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At the end of July, Animal Collective released “Today’s Supernatural,” the single from their upcoming release Centipede Hz due out in early September.  Before listening to the track, the reemergence of Deakin has been tremendous as seen on the Honeycomb / Gotham split.  One might think after the critically acclaimed, and Deakin-less, Merriweather Post Pavilion that Animal Collective would be better without Deakin’s trippy riffs.  Yet, after listening to “Gotham,” where the guitar riffs drip like a hot rain, it is clear that the depth and layering of their sound is much more developed than before.

That brings us back to “Today’s Supernatural,” a frantically uptempo track that defines the growth since Strawberry Jam.   The track is unusually heavy (reminiscent of “For Reverend Green”), with Panda Bear’s masterful percussion skills throbbing throughout, while Avey Tare shows a multitude of vocal dynamics and moods.  Lyrically, Tare paints a picture of the willingness to adventure beyond some mundane life and quite literally ‘letting go’ and enjoying the ride.  How the bookend of this ride will sound remains to be seen, but we damn well know Centipede Hz will be an interesting trip, as always.

Animal Collective – Today’s Supernatural

I’ll let this video speak for itself, however, for reference I suggest you listen to the original track before listening to the orchestrated transposition of “Jane Doe.”  The maker of the video used a program called Symphobia to create this: needless to say, it sounds incredible.

While I’m at it, an 8-bit version of “Jane Doe”

Between each of Sufjan Stevens’ 2010 releases, All Delighted People EP and The Age of Adz (pronounced odds), it was awfully hard to not be enthusiastic at the notion of seeing his act live.  In the past, Sufjan would have a near full orchestra for some shows and play a rather large-scale event, but no words or reviews could have properly prepared anyone for the show his entire ensemble put on last night at the Beacon Theatre in New York City, one of the most lavish and beautiful venues I have ever entered.  Previously, comparing other releases such as Illinois and Seven Swans, I cannot say that I would have been chomping at the bit to see either live, but the energy and mystique that surrounds The Age of Adz was enough to imagine how it would all translate live.  We all can sit and listen to any Sufjan Stevens record and not really get a clear picture as to how much or what kind of emotion was put into this record, but in person, watching the maestro perform his work, everything was revealed.

As the theater lights dimmed, a roar erupted as Sufjan Stevens took stage donned with a small set of white, feathered wings on his back.  Gently strumming his banjo to Seven Swans,” the entire theater was silent as all eyes and attention were squarely on Sufjan as no other band members were visible at this point.  The first break in “Seven Swans,” which was originally just…

“Natural Born Farmer” Vinyl

Before detailing the show itself, there is a intricately webbed story behind the recent movement of Glassjaw (most of the following details are with great help of the www.glassjaw.net message board).  Back on August 8th, 2010, Glassjaw released the “All Good Junkies Go To Heaven” single and played a coordinating show in the United Kingdom.  Soon after, Glassjaw secretly played a small Long Island venue (Vibe Lounge) on September 9th, 2010 that aligned with the “Jesus Glue” vinyl release date.  Like the 9/9/10 date, Sons Modern put together a show at Maxwell’s in New Jersey on October 10th, the same date that the “Natural Born Farmer” single dropped.  Keeping a consistent pattern, this show was named “Sons Modern Family Gathering feat. Tidal Arms/Happy Body Slow Brain and very special guest.”  Once again, this led to mass speculation, specifically that Glassjaw would be playing the bill.  Now, the previous three singles were labeled with the numbers 88, 89, and 90 respectively, and a short history lesson allows you to know that Glassjaw have attached themselves to the year 1993, the year the band formed (and a number they are likely counting up to).  Putting the pieces together, the writing is on the wall of what is to come.  On 11/11/10 and 12/12/10 there will be two more singles and at least two more shows, filling up 91 and 92 in their catalog.  However, when Glassjaw play January 1st,

After watching a number of reality television shows, specifically Survivor, the music tends to be a dead giveaway in challenges.  Often, you will find a climax or crescendo for any attempt, such as shooting coconuts in a basket.  Along with that, you will hear a triumphant crescendo as a team is about to win.  Here is an example of the music in reality television shows, in this upcoming years The Amazing Race.  I will let the video speak for itself, but listen to the music as the events unfold as this contestant tries to hurl a watermelon at a knight in shining armor.

Yes, I just wrote a blog about reality television so I could show Sputnikmusic’s readers the most incredible moment of reality television challenge.

