Before I begin today’s column, a huge thanks to everyone who took part in last week’s discussion concerning “favourite lyrics”. It was by far the most popular ‘Sputnik Discusses’ thus far and I’m certain that many readers found it as enlightening as I did. Also, an apology if this particular column comes off a little half-hearted in comparison. In between reading all of those fantastic lyrics, writing 4 reviews and putting together a literal smorgasbord of live videos from Australia’s recent Soundwave Festival, it’s fair to state that my spare time has been scarce of late. Oh well, let’s see how it goes, shall we?
As per my usual orderly want to link my blogs, I’d like to point your attention towards last weekend’s Soundwave Festival post, which included ten live videos from Day-1 of the annual Australian event (My Day-2 wrap will be posted by this weekend). Just attending the festival got me to thinking: If given the choice of only one, would I prefer to get my dose of live music by way of (a) festivals or (b) headline gigs (with one or two support acts)? In all honesty, my decision on this has wavered from year to year… And there are more factors that go into the choice than one might initially think.
Now, a musical purist might feel that there is no competition in this debate. Surely it’s all about the music and a band’s “true”…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 24th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful (Atlantic Urban)
Beautality – Einfallen: A Tale Ov Torment & Triumph (Nordavind Records)
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. (Mom & Pop Music)
Etiquette – Reminisce (Hand Drawn Dracula)
Gabrielle Papillon – The Tempest Of Old (Self-released)
The Go! Team – The Scene Between (Memphis Industries)
Hit The Lights – Summer Bone (Pure Noise)
Humming House – Revelries (Rock Ridge Music)
Inventions – Maze Of Woods (Temporary Residence)
Jam City – Dream A Garden (Night Slugs)
JEFF The Brotherhood – Wasted On The Dream (Infinity Cat)
Jimmy Whispers – Summer In Pain (Moniker Records)
Joel Plaskett – Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test (Pheromone Recordings)
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015 (Mom & Pop Music)
Julian Moon – Good Girl (Warner Bros. Records)
Laura Marling – Short Movie (Ribbon Records)
Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire (Thrill Jockey)
Liturgy – The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey)
LoneLady – Hinterland (Warp Records)
Mind.In.A.Box – Memories(Metropolis Records)
People Of The North – Era Of Manifestations (Thrill Jockey)
Steve Grand – All American Boy (Grand Nation) Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Fat Wreck Chords) – Jom
Them Are Us Too – Remain (Dais Records)
Too Close To Touch – Nerve Endings…
All the way back in 2011, I posted a blog titled ‘Maiden, Slash, Slayer & QOTSA Soundwavin’ Around Oz’ that included amateur video of five acts that toured around Australia with the rock, punk and metal festival that is Soundwave. Since then, I have decided to only post lists detailing my experiences at the annual extravaganza, but all that’s about to change in a big way. With 2015’s event being held over two separate days, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to return to the blog and allow all of you to see some live footage of a diverse range of bands. And since I personally saw 10 bands on the day that I attended, then you also get to see 10 bands… TWICE OVER! This week will include the first batch of ten from Day-1 and next week I’ll be back with 10 more from Day-2. How’s that for value!?
Before we begin, a disclaimer must first be aired for legal purposes: SputnikMusic shall take no responsibility for any motion sickness caused by unsteady hand-held cameras used in the making of the following videos. The same goes for deafness caused by varying volume levels, seizures caused by blinking lights, and blindness caused by the brightness of security vests.
And just in case you were thinking that the line-up for Day-1 looks a little thin, then please take into account that the following list of videos excludes the…
Many thanks to Kyle “Crysis” Ward for taking over the ‘Sputnik Discusses’ reins last week. The cheeky bugger made my discussions look like pure fluff in comparison, with his piece on the ‘Message Behind the Music’ eliciting responses that included references to Marx, Shakespeare, Jim Crow and the U.S. Supreme Court! If you have yet to read Kyle’s thought-provoking column, I urge you to do so by clicking here. Otherwise, since I am currently in the midst of a reviewing hot streak, here is more sugary DaveyBoy fluff to hold you over until the next guest columnist. And due to my orderly want to attempt to link each column, today’s ‘Sputnik Discusses’ exists so you can all share your favourite lyrics with us.
