put on. [Laughs]
I feel like I’ve seen you in a few costume changes today.
Technically this is my fifth change, because on stage I had three. It helps that I’m in a cape phase.
Who were your original “people” at Hollywood Records?
We have a lot of A&R people who are in an argument over who really found us. The truth of it is is that we don’t have any A&R guy. Bob Cavallo – the head of Hollywood – has always kind of been the connoisseur of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals. He’s guided us and had his faith in us from the very beginning, and he’s the only one who has been working beside us the whole entire time. But there’s a lot of people who have been involved. Give credit where it’s due.
With Hollywood, though, of course it’s got the straight Disney offshoot thing. You guys were not part of that world, no pun intended. Where are you at with your contract with Hollywood, and your impression of the label on the whole? What is it to be attached to Disney?
Nobody’s ever asked me that before. It’s the most bizarrely beautiful relationship because they’re just far enough off from what we do. We’re the oddity at the label, the exception to all the rules, because I wasn’t brought up through the Disney community. Normally, you’d be on the Disney music label and as you grow up you’d sign to Hollywood and develop your adult career like that.
They had the Polyphonic Spree on the label when we first signed. The Indigo Girls, Queen, plenty of people on the label that aren’t Disney people… But what I love about Disney is that I’ve attached myself to things that I never would have been able to, like “White Rabbit” in Tim Burton’s [“Alice in Wonderland”] and I had the end credit song in “Tangled,” which was a total childhood dream come true. So as much as I love the rock star side of it, I also get to tap into the kid channel in myself. Because I will always be a Disney kid. It was like seeing Ariel [in “The Little Mermaid”] splashing against the rock with the water, when I was a kid -- I was like, “That’s me!”
Bob Cavallo is by no means is a man to be trifled with. When he came to us, we totally scoffed at him, we were like, “We’re not going to dinner with Disney, no way.” But it’s actually turned into the most incredible relationship. I hope to work with Disney forever. I really do. No matter where our career goes, that I can still attach myself to Disney animation projects. Like, I’m gonna be the voice of this Christmas special…. I hope to never lose that connection, because we’re made for each other.
When you were taking those meetings, you must’ve considered going with the indies, and what distribution you wanted, but now you have this big network.
We always pictured ourselves as an ATO band. There was interest there, but at the time we didn’t want to join the ranks. We wanted to be the exception to the rule. I think that this band had to forge our own path and we needed a label that could be patient with us, and had the pockets for us. Because I mean, we need a lot. We come from Vermont, we like to do things ourselves, we’re grassroots. We have our own idea of how to run things, so we needed a label that said, “Cool, do that. Good luck. See you in a year.” And then we all could say, “We told you so.”
You’ve talked before about unleashing your inner-Beyonce. But you guys have some good instrument and cool toys you play with. Don’t think I didn’t see your many, many guitars, like your flying V…
You’re lucky I haven’t gotten into the pedals yet. All the boys and Cat [Catherine Popper, formerly of Ryan Adams & the Cardinals and Hem] now have pedals. But I’m staying away from them. Because if I got into pedals, I’d never been singing into the pedals. Nels Cline all day long.
That’s for your latter-day Radiohead era.
We’ll do a Radiohead record.
No more smiling, get real dark.
Jeans and t-shirt and you’ll never see my face. [Laughs] This is just phase two of Grace Potter and the Nocturnals.


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<p>Britney Spears in &quot;I Wanna Go&quot;</p>

Britney Spears in "I Wanna Go"


Watch: Britney Spears pokes fun at paparazzi, self in 'I Wanna Go' video

Chris Marrs Piliero strikes again with another bizarre clip

Video director Chris Marrs Piliero knows how to use low-brow, absurdist and the spotted use of cameo, as is apparent by one of his brightest, the Black Keys' "Howlin for You." Now he's been paired up with America's sweetheart and punching bag Britney Spears, and together they strike back and break hearts with "I Wanna Go."

And the result is fun for fans. There's little Easter eggs throughout the clip of Britney's past and present, and of course, the recurring theme of death-to-the-paparazzi. The former Mouseketeer dons a cutoff tee with a Mickey Mouse skull, and a polka dot bikini underneath like Minnie. Her "Got Milk?" campaign gets turned around on her cameo cohort Guillermo Diaz ("Weeds"). A marquee at a movie theater touts the fictional sequel to Spears' movie bomb "Crossroads" with "Crossroads 2: Cross Harder."

The video starts out with Brit-Brit addressing The Media head-on, fielding stupid questions about "love children" and the various arbitrary bans at her concerts. Ultimately the (literally) spiky diva flips the bird at her tormenters and takes the street in Hot Topic wear that would turn Avril Lavigne red. Her field hockey skirts of Old has been replaced with safety pins and tears in a jet-black mini, her argyle with punky stripes. She grabs the proverbial package of an adoring fan and turns the heads of mere babies. She flashes the street, then gets a full-body search from a cop (and returns the favor). Then she breaks the camera of the pap, who then turn into evil cyborgs from the "Terminator" franchise, before she is swept away in a convertible by Diaz.

But it was all a dream! Or was it?! End scene with a tip of the hat to "Thriller."


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<p>Cover for J. Cole's &quot;Work Out&quot;</p>

Cover for J. Cole's "Work Out"

Listen: J. Cole has a 'Work Out' before long-awaited debut album release

'Cole World: The Sideline Story' gets a release date, single

Like I said in my Bonnaroo review of his set, J. Cole is an earner. And it's about time he's earned a debut album, release date and title.

"Cole World: The Sideline Story" will finally drop on Sept. 27 on Jay-Z's Roc Nation imprint. It comes on the heels of other game-themed mixtape titles like "The Warm Up" and the impressive collection "Friday Night Lights." And it's only natural, then, that his first single is called "Work Out."

