So the big music news today was the announcement that Nine Inch Nails will be returning to live performances this summer. As a lifelong NIN fan, I am of course exceptionally pleased at this news. Yet I also can’t help but think about four years ago when Trent Reznor first put the brakes on the band. He said in interviews that while he planned to continue releasing recordings under the NIN name, he was getting too old and tired to tour anymore. At the time he was also getting married and spoke of starting a new chapter of his life and forming a new band with his wife. Those things happened and the last couple years we’ve gotten a pair of EPs from the new band How to destroy angels_, with a debut full length due in just a couple weeks. The process has been slower on that front given Reznor’s work with Atticus Ross on a pair of soundtracks for David Fincher films, including The Social Network and The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo. In other words, the man has been spreading the wealth of his talents around to a multitude of things recently. I both did and didn’t him to find his way back into performing live. My suspicion was that he’d eventually be forced to do some shows with How to destroy angels_, but considering his wife is the lead singer of that band he’d be happy to take a back seat and let her absorb the spotlight. By sort of hanging out in the back and doing his own thing, he wouldn’t be required to bang his head and throw microphone stands and jump around the stage like a madman. That might be the ideal situation for him at this point, and now that Htda have announced their first live shows, it’ll be interesting to see what sort of role he plays on stage with this band. For all practical purposes though, I assumed NIN was done performing live and that Reznor would stick to his guns on that, only teasing us further with new recorded output. After all, he held one final “Wave Goodbye” tour in 2009 that was supposed to be the last set of NIN shows ever. I attended the final Chicago date, and it was just about everything I could ever hope for in a NIN show. That was even after seeing the technological marvel that was the “Lights in the Sky” tour, perhaps one of the most memorable shows I’ve ever been to because of the incredible innovations happening on stage. So part of me is disappointed that NIN will be playing shows again, because I wanted to feel like I truly saw one of the band’s final sets. Then I remember how much I’ve loved the band and the music and every single time I’ve seen them live and it makes me giddy to think about that happening again. I’m more happy than upset, and there’s even a new live band to help bring something different this time around. The 2013 NIN lineup includes Reznor, Eric Avery of Jane’s Addiction, Adrian Belew of King Crimson, Josh Eustis of Teflon Tel Aviv, plus Alessandro Cortini and Ilan Rubin. Damn that’s a good crew of people. When and where NIN will finally return to performing has yet to be announced, but expect those shows to start in July or early August. I already know when they’ll be back in Chicago, but that’s a discussion for another time. But welcome back, Nine Inch Nails. Now let’s talk about Pick Your Poison for this Monday. I’m happy to recommend tracks from AM & Shawn Lee, Criminal Hygiene, Hotel Mexico, K.Flay, Moxi, Replete and Thalia Zedek Band. In the Soundcloud section after the jump, stream tracks from Big Black Delta, The Cyclist and The Lonely Wild.

AM & Shawn Lee – Two Times

Criminal Hygiene – Alan, I’m In Love

Crush Distance – The Comfort

Hotel Mexico – A.I In Dreams

John Grant – Black Belt (Dungeonesse Remix)

K.Flay – West Ghost (ft. Allen Stone)

Moxi – Terrible Disguise

Multiplier – Pirate Electro

New Mexico – Alpha Male

Replete – Easy Love

Thalia Zedek Band – Walk Away

Travis Bretzer – Lady Red

Tylan – Already Fine

Zagar – Space Medusa


Big Black Delta – Side of the Road

The Cyclist – Bones in Motion

Grandchildren – Sunrise

Honeymooon – Hail The Madmen

The Lonely Wild – Everything You Need

Matmos – Aetheric Vehicle (Soft Pink Truth Remix)