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Like most ex-communist nations, neither of these countries is noted for its astounding contribution to modern music, but it was very much the opposite case in the Romantic era when both were at the forefront of European culture. Curiously, the communist era was boom-time for football in both states, whereas Russia have struggled since independence and the Czechs have often flattered to deceive.

Czech Republic: Antonin Dvorak – Symphony No. 9: From the New World

As its title suggests, Prague-born Dvorak composed his ninth symphony while living in New York in the late 19th Century. Fans of my work will be delighted to know I once performed a part of the New World Symphony at music camp when I was like 8.



Russia: Modest Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition

Aha! You all thought I was going to go for Tchiakovsky. In fact, it’s one of the Mighty Five Russian nationalist composers and the one-man Modest Mouse cover band and his piano suite Pictures at an Exhibition.

Sputnik has a long and proud history of supporting the world’s best and most popular sport. Two years ago, Nick Butler used the football World Cup as an opportunity for a fascinating study into the musical history of the 32 participating nations. This year, not so much.

We will, however, be using the 32 games taking place over the next 4 weeks to showcase some of the better music that’s come out of each of the 16 European nations taking part, and we begin with the opening game, featuring co-hosts Poland and those lovably spendthrift Greeks.

Use this thread to talk about the match, Lewandowski and, of course, who makes the better music. (Hint: Poland)

Poland: Riverside – ‘In Two Minds’

Warsaw’s most passionate Middlesbrough fans skanked heavily off Porcupine Tree on their mesmeric 2004 debut album, Out of Myself, but originality is overrated when you’ve got tracks as beautiful as ‘In Two Minds’ massaging yer earholes.


Greece: Rotting Christ – ‘Keravnos Kyvernitos’

With a name like Rotting Christ, Greece’s premier black metal act were never likely to curry much favour with The Big Misogynist In The Sky, but it’s worth noting that coming from the Greek Orthodox church they were going to hell in any case.


Lunic – Far Away

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Lunic is an all-female electro-pop band from New York City, that released their first album, Lovethief, back in 2009. After its release they were able to perform with such diverse artists as Moby, Mindless Self Indulgence, Meiko, Company of Thieves, Dredg and many more. The trio consists of songwriter/multi-instrumentalist Kaitee Page, electric midi violinist Megan Berson, and live drummer Masha Mayer and they combine to create a fairly unique style that includes keyboards, violins, guitars, effects, loops, and midi controllers to skillfully and carefully construct each track from the ground up.

With a ton of live shows under their collective belts, Lunic are now set to release their second album, Future Sex Drama, in September. ‘Far Away’ is first single from that upcoming album and if it is any indication of the album as a whole, it will be another dose of moody electro-pop. Lunic are definitely recommended to those into Phantogram, Lykke Li, Metric, Ladytron or The xx.

“All-girl New Yorkers Lunic make distinctive and sultry psychedelic indie with hints of downbeat British electronica acts The xx and Portishead. Mournful dashes of violin and melodic lead guitar flourish.”


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 05, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

The Agonist – Prisoners (InsideOut Music)
Architects – Daybreaker (Century Media)
A Silent Film – Sand & Snow (Self Released)
The Bamboos – Medicine Man (Tru Thoughts)
Be’lakor – Of Breath And Bone (Self Released) – Kyle Ward
Eric Benet – The One (Jordan House Records)
Bigg Jus – Machines That Make Civilization Fun (Mush Records)
Big K.R.I.T. – Live from the Underground (Def Jam Records)
William Brittelle – Loving the Chambered Nautilus [Digital Only] (New Amsterdam)
Bobby Brown – The Masterpiece (Bronx Bridge Entertainment)
Candlemass – Psalms For The Dead (Napalm Records)
Brandi Carlile – Bear Creek (Columbia)
Chris Robinson Brotherhood – Big Moon Ritual (Silver Arrow Records)
Circus Maximus – Nine (Frontiers Records)
Shawn Colvin – All Fall Down (Nonesuch)
The Cory Smoot Experiment – When Worlds Collide (Metal Blade)
Crocodiles – Endless Flowers (Frenchkiss)
Curren$y – The Stoned Immaculate (Warner Bros.)
Def Jef – Just A Poet With Soul (Delicious Vinyl)
d’Eon – LP (Hippos in Tanks)
DeWalta – Wander {EU} (Haunt Music)
Dntel – Aimlessness (Pampa Records)
Fear Factory – The Industrialist (Candlelight) – Deviant
Hawthorne Heights – Hope [EP] (Cardboard Empire)
The Hives – Lex Hives (Disques Hives) – Rudy Klapper
Kelly Hogan – I Like To Keep Myself In Pain (ANTI Records)
Alan Jackson – Thirty Miles West (Capitol)
The Jacka – The Sentence (SICCNESS)
Japandroids – Celebration Rock (Polyvinyl Records)
Kool Keith – Love…

