<p>Broken Bells</p>

Broken Bells

Broken Bells releasing more new material in 4-song EP

What does this mean for a new Shins effort?

After a 2010 with loads of critical acclaim, Broken Bells have a start into 2011 with another new effort.

The Grammy-nominated duo will be releasing "Meyrin Fields," a four-song EP, on March 29. It contains two previously unreleased tunes"Windows" and "Heartless Empire," plus two tracks that were already at digital retailers. The title track was the B-side to "The Ghost Inside" single, released in the fall last year, and "An Easy Life," which was off of the iTunes LP of the self-titled full-length.

It seems James Mercer and Brian Burton (aka Danger Mouse) are sticking with Columbia, and "will continue to record  and tour together for the foreseeable future." So this is no one-off or side-project?

Mercer had said in 2008/2009 that his other main squeeze The Shins were leaving their home Sub Pop for the green pastures of the frontman's own label. That, after a blood-letting within the band, a couple new hires and then static.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Julian Casablancas</p>

Julian Casablancas

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Are The Strokes channeling Radiohead on new tune 'You're So Right?'

Or is it just a leftover from Julian Casablancas' solo effort

The race is on for The Strokes to get the word out on their new album "Angles," but the message is a little mixed.

And by mixed, I mean that their new track "You're So Right" sounds wildly different from their other output, especially from the new set's first single "Under Cover of Darkness."

In fact, it sounds a bit like Radiohead, circa "OK Computer," but with the bass much removed and Julian Casablancas making staccatos where Thom Yorke would just ahhhhhhhhh.

It seems to have the lasting influence, too, of the Strokes frontman's solo effort, which was heavy on  programmed beats and veering away from rock 'n' roll.

"Angles" is out March 22 and, as previously reported, the rock outfit will be at South By Southwest (SXSW), Bonnaroo, New Orleans Jazz Fest, Madison Square Garden and, surely, other forthcoming big-name fests and gigs.

NME has a stream of the track: Click here to check it out (scroll to the bottom of the story).

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Credit: Anti-

Album Review: DeVotchKa's '100 Lovers'

If March 1 is the start of Spring, let this be its lover's soundtrack

It’s hard for me to review each new Devotchka record, because all I hear is love. Frontman Nick Urata is a heartbreaker, and his voice preys on the weak-kneed increasingly with each effort, the lyrics aching with little symbols like fingers around a wrist. “100 Lovers” is not the least of these, the Colorado band’s fifth full-length embracing its powerfully international sound.

“The Alley” starts things off wistfully, with a drone, a militaristic snare and a dreamy piano, Urata’s cool-eyed tenor bursting through the door like a hero with a rose in his teeth. “All the Sand in All the Sea” is punctuated with the same keys from their acclaimed track “Transliterator.” “Here’s the part that always gets me…” he trails off, as a cute instrumentals chug, then to a “supermelodramatic” bridge, the hook splintering.
The gramophonic mids of single “100 Other Lovers” breaks into a Sgt. Pepper string section and the tension builds as each verse and chorus concludes and lays down in a pasture. It contains one of the few memorable melodies in the set, but its sounds more pedestrial compared to the rest…

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stoneage</p>

Josh Homme of Queens Of The Stoneage

Credit: AP Photo

Mega-names of 2011 SXSW: The Strokes, Duran Duran, Wu-Tang, QOTSA

Arcade Fire/Spike Jonze short heading to film fest side: We predict more names to be added

It's about three weeks out from the 2011 South By Southwest Music Festival (OK, OK, and Interactive and Film). And like a kid facing finals in her first year of college, we expect some serious cramming.

Cramming because every year mega-stars are added to the Austin fest lineup, mostly to the after-parties, day-parties, off-sites, unofficial showcases, alternative fests like Fader Fort and Red Gorilla. Many acts even do as many as they can -- I recall one of the Neon bands (Neon Indian? Neon Trees? Neon Neon?) did 2.1 million shows in Austin 2010.

The showcases for actual fest schedules have been locked in, with these names trickling out as March 16-20 marches closer.

So far, one of the biggest names to be added was announced today: after alluding to an appearance nearly two weeks ago via Twitter, the Strokes have confirmed a free show for March 17.

