As the champion of Malaysian Flight Simulator, I have a keen understanding of how music can fall off my proverbial radar undetected.
To protect you from having the same fate, we’ve collaborated on delivering to you some first-quarter artist and album highlights from our personal highlight reels. From the avant-garde and the macabre to the uptempo, D&B, and “dad rock” genres, we’re confident that you’ll find something in our 27-song playlist that’s worth checking out here.
Featuring tracks by Tokyo Police Club, Nebelung, Calibre, Kamchatka, and Animals as Leaders, we hope our diversified showcase underscores that 2014 is off to a splendid start.
I don’t think this is intentional on my part, but I have such a Euro-Austral-’Murica tilt in my listening habits that there’s a distinct lack of Asian artists per my RYM listening map (while I haven’t updated this in awhile, it’s probably damning that my only listed bands are Boris, The Black Mages, Orphaned Land, and Koji Kondo, who composes soundtracks for The Legend of Zelda…
I bit the bullet and started cleaning my office today. I love being organized, but I hate cleaning. Do I really need to save notebooks and folders from undergrad courses that I’ll never crack open again? Even my graduate studies binder isn’t really connected to what I do today.
I'd show you the pages, but they're kinda sticky…
It was my good buddy’s birthday today, and although he’s in a different province now, we still have a chat every now and then about music past and present. He reminded me of one of our conversations last year, where we were debating about whether or not we were going to go to our 10-year reunion, which quickly segued into talking about the gigs we went to in high school. In 2003, our favorite gig was the immense Summer Sanitarium tour, which was a nu metal delight: Metallica, Limp Bizkit, Linkin Park, Deftones, and Mudvayne.
It’s funny in a way, because Summer Sanitarium 2003 (~$46,000,000) outsold Ozzfest (~$23,000,000) and Lollapalooza (~$14,000,000) combined. Granted, Summer Sanitarium was the only stadium-driven tour that summer (save for Bruce Springsteen & The E-Street Band, who had a small run).
As our conversation progressed, we talked about bands that have aged well from that list (he is an avid Deftones fan) and bands that have fallen off our individual radars a bit (he didn’t believe me that Alien Ant Farm are releasing a new album this…
Austin-based Destroyer Of Light have just released their second EP, Bizarre Tales Vol. 2. While their lyrics still revolve around the ghastly horror stories, the quartet do a fine job of not repeating themselves musically. In contrast to their debut EP, which can be labelled as Black Sabbath-echoing traditional doom metal, the new release delves headfirst into a melodic sludge metal realm of Mastodon’s ilk. Instrumental opener ‘Battlefield Girth’ sounds monolithic due to its wondrous interplay of crushingly heavy riffs and hypnotic soloing, while the gloriously titled ‘Forbidden Zombi Ritual’ may be the band’s most accessible tune with infectious melodicism permeating both vocal harmonies and bewitching guitar leads. The remaining tracks see the band placing a greater focus on song progression while retaining a penchant for memorable riffs. Frontman Steve Colca augments the shift in style with howling vocals which sound more assured than before. In fact, Destroyer Of Light are growing rapidly as both songwriters and musicians, and Bizarre Tales Vol. 2 proves how versatile and expansive they can be. May the power of the riff compel you!
Here’s what singer/guitarist Steve Colca had to say about each number:
‘Battlefield Girth’ – It was one of the first Destroyer Of Light songs that we ever wrote, and decided to put it on this EP. We figured the song didn’t require vocals; so, we went with a heavy instrumental to start the album off.
It’s Sputnik Music’s honor to provide the exclusive stream for the self-titled album of Portland-based progressive pop rock band Icarus the Owl. The album is set for release on Friday, February 7th in the U.S.
Icarus the Owl is the result of a wildly successful Kickstarter campaign, whose net effect yielded the band the production mettle of the acclaimed Kris Crummett (A Lot Like Birds’ No Place, Closure in Moscow’s First Temple, all of Dance Gavin Dance’s earlier records and many more.) This change is a subtle one, as Crummett works within the reach of what’s familiar to Icarus the Owl- but his contributions to the group’s sound work wonders.
In terms of the music, this is the most cohesive and memorable Icarus the Owl have ever sounded. Songs like “Flint and Steel” are sure to entice newcomers, while deeper cuts like “Input. Time. Destruct.” will make long-term fans out of them. Those that found joy in the group’s 2012 release Love Always, Leviathan are sure to see the same kindling flame in Icarus the Owl- the experience just feels more intuitive this around.
Icarus the Owl can be bought at any major digital music retailer once it drops next Friday.
I still remember the first time I heard City of Ifa. I was in the car with my bandmate, and he was blasting Blue Shoes– and when the album transitioned into “The Human Atlas,” I was sold immediately. The track is post-hardcore that begins with the catchiness of pop-punk; complicated music that calms itself for its first minute before descending into instrumental chaos incarnate. It’s as if An Isle Ate Her decided, just momentarily, to stop writing the most complicated songs they could afford before harking back to their ways of havoc. This group is more melodic than that technical-metal outfit, though, recalling Thomas Erak’s work in The Fall Of Troy– how he’d write those tapped riffs that were impressive as hell, sure, but that also found a way into your head after a few spins.
