• 091020-nirvana.jpg

    WATCH: Nirvana Live at Reading!

    Despite its sadly abbreviated history, Nirvana was responsible for some amazing live moments -- the acoustic set captured on MTV Unplugged in New York; Kurt and Krist sealing their first SNL appearance with a kiss; a performance at the 1992 Reading Festival where Kurt came on stage in a wheelchair as a goof and then delivered a fiery, intense show. On November 3, the Reading Festival set is getting a CD and DVD release. Better yet, you can catch Nirvana Live at Reading the night before on Fuse TV in its entirety at 11 P.M.

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    LISTEN: Rihanna's New Single!

    Yeesh. What is going on with new Rihanna's new single? "Russian Roulette," written and produced by R&B smoothy Ne-Yo, starts with some wanky lead guitar lines before settling into a dirge-like tempo over which the Barbadian diva sings about suicidal gunplay as a metaphor for, uh, what exactly? (Hear the song below.) "He says close your eyes / sometimes it helps." The song ends with a gunshot. Ick! Even weirder than the music -- which admittedly has a sinuous, kinda catchy chorus -- is the accompanying artwork. It shows Rihanna in a corset, her naked breasts covered by some strategically-placed barbed wire. To her left are a large switchblade and the words "Russian Roulette," made to look as if they were written in blood. We've come a long way from "Umbrella." Thetrack arrives in advance of Rihanna's November 23 full-length, Rated R. Will the song be a hit? Maybe.

  • The Flaming Lips, 'Embryonic' (Warner Bros.)

    The universe tends toward disarray. Stars explode. Planets collide. Singers in white suits douse themselves in fake blood. The Flaming Lips understand this sloppy state of affairs and have spent the past 25 years gleefully dealing with the mess, first encouraging it as acid-stuffed punks and then, for the past decade, coming to terms with it as the mainstream's warmly philosophical psych-pop freaks of choice. Now, though, singer Wayne Coyne, multi-instrumentalist Steven Drozd, bassist Michael Ivins, and drummer Kliph Scurlock have surveyed the dirty dishes piling up in the sink of existence and are responding with a collective "fuck it." Embryonic contains the band's coldest, darkest, slipperiest, least organic work yet. There are no sweet choruses to soothe us. No experimental joy to get us through the weird parts.

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    EXCLUSIVE DOWNLOAD! Baron and Black Mountain

    Skaters and metalheads are natural co-conspirators -- nothing quite pumps you up for the half-pipe like raging guitars and shouted vocals. British-born, California-living DJ Baron understands this. Accordingly, his soundtrack to the upcoming Flip Skateboards thrills'n'spills skate film Extremely Sorry (Volcom) features his collaborations with metal icons like Motorhead's Lemmy Kilmister, Slayer drummer Dave Lombardo, and Canadian folk-metal beardos Black Mountain, whose most recent album, 2008's In the Future was one of the year's crunching highlights. You can download the result of Baron and Black Mountain's efforts, "The End of the Beginning," below. Featuring a probing, almost noirish guitar line and spacey synth effects, the track is probably closer to standard Baron territory than Black Mountain's typical Sabbathian pastoralia, but no less mind-altering.

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    Legendary L.A. Punk Pioneer Dies

    Every flourishing music scene owes a lot to scores of people who didn't release any singles or play any shows. Brendan Mullen, who passed Monday in Los Angeles at the age of 60 after suffering a massive stroke, was one of those good folks. Without him, the first fiery wave of L.A. punk would have been very different -- and far less well remembered. Mullen is probably best known for his books We Got the Neutron Bomb: The Untold Story of L.A. Punk, written in 2001 with ex-SPIN staffer Marc Spitz, which gave the oral history of the city's punk beginnings, and his biography of the destructive Germs frontman Darby Crash, 2002's Lexicon Devil. Both provided valuable counterpoint to the London and New York City-based punk rock histories that had already been offered. But L.A. punk vets knew Mullen as more than an author.

