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We get a lot of e-mail sent to our Sputnik G-Mail account and most of it is crap. It seems that most of it is spam, sales pitches and random links meant to ‘enhance’ your computer, but it is worth sifting through because we also get a lot of cool promos and even occasionally unheard gems such as this. The artist is named Miriam Bryant this is her first single, ‘Finders Keepers’. It’s a strange mix of piano melodies, electronics, subtle orchestral elements, programmed beats and the strong vocals of Miriam herself. Her bio says that she is twenty-one, English born and Swedish raised. Let’s hope that this isn’t the last we hear from her. With childhood friend Victor Rådström, 20, writer & producer, Miriam is now releasing her debut single, ‘Finders, Keepers’.

Miriam Bryant Facebook


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 24, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

7 Horns 7 Eyes – Throes Of Absolution (Century Media)
16 – Deep Cuts From Dark Clouds (Relapse Records)
Adaliah – Broken Families (MediaSkare)
Agruss – Morok (Code 666)
Anathema – Weather Systems (The End Records) – Trey Spencer
Theresa Andersson – Street Parade (Basin Street Records)
Mickey Avalon – Loaded (Suburban Noize)
Daniel Bedingfield – Stop the Traffik [EP] (UHT Productions)
Before The Dawn – Rise Of The Phoenix (Nuclear Blast)
Brendan Benson – What Kind of World (Readymade Records)
Bereft – Leichenhaus (The End Records)
The Bersarin Quartett – II [Digital Release] (denovali records)
Lee Brice – Hard 2 Love (Curb Records)
BT – Laptop Symphony (Black Hole Records)
Cancer Bats – Dead Set on Living (Metal Blade)
Catamenia – The Rewritten Chapters (Massacre)
Claro Intelecto – Reform Club (Delsin) – Deviant
The Dandy Warhols – This Machine (The End Records)
Death by Stereo – Black Sheep of the American Dream (Viking Funeral Records)
Death Grips – Money Store (Epic)
Deride – The Void (Massacre)
Deuce – Nine Lives (Eleven Seven Music)
Diamond Rugs – Diamond Rugs (12th Street Records)
DJ Spinna – DJ Spinna vs P&P Records (Traffic Entertainment)
Europe – Bag of Bones (earMusic/Edel)
Eve 6 – Speak In Code (Fearless Records)

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The press release for Wake up to the Waves – the first full-length album from Dublin electronic two-piece Last Days of 1984 – says the duo “are influenced by afro-beat, chill out music and tropical electronica.” To me, this seems like a rather long-winded and contrived way of saying “Animal Collective” but, hey, you know me. I’m all about getting to the point.

A couple of years ago when the indie media was collectively shitting itself over Merriweather Post Pavillion, I was literally (and by ‘literally’ I mean ‘figuratively’) swamped with PR for bands calling them the ‘next Animal Collective’ or some equally horrendous prospect. Before Animal Collective it was Radiohead. I don’t know who it is now, probably Azealia Banks or whatever number of photogenic, post-ironic blog bait douchebags it currently takes to suck Dilla’s dick.

Which is why it’s so refreshing to hear a band come along with such obvious smug indie douche credentials and make a conscious effort to downplay them and let people just judge for themselves. Yes, ‘River’s Edge’ sounds like Brian Rice and Darren Moloney spent their entire college experience listening to ‘My Girls’ on repeat and asking themselves just how do they DO that? But when the execution is so perfect and the result such a sweet, fluffy cloud of off-kilter Brian Wilsony pop, it’s hard not to laugh at the indie media’s myopic obsession with originality.

(For the record, the rest of the album does incorporate the aforementioned afrobeat and tropical…

Photo courtesy of the Atlantic

Sunday was the hottest day of the weekend by far, yet still a relatively (by Coachella standards) 83 degrees with a nice occasional breeze. It showed in the increased turnout to the open stages; Kentucky buzz band Sleeper Agent played a quick and dirty wake-up call of big riffs and shout-along choruses on the Outdoor Stage to the bleary-eyed, quickly roasting audience. I soon made my way to the other side of the festival to check out the criminally underbilled Noisia who played to a half-filled Sahara tent. I’m assuming Noisia’s relentless brand of drum n’ bass and dubstep was a bit too dark for the serotonin-depleted masses. After catching their well received remix of deadmau5’s “Raise Your Weapon,” I detoured over to the Mojave to see perennially on the cusp indie rockers Oberhofer. There’s a bit of Wavves in their rambling, sunny surf-rock, and if there was ever a song to get Brad Oberhofer’s pet project finally over the hump, irrepressibly catchy single “Away Frm U” is about as good a shot as any. Energy was something Mr. Oberhofer definitely did not lack; at one point, he climbed the precarious metal support on the left of the stage, seemingly for the express purpose of massaging the lights before climbing down and giving running high fives to the first row.

