Sputnik Music is dedicated to bringing you the best new music. Part of our endeavor includes this very blog, our “Infinite Playlist” – a user-submitted database consisting of quarterly, up-to-date tracks from your favorite artists (and hopefully a few ones you’ve never heard of before). Below you will find a list of songs from the third quarter of 2012. Each song is (if possible) accompanied by a download link, access to the artist’s home page, and a review of his/her latest album.
Sputnik’s Infinite Playlist is, as the title suggests, an ongoing project. You can contribute to future publications of Sputnik’s Infinite Playlist by submitting a song title, artist name, release date, and 5-10 sentence blurb to email@example.com.
All prior sections of the Infinite Playlist can be found below:
If you have any additional questions, drop me a message in my shoutbox. Q4 submissions will range from October to December, so feel free to send something in at your leisure. Not a user? No problem. You can register with the site here.
And as always, I would like to take a moment to recognize this issue’s contributors for their time and effort. Please give a round of applause for this quarter’s writers:
Alright, enough fanfare…on to Sputnik’s Infinite Playlist, Q3!
The Devin Townsend Project – “Save Our Now”
What can be said about Save Our Now? Well, for starters it’s the best track on Devin Townsend’s stellar new album Epicloud. It’s also not a typical sounding Townsend tune, the dude known as Heavy Devy has dropped one of the most danceable and catchy tracks I’ve ever heard that I could easily see being played on the radio. Dev drops his usual progressive song structure to craft an easily digestible standard song structured pop tune. The track features the always amazing Anneke van Giersbergen in a sort of duet with Devin sounding like star crossed lovers. Save Our Now features the dense production Devin has become known for with the multi tracked vocals really taking the song over the top into dream like territory. Devin’s airy soft vocals are perfectly complimented by Anneke van Giersbergen’s fuller more operatic vocals, and with tracks like Save Our Now, Townsend shows who he really is on the inside, a lover not a fighter if you will, and at age 40 he’s making the music he wants and not giving a shit what anyone thinks. There isn’t that much else to say about Save Our Now, it’s simply a well crafted pop song made excellent by Devin’s mature minimalistic songwriting and incredible production. Save Our Now is my favorite song of 2012 so far and is surely a treat for Townsend fans and non fans alike.
Caught in the Wake Forever – “Western Medicine Failed Me”
My favorite part of the day’s the morning, when I crawl out of bed and think about the potential my day has. That moment when you realize you could do anything today. That sensation’s inherently fleeting, but there are occasionally pieces of art that convince us we should follow the early-bird mindset. “Western Medicine Failed Me” is a stunning example of this, the ambient post-rock track drowsy but awake at the same time. It slides to the window only to let the light in, existing as a catalyst for those essential changes in life we all make. The entire album Against a Simple Wooden Cross follows this formula, but this particular track is perhaps the most concise example of a track that manipulates painful grief into a necessary evil, and a reason to truly live.
Meursault – “Settling”
We all rave about Frightened Rabbit, The Twilight Sad et al, but what’s less often mentioned is the level of depth held by the current Scottish scene. This is all but confirmed by the fact that a band as excellent as Meursault can pass by relatively unnoticed, especially given they’re by virtue the type of outfit that should stand out. Blending ethereal folk with vibrant electronica, their first two albums were quite simply among the most unique and impressive the nation has produced in years, so it’s surprising in the extreme they’ve all but dropped the latter element of their sound on latest set Something For The Weakened.
Luckily, it’s a move they’ve judged to perfection, with the absence of bleeps and bloops revealing startling levels of depth and emotional resonance which had previously been masked. Nowhere is this more evident than on “Settling,” the record’s spiritual centerpiece and a track which epitomises all that’s good about this new Meursault model. Amid an almost minimalist backdrop, Neil Pennycook’s talents as both a singer and writer are finally laid bare, culminating in a raw and truly affecting five minute slab of magnificence. Attention and sales may still be eluding them, but with each new release this wonderful collective are proving more than a match for their illustrious contemporaries.
