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For a song about the consequences of car use, “Go Green” sure doesn’t make it any easier for you to hop on your bike instead. With a slick guitar slide providing the perfect in, Buddy Peace’s wonderful summer-cool drum loop gives Prolyphic a great platform to make you feel guilty for wanting to play his song through rolled-down windows. First, he attacks himself for damaging the world with his car and electronics. Second, he attacks the corporations that try, under the guise of a supposed moral backbone, to make a tidy profit from cleaning up the messes they’d previously made. But though the usual chip on Prolyphic’s shoulder should be the draw, it’s Buddy’s breezy and revitalizing beat that gives the track its pull.

Check out Prolyphic and Buddy Peace’s collaborative album ‘The Working Man’, released earlier this year through Strange Famous Records. (Better yet, check out Buddy Peace’s 2008 mixtape masterpiece ‘Wolf Diesel Mountain’, released through 2600 recordings.)

I’ll say the same thing about ‘Pink Rabbits’ that I said about ‘Conversation 16’ back in 2010: if you still haven’t heard The National’s best song to date, then you are depriving yourself of the year’s best moment. It seems like every time this band puts out an album, there is one track on it that is arguably better than anything else released within the same 365 days: ‘Mr. November’, ‘Apartment Story’, ‘Conversation 16’…and now, ‘Pink Rabbits.’ What all these songs have in common is accessibility, propelled by underlying emotional turmoil that prevents them from sounding watered down. I would say that’s their formula, or something else intelligent-sounding, but honestly The National just do whatever the fuck they want and excel at it with relative ease.

Here, they go the route of the sedated pop ballad. The song is so perfectly constructed that it doesn’t matter what Matt Berninger is singing about, but as usual, he has paired top-of-the-line musicianship with phenomenal lyrics. The meaning of the song is somewhat ambiguous, especially when it comes to determining whether it was written from the perspective of a guy – “I’m so surprised you want to dance with me now, you always said I held you way too high off the ground” – or from a girl – “You didn’t see me I was falling apart, I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park”, but either way it’s ridiculously poignant. From the guy’s perspective, I can’t…


Sputnik’s Never Ending Mixtape

Welcome back! For those of you who don’t know, this is one of the site’s best resources for discovering up-to-date, diverse staff and user selected tracks. Every quarter, a new issue is published bringing you some of the best individual songs from the past few months. The first quarter received an overwhelming response, gathering over 20 submissions accompanied by some fine writing. Thanks to your dedication, we’re here to keep things rolling with the second quarter of 2012’s feature. Below you can find the archive for Sputnik’s Infinite Playlist’s History, which is young but rapidly growing.

2012

Q1
/ Q2 / Q3 / Q4

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This issue’s contributors are as follows:

Tikicobra / OnlyAnchors / Clercqie / FelixCulpa / Blackbelt54 / Greg84 / AliW1993 / Sanders / SowingSeason / iswimfast / pwalcher / WeepingBanana / insomniac15 / AnarchistFish

Let’s give them a round of applause for their efforts! But on to the matter at hand – I present to you Sputnik’s Infinite Playlist, Q2!

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Admiral Fallow – “The Paper Trench”

If you live outside of Scotland, chances are you’ll not be familiar with Admiral Fallow, the nation’s second best indie folk collective. That may not be the case for long, though, with the band’s second album Tree Bursts In Snow making clear strides towards a wider audience while losing none of their unequivocal…

Welcome!

If you have navigated through the vast interweb desert in search of great, up-to-date music, then I present to you the oasis. As part of a new feature here at Sputnik, we are composing a quarterly mixtape of sorts – one where black metal can be found alongside indie, and where staff and user tastes coalesce into one reliable knowledge bank. Here, any registered user can submit one song from this year that they feel stands above the pack. Below is a list of some of our favorite songs from the first three months of 2012. Feel free to listen to our selections, browse the descriptions, or even register and submit your own song for next time!
Special Thanks To The Contributing Writers For This Issue:

Klap4Music / OnlyAnchors / Tyraelxy / Clercqie / FelixCulpa / OmahaStylee94 / Crysis / Emim / InnocentShadow / Blackbelt54 / ChuckTheMan / Greg84 / AliW1993 / Sanders / SowingSeason / Patrickfannon / Dimsim3478 / Monsterpoptart / Theacademy / Dimor

So without further ado, I present to you (in no particular order) the first installment of Sputnik’s Infinite Playlist!

