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Musings

Super limited deluxe special editions of albums (I think I got all of the adjectives) are getting a bit ridiculous.  On one hand, I think it’s really awesome that there are bands out there who want to give the fans a little something extra, but then I realize that most “special editions” contain some shitty, half-assed DVD that has thirty minutes of footage (if you’re lucky) about what five of the songs are about.

The horrible thing is, I will almost always buy the special edition even though logic has proven time and time again that it is a total waste of money.  And do I legitimize my purchase by watching the DVD/listening to the bonus tracks/utilizing surround sound technology to hear Opeth’s Still Life in a whole new light?  Nope.  I very rarely take advantage of the band’s decision to bestow insight into their writing process and/or the things they do while they’re on their tour bus or inside their tour van.  Here is a list of some of the bonus content that I have done absolutely nothing with:

- The DVD included with Underoath’s Lost In The Sound Of Separation.  It’s worth mentioning here that I bought both the special edition of the CD that came with the DVD, and the special vinyl box set that also includes the CD and DVD.  So I have two Underoath DVDs that I will most likely never, ever watch.  But hey, 10″ vinyl in the shape of a sawblade!

- The…

Sweden has always had a strong DIY culture. Look no further than the brand name most famously exported from the Scandinavians, IKEA, for an indication of the trait. Easy, self-assembled and stylish furniture, much like the music that the nations independent scene has made its name with. Where the status quo of mainstream pop music in most other countries is that of record executives with dollar signs for pupils and the incendiary scorn of independent/niche fans, Sweden owes a huge part of its musical history to the genre; ask anyone to name a Swedish artist and seminal pop act ABBA will undoubtedly fall from their lips, and for good reason. ABBA may in fact have been the most important group ever to emerge out of the country. As well as lighting the world up with hustle inducing hits like “Waterloo” and “Gimme Gimme Gimme (A Man After Midnight)”, they encouraged a nation to let loose their inhibitions and muster up the confidence to write music in English; simple, excellent pop songs, kooky accent and all. Bands like Roxette (of “Listen to your Heart” fame) and The Cardigans followed suit, creating intelligent, accessible pop that lit up the charts throughout the 90’s, with the former registering four #1 singles in the US and dozens more UK Top 40 hits.

ABBA, in all their glory.

Looking specifically at the contemporary state of the independent scene, you wouldn’t have to go further than the…

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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As any Sputnik regular will know, a couple of the staffers here have got a thing going on for UK hip-hop; Orphans of Cush did gatecrash our 2009 top 50 at an impressive #27, after all. You might have realized, too, that the latest record from the scene to makes among us is Devil May Cry by Iron Braydz.

Now, I couldn’t tell you why, but something about Braydz made me cast my mind back to the early part of last decade, when UK garage was just beginning to turn into grime, and British urban music has a stranglehold on UK radio and people still gave a crap about the MOBOs. So Solid Crew were absolutely massive then. Hell, they were probably the biggest band in the country, regardless of country; they genuinely revolutionized UK rap. Angus Batey pointed out as much in a recent Guardian interview with the group’s lynchpin Megaman, while the band still gets respect in the scene; Durrty Goodz, on the state-of-the-nation address “Switching Songs”, acknowledged the change they brought to the UK garage scene.

‘Deep basslines and a load of energy
And I loved the beats because they came with melodies
I could go raving and sip on the Hennessey
And wouldn’t even think about looking for enemies
Then shit changed, everyone just bugged out
So Solid came and it all got thugged out’

That lyric encapsulates why the band were never really embraced…

The new staff members aren’t yet able to post in the staff blog, so I’m doing my favorite son Adam Thomas a big favor here and posting his blog about this year’s Record Store Day.  I’m lending my support to this blog post, as Record Store Day is a big fucking deal for guys like us who buy vinyl and albums that you can’t get at Best Buy, etc.  So give Adam your full attention and support your local record stores if you have any!  As a sidenote, here are some possible names for his future column:  Adam’s Spasms, Adam’s Orgasms, Adam’s Chasms.  Just some suggestions.

