<p>Bowerbirds</p>

Bowerbirds

Song Of The Day: Bowerbirds announce new album, bliss out in the 'Darkness'

North Carolinian lovebirds back with ambitious sound

The Bowerbirds are back with, literally, more electricity.

The indie-acoustic crew has increasingly plugged in on each album, with this new set "The Clearing" sounding like it will be no exception. The North Carolina-based couple-duo of Beth Tacular (spec-tacular!) and Phil Moore have unleashed the first view into the darkness -- that is, "Tuck the Darkness In," which provides about a minute and a half of guitar bliss at the end.

Bowerbirds' story is intriguing, considering they're absolutely 100% tree-hugging hippie Earth-love rural dwellers, and they are 0% obnoxious about it. Their lyrics have been consistently intelligent and uncloyingly endearing, with lots of natural imagery, like romantic poetry for ecological responsibility.

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<p>Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber in &quot;All I Want For Christmas Is You&quot;</p>

Mariah Carey and Justin Bieber in "All I Want For Christmas Is You"

Watch: Mariah Carey meets Justin Bieber for 'All I Want For Christmas' vid

Mariah Carey is a li'l helper, while the Bieb is a mannequin

Justin Bieber and Mariah Carey made a four minute commercial for a department store as they masqueraded for a music video.

The 17-year-old wunderkind combined with the 41-year-old vet for her smash holiday hit "All I Want For Christmas Is You." Consider the song a re-gifting of sorts, with the same wrapping paper and everything, only with Justin Bieber's face as the tag.

As for the red-green-gold-tinsiled clip, Carey is obviously eager to show of her post-babies bod in a skimpy Santa's little helper (or is it Mrs. Claus? I forget) slash french maid outfit while Bieber gives her his best boingy-eyes wolf whistle gaze. Bieber spends the rest of the time, appropriately, as a mannequin in said store, though it is unclear if he's sporting consumerist pleasures for the Men's or Women's Apparel department.

All they want for Christmas is... each other. Blush, gag. Cut scene. Exit left. Where's the eggnog.

The video premiered tonight (Nov. 30) on NBC during the tree lighting ceremony at Rockefeller Center in New York.

 

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<p>Nicki Minaj and LL&nbsp;Cool J at the Grammy Nominations Concert Live! event</p>

Nicki Minaj and LL Cool J at the Grammy Nominations Concert Live! event

Credit: AP Photo/Matt Sayles

Live-blogging the 2011 Grammy Nominations Concert

LL Cool J hosting, Lady Gaga performing, Nicki Minaj presenting... what could go wrong?

Welcome to the 2011 Grammy Nominations Concert Live! from the Nokia Theatre in Los Angeles. LL Cool J is hosting the hour-long event, with big names like Lady Gaga and Rihanna performing. Below, I will be live-blogging thoughts and a recap of the evening -- the good, the bad, the ugly and the uglier.

Here is the complete list of nominees.

Broadcast begins at 10 p.m. EST. Who will be the big names at the 54th Grammy Awards in 2012?

10:01 p.m. EST: Only an hour for this thing folks. And Lady Gaga is ready to "Marry the Night,"  which LL Cool J takes no time to introduce.

10:03: After the melodramatic announcement that Laurieann Gibson was departing as Lady Gaga's Creative Director, this performance is a U.S. "coming out" for Gaga's next choreographer Richard Jackson. And It's looking very slick, if a little monogamous. I mean, monotonous. The skeletal get-up has been done for "Born This Way," but I'm glad this has gone the direction of "fun, active" living-dead, not "scary."

10:05: Record of the Year... Nicki Minaj announcing. "Rolling in the Deep" by Adele. Duh. "Holocene" by Bon Iver, pronounced by Nicki "Bon Ive-er." "Grenade," Bruno mars, "The Cave," Mumford and Sons, Katy Perry, "Firework."

10:06: "Firework's" only there because "Teenage Dream" didn't qualify anymore. Sad.

10:07: Rihanna's performance of "We Found Love" is double-tracked, obviously so. But she showers in a rain of applause and confetti, and she is looking fine fine fine. Ri's dancing entourage is feeling it. Looking forward to that Record of the Year nod... next year.

10:13: The Band Perry is literally sparkling, with sequins on sister Kimberly and a simple twee setup between the trio of mandolin, guitar and electric bass for newest country push "Independence." The backers are keeping it subtle with a fiddle and drums. What, no skeletons?

10:16: If The Band Perry got a nod tonight, will this track get people excited for them? No. But you know what gets people AMPED? Tom Petty's "Free Fallin'." To me, "Free Fallin'" and "Let's Get It On" are in the same boat: if you cover it in your concert, it's easy, cheap applause (even and especially if it's too low for your voice).

10:18: Song of the Year: "All of the Lights" Kanye West. "The Cave," Mumford. "Holocene," Bon Iver (well said). "Rolling in the Deep" Adele. "Grenade" Bruno Mars.

