Marc Hogan



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    Google Launches Music Service With Pearl Jam, Coldplay Freebies

    Google officially opened the doors to its online music-download store on Wednesday, joining a competition with Apple's iTunes and Amazon's MP3 shop. Artists providing exclusive tracks for the occasion included the Rolling Stones, Pearl Jam, Coldplay, Busta Rhymes, and Tiësto. The early reception from the technology press has been positive, though without the exuberance that tends to accompany the launch of a product from rival Apple. Google Music Beta had already been enabling users to upload up 20,000 songs from their personal collections to the cloud, to stream from any location. The non-beta launch of the service will allow users to buy MP3s from a selection of more than 13 million tracks, offered by a wide range of major-label and indie partners — though, conspicuously, not yet Warner Music.

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    Michael Stipe Hangs With Muppets, Lykke Li Broods on Late-Night TV

    Late-night TV viewers had a couple of fantastic options for music-related viewing on Wednesday night. On NBC, former R.E.M. frontman Michael Stipe stopped by Late Night With Jimmy Fallon to promote the alt-rock pioneers' new best-of compilation, Part Lies, Part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011. Meanwhile, over on CBS, Lykke Li dropped by Late Show With David Letterman to perform a bewitching tune from her excellent sophomore album, this year's Wounded Rhymes. Stipe didn't sing any songs on Fallon — a cappella or otherwise — but he did engage in some funny business. Sitting alongside actor-comedian Martin Short and Muppets characters Miss Piggy and Kermit the Frog, Stipe didn't break much news in the interview portion, but he did reiterate that the cover of this year's Collapse Into Now, which shows Stipe waving goodbye, hinted at R.E.M.'s decision to disband.

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    Awful Auction Pulls Michael Jackson's Deathbed From the Block

    Some wealthy weirdo has lost the chance to own a piece of the bed where Michael Jackson died. Julien's Auctions says it has honored the wishes of Jackson's family and pulled the queen-sized headboard from an upcoming auction, the Associated Press reports. No other portion of the bed will be available for sale, as the mattress belongs to the Jackson estate. "We want all of our events involving items associated with Michael Jackson to be a good experience for everyone and a celebration of his life and career," auction house president Darren Julien is quoted as saying. Julien's handled an auction of memorabilia from MJ's Neverland Ranch in 2009. Buyers will still be able to bid on a variety of other objects from the mansion the KIng of Pop was renting at the time of his death.

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    Gorillaz Team With Converse for Shoes, New Song

    Gorillaz are teaming up with Converse for a new line of shoes, the company has announced. The animated hip-hop group's co-founder Jamie Hewlett has designed a series of Gorillaz-themed prints for the Gorillaz Chuck Taylor All Star collection, which Converse plans to roll out in February 2012. The shoes will carry a suggested retail price of $60 and be available in four different styles. There will be a musical element to the collaboration, too. Although full details will be announced later, Converse says Gorillaz will anchor the next new original song in the company's "Three Artists. One Song" series, which recently included a collaboration between Matt & Kim, Soulja Boy, and Andrew W.K. The free track's release will coincide with the launch of the Gorillaz sneakers. To mark the occasion, Gorillaz and Converse are hosting festivities on December 1.

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    Adele 'Just Chilling' After Throat Surgery

    Adele is on the mend after undergoing throat surgery to treat the vocal cord problem that forced her to nix all of her remaining 2011 live appearances. "I'm doing really well, on the mend, super happy, relaxed and very positive with it all," the "Someone Like You" and "Rolling in the Deep" singer-songwriter said in a new blog post. "The operation was a success and I'm just chilling out now until I get the all clear from my doctors." The 23-year-old U.K. soul-pop sensation recently underwent laser surgery to remove a benign polyp from her vocal cord. She has said the damage to her voice came from talking offstage, not from singing. Her quiet recovery should be good news for the millions of fans who made 21, Adele's sophomore album, the best-seller of the year.

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    Joan Jett, Foo Fighters Give 'Letterman' Their 'Bad Reputation'

    A couple of years ago, the makers of the video game Rock Band struggled to come up with a connection between Joan Jett and Dave Grohl. "Let's see: Jett's first band was teen-punk sensations the Runaways ... who were discovered and produced by notorious L.A. impresario Kim Fowley ... who later co-wrote the KISS classic 'Do You Love Me' ... which was then covered by Nirvana," the game's blog playfully suggested. "How's that?" No one will have to reach that far to find a link between the pioneering "I Love Rock 'n' Roll" badass and the ever-versatile Foo Fighters frontman anymore. On Sunday night, Jett joined the Foo Fighters onstage at Madison Square Garden in New York City for a cover of Jett's early-'80s solo hit "Bad Reputation." Then, on Tuesday night, they got together and did it again, only this time for a bigger audience via the Late Show With David Letterman.

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    Sigur Ros, 'Inni' (XL)

    As Iceland's premier atmospheric rockers, Sigur Rós understand delayed gratification, and Inni -- a double live album (plus live DVD) -- is a master class in geologically paced, ethereally pretty buildups. Capturing all but one song of a November 2008 London set, it's also an exercise in downturn-era austerity: no strings or brass, just the classic four-piece lineup. Still, with xylophone, piano, and even piccolo to complement frontman Jonsi's bowed guitar and angelic vocals, the songs, drawn from each of the band's albums, soar. After three-plus years without fresh Sigur Rós material, though, the real treat is the contemplatively buzzing, ambient finale "Lúppulagid" -- an honest-to-goodness new song.

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    Watch Pill-Popping Billy Corgan Talk Smashing Pumpkins

    Smashing Pumpkins' Twitter feed has posted a link to a bizarre yet informative video interview filmed backstage at London's O2 Academy, Brixton, where the band plays tonight and tomorrow night. In the short clip, Billy Corgan and his troops discuss their upcoming album, reject the notion of becoming a nostalgia act, and — in the case of Corgan, at least — down pill after pill: Fans will have to wait until at least March 2012 to own the band's upcoming ninth album, titled Oceania, Corgan says in the interview. "We actually thought it was going to be coming out now, but the response behind the scenes has been so strong we actually pushed it back a little bit, because everyone told us we were crazy to not put it out with sort of a formal release," he explains.

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    Britney Spears' Steamy Marilyn Manson Video Surfaces

    Parents whose tweens helped send ...Baby One More Time double platinum in only two months way back in 1999 probably thought Britney Spears and Marilyn Manson were polar opposites. For those of us with the benefit of hindsight, though, the bubblegum-pop virgin and the creepiest celeb had a lot more in common than meets the eye. And now there's further evidence of a connection: a newly surfaced video that shows Spears and a masked coterie dancing provocatively to Manson's breakthrough 1995 cover of the Eurythmics' "Sweet Dreams (Are Made of This)." According to Buzzfeed (via Flavorwire), Spears used the clip as an interlude on her Circus tour a couple of years ago, but it has only just hit the Web.

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    Caribou's ATP Mix Debuts Fresh Junior Boys Music

    Under the name Caribou, and before that as Manitoba, Dan Snaith has shown a mastery of many genres: shoegaze, IDM, krautrock, psych-pop, and even, on last year's Swim, a luminous style of underwater disco not far removed from the chillwave mini-movement. Along with Les Savy Fav and Battles, the Ontario, Canada-based shape-shifter picked artists for the U.K. All Tomorrow's Parties' annual "Nightmare Before Christmas" festival, set for December 9 to December 11.

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