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Orbital – “Straight Sun”

Yeah, we all know how reunion tours/albums/productions are mostly cash grabs for the artists involved. Why should we waste our time (and money) on those poor, rehashed ideas when we can instead relive the better times? In…

Here’s another glare from Stephin Merritt, and this time it’s a reminder: before this non-synth triology of nonsense was a late ’80s, early Indie band falling into the new decade with nothing but the tricks they’d been taught to survive. Tricks which they had failed at, anyway, because of Merritt himself, hands in his face and eyes rolling. It’s funny, because The Magnetic Fields would have been a big contradiction of terms– a breezy synth-pop band with a droning, insulting genius propelling them– if it wasn’t for Merritt’s attention to detail (or: attention to himself). The synthesizers of Holiday didn’t exactly sparkle for the sun shining on them, and why would they? Merritt’s never really gone for the sugary-sweet fare of twee’s higher-ups, writing a lyric like “under more stars than there are prostitues in Thailand” when he might have learned a more romantic sentiment from silliness like “la la love you.”

But Merritt is not silly. He’s like the version of himself Scott Walker sees before ghosts teach him to love Christmas, using the synthesizer as a tool to turn the theatrical into a pantomine, from the aliens-do-country road trips of Highway Strip to his definitely-ironic retelling of how people love on 69 Love Songs. He’s spoiling movies and ruining stories, and “Andrew In Drag” is a track, weirdly, in the spirit of those two records, downbeat and hysterical but told deadly serious, like the man rolling his eyes now and forever. And it’ll make sense in context,…

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.

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

Some cover versions don’t make a lot of sense. Witness Exhibit A: Almost everything on Youtube. Or Exhibit B: Any of the thousands of extreme metal covers of Britney Spears songs, none of which have ever been anything other than turgid shit and an affront to the Princess of Pop.

UK orchestral metal band Xerath’s cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Speed Demon,’ on the other hand, makes an awful lot of sense. In fact, most Michael Jackson songs translate well to the sphere of heavy metal, particularly those from the run of Thriller->Dangerous when he self-consciously attempted to incorporate heavy rock into his music.

‘Speed Demon’ is far from the best track on Bad – in fact, it’s probably one of the worst – but that’s just to say it doesn’t rank up there with his innumerable classics. It’s a good song and one that suits a band who attempt to balance melody with harsh vocals, and to contrast fairly basic guitar riffs with frenetic polyrhythms (just check out the hummingbird-like synth work on the original).

Speaking of the original, it’s probably best to start at source before listening to the cover. Better still, start with the bonkers/insane/awesome video for which words could never truly do justice. I’m not a fan of quoting Wikipedia for a variety of reasons, but the crowd-sourced summary of the video was too perfectly-worded to ignore:

In the video, Jackson, in an attempt to avoid overzealous fans (even The Noid), disguises himself as a rabbit named

At no more than a year older than me, it’s remarkable just how much Sandman Viper Command sound like seasoned vets. Of course they are: they released their first album a few years ago, not long after hitting their 20s, and they’ve spent the last few years touring relentlessly. Now, the Burlington boys with the ridiculous name are finally back with some new music. As good as their first album Everybody See This was, and it was pretty good, “Rough Love” might be better. The first single off their upcoming 7″ of the same name, the track shows the progression of a band that took a step back from school to live, breathe and study music. The Beatles influence is obvious, but it’s the song’s second half that catches my fancy, going from bouncy, riff’d out jaunt to an amplifier exploding blast of Iommi-fied groove.

Listen to it, won’t you?

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Living in the facebook/youtube age of instant celebrity can have its benefits. I was reminded of that today. For today, I have found “Friday,” a music video by teenage recording artist Rebecca Black. There are few words to describe what happens in the following video. This is a song about Friday. Which comes after Thursday. And is followed by Saturday. I won’t try to give you context as to who this is because there is none needed. This braces-heavy video is a ten car pile-up, simultaneously awful and mesmerizing. If you find yourself asking ‘Is this really happening?,’ the answer is yes. It is.