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    Q&A: Rob Halford of Judas Priest

    During his main gig as lead singer for metal masters Judas Priest, Rob Halford prowls the stage in black leather and wails about Jack the Ripper. So no, he's not the first dude you'd think would record a holiday album -- or design t-shirts. But that's exactly what he's doing. Halford's Metal God Apparel line will launch in Spring 2010 with a collection of 13 rock'n'roll t-shirts. Don't worry, headbangers, the tees are plenty evil looking. You can get your Halford fix before that though. On October 29th, the iconic frontman will release his first solo album in seven years, Halford 3: Winter Songs (Metal God), a collection of holiday-themed originals and Christmas classics like "Oh Holy Night" and "Come All Ye Faithful." We're not making this up. Halford spoke with SPIN during a recent stop in New York City.

  • Kings of Convenience, 'Declaration of Dependence' (Virgin)

    Five years have passed since we last heard from Norwegian shrinking violets Erlend Øye and Eirik Glambek Bøe. They're still extremely sad, but now they're showing it in different ways. In addition to well-turned folk melodies and sparkling finger-picking (check "24-25"), the duo now drape their sparse melancholy in gentle Brazilian rhythms ("Me in You") and Gypsy jazz ("Boat Behind"). At times, the forlorn vibe can get oppressive -- "Peacetime Resistance" goes one love-as-war metaphor too far -- but overall, the album is a welcome return from these princes of the bummer. WATCH: Kings of Convenience perform at SPIN office BUY: iTunes Amazon

  • Air, 'Love 2' (Astralwerks)

    "African Velvet"? "Eat My Beat"? Gauche titling aside, Jean-Benoit Dunckel and Nicolas Godin offer no shake-ups on Love 2. Instead, more than a decade into their career, the duo have nearly perfected their wistfully melodic synth- and vocoder-driven easy-listening jams. They're still incapable of producing anything resembling a genuine human emotion, but the creamy, sax-kissed "Tropical Disease" and coquettish ennui of "Heaven's Light," in particular, will be perfect accompaniment for an evening of fondue and Brandy Alexanders in the year 2077. Silver jumpsuits optional. WATCH: Air, "Sing Sang Sung" BUY: iTunes Amazon

  • Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson, 'Summer of Fear' (Saddle Creek)

    On his self-titled 2008 debut, singer-songwriter Miles Benjamin Anthony Robinson sounded like it was all he could do to hold himself together long enough to sing about falling apart. Though that album's postaddiction, confessional howl was one of the year's most darkly magnetic listens, it was also cause for artistic concern. The idea of this man making optimistic music seemed silly, and songs even more heartsick were hard to fathom. Where was he going to go? Robinson's solution, arrived at with production help from TV on the Radio's Kyp Malone (replacing Grizzly Bear's Chris Taylor, who worked on the debut) was to redecorate his hellhole. The gripping, gorgeous Summer of Fear trades fractured gray folk for multihued and ambitiously arranged Americana. To hear the swooping strings on "Summer of Fear pt.

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    WATCH: Nine Inch Nails Final Show in London

    Last July, Nine Inch Nails said goodbye to its English fans with a show at London's O2 Arena. Joining Trent Reznor onstage was British synth-pop pioneer Gary Numan for performances of the latter's "Metal" and "Cars." Now, in two new HD videos posted to NIN.com, you can see the songs for yourself. "Cars" is the stronger of the two performances, as Numan drapes himself over the mike, while a sweat-covered Reznor doubles on tambourine and keyboard, handling the song's eerie instrumental hooks. But even more than the music, the draw here is the quality of the video. You can see the individual beads of sweat dripping down Reznor's nice. It's pretty cool. Check it out. Plus: See exclusive photos of NIN's NYC show. WATCH: Nine Inch Nails with Gary Numan, "Cars" "Metal"

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