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It’s been a while since a Davey-moderated ‘Sputnik Discusses’ went interactive and took a look at the best album art of all time, but fear not; I’m still sitting in a dark room somewhere thinking up discussion topics. Filling the breach for one of my missing weeks was our very own Lord of Brostep, Sir. Will Robinson, with his blog concerning life in college and a lot of cursing. I kid, I kid. Thanks to Will for stepping in, and if you are yet to read his thought-provoking discussion on hip-hop lyrics, I urge you to do so by clicking here

Today’s topic is a genuinely tough one for me to write about. I mean, I’m never wrong… So how the hell can I personally convey any situation where I was incorrect on anything? I guess that if I had reached school-age yet, I would have been wrong on Buster Douglas knocking out Mike Tyson, but even the statute of limitations would have forgiven me for that one by now. Plus, this is a music website.

I guess the closest time that such a music-related phenomena occurred was back in the mid-2000s when I heard Toronto punk rockers Billy Talent for the first time. Call me narrow-minded, but I just felt that it would be near impossible to overcome such negative first impressions of a band. Owning a voice that will be despised much more than it is liked, it’s an…

Courtesy of Consequence of Sound

Three weeks after braving a sixth year of the desert of Coachella, I was off across the country to Atlanta, Georgia, to take in the relatively fresh-faced Shaky Knees music festival. Only in its third iteration in as many venues, Shaky Knees has shot up fast in festivalgoers’ estimation: its penchant for widely disparate artists, with a noticeable lack of pandering to wide-eyed EDM fans, convenient location in the heart of Atlanta, and relatively cheap cost for a three-day festival (at $125 for early bird tickets, that’s $175 cheaper than Bonnaroo and a full $250 less than Coachella). DEALZ$$. The fact that my editor harassed the media until they granted my journalistic integrity a pass sealed the deal – another weekend in a mishmash of parks, side avenues, and parking lots to catch set after exhausting set. Hey, at least I now know what the weather at Bonnaroo feels like.

Photo courtesy of the Atlanta Journal-Constitution

After a debut in a historic Atlanta park and an artistically successful, location-challenged (at an outdoor mall??) second year, Shaky Knees’ move into downtown Atlanta’s Central Park was apparently a welcome one to many fans I talked to, although the location was more a chunk of park (actually two parks, as it connected a bit with Atlanta’s Renaissance Park – Atlanta has a lot of parks) winding its way through a few residential divisions and…

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Almost a solid month ago, on the 9th of April – which was a clear and delightfully quiet spring evening, for me at least – I got in touch with Joe Tiberi, the brains behind the Chicago-based symphonic-industrial-extreme metal band Mechina, who in January 2015 released their 4th full-length album, titled Acheron. What was probably the longest interview I’ve ever done, we spoke a good two hours about Mechina, about his convictions, and eventually got thoroughly off-track by exchanging what we believe is to be the next step for us as humans, why we hate movie adaptions of games, and whether we are too sober for the conversation that we suddenly found ourselves in. Since the latter part of our talk was less an interview and more a pseudo-intellectual banter, I decided to cut the ending off, but the point is: if you ever get a chance to talk to Mr. Tiberi, I would highly recommend doing so, since he’s one of the more down to earth guys I’ve ever had the pleasure of interviewing. I’m not known for my punctuality, so a good month later, here it is – a very all-encompassing view into the life of Joe Tiberi and the workings of Mechina.

We can start off on a high, since you just released a statement to your fans that the first batch of your new album, Acheron, has sold out. Did you expect that to happen so quickly, being an independent

Hello, wonderful users/contribs/staff/mods/lurkers/mx, and welcome to another edition of Sputnik Discusses! Davey’s MIA this week (my money’s on him having to stave off Australia’s terrifying wildlife), so I’ll be doing whatever I can to prompt and moderate the discussion this time around. I’m in the midst of our school’s “reading period,” which is essentially the lull before the maelstrom of finals in which we study as frantically as we can and/or procrastinate as frantically as we can, so I’ll hopefully have some time to respond to as many of you as I can in the comments section. Don’t be surprised if Davey manages to poke his head in here or there, though.

