<p><span class="Apple-style-span" style="color: rgb(45, 45, 45); font-family: Arial, Helvetica, sans-serif; font-size: 13px; line-height: 18px; ">Cedric Bixler-Zavala of</span>&nbsp;The Mars Volta</p>

Cedric Bixler-Zavala of The Mars Volta

Credit: AP Photo/Dave Martin

Can you guess the crazy name of The Mars Volta's latest album?

Band members also keeping busy with recent At the Drive-In reunion

With previous album titles including "De-Loused in the Comatorium," "Amputechture," "The Bedlam in Goliath" and "Octahedron," it's hard to know what The Mars Volta is talking about most of the time. Now a pop quiz, music fans: Which of these is the actual title for The Mars Volta's upcoming sixth album?

1. Sadomastodon
2. The Anti-Corpse Brings Down the Stars
3. Aduequitters
4. Golgothan Bacchanal
5. Noctourniquet

If you chose No. 5, you win a phantom high-five. The prog revivalists have said that "Noctourniquet" is a concept album inspired by such varied sources as the DC Comics villain Solomon Grundy ("...born on a Monday"), 1980s UK alt-rockers The Godfathers, and the ancient Greek hero Hyacinthus. The band's main maestros, Cedric Bixler-Zavala and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez, also produced the album.

The album's release coincides with the recently announced reunion of Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez's previous band, the Texas post-hardcore outfit At the Drive-In, who are back together after an 11-year vacation. That means the Mars Volta boys could be pulling double-duty on the road, or will have to favor one band over the other. Stay tuned.

Meanwhile, here's a taste of a new song as performed in Helsinki this summer:



The track listing for "Noctourniquet" is as follows:


1. "The Whip Hand"
2. "Aegis"
3. "Dyslexicon"
4. "Empty Vessels Make the Loudest Sound"
5. "The Malkin Jewel"
6. "Lapochka"
7. "In Absentia"
8. "Imago"
9. "Molochwalker"
10. "Trinkets Pale of Moon"
11. "Vedemalady"
12. "Noctourniquet"
13. "Zed and Two Naughts"

The album will be released March 27. At the Drive-In is scheduled to play the multi-weekend Coachella Festival in Indio, Calif. in April. 

Are you excited for the new record? Or are you more into the At the Drive-In reunion?

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<p>Odd Future</p>

Odd Future

Odd Future and Tyler, The Creator schedule new 2012 albums

Mellowhype and the hip-hop crew's Adult Swim show also slated

Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All had a big 2011, but 2012's looking even larger-scale. The hip-hop crew is preparing to release their first album on their own Odd Future record label, have a start date on their Adult Swim Cartoon Network show and individual members will blast off, again, with solo efforts.

First up is OFWGKTA's mysteriously titled "OF Tape Vol. 2," with all new music from Tyler, the Creator, Hodgy Beats, Frank Ocean, Leftbrain, Domo Genesis, Mike G, Syd the Kyd and The Internet. It's out on March 20 and is the group's first, real, honest-to-God album release, having spent the best of the last two years putting out mixtapes and singles individually.

After a hefty courting period early last year, Odd Future's choice to put out their own records was obviously fueled by their desire for creative control, corporately; their hell-bent proclivity to offend and their odd live and video behavior could obviously be dampened by a traditional debut album premiere (they're still getting major distro). That being said, there's no tracklist or single listed yet. Perhaps it's all puppy dogs and rainbows from here on out.

The world will know, once the crew hits the road on a 10-date tour in March to support, schedule TBA. Each stop will feature a "pop up store" in each city, in tandem with yet another Odd Future project. "Loiter Squad," Odd Future's live-action Adult Swim show, will bow on March 25, and with that audience and merchandising opportunity, I can only imagine the most creative of swag.

A press release also states that fans of Tyler, The Creator's "Goblins" will soon hear its follow-up. Tyler's next solo effort "Wolf" will drop "later in the Spring." Mellowhype (Hodgy and Left Brain) also have their set "Numbers" out in the summer. Frank Ocean's Def Jam set is in the works.

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<p>Craig Finn</p>

Craig Finn

Credit: Jeremy Balderson

Interview: Craig Finn's 'intimate' on solo album as Hold Steady starts new set

Listen: 'Clear Heart Full Eyes' title inspired by 'Friday Night Lights' -- game on?

