<p>The Beatles</p>

The Beatles

Credit: Apple Corp.

WIN! The Beatles headed to a stocking near you

HitFix and Immaculate Noise are giving away The Beatles' 'Red,' 'Blue' and Taxi Collectible
We thought last year was a big deal when the Beatles released digitally remastered versions of all their albums. But this year isn't shaping up to be too shabby, either.
 
The Fab Four reached a deal (finally) to allow iTunes to sell their music digitally, of course, with special pricing for songs, albums and boxed sets.
 
But of course, there are going to be loved ones** this holiday shopping season that will want the physical product in their hands -- in other words, the goods from the Beatles on CD and in the actual boxed set.
 
That's where we come in.
 
Immaculate Noise and HitFix are giving away a copy of "The Red Collection," "The Blue Collection" and, well, one Collectible Taxi. Read on each below:
 
The Red and Blue Collections - Released October 19th, both albums have been digitally remastered. Both 2CD digipacks include expanded booklets with newly written essays by Bill Flanagan and rare photos. Check out the tracklist for "Red" here and for "Blue" here.

The Beatles Single Sleeve Die Cast Collectible Taxi -  There are four toy car models which each represent one of four singles - "A Hard Day's Night", "Can't Buy Me Love", "For You Blue" and "Yesterday." Each package contains the limited edition single sleeve die-case collectible taxi, an XL T Shirt and a wall plaque featuring the artwork from the 7" single. Each box is valued at $50.
 
Here's how to win:
 
Become part of our social network by "Liking" HitFix's Fan Page. "Like" this story while you are there (or you can "Like" it at the top of this page).
 
Then, email info@hitfix.com with the subject line "Beatles Giveaway."
 
Entries must be received by 10 a.m. PST on Black Friday (Nov. 26).
 
We will pick two winners -- one for each show -- from a random pool of entries. You must be 21+ to enter and be a resident of the United States. We will notify winners via email.

** i.e. you.

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<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: ap

Album Review: Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday' has a personality disorder

Do Kanye West, Eminem, Rihanna or will.i.am ground this live wire?

 

You could do a lot with Nicki Minaj. She looks like a million bucks, does well with the press, guests with Mariah Carey to all the boys in her Young Money crew, can hold a tune, do a couple dance moves, hold it down solo and -- most importantly – set fire to a rap verse. She seems pretty bright and funny as hell. She can do everything. That doesn’t mean she should try to do it all on one album.
 
Whether it was by Universal or by the 25-year-old performer’s own hand, her debut “Pink Friday” bows to what a major label commercial urban album should sound like.
 
But for either, it’s fairly new territory. A female rapper hadn’t topped the hip-hop songs chart in almost a decade, and here comes Nicki with her Crayola colored hair and a back pocket full of ferocious mixtapes. Lady MCs like Foxy, Kim and Missy have been laying in wait to see what would come of their trailblazing, even if it wasn’t born of -- or as a response to – gansta rap or strictly East Coast/West Coast style.
 
And she came in swinging. And apparently singing?
 
“Pink Friday” has some songs aimed directly at the top 40, and some that would have her banned. “Check It Out” (regrettably) features will.i.am, la-la-“Last Chance” has Natasha Bedingfield and grounded “Fly” boasts Rihanna; those pop-oriented jams are buttressed by Minaj literally threatening to piss on or sh*t on her haters, “kick them hos” and for the naysayers to just “kill yourself.”
 
She intends to romance with the line “You see right through me / how do you do that sh*t?”, from “Right Thru Me,” but something tells me it won’t end up in the next Nicholas Sparks novel.  Minaj does her best with R&B/hip-hop straddling like this, dulling her razor sharp to the point of honest perspective as opposed to the generic hip-hop braggadocio.
 
But still, it’s jarring, moving between the fluff and the fight, particularly when she lays it down like a true pro on “Roman’s Revenge” and “Just Blazin’” (featuring Kanye West and a Simple Minds sample). On the former, she insists she’s a hip-hop star who just happens to be a “she” and not some cosmic mistake that allowed a girl into the boys’ club. “I’m not Jasmine / I am Aladdin” she says, referencing a Disney film right before she rips you a new assh*le. “That bitch is mad cause I took the spot? / Well, bitch if you ain’t shittin’ then get off the pot” she rawr-rawrs “like a Dungeon Dragon,” quoting Busta Rhymes from A Tribe Called Quest’s “Scenario.” Then Eminem steps up for an f-you to sluts because why else would you have Eminem on an album. The pair boast their wares over a nasty snare and drone beat, a perfect fit for Em who could’ve used more of these on “Recovery.”
 
