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Hi. My name is Adam. I’m 22, I speak three languages, and I don’t believe in god. When I was 15 I got my heart broken and fell into radio pop-punk, which put it back together again without even thinking twice. Since then, I’ve gradually fallen deeper and deeper into music; I discovered post-rock through God Is An Astronaut and dubstep through Burial, and as it grew more dizzying it got more important. I love music.

Is it so wrong to admit that? And yet, almost every professional music publication in the world denies the humanity behind both its writers and its readers by presenting itself as wholly impartial. Critique 101 reads as follows: “don’t refer to yourself in the first-person; it looks unprofessional.” Is that what “professionalism” means now – detachment? How can you expect people to take seriously any article whose author claims that what he’s written is not a reflection of himself? Why would you want to? People don’t listen to music in a state of disconnect; whatever’s playing right now, the chances are that it’s making you feel something. So why would you ever want to even pretend that the best way to talk about music is by taking five or ten steps back? Or even one?

There is simply no such thing as an objective stance on music. OK Computer is not better than “Friday” by Rebecca Black. Sorry. I wish beyond all limits that it were possible to say so, but there are definitely…


(25) Kevin Devine – Between the Concrete and Clouds

Between The Concrete and Clouds is perhaps Devine’s calmest album, but it is also his fullest instrumentally. Lush atmospheres complement Devine’s sensitive crooning like we have never heard before, and his lyricism here is brilliant enough to stand alongside former tour mates Jesse Lacey and Andy Hull. This is an essential listen for anyone whose taste leans towards alternative rock and/or acoustic songwriting…definitely one of Kevin Devine’s most mature and complete recordings.

Sample: “Off-Screen”

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(24) Sleepingdog – With Our Heads in the Clouds and Our Hearts in the Fields

Utilizing a minimalist approach to achieve a sense of calm still, this album is strikingly reminiscent of an afternoon spent lazily staring out the window while droplets of water collect on the outside edge of the sill. The soft, supple arrangements and electronic inclusions contribute to a natural flow within the album that makes it quite the cohesive work – with nary a forced or artificial moment to break up the magic created by string after string of beautiful, almost celestial, atmospheres. Full of spacey, haunting, and charged atmospheres, Sleepingdog have once again shown us that less can be more.

Sample: “He Loved to See the World Through His Camera”

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(23) 1,2,3 – New Heaven

New Heaven sounds eerie, unfamiliar, and unpredictable the majority of the time. This can be…


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of November 15, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

65daysofstatic – Silent Running (Hassle Records)
Author – Author {UK} (Tectonic) – Deviant
Blut Aus Nord 777 – The Desanctification (Season of Mist) – Kyle Ward
Cappadonna – The Pilgrimage (Fat Beats)
Caveman – Coco Beware (Original Recordings Group)
Childish Gambino – Camp (Glass Note)
Cloudkicker – Let Yourself Be Huge (Self Released)
Coronatus – Terra Incognita (Massacre Records)
Cynic – Carbon Based Anatomy (Season of Mist)
Drake – Take Care (Cash Money)
Eisregen – Madenreich [EP] (Massacre Records)
Elm Street – Barbed Wire Metal (Massacre Records)
FaltyDL – Atlantis [EP] (Ninja Tune) – Deviant
Goldmund – All Will Prosper (Western Vinyl)
Gym Class Heroes – The Papercut Chronicles II (Fueled By Ramen)
Has-Lo – Conversation B (Mello Music Group)
The Jigsaw Seen – Winterland (Vibro-phonic)
Los Campesinos – Hello Sadness (Arts & Crafts) – Channing Freeman
Leigh Nash – Hymns & Sacred Songs (Kingsway Music)
Newsboys – God’s Not Dead (Inpop)
Laura Pausini – Inedito (Warner Music Latina)
The Orb – C Batter C (Elefant Spain)
Pianos Become the Teeth – Lack Long After (Topshelf Records)
Pink Martini – A Retrospective (Heinz Records)
Quelle Chris – Shotgun & Sleek Rifle (Synergy Works)
R.E.M. – Part Lies, Part Heart, part Truth, Part Garbage: 1982-2011 (Warner Bros.)
Seventh Day Slumber – The Anthem of Angels (Bec Recordings)
Sigur Ros – INNI [Live CD/DVD] (XL Recordings)
Slash – Made…


