| Sputnikmusic

Author Archive

Regular readers of the blog will know that we’re big fans of BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge - not just because they invite artists to cover a diverse array of songs, but also because they invite guests from right across the spectrum of artists instead of just sticking to rock acts.

This afternoon, it was the turn of New Jersey pop-rockers My Chemical Romance, who had previously performed Blur’s ‘Song 2′ on the show. Stating a clear preference for Britpop, the group have again opted for a ’90s classic in the form of Pulp’s ‘Common People.’

Everybody knows that the original is one of the best songs ever, with a fantastic video to go with it, and William Shatner has already served up the ultimate cover version. However My Chem’s punkier take on the track manages to retain much of the drama  and intensity that made it such a great song to begin with. And more proof that the Live Lounge is the best thing since, well, ‘Common People.’

My Chemical Romance – ‘Common People’:

William Shatner feat. Joe Jackson – ‘Common People’:

Some cover versions don’t make a lot of sense. Witness Exhibit A: Almost everything on Youtube. Or Exhibit B: Any of the thousands of extreme metal covers of Britney Spears songs, none of which have ever been anything other than turgid shit and an affront to the Princess of Pop.

UK orchestral metal band Xerath’s cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Speed Demon,’ on the other hand, makes an awful lot of sense. In fact, most Michael Jackson songs translate well to the sphere of heavy metal, particularly those from the run of Thriller->Dangerous when he self-consciously attempted to incorporate heavy rock into his music.

‘Speed Demon’ is far from the best track on Bad – in fact, it’s probably one of the worst – but that’s just to say it doesn’t rank up there with his innumerable classics. It’s a good song and one that suits a band who attempt to balance melody with harsh vocals, and to contrast fairly basic guitar riffs with frenetic polyrhythms (just check out the hummingbird-like synth work on the original).

Speaking of the original, it’s probably best to start at source before listening to the cover. Better still, start with the bonkers/insane/awesome video for which words could never truly do justice. I’m not a fan of quoting Wikipedia for a variety of reasons, but the crowd-sourced summary of the video was too perfectly-worded to ignore:

In the video, Jackson, in an attempt to avoid overzealous fans (even The Noid), disguises himself as a rabbit named

Meet Alexandra Wallace. Anybody who’s attended a reasonably high-profile university (or maybe even a crappy one) knows Alexandra’s type: pretty, rich and pig ignorant of the world beyond her gated lifestyle.

Earlier this month, the UCLA student and part-time swimsuit model posted a video on Youtube complaining about Asians at college. About how they have their families come over at the weekend to cook their meals for the week (not everyone can afford to eat out all the time) and disturb all her epiphanies at the library with their “ching chong ling long” phone conversations.

Oh and, seriously, you should go outside if you’re scared your relatives might have died in the tsunami because, honestly, some of us are trying to have an epiphany here.

Alexandra’s probably not a racist. As outlined above, she’s of a fairly common variety of over-privileged, entitled moron that congregates at almost every institution of higher learning because money > intelligence. Unfortunately for her, her stupidity earned her death threats from the usual throngs of anti-social idiots on the internet and she’s had to leave the school. Nobody should celebrate that.

What we should celebrate, however, is this rather delightful bitch-slap delivered courtesy of LA musician Jimmy Wong. The set-up is perfect, and the music is an oddly satisfying mix of Lonely Island-style perv-R&B parody and, er, Jason Mraz. The chorus is infectious and, barring some vocal blips, it’s really nicely recorded. Boyce Avenue got a record deal for a…

In the hours following my blog post on Black Robot vs. Bl_ck R_b_ts, I received an email from the former’s PR person, Jenn. She’s given me permission to publish our correspondence verbatim.

Hi Dave,

As someone who works for the band in the US, I just wanted to clarify a few things that your story missed:

First, the Irish band came to our attention after someone posted about them on Black Robot’s Facebook page.  They appeared to be getting ready to release a new CD and it’s pretty impossible for two bands to share a name (as you can imagine).  We initially tried to deal with the Irish band privately.  From the start,  they were mocking the US band and making a joke of it.  They also published all private messages.  We realized we would get no cooperation and had no other choice but to let FB and Myspace review and handle it.  This was a decision of management, first and foremost.

Second, you refer to “cyber bullying” in your article, when in fact, it was NOT on our part.  We have had to ban no less than 25 people including band members (all from Waterford or nearby) for coming to Black Robot’s page and posting negative comments including insults to their music, age, appearance, etc.  No band member, friend or fan of Black Robot (US band) went to the Irish band’s pages and retaliated that we were ever aware of,

“Knock knock.”
“Who’s there?”
“Jonathan Brightman from Buckcherry.”
“Jonathan Brightman from Buckcherry who?”
“Jonathan Brightman from Buckcherry and I’m suing you.”
“No, seriously, who the fuck are you?”

