The Six Best Male Dancers in Contemporary Rock

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YouTube screengrab, Radiohead's "Lotus Flower"
If Elvis Presley taught us anything, apart from a love for peanut butter and banana sandwiches, it is that white men can dance. His successors such as Iggy pop, David Bowie, Mick Jagger, and Axl Rose are just as iconic for their showmanship as they are their music. All of these frontmen shake, sway, and groove regardless of the tempo. It's exhilarating to watch.

For whatever reason, many male rock singers today just stand there and look glum, like they're bored or stuffed full of Xanax. So we're celebrating the top five male rockers that have the balls to cut loose, highlighting their technique, rhythm, and overall creativity along the way.

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Jason Sebastian Russo & Tara Autovino Need Your Help "Getting the Fuck Out of Brooklyn"

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Guiding Light
Living with your significant other can be nice and cozy...now and again, but imagine going on tour with them? Yes, as in, bringing whatever crap you deal with at home and loading it into a compact car, traveling throughout this great country, and praying it doesn't end in separate plane tickets back to New York.

Alright, so we're being a bit cynical, but that reality is what makes this story we're about to share even more incredibly lovely.

Filmmaker Tara Autovino (Ultimate Christian Wrestling, For A Swim With The Fish) and her boyfriend Jason Sebastian Russo (Hopewell, Common Prayer, and Mercury Rev) will be departing fairly soon on a month-long tour. The duo, who live together in Williamsburg, are embarking on a 10,000-mile journey, and will be recording their adventure every inch of the way. The project will culminate in a film and album titled Guiding Light.

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Q&A: Director Kerthy Fix on Her Endearing Film Who Took the Bomp? Le Tigre On Tour

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DVD cover

We are on the cusp of a riot-grrrl resurgence, or so we hope. Early last year, NYU's Fales Library announced that the institution had acquired Kathleen Hanna's 1989-1996 papers. Then in the fall, news of a Hanna documentary spread, with activist/poet/Sister Spit staple Sini Anderson at the helm, blessed with her subject's collaborative approval. The Kathleen Hanna Project, the film's working title, also inspired a tribute concert at the Knitting Factory last December that staged the Bikini Kill firebrand's past-and-present peers (Kim Gordon, Team Dresch's Kaia Wilson, Toshi Reagon) and descendents (Coco Moore, Care Bears on Fire) covering the third-wave feminist's work for footage. That night, Hanna exhumed her pre-Le-Tigre alter-ego Julie Ruin, performing four songs and announcing that she was working on new Julie Ruin material.

Now, we have another testimony to Hanna's influence and post-riot-grrrl evolution, Who Took The Bomp? Le Tigre On Tour. Comprised of travel footage from the band's This Island tour, Who Took The Bomp? is an endearing portrait of a seminal-feminist trio who, more than six years later, are phasing into roles as public intellectuals. We recently spoke with director Kerthy Fix, who is also responsible for the Stephin Merritt non-fiction film Strange Powers.

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50 Cent's Greatest Hits Of Late 2010 And 2011: A Surprisingly Long List

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Anything to keep him off Twitter
Don't look now, but 50 Cent is off in his little corner making compelling music again. Actually, you had better look now -- he only does this once a year or so, in between failed commercial projects. (Although here's a secret almost no one knows: His last such effort, 2009's Before I Self-Destruct, was one of the year's best rap albums. Really!) He may or may not be releasing another full-length record sometime soon; it may or may not be called Black Magic. But it's hard to get too worked up over these niggling details when you live in a 9,000-room mansion and will never, ever run out of money. Music is a demanding beast, after all, requiring hours of focused effort, and when you can get the same return on investment publicity-wise by filming yourself interrupting one of Shyne's conference calls, honestly, why bother?

But if there's one thing Curtis Jackson needs to feel, it's that he can still command your attention, should he want it. And when this itch grows burdensome, he goes on a small tear to relieve it, issuing a torrent of deeply entertaining, cheaply recorded freestyles and mini-songs over which he rants and raves like a gangsta-rap Yosemite Sam about his dwindling legacy. Usually, this music -- released on G-Unit mixtapes, or lately just sent willy-nilly to blogs as he finishes them -- is all the things he's good at being without even trying: undeniably funny, acridly contemptuous, cynical, openly hostile and bullying to anyone/everyone, and basically cartoonishly dickish. This latest salvo is no exception. There seems to be no "strategy" surrounding their presentation: no mixtapes, no themed projects, no "one song a week" roll-out schemes. Just a random spray of freestyles, original songs, random remixes of pop hits, and left-field collaborations with random West Coast street rappers. Black Magic, or whatever it is, exists in a purely theoretical realm right now; if and when it ever surfaces, it will likely boast half the entertainment value of what we've collected here.

