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Musings

Music does a lot of different things to a lot of different people but I think what I love about it the most is the way it can condense and translate the most complicated and screwed-up ideas, situations or emotions into a song, or (better) just a single line. Some artists have the capacity to say in a word what would take most people a paragraph. I think of Hemingway’s response to a friend’s wager that he couldn’t write a story in six words: For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn. I think what this kind of beautiful expression needs is a connection at the front end so powerful that instinct takes over and says it for you.

(Or, alternatively)

Sometimes artists express things in simple ways and it rules, LOOK, songs!

The Mountain Goats – Old College Try

I wanna say I’m sorry for stuff I haven’t done yet; things will shortly get completely out of hand.

I’m just delving into the Mountain Goats discography and I get the feeling this isn’t the only line he’s written that could fit on this list. To me, this line sums up that feeling of unavoidable chaos where you know you’re strapped into a ride that you should technically be able to stop but really, really can’t. What I absolutely adore about the way he phrases it is that it’s so matter-of-fact it almost makes it seem not his fault. Or mine.

Yeah. Stunning.

The Weakerthans – Virtute

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes I find myself analyzing the music behind a movie just as much as the film itself. It’s difficult to determine to what extent a soundtrack influences my opinion of a movie’s quality…technically it shouldn’t, but I always favor movies with indie-geared soundtracks (500 Days of Summer, Garden State) all the same. It’s something that annoys the hell out of my friends, which is why I’m not sure if this is common or if there is just something really wrong with me. But anyway, I glanced through my library and pulled out notable soundtracks (some good, others very bad) and decided to evaluate them for their contributions to the movie and their overall quality. Since it’s Halloween today, let’s begin with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas:

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is one of those movies with a cult following, and I totally get why. It’s stunningly original, visually appealing for its time, and it features a thoroughly enjoyable plot. For music enthusiasts, the soundtrack has to be another reason. It follows the storyline extremely closely, sometimes even narrating through song or spoken word (via Danny Elfman). It has been remade, but nothing touches the original which, if you ask me, is a classic.

Sample: “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

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Grade: A

Across The Universe

Now this one I never understood the hype for. I was a sophomore in college…

Anyone booked on a Qantas flight right now is probably searching for something to do at an airport. Well, how about getting out your iPad, an acoustic guitar and a violin? Because that’s what these three gentlemen recently did at Shanghai airport.

For those unfamiliar with the guy under the hoodie (surely risking arrest by airport security just for wearing a hoodie) and the part-alien drummer, this is pop-punk outfit Yellowcard playing ‘My Hero’ by The Foo Fighters.

Let me start off by saying that I’ve been listening to Iron Maiden all day, so my ratings and descriptions might be more venom-filled than they were in the last entry because I had to pause Powerslave to do this. Also, am I the last person to notice that on the cover to Powerslave, the stairs lead right into Eddie’s crotch?

Where this entrance leads, nobody knows. Except for Eddie. He knows.

I enjoyed doing the first part a lot because I don’t often feel nostalgic. By no means was my childhood hard, but they weren’t exactly halcyon days that I reminisce about either. My childhood and teen years are just sort of hunkered down in the background of my mind, only making themselves known on very rare occasions. So it was pleasantly surprising that I felt the urge to revisit some of the songs and videos that got me into music, even though some of them weren’t all that great. It’s nice to be reminded of more innocent times, especially because we can so often be blinded by all the musical knowledge we’ve accrued over the years. We weren’t always like this, and songs like these will always be there to remind us of that.

Story Of The Year – “Anthem Of Our Dying Day”

It was a toss-up between this song and “Until The Day I Die,” but this song won out because it definitely brought back more memories (although I can…

I discovered music television when I was around 13 years old. As I’ve stated in numerous reviews where I incessantly talk about myself (Atavanhalen has dubbed the past few Sputnik years “The ‘Me’ Generation”), I didn’t have a very distinct notion of what music television even was for the majority of my childhood. But one day I was at a friend’s house and he turned on MTV2, and my life was forever changed by shitty music. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that I really loved some of the things I saw on television, but not surprising. I didn’t know anything else existed. Tonight however, I was struck by nostalgia and I traveled to Youtube to revisit some of those songs, and some of them hold up reasonably well. Of course, some of them are just fucking shit.  And oh my god the fucking videos.

