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    Avett Brothers Debut Heartbreaking New Song

    The Avett Brothers have spent the year recording their follow-up to 2009 major label debut I and Love and You with producer Rick Rubin. And while no release date has been announced for the disc, the boys are jonesing to debut their new material. On an episode of CMT's Unplugged, the North Carolina trio unveiled the strummy new track "The Once and Future Carpenter," which you can watch here. The ballad is a stark, Steinbeck-ian travelogue of a blue-collar worker who faces the twilight of his years. "If I live the light I'm given, I won't be scared to die," Seth Avett sings, over laid-back acoustic drums and mournful cello lines. Could the new record take on a similarly dark vibe? "We feel like we need to present a current example of where we are, who we are," Seth said before the performance.

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    HEAR IT: Lil Wayne Returns With Hot Mixtape

    Lil Wayne's Tha Carter IV has had multiple delays, so the MC has been promising to release a mixtape to tide fans over until Carter's now official August 29 street date. Sorry 4 the Wait, his thank you to fans, just hit the web. Download it here or stream below (via DatPiff). Wayne's last album I Am Not a Human Being found him going in a rock direction, with mixed results.

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    LISTEN: White Stripes Release Two Vintage Covers

    The White Stripes may have called it quits, but their vault continues on. Two previously unreleased tracks from Jack and Meg White have been released via Jack's Third Man Records Vault subscription service, which you can hear below (via Antiquiet). The two unearthed gems are covers of Love's track "Signed D.C." and Otis Redding's "I've Been Loving You." Arthur Lee, the late leader of the proto-psychedelic sixties group Love, originally recorded the tune for the group's 1969 album Out Here, and Jack and Meg offer a faithful rendition of Lee's wailing ballad. For the Redding cover, however, the duo add their bluesy scuzz to Redding's classic from his 1965 album Otis Blue.

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    PLAYLIST: Bob Mould Picks Electronic, Punk & House

    Bob Mould may best be known as the pioneering frontman of Hüsker Dü and Sugar, but since the late '90s, the singer-guitarist has turned to DJ'ing, hosting dance parties with pal Richard Morel under the moniker Blowoff. Mould is a walking Wikipedia of music knowledge: Ask him about lo-fi electronic musician Chaz Bundick, for instance, and he'll draw convincing connections to classic club tracks like Stardust's "Music Sounds Better With You" before raving about his favorite new lo-fi punk groups like Dum Dum Girls. Now that Mould's revealing new memoir See A Little Light: The Trail of Rage and Melody is out - he opens up about Hüsker Dü's break up, his struggles to come out in the '90s, and his brief stint as a professional wrestler - SPIN asked him to discuss some of his favorite new artists.

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    Panda Bear Brings Eye-Popping 'Fallon' Performance

    Straight off a triumphant performance this weekend at Maryland's Merriweather Post Pavilion with his band, Animal Collective, Noah "Panda Bear" Lennox headed to New York City yesterday to perform on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon — his first-ever national TV spot as a solo artist. Check out the performance of "You Can Count on Me," from his excellent album Tomboy, here (via The Audio Perv). Lenox brought plenty of extra muscle for his appearance. Pete Kember, member of the influential British psych-rock band Spacemen 3, was tapped to add synths and other knob-twiddling madness. Danny Perez, who directed Animal Collective's visual album ODDSAC, also brought a full lighting rig, and his bright, trippy designs easily made for one of the most visually stunning late night performances in years.

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    Jack White Goes Hip-Hop With MC Black Milk

    Is Jack White the next Dr. Dre? The White Stripes guitarist produced and performed on "Brain" and "Royal Mega," two new songs from Detroit rapper Black Milk -- it's the first rap release on White's Third Man Records, and hits stores today. Stream "Royal Mega" below (via Pitchfork). White contributes drums to this track, and he adds a seriously fierce punch to a dirty horn and guitar-soaked groove, which weirdly comes on like Rage Against the Machine. "Another record that's bringing the unexpected," Milk boasts, before the track goes double-time with a funked-up vamp that recalls James Brown's backing band playing at their hardest. Sweet! White should cast a well-deserved spotlight on Black Milk, aka Curtis Cross, whose last two records -- 2008's Tronic and 2010's Album of the Year -- were promising steps forward. Pick up Black Milk's single over at iTunes.

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    EXCLUSIVE: My Morning Jacket Cover the Muppets

    For the next Muppets movie, Disney has cooked up an ace tribute set titled Muppets: The Green Album, which features top artists like Weezer, Paramore, Andrew Bird, Sondre Lerche, Evanescence's Amy Lee, and others covering classic songs from the Jim Henson songbook (out August 23).

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    Black Keys, James Murphy, Cee Lo at Virgin FreeFest

    TV on the Radio, Deadmau5, the Black Keys, Patti Smith, and Cee Lo have been tapped to headline this year's Virgin Mobile FreeFest, a free one-day music event that will take place on September 10 at Merriweather Post Pavilion in Columbia, MD. The lineup was revealed by Virgin founder Sir Richard Branson in a YouTube video, which you can watch here. The Virgin Mobile FreeFest has one of the most diverse rosters of indie-centric bands this season. Rounding out the bill are British up-and-comers Bombay Bicycle Club and Two Door Cinema Club, Australian psych rockers Empire of the Sun, Swedish electro-pop act Teddybears, and Australian dance-punk outfit Cut Copy. While Big Sean is the lone hip-hop artist on the roster, James Murphy will be making a return after LCD Soundsystem's 'final concert' to perform a solo set.

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    Warpaint Release Stunning Underwater Video

    Red Hot Chili Peppers' Anthony Kiedis has raved about Los Angeles' Warpaint, calling them to most promising band to come out of the city's scene. And now you can see why: the all-female quartet of guitar-wielding, noise-making bad asses have released the second video from their 2010 album The Fool. Check out the clip for "Warpaint" here. Cult director Ted Newsome — who made documentaries on Marilyn Monroe and B-movie directors Ed Wood — helmed the clip, and he crafts a gorgeous underwater world that oddly matches the song's mysterious, gothic-steeped vibe.

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    Adele, Gaga, Mumford Are Year's Best Sellers

    Adele, Lady Gaga, Mumford and Sons, Katy Perry, and Cee Lo have the best-selling albums and singles of 2011, according to Nielsen SoundScan's mid-year report. Overall, the sales tally shows a bright spot for the bleak record industry: For the first time since 2004, sales of albums are on the rise. 155,460,000 records were sold so far this year, up one percent from a year ago. In the albums department, Adele's 21 came in at No. 1, moving 2,517,000 copies since its release on January 19. Lady Gaga - whose Born This Way had the highest first-week sales of the year - came in at No. 2, moving 1,540,000 units. In a surprising twist, British roots rockers Mumford and Sons reign as the highest-selling group record: Their Sigh No More has sold 982,000. They are also the biggest band to have an album distributed independently.

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