<p>&quot;Wish I Was Here&quot;</p>

"Wish I Was Here"

The Shins' give new song 'So Now What' to Zach Braff's new film 'Wish I Was Here'

Bon Iver, Coldplay and Cat Power contribute fresh tunes to the soundtrack

The Shins have a great tune "So Says I," but now it's time for a hazy "So Now What."

The indie rockers -- who have been curbed more recently as James Mercer has pursued other musics with Danger Mouse in their project Broken Bells -- contributed the new tune to Zach Braff's "Wish I Were Here" film, which went the crowd-funding route last year.

As you'll remember, Natalie Portman famously put headphones on Braff's head to the tune of The Shins "New Slang" in the former "Scrubs" star's directorial debut "Garden State" (2004). "It'll change your life, I swear," her character Sam says. Well, it certainly did change the band life of The Shins. So the circle of life continues.

"Wish I Was Here" also has new songs from the likes of Bon Iver, Coldplay and Cat Power, plus previously released songs from The Head and the Heart and Hozier. The set goes up for sale on July 15; the movie, co-starring Kate Hudson, is in select theaters on July 18 and wide on July 25. It made its premiere at Sundance earlier this year, and raised more than $3 million via Kickstarter from about 46,000 contributors.

Complete tracklist below the new song. What do you think of it?

1. The Shins – So Now What
2. Gary Jules – Broke Window
3. Radical Face – The Mute
4. Hozier – Cherry Wine (Live)
5. Bon Iver – Holocene
6. Badly Drawn Boy – The Shining
7. Jump, Little Children – Mexico
8. Cat Power & Coldplay – Wish I Was Here
9. Allie Moss – Wait It Out
10. Paul Simon – The Obvious Child
11. Japanese Wallpaper – Breathe In (feat. Wafia)
12. Bon Iver – Heavenly Father
13. Aaron Embry – Raven’s Song
14. The Weepies – Mend
15. The Head and the Heart – No One To Let You Down

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<p>Andy Richter... and Ashanti!</p>

Andy Richter... and Ashanti!

Exclusive: Andy Richter joins Ashanti and more on new comedy track 'Escape from New York'

One of many funny songs from benefit album featuring Patton Oswalt, Neko Case, Reggie Watts

We already established that Neko Case and Kelly Hogan's comedy song "These Aren't the Droids" is the best thing ever. Now get ready for the next best thing ever, from the same compilation album.

The unlikely combo of Andy Richter with Ashanti, Baron Vaughn, Alonzo Bodden and Loaded Lux erupts all over "Escape from New York," from benefit album "2776." It's not monsters, earthquakes, terrorists or climate that will get the U.S.'s largest city down: this skyscraper-sized hip-hop track has news for you.

"Escape from New York," "These Aren't the Droids" and more appears on satire comedy and music album "2776," with sales going toward Onekid Oneworld, in "their efforts to promote education in Kenya and El Salvador."

Pre-sale for the album -- which goes up on July 4 -- is already running on CD Baby.

Ed Helms, Aimee Mann, Andrew W.K., Aubrey Plaza, Patton Oswalt, Ira Glass, Kids In The Hall, Margaret Cho, Reggie Watts, Will Forte, Triumph the Insult Comic Dog, Mike Mills, Bobcat Goldthwait, Sally Timms,  k.d.lang, Will Arnett, Alex Trebek, Samantha Bee, Cobie Smulders and others also contributed.

Listen to ALL available preview tracks below, including another favorite from Eugene Mirman ("Satan's got Kentucky...").

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<p>Against Me!</p>

Against Me!

'Drinking with the Jocks' music video: Catching up with punk rockers Against Me!

'Transgender Dysphoria Blues' continues to demand your attention

In 2012, Against Me! lead singer Laura Jane Grace came out as transgender, making her one of the highest-profile music artists to have ever done so. As she made her medical transition, she and her band worked to complete "Transgender Dysphoria Blues," their hard-heeling sixth studio album.