Today marks the day that City of Ifa is finally streaming its self-titled album only four hours before its December 1 release date, and to call that a cause for celebration for the group’s fans would be an understatement. While the post-hardcore act (or at least more post-hardcore than any other genre label) has released some incredible music in its time, nothing has ever floored me at the end of the day. On a precursory glance, though, this record seems to possess all the necessary ingredients for success. Just by looking at the tracklisting (nope, I haven’t listened to this yet either,) this album looks more comprehensive than anything else…
A favorite thing of mine to do when listening to albums is to mentally track along with the drums, often using my steering wheel as a makeshift snare and hi-hat and the gas pedal as my bass (my ‘94 Accord goes). Being the cockmaster that I am, I generally believe I can play along to most songs I listen to; the reality is I rarely get around to doing it, and when I do, I’m hilariously out of time and out of my element. It’s one thing to listen to a song and think you could jam along with it, or perhaps get inspired and, you know, do something worthwhile with your creativity. It’s an altogether different beast, though, to actually go out and act on those influences, to create something fresh that pays homage to your favorites yet isn’t controlled by them, and then put it out for the world to see. Maybe they laugh at it (my drumming), hopefully they groove to it. That’s the difference between electronic artist Depth Connection and myself – I’m content to be the driver’s seat Neil Peart; Depth Connection just released a badass EP that takes hints from Tycho, Lone, and a number of other artists to create a quietly gorgeous amalgam of live studio sounds and finely textured electronic beats.
The brainchild of Colorado native Tanner Lichty aka Sputnik user twlichty(ex-Solterra), Depth Connection describes itself as “a collage of unfamiliar yet…
The second full-length record from French metallic noise rockers Sofy Major, Idolize, is a testament to the trio’s perseverance. On October 29th, hurricane Sandy destroyed the Brooklyn studio in which the outfit was going to track, annihilating all the recording equipment and instruments. After a couple of days they luckily managed to start recording with the invaluable help of producer Andrew Schneider and Dave Curran of Unsane’s fame. The result is an aptly furious endeavour that encapsulates the feeling of powerlessness really well. Full of pummeling bass lines, dense drumming and sludgy riffs, this record is at once unabashedly groovy and punishing, showcasing the trio’s knack for crafting off-kilter noise rock that doesn’t steer clear of unexpected flourishes. Idolize is streaming over at Sofy Major’s bandcamp page.
‘Cranley Gardens’ by Church of Misery (taken from their upcoming album Thy Kingdom Scum)
Church of Misery have been through a lot since originally forming back in 1995. The band was founded by Tatsu Mikami (bass guitar) after the breakup of his thrash metal band, Salem. He wanted to do something that reflected his other musical inspirations – doom metal and doom rock. Apart from metal and thrash, he was strongly influenced by doom bands like Saint Vitus, Black Sabbath and became aware that his own riffs had started to include doom vibes. Also, he was very much into late 60’s/early 70’s heavy rock material like Leaf Hound, November, and Blue Oyster Cult. It was natural for him to shift his musical direction from metal to a more rock-influenced style. It wasn’t until 2001, though, that they finally released their first full length album, Master Of Brutality, via Southern Lord Recording. Since that time, they have released two more full-length albums and have continued to captivate audience with their self-proclaimed murder doom — and they’re finally about to release their fourth, Thy Kingdom Scum.
For your listening pleasure, Sputnik Music is proud to premiere the song ‘Cranley Gardens’ from that album. The band’s fourth album, Thy Kingdom…
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.
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.
In conjunction with Fake Four Records, Sputnik Music is proud to present an exclusive stream of the upcoming sophomore LP from Seattle rapper Sadistik. Flowers For My Father is due for release on Fake Four Records this Tuesday, February 19th in the US. Sputnik’s recently featured review can be found here: Sobhi Youssef’s Review.
Flowers For My Father marks Sadistik’s first solo album since his 2008 debut, The Balancing Act, and charts his growth in spades. Evolving his style to a more synthesized rendition of a signature cinematic Seattle sound, the new album displays a distinct combination of Sadistik’s complex, vulnerable writing with textured, ambient production handled by the likes of Blue Sky Black Death and Kno of CunninLynguists. Featured guest performances from indie hip hop heroes such as Cage, Deacon The Villain, Astronautalis & more result in his most developed, mature and revealing project to date.
Shortly after the release of The Balancing Act, Sadistik’s father tragically passed. Never one to shy away from heavy topics or keep his personal life personal, Sadistik wrote this album for his late father, choosing to treat each song as an update of what has happened in his life since. This is reflected in writing which delves into depression, romance, heartbreak, optimism and the struggle to make sense of the ever-shifting pieces in the world around him.
— Daterape Cookbook
— Smirk the Godblender
– To Build a Better Bulldozer
2013 marks the twenty-year anniversary of the release of Thought Industry’s Mods Carve the Pig: Assassins, Toads and God’s Flesh. It was an album that was so ahead of its time that’s there’s still really nothing that sounds like it. Take the abrasive, confrontational nature of Ian McKay and Minor Threat, mix it with a bit…
CityCop and Les Doux are two bands that have been making names for themselves in the post-hardcore/emo scene, each releasing a handful of material that has been very well received. And rightfully so, as each band employs a chaotic yet cathartic brand of hardcore that draws inspiration from various acts such as Touche Amore and Pianos Become the Teeth. While both bands differ very much in regards to their inherent sounds, teaming up for the Family Ties/Labors of Love split feels fitting. The result is a varied, yet wholly wonderful combination of two truly talented bands. Luckily, we have an official stream of the split for you to enjoy!
Soilwork will be releasing their latest album, The Living Infinite, on February 27 in Asia (via license to Marquee Records), in Europe on March 1, and in North America on March 5 through Nuclear Blast Records. Holy shit, is the first thing that comes to mind. It’s a double album and the first single is actually really good. Is there hope for this band? You decide.