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‘Army of Tears’ from The Nameless.

I’ve had enough, these salty tears
I’ve caught a thousand of them, filled a hundred cups.
And bit by bit, they grew and grew
So I began to turn them into something new.

Every hour of every night
My little soldiers drew a breath and came to life.
One by one, they formed a line
And pledged allegiance to this salty heart of mine.

Filled the house in shallow waves
I fed them only on revenge and shallow rage.
And they grew up, angry and tall
Lo and behold I have the coldest sea of all.

I built a boat made out of ice
To sail the frozen ocean of my own device.
And there I float, and there I freeze
The commander of her fleet, queen of the sea.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 28 , 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Abigail Williams – In the Absence of Light (Candlelight/Lumberjack)
August Burns Red – Home [Live CD/DVD] (Solid State Records)
Bad Religion – The Dissent Of Man (Epitaph Records)
Kenny Chesney – Hemingway’s Whiskey (Sony Nashville)
Eric Clapton – Clapton (Reprise)
Phil Collins – Going Back (Atlantic)
Combichrist – Making Monsters (Metropolis Records)
Deerhunter – Halcyon Digest (4AD Records)
Dimmu Borgir – Abrahadabra {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Doobie Brothers – World Gone Crazy (HOR Records)
Electric Six – Zodiac (Metropolis Records)
Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini (Nuclear Blast) - Adam Thomas
Gin Blossoms – No Chocolate Cake (429 Records)
Glasser – Ring (True Panther Sounds) - Kiran Soderqvist
Halford – Made of Metal (Metal God Ent)
Ingram Hill – Look Your Best (Rock Ridge Music)
InMe – Phoenix: The Very Best of InMe (Indie Europe)
Ice Cube  – I Am The West (Lench Mob)
Jimmy Eat World – Invented (David Geffen Company)
KMFDM – Greatest Sh*t (Metropolis Records)
James LaBrie – Static Impulse (Inside Out U.S.)
Lazerbeak – Legend Recognize Legend (Doomtree)
Mark Ronson And The Business International – Record Collection (RCA)
Nellie McKay – Home Sweet Mobile Home (Verve Forecast)
MSWhite – Squares (Rise Records)
Mushroomhead – Beautiful Stories for…

Boston, MA pop-hardcore act Four Year Strong (pictured above) will perform in New York City’s Irving Plaza on October 5 with the insanely strong support line-up of Comeback Kid, the Wonder Years and American Fangs.

To be in with a chance of winning a pair of tickets, email your full name along with confirmation that you’ll be available to attend to sputnikreviews@gmail.com.

The rules? There are no rules! Just be available.

Closing date: midnight EST September 30.

Earlier this week, Katy Perry hauled her autotuned ass to Sesame Street and indulged in a little duet with Elmo on her 2008 hit ‘Hot N Cold.’

Just… um… just… yeah.

OK, this is pretty old (witness the 9.6 million plays), but it really needs to be seen to be believed. You’ll never listen to ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ the same way again, and if you’re anything like me it’s a life-altering event on the scale of losing the use of one’s legs. But in a good way.

I bet you didn’t see this one coming.

International woman of mystery and self-appointed spokesperson for all gay people in the world ever Lady Gaga has recorded a message (not actually an “address” – shoot me) aimed at the United States Senate, appealing for the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to be abolished.

Stefani’s speaking voice makes her seem kind of slow, and there’s the most awkward phone ringing sequence ever in the middle, but it’s still worth watching whether you agree or disagree with the central premise.

Singer/songwriter Darren Hanlon is reasonably well-known in his native Australia, but he’s a complete unknown almost everywhere else. So US indie Yep Roc’s decision to fly him over for the big international release treatment is a bit of a risk then, right?

Not really. Hanlon’s fifth album, I Will Love You At All, fits snugly into the M. Ward/Andrew Bird canon, with the singer’s mild Aussie twang the only potentially divisive feature of an otherwise terrific album. (And everybody loves Aussie accents, right?)