Santigold had a great time over at the Main Stage for her mid-afternoon…

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Photo courtesy of Kaskade

Where Friday was cold, dreary and windy, Saturday was merely cold and windy. The sun maintained a long vigil during the day, but razor sharp gusts and a high that barely cleared 70 degrees made sure Coachella kept making a pretty penny on hoodie sales. 2:30 in the afternoon is not necessarily morning, but it always feels like that, with the majority of the festival still in their tents or beds recovering from the night before. Destroyer didn’t seem to mind, though; playing a seven song set heavy in Kaputt cuts, Bejar was in fine form for the afternoon mood. Many enjoyed the suave jazz of “Chinatown” and the hazy “Bay of Pigs” from blankets in the grass, an appropriately dreamy soundtrack as the sun beat down on them and most people unwillingly began their day.

After that I kicked up the energy a bit for Zeds Dead’s set at the Sahara. Already way past full, the Sahara tent was rocking with the Mad Decent duo’s eclectic mix of hip-hop, dubstep and straight-ahead electro. Although Zeds Dead killed it, the already rowdy antics of much of the Sahara’s population had me swearing off the tent for the rest of the day, a decision made easier by future Sahara tenants (David Guetta, Martin Solveig, Sebastian Ingrosso … ehh, I’ll pass). I managed to catch the end of Britpop castaways Kaiser Chiefs on the Main Stage,…

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There was a surreal moment on Saturday night of the Coachella Valley Music and Arts Festival that typified just how much the festival has changed over the past twelve years. As the orchestral swells and backing vocals dissipated from Leslie Feist’s huge backing band as “Feel It All” faded away into the dusk on the Outdoor Stage, Feist waved to the cheering crowd and thanked them for the support, adding nonchalantly, “see you next weekend!” It was an odd, wrenching tearing of the reality-altering cocoon that Coachella has built up around itself. For months leading up to this weekend, the hype and excitement for what has become the quintessential American music festival is nearly all-consuming, eventually leading to a weekend that, regardless of the seeming impossibility of meeting expectations, manages to live up to it all. Whether you spend your weekend camped in the baking heat, surrounded by a swell of campers who flash eternal smiles despite conditions that would appall the writers of the Geneva Convention, or carpool in from the surrounding small vacation towns of Indio and Palm Desert that turn into veritable cities of drug-addled youth and defiantly stereotypical hippies, Coachella remains a singular experience.

Yet there Feist was, breaking the illusion that this was a unique happening. The splitting of Coachella into two weekends was arguably necessary, given that 2011’s festival sold out in less than six days and this year’s edition was a two-week sellout…

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Paradise Lost are just a few weeks away from releasing their thirteenth album, Tragic Idol, through Century Media Records. So far, the hype around the album seems to suggest that this is finally the release that fans have been wanting since Draconian Times. In a Q&A done a month or so back, Guitarist Greg Mackintosh tried to help adjust expectations when he stated that, “The core of the sound on Tragic Idol has an essence of Draconian Times and Icon, and I think that’s what people are picking up on. For the past five or six years we’ve been hearing people say that Paradise Lost has gone back to the roots, which is an absolutely horrible term in my opinion. I do think that you can draw lines between a few of the tracks on the new record and Draconian Times or Icon, but when we were writing the music for Tragic Idol, I deliberately made a choice to strip everything back down to the bare bones. It’s a very simplistic record in a lot of ways, really.” I’m not sure if he was directly referencing ‘Honesty in Death’ when referring to a few songs that have that Icon vibe, but to me, it definitely does. Check out the song and hopefully it keeps you content until the final album release on April 24th.

