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?

<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.

<p>Adele's &quot;21&quot;</p>

Adele's "21"

Song Of The Day: Adele goes disco for 'Rolling in the Deep'

Still enough soul for fans of Ray LaMontagne

Adele already has our hearts over here at HitFix, and this week brought a new gift from the young British performer.

"Rolling in the Deep" is the first single from her forthcoming sophomore set "21," and it maintains the songwriter's old-school vibe but bumps it up to the '70s. Backed with a little choir of her own voice, Adele delivers a vulnerable disco diva stance with a dancefloor burner that may make you grab your cigarettes.

Or maybe just the video will. The Sam Brown-directed official video for the track will be out in December, but the current clip, below, features shots of the "Chasing Pavements" singer recording "21" in Malibu, sleeping, blinking sweetly in fake eyelashes, throwing out some disco fingers and dragging her ciggies.

The 22-year-old Grammy winner is set to release "21" on Feb. 22.

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<p>Rihanna's &quot;Loud&quot;</p>

Rihanna's "Loud"

Credit: Island/Def Jam

Album Review: Rihanna's 'Loud' is pop proud

After 'Rated R,' this dance-pop proves again to be the Barbadian singer's forte

The era of Rihanna's "recovery" seems to be over. To take from Kanye West's forthcoming album title, the Barbadian singer had her dark, twisted side exposed earlier this year with "Rated R," and with in her appearance on Eminem's hit "Love the Way You Lie" from his "Recovery"; but now we've gotten to the beautiful, fantastical part, with "Loud."

What redeems this 11-song set most is Rihanna's vocal extremes. From her rumbling West Indian accent pasted all over playful "Man Down" and Avril Lavigne-sampling "Cheers (Drink to That)," to the scrunched-nose naugtiness of "S&M" and "Skin" to the vulnerable "Complicated." Aside from her idiosyncratic "ehs," the 22-year-old continues to mature as a premiere pop vocalist, recognizable in her own tracks and in those of her cohorts.

Young Money stars Nicki Minaj and Drake make appearances, with the former on the addictive-like-sugar "Raining Men" and the latter on second single "What's My Name." Drizzy's contribution could be easily shrugged off, but that '90s dance mix synth line won't be easily forgotten.

Some songs are written paper thin and applied unevenly, like the lyrically flimsy "Fading" and "Complicated" or the elementarily useless "Love the Way You Lie (Part II)," with Eminem back for the reprise like a greedy Hollywood sequel. And then there's the wild range of tracks -- first single "Only Girl (In the World)" will easily fill the floors at gay dance clubs while "Raining Men" has enough elements to get long-play at urban radio. Production team Stargate was behind the first two singles and the likely third ("S&M") -- but that seems to be the only fount of sonic consistency.

But no doubt, whatever radio station or club the hits end up, hits are hits, and this album is chock full of 'em. Rihanna has returned to what she does best and expanded upon them, opening up her lungs, screaming, then laughing about it. This is the year's real pop music "Recovery."

"Loud" is out today (Nov. 16).


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<p>From Band of Horses' &quot;Dilly&quot;</p>

From Band of Horses' "Dilly"

Watch: Band of Horses premiere 'Dilly' music video... on IMDb?

Dancing bikers, a sherriff show-down and spaghetti

IMDb premiered its very first music video this morning as Band of Horses' "Dilly" made its way onto the movie data site.

The clips was shot by video director and cinematographer Philip Andelman, who took a cue from biker films of the '70s, threw in a little dance, some imaginary-real guns, some spaghetti and rode off into the sunset. “This is the first of our videos to truly capture the essence of what a day in our personal lives is actually like,” said Band of Horses frontman Ben Bridwell in a release. Right.

Andelman has helped helm clips from Beyonce to Silversun Pickups, Jay-Z to Lenny Kravitz. IT's an interesting gritty and funny contrast to "Dilly," which features the South Carolina-via-Seattle band's typical laid-back, Southern-inspired rock. The track is culled form "Infinite Arms," released earlier this year.

IMDb is running the clip exclusived for the next two days, and is selling "Arms" for a $10 price tag.

Band of Horses also just released an exclusive iTunes digital "45" (whatever), with "Dilly" and a cover of Cee Lo's "Georgia."

Click here to watch the video for "Dilly."