Three Days Grace – “I Hate Everything About You”

One distinct memory that I have involving this song contains a bit of early-era elitism from me.  I told my older brother that the radio sucked, and he responded by turning on the local rock station.  This is the song that was playing, prompting him to say, “See?  One of the BEST SONGS EVER.  The radio doesn’t suck, idiot.”  And I didn’t argue because at the time, I agreed that Three Days Grace had written one of the BEST SONGS EVER.  It was a simpler time.  Back then, every song I heard had the potential…

Exhibit A:

Exhibit B:

Actually Exhibit B is kind of cool but that picture is unforgivable. And I don’t remember Kevin Costner bullying a troll with a fish. Dude was just minding his own business under a tree. Fuck’s sake lads, get it together.

‘Robin Hood’ appears on Edguy’s new album, Age of the Joker, which is scheduled for release on August 26 a.k.a. tomorrow.

Just scroll down to the song if you are not in a story-reading mood.

This is going to be kind of a sob story, so I’ll try to keep it brief in the interest of not turning this into a pathetic Xanga entry.

When I was in junior high, my parents thought it was a brilliant idea to move to a new city without bracing me for the move. For any twelve year-old, that can be pretty devastating, and sure, thanks to Facebook and things like that I keep in contact with my ‘old’ friends, but I had a bit of a tough time readjusting to my new surroundings because, as a socially-awkward adolescent at the time, I didn’t exactly have the gift of gab to make friends easily.

WHAT UP, BITCHES! You guys wanna play some POGS?

However, I did make one immediate friend right away — for the sake of this story, I’ll call her Beth. She was a grade higher than me, and while it’s seriously frowned upon to talk to kids in lower grades, she never treated me any differently. Unfortunately, she went off to high school while I wrapped up junior high, and her parents got into a colossally-shitty divorce. She wound up moving a couple counties away with her dad while her mom and brother continued to live next door. I had no idea where she went because it was that…

The recent news that Century Media Records had removed its entire catalog from Spotify ended up leading to another discussion about file sharing and everything that goes along with it. This blog post is not that serious. I’ve just decided to dredge up some old videos that were created during the intial Napster controversy.

——————————————————————————————————–

The Original Metallica Napster Video

Metallicops

Hairy-stomached Moms, Bad

Greetings and salutations, friends and acquaintances.

Life’s been pretty hectic lately (attending your buddies’ bachelor parties kicks ass; I highly recommend it) and I know I haven’t written anything that doesn’t suck in awhile (if ever — HEY OHHHHH), so I’m not really gonna bore you to tears. Instead, I wanted to pass along something that’s caught my ear (and later, my eyes, which’ve recently been Lasik’d in all their glory).

As most of you know, I have a soft spot for Aussie hip-hop (although I’d never want to live there because of things like HOLY FUCKING SHIT), so it shouldn’t have come as much surprise when I valued Hilltop Hoods’s State of the Art as much as I did.

Today’s catch o’ the day (or whatever you wish to call it — I wanted to incorporate Trap Door somehow but I like Berk too much as a friendly blue blob…) is by an Adelaide-based group known as the Funkoars; the song is called “Where I Am”. Unsurprisingly, they have a tight connection with Hilltop Hoods and are part of the Aussie hip-hop conglomerate known as the Certified Wise crew: sixteen South Aussie artists collaborating, producing, and appearing as guests on one another’s works. You may remember Trials’ guest verse on “The Light You Burned,” for instance, or his producing credits on Drapht’s Brothers Grimm record.

“Where I Am” will be featured on the group’s fourth LP, The Quickening, slated for a September 16th release through Golden Era Records. The…

Here at Sputnik Towers, we get sent some pretty bad press releases.

Most of them are harmless enough – just things that nobody but the band and their immediate families would be interested in. A lot I’ll delete without reading. Some I’ll quietly seethe over for a while first. Hard rock bands tend to be the best at shamelessly taking advantage of natural disasters. New York indie bands tend to be the quickest to lash out an over-sincere cover version when a major musician dies. I thought I was immune to it at this point. Until today.

I know I’m basically doing the PR’s job for them here by reposting the press release verbatim. They might get mad at me for openly mocking their craft and refuse to send us stuff anymore. That would be a crying shame, because if they’ve got even one more release like this in their armoury then I might just actually explode, spraying litres and litres of hot, juicy amazoplasm all over the walls. I’ll be sure to put that one on Youtube.

Next week: Mikael Åkerfeldt exchanges emails with David Coverdale.

When Petrucci and James Unite

As a regular contributor to the LickLibraryAndy James is no stranger to hosting interviews with some of the best Rock & Metal guitar players in the world. Zakk WyldeGus G and Judas Priest are among those recently grilled by a man who is already hot on their tails for joining that very list.

