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Photo taken by Amy Carla Nelson

It’s been a busy year for Comeback Kid. The Toronto-by-way-of-Winnipeg based hardcore act have released their fifth LP Die Knowing and are currently in the opening months of a year of touring that will carry them around the world. Before their set at Rock City Studios in Camarillo, California, I had that chance to talk to vocalist Andrew Neufeld about their new record, the band as a whole, and keeping things fresh after over a decade of being one of hardcore’s premiere bands.

I’ve been listening to Die Knowing for a couple months now, and I’ve noticed that you have incorporated everything that falls under the guise of “hardcore” over the last twenty or so years into the sound of that record. You cover everything from crew pit parts, to big Ignite hooks, to just pummeling the listener on the heavier end of it all. How do you go into writing a record like that? Is that something where you say you’re gonna cover all this ground, or does it come out naturally?

It just kind of… we just write a bunch of songs, really. Actually with this record it wasn’t until we had a whole mess of them written we sorta sat back and said. “wow,” because there’s a lot of heavy songs on the record. In my head the record is kind of split, a little bit, because it starts off with “hard” hardcore, ya know…


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As the champion of Malaysian Flight Simulator, I have a keen understanding of how music can fall off my proverbial radar undetected.

To protect you from having the same fate, we’ve collaborated on delivering to you some first-quarter artist and album highlights from our personal highlight reels. From the avant-garde and the macabre to the uptempo, D&B, and “dad rock” genres, we’re confident that you’ll find something in our 27-song playlist that’s worth checking out here.

Featuring tracks by Tokyo Police Club, Nebelung, Calibre, Kamchatka, and Animals as Leaders, we hope our diversified showcase underscores that 2014 is off to a splendid start.

Happy ‘official’ Opening Day, too, baseball fans. Enjoy! -Jom

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About Tess – “Shine” (7:07)
Shining

Listen if you like: BATS, And So I Watch You From Afar, Adebisi Shank
Soundcloud | Purchase on iTunes

I don’t think this is intentional on my part, but I have such a Euro-Austral-’Murica tilt in my listening habits that there’s a distinct lack of Asian artists per my RYM listening map (while I haven’t updated this in awhile, it’s probably damning that my only listed bands are Boris, The Black Mages, Orphaned Land, and Koji Kondo, who composes soundtracks for The Legend of Zelda


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 1, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Austrian Death Machine – Triple Brutal (Artery Recordings)
Band Of Skulls – Himalayan (+180 Records)
The Body – I Shall Die Here (Revenge International)
Chevelle – La Gargola (Epic)
Chiodos – Devil (Razor & Tie)
Christina Perri – Head Or Heart (Atlantic)
Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere (Carpark Records)
Combichrist – We Love You (Out Of Line)
Dan Croll – Sweet Disarray (Capitol)
Fartbarf – Dirty Power (Space Jumbles Music)
Hank Williams III – Ramblin’ Man (Curb Records)
Inventions – Inventions (Temporary Residence)
Jamaica – Ventura (Pias America)
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard – Here Be Monsters (In De Goot Recordings)
Kaiser Chiefs – Education, Education & War (ATO Records)
Lacuna Coil – Broken Crown Halo (Century Media)
Leon Russell – Life Journey (UMe)
Lost Society – Terror Hungry (Nuclear Blast America)
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days (Captured Tracks)
Manchester Orchestra – Cope (Loma Vista/Republic)
Matt Andersen – Weightless (True North)
Mike Oldfield – Man On The Rocks (Mercury)
Millie & Andrea – Drop The Vowels (Modern Love)
Mobb Deep – The Infamous Mobb Deep (Infamous Records)
Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line (Nonesuch)
S. Carey – Range Of Light (Jagjaguwar)
Saintseneca – Dark Arc (Anti Records)
Smoke DZA – Dream.ZONE.Achieve (Cinemtaic Music Group/Surf School Recordings/Priority Records)
Sonata Arctica – Pariah’s Child (Nuclear Blast America) –


I recognize that there are exceptions to every rule, but parody songs tend to bastardize the original source material beyond the point of recognition.

This isn’t the case for Freddy Scott’s tribute to one of his purported musical heroes, Trent Reznor. Imagination and imitation may very well be the sincerest forms of flattery.

As angry as Reznor was on Pretty Hate Machine or as self-destructive as he sounded on The Downward Spiral, my hunch is that the guy could still find a sense of humor in this. Scott originally posted the lyric video to this song back in January, but recently shot a video for the track (which also features SNL guitarist Jared Blake Scharff), which perfectly encapsulates Reznor’s mannerisms and video production to a ‘T’. My favorite bit is in the opening verse, but when it comes to accurately depicting the Nine Inch Nails videography and Reznor’s blueprint in a less-than-3-minute spoof… well, to paraphrase Scott’s own lyrics: “Yeah, it sounds really awesome.”

