Marc Hogan



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    Frank Ocean Says Debut Has 'Sonic Goodies,' Working With Kanye Was 'Rad'

    Frank Ocean might be one of those genre-defying post-soul men who are currently making sure that some of the most popular American music is also its weirdest, but he's a storyteller at heart. Along with Drake, the Weeknd, and Terius Nash, the Odd Future crooner helped expand the definition of what could be considered mainstream last year, with his debut mixtape nostalgia, Ultra (one of SPIN's 20 Best R&B Albums of 2011) and its leftfield hit "Novacane" (one of SPIN's 20 Best Songs of 2011). In a recent video interview with the BBC (via Rap-Up), though, the 24-year-old singer-songwriter revealed his upcoming first proper album finds its focus in a somewhat traditional place. "It's about the stories," Ocean said of the yet-to-be-titled release, expected this spring.

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    U2's 'Achtung Baby' Doc Hits DVD January 24

    The 20th anniversary of U2's hugely influential 1991 album Achtung Baby has passed, but Bono and the gang are offering fans one more way to commemorate the milestone ̬ releasing the making-of documentary From the Sky Down, which premiered last September at the Toronto Film Festival, as a DVD, Blu-Ray, or video download on January 24. The film was directed by David Guggenheim, whose previous work includes It Might Get Loud, Waiting for Superman, and Inconvenient Truth. The upcoming release will also include bonus performances and interviews. From the Sky Down has been sold in physical form before, but only as part of a sprawling box set released this past Halloween. So for type of U2 fan who chooses paying the rent over owning a pair of bug-eyed Bono sunglasses, the newest offering represents the first real opportunity to see Guggenheim recount the story behind SPIN's No.

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    tUnE-yArDs, Sharon Van Etten Rule Late-Night TV

    A pair of powerful-voiced indie chanteuses with contrasting styles hit the late-night talk show circuit last night. tUnE-yArDs, the eccentric pan-global folk-pop project of singer-songwriter Merrill Garbus, performed a couple of songs on Jimmy Kimmel Live! and the guitar-oriented singer-songwriter Sharon Van Etten made her TV debut, backed by a few indie-rock all-stars, on Late Night With Jimmy Fallon. Garbus made her own TV debut last year on Fallon with a little help from the Roots, performing the sirens-blaring gentrification rumination "Gangsta," from last year's w h o k i l l (one of SPIN's 50 Best Albums of 2011). The face-painted vocal dynamo returned to Kimmel with two saxophonists and a bass player to perform another couple of tracks from the album.

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    Jack White's Latest Musical Partner: Tom Jones

    It's not that unusual. Last year Jack White locked down a string of high-profile musical collaborations, and he has evidently chosen his next unlikely partner: Welsh crooner Tom Jones. Consequence of Sound points to a password-only report from Mojo Magazine revealing Jones will participate in Third Man Records' Blue Series of 7-inch singles, whose previous contributors include not only Insane Clown Posse, but also Stephen Colbert and John C. Reilly. Picturing White, with his monochromatic fashion sense, sitting in his Nashville studio across from the oft-unbuttoned-silk-shirted Jones is worth a thousand words. Jones' photo has yet to be added to the Third Man roster, but the singer's offering will reportedly consist of a cover of Howling Wolf's "Evil" along with a version of "Jezebel," from his own 2002 album Mr. Jones.

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    Hear Yeah Yeah Yeahs' Nick Zinner Remix Grinderman

    You can't keep Grinderman down. Less than a month after Nick Cave announced a hiatus for his sleaze-rock project with members of usual backing the Bad Seeds, a previously unreleased Grinderman remix by Yeah Yeah Yeahs guitarist Nick Zinner has hit the web. Zinner puts his own scuffed, atmospheric electro-rock stamp on swampy neo-psych droner "Bellringer Blues," and you can hear the results here (via Consequence of Sound). Zinner's take is part of a March 13 compilation of remixed tracks from 2010's Grinderman 2. The list of artists contributing to the album includes some refreshingly unusual remixers, such as Queens of the Stone Age's Josh Homme, the National's Matt Berninger, and A Place to Bury Strangers.

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    Dissecting Lana Del Rey's Leaked 'National Anthem'

    Patriotic themes are, for better or worse, universal, at least in the nation they're being patriotic about.

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    Hear 'ROC,' The-Dream's First New Song Since '1977'

    The-Dream, our post-Kells meta-crazed pied piper of love, most recently gave us last year's thoroughly compelling, thoroughly soused free album 1977, which he released under his birth name, Terius Nash. Apparently titled "ROC," his latest track looks to be set for his long-delayed fourth The-Dream album, The Love, IV (Diary of a Madman), and it's as luxuriously over-the-top as the pixelated artwork that accompanies it on his website. Squint. Looks kind of like a pyramid of cash, doesn't it? As with The-Dream's previous albums, though, from 2007 debut Love/Hate on through 2010's supposedly trilogy-ending Love King, "ROC" is a whole lot sexier thanUncle Scrooge.

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    Watch Youth Lagoon's Bloody 'July' Video

    For those who wonder how Trevor Powers has somehow escaped getting lumped in with the recently dispersed chillwave movement, look no further than the latest video from his 2011 debut album as Youth Lagoon. A methodically paced, reverb-draped track that gives off a strong whiff of nostalgia, "July" even has the chiming keyboards and lilting male vocals that a couple of years ago helped unite acts as disparate as Washed Out, Toro Y Moi, Memory Tapes, Neon Indian, and CFCF. But this standout from The Year of Hibernation, SPIN's No. 21 album of last year, eventually adds guitars and builds to a ragged yet purposeful crescendo, the kind of moment you'd expect from big-tent indie rockers like Arcade Fire.

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    Patti Smith Pays Tribute to Amy Winehouse on Next Album

    Punk rock's poet laureate is honoring the memory of retro-soul's self-destructive queen. Patti Smith has written a song about Amy Winehouse, to appear on Smith's next album, Uncut reports. Smith is quoted as saying she built the song around a poem she composed about the London-based singer after her death last summer at age 27. "The little song for Amy just blossomed in the studio," Smith told Uncut. "We were at [New York studio] Electric Lady doing a whole other song and I wrote Amy a little poem when she died and my bass player, Tony Shanahan, wrote a piece of music and the two matched perfectly." Smith said she also wrote a song for longtime friend Maria Schneider, the Last Tango in Paris actress who died last February at age 58.

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    Justin Timberlake Reportedly Engaged to Jessica Biel, Devoted to Portraying Elton John

    Cry us a river, folks. More than five years after sweetly crooning a marriage proposal on FutureSex/LoveSounds hit "My Love," Justin Timberlake has finally gone and popped the question for real. The former 'NSync star proposed to actress Jessica Biel late last month in Jackson, Wyoming, according to US Weekly. "Justin knows how much she loves snowboarding and the mountains, so it was the perfect place," an "insider" told the magazine. Timberlake has focused more on acting than music in recent years, including a particularly memorable turn as Napster co-founder Sean Parker in David Fincher's Oscar-winning The Social Network. He delivered a rare live performance in Las Vegas, but lately his musical endeavors have been tilted more toward comedy, such as on Saturday Night Live or in his ongoing "History of Rap" sketch with Jimmy Fallon.

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