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…
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)
Grow Listen if you like: Plini, Mestis, Polyphia Bandcamp
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…
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.…
Before I begin today’s column, a huge thanks to everyone who took part in last week’s discussion concerning “favourite lyrics”. It was by far the most popular ‘Sputnik Discusses’ thus far and I’m certain that many readers found it as enlightening as I did. Also, an apology if this particular column comes off a little half-hearted in comparison. In between reading all of those fantastic lyrics, writing 4 reviews and putting together a literal smorgasbord of live videos from Australia’s recent Soundwave Festival, it’s fair to state that my spare time has been scarce of late. Oh well, let’s see how it goes, shall we?
As per my usual orderly want to link my blogs, I’d like to point your attention towards last weekend’s Soundwave Festival post, which included ten live videos from Day-1 of the annual Australian event (My Day-2 wrap will be posted by this weekend). Just attending the festival got me to thinking: If given the choice of only one, would I prefer to get my dose of live music by way of (a) festivals or (b) headline gigs (with one or two support acts)? In all honesty, my decision on this has wavered from year to year… And there are more factors that go into the choice than one might initially think.
Now, a musical purist might feel that there is no competition in this debate. Surely it’s all about the music and a band’s “true”…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 24th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Action Bronson – Mr. Wonderful (Atlantic Urban)
Beautality – Einfallen: A Tale Ov Torment & Triumph (Nordavind Records)
Courtney Barnett – Sometimes I Sit and Think, And Sometimes I Just Sit. (Mom & Pop Music)
Etiquette – Reminisce (Hand Drawn Dracula)
Gabrielle Papillon – The Tempest Of Old (Self-released)
The Go! Team – The Scene Between (Memphis Industries)
Hit The Lights – Summer Bone (Pure Noise)
Humming House – Revelries (Rock Ridge Music)
Inventions – Maze Of Woods (Temporary Residence)
Jam City – Dream A Garden (Night Slugs)
JEFF The Brotherhood – Wasted On The Dream (Infinity Cat)
Jimmy Whispers – Summer In Pain (Moniker Records)
Joel Plaskett – Joel Plaskett & The Park Avenue Sobriety Test (Pheromone Recordings)
The Jon Spencer Blues Explosion – Freedom Tower – No Wave Dance Party 2015 (Mom & Pop Music)
Julian Moon – Good Girl (Warner Bros. Records)
Laura Marling – Short Movie (Ribbon Records)
Lightning Bolt – Fantasy Empire (Thrill Jockey)
Liturgy – The Ark Work (Thrill Jockey)
LoneLady – Hinterland (Warp Records)
Mind.In.A.Box – Memories(Metropolis Records)
People Of The North – Era Of Manifestations (Thrill Jockey)
Steve Grand – All American Boy (Grand Nation) Strung Out – Transmission.Alpha.Delta (Fat Wreck Chords) – Jom
Them Are Us Too – Remain (Dais Records)
Too Close To Touch – Nerve Endings…
All the way back in 2011, I posted a blog titled ‘Maiden, Slash, Slayer & QOTSA Soundwavin’ Around Oz’ that included amateur video of five acts that toured around Australia with the rock, punk and metal festival that is Soundwave. Since then, I have decided to only post lists detailing my experiences at the annual extravaganza, but all that’s about to change in a big way. With 2015’s event being held over two separate days, I thought that this would be a good opportunity to return to the blog and allow all of you to see some live footage of a diverse range of bands. And since I personally saw 10 bands on the day that I attended, then you also get to see 10 bands… TWICE OVER! This week will include the first batch of ten from Day-1 and next week I’ll be back with 10 more from Day-2. How’s that for value!?
Before we begin, 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-1 looks a little thin, then please take into account that the following list of videos excludes the…
Many thanks to Kyle “Crysis” Ward for taking over the ‘Sputnik Discusses’ reins last week. The cheeky bugger made my discussions look like pure fluff in comparison, with his piece on the ‘Message Behind the Music’ eliciting responses that included references to Marx, Shakespeare, Jim Crow and the U.S. Supreme Court! If you have yet to read Kyle’s thought-provoking column, I urge you to do so by clicking here. Otherwise, since I am currently in the midst of a reviewing hot streak, here is more sugary DaveyBoy fluff to hold you over until the next guest columnist. And due to my orderly want to attempt to link each column, today’s ‘Sputnik Discusses’ exists so you can all share your favourite lyrics with us.
