Watch Tom Waits perform with the Rolling Stones in L.A.
Credit: AP Photo

Watch Tom Waits perform with the Rolling Stones in L.A.

First among the classic rock band's tour dates features very special guests

As I'm on the self-assigned Tom Waits beat in perpetuity, here is Waits singing "Little Red Rooster" with the Rolling Stones last night (May 5) during the classic rockers' show in L.A.

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<p>Taylor Swift in &quot;Highway Don't Care&quot;</p>

Taylor Swift in "Highway Don't Care"

Taylor Swift co-stars in Tim McGraw's 'Highway Don't Care' music video: Watch

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Keith Urban shows up, too, for another Car Crash Music Video

"Highway Don't Care" by Tim McGraw and featuring Taylor Swift and Keith Urban features all three country stars in its music video, which also brings home the message: don't futz with your cell phone in your car, folks. Otherwise, Vanderbilt Medical is going to have to scrape you up from the highway, and the highway don't care.

This marks yet another addition to the Car Crash Music Video genre: "Highway Don't Care" hops in next to others like Coldplay's "The Scientist," Trey Songz' "Heart Attack," Metallica's "Frantic," Nickelback's "Someday," Katy Perry's "One That Got Away" and Adele's "Chasing Pavements," some with better storytelling and "twists" (an apparent feature of Car Crash Videos) than others.

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<p>Lauryn Hill walks to court in Newark, N.J. today (May 6)</p>

Lauryn Hill walks to court in Newark, N.J. today (May 6)

Credit: AP Photo

Listen to Lauryn Hill's new song 'Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)'

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Released in order to avoid jail or penalty from Sony

Man, there is nothing like an artist who reluctantly releases new music.

As previously reported, the Grammy Award-winning MC and singer Hill signed a new record deal with Sony in order to get an advance of cash that helped to get her out of her tax debt to the government. The punishment for tax evasion could have equaled out to jail time. The punishment for failing to deliver goods to her new record label? Who knows, maybe even harsher, like a purposely ill-fated collaboration with Ke$ha?

Regardless, Hill has completed step one of her deal with the major music company by dropping a new song "Neurotic Society (Compulsory Mix)." Compulsory, as in required by law, or coersion. That's what's giving you that warm feeling in your belly, right next to that bitter pill.

The song appeared on Hill's Tumblr this weekend (nothing says "fanfare" like posting on a weekend), making it her first new release in more than a decade. She noted that the song was "rushed" out the door, though she stands by its message:

Here is a link to a piece that I was ‘required’ to release immediately, by virtue of the impending legal deadline. I love being able to reach people directly, but in an ideal scenario, I would not have to rush the release of new music… but the message is still there. In light of Wednesday’s tragic loss (of former label mate Chris Kelly), I am even more pressed to YELL this to a multitude that may not understand the cost of allowing today’s unhealthy paradigms to remain unchecked!

The resulting song is about "unhealthy paradigms." More simply: Hill is pissed about everything, and guns are blazing in every direction, including the hypocrites, the greedy, the ignorant, the oppressors, the patriarchy, the "neurotic toxic society."

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Mariah Carey's new single with Miguel is 'Beautiful': Listen

Mariah Carey's new single with Miguel is 'Beautiful': Listen

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Is this the single Mariah Carey needed?

Mariah Carey and Miguel just released new song "Beautiful" together, and the single may be just what the singing superstar and "American Idol" judge needed.

Miguel: He didn't need this. Miguel's good, thanks, still feeling fresh and cool after the success of "Kaleidoscope Dream" last year and is about to set out on the Set The World On Fire Tour with Alicia Keys.

Carey, on the other hand, struggled to get any traction at all with her 2012 song "Triumphant (Get 'Em)." It didn't have her voice, nor her "voice," as guests Meek Mill and Rick Ross took the verses. Subsequent remixes -- including the superior retro dance drop -- diluted the initial impact and Carey couldn't seem to gain any long-term favor.

And her "The Great and Powerful Oz" credits song "Almost Home" thudded all the same. It was as though the vocal lines were a placeholder, and she delivered just the same as any recruit could for the same schlocky, plodding ballad.

