<p>Wolf Parade</p>

Wolf Parade

Song(s) Of The Day: Download two new Wolf Parade tracks

'Ghost Pressure' and 'What Did My Lover Say?' available ahead of the June 29 album release

Wolf Parade are back -- all together -- for the first time since 2008's "At Mount Zoomer," and are trying to bend their sound back to a more fun, warmer mount, apparently.

Two songs were released by Sub Pop today, culled from the forthcoming "86 Expo," due June 29. "What Did My Lover Say?" has a hulking, moody rhythm section playing under the dramatic vocal declarations, with hard-working, high-end synths trying to overpower the darkness. Dare I say it reminds me of latter day Modest Mouse (hell, Isaac Brock helped get them signed, afterall) and Franz Ferdinand's drummer?

Spencer Krug and Dan Boeckner trade places for lead vocal on "Ghost Pressure," which, too, features the glitzy keyboard lines and an aggravated sense of night. Wait on that doozy of a chorus -- and wait even longer, too, for inevitable remixes on this particular track. That dance beat is too good to leave alone.

The Montreal band worked with Howard Bilerman on this full-length, their third, relying more heavily on analog recording and less so in the box. The result seems to have more happy accidents so far, but I look more forward to a variety of sounds in the full "86 Expo" set -- if there are any. If it does end up samey-samey, at least it'll be a good time.

While taking a break from Wolf Parade duties in the last couple years, Boeckner's been making music with his wife in Handsome Furs, while Krug got busy with Swan Lake and continued with his own solo project Sunset Rubdown

[Listen to the tracks after the jump...]

<p>Nathaniel Rateliff</p>

Nathaniel Rateliff

Credit: Rounder

On The Rise: Nathaniel Rateliff seasonally ripe with 'Early Spring Till'

Can one be a songwriter's songwriter with but one solo album?

"I don't consider myself particularly intelligent or gifted," Colorado-based Nathanial Rateliff told me in an interview at the South By Southwest music conference this year.

This, after having a completed a new album with famed producer Brian Deck (Modest Mouse, Josh Ritter, Iron & Wine). After having picked up by Rounder Records to essentially "do whatever I want to do" -- whether that's release inspired solo sets (formerly under the performance name The Wheel) or take back up with his rock band Born In The Flood. After trickling his Americana and folk-inspired career through several filters of Midwestern towns, an impoverished upbringing, dead end jobs, family tragedies and the ultimate decision to flourish as a musician full-time.

Rateliff has modestly paid his dues -- whether opening for the Fray at Red Rocks or plucking away in barns in Iowa -- and the fruits are "In Memory of Loss," out tomorrow (May 5). He says he has no expectations as to how it's accepted commercially, but from what I know of his extensive catalog, I can tell you want to expect...

It's like the shock of hearing "For Emma, Forever Ago" from Bon Iver for the first time. Or the quiet rumblings of Springsteen's belly on "Nebraska." Rateliff is a gangbusters songwriter, without a big budget stage production, a 30-piece orchestra or lusty, cheap language or eye-popping covers to promote him to the tops of blogs. He's a songwriter's songwriter, dare I say exceptionally gifted, even one label-signed album in, with legions of material to claw him through efforts in years to come.

Below you can check "Early Spring Till," for those of you in the not-L.A. area who are suffering the wiles of the season. Catch him on tour with his well-practiced backing band through the beginning of June. Hear many tunes here, at his MySpace site.

[Stream the track after the jump...]

<p>Sleigh Bells</p>

Sleigh Bells

Song Of The Day: Download Sleigh Bells' first single 'Tell 'Em'

Another reason to run M.I.A.'s name this week

M.I.A.'s name was in the news for other reasons this week, in one more positive, not-head-shooty way.

Her N.E.E.T. imprint, in conjunction with Mom + Pop, is releasing Sleigh Bells' crazy, ravey effort "Treats" on May 11.. For a taste, we have "Tell 'Em."