On opener “I’m the Best,” she skips the subtlety and goes straight to the talking points. “I’m the best b*tch doin’ it… all the girls will applaud / all the girls will come in / as long they understand / that I’m fightin’ for the girls / that never thought they could win… I’m here to reverse / the curse they live in.” Throughout the set, sShe takes a feminist stance while appropriating derogatory vocab, slipping in “b*tch,” “slut,” “cunt” and even “nappy headed hos” for her own use.
 
It’s not particularly eloquent, to be sure. But the way she delivers – whether delicately as Harajuku Barbie, in that crap cockney accent, the Islands raga or best as the crazy-eyed, hardnosed Queens native -- is like shooting a little thrill up your spine right after she blows you a kiss or calms her feathers for “Moment 4 Life” or “Save Me.”
 
It’s fine to have range, but having multiple personalities doesn’t mean you can’t have one at all. “Your Love,” the breakout single that sizzled in cars all summer, is an example of pushing for a commercial sound while still retaining those clever, slick idiosyncrasies, but on this set (and on its original mixtape) it proved to be an exception, not the rule. Minaj should just devote her tracks to rapping her ass off – she doesn’t keep those nails long just because they look good.

 

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<p>My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy</p>

My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy

Credit: Roc-a-Fella/Def Jam

Album Review: Kanye West's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy'

Jay-Z, Bon Iver, Nicki Minaj, Kid Cudi help make an impetuous and fantastic work

Kanye West as a celebrity and constant media character has alienated a group of people who would and should otherwise take interest in Kanye West, Musician. From what we know of his public antics, he can be repellant, impetuous, too-big-for-britches and takes himself very seriously. From his “Runaway” mini-film, we discovered he wouldn’t shy away from self-indulgence and artistic abruptness, pleasing himself with the whole hot mess as aesthetics took precedence over sound content.

Frankly, though, his albums – and particularly on "My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy" – have some of these same qualities, and sometimes all at once. And it sounds good. And I’ll be damned if I didn’t want the soundtrack to “Runaway” just as soon as its credits rolled.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Ryan Adams</p>

Ryan Adams

Credit: Autumn de Wilde

Listen: Ryan Adams releases 'Destroyer' in advance of 'Cardinals' set

Double-disc 'Cardinals III/IV' gets a December release

Aside from that "Sci-Fi metal" concept record "Orion," things have been fairly quiet on the solo Ryan Adams front. He helped out Norah Jones on a track, and the same with Weezer.

Ring the bell, now, though. The rocker and folker (and not-so-secret metal and rap lover) has assigned a Dec. 14 release date to "III/IV," an double-album of material recorded with his previous band the Cardinals during their 2007 "Easy Tiger" sessions, to be out via Adams' own PAX AM label. And, according to a release, it's a "concept rock opera about the '80s, ninjas, cigarettes, sex and pizza." Well, whatever.

As an enduring Adams fan -- through the jams and the firings and the podcasts and poetry and hiatuses and boring-as-hell last studio effort (sorry) -- I'm ready to try out whatever Adams wants to throw at the wall, to see what sticks.

One of these is "Destroyers," which is not on the "III/IV" tracklist (below) but is at least a taste of things to come, perhaps. A little trippy, a little soft-rock and totally imperfect, it's a decent tune that sounds somewhat unfinished... but I dig. Some of the songwriter's best material is when he sounds vulnerable and feral, and that's the MO here. And forget click-track: this is what comes out of d*cking around in the studio comfortably for a while.

There will be limited releases of red and blue vinyl and CDs of "III/IV," and the tracks will also be up for sale digitally.

Ryan Adams & The Cardinals - Destroyers by thesteamengine

Here is the tracklist for "III/IV":

III:
Breakdown Into The Resolve
Dear Candy
Wasteland
Ultraviolet Light
Stop Playing With My Heart
Lovely And Blue
Happy Birthday
Kisses Start Wars
The Crystal Skull
Users
 
IV:
No
Numbers
Gracie
Icebreaker
Sewers at the Bottom of the Wishing Well
Typecast
Star Wars
My Favorite Song
P.S.
Death And Rats
Kill The Lights

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<p>Red Hot Chili Peppers are headlining Rock in Rio</p>

Red Hot Chili Peppers are headlining Rock in Rio

Music Fest Feed: Ultra vs. WMC; Hangout, Noise Pop, Wakarusa set dates

Isle of Wight and Rock in Rio stir up headliners and onsale dates, plus Summerfest takes July 4 off

The 2011 Winter Music Conference will be held March 8 through March 12 this year. The Ultra Music Festival runs over the last weekend in March, the 25th through the 27th. Both are in Miami.

Why is this big news?

Because the two, up until now, were held in tandem, Ultra being the weekend party to WMC's b2b and industry week. It seems the organizers at WMC have grown frustrated by Ultra's business and booking practices with the always-strong headlining talent. Ultra is currently drawing up its response to WMC. MTV has a good rundown of the major complaints.