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If there are two things I can credit Sputnik Music for, expanding my love of esoteric and ugly metal and raising my overall level of hipster douchebaggery stand high at the top. So here now I present to you a glorious amalgamation of the two:


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of November 8, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

65Daysofstatic – We Were Exploding Anyway [US-only 2-CD release] (MONOTREME RECORDS)
Absolute Body Control – Shattered Illusion (Metropolis Records)
Aesthetic Perfection – All Beauty Destroyed (Metropolis Records)
Angels and Airwaves – Love Pt. II (Rocket Science) – Steve M.
Animals As Leaders – Weightless (Prosthetic Records)
Apodiablosis – Tardigrade (Self Released)
As I Lay Dying – Decas (Metal Blade)
Atlas Sound – Parallax (4AD Records) – Robin Smith
Autumn – Cold Comfort (Metal Blade)
Buraka Som Sistema – Komba (Enchufada)
Judy Collins – Bohemian (Wildflower)
Jonathan Coulton – Artificial Heart (Jocoserious Records)
The Dear & Departed – Every Waking Moment (Equal Vision Records)
Disturbed – The Lost Children (Reprise)
Brian Eno – Panic Of Looking (Warp Records)
Johnny Foreigner – Johnny Foreigner vs Everything (Alcopop!) – Adam Knott
Four Year Strong – In Some Way, Shape, or Form (Universal Republic)
Funeral for a Friend – See You All in Hell (Distiller Records)
Noel Gallagher – Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds (Mercury)
Glyder – Backroads To Byzantium (Steamhammer)
Gold Panda – DJ-Kicks: Gold Panda (!K7) – Deviant
Il Divo – Wicked Game (Columbia)
iVardensphere – APOK (Metropolis Records)
Keith Jarrett – Rio (ECM Records)
Kottonmouth Kings – Hidden Stash 5-Bong Loads & B-Sides (Suburban Noize)
David Lynch – Crazy Clown Time (Play It Again Sam)
M+A – Things.Yes (MONOTREME


Actor-Rapper-Comedian? Rapper-Actor-Comedian? Whatever order you place them in, rapping is no stint on the side for Community’s Troy Barnes. With three albums under his belt all released all for free, the upcoming album Camp (due for release 15th November) marks his first commercial full-length release.  Earlier in 2011 came the simply titled EP which alone probably justified a blind purchase of Camp. But for the content hungry comes some delicious early previews of the upcoming Camp.

Heartbeat (radio rip) by Childish Gambino
Bonfire by Childish Gambino

The album can be streamed in full over at NPR for free.


Halloween draws to a close and I found myself wandering home off the bus listening to Red House Painter’s “Katy Song” on the moonlit path and thinking about words and music. I had just finished conducting a seminar on the “Sirens” episode of Ulysses. For those not familiar with the text I will explain it briefly: Joyce writes an entire chapter in a bar scene and structures it as a fugue. The language serves a tripled purpose—narrative, thematic, and sound qualities. Snippets of songs and of important lines in the book are refrained and build one on top of the other fuga per canonem. So I was churning over thoughts of language patterns, phonetics and word associations, when I began thinking about nachtmusik. There is no real reason to actually associate certain kinds of music to the night, just as there’s no real reason why Ulysses should be considered Joyce’s masterpiece of the day and Finnegans Wake his masterpiece of the night. These concepts are purely constructs of the mind, for whatever reason we do it; the Real, idleness, nostalgia, kernelization of sound.

Then it hit me: night music is night music for the same reason that language is the perpetual creative act. Because language is the highest echelon of creativity; we have our set rules (grammar) but beyond that there are infinite ways to construct a sentence (ask Kafka) and infinite ways to combine phonemes to create neologisms (ask Joyce). The same goes for music; these chords sound nice…


Music does a lot of different things to a lot of different people but I think what I love about it the most is the way it can condense and translate the most complicated and screwed-up ideas, situations or emotions into a song, or (better) just a single line. Some artists have the capacity to say in a word what would take most people a paragraph. I think of Hemingway’s response to a friend’s wager that he couldn’t write a story in six words: For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn. I think what this kind of beautiful expression needs is a connection at the front end so powerful that instinct takes over and says it for you.