When it comes to taking in lyrics and rating their importance to my listening experience, I’m somewhere in-between those who completely ignore them and those who think they are the be-all and end-all. They’re more the cherry on top, rather than the ice-cream itself. Basically, with a few exceptions, top-notch lyrics can make a great song superb, while poor lyrics can make a great song only good. While the likes of The Smiths and The National are sure to pop up in discussion, I’m personally not one for sitting in the corner of my bedroom enjoying mopey lyrics. The closest I get to such despondency is that of the lazy, realist self-loathing kind, as NYC rockers Bayside sang so infectiously on…
Spring is an exciting, tricky season. As the cold of winter slowly starts to fade and give way to blossoming life once more, everything changes. The sun regains its warmth, the waters start to burble again, branches develop green buds, and in the midst of nature waking, one should feel an increasing pep in their step as well. I find there’s rarely a feeling more fulfilling than the one you get when the fog of winter clears from your mind, and you start to see all sorts of colors again. The initial lure of spring can be dangerous though, and it’s not especially difficult to fall victim to a number of ailments (just as I have at the moment), like the flu, or other more minor infectious diseases. So what to do when you’re feeling too lousy to take advantage of the weather outside, but are lively enough to not sleep your days away? Listen to new, exciting music of course! This is where Galar and Dark Essence Records come along to help us out.
Today, on the 16th of March, Norway’s black/folk metallers Galar will release their long-anticipated third album De Gjenlevende through the aforementioned Dark Essence Records. Links will appear at the bottom end of this post on where you can acquire the new album, but for those who want to give it a spin before getting the real deal on their hands, Sputnik has been granted the privilege to…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 17th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Allison Moorer – Down To Believing (Entertainment One Music)
AWOLNATION – Run (Red Bull Records) Björk – Vulnicura (One Little Indian) – Jacob Royal
The Cribs – For All My Sisters (Arts & Crafts)
Death Grips – Jenny Death (Harvest Records)
Eskimo Callboy – Crystals (Universal)
Ghostpoet – Shedding Skin (PIAS)
Houndmouth – Little Neon Limelight (Rough Trade)
Kendrick Lamar – To Pimp A Butterfly (Interscope)
Mark Knopfler – Tracker (Verve)
Modest Mouse – Strangers To Ourselves (Epic)
Moonspell – Extinct (Napalm)
Nic Hessler – Soft Connections (Captured Tracks)
Nick Lutsko – Etc. (Self-released) San Cisco – Gracetown (+180 Records) – Davey Boy
Sleeping With Sirens – Madness (Epitaph) Tobias Jesso Jr. – Goon (True Panther Sounds) – Davey Boy
Twin Shadow – Eclipse (Warner Bros.)
Is there any musician out there that would have a better C.V. than little known singer-songwriter Sasha Siem? I doubt it. The British-Norwegian chanteuse has studied music and poetry at both England’s Cambridge University and America’s Harvard University. She has written and composed music for the London Symphony and Philharmonic orchestras, as well as various opera companies. This was all by her early 20s!
Of course, there was no chance that someone so prodigiously talented could stagnate for too long, so Siem recorded her debut EP ‘So Polite’ in 2013. Sensing she may have a career with this unique style of classical indie-pop, the now 30 year old has followed it up with her recently released debut LP ‘Most of the Boys’. Taking cues from a wide variety of sources, Siem reminds of Joanna Newsom, Fiona Apple, Bjork, Regina Spektor, PJ Harvey and Tori Amos. Yet she is undoubtedly her own artist.
Contrary to what one might expect from such a virtuoso, ‘Most of the Boys’ is far from the elongated recording that you might think it would be. With its total running time clocking in at under 32 minutes (only one track surpasses 3.15), its 11 tracks are bite size without too significantly sacrificing compositional integrity. There’s some satisfying diversity too… As can be seen by the following three videos: the quirky ‘So Polite’;
the more methodically paced ‘My Friend’;
and finally the little bit of everything that is ‘See Through’:
Who would have thought that Davey would be daft enough to give the reigns of his fledgling series of serious musical business to such a close-minded metalhead as myself? This is, after all, the 6th iteration of this column – a number that is damn good for us sometimes lethargic and apathetic staff members, but I’m here to show you that it’s not just Davey who has a desire to generate good discussion. Let’s not dwell on the who and the what, though, since before Davey changes his mind and decides that this guest appearance was a terrible idea indeed, I have a few opinionated…erm… opinions to share with you all. Actually, I’m more looking for your vehement disagreement or even a casual word or two about an over-arching topic that has come up many times around not only this site’s review threads, but also has permeated the world of popular music and underground scenes alike.
Lyrics are most certainly their own form of poetry, and like poetry the words contained in a song’s lyrics are simply the metaphorical tip of the iceberg in terms of what the artist is really trying to say. On occasion, things are right there for all to see, but more often than not the true meaning of a song can be buried beneath layers of metaphor. Could it be, then, that the meaning of a song and the attitudes that meaning projects onto the artist be that of a more… unsavory nature?…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 10th, 2015. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Aero Flynn – Aero Flynn (Caroline)
ANAMAI – Sallows (Buzz Records)
Beans On Toast – The Grand Scheme Of Things (Xtra Mile Recordings)
Brodinski – Brava (Parlophone)
Cancer Bats – Searching For Zero (Metal Blade) Enslaved – In Times (Nuclear Blast)
Evans The Death – Expect Delays (Slumberland)
Harm