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Major/Minor is Beggars with a purpose, and that purpose is to kick ass. “Anthology” hits harder than any Thrice song in the last five years. I’m continually impressed with Dustin’s vocal performance, not just in this song but the album as a whole. He’s never exactly sounded bored on past albums, but the lack of harsh vocals has definitely given that impression at times. But he’s so impassioned on Major/Minor that it’s almost unbelievable, and this song is the best example of that. Plus the riffs are amazing.

Anybody who’s known me for more than five minutes knows that I have a bit of a hard on for Irish music (I run a blog exclusively devoted to the stuff here) and those who’ve known me a little longer know that I have a special place in my heart for Irish hip hop, which is nothing like the oxymoron that it initially appears.

Ireland has been producing underappreciated rap for years, going back to the innovative trip hop of Marxman through Scary Eire and modern acts like Messiah J & the Expert, the Infomatics and Melodica Deathship. Unfortunately, the general view of Irish rap is dominated by half-baked acts like House of Pain (though some of Everlast’s solo output is legit) and… well I don’t even know what the fuck this is but it needs to be fucking put down immediately.

This has been floating around the Internet for a little while now (and I play it in turntable almost daily) but nothing’s really been posted on Sputnik about it yet. Lana Del Rey doesn’t have an album out yet but she’s working on one and it’s going to be awesome. Check it out.

Rabbit Junk have always been an eccentric band. They’ve been known to mix anything from industrial and black metal to hip hop and hardcore, and this song is no different. “What Doesn’t Kill You Will Make You a Killer” is the first single from the band’s upcoming album (currently untitled). It features the return of the more fun, tongue-in-cheek Rabbit Junk and also the return of Sum Grrl. The song itself is really two parts — the hip hop influenced beginning and the metalish second half. Oh, and the video is pretty cool too.

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Rabbit Junk – What Doesn’t Kill You Will Make You a Killer

Download this song (and another from the album) free here.

It’s been over a decade since One Be Lo first burst on to the Midwest’s hip-hop scene as part of the now legendary Binary Star and he’s still more than alive and kicking. His fourth solo release since the original dissolution of Binary Star, L.A.B.O.R., is due out on September 6th and if its first single “The G.O.A.T.” is any declaration of what’s in store One Be Lo’s powerful wordplay and trade marked murky and soulful beats are back in full form.

Pictured: what happens when you Superman the wrong ho.

In what’s arguably the most bizarre (and strangely adorable) collaborations of the summer, indie dance duo Matt and Kim, the swagalicious Soulja Boy, and the Godfather of Partying Andrew WK recently took part in Converse’s “Three Artists. One Song.” campaign, spawning the so-called ‘party anthem to kick off the end of summer’, entitled “I’m a Goner.”

Upon first listen, I didn’t quite “get it,” but as Andrew WK mentioned to me a while back and has since Tweeted, “You don’t have to understand something to enjoy it, and you don’t have to like something to love it.”

Granted, I don’t LOVE the track if it means that summer ends soon, but it is indeed a very happy tune.

Plus, can you imagine partying with Andrew WK? The guy’s party tips are frequently weird as hell, but he’s got a partying heart of gold.

Stream it here:

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Matt and Kim f/ Soulja Boy and Andrew WK – “I’m a Goner”

Converse also has a behind-the-scenes video of the whole recording process, if you are so inclined.

What say you? Thumbs up or thumbs down?

Thrice have posted a lyric video (?) to another song from their upcoming album, Major/Minor, entitled “Promises”.

Stupid lyric videos aside, “Promises” shows Thrice continuing in the direction they took on Beggars, away from the experimentation and expansiveness that led to Vheissu and The Alchemy Index. It’s another straightforward, four-minute rock song, and while it’s something that Thrice has done better than anyone for years now, it still feels a little underwhelming to hear them play their cards so close to their chest. Major/Minor is shaping up to be exactly what Beggars was, an album of tight songs that hardly expand the band’s sound palette.

Watch the video below.

It is fairly easy to see that Alex Smith matches his peers within Detroit in terms of talent and quality of his output. That says a lot given the rich musical legacy of Detroit. His output of late hasn’t dropped off the standards set by 2005’s Just Ask the Lonely. On its own, Here’s Your Trance, Now Dance! can attest to that.

Though one can keep pretty close tabs on artists’ releases these days, sometimes a very pleasant surprise comes about unexpected. High School Graffiti is one of these pleasant surprises, with five cool little tunes. My Naffew Randy is one especially worth checking out. So hurry up and grab this EP for free here, and remember your please and thank yous.