“… what the hell was that?”

The song is available at iTunes and Amazon.


With a little more than a month left until Finnish melodic death metal giants Insomnium release their highly anticipated, sixth full-length offering to the world, Sputnikmusic got an exclusive chance to peak behind the covers a bit, as Ville Friman, the band’s guitarist, sat down with me to discuss all things Insomnium. The following interview took place on March 19th and gives insight into the current state of the band, as well as what to expect from their upcoming album Shadows of the Dying Sun. Among other things, Mr. Friman also discussed the current state of the music industry, how nature affects him, and what he himself is excited to hear in 2014.

Good evening! How are you doing on this 19th of March?
I’m doing fine, it has been a busy day at work and I just came back home to do interviews, but it’s going well and it’s very nice to talk with you guys and see that you’re interested in our new album. So, I’m really good.

Has it been very hectic lately in the Insomnium camp? Have you guys been able to take a breather or two before your new stuff is released?
I thought that we would have a bit more spare time in our hands, but it has been quite hectic. When we got out of the studio, we started to mix the album right away, and after that we started with the (album) covers and all kinds…


The first time I saw GWAR I was 18 years old. It was the summer of 2005 and the band were slotted for an hour long, 5 o’clock spot at the Sounds of the Underground festival. I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was the lore that surrounded their live show. It was supposed to be an event. It was. It was the dead center of the Bush years, a new pope who spent part of his childhood in the Hitler Youth was now sitting atop Christendom, and all that and more would serve as kindling for GWAR’s 60 minute performance piece.

For as much as I remember that show, it is not what happened on stage that resounds the loudest of my memories of GWAR on that July afternoon. An hour before their set, I got the chance to meet Dave Brockie. He was in his full Oderus Urungus regalia, four foot sculpted rubber phallus and all, standing in the back of a makeshift tow cart that was hitched to a boxy looking ATV. As he was being carted though the crowd in his makeshift Kawasaki chariot, for some reason or other it stopped for a few minutes, and as the driver was trying to coordinate his new plans via walkie-talkie, I nervously made my way to say hello. I can vividly remember his bare ass hanging out of the back end of his get up. It was a humorous bright spot in…


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 25, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Animals As Leaders – The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian)Thompson D. Gerhart
Asia – Gravitas (Frontiers Records/Universal)
The Bad Plus – The Rite Of Spring (Sony Masterworks)
Barry Manilow – Night Songs (Stiletto Entertainment)
The Baseball Project – 3rd (Yep Roc Records)
Big Scary – Not Art (Barsuk)
Boy George – This Is What I Do (Very Me Records)
Chimurenga Renaissance – Rize Vadzimu Rize (Brick Lane Records)
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight (Side One Dummy)
Circa Zero – Circus Hero (429 Records)
The Colourist – The Colourist (Republic)
Future Islands – Singles (4AD)
Glenn Kotche – Adventureland (Cantaloupe Music)
Grieves – Winter & The Wolves (Rhymesayers)
The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams (Razor & Tie)
Howler – World Of Joy (Rough Trade US)
Jimi Goodwin – Odludek (Pias America)
Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars (Legacy)
Karmin – Pulses (Epic)
Kylie Minogue – Kiss Me Once (Warner Bros)
Liars – Mess (Mute)
London Grammar – If You Wait (US Release) (Columbia)
Memphis May Fire – Unconditional (Rise Records)
Mr Little Jeans – Pocketknife (Harvest)
Of Sinking Ships – The Amaranthine Sea (Broken Circles)
Owls – Two (Polyvinyl Records)
Seahaven – Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only (Run For Cover Records)
Shakira – Shakira (RCA)
Thou – Heathen (Gilead Media)
THYX – Super Vision (Metropolis Records)
Tokyo…



Steve Von Till – “Black Crow Blues”

There are few better storytellers in music than the late Townes Van Zandt, and few more overlooked, which is why it’s exciting to see more contemporary artists celebrate his timeless music as on the 2012 tribute album, Songs of Townes Van Zandt, featuring Steve Von Vill and Scott Kelly of Neurosis and Scott “Wino” Weinrich of Saint Vitus. Though all the covers contained on the album are exceptional, Von Till’s “Black Crow Blues” might just be the hardest-hitting. The supremely smokey voice that many have come to love from the post-metal titans breathes new life into the simplistic, lament-filled hymn of one of country music’s greatest and most tragic figures.


Thou – “Something in the Way”

As influential as early sludge was on a young Kurt Cobain, it seems fitting that Nirvana’s somber acoustic number from the seminal Nevermind was given the down-tuned treatment from modern day sludge masters Thou. Their rendition begins pretty straightforward and true to the original before erupting into something seething and relentlessly heavy, conveying just as much emotion as the original—even if that emotion happens to be crushing hatred rather than depression. If their really was “something in the way,” that’s no longer a problem, because Thou’s cover smashed it into tiny bits.


