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Listening Party

Starting from today (November 30), in conjunction with Clawhammer PR, Sputnikmusic has the exclusive chance to host a stream of Vancouver-based Astrakhan’s new EP A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin, set for a 12” vinyl release on December 12 via War on Music Records. It is the band’s third EP, featuring two new tracks and two (“The Pillarist” and “Rest In Depths”) that you can also find on the band’s digitally released 2013 EP The Pillarist. Astrakhan play a hybrid form of sludge/stoner metal with a garage vibe and a progressive edge. You can hear a bit of Baroness in there, a bit of The Sword, and a bit of Kylesa, but you’ll also hear a lot of what makes Astrakhan a force of their own. For a band “born out of years of failure, frustration and stifled creativity,” the band members have sure found their feet in Astrakhan. The way the band melds sludge, garage rock, and spacey stoner vibes together is enviable: Astrakhan have a clear vision of the kind of music they want to create, but unlike a lot of young bands, they also have the chops to make that vision come to life. A Tapestry of Scabs and Skin is a true teaser in that sense: being a mere 20 minutes long, it generates appetite, it commands attention, but before you know it, the album has come to an end. There’s so much promise here, a full-length by these guys could really kick ass and…

Let’s start the new week with an exclusive stream, shall we. English black metallers Fen have been quite the busy bees since bursting onto the scene with their 2007 EP Ancient Sorrow. Since then, counting Carrion Skies, they’ve proceeded to write four fell-length albums in the span of five years. Dustwalker, their 2013 studio offering, finally showed what the band were really capable of and what their EP hinted at – the album presented a thoroughly satisfying mix of black metal, folk and post-rock that didn’t sound derivative in the least. Fen had really come into their own as a group. Luckily they haven’t stopped there and in 2014, with Carrion Skies, they look to carry the momentum further, with the new album featuring towering highs and zero lows. It is just that good, and one of the more unique black metal albums of 2014 to boot. Fen have definitely found a sound in the folk/black metal spectrum that has only one name written on it – their own. Carrion Skies will be released on November 22 in Europe, and on December 2 in North America, but starting from today, Sputnikmusic has a chance to stream Fen’s new opus ahead of its official release.

If you find that the aural description “twilight descending upon empty heathland and the cries of the crows that wheel in the bunching stormclouds” reads like it could translate into some excellent music, then look no further and doubt no longer, since Fen are…

Exclusivity vol. 2. In addition to being able to stream the sophomore effort from Swedish doomsters Anguish this week, Sputnikmusic also has a chance to host an exclusive pre-listening of the new album from Australian prog rockers Opus of a Machine. Another new band on the rise, Opus of a Machine was formed in 2012, and Simulacra is their debut album, slated for release on November 16. Soaring verses, delicate instrumental breaks, catchy choruses and heartfelt ambition is what would best describe the first offering from these guys. An airy, shimmering affair, it’s a debut worth notice – which is also why I strived to bring it to Sputnik’s attention – possessing traits to accumulate some hype on the modern prog scene, with the right amount of promotion. Simulacra will be streaming on Sputnikmusic until the midnight of the 16th. Come on, stop by, give this album a good listen and discover some great new music!

NB! Here’s a good, recent interview with the band’s guitarist Zachary Greensill, which further introduces Opus of a Machine and their approach regarding the creation of music: http://progarchy.com/2014/11/11/opus-of-a-machine-following-progressive-ideologies/

The stream has ended!


Pre-order
Opus of a Machine facebook


Gather ’round, gather ’round Sputnik friends and family, for today we assemble to witness Swedish doomsters Anguish climb their mountain. A relatively young band on the scene, Anguish was formed in the autumn of 2007, and Mountain is their second full-length offering, with their debut album Through the Archdemon’s Head gathering plenty of favorable feedback upon its release in 2012. Drawing plenty of parallels with the hallowed Candlemass, Anguish present the listener doom metal in its original, most basic form. If the comparisons to Candlemass still aren’t enough to pull you in, know that the album was produced by Johan Ericson, one of the founders of Draconian and the man behind the Doom: VS moniker, whose 2014 album Earhless is one of the best metal records to come out this year. For him to be interested enough to produce the whole album is a huge compliment to Anguish.

In conjunction with Dark Descent Records, Clawhammer PR and the band itself, Sputnikmusic now has the exclusive chance to stream Mountain in full, ahead of its November 12 release date. Full of monolithic sounds, veteran-level songwriting and just pure ass kicking, slow-burning metal, this is one release you don’t want flying under your radar. Come, climb the mountain along with the band and reap the rewards at the top.

