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    The 15 Most Ridiculous Things About This Ridiculous Van Halen Show

    Van Halen's first studio album with David Lee Roth since 1984 is called A Different Kind of Truth and it's due February 7. The band was supposed to announce that, and a North American tour, at an intimate show last night in New York. They didn't do that, but SPIN still managed to have a good time. 1. The fact that it even occurred. Not just that the band that defined arena rock and its attendant excesses were holding court at the incredulous-sounding Cafe Wha?, a faded 250-seat jazz club in Greenwich Village -- although, certainly this, too -- but that this dream reunion of famously contentious blowhards survived the obvious cash-in arena tour and progressed into something friskier and, odd as it sounds, personal. 2.

  • Guided by Voices, 'Let's Go Eat the Factory' (Guided by Voices Inc.)

    You almost could hear Bob Pollard sigh when last year's reunion dates with Guided by Voices'mid-'90s, Bee Thousand-vintage lineup were announced.

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    The Men Will Open Hearts, Minds With March Album

    Fresh off their scientifically proven 15th-best album of 2011, Leave Home, Brooklyn's least Google-friendly noise-rock outfit the Men have wasted no time finishing a worthy follow-up, that throws some unexpected curve balls into the mix. Open Your Heart, the band's third full-length release in as many years, is even more stylistically diverse than its pummeling predecessor, combining the blistering, garage-y title track and deliberate, brooding instrumentals like "Country Song," with the breezy "Candy," which is, in fact, pretty much a country song. The album is out March 6 on Sacred Bones, and it's so, so good. Here are the song titles, but, clearly, they're deceiving. 1. "Turn It Around"2. "Animal"3. "Country Song"4. "Oscillation" 5. "Please Don't Go Away" 6. "Open Your Heart" 7. "Candy"8. "Cube"9. "Presence"10.

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    The Promise Ring Reunite for Two Shows, Rarities Compilation, and Way More, Probably

    Milwaukee's late-'90s band the Promise Ring were ahead of their time: They were emo before emo was wildly profitable, and they wrote a song called "Jersey Shore" back in 1999, when the Situation was just 22. But they're right on pace with their fellow dearly departed indie acts in that they're reforming just when demand to see them again is at a fever pitch. Following last week's tease of a new Twitter account, the band announced two shows in Milwaukee and Chicago for February 24th and 25th, respectively, presumably in advance of a larger onslaught to come, featuring the circa-Very Emergency lineup of singer-guitarist Davey von Bohlen (who tested the reunion waters with his previous band Cap N' Jazz last year), guitarist Jason Gnewikow, bassist Scott Schoenbeck, and drummer Dan Didier.

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    Download Fred Armisen's 'Police on My Back' Cover

    SNL and Portlandia star Fred Armisen has indie bona fides for days — he played drums for Chicago's Trenchmouth in the '90s, presumably with a little help from Jens Hannemann's Complicated Drumming Technique. And as he proved at a live taping of SPIN contributor Julie Klausner's "How Was Your Week?" podcast in Brooklyn a few weeks ago, he's got a solid fallback as a high-tech busker if the whole comedy thing doesn't pan out. As if proudly showing off the new 7-inch from Crisis of Conformity — a real track by a fake aging hardcore band from an SNL skit with Dave Grohl) wasn't punk-rock enough, Armisen accompanied himself on live-sampled guitar and drums for a spirited cover of the Equals' "Police on My Back," (better known for the Clash's cover on 1980's Sandanista).

  • Deer Tick, 'Divine Providence' (Partisan)

    Deer Tick, 'Divine Providence' (Partisan)

    It was a wise move for John McCauley and company to shut down Deervana, Deer Tick's short-lived but much beloved Nirvana homage act, before it overwhelmed their "real" band. Especially since "Something to Brag About," "Let's All Go to the Bar," and anthemic, calling-card opener "The Bump" ("We're full-grown men! / But we act like kids!"), all raucous standouts from their revelatory fourth album, are actually the best Replacements songs in 25 years. There's a lot more Westerberg than Cobain ?in McCauley's ragged ?voice and loose-limbed commitment to boozy ?arrested development. More clear-headed moments like "Make Believe" and "Electric" provide relief, in both senses of the term.

  • Wavves, 'Life Sux EP' (Ghost Ramp)

    Wavves, 'Life Sux EP' (Ghost Ramp)

    By now, "lo-fi" has less to do with fidelity than ?accountability. If the songs are good, they're expressions of raw talent, diamonds in the rough; if not, well, the fuck you want, man, I recorded this in my bedroom. In terms of maturity and effort, each of these six reverb-soaked romps is as much of a leap forward from last year's King of the Beach as that record was from Nathan Williams' homemade 2009 debut (though Williams is probably smoking out of an apple bong as he reads this). An earwig hook renders "I Wanna Meet Dave Grohl" a self-fulfilling prophecy and Bethany Cosentino's vocals on career-peak "Nodding Off" make you wish they'd roll tape in their house all day long.

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    "Thank You, Steve Jobs" — Your Friends at SPIN

    October 2001: I am driving from San Francisco to New York City, for good. Everything I own of even marginal value is packed onto a dodgy moving truck, possibly to be seen again in a few weeks. The two exceptions are my dog, taking up the entire front seat, and all of my CDs, taking up the entire back seat. Within the year, a sizable chunk of that music will fit in my shirt pocket. Within four years, all of it will. By next week, when iCloud launches, none of it will need to. There are, of course, downsides to this downsizing -- anyone's gripes about the devaluation of music, of its conversion from fetishized personal totem to interchangeable zeroes and ones on a hard drive, begins with the late Steve Jobs and Apple.

  • Wilco, 'The Whole Love' (dBpm)

    Wilco, 'The Whole Love' (dBpm)

    Twelve years ago, Jeff Tweedy sang, "I dreamt about killing you again last night, and it felt all right to me." Now it's, "You won't set the kids on fire / Oh, but I might." Ideally, he's speaking to the same person. Whoever has been dismissing Wilco as "dad rock" must have pretty complicated relationships with their fathers. Maybe there was a sense, with 2007's postaddiction comedown Sky Blue Sky and 2009's self-consciously cheeky Wilco (The Album), that these guys were settling into middle age with a sigh and a wink. Or maybe the fact that they'd learned to do more than one thing well somehow suggested MOR pandering.

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    MTV's VMAs: The Best and Worst Moments

    To their credit, I suppose, MTV doesn't pretend that Video Music Awards themselves are worth much more than the pewter they're molded from. The show has always been about the balance of unscripted -- or unscripted-seeming -- moments popping out of a carefully choreographed marketing extravaganza, little daisies springing out of a morass of mud. And the decision to go without a host this year is at the least a tacit admission that personalities are secondary to the mission at hand, that navigating these moments isn't really something you need to hire a human being to do. Or, put another way, it's pretty inexpensive to improve upon Chelsea Handler.

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