(Or, alternatively)

Sometimes artists express things in simple ways and it rules, LOOK, songs!

The Mountain Goats – Old College Try

I wanna say I’m sorry for stuff I haven’t done yet; things will shortly get completely out of hand.

I’m just delving into the Mountain Goats discography and I get the feeling this isn’t the only line he’s written that could fit on this list. To me, this line sums up that feeling of unavoidable chaos where you know you’re strapped into a ride that you should technically be able to stop but really, really can’t. What I absolutely adore about the way he phrases it is that it’s so matter-of-fact it almost makes it seem not his fault. Or mine.

Yeah. Stunning.

The Weakerthans – Virtute


I don’t know about you, but oftentimes I find myself analyzing the music behind a movie just as much as the film itself. It’s difficult to determine to what extent a soundtrack influences my opinion of a movie’s quality…technically it shouldn’t, but I always favor movies with indie-geared soundtracks (500 Days of Summer, Garden State) all the same. It’s something that annoys the hell out of my friends, which is why I’m not sure if this is common or if there is just something really wrong with me. But anyway, I glanced through my library and pulled out notable soundtracks (some good, others very bad) and decided to evaluate them for their contributions to the movie and their overall quality. Since it’s Halloween today, let’s begin with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas:

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is one of those movies with a cult following, and I totally get why. It’s stunningly original, visually appealing for its time, and it features a thoroughly enjoyable plot. For music enthusiasts, the soundtrack has to be another reason. It follows the storyline extremely closely, sometimes even narrating through song or spoken word (via Danny Elfman). It has been remade, but nothing touches the original which, if you ask me, is a classic.

Sample: “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

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Grade: A

Across The Universe

Now this one I never understood the hype for. I was a sophomore in college…


The first round of promotions is officially over. Click here for the final list of those that made the transition. New staff should click here to be added to the staff Last.fm page and new contributors should click here for their page.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of November 1, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

The Beach Boys – The Smile Sessions [Box Set] (Capitol)
Justin Bieber – Under The Mistletoe (Island Records)
Blouse – Blouse (Captured Tracks)
Susan Boyle – Someone To Watch Over Me (Columbia)
The Decemberists – Long Live the King (Capitol) – Steve M.
The Dreaming – Puppet (Epochal Artists Rec.)
Elizabeth! – Brainchildren (Canopy Jazz)
Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials (Universal Records) – Keelan H.
Girl In A Coma – Exists & All The Rest (Blackheart Records)
Idle Warship – Habits Of The Heart (Fontana)
Insane Clown Posse – Featuring Freshness (Psychopathic)
Joker – The Vision (4AD) – Deviant
Carole King – A Holiday Carole (HEAR MUSIC)
Krisiun – The Great Execution (Century Media)
Miranda Lambert – Four The Record (SONY NASHVILLE)
Lou Reed and Metallica – Lulu (Warner Bros.)
Megadeth – TH1RT3EN (Roadrunner Records) – Mike Stagno
Mike Patton – Solitude of Prime Numbers (Ipecac Recordings)
Rapper Big Pooh – Dirty Pretty Things (For Members Only)
Sick of it All – Nonstop (Century Media)
Slipknot –


Anyone booked on a Qantas flight right now is probably searching for something to do at an airport. Well, how about getting out your iPad, an acoustic guitar and a violin? Because that’s what these three gentlemen recently did at Shanghai airport.

For those unfamiliar with the guy under the hoodie (surely risking arrest by airport security just for wearing a hoodie) and the part-alien drummer, this is pop-punk outfit Yellowcard playing ‘My Hero’ by The Foo Fighters.


In case you missed it, there was a new group of people promoted last night (and earlier in the week). Please join me in welcoming our new Contributors, Staff, and even a new Moderator.

Earlier in the week my friend and yours, Channing Freeman, made the historical leap from Emeritus to Sputnik Moderator. Tread lightly for his wrath is limitless.

After resting for a few days, Mx returned and delivered us a new batch of contributors & staff. Please welcome them, as well.

Staff:

Conradtao

- Deviant.