10:21: So those are almost identical. It's like a Bomb Pop. Tastes the same, without Katy Perry's boobs shooting pyrotechnics out of one.

10:23: Jason Aldean's guitarist is lunging like he's playing something really hard.

10:25: You know what I needed at 10:30 at night? Some country rap on a midtempo rocker. And then some real rap on a midtempo rocker. I also look forward to in-ear monitor complaints.

10:28: Aldean looks uncomfortable with his body language, gripping that waist band like it's Thanksgiving. But damn if this song isn't still catchy. Ludacris shows up for the last "ride"; it looks more like he rolled into the wrong bar drunk and is owning it. He even picks at a Les Paul. Oh, bless you.

10:29: Did you know Luda's last Grammy nom was in 2006?

10:30: Bruno Mars looks like he could fit in my pocket. Dude is tiny. We could go on little adventures together, y'know, on a "Lazy" day.

10:32: OK, so this guarantees another Mumford & Sons appearance at the 54th Grammys. Two major nods. They were the warm-up to Bob Dylan's frog opus last year, will they get a two-song segment at the ceremony in February? If so, that's two new songs, suckers, no more of this squeeze from a two-year-old album.

10:33: Best New Artist: The Band Perry, Bon Iver, J. Cole, Nicki Minaj (whose name is misspelled. BAD INTERN), Skrillex.

10:34: I predict 2,000 think-pieces on Bon Iver's multiple nominations. I predict 3,000 "Who the F is Skrillex? A guide for your mom" pieces.

10:35: Hi Common. Hi Common. Hi Common.You're pretty.

10:37: LL Cool J put on his performing hat, which is more obvious than his hosting hat. Grandmaster Flash is there with his legendary "Message," with Scorpio, Melle Mel, Common, Lupe Fiasco and LL. They're all celebrating 20 years of "The Message," and its relevant to a new music celebration... how? Don't get me wrong, I love a tribute, but aren't we supposed to be thinking about our think pieces? This is an hour-long nominations special: nominate something.

10:38: Also, QUIT YELLING AT ME. I get it: you're all close to the edge. Flash: Your skin is magnificent. Teach me.

10:43: In Memoriam, three months early. Usher never not wears sunglasses.

10:45: Ashford & Simpson getting a full break down. Leiber & Stoller getting theirs. "You're All I Need to Get Bad" getting me a little choked, not because Usher is wincing, but because Valerie Simpson is stone solid. I'd lose it.

10:47: Even with a tepid crowd which hasn't been properly warmed-up, "Stand By Me" is still so striking. As show producer Ken Ehrlich said before, "We lost two of the greatest songwriters of the formative rock and R&B era." August was a sad time, losing Jerry Leiber and Nick Ashford.

10:50: In the words of Chris Berman, Katy Perry is fumblin' mumblin' stumblin' through this thing. Her hair and dress matching combo is, however, admirable.

10:51: Album of the year: Adele, "21." Foo Fighters, "Wasting Light." Lady Gaga, "Born This Way" (oh just shut up just stop it right now). Bruno Mars, "Doo Wops & Hooligans." Rihanna, "Loud."

10:52: Three singles artists for album of the year. This is the sound of haters hating. Bruno Mars' label handlers are each getting a Maybach for Christmas: those suckers are only going up in value, now.

10:53: Lady Gaga and Sugarland, performing together! A match made... in a lab. Lady Gaga has moved that beauty mark around (did she see "The Artist?"). Jennifer Nettles is singing "You and I" like she can't unpurse her lips.

10:55: Did I say pursed lips? I meant duck lips. In this oversinging competition, who's winning? Are we all losing? Lady Gaga over-saturation quota achieved.

10:58: When I die, I'd like to come back as that one-shoulder number on Gaga. But when I wake up tomorrow morning, I'd like to be wearing Jennifer Nettles' track pants.

11:00: Four major nomination categories announced, 78 total are up now.

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<p>Mike Posner</p>

Mike Posner

Listen: Mike Posner is back, with 'Sex'

HitFix
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Pop singer back with new album and single

I hate this song. I love this song. It's Mike Posner's "Looks Like Sex."

The urban/R&B/pop-dance singer is back with a slamming beat and a half-baked chorus that capitalizes on the word "sex." Sometimes, no other vocabulary can supply you with the, erm, drive you need. It's a one-liner at best, though -- like nudge your buddy and a nod, and be like, "(S)he looks like sex," and be done with it. It should have been reserved for a verse line, or at least, um, fleshed out in full during the refrain.

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<p>The Killers kill for Christmas</p>

The Killers kill for Christmas

Today in Christmas music: The Killers, Polyphonic Spree, Bieber, Dawes

Honor Society wants to make you cry

A lot of people this way want to express the Christmas in their heart this week, just in different ways.

Just in! Justin! Justin Bieber will be unveiling his video with Mariah Carey in the revamp of her "All I Want For Christmas Is You" during the Tree Lighting Ceremony at Rockefeller Center tonight, to be broadcast on NBC.

Based on the preview, Bieber is more freaking Christmasy than you'll ever be.