I heard Grace refer to the 2014 album at one point as having catchy songs about "a dark thing," and considering the title and the punk band's propensity to leave in their rough edges, one can start to imagine. But there's something that I adore about "Transgender..." that goes well beyond what you could call simply "bravery" -- an overused but noble term about being personal, to airing of laundry. It's dauntless, in its takedown of the ugly, gender-dominated cultures in an eyebrow-blazing speed with heavy, dark things.

"Drinking with the Jocks" is one of these, skidding to a halt and setting fire to things in only 1:50 time. Informed people don't wave the word "faggot" around easily. "Look at all of them bitches, yeah / I'm gonna f*ck them all... / Fill them up with cum," Grace sings on the sex-and-death speed reel above. It's language-as-blunt-object, as a tool or a weapon. Worth a listen.

Against Me! is on tour now, dates below.

6/21 – Clisson, FR @ Hellfest
6/24 – Paris, FR @ La Maroquinerie
6/27 – Toronto, ON @ Pride Toronto
7/18-20 – Louisville, KY @ Forecastle Festival
7/19 – Bloomington, IN @ Rhino’s Youth Center *
7/22 – Chattanooga, TN @ Track 29 *
7/23 – August, GA @ Sky City *
7/24 – Wilmington, NC @ Ziggy’s By The Sea *
7/25 – Charlottesville, VA The Southern *
7/26 – Amityville, NY @ Revolution *
7/27 – Portland, ME @ Port City Music Hall *
7/29 – Hartford, CT @ Webster Theater *
7/30 – Pawtucket, RI @ The Met
7/31 – Quebec City, QC @ Mountain Bike World Championship
8/01 – Kingston, OH @ Ale House
8/01-03 – Montreal, QC @ Osheaga Festival
8/23 – Los Angeles, CA @ FYF Fest
9/10 – Washington DC @ 9:30 Club #
9/12 – Philadelphia, PA @ Mann Center for the Performing Arts #
9/13 – Holmdel, NJ @ PNC Bank Arts Center #
9/16 – Boston, MA @ House of Blues #
9/27 – Oakland, CA @ Fox Theater #
9/30 – San Diego, CA @ House of Blues #
10/01 – Tempe, AZ @ The Marquee #
10/03 – Tulsa, OK @ Cain’s Ballroom #
10/07 – Atlanta, GA @ Buckhead Theatre #
10/08 – Nashville, TN @ Marathon Music Works #
10/10 – New Orleans, LA @ Civic Theatre #
10/14 – Kansas City, MO @ Uptown Theatre #
10/15 – Minneapolis, MN @ First Avenue #
10/16 – Chicago, IL @ Aragon Ballroom #
10/17 – Pittsburgh, PA @ Stage AE #

* = w/ Jenny Owen Youngs and Creepoid
# = w/ The Gaslight Anthem

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<p>Kate Upton in Lady Antebellum&#39;s &quot;Bartender&quot; music video</p>

Kate Upton in Lady Antebellum's "Bartender" music video

Credit: UMG

Kate Upton battles Tony Hale in Lady Antebellum's 'Bartender' video

'Veep's' Gary gets a neck tat

There's rounds at the bar, and rounds of boxing, and in the music video for Lady Antebellum's "Bartender," you get both.

Kate Upton plays a girl who needs to get over her guy, invited out on a night with the ladies. And Tony Hale is her bartender.

While it's simply entertaining on its face that Gary from "Veep" has a neck tattoo here, it's an altogether clever little video for a pretty simple song. Lady A made their green at first with breakout hit "Need You Now," the perfect salute to drunken booty calls. The trio's "Hey Bartender" made our Summer Songs of 2014 cut specifically because they go the upbeat, sassy route.

Now, you got this next round or what?

"Bartender" is off of the trio's fifth studio set, whenever that arrives. The group is currently on tour; their last album was "Compass," from 2013.