Amanda Palmer & the Grand Theft Orchestra – “The Killing Type”
What’s this? An Amanda Palmer song without a piano in sight? Yes, apparently for her new album Theatre Is Evil (or at least for this particular song), Amanda has decided to tone down the theatrics just a tad. In fact, on the surface, “The Killing Type” seems like a fairly standard, almost unremarkable alt rock tune. But make no mistake, this is undoubtedly an Amanda Palmer song, and a damn good one at that. Her trademark earnest, frantic voice is front-and-center, as are her typical morbid sense of humor and brilliant lyricism (“I would kill to make you feel/I don’t mean kill someone for real/I couldn’t do that, it is wrong/But I can say it in a song”). Combine that all with the raw power and tight musicianship of her backing band, the Grand Theft Orchestra, and you have one of the strongest songs of Amanda’s career.
The Chariot – “And”
In 2012 chose to take their track-listing with a different approach and make a phrase out of it, the phrase being: Forget Not Your First Love Speak In Tongues And Cheek. Now in my humble opinion “And” is one of the best songs on One Wing, yet it gets stuck with the blunt title of “And”. What a ripoff right? Well if anything can compensate its surely the sample of some 50’s song with a ukelele at the very beginning of this already short 2:14 long song. Yeah, the uke should do it. But really about The Chariot are doing is what I think all you want to know so lets get to it. The song really is fairly simple, its your standard Chariot song, short in length, has Josh Scogin’s fiery vocals, blistering drums and Botch-influenced mathcore stylings and use of odd time signatures. It also like the song, “Calvin Mackenzie”, from 2010’s Long Live features a sample from another 50’s song for a mere two seconds or so. All in all its a great song, and takes care of all One Wing’s needed choas before heading into the monumental “Cheek”.
The Antlers – “Crest”
“Crest” exhibits a very smooth and Jazzy texture that floats elegantly in a calming soundscape. Peter Silberman’s voice really stand out in this song, delicate and seductive, he adds a sense of imitate sensuality to the music. It’s almost impossible to not lose yourself in its beauty. “Crest” is just one of those songs that really takes you away into its own world. So exquisitely hypnotic, it exudes a lively display of sounds that leave you astray in a haze of psychedelic delight.
Burning Jet Black – “Magazine Girl”
This is one of those songs that’s just extremely catchy, worlds of fun, and you’re not even sure why. The vocalist is a decent fit for a band possessing a pop-leaning alt-rock vibe, and the lyrics aren’t that deep…it has to be the upbeat pace that the drummer and guitarist bring to the table, effectively creating a bouncy, optimistic vibe that makes for an enjoyable listen no matter what genre of music you’re into. Oh, and that risqué video…
Climates – “Heavy Minds”
Climates are a melodic hardcore band out of the UK who just released their sophomore EP “What Means The Most” in August of this year. Heavy minds is a song from the 6 song EP that perfectly encompasses the sound they’re going for with this release. It brings all the elements you could ask for in a melodic hardcore song, melody, emotion, and catchiness. The deep lyrical content fits perfectly with music and will definitely keep you fully emerged into what this song and EP have to offer. The fast melodic guitar work that closes the song accompanied by the heartfelt screams give me goose bumps every time.
Tilly and the Wall – “Echo My Love”
The absolutely adorable, most precious, irredeemably cutest band in the world (percussion? try a tap dancer) will be releasing fourth album Heavy Mood shortly, and given that I have a soft spot for rainbows, teddy bears, and women who can sing (I see you, Kianna Alarid), this is pretty much a mandatory listen. “Echo My Love” is the early favorite, taking things in a more contemplative, ’80s teen romance direction while utilizing those harmonies in a most glorious fashion. If you need me, I’ll be in Omaha, Nebraska, blaring this on a boom-box outside Ms. Alarid’s bedroom window.