I’d like to broach the topic of potentially offensive or hurtful lyrics in hip-hop because that’s been a topic of contention on my school’s campus as of the past few weeks. A bit of context: Princeton University’s Undergraduate Student Government (USG) hosts a day-long festival called Lawnparties every fall and every spring, in which various campus organizations invite about a dozen artists to perform on a certain part of campus known as Prospect Ave. This past iteration of Lawnparties, held on Sunday, featured Detroit rapper Big Sean as the headliner. The choice was a divisive one. Almost immediately, a small but significant portion of the student body began to protest his selection, calling on our USG to “take down Big Sean.” According to Duncan Hosie, a junior and one of the students who spearheaded the protests,…

Fear not; ‘Sputnik Discusses’ has not been retired just yet. This blog’s absence over the past fortnight was simply due to the most deadliest of all diseases: the dreaded man-flu. Let me tell you folks: It got me good and proper this time around. You know that a music lover is sick when they’re just lying there for days on end doing nothing at all, yet can’t muster the energy to throw on an album or ten as background music. The dreaded lurgy isn’t completely gone either, so I had to think of a way to turn my lack of writing – and thinking – energy into a positive. What I’ve decided to do is write on a topic that I have no real strong feelings on, thus leaving the majority of the discussion up to you! It’s therefore fitting that the topic at hand actually came from one of you… So much thanks to elcrawfodor for the suggestion.

More than that however, ‘Sputnik Discusses’ is going even more interactive than it already is. It’s simply not enough that you get to write what you want in the comments section. In this discussion’s case, some of your responses will actually make the blog itself, since I will update it (most likely on a daily basis) as the discussion heightens.

So what is the topic of discussion at hand? Well, as the title suggests; It concerns album art. Even back in my purchasing…

Photo courtesy of Getty

Another year, another Coachella won by the DJs. It was apparent seeing the massive crowd flocking to the Main Stage for Kaskade’s 7:30pm set that no matter the time, no matter the place, big electronic names have supplanted rock ‘n roll and pop acts as the biggest draw of the festival. Ever since Tiesto’s headlining set in 2010, electronic music and its den of iniquity, the Sahara tent, has consistently drawn the most packed crowds, with the requisite increase in dilated eyes and face paint. Not to say Kaskade’s set was a bust – indeed, it was quite good – but it failed to rise above the constraints of its audience, who know what they want and are happy enough to get it. Still, credit to Goldenvoice: where past Coachellas have gone heavy on the big names), the electronic acts this year pushed the boundaries of their genre, from Kygo, who’s languid house beats draw white girls like moths to a flame, to Jamie xx’s innovative, heavy set, to John Talabot, who proved the best avatar of the Yuma’s throbbing, mutating waves of bass music. Sure, David Guetta may have still closed out the Sahara Sunday night, but: progress! And that’s not even mentioning one of my favorite sets of the night, which rocked the top of the Mojave, of all places.

Photo courtesy of Getty

Placing Canadian indie-pop legends Sloan at…

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Photo courtesy of AP

Saturday was a study in contrasts.  Where one stage may began with the dramatic Perfume Genius owning the stage in drag, it may end with Flosstradamus and Axwell ^ Ingrosso turning it into the outdoor version of the dance-exclusive Sahara tent. Take my favorite stage of the festival, the Mojave – I opened things up with a buzz-building performance by Ryn Weaver, who dedicated a song to her late grandfather, who lived in the Coachella valley, and later jetted over there to catch a bit of Run The Jewels, all while somehow missing out on Toro y Moi, Tycho, and SBTRKT. It’s a cliché, but if you can’t find something you like on any given day here, it’s probably on purpose.

The heat that finally drove me away from Perfume Genius’s blistering set and a temporary stop to see Canadian synthpop star Lights took me to the one place the temperature was actually almost hotter inside than out: the constantly jacked up Sahara tent. Here, ecstasy could generally be found corroding the brains of America’s future leaders from the moment the festival opened to the time it closed and its denizens went out to chase the dragon in the campgrounds. Normally I’d wait until I didn’t have to look people in the eyes to check out the Sahara, but the promise of an amazing light display from resident visual geniuses V…

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Photo courtesy of Rolling Stone

Getting right down to brass tacks for this sixth edition of Klap’s Koachella, because frankly I’m still in the process of scraping my brain off the desert floor for what was one of my favorite Coachellas in recent memory. The weather? Pristine – apparently Friday was the coolest of the festival, but it was appropriately scorching in the afternoon (yet without reducing me to a puddle) and blessedly refreshing as the sun went down and people started generating their own pharmaceutical heat. The food? Better than ever – some of the samples this year included gourmet pop-up restaurants from celebrity chefs like Roy Choi and Kris Morningstar, an absolutely filthy hot dog stand, and old, artery-clogging standbys like my one true love, a heaping mound of garlic crab fries. The crowd? Eh; you win some, you lose some. But the drawing point remains as on point as ever – the artists by and large killed it, whether or not you supplemented your experience with any number of mind-altering substances that surely resulted in some sort of medical tent record, given the lax security I experienced in relation to past years. The best treatment for post-Coachella depression is reliving it.

