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Hi there! Apologies to those of you who missed out on our celebratory rainbowsplosion on Friday.

In case you missed it, pretend you’re Homer:

You're not at Moe's anymore.

People got a bit cranky with me, and perhaps understandably so — my favorite remark had something to do with “keeping the politics out of a music site” — despite that user 5′ing the entire Ted Nugent discography. Another user inquired as to why we decided to “fag up the main page”, which seemed odd considering there were no large bundles of sticks anywhere to be seen.

Despite our Communist name, Friday might have been the most important SCOTUS ruling since Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka, KS, and there’s no reason why we can’t dance.

You know, perhaps there’s lots of lumber in those pants.

On another note, what are you doing for your extra leap second? Some of you might not have been alive during the Y2K pandemonium, but alas, I assure you that, somehow, your computer will be just fine.

Let’s carry on, then, to our Q2 mixtape, which our staffers are again delighted to present to you. Featuring selections from Titus Andronicus to The Drays to Nicolas Jaar to Icicle to Witchwood to God is an Astronaut, please feel free to stream the playlist below for some of our favorites between April 1st and June 30th.

Not everything is in the Spotify playlist, though, so keep your…

Please note that this will be the last weekly update post to be published at the beginning of the week. In lieu of Friday being recognised as the official “global release day”, this post will now be moving to the end of the week to accomodate the change. Check back in on Friday the 10th of July for your weekly news. And for information regarding the global release date change, you can head here

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 23rd, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Apathy – It’s The Bootleg, Muthafuckas! Vol. 4: The Black Lodge (Dirty Version Records)
Apathy – Weekend At The Cape (Dirty Version Records)
August Burns Red – Found In Far Away Places (Fearless Records)
Bang Gang – Wolves & Whispering (Idol)
Bilal – In Another Life (Entertainment One Music)
Dan Svizeny – Whitecaps (Group Tightener)
Failure – The Heart Is A Monster (Failure Records)
God Is An Astronaut – Helios/Erebus (Revive Records)
The Internet – Ego Death (Columbia)
Joy Williams – Venus (Columbia)
LA Priest – Inji (Domino Recording Company)
Man Overboard – Heavy Love (Rise Records) – Davey Boy
Matt Pond PA – The State Of Gold (Doghouse Records)
Miguel – Wildheart (RCA)
Refused – Freedom (Epitaph) – Dan H.
Rolo Tomassi – Grievances (Ipecac Recordings)
Tyga – The Gold Album: 18th Dynasty (Last King’s Music)

My, how time flies… Can you believe that 2015 is almost half complete? To mark the occasion, I thought I’d use a couple of ‘Sputnik Discusses’ blogs to reflect on some of the releases that have graced our ears over the past six months. But instead of immediately jumping into a ‘Best Of’ discussion, I thought it would be interesting to share with your SputnikMusic brethren some of your more exclusive finds of 2015. Personally, I find it kind of exciting when I come across musicians who don’t have an artist page on this website. And the last thing you want to do when you come across such musicians is keep them to yoursef. Write a review here and let the world know. Or if you can’t be stuffed writing 700 or so words, then this is where this very discussion comes in handy… Typing the artist and album title below will do just fine.

To throw out some examples, I’m going to list three 2015 releases which, prior to yours truly rating them, had all of one solitary rating between them (Damn you Thuckabe, you ruined it). Now, unsurprisingly (because [a] it’s me, and [b] they’re overlooked), there are some poppier leanings here… But I think you’ll find enough genre variety enclosed within to satisfy your needs.

First up is one Nathan Feuerstein, who goes by the moniker of NF. This 24 year old may remind you of someone… He is a…

We are currently hosting an AMA over on r/music at Reddit. If you’ve been dying to know if Irving’s nicest-guy-in-the-world persona is really just an act, if Davy prefers boxers or briefs, if I really am a robot, and what Sowing does to celebrate the publishing of another Taylor Swift review, then pop in here and flick us a question. Of course you could always ask what our ambitions for the website are, and what Sputnik truly means to us, but where’s the fun in that?