Goat – “Goathead”
When you think of Sweden, the last think that springs to mind probably are shaman voodoo rituals. But that’s exactly what Goat claims they’ve been through. Hailing from the remote and cold village of Korpolombolo, this new band pours the heathen traditions of their hometown in an absolutely exciting mix of psychedelic, fuzzed out guitars, traditional percussion intruments (bongo’s!!!) and mysterious, nonsensical chants for the gods of nature. Their debut World Music is one of the weirdest but at the same time most entrancing and addicting records you’ll hear all year, and ‘Goathead’ is only one of the many highlights. Lock the doors, roll down the window shutters, put the volume to the maximum level and let yourself drift away to the strange and foreign musical landscapes of Goat; I promise it’s the experience of a lifetime.
Cara Neir – “You Are Missed”
Formed in 2008, it may have taken Cara Neir a few years but in these past few months this Dallas, Texas based band has blazed a trail so hot it could easily incinerate all those who try to follow. Their combination of black metal, screamo and hardcore may not be anything too wild these days, but this dynamic duo is obviously a cut above the rest. Their fusion is just so seamless and the track “You Are Missed” from their most recent EP ‘Sublimation Therapy’ couldn’t represent that any better. The song opens in true black metal fashion, with ferociously fast blast-beats and a tempest of tremolo picked riffs but quickly changes into something so much more: as the dissonance dissipates the track breaks into warm screamo melodies a total contrast but one that feels surprisingly natural. When the song once again goes back into its bleaker state once again the transition is almost unnoticeable a true testament to just how well these guys can jump from one genre to another and make it seem like it was meant to be. WIth a length of just over a minute, “You Are Missed” demonstrates just why Cara Neir are THE up and coming extreme metal band to keep your eye on.
Ling Tosite Sigure – “white noise/film A moment”
Now, I know this is a little bit of a cheat, two songs in one (well three but the first track is barely over a minute of ambience), however being the solo project of the guitarist/singer/songwriter of a japanese band no-one in the western world has heard of meant it’s the only video I could find. The first track, “white noise”, represents a side of TK we’ve never really seen before, mainly because in Sigure he has always kept his songwriting to the classic three piece rock band formula, but here we have a soothing piano piece while his trademark absurdly high vocals waft over the top until half way through and a positively angelic female voice comes through. The whole song is beautiful and presents a calmness rarely seen in any of TKs usual work. The second track, “film A moment” is more a return to form with its complex, twirling melodies driven by technical, ferocious drumming. The difference here is again the use of different instruments – piano loops, flutes, strings, they all make an appearance and together form an undeniably unique, writhing snake of a song. These two songs are a fitting introduction to the rest of “flowering”, distinctly TK’s work but incorporating a much wider array of influences. TK is one of the most stunningly unique musicians working in the world today, let alone in Japan, and it would be a sin not to listen.
Enjambre – “Elemento”
The song is by Mexican band Enjambre so yes it is sung in Spanish (´cus you know sputnik could use some more foreign music). It’s a nice little love song about missing that special someone. The song has an 80’s feel to it that I really dig. It’s a pretty chill and catchy song. Overall its one of the better songs on the album.
Neal Morse – “Thoughts Part 5”
Neal Morse has always been inclined to manifest his strong religious beliefs in his work and that’s why his music has often been dismissed as overly preachy. However, his knack for crafting complex progressive rock epics comes as undisputable. His uplifting compositions often retain the sheer playfulness of old prog combining it with numerous majestically arranged transitions and decidedly modern production techniques. “Thoughts Part 5” continues the series commenced by Spock’s Beard packing all Neal Morse’s trademark features into one explosive package. The track bursts with massive technical riffing, amazing Gentle Giantesque vocal melodies and a multitude of exquisite progressions that never feel forced or impenetrable. Both endlessly creative and technically impressive, “Thoughts Part 5” is a tour de force of progressive rock and easily ranks among the best tracks of the year in any genre.