<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.

 

<p>Radiohead live in 2008</p>

Radiohead live in 2008

Credit: AP Photo

Radiohead adds dates around Coachella headlining stint

The West Coast gets a trio of new 'Limbs'

Piggybacking off of their newly announced headlining stint at the Coachella Valley Music & Arts festival, Radiohead have announced three additional dates on their North American tour.

Coachella expanded to two weekends, with identical performers, with the British band plating on April 14 and 21. They also added three other West Coast stops, in Seattle; Santa Barbara, Calif.; and San Jose, Calif. The group has also confirmed that all previously announced tour dates have sold out.

Seattle and San Jose tickets are up on Jan. 14 while Santa Barbara's onsale is Jan. 21. See the band's website for all details.

Radiohead are touring behind last year's "The King of Limbs," its various remixes and two additional, recently released songs.

Below are Radiohead's North American tour dates, with new dates in bold:

02/27/12 - Miami, FL - American Airlines Arena (SOLD OUT)
02/29/12 - Tampa, FL - St. Pete Times (SOLD OUT)
03/01/12 - Atlanta, GA - Philips Areba (SOLD OUT)
03/03/12 - Houston, TX - Toyota Center (SOLD OUT)
03/05/12 - Dallas, TX - American Airlines Center (SOLD OUT)
03/07/12 - Austin, TX - Frank Erwin Center (SOLD OUT)
03/09/12 - St. Louis, MO - Scottrade Center (SOLD OUT)
03/11/12 - Kansas City, MO - Sprint Center (SOLD OUT)
03/13/12 - Broomfield, CO - 1stBank Center (SOLD OUT)
03/15/12 - Glendale, AZ - Jobing.com Arena (SOLD OUT)
04/09/12 - Seattle, WA - Key Arena
04/11/12 - San Jose, CA - HP Pavillion
04/12/12 - Santa Barbera, CA - Santa Barbera Bowl
04/14/12 - Indio, CA - Coachella Music Festival
04/21/12 - Indio, CA - Coachella Music Festival

Mike Patton scoring Derek Cianfrance's 'Pines' and promises new Tomahawk album
Credit: Jay Blakesberg

Mike Patton scoring Derek Cianfrance's 'Pines' and promises new Tomahawk album

Ryan Gosling trading cars for motorcycles in 'The Place Beyond the Pines'

Ryan Gosling proved his bad-ass mettle with four wheels in "Drive." Now imagine Hollywood's boyfriend doing the same, only with motorcycles. And with a prospectively and equally bad-ass soundtrack, composed by Mike Patton.

The Faith No More/Tomahawk/Mr. Bungle frontman is on tap to score Derek Cianfrance's "The Place Beyond the Pines," which stars the director's "Blue Valentine" heartbreaker Gosling.

Not much is known beyond Patton's participation, though he's proven to keep good company on top of his experience scoring flicks like Italian film "A Solitude of Prime Numbers" (2010) and Jason Statham-starring "Crank 2: High Voltage" (2009).

"The Place Beyond the Pines" synopsis is worded thusly: "A motorcycle stunt rider considers committing a crime in order to provide for his wife and child, an act that puts him on a collision course with a cop-turned-politician." It co-stars Eva Mendes and (apparently...) the world's sexiest man Bradley Cooper (...whatever). While the premise sounds a little familiar, doubtless the score won't. 

"The Place Beyond the Pines" is also among In Contention's top 10 most anticipated films of 2012, due date pending.

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<p>Andrew Bird's &quot;Break It Yourself&quot;</p>

Andrew Bird's "Break It Yourself"

Watch: Andrew Bird's new album artwork, tracklist and promo take flight

Will 'Break It Yourself' have more guitar?

"Go ahead say something dumb, boy, there's no shame" sings Andrew Bird on an unnamed guitar tune. It's a perfectly pleasant phrase on its own. Bird's just full of 'em.

The clip of the tune is available in a newly released promo video for the bard's forthcoming album, "Break It Yourself," his 12th solo set.

The Mom + Pop artist has also lifted the veil on the set's tracklist, below, as well as its grainy, mysterious cover art, as seen on the left.

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