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Review: 'Ultraviolence' by Lana Del Rey
Credit: Interscope

Review: 'Ultraviolence' by Lana Del Rey

You are an ashtray

Lana Del Rey has come a long way from her debut “Born to Die.” New “Ultraviolence” is legions more cohesive, conceptually stronger and packaged better than her scarlet starlets of 2011.

The improvements are still in want. Del Rey is wearing, again, the troubled, beautiful and bored persona for this experiential album, which upfront demands a certain suspension of reality. From psyche-lilting opener “Cruel World” to dead-eyed cover “The Other Woman,” “Ultraviolence” doesn’t so much get exhausted as it exhausts you on this lethargic fantasy. She and producer Auerbach need for you to go there, even as you side-eye the payoff.

Del Rey battles some of the tiresome tropes of fame (“Money Power Glory”) or the bitter backbiting (“Fucked My Way To The Top”) that have nipped at her heels during the last couple of years, during her rise to pop prominence, co-writing every song. But she does it in the most world-weary ways at times, with slurs and sighs and cartoonishishly lethargic composure. Her “Ultraviolence” characters are disillusioned and addicted to other misanthropes, as if she has no agency to fall out of love with the worst of them. (This is fine, by the way, until the self-mockery of “The Other Woman” breaks the will to breathe). The woozy anthems like “Sad Girl” are so pitiable, “Brooklyn Baby” so sarcastic, it makes it almost seems like she has skin in the game.

She has Auerbach making some lush choices to echo this culty purview, particularly with some guitar lines that hover over the mess like Del Rey’s reverb-dripping hum.  Pretending she can’t sing for the sake of “Pretty When You Cry” is helped by an equally janky arrangement; a Wah-wah pedal cries out over the angelic “Shades of Cool” like a maternity ward. Sharp co-writers and –producers like Daniel Heath and Greg Kurstin, snap onto the lyrical and sonic template with eerie accuracy. All the skeletons are out of the closets and arranged and organized so impeccably on the lawn. If only it hit a different note.

In the track-by-track review below, I try to highlight the finite differences.


“Cruel World”: Nearly 7 minutes baby babble with a Black Angels jam. Bibles and guns, women and fun (and heroin), Del Rey says that she’s “so happy now that you’re gone,” but can you believe the protagonist is capable of happiness? That may be exactly the point.

“Ultraviolence”: It’s too bad the best lyrics here – which summarize the story – are borrowed (“He hit me and it felt like a kiss”). This one is a grower, a dirge on the moon. Why ruin it with a spoken word bridge?

“Shades of Cool”: Lana Del Rey is the spinning ballerina in your musical box, the one where you keep all your cocaine. I love the blue mood of the coherent and interesting chorus, which helpfully puts her voice in a key that plays up her talents.

“Brooklyn Baby”: What is more annoying than hipsters? Complaining about hipsters.  

“West Coast”: This actually has a nice clip to it, and it wouldn’t be out of the imagination if Auerbach had Danger Mouse behind the wheel of this Laurel Canyon night ride.

“Sad Girl”: Her voice reporting like a slinky trumpet, Del Rey just went into the other room to slip into something a little more cloying. She’s a sad girl and a bad girl, and 92% OKCupid compatible with the dude from “Video Games.”

“Pretty When You Cry”: Slow down an Eagles song, and combine it with a wounded vocal take that doubles as a skin irritant.

“Money Power Glory”: This would be an utter triumph had Pink or Christina (or, OK, Leonard Cohen) growled through it. This is all Kurstin, who tries to amplify the visceral sadness and only has a deflated vocal performance to work with. I wanted something nasty and daring. It’s a paper crane when it could be an eagle.

“Fucked My Way Up To The Top”: Spoiler alert: this song is extra needy. “Lay me down / in linen and pearls / lay me down tonight / I’m your favorite girl.” She’s making a joke, and I’m looking for the bar.

“Old Money”: This song makes me think of people who watch “Wolf of Wall Street” and fail to see Leonardo DiCaprio’s character as the miserable sh*tpile he is. This is some excellent, heart-filled work, all-deserving of the mist and a grand piano.