“Going solo” can be a pretty loaded term. Sometimes it points to loneliness, or alienation. Sometimes it’s a breaking-free, an inner-wildness. For Craig Finn, the tendency is simply one of being “alone and separate,” a “highway” individualism. 

“In a touring band like [the Hold Steady], there’s two types of people. There’s the kind who spends all their time around people. And then I’m the guy walking on the side of the highway in my down time, with people yelling out of their cars at me.”
 
The Hold Steady singer endeavored to write his solo debut “Clear Heart Full Eyes” in a similar, confrontational and unfussy way.
 
When his band finished yet another touring hike in 2010, he found himself at the young end of 2011 wanting to “entertain myself,” using what he described as his own “limited” guitar talents and “build up a song form a simple thing. And that’s what I had -- a very simple thing,” he told me in our recent interview.
 
He wrote the songs at hoome in Brooklyn and took them down to Texas, to work with Spoon producer Mike McCarthy.
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Song Of The Day: Deftones and Far members combine for ††† “Prurien†”

Song Of The Day: Deftones and Far members combine for ††† “Prurien†”

They got you so excited...

Deftones have always had a flare for melodrama, which is part of the reason I've love them, will defend "White Pony" 'til doom, what-have-you.

So, as I previously reported, Deftones' Chino Moreno is lending his talents to new side project †††  -- or, for those who don't know the keyboard shortcut, Crosses -- formed with guitarist Shaun Lopez. And now there's another song to show for the pairing. 

“Prurien†” very well could be a Killers song, with Brandon Flowers off gambling somewhere. A good one. It pulses with a thousand (sampled) voices rising. Appropriate, as he sings: "They got you so excited / you wanna climb in / taste the / violence."

It's got a lot of percussion dabbling around the high end, and a crescendo that'll have you tuning up your air guitar. It's short, or at least feels that way.

The track is from "EP ††," which is from -- you guessed it! -- Crosses' second EP. It's out Jan. 24.

Here are Crosses' first-ever tour dates:

1/31 – Pomona, CA at The Glasshouse
2/01 – San Diego, CA at The Casbah
2/03 – Sacramento, CA at Ace Of Spades
2/04 – San Francisco, CA at Slim’s
3/31-04/01 – Santiago, CL at Lollapalooza Chile
4/03-04 – Buenos Aires, AR @ Quilmes Rock

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Listen: Sleigh Bells signals single with 'Comeback Kid'
Credit: Mom + Pop

Listen: Sleigh Bells signals single with 'Comeback Kid'

Is this the mainstream bow they've been waiting for?

What I originally like about Sleigh Bells is that they sound like, at any moment, the whole thing can become unhingled. Engine and body parts alike will go flying everywhere. Every song is played at 11.

The duo's proper first single from "Reign in Terror?" Comparatively, it's like a 7. The crew already released "Born to Lose," which I think is a lot weirder and edgier than this keyboard-assisted, pretty number.

Part of this is the soft refrain and post-chorus, softening the blow on that double-bass-pedal sound. It's pouring sugar on saccharine, which is Alexis Krauss' cheerleader coo. There's nothing too "off" about the mix...

Which is why this might be the kind of single the band to push it further into mainstream consciousness. Like some of their other songs, I can imagine this playing behind a commercial for a car with a lot of horsepower but also for a computer that computes at very fast speeds. CoverGirl need not apply.

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<p>Dan Auerbach in the studio with Dr. John</p>

Dan Auerbach in the studio with Dr. John

Dr. John pairs with Black Keys' Dan Auerbach for new 'Locked Down'

Will this 'significant departure' sound anything like the Bonnaroo Super Jam?

My dreams. They came true.

Well, at least one of them. Dan Auerbach and Dr. John's SuperJam set at Bonnaroo in 2011 had my mouth watering for something more, that this wasn't just a one-time thing.

It wasn't. It was a trial run. Today it was announced that Black Keys guitarist/singer produced and performs on Dr. John's new, forthcoming set "Locked Down," due April 3 via Nonesuch. Auerbach recruited a backing band specifically for the sessions, resulting in what a press release calls "a significant departure from his recent efforts."

Dr. John, aka Mac Rebennack, aka The Night Tripper -- has been releasing albums consistently since his 1968 debut "Gris-Gris"; he's put out five sets in the last 10 years, the last being "Tribal" in 2010.

