<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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<p>The National's Aaron Dessner</p>

The National's Aaron Dessner

Exclusive: The National’s Dessner, Arcade Fire’s Parry working on Little Scream debut

Guitarist speaks on working with former tourmate on forthcoming ‘High Violet’

dessner" class="autolink">Aaron Dessner has had plenty to keep him busy over the past year – prepping new album “High Violet” with his band The National and crafting a performance-music-art piece “The Long Count” with his brother Bryce not the least of these. 

But the guitarist also spent time recently working with Arcade Fire multi-instrumentalist Richard Reed Parry on another project: crafting the debut album for Montreal-based singer-songwriter Little Scream, aka Laurel Sprengelmeyer.
“It’s gonna be a really great record,” Dessner said in our recent interview.
The collaboration between the three occurred when Parry and Arcade Fire were in New York to record some material for their forthcoming effort last fall. He and Sprengelmeyer stuck around to check out the Dessners’ “Long Count” at the Brooklyn Arts Museum, and crashed at Dessner’s pad.
From his at-home studio, Dessner engineered and “plays sparkly guitar” on one new Little Scream track. “It's turning out to be one of my favorite tracks for sure,” Sprengelmeyer told HitFix.
She went further in confirming that Parry is producing and playing on much of her album, which she expects to mix next week, to be finished by the end of May. “It's pretty dynamic, by that I mean it goes from really kind of bombastic to really more quiet and has lots of different sounds in it,” she said. The as-yet-untitled album has been in the works for a year; those curious should stay tuned to her website.
The collaboration round-robin didn’t stop there: Sprengelmeyer helped sing backup on The National’s “Bloodbuzz Ohio” and, as previously reported, Parry helped out on a handful of “High Violet” tracks, including “Conversation 16” and Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks.”
“Richie is… musically intimidating. It’s just a good experience,” Dessner said, adding he imagines that the two will eventually work on a bigger project together in the future.
Though Parry is helping with Little Scream and The National, Sprengelmeyer and Dessner conceded that they won’t be appearing on Arcade Fire’s third full-length, a long-awaited set with details still under wraps.
“If moral support counts, then yes, I've helped out with the Arcade Fire record,” Sprengelmeyer explains. “But not in any official capacity.”
“There’s a lot of people in that band. They have a very intense, full-on process on how they get things done,” Dessner said. However, don’t think that Arcade Fire and The National – former tour mates -- will spend the summer touring season ignoring each other, as both take to the road. “We hope to drag Richie on stage at some point,” Dessner laughs.
You know when that perfect opportunity would be, guys? Chicago, August, Lollapalooza. The possibilities for that weekend are endless…

Check back with Immaculate Noise next week for the complete interview with Dessner, with more on "High Violet," "The Long Count" and the 116 versions of "Lemon World."

Follow HitFix’s Katie Hasty on Twitter for more music and movie news at /katieaprincess.


<p>Green Day and NRDC promotion: &quot;Make Every Day a Green Day&quot;</p>

Green Day and NRDC promotion: "Make Every Day a Green Day"

Credit: NRDC

Music and Earth Day: It ain't easy being green

Thom Yorke, Green Day, the Roots, Pearl Jam try to work around harmful environmental practices of music-making

It's Earth Day, which should be every day, but for the music industry, its celebration is tough to accommodate.

Here are the basic tenets of a successful music career, by and large: recording material, selling recordings touring, merchandising, licensing.

Recording music requires energy and generally requires space and a bunch of equipment (excluding those four-track players in a bedroom like early Iron & Wine or some GarageBand action from Owl City in a factory basement). Acts like Cake and Jack Johnson have created their latest efforts in carbon neutral spaces, fueled by solar energy. But what of the Brooklyn bands that can't even afford a van? Is unplugging everything after you're through worth the trouble?

Selling said recordings has become greener since the advent of the internet age, with physical copies of records being bought over the internet instead of being shipped to stores, or digital versions of those recordings being sold in the place of a physical copy. But what copies of those songs go onto burned discs, plastic that has its own carbon footprint? How about that iPod, how many times has that run out of juice on you, or broken altogether?

