There is a moment right after the first chorus in “Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace” from which the song can go anywhere. Two piano chords wobble on a tightrope, back and forth, and one can’t help but wonder if perhaps the song is just going to end at that point, the soft heartbeat of percussion pulsing more weakly until it goes unheard, succumbing to the implacable fade. This is the world in flux – lives waxing in and out of their parallels, possible futures vying for dominance. Think about how rare it is these days to be genuinely surprised by a song, to sit with bated breath as you wonder where the music is going to take you.
Think about how rare it is for a song to imitate life so exquisitely that it hurts.
What I am trying to delineate here is why I feel bothered when people say something like, “The Mountain Goats are still great, but nothing compares to Darnielle’s output pre-2005.” I can’t count the number of posts I’ve read saying something similar to that. The phrasings may change a little from person to person, but the general idea is that Darnielle made better music when The Mountain Goats consisted mostly of one or two people. Of course, any Darnielle – old or new – is good Darnielle, so my annoyance can never be too great. But his output from 2006-2012 is one of the greatest musical runs ever, and some…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 14, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
The Abramson Singers – Late Riser (Copperspine Records)
Adult. – The Way Things Fall (Ghostly International)
Agnetha Fältsko – A (Verve)
Amy Grant – How Mercy Looks From Here (Amy Grant Productions/Sparrow Records)
Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy (Redeye)
Andy Cato – Times & Places (Redeye)
Army Of The Universe – The Hipster Sacrifice (Metropolis Records)
Beams – Just Rivers (Beams)
Benga – Chapter 2 (Sony UK)
Bibio – Silver Wilkinson (Warp)
The Blank Tapes – Vacation (Antenna Farm)
Bobby McFerrin – Spirityouall (Sony Masterworks)
Calibre – Spill (Signature)
Candace Bellamy – In My Lane (Candace Bellamy)
Captain, We’re Sinking – The Future Is Cancelled (Run For Cover)
Deep Purple – Now What?! (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Demi Lovato – Demi (Hollywood Records) The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer (101 Distribution) – Jacob Royal
Dungeonesse – Dungeonesse (Secretly Canadian)
Eluvium – Nightmare Ending (Temporary Residence)
Eve – Lip Lock (From The Rib Music)
Extinction Protocol – Aeonic Obliteration (P2)
George Strait – Love Is Everything (MCA Nashville)
Gold & Youth – Beyond Wilderness (Arts & Crafts)
Heart In Hand – Almost There (Siege Of Amida)
Immolation – Kingdom Of Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast)
John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts (Partisan Records)
Kisses – Kids In L.A. (Cascine)
Koji – Crooked In My Mind (Run…
Once upon a time, I honestly hadn’t heard a proper hip-hop record. I was perusing through Sputnik’s recent releases, and lo and behold, a hip-hop album with cool artwork! Sobhi’s review for Dark Time Sunshine’s Vessel sounded promising enough, and so I decided to go out on a limb for the album. I found it on Amazon for a penny, and three days later I experienced the thrill Sobhi did– my experiences with it really lacked that pivotal context, though. I think one appreciates Vessel the most when they’re aware of hip-hop’s history, and understand how many new things the record brings to the table. This is drastically different than my first– and rather superficial– interpretation of the album: “Whoa, these cool beats, man!” In the beginning I saw the diversity of the album, as well as the fact that it traversed both optimistic and grimy territory with the flick of a switch– and really well, too. But there’s more about Vessel to consider.
One of the biggest things about Vessel that I’ve come to appreciate is what rapper Onry Ozzborn brings to the table. His lyrics are personal, but not too revealing– although we can all tell “E.R.” stems from a personal experience he’s had, we aren’t being drowned in the details. We can understand where he’s coming from, and that sense of relatability is what makes songs like “E.R.” really stand out. But on the other hand, Onry sometimes removes…
From May 11 until May 18, Sputnikmusic has the exclusive chance to stream Enshine’s debut album Origin, which will be released on May 15 via Rain Without End Records.