What this means for electronic dance music fans is that they won't be getting a complimentary pass to the UMF, which may curb their enthusiasm for the conference. And industry may not be interested in making two trips to Miami for the dates.

 

Rock in Rio has nabbed one of the first few announced dates from returning Red Hot Chili Peppers. The double-weekend event in Brazil goes Sept. 23-25 and Sept. 30-Oct. 2 in 2011. RHCP are on Sept. 24, preceded by Snow Patrol. Metallica is firm for Sept. 25. Tickets went on sale today

 

Pulp reuniting after more than a decade to play festivals next summer was some big news.Now Isle of Wight has confirmed it'll get a taste. Kings of Leon are jumped on board for June 10. Foo Fighters are on board for June 11, same night as Pulp. Kasabian will close. Whole shebang runs June 10-12 in Newport, U.K. (Seaclose Park).

 

Milwaukee's Summerfest, which typically runs for 11 days, will be taking July 4 off in 2011. It's scheduled to start June 29-July 3, then July 5-10.

San Francisco Noise Pop will run Feb. 22-27 in 2011.

The Hangout Music Festival in Gulf Shores, Ala., will go May 14-16.

The Wakarusa Music and Camping Festival claims the weekend of June 2-5 in Ozark, Arkansas (Mulberry Mountain). Onsale  is December 3rd.

Mountain Jam VII happens at the same time in Hunter Mountain, New York. Pre-sale begins Nov. 26.

Gathering of the Vibes in Bridgeport, Conn. gathers July 21-24. Pre-sale is also Nov. 26.

 

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<p>Arcade Fire</p>

Arcade Fire

Watch: Spike Jonze-directed music video for Arcade Fire's 'Suburbs'

Things can only go right for so long

Ah, the suburbs. They never were what you remember them to be.

Particularly that part about martial law.

Spike Jonze has imagined a growing North American suburban sprawl under siege from the country's own military, explored through the eyes of early teens naive to what it exactly that means -- put to the tune of Arcade Fire's "The Suburbs."

A group of friends take to the street on their bikes and smile as they sip on waters and shoot bee-bee guns at the locals. At first, they only barely notice the Humvees and real-life guns, staring at a burning fire from a hill and then going back to puppy love and Good Times. As the day gets dark, officers start infringing on their own neighborhoods, two boys getting arrested for who-knows-what, the long-haired boy clearly blaming his short-haired friend for their fate.

Fast forward to a lame house party, folks are wasted and the once-long-haired boy walks away from his girlfriend and his former friend, glaring. The former shows up at the latter's late-night after-school gig at the fast food shop and things turn ugly.

Basically, as frontman Win Butler deconstructs his own memories and fantasies about his formative years outside of the city, Jonze takes the bucolic teenage dreams and warps and dashes them against chain link fences and fists.

It's just as cheerful as the rest of the Arcade Fire album.

So this is what Jonze and the Canadian band got up to all the way back in April, when there was a local call in Austin for late-teens actors set to be cast for a plot that's about "friends growing apart."

What do you think of the video/mini-film?

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<p>&quot;30 Rock&quot; soundtrack collector's edition</p>

"30 Rock" soundtrack collector's edition

WIN IT: '30 Rock' soundtrack, autographed by the cast

Listen to 'Lemon's Theme' and a remix of 'Werewolf Bar Mitzvah'

The soundtrack to "30 Rock" dropped this week via Relativity, and HitFix is here to make sure you get your, well, fix of the Emmy Award-winning show's tunes.

Four seasons have passed for Tina Fey, Alec Baldwin, Tracy Morgan and rest, which means there are some pretty amazing, absurd tunes to betray your better judgements.

Remember the time Fey's Liz Lemon complained of hating people but missing her ex-boyfriend, a strife she felt could be put into a Christopher Cross track? Oh, the double-disc set's got that. Listen to "Lemon's Theme" here.

And Tracy Morgan's "sweaty" werewolf-cum-Judaism rhyme "Werewolf Bar Mitzvah?" Remix Artist Collective gives it a do-over here.

How about the "Muffin Top" song? Or Michael Buble's cameo? Or the cast take on "I Will Always Love You?"

And do you call yourself an obsessive "30 Rock" fan and want an autographed copy of the collector's edition oundtrack? Which features a 40-page-booklet on the show and notes from Tina Fey and stuff?

Here's how you enter to win:

Follow HitFix and Immaculate Noise on Twitter. Then, Tweet a message that contains @HitFix @katieaprincess and #30rockin. Wit is appreciated, but not required.

You must be 18 and old to enter, and be a resident of the United States. Entries will be accepted up through 11:59 p.m. EST. There will be one winner.