I wasn’t there for the first email exchange between Jonathan Brightman – ex- of sentimental LA hard rockers Buckcherry and, since 2008, of sentimental LA hard rockers Black Robot – and Waterford’s finest punk rock duo, since 2006, Black Robots. But if I had been there, I imagine that’s someway along the lines of how it would have gone.

As a matter of fact, I jest. I wasn’t there, but thanks the wonders of leaked email correspondence, I do have an exact transcript of how it went down – and it wasn’t all that different to the hilarious children’s joke outlined above.

A few short weeks ago, Irish two-piece Black Robots were contacted by Brightman’s Black Robot – their web manager, to be precise – to inform them that their names were too similar and that his trademark was being infringed. They were told in no uncertain terms that they had been reported to Facebook, MySpace, etc. and that they would be well-advised to begin the process of changing their name before their pages were deleted.

A subsequent email by Brightman referred to this as “courteous gesture.” This seemed odd to me because I, too, in my time as Sputnik editor, have received similarly courteous gestures that have left with…

First off, let me apologise for the title: this isn’t the new DragonForce material you’ve all been eagerly awaiting.

It is, however, the UK power metal band’s Guitar Hero-fuelled hit ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’ limberly transposed to the marimba, with a little extra percussion courtesy of the boxy hitty thing that’s just out of picture but is eagerly fingered by the short-sighted man in the orange beanie.

With Activision having taken decision to end its Guitar Hero franchise, could Rock Band’s next move be to corner the fake music market completely with a marimba upgrade? There’s no evidence to suggest that they will, but nor is there evidence to suggest they’ve ruled it out completely, so we’re going to have to file this one under probably.


I write this blog with one arm pinned behind my back.

That’s not the premise of some crazy St. Patrick’s Day drinking game. I’ve a trapped nerve in my neck and it really fucking hurts, and this is the only way I can relieve the pain and function with some level of normality. This is inconvenient in multi-fold ways: it’s the festive season, I have lots of writing do and (as previously discussed) it really fucking hurts. Yet I couldn’t let my ancestor’s (I know priests are nominally celibate, but then as now they were randy fuckers, one and all) feast day pass by without comment.

With the possible exception of the Jewish people, there is no nation that has relied as much on emigration and the diaspora to shape its traditions, and what we now know as St. Patrick’s Day is inextricably linked to the experiences of Irish emigrants across the world, particularly in the United States. More than that, Irish culture in general – and music in particular – has fed back and forth into American folk tradition for almost as long as the free world has been populated by we vulgar Europeans.

While the standard picture of Irish emigration has always been of the poor, tattered masses making their way across the ocean on “coffin ships,” the reality has always been more complicated. During the US Civil War, Ireland was an active recruiting ground for both the Union and Confederate armies, with almost 200,000 Irish taking…

To coincide with the group’s debut release in North America – and their second overall – we’ve teamed up with the lovely Sargent House and the Richter Collective to offer you a stream of the Wexford trio’s eponymously-named second album.

Touted by none other than me as “a bold step and one that marks them out as one of the few breakout bands in recent years to genuinely justify their own hype,” The Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank builds on the frenetic math rock template of their debut and adds more deeply-textured melodies and Japanese video game music influences to the mix without sacrificing the triumphant sense of chaos that made the first record such a refreshing listen.

Read my full review of the record here (open in a new window) and stream the album via the player below.

(Photo: Loreana Rushe)

It has recently come to my attention that not only do some of you people have lives outside of Sputnik but that there is an entire new phenomenon in this earth known as “blogging.”

Apparently there are individuals who see fit to condense their thoughts on music into chunks of less than a thousand words (daft, I know) – perhaps with the aid of media devices such as video – and see fit to do so on this strange new “blogging” format. In the spirit of  togetherness, I have decided to recognise this trend and compile a list of staff and user blogs. We may even add a blogroll at some point.

Please feel free to link to your blog down below and I’ll do my best to add you to the list. Unless I don’t like you. In which case, futch ya.

Staff Blogs:

Tyler Munro - Tyler Munro // Twitter
Tyler Fisher - The Unpopulist // Twitter
Dave De Sylvia –  Too Famous To Get Fully Dressed // Twitter
Keelan H., Kiran S. et al. – Trust Me, I’m a Doctor
Rudy Klapper – Klap4Music // Twitter

User Blogs:

Marksellsuswallets - Turkey Leg
Qwe, chambered89 & Co. - Looser Than Loose
Rasputin: Slays For Days
Crysis - Ghosts of Saturn
Liledman – Musings of Eddie
Atavanhalen – Yes, We’ve Got a Video
Conradtao –…

I’ll drop some further notes on this in the morning, but for now I’ll invite you all to tune in to the live broadcast of the sixth annual Choice Music Prize (the Irish Mercury Prize/Polaris/Triple J awards) ceremony.