Enshine is an atmospheric metal project that got its start in 2009 under the hand of Jari Lindholm (guitars, ex-Slumber, Atoma). Soon enough he teamed up with Sebastien Pierre (vocals) of Fractal Gates and Inborn Suffering fame, with Oscar Borgenstam (drums) and Siavosh Bigonah (bass) completing the recording line-up. Origin was over two years in the making and the production of the album was finished in the summer of 2012. After that, the band started searching for a label and finally teamed up with Rain Without End Records in December 2012.
With their debut album, Enshine present the listener a charming atmospheric metal journey full of lovely melodies and brisk ambient soundscapes. The album sounds like a perfect mix between Pierre’s Fractal Gates (melodic death metal) and Lindholm’s ex-band Atoma (atmospheric metal), as an airy and meditative atmosphere collides with tasteful melodic riffs. “A musical exploration of the world within” is the tagline the album is being promoted with, and it couldn’t be more accurate, as Origin is a metal album for the thinking man.
“Stream of Light”
For the life of me, I’ve never quite been able to figure out which elements of Gold Panda’s music speak to me the most. I’ve always been fascinated with the orientally-focused electronic producer, because he has this way of expressing Asian culture in a distinctly relatable lens, but what about it works best? “Brazil” answers these questions with a (probably warranted) eye-roll, reminding us it’s all about the textures and percussion. Because ultimately, what’s most important here is the mood the reversed sample creates, the serene and almost angelic vibe it gives off. But damn, does the percussion complement it– as confident as ever, the tom hits are as important as the basic drum-&-snare pattern. The two merge in a marvelous way that’s characteristically Gold Panda, assuaging any remaining anxieties about the producer’s upcoming release. The only complaint about the track is the sub-par sample used, a man apathetically saying the song’s title. It wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t utilized as the primary voice of the track, but its monotony detracts from the overall mood “Brazil” presents. But annoyances aside, the track continues to tread the same path Gold Panda’s been working towards for his whole career. Maybe by the time he stops messing around with all these teasers of releases, he’ll have built the worthy and telling compilation of oriental culture his talents have always demanded of him.
Keep your eyes peeled for Gold Panda’s upcoming full-length, titled Half of Where…
Wellington-based Beastwars are already a powerful force in the realm of sludge metal. The quartet’s second full-length Blood Becomes Fire continues the path taken by their audacious debut with the colossal sound that makes their contemporaries look insignificant by comparison. On top of that, the album is told through the eyes of a dying traveller from another time who finds the contemporary world destroyed, which places the band’s style in an intriguing futuristic context. I’ve recently approached Nathan Hickey who plays the drums for Beastwars. We’ve discussed such issues as the origin of the band, the process of putting out the new record, internet piracy and the new means of music distribution among others.
As most SputnikMusic users may not be familiar with Beastwars, could you tell us how your musical path started? What inspired you to play sludge metal in the first place?
Me and Clayton (Anderson, guitarist) met in a bar and formed a friendship over red wine and stoner rock. We wanted to form a band that sounded a bit like Kyuss, but with the big hooks of The Cult. When James (Woods, bass) and Matt (Hyde, vocals) joined that plan went totally out the window. James’ massively distorted tone shaped the sound of the band just as much as Matts vocals did. We pushed harder, played louder and it all came out heavier than we had imagined it would. We were just 4 guys that…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 7, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
98 Degrees – 2.0 (Entertainment One)
AM & Shawn Lee – La Musique Numerique (Park The Van)
Ann Pragg – Bitter Fruit (Wonderland Archives)
Banquets – Banquets (Black Numbers)
Bob Oxblood – Oxblood (Bob Oxblood)
Boxer/Eyes Wide – Split (Reveille Records)
Bracher Brown – Broken Glass And Railroad Tracks (Rock Ridge Music)
The Child Of Lov – The Child Of Lov (Domino)
Co La – Moody Coup (Software)
Courtney Jaye – Love And Forgiveness (1-2-3-4-GO!)