I'd venture a guess and say I've listened to this track 40 times in the last 48 hours. It's a prepare-for-battle track without the moodiness of a single minor melody. It starts up here (put your hand flat to your nose) and goes and stays there (extend your hand away from your face in a straight line). Alexis Krauss' siren voice bleats over a machine gun -- sorry, I had to say it -- of drum beats and  laser sounds with the chanting of a cheerleader, encouraging us to do "our best today."

The band is touring with Yeasayer -- a killer double-bill -- for a few more days, and are playing some hilariously small shows in their home base Brooklyn for the album release. Then they're out all summer. You will hear Sleigh Bells coming.

[Stream the track after the jump...]



Song Of The Day: Interpol turns on the dark 'Lights'

Stream this 5-minute-plus industrial-dance jam

Unlike Trent Reznor's new project How to Destroy Angels, Interpol is pulling back the curtain on their new project by introducing a full song, and not just a 40-second snippet.

"Lights" is the first new music we've heard from the Capitol band since 2007 -- one of the reasons why these dark rockers were HitFix's radar as one of the most anticipated acts to release recordings this year.

Interpol sent the ultra-brief message out yesterday:

Hello everyone.

We're stirring.
Please take a moment to visit our website: www.interpolnyc.com
We want to show you something.
And make sure you come back soon.
We will be posting important information and dates in the coming weeks.

Thank you.

Thank you, and stir on. Just in case we over-invest in the spring thaw, this foursome keeps us into deep freeze, delivering on the dark promises of "elegant, orchestral" music. Singer Paul Banks' voice reminds me of '80s Ozzy, on those opening strains and on the bridge leading up to payoff circa 3:45.

The whole jam equals out to 5:38, with loads of vamping at the end into a somewhat cheap fade-out. Still, When those drums finally start rumbling, it truly feels like a time start shaking, throw on some of that pomade and wear them sunglasses indoors.

Stream the track below, but download via the aforementioned website, by donating your left arm birth date and email address. I'd have embeded that video clip if it were worth a damn.

Interpol last released "Our Love to Admire" three years ago.

<p>Samantha Crain</p>

Samantha Crain

Song Of The Day: Samantha Crain heads to 'Santa Fe' with Frontier Ruckus

Oklahoman heads to the further Southwest with banjo, lilting melody

Last year, I fell in love with Samantha Crain's "Songs in the Night" hard. For such a young singer-songwriter, she's inimitable, drawing from years of Townes Van Zandtian folk-country, her lyrics wise and band professional. She's rich in spirit, with stable, beautiful trill to her voice: in a way, an anti-indie rocker in that she wants to sing well, and sing like she cares. She signed that album off to Ramseur Records, the original home of the Avett Brothers.

This year, she'll have "You (Understood)" out on June 8, and starting it off the block is "Santa Fe," a honey-sweet collab with Frontier Ruckus.

For those unfamiliar with the latter, a taste: they were easily one of my favorite bands from 2008's CMJ Marathon, a drinking band of foul mouths and good players. It's Americana in its modern form with a nod to past. Sexy Michiganers, if there were a thing, for those who speak that alt-country language.

Back to the Southwesterly "Santa Fe," pick at that banjo line yourself, and give a literate laugh along, in front of rows of cowboys boots if you can.

Crain has a 2008 EP out, "The Confiscation"; labelmates Frontier Ruckus have a new album forthcoming, July 20's "Deadmalls and Nightfalls" and already released "The Orion Songbook" in 2008.

<p>Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz</p>

Gogol Bordello's Eugene Hutz

Credit: Katie Hasty

Live Report: Rules of conduct, according to Gogol Bordello, 'Trans-Continental Hustle'

Gypsy-punk band rocked ultra-tiny Brooklyn Bowl for album release

Gogol Bordello has played the main stages at Coachella, Lollapalooza and All Points; the group and frontman Eugene Hutz was declared totes buds with Madonna during the Live Earth enviro-orgy in 2007. Last night at Brooklyn Bowl -- cap. 600 -- the mulit-lingual, gypsy-punk rockers moved the large scale madness down no notches for the reduced sized venue.