Here, it's a pop song, and sweetly so, as Carey flaunts her heart-warming ability to blend with Miguel's creamy tenor in a duet and take the spotlight with gusto when it's her turn. It's a sparkling reminder of what she does, and what she does best.

The keyboards' countermelody reminds me of OneRepublic's "Feel Again" while summer-fun beat is sanded down to muffled low-end to clear space for Carey and Miguel's ageless voices to have their day in the sun. Carey applies her trademark high octave in unison in her first solo phrase, and there's a brightness as her voice combines with his. It's like she was smiling -- or told to smile -- when she hit the mic. It works, and may become a pleasant addition into the 2013 summer jam rotation, if it works out.

This, after a week of ugly press: Carey and her "AI" co-judge Nicki Minaj have been fighting on the show, with Minaj allowing the drama to spill over into her own press time, her Twitter account and, subsequently, onto the pages of the tabloids. Carey, smartly, has been largely silent but still: bad feelings abound. "AI" is currently struggling through its worst ratings in its 16 season history, and is it any surprise?

So forget about that: cue up "#Beautiful," which is cutely credited "Starring Mariah Carey and Miguel." What do you think?

Watch and listen to Vampire Weekend's new song 'Ya Hey'

Watch and listen to Vampire Weekend's new song 'Ya Hey'

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Next fresh cut from 'Modern Vampires of the City'

The lyric video for Vampire Weekend's "Ya Hey" -- the latest song to arrive from new album "Modern Vampires of the City" -- is all popped champagne bottles and fountains of foam. But there's also protective bibs. And nobody drinking.

The New York band has never shied away from commenting, even sarcastically, at class and youth. Here, there's also the acknowledgement of "black" music influences (hear gospel? reggae?) blending with their brand of pop and rock as it pays homage to other clashes and melting pots, of the Motherland with the Fatherland, Judeo-Christian imagery mixing with Zionism and Rastafarianism, Desmond Dekker literally (literaturely?) getting mixed with the Rolling Stones.

It's a playful song, but singer Ezra Koenig has heavier things on his mind, seeming to condemn all the supposed "lovers" of the Divine -- even himself. He gets glimpses of God, and is unsatisfied that God himself isn't fazed by faithlessness.

So all that, together with the typically bourgoise act of squandering perfectly good champagne by spraying it or breaking its bottle? Well, at least rappers get sponsorship for it: the offenders are of all colors and, notably, ages. The visual backing to this lyrical video (even the hilarious extras in the background at 3:15) is about waste. Again, with class and youthful excess.

Now if only I liked the pitched vocal effects buttressing the chorus. There's a waste of a good melody.

"Modern Vampires of the City" will be out on May 7.

The Architects talk 'Border Wars' album and comic book... and crowdfunding

The Architects talk 'Border Wars' album and comic book... and crowdfunding

When is it not OK to crowd-fund using Kickstarter or Indigogo?

Releasing an album in what's considered a traditional rock album cycle sometimes doesn't make sense. For the teeming numbers of lost or forgotten rock records -- decent, independently-released ones -- it doesn't work at all. Some projects are too special to fall into the 2-3 year, 2-tour support, single-video-radio-album-wash-repeat. Under the folkloric, ambiguous wisdom of "spend money to make money," there will expenditures without enough knowledge from the fans' part to see revenue at the end.

Kansas City band The Architects have created a "high-concept" soundtrack album and accompanying five-episode comic book "Border Wars," and found it high time they experimented with crowd-funding. After five studio album releases and high-visibility stints with My Chemical Romance, Flogging Molly and the Warped Tour, the Architects culled the opinions of their own fans to develop an Indiegogo model and self-sustaining execution that seemed realistic (and wouldn't make their base wretch).

"Doing more creative work more often makes a lot of sense to me with respect to sustainability," frontman Brandon Phillips told me in our email interview. "That way you are entering into an ongoing conversation with your fans or supporters instead of showing up for a booty call once a year."

This week, "Border Wars" reached its kick-off $10,000 goal. Interested parties can still preorder a hard copy of the comic and album... for half a day more. Below, Phillips gives his opinion on comics, on when it's NOT OK to crowd-fund and on where Justin Bieber's records are actually being made.