Dead Silence Hides My Cries – The Symphony Of Hope (Artery Recordings) Deerhunter – Monomania (4AD Records) – Hernan M. Campbell
Destroid – The Invasion (Rottun Records)
Devour The Day – Time & Pressure (CD Baby)
Eksi Ekso – Archfiend (Retroversal)
First & Thorne – Left Of Center (FATindie Records)
Fitz & The Tantrums – More Than Just A Dream (Elektra)
Fokuz Recordings – Fifty Five (Fokuz Recordings)
Grenades – Heaven Is Empty (Red Cobra Records)
Grime – Deteriorate (Forcefield Records)
The Hussy – Pagan Hiss (Southpaw)
Jim Guthrie – Takes Time (Static Clang)
Joe Satriani – Unstoppable Momentum (Epic/RED)
Joshua Radin – Wax Wings (Glass Bead Music)
Karl Hyde – Edgeland (UMe)
Lady Antebellum – Golden (Capitol Nashville/Universal)
Little Boots – Nocturnes (Kobalt)
Michael Feuerstack – Tambourine Death Bed (Forward Music Group)
Mikal Cronin – MCII (Merge Records)
Mother Falcon –…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 30, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
!!! [Chik Chik Chik] – THR!!!ER (Warp Records)
Adelaine – Currents (Mosaic Artistry Group)
Adventure – Weird Work (Carpark Records)
The Airborne Toxic Event – Such Hot Blood (Island)
Akron/Family – Sub Verses (Dead Oceans)
Alessi’s Ark – The Still Life (Bella Union)
Alice Russell – To Dust (Tru Thoughts) Amorphis – Circle (Nuclear Blast America)
Ark Of The Covenant – Self Harvest (Facedown)
Beacon – The Ways We Separate (Ghostly International)
Big Black Delta – Big Black Delta (Masters Of Bates)
Big Country – The Journey (MRI Associated)
The Body – Master, We Perish (At A Loss)
Bring Me The Horizon – Sempiternal (Epitaph)
Buckeye Knoll – Lovecreek (Up On A Hill)
Cathedral – The Last Spire (Metal Blade)
Cayucas – Bigfoot (Secretly Canadian)
Chunk! No, Captain Chunk! – Pardon My French (Fearless Records)
Colin Stetson – New History Warfare Vol. 3 (Constellation) Coliseum – Sister Faith (Temporary Residence) – Greg Fisher
Daughter – If You Leave (Glassnote)
Daylight – Jar (Run For Cover)
The Earth And Everything In It – We Wander At Night (Minerald Sound Recordings)
Famous Last Words – Two-Faced Charade (Invogue Records)
Guided By Voices – English Little League (Guided By Voices)
Hanni El Khatib – Head In The Dirt (Innovative Leisure)
Heaven Shall Burn – Veto (Century Media)
Colin Stetson is one of those rare musicians who successfully creates harmony from discord. In each of his New History Warfare albums, he constructs via saxophone, if only to deconstruct, to tear down the walls of sound from around him and to arrange them in a strangely beautiful manner. And New History Warfare III: To See More Light is no different– if anything, it further proves Stetson’s worth in the avant-garde community– but the most interesting choice regarding the album is Justin Vernon’s featured vocals. Laurie Anderson’s vocals were comforting on Judges, but they weren’t as blatant as Vernon’s are here. I rather like the change-up, though, because the album functions well with more of a vocal centerpiece to guide the chaos. Besides, Stetson makes sure the vocals are distorted just enough to fit the destructive panoramic picture he paints with the saxophone.
Colin Stetson has released a few tracks off the upcoming album thus far, but the one that’s probably most representative of the overall album’s sound is “High Above a Grey Green Sea.” Listen to the track, and see where it takes you. If nothing else, you’ll at least be damned shocked at how much sound one man’s capable of making.
Keep an eye out for New History Warfare III: To See More Light, out on April 30th, 2013 on Constellation Records.