The Killers are on the loose, again, to bring another holiday single for charity. This time, they've donned their boots and hats for "Cowboys' Christmas Ball," a quick-stepping country tune for you good little girls and boys. The song goes up on iTunes tomorrow (Dec. 1), which is World AIDS Day. It's sales will benefit (RED), as their songs in years past have.

I hate hating at Christmas, so it pains me to say, country doesn't suit these fine-feathered men well. Lasso another dance mega-hit, and color me happy.

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<p>Jay-Z and Kanye West</p>

Jay-Z and Kanye West

Watch: Kanye West and Jay-Z meet the Victoria's Secret Fashion Show

'Stronger,' 'Niggas in Paris,' some confusion on angels

You know what's awkward? Calling your deceased mom your "super-angel" and then having to rap for super-model Angels. Those capital-A Angels were those of the Victoria's Secret variety, and that rapper is Kanye West, who told viewers at the annual "Victoria's Secret Fashion Show" on CBS that he was to perform "Stronger" at the 2007 show, but then his mom passed.

AGAIN. AWKWARD.

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<p>Devon Sproule</p>

Devon Sproule

EXCLUSIVE Song Of The Day video premiere: Devon Sproule's 'The Unmarked Animals'

Check out this outstanding track from 'I Love You, Go Easy'

Devon Sproule's album "I Love You, Go Easy" is one of those wordy-word albums. The singer-songwriter's unusual but transfixing voice has a lot to report, her lyrical stanzas dense against currents of a jazz horns, or pedal steel, or emotional piano lines.

That is to say, though, there's a lot to hear, but not too much. The sheer amount of narrative is dispersed seemingly among genres. iTunes indicates this is a country album. The opener's soft pop would say otherwise. The single "Now's the Time" sounds like Ben Kweller fronting the Flying Burrito Brothers, while the title track is an "easy" jazz tune.

Then there's "The Unmarked Animals," which divides its time between lounge rock and playful disco, with a slick guitar freak-out, congas, "the curvy stuff."

Below is the exclusive premiere of that song's music video, mysterious and glittery with some sustained eye contact. It's a little something that goes hand-in-hand with this wordsmith, who was raised on a commune and, seemingly, on a steady diet of country-rock: she never sounds miserable. There's a little glint in her eye.

"I Love You, Go Easy" really is among one of my favorite full-length albums this year; Sproule (rhymes with coal) isn't on tour currently in the U.S., but try to catch her and her expert team on the road at a later date.

Devon Sproule - Unmarked Animals from Anti/Type on Vimeo.

 

 

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<p>John C. Reilly and Becky Stark</p>

John C. Reilly and Becky Stark

Credit: Third Man

Listen: John C. Reilly's music singles... rock hard or 'Walk Hard?'

Actor and musician combines with Jack White, Tom Brosseu and Becky Star

Third Man Records released John C. Reilly's music singles today, and the label is streaming two of those four covers tunes in full now.

"Gonna Lay Down My Old Guitar" with Tom Brosseu and "I'll Be There If You Ever" with Lavendar Diamond's Becky Stark are up on the Third Man homepage. Jack White made contributions to both songs, and both singles.

Check out that trill.

As previously reported, Third Man is also releasing and reissuing several White Stripes rarity records, on Dec. 6.

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<p>Mastodon</p>

Mastodon

Mastodon confirms team-up with Feist for Record Store Day

Metal band ready to meet 'Metals' for split 7"

Don't say we didn't warn you.

Looks like Mastodon is up for a little collaboration magic with Feist, and are planning to release a split 7" record with the Canadian singer-songwriter for Record Store Day next year. MTV Canada caught up with bassist/vocalist Troy Sanders, who said they were going to try and knock out recording one of her songs -- throw a little "hair and dirt on it" -- in the month of December in time for the indie record retailer holiday.

In our interview last month, Leslie Feist had told me she and Mastodon had created a little mutual appreciation society during their respective guest spots on "Later... with Jools Holland."

“So backstage I’m thinking about letting these two worlds collide, how they should collide, so I’m like ‘How about ‘Metals’ meeting metal?’” Feist said, explaining how she'd proposed a potential collab with Mastodon's Brent Hinds. “Brent was like, ‘Well, I do like that “Bad in Each Other” song, I could see that.’ Maybe now I will look into learning to cover 'Oblivion'… or anything off [‘The Hunter’]. That album’s amazing.”

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<p>Fugazi</p>

Fugazi

Today in nostalgia: Promise Ring reunites, Fugazi posting live audio archive

Dischord posting 800 concerts in a pay-what-you-want format

I, like many Americans, traveled back to my hometown for Thanksgiving, and coming back to New York, I can't shake that good old high school feeling.

No, I don't mean that feeling you get watching "Young Adult" (just wait, ladies, you'll see). Emo jump-starters The Promise Ring are getting back together, and Fugazi are finally ready to launch a long-standing project that puts many of their live show recordings and paraphernalia together in one place.

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