After hearing about the possibility of a new No-Man record coming up soon, I contacted Tim Bowness (singer, songwriter) to ask him about his latest projects, personal favorites and the new album in the works. For those unaccustomed to Bowness’ discography, he has released (besides No-Man of course, which started as a main project all the way back in 1987, with Steven Wilson) a myriad of collaborative records such as Flame (with Richard Barbieri), California, Norfolk (with Peter Chilvers), Warm Winter (with Giancarlo Erra of Nosound, under the moniker Memories Of Machines) or his latest, the second Henry Fool record, Men Singing, among many others. He has also released a solo album, entitled My Hotel Year, in 2004 and is in charge of Burning Shed, an independent record label.
- You have been active for over three decades in the music industry now. How much has the music world changed in your opinion? What do you like and dislike about these changes?
In some respects, it’s changed massively. The business of music and the technology involved in making it are almost unrecognizable from the early 1980s when I started.
In terms of recording, it’s been a change for the better. Studios can do more yet are far simpler to operate. The technology allows a much more direct way of capturing ideas.
The shifts on the business side have meant that it’s become harder to make a living from music for many people and that music itself has…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 6, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Amanda Shires – Down Fell The Doves (Lightning Rod Rec.)
Anna Rose – Behold A Pale Horse (White Pony Records)
Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny (Sumerian)
Barbarossa – Bloodlines (Memphis Industries)
Blondes – Swisher (RVNG International)
Brendan James – Simplify (Noble Steed Music)
Brett Eldredge – Bring You Back (Atlantic)
Centuries – Taedium Vitae (Southern Lord)
Chick Corea – The Vigil (Concord Jazz)
The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars (Sensibility Recordings/Columbia Records)
The Dangerous Summer – Golden Record (Hopeless Records)
Dead Letter Circus – The Catalyst Fire (UNFD)
The Defiled – Daggers (Nuclear Blast US)
Eric Copeland – Joke In The Hole (DFA Records)
Exhumed – Necrocracy (Relapse)
Explosions In The Sky & David Wingo – Prince Avalanche (Temporary Residence)
Hugh Laurie – Didn’t It Rain (Warner Bros.) The Icarus Line – Slave Vows (1-2-3-4-GO!) – Greg Fisher
Iwrestledabearonce – Late For Nothing (Century Media)
Jake Bellows – New Ocean (Saddle Creek)
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance (Inside Out US) Karnivool – Asymmetry (Workhorse Music) – Jacob Royal
KT Tunstall – Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon (Blue Note Records)
Kyle – Beautiful Loser (Indie-Pop)
Long Lost – Save Yourself, Start Again (No Sleep Records)
Lumerians – The High Frontier (Red Distribution)
Medicine – To The Happy Few (Captured Tracks)
Moderat – II (Mute)
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.)
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of July 30, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Alelea Diane – About Farewell (Rusted Blue Records)
Backstreet Boys – In A World Like This (K-Bahn LLC/BMG Rights Management)
Barricades – With Perfect Aim (Barricades)
Buddy Guy – Rhythm & Blues (RCA)
Chimaira – Crown Of Phantoms (Entertainment One)
Confide – All Is Calm (Confide)
Cosmoscope – Hero Or Menace (Cosmoscope)
Elitist – Between The Balance (Consumer Records)
Enduser – Retox (Retox)
Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell – Part I (Prospect Park)
Fortune Howl – Earthbound (Fortune Howl/Bandcamp)
Joan Of Arc – Testimonium Songs (Polyvinyl Records)
Michael Franti & Spearhead – All People (Capitol)
Missing Monuments – Missing Monuments (Dirtnap Records)
Moreland & Arbuckle – 7 Cities (Telarc)
The Reign Of Kindo – Play With Fire (Candyrat Records)
Russell Howard – City Heart + (Rock Ridge Music)
Shpongle – Museum Of Consciousness (Twisted Records)
Soft Swells – Lifeboats (Modern Outsider)
Sparks The Rescue – Truth Inside The Fiction (Sparks The Rescue)
Tech N9ne – Something Else (Strange Music)
Tiefighter – Tiefighter (Tiefighter)
Vince Gill & Paul Franklin – Bakersfield (MCA Nashville)
Swedish outfit Goatess may have just released their debut album on Svart Records, but they’re all experienced musicians. Most notably, vocalist Chritus Linderson has made a name for himself, performing with such renowned doom metal acts as Saint Vitus and Lord Vicar. The eponymous full-length release from Goatess fuses the meandering tempo of doom metal with stoner rock-channeling grooves and psychedelic vibes to great effect. Granted, this Sleep and Electric Wizard inspired style is hardly anything new, yet the album makes a profound impact mainly due to the strong vocal performance of Linderson. His traditionally melodic croons often lend the music its memorable quality. “Alpha Omega” is one of the record’s undoubted highlights, perefectly encapsulating the quartet’s desire to capture the all-consuming power of elephantine riffs.