Paradise Lost – Tragic Idol
Release Date: April 24th
Record Label: Century Media

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 17, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Absolute Monarchs – 1 (Good To Die Records)
Actress – R.I.P. (Honest Jon’s) – Deviant
Allo Darlin’ – Europe (Slumberland Records)
Anathema – Weather Systems {EU} (The End Records) – Trey Spencer
Battles – Dross Glop (Warp Records)
Clubroot – III-MMXII (Lodubs) – Deviant
Copperwire – Earthbound (Porto Franco Records)
Cowboy Junkies – Nomad Series [Box Set] (Razor & Tie)
DaiTribe – Epochalypse A.D. (True Gemini Records)
Daniel Johnston & Friends – Space Duck: Soundtrack (Eternal Yip Eye Music)
Deadborn – Mayhem Maniac Machine (Apostasy Records)
DJ Drez – Jahta Beat: The Lotus Memoirs (Black Swan)
DragonForce – The Power Within (Roadrunner Records)
Dry The River – Shallow Bed (RCA/RED)
Stik Figa – As Himself (Mello Music Group)
The Flaming Lips – The Flaming Lips and Heady Fwends (Restless)
Future – Pluto (Epic)
Gory Blister – Earth-Sick {EU} (AIS)
Grinderman – Grinderman 2 RMX (Alternative Distribution Alliance)
Mickey Hart – Mysterium Tremendum (360° Productions)
Hiss Golden Messenger – Poor Moon (Tompkins Square)
Horse Feathers – Cynic’s New Year (Kill Rock Stars) – SowingSeason
Eric Hutchinson – Moving Up Living Down (Warner Bros.) – Davey Boy
In Mourning – The Weight of Oceans {EU} (Spinefarm) – Kyle Ward
Jack Johnson & Friends – Best of Kokua…

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Horse Feathers – “Thistled Spring”

I’ve always felt like this is the perfect song to start off spring. Not only does the title conjure up images of blossoming life, but the music nestles itself between icy winter-like pianos and the warm swelling of strings. The whole thing makes me picture a thawing landscape…ice melting and trickling down a hillside, tiny patches of green sprouting up through the cracks…this is the sound of life overcoming death.

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Annuals – “Brother”

This is one that packs a surprising punch, considering its all-natural and effortlessly fluid beginning. The sound of crickets and the bubbling water of a stream nuzzle your senses into a state of complete calm before the song erupts into all of its splendor with a magnificent riff and and epic string section…even the quiet, subdued vocals transform into a fit of passionate shouting akin to a triumphant arrival – not all that dissimilar to spring time coming into full force.

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Mae – “The Fisherman Song”

“The Fisherman Song” reminds me of morning. A lake who’s waves have just begun to curl and ripple, erasing the evening’s glass surface and setting the day in motion. The way the guitars are gently picked does an excellent job of depicting something soothing, such as water. Hell, even the squeaking fingers sliding up and down the strings remind me of a creaky old row boat. As the song gradually increases in tempo, it feels…

Fourteen years ago, Refused played what, up until last month, was their last show in a grimy basement in Harrisonburg, Virginia. A crowd of only forty or so people saw what is arguably one of the most influential bands of the last twenty years implode in the haze of infighting and police lights. Ten years ago I was first shown their landmark album The Shape of Punk to Come in the back of a high school Spanish class, with the mystical allure that “you will never ever get to see this”. Viewing the too esoteric for its own good documentary Refused are Fucking Dead only seemed to drive this point home. For all intents and purposes “dead” was what they were going to stay. That is why earlier this year when it was announced that Refused were reuniting for a slew of festival dates it came as a shock, not only because of the years of still spiteful attitudes but because for just about everyone who has ever listened to The Shape of Punk To Come Refused’s absence was an obvious given, just like gravity or E=MC^2.

With their Coachella appearance the day after, last night Refused sold out the Glass House in Pomona in seconds in what was by far one of the most talked about festival one offs in a week full of great word of mouth club shows. At 10 PM the lights at the Glass House began to dim and a low drone started to…

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 10, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

16Volt – Wisdom [ReIssue] (Metropolis Records)
Accept – Stalingrad (Nuclear Blast)
Addison Groove – Transistor Rhythm (50 Weapons) – Deviant
Amadou & Mariam – Folila (Nonesuch)
Ancestors – In Dreams & Time (Tee Pee Records)
Attaloss – Attaloss (Rock Ridge Music)
Tim Barry – 40 Miler (Chunksaah Records)
Kishi Bashi – 151a (Joyful Noise Records)
Bassnectar – Vava Voom (Amorphous)
Black Dice – Mr. Impossible (Ribbon Records)
Cavo – Thick as Thieves (Eleven Seven Music)
Charm City Devils – Sins (Fat Lady Music)
Choir of Young Believers – Rhine Gold (Ghostly Int’l)
Counting Crows – Underwater Sunshine (Collective Sounds)
Dead Sara – Dead Sara (Pocket Kid Records)
Demon Hunter – True Defiance (Solid State Records
Dirge Within – There Will Be Blood (THC/Rocket Science)
Enthroned – Obsidium (Agonia Records)
Exumer – Fire & Damnation (Metal Blade Records)
Fastway – Eat Dog Eat (Steamhammer/SPV)
Florence + The Machine – MTV Unplugged [CD/DVD - Deluxe Edition] (Universal Republic)
Nanci Griffith – Intersection (Spunk)
Halestorm – Strange Case Of (Atlantic)
Job for a Cowboy – Demonocracy (Metal Blade)
Keb Mo – X2: Keb Mo / Keep It Simple [Reissue] (Sony Legacy)
Darrelle London – Eat a Peach (Hype)
Jeff Loomis – Plains of Oblivion (Century Media) – SowingSeason
Lords Of Acid –…