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Adele Tops The Billboard Charts, Actually Sells Some Records

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Finally, a Billboard #1 we can back wholeheartedly: Congrats to Adele, the Brit soul-singer non-diva of whom we are quite fond, for selling a whopping 352,000 copies of her excellent new 21, the best-selling chart-topper since ye olde My Dark Beautiful Twisted Fantasy back in November. This only increases the chances that she will be further ogled by randy late-night talk-show hosts, but we have no doubt she'll power through.

As chart enthusiasts are doubtless aware, the rest of the Top 10 is frankly pretty harrowing, and perhaps best left alone. So let us instead celebrate the music industry's biggest 2011 success story to date with Adele's powerhouse version of "Rolling in the Deep" for David Letterman, who at least found her musically impressive as well.


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Premiere: Stream Mr. Dream's Debut LP, Trash Hit, In Its Entirety

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You will have your type of nostalgia, and we will have ours: to us, the debut LP from Brooklyn trio Mr. Dream (out today, at last) feels like a dazed walk back through the last 25 years of Jesus Lizard, Big Black, and Nirvana records, all arch sarcasm, drawling melodies, a peculiarly grown-up mix of frustration and amusement. But the record's fun too, and funny, knowing but unembarrassed about its influences--and made by three of this blog's friends and favorite people, so take all of the above with a grain of salt, or just listen to it yourself. We've got the whole album streaming right here (cop your very own copy from eMusic for cheap):

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Battles Announce Their New Album's Title, Tracklist, And Release Date

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Art/math/science-rockers Battles, one of the best live acts in the business (though attempting to actually dance at one of their shows may cause serious injury), have finally announced the details of the follow-up to 2007's outstanding, confounding Mirrored, and their first release since the departure of founding member Tyondai Braxton, the closest the band ever got to having a "singer." Per Warp Records, the newly constituted trio will release Gloss Drop on June 7, featuring guest spots from Gary Numan, Matias Aguayo, Kazu Makino, and Yamantaka Eye, he of Boredoms. Pre-order it here. Not much in terms of tour dates yet, but those'll follow, certainly. Tracklist below. Better start stretching now.


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'90s Guitar Rock Heroes The Party Of Helicopters Are Playing Two Reunion Shows in Brooklyn This Weekend

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At last, some '90s/early '00s nostalgia we can get behind: the veteran Kent, Ohio guitar-rock quartet Party of Helicopters are reuniting this weekend to play their first two New York shows since breaking up in 2004. Allegedly it was a particularly grim show in the basement of the old Knitting Factory that year that finally persuaded guitarist and chief songwriter Jamie Stillman to split up the band; since then, there have been a handful of mostly Ohio-centric reunion dates (in 2007, 2009, and 2010), but they haven't returned here until now. In our humble opinion they sounded like a gang of angels shredding in heaven but many friends of ours have violently disagreed over the years, due in part to the dazed and kinda abstractly sexual behavior of frontman Joe Dennis. But no other band had a better way with melody; no other band could flat out play like these guys could. Here's what our pal Chris Ryan wrote about them in these pages back in 2001, the year they released penultimate album Mt. Forever:

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Download The Great Local Metal Comp NYC Sucks, Volume 1

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Kudos to the presumably ironic blog Metal Sucks for curating the also presumably ironic NYC Sucks, Volume 1, a 14-track comp of local metal featuring Made Out of Babies, Castevet, Meek Is Murder (nice), and a few luminaries you may remember from our very own Yes in My Backyard column, including Naam ("kraut-metal crushers") and Battilus ("the blackest, bleakest, and orneriest of the lot"). Stream or download directly from Metal Sucks here; tracklist is below. Watch the volume if you're at work, unless you'd like to explain that you're listening to a band called Mutant Supremacy.



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M.I.A.'s ViCKi LEEKX Mixtape: A 2010 Victory Lap and a Notice To The Haters

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For those who wondered in 2010 what had become of M.I.A.'s once seemingly unerring pop instincts, ViCKi LEEKX--the free mixtape she released in the middle of the night on New Year's Eve--provides a provisional answer: she did it all on purpose. Putting out your new mixtape at the precise hour the internet is least read--maybe even throughout the entire year--is an intentional act, one designed not to feed the online content machines that chewed her up this year but to use the waning hours of 2010 to throw a few more shots their way. We all probably deserve it.

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