Michael Sheffield

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    Arcade Fire Announce First Show in Two Years

    Montreal's dramatic indie rock orchestra, the Arcade Fire, is confirmed to perform at Ireland's Oxegen Festival, July 8-11 -- their first show in two years. The band last performed at Barack Obama's inauguration in January '09 -- watch video here -- and hasn't played proper tour dates since early 2008, when they did select shows in Japan and two gigs supporting Obama on the campaign trail in Ohio. As recently as December, Arcade Fire appeared on track to release their third, as-yet-untitled album in May, with a single preceding it in early 2010, but now the band is targeting a late-summer release. The album is being produced by Markus Dravs, who engineered Neon Bible, SPIN's No. 2 album of 2007. The Oxegen Festival will also feature Eminem, Muse, Jay-Z, Vampire Weekend, Black Eyed Peas, Broken Social Scene, Kasabian, Hot Chip, and many more.

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    WATCH: Lil Wayne Joins Jay-Z's NYC Concert!

    Tuesday night, with a new lease on his freedom, Lil Wayne joined Jay-Z's sold-out concert at New York's Madison Square Garden, performing with Young Jeezy, Drake, and Nicki Minaj! According to MTV, Hova handed the mic over to Young Jeezy about 45 minutes into his set and left the stage. Jeezy brought out Minaj and dedicated a performance of "Bedrock" to the Rebirth rapper. Next, the beat dropped on "I'm Goin' In," a track off Drake's 2009 EP So Far Gone, Wayne and Drake appeared, and the four rappers threw down to ecstatic applause. "We with you 100 percent," Jeezy told Wayne. The show was an unexpected taste of freedom for Wayne.

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    LISTEN: Gorillaz Entire New Album!

    Plastic Beach, the third album from electronic genre-benders Gorillaz, is under wraps no more. Hear it in its entirety here, a week prior to the its March 9 release date, courtesy of NPR! For the newest Gorillaz album, head monkey Damon Albarn recruited a dream team of hip-hop, soul, and post-punk royalty including Snoop Dogg, Lou Reed, Mos Def, the Bee Gees' Barry Gibb, the Fall's Mark E. Smith, Bobby Womack and the Clash's Mick Jones and Paul Simonon. While Albarn holds down the musical side, the characters designed by comic artist Jamie Hewlett have been extra busy, too, in promoting the album. Last week, the characters appeared in an interactive online video game on the official Gorillaz site.

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    LISTEN: Broken Bells' Complete New Release

    Shins frontman James Mercer and Gnarls Barkley mastermind Danger Mouse will release their self-titled debut album as Broken Bells on March 9. But why wait to hear the tunes? The album is available right now via NPR. The duo will promote Broken Bells with a series of U.S. concerts early this month, including stops in Brooklyn, Los Angeles, and Austin, TX, for SXSW. A complete tour itinerary is available on the group's MySpace page. The duo recently played their first concert at an intimate L.A. showcase. "[They] delivered a glistening set of ambient pop capped by Mercer's pristine tenor," SPIN.com's Kevin Bronson wrote of the concert. "In brief flashes, the material off Broken Bells' forthcoming debut is reminiscent -- emotionally, anyway -- of another indie songwriter/beatmaker collaboration, the Postal Service.

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    FREE SONG: Gorilla Biscuits' Schreifels Goes Solo

    Walter Schreifels honed his chops playing fast, thrashy hardcore in influential bands like Gorilla Biscuits, Youth of Today, Quicksand, and Rival Schools. But now he's writing witty, jaded, masterfully crafted pop songs as a solo artist.

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    Gorillaz Launch 'Plastic Beach' Online Game

    As is the style for Damon Albarn's genre-bending, cartoon collective Gorillaz, their upcoming album, Plastic Beach, is being promoted with loads of digital goodies. Today, the band tweeted a link to an online video game based on Plastic Beach -- and it's worth checking out. The action-adventure, playable on Gorillaz site, is set on a post-apocalyptic beach and loaded with crude humor, allusions to Fantasy Island, ambient dub sounds, and Gorillaz' own special brand of cyberpunk sprinkled over every pixel. The action is controlled by an iPhone-looking widget at the bottom of the screen referred to as the "GOD device." The virtual island setting is home for each of the band members, including Murdoc, who recently landed in our Follow Friday column thanks to his stellar tweeting habits.

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    LISTEN: New Pornographers Debut First Song

    In celebration of their hometown's Olympics spirit, Vancouver, BC's New Pornographers have leaked the first track off their upcoming record, Together, out May 4 via Matador Records. Hear "Your Hands (Together)" right here! "Your Hands (Together)" is a power-pop gem. Feedback-laden electric guitars bash, arena-rock drums crash, and the voices of A.C. Newman and Neko Case -- whose solo album Middle Cyclone was one of SPIN's favorite releases from 2009 -- unite in the harmony-rich indie-pop style the band is known for. As the follow-up to 2007's SPIN-praised release Challenger, Together is the group's fifth studio album and was recorded in various studios in Vancouver, BC, Brooklyn, and Woodstock, New York. Check out photos of the recording process at the New Pornographers' website. The band is gearing up for a stint of European dates following the album's release.

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    FREE MP3: New Song from Balkan Beat Box

    Dancefloor-rockin' NYC gypsy-punks Balkan Beat Box have released a new song off their upcoming album, Blue Eyed Black Boy, due out April 27 on Nat Geo Music. Download "War Again" below -- a SPIN.com exclusive! Self-produced and recorded in Tel Aviv and Belgrade, Serbia, the song melds Eastern European musical elements with dub rhythms and hard-charging lyrics that bemoan the world's never-ending cycle of violence -- something very familiar to the band as natives of Israel. MC Tomer Yosef explains: "We want people to understand that we are part of a loop of war and violence that is happening forever, and it's up to us to get out of it." Balkan Beat Box will hit the road this spring with a string of dates across the U.S. beginning March 11 at the Paradise Rock Club in Boston and ending March 17 in Seattle. They will also play SXSW in late March.

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    New Strokes Record Expected in September

    The new Strokes record is on its way -- and now it even has a tentative release date: "hopefully around September," drummer Fab Moretti told Radio 1's Zane Lowe. "[The] basic tracks are done... now we're just running around like kids in a candy shop." "Coming back in and writing music was kind of like riding a bicycle," added Moretti, referencing the band's long-awaited comeback after more than three years apart focusing on solo projects. As previously reported, the quintet recently holed up in New York City's Avatar Studios to record their fourth album, the follow-up to 2006's First Impressions of Earth, with Grammy-winning producer Joe Chiccarelli (White Stripes, Beck, Bjork) and engineer Gus Oberg (Bloc Party). The Strokes' first comeback gig is slated for the UK's Isle of Wright fest this June.

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    EXCLUSIVE: New Song from High On Fire

    High On Fire guitarist Matt Pike slings one of the heaviest axes in metal, and shreds faster than ever on his band's fifth studio album, Snakes for the Divine, out February 23. Hear an exclusive stream of the title track below! The famed stoner-metal hero is also as angry and far out as he ever was. "'Snakes for the Divine' tells a tale of the atmospheric union of alien crossbreeding withMan's DNA and the creation of all Earth's religion by the reptilian agenda," he tells SPIN.com. "It will also kick your ass!" The song glides between pounding speed and a violent-double time riff that could probably induce a fight or at least spill a few beers.

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