<p>Jay Electronica</p>

Jay Electronica

Song Of The Day: Jay-Z helps on Jay Electronica track, signs rapper to Roc Nation

Why was Diddy beefing with the 'other' Jay?

Jay Electronica has formally signed to Jay-Z's Roc Nation label over the weekend, ending weeks of speculation. In celebration, two songs have been released: John F. Kennedy-sampling "The Announcement," appropriately, and "Shiny Suit Theory," featuring Jay-Z, The-Dream and Charlotte Gainsbourg (?!).

The latter, posted below, has simple samples and a seriously old-school feel, with sparse raps and Jay-Z's verse boasting of the fire from his youth. Electronica gives some context for his own success: "Me and Puff, we were chilling in Miami / He said, 'N*gga, f*ck the underground, you need to win a Grammy / For your mama and your family." This all bodes well for a Jay Electronica album to come.

Meanwhile, Diddy started pushing his friend Electronica's buttons, Tweeting, "Damn it hurts in a whole other way when someone you felt and I mean really felt was your Friend, Betrays you. It hurts when Breathe." The emo-ness arrived about the same time the announcement was finalized at the Box in New York.

Turns out, the post had nothing to do with Jay-Z or Jay Electronica -- or so Puffy says.

"@JayElectronica I proud of you! I'm happy for you. I love you! I congratulate you' I'm not mad at you! All I wanna do is see you win! All love"

... and...

"Before we start the week off with Rumors. I am not mad at Jay Z! I'm not mad at anyone! Jz was not the friend I was referring 2 Be clear."

And then Diddy Tweeted about how he's gonna get married and how "Last Train to Paris" is really going to arrive in December. No, really.

Let that be the last time I pretend to care about who Diddy beefs with.

<p>Lee DeWyze</p>

Lee DeWyze

Credit: RCA/19

Album Review: Lee DeWyze's 'Live It Up' is a let-down

'American Idol' champ goes the soft rock route for his RCA debut
I don’t blame RCA for trying to put Lee DeWyze’s debut album as soon as possible after the “American Idol” tour and before the new season of the competition. This past year was far from the strongest from an audience standpoint for the hit FOX show. As the 24-year-old was crowned the Season 9 winner, there was a spark of outrage over runner-up Bowersox deserving  the top spot, a shrug and a clap for DeWyze, and a tepid reaction from radio when his coronation song and cover of “Beautiful Day” was released. The AI tour had trouble selling out shows this summer and then there was silence.
Getting new material out in time for people remember just who Lee DeWyze is was important. Building his post-AI identity for Sony was important. The success of his first single was important.
Now that “Live It Up” has arrived, I fear it won’t be enough to satisfy the label and I wonder if soft rock was really the way for DeWyze to go. The set’s first single “Sweet Serendipity” is simple and would be perfect for commercial license, but doesn’t pack enough punch to interest the adult rock market outside of “American Idol” fans.
Opening the whole set with a touchy ballad is the biggest gamble that DeWyze and his handlers took, with generic songs about love at a midtempo dominating the whole rest of the set. The Mount Prospect, Ill.-native proudly lets those scratchy, hard edges seep out from his voice, but the aesthetic of it over pretty, guitar- and piano-led songs doesn’t always work.
As much as DeWyze wanted to put his own stamp on “Live It Up” with his numerous co-writes, several songs only seem to remind me of other artists and works. The title track very well could’ve been on John Mayer’s “Room For Squares.” "Beautiful Like You" is one of the album’s biggest triumphs, with a rolling piano line like Coldplay’s “Clocks” giving it a forward motion and some urgency, though still warm and familiar. (It could have been a couple choruses shorter and, unfortunately, it was the one track on the 11-song album that DeWyze didn’t co-pen.) “Weightless” – one of the better written songs on the set – hearkens “I’m No Superman.” He has his own Michael Buble moment in the Empire State-minded “Brooklyn Bridge,” followed by the sappy but sweet Mrazian “Dear Isabelle.”
The set’s producers and writers – which included lady-friendly Toby Gad, pop generalist John Shanks and team Espionage (Train) – threw every kind of cute into the set to tame DeWyze’s husky moan, from ukulele to hand claps to Oasis harmonies to dramatic strings culled straight from Aerosmith’s “I Don’t Wanna Close My Eyes.” What they forgot to do is leave enough of DeWyze’s personality in there. Something a little dark wouldn’t hurt and all the charm that captured the imaginations of his "AI" voters seems erased by the attempt to make a Hit.
And maybe that was the point. Sales for full albums from AI singers have slipped in recent years, which means RCA could just be interested in throwing out a menu of adult top 40 songs that could stick. In that case, “Weightless,” the title track and “Beautiful Like You” could do the trick. But as a sample of DeWyze’s talents, “Live It Up” is sadly single-note. Maybe he could've used some extra time after the summer after all.
<p>Beady Eye</p>

Beady Eye

Listen: Oasis' Liam Gallagher's new project Beady Eye say 'Bring the Light'

Looking forward to more or hoping for a reunion?