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I first attended The Fest in 2011, and I’ve since wondered about what that weekend means, if anything.  It is billed, rightfully so, as the largest punk festival in the country, but there were only a marginal number of big names and they all, for the most part, had the shortened timeslots that plague such events (one has to wonder why Warped Tour still draws a crowd year after year, offering outdoor stages, mediocre sound quality, the blazing temperatures of summer, and 20 minute sets).  Granted, bands like Magrudergrind and Comadre are well-served by short sets, and an hour certainly seems enough for your Hot Water Musics and Against Me!s.

Much of The Fest’s appeal seems to lie in the possibility of what might happen rather than what is actually scheduled to.  “Secret shows” always produce heavy rumors passed around with all the fervor of notes in school.  One hears that Comadre is playing an At the Drive-In cover show in a warehouse 30 minutes outside of town (didn’t happen), and that Alternative Press is hosting their own mini-festival of bands playing cover shows, such as Bomb the Music Industry! covering The Weakerthans (happened).  Not everyone is in the mood to be excited about these things at two in the morning after a long and sweaty night of shows.  But there are people with boundless zeal who are constantly energetic to see something they may never get to see again.  It is, even in a state of exhaustion, a little…

In some alignment of the stars, the weekend of May 26/27 saw the brilliant Slam Dunk Fest hit the UK in a ray of brilliant sunshine – two distinctly annual events for the price of one – as the two-day celebration of rock, punk and metal arrived in Leeds for its seventh year running. The festival, which also includes a southern leg at Hatfield University, welcomed an absolutely goliath line-up this year which saw Taking Back Sunday headline the main stage, supported on stages across Leeds Students’ Union by bands like Motion City Soundtrack, Architects, Mayday Parade and Fightstar frontman Charlie Simpson in his capacity as a solo artist.


So in the blazing heat of northern England (I just wrote that? Wow) Leeds was a buzz of Converse from the city centre up the hill to the Students’ Union. One of the things that strikes me about Slam Dunk now is how communal it all feels; a huge number of artists play the festival (and for a really good price) but there’s no great sprawl between stages and everything is close enough to feel like everybody present is a part of the same event. This year, the site layout (including a marquee stage: more on that later) was perfect for getting about quickly, and it needed to be, too, with the heat.


Lower Than Atlantis (source: www.marianneharris.co.uk)


After watching Cartel play a stroke of an acoustic set in a secluded spot, the first band I got…

Art By Numbers’ debut album, Reticence: The Musical, will be streaming on the site until the end of Tuesday, so if you haven’t checked it out yet, you better do it soon. They have been compared to everyone from The Human Abstract and Protest the Hero to Coheed & Cambria and The Mars Volta. Give it a listen here.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 29, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

2:54 – 2:54 (Fat Possum Records)
Art By Numbers – Reticence: The Musical (Art By Numbers)
Wade Bowen – The Given (Sony Nashville)
Crystal Bowersox – Once Upon A Time (Crystal Bowersox)
Brotherhood of the Lake – Desperation Is The English Way Vol.1 (Thirty Days Of Night Records)
Delain – We Are The Others (Roadrunner/Warner)
Dogjaw – Pilot (Solidarity Recordings)
The Dig – Midnight Flowers (Buffalo Jump Records)
Edward Sharpe & the Magnetic Zeros – Here (Community Music)
Melody Gardot – The Absence (Verve)
Gotthard – Firebirth (Nuclear Blast Records)
Kreator – Phantom Antichrist (Nuclear Blast Records)
Ladyhawke – Anxiety (Universal UK) – Davey Boy
Malice – New Breed Of Godz (Steamhammer/SPV)
Millencolin – Melancholy Connection [CD/DVD] (Burning Heart)
Marissa Nadler – The Sister (Box of Cedar)
Travis Porter – From Day 1 (RCA)
Public Image Ltd – This Is PiL (PiL Official)
Gemma Ray – Island Fire (Bronzerat Records)
Saint Etienne – Words and Music by Saint Etienne (Universal UK)
Sarah Jezebel Deva – Malediction EP [Digital…

