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    Soundgarden's Lolla Return Captures the Moment

    "Triumphant" isn't a word you'd use to describe Soundgarden's first proper return to action after 13 years. Not that the Lollapalooza crowd wasn't responsive or that the band weren't spirited, it's just that triumph isn't really an emotion they're interested in summoning. To wit: Around the same time Arcade Fire were launching into their hymnal "Wake Up," Soundgarden were countering with the Superunknown dirge "Like Suicide." Summer means different things to different people. At their warmup show at the Vic Theater Thursday night, Chris Cornell looked very much like someone learning how to be the lead singer of Soundgarden again after a few years in the wilderness.

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    Green Day Blow Up Kitchen Sink at Lollapalooza

    You know how everyone's got that one friend/uncle/teacher who just tries a little too hard to make you think he's awesome? Someone who means well but just won't stop with the jokes and the magic tricks? Well, give that guy some explosives and an audience of 50,000, and you might wind up with something like Green Day's headlining set at Lollapalooza Saturday night. From the opening "21st Century Breakdown" forward, nearly every song of Green Day's two-and-a-half hour set was stretched well past its prescribed length as the ever-earnest Billie Joe Armstrong would break to bring fans onstage to sing or mug, then shoot off water hoses or t-shirt cannons or orchestrate singalongs or throw in classic-rock cover medleys.

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    Lazypalooza 2010!

    There is much to do and see and eat and smell at Lollapalooza, a seemingly endless expanse of diverse attractions and concessions smacked improbably in the center of a major metropolis that offers surprises at every turn. Or, you can park your keester in one spot all day and let the entertainment come to you. Welcome to Lazypalooza. The Sony Bloggie stage seemed to have the best potential for a sedentary Saturday afternoon -- it's in a relatively lush corner of Grant Park and had bands we wanted to see anyway. Plus, it's fun to say "Bloggie." 1:03 PM: With two albums called Free Drugs and Hippies, the Austin, Texas trio Harlem are perfectly engineered for festival work. Good humor, bare-bones Nuggets-y garage rock, constant energy as singers Michael Coomers and Curtis O'Hara switch off between guitar and drums.

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    The Strokes Return at Lollapalooza, Handsome As Ever

    Well, you can't call it a reunion -- it's only been four years since they were an active concern. And the band members have hardly been in seclusion -- their lead singer wrapped up his solo tour a few weeks ago. Yet still, the Strokes awakening from dormancy to headline the opening night of Lollapalooza felt like an event, and, counterprogrammed as it was against the dreaded pop spectacle that was Lady Gaga, even felt a little bit like a statement. (Certainly the frat pigs chanting "Fuck Lady Gaga!" throughout the set thought they were making a statement.) Entering to the iconic drumbeat from "We Will Rock You," then launching into the too-hot-for-Is This It? anthem "New York City Cops," the Strokes did not look or sound markedly different than when we last left them.

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    Arcade Fire Make Themselves at Home in the Garden

    For a moment there, it looked like Win Butler was just reciting from the Cheesy Arena Stage Banter Handbook (foreword by Paul Stanley). "This is my favorite part of the Garden, right here," he said, grinning devilishly as he towered over and genuflected towards the fans clamoring at his feet. Why's that, Win? Because they're the fiercely loyal general-admission diehards who waited in line and threw elbows for the right to sing along to "Neighborhood #3 (Power Out)" while making eye contact with you? "Because it's right here where Hakeem Olajuwon blocked John Starks' shot so the Rockets could beat the Knicks in the 1994 finals!" the Houston-born Butler boasted. Cue: the only booing he will hear for a very long time. Celebrating the release of your new album with two shows at Madison Square Garden takes some chutzpah.

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    Iron Maiden Bring Their Metal Might to New York City

    It's easy to forget, amid the constant deluge of news about the cratering music industry, that a few lucky bands are thriving, seemingly oblivious to the realities of their peers and contemporaries. Long-running U.K. metal heroes Iron Maiden have to top that list. Having sold over 100 million records over the course of their 30-year-career, Iron Maiden regularly play to crowds of 100,000 all over the world, so their sold-out date at Madison Square Garden may have felt to them like an intimate club show. But while many veteran metal acts would have to pad their set with classic hits and radio staples-and certainly Maiden themselves have gladly done that on prior tours-this two-hour show avoided the band's mid-to-late '80s (relative) commercial heyday entirely in favor of songs from the past decade and some deep-cut oldies.

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    The Gaslight Anthem Leave Home

    New Jersey has a long, proud tradition of inspiring people to get the hell out of New Jersey. For the hardest-working band in punk, that just might be their path to glory. [Magazine excerpt] Four days after Times Square was evacuated on account of an undetonated Pathfinder, it's as swarming with tourists as ever, necks craning from atop Gray Line double-decker buses for better views of the billboards above and the poor flunkies sweating through Elmo and SpongeBob costumes below. One of these buses, however, contains visitors not from Germany or Indiana, but from New Brunswick, New Jersey (Exit 9, thanks for asking). Mostly it's an excuse to tool around the city on a day custom-made for just that.

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    Against Me! Celebrate Record Release on SPIN's Roof!

    Veteran Florida agitprop punks Against Me! take a lot of their energy from righteous indignation and coiled rage. So imagine how hard it must have been for them to get it up to celebrate Tuesday's release of their new album White Crosses with a free show for friends and fans on the roof of SPIN HQ on a perfect June evening as the sun set lushly over the Manhattan skyline. Even the crustiest anti-establishment hellion would have trouble complaining about the postcard beauty of the Amstel Light-sponsored event. But if there's anything Against Me!

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    Q&A: Band of Horses

    Infinite Arms is your second album since moving back to South Carolina from Seattle, and it does seem to have a more rural feel than Everything All the Time or Cease to Begin. Do you think the music you write is a result of where you are at the time? It's funny -- the bulk of this record was actually written while living in Minnesota. My wife and I were there awaiting the birth of our first child, because I was still touring a lot and that's where she's from. So I don't know that it really matters where you're at. But I guess it's a testament to what we do that it's recognizable and fits in that groove. Do you ever get the urge to break out of the BoH box? Yeah, I might start taking acid again.

  • Against Me!, 'White Crosses' (Sire)

    Against Me!, 'White Crosses' (Sire)

    It's one thing for a band to shift from DIY agitprop to crowd-pleasing power pop slathered in enough lacquer to coat a gymnasium floor. It's another to do so in a song that dismisses the entire hardcore ethos as an embarrassing adolescent phase, like getting high before algebra class. With Against Me!, there's no separating content from context."I Was a Teenage Anarchist" is engineered to be a lightning rod; Tom Gabel takes all the purist bile spat at him since 2007's Butch Vig–produced New Wave strived to please a crowd that never quite showed up, and spits it right back. "The revolution was a lie!" he barks. You can't fire him, he quits.Photo ops with, and name-checks from, the Boss Himself have galvanized Gabel to redouble his music-for-the-masses efforts, and the strain shows.

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