Electric Zoo Festival 2010 – Saturday

On Sunday, the biggest clouds in the sky were those made of dirt and dust kicked up at every stage from dancing.  Unlike Saturday, Sunday brought fewer early birds, likely because of the exhaustion from the day before, and a slightly weaker initial line-up.  The weather was once again picturesque.  When I arrived, I really had no set plan of who I would see until Laidback Luke.  Therefore, I started the day the Red Bull Music Academy Riverside Stage where XXXChange was playing to a pintsize crowd of about 50 to 100 people while there had to have been over 750 people at the time and stage the day before.  There simply was not much of a buzz at any tent early on, even if XXXChange was dropping mixes of DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat.”  However, D. Ramirez was slowly sucking everyone to the Hilltop Arena where all of the local house favorites were blasting while Jon Hopkins was luring a more IDM crowd with his haunting beats, something that was out of the ordinary at Electric Zoo, in a good way.

Trying to find some shade in the afternoon sun.

On a side note, the tents set up at the Red Bull Music Academy Riverside Stage and Hilltop Area were perfectly sized and positioned, especially if it had rained.  Unfortunately, a few feet outside of the tent and the sound quality was unbearable.  In…

This past Labor Day weekend brought magnificent weather to the New York City area, as Hurricane Earl bypassed the area completely, allowing the second edition of the Electric Zoo festival to thrive.  For a total of 24 hours split between Saturday and Sunday, Randall’s Island was New York City’s hottest club, and potentially a newfound earthquake hotspot.  Booming beats resonating from four precisely placed stages likely sent the rest of the island humming.

Obviously the best outfit seen at the festival

Festival goers dressed in green latex suits, deer costumes, and tiger body paint, among other bizarre outfits littered the grounds, provided a unique flavor of diversity.  While the average stereotype of dance music and the New York area would assume that it would be thousands of juicehead guidos with blowouts, it was hardly the case, in fact quite the opposite.  The mix of concert goers among the 25,000 plus each day was welcoming to all sorts of characters geared with pacifiers and surgical masks.

Starting off on Saturday, LA Riots brought early excitement, mixing Estelle’s “Freak” with distorted beats while catching onto the infectious “Pon de Floor” by Major Lazer in what proved to be a house filled weekend.  Forty minutes felt like five minutes during LA Riots set as climaxes and crescendos came at perfectly timed moments.  After a glorious start, I quickly made the rash and hasty decision of watching Boris (not to be confused with Japanese noise-rockers Boris) at…

This fall Cee-Lo will release The Lady Killer, his first solo album since 2004’s Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine.  Appropriately enough, “Fuck You” is the first single off The Lady Killer, a song that soulfully belts about a gold digging woman in such a graceful fashion.  Honestly, it proves how fickle curse words are and how beautiful they can sound.  If you hadn’t figured it out, this song has a few curse words, so be mindful of your surrounding before listening, even though I’m sure no one will care, but rather sing along.

Yesterday on the blog, we previewed “High School Art Class,” the first track off Pretty Lights’ newest EP entitled, Spilling Over Every Side.  Today Derek Vincent Smith, the mastermind of Pretty Lights, talks about his touring, latest and future works, and the experience of playing a show with DJ Shadow.

Ryan Flatley: I just downloaded your second EP, which is fantastic by the way, and I just wanted to know if Spilling Over Every Side and your other two EPs are linked in any way or are they separate entities?

Derek Vincent Smith: Well really what I’m trying to do is try to make three separate bodies of music that can come together as a whole. And I suppose what would unify them as a whole is the fact that (it’s) the music I wanted to create in 2010, and it’s kind of where I’m at in 2010. I’m really trying to use each EP as a way to push each style I’m trying to explore at that time. The second EP is different than the first, and trying a different approach on the third. I suppose I want the trilogy to be a glimpse into the ever-change, morphing vision of myself.

RF: Do you plan on doing that on a consistent basis, as in 2011 release music sporadically?

DVS: No, I want to make it different all the time, this year I want to do the three EPs. Next year I already have planned to do something…

Derek Vincent Smith, known by his moniker Pretty Lights, has blown up on the electro/hip-hop scene during the past two years.  Supporting acts such as DJ Shadow in Dublin, Ireland along with playing nearly every major festival in the country for the past two years that it’s only a matter of time before Pretty Lights explodes once again.  Tomorrow, I will post a full interview with Derek, but first, a preview of what Pretty Lights are all about.  This track entitled “High School Art Class” is the first track off Spilling Over Every Side, the second of three EPs to be released this year, all of which can cost you as little as nothing to any amount that you would like to donate.

High School Art Class by Pretty Lights

With each show, you are presented with a new experience, group of people, and likely venue.  The only thing that remains constant is that you are attending, but your actions at a show can have potentially drastic consequences, both good and bad.  This past weekend, a few of the marquee aspects of show etiquette were broken.  Below, I have outlined the absolute necessities in order to be a respectful fan in a slew of environments.  All of this is done to prepare yourself for every genre, because no one likes a push pit at a Modest Mouse show.


