Larry Fitzmaurice

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    Stereolab

    What? Since their inception 18 years ago, London's Stereolab have seen various sonic changes -- from Krautrock to bossa nova and beyond -- yet have maintained both a gorgeous French patois and their characteristic percolating rhythms -- think the cast of Friends with their constantly changing haircuts, only replace the bratty entitlement with restless creativity. And two years after the release of the group's (groop's?) EP compilation Fab Four Suture, Stereolab return with the lilting yet densely layered Chemical Chords.Set to drop stateside Aug. 19, the new set showcases Stereolab's inimitable talent of being able to sonically reference their rich catalog while simultaneously charting brave (and beautiful) new paths. Who? Brit genre-blenders Stereolab, founded in 1990 by Tim Gane (guitar/keyboards) and Laetitia Sadier (vocals/keyboards/guitar).

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    Smashing Pumpkins Announce Anniversary Shows

    From the blissed-out, alt-shoegaze of 1991's debut Gish to the band's current lawsuit against their former label, the Smashing Pumpkins have charted a career that has been both accomplished and eventful. And to commemorate the band's 20th anniversary since their humble Chicago-area beginnings in 1988, Billy Corgan and crew are planning a string of celebratory performances in August and November. According to the band's website, the quartet -- featuring lone remaining members Corgan and drummer Jimmy Chamberlin -- will embark on a series of August dates, playing "unique sets and songs" in modestly sized venues. A run of November dates at larger venues will "focus on the band's history, legacy, and accomplishments over their career." The only date that has been formally announced is a Aug.

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    New Secret Machines Album Due Fall '08

    Following in the footsteps of fellow major label ship-jumpers ...And You Will Know Us By the Trail of Dead and -- most notably -- Radiohead, among many others, New York-based space-rockers Secret Machines have announced plans to self-release their third record, tentatively set to come out this fall. After putting out their last two records via major label Reprise, the Brandon Curtis-led outfit will be assisted with "day-to-day label services" by the World's Fair Label Group, confirms a statement, while releasing the as-yet-untitled LP themselves. Can't wait to get a taste of the Machines' latest secrets? Check out footage of the band hard at work on the much-anticipated set at New York City's famed Electric Ladyland Studios right here.

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    New Albert Hammond Jr. Video for "GfC"

    Despite his main act taking a temporary hiatus, Strokes guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has been a busy man as of late. His sophomore solo effort, ¿Cómo Te Llama?, makes its way into record stores today, and Hammond is prepping to perform at SPIN's MLB 2K8 All-Star Kick Off Party tomorrow night, for which you can still win tickets by clicking here. Now, the scrappy singer-songwriter presents this hypnotic video for Llama's "GfC." In the clip, Hammond and his backing band stare dreamily at a spinning device that projects the gang performing the jangly tune. Check out the clip below, but be advised: Do not operate heavy machinery after viewing. Now Watch This: "GfC"

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    Exclusive: New Ten Kens MP3

    Just in time to shake things up a bit for the coming autumn, eclectic Toronto rockers Ten Kens have announced a September 23 release date for their self-titled debut album on FatCat. Recorded in Montreal with producer Colin Stewart (Black Mountain, Destroyer, Pretty Girls Make Graves), Ten Kens is the result of more than a year of laborious, near-hermetic songwriting toil by founding duo Dean Tzenos (guitar) and Dan Workman (vocals), before adding current members Lee Stringle (drums) and Ryan Rountree (bass). An exclusive cut from the forthcoming record, "Your Kids Will Know" (DOWNLOAD MP3) is available for exclusive download through Spin.com.