Photo courtesy of LA Mag

Waking up for the first day always leaves me giddy, largely because you never know how thoroughly security will search you on…

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Before we get started, a quick round of applause to both Manosg and Paradox1216 who were recently promoted to the contributor pool. Congratulations guys, and we wish you well in your new surroundings. Just make sure you close the door behind you, we don’t want Hep Kat sneaking in.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 14th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Calexico – Edge Of The Sun (Anti Records)
The Damnwells – The Damnwells (Rock Ridge Music)
Dwight Yoakam – Second Hand Heart (Warner Bros.)
Earl Sweatshirt – I Don’t Like Shit: I Don’t Go Outside (Columbia) – Jonny Hunter
fLako – Natureboy (Five Easy Pieces)
Greg Holden – Chase The Sun (Warner Bros.)
Halestorm – Into The Wild Life (Atlantic)
James Pants – Savage (Stones Throw)
Jeremy Bass – Winter Bare (Self-released)
John Andrews & The Yawns – Bit By The Fang (Woodsist)
Keller Williams – Vape (Self-released)
Lee Harvey Osmond – Beautiful Scars (Latent Recordings)
Looper – Offgrid:Offline (Mute)
Lowland Hum – Lowland Hum (Self-released)
Now And On Earth – Blacked Out (Epitaph)
Reba McEntire – Love Somebody (Big Machine Records)
Second Storey & Appleblim – ALSO (R&S Records)
Stranger Cat – In The Wilderness (Joyful Noise Recordings)
Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart – Suuns And Jerusalem In My Heart (Secretly Canadian)
Trickfinger – Trickfinger (Acid Test)
Villagers – Darling Arithmetic (Domino Recording Co.)

Fear not everybody, your second favorite weekly blog (Dev does run a mean ‘New Releases’ post, after all) has returned following a week’s rest over Easter. In its place was the staff’s quarterly mixtape (brilliantly compiled by Jom), which can still be listened to in all of its glory by clicking here.

Today, I thought I would chat about something that is very dear to my heart: Guilty pleasures. In all honesty, I dislike the term… Mainly because no-one should really feel guilty for liking any kind of music. If you like it, you like it… And it should be as simple as that. But, of course, life doesn’t usually work out that way, and there’s always someone just around the corner laughing at you for listening to a certain song, before they abruptly snap that “Your taste in music sux”. Sometimes, this so-called fact comes as a shocking revelation, but most of the time we are actually in on the joke and are listening to something purely because we enjoy it.

Over the past couple of weeks, I posted twenty videos from the Soundwave festival which I attended last month. While I probably wouldn’t say that they were the best act I saw, the one which gave me the most enjoyment may well have been Papa Roach. Now I know that some of their releases are just plain crap (see my two star review of their sixth LP ‘Metamorphosis’), but…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 7th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Aceyalone – Action (Bionik Music)
All Time Low – Future Hearts (Hopeless Records)
American Wrestlers – American Wrestlers (Fat Possum)
Blues Traveler – Blow Up The Moon (Loud & Proud Records)
Brian Wilson – No Pier Pressure (Capitol)
Darius Koski – Sisu (Fat Wreck Chords)
Delta Rae – After It All (Sire)
Doldrums – The Air Conditioned Nightmare (Sub Pop Records)
Drenge – Undertow (Infectious Music)
Drug Cabin – Wiggle Room (401K Music)
DTCV – Uptime! (Xemu Records)
East India Youth – Culture Of Volume (XL Recordings)
Enforcer – From Beyond (Nuclear Blast America)
Folk Family Revival – Water Walker (Rock Ridge Music)
Lapalux – Lustmore (Brainfeeder)
Lord Huron – Strange Trails (IAMSOUND)
Marriages – Salome (Sargent House)
Matt & Kim – New Glow (Harvest)
The Mountain Goats – Beat The Champ (Merge Records)
Only Real – Jerk At The End Of The Line (Virgin EMI)
Portico – Living Fields (Ninja Tune)
Priory – Need To Know (Warner Bros.)
Royal Thunder – Crooked Doors (Relapse)
Scuba – Claustrophobia (Hotflush Recordings)
Shlohmo – Dark Red (True Panther Sounds)
Sworn In – The Lovers/The Devil (Razor & Tie)
Toro Y Moi – What For? (Carpark Records)
The Very Best – Makes A King (PIAS America)
The Waterboys – Modern Blues (Kobalt)
Waters- What’s Real (Vagrant Records)
Waxahatchee – Ivy Tripp (Merge

Today is the most glorious day of the year.

Dear Lord…

It’s Opening Day! Well, sort of, anyway. Does it really count if there’s only one game going, and one of the teams is the Cubs?

It’s also the Master’s next week.

Either way, just like the lion and the lamb adage about March, the year’s first quarter came and went, and the staffers are pleased to present the first rendition of their quarterly mixtape. Featuring selections from CHON, Cirrus, Niko Is, and Tanlines, you can stream the mixtape (save for a handful of songs, which have their own embeds) here.