It's been suggested that digital sales of music have plateaued.  Meanwhile, music sales and general continue to plummet, which is cheaper for the consumer, bad for the musician, which means less money is being dispersed for that musician to collect -- less money for the struggling musician to put toward getting those Disc Makers "eco-wallet" CD packages instead of cheaper, normal CD packages. On top of that, what label is willing to stop shipping to stores (a carbon gobbler), or to question the shipping and stocking methods of the big box retailers like Wal-Mart or Target?

Touring -- whether you fly or drive -- generally means the consumption of fossil fuels, unless you're Willie Nelson or Neil Young and have a 100% veggie-friendly vehicle? Is a Prius around town enough, Miley, after thousands of miles of not being in a Prius?  Music festivals are a struggle, too: a weekend or a day, there are thousands of fans mingling, eating, drinking, dependent on disposable materials. Bonnaroo has taken so many initiatives to "green" their farm-based fest, from organizing car pools, to stocking biodegradable utensils, the ilk. But what's it take to get everyone there? Green Apple fest in New York is a starting point, but what of the 364 other days of large-scale productions at those same venues which host it?

T-shirts and other merch clothing made from sustainable or green materials are generally more expensive than non. Posters are cheaper if you go with the normal stuff, instead of the specialty paper. Record labels have rarely exhibited eco-friendliness when it comes to disseminating promotional materials to writers like me (and, believe me, I have my own bad eco habits to fix).

Licensing is it's own discussion: how do earth-loving artists decide if a brand, show, movie, etc., is green enough for them? When there's a check being written for you, that question is likely the last on your mind.

There are phenomenal advocates for the environment out there: Thom Yorke speaks for the trees politically, conventionally; the Roots are outspoken Green Music Group advocates; Green Day promotes the NRDC efforts with videos and sponsorship dollars; Pearl Jam dished out dollars to help offset their tours.

But what of the musicians without pennies to spare? The resources of stable career artists?

Organizations like Reverb have teamed with artists large and small in developing cost-effective ways of lessening carbon footprints on tour. Neighborhood and artist organizations meet in every corner of the nation to connect musicians to other musicians who care about the ecology economy, so that little goes a long way.

Tell an early career artist that they shouldn't tour -- period -- in order to save the planet (like Cake's singer suggested) and find an artist iterating, in their choice of words, explitives optional: "Easy for you to say." The answer isn't easy. Being green isn't easy, and is often more expensive. Which is why any artist actively going "green" should be applauded, even if the move comes off as self-serving, promotionally. Environmental activism shouldn't be inspirational, its should be the everyday conversation, and the more musicians talk about it to each other -- how difficult it is, how they wish it weren't -- the more things will change.

<p>ArpLine: no, I don't know what an arpline is, either</p>

ArpLine: no, I don't know what an arpline is, either

Song Of The Day: ArpLine's 'Parts Unknown' ought be known

Download, listen, and check out the BK band's Northeast shows

You may be in pajamas, having your nightcap or drinking your joe. But take two minutes, sprinkle yourself with some black glitter and smear on some eyeliner and turn up ArpLine's "Parts Unknown."

These synthy, spacey dark glamour kings (no queens?) have cobbled together a hot mess on their 2009 album "Travel Book," all of which can be streamed here. The compartmentalized chaos of Brooklyn brethren Animal Collective comes to mind in "Fold Up Like a Piece of Paper" and "Weekend in the Colonies" made me want to procure a license for a nano-death ray (legal in New York!). 

But "Parts Unknown" is the real winner today, with it's creepy-sexy arching keyboard lines, Sam Tyndall's pipes doing backbends on the chorus for cinematic effect. We hope they wrote a thank you note to Depeche Mode.

I bring this all up because they're playing their native Brooklyn tomorrow (April 22) at Death By Audio and have a handful of other Northeast stops in May. You should go, it'll be fun.

Download and play this puppy below.

[Said puppy after the jump...]

<p>The xx</p>

The xx

Watch: The xx mesmerize with repetitious 'Islands' music video

Worthy of watching repitiously

Ordinarily The xx put me to zz, but their new music video for "Islands" is eye-popping in its dance moves, cause for little Xs flitting around heads like little hearts.