Manager Ryan Gentles claimed on Twitter that the show would require no badges and, more adorably, "no line." It's a walk across the river, sure, but don't think that a no-holds-barred free show won't have a scary amount of people present.

Less scary has been the addition of B.o.B., Bright Eyes, Duran Duran (omg), the Wu-Tang Clan (OMG) and Queens of the Stoneage (hi, Josh, hiiiii) in the last few days. Widespread Panic is doing some SXSW/Austin City Limits love-in, Lucinda Williams is helping ring in Lost Highway's 10-year anniversary.

[More after the jump, with some predictions...]

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<p>Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio</p>
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Tunde Adebimpe of TV On The Radio

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: TV on the Radio premiere new track 'Will Do'

Brooklny band drops first song from forthcoming 'Nine Types of Life'

Tunde Adebimpe continues producing evidence that he, and he alone, is Brooklyn's answer to Peter Gabriel on "Will Do," the new track from TV On The Radio.

The End 107.7 FM in Seattle had the privilege of bowing the thing, culled from the acts forthcoming "Nine Types of Life" album. It's streaming in full below.

And here we have another Hump Day love song, aside from the Foo Fighters' delivery earlier today. "Anytime will do, my love," the singer ahhhs on the chorus to this "love sick lullaby." He fears no falsetto. "I think we're compatible, I see that you think I'm wrong."

It's an easy, mid-tempo beat behind that benefits from low-end bass, a skitter of high hats and a post-Valentine' malaise.

As previously reported, "Nine Types of Light" is out April 12. Below are the tour dates, including a stop-off at Radio City Music hall. The band doesn't seem to want to plot anything for March, more specifically for SXSW, but fairy tales can come true.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Foo Fighters' &quot;Wasting Light&quot;</p>

Foo Fighters' "Wasting Light"

Credit: Roswell/RCA

Listen: Foo Fighters pull up on new single 'Rope,' unveil album art

What do you think of this modern rocker?

The Foo Fighters are lifting more of the curtain on their forthcoming "Wasting Light," and are using some "Rope" to do it.

The rock act is streaming the track, the album's first single, for free via its website and below.

"Rope" will be available for download through the usual digital outlets starting on March 1 and will be sent to those who pre-order the album for free.

The band has made a lot out of the fact that they recorded this whole getup with analog, on tape and totally out of the box, which had my ears perked for a warmer sound, perhaps a little more scratch from the guitars. But  Butch Vig and Co. have really edited this thing down, mixed and panned to perfection. Relistening to the choruses and the solo had me remembering what a sick, sick monster drummer Taylor Hawkins is. The guitars throwback to the '80s but then teleport back to the modern day in battles and then matching feedback, a sound that will clearly sooth the souls of mainstream rock programmers at radio.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>One of Lady Gaga's many hats</p>
<br />

One of Lady Gaga's many hats

Review: Lady Gaga forbids the evils of lip-syncing at NY HBO taping

Her majesty, the jester, Jesus and an a-hole: Just how many hats does Gaga wear?

NEW YORK -- During her Monster Ball set at Madison Square tonight (Feb. 22), Lady Gaga donned a pointy purple crown and a glowing scepter, objects from her "Kingdom of Gaga." But then she declared us all the kings and queens of the future, she, a mere "jester."

She referenced Jesus Christ Superstar in her favorite cloak, cleans her hands at a holy fountain and dons a see-thru plastic outfit with cross pasties and a nun's habit, shortly before she prays and preaches on the Christian God, covered in fake blood and writhing on the ground.

Her hair was its simple yellow weave as she said she fancied herself as Tinkerbell, and cooed like Glenda the Good Witch when a giant angler fish-headed monster wrapped its tentacles around her body and stripped away her skirt (you heard me). Hoods, tiaras, head masks, a retractable fiber optic halo: Lady Gaga wears a lot of hats during her Monster Ball show, newly updated with "Born This Way" tacked onto the end.

And she may refer to herself or her band members (or even the audience) as sluts, assh***s, freaks, tramps and, of course, monsters. But there's definitely one thing she'll never be: a lip-syncer.

I would have said as much, judging by the number of vamps and improvisations the singer pulls off in her show, but Gaga just wanted to drive the point home.