‘All These Things’ isn’t the best song on the album, or even one of the best, but it is a nice jumping off point in that it sort of condenses the entire record into an upbeat four-minute pop song. Strummed mandolin shows off Hanlon’s prowess in the mini-guitar genre (he’s also a decent banjo player), while piano and tuba lend the track some welcome gravitas. The best part, though, is the simple call-and-response routine generated between Hanlon and Portland singer Shelley Short.

Darren Hanlon’s I Will Love You At All is scheduled for release in the United States on September 21.

Darren Hanlon – ‘All These Things’

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Darren is currently on a mini-tour of the US with Billy Bragg:

09.08.10 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
09.09.10 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
09.10.10 – River Forest, IL @ Dominican University
09.11.10 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark
09.14.10 – Indianapolis,

With the events of last week still fresh in my mind, I’ve been able to reflect on the contrasting Guns N’ Roses-related experiences the past couple of months have thrown my way.

Last Wednesday, I was treated to the most bizarre concert-going experience of my life, as Axl Rose showed up an hour late for the fourth show running, got pissy with the audience for booing him and subsequently left the stage when a water bottle was thrown limply in his general direction from the crowd. A third of the crowd had left by the time he returned, 45 minutes later, to sleepwalk through his contractually obligated set. I’m still not entirely sure what to think of it all.

Compared with my experience when Slash came to town in June… well, there is no comparison. The man took to the stage on time and blasted through a mix of cuts from his recent solo CD, old Guns and Velvet Revolver hits and even a couple of Snakepit songs for the diehards. Frontman Myles Kennedy (better known for his work with Creed offshoot Alter Bridge) was a bit of a let-down… at least, it seemed that way, until Slash belatedly revealed that Kennedy had been suffering from flu and had barely been able to speak all day.

It’s an interesting contrast: the self-absorbed rock star who can’t even bring himself to show up for a $10 million-dollar gig on time, and a true professional who will play…

As part of my ongoing efforts to educate the masses about an archaic musical genre that nobody really liked in the first place, I’ll be highlighting some of the forgotten classics (i.e. all of them) of the hair metal era. Anybody who had harboured any lingering respect for me up to this point will soon see the error of his ways.

George Lynch formed Lynch Mob after the original line-up of Dokken disintegrated in 1989.

Their one and only hit album, Wicked Sensation, was released in 1990. Singer Oni Logan left soon afterward, and the band flagged badly as grunge trounced hair metal in everything but the style stakes. The band endured a volatile ’90s, breaking up and reforming regularly, though 1998 proved a particular low point as they attempted to capitalise upon the popularity of rap-rock with Smoke This – think Tommy Lee’s Methods of Mayhem but way, way shitter.

‘Wicked Sensation’ is the opening track, the title track and the best track on their debut album. Vocalist Oni Logan isn’t particularly distinctive a singer, but Lynch found him nigh-on-impossible to replace, and it’s not hard to work out why on this impossibly catchy pop-metal number.

N.B. Lynch Mob are now available for keggers and pool parties.

Lynch Mob  – ‘Wicked Sensation’

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‘We Used To Wait’ is one of the more interesting tracks on Arcade Fire’s third album, the Suburbs, both from a musical and lyrical perspective.

Here, Brooklyn indie rockers the Drums take the song on a completely different course. The cover, recorded for BBC’s Live Lounge with Huw Stephens, resembles more closely a less jangly version of the Cure, in stark contrast to the original’s glossy barrelhouse piano-led arrangement.

MP3: The Drums – ‘We Used To Wait’ (Arcade Fire cover)

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As part of my ongoing efforts to educate the masses about an archaic musical genre that nobody really liked in the first place, I’ll be highlighting some of the forgotten classics (i.e. all of them) of the hair metal era. Anybody who had harboured any lingering respect for me up to this point will soon see the error of his ways.