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    'Guitar Hero' Seeks Pro Gamers on Nationwide Tour

    Flex those fingers and strap on your axe: In celebration of the recent release of Guitar Hero: Aerosmith, Spin has teamed up with Hard Rock International and rock 'n' roll legends Aerosmith for a 16-date nationwide tournament -- dubbed Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Rocks the Hard Rock -- seeking the best Guitar Hero video shredders far and wide. Kicking off in Hollywood, CA tomorrow (July 8), the tournament -- held at the foremost Hard Rock location in each city -- will give aspiring gamers a chance to win a trip to Boston, where winners will be competing for a custom Red Wing Guitar Hero: Aerosmith / Hard Rock Café motorcycle designed by none other than Aerosmith frontman Steven Tyler himself! Check the tour dates below, and be sure to check SPIN.com for more coverage from Guitar Hero: Aerosmith Rocks the Hard Rock, including video from select dates via our SPIN Live player. Guitar H

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    Albert Hammond Jr.

    What? With the Strokes on an unofficial hiatus, ragamuffin rhythm guitarist Albert Hammond Jr. has turned efforts inward, developing into quite the self-determined songwriter. And less than a year after the U.S. release of his debut solo set, Yours to Keep, Hammond returns with Como Te Llama?, his sophomore outing, due July 8 via RCA / Black Seal. Though foraying into Strokes territory (including the crunch of "The Boss Americana" and the intertwining guitar parts of "In My Room"), Llama tenders a fresh diversity, from the ethereal instrumental "Spooky Couch" to the Breeders-meets-Robert Pollard static hum of "Rocket." Who? Strokes co-founder Albert Hammond, Jr. who, after three well-received records with the New York retro rockers, released his first solo record, Yours to Keep, in 2007.

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    Live Hold Steady Video from the Pool Parties!

    Brooklyn, NY's McCarren Park Pool may be empty, but that didn't keep fans from getting absolutely soaking wet Sunday (June 29), as throngs braved pounding thunderstorms to catch razor-sharp punk outfit the Loved Ones and Brooklyn's own the Hold Steady play the first of nine, free Sunday shows in JellyNYC's Pool Parties series. Watch highlights of the bands' sets below, including footage of Philadelphia's the Loved Ones running through buzz-saw anthem "Breathe In," off 2006's Keep Your Heart, and the Hold Steady strutting through the Boys and Girls in America gem "Chips Ahoy!" and the hard-chugging "Magazines," a new tune off the quintet's upcoming record, Stay Positive. Check back throughout the summer for more live performances from the Pool Parties, and watch our coverage from last year's festivities here! Now Watch This: The Hold Steady, "Chips Ahoy" The Hold Steady, "Magazines"

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    Alkaline Trio

    What? Over the last decade, Chicago's death-obsessed emo outfit Alkaline Trio have progressed from a youthful, angst-powered outfit churning gruff-throated shouters to a slightly -- dare we say! -- matured act embodying a slicker songwriting methodology and sound. And the band's latest effort, Agony & Irony, out today (July 1), marks their debut on Epic Records and finds the Trio continuing to refine their Cure-meets-Hot Water Music sonic, as illustrated with the glossy "Over and Out," while still appropriately rocking out on tracks like "In Vein." Who? Formed by Matt Skiba (guitar/vocals) in 1996, Alkaline Trio -- having seen numerous lineups -- currently features Dan Andriano (bass/vocals) and Derek Grant (drums/backup vocals).

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    Catch the Buzz: Au

    Who? This Portland, OR-based collective's name might not be the simplest to pronounce phonetically, but then again, there's not much about Au that's easy to define. Led by multi-instrumentalist Luke Wyland and featuring a revolving roster of performers from such like-minded acts as Parenthetical Girls and Jackie-O Motherfucker, Au combine the schizophrenic folk of Akron/Family with the loose, blissed-out sounds of Animal Collective to concoct a musical patois that's at once dreamy and disorienting. Their latest: Sophomore effort, Verbs, arrived June 26 via Aagoo Records. Recommended if you like... Animal Collective, Akron/Family, Six Organs of Admittance Now Hear This: "RR vs. D" DOWNLOAD MP3

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