When it comes to taking in lyrics and rating their importance to my listening experience, I’m somewhere in-between those who completely ignore them and those who think they are the be-all and end-all. They’re more the cherry on top, rather than the ice-cream itself. Basically, with a few exceptions, top-notch lyrics can make a great song superb, while poor lyrics can make a great song only good. While the likes of The Smiths and The National are sure to pop up in discussion, I’m personally not one for sitting in the corner of my bedroom enjoying mopey lyrics. The closest I get to such despondency is that of the lazy, realist self-loathing kind, as NYC rockers Bayside sang so infectiously on…
Spring is an exciting, tricky season. As the cold of winter slowly starts to fade and give way to blossoming life once more, everything changes. The sun regains its warmth, the waters start to burble again, branches develop green buds, and in the midst of nature waking, one should feel an increasing pep in their step as well. I find there’s rarely a feeling more fulfilling than the one you get when the fog of winter clears from your mind, and you start to see all sorts of colors again. The initial lure of spring can be dangerous though, and it’s not especially difficult to fall victim to a number of ailments (just as I have at the moment), like the flu, or other more minor infectious diseases. So what to do when you’re feeling too lousy to take advantage of the weather outside, but are lively enough to not sleep your days away? Listen to new, exciting music of course! This is where Galar and Dark Essence Records come along to help us out.
Today, on the 16th of March, Norway’s black/folk metallers Galar will release their long-anticipated third album De Gjenlevende through the aforementioned Dark Essence Records. Links will appear at the bottom end of this post on where you can acquire the new album, but for those who want to give it a spin before getting the real deal on their hands, Sputnik has been granted the privilege to…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 17th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Allison Moorer – Down To Believing (Entertainment One Music)
AWOLNATION – Run (Red Bull Records) Björk – Vulnicura (One Little Indian) – Jacob Royal
The Cribs – For All My Sisters (Arts & Crafts)
Death Grips – Jenny Death (Harvest Records)
Eskimo Callboy – Crystals (Universal)
Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin (PIAS)
Houndmouth – Little Neon Limelight (Rough Trade)
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (Interscope)
Mark Knopfler – Tracker (Verve)
Modest Mouse – Strangers To Ourselves (Epic)
Moonspell – Extinct (Napalm)
Nic Hessler – Soft Connections (Captured Tracks)
Nick Lutsko – Etc. (Self-released) San Cisco – Gracetown (+180 Records) – Davey Boy
Sleeping With Sirens – Madness (Epitaph) Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon (True Panther Sounds) – Davey Boy
Twin Shadow – Eclipse (Warner Bros.)
Is there any musician out there that would have a better C.V. than little known singer-songwriter Sasha Siem? I doubt it. The British-Norwegian chanteuse has studied music and poetry at both England’s Cambridge University and America’s Harvard University. She has written and composed music for the London Symphony and Philharmonic orchestras, as well as various opera companies. This was all by her early 20s!
Of course, there was no chance that someone so prodigiously talented could stagnate for too long, so Siem recorded her debut EP ‘So Polite’ in 2013. Sensing she may have a career with this unique style of classical indie-pop, the now 30 year old has followed it up with her recently released debut LP ‘Most of the Boys’. Taking cues from a wide variety of sources, Siem reminds of Joanna Newsom, Fiona Apple, Bjork, Regina Spektor, PJ Harvey and Tori Amos. Yet she is undoubtedly her own artist.
Contrary to what one might expect from such a virtuoso, ‘Most of the Boys’ is far from the elongated recording that you might think it would be. With its total running time clocking in at under 32 minutes (only one track surpasses 3.15), its 11 tracks are bite size without too significantly sacrificing compositional integrity. There’s some satisfying diversity too… As can be seen by the following three videos: the quirky ‘So Polite’;
the more methodically paced ‘My Friend’;
and finally the little bit of everything that is ‘See Through’:
Who would have thought that Davey would be daft enough to give the reigns of his fledgling series of serious musical business to such a close-minded metalhead as myself? This is, after all, the 6th iteration of this column – a number that is damn good for us sometimes lethargic and apathetic staff members, but I’m here to show you that it’s not just Davey who has a desire to generate good discussion. Let’s not dwell on the who and the what, though, since before Davey changes his mind and decides that this guest appearance was a terrible idea indeed, I have a few opinionated…erm… opinions to share with you all. Actually, I’m more looking for your vehement disagreement or even a casual word or two about an over-arching topic that has come up many times around not only this site’s review threads, but also has permeated the world of popular music and underground scenes alike.