Regarding clothing, specifically shirts, perhaps the number one rule, is NEVER wear a shirt of the band you are about to see.  Everyone knows you like the band because you’re at the show.  If you do wear a band t-shirt, make it count, as in something that is out of that band’s genre.  Also, sandals are generally a bad choice, along with any heavy clothing.  The temperature inside a venue can be brutal, so consider that run from your car to the entrance in shorts during the middle of the winter.

Regarding height, if you are on the short side of the stick, know if the venue has some sort of in-house elevation, or get there early so you are in the front of the stage.  Also, don’t complain when someone is tall, like myself, is in front of you.  There are hundreds upon thousands of different spots that you…

Leading up to this weekend, shows have been hard to come by this calendar year, however that was about to change.   On Thursday I was going to see The Antlers with Dinosaur Feathers while on Sunday I planned on seeing Cap’n Jazz twice, once with Lightning Bolt and No Age and the other with Gauge.

Image Credit: Chris Wang

Thursday night, The Antlers played a free concert as a part of the Hudson River Park’s River Rocks concert series at Pier 54.  The picturesque night started with melodious three-piece known as Dinosaur Feathers.  While they will not blow anyone away with any sort of dramatic climaxes or intricate passages, Dinosaur Feathers make up for that with their precision and dreamy pop songs, such as “Teenage Whores.”  Unfortunately for Dinosaur Feathers, the generator powering the show went down during the middle of their set, which caused a nearly thirty minute delay and Dinosaur Feathers to play at about a quarter of the original volume without electronically produced drums supporting their sound, all while organizers scrambled to get another generator for The Antlers’ set.  Dinosaur Feathers could have easily stopped playing, but they persevered through the technical difficulties, and they deserve a heap of credit for keeping a somewhat disgruntled crowd happy.

Once The Antlers took the stage, another generator was in place and the sun was setting over the Hudson.  Flowers lined two keyboards as “Kettering” began ever so softly.  One detail that…

Just over seven miles away from my lovely abode, in the small community of Graniteville, New York (actually located in Staten Island) is where you will find the Public School 22 chorus.  Behind the auditorium doors of PS22 are a group of 5th grade elementary school students that are belting some of my favorite songs by my favorite artists, such as Beach House, Phoenix, and Jay-Z.  And while this is going on, all I can think about is how awful the songs were in my music class, headed by a music teacher who was likely older than my grandmother.  We would sing the “Finger Song” and a tune that named all of the states in alphabetical order with their accompanying capitals.  Ugh.

At any rate, the PS22 choir have been endorsed by a slew of celebrities ranging from Oprah to Matisyahu to B.J. Novak of The Office fame.  In fact, their stardom has led this yearly changing choir to record and sing on Passion Pit’s Manners and have had performances recorded where the actual artist, like Matisyahu and Fleetwood Mac, either asks to join the choir, or asks the choir to join onstage during the songs that were covered.  The passion and enthusiasm coming from each fifth grade class that have passed through Gregg Breinberg’s auditorium (more commonly known as Mr. B, of course) is unmatched.  It’s inspiring, uplifting, and certainly worth the accolades that this choir has received, and hardly need celebrity endorsements to enjoy.

Below are just…

Any review for Big Boi’s album Sir Lucious Left Foot: The Son Of Chico Dusty can inform you about his history.  So, without any further verbal vomit, “Tangerine,” the fifth iTunes single from Sir Lucious Left Foot, is dope, raunchy, and infectious.

6/18/10 New York City, New York -

Before getting in depth about the Isis’ performance, let me say that Isis are without a doubt one of the most consistent bands this decade has seen.  In fact, they are generally the first act linked with quality post-metal, as their influence has been that defining.  After all, they practically own the genre.  It all started with their first full-length, way back in 2000, when the gritty and often brutal Celestial was released, but the tidal wave of followers had not come until after Oceanic dropped in 2002. Ever since, Isis never looked back at what they were doing and how they approached their music, until last month, May 18th to be exact.  That date was the end of Isis and the end of an era, and they certainly were not leaving quietly.

Due to Webster Hall’s petty dance parties that begin at 11:00 P.M., the show started and ended rather early, and Isis took much of the grunt from that(approximately three songs cut short from their standard tour setlist).  Unlike many bands, Isis performed their own soundcheck and set up most of their equipment, showing their business-like approach to shows.  Once everything was in place, they wasted no time, beginning with the tremendous closer from Wavering Radiant, ”Threshold of Transformation.”  From that moment on, the crowd moved with every beat and crushing riff, and while Isis hardly prance around on stage, they are fully enveloped in each song, headbanging as far…

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