The 59th edition of FabricLive‘s mix sets features Four Tet aka Kieran Hebden, and this lovely future single culled from the end of it is now available for streaming. It’s graceful and hauntingly beautiful, perfect for that 5 am comedown. As Hebden noted: “This mix is not about my DJing. It’s about London and fabric and nights out and my take on all that. The memories and the influences. I used old and new music, I used recordings of fabric, and I made new tracks of my own for it. I hope people play it fucking loud and lose their minds in it and remember or imagine what it’s all about.” Check out the FabricLive compilation when it drops September 19th and for now, enjoy this fantastic single.

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Das Racist, the joking-but-not-joking rap group from New York, released their first paid single to the world yesterday in the form of “Michael Jackson”. It comes from their upcoming album Relax, and brings a lot to unpack, from the Wingdings-inspired album art to Heems’s RZA reference to the meaning, if there is one, to the song’s anthemic hook: “Michael Jackson/ A million dollars/ You feel me?/ Holla.”

But all I really have to say is this: “I’M FUCKING GREAT AT RAPPINGGGGGGGGG!”

Das Racist – Michael Jackson by Transdreamer

Scottish post-rock act Mogwai gave their fans the first glimpse at their upcoming EP Earth Division this week with the haunting “Get to France”. The eerie piano driven piece is the EP’s lead off track and comes off as the warped bastard cousin of songs like “Friend of the Night”. If this is any indication to the mood of Earth Division then it looks like we’re in for a treat.

Two things unsettled me before I listened to “Vomit”: firstly, it’s title and secondly, that it was the first single off an album called Father, Son, Holy Ghost from a guy whose famous indie breakout Bon Iverism was that he’d spent the formative years of his life in a religious wacko cult. Creepy.

As it turns out, there was very little reason for my trepidation.

“Vomit”, besides a rather harrowing first minute, is more of the lovelorn classic rock wallowing of Christopher Owens, picking up nicely where the band’s Broken Dreams Club EP last left us. Crafted in the “Hellhole Ratrace” mould, it builds into a wonderful choir-backed climax, outrageous soul-singer and all, and shows off the leaps and bounds bandmate Chet Jr. White has made in composition since their charmingly raw debut.

Father, Son, Holy Ghost will be released on September 13th.

Girls -Vomit by Hypetrak

I rarely refer to press releases when writing about music: it’s bad practice and they rarely contain much information that’s useful to me anyway. Occasionally though, I’ll read a line that instantly hooks me, like this one:

HYMNSis a 2 piece atheist rock band comprising of Samuel Manville and Peter Reisner.

The phrase “atheist rock band” distills more or less all of my main interests into one manageable cocktail. What’s more, it’s the new project of Samuel Manville, the former frontman of tragically short-lived English math rockers Blakfish, who broke up last year just as I was getting into their music.

The three remaining members spun off to become &U&I, leaving Manville to team up with former SOS drummer Peter Reisner. †HYMNS† appear, superficially at least, to exist mainly for the purpose of poking fun at religion and promoting the godless lifestyle, both causes to which I will happily lend my support.

Their first release, a four-song live DVD, is scheduled for release on August 22 with a full-length album to follow in October. Here’s the video for the first studio recording, ‘A Punch to the Temple,’ a tight angular number with echoes of Modest Mouse and Nick Cave and a typically sardonic take on the politics of strangling people.

Hymns – A Punch To The Temple from Luke David Bather on Vimeo.

Apropos of yesterday’s finger-wagging blog, I should point it’s almost two years to the day since Thrice’s last album Beggars leaked almost three months before its scheduled release. Follow-up Major/Minor is penciled in for a September 20 release and has yet to leak – it’s almost as if leaks are bad for business!!

But no sooner have I opened that can of worms than I will slam it firmly shut.

For today saw the premiere of the delightfully-titled ‘Yellow Belly,’ the first single from Major/Minor. ‘Yellow Belly’ continues the group’s slide towards mainstream rock as featured on Beggars with more melody and lush layers, and less dissonance and abrasion.

As a lead single, it lacks the immediacy and distinctiveness of ‘All the World is Mad,’ opting instead for a Tom Morello-style stripped-down heavy metal riff. As the handy little Soundcloud visual demonstrates, it’s not a particular dynamic track, though the morose middle eight beginning around the 1:36 mark offers some degree of variety.

People like me will be hoping this is just fluff, and that the album proper veers more towards the Radiohead-inspired electronic tinkering of ‘Circles’ and ‘Doublespeak.’

Thrice – Yellow Belly by VagrantRecords

Attach whatever tags please you, but Kashiwa Daisuke’s Program Music I stands as one of the previous decade’s must haves. A clear feature of tracks like Stella, April #02 and Write Once, Run Melos are their seeming limitless bounds, free running through magnificent and sprawling soundscapes. Yet his latest upcoming album, 88, marks an attempt to express himself utilizing the keys of a piano. Though talented as a composer, the shift towards minimalist instrumentation is likely to factor heavily into the album’s outcome. Early signs are, well, let us just leave that to Kashiwa himself to show.

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