<p>Joan As Police Woman</p>

Joan As Police Woman

HitFix 2011 SXSW Music Podcast No. 2: Joan As Police Woman, Liturgy

The Mars Volta's Omar Rodriguez Lopez, Diamond Center, surfgaze and noise

As we trudge closer to the opening of the SXSW Music Conference in Austin, we unveil Podcast No. 2 in our 2011 series.

Included on this Friday is one selection unintended for the faint of heart, Brooklyn's experimental metal outfit Liturgy. It's buttressed by sloooow surfgaze (yeah, that's a word) troupe The Diamond Center.

The shoulder-dancing contingency may be sated with sultry Joan As Police Woman and painfully hip We Are Enfant Terrible. The esteemed Omar Rodriguez Lopez -- frontman for At The Drive-In and The Mars Volta -- and Southwesternly broken-hearted David Wax Museum round out the list.

Thursday's mix included tracks from Class Actress and The Dears.

I will continue to post mixes now until the start of the fest, on March 16, with hopes to showcase some of what to expect from the eclectic event.

Here is the tracklist for Podcast No. 2:

Joan As Police Woman, "Magic"
David Wax Museum, "Born with a Broken Heart"
Omar Rodriguez Lopez, "Locomocion Capillar"
We Are Enfant Terrible, "Filthy Love"
The Diamond Center, "Caraway"
Liturgy, "Ecstatic Race"

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<p>Foo Fighters</p>

Foo Fighters

Foo Fighters cover Paul McCartney, Pink Floyd for 'Medium Rare' album

New takes on Prince, The Ramones, Husker Du, Thin Lizzy for Record Store Day

Vinyl and Foo Fighters lovers rejoice: The rock act is releasing an entire set of covers in honor of Record Store Day this year.

"Medium Rare" boasts 13 tracks, from "Band on the Run" by Paul McCartney & Wings to "Darling Nikki" by Prince, and drops exclusively on vinyl LP on April 16. Foos have a long history of covers, having released some as B-sides, others as live set staples and bootlegs, the ilk. This is the first collection of this kind for them, and is the bow of two previously unreleased takes on Thin Lizzy's "Bad Reputation" and The Zombies' "This Will Be Our Year."

I'm particularly tickled to hear Hüsker Dü's "Never Talking to You Again"; I am mildly disappointed there isn't one single female musician in the list.

The announcement comes within the same day Dave Grohl & Co.'s new music video to "Rope" dropped. Check out what HitFix's Melinda Newman has to say about it here.

Foo Fighters' new Butch Vig-produced set "Wasting Light" arrives only a few days before "Medium Rare," on April 12. A documentary on the band, cleverly named "Foo Fighters," makes its bow during the South By Southwest (SXSW) Film festival in Austin this coming week.

I've been pleasantly surprised, so far, with the Foos' promotional campaign for "Wasting Light," with "Medium Rare" being one helluva pleasant surprise. As Britney Spears' snippet and full-song leaks continue, and Lady Gaga's slow world takeover rages on, the band has packed their spring with a lot to be proud of. While I have yet to hear the new studio effort, "White Limo" raged pretty hard (if at least with its Lemmy-starring video) and I'm intrigued about the inclusion of Krist Novoselic in the tracklist. The band proved again it could have fun as a crew with "Rope." Their take on the rock doc -- which may overshadow their more boring album contributions (*cough* "Echoes" and "One by One" *cough*) -- could be a great snapshot of a rock band in its testy middle age.

