<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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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'

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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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<p>The Flaming Lips</p>

The Flaming Lips

The Flaming Lips should also work with these 5 artists on their covers set

Bon Iver, Nick Cave, Edward Sharpe and others are on tap for Oklahoma band's collaboration album

The Flaming Lips have made it abundantly clear that they're rarely interested in making a traditional album anymore. They've done a 24-hour-song, released music inside a gummy skull, created musical suites for synchronized multi-iPod and boombox in-the-rounds... but here's a new one. The band is releasing a set of cover songs, with the help of many guest artists.

Many sites have confirmed that the Oklahoma-based psych-rock crew have tapped Nick Cave, Edward Sharpe and the Magnetic Zeros, Plastic Ono Band and Neon Indian for the album; and today, Rolling Stone firmed up the participation of Bon Iver and Wayne Coyne' wishlist. The 'Lips have the desire to work in-studio with acts as diverse as Ke$ha to Lykke Li to Erykah Badu.

"Sometimes it just takes a matter of connecting," Coyne told the mag.

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<p>James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem</p>

James Murphy of LCD Soundsystem

Watch: Trailer for LCD Soundsystem's Sundance film 'Shut Up...'

Warning: hugs

There were far more than thousands of New Yorkers upset by the fact they couldn't nab a ticket to LCD Soundsystem's epic finale at Madison Square Garden last year. Millions of fans would have liked to see Regine from Arcade Fire do that little glove dance or Reggie Watts guest during the "45:33" zone-out run. With a show so very much final, a concert film was almost certainly in order.

A first glimpse of that film, "Shut Up and Play the Hits," will be at the Sundance Film Festival this month, where directors Dylan Southern and Will Lovelace will premiere it.

The documentary chronicles the lead-up, the day-of and the day-after of that April 2, 2011 New York concert; it was produced by Lucas Ochoa and Thomas Bensk (Blur's doc "No Distance Left to Run") and by LCD frontman James Murphy, who may just spend half the film hugging people and heavily sighing.

The trailer has debuted, below, featuring just those kind of moments, to the tune of "All My Friends."

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<p>Leonard Cohen's &quot;Old Ideas&quot;</p>

Leonard Cohen's "Old Ideas"

Credit: Columbia

Listen: Leonard Cohen goes into the 'Darkness' in new 'Old' song

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Does he need a choir of angels?

Go in with some certain expectations when Leonard Cohen titles a song "Darkness."

This morose, devoted songwriter has sung his fair share of shaded tunes. This one, off of his forthcoming "Old Ideas," layers a little bounce over a traditional blues-structure. There's nothing terribly personalized or confessional locked in the lyrics, but the close mix on the bass notes and his rumbly mumble lay the mood down right.

My only point of contention are the light, pretty backing vocals, which seem to soften the blow of his sub-tone growl, a kind of coldly sentimental light at the end of this tunnel of "Darkness." It's a adult-contemporary misstep, like using a Rhodes when you should use a mean, temporal organ sound or a choir when you should use a bevy saxes. But he's an old man -- I wouldn't say that out of cruelty, the guy named his album "Old Ideas," for crying out loud. He can recruit angels if he wants to.

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<p>Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre</p>

Snoop Dogg and Dr. Dre

10 considerations on the 2012 Coachella lineup: Pulp, Dr. Dre, Black Keys

What day is the strongest? Shouldn't that read Black SABBATH?

As my cohort Melinda Newman reported last night, the 2012 Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival lineup has been announced, with several notable reunion and rare appearances. Additionally, this is the first year the event runs over two weekend, April 13-15 and April 20-22, with identical billing.

Below are 10 things that came to mind:

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<p>Yes, that's a picture of The Mars Volta... and principals of At The Drive-In, too</p>

Yes, that's a picture of The Mars Volta... and principals of At The Drive-In, too

At The Drive-In officially reforms, added Coachella lineup announcement

Any new album? On top of another new Mars Volta album?

As if the teenaged me wasn't excited enough for that Promise Ring reunion, now the teenaged me is back-flipping (hey, I was young) for the confirmed reunion of At The Drive-In, who have also promised a new set.

"ATTENTION! To whom it may concern: AT THE DRIVE-IN will be breaking their 11 year silence. THIS STATION IS .... NOW... OPERATIONAL," the rock band wrote on their seldom-used Twitter yesterday (Jan. 9), only hours ahead of the lineup announcement for the Coachella Valley Music & Arts Festival. At The Drive-In -- along with Sweden's Refused -- were among the biggest surprise additions, considering the reformation.

UPDATE: Apologies for my egregious mistakes on today's post. The band is no longer with Fearless records, and its band page has been updated to this website. They have touted their forthcoming stint with the video, below. The station is now... operational.

Bixler-Zavala's and Omar Rodriguez-Lopez' other active band, The Mars Volta, intend to release new material this year, too, perhaps as soon as March. But you don't see them on the marquee for Coachella....

Bixler-Zavala and Rodriguez-Lopez are shared by Mars Volta and At The Drive-In, so obviously recording and touring priorities are in need of sorting-out. However, it's a question of if and what new material will be released from ATDI. Mars Volta's last album was "Octahedron" (2009) and I'm curious if there will be any similarities. Coachella is a good crowning jewel in a touring schedule: if ADTI is to premiere new material their new material is likely to be previewed during that time.

I'm impatient. Now that I know I can have it, I want it now. Last I saw Mars Volta in 2009, Bixler-Zavala's voice still astounds. I'm ready to have 2000's "Relationship of Command" blasted in my face in 2012, and if that last mark informs the new, then I'm happy to have that blasted, too.

At The Drive-In Website Intro from MONDIAL on Vimeo.

 

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