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The Neighbourhood

Oh yes, I can dig this. Give me indie-pop made solely with hooks and blow ‘em up. Cut the beat so they stick in your head. Give that familiar indie-wail a little swagger. The lyrics? They weren’t that important anyway. Make them vague and sexual enough to blend into the song, but give me a lyric or two to hold on to. “One love one house/ no shirt, no blouse”? That’ll do.

The Neighborhood have of yet released only two songs, which makes it difficult to say if they’ll blow up the way “Sweater Weather” demands to blow them up, but here’s hoping. “Sweater Weather” is a masterfully done series of ear worms, bridging RNB and indie-folk-with instantly recallable pop-hooks, the kind of genre mish-mosh that likes to explode. It’s simply too irresistible for some company looking to corner the grad-student demographic to not nick the song’s phenomenal chorus for an ad. If that doesn’t sound appealing, I don’t blame you. But if indie-pop with this much potential mass appeal is this good, I’m totally okay with it.

Sweater Weather by theneighbourhood

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 03, 2012. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Trace Adkins – 10 Great Songs (Capitol)
Atoma – Skylight (Napalm Records) – Trey Spencer
AU – Both Lights (Hometapes)
Bam Spacey – Vi Delar Samma Grab (Ceremony Recordings)
Beak – Eyrie (Someoddpilot Records)
Bear In Heaven – I Love You, It’s Cool (Dead Oceans)
Kasper Bjorke – Fool (HFN Music)
Candlebox – Love Stories & Other Musings (Audionest)
Caracal – Isle Brevelle (Black Acre)
CeU – Caravana Sereia Bloom (Six Degrees)
Chris Clark – Iradelphic (Piccadilly Records)
The Cornshed Sisters – Tell Tales (Memphis Industries)
Cynic – Portal Tapes (Season of Mist) – Trey Spencer
Emily Danger – Paintings (Self Released)
Dr. John – Locked Down (Nonesuch)
ETHS – III {EU} (Season of Mist)
fIREHOSE – lowFLOWS: The Columbia Antholgy (Sony Legacy)
Great Lake Swimmers – New Wild Everywhere (Nettwerk Records)
Hello Lazarus – Hello Lazarus [EP] (Scylla Records)
High on Fire – De Vermis Mysteriis (Entertainment One) – Adam Thomas
Hush Arbors/Arbouretum – Aureola Split LP (PID)
Killing Joke – MMXII (Spinefarm Records) – SowingSeason
Kj-52 – Dangerous (Bec Recordings)
LHF – Keepers Of The Light (Keysound)
Lostprophets – Weapon (Epic) – Adam Knott
Love On A Real Train – Love On A Real Train (Aeronaut Records)
The Lumineers – The Lumineers (Dualtone Music

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~In a While Now, I Will Feel Better~

It’s rare for me to draw inspiration from an artist as commercialized and famous as Shinedown. Typically, I like to find songs by bands so anonymous to the general public that I feel like they only apply to me. But for some reason, I have felt a particular connection with the title track off of Shinedown’s most recent album. ‘Amaryllis’ is a towering ballad, complete with shimmering acoustic guitars, crashing electric riffs, and a movie-climax type of chorus. It’s all so easily accessible yet emotionally intense at the same time. I compare it to The Goo Goo Dolls’ “Iris”, with which I feel that it shares many parallels. Even though the album itself was a disappointment in my opinion, ‘Amaryllis’ just might be my favorite song of the year so far. If you haven’t heard it yet, give it a chance. If you don’t like it at first, give it a few more listens and see if it sinks in. I think you might be surprised at how well this song relates to you (or alternatively, it just relates to me a whole fucking lot right now and I’m projecting that onto all of you). Either way, I present to you Amaryllis – the song that is keeping me going right now. Enjoy.


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