The show has already been in progress for a little over an hour, with Halves and Fight Like Apes having already completed their sets. James Vincent McMorrow is performing as I speak and the rest of the nominees, with the exception of Imelda May who’s otherwise engaged, will take to the stage as the night progresses.

Today FM DJ Paul McLoone will be interviewing the performers between sets and chairman Tony Clayton-Lea of the Irish Times will announce the winner at around 10.45 GMT. And Morrissey is there! You can read some of my more detailed thoughts on this year’s prize here.

A full list of nominees can be seen here:

Adebisi Shank – This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
The Cast of Cheers Chariot
Cathy Davey - The Nameless
Fight Like Apes – The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner
Halves – It Goes, It Goes (Forever and Ever)
Imelda May – Mayhem
James Vincent McMorrow – Early in the Morning
O Emperor – Hither Thither
Two Door Cinema Club Tourist History
Villagers Becoming a Jackal

Previous winners include Jape, the Divine Comedy, Super Extra Bonus Party and Julie Feeney. Adrian Crowley won the 2009 gong.

Amid all the excitement generated by Odd Future pair Tyler, the Creator and Hodgy Beats’ show-stealing appearance on Late Night with Jimmy Fallon, nobody seems to have noticed that they sold out.

Not that there’s anything expressly wrong with that – it’s just interesting to note when a group that have built their reputation on the uncontrolled, self-consciously offensive speech abandon that schema at the first offer of a plush TV spot. With little or no material in their armoury that would be deemed suitable for network television, Tyler and Hodgy took to the NBC stage with an altered version of new single ‘Sandwitches,’ minus the four f-words contained in the first line and numerous instances thereafter.

In spite of Tyler’s liberating use of the entire set during his performance and an unusual diversion involving a gnome, the duo’s performance was notable for how tame it was in comparison to the group’s deliberately provocative material. Tyler’s debut mixtape, 2009’s hugely promising Bastard, runs the gamut of hip hop clichés from misogyny, homophobia and rape fantasies right through the trite devotion to his mom. The beats are simplistic and undeniably raw, but there’s an obtuse sense of melody on tracks like ‘Odd Toddlers,’ ‘French!’ and ‘Bastard’ that hint at the potential of this 19-year-old, husky-voiced artist.

The concept of a hip hop collective is one that is alien to most rock critics who are wedded to the ideal of the nuclear four- and five-piece rock band, but the…

‘Twas not Bieber Fever that did for the young lad, but an old-fashioned torrent of bullets courtesy of CSI Nick Stokes. A real music snob that guy.

This weekend is a bumper one for fans of egg-chasing on both sides of the Atlantic.

For the Yanks among us, Sunday night is the big day on the football calendar (of which more later in the weekend). But for we Europeans of the oval ball persuasion, the first weekend in February ushers in the beginning of the Six Nations rugby union championships, fought every year between England, Ireland, Scotland, Wales, France and, since 2000, Italy. It hasn’t got the popularity of real football (and by “real football” I mean Gaelic football, of course), but it is a unique event on the sporting calendar here since the demise of soccer’s Home Nations Championship.

As 2011 is a World Cup year, the championship comes packaged with an extra bite this year. As with the round-ball game, the English have taken it upon themselves to set aside the pessimism of the past three years, disregard all form and logic to install themselves as favourites to win everything in sight. It’s a lovable trait that only the English seem to possess and,with the tournament due to kick off in just under half an hour with England facing arch-rivals Wales in Cardiff, it’ll be interesting to see just how long it lasts.

For the time-being, we’ll have to make do with a comparison of the two countries’ respective singing prowess. Rugby is the closest thing Wales has to a national sport, but singing is not very far behind, and Katherine Jenkins’ regular appearance at the…

British film composer John Barry died of a heart attack on Sunday aged 77.

Barry was best known as the creator of the music for the James Bond film, including the famous Bond Theme, although he was the recipient of no fewer than five Academy Awards: two for Born Free (best original score and bestoriginal song) and best original score for Dancing with Wolves, Out of Africa and the Lion in Winter. Other notable scores and soundtracks included Midnight Cowboy, Goldfinger and From Russia with Love.

Barry is survived by four children and three ex-wives.

Brazil is a pretty lax place.You can get away with a lot of things most of the time: looting, mugging, rape, murder… even mullets are allowable. You can even form a four-piece rock band to play outdated mid-tempo rock at what appears to be some sort of outdoor festival for people who have no room for a proper stage.

But Lord help you if you screw up the guitar solo while the singer is backstage combing over his bald patch. You have been warned.

Page 4 of 11« First...2345610...Last »

Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

Site Copyright 2005-2014 Sputnikmusic.com
All Album Reviews Displayed With Permission of Authors | Privacy Policy