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Watch a very very NSFW Flaming Lips video for 'You Lust'

Watch a very very NSFW Flaming Lips video for 'You Lust'

Not sexy, not anything: Wayne Coyne's junk

Wayne Coyne has fixations, and Flaming Lips co-member Steven Drodz says as much.

"Something must have happened to [Coyne] when he was eight or nine that completely zapped his brain. Wayne goes through phases of working with different types of imagery. In 1989, it was Jesus Christ and God. But the vaginas never really go away," he told Vice, which premiered the extremely not-safe-for-work video to "You Lust" today.

As we've noted before, there's a baffling amount of nudity in the Lips' output these days, with "lust"-death connections all over buzz-killing album "The Terror." "You Lust" is its crown jewel, with a clock time of around 13 minutes. This video is only about four. Guess Coyne and his guest can't have wires connected to their own jewels for too long.

"The nudity in the video isn’t glamorous or sexy. It’s very stark and disturbing. I think that’s a bold move. There are some shots when you go, “That’s an interesting angle to shoot a flaccid penis from...” But Wayne isn’t shy about being naked," he said, shortly before a minor launch into women's pubic hair grooming habits.

I'm not anti-nudity. Sexual violence is worth talking about. But as some short-form art, it feels yet incomplete, more of an exploitative portrait in the theme of lust.

All I'm trying to say is don't try this at home.

<p>Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Austin Psych Fest</p>

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club at Austin Psych Fest

Credit: Austin Psych Fest

Listen to the 10 best live bands from Austin Psych Fest

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A review of the small Texas rock fest, with a look at BRMC, Moving Sidewalks and more

I think of music festivals in terms of high school, or summer camp. Lollapalooza, Coachella and the ilk may host tens and hundreds of thousands of attendees, of varying ages and actual interest in music, but some social mechanics are all still there: what you do when you're bored, the indiscriminant judgement of character on the most petty of outward appearances, the laws of attraction, clique strata and Art School Kids.

Austin Psych Fest, hosted this past weekend at Carson Creek Ranch in Austin's outskirts, hosted fewer than 5,000  people -- about the size of a large high school. Despite having three large stage areas with attendance hardly near cap, it felt snug yet inviting, with hammocks dangling from the trees, the Texas capitols' affinity for food trucks representing, and a satisfying range of what qualifies as "psych" music.

A round of rain hardly elevated festivities from "appropriately groovy" to "post-adolescent mud-hippie batsh*t" and the crowd stayed cool, even polite, and thoroughly committed to the music lineup of this sixth annual fest. (Though, this doesn't mean it didn't make for great people watching. The gorgeous Elevation Amphitheater, with its various tiers leading down to the green creek's edge, may as well have been called the Football Stadium Bleachers. The blissfully short bathroom lines were a veritable Fashion Avenue.)

But for programming with such a genre-leading tilt, the lineup was definitely above average, delivering  long-jams, space rock, stoner punk, experimental electronica, psychedelic blues, acid, prog and world. Immaculate Noise favorites like Black Angels, Os Mutantes and Goat introduced their excellent new albums with varying degrees of success (great, cheesy, trainwreck-in-slow-motion, respectively). The fest's variety is its strength, even though sticking largely to rock. The majestic tunics on Tinariwen contrasted with the goobery costumes of King Khan & BBQ Show; Man Or Astroman's hilarious banter was near-opposite of solid shoegazers No Joy, whose stage presence lived up to its name; Masaki Batoh's fascinating Brain Pulse Music improvisations were as affecting as Boris' well-practiced deep-space drones.

I wasn't wild on headliners Black Rebel Motorcycle Club's one-noting and reunited Moving Sidewalks' drummer artlessly plodding over rock hero Billy Gibbons. The phoniness of Island Records signees Deap Vally wrecked a perfectly good Sunday afternoon slot. And It doesn't cease to amaze me that Vietnam is still a band that gets booked. And of course, you could crack the jibe that there were five bands with the word "Black" in their name, one "Wolf" band, one "Deer" band, and several with death, the dead, the dying and drugs. But what was overwhelmingly good-feeling was the diversity in performers, especially with the heartening number of bands with women in them, averaging out better than your Coachellas and Bonnaroos.