While the majority of the crowd smilingly sipped their beers in the back of the hall, those in the know where pressing hot bodies with other hot bodies in a swirl of pogoing girls, purse-less, and oft-shirtless boys-to-men gripping the air and reducing to a good-natured alpha mosh. The celebratory tone of the night (a normal sentiment, btw) was cast from the band's most recent accomplishment, yesterday's proper release of their new, Rick Rubin-produced "Trans-Continental Hustle."

As brutal as this sounds, let it be a compliment: this album is the best-sounding effort the decade-old band has made yet, though the least frenzied, but either way, it doesn't really matter. "Trans-Continental," nor the other four releases, are something generally you just pop into your player. It's a whetting of the whistle, a good idea that can't possibly measure up to the band's live show, their bread and butter. The albums -- 2005's "Super Taranta!" especially -- are good guides for fans to memorize, when to point to the sky and scream "oy!", when those 2/4s go double time, when the echoes and sing-along are to be sung back to the band.

As is said in the band's bio: "All music is f**king yours." And they're right. We are all friends and owners by time this thing is done. Hutz appreciated and bowed to the patience of the room new to "Trans-Continental" and may have to calm their shimmying to head-bobbing pace on new tracks like "Sun Is On My Side" or the lyric-heavy "Rebellious Love." But then there'd be classics like "Wonderlust King." And then rapper Pedro Erazo would don his Crazy Eyes (TM) and stick his arms into the crowd like a dangerous dare, or Hutz would fling his guitar aside and take up clapping just to make those rhythmically challenged still feel at home. Throughout, the backup singer and rhythm player Elizabeth Sun would crouch and lunge at the end of the stage, pointing her mallet, clear-eyed and with a purpose, whipping show-goers into a frenzy with psychic power.

After two deserved encores, and most everyone was spent and bruised the band spent a whole five minutes shaking hands with each other, with the fans, handing out waters like, "Sorry we have to stop, but we think you're cool too."

So my suggest rules of conduct at a Gogol Bordello show: bring no coat, no dangly jewelry. Keep your pockets as empty as possible and wear a shirt you don't mind getting beer on, or a one that you don't mind taking off altogether. Go with a buddy, leave with 10 more buddies. Hydrate and head to the front.

What's even cooler is that Gogol is taking acts like El Bronx and DeVotchka on the road with them for their spring/summer tour. The former is one of the loudest bands ever to don Mariachi garb; the latter has a lead singer who's voice I wish I could make sweet love to, were sex with a voice possible.

<p>Regina Spektor</p>

Regina Spektor

Regina Spektor covers Radiohead's 'No Surprises' for charity

Benefits Doctors Without Borders

Hey, at least it's not another "Bad Romance."

Regina Spektor has recorded her own ultra-sad version of Radiohead's already sad "No Surprises" for charity.

The tune went up for sale today on iTunes for $1.29, with monies going to Doctors Without Borders Disaster Relief Fund, to aid with the victims of earthquakes in Haiti and Chile.

Spektor's porcelain voice tip-toes around her churning piano part to the "OK Computer"-culled tune, dotted interstitially with a string arrangement perfect for exit music for a film.

The Russian-native singer-songwriter spent time raising money for the same org last month, at New York's Fillmore at Irving Plaza (man, is it still awkward typing that).

It's not abnormal for somewhat-still breaking artists to cover more popular artists in between efforts -- for clicks, for attention, for kicks when the road material gets tired. It is rare for those artists to devote that monetary yield toward a positive end.

Not every song that's covered makes money: it normally makes it on to blog like this, onto YouTube, to generate interest in the artist that singing it. But part of the royalties of this song also go to the songwriters themselves -- Radiohead -- leaving us wondering what they'll do with the cash, too.

Spektor released her newest album "Far" last year.

<p>The Dead Weather</p>

The Dead Weather

Song Of The Day: Dead Weather on fire with 'Gasoline'

Alison Mosshart announces album plans for her other band, The Kills

Dead Weather -- featuring Alison Mosshart of The Kills and Jack White -- has been busily prepping the release of its second full length, the delightfully monikered "Sea of Cowards," due May 11. At least one single has already splayed out all over the internets earlier this month. "Die By the Drop" was creeping, dark, truly collaborative and had the music video to boot, causing me to consider if that, combined together in a vial, White and Mosshart together would make Johnny Depp.

