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    How They Became... Yeasayer

    Welcome to the new 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: Brooklyn indie-pop stars Yeasayer, whose recently released sophomore effort, Odd Blood, earned SPIN's seal of approval. Why Yeasayer: "My friend Grady is sort of anal retentive," explains keyboardist-singer Chris Keating. "He used to carry around this book of names -- a black book with thousands of band names that he'd scrawled in there. We totally jacked the name from his book. We thought there was something nicely sinister about Yeasayer -- almost like a cultish sense of positivity. I didn't anticipate the amount of 'Clap Your Hands Say Yea' headlines that we'd generate. I'm gonna shoot the next person that prints that.

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    How They Became... Hot Chip

    Welcome to the new 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: English dance-rock outfit Hot Chip, whose new album arrives Feb. 9. Why Hot Chip? "I remember Alex [Taylor] and I making the name up on the spot at a gig in our school's theater when we were 15 or 16," explains co-vocalist Joe Goddard. "We were using an old electronic organ and electric guitar and were playing some of our own songs and some covers: Spacemen 3, Pavement, stuff like that. We hadn't even bothered to come up with a name yet. When we were done playing, someone asked who we were and we just said, 'Hot Chip,' which was a phrase we thought was funny at the time. We liked it because it was kind of pathetic.

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    How He Became… Lightspeed Champion

    Welcome to the new 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 previous stories in the series.) This week: Lightspeed Champion. Texas-born, England-raised Devonte Hyne used to front the lauded UK dance-punks Test Icicles before hooking up with Monsters of Folk/Saddle Creek records honcho Mike Mogis and trading in disco beats for gorgeously orchestrated folk rock under the name Lightspeed Champion. Due February 15, his winsome Life Is Sweet! Nice to Meet You! finds the man once dubbed by the NME as one of the "20 Coolest" in rock avoiding any hint of a sophomore slump. Why Lightspeed Champion? "Originally I used the name Lightspeed Champion for a character in a comic that I drew in high school. He was a hero who solved math equations.

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    Grammy Secrets Revealed!

    Why isn't 2009's freakiest breakout star nominated as a best new artist? Who decides whether or not an album is "Americana" or "Contemporary Folk?" How the heck are Hall & Oates nominated in the same category as MGMT? To help answer these, and other Grammy-nom related questions, we turned to Bill Freimuth, the Recording Academy's Vice President of Awards. The first question is an obvious one: Lady Gaga was the biggest new star of 2009. Why isn't she one of the nominees for Best New Artist? One of the rules for the Best New Artist category is that this is supposed to be the first year that an artist comes to prominence. Lady Gaga was nominated for a Grammy last year ["Just Dance," Best Dance Recording], and that, as far as we're concerned, signifies prominence.

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    Q&A: Lamb of God's Chris Adler

    Lamb of God had a killer year in 2009. Wrath, the Richmond, Virginia, band's sixth album, debuted at No. 2 on the Billboard Top 200 when it was released last February, a triumph the quintet consolidated with a long run as the opening act on Metallica's tour. Then, in December, came the news that the group was nominated for a Best Metal Performance Grammy for the furious Wrath track "Set to Fail." (The band had been nominated once before, in 2007.) "It's been a phenomenal twelve months for us," says drummer Chris Adler, speaking on the phone from Richmond. "I kept waiting for the bubble to burst, but it never did." How are you feeling about your chances for a Grammy? You're up against some pretty big names -- Slayer, Judas Priest, Megadeth, and Ministry. Yeah, we were as surprised as anyone that we got nominated.

  • Priestess, 'Prior to the Fire' (Tee Pee)

    After 2006's acclaimed debut, Hello Master, this Montreal metal foursome had to cut through a mass of red tape before Fire, their long-gestating follow-up, could get a U.S. release date. Someone should be fired for the delay, because this baby burns. Whether it's galloping epics ("The Gem") or thrashy revenge fantasies ("Ladykiller"), the band proves awesomely adeptat casting a multitude of dark spells. But singer- guitarist Mikey Heppner is also tough enough to let rays of melody shine through the gloom ("Sideways Attack"). BUY: iTunesAmazon

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    How They Became… Frightened Rabbit

    Welcome to the new weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band" in which we get the inside stories behind the mysterious monikers of some of our favorite artists. This week: Scottish indie-rockers Frightened Rabbit. Why Frightened Rabbit?: "When I first started playing," says singer-guitarist Scott Hutchison, "I was a solo act and, unfortunately, Scott Hutchison is not a catchy band name at all. I thought of Frightened Rabbit because it was a nickname given to me by my mum when I was younger. I was incredibly shy as a child, almost chronically so. My parents would take me to their friends' houses and I'd be expected to play with their kids -- I guess the idea was to socialize me -- but I had no interest. These kids weren't my friends. Why did I have to play with them? I'd end up just sitting silently by myself. So out of that, my mum called me her frightened rabbit.

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    Grammy Performance Preview

    It's all well and good to give out awards and watch performers thank everyone who ever really, truly believed in them when nobody else did, but the most exciting thing about the Grammy telecast is undoubtedly the performances. Remember Soy Bomb crashing Bob Dylan's party? How about Eminem's emotional duet with Elton John?

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    How They Became... the Disco Biscuits

    Welcome to the new weekly SPIN.com feature "Name That Band!" in which we get the inside stories behind the the mysterious monikers of some of our favorite artists. This week: Veteran Philly jam masters THE DISCO BISCUITS. Why "The Disco Biscuits"?: "I've never told anyone the real story before," says band leader and bassist Marc Brownstein, "but I think after fourteen years, it's time to reveal the truth. So here it goes: When the band started out we were all students at Penn, and we had this idea that we'd change our name constantly. We'd be called one thing one night, then another thing the next night. Somehow the idea caught on. Everyone on campus knew who we were.

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    Killers to Take a Break

    Citing burnout, guitarist Dave Keuning recently told the Australian Associated Press that the Killer's gig at the Good Vibrations festival in Sydney, Australia, on February 13 would likely be the superstar quartet's "last shows for a while." When asked if the break was permanent, Keuning replied, "not as far as I know." "It's like people expect us to [tour and record] non-stop till we die," continued the curly-haired axe-man, "but we just want a little bit of time off, just to be myself and do what I want to do for a little bit." Brandon Flowers and Co.

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