“The Other Woman”: I am an ashtray, and the last cigarette’s just been stamped out.

"Ultraviolence" is out today (June 17).

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<p>Jon Hopkins</p>

Jon Hopkins

Credit: Steve Gullick

Jon Hopkins' 'We Disappear' video dances in smoke

Featuring Lulu James,

Jon Hopkins' "Immunity" made it into my Top 10 Albums of 2013, so it is only good and right to make sure you hear its opening track, in video form.

"We Disappear" featuring Lulu James is intoxicating and emotional, like a fancy robe in a blacklit room.

It would have fit right in with my recent mix for Vevo, for their Guest List column; I outline other dance and electronica jams to kick your summer off right, including Tove Lo's "Stay High," Sia's "Chandelier," Porter Robinson's "Sad Machine," Gorgon City's "Ready for Your Love," La Roux's "Let Me Down Gently" and Le1f's "Sup." Listen to them all here.

Get ready for your heart to hurt around 1:18.

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<p>Hank Williams and Tom Hiddleston</p>

Hank Williams and Tom Hiddleston

Tom Hiddleston to play Hank Williams in biopic: Here are some videos of the actor singing

Hey good lookin': 'Thor' actor to perform as country icon, voice and all

Tom Hiddleston is on tap to play one of the greatest American music icons, Hank Williams.

Named for one of Williams' best known songs, "I Saw the Light" will see the British actor trying on a deep South accent and tackling tunes from the Williams songbook.

The British actor has risen to fame in recent years for his delicious turn as Loki in the "Thor" films, for dancing on command, and co-starring as a storied and tortured musician in one of 2014's best films "Only Lovers Left Alive."

Williams, on the other hand, rose to fame in his teens and died at 29 of complications due to his raging alcoholism and drug abuse, leave behind a rep of at least three dozen country, blues and gospel originals and renditions one could easily qualify as stone-cold classics. The singer/songwriter's fabled death alone could fill volumes (or at least a 90-minute film and a spin-off).

Looks like "Only Lovers Left Alive" may have been a good training ground after all.

"I Saw the Light" will be directed by Marc Abraham ("Flash of Genius") from his screenplay  based on Colin Escott’s non-fiction title "Hank Williams: The Biography."  Bret Ratner's RatPac Entertainment and Aaron L. Gilbert's Bron Studios lead, with other producer credits going to G. Marq Roswell and Abraham. James Packer is executive producing.

And don't be daunted with the possibility of an estate catalog-block, a la Jimi Hendrix and "All Is By My Side": the rights for tunes like “I’m So Lonesome I Could Cry,” “Hey Good Lookin’” and “Your Cheatin’ Heart” have already been cleared.

Which leads us to Hiddleston, who'll be singin' them. But who knew Loki could sing? OK, to be fair, we did. Below are just a mere smattering of times Tom Hiddleston has sang on camera.

The Hank Williams story has been approached before, like in 1964's so-so "Your Cheatin' Heart," and 2012's "The Last Ride." With big names like RatPac and Hiddleston batting, hopefully "I Saw the Light" will be more of a holler.

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Up all night to get nerdy: Watch Mastodon's awesome 'High Road' video

Up all night to get nerdy: Watch Mastodon's awesome 'High Road' video

Metal band spell grants +4 enhancement

How do you feel about live action role playing? D&D? "Role Models?" Your grandma?

Check in with your local gamemaster and join in the fun of Mastodon's "High Road" music video, which should speak to your inner dweeb-among-nerds (the fact that you are a nerd a given, you're safe here).

Pressing the heavy riffage up against soft foam swords gives this single from the metal band's forthcoming "Once More 'Round the Sun" some oomph, while the last shot may take the wind out of you. (Did we mention you can buy "Once More 'Round the Sun" with BitCoin?)

"High Road" and "Chimes After Midnight" are the first two songs so far to arrive from the June 24 release. Check out both below.