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…
Welcome to Sputnik’s Second Infinite Playlist of 2013. Here you can look through some of the finest tracks of the past 3 months, as selected by the users of the site, and find some of the best music you might’ve missed this year.
Elena Tonra’s haunting, Florence Welch-esque vocals and heartbreaking lyrics pervade this lovely track from Daughter’s album If You Leave. As my favourite song from their 2011 EP The Wild Youth, I was expecting (and hoping for) a carbon copy of the song on the album. Whilst the LP version isn’t as intimate, the thumping drums and ethereal guitars transform the song into a different beast entirely. Some may feel the lyrics are treading a very fine line between genuine and cliché, but I reckon they fall just on the right side of that line. This track is well worth checking out, and gives a great indication of what you can expect from the rest of the album.
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of July 16, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
ASC – Time Heals All (Silent Season)
Born Without Bones – Baby (Born Without Bones/Bandcamp)
Beach – In Us We Trust (Short Story Records)
Calibre (being released under Dominick Martin) – Valentia (Signature Recordings)
Call It Closure – Holotype (Call It Closure)
Candice Glover – Music Speaks (Interscope Records)
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – White Teeth, Black Thought (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies)
Court Yard Hounds – Amelita (Columbia)
David Lynch – The Big Dream (Sacred Bones Records)
Defeater – Letters Home (Bridge Nine Records)
Desert Stars – Habit Shackles (Desert Stars)
Evan Brewer – Your Itinerary (Sumerian)
Gauntlet Hair – Stills (Dead Oceans)
King Conquer – 1776 (Mediaskare)
Mayer Hawthorne – Where Does This Door Go (Universal Republic)
Patrick Sweany – Close To The Floor (Nine Mile Records)
Pet Shop Boys – Electric (Kobalt)
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Lickety Split (Blue Note)
Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest (Epic)
Sarah Miles – One (Rock Ridge Music)
Soft Metals – Lenses (Captured Tracks)
Tallhart – We Are The Same (Equal Vision Records)
The second full-length record from French metallic noise rockers Sofy Major, Idolize, is a testament to the trio’s perseverance. On October 29th, hurricane Sandy destroyed the Brooklyn studio in which the outfit was going to track, annihilating all the recording equipment and instruments. After a couple of days they luckily managed to start recording with the invaluable help of producer Andrew Schneider and Dave Curran of Unsane’s fame. The result is an aptly furious endeavour that encapsulates the feeling of powerlessness really well. Full of pummeling bass lines, dense drumming and sludgy riffs, this record is at once unabashedly groovy and punishing, showcasing the trio’s knack for crafting off-kilter noise rock that doesn’t steer clear of unexpected flourishes. Idolize is streaming over at Sofy Major’s bandcamp page.
Bonjour. Oui oui monsieur et madames. Je M’appelle Davey. Comment se fait tout le monde aujourd’hui?
July 14 is Bastille Day, the national day of France. I could have written a one thousand word blog detailing French music over the decades. From Edith Piaf to Phoenix, and David Guetta to Gojira, I’m certain it could have been a winner. But I’m far too lazy for that, so a tenuous link will have to do.
Enter English indie/synth-pop act Bastille and their latest single ‘Laura Palmer’. Along with the equally mainland European sounding track ‘Pompeii’, this deceptively infectious tune is one of the twin peaks of the quartet’s excellent debut LP ‘Bad Blood’. Some guy named David Lynch told me that the french translation for fifth single is “La ura palmes er”. I think he might be pulling my leg, but I do have a feeling that he directed the video for the song, since it makes no fucking sense! When is Mullholland Drive Day anyway?