Just a little reminder for y’all, the fourth annual Record Store Day is this Saturday, April 17th. For those not in the know, Record Store Day is a world wide celebration of independent music retailers, marked by a plethora of special releases from musicians on both major and indie labels, and special in-store appearances by tons of bands both big and small. So why honor the local record shop? Despite the fact that they can at times be a bit more pricey than their superstore counterparts, local record stores foster a sense of community amongst their consumers, stocking albums based on what their clientele want, not based on corporate buggery and marketing deals. This personal touch is what they rely on to survive, and with retail giants like Wal-Mart, Target, and Best Buy holding brick and mortar retail music sales by the balls and…

I’ve been a fan of most the music that Peter Steele has put out including Carnivore and Type O Negative. Based on that, I’m not going to jump to any conclusions based on all of the news that’s floating around right now – we’ll save that shit for a different day. I did want to take this time to highlight his band prior to Type O Negative, though, because they were always a bit underrated in my opinion. Their first album was kind of sloppy thrash but their second release, Retaliation, was straight up hardcore with a huge streak of sarcasm and a warped sense of humor. None of these songs were supposed to be taken seriously, they were just supposed to be so incredibly stupid that they were funny. Of course, when Peter became famous through Type O Negative critics returned to this album to accuse him of everything from racism to homophobia to just about everything else (prompting the song “We Hate Everyone” on Bloody Kisses).  Anyway, hopefully Peter is somewhere sleeping in New York (it is only 11am)…

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- Jesus Hitler

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- Angry Neurotic Catholics

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Can I be serious for a minute?

Glee is awesome.

seriously, it's awesome

But it’s come to my attention that there are a lot of people out there who don’t like it.  Now, I’ve never seen a specific comment on this website stating dislike for Glee, but I’m going to assume that there are bunch of you guys who hate it.  My first response to you, if you’re out there, is Fuck you faggot Glee rules. My second response is Have you seen it? You probably answered that question with a “no,” because this is a website where we give albums a rating of “1″ just because we heard the beginning of “Tik Tok” on the radio and turned it off, repulsed and intent on lowering Ke$ha’s rating when we get home.  So what have you heard about Glee?  That it’s like High School Musical for people who enjoyed High School Musical but are now slightly older?  That it’s full of high school drama that you will most likely find beneath you?  That it’s gay?

Well, first of all, High School Musical was awesome too.

i'm ashley tisdale's homosexual twin, he's the… black girl

Second of all, I got news for ya.  It’s all of those things!  But in a good way.  I can hear you guys now:  ”But how can something that’s a bit gay actually be good?”  Well, we all listen to Animal Collective, right?  Those guys seriously…

I have to admit that I’m a bit worried by these song samples. Despite everything I’ve read, this album just sounds like it’s going to be very dull. With the exception of “The Termination Proclamation” and the title track, every song felt like something from Dead Heart in a Dead World (an album that I’m not a huge fan of). Worse, it sounded more tame and generic than that album did. You’d have to go all the way back to their debut to find something as lifeless. I hope I’m wrong because 30 second samples definitely aren’t the whole story, but this has definitely dampened my enthusiasm for this release.

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Titus Andronicus (And The Problem With Aiden)

Generally, music does not make me want to go out and do things.  I guess there is a large demographic that becomes motivated by music, but I’m certainly not a part of it.  I hear a lot of people – wait, let’s be honest here; I read a lot of comments from people online – talking about how they’ll listen to music to pump them up before they hit the field to play a football game or something.  When I get done scoffing at the fact that someone on a music forum is pretending to be manly beyond having the ability to grow some kind of creepy neckbeard, I get to thinking.  I mean, if I wanted to pump myself up about getting my frail, super indie body crushed under a pile of sweaty jocks, I’m pretty sure I would just put on some show-tunes and get my ass down to the Drama Department where I so obviously belong in the first place.

home sweet home

But seriously, listening to, say, a Pantera song to pump me up for a certain event would just make me want to…listen to more Pantera.  It reminds me of when I was still in high school.  I never actually was in the Drama Department, by the way.  It was a good thing because I was never labeled as a homo because I liked to wear tights on stage in front…

Here at sputnikmusic.com, we have a whole crap-load of users who have yet to write a review.  It’s not necessarily in my job description as a staff writer to notice things like that, but then again it’s not my job to stare at the leggy photographs in the liner notes for Joanna Newsom’s Have One On Me for hours on end either, which is what my day generally consists of.  Some of these users are fairly established, with a few hundred comments or so.  It’s clear they’ve read plenty of reviews and would theoretically be able to accurately reconstruct one of them in their own unique voice, so why haven’t they?  And then it hit me:

I haven’t written a how-to guide yet.

this guy looks familiar

I have been on this site for far too long now.  I won’t say how long exactly but I will hint that it may or may not be more than four years.  As such, I’ve watched reviewing trends come and go out of style like all those articles of clothing in the American Apparel ads (or maybe they’re cool because they’re out of style?  Are they post-out of style??  What sort of man wears a scarf in the summer anyway?).  Back when I first joined the site, people were still writing track-by-track reviews and at that point I think there were still only 175 or so Pokemon.  Things were simpler back then.  There was a basic reviewing progression…

There is a curious phenomenon that I’ve only come across a few times in my music listening history.  Think about an album that you’ve been listening to for a few years or more, an album so familiar that you wouldn’t be able to begin to count how many times you’ve heard it.  Now, think about the last time you listened to that particular album.  Did you really listen to it, or did it simply wash over you?  I’m not implying that you didn’t enjoy it, but you probably feel like you’ve heard all there is to hear, you’ve felt all there is to feel.  The music is well worn and well loved, but you regret that you can’t regain the way you felt when you first heard the album.

Every now and then though, I listen to a song that I’ve heard hundreds of times, only it feels like the first time again.  It’s similar to the feeling you get when you put on a record you love but haven’t heard in awhile.  Something you grew tired of a few months ago and haven’t thought about until now.  That’s a great feeling, but it’s the same as when you jump back into a pool after adult swim is over.  The air is cold, the breeze sharp, but the water welcomes you when the whistle blows.  Very common.  The one I’m describing is much rarer and deeper.

Specifically, I was listening to blink-182’s self-titled album.  This is an album that I’ve…

For those of you who haven’t checked out one of Japan’s most endearing songwriters (and why haven’t you??), now is certainly as good a time as any to seek out Shugo Tokumaru who, for this lowly critic’s money, released one of last decade’s strongest pop collections.  Shugo is gearing up to release his fourth album, Port Entropy, in Japan on April 21, three years after Exit’s sugar rush.  Based on the new video below, we are in for some more indelible, colorful, very foreign folk music.  No news yet on release dates around the world, but that shouldn’t stop you from eating up the rest of this man’s discography.  It is weird and humble in a very, very good way.

“Lahaha” off Port Entropy released April 21

【MyX 10.04】トクマルシューゴ / Lahaha

MyX | MySpace Video

Sputnik Music would like all of you to join us in congratulating Kiran Soderqvist (Kirgasm), Adam Thomas (Redskyformiles), and Rudy Klapper (Klap4music) on their promotions to staff.

Note: Contributor promotions are still scheduled to take place later in the Spring.

I like dogs.  I work at an animal hospital, so I’m around them every day.  If dogs were music genres this is what they would be.  As with previous and all future Chan’s Plans, images are credited to my partner in crime charlesfishowitz, who worked a lot harder on the pictures than I did on the descriptions, and for that I will always be grateful.

Bassett Hound/Shoegaze: Proven to be the most pathetic creatures in existence, Bassett Hounds perpetually look sad and can make you give them whatever they want just by turning those droopy eyes your way.  While walking, they always look down at their feet with their nose on the ground, continually sniffing out the most strategic place to piss.  Also, they’ve got those big ears to pick up as much reverb and feedback as possible.

bassett hounds are masters of sparkling reverb

Bullmastiff/Doom: Stockier than the horse-like English Mastiff, Bullmastiffs are crushingly powerful, blundering but not stupidly so, and capable of aggression when their master commands.  Yesterday, I was dragged down a hill and through some pine trees by a 110-pound specimen named Blue.  All I could do was salute him with a \m/.

DOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOG

Boston Terrier/Metalcore:  They are intensely cute as puppies, but as they age, numerous health problems arise.  As a brachycephalic breed, breathing problems are common and can lead to a general raspy sound emanating from their throats.  Over time they become a general…

The car’s on fire and there’s no driver at the wheel


and the sewers are all muddied with a thousand lonely suicides

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