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Morrissey cancels tour, new album still on: 'World Peace' with singer is impossible

Morrissey cancels tour, new album still on: 'World Peace' with singer is impossible

Your relationship status update with Morrissey: 'It's complicated'

I was at Morrissey's Los Angeles stop of his North American tour last month, and was the guest of someone who had warned me that, mid-set, she'd be stepping out. She knew the introduction and performance of "Meat Is Murder" was coming and that the video presentation that came with it contained footage of animals being slaughtered and abused, and the generally very poor conditions meat animals endure in slaughterhouses.

When these videos finally did launch, I saw streams of people headed up the aisles of the Sports Arena. Some people fired up their lighters, or "woooed" and gravitated closer to the stage, others crossed their arms or checked their phones or took video of the screens.

The guy standing left of me -- who arrived to the concert, like so many Morrissey fans, dressed to the nines --  started shelling out obscenities, as loud as he could. "F*ck you Morrissey! I love meat! I wish I had a big f*cking burger right now!" he'd rattle at the famous PETA spokesperson, giving the bird to his entertainer and his friends. "No! Shut the f*ck up and sing!"

The man in front of me was either making out with his arm or crying into it.

They both were singing every word to "First of the Gang to Die" a couple tunes later.

Fans' relationship to Morrissey, and vice versa, is fascinating. That is not to say that Morrissey is necessarily some rare beast or species. I think his activism, how he articulates his manner and politics, the branding, the imaging, the sex and the age make a very particular mix of him as an icon. He is a complicated artist, and I think it's good for people to have complicated relationships to art.

This week, Morrissey canceled the rest of his tour in support of "World Peace Is None of Your Business" his next album. Via his Facebook:

"It is with great sadness that the remainder of the US Tour has been cancelled. The respiratory infection Morrissey contracted in Miami has worsened, and in the interest of making a full recovery, all further touring plans have been halted. Morrissey thanks his fans for their compassion, understanding, and well-wishes during this difficult period as he recuperates."

And it's not just that he is stepping away from the road due to illness -- speaking through soapbox True To You, he explained further.

"Difficulties had arisen on May 31st following Kristeen Young's opening set at the Miami Knight Concert Hall, after which Kristeen confessed to 'a horrendous cold,' the symptoms of which were passed on to Morrissey resulting in the cancellation of the next show in Atlanta. For the good of all, Kristeen was asked to step down from the immediate upcoming shows, but instead she decided to leave the tour entirely. Morrissey and the band wish her well and hope she is now in good health."

So Morrissey is, effectively and with no known motivation, blaming Kristeen Young for getting him sick and causing cancellation of the tour. Young volleyed back that in Miami she "had an allergy attack that was over within 16 hours," that she offered to have Morrissey and his camp a follow-up with her doctors. She also said that she was asked to leave the entire tour because a replacement had already been called.

"I am very sorry that Morrissey is not feeling well. But I will not tolerate these lies....particularly about my health," she wrote on Facebook. "This is really too much and bizarre."

Kristeen Young (under the name KRISTEENYOUNG) also opened for Morrissey in 2007. Described as his protege at one point, she as was booted from that tour for what she later called a metaphor, for telling the crowd, "Morrissey gives good head, I mean, um, cunnilingus..."

Morrissey has cancelled and postponed many tour dates in years past on the basis of illness,  visa problems, a blown voice, meat on arena menus or rowdy and unruly crowds. He nixed more than 20 shows in 2009. Longtime bandmembers would quit mid-tour. Morrissey would sometimes quit mid-show. (For a fun read, here's "Every Time Morrissey Has Canceled.")

In the Bay area last month, concert-goers, the band and the singer himself were in danger due to a "stage invasion," of fans rushing to get hugs from the former Smiths singer.

He's also stormed off stage for being hit in the head with a water bottle.

Read the concert reviews of the shows that actually transpired on this tour, and you'll see raves up and down, about what a fine and stunning performer Morrissey is. And it's true. I'm not a dyed-wool fan, but the man has swagger, a voice like a muscle ripples, tone and control for days. He's coquettish, romantic, chic and mean as a presence.