And not dancing like "Single Ladies." Or Rihanna's "Rude Boy." Or hell, I'll just say it, Ciara's new "Ride" (white hot '90s neo-porn!). This classy, contained and borderline claustrophobic clip features a mesmerizing repeated pattern of the same six dancers doing the same moves with each stanza of the track. There's very tiny variations in the pattern of which to speak, at least for a while. A facial expression will flicker in the periphery, a hand motion framing and re-framing the faces of xx's singers with differing fervor. But then -- just as love goes, le sigh!-- the comfortable habits get broken up/break up. Stuff catches on fire. Someone leaves.

It's morose and hypnotic, just like the band, the aural equivalent of a mumblecore movie. Here, it's forgivable, in revealing plot and resolve in about three minutes. As non-singers singing to their strengths (see Naess, Leona), the xx finally have a solid music video to hook in more mass. The thing premiered on MTV, for crying out loud.

Saam Farahmand directed this video, and he's helmed others for Simian Mobile Disco, the Klaxons and... Janet Jackson (????), plus fashion and commercial projects. He took a chance, on this single camera shot, done over and over, it's like an inhale and exhale with each new take. Maybe you'll run this over and over (and breathe in and out) too?

The xx are here on tour in the 'States through Saturday, then they leave, then they're back for summer fests, the what-have-you. "XX," their sole album, came out last year.


<p>B.o.B. aka Bobby Ray</p>

B.o.B. aka Bobby Ray

B.o.B. hype machine overloads with Eminem track, Vampire Weekend cover

Bobby Ray's 'Nothin'' becomes somethin', trumping Rihanna on Hot 100

B.o.B.'s "The Adventures of Bobby Ray" hasn't even dropped yet, but I'm already sick of B.o.B.

That doesn't mean I don't like his output. I do. But the hype and the sheer quantity of material all at once is trumping the quality of artist he is, or at least still trying to be.

His collaboration with another up-and-comer Janelle Monae on a cover of Vampire Weekend's "The Kids Don't Stand a Chance" has been making the rounds since Monday.

Around the same time, he "leaked" his collaboration with Eminem and Paramore's Hayley Williams on "Airplanes Pt. 2, " the sequel to "Airplanes" (which hasn't even promoted proper-like).

"Nothin' On You" featuring Bruno Mars is taking the No. 1 spot from Rihanna tomorrow on the Billboard Hot 100 singles chart, after a steady climb to No. 1 over the last month and some change.

And he's sat on "Bet I" -- his collab with T.I. -- hard, releasing remixes/mixtape versions starting in March, some more street than club, and vice versa.

He's gone on TV, hit Coachella, has been rolling out a live show as best he can with this meteoric, unexpected rise (thank iTunes for that one).

What's wrong with this? So much, too soon. "Nothin' On You" is like Ludacris' "My Chick Bad" meeting a less vapid version of Sean Kingston's "Beautiful Girls." It's cute, girls love it, it's a perfect crossover. It hasn't reach nearly fever-pitch, in this writer's opinion.

And "Airplanes" (the first) is a perfectly servicable follow-up to it. By rolling out the red carpet for Em, pre-release, without video, without explanation, for "Pt. 2" seems to be jumping the gun, cheaping the first, boiling down that nine month album release cycle to a Tweet and a somewhat lengthy, annoying promotional effort to have fans sign up for a street team in order to hear the damn thing. (And don't bother with the YouTubes on this one, Warner's got 'er on lockdown.)

Hell, I love Vampire Weekend just like any other sucker; they were, after all, the best-selling album artist for one week earlier this year. Combining that with Monae gives B.o.B. cred in the indie set (just as Kid Cudi got it with MGMT and Ratatat) but it's not a jam that seems to jive with his gold-platinum-diamond spitting personae of "Bet I." T.I. just got out of jail, let the man trot around for a bit.

"I couldn’t tell you what it takes to write a hit song any more than Rihanna could tell you how to write a hit song, no more than the person on the bottom of the charts could tell you. A hit song doesn’t necessarily mean a good song, which doesn’t mean to take away anything from a hit. But people write great songs all the time, but what makes it a hit? Who knows. Organized chaos," he told Idolator at Coachella about making hit songs.

B.o.B.'s got plenty of good songs. But his hits may be taking away from other hits.

"The Adventures of Bobby Ray" is out April 27.

Check out the smattering of current B.o.B. plugs below. What do you think? Can he draw out the hits over the next two years, Gaga style, with this much promotion so soon?

[Watch and listen to songs after the jump...]

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