Effective music videos are hard to find in 2013. There’s not really a uniform outlet in which music junkies can watch videos from their favorites, and financial issues in the music industry have led to a sharp decline of high-caliber music videos.
What this means, then, is that I freak out when something substantial comes along. Take Sigur Rós’ 2012 video for “Fjögur píanó,” and how the piece was simply saturated in eclecticism: the underwater car ride, the potentially electric popsicles and even Shia LeBeouf’s exposed penis all made us realize that a), director Alma Har’el had a disorienting message for us music-goers, or b), the specifics didn’t really matter. The latter makes more sense to me, although there are certainly poignant parts to the music video. Overall, though, what you got from the piece probably differed vastly from mine. I’m partial to my theories of the ‘ol acid trip gone amiss, but ultimately the video said much more to its audience than I can possibly know.
And ultimately, this is how I see fantastic music videos. The unconventional ones stick with me, the videos pushing the envelope towards what the song itself could only hint. Maybe it’s easier for directors to work with more ambiguous songs, then: more space means more flexibility. And “Old Skin,” serene as it is, really does leave room for the imagination. This is why I didn’t have specific expectations for the video, because it could probably focus on any…
Georgia sludge metal outfit Kylesa are set to release their new album Ultraviolet on May 28th. The follow-up to 2010’s well-received Spiral Shadow is going to be way more ominous. The first song that has just dropped is an ideal indicator of that. “Unspoken” incorprates a notable post-punk influence into the band’s signature sludge metal. As a result, the track is atmospheric and crushing in turns, taking full advantage of its groovy bass lines and understated guitar solos. Add contrasting vocals of singer/guitarists Philip Cope and Laura Pleasants to that and you’re left with one of the most intriguing tracks of the young year. One can only wonder if Kylesa are capable of retaining such a high level of song craft throughout the entire album.
Here’s how Pleasants describes the new direction of the band:
“Whereas Spiral Shadow was a warm album suggesting concepts of hope, Ultraviolet is a bit colder and darker. All of our studio albums have their own unique identity and we’ve always been a band who strives for something different than what current fads suggest. With Ultraviolet, we took a step inward and wrote music that we felt we had to write; this album centers around the multiple themes of loss and you can feel it in the music. Everyone goes through it during their lifetime and this record reflects that experience.”
It was a blustery day in Yadon Yanai Zivojinovich’s (we’ll refer to him as Yad, for short) neighborhood. Despite every attempt to try and find out what caused Bloodstone Avenue to act as a wind tunnel, no one could explain the inexplicable howling wind that blew down the small, suburban street. As usual, Yad was sitting in his room alone, flipping through his parents’ old magazines and listening to some classic jams. Currently, he happened to be listening to “No Quarter”, his favorite Led Zeppelin song, but his (self described) true appreciation for real rock and roll spread to a wide variety of bands, from the guitar nirvana of Van Halen and Jimi Hendrix, to the punishing mysticism of Morbid Angel or Incantation.
Yad had decided to spend the rest of the day reading early press clippings he had collected of Bathory, when something strange happened. His record player abruptly stopped, repeating the first note of the final phrase in the last solo of “No Quarter”. Being as attuned to the music as he was, Yad was quite taken aback and went to investigate his turntable.
Approaching it, he noticed that the sky outside was darkening, but as this wasn’t too strange a phenomenon in the town of Caravan, he paid it no mind. Examining the player, he noticed the needle hadn’t somehow managed to force itself into some kind of…
Ian Fleming’s fictional MI6 operative James Bond has helped the Western World through a cold war, civil and technological breakthroughs, and a rapidly globalizing culture. As the film franchise celebrates its fiftieth anniversary, it’s time to take a look back at some of the memorable and quality music at the forefront of those films.
Dr. No (1962)
Monty Norman & John Barry – “James Bond Theme”
Byon Lee and the Dragonaires – “Kingston Calypso”
Monty Norman was recruited by Albert Broccoli after backing one of his musicals, Belle or The Ballad of Dr. Crippen, written by Wolf Mankowitz who would also go on to be involved in the screenwriting of Dr. No. The theme is arranged by John Barry and performed by his own orchestra, though the arrangement goes uncredited in the film. It has been speculated (and even argued in court) that Barry, in fact, composed the theme rather than Norman, though it contains reworked portions of music previously composed by Norman. At any rate, the theme’s big horns and buzzing guitar line are now instantly recognizable and entirely synonymous with the British agent.
The latter portion of the original Bond film’s opening contains a rather jaunty calypso number performed by Byron Lee and the Dragonaires, who also make an appearance in the film performing their song “Jump Up.” And after all these years, it would seem odd for Ursula Andress to run around Jamaica in a two-piece to anything else.
