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Hey folks,

We’ve made a bunch of changes to the system:

- Tags on band pages now update every 15 minutes instead of instantly.
- ‘Third’ genres should no longer appear unless they have at least 15% of the total votes.
- Non-approved tags will no longer appear on band pages or navigation.
- Mods can now reset tags on a band profile and can and will ban people for inappropriate tags. Don’t be a tagging troll.
- Pie charts now only use the ‘top two’ genres for each band. 8 genres are displayed.

We’re in the process of implementing a loose grouping structure for the genres. For instance, clicking on a ‘major’ genre such as Rock, Metal, or Alternative will not only display content for bands with that specific tag, but also for related subtags. Functionally, the tagging system is unchanged. If a band doesn’t fit a subgenre well, just use one of the more generic tags.

Lastly, two reminders:

- Please keep in mind that the subgenre system quickly becomes unhelpful if there are too many subgenres. We’re taking our time approving new requests until we’re sure that requested tags make sense. There’s no need to request every micro-genre that you’ve seen on the internet.

- If you don’t like how a band is tagged, don’t complain — vote for what you think is most appropriate. Given the new 15% system, bad tags won’t exist eternally on a band page. In a…

Hey folks,

We’ve launched a brand new tagging system for genres. Please use this thread to report any bugs or suggestions you might have.

There will likely be a lot of volatility in the first few days as tags get updated. Please be patient throughout this process.

I’ve always found it difficult to express to other musicians why I find indie music* so intriguing. Instrumentally, there usually isn’t much there — indie tends to be vocally driven, minimal, and frankly a bit repetitive. (* what is indie music? whatever I want it to be for this post)

The new single ‘White Leather’ by Wolf Alice doesn’t break this mold. It consists of a simple four measure riff that repeats throughout the entire song. In the chorus they add a second riff. That’s it.

But it still makes me smile.

Maybe I just like rhythm.

The last time the site received a major upgrade was in January, when we updated our server architecture. Although there have been a few bumps along the way, overall the change has resulted in increased speed and stability for Sputnikmusic.

This summer, I plan on fixing several persistent bugs and will implement 1-2 ‘major’ changes to the site. I have a provisional list of modifications I’m considering (enhanced genre system, improved news, revised message boards, enhancements to lists, revision of user profiles, design changes), but I wanted to give everyone the chance to provide their feedback on what they think the most valuable addition to the site would be before I start the process. Looking forward to reading your comments below!

We value discussion, and we’re happy that lists are so popular. However, there is a thin line between users having fun and annoying trolling. Recently (or perhaps not so recently), there have been a few trends that I’ve noticed:

- Users creating multiple accounts to bother other users, publish bogus lists, and generally be an annoyance.
- Lists that serve no other purpose but to start a discussion in the comments section.
- Users attacking newbies who aren’t aware of the site’s cliques/conventions, etc.

Currently, the forums aren’t well integrated with the review site, so there isn’t a prominent place where users can engage in general discussion. We’re working on fixing this at some point in the future. In the meantime, here are a few small changes/guidelines we’re rolling out:

- We now have a way to track alternate accounts. In other words, expect the possibility that you may be banned on all of your active accounts if you are banned.

- We’re not going to allow people to use disposable e-mail addresses in registration.

- Users now have the option to prevent other users from commenting on your lists. If you love polka and want to post your top 15 of 2010 without instant replies of “lolololololol sucks,” this option is for you.

- Mods can now lock discussions that are getting out of hand.

- You can delete posts by other users on your lists. If…

In my last post on this blog, I spoke of my ‘long hiatus’ (it was all of two weeks). This time, I’ve upped the ante and have refrained from posting for a full 4 months. After some effort, the Norwegians have managed to drag me out of my self-imposed literary slumber. Celebrate by checking out Royksopp’s latest mashup: ‘This Space’

This Space by Röyksopp

After a long hiatus from the blog, I am determined to return in magnificent splendor. In this simple and unassuming post, you’ll find no less than 3 stellar tracks for your listening pleasure. Enjoy.

Gold Panda – You

Genre: Electronic
Buy it here

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The Mary Onettes – The Night Before the Funeral

Genre: Indie Pop

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DOM – Burn Bridges

Genre: Indie

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This smiling gentleman from the American Apparel catalog is Mark Ronson. Since  Ronson happens to be a mild-mannered DJ, it would be safe to assume that any of his songs featuring Ghostface Killah & Nate Dogg would consist of a remix compiled from the safety of his living room. Alas, you would be wrong.   Mark Ronson is clearly a BAMF, and he uses an assortment of hats, headphones, and shaved head art to prove that he belongs on the same set with the Killah.