The stream has ended!


Pre-order
Anguish Facebook
Clawhammer PR Facebook
Dark Descent Records
Dark Descent Records Facebook

Welcome to our Q3 Mixtape this year, where we further illuminate some of our favorite songs released between July – September. Featuring tracks from Amplifier, Banks, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Dog Fashion Disco, Dopplereffekt, Kimbra, Lenny Kravitz, Mr. Kitty, Oado, Seven That Spells, Shabazz Palaces, Skrew, Yuna, and more than what’s listed in the aforementioned baker’s dozen, we’re hopeful that you’ll find something worth investigating further here.

(RIP.)

This also means that this is our last mixtape of the year, as we’ll prepare for our annual Year-End feature. Whether you’re a staffer, contributor, longtime shit-poster, or a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newcomer, everybody has an opportunity to get involved in what amounts to be a fun year-end event for us. More details to come later, but as is also tradition, I’ll have some prize packages. To see what the winners got last year, you can check out the announcement here and see the actual prizes here.

What would you like to see for prizes this year? What albums are you excited about in Q4 that might crack your Top 10, 25, 50, or 100 [or greater]? Please feel free to let us know in the comments.

I hope you’re all enjoying the NFL season (unless you’re a Jacksonville fan, I guess?) and as we head towards the majesty that is the Fall Classic.

(We also use GoPros during our indoor office wiffleball…

As we march towards Day 182 on the year, we honor the late radio personality Casey Kasem and his famous closing line: “Keep your feet on the ground and keep reaching for the stars.”

Artist credit: ninjaink, deviantART

Be it summer or winter where you are, we hope that your first half has been just as splendid as ours. It’s time for our quarterly mixtape: this time, albums from April-June are on the docket after tipping our hats to 2014’s first quarter roughly 3 months ago.

Featuring music from Veni Domine, Fatima, tUnE-yArDs, My Life with the Thrill Kill Kult, Fucked Up, and Plastikman, we are once again hopeful that there’s something for everybody here in our 28 selections.

In the meantime, keep on enjoying the World Cup festivities, as well.


(If they’re super lazy, Google could recycle this for March Madness when shit really gets crazy at the office.)

(Oooooooooookay, maybe not that crazy.)

Enjoy! -Jom

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Ages and Ages – “Over It” (5:18)
Divisionary
Listen if you like: Real Estate, Hey Rosetta!, Vampire Weekend
Official site |  Available on iTunes

It happens at least once every year, without fail. I stumble across a band that – despite my…



Roots was one of my top 5 records last year, which made me super excited for Aura ever since the album was announced. Now, thanks to the man behind Saor, Andy Marshall, Sputnikmusic has the chance to host the stream for what is bound to be one of the finest black metal albums of the year, from one of the finest newcomers to the genre. Filled to the brim with authentic Celtic melodies and wonderfully lush primeval soundscapes, Aura is a real treat for those who like their metal atmospheric and epic. You can pre-order Aura from Saor’s bandcamp. The album will officially be released on June 6th, 2014 via Northern Silence Productions.


The stream has ended!

Even though I have 100+ reviews on Sputnik, I’m actually a man of few words, at least when it comes to writing. Verbally I can talk on for days and about pretty much anything if in the right setting, but you’ll rarely see me posting a review that’s over 1000 words. Why so, I really don’t know. I guess opening myself up to a screen just isn’t the same. In any case, enough rambling, here’s what you need to know about MiXE1 and their debut album Starlit Skin:

1. MiXE1 was formed in 2010 and they play electronic rock music with a poppy vibe.
2. The band’s name is pronounced Mikes one, and all the songs are “set” in a futuristic city of the same name.
3. As of now, the band is independent, after the closure of their previous label Static Distortion Records in 2013
4. Starlit Skin is a solid debut that will surely see the band craft out a nice little niche for themselves.
5. I’ve learned from Jom that lists of five are always the coolest.

In co-operation with MiXE1’s frontman Mike Evans (super nice bloke by the way), Sputnikmusic now has an exclusive chance to stream the band’s debut album, starting from today (31.05.14) up until the midnight of next Friday (06.06.14). So don’t be shy, give Starlit Skin a whirl, and if you enjoy it, do go and support the artist by purchasing the album (bandcamp link…

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.

Happy ‘official’ Opening Day, too, baseball fans. Enjoy! -Jom

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About Tess – “Shine” (7:07)
Shining

Listen if you like: BATS, And So I Watch You From Afar, Adebisi Shank
Soundcloud | Purchase on iTunes

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.

‘Forbidden

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.

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