Here is the tracklist for "Medium Rare":

1. "Band on the Run" (Paul McCartney & Wings)
2. "I Feel Free" (Cream)
3. "Life of Illusion" (Joe Walsh)
4. "Young Man Blues" (Mose Allison)
5. "Bad Reputation" (Thin Lizzy)
6. "Darling Nikki" (Prince)
7. "Down in the Park" (Gary Numan)
8. "Baker Street" (Gerry Rafferty)
9. "Danny Says" (The Ramones)
10. "Have A Cigar" (Pink Floyd)
11. "Never Talking to You Again" (Hüsker Dü)
12. "Gas Chamber" (Angry Samoans)
13. "This Will Be Our Year" (The Zombies)

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<p>Class Actress' Elizabeth Harper</p>

Class Actress' Elizabeth Harper

HitFix 2011 SXSW Music Podcast No. 1: O'Death, Class Actress, The Dears

Six tracks including Ice Black Birds, Kokayi, Tristen in advance of Austin fest

While there's somewhere between 700 and 1,000 acts showing up in Austin for official South By Southwest showcases, a number excess of that is far more accurate. It's overwhelming, on purpose.

HitFix is heading down to the Texas capitol again this year, and it's my pleasure to help parse some of the clutter.

Each day leading up to March 16, SXSW Music's kick-off, I'll be posting a podcast featuring a handful of acts I'd recommend checking out.

Today (March 10) includes tracks from rockers Ice Black Birds, Nashville newcomer Tristen, dream-pop troupe Class Actress, Canadian imports The Dears, killer live act O'Death and Grammy-nominated hip-hop artist Kokayi.

SXSW runs March 16-20.

Here is the tracklist for HitFix 2011 SXSW Music Podcast No. 1:

Ice Black Birds, "22.22"
Tristen, "Eager for Your Love"
Class Actress, "Careful What You Say"
The Dears, "Blood"
O'Death, "Bugs"
Kokayi, "Nicotine"

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Song Of The Day: Watch Yuck's 'Get Away' video, plus Spiritualized news

Song Of The Day: Watch Yuck's 'Get Away' video, plus Spiritualized news

Fat Possum signees joined by some seriously sweet housemates

With nine Austin shows already on the board for South By Southwest, young'uns Yuck are already primed to be one of the belles at that ball.

Right in time, these rockers have released the music video to "Get Away." And they're doing nothing to shun their influences.

The road montage clip will have you rubbing your eyes and looking for J. Mascis or perhaps a peroxided Superchunk in the background. Their self-titled album -- released last month -- while green, was full of perfectly imperfect electric riffs, a cohesive tip of the trucker hat to '90s post-rockers. Frontman Daniel Blumberg, at the very least, has a serious case of the Malkmus.

Otherwise, the video is a very good excuse to cover an ivory-skinned beauty in veggie oil and to nonchalantly mutter the lyrics in your own detached manner.

Yuck are among the VERY good signings that Fat Possum has nabbed lately, with the most recent including legendary U.K. act Spiritualized. It was announced this week that the Jason Pierce-fronted crew will be releasing a new effort this fall, and that they're headed to London's storied Royal Albert Hall on Oct. 11.

Spiritualized last released "Songs in A&E" in 2008. They spent part of last year performing their breakthrough "Ladies and Gentlemen... We Are Floating In Space" in full during live shows.

Check out Yuck's "Get Away" video below, and stream their album in full below that.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>John Slattery in The National's &quot;Conversation 16&quot;</p>

John Slattery in The National's "Conversation 16"

Watch: John Slattery, Kristen Schaal in The National's 'Conversation 16'

Rock act headlining MusicNow fest in Ohio

We're used to seeing John Slattery as a sad lovesick fool, but this time his powerful muse if one of presidential proportions.

The National have released the music video to "Conversation 16," culled from their 2010 album "High Violet"; the group even has a place in the clip, but much of the focus is on "President of the U.S." Kristen Schaal, Slattery on security detail and "Russian" leader James Urbaniak.

What surfaces are misty water-colored memories of Ms. President and Slattery's love affair, a executive branch thong, love letters with wax and staples and a nearly missed pardon for a Thanksgiving turkey. The "Mad Men" actor has a moment where he's forced to play dress-up, similar to a situation his TV character had at Cooper and Price involving a Santa Suit.