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 23rd, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Breaking Benjamin – Dark Before Dawn (Hollywood Records)
Bully – Feels Like (Columbia)
Creepoid – Cemetery Highrise Slum (Collect Records)
Desaparecidos – Payola (Epitaph)
Everything Everything – Get To Heaven (RCA/Sony)
Goblin Rebirth – Goblin Rebirth (Relapse)
Jaakko Eino Kalevi – Jaakko Eino Kalevi (Weird World)
Kacey Musgraves – Pageant Material (Mercury Nashville)
Leon Bridges – Coming Home (Columbia)
London O’Connor – O∆ (Self-released)
Mocky – Key Change (Heavy Sheet)
Neil Young & Promise Of The Real – The Monsanto Years (Reprise)
Pistol George Warren – Oceapur 9 (Self-released)
Richard Thompson – Still (Fantasy)
Rhapsody – Prometheus, Symphonia Ignis Divinus (Nuclear Blast America)
Son Lux – Bones (Glassnote)
T. Hardy Morris – Hardy & The Hardknocks: Drownin On A Mountaintop (Dangerbird)
Thy Art Is Murder – Holy War (Nuclear Blast America)

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 16th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Active Child – Mercy (Vagrant)
Adam Lambert – The Original High (Warner Bros.)
Amos Lee – Live At Red Rocks With The Colorado Symphony (ATO Records)
Ben Browning – Turns (Yellow Year)
Calvin Love – Super Future (Arts & Crafts)
DJ Koze – DJ-Kicks: DJ Koze (K7)
Heartless Bastards – Restless Ones (PTKF) – Rudy K.
Hilary Duff – Breathe In. Breathe Out (RCA)
Hudson Mohawke – Lantern (Warp Records)
Ike Reilly – Born On Fire (Rock Ridge Music)
James Taylor – Before This World (Concord)
The Lonesome Trio – The Lonesome Trio (Sugar Hill)
mewithoutYou – Pale Horses (Run For Cover Records/LLC) – SowingSeason
Mika – No Place In Heaven (Republic)
Nate Ruess – Grand Romantic (WEA/Fueled By Ramen)
The Ongoing Concept – Homemade (Solid State)
Outfit – Slowness (Memphis Industries)
Ryn Weaver – The Fool (Interscope)
Third Eye Blind – Dopamine (Mega Collider)
Walk Of The Earth – Sing It All Away (Columbia)


Album Streams:

Active Child – Mercy

Hudson Mohawke – Lantern

mewithoutYou – Pale Horses

Ryn Weaver – The Fool

Walk Of The Earth – Sing It All Away


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

Staff :

1. Sufjan Stevens
2. Nirvana
3. Cairo Knife Fight
4. In Flames

With June shaping up as an excellent month for new album releases, I’m in between jotting together a few potential reviews at the moment. As these albums require more detailed listening and examination for the sake of an informative dissection, I’m often lacking the time to hear many other 2015 releases at the same time. What I often do in this case is stockpile a handful of EPs, for the obvious reasons that they take less time to listen to. By pure coincidence, I came across 3 consecutive EPs last week that were all acoustic based. For the record, I enjoyed all three, which were recorded by Pvris, Brigades and State Champs.

I recall looking at the track-listing for the State Champs EP (titled ‘The Acoustic Things’) and being disappointed that only one of my highlights from their album ‘The Finer Things’ was included. Yet, upon listening to the 7 included tracks, I found that the tune ‘Simple Existence’ stood out. I wondered why I had not included that as an LP highlight, so I went back and listened to the electric version. The answer was simple? The acoustic version was better!

Without harping on the pop-punk goes acoustic factor, it reminded me of a couple of years back when I was listening to the discography of (arguably middling) Massachusetts quintet A Loss For Words. Sure, they have a knack for a catchy hook, but so does 90% of pop-punk bands. The…

Tengger Cavalry. Nature Ganganbaigal. Names that are not part of everyday discussions here on Sputnik, which is exactly why I went out and shot an interview request towards Metal Hell Records some nights ago – to find out more. Only a day or so managed to pass, and already the wise Mongol chieftain in charge of Tengger Cavalry had answers for my written inquiries. Founded in 2009, Tengger Cavalry is currently the leading Mongolian folk metal band… in the world. The group has been more than active since its inception, due to the never ending creative flow of its mastermind, Nature Ganganbaigal. To date, the band has released four full-length albums in the span of six years, with their latest release – a re-recording of their debut Blood Sacrifice Shaman – dropping on May 18 of this year. Given that the latest addition to Tengger Cavalry’s discography is less a remaster and more an entirely new beast brought to life on the carcass of old ideas, it is safe to say that Tengger Cavalry is one of the busiest bands in metal today. Now that the new old album is out there for everybody to hear, Nature devoted some time to me, to answer a few questions about the band, himself, and his religion.

Good evening to you! As Tengger Cavalry is rather unknown on our site, would you be so kind as to give a short overview of what this band is all about?

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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