• Nas / Photo by Getty Images

    Who Charted? Nas' Life is Indeed Good At the Top

    First! Nas demonstrates the power of daily affirmations by scoring the No. 1 slot on this week's Billboard 200 ranking with his Life is Good set, which sold 149,000 copies according to Nielsen SoundScan. It's his fifth chart-topping debut (sixth if you count his 1999 collaboration with Foxy Brown, AZ, and Nature, The Firm), the last being 2008's Untitled. SPIN admired his follow-through. 2 Through 10: Zac Brown Band, who kept Frank Ocean out of the top slot with the debut of Uncaged last week, lands at No. 2 (78,000), with the seemingly impossible Kidz Bop 22 (yes, 22) at No. 3 (64,000). Frank Ocean's channel ORANGE comes in at No. 4 (54,000). If that seems low for a second week tally on one of the buzziest albums of the year, it is (but more on that below). Justin Bieber's Believe keeps No. 5 (45,000), while Phil Collins' Hits jumps to No.

  • Hot Chip / Photo by Getty Images

    Hot Chip Are Soundtracking Olympic Table Tennis

    Muse aren't the only Brit band that can spruce up an Olympics event. Hot Chip may not have a propensity to go quite as epicas their fellow countrymen, but they've been tapped to provide the introductory soundtrack to the Summer Games' table tennis competition. Before you knock it — and believe us, under non-Olympic circumstances, we too would surmise writing ping-pong theme music is less exciting than providing cruise ship entertainers) — consider this: have you seen these ladies and gents whip a paddle around? (Via Fact). The band, incidentally, also just released this Rollo Jackson-directed clip for In Our Heads cut "How Do You Do?" that is essentially an elegy to the wonders of late 1980s green screen technology (either that, or the dancing Madonna kid — or both?). Watch it:

  • Muse's very own muse / Photo by Harper Smith

    Blame Skrillex for Muse's Dubstep Song

    Fans upset by Muse's dubsteppy direction on their forthcoming sixth studio record,The 2nd Law, can go ahead and blame a Forbes list infiltrator and SPIN cover star for the change in direction: one Mister Sonny Moore. "We went to see Skrillex in Camden around October," drummer Dom Howard told NME as Muse revealed their muse. "We went, 'Fuck, it's so heavy,' loved it. I was like a full metal gig, they had circles of death, people were moshing, I hadn't seen a reaction like that to electronic music before.

  • Photo Courtesy Lollapalooza Message Board

    Lollapalooza Announces 2013 Dates Before 2012 Fest Starts

    In a move seemingly designed to one-up the speed at which certain West Coast competitors have been announcing dates, Lollapalooza and its promoters have already announced plans for its 2013 iteration a week before this year's fest has even had a chance to begin. Book your flights now, kids: Lolla '13 is going down August 2-4. As Consequence of Sound reports, ads announcing the new dates recently started springing up on Chicago Transit Authority stops, in the same sneaky way that they started teasing Chicagoans with its 2012 lineup back in March. It's no Lollapa-cruise-a, but it'll have to do for now. While you wait to buy 2013 tickets, allow SPIN to help you make your decisions between this year's most wrenching set time conflicts.

  • Metallica's Lars Ulrich / Photo by Getty Images

    Metallica's Lars Ulrich Just Wants to Talk About His Kids

    The fifth annual Outside Lands descends upon San Francisco's Golden Gate Park August 10-12, with Skrillex, Stevie Wonder, and Metallica topping the bill. The headliners have all been warming up this summer — Skrillex has been cruising around Canada, Wonder has stayed busy regaling Brits at June's Diamond Jubilee, and Metallica even threw their own festival. But a show in NoCal is particularly significant for the metal legends. Originally from Los Angeles, the band relocated to the Bay Area in 1983 and has been more or less stationed there ever since.

  • Lady Gaga / Photo by Getty Images

    Bratz Sues Lady Gaga for Depriving the World of Monster Dolls

    Lady Gaga is no longer overseas offending the sensibilities of international audiences, but she isn't staying out of trouble. The makers of Bratz dolls have filed a multimillion-dollar lawsuit against the singer, claiming she delayed the release of her own line of little monsters. According to Bloomberg, Toy manufacturer MGA Entertainment is seeking damages totaling $10 million from the singer, her management company, and her label, Universal Music Group (more specifically the merchandising company it owns, Bravado), for breach of contract after the companies involved put a hold on MGA's production of a Lady Gaga Bratz (Brat?).

  • Mariah Carey / Photo by Getty Images

    Mariah Carey's $18 Million 'Idol' Deal: How Does it Measure Up to Stars' TV Paydays?

    In an age where a band can sell a meager 44,000 copies of its new record and still land at No. 1 on the charts, what's a poor celebrity artist to do? Oh, that's right, sign a multimillion-dollar contract as a judge on a singing competition show, of course! It's what Steven Tyler and Jennifer Lopez tried out for a bit and what Britney and Demi did a few months ago. As of yesterday, Mariah Carey has followed suit. TMZ reports that Mariah's deal is a milestone at $18 million, making her the best-paid judge (not including Simon Cowell) ever to grace a singing show panel. But Idol seasons usually run about 40 episodes, while shows like The X Factor only require about 26, the latter with considerably less filming time (and barely any live recording). Just how does that break down? And is it actually a sustainable gig?

  • 'Velvet Underground and Nico' Turns 45, Gets Anniversary Edition

    'Velvet Underground and Nico' Turns 45, Gets Anniversary Edition

    The Velvet Underground & Nico turned 45 this March, and to celebrate its middle-age milestone, Universal is reviving the record with a whopping six-disc anniversary edition. The Quietus reports that the new discs will contain the original album in their mono and stereo versions, Nico's first solo record Chelsea Girl (which debuted the same year as The Velvet Underground & Nico), the group's live set at Columbus, Ohio's Valleydale Ballroom the year before the record arrived, their Factory rehearsals, and material from the album's storied recording sessions at New York's Scepter Studios. The set is expected on October 1, nine and a half months after members Lou Reed and John Cale filed a lawsuit against the Andy Warhol Foundation, claiming that it was licensing the album's unmistakable cover without the band's permission.

  • Dave Grohl / Photo by Getty Images

    Dave Grohl: Without the Beatles, 'I Would Not Be a Musician'

    There was once a time when the Beatles were staunchly anti-iTunes, but today the Fab Four's umpteenth compilation Tomorrow Never Knows arrives as an exclusive release on Apple's digital music service. Not a huge deal, except this LP comes with a digital liner note from analog champion Dave Grohl explaining his personal connection to the band. "If it weren't for the Beatles, I would not be a musician," Grohl writes. "It’s as simple as that. From a very young age I became fascinated with their songs, and over the years have drowned myself in the depth of their catalogue…From one generation to the next, The Beatles will remain the most important rock band of all time." The rest of his note (which can be read in full at Rolling Stone) is devoted to explaining how his 6-year-old daughter Violet recently discovered the Beatles.

  • Natasha Khan and, presumably,

    Who Is Bat For Lashes' 'Laura'?

    In June, Natasha Khan, better known by her nom de pop Bat for Lashes, debuted three new songs from her third LP, The Haunted Man. The first song, "Laura" seemed as though it had been penned with a mysterious subject in mind: which "Laura" is she talking about? Dern? Ingalls Wilder? Perhaps the very same Laura frontman Chris Owens of the erstwhile Girls sang about on 2009's Album?

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