The clip was directed by Scott Jacobson, and the concept arose from an alcohol fueled chat with the comedienne.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Okkervil River</p>

Okkervil River

Listen: Okkervil River debuts 'Wake and Be Fine' from incoming new album

'I Am Very Far' due in May

Okkervil River are returning with their sixth full-length "I Am Very Far" for longtime home Jagjaguwar, and, at least with the case of newly unleashed "Wake and Be Fine," the thing's starting with a bang.

Will Sheff's sounding unhinged (in the good way) on the track, available now for download via the rock band's website for the price of your black heart your email address. It reminds me of Cursive frontman's Tim Kasher's fleshy and well-arranged solo projects, and even a little bit of the daunting growl that Conor Oberst used to nurture in his earlier years.

I don't know why such a Saddle Creek blaze was set in my head about it, but maybe it has to do with the start and stop manner in which "I Am Very Far" was recorded: Sheff "opted for a series of short, high-intensity sessions with a larger band in various studios. Sessions would, at times, find over a dozen musicians performing live in a single room." He apparently had a little fun throwing file cabinets around and recording that, too.

So pay attention to the percussion on "Wake and Be Fine, blaring in tandem with aux instruments like piano and a full horns section. This is a lush set, but it plays at 11 almost the whole time. Very freeing.

"I Am Very Far" is due May 10, with tracklist below.

The band has also announced extensive and some surprisingly big stops on tour, with killer openers like Titus Andronicus and Julianna Barwick.

[Check out the tracklist and tour dates after the jump...]

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<p>Mumford &amp; Sons</p>

Mumford & Sons

Mumford & Sons, Edward Sharpe announce most adorable tour ever

Old Crow Medicine Show all aboard for vintage train tour through the South and Southwest

The current No. 2 Billboard 200 champs Mumford & Sons have hooked up with what I think is a perfect one-two combo of touring partners -- Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros and Old Crow Medicine Show -- for the world's most adorable little tour ever (of today.)

The three acts are all aboard for the Railroad Revival Tour, which has them traveling through the South and Southwest on a 1,500-foot train in vintage railcars. Granted, they won't be performing their (public) shows on there, but will be stopping off at "unique outdoor locations" like parks, train stations and the Arizona Railway Museum.

Each are promised equal billing and performance time, and you can bet your silver dollar there will be collaborations galore. Meanwhile, as the group lives on the train for a week, a documentary will be shot on the experience.

Tickets go up for the six stops tomorrow (March 9) at 12 p.m. EST exclusively through the Railroad Revival Tour website. Buyers will get a special-lookin' ticket and access to live recordings from the tour.

The saddest part of the world's most adorable mobile show is that its in so few stop-offs. But say what you will about Mumford or about Edward Sharpe & The Magnetic Zeros' frontman's solo effort, this run will have more energy than FIFA.

[Dates after the jump...]

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Song Of The Day: Watch Atmosphere's new video for 'Just For Show'

Rapper suggests: Hug your dog today

What I appreciate about Atmosphere is that he continues to be a rapper who can laugh at himself.

Take for instance his new single, and the accompanying clip, which reimagines this emo breakup track as a plight of a dog unloved. Is in, a Golden Retriever.

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Watch: Willow Smith builds something from nothing in '21st Century Girl'

Watch: Willow Smith builds something from nothing in '21st Century Girl'

Getting all Rihanna on the desert genre

Hey, do you wanna feel old today? Yeah, because Willow Smith was born in the year 2000. That's right. Put that cigarette down, stop drinking coffee.

And her year of birth may have a little to do with why her new single "21st Century girl" came into existence, and there's some video to prove it.

The Def Jam signee and Will Smith's prodigy endeavors into the desert genre of music video-making with the track. She rises from the ground after a bit of witchcraft transforms her into a fashion abomination and rocks the f out. You can tell she's rocking because she "plays" a guitar for about two seconds. Her little friends come out to play and build a city in the abyss of sand and then they dance on top of cars and stuff.