Jeff Buckley – “Hallelujah”

Certainly one


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 18, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Black Lips – Underneath The Rainbow (Vice Music)
The Coathangers – Suck My Shirt (Suicide Squeeze)
Dead Rider – Chills On Glass (Drag City)
Earth Crisis – Salvation Of Innocents (Candlelight/Universal)
Eliza Gilkyson – The Nocturne Diaries (Red House Records)
Enrique Iglesias – Sex & Love (Universal Republic)
Foster The People – Supermodel (Columbia)
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata (Madlib Invasion)
Gus G. – I Am The Fire (Century Media)
Hark – Crystalline (Season Of Mist)Greg Fisher
Hauschka – Abandoned City (Temporary Residence)
I Am The Avalanche – Wolverines (I Surrender Records)
JT Woodruff – Field Medicine (InVogue Records)
Kevin Drew – Darlings (Arts & Crafts)
La Dispute – Rooms Of The House (Workhorse Music Group)
Lyla Foy – Mirrors The Sky (Sub Pop Records)
Motorpsycho – Behind The Sun (Rune Grammofon)Raul Stanciu
Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love (Captured Tracks)
The Pretty Reckless – Going To Hell (Razor & Tie)
Riley Etheridge Jr – The Straight And Narrow Way (Rock Ridge Music)
Ringworm – Hammer Of The Witch (Relapse)
Sisyphus – Sisyphus (Secretly Canadian)
Skrillex – Recess (Atlantic)Will Robinson
Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is (Hopeless Records)Adam Thomas
Therion – Theli (Deluxe Edition) (Nuclear Blast America)


Elitism is part of being human. There is literally no way to escape from the fact that people are constantly, perpetually looking down on others for reasons that have little practical merit while simultaneously holding themselves above others using reasons that are equally hollow. It’s the ever-pressing desire to distinguish oneself from those around them; a cry for individuality in a world where individuality is no longer possible. In a world where you have to stand well above the crowd to achieve even slight success (definitions of what success means aside), is it really that shocking that people look at art, music, food, video games, cars, clothing, possessions, obsessions, politics, philosophies, and lifestyles as ways to further their own sense of self-superiority? It’s all relative, too. Someone can think themselves as superior because they listen to Band X which is somehow artistically superior to Band Y, yet at the same time proponents of Band Y think the same about listeners of Band X. Let’s face it: it is elitist to even say that one is above elitism, as it is just another way to assert your superiority over others.

Perhaps nowhere is this superiority complex more prevalent than heavy metal. It is the embodiment of musical elitism, a place where you can be dismissed as a credible “true metal” fan for liking one band deemed so delicately as “complete shit” by the larger crowd. We’ve all seen it, and we’ve all done it. Anyone who has listened to metal has…


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Living in the sub-tropics means that spring comes both early and ends quickly. Not two weeks ago we missed 5 days of university because of snow (admittedly it was kind of a fluke) and now for the past few days the weather has been dominated by mid-70’s temperatures and a lot of sun. Pretty soon those mid-70’s will be phased out by mid-90’s and a whole lot of humidity, but the cool thing about such a short spring is that you become all the more aware of how you’re environment changes and grows with the coming of the heat. You can physically see wildlife burst into periods of growth and begin to spread through the dormant landscapes of winter and watch the progression from the infancy of seedlings into the lush greens and browns that were painfully absent in the frigid temperatures.

A change in seasons also brings with it an entirely new environment in which to listen to music. I’ve always listened to music for its impressionistic and expressionistic qualities, so the environment I choose to listen to music in has to be evocative in some way of the world the music is trying to build. Winter has its strengths no doubt, but humans were designed by nature to exist in nature, and winter all too often forces man to break that connection with walls of comfort. Spring is the natural relief from this state, an invitation for us to come out of our warm houses…


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 11, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

311 – Stereolythic (311 Records)
Aloe Blacc – Lift Your Spirit (Interscope Records)
Angel Vivaldi – Away With Words – Part I (Indiegogo/Big Cartel)
Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together (Epitaph)
Charlie Oxford – Charlie Oxford (Rock Ridge Music)
Dean Wareham – Dean Wareham (Double Feature)
Don Williams – Reflections (Sugar Hill/Universal)
Elbow – The Take Off And Landing Of Everything (Concord)
God Module – False Face (Metropolis Records)
Juanes – Loco De Amor (Universal Latino)
Laibach – Spectre (Mute)
Ledisi – The Truth (Verve)
Max Cooper – Human (Fields)
Metronomy – Love Letters (Elektra)
MØ – No Mythologies To Follow (RCA)
Nervosa – Victim Of Yourself (Napalm Records)Brendan Schroer
Qui – Life, Water, Living…  (Cobraside)
Sara Evans – Slow Me Down (Sony Nashville/RCA)
September Girls – Cursing The Sea (Fortuna Pop)
Young Money – Rise Of An Empire (Universal Republic)