And now there's "Gasoline," a leak (or "leak") from last week. Perhaps in a scrambling effort to patch together a music video, the Dead Weather went for a mostly still photo and a stream of smoke for the visual accompaniment.

Here, Mosshart's snarly, psych-influenced vocals dominate even the moaning, impatient organ parts. The noise gives way to more noise, with dueling guitar solos, both likely from the shaky hand of Jack White. It's pleading and pleasantly short, under three minutes. We're bringing back air keyboards.

Dead Weather have only a few announced shows between now and July; check their website for details.

Meanwhile, Mosshart and her cohort Jamie Hince have revealed that their band The Kills will have their fourth full-length done for the summer. The pair told BBC 6Music that three-quarters of the set is done.



Watch: M.I.A.'s ultra-violent 'Born Free' music video

Cutting edge commentary or unnecessarily graphic?

Beatings, tear gas, nudity, profanity: Happy Monday!

Last Friday brought us the harmless version of M.I.A.'s "Born Free." Today we have the ultra-violent version, in the form of a Romain Gavras-directed music video, posted below and on her website.

The four minute track has been extended to nine, to accompany the plot course of American military personnel rounding up and annihilating those of the redheaded persuasion. You heard that right.

Bursting through the doors of an apartment building, soldiers beat some of its inhabitants with batons and their fist, in search of one particular male who's hiding in his shower. The teen is thrown into the back of a bus with more "gingers," and as it rolls through town, there's images of revolution literally etched on the walls. Their uncaptured brethren throw rocks at the vehicles, which trek out to the desert.

The prisoners are forced into the field and told to start running. They know nothing good comes of that, so they stay put until a mere child has its head graphically blown off. The group takes off, becoming targets for practice. One by one they're struck down, by grenades, gunfire, mortars, the ilk. Body parts get sprayed across the landscape.

The theme of rebellion and a police state is no new terrain for M.I.A., a Sri Lankan who's seen some pretty harsh -- and very real -- violence with her own eyes.

Redheads get guff from Scotland to Australia for their genetically inherited trait and by making them the State's enemy, it opens it up to commentary on the random and absurdist nature of discrimination of any race, sex, creed. Also, did you notice that the folks early in the video who got the butt of the gun were mostly overweight?

But the message has the trappings of a rated-R flick (note: not anything we haven't seen before consistently in our favorite movies) in a YouTube world. So the video site has taken it down, to which M.I.A. has playfully Tweeted "Boooooooo."

Gavras was behind another video of seemingly random violence, Justice's "Stress."

M.I.A. has posted a pic of a tentative tracklist of her forthcoming album, still untitled, due June 29.

[Watch the video after the jump...]

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Song Of The Day: M.I.A.'s 'Born Free' leaks free

'Sup, punk?

M.I.A. evidently has an album coming out June 29, but there's still so much to know, to hear: then there's today's "Born Free," which is making the rounds and sometimes being pulled by Interscope.

Take a gander before it disappears: the structure is solid punk rock -- reminiscent of U.K. punk dynamite Mu, with less screaming -- dynamically incapable of breathing room except for her oddball bridge, "I don't wanna talk about money, 'cause I got it/I don't want to talk about hoochies, 'cause I been it." This little couple of measure makes me think she did her vocals in one take and was satisfied in it. It's a fast four minutes, for sure, and a fascinating new tack for Ms. Arulpragasam.

M.I.A. has previewed this tune at shows before, complimented by her stage-spanning dances.

She's given at least one glimpse into the forthcoming, as-yet-untiltled N.E.E.T./Interscope set, with "Space Odessey," unleashed earlier this year. No word yet on a finalized tracklist or basically anything else about the thing.

What do you think of the song? Do you like the direction she's going here?

[Stream "Born Free" after the jump...]

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