Devo’s first LP, 1978’s Q: Are We Not Men? A: We Are Devo is a chopping board of insane ideas that somehow work. Underneath the madcap dress code, jerky rhythms and daft subject matters lies a dark heart. ‘Space Junk’, once its lyrics are studied, is something of a post-apocalyptic fever dream; the world is laid to waste by falling cosmic debris. Poor Sally…she never stood a chance.
Well she was walking all alone
Down the street in the alley
Her name was Sally
I never touched her, she never saw it
When she was hit by space junk
When she was hit by space junk
When she was hit by space junk
“In New York, Miami beach
Heavy metal fell in Cuba
On Christmas eve”, said Norad
A soviet sputnik hit Africa
It’s falling fast
It keeps coming, it keeps coming, it keeps coming
And now I’m mad about space junk
I’m all burned out about space junk
Walk and talk about space junk
It smashed my baby’s head, space junk
And now my sally’s dead, space junk
The Twin Towers @LIVE music festivals have been an integral part of the Formula One race weekend in Kuala Lumpur for the past few years. While the Sepang International Circuit at the edge of the city is undoubtedly where the bulk of the action tends to take place, the festivals have also played an important role as a much-welcomed conduit between the excitement generated by playing host to one of modern motorsports’ premier events and the city’s general populace. Last year’s edition of Twin Towers @LIVE saw former Pussycat Doll Nicole Scherzinger, along with Kelis (of “Milkshake” fame), and K-Pop outfit SNSD paint the town purple, while the debut iteration of the festival back in 2011 featured American rock band Hoobastank as headliners, with support provided by local acts Yuna, The Azenders, and rapper Joe Flizzow.
The most unusual feature of Twin Towers @LIVE is immediately evident in its name: the music festival is held at the base of the Petronas Twin Towers, the interconnected double megaliths of concrete and steel which are arguably Malaysia’s most recognizable architectural feature:
The Petronas Twin Towers
Admission to Twin Towers @LIVE is free, but a small amount of “Fanzone” passes are distributed to the general public – typically in association with the purchase of Petronas Motorsports merchandise and promotional events. Admission to the Fanzone provides festival-goers a direct and more intimate view of the weekend’s proceedings.
“Go big or go home” is the maxim that the Western Canadian band KEN mode apply. Their fifth album Entrench (out this week on Season Of Mist) continues the evolution of their unique fusion of ferocious noise rock, tense hardcore punk, and boisterous sludge metal. In support of that release, the trio is currently on intensive tour across the US and Canada delivering one formidable show after another. Luckily, amid all the fuss around the band the guitarist and singer Jesse Matthewson found a moment to answer my questions.
1 – KEN mode is a rather controversial name. What inspired you to name your band like that? Why do you think it fits your style so well?
KEN mode is a tag line that Henry Rollins used to name the psychological state of mind that Black Flag was in while touring for the My War album. They’d been tied up by legal battles with a major for several years and were unable to release the album, and thus to properly tour (being that touring gets stale with no new music to sell). They were finally free again, had a new record, and were taking the stage with a ferocity HOUR dubbed “Kill Everyone Now mode” as that was their agenda. They were in KEN mode all the time.
We tend to approach the band in a similar way, and I’ve even taken it that step further to have the phrase relate to a way that…
In ‘My Childhood Friend’, Swedish post rockers Dorena have offered up one of the best surprises of the year so far. I don’t want to spoil it for you, so I won’t. Just give it a listen. For a genre that’s been criticized in recent years for becoming too stale and predictable, this is a much welcome blast of fresh air.
In my early days on this site I made a niche for whored out myself by publishing a review of a Walt Disney soundtrack for every ten pieces that I wrote. That gag eventually got old and I moved on to more “serious” writing (most of those pieces were based around a single sex joke that had been taken and beaten to death anyway), but none of that should take away from the fact that those soundtracks were legitimately some of the raddest and most memorable pieces of music that many of us will ever hear in our lifetimes.