Below I outline some of my favorite live performers from the 2013 Austin Psych Fest, or as I'll call it, Psych Fest High School. Included are Tinariwen, King Khan & BBQ Show, Acid Mothers Temple, Suuns, Man Or Astroman?, Spectrum, Indian Jewelry, The Saint James Society, Tjutjuna and Dead Skeletons.

<p>Os Mutantes</p>

Os Mutantes

Interview: Os Mutantes founder Sérgio Dias on 'Fool Metal Jack' and American politics

Songwriter talks about the Las Vegas strip and forgetting the lyrics

 

AUSTIN -- Os Mutantes have mutated, literally, over the course of their long history. This week marks another morphing, with the release of the Brazilian band's "Fool Metal Jack," which features founder Sérgio Dias and company performing the most English-speaking songs of any of their studio albums.
 
The psychedelia and Tropicália roots stemming from Os Mutantes' formation in 1966 are still there, but the personnel of the band -- even since reuniting in 2006 -- has changed. The political voice has become stronger, if not just more matured. The bobbing buoyancy has more and more hints of melancholy. After decades of influencing artists like Nirvana, David Byrne, Jimi Hendrix and Beck, Os Mutantes (Dias at least) has allowed in new influencers to the group's music, collaborating with Tom Zé, Of Montreal, Devendra Banhart and others.
 
I sat down with Dias, 61, over the weekend at the loud and buzzing Austin Psych Fest, where the band helped headline. We talked about "Fool Metal Jack" -- out today (April 30) -- American politics, changing band members, Paris and forgetting lyrics.
 
This new album has the most English language songs of anything you guys have ever done. Was there a conscious choice there, that you wanted to do something that was distinctly English speaking? And why?
I’m living here. I’m living in Las Vegas. Basically been seeing so much of the U.S. and all, the way that this is affecting the United States and myself and that’s basically what I’m talking about in the album. The first song “The Dream Is Gone” is about foreclosures. And then “Fool Metal Jack” is about you see those kids born in the Plains, dress up in the military full clothing and they have pimples and they have no idea what it is really war. And it’s been so many of them and so far nobody understands it yet. And so I made myself the “Fool Metal Jack” so I’m dying there. So it’s very graphic. And "Ganjaman" is about us and the political situation here, like Thomas Jefferson is coming from the dead for a new revolution. 
 
I wonder what the Fathers of the nation would think of what is happening now. Kennedy died in ‘63 and I remember in Brazil we had like a three days of national mourning. That was impressive for a foreign leader. And so I always wonder now, what would happen if something happened, if we would still have the same kind of feedback? The U.S.A. is the front of the line of the world now so there’s a lot of responsibility. How do you present yourself? How do you manage to be a leader?
 
So it’s very important not to forget how to be like the common people, common normal people because this is a place where there’s so much beauty and because of “by the people, for the people,” and all this. But now there’s so [many] things happening. Knowing Brazil, for example, our coup d’état, but now I see the Patriot Act, for example, that takes your guys’ rights. U.S.A. is a place where you normally get a yes as an answer. In Brazil you normally get a no, whatever you want to do is no. Even after the coup d’état died, or in ‘86, there’s a lot of remains of it, which is basically the worst is corruption. Very, very bad there.
 
There’s been such a political change even since you guys got back together in 2006. That is seven years of massive political change. There are so many outright political songs on this because it is overtly American, not just English-speaking.
 
The Bush Era was a disaster for this country I think. It was very bad. I don’t know if it’s healthy just to go for revenge. How can I say – practical. And America’s a very practical country. As a leader, you have sometimes to understand or try to understand the rest of the universe that you’re being leaders. With the Bush’s was, was so hard. I don’t understand how you guys didn’t rise up with the war stuff first, because the thing was weird.
 
Some people did. And that’s part of the atmosphere here: you’d think it would make a difference.
 
I know what it is to be in fear all the time, in Brazil for example. Even though we would be defiant, I don’t think that’s a good thing for America. You guys have to throw this fear away because it doesn’t make any sense. Because of what it is for me to be an American. So many movements came from you -- the freedom thing, [civil] rights, the women liberation, resistance to Vietnam and all this, which was fantastic. You guys were very active because of your own freedom.
 
Talk about musically how you have changed between now and your last album four years ago.
 
Well, it’s a totally different this album from the others. I don’t know because I don’t think of it when I’m writing. It just writes and that’s how I let the music come.
 