Lyrics are most certainly their own form of poetry, and like poetry the words contained in a song’s lyrics are simply the metaphorical tip of the iceberg in terms of what the artist is really trying to say. On occasion, things are right there for all to see, but more often than not the true meaning of a song can be buried beneath layers of metaphor. Could it be, then, that the meaning of a song and the attitudes that meaning projects onto the artist be that of a more… unsavory nature?…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 10th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Aero Flynn – Aero Flynn (Caroline)
ANAMAI – Sallows (Buzz Records)
Beans On Toast – The Grand Scheme Of Things (Xtra Mile Recordings)
Brodinski – Brava (Parlophone)
Cancer Bats – Searching For Zero (Metal Blade) Enslaved – In Times (Nuclear Blast)
Evans The Death – Expect Delays (Slumberland)
Harm’s Way – Rust (Deathwish Inc.)
Heems – Eat, Pray, Thug (Megaforce)
iVardensphere – Fable (Metropolis Records)
Lieutenant – If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going To Eat For A Week (Dine Alone)
Luke Bryan – Spring Break… Checkin’ Out (Universal Nashville)
Madonna – Rebel Heart (Interscope)
Marina & The Diamonds – Froot (New Elektra)
Matthew E. White – Fresh Blood (Domino Recording Company) Melechesh – Enki (Nuclear Blast)
No Spill Blood – Heavy Electricity (Sargent House)
The Rezillos – Zero (Metropolis Records)
Taylor Berrett – Great Falls (Warner Bros.)
Will Butler – Policy (Merge Records)
Young Guv – Ripe 4 Luv (Slumberland)
For reasons which I can’t fully wrap my head around, Porter Robinson’s debut full-length Worlds was incredibly well-received by a sizable portion of a few subsets of electronic music fans. Despite some admittedly lukewarm reviews among many well-established music coverage sites, the album hit it big with legions of fans, especially on the humongous media aggregator Reddit (at one point, moderators of /r/electronicmusic, the site’s largest electronic music community, ostensibly considered banning all posts about Robinson due to his omnipresence). Though I feel like I should feel a greater affinity with the man, given the shared surname between him and my pen name, I can’t say that I share these sentiments. “Fellow Feeling” serves as a good example as to why I feel this way. It’s a little bit all over the place, mildly annoying glitchy house breakdown coming in abruptly after an odd vocal sample and burgeoning string arrangement before cutting back out almost immediately at the behest of the string arrangement’s reappearance. The festival-euphoria bent which becomes slowly more apparent as the song blossoms feels off, somehow – I can’t put my finger on why, but the supposed explosion of a 4×4 kick in front of a main-stage instrumental arrangement doesn’t fully capitalize on the four-odd minutes of anticipation and buildup.
Given my apathy towards Worlds, then, it’s especially impressive that Frequent’s bootleg of the song is as phenomenal as it is. Despite the Boulder, CO-based producer’s relative novelty (based on what limited information is available online,…
Not that I should be the all-judgmental on pseudonyms, but I’ve never quite understood why many a musician use a stage-name. Of course, there are a few exceptions, like the unpronounceable surname or the complete character change. Another reason could be to – for one reason or another – distance yourself from a famous parent. Now, I’m unsure that’s what has actually occurred with Elle King, but it wouldn’t surprise me. The now 26 year old was born Tanner Schneider. Her father? The great motivational speaker Rob:
Having split her time with some acting credits over the past decade or so, it now appears as if Elle King will tackle the music industry head on. In 2012, she released a 4 track EP (which included an interesting cover of Khia’s ‘My Neck, My Back’, as well as the banjo-driven ‘Good To Be a Man’). And just recently, she released her debut LP ‘Love Stuff’.