Youtube user Paint probably feels that exact same sentiment. “After Ever After”, a four minute piece which he published a few days ago on the video-sharing website, features him speculating on the post-movie fate of four Disney princesses while using musical motifs from the films to advance his light-hearted narrative. Everything about the performance – from the choreography to the vocal harmonies to the lyrics – appears to have been done by Paint himself and stitched together with the magical power of video editing. The result? A hugely entertaining skit that’s more than capable of rolling back the years and brightening your evening with a nostalgic grin or two. If I am to be perfectly honest, the lyrics are occasionally crude and may feel somewhat forced at times, but the real joy in “After Ever After” lies in trying to a.) guess which Disney…
Okay, so is it just me or is R&B getting, like, too good lately? 2011 saw The Weeknd, Frank Ocean, Drake and others, but those were the “cool” artists who were primed, in a way, to release some deliciously trendy beats and hooks with the latest producer close behind them. But look at 2012: Miguel, always a fantastic singer but never a captivating artist, had both the catchiest single and corresponding album in “Adorn” and Kaleidoscope Dream, respectively. Then there’s Jeremih, the dude who wrote, uh, “Birthday Sex”–he showed up with his Late Nights mixtape, a mainstay in the car-playlist rotation for those lucky enough to have sought it out on Datpiff.
Now we have Ciara, of all people, releasing the jam of at least the first quarter of the year. I don’t even really know who Ciara is–I had to YouTube “1, 2 Step” to remember its melody–but this has to be the last straw. Produced by Mike Will Made It (who also took the reins on Jeremih’s similarly awesome “773 Love”), “Body Party” is so convincingly sexy and catchy and lush that I’m pretty sure all R&B artists are forming a cabal and want to demobilize me with an onslaught of jams or something like that (also: that new Justin Timberlake album). It’s a conspiracy, guys. But what a sexy conspiracy it is.
The other day someone asked me if I’m familiar with Clutch, and I was like: HAHAHA. Here’s their new song from their upcoming album Earth Rocker which is set to be released on March 19th. “Crucial Velocity” juxtaposes darkly tinged riffs with sing-along chorus and, most of all, it grooves like hell. The futuristic themes known from the outfit’s previous albums come back in full force. Neil Fallon is all about his “rocket 88″ that’s “fastest in the land” making a nice allegory to the great power of imagination. “Unpredictable times call for the reliable friend” after all.
Despite being formed in 2009, Sans Parade – an indie-rock trio two thirds Finnish and one third Swedish (amongst a studio support cast of several others) – had released only a handful of songs prior to last month, when they released their self-titled debut album. For that, they had good reason. They were working on it.
The band described their journey to the album’s release as ‘long and arduous’, and it’s easy to hear why when listening to the album opener ‘The Last Song is a Love Song’. Not that the song is strained, difficult, or heavy with conflict. It isn’t. Rather, it appears to have been meticulously crafted from the bottom up, thoughtfully structured and arranged, and fastidiously tinkered with to achieve the most accomplished opening statement the band could ask of themselves.
It’s obvious in the choice of instruments, the way they’re played, what they’re accompanied with and when: they’ve all been given a consideration rarely seen amongst fresh upstarts, let alone more experienced outfits. The familiar quiet-loud post-rock dynamic is employed with no eye-roll backlash; instead, the guitar-embellished string section behind singer Markus Pertulla is dynamic and expressive, offering a contained, delicate intensity in the verses, swelling at the bridge, and then throwing it all to the sky for the eruptive chorus. It’s a chorus that begs to be played loud, and you’d do well to oblige.
It’s clear that Sans Parade have not just aimed for, but doggedly pursued, a first impression…
Based in Aarhus, Denmark, the band BOIL plays an ambitious style of music that properly balances polyrhythmic modern metal with melody-driven alternative rock. Their third release aXiom is both technically intricate and highly accessible showcasing a large step forward in an ongoing evolution of the group. Krisitian Outinen, who plays the bass in the band, has agreed to answer our questions.
As most SputnikMusic users are not familiar with Boil, could you tell us how your musical path has started and what exactly inspired you to be the member of an alternative metal band in the first place?