What lessons did you learn? What challenge did you take from on your last album that you felt like you applied to this one? 
 
I learned that I should always be faithful to my own music – always. Whatever what – no matter what. A lot of people try to influence this album saying that we should go to this direction, to other direction or whatever. And I just stood there and I said, “No, no, no.”
 
It’s been like this, in the past I had people saying, “Why don’t you make a song like the Bee Gees” or something like that. That would be the same as, “Why don’t you make something like Kurt Cobain or whatever.“ It doesn’t make any sense to us, you know. 
 
You’ve collaborated with a lot of new artists and a lot of artists have cited you as an influence on their music. Is there any musical artists today that inspire you?
 
Anoushka Shankar. She just did an album called “Traveling.” And what she did is she mixed the Indian music and the mastering of it with the flamenco thing. And that was a wow because they’re close, but they’re so distant. I mean, and you see like her playing on a sitar what Paco de Lucia would be playing on an acoustic guitar. It is extremely inspiring
 
Have there been many artist that you’ve wanted to collaborate with, that you have plans to collaborate with?
 
I want to collaborate with the guys in the subways in Paris, you know. Because it’s outrageously good. I saw this guy, he was an accordion player. Outrageous. And there were some guys at the bridge just playing flutes. And just – they’re magical. Very magical.
 
You’ve got a new album out this week. Do you get nervous with the release of new music now, even 50 years on?
 
I’m scared to death because I’m awful with lyrics and I’m scared sh*tless, pardon my French, because I know I’m gonna f*ck up.
 
Do you have any tricks that you do when you think you’re about to forget them?
 
No, it’s like a disaster always. For example, “Balada del Loco.” My God, I always mix up, always, always. The only way is just laughing of it because I gave up. 
 
With the personnel that you have with the band now – and it’s changed so much. What is the strength of this current incarnation, this current personnel? 
 
I think it’s basically to be able to portrait the original things when we were kids --which is to be a kid and be young and restless, like that soap opera. And be able to be totally free, you know. They can do whatever they want. Whatever whoever wants to do, they do it. And that’s the fun of it.
 
So what made you move to Las Vegas?
 
I went there for the Grammy because we were nominated and I never stepped on my own in Vegas. I know America top to bottom but, I don’t smoke, I don’t gamble, I don’t do anything. So I had that stereotype idea of Vegas. So but when I went there and I saw the mountains, you could feel the spirit of the Indians and all the stuff. It was amazing. It blew my mind. And you go like 30 miles there you have Lake Mead. Then you go 30 miles up and you’re in the snow at Mount Charleston. And you’re so close to L.A. So close to everything. And it’s a no-traffic place which is fantastic. And you can drive intelligent. The people is warm. The people is nice. I mean, Las Vegas is the most tropical place I ever seen in my life. If you go to the strip, that’s total nonsense, which is all is what Tropicália  is all about.

What factor does age play into your music? Do you ponder and work lyrics around the idea of aging at all?
 
Not at all. I don’t feel aged at all. I feel basically the same as I was. Of course, the body has different ideas, you know. You have like pain in your back or whatever. But I don’t know, I feel the same. It’s very good. It’s great to look back and so I look forward because my life so far has been such a magical thing. It’s been so good. I can only thank. I’ve been very lucky.
<p>Cover art to &quot;In an Aeroplane Over the Sea&quot;</p>

Cover art to "In an Aeroplane Over the Sea"

Credit: Merge

Neutral Milk Hotel announces reunion tour dates

'On Avery Island' lineup will head back to Athens, Ga. breeding ground

That Neutral Milk Hotel reunion tour you were hoping for? The one featuring more than just Jeff Mangum? Well, so far, let's just hope you live in the South or Asia.

For the first time since 1998, the indie rockers will be performing live, with five dates announce for Athens, Ga., Asheville, NC... Tokyo and Taipei, Taiwan. On the band's website, there is the promise of "more to come," with "more" probably indicating additional dates.

The lineup will be Mangum, Scott Spillane, Julian Koster and Jeremy Barnes, which is the crew that came together to support 1996's "On Avery Island"; they all performed on 1998's masterful "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea." Athens is the band's hometown.

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