When I saw him, he seemed somewhat guarded as fans clung to his outreached arms to the front row, and who can blame him. For a misanthrope whose best-love rep includes titles like "The More You Ignore Me, the Closer I Get," "Disapoointed," "We Hate It When Our Friends Are Successful" and "I Have Forgiven Jesus," he's got the poetry of push-and-pull, a little something with which Kanye West fans may be familiar.

Look to the title of his next album: "World Peace Is None of Your Business" (due July 15). Most people (the ones I know anyway) are firmly pro-World Peace. The confrontation begins.

For every song on the album, Morrissey also recorded a spoken word version of the song. In the case of the third single "Earth Is the Loneliest Planet," he released a video, but for the spoken word version, featuring another PETA enthusiast Pamela Anderson and him standing on the roof of the Capitol Records building. It went wide while the song itself could only be streamed via Spotify. (Also: spoken word, but there's bathwater and there's babies.)

On the 17th this month, all three of the available songs from the record will be officially go up on Vevo and YouTube and the other usual suspects. Then, or now, you should give them a spin -- so far, the album is shaping up nicely with an especially lovely croon on "Instanbul." It's high-minded stuff, and yet easy to rally around, even when the extraordinary artist himself makes even the act of enjoyment all the more complicated. It says as much about us as it does him.

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Credit: Tom Hines

Spoon releases new song 'Rent I Pay,' and it's pretty great

First new music to arrive from band's 'They Want My Soul'

Efficient, distorted, fresh and messy. That's how I'd describe Spoon's "Rent I Pay,"the first song to arrive from their forthcoming album "They Want My Soul."

The band has in various forms of away-time for the last four years, their longest break. Singer Britt Daniel formed the Divine Fits, drummer Jim Eno has produced some great records from !!!, Heartless Bastards and more, for instance.

I've gotten the impression from talking to Daniel before that he needs a certain amount of distance from his band to get anything done. He moved out of Austin, for instance; he writes lyrics separately, which is one of the hardest part of his job description.

I love the crunch and pop of 2001's "Girls Can Tell" and the tight empty spaces of 2002's "Kill the Moonlight." I don't think I or the band could explain how those albums -- released one after the other -- felt so different and so much the opposite of stale. 2010's "Transference" had some of that wear (I hate to say it) and it had more than three years to boil.

All this to say, I think "Rent I Pay" is a really good sign. It's something very straight-forward and viscerally rock 'n' roll, even with the metronomic mid-tempo. As previously reported, Spoon added a permanent new member, keyboardist Alex Fischel (who also served in Divine Fits), and you can hear his organ sprinklings here, too.

Pre-orders are up now for "They Want My Soul," due Aug. 5 via Loma Vista, their first for the label.

Listen to the song below; tour dates are below that.

06/14/14 - Burnaby, BC - CBC Festival

06/21/14 - Toronto, ON - NXNE Festival

06/14/14 - Vancouver, BC - CBC Music Festival

06/22/14 - Minneapolis, MN - Rock the Garden 2014

06/26-28/14 - Las Vegas, NV - Brooklyn Bowl Las Vegas

07/12-13/14 - Telluride, CO - The Ride Festival

07/18/14 - Louisville, KY - Forecastle Festival

07/25/14 - Seattle, WA - Capitol Hill Block Party

08/01/14 - Chicago, IL - Metro

08/02/14 - Chicago, IL - Lollapalooza

08/08/14 - Los Angeles, CA - "They Want My Soul" on The Fairbanks Lawn of the Hollywood Forever Cemetery

08/10/14 - San Francisco, CA - Outside Lands

08/17/14 - Portland, OR - Musicfest NW

08/30-31/14 - Philadelphia, PA - Made in America Festival

09/05/14 - Raleigh, NC - Hopscotch Music Festival

09/07/14 - Boston, MA - Boston Calling Music Festival

10/03-05/14 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival

10/10-12/14 - Austin, TX - Austin City Limits Music Festival

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