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Last Lap: Tuesday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Rough Cut Of Britney’s “Gimme More” Video Surfaces
The most notable contrast between this leaked cut and the official video (besides this clip’s inclusion of a sequence in which Britney is topless save for a leather jacket she holds against her chest) is the lack of the post-production wizardry that was applied to make Britney look thinner. We wonder whether that’s why the original is full of dutch angles, while delighting that, for the moment, the YouTube comments about Britney largely avoid body judgments. [Billboard]

30 Seconds To Mars Cover U2 For Unplugged
For their episode of MTV Unplugged (premiering tonight at 8PM ET on MTV.com), 30 Seconds to Mars recruited a gospel choir at the eleventh hour for a take on U2‘s “Where the Streets Have No Name.” MTV shared the video with Entertainment Weekly‘s Music Mix. We can’t help being a teensy bit disappointed that the band didn’t cover Fleetwood Mac, as they had apparently considered, but their U2 cover does the trick anyway. [EW Music Mix]
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Nirvana’s Nevermind Is About To Turn 20, And Spin Got Thirteen Bands To Celebrate

Nevermind 20th Anniversary coverage dominates Spin‘s August 2011 issue, which hits newsstands in a week. Cover story “What Nevermind Means Now” is supplemented by Newermind, a track-by-track cover version of Nevermind. Cobain favorites Meat Puppets and The Vaselines share billing with new kids on the block like Surfer Blood, whose guitarist told the magazine, “Kurt Cobain was dead before I could tie my shoes,” and Jessica Lee Mayfield, who admits, “I found out about Nirvana through the Foo Fighters. I’m sure I’m not the only one who walked that discovery trail.”

The bands who have been most directly influenced by Nirvana are the most reverent in their takes, although Telekinesis, at least, has an excuse: their contribution was last-minute, “when one someone?no need to name names, so let’s just say it was Wavves?went AWOL.” On the other end of the spectrum, we’re rather fascinated by Foxy Shazam‘s transformation of “Drain You” into a glam epic complete with horn section.

The album is available for free download now in exchange for “liking” Spin on Facebook and giving an email address; non-Facebook users can get the tribute directly from Spin‘s site on July 26 when the issue streets.

Free Album: Spin Tribute To Nirvana’s Nevermind [Spin]

[John Paul Pitts (Surfer Blood guitarist) Image: Getty Images]

by (@Lacezilla)

Mariah Carey’s Loopy TRL Ice Cream Surprise, Ten Years Later

Every now and then, somebody needs a little therapy, and ten years ago today, that somebody was Mariah Carey. When the pop diva decided to make a surprise guest appearance on MTV ‘s TRL (Total Request Live), it was already being reported that she was undergoing a tragic mental breakdown, coping with being overworked and recently single, post-breakup with latin singer Luis Miguel. Taking the impromptu entrance as well as anyone could, host Carson Daly couldn’t help but roll with the punches and point out the obvious (“Mariah Carey’s lost her mind!”) as the Glitter-promoting diva erratically moved around the Times Square studio, attempting to hand out popsicles to fans.

The best part? Before removing an over-sized, shamelessly plugging “Loverboy” t-shirt and gifting it to Carson by way of a PG striptease, Mimi pushed the frozen treats into the studio herself and requested that Carson give her a therapy session. No good deed goes unpunished! But don’t worry, underneath her shirt, Mariah revealed a tank top that read “SUPERGIRL” and a pair of teeny-tiny gold shorts that she then requested not get in the shot since they were so, well, short.

Of course, this event forebode the career disaster that was the theatrical release of Glitter (which, it should be noted, opened on 9/11), but as we all know, Mariah was able to turn her life around when The Emancipation of Mimi went multi-platinum a few years later and all was once again well in MC’s world. However, between her random, wild comments, constant running out of breath, and seemingly “medicated” mania, this clip is one to be cherished, even ten years later. And don’t forget, y’all: “If you don’t have ice cream in your life, sometimes you just might go a little bit crazy.” Mimi taught me!

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by (@unclegrambo)

Jordin Sparks Delivers Her Cover Of Demi Lovato’s “Skyscraper” Via Webcam

Everyone loves a good comeback story, and Demi Lovato‘s recent return from a stint in rehab (where she dealt with “emotional and physical issues”) seems poised to make her an even bigger star than she was before she sought treatment. Her new song, “Skyscraper,” is fast becoming a Millenial anthem due to its powerful (and, we should note, very timely) theme of remaining resilient in the face of bullying, and earned praise from the likes of Katy Perry, Kim Kardashian and fellow Disney product, Selena Gomez.

As is wont to happen these days, dozens of covers of “Skyscraper” are starting to pop up on YouTube, most of which are being sung by teens in their bedrooms into their webcam; one such cover, by YouTube user zeldaxlove64, has already racked up over 1.5 million streams. However, earlier today, a “Skyscraper” cover by none other than a former winner of American Idol hit the popular site. That’s right, Idol Season 6 winner Jordin Sparks sat down in front of her webcam, hit record and subsequently published her spin on Lovato’s empowerment anthem. It’s sort of a sign of the times: Instead of a big recording studio, an army of producers and engineers twiddling the knobs, and an expensive video shoot, it’s just a girl with a big voice and a webcam and a YouTube account. (Yes, we’re aware that a trio of high-priced songwriters penned the track, but still.) It’s hard to argue with the results!