Upon an initial listen, it would be hard to distinguish this track from anything that the Hood Internet is churning out on a daily basis. Interestingly, however, this song is not a recent product of the booming alternative hip-hop scene. Rather, it was released to limited acclaim (and quickly forgotten) in 2003. Goes to show that some genres can arrive well before their time.

As lists have become increasingly popular on the site, it’s become necessary to gently step in and make sure things are going in a constructive direction. As a result, I’ve posted the following set of brief guidelines on the list creation page.

List Guidelines
- Your list should be related to music in some way
- If you’d like to post comments, suggestions, or complaints about the site, use the site forum instead
- If you’d like to post something completely unrelated to music, use the community forums
- If you’d like to post something related to a specific user, use their shoutbox

Lists that violate these guidelines will be deleted — so please don’t try to skirt them. We want to encourage you to make lists, but we also want to make sure that lists remain a valuable and interesting resource for users. Lately, lists have included rants, half-hearted rankings, obscenities, video-game discussion, and everything in between. Additionally, the fact that lists appear on the front page of the site has led to a lot of abuse. Let’s keep the focus on the music — we have an entire set of wonderful forums for every offtopic conversation you can think of.

If these new rules prove to be too stifling for users, I would consider re-implementing user journals. It’s important that we build a strong sense of community and individual user expression– I just want to make sure that it is occurring in the right…

You’ve probably already heard this track. On the off chance that you haven’t, check it out below.

Delorean – Stay Close

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Tokyo Police Club have released a free single from their upcoming album Champ. For those of you who care, check out the brief review below.

If Helen was the face that launched a thousand ships, Tokyo Police Club was the band name that launched a legion of equally silly imitators. In the years since their debut, we’ve witnessed the Bombay Bicycle Club, the Two Door Cinema Club, the New Young Pony Club, and even Tom Morello’s Street Sweeper Culture Club. Of course, one could claim that Black Rebel Motorcycle Club started this associative naming trend, but seeing as motorcycle clubs actually exist, I’ll choose to ignore this otherwise salient point.

On to the track. My initial impressions were decidedly mixed — for a song titled “Breakneck Speed”, it’s rather long by Tokyo Police Club standards, and it’s missing some of the frenetic energy (and pounding drumming) that characterized their previous efforts. The first few notes also sound suspiciously like the opening notes to Limp Bizkit’s cover of ‘Mission Impossible’. However, once you stick with the song past :50 seconds, it’s a grower (especially the chorus, in which Dave Monks matches his falsetto with Josh Hook’s guitar).

My final verdict: 3 out of 5. If you don’t like Tokyo Police Club, you probably won’t like this track. However, feel free to voice your objection by ripping off the absurd name and forming a rival ‘club.’

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The Morning Benders – Excuses (with ukulele)

Coffee shops and small halls are filled with ‘cover bands’ specializing in reproducing classic rock hits and songs that your parents used to love. However, indie cover bands are exceedingly rare — especially attic-based ones that provide arguably higher quality recordings than the original song.

And for something slightly less serious, here’s Katy Perry – Hot N Cold

This version has convinced me that Katy Perry should sing with an Eastern European accent from now on.

And for the legion of post-rock fans:

Exhibit A:
Recipe for electronic goodness:

A) Take a pop track
B) Add really thick and distorted bass & synth
C) Add tribal drums
D) Distribute it for free

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Download » The Glitch Mob

Exhibit B
Recipe for sugary indie pop goodness:

A) Make it happy — chimes, choruses, Scandinavian pop and 1960’s vibes optional
B) End the song quickly before it gets old
C) Distribute the whole EP for free

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Download » Cults

Remixes are often hit or miss affairs. Modern technology allows any teenager or unemployed DJ to sit in their living room and churn out tracks — as a result, the internet is bombarded with thousands of crappy Rihanna and Lady Gaga remixes every day.

However, to use a cliched expression, there are diamonds hidden in the rough. This semi-recurring column will highlight some of the better remixes that I’ve stumbled upon over the past few months.

First up is a fairly well known act, The Hood Internet. Visit their website here for additional tracks.

Cult Logic Forever

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Ignition

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About 2-3 weeks ago, we posted a news item asking for volunteers to improve the site’s database. Unfortunately, the announcement predated some new community album editing features that we were in the process of adding. As a result, thousands of hopeful, enthusiastic recruits were turned aside in dismay.

Never fear, eager album editors. Meatplow is still organizing an on-going effort in the forums. As of today, there have been over 2,400 album edits using the new and improved community editing system. If you are interested in helping out, visit the organizing thread here

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