Sputnik’s Q2 Mixtape
Welcome to Sputnik’s Second Infinite Playlist of 2013. Here you can look through some of the finest tracks of the past 3 months, as selected by the users of the site, and find some of the best music you might’ve missed this year.
This issue’s contributors are as follows:
Daughter – “Youth”
Elena Tonra’s haunting, Florence Welch-esque vocals and heartbreaking lyrics pervade this lovely track from Daughter’s album If You Leave. As my favourite song from their 2011 EP The Wild Youth, I was expecting (and hoping for) a carbon copy of the song on the album. Whilst the LP version isn’t as intimate, the thumping drums and ethereal guitars transform the song into a different beast entirely. Some may feel the lyrics are treading a very fine line between genuine and cliché, but I reckon they fall just on the right side of that line. This track is well worth checking out, and gives a great indication of what you can expect from the rest of the album.
from the album If You Leave
Cheyenne Mize – “Among the Grey”
Written during a time of “harrowing self-doubt”, Cheyenne Marie Mize commented that the vast majority of one’s life is not composed of grand milestones or destinations, but rather of the time in between. Her sophomore album is not only a representation of those “grey areas”, but also of the dashes of color that make it all interesting and worthwhile along the way. That’s kind of what the title track, “Among The Grey”, exudes – dense, foggy atmospheres with sudden jolts of brightness. Mize’s limber vocals and spectacular range create an auditory color spectrum, quietly lamenting when she is blue, and blazing with a fervent red passion when those thoughts transform into revelations. Her incredible vocal talent makes it possible to exude vibrant positivity while dwelling in a brooding haze, and lends “Among the Grey” a definitive spark despite its brooding tone.
from the album Among the Grey
Falling In Reverse – “Fashionably Late”
Good time jam of the summer (sufficiently sludgy but def not in ur face about it). Ronnie Radke seems like a pretty chill dude who prob has a Facebook (just like you and me). We have all been there (facebook) so don’t tell me you don’t get what he’s saying. Also listen closely for subtle jabs at the Supreme Court’s increasing alignment with corporate special interest groups. This track’s a fucking keeper.
from the album Fashionably Late
Arcane Roots – “You Keep Me Here”
A British progressive post-hardcore group Arcane Roots made one of the most interesting debut albums of 2013 and the closer while as well the climax of the album is “You Keep Me Here”. The 8-minute song opens up with a straight-forward rock verse and a catchy chorus while keeping their capability of skillful playing shown all the time. However in the middle of the song it goes quiet and the beautiful and extremely emotional latter part of the song begins. After that the song slowly builds up to arguably one of the most epic moments heard this year and serves as a bombastic and gorgeous closer track. This is simply just breathtaking.
from the album Blood & Chemistry
The National – “Sea of Love”
Leaving the fear of consequences and inhibitions behind, The National crafted a gorgeous, cohesive album, called Trouble Will Find Me, that’s also one of their most subdued efforts yet. At the heart of the set, lies ‘Sea Of Love’, a song that retains most of the band’s energy and emotion. The lush guitars are tightly guided by Bryan Devendorf’s signature snare-centered drumming, however, the moment Matt Berninger enters with his baritone croon, he adds another dimension to ‘Sea Of Love’. There’s a soft, yet urgent tone in his voice, that woefully asks “Will you say you love me Jo?”, only to remind himself that everything was about to fall apart anyway (“This was never gonna last/ Oh Jo, you fell so fast”). Few details are given so that the listener can only imagine the plot and when Berninger finally bursts with sincerity, shouting the answer “Hey Jo, sorry I hurt you, but they say love is a virtue, don’t they?”. He defends his actions through his regrets, but, still, things are bound to fail. It’s a nostalgic tune with one of the most discussed subjects in music, but the result is so addictive that The National wants you to constantly hit repeat.
from the album Trouble Will Find Me
I See Stars– “Can We Start Again”
I See Stars, but I hear an incredible track! This was considered controversial by some, but say what you want. It’s a new and interesting take on a punk rock classic (the original was by Bain). Guest vocalists Mattie Montgomery (For Today) and Frankie Palmer (Emmure) contribute their own unique styles that make for a really interesting song, so screw the haters. It’s a great play for the gym or driving or basically anything!