The single dropped last week and it's a shame it didn't arrive in time for our 2010 summer jams list. This party track borrows from Paula Abdul's "Straight Up" and tips its hat (ball?) to Kanye West's "The New Workout Plan" off of "The College Dropout." We'll just have to wait and see if the video has just as many celebrity cameos as that track.

Hov is skedded to appear on one of "Cole World's" tracks, and producers like West collaborator No I.D., Danjahandz and Brian Kidd are helming.

The North Carolinian MC Tweeted much of the news above, so if you're a convert like me, I'd recommend a quick follow. Another new track, "Cheer Up" has been making the rounds, but it may warn against my former advice. "You lookin' for a man like you need somebody / get your *ss off Twitter, you could be somebody." Whoops. Either way, proceed with caution.


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<p>Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks</p>

Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks

Song Of The Day: Stephen Malkmus teams with Beck and the 'Senator'

The elegant singing of 'blow job'

Oh hey speaking of Domino Record Co.... the label has dibs on Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks' next full-length album, "Mirror Traffic," due Aug. 22.

And the Pavement frontman has claimed another famed name for production: Beck.

Before we talk about Mr. Hansen, let's talk about what the "Senator" wants. And what the Senator wants, says Malkmus in the first song to arise from the set, is a blow job. It's apparently what we all want.

This political little firecracker of a skeletal rock track is a little heavy on the populism imagery -- cattle prods and all that -- but it couldn't have come at a better time in our stupid news cycle, where House Rep Anthony Weiner has been holding down headlines with his, erm, head lines and is leaving office today.

Malkmus, in the meantime, beats that line to death, but in his special, pretty little stoner way that ever made me lackadaisically pick up his first, self-titled solo album but then enthusiastically play it over and over.

Janet Weiss (Quasi, former Sleater-Kinney) is not back with the Jicks this time, as she's too busy being awesome in awesome new group Wild Flag (listen to a song here).

After a brief reunion tour run last year, Pavement have not scheduled any shows for 2011. There are no signs of new music from the '90s post-rock frontrunners.

Beck, in the meantime, seems to be poking out and waving at us. If you'll remember, his last album, "Modern Guilt" -- though good -- didn't lift him up where he belongs, back in large venues and on the radio. So it seems he's on hiatus from making his own music with exception to his Record Club one-offs. However, he's made a mark on Charlotte Gainsbourg's career, certainly, and produced Tobacco and Jamie Lidell's weird one last year. He's also behind the decks for Sonic Youth frontman Thurston Moore's dozenth solo set, "Demolished Thoughts."


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<p>Laura Marling</p>

Laura Marling

Listen: Laura Marling announces new 'Creature' album with a preview

British songwriter combines with Ethan Johns again

Want to feel old today? Laura Marling just turned 21 in February, and she's about to put out her third full-length album.

"A Creautre I Don't Know" has the British songwriter back with producer Ethan Johns, with the set due Sept. 13 in the 'States. It will be her first album for Ribbon Music, a label and publisher that's apparently an offshoot of Domino. Which means at least she'll be in good hands. John Maus is the only other label signee.

Marling has previewed one of the album's new songs in a two-minute clip, a sparse vinyl-stringed take on a song fans have called "Night After Night." It started making an appearance at live shows in Q4 last year; she also brought it to Housing Works in New York last week, and that clip is below. And it makes me very excited to hear the rest of the effort.

Of course, that is an easy feat, since her last album "I Speak Because I Can" topped my 2010 Albums list; Johns produced that one as well. Her set "Alas, I Cannot Swim" put her on the map for its Mercury Prize nomination.


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<p>Thom Yorke during Radiohead's performance of &quot;Stairway&quot;</p>

Thom Yorke during Radiohead's performance of "Stairway"

Watch: Radiohead debut new song 'Staircase' live (HQ)

'Live from the Basement'

Radiohead is finally bringing "King of Limbs" to television, but they're taking the opportunity to introduce a little new material too.

As previously reported, the British band took to Nigel Godrich's "Live from the Basement" series to play their new album, but a "Staircase" has ascended during the taping. The slow-burner never boils over and and features dotted vocals from a typically wiry Thom Yorke. However, the double-drum attack works especially well, considering the band let in a special guest for the performance: Clive Dreamer, who has played with Robert Plant and Portishead, sat beside Radiohead's own Phil Selway for a solid, thumping effect.

The "Live" part from "The Basement" has already come and gone, but BBC scored a license to the material and is broadcasting it in full on July 1.

A representative has not responded yet since being asked if "Stairway" will be part of a larger effort or will have an official studio release.

However, Radiohead's music from "King of Limbs" will be getting a new spin all summer, due to their new 12" single remix series.


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<p>Andrew Bird</p>

Andrew Bird

Watch: Andrew Bird plays new song 'Give It Away' live (HQ)

Will this be on a 'Noble Beast' follow-up? Plus tour dates

Dream-machine Andrew Bird played right around the corner from me in Brooklyn this past weekend, and the Chicagoan kindly brought some new material with him.

"Give It Away" features the songsmith's typical violin loops and repetitions, with three distinct sections of the track. No whistling, however. He also gives the crowd a chuckle somewhere close to the 3:40 mark, because he's obviously trying to obliterate my heart. Video comes courtesy of Celebrate Brooklyn. Celebrate!

No word yet what will come of "Away," if it will be included on the follow-up album to 2009's "Noble Beast." Management is mum so far on when to expect a new release, actually, but the singer-songwriter will be on tour on and off now through the end of October. Tour dates below.

What do you think of the track?


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