<p>Spiritualized</p>

Spiritualized

Listen: Spiritualized announce 'Sweet' new album, preview tracks

Plus: Fat Possum's Unknown Mortal Orchestra has a fresh video

It was back in March this year that we warned you of the imminent return of Spiritualized. This March, in 2012, the Jason Pierce-fronted band will make its presence known again. The English rock act has announced its new album "Sweet Heart Sweet Light," to drop some time in that thawing month.

The band performed at the Other Voices festival in Ireland last weekend, the set streamed for audiences who couldn't make it. Leftover are two new songs, now available via The Guardian: "So Long Pretty Things" and "Hey Jane."On the latter, I closed my eyes and heard Brendan Benson. On the former, I hear a little soul between the pure rock-pop, mostly with a chorus I can remember.

On neither did I hear a good mix, particularly with those backing vocals. I look forward to the actual song releases.

“When you make a record, it has to be the single most important thing in your world. This time around, I wanted to do something that encompassed all I love in rock ‘n’ roll music. It’s got everything from Brötzmann and Berry right through to Dennis and Brian Wilson," said Pierce, aka J. Spaceman in a release. "I’m obsessed with music and the way you put it together and I don’t believe there are any rules.”

Yeah, OK, but are you actually going to shoot me in a rocket to space with this one again, maaaaan? That's what Spiritualized's "Songs in A&E" partially did for me in 2008.

Fat Possum (Andrew Bird's former roost) will be putting out "Swee Heart Sweet Light": That label already had a pair of amazing releases this year, with Yuck's self-titled set and A.A. Bondy's "Believer." On top of that, I've finally spent some time with Unknown Mortal Orchestra during my top 10 pursuits this month, and can recommend "Bicycle." Lucky for all of us, the high-octane music video for that track dropped today. If Spiritualized doesn't pysch-rock us proper, UMO most certainly will.

<p>Sleigh Bells and friend</p>

Sleigh Bells and friend

Credit: Patrick O’Dell

Watch: Sleigh Bells announce a 'Reign of Terror' in time for Christmas

New York duo readying a February beat-down

Indie rock crew and Immaculate Noise favorite Sleigh Bells have a band name that could jingle, but they'd rather issue a "Reign of Terror" for the holidays.

The New York duo are prepared to release their sophomore set, on the heels of their excellent 2010 debut "Treats," on Feb. 14 through Mom + Pop (who we've mentioned this week as being totally on fire).

"Terror" has a terrific teaser in advance, posted below. I feel like I'm about to go to a football game now.

It was produced by band guitarist Derek Miller and co-written by Miller and singer/wild-woman Alexis Krauss, who figures prominently into the video.

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<p>Damien Jurado</p>

Damien Jurado

Credit: Secretly Canadian

EXCLUSIVE Song Of The Day: Damien Jurado covers 'Christmas Time Is Here'

Check out an advance track from his Richard Swift collaboration, 'Maraqopa'

Spend a yultide by the fireside with Damien Jurado, who's pumped out a piano- and horn-laden version of "Christmas Time Is Here." The Vince Guaraldi original -- popularized via "A Charlie Brown Christmas" -- has a melancholy slowness that Jurado's falsetto capitalizes upon, warms up with the Aki Kurose Middle School Academy Glee Club and prepares your brain waves for a long winter's nap.

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<p>Grace Potter</p>

Grace Potter

Credit: Katie Hasty

New SXSW Music lineups announced: Magnetic Fields, Grace Potter, Metric

More to come: Who else will be seeing Bruce Springsteen around town?

Three rounds of musical performers at next year's South By Southwest music conference have been announced, with plenty of rock to go 'round.

Bruce Springsteen may be the keynote speaker, but acts like Built to Spill, Metric, the Magnetic Fields, Against Me!, Grace Potter & the Nocturnals, Talib Kweli, Oh Land and Thomas Dolby will be among the week's music-playing headliners.

The music portion at the Austin, Texas-based conference runs March 13-18 next year, preceded by the Interactive and Film conferences.