from the album Renegades Forever
Dagoba – “By The Sword”
Not only is “By The Sword” the most epic (albeit short) closer this French groove/industrial metal machine has managed to churn out, it’s a more than worthy conclusion to an album that pushes their sound to new heights and leaves fans of such music drooling for more. A striking song with devastating energy behind it, “By The Sword“ symbolizes all things Dagoba. It’s heavy, catchy, in your face, and the band’s penchant for gripping cinematic melodies is also on show as they add diversity and memorability to the track. It’s got a real apocalyptic feel to it, and definitely sounds forceful enough to feature on a soundtrack to one. The group has been releasing solid albums for more than a decade now but still hasn’t been able to escape relative obscurity outside of their homeland. If their excellent new album Post Mortem Nihil Est doesn’t gain them more popularity, then: 1. I’ll be shocked 2. it shall be one of the great underrated records of the year. „By The Sword“ may not be the most experimental cut on the album, but it absolutely oozes power and deserves a nod.
from the album Post Mortem Nihil Est
Anamanaguchi – “Everything Explodes”
In a time where chiptune seems to be falling into the trap of “let’s do EDM…but with chiptune!” Anamanaguchi has created one of the most refreshing takes on the genre in a long time. The Brooklyn quartet’s album, Endless Fantasy, is one of the finest releases of the year so far, and album highlight “EVERYTHING EXPLODES” demonstrates everything good about the album. The song is upbeat and chock-full of sugar-rushing energy from start to finish, and its quick pace works wonders. Anamanaguchi’s standard sound – lead chiptune synth lick over driving distorted guitars – is in full effect here, and it’s easy to hear the noise and emotion of the instruments blasting through the speakers. Endless Fantasy is a chiptune triumph, and if “EVERYTHING EXPLODES” is at all appealing, the album is definitely worth a listen.
from the album Endless Fantasy
Frank Turner – “Tell Tale Signs”
I understand the point of these articles is to give some deserved publicity to underexposed musicians, so picking an artist like Frank Turner is probably going to raise some eyebrows. He certainly doesn’t require much at all amongst a mainstream audience nowadays — given the excessive plays awarded to single ‘The Way I Tend To Be’ by leading radio stations – or profile-raising of any sort on an “in-the-know” website such as this. Let me tell you, then, why I’ve selected ‘Tell Tale Signs’: it’s the kind of wonderful track that inevitably goes unnoticed midst an ocean of fuller-sounding, tailor-made hits. It’s also the most intimately personal song he’s ever written. The song strips away accompanying band The Sleeping Souls and reverts to one man, an acoustic guitar and a stitched-back-together heart, whilst never really abandoning that overwhelming sense of solidarity that permeates throughout the majority of his work. To better illustrate this dichotomy of personal/universal, consider lines like ‘you’ll always remind me of scars on my arms that I know will never fade/and it’s not like it’s something I think about each and every day/I just occasionally catch myself scratching at them, as if they’d ever go away’ — they’re wholly relatable to us, the damaged and depressed, regardless of the fact that it’s Frank’s own individual itching. Hell, Amy, the addressee of the track, the reason behind all the hurt, is basically interchangeable with any name from anyone’s past. Whether submerged under present experiences of happiness, loneliness or whatever, we can never truly hide or shy away from it. And none of Tape Deck Heart’s topical examination of tattoos and scars (see: ‘Losing Days’ and ‘Plain Sailing Weather’) does anything to suggest otherwise. Wear them with subdued pride.
from the album Tape Deck Heart
Parks, Squares and Alleys – “Youth”
There isn’t anything especially unique about “Youth”; it’s not even the first song on this list by that title. Its sweeping guitars and whispery vocals soaked in reverb are typical of the dreamy dream pop championed by the likes of Beach House, DIIV, Wild Nothing, take your pick. But though this young singer-songwriter from the depths of Eastern Russia has adhered closely to the formula – of delicate melodies and uplifting harmonies binded with nostalgia – he’s created such a sweet and sincere gem of a song (with a video to match) that you really won’t care.