For future mixtapes, what would you like to see? Should this be a mix of staffer favorites, or should the mixtapes serve as a platform to unearth favorites that would otherwise go unnoticed?

Your feedback is appreciated. Enjoy! –Jom

CHON – “Can’t Wait” (03:08)

Listen if you like:
Plini, Mestis, Polyphia

CHON’s long-awaited full-length debut really pushed all the right buttons in all the right ways. The album (Grow) is chock full of memorable hooks, intricate leads, rapid key changes, driving drum beats, groove galore, and – a first for the band – some great vocal melodies.

“Can’t Wait” stands out to me as one of many favorites from Grow because it manages to stuff all of these elements into one incredibly memorable track. Relaxed, fluid verse section? Check. Exploding…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 31st, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Benoît Pioulard – Sonnet (Kranky)
Billy Woods – Today, I Wrote Nothing (Backwoodz Studioz)
Boxed In – Boxed In (Nettwerk Records)
Boz Scaggs – A Fool To Care (429 Records)
Darius Rucker – Southern Style (Universal Nashville)
Death Cab For Cutie – Kintsugi (Atlantic) – Rudy Klapper
Death Grips – The Powers That B (CMG)
Donato Dozzy & Anna Caragnano – Sintetizzatrice (Spectrum Spools)
Föllakzoid – III (Sacred Bones Records)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress (Constellation)
Hollerado – 111 Songs (Royal Mountain Records)
Hollywood Undead – Day Of The Dead (Interscope Records)
Jerry Paper – Carousel (Bayonet Records)
Jessy Malin – New York Before The War (One Little Indian)
Jodeci – The Past, The Present, The Future (Epic)
Lower Dens – Escape From Evil (Ribbon Records)
Ludacris – Ludaversal (Def Jam)
Marching Church – This World Is Not Enough (Sacred Bones Records)
Missy Mazzoli – Vespers For A New Dark Age (New Amsterdam)
Nightwish – Endless Forms Most Beautiful (Nuclear Blast US)
The Prodigy – The Day Is My Enemy (Warner Bros.)
Ringo Starr – Postcards From Paradise (UMe)
Ron Sexsmith – Carousel One (Compass Records)
Simon Joyner – Grass, Branch & Bone (Woodsist)
The Soft Moon – Deeper (Captured Tracks)
The Sonics – This Is The Sonics…

Vita – drums, Poia – guitars & Urlo – bass, vocals

With their unique brand of psychedelic sludge/doom, the Italian power trio Ufomammut have gradually grown over the past decade to become one of the leading acts of the genre. Mixing heavy, fuzzy riffs with often dark ambient passages, the band has produced such brilliant and expansive records as Snailking (2004), Idolum (2008), Eve (2010) and the double-sided ORO (2012). Now, they have returned with another masterpiece, Ecate, their most straightforward and streamlined effort. Before embarking on a European tour as well as crossing the Atlantic for the first time for an extensive North American trek, Vita, Poia and Urlo took some time to answer a few questions for Sputnik:

Hello! How are the preparations for the new album release and following tour going?

Urlo: Everything is good, we’re rehearsing a lot lately to play Ecate in the best way possible. It’s a new path for us in terms of music, so we’re very curious to see how it’ll be live. In the meantime we’re getting mad with all the US visas issues and preparation of the American tour… but we’re very excited to be in the States. And we’re preparing the limited edition vinyls at Malleus headquarters, a very precious version of the LP of Ecate that will be out at the end of March.

Vita: This is a busy period, we have to practice the new record and get all the documents we need to travel stateside.


Last week, I posted videos of the first batch of 10 bands from Day-1 of Australia’s SoundWave Festival . This week, it’s time for the Day-2 contingent, with more rock, punk and metal acts to satisfy your urge for all things heavy and live. For various reasons, I could not attend both days of the festival, and it was this Day-2 group that best satisfied me personally. Of course, posting all of the bands that I saw would probably cause a riot at Sputnik, so hopefully the diverse range of bands seen below is a fair enough compromise.

As per usual, a disclaimer must first be aired for legal purposes: SputnikMusic shall take no responsibility for any motion sickness caused by unsteady hand-held cameras used in the making of the following videos. The same goes for deafness caused by varying volume levels, seizures caused by blinking lights, and blindness caused by the brightness of security vests.

And just in case you were thinking that the line-up for Day-2 looks a little thin, then please take into account that the following list of videos excludes the likes of The Smashing Pumpkins, Fucked Up, Millencolin, Mayhem, Of Mice & Men, The Wonder Years, Godsmack, Tonight Alive, and farewell performances from Conditions & The Swellers just to name another 10 who played on this particular day. In fact, the order of what you are about to view, roughly coincides with each band’s actual set time.…

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