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Album Streams:

Architects – Lost Forever // Lost Together

Dean Wareham – Dean Wareham

Max Cooper – Human

Metronomy – Love Letters

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SputnikMusic’s Most Played Artists of the Week (according to Last.FM):

Staff :

1. Real Estate
2. The Hotelier
3. Cloud Nothings
4. Morbus Chron
5. St. Vincent
6. Neneh Cherry
7. Animal Collective
8. Dark Tranquility
9. Sun Kil…


Have you ever been nervous before a gig that you have attended? Sure, there’s always some nervous energy, or even some nervous form of excitement if you’re looking forward to the act(s)… But I’m talking genuine nerves here. Because it happened to me for the first time a week or so back. New York funk-metal quartet Living Colour have always been one of my favourite bands, and I unfortunately was not in a position to have seen them live during their ‘90s heyday. So I was never going to miss them on their first visit to Australia in well over a decade.

To put it bluntly, however, Living Colour are now old. Lead vocalist Corey Glover especially looks it; having transformed from the spandex-wearing, dreadlocked front-man of yesteryear into the grey-haired, grandpa cap wearer of today. The very little I had seen of them playing via YouTube and the like seemed to suggest an overly earnest show which lacked energy and relied on high – but faltering – technicality. Those around me didn’t help the predicament, with a higher than usual drunk factor and many a googling youngster asking “Who’s Living Colour”?


Well, I must have seen the wrong videos, because Living Colour thankfully blew my mind. And it didn’t take long for the nerves to be shaken out of me, with the earth-rattling low end of their set opener – Robert Johnson cover ‘Preachin’ Blues’. Talk about a band in sync! These four could all…


So, last week I had the fortune of talking to one of my absolute favourite musicians, Paul Masvidal of Cynic. Cynic is a band that needs no introduction among the metal and progressive rock communities, having released two highly influential and respected albums that amalgamated both genres into a unique sound that has aged like wine through the years. The nature and origin of their third full-length album, Kindly Bent to Free Us, reveals a new side of the band and portrays a sound that is uncharacteristically calmer, and more slow-burning than anything we’ve heard from them in the past. Luckily, I got a chance to speak with the legendary frontman himself, and had him dissect the album in his own words, as well as discuss what he foresees to be the next big journey for the band.

Anyway, without further ado, here is my interview (hey, that rhymed!):

Ever since Traced In Air came out, you guys have kind of been steadily peeling away the death metal sounds that were present in Focus, and evolved into a band with a far more abstract sound. Every thing you guys have been doing since the release of Focus, has become more experimental, more melodic, and you guys have even been emulating the cosmic sounds of the ’60s and ’70s a lot more as well. What inspires you guys to direct the music of the band into new


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 3, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Arthur Beatrice – Working Out (Harvest Music)
Ashanti – Braveheart (Written Entertainment/eOne Music)
Axxa/Abraxas – Axxa/Abraxas (Captured Tracks)
Bart Davenport – Physical World (Lovemonk)
Bruised But No Broken – Fragment (Standby Records)
Carla Bozulich – Boy (Constellation)
Carnifex – Die Without Hope (Nuclear Blast America)Brendan Schroer
CHON – Woohoo! (Equal Vision Records)Jacob Royal
Color War – It Could Only Be This Way (Four Horsemen Records)
Comeback Kid – Die Knowing (Victory Records)Adam Thomas
Damaged Bug – Hubba Bubba (Castleface)
Drive-By Truckers – English Oceans (ATO Records)
Eternal Summers – The Drop Beneath (Kanine Records)Irving Tan
Fuel – Puppet Strings (MRI Associated)
Imogen Heap – Sparks (RCA)
Information Society – Land Of The Blind (Hakatak International)
Jupe Jupe – Crooked Kisses (Jupe Jupe Music)
Kandle – In Flames (Dare To Care Records)
Kimono Kult – Hiding In The Light (Neurotic Yell Records)
Lea Michele – Louder (Columbia)
Linda Perhacs – The Soul Of All Natural Things (Asthmatic Kitty)
Love American – Hollow Crosses (Love American/Bandcamp)
The Men – Tomorrow’s Hits (Sacred Bones)Adam Downer
The Mighty Fine – Brothers And Smugglers (Creator-Destructor Records)
Morbus Chron – Sweven (Century Media)Hyperion
Morning Glory – Was Psalms (Fat Wreck Chords)


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