Ryan Clark (bass), Paul Astick (vocals / guitar), Rob Stephens (guitar), Steve Wilson (drums)
Leeds-based heavy rockers Hawk Eyes are about to release their brand new four-track EP on August 19th. The quartet’s potent mesh-up of post-hardcore, sludge metal and alt rock landed their latest full-length Ideas the top spot on my 2012 year-end list. With the new fan-funded release, they do not disappoint either. Produced by Andy Hawkins, That’s What ThisIs further develops the quartet’s winning formula. The numbers are still disarmingly clever and noisy, except the hooks are even grander, the melodies even more powerful, and Paul Astic’s vocals vastly improved. Hawk Eyes are most definitely going in a more accessible direction, yet there’s enough songwriting dexterity on display to make their integrity intact. This short EP whets the appetite nicely before the outfit’s next full-length.
Cheap is a great indicator of what is going to follow. While the track is not nearly as melodic as the remaining cuts, it juxtaposes mathy verses with an abrasive noise-rock chorus and spaced-out bridge to thrilling effect.
Sithu Aye has always been a shining star in the instrumental progressive scene, standing out from the crowd for his unique flair. Oh, and that’s right– he just received his master’s in physics too. So on top of all the music the man’s released (and in only the last few years,) he’s been busy climbing the rungs of academics. The alleged romanticism of musicians devoting all their time to their craft has always rung a little hollow to me, anyways, which is why I think there’s something to be said for artists that pursue their work while tackling life’s challenges. The end product feels more urgent, since the artist went utterly out of his way to create it. So maybe that’s why Sithu Aye’s music has always struck a chord with me, because I know it doesn’t come easily. He must’ve spent days upon days fine-tuning his production methods, saving up for the perfect guitar and drum program, and writing such intricate music. That’s right– he does all this by himself, if you weren’t aware. And while he was getting all of this done, he didn’t need to put his other priorities on hold– he plowed straight ahead with them, and still came up pretty damned far in the Bandcamp metal scene. Color me impressed.
So when Aye posted about a new release on his Facebook page, I was pretty surprised. I mean, this specific brand of progressive seems like it would take awhile to brew, right? And…
Maybe there is something in this ‘climate change’ brouhaha after all.
The “British Summer” ceased to be a thing a long time ago. We pretty much make-do with “mild” and be done with it…
…but now over here we are experiencing the briefest of heat waves. A week is a luxury. Some of you who live in perpetually sun-kissed climes may scoff, but that’s how it goes.
The heat does funny things to me anyway. A man with long, thick hair and a penchant for black jumpers finds little solace in the sun’s non-prejudicial UV beatdown. Nights are spent squirming on bedsheets like a drugged-up seal, days spent sighing loudly and cursing whatever malevolent god (Ra?) sent this yellow ball of hatred.
And so not for the first time, I find myself turning to Captain Beefheart, whose simple exclamation of “It’s so hot!” at the beginning of this song captures just how I feel. This is my brain in heat.
Ever since I was little I’ve always dreamt about having a machine that could just translate your thoughts instantly and directly into word form and transcribe them onto the page. When I was young, these were happy-faced, benevolent machines that always kept your privacy and never made a mess. As I get older, I care less for the tidy construct of untangled wires and the sweet sound of scribbling pencil attached to swishing robotic arm. Instead, in my growing desperation for what is true and naked and unsullied, I imagine a pair of hands plunging through my forehead and into my brain, ripping out a handful of thoughts, and scattering them with a clang onto a shiny silver tray. An image from a horror movie, perhaps, but purity has never been dependent on clean cuts.
Such a machine, ethical implications put to one side, would be a revelation for most of us because of a deep and debilitating affliction we all share: I like to call it The Fridge Door Syndrome. When the fridge door is closed, the disco ball spins. Seeds are swapped, skins are dropped, foodstuffs roam from shelf to shelf to shelf. You know it, I know it, Homer knows it. But then when you open that fridge door and look inside, the foods freeze, deaden, become statues of themselves. Close the door again, the volume knob is spun and the party resumes. So it goes with…