In a short space of

TV On The Radio’s Nine Types of Light, released this year, was not ambitious.

This was odd. What have we come to expect from TV On The Radio if not ambition? Each record before this one seemed to give us another reason to call them ‘art-rock’, be it for their crazy musical ventures (to think they had the nerve to sample Metal Machine Music) or for their lyrically cryptic nature. Nine Types of Light, then, saw a band happy to slow down and ready to lose whatever “edge” was elevating them above the rest. You have to be pretty confident to do that, or at least very content indeed, and to me Nine Types of Light celebrates losing its higher calling as “art.” There’s no denying, however, that it doesn’t try to carry a statement as dark as “DLZ” or to look at an issue in the way “I Was A Lover” did.

So it feels brilliant to have the Nine Types of Light film as an accompanying piece, no matter how satisfied I am with the hour of music. To me, it feels intriguing to see a band re-imagine their music so immediately. There are other forums to offer a second interpretation on your music, but most of them feel a little more distant than this; the Flaming Lips, for instance, dedicated a musical to Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots, a record already surreal as hell, but it was released after the fact. Others would prefer…

I know a lot of people around don’t believe me when I occasionally argue that leaks – and the culture whereby people think they’re entitled to all the free music they want – are bad for musicians so don’t take my word for it. Take the word of the head of a independent label that sinks all its money into promoting some of the most innovative hip hop and electronic music around.

It was with considerable disappointment that we learnt in the last week that two records we have been working on have been leaked, despite the use of watermarked CDs. Toddla T’s Watch Me Dance(Ninja Tune) and Thundercat’s The Golden Age of Apocalypse (Brainfeeder) were both leaked from copies sent to the journalist Benjamin Jager at the offices of Backspin magazine in Germany.

The availability of these records online for free has meant a rush release of the digital version of Toddla’s record, which, after the years of work put in, will seriously affect the ability to make any kind of financial return from commercial release. No one at the magazine has yet taken responsibility for uploading these records to the internet, but until the situation is resolved, we will no longer be servicing Backspin with promo copies. It’s very hard for young, up and coming artists to make a living from their music. People uploading their music months before it is commercially available are not doing them any favours.

Everybody has their own views on how music should…

“I cannot walk through the suburbs in the solitude of the night without thinking that the night pleases us because it suppresses idle details, just as our memory does.”
Jorge Luis Borges

Memory is nothing if not a collision of creation and fact: the perpetual struggle between actuality and imagination. There is always something tangible and factual at the heart of each memory, but the contextual world is one of modality. Ever changing: the colour of that car, what that person was wearing, minute details that ebb and flow. These things are all subject to change over time because they are overcome by imagination. When my Grandmother was in the hospital, for example, she remembered meeting my brother’s fiancé on a bus a few years prior—but to her that bus ride was from Clyde Bank to Glasgow and not the city bus in London (where the meeting actually took place). These details are an extension of imagination and how it corrupts memory. In many ways this is how nostalgia works. Avoiding a purely clinical, Freudian framework, nostalgia is the erosion of actuality in favour of compartmentalized emotions. Over time we elude precision of memories in favour of a broader spectrum of general feelings that umbrella over periods of our lives.

Music plays an important role as an agent of nostalgia; platitudes such as “the soundtrack of our lives” are not entirely without merit. As we compartmentalize our more nostalgic memories, so does it seem that we compartmentalize the music…

The greatest put-down… of all time.

via @owenpallett

Today was a proud, proud day in the world of journalism for so many reasons, but the one posterity will remember is the closure of Britain’s News of the World Sunday newspaper after 168 years of proud dedication to the art of photographing tits and drunk celebrities outside London nightclubs.

All 200+ staff at the London office have been laid off (those in the Dublin office technically they’ve been given 90 days “gardening leave”) and the NotW will be replaced by a Sunday edition of the equally upstanding Sun newspaper. Presumably some of the staff will be redeployed, but certainly not all, and many fine journalists will find themselves out of work while former editor Rebekah Brooks keeps her post at News International.

People say it’s difficult to have much sympathy for News of the World journalists, and to a point it’s true, but beneath the sickening phone-hacking scandal and the brain-deadening “social diaries” there was an excellent team of sports journalists, sub-editors and administrative staff who face an uncertain future while their sleazy overlords scramble to preserve their own reptilian skins. Still, nobody likes a tabloid hack and, for that alone, we give to you The Wildhearts and ‘News of the World’ from their epic 1994 album Earth vs. the Wildhearts.

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