"Mac inspired me every single day we were in the studio together -- musically, spiritually, cosmically... something special seemed to be happening and everyone involved could sense it," Auerbach said in a statement. The effort was recorded in his Nashville-based Easy Eye Studio. "For my money, Mac's one of the greatest who ever was and who ever will be...I'm so honored to have had this opportunity to work with him."

Part of the fun was that it was Auerbach who approached Dr. John, to make "the best record you've made in a long time"; Rebennack's first and seemingly only impression of the guy was what his children thought of The Black Keys. The two jammed in Manchester, Tenn. for Bonnaroo, which left enough of an impression to get started on a record.

"It was way cool cutting this record with Dan and the crew he put together for it," said Rebennack. "It's reel HIP."

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<p>&quot;Think Like a Man&quot;</p>

"Think Like a Man"

Listen: Jennifer Hudson, Rick Ross and Ne-Yo all 'Think Like a Man'

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Readers
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Is it a good combo?

If this film's movie poster were a person, I would punch it in the face. But I'm willing to look beyond it: "Think Like a Man" could very well have a hit song to promote its release.

Jennifer Hudson, Ne-Yo and Rick Ross actually make for an interesting combo on this rhythmic R&B title track. The "Dreamgirls" star carries the weight with Ne-Yo helping mainly on that hook. By the time Rawse jumps in with his verse, there's a pretty good groove going.

But then he does. And there's something in the way that Rick Ross says the word "money" that makes me weak in the knees, and that's the ONLY thing he's got going for the rap. It's requisite, after-all, and a retort to Hudson's original plot point, that her man screwed up, and they broke up.

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<p>Trent Reznor performing with Nine Inch Nails in 2009</p>

Trent Reznor performing with Nine Inch Nails in 2009

Credit: AP Photo

Trent Reznor is writing new Nine Inch Nails tunes, too: why that's good

How To Destroy Angels isn't the only music project the Oscar-winning writer's up to

At the end of the cold, nightmarish "The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo" is a How to Destroy Angels cover of Bryan Ferry's "Is Your Love Strong Enough?". It was Fincher's idea. I don't think it worked at all.

This is largely because I'm not 100% sure Hot To Destroy Angels works, period. I've always found Maandig's voice to be too honeyed for the darker, industrial tones of Reznor's more-rhythmic songcrafting. "Strong Enough," granted, isn't the group's song, but it further reveals how out-of-water a sugar-malaise voice can be.

But some good news to this hater: Reznor won't only be working on a new HtDA album this year. He's writing for some new Nine Inch Nails action, too.

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<p>Magnetic Fields</p>

Magnetic Fields

Listen: Magnetic Fields is hot for 'Andrew in Drag'

HitFix
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Readers
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Naked homosexuality, with heels on

It's well documented that Magnetic Fields' Stephin Merritt does the majority of his songwriting and brainstorming in gay dance clubs or piano bars. From the band's latest offering, it appears a drag club has been further added to the circuit.

"Andrew in Drag" is a funny, spirited sigh for Merritt, as he enjoys "the only girl I'll ever love." Again, he proves why he is one of the most refreshingly and rare overtly gay songwriters penning overtly gay songs, wielding his heartache as much as he does his humor and wit. This one is much more juvenile than, say, anthems like "100,000 Fireflies," with a playful use of the term "fag," a reference to a weiner dog and the misanthropic joy contemplating his ambiguous, sensual "misspent youth."

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<p>Dirty Three's &quot;Toward the Low Sun&quot;</p>

Dirty Three's "Toward the Low Sun"

Credit: Drag City

Listen: Dirty Three's new 'Rising Below,' from first new album in 7 years

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'Rising Below' precedes the 'Low Sun'

As explained in my post last month, I'm breathless that the Dirty Three are prepping their first album in seven years. And, today, the trio has something to show from it.

"Rising Below" features the same attention to recording detail as their last "Cinder" did, with a close miking of the hollow kick drums, textures of the violin and the stoked, narrative guitar lines mumbling through the tubes. Drummer Jim White carries the thing as the mid-toned instruments go and have their own says, several takes and dubs eventually merging into a tension-filled series of ebbs.  I'm hot for it, I want more.

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