Because who wouldn't be enticed to click on this playlist by Chad Kroeger's glorious mug?
Ladies, gentlemen, and readers who may not identify by either pole of the gender binary, welcome to Sputnikmusic’s 2nd Quarter Infinite Playlist for 2015. It’s been a long year since the last one of these went up – in the interim, the staffers who typically run the playlists (namely Sowing and myself) have been very busy with various kinds of work, both within and without Sputnik. That said, we figured now is as good a time as any to kick-start the ol’ Infinite Playlist again, and thanks to a healthy crop of user submissions we’re able to present a wide variety of some of the finest music released between April and June of this year. We’ve got a great mix of music for you, from post-hardcore to weird synthesizer explorations to a double dose of Britpoppy alt-rock, and we hope you enjoy this as much as we did.
Most videos and pictures that go viral usually generate nothing more than a shoulder shrug from yours truly. I mean, I really don’t give a flying fire truck what color that dress is. But, occasionally, something will catch my ear that I deem useful… A benefit to society, as such. When I see a video that actually improves two things, then it deserves the two million views it has received in just five days!
Old musical films bore the crap out of me. I think it stems from ‘Gigi’ beating out ‘Vertigo’ for an Oscar, but I digress. Even a Disney musical with some animation thrown in is as dull as ditchwater. Take, for example, that magical nanny ‘Mary Poppins’; with all of it’s “Jolly Holidaying” and “Chim Chim Cher-eeing”. The only thing good about that 50 year old movie is the infamous word that is “Supercalifragilisticexpialidocious”. If only there were a cover version of that song…
Well, now there is… And it’s a death metal version! Thanks to the musical talents of Andy Rehfeldt and the vocal stylings of Sera Hatchett & Thomas Hinds, all of us can actually make it through a two minute scene from the movie without nodding off. And while she isn’t exactly Miss World, I’d probably prefer looking at Julie Andrews circa 1964 than some fat, bald & bearded death metal musician. Enjoy:
Out of respect for him and his family’s privacy, I ask that you don’t try to delve into the cause or why it happened. This is a time for grieving, and a chance for us to remember the life of one of our community members. Pmmets07 was a genuinely nice guy with a stand-up personality, and even if you only interacted with him on a limited basis, that was plain to see. I don’t know what I could possibly say to do him justice, and given that I didn’t know him very well, I don’t think it would be appropriate to try. So what I’d like to do is start something of a memorial thread for pmmets07. Comment with your favorite memory, something you liked or admired about him, a song/album that reminds you of him, or just to send your best wishes.
Also, if you haven’t already, take a moment to show his profile some love.
When I first heard Illinois, I found it to be bloated and annoyingly festive, even for my rich taste. I didn’t bother to follow up much after that, conceding that he was “talented, but not for me.” I did give a passing listen to The Age of Adz – mostly out of a desire to see what all the fuss was about – but then too, the man’s compositions felt insane and I just couldn’t relate to any of it. Perhaps I was simply lacking context. Or maybe I’ve just lost my mind over the years.
Either way, Sufjan gradually (even begrudgingly) became a mainstay within my musical collection.
It all started on a boring, hot summer afternoon in 2010. The air conditioner blasting on high, I sat in my bedroom idly staring out the window. I had just finished up school, and with no friends around me the world just felt colorless and I couldn’t shake this sensation that it was slipping away from me. I had Facebook chat open in the corner of my monitor, pathetically awaiting social interaction, but nobody obliged. Cooped up in my parents’ house, it seemed like I was squandering the best years of my life. So yeah, it was depressing times and all that shit. Anyway, I specifically recall b
Seriously, the world has gone fucking mad! If it wasn’t enough that Tenacious D just won a Grammy award for ‘Best Metal Performance’, it has just been announced that Australia has been allowed to enter the Eurovision Song Contest this year. That’s right, the EUROvision Song Contest. Never mind the 16 hour flight it takes to get there. Upon first hearing the news, I immediately thought that the organizers of the event had done a Jim Carrey:
I guess that we shouldn’t be surprised, since the reigning winner of this cheesy contest is Conchita Wurst / Thomas Neuwirth; a bearded, umm, person from (ironically) Austria. Talk about opening the proverbial can of worms; while supposedly a “one-off initiative to mark the contest’s 60th anniversary”, we could one day have a Eurovision Song Contest without a European nation taking part! Of course, the only reason why the participating countries are relevant anyway, is for them to vote along political lines to the point of predictability. And the best thing about the contest itself is the hilariously demeaning voice-over commentary.
