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Wild Flag to Release Debut Album in September

Also: Patti Smith to guest star on 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent;' The National launch video contest

June 17, 2011 4:30 PM ET
Wild Flag to Release Debut Album in September
John Clark

Wild Flag Will Release Debut in September
Wild Flag – a band Rolling Stone's Rob Sheffield has described as a "gloriously shameless celebration of rockness" – are set to release their debut album Wild Flag on September 13th on Merge Records. The band, which features Carrie Brownstein and Janet Weiss of Sleater-Kinney, Helium guitarist Mary Timony and keyboard player Rebecca Cole, will play a handful of shows in the summer before kicking off a proper tour on October 3rd at the Varsity Theater in Minneapolis, Minnesota. [Press release]

Patti Smith to Star on 'Law & Order: Criminal Intent'
Patti Smith will make her acting debut on Sunday night's episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent. Smith will star as a Columbia University mythology professor called in as an expert in a case loosely based on the string of actor injuries on the stage of Spider-Man: Turn Off the Dark. [Spinner]

The National Announce Video Contest
The National have launched a contest in which the band's fans can submit their own music video for their song "Exile Vilify," which appears on the soundtrack of the video game Portal 2. Fans can upload their video to YouTube with the tag PORTAL2NATIONALEXILE through July 15. The winner will receive a prize package including an Eastwood guitar autographed by the band. [Pitchfork]

Universal Motown Republic and Island Def Jam Restructure
Universal Motown Republic Group and Island Def Jam Group have announced that they will be laying off several staffers as part of a restructuring effort. Both label groups will be run separately, but will share a centralized infrastructure. [Billboard]

MORE: Christina Aguilera Makes As Much As Other 'Voice' Judges Combined

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“American Girl”

Tom Petty and the Heartbreakers | 1976

It turns out that a single with "American" in its title--recorded on the Fourth of July during the nation's Bicentennial, no less--can actually sell better in Britain. Coupled with the Heartbreakers' flair for Byrds jangle and Animals hooks, though, is Tom Petty's native-Florida drawl that keeps this classic grounded at home. Petty dispelled rumors that the song was about a suicidal student, explaining that the inspiration came from when he was 25 and used to salute the highway traffic outside his apartment window. "It sounded like the ocean to me," he recalled. "That was my ocean. My Malibu. Where I heard the waves crash, but it was just the cars going by."

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