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Get Up Kids Cover Blur’s “Boys & Girls” For A.V. Club

We’re fans of the A.V. Club’s “Undercover” series, in which bands visit their offices and play a cover song off a pre-selected list; the limitation means that sometimes the covers are uninspired, but at least as often they force bands to provide an interesting take on a well-known pop single. Even still, we’ve really only linked these clips as part of Last Lap roundups. Today’s entry, however, begs to be shared on its own. The reunited Get Up Kids powerslide their way through a straightforward yet compelling cover of Blur‘s “Boys & Girls,” long a Britpop fave of ours. Enjoy!

The Get Up Kids cover “Girls And Boys” by Blur [A.V. Club]

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Mercury Prize Shortlist Led By Adele, PJ Harvey

The Mercury Prize announced its twelve-album shortlist of the best British and Irish albums released between July 2010 and July 2011 earlier today, and Adele and PJ Harvey are the leading nominees?at least according to British bookies, who gave 4-to-1 odds for each of the two artists. Both have been nominated for a Mercury Prize before: Adele in 2008 for 19 and PJ Harvey three times, of which she won once, in 2001, for Stories from the City, Stories from the Sea. Other nominees that have gotten some traction with United States artists include British rapper Tinie Tempah and Jamie Lidell-via-dubstep soulster James Blake, who played at this weekend’s Pitchfork Music Festival.

The closed-door judging process for the Mercury Prize, founded to be a “Booker Prize for music,” is best explained in a 2003 Guardian piece. The shortlist ranges from the obscure and localized (localised?), like King Creosote & Jon Hopkins‘s Diamond Mine, to, well, Adele. The nominees also span ages, from neophyte rock bands like Everything Everything to UK mainstays like Elbow. And despite some of the left-field nominees, the prize’s short history has British favorites of ours like Suede and Pulp, so we’re curious who will walk away with the prize in September.

Adele, PJ Harvey Top Mercury Prize Nominations [Billboard]

[Image: Getty Images]

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The Beastie Boys “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win”?Even When Action-Figure Lives Are On The Line

We’ve been anticipating the Spike Jonze-helmed Beastie Boys action-figure music video for “Don’t Play No Game That I Can’t Win” since the band announced two weeks ago that they were reteaming with the director. Last night, the under-four-minute television edit premiered on Funny or Die, and early this morning the uncensored full-length video dropped on YouTube. Clocking in at over 11 minutes, and featuring not only the song’s LP version but also a French-house remix by Sebastian (when its musical soundtrack isn’t faded down for the Howie scream and other plot-related sound effects), the video is a suitable next chapter in the Boys’ continuing project of seventies pastiche. (Why haven’t they ever collaborated with Quentin Tarantino?)
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Tuned In: Wye Oak’s “Holy Holy” The Highlight Of An Exceptional Late-Night Music Slate

Last night’s television lineup was a bounty of musical riches: Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros played Conan‘s Summer Concert Series; Bono and The Edge, promoting Spider-Man: Turn Off The Dark (the show’s musical guests), performed “Stuck In a Moment” off-the-cuff; Britpop revivalists Viva Brother made their US television debut on Jimmy Kimmel Live!. Plus Jordan Knight and Imelda May! It’s not often that we have difficulty choosing a highlight among the evening’s musical performances, so we encourage you to check them all out (linked below).

That said, Baltimore’s Wye Oak won the night with their performance of “Holy Holy,” from their third album Civilian, on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon. The duo has a knack for sounding bigger and louder than they appear, and this performance was no exception. Drummer Andy Stack always keeps his left hand free for backing keyboard chords, and lead singer Jenn Wasner‘s deceptively simple electric guitar playing alternately hangs back for verses and fills the air for choruses. The band has been slowly but steadily building a following since their 2007 debut If Children (re-released by Merge in 2008), and refining their sound with each new release. Last night’s television debut was a great showcase of March’s Civilian, their best album yet, and we expect even better from the band in the future.

Elsewhere on late night…
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Last Lap: Monday’s Odds And Ends In Music News

Patti Smith Weighs In On Song Of The Summer Competition
We heard on Friday that Patti Smith had covered Adele‘s “Rolling in the Deep” at a NYC show on Thursday night, and even dubbed it “Song Of The Summer,” but evidence didn’t surface until Saturday. Hear it below!

Paramore, Foster The People Premiere Videos
Paramore‘s Transformers 3 single “Monster” has a new video, in which the band is trapped in a time loop, accidentally tormenting themselves in an abandoned hospital. You Oughta Know band Foster The People go even more brutal and higher-concept with a video in which the band is tortured by a post-apocalyptic band of pre-teens who, judging frontman Mark Foster fit (as opposed to, say, the guy they run down with a van), transform him into a child by stealing the life of an old man with a bizarro hockey-mask/electricity contraption. [“Monster,” “Helena Beat”]
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Five Fast Facts: Pitchfork Festival 2011

Sadly, we weren’t able to make it out to Chicago for this year’s Pitchfork Music Festival, but we were closely following along at home?a task made somewhat easier this year with (now-dead) livestreams of some bands’ sets?and we wanted to share the fruits of that labor with you. So here’s what you (and we) missed:

1. SAXOPHONES
By our count, there were three saxophonists onstage at the festival for this Summer of Sax: one as part of Destroyer‘s smooth-rock band, and two playing with Merrill Garbus of Tune-Yards. Those looking for a smooth sax solo could find it at Destroyer’s set, but the harmonic and punctuating use of saxophones was a highlight of Thursday’s Tune-Yards performance at Pier 54 in New York City, and judging from this clip of “Do You Want To Live?” Friday’s Pitchfork set was no different.
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