• The War on Drugs, 'Future Weather' (Secretly Canadian)

    The War on Drugs, 'Future Weather' (Secretly Canadian)

    On their glistening 2008 debut Wagonwheel Blues, Philly's War on Drugs made an album perfect for lightly baked back-roads driving. On Future Weather, the band now sounds like it's daydreaming in the backseat. The shiny synths of "Baby Missiles" and Tom Petty-ish, straight-on-till-dawn rhythms of "Comin' Through" motorvate amiably; they also stand out amid a haze of lolling guitar plucking and languorous soundscaping. (Ex-member Kurt Vile's incisiveness is missed.) Over everything, singer Adam Granduciel murmurs pleasant folkie melodies as if caught mid-yawn. Weather is good. It would be better with a little more gas.

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    Why They're Called… No Age + MP3 Exclusive!

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band!" where we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: L.A. punk heroes No Age, whose Everything In Between is out September 28. Plus: an MP3 from the band! Why No Age: "I actually remember the moment we came up with the name No Age," says guitarist Randy Randall. "Dean and I were driving through Texas together. This would've been 2005 or 2006, when we were playing in a band called Wives. We knew that band was ending, but we also knew that we wanted to keep playing music together. So we were in the car, thinking about possible band names and listening to a tape compilation that Dean had of bands on the SST label. It was all instrumental and experimental punk rock from the late '80s and it was called No Age.

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    DOWNLOAD: Latest from Miami Metalheads Torche

    Since forming in 2004, Miami, Florida, trio Torche has won raves for their mixture of stoner metal riffage and poppy melody. On their EP Songs for Singles (out today), the guys have further refined their aesthetic -- the closing track "Out Again" is six hypnotizing minutes of flowing heavy guitar and catchy vocals. Download it below! "That song was written while jamming at practice after we had written the other songs on Songs for Singles," explains bassist Jonathan Nunez, who cites Krautrockers Neu! and Austin, Texas, indie-rockers American Analog Set as inspiration for the track. "It just kinda happened -- it's a song that feels good when you play it." But not everyone dug hearing it, says Nunez. "One day my parents had company over, and these peoples' son was sitting outside the room where [singer-guitarist] Steve [Brooks] and I were was singing.

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    How They Became... Margot & the Nuclear So and So's

    Welcome to the new weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band"; inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: Richard Edwards of Margot & The Nuclear So and So's, whose Buzzard is out September 21. Why Margot & the Nuclear So and So's: "I was driving to class at the University of Indiana in a minivan one the morning, around 9 or 10 a.m." recalls frontman Richard Edwards, "and the name just popped into my head. I think it's because I was in the middle of an obsession with Dr. Strangelove back in 2002, 2003 when the band started. I think that's where the nuclear reference comes from. The full title of the movie is Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb. So I had the idea of long titles in my head too.

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    Jamey Johnson Takes the Wheel

    It took an early failure for Jamey Johnson to find success. Now, the man responsible for the year's rawest, roughest, and best country album is determined to keep doing things his way -- whether Nashville likes it or not. [Magazine Excerpt] On a sunny afternoon in late July, the concourse of the state fairgrounds in Harrington, Delaware, is lined with red, white, and blue booths manned by texting teens selling suspiciously uniform slices of homemade apple pie. Prize-winning goats, sheep, and cows idle in the nearby livestock pavilion. A baby-faced serviceman stands under a tent, passing out recruiting pamphlets for the National Guard: Always ready, always there. Next to him, a plywood enclosure houses Tiny Tina, the little lady from Haiti, "the world's smallest woman" -- a buck a look.

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    How They Became... Tegan and Sara

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band!" inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: Sara Quin, of Canadian indie pop duo Tegan and Sara, who are currently on tour. Why Tegan & Sara: "The first version of the band," recalls Sara, half of the identical twin-sister twosome, "rotated members in addition to Tegan and I and we were called Plunk. Basically, we thought we were a punk band, but without a rhythm section we were light punk: Plunk. After we got out of high school and were trying to play shows around Calgary, we started feeling that Plunk seemed like a silly name-a little lightweight. We knew we wanted to change it and decided to use our own names, thinking it would be a placeholder until we came up with something better. We never did.

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    Why They're Called... The Thermals

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band!" where we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: Portland, Oregon, punk rockers the Thermals, whose Personal Life is just out. Why the Thermals: "Me and [bassist] Kathy [Foster] had been playing in a band called Hutch and Kathy that was more of a folky pop thing," explains frontman Hutch Harris. "But when I started writing new songs-this is in 2002, and we were living in Portland-we decided we needed a new name, especially because the material I was writing was pretty different for us. It was way more rocking. Naming the band after an article of clothing seemed rock'n'roll to me-there's a long tradition of that. I also wanted something sort of shallow.

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    Why They're Called... Grinderman

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band!" in which we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some of our favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: Legendary rocker Nick Cave's Grinderman, whose Grinderman 2 is out September 14. Why Grinderman: "We went into the studio without a name," admits drummer Jim Sclavunos, who along with Cave,multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis, and bassist Martyn P. Casey formedthe band in 2006. "We'd known we were going to record, we just never thought to come up with a name ahead of time. When we finally got around to it, we found that all the names we wanted to use were taken. No matter how far out on the name limb we went, someone had been there first. For example, we considered the charmingly derogatory C**t Ox. There was already a Captain C**t Ox on MySpace.

  • Weezer, 'Hurley' (Epitaph)

    Weezer, 'Hurley' (Epitaph)

    Such is the predictable cycle of pre-release Weezer buzz that Rivers Cuomo fans must've been skeptical upon hearing that, on the new Hurley, their hero was forgoing the simplistic MTV interstitial bait he's been churning out for a decade to return to the devastating self-confessional form of 1994's self-titled debut and 1996's emo touchstone Pinkerton. This time around, though, there were reasons to give such rumors credence. Having Epitaph for a label lent a patina of punk cred, and Cuomo told interviewers the music was "raw" and that he was mulling a tour devoted to his band's mid-'90s classics. One could hope. Well, the Blue Album this ain't. Neither, thankfully, is it Raditude.

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    Why They're Called... Valient Thorr + MP3 Exclusive!

    Welcome to the weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band" inwhich we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some ofour favorite artists. (See past episodes of Name That Band! here.) This week: North Carolina Metal maniacs Valient Thorr, whose Stranger is out September 14. Plus: an MP3 from the band! Why Valient Thorr: "Around Easter 2000 in Chapel Hill, North Carolina, I was home one day watching a Discovery Channel show called Beyond Bizarre," says singer Valient Himself. "The episode had a segment about a dude back in 1957 named Valiant Thor who supposedly came to Earth from the planet Venus. Another part of the same episode was about these snake charmers who drank the poison from snakes. That was a eureka moment. I was like, 'That'll be the background for the band!

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