• Mark Kozelek, 'The Finally LP' (Caldo Verde)

    When performing others' material, Mark Kozelek has always been stronger the more extreme the reinterpretation (see his melancholic versions of the Cars, Yes, and John Denver). But this odds-and-ends comp is unusually straightforward. More on SPIN.com: >> Artist of the Day Mark Kozelek His lovely rendition of Low's "Lazy" transforms an angsty lament into an earnest plea for change; and while Kozelek's take on AC/DC's "If You Want Blood" boasts a revelatory rearrangement, it sounds strangely toothless beside a sincere internalization of Stephen Sondheim's "Send in the Clowns." BUY: Amazon

  • Bayside, 'Shudder' (Victory)

    The problem with Bayside's seventh release is messaging: Frontman Anthony Raneri wants to empathize with his listeners, but his emotions are too rigidly guarded and judgmental. The unapologetic refrain of "No One Understands" does little to dull the song's self-indulgence, and on "Demons," Raneri deconstructs someone else's shortcomings to the point where you're sympathizing with his subject. Shudder's strongest moments are the more inclusive anthems ("A Call to Arms" and "Roshambo"), when the focus shifts from Raneri's tepid attempts to relate to his band's increasinglytuneful mix of midperiod Weezer and boilerplate emo. BUY: iTunesAmazon

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    Lollapalooza 2008: In Pictures

    Lollapalooza has once again come and gone like a summer beacon of bountiful awesomeness, having passed through Chicago's Grant Park from Aug. 1-3.

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    New Catfish Haven MP3: "Set in Stone"

    The Windy City's garage-soul saviors are back with their first new outpouring of impassioned material since 2006's breakout LP Tell Me and two subsequent years of workmanlike touring. "Set in Stone" -- streamable below and soon-to-be-iPod-ready when Devastator is released on Oct. 7 through Secetly Canadian -- picks up where the trusty trio left off but elevates things to an even greater plan of soulful salvation. "Stone" gets set with an ants-in-your-pants J.B.'s riff, fortifying its funkdafied intent with a gospel chorus of backup singers (the superlative Tina M.

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    Exclusive: Michael Stipe in PSA for Amnesty International's Small Places Tour

    If there's one thing we here at SPIN.com like more than rocking out, it's making the world a better place to live in. Luckily, Amnesty International -- as well as some of our favorite bands -- agrees: From Sept. 10-Dec. 10,Amnesty will be launching their Small Places Tour, which marks the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. Besides functioning as really sweet gigs, the concerts are intended to bring attention to urgent global human rights concerns, as well as to raise funds for future Amnesty campaigns. But beyond that, acclaimed Catalan filmmaker Lluis Danes shot public service announcements with more than 30 artists supporting Amnesty and the tour, including R.E.M., the National, Vampire Weekend, and Justice. And you can check out the first of a handful that SPIN.com will be premiering -- this one featuring Michael Stipe of R.E.M. -- below.

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    Exclusive: New MP3 from Islands Offshoot Human Highway

    Moonlighting gigs have seemingly become the central preoccupation of many of today's more relevant indie artists, and the inhabitants of Islands are no exception, despite the recent release of that group's excellent Arm's Way. Nick Thorburn and sometime Island resident Jim Guthrie (a reputed lo-fi lothario on his own solo time) are set to release their Aug. 19 debut (though Suicide Squeeze) as Human Highway, aptly titled Moody Motorcycle. For a free, premiere download of "Sleep Talking" off that very release, look no further than this very Web page. The duo's purported intent was to harken back to the days of heavenly melodies, like those of the Everly Brothers and other blue-eyed soul/doo-wop-era vocal groups. And on the cleverly titled "Sleep Talking," Thorburn and Guthrie succeed -- in a knowingly rough-around-the-edges kind of way.

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    50 Cent Sues Taco Bell, Sense of Humor Makes Run for the Border

    Fitting that we ran a story yesterday regarding Dr. Dre's continued toiling on The Detox, as his protégé 50 Cent (real name: Curtis Jackson) is now -- shockingly --in the headlines. You may recall a good-natured open letter Taco Bell aired to the public recently, encouraging 50 to "think outside the bun" and alter his surname to 79, 89, or 99 cent. Some time later, the MC reportedly got wind of the promotion, as well as sporadic fan outcries of "sellout," and has subsequently sicked his legal team on the franchise to the tune of $4 million. The papers ostensibly accuse the Gordita-peddling purveyors of using his name unjustly and without permission, and in such a way that has besmirched his reputation. Now, we're in no position to debate how seriously a man who openly shills his supposedly authentic persona to Vitamin Water and Reebok should safeguard his good name.

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    Behind the Scenes at Download 2008 Los Angeles: Yeasayer

    This past Sunday, July 20, throngs of music-hungry fans converged on Los Angeles' Gibson Ampitheatre for Download 2008 to have their craving satiated by sets from Tapes N' Tapes, Datarock, Ghostland Observatory, Gang of Four, and the Jesus and Mary Chain, among others. SPIN.com's Peter Gaston sat down with Brooklyn bohemians Yeasayer; watch video of Peter catching up with the uber-hyped outfit about the rigors of performing under oppressive heat, getting into imagined MC battles with Q-Tip on New York's subways, and being baffled by snoozing front-row fans. More on SPIN.com:>>Mates of State, Jesus and Mary Chain, Duke Spirit, and Others Sparkle at Download Fest's L.A. Date>>Video: SXSW '08: Yeasayer>>Download 2008: In Pictures

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    Download 2008: In Pictures

    To whet your appetite for our extended coverage of this past weekend's (July 19-20) Download 2008, which we will be posting throughout the day, SPIN.com has put together this gallery of exclusive behind-the-scenes images of Datarock, M83, Yeasayer, and several other acts that supported headliners the Jesus and Mary Chain and Gang of Four. So enjoy, and keep checking back in for full reporting from the event. Check out the photos on page 2. More on SPIN.com:>> Jesus and Mary Chain, Gang of Four, Yeasayer and More Hit Download 2008 This Weekend>> Download 2008 to Hit S.F., L.A., PhillyArtist of the Day: The Jesus and Mary Chain Flosstradamus hang out with some fungi at San Francisco's Download 2008. / Photo by Misha Vladimirskiy Yeasayer show they have balls. / Photo by Misha Vladimirskiy AFI's Davey Havok sporting a cleaner-cut look.

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    New Eagles of Death Metal Video and Interview; Exclusive Album and Tour Info

    It's been a while since we've heard from the always eccentric, Axl Rose-eviscerating Jesse "Boots Electric" Hughes and his wild 'n' wooly band of cohorts, which of course is co-helmed by almighty Queen of the Stone Age Josh Homme. But finally, they're ready to unveil another mammoth monument to rock. SPIN.com has the exclusive info on the Eagles' newest full-length, titled Heart-On and scheduled for release Oct. 21 via Downtown Recordings. The album was produced by Josh Homme and, as his partner-in-semi-sardonic-riffage Hughes tells us, is "EODM's latest fabulous weapon, a top-secret music missile, a sonic warhead sexually tipped for her pleasure, shot from the deck of USS EODM Mantastic Fantastic." Tour dates across California and parts of Texas and Arizona (as listed below) will follow with co-headliners the Hives. And for those of you East Coasters who are all, "Hey, what gives?

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