King’s voice will remind many of the late 2000’s soul-pop explosion out of the United Kingdom. Duffy, Joss Stone, Adele, Amy Winehouse and Paloma Faith all come to mind, so whether or not she is too late to the party will remain to be seen. Yet, there’s something a little more added, if only because she resides on the other side of the Atlantic. There’s a kind of blues or country vibe apparent, while also being rather poppy and accessible. Some or all of these influences can be heard on Love Stuff’s…
Today’s milestone 5th edition (who ever thought we’d make it this far) of ‘Sputnik Discusses’ features the first topic to come suggested by one of the discussors. You heard me correctly; every now and then, I’ll take a topic suggested by you and turn into a discussion column. And the man who is privileged enough to be the first to have such an honor bestowed upon him is Contributing Reviewer Arcade. His prize: If the column sucks, he gets to take all the blame. Thanks for the idea Arcade.
Of course, I could also say that this is the third consecutive column to be inspired by Dave Grohl and ‘Sonic Highways’, since that series of documentaries was all about commemorating the sound and stories of eight U.S cities. While there was clearly some overlap between those cities, each one was sufficiently distinctive. It got me to thinking about my hometown of Melbourne – Australia. How do we stack up in terms of having a unique music scene? I mean, sure, we’re the sporting capital of the world and have perfect weather (just look at those blue skies below, doubters), but what is our musical heritage and how do we stand out from any other city musically?
Well, apart from the sport and the weather, the two words that would best describe Melbourne are “cosmopolitan” and “multicultural”. There’s a real culture here that fuels a diverse range of music. I haven’t got enough space to list the pub-rock…
Most videos and pictures that go viral usually generate nothing more than a shoulder shrug from yours truly. I mean, I really don’t give a flying fire truck what color that dress is. But, occasionally, something will catch my ear that I deem useful… A benefit to society, as such. When I see a video that actually improves two things, then it deserves the two million views it has received in just five days!
Old musical films bore the crap out of me. I think it stems from ‘Gigi’ beating out ‘Vertigo’ for an Oscar, but I digress. Even a Disney musical with some animation thrown in is as dull as ditchwater. Take, for example, that magical nanny ‘Mary Poppins’; with all of it’s “Jolly Holidaying” and “Chim Chim Cher-eeing”. The only thing good about that 50 year old movie is the infamous word that is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. If only there were a cover version of that song…
Well, now there is… And it’s a death metal version! Thanks to the musical talents of Andy Rehfeldt and the vocal stylings of Sera Hatchett & Thomas Hinds, all of us can actually make it through a two minute scene from the movie without nodding off. And while she isn’t exactly Miss World, I’d probably prefer looking at Julie Andrews circa 1964 than some fat, bald & bearded death metal musician. Enjoy:
While ‘Sputnik Discusses’ was obviously created to fuel discussion amongst all registered members of the website, I think that I have under-stated its ability to provide – and spread – information between users. Last week’s ‘Anticipation in 2015’ column proved that, with many readers unaware that a particular artist was going to (possibly) be releasing an album this year, until informed of it during the discussion. I guess this opens up further possibilities for column topics; a theory that will hopefully be confirmed this week. Plus, there is a link of sorts between the two column editions courtesy of Dave Grohl and his merry band of Foo Fighters.
As referenced last week, Grohl’s ‘Sonic Highways’ series of documentaries piqued my interest. While a few of the episode-closing tunes – and therefore the LP itself – may have disappointed to some extent, the documentaries themselves were interesting, if imperfect. Not much earlier last year, I was also entertained by two other documentary films on music; Grohl’s ‘Sound City’ and ‘Searching for Sugar Man’ concerning Sixto Rodriguez. In both cases, the topics weren’t ones that I would normally search out, yet the end-product was both fascinating and informative. I just had to ask myself the question as to why I had not taken the time to view more music documentaries.
While some documentaries may admittedly be nothing more than glorified concert footage and musicians shooting the breeze, those that are well-made and conscientiously explanatory can be a…
It is with heavy sorrow that we must say goodbye to one of our own. A few days ago, user pmmets07 passed away. Out of respect for him and his family’s privacy, I ask that you don’t try to delve into the cause or why it happened. This is a time for grieving, and a chance for us to remember the life of one of our community members. Pmmets07 was a genuinely nice guy with a stand-up personality, and even if you only interacted with him on a limited basis, that was plain to see. I don’t know what I could possibly say to do him justice, and given that I didn’t know him very well, I don’t think it would be appropriate to try. So what I’d like to do is start something of a memorial thread for pmmets07. Comment with your favorite memory, something you liked or admired about him, a song/album that reminds you of him, or just to send your best wishes.
Also, if you haven’t already, take a moment to show his profile some love.