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With the exception of those looking to be comfortably seated, it is fair to state that most live music fans prefer their gigs in smaller venues where you can get up close to the performing musicians. Hell, many even automatically pass on 40,000+ stadium events and raise an eyebrow when even their favourite artists are booked at an arena. Exceptions are few and far between, but I recall an article from a couple of years back, where the live show reviewer wished that a NYC show had been held at an arena, rather than a club. Why? The singer was Florence Welch and the room was quite simply not large enough to do her booming voice justice. At the time, I thought “Codswallop”… Having now seen the flame-haired songstress perform live at the 10,000+ capacity Rod Laver Arena, I can understand where the writer was coming from.

First up, however, was Blood Orange… the solo side-project of Devonte Hynes (better known as Lightspeed Champion). Undoubtedly a strange choice as support, he clearly got the gig due to his sporadic writing and producing partnership with Florence + The Machine. Armed with nothing but a laptop (complete with the annoying lit-up fruit beaming into the audience), a keyboard & his guitar, Hynes struggled to garner any interest from the crowd apart from the strange images portrayed on his projector. In all honesty though, it was a decent half-hour set, with the sultry melodies & Hynes’ flamboyant guitar-work often shining through.…

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State Faults have been on the rise ever since the release of their debut EP Head In the Clouds in 2010, and now with their Tiny Engines release Desolate Peaks they are poised to go from California secret to post-hardcore darlings. We talked to them about their new album, what they see in their future, and, of course, about some old school video games.

SputnikMusic: Lyrically, the new album seems to be coming from a much darker place than your EP. What was the impetus for the shift and did it come into play when you decided on the title of Desolate Peaks?

State Faults: The lyrics of Desolate Peaks are very personal, we kind of left ourselves wide open and let a lot of negative feelings flow through while at the same time trying not to be TOO obvious about the subject matter.  The song ideas came from introspective talks we’d have with each other, and Jonny would take them and weave em into lyrics, sometimes before all the instruments were even written. We’re all really goofy and light hearted guys, so when times get tough or we look back on times and experiences that leave us heavy hearted, we channel it into our music.

SM: I’ve been told that you’re very hands on when it comes to recording. What was the recording process like for Desolate Peaks?

SF: We had a lot much fun recording Desolate Peaks. We took five days to record drums, bass, and guitars…

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Are you Canadian? Do you like Death Grips or just enjoy free stuff? Well, here is your chance to win the most recent CD by hip-hop artist Death Grips. We have a copy of The Money Store to give away to one lucky Canadian fan. The only thing that you need to do is use the words ‘Death’ and ‘Grips’ in a sentence (paragraph or story if you’re feeling overzealous). Make it witty, funny or sarcastic — the end goal is to be amusing. Contest is open to Canadian residents only and will end on May 29th.

E-mail your submissions here (make sure the subject is “Death Grips Contest”):

Sputnikreviews at gmail dot com


Death Grips – The Money Store
Released on April 24th through Epic Records
[iTunes] [Amazon CD] [Amazon MP3]

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Sputnikmusic is streaming the upcoming album, Reticence: The Musical, by progressive metal artists Art By Numbers. They have been compared to everyone from The Human Abstract and Protest the Hero to Coheed & Cambria and The Mars Volta. Give it a listen here.