So the next step is for Australia to choose an entrant, and the mainstream media are all over it in asking for possibilities. Sadly, it’s the usual dross that’s put up for discussion; which basically amounts to Kylie Minogue or any one of a number of young female reality show contestants. Some bright spark, however, has taken it upon themselves to think outside of the box and put…
Late night talk shows have always been good for a casual watch. They’re usually entertaining for the most part, even if the topics of discussion are no deeper than drunk guys arguing the Jordan vs LeBron debate. With guests from all walks of life (sport, movies, television, music, politics, etc…) conversations are at least varied enough to not bore viewers to sleep. Most of these talk shows will include a musical guest playing 1 or 2 songs from whatever album they are selling at the time. However, if the musical act is not sufficiently well-known, they can occasionally feel like a time-filling hindrance; Simply there to fulfil some kind of structural obligation.
Of late, however, that seems to have changed to some extent… And thankfully for the music industry, it’s for the better. I’m no expert – or religious viewer – but it may have been ever since Sauturday Night Live alumni Jimmy Fallon joined the talk show host ranks, and happened to bring along with him a genuine musical act in The Roots as his studio band. Furthermore, Fallon has deftly integrated comedy and entertainment into the music which appears on his show, whether via impersonation, surprise guests or otherwise. I’ve already blogged about his fantastic Neil Young impression in the past.
Well, it seems that Conan O’Brien is now (literally) getting in on the act by uniting tv (himself), movies (Jeff Bridges) & music (Slash) in the one performance! With Bridges a guest on the…
As the curtain closes on 2014, it’s difficult to fathom just how amazing of a year it was musically. This is a statement that seems to ring true for a lot of people almost every year, as we look back at the music we’ve acquiesced since January and marvel at the strength and diversity of the collective whole. Maybe we’re all too simple to please. Perhaps we just know what we like and pursue it with reckless abandon. Either way, I personally think that 2014 is one of the best years for music in a long time. So instead of drawing up a plain looking top 25 list (which I almost did), I’ve decided to do something unnecessarily over-the-top and showy to commemorate how I feel about 2014. Ladies and gentlemen, welcome to the first annual Sowing’s Music Awards (SMA). Only the worthy have been nominated, and only the best out of those will receive the somewhat coveted (but not really) SMA trophy, which I can only imagine would look something like this:
Only the most brilliant artists will get to line their trophy cases with these! But without further ado, I present to you the first category. Thank you for reading on – if you choose to do so – and I hope you enjoy the 2014 SMA’s.
Critics everywhere have been bemoaning the downward spiral of trap for a while now, ever since that horrible realization that (gasp!) ninety-plus percent of songs in the genre consisted of nothing more than an annoying upper-register siren-esque synth and some tonic-based 808s. Sure, you have the standard claim that Hudson Mohawke, Rustie, and Lunice are all doing really interesting things with trap’s quintessential bounce, adding wonky melodies and twisting hi-hat attacks to the point of unrecognizability, but none of them has really been all that exciting recently — the nail in the coffin of the holy trinity being Rustie’s decent but wholly uninspiring Green Language. The unfortunate part of all this, of course, is that the generally derided Baauer is actually making some of the best music in the genre nowadays, yet he’s unfortunately ignored thanks to the overexposure of “Harlem Shake.” The stellar pump-up of “Infinite Daps” and the this-is-what-Green-Language-should-have-been “Clang” are testaments to his creative and technical skill, but unfortunately his music has been tossed to the wayside in favor of the newly-sprung Jersey Club fascination.