If you don't care to enter -- to play our little game -- you can purchase the limited edition version here and the standard digital release here. Listen to the "30 Rock" soundtrack in its entirety here.

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<p>Guster</p>

Guster

Listen: Target preps cute indie Christmas album with Best Coast, Guster

Wavves, Darker My Love, Bishop Allen and more 'chime' in on originals compilation

Every percussionist dreams of the day they can bust out those jingle bells in song, and for most of the artists on Target exclusive Christmas compilation "The Christmas Gig," they'll get what's on their wish list.

Best Coast with Wavves, Guster, Little Jackie, Bishop Allen, Crystal Antlers and Blackalicious rapper Xcel are among the acts to be included on the set, which is streaming for free now on the Target website. The whole she-bang will be available for free download on Nov. 28. Happy Recession Christmas!

Most of the tracks are beyond harmless, like happy exercises for darker acts like, erm, Darker My Love and fuzzed-out, blurry-eyed Wavves. The Ceci Bastida and Jennie O. tracks are particularly twee, like corporate theme songs that aren't (necessarily) trying to sell you anything.

These songs are all originals, though, so don't look for the 10,000th take on "The Christmas Song (Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire)."

This is a sweet move from Target, who is trying to further establish itself as the "hip and cool" uncle big box retailer, the one that is already aware that you're going to go postal if you hear the Chipmunk Christmas song in one more shop. They've already used a Bishop Allen track in a commercial campaign, and the Best Coast track is undoubtedly heading to TV soon.

Click here to listen to the whole thing. Any songs stick out more than others?

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<p>Dr. Dre</p>

Dr. Dre

Listen: Dr. Dre releases first 'Detox' track 'Kush' as Eminem 'Doctor' duet leaks

The first official drop from Dre's long-awaited album is followed by more bad news

I think I have some idea now of what the loud cars will be loudly blasting all loud winter.

Dr. Dre has finally, officially released a song from his long-awaited "Detox": "Kush" features longtime collaborator and pal Snoop Dogg with drips and drabs from Akon and it is haaard. This growling yet catchy West Coast street track extols finer points of smoking weed. It's like the universe has been recalibrated to sit perfectly on its axis.

Click here to listen to "Kush," on Dre's Facebook site via his official.

There is still no official release on "Detox," the album Dre fans have awaited for 10+ years. Still, he swears it's coming and is even the booked cover-dude for XXL's next issue. We weren't really feeling "Under Pressure," his leaked track with Jay-Z from earlier this year, but Dre swears it wasn't finished and wasn't ready for primetime.

Same thing happened with "Kush" -- and early version leaked, only this time Dre countered with offering up the real thing. He wasn't happy about it, but at least had the Real Deal to show for his work.

"It's a little bit unfortunate with the technology today. (Kush) got leaked and it was a version of it that I really wasn't happy about, (but) we're going to go ahead and push it and put it out because everybody seems to like it," he told radio host Big Boy on Nov. 16. "I just thought the content, it's about weed smoking, and I don't want people to think that that's what my album is about. This is actually the only song with that type of content."

Well, things just got a little more unfortunate (or fortunate, depending on which side of the fence you fall) today: Dr. Dre's track with Eminem, "I Need a Doctor," leaked wide. Click here to check it out [via AllHipHop]. Finished or unfinished, you think?

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<p>Trail of Dead's &quot;core,&quot; Conrad Keely and Jason Reece</p>

Trail of Dead's "core," Conrad Keely and Jason Reece

Listen: Trail of Dead releases fierce 'Dead Souls' in advance of new album

And You Will Know Us By The Trail Of Dead prep the February release of 'Tao of the Dead'

...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead may be down to only four members from five now, but their sound is no less ferocious.

The Austin-based rock outfit is preparing the Feb. 8 release of "Tao of the Dead," the veteran band's seventh studio output. The record has two sides, or parts, with "The Tao of the Dead Part II" seeming to be its centerpiece, clocking in at 16 minutes. 

"Part I" is 11 tracks and amidst those is "Summer of All Dead Souls," streaming now on Spin.

Chris "Frenchie" Smith -- who helmed the band's 1998 self-titled album -- helps out on Part 1, while Chris Coady (Beach House, Yeah Yeah Yeahs) is in charge of the experimental "Part II." Everything, all together, was recorded in 10 days, a record for the band and kind of mind-blowing by any other musicians' standards.

But if we take a tip from "All Dead Souls," we're in for a feral, bumpy ride: it's brash, blurry and snarly, hard rock without subtlety. It makes me excited what else the band got up to in such a short time -- and still without the constraints of a major label deal, since starting their own label in 2008. How much progress can they cull from their particular brand of progressive rock?

"Summer of All Dead Souls" will be up for purchase on Nov. 29.

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