#1: Tigertailz – ‘Love Bomb Baby’

Spare a thought for Tigertailz – not alone did the group’s breakthrough album Bezerk unfortunately coincide with the popping of the hair metal bubble, but they’ve also been forced to deal with the eternal indignity of being Welsh. They never stood a chance.

Having said that, Tigertailz can always console themselves with the dubious honour of being the UK’s most successful hair metal act… ever! (Def Leppard notwithstanding, the Sheffield quartet being of an earlier vintage). Bezerk was released in 1990 to mild applause, with infectious lead single ‘Love Bomb Baby’ and obligatory power ballad ‘Heaven’ (not a patch on the Warrant track of the same name) driving album sales above a respectable quarter of a million.

Musically, Tigertailz were always more Motley Crue and Accept than Poison or Pretty Boy Floyd, but ‘Love Bomb Baby’ is the exact opposite: pure bubblegum pop wrapped in a driving, hard rock shell. Remarkably, given the genre’s track record, the “love bomb” in question does not, in fact, refer to the singer’s penis (or anyone else’s).

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To the uncultured ear (and that includes my own), searching for good post-rock can feel like a hiding to nothing. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of good material to choose from – there is – but otherwise it can take an awful long time to figure out that something is, in fact, shit.

Irish trio Halves gave me no such trouble – featured tune ‘May Your Enemies Never Find Happiness’ practically assaulted me the first time I heard it. It’s not that it’s particularly loud – they don’t seem to go to the same ear-splitting levels as other, more conventional bands (on record at least) – but it builds slowly and deliberately with soft vocals and a chiming blues guitar motif, so that the inevitable crescendos are just an aspect, rather than an aim, of the song.

It sounds like a typical post-rock track, and it is, but it’s also an incredibly moving one.

‘May Your Enemies Never Find Happiness’ is taken from the seven-track EP Haunt Me When I’m Drowsy.

Trawling through endless press releases and PR pitches is, unfortunately, a major aspect of my life – I say unfortunately because I am currently sat at home at 4am on a Sunday morning wading through release after release in search of something – ANYTHING – that will make the suffering worthwhile.

Also, I had dry clothes on the washing line and then it started raining. Shit.

‘Hard To Say I Love You’ isn’t quite the panacea I crave, but it is the first thing I’ve seen all night thoughtful enough and, dare I say it, innocent enough to penetrate the deep-rooted cynicism I’ve built up this eve.

Dylan works as an a&r at a label (I don’t know if he wants me to say which), but he contacted me on Friday with an entirely different project: a summery pop video he made with his brother and an unnamed friend. ‘Hard To Say I Love’ you is undeniably raw and more than a little bit trite, but the man I believe to have identified as Dylan spends most of the video topless, which is always a plus.

Dylan and his brother Noah hope to make it as more than just a music video in the near future, and I can only wish them the best of luck as their video has made my life just a little bit brighter this evening.

You wanted the best? Well they couldn’t fucking make it. So here’s what you get. From Brazil. Marcelo. Bruno N’ Douglas!

*worst

We’ve got one copy of the incredible deluxe vinyl box set of Dark Night of the Soul to give away.

The album is a collaboration between producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz), alt. rock band Sparklehorse and film director/artist David Lynch, recorded just months before Sparklehorse frontman Mark Linkous’ tragic death. Read Alex Silveri’s review of Dark Night of the Soul here.

The deluxe box set (pictured above) includes the Dark Night of the Soul album on CD, on double-LP vinyl, a CD containing instrumentals from the album, a 40-page 12″ x 12″ photo book (curated by Lynch), lobby cards, a limited edition photo card and an 18″ x 24″ poster.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following simple question and send it, along with your full name and username, to sputnikreviews@gmail.com with the tagline “Dark Night of the Soul contest.”

Question: What is your favourite David Lynch film?

NB: The contest is only available to residents of the United States, so please confirm that you’re resident in the country in the email itself to avoid confusion. Multiple entries will be ignored. Closing date is 23.59 on Tuesday, August 31.

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