For me personally, I study classical guitar at the conservatory in Aarhus, Denmark. Soon after I moved to the city, I saw an ad from a local progressive metal band looking for a bass player. I listened to the songs (mainly from the second album, A New Decay) on their myspace and was blown away. I could hear tremendous potential and there was already a mature, yet original style I hadn’t heard before and immediately wanted to be a part of. I started practicing bass like crazy and successfully auditioned for the spot. I’ve been driving the entire band crazy with my love for Finnish melodic power metal and baroque classical guitar ever since and I expect them to be admitted to a mental institution within the next year (haha).
aXiom is your third full-length and it surely showcases your rapid growth as an outfit. How…
Sputnik Music, in conjunction with Finch, is currently giving away two tickets to their New York City concert on Wednesday March 13th. Check out the contest page and make a submission. Contest ends March 12th.
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 5, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Autechre – Exai (Warp Records)
Ashley Monroe – Like a Rose (Warner Bros.) Blue hawaii – untogether(Alternative Distribution Alliance)
Boz Scaggs – Memphis (429 Records)
Caitlin Rose – The Stand-In (ATO RECORDS)
The Cave Singers – Naomi (Jagjaguwar)
Chelsea Light Moving – Chelsea Light Moving (Matador Records)
Cloud Cult – Love (Rebel Group)
The Demigodz – Killmatic (Dirty Version Record)
Enforcer – Death By Fire (Nuclear Blast)
Hatchet – Dawn Of The End (The End Records)
Hiromi – Move (Telarc)
Hollis Brown – Ride On The Train (Alive Records)
How To Destroy Angels – Welcome Oblivion (Columbia)
Jason Graves – Tomb Raider – Original Soundtrack (Sumthing Else Music Works)
Javelin – Hi Beams (Luaka Bop)
Jimi Hendrix – People, Hell & Angels (Legacy)
Josh Ritter – Beast in Its Tracks (Pytheas Recordings)
Kate Nash – Girl Talk (INGROOVES) Kvelertak – Meir (Roadrunner Records)
Krokus – Dirty Dynamite (The End Records)
Madeleine Peyroux – The Blue Room (Decca)
Making Movies – A La Deriva (Independent) The Men – New Moon(Sacred Bones) – Adam Downer
Mishka – Ocean Is…
London-by-way-of-New-Zealand rockers the Veils recently debuted the new single from their upcoming fourth album Time Stays, We Go, the first bit of proper new material since 2009’s Sun Gangs (the less said about 2011’s EP Troubles of the Brain, the better). Frontman Finn Andrews (son of XTC founder Barry Andrews) has always been a combustible sort – his vocal performance tends to range anywhere from stately and forlorn to bloodied and raw, sometimes all on the same song (see opener “Not Yet” off their classic 2006 album Nux Vomica) – and nothing seems to have cooled the fire in his voice in the intervening years since they last appeared on the scene. Yet that album begged the question of just what all this emotional turmoil was really accomplishing; an accumulation of dramatic hard times that seemed more exhausting than cathartic, the end result of a band never quite seeming to capitalize on that consistent “underrated” label to achieve greater indie success? “Through The Deep, Dark Wood” sweeps away all the hesitant trifles of Troubles of the Brain and embraces Andrews’ inherent talent for stirring anthems, the thud of the drums and the whipcrack of the guitars marrying Andrews’ stark, powerful vocals to a thrilling hook. “No, I can’t go back,” Andrews wails on that cleansing chorus, and while that may not be true, strictly speaking (this song would have fit right at home on either Nux Vomica or their 2004 debut The Runaway Found), “Through The…
Finch has re-united in order to celebrate the 10th anniversary of their album What it is to Burn. Unfortunately, if you don’t have a ticket to the Irving Plaza date you’re out of luck because it is sold out. Fortunately, there are still tickets available for the March 13th show at the Gramercy Theatre in New York and Sputnik Music has two to give away.
In order to win these tickets just e-mail us at sputnikreviews at gmail dot com and tell us which of Finch’s full length albums you like more and why. Make sure the e-mail subject is Finch Contest. In case you can’t remember, they are What it is to Burn and Say Hello to Sunshine. It’s a tough choice, so you have until Tuesday March 12th to let us know. The show is 16 years and up unless you opt to bring a parent with you. So, be the coolest 14 year old to ever take their mom to a Finch concert — just don’t be surprised if you leave the show alone (we all know your mom).
You can also buy your tickets here for $28.00 plus fees. The show will begin at 7:00 pm and will also include The Almost, The World Is a Beautiful Place & I Am No Longer Afraid To Die.
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…