Australia’s black/death/industrial metallers The Amenta released their third studio album, titled Flesh Is Heir, on March 22. In celebration of them releasing their third record in 13 years, I had a little chat with the driving force behind the group, Timothy Pope (lyrics, samples, programming). Even though he describes himself as an arrogant bastard, Tim’s actually a very down to earth guy who gladly shared with me his views on the band, the hard-hitting new album, touring, and life in general.
Hello, I’m Magnus Altküla from Sputnikmusic and I will be conducting the interview. How are you doing and what have you been up to lately?
I’m very well, thank you. I’ve basically been doing this sort of thing (interviews). The album’s been out in Australia and near it almost a month, so we’ve been doing a lot of interviews. A couple of them have been live interviews, but there have been a lot of e-mail ones as well. I handle most of them, so that has basically been my life for the last few weeks.
Which kind of interviews do you prefer: the e-mail ones or the live ones?
I think they both have their benefits. The live ones are probably better because they’re quicker. Sometimes you can be a lot more clear in text, though, so I guess both of them have their own benefits. But I prefer personal contact because you can work a bit better with questions that way –…
The French trio Blaak Heat Shujaa certainly know how to capture the laid-back vibe of California on their new full-length The Edge Of An Era (Tee Pee). The band delivers psychedelic desert rock that’s equally indebted to the Eastern mysticism of Om and the groove-laden jamming of Kyuss. After all, the record was produced by Scott Reader himself, and it makes for a trippy, if at times overly familiar ride.
The song that clearly stands out amid the haze is penultimate “Pelham Blue.” The tune sees the trio collaborating with legendary Mario Lalli of Fatso Jetson’s fame. Needless to say, it’s sheer bliss. The style of the band superbly compliments Lalli’s dreamy vocals and trippy imagery, which momentarily bring to mind the best Fatso Jetson songs. Lalli’s knack for crafting spellbinding melodies is in a class by itself, and Blaak Heat Shujaa accompany his performance with their most evocative intrumental work to date. The effect isone of the most ravishing songs of the year. Don’t forget to breathe, don’t forget to open your eyes…
Moombahton. First off, it’s an actual genre. Second off, when it’s done, damn is it done well. It’s hard to put into words exactly what moombahton is, but here goes: around 108 BPM, an off-shoot of electro, and as Dillon Francis puts it, “music to fuck to.” Take that how you will.
But “Que Que” is by far the most solid moombahton track I’ve heard yet. It’s a solid mix of keen vocal sampling, varietal instrumentation and irresistible percussive work. Ultimately, though, it was most likely made for sexual purposes, so act on that. Don’t even be careful– just go for what you’re thinking.
I’m curious if the musician behind the Trash McSweeney alias dissociates from reality whenever he morphs into his idiosyncratic performer’s role.
Or, from a different point of view, whether or not the McSweeney persona is actually a commune of fragmented, detached personalities it has encountered over its lifespan and subsequently absorbed into some scattered, diffused on-stage character.
An argument could be made that the man behind the Trash figure has a roaring case of dissociative identity disorder to complement his synesthesia. When looking back at all the characters, elaborate stage settings, artistic canvases (human and non-human), and theatrical thematic material The Red Paintings have cultivated and performed with over the years, Trash might just very well be The Hatter from Lewis Carroll’s Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland (or some other vile character from the deepest, darkest recesses of Dr. Seuss’s mind). Oscillating to-and-fro from the aquatic to the extraterrestrial to a Japanese flair with the geisha costumes, and then incorporating elements of all three paradigms on the band’s current tour with Mindless Self Indulgence (later slated to be The Pineapple Thief when they arrive in the UK), there is a palpable bit of madness exhibited here. Look no further than the hundreds (okay, maybe “tens”) of separate Facebook pages the man’s currently operating devoted solely to this record (examples here, here, here, and here — in order, the band’s Facebook page, his personal artist page, the The Revolution is Never…