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    Chris Cornell Looks Back on 20 Years of Soundgarden's 'Rusty Cage'

    Perhaps more than any other song from the early '90s, Soundgarden's "Rusty Cage" is emblematic of grunge's rock-mutt DNA. It was punk spirit tempered with rock-star bravado, metal riffs forged with pop smarts. "Suffice it to say," SPIN wrote about its accompanying album, Badmotorfinger, in 1991, "whatever awesome heavy rock experience you might have grown up with, you can probably find traces." Inhabiting the same magnetically arty X-factor that pulsed within contemporaries like Nirvana, Pearl Jam, and Alice in Chains, "Rusty Cage" helped changed the musical and cultural landscape of the '90s (you can even spot guitarist Kim Thayil rocking a flannel in the video).

  • Cass McCombs, '
Humor Risk' (Domino)

    This enigmatic singer-songwriter has packed a remarkable amount of soul-crippling drama into one year. After his tenderly downcast, early 2011 effort, Wit's End, Cass McCombs confronts life's miseries with a smirk and a softly rocking beat on this enjoyable sixth album. "Mystery Mail" pairs a tale of childhood pals who trade letters from prison after being busted for selling dope with Tom Petty-esque guitars and organs; on "Love Thine Enemy," McCombs' protests against love's insincerity are lifted by punk-lite fuzz bass; and the aching realization that "pain and love" are interchangeable ?is glazed into layers of ?psych folk in "The Same Thing." Suffering rarely has sounded so comforting.

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    My Favorite Things: Yuck's Daniel Blumberg on Silver Jews and Garlic

    British four-piece Yuck's hooky, '90s-inspired guitar rock made them one of the biggest breakout stories of 2011, so we asked frontman Daniel Blumberg to tell us a little about himself. Here he dishes on the Silver Jews, his favorite knock-knock joke, and his love of garlic. Favorite Song:"Riding for the Feeling" by Bill Callahan. This is on the album he released earlier this year, Apocalypse, and it's absolutely one the finest songs I've ever heard. Over his career he's written so many songs that I could say the same for. Favorite Album:Starlite Walker by Silver Jews. This doesn't get talked about too much because people tend to talk about American Water when they talk about Silver Jews. This is the best album though.

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    R. Kelly Croons About Tonsil Surgery in New Track

    R. Kelly underwent emergency throat surgery in July at Chicago's Northwestern Memorial Hospital to drain an abscess on one of his tonsils, and it must have been quite a positive experience because the R&B crooner just released his first post-operation track — which is inspired by the procedure itself. Adele, are you listening? Kelly hit up his Twitter early this morning to explain, "It's been a long time coming but I finally feel a lot better about my throat since the surgery and this is the first song I wrote." The untitled track — let's call it "Shut Up!" in honor of the Black Eyed Peas and Whitney Houston — finds Kelly taking aim at the haters who said "he's washed up, he's lost it." He hasn't.

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    Bruno Mars Has Girl Trouble in 'Twilight' Video 'It Will Rain'

    The video for Hawaii-bred pop crooner Bruno Mars' "It Will Rain," the first single from The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn, Part 1 soundtrack, has debuted online, and it's about as dramatic as the blockbuster vampire films themselves. But that's about all Mars' clip has in common with the upcoming Twilight flick. The only connective tissue is a very, very brief cameo from Twilight's stars, Edward (Robert Pattinson) and Bella (Kristen Stewart); a scene showing Edward sweeping his new wife off her feet and into their new home is projected on a wall for only a few seconds.

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    'Portlandia' Lands Guest Spots From Eddie Vedder, St. Vincent

    In SPIN's first ever "Funny" Issue, on newsstands now, Portlandia co-creators Fred Armisen and Carrie Brownstein playfully skewer the music geeks who provide some of the show's inspiration. Next season they'll welcome more actual rock stars onto their hilarious show, too: Pearl Jam's Eddie Vedder, Modest Mouse's Isaac Brock, Sex Pistols' Steve Jones, Joanna Newsom, St. Vincent, and Johnny Marr will all appear in the second season of Portlandia, set to premiere on January 6 at 10 p.m. EST on IFC.The rockers "will be taking up temporary residence in show's satirical and dreamy rendering of Portland, OR," according to a statement from the show.

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    Awful Auction Is Selling Off Michael Jackson's Deathbed

    The contents of Michael Jackson's final home — the mansion in Holmby Hills, California, where the King of Pop took his final breaths — are going up for auction starting December 17 via Julien's Auctions, the AP reports. Though the auction house claims it isn't using Jackson's name to boost prices (the catalog is simply labeled "100 North Carolwood Drive"), it certainly seems as though yet again somebody is trying to profit of the tragic death of one of the world's most beloved performers. Items up for sale include the queen-sized bed where Jackson received the fatal dose of Propofol that claimed his life on June 25, 2009 and a chalkboard from the home's kitchen on which one of Jackson's children scrawled a note to MJ: "I (heart) Daddy. SMILE, it's for free." "We want to preserve the history of these items," said Darren Julien, president of Julien's Auctions.

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    Why Chris Cornell Can't Stop Opening His 'Songbook'

    Chris Cornell is currently touring the U.S. in support of the November 21 release of Songbook, a collection of 16 tracks recorded live during his solo trek last spring. SPIN recently rang the alt-rock vet in New Orleans, where he was preparing to play a one-off headlining gig at Voodoo Fest with Seattle's reunited grunge heroes Soundgarden (who are recording a new effort of their own). Here's what he had to say — before he got laryngitis. You launched a solo U.S. tour last spring. Why expand it and record the new album?My attitude from the beginning was that I wanted to take the solo tour everywhere — Australia, New Zealand, U.S., Canada, and Europe. But I didn't know what it was going to mean, necessarily. With "Seasons" [Cornell's solo acoustic contribution to the Singles soundtrack], people got this Led Zeppelin III feeling.

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    Inside Axl Rose's First TV Interview in Over a Decade

    For the first time in over a decade, reclusive Guns N' Roses frontman Axl Rose has sat down for a TV interview, chatting with Eddie Trunk, Jim Florentine, and Don Jamieson, the hosts of VH1's That Metal Show, backstage following a stop on GN'R's U.S. tour in Miami on October 29. The interview didn't start until 5:30 A.M. — and it went for close to two hours. There was a lot to catch up on. SPIN got the lowdown on what Axl discussed straight from Trunk. (The interview airs on the season premiere of That Metal Show on National Metal Day, November 11). "Love him or hate him, he's still Axl Rose," Trunk tells SPIN. "And he's masterfully found a way to always be interesting." (Watch our exclusive clip for proof.) Here's what you have to look forward to: How'd this rare interview come together?

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    GWAR Guitarist Flattus Maximus Discovered Dead

    Cory Smoot, a.k.a. Flattus Maximus, the longtime guitarist for Richmond, Virginia, metal band GWAR, was discovered dead by his bandmates on Thursday morning as the six-piece prepared to cross the border into Canada on tour. No cause of death has yet been identified; a spokesperson was unavailable for comment as of press time. GWAR's frontman Dave Brockie (Oderus Urungus) addressed the news in a statement to Metal Sucks: "It is with a sense of profound loss and tragedy that the members of GWAR must announce the passing of their long time guitarist and beloved friend Cory Smoot... The members of GWAR are completely shocked and devastated...

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