"Never have, never will," she bared during "Teeth." "I won't be the bitch to lip-sync her way through an HBO special."

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in &quot;Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides&quot;</p>

Johnny Depp and Penelope Cruz in "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides"

Rodrigo y Gabriela team with Hans Zimmer for 'Pirates of the Caribbean 4'

Sweet deal for Mexican guitar duo

Um, talk about "stranger tides."

Walt Disney has formally announced that Hans Zimmer will be scoring the upcoming sequel "Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides," and he's taking the tack with Mexican guitar duo Rodrigo y Gabriela.

Last we heard from these guys, they were releasing "11:11" via ATO; each of that sets tracks was an homage to their favorite Gods of Rock, performed in styles from samba to flamenco to Mexican folk.

And now Zimmer's added their flare to his Academy Award-winning stylings, heard in a few dozen titles from Christopher Nolan's "The Dark Knight" and "Inception" to the clever score in "Sherlocke Holmes," to TV series "The Pacific" and two other flicks in the "Pirates" franchise.

I talked a little bit about how I enjoyed Zimmer's addition of guitarist Johnny Marr kinda messed with his "La vie en Rose" slow-motion pieces, and thought even more about how differently the soundtrack to "Tron: Legacy" would have turned out if Daft Punk actually did get together with Zimmer for their score. Rodrigo y Gabriela -- as much as they've hit the concert and festival circuit -- have never really hit the big time. But now, maybe they will.

Their style is distinct and churning, nuanced in how both Rodrigo Sanchez and Gabriela Quintero take their turns. And it will certainly take you south of the border. I think after four films in the same vein, the Disney flick will certainly benefit from their energy.

And, hell, a girl can dream: maybe the duo will be able to convince one of the "Pirate" actors and an aforementioned guitar God -- Keith Richards -- to join in the fun.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>Radiohead's &quot;The King of Limbs&quot;</p>

Radiohead's "The King of Limbs"

Album Review: Radiohead's 'The King of Limbs'

The British band's excess of atmosphere is surprisingly uncomplicated

I was planning a whole day on Saturday for Radiohead’s “The King of Limbs,” but since it arrived early, it claimed most of my morning. I took a run with it, and because New York isn’t Godless after all, the weather allowed for a walk with it; I headphoned and looped it after lunch.

What I should do next is take a train ride with it: despite the excess of atmospherics and intricate tricks of the studio, the British band’s eighth full-length is surprisingly uncomplicated and a head-clearing brain-eraser, for its listener and, I suspect, for the band.
“The King of Limbs” is Radiohead’s first release since 2007’s magnificently moody “In Rainbows,” and in that time, Yorke’s made more strides as a solo artist, Jonny Greenwood has scored some films, “Harry Patch” and “These Are My Twisted Words” were released as standalones, Phil Selway released his first solo set, and so forth.
Reconvening after a period of separation clearly demanded some recalibration or unfurling. While Yorke’s coo and ambiguous lyrical codes haven’t seemed to change much, the band on the whole structurally threw a lot out the window; rather, they don’t lack structure, but their structures remain remarkably simple.

[More after the jump...]

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<p>The Cars</p>

The Cars

Watch: The Cars reveal first new song in two decades, 'Blue Tip'

Still waiting for hypercolor to come back into style

Oh man, and I thought I dorked out when Devo dropped their new material.

The surviving members of The Cars have reunited and now the fruits of their recording sessions are finally arriving. The late-'70s/early '80s rock outfit has unleashed "Blue Tip," their first new song in 24 years.

Twenty-four. Years.

I had low expectations, despite the fact that I think Ric Ocasek is one of the most stellar rock frontmen of all time (no, I'm not exaggerating, just buy me a drink and I'll defend my thesis).

"Blue Tip" is solid. My hipster friends would play this at their Four Loko parties (if only it was on vinyl already...). My parents might put it on at their first barbecue this year. And as impossible as the maneuver is, a bunch of Austin pop-rock bands just deleted their MySpace pages to throw in the towel

Thanks to TwentyfourBit; now I'm excited for the full-length, "Move Like This," due May 10. Perhaps a a resurgence in mini-skirts and checkerboard print is next? At least we got the Ray-Bans right.

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