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<p>Animal Collective</p>

Animal Collective

Pitchfork Fest announces initial lineup: How many are a 10.0?

Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, TVOTR, Dismemberment Plan and more

Pitchfork’s Music Festival is back this summer, and the initial lineup has been announced, with headliners including Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes, TV on the Radio and the reunited Dismemberment Plan.

PFMF (nobody calls it that, but I will) runs Jul 15-17 in Chicago’s Union Park, same as 2010. Tickets go on sale, well, now (1 p.m. EST) for three-day passes and single day, which fans should note: this puppy sold out FAST last year, and that was before event the full schedule was out.

Other acts include HitFix faves Cut Copy, Deerhunter, Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti, Destroyer and all of indie’s favorite fellated object James Blake.

Out of morbid curiousity, I did some searches.

Animal Collective’s last three albums were given a 9.6, 9.3 and 9.0 on the site.

Fleet Foxes’ sole full-length Sub Pop release, the self-titled 2008 set, got a 9.0.

TV on the Radio: 9.2, 9.1 and 7.8 (!!). (The band’s most-superior EP “Young Liars” back in 2003 got a 8.9, phew.)

Dismemberment Plan’s “Emergency & I” reissue got a brain-melting 10.0, curiously after a reviewer famously issued a great big goose-egg to its frontman Travis Morrison’s solo effort in 2004.

By and large, the other acts that aren’t these headlining names have lower average scores on the whole.

I don’t think I have conclusions about this, though it does draw my attention back to an excellent interview Jim DeRogatis did with Pitchfork founder Ryan Schreiber, about the integrity of the site and music criticism in accordance with its entertainment offshoots.

Q. Wait a minute, Ryan: Pitchfork has gotten to a position over the last 12 years where it has a lot of power now; I think you’re aware of that, and you and I have talked about that before. If Pitchfork champions a band, that 9.4 rating means something -- it means a lot. Now, what band is going to deny you the right to videotape them and show that content for free on Pitchfork.tv if it’s worried about not getting a good review on the Web site? What band is going to say no to playing the festival, even if it has a better offer somewhere else, and what band is going to reject letting you include them on a videogame soundtrack?

A. I don’t know; I guess there are potential… You can see potential conflicts of interest in a lot of different things. Any time one kind of company starts another kind of company or something like that, there is always this sort of potential for it being a slippery slope. I mean, I have a lot of faith in our integrity to sort of not necessarily succumb to any of that kind of stuff. Like I always say, we’re very honest and straightforward about the way that we approach things, and we try to be very above the table about anything like that. I guess people can read into it… If you wanted to read into it like that, I supposed there are always things people could find…


Q. O.K. But what if Animal Collective was a headliner of the Pitchfork Music Festival, and they said, “No, we don’t want you to film any of our concerts.” And whoever was chosen to review their next EP gave it a 1 out of 10 on your rating scale. Would you have any problem with those three things overlapping?

A. I mean, they would have to be completely… Two of those things would never occur as a result of one or the other. You know? Because again, as I said, it’s very separate. People are always going to try and theorize about these things. But the fact is we do take these things into account and everything that is up on our site is very genuinely sincere. You can use the same argument for, “If X record label doesn’t advertise and suddenly you give their records a 0” -- that’s the same thing. It’s a matter of just defining things and separating things from one another so that they don’t interfere.

Organizers of the festival seem to maintain the event’s independence, and Pitchfork doesn’t exactly issue number ratings for live shows. Plus, availability factors in, and the fest is still curating to the site’s readers’ interest.

So maybe the fest curators have the same opinion of those artists as the site's curators do. And it could be that it’s a little bit of the kingmaking echo chamber, that the headlining bands are the best bands because their albums are better than others’ because we say so.

I haven’t been to Pitchfork yet, and I hear it’s a blast and somewhat up my alley. It will sell out, and the promise alone of Odd Future and Das Racist antics may be enough. With names still left to be revealed, I give it a 6.4 9.1 7.8.

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