Once you have some context, I highly recommend watching this slightly slowed down version which turns Black’s anthem into comedy gold.

I am baffled. And obsessed.

It all started as a joke; a suggestion on Twitter that people should go out and send “Pow”, arguably grime’s premier posse cut (and certainly its most famous), to the top of the Christmas charts in the UK. Lethal Bizzle – the man who enjoyed top billing on the original track – couldn’t have predicted the reaction to his comment, but at least he was smart enough to harness its power and set about recording an updated version straight away.

Problem is, he rushed it.

“Pow 2011″ is still pretty good – P Money, Wiley, and Ghetts absolutely kill their verses – but it’s not hard to listen to it and think about how much better it could have been. Kano completely fluffs his bars (and takes 16 to everybody else’s 8 too), JME’s attempts at singing are just awkward, and Chipmunk brags about having written “Oopsy Daisy” – trust me son, that’s the kind of thing you should be letting people forget. Most worryingly, it just feels like, for the most part, everybody is trying to upstage all the other MCs on the track – Face, especially, taints his own verse by doing this, as do JME, Chipmunk, and Kano, and even Lethal B’s chorus, noticeably more aggressive than the original, just sounds like he’s trying to shout over the crowd. As if that wasn’t disappointing enough, it’s even been revealed that some MCs were denied a spot on the track because they took too…

Were proof needed that ‘Fuck You’ is in fact the new ‘Crazy’/’Since U Been Gone’/’Poker Face,’ London singer-songwriter Eliza Doolittle is one of about a million artists (not an accurate estimate) to begin incorporating the song into live sets.

I shudder to think how many more artists would follow suit were there to be some sort of profanity-less version, but unfortunately that song simply does not exist.

Here’s Eliza’s cover recorded backstage with two awkward 14-year-olds she has charitably recruited to play in her band. Stripped down to just double bass and vocals, it’s got a nice laid-back jazzy feel, although it’s probably best not to actually watch the video because her actions and expressions are ill-fitting and really fucking annoying. I don’t think she’ll make it as an actress.

If you do watch the video, look out for the “oh shit she’s a gold digger…” line and the awkward expressions on the supporting cast’s faces as they struggle not to blurt out “nigga” at the end.

It’s no great secret that Amy Winehouse’s best music invariably comes about when she a) collaborates with otherwise nauseating super-producer Mark Ronson and b) channels the great female singers of the Spector-inspired Sixties.

With this in mind, it should come as no great surprised that Amy’s cover of Lesley Gore’s ‘It’s My Party,’ which features production from the still very nauseating Ronson, is what people who are prone to boorish sports metaphors might call a “home run” or perhaps even a “slam dunk.” Covering a genuine classic is always a risky business, but as with her cover of Sam Cooke’s ‘Cupid,’ it’s almost effortlessly brilliant.

‘It’s My Party’ is muted to appear on the upcoming Quincy Jones tribute, Q: Soul Bossa Nostra.

It’s either that I get distracted way too easily by shiny things, or it’s the mofukin’ latest video clip for Daft Punk’s Derezzed that just so happens to double for a TRON: Legacy trailer that’s got me hot and bothered right now. Either way, I’m getting my electronic on.

Click it. Load it. Check it.

We all knew it would happen one day.

After clearly signalling his intent with movies like Men In Black and Independence Day (and probably others – what was Bad Boys II about? Did anybody even see it?), there’s not a person on this earth who wasn’t fully aware that “Turncoat” Will Smith had managed to breed with them and it was only a matter of time before his alien offspring descended on this planet to finish us off.

Damn it all, we just didn’t expect it to be this soon.

9-year-old Willow Smith… honestly, it’s one thing a father naming his son after himself – it’s a long established tradition – but a father naming his daughter after himself is plain weird, “alien” even. Anyway, 9-year-old Willow Smith has unleashed her first I Am Legend-sized virus on the world in the form of ‘Whip My Hair,’ a Rihanna-inspired number that’s been around all of 5 minutes but is never, ever going to go away. So get used to it.

Seriously, she’s 9. Her neck hasn’t even fully developed yet. This song is dangerous.

Here’s the video – you’re not going to be able to avoid it so you might as well just get it over with now.

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