Right when I start to think the forthcoming album should be renamed to something along the lines of This Record is Never Coming, Trash McSweeney and his merry band continue to release teaser after teaser that The Revolution is Never Coming is actually going to see the light of day sometime in 2013 (as opposed to the heavily-rumored 2010, 2011, and/or 2012 release dates).
Trash may have tone-to-color synesthesia, but just imagine how much I’d have to curb my anticipation if he had triskaidekaphobia.
All kidding aside, I’m looking forward to seeing them on their Chinese Whispers tour in April (the band is currently touring the United States after spending the latter part of 2012 in Europe), and keep your fingers crossed that I’ll be able to have a chat with the band prior to the gig. Their live shows are one-of-a-kind, and while I can’t promise that I’ll be a human canvas (the dude version of Lane Bryant wouldn’t want me to model for them, no matter how much they airbrush the hell out of my pasty ass), I can guarantee you that I’ll be obscenely geeked to watch them perform.
“Rain” is today’s track of the day, but it is the re-recorded version found on the forthcoming The Revolution is Never Coming. Similar to how the band revamped the immensely popular “The Streets Fell Into My Window”, their new “Rain” arrangement is characterized…
Congratulations to our newest contributors and staff. Go to their shoutboxes and let them know how happy you are for them.
Our news has been a little off-and-on lately so here’s a list of major new releases beginning February 18, 2013 and running through March 1, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Anders & Kendall – Wild Chorus (Nine Mile Records)
Atlas Genius – When It Was Now (Warner Bros.) Beach Fossils – Clash The Truth(Captured Tracks)– Cam Boil – aXiom(ViciSolum Productions)– Greg Fisher
Bobby Long – Wishbone (Ato Records) Buckcherry – Confessions(Century Media)
Dark New Day – Hail Mary (Pavement Ent)
Devourment – Conceived in Sewage (Relapse)
Eat Skull – III (1-2-3-4-GO!) Giles Corey – Hinterkaifeck(Enemies List Home Recordings) Iceage – You’re Nothing(Matador Records)– Adam Downer
Jamie Lidell – Jamie Lidell (Warp Records)
Jason Marsalis Vibes Quartet – In A World Of Mallets (Basin Street)
Krypts – Unending Degradation (Dark Descent Records)– Kyle Ward
Mark Kozelek – Like Rats (Caldo Verde)
Mark Kozelek – Live at Phoenix Public House Melbourne (Caldo Verde)
Matmos – The Marriage Of True Minds (Thrill Jockey) …
I’ve always found it difficult to express to other musicians why I find indie music* so intriguing. Instrumentally, there usually isn’t much there — indie tends to be vocally driven, minimal, and frankly a bit repetitive. (* what is indie music? whatever I want it to be for this post)
The new single ‘White Leather’ by Wolf Alice doesn’t break this mold. It consists of a simple four measure riff that repeats throughout the entire song. In the chorus they add a second riff. That’s it.
Liverpool-based Ninetails have spent the past twelve months picking up plaudits and fans like there’s no tomorrow, all of it well deserved. A clinical sound and unwavering attention to detail led to the creation and release of last year’s Slept And Did Not Sleep EP; a fine record that shows a group very much in control of their talent and potential. Not much else to say here except “enjoy”!
Download the EP for a price of your choosing HERE.
In conjunction with Fake Four Records, Sputnik Music is proud to present an exclusive stream of the upcoming sophomore LP from Seattle rapper Sadistik. Flowers For My Father is due for release on Fake Four Records this Tuesday, February 19th in the US. Sputnik’s recently featured review can be found here: Sobhi Youssef’s Review.
Flowers For My Father marks Sadistik’s first solo album since his 2008 debut, The Balancing Act, and charts his growth in spades. Evolving his style to a more synthesized rendition of a signature cinematic Seattle sound, the new album displays a distinct combination of Sadistik’s complex, vulnerable writing with textured, ambient production handled by the likes of Blue Sky Black Death and Kno of CunninLynguists. Featured guest performances from indie hip hop heroes such as Cage, Deacon The Villain, Astronautalis & more result in his most developed, mature and revealing project to date.
Shortly after the release of The Balancing Act, Sadistik’s father tragically passed. Never one to shy away from heavy topics or keep his personal life personal, Sadistik wrote this album for his late father, choosing to treat each song as an update of what has happened in his life since. This is reflected in writing which delves into depression, romance, heartbreak, optimism and the struggle to make sense of the ever-shifting pieces in the world around him.