Stars, the Expressions, Delta Spirit, Grimes, The Big Pink, Screaming Females, Dan Mangan, Gross Magic, Ganglians, Daughter, The War on Drugs, Blood Orange, Bleached, Suckers, Spector, Miracles of Modern Science, Ear Pwr, Beach Fossils, Prince Rama, Zeus and Zorch were among the other newly announced artists added today. Check out the 2012 SXSW site for all the confirmed performers thus far.

I'll be particularly interested to see what the yield is from the Magnetic Fields set -- what the lineup will be, and if new songs will be introduced (or, if time is good, supported): I feel like Stephen Merritt's last "Realism" was released rather quietly, though his previous output "Distortion" was fairly loud, by his standards.

Metric has also been on the steady rise for more than a half dozen years. They opened for Muse just a couple years ago, but it seems now that they'd be the obvious headliner at any venue in Austin. Perhaps they'll be previewing new cuts, too.

<p>Andrew Bird</p>

Andrew Bird

Watch: Andrew Bird announces new album, 'Break It Yourself'

A tour date ticket earns you lots of free stuff

For as soothing as Andrew Bird's music can be, the title to his next effort is delightfully aggressive. The Chicago bard's next effort "Break It Yourself" will be out on March 6 next year through Mom + Pop.

And it will presumably have some singing on it. Bird's last effort was the score and soundtrack for Jonathan Segal-directed "Norman," which was mostly instrumental. There was also "Useless Creatures," the 2010 all-instrumental companion set to his last traditional studio set "Noble Creatures," out in 2009.

And if you've seen "The Muppets" this past month, then you heard his whistling workmanship in the "Whistling Caruso" bit.

Below is a short teaser for the set, his second for Mom + Pop. That label has done a helluva job adding established artists to its roster -- those who've paved their own way label-less (Ingrid Michaelson) or have earned their keep through previous label deals (Metric).

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<p>From &quot;The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo&quot; poster: Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara</p>

From "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" poster: Daniel Craig and Rooney Mara

Credit: Columbia

Listen: 6 cuts from Trent Reznor's 'Girl with the Dragon Tattoo' soundtrack

Nine Inch Nails mastermind released complete tracklist, sells it the only way he knows how

Any excuse to type the words "Academy Award winner Trent Reznor" is a good one, so with that, there may be another chance to give the guy an honor: the Nine Inch Nails frontman has finished constructing his score to forthcoming flick "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" with longtime collaborator Atticus Ross, and now he's giving some of it away.

Check out the beautiful album artwork.

I'll write more about the sound once I've actually seen the film, but this moody, dynamic sampler is enough to know that there's a lot going on here. The lush six-track teaser can be downloaded for free, through Reznor's NullCo site, with pre-orders for the usual purchases, like a digi download, a deluxe and standard CD. The best part of all that, is the album is actually three CDs long, for the price of about one.

Click here for your free sampler.

The digital set will hit on Dec. 9, this Friday. The physical merchandise arrives week of release, when David Fincher's film drops on Dec. 21.

Reznor and Fincher worked together on last year's "The Social Network," which earned Reznor and Ross an Oscar for Original Score.

The "The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo" tracklist is as follows:

    (CD1)
    1. Immigrant Song
    2. She Reminds Me Of You
    3. People Lie All The Time
    4. Pinned And Mounted
    5. Perihelion
    6. What If We Could?
    7. With The Flies
    8. Hidden In Snow
    9. A Thousand Details
    10. One Particular Moment
    11. I Can't Take It Anymore
    12. How Brittle The Bones
    13. Please Take Your Hand Away

    (CD2)
    14. Cut Into Pieces
    15. The Splinter
    16. An Itch
    17. Hypomania
    18. Under The Midnight Sun
    19. Aphelion
    20. You're Here
    21. The Same As The Others
    22. A Pause For Reflection
    23. While Waiting
    24. The Seconds Drag
    25. Later Into The Night
    26. Parallel Timeline With Alternate Outcome

    (CD3)
    27. Another Way Of Caring
    28. A Viable Construct
    29. Revealed In The Thaw
    30. Millennia
    31. We Could Wait Forever
    32. Oraculum
    33. Great Bird Of Prey
    34. The Heretics
    35. A Pair Of Doves
    36. Infiltrator
    37. The Sound Of Forgetting
    38. Of Secrets
    39. Is Your Love Strong Enough?
 

