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Essential track: Queens of the Stone Age, 'Keep Your Eyes Peeled'

The just-released Queens of the Stone Age animated video for its new song, “Keep Your Eyes Peeled,”  begins with the caption, “A man walks into a bar,” and things turn way bad, way quick. If there’s a punch line in the three minutes that follow, it involves blood, fists and violence.

But then, the Palm Desert-born Queens of the Stone Age's metallic, barbed rock music has long addressed sour times, with heavy but bouncy notes and pounding, distorted chords, all propelled by a rolling vibe that’s smooth and well-lubed. The band has been teasing the highly anticipated new album, called "... Like Clockwork" for the last year, and finally dropped a new track.

“Peeled” crawls along slowly: It’s got none of the fast-paced momentum of classic jams such as “No One Knows.” Rather, it feels like an omen, and a little mean. The clip reflects this. Shortly after our hero enters the establishment in the Boneface-directed video, in fact, he is involved in fisticuffs with a cartoon skull, which he blows up with his fist. Animated blood spews as he lays waste to the ugly patrons -- until some red-skulled freaks start beating our hero.

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His response? His face bloodied, he lights a cigarette. We won't spoil the ending, except to say that it involves an evil man-pig -- and will probably give young children nightmares.

The new song is early hype for the band's sixth album, “…Like Clockwork,” which comes out in June. The record will feature Elton John, Alex Turner of the Arctic Monkeys, drummer Dave Grohl, and James Lavelle of U.N.K.L.E. and others.  

The newest missive is part of a building campaign. On Monday evening, the band founded by desert dweller Josh Homme performed on the BBC show “Later ... With Jools Holland,” where they played new songs “I Sat by the Ocean” and “My God Is the Sun.”

But “Keep Your Eyes Peeled” is the most simmering and toughest of the tracks teased thus far. Listen below.

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Follow Randall Roberts on Twitter: @liledit

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