Brother Liam and Noel Gallagher very publicly broke up their band Oasis last year, and now we've finally arrived at the rebound part of the relationship.

Liam's new project Beady Eye, to be more exact, took custody of his ex's friends for a new song, "Bring the Light," available as a free download. Gem Archer, Chris Sharrock and Andy Bell are all on board for the piano-led rocker, which takes on a '50s vibe with some lady-backers and the typical late-'90s British garage rock from Gallagher that made Oasis so famous.

"Baby come on," Gallagher vamps at the end, perhaps urging Oasis fans to join him on the next leg of this journey?

Apparently, not all fans are so enthusiastic about the take, which managed to piss off manager Alan McGee something awful. "I was on the internet this morning, everybody's judging the band on one tune,” he told NME. “How can you do that? Let’s hear the album. It’s a f*cking free download. It’s too early to f*cking say.

Hate to bear bad news, but isn't that how it's done? Anyway, if it's that important to you, let's -- let's hear the whole album.

I personally dig the tune, though nothing new is cropping up from it. Liam's voice has always been such a presence, and I hope he's inspired by more than just his old tunes to create more. Hopefully he'll make the music he's intended to make rather than crowd-source the tracks based on internet opinions. What the hell does the internet know, anyway?

Beady Eye is prepping a full-length album for 2011, to be helmed by vet Steve Lillywhite.


<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Preview Nicki Minaj's 'Pink Friday' featuring Kanye, Drake, Rihanna and more

Young Money rapper unleashes a seven-minute clip of all her debut's tracks

Nicki Minaj is prepping the Black Friday release of her "Pink Friday" and, with half the songs having leaked or released, it's about time she lift the curtain a little more.

What is confirmed is her many big-named guests: Drake, Kanye  West, Rihanna, Eminem, will.i.am and Natasha Bedingfield have all apparently made the cut. Too, there seems to be plenty of pop-oriented jams, and fewer street tracks. Harajuku Barbie seems to have no problem singing the hooks herself, as evidenced by "Right Thru Me," though to hear the majority of the guest spots, we'll have to wait until its closer to the drop date. These slivers of the songs seem to want to showcase the styles of her songs, not give away what Drizzy has to say of his "wife."

Below, I break down some quick thoughts on the clips, but you should give it a gander yourself.

"I'm the Best" - The title make it sound like Drake should be on this one, but instead we have a bumping beat and some epic self-aggrandizing and cultural touchstones (y'know, like Lindsey Lohan).

"Roman's Revenge" featuring Eminem - "I'm a bad bitch, I'm a c*nt"... makes me wonder how Em's gonna trump.

"Did It On 'Em" - Haaaaard.

"Right Thru Me" -- We already previewed.

"Fly" featuring Rihanna -- will it be "Rated R" or "Loud" Ri? I'm thinking the latter, considering the cute keyboard line. Think more dance.

"Save Me" - Minaj is singing here more than she does the other tracks previewed, with a clip of skittering d'n'b tagged on the end of the preview.

"Moment 4 Life" featuring Drake - Minaj will have to battle hard with Drake as to who the real "heavyweight champ" is here

"Check It Out" featuring will.i.am - Which we generally abhor heard. The sample may end up being more popular than her Annie Lennox rip for "Your Love."

"Blazin'" featuring Kanye West - Lightning fast raps and a reverb-drenched beat.

"Here I Am" -- Revving engine? Minor key? A fast, sad car?

"Dear Old Nicki" "Jumping off the ledge..." hope she's not referring to recently re-incarcerated T.I. and his feat of talking down a jumper. Or is she talking to herself? Very ode.

"Your Love" The original mixtape version of this needed a serious shine, which it gets here. Just in case you're not sick of it from this summer.

"Last Chance" featuring Natasha Bedingfield - Hey! We actually get a chorus hook!