We are also hosting a give-away for hip-hop artist, Death Grips. We’ve got two copies of their album, The Money Store, to give away. Go here for details.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 22, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

12 Stones – Beneath The Scars (Executive Music Group) – Davey Boy
16Volt – Skin [Re-Issue] (Metropolis Records)
Kris Allen – Thank You Camellia (RCA)
Blue Foundation – In My Mind I Am Free (Dead People’s Choice)
The Bunny The Bear – The Stomach For It (Victory Records)
Burzum – Umskiptar (Byelobog Productions) – Kyle Ward
Children Of Bodom – Holiday At Lake Bodom (15 Years Of Wasted Youth) (Fontana Universal)
The Cult – Choice Of Weapon (Cooking Vinyl)
Delta Moon – Black Cat Oil (Red Parlor)
Diablo Swing Orchestra – Pandora’s Pinata (Sensory Records)
Electric Wizard – Witchcult Today (Candlelight)
El-P – Cancer for Cure (Fat Possum Records) -- Sobhi Yousseff
Tolga Fidan – Rogue (Vakant)
Freak Kitchen – Land of the Freaks (The Laser’s Edge)
Garbage – Not…

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**Note: The stream has reached the end, but the album can be purchased at the following locations:

Artist Merch Store / iTunes Music Store / Amazon MP3


Art By Numbers haven’t even released their debut album, and they’re already receiving a lot of attention. This attention probably initially stemmed from the band’s connection with The Human Abstract, but there’s definitely more to it than that. For those that are curious, Brett Powell (The Human Abstract’s drummer) is the band’s manager and Art by Numbers guitarists Victor Corral and Dustin Georgeson studied with A.J. Minette (also of The Human Abstract). The thing is that any thoughts that the band might be skating by on posts such as the one on The Human Abstract Facebook page that declared Art By Numbers, “the most exciting up and coming progressive band out there,” are put to rest once you hear the album. The band’s upcoming debut, Reticence: The Musical, is deserving of the attention that it is getting regardless of any extraneous circumstances.

This Fresno, California five-piece definitely bring a technical, yet melodic, style of progressive metal that will have people comparing them to everything from The Human Abstract and Protest the Hero to Coheed & Cambria. The thing is that they still have their own sound. For one, the band bring a prominent sense of melody and catchy vocal arrangements that occasionally remind me…

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Funeral Club – Waves & Waves

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What is there to say about this song? I’ve never heard of the band before, but I’m digging what they’re doing here. It’s like a cross between trip hop, chill jazz and gothic rock. The song comes from the band’s three-song EP of the same name and was released through Pale Noir Records. The other two songs even seem to add just the slightest bit of shoe gaze to the mix — good stuff.

Official Facebook Page


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Forget your indie revolution, this is a hostile takeover. All your base are belong to us

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‘Tryhard’ is taken from Noisia’s latest EP Imperial, out now through Vision Recordings.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 15, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

American Gospel – Tall Tales Vol.1 (American Gospel)
Beach House – Bloom (Sub Pop)
Bersarin Quartett – II [Physical Release] (Denovali Records)
Best Coast – The Only Place (Mexican Summer) – Robin Smith
Blaq Dahlia – Dark Flower (Skinny Entertainment Records)
BT – Laptop Symphony [Digital Only] (Black Hole Recordings)
Cherri Bomb – This is the End of Control (Hollywood Records) – DaveyBoy
City Rain – Watch Out [EP] (Self Released)
Cornershop – Urban Turban (Ample Play Records)
The Cribs – In the Belly of the Brazen Bull (Wichita)
Will Dutta – Parergon (Just Music)
Fixers – We’ll Be The Moon (Mercury Records)
Garbage – Not Your Kind of People [iTunes Exclusive] (StunVolume)
Godsmack – Live & Inspired (Universal Republic)
Hasta La Vista Social Club – Melt (Inverse Records)
Hospitals – Asleep [EP] (Tangled Talk)
Hot Water Music – Exister (Rise Records) – Adam Thomas
Josephine Foster & the Victor Herrero Band – Perlas (Fire Records)
Killer Mike – R.A.P. Music (WILLIAMS STREET) – Sobhi Youssef
Lahmia – Into the Abyss (Bakerteam Records)
Meiko – The Bright Side (Fantasy)
mewithoutYou – Ten Stories (Pine Street) – Robin Smith
MV & EE – Space Homestead (Woodsist)
Nachtvorst –…

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