<p>Nicki Minaj</p>

Nicki Minaj

Credit: AP Photo

Listen: Nicki Minaj's tough-talking 'Roman' takes on Moscow in new song

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A 'teaser' track has emerged in promoting 'Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded'

Nicki Minaj's rabid, firey hater-man persona Roman is back -- rather, "Reloaded" -- and with this new teaser track, its obvious "Moscow" makes him meaner.

"Roman in Moscow" is the first glimpse into Minaj's forthcoming sophomore set, "Pink Friday: Roman Reloaded," which hopefully alludes to many more rap songs (rather than urban pop) than "Pink Friday" the First had.

Shape-shifting Nicki says the word "bitch" 22 times in this track, with at least a couple of them hurled at Lil Kim, who has spent the last year deciding between sh***ing or getting off the pot.

"Bitch, I’m thicker than a midget / Yeah I’m crazy, just a smidgen / Motherf*ck me, get my wumble / And some Kimmy for my knuckle... Yeah I golf, putt too / Swallow balls; nuts toooooooo."

What's interesting is that Nicki has explained that her alter-ego Roman is explicitly gay, a classification to which, really, no mainstream rappers have ascribed. While artists like Lil Wayne and Kanye West bluster for women and men to "suck it" or "kiss my a**hole," that invite is strictly an aggressive assault to gay old Roman. The juxtaposition is sexual one.

And her threat is an ambiguous one, as Barbie talks down to just about everybody, an equal opportunity trash-talker.

The high end on those fakey strings and the beat is almost overwhelming, but the speedy flow and the fun are what keep this thing afloat. It's a good teaser, because I look forward to more.

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<p>B.o.B. in &quot;Strange Clouds&quot;</p>

B.o.B. in "Strange Clouds"

Watch: Lil Wayne joins B.o.B. in the 'Strange Clouds,' with a T.I. cameo

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Does this farmland clip make you like the song more?

This is the Lil Wayne we like: the pespeckled rapper can straight-face his own vids, but give the man room to goof around like he did recently in Birdman's "Y U Mad" and in B.o.B's latest, "Strange Clouds."

The two bound around some faceless farmland, with the help of a dance routine between trailers and a T.I. cameo. B.o.B brings all his energy while Tunechi brings his smiling weirdness. Also weird -- though completely unnecessary -- a model gyrating on a horse. Like nobody's ever thought of that before. There goes your budget.

"Strange Clouds" is Bobby Ray's current single, in advance of his next full-length, which is supposed to drop in March.

As for T.I., he's trying to get back on his, um, horse; he's pushing new track "I'm Flexin'" featuring Big K.R.I.T. in advance of album "Trouble Man," which has no release date currently. In the meantime, his meh-worthy VH1 reality show "T.I. & Tiny: The Family Hustle."

 

 

<p>Young Jeezy's &quot;TM103&quot;</p>

Young Jeezy's "TM103"

Listen: Eminem helps out on Young Jeezy's 'Talk To Me,' feat. Freddie Gibbs

Jeezy has the starpower coming for 'TM:103'; does he have the rhymes?

Young Jeezy's new album is so most definitely coming no joke, and his newest track touts a very serious guest of starpower. Eminem joins Jeezy's CTE  label signee Freddie Gibbs on "Talk to Me," the latest track to arrive from "TM103."

It's a little slower of a jam than I was expecting, and it feels like Eminem's hook is carrying it more than it should. Drumma Boy's beat seems to require the ATL MC to drag it out, like he's still fitting out some syllables. Still, I think it may be a grower of epic proportions, much more than the rapper's collaboration with Jay-Z and Andre 3000 on "I Do" (though Andre was CUTTING IT UP).

"TM 103: Hustlerz Ambition" is out Dec. 20, now. Click here for more info on other guests.

Listen to the full track at Rap Radar.

<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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