A heart-wrenching exposition, the video for James Blake’s latest single is an artful, soul-steeped take on the apocalypse. As the lone motorcyclist approaches what seems to be a party of sorts, she finds herself in a time warp of what seems to be the last second before certain all-inclusive death. Perhaps a message expounding the sanctity of our time on this planet, regardless it is refreshing to see such a creative take infused with science-fiction. Many circles have branded the single as lending far too much from the likes of Tom Krell (How To Dress Well), but as the adage goes, imitation is the best form of flattery. “Retrograde” takes this ambient pop formula and couples it with the most evocative soul performance of the fledgling new year. If James Blake performs this at the end of the world, I’ll surely see you there.
Sputnik Music, in conjunction with Further Seems Forever, is currently giving away two tickets to their New York City concert on Friday night. Check out the contest page and make a submission.
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of February 5, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Alpha Tiger – Beneath The Surface (Century Media)
Bjork – Bastards (One Little Indian)
The Bronx – The Bronx (IV) (ATO Records/Red)
Chris Stamey – Lovesick Blues (Yep Roc Records)
Coheed and Cambria – The Afterman: Descension (Hundred, Handed Inc.)
Darkstar – News From Nowhere (Warp)
Dog Bite – Velvet Changes (Carpark Records)
Eels – Wonderful, Glorious (Vagrant Records)
Frightened Rabbit – Pedestrian Verse (Canvasback/Atlantic)
Funeral For A Friend – Conduit (The End Records)
Grouper – The Man Who Died In His Boat (1-2-3-4-GO!)
Harry Connick Jr. – Smokey Mary (Sony)
Hayden – Us Alone (Arts & Crafts)
Holly Williams – The Highway (Georgiana Records)
Jim James – Regions Of Light And Sound Of God (ATO Records/Red)
Joe Budden – No Love Lost (Entertainment One Music)
Josh Groban – All That Echoes (Reprise)
Matt Pond – The Lives Inside The Lines In Your Hand Out (BMG)
Misfits – DEA.D. ALIVE! (Misfits Records)
Necrowretch – Putrid Death Sorcery (Century Media)
Pacal Pinon – Twosomeness (Morr Music)
Plastician – Dubstep Allstars: Vol. 10 (Tempa)
Red – Release The Panic (Provident)
Richard Thompson – Electric (New West Records) …
Congratulations to Sputnik Music user Asaf. You have won two tickets to the upcoming Further Seems Forever concert. Unfortunately, the concert has been postponed due to a nasty storm in the New York area. The new date has yet to be decided.
—Contest is Now Closed—
Do you want to win two tickets to Further Seems Forever’s upcoming show in New York? Just answer the following question by the end of Wednesday February 6th:
Which of Further Seems Forever’s vocalists has been your favorite and why?
E-mail your answer to us and include ‘Further Seems Forever Contest’ in the subject. It’s that easy.
E-mail your answer to: Sputnikreviews at Gmail.com
The show is taking place at the Gramercy Theatre in New York City on Friday February 8th at 7:00 pm. You must be 16 or over to attend the concert (unless accompanied by an adult). Tickets are available to purchase through Live Nation.
Despite a number of unsuccessful forays into the performing/making/selling music trench, I thought I’d have another go anyway. 1902 is comprised by myself on bass and backing vocals and two members of local heroes The Trestles filling out the rest of the line-up. Not much else I can say just yet. The EP was recorded and released 19/01/13, and frankly I figured at least a few of you would be interested.
Feedback etc welcome and ultimately I hope you just enjoy it. It is available for free download.
— Daterape Cookbook
— Smirk the Godblender
– To Build a Better Bulldozer
2013 marks the twenty-year anniversary of the release of Thought Industry’s Mods Carve the Pig: Assassins, Toads and God’s Flesh. It was an album that was so ahead of its time that’s there’s still really nothing that sounds like it. Take the abrasive, confrontational nature of Ian McKay and Minor Threat, mix it with a bit…
I’ll just come right out and say it to set the tone of this post: Quorthon is arguably the single most influential person in extreme metal. I could name at least two genres and countless bands that would not be the same – let alone even exist – had he not decided to get drunk and record Bathory’s self-titled debut in 1984. Taking thrash, speed metal, classic heavy metal, and even NWOBHM and pasting it with imagery so vivid as that of Mercyful Fate and Venom circa the early-1980’s and lyrical themes from years even before that, then mashing it all up in a mix of static, fuzz, and reverb he had essentially invented black metal. Sure, Celtic Frost, Hellhammer, and the oft-venerated Venom were around or had been recording in the same era (Celtic Frost’s Morbid Tales was recorded around the time Bathory was released and Hellhammer had been playing some very thrashy first-wave black metal since 1983, eventually to disband and become Celtic Frost), but the spirit of what black metal was to become was most definitely in the sound that Bathory developed. The genre is essentially a mangled spin-off of thrash – especially in its early days – but Bathory helped to bring it to places that would really change the game for this fledgling sound, and long after Quorthon had moved onto bigger and better things his creation flourished, for better or worse.
Rather than get into an argument over the details of the…