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    10 Thoughts on Radiohead Live in NYC

    As they do so often, Radiohead startled fans by announcing last week that they would play two last-minute shows at New York City's Roseland Ballroom on Sept. 28 and 29 -- their first U.S. performances since the release of The King of Limbs earlier this year. The band was in town to play Saturday Night Live's season premiere last Saturday and to appear on The Colbert Report on Monday. Still, few thought they'd play a real, you know, actual gig -- they weren't touring, after all. But, of course, Thom Yorke had other plans up his natty sleeve. So, before the last note of set-closer "Nude" completely fades from our ears, here are a few scattered thoughts on last night's pleasant surprise. 1. The guy who traveled 1,376 miles to see Radiohead and didn't have a ticket -- as his sign so helpfully explained outside Roseland before the show -- needs to read the fine print.

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    Buzz Band Cults Dazzle at SPIN Rooftop Gig

    When the singles "Go Outside" and "Abducted" showed up online last spring, both by some band no one had ever heard of called Cults, the first thing everyone did (besides Googling them and finding nothing) was to wonder how the hell anyone had managed to capture the entire musical zeitgeist so easily with two pop songs.

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    Panic! at the Disco Unveil New Tunes in NYC

    Panic! at the Disco frontman Brendon Urie might be forgiven for feeling a little panicky himself last night before his band's sold-out show at Manhattan's Bowery Ballroom. Panic! would be debuting never-before-heard tunes from their third record, Vices & Virtues (due out March 29) – the band's first since 2008's Pretty. Odd., and their first without guitarist Ryan Ross, who left abruptly in 2009 with bassist Jon Walker to form the Young Veins. This, in other words, would be their fans' first taste of the new Panic!, a preview of what might be next for these platinum-selling emo-poppers. But if Urie -- or fellow founding member/drummer Spencer Smith -- were nervous last night, it didn't show.

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    A Q&A with Mayer Hawthorne

    For a white kid growing up in Ann Arbor, Mich., jet-setting soul musician isn't necessarily the first career choice that comes to mind. And it didn't really for Mayer Hawthorne either. Ever since he picked up a copy of LL Cool J's Bigger and Deffer, Hawthorne (born Andrew Mayer Cohen) just wanted a piece of the hip-hop game. But after years spinning records and producing hip-hop tracks in LA as DJ Haircut, Hawthorne's musical trajectory shifted radically when the city's tiny Stones Throw Records picked up a couple tracks from his Curtis Mayfield-worshipping side project. The rest is soul music history. Mayer's debut, A Strange Arrangement, released last September, featured the much-spun singles "Just Ain't Gonna Work" and "Maybe So, Maybe No"-both masterful blends of vintage soul and 21st-century hip-hop.

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    Ben Folds, Nick Hornby Bring Collabo to Life in NYC

    Back in 2003, British author Nick Hornby sang the praises of the Ben Folds Five tune "Smoke" in the pages of his essay collection, Songbook. Today, he and Folds are good buddies and they've just released a record, Lonely Avenue, featuring Nick's lyrics set to Ben's music. Hornby went from fan boy to collaborator in just seven years. We should all be so lucky. Anyone who managed to get into Housing Works Bookstore Café in Lower Manhattan Tuesday night must have felt pretty lucky too.

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    Michael Stipe Joins Supergroup Tired Pony in NYC

    Friday night Gary Lightbody-the lanky, Irish-born frontman for platinum-selling U.K. rockers Snow Patrol-unveiled his latest side project at Manhattan's Irving Plaza. Tired Pony consists of Scottish singer-songwriter Iain Archer, producer Garrett "Jacknife" Lee, Belle and Sebastian drummer Richard Colburn, Snow Patrol guitar tech Troy Stewart, and most notably R.E.M.'s Peter Buck and Scott McCaughey. M. Ward, Zooey Deschanel, and the Editors' Tom Smith also appear on the band's just-released debut, The Place We Ran From-an album that attempts to tap into the mystery of American folk and the beauty of the Pacific Northwest. Lightbody has done this whole supergroup thing before. Back in 2001, the singer formed the Reindeer Section with members of Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, Teenage Fanclub, and nearly everyone else in Scottish indie rock.

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    Belle and Sebastian & Teenage Fanclub Launch Tour

    Fog, wind, the constant threat of rain-that was the scene at the Brooklyn waterfront Thursday night when Belle and Sebastian showed up to kick off their long awaited 14-date U.S. tour at the East River State Park. It might have been appropriate weather for the Glasgow band a decade ago when they became the darlings of lo-fi melancholy. But over their last couple of records, B&S have refashioned themselves as sun-dappled '70s pop stars. They recorded their last disc-the near perfect The Life Pursuit-in L.A., and their new record (due Oct. 12) is called, quite simply, Belle and Sebastian Write about Love. All those sunny vibes flowing off the stage stood in stark contract to the night's gloomy weather, to the fog capping the Empire State Building across the river, to the massive thunderstorm that kept threatening to arrive, but never did. And that was just fine.

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    Temper Trap Headline Vans Soundcheck at SPIN

    These days, it's difficult for a rock band with major league ambitions to avoid drawing on U2's legacy. Kings of Leon, Foo Fighters, Arcade Fire-all of them are playing in Bono's arena (and Bruce's too). The truth is if you're trying to sell out stadiums and still move the guy at the back of the room, there are few things better than chiming guitars, lovelorn sentiment, and a voice that can lift it to the rafters. In other words, there are few people who can do the job better than Bono and the Edge. All of which is to say that the Temper Trap's debt to the Dublin quartet-most evident in their ubiquitous breakout hit "Sweet Disposition," which showed up on the (500) Days of Summer soundtrack last year and a handful of commercials-should be understood in context.

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    Klaxons Unleash Rave-Worthy Set in NYC

    It's been three long years since Klaxons set the British music press into another tizzy with their Mercury Prize-winning debut, Myths of the Near Future. Having created a whole new mini-genre, "nu-rave" -- a regrettable bit of journalistic shorthand that encompassed little of the band's ecstatic space-punk -- the quartet set about touring the world for a couple years before settling down to record their follow-up in 2008. Unfortunately things didn't go quite as easy this time around with Myths producer James Ford of Simian Mobile Disco.

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    The Black Angels Play New Album at Private Show

    The Black Angels were made to play a place like this: a mid-19th century neo-gothic synagogue, the oldest in the city, nestled in the heart of Manhattan's bar-packed Lower East Side. And not because they wear eye shadow or black nail polish-there's nothing goth about them. These guys are all jeans, flannel, and shaggy hair. No, it's their music, that mix of blissed-out, rapturous psychedelia and darkly frantic guitar-pop-soul and sin. Tuesday night's show at the Angel Orensanz Foundation (that's what the restored synagogue is called these days) was an invite-only event, so if you didn't know the Angels or knew someone who knew them or knew someone who knew someone who knew them, you probably didn't get in. Which is to say you missed a great show-and that the wine was free. The reason for all the fuss?

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