- Adam Knott

- Sowingseason

- Crysis *

Contributors:

- Alex Robertson

- This Life is Genocide

- Irving

- AngelofDeath

- iFghtffyrdmns

- Voivod

- pizzamachine *

- Eli (Xenophanes) *

You might also notice that Jom and I underwent a title change from Moderator to Sputnik ModAdmin. This last promotion will have very little effect on the average user but it’s there. Anyway, congratulations to our new promotions and if you weren’t promoted this cycle, just keep trying.

——————————————————————————

* Late addition due to accidental omission during the initial promotions

There will be a few extra news items over the last few months of the year as we gear up for promotions, year-end lists and even a surprise or two. The first surprise that we have for you is the fact that we’ve added another moderator — our own Channing Freeman. So, go flood his shoutbox with congratulatory praise, ass kissing, thinly veiled threats and random requests for favors (or you could if he hadn’t disabled his shoutbox).

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 25, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Acylum – Karzinom (Alfa Matrix)
A Loss for Words – No Sanctuary (Rise Records)
Banner Pilot – Hearts Beats Pacific (Fat Wreck Chords)
The Beets – Let The Poison Out (HARDLY ART)
Black Rock & Ron – Stop the World – Stop the World (Get On Down)
Black Sun Aeon – Blacklight Deliverance (Stay Heavy Records)
Black Tusk – Set the Dial (Relapse)
Boyz II Men – Twenty {UK} (Universal UK)
Michael Buble – Christmas (Reprise)
Casey Veggies – Sleeping In Class (Delicious Vinyl)
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (RCA) – Steve M.
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (Capitol Records)
DarkDriveClinic – Noise In My Head (Metropolis Records)
De/Vision – Popgefahr: The Mix (Metropolis Records)
Death – Individual Thought Patterns [Remastered] (Relapse)
Deer Tick – Divine Providence (Partisan Records)
Dirty Projectors and Bjork – Mount Wittenberg Orca (Domino)
Dub Trio – Dub Trio IV (Roir Records)
Giant Squid –


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 11, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

3 – The Ghost You Gave to Me (Metal Blade)
Absolute Body Control – Wind[Re]Wind (Metropolis Records)
Absu – Abzu (Candlelight)
Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire (Capitol Records) – Rudy Klapper
Lauren Alaina – Wildflower (Mercury Nashville)
Amebix – Sonic Mass (Easy Action)
Angelspit – Hello My Name Is (Metropolis Records)
As You Drown – Rat King (Metal Blade)
Bella Novela – The Archeress (Self Released)
Binary Park – The Deviated (Metropolis Records)
Bjork – Biophilia (Nonesuch) – Nick Butler
Casiokids – Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen (Polyvinyl Records)
Charred Walls of the Damned – Cold Winds on Timeless Days (Metal Blade)
Crooked Fingers – Breaks In The Armor (Merge Records)
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien (Barsuk)
Divine Ascension – As The Truth Appears (Nightmare Records)
Electric Six – Heartbeats and Brainwaves (Metropolis Records)
Erasure – Tomorrow’s World (Mute)
Evanescence – Evanescence (Wind-Up)
The Field – Lopping State Of Mind (Kompakt Germany) – Deviant
Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist (Prospect Park)
Future Islands – On the Water (Thrill Jockey)
Graveworm – Fragments Of Death {EU} (Massacre Records)

John Wesley Harding – The Sound of His Own Voice (Yep Roc Records)
Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do (Republic)
Tim Hecker – Dropped Pianos (Kranky)
Joe Henry…


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As part of the second wave of French House, Justice were pretty big in 2007 with their debut album (Cross). The reception to early releases from upcoming album Audio, Video, Disco (due for release October 25th) has been mixed. Clear though is the change in direction signaled with the upcoming album, with rock elements present on Cross being drawn out and put centre stage. Out now are three more tunes in which this new direction can be seen clearly.

The new direction taken by Justice is reminiscent of drum and bass act Pendulum’s transition in sound from Hold Your Colour to In Silico. For Pendulum the move proved to work out commercially, but saw a lukewarm reception critically, so how will the turn in sound fare for Justice? Well here are three tracks for you to be the judge of.

Justice – Canon

Justice – Helix

Justice – Newlands


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