His latest EP β doesn’t unfortunately reflect his skill with singles, save for the stellar lead track “One Touch,” featuring the vocal talents of Aluna Francis and the brothers in Rae Sremmurd. What really makes the song click is the perfect interaction between each of its elements — the wonderfully spare offbeat shaker and the the watery bass play off each other gorgeously under Francis’ mouse-like croon. Despite the problematic nature…
September 6, 2014: “Never” is my favorite track of the year. If anything comes along and dethrones it, I will be more than positively surprised. In a paradoxical manner, I often can’t pinpoint why a certain song or an album resonates with me the way it does. That’s because as a person, I’m more adept at feeling and experiencing than sharing my exact thoughts in a coherent piece of writing. I know what I like, but can’t necessarily explain why every time. In conversing, I’m more often than not a stream of consciousness type of talker – something that I find hard to translate over into writing. I know exactly why I like “Never” though: it speaks to me about as much as it speaks of me, and that is a lot.
“Never” is barefaced as much as it is multifaceted. Structurally, both instrumentally and rapping-wise, it is a relatively straightforward track. Inversely, its message can be interpreted in many ways. To take it in the context of the full album it originates from, …And Then You Shoot Your Cousin, it’s part of a narrative, part of a story. I like to be self-centered with the track though – I like taking it out of context, pulling it apart from the rest of the record, because while I enjoy &TYSYC very much as a full-length offering, no other song on the album digs as deep as “Never” does when I forget what The Roots might have wanted…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 9th, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
American Hi-Fi – Blood & Lemonade (Rude Records)
Avi Buffalo – At Best Cuckold (Sub Pop)
Ballet School – The Dew Lasts An Hour (Bella Union) Banks – Goddess (Harvest) – Deviant
Better Than Ezra – All Together Now (The End Records)
Billy Childs – Map To The Treasure: Reimagining Laura Nyro (Sony Masterworks)
Cries Of The Captive – Imperialist (Imminence Records)
David Bazan & The Passenger String Quartet – David Bazan & The Passenger String Quartet (self-released)
Death From Above 1979 – The Physical World (Warner Bros.)
Delta Spirit – Into The Wide (Dualtone Music Group)
Digitalife – Nemesis (Imminence Records)
Duologue – Never Get Lost (Wild Game Records)
Esben And The Witch – A New Nature (Nostromo Records)
Flowers – Do What You Want To, It’s What You Should Do (Kanine Records)
Greensky Bluegrass – If Sorrows Swim (Big Blue Zoo)
Gob – Apt. 13 (New Damage Records)
Hiss Golden Messenger – Lateness Of Dancers (Merge Records) In Flames – Siren Charms (Sin UK) – Kyle Ward Interpol – El Pintor (Matador Records)
Jhene Aiko – Souled Out (Def Jam)
Justin Townes Earle – Single Mothers (Vagrant Records)
Karen O – Crush Songs (Kobalt)
KMFDM – We Are KMFDM: Live 30th Anniversary (Metropolis Records)
The Kooks – Listen (Astralwerks)
In case you’ve been sleeping (or ignoring those trending Facebook items like a good, red-blooded whatever nationality you are), rock god, virtuoso, musical authority, and in no way, shape or form, a mere cunning businessman who played rock ‘n’ roll to the tune of inflating his bank account, Gene Simmons (not to be confused with fitness guru Richard Simmons) declared rock music dead in an interview with Esquire magazine. While Ace Frehly (official doctor of rock medicine) declined to provide a time of death, he did pander a bit about his recent solo album. Which is more than Mr. Simmons can do. Meanwhile, Simmons, in his coroner’s report, officially declared that lack of funding was the ultimate cause of death.
We'd bury it in a KISS casket, but it can't afford it
According to Simmons’ reports, it would seem that none of the many rock and metal bands rising up through the modern day miracle of free, online publicity and simplicity of self-recording/releasing made an impact in attempting to revive the presently deceased genre. In fact, said modern realities were glossed over in acknowledging that rock died because “no one will pay you to do it.” The deceased bands counted in Simmons’ toll number in the tens of thousands, many of which will have to be told to cease touring and producing music due to the recent death of their genre. Many do not expect this news to be easily received and believe…
The notion that “human beings don’t change” has gained prevalence in modern society. We’ve all heard variations of it before – he’s stuck in his ways, or the famous once a cheater, always a cheater – and while some people show it more than others, I can guarantee you that we all do evolve. It’s not something you can necessarily witness all at once. Every day, we absorb different stimuli, we’re faced with new decisions, and our character is ever so slightly altered until they all resonate as something noticeable. It’s why your best friend is less likely to notice small changes occurring in you than someone who sees you once per year, such as a distant relative. People like that are subject to brief windows of observation, because they have no frame of reference other than your previous, dated encounter.
If music was life and Brand New were a person, we’d all be distant cousins. We saw them at Your Favorite Weapon in 2001, and they were very much a product of their peer groups, albeit outshining the likes of Taking Back Sunday and other pop-punk groups of that era. Then came Deja Entendu in 2003, and we all marveled at how much the band had matured. The same reaction followed suit, perhaps double fold, upon the release of 2006’s The Devil and God Are Raging Inside Me, an epic transformation with overarching spiritual and existential themes. Once again, we transport ourselves years forward to 2009. Daisy was…
Taylor Swift has debuted a new single and set a new record, 1989, to be released on October 27th of this year. Normally in a blog I’d like to include more details, but I really have no words for whatever is going on here.
The following is something I wrote up a few months ago while trying to consolidate my thoughts on what to tell more-novice writers when they ask “But why can’t I write about every track?” Keep in mind this shows me trying to speak for Sputnik as a whole, but is also my personal opinion, so feel free to chime in as well as discussing my own reasons. Enjoy.
Track-by-track reviews are frowned upon on Sputnikmusic. Why? Because, at best, the site tries to be “professional.” And, obviously, there are different definitions on what makes a review that way, but the one generally agreed-upon rule is that explicitly track-by-track reviews don’t look good, especially beside full paragraph-by-paragraph album analyses. There are a number of explanations for this, and I’ll include a few here. First, track-by-track reviews typically have really, really short paragraphs. Which can be fine, but in almost all types of critical writing paragraphs should have at least a few sentences. We all probably learned this in elementary school: intro sentence, three body sentences, concluding sentence. And that’s probably the bare minimum, and usually even that’s not enough – typically, my paragraphs are about 8-12 sentences, which I think is a pretty good length as it’s beefy but not threateningly long. To reiterate: track-by-track reviews lead to too-short paragraphs, which really doesn’t look well-written and complete.
Second, track-by-track reviews are almost always incredibly disjointed. A review should have some sort of coherent structure (and no, brief intro…
This probably won’t be something that I always have time to do, but some weeks just overflow with quality releases. Today I’d like to share with you two of my favorite tracks, written by The Rosebuds and Owl John, respectively. These two tracks only combine to take a little bit over 8 minutes of your time, so I suggest you give them both a try!
The Rosebuds: “In My Teeth”
from the album Sand + Silence
Listen if you like: dEUS, Spoon, Wye Oak
“In My Teeth” is the opening track on an album brimming with confident melodies. Wrapped tightly around mature instrumental framework, this track manages to sound relaxed in its urgency, potent in its lyrical content, and entirely fresh from a novelty standpoint. Oh, and it was produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver. Check the band’s official website out out here, and if you would like to purchase this song or the entire album, it is available on iTunes or Amazon.
Owl John: “A Good Reason to Grow Old”
from the album Owl John
Listen if you like: Frightened Rabbit, Bright Eyes, Biffy Clyro
“Turn your back to the afterlife!” Scott Hutchison proclaims, in an emotional bout of suicidal triumph…”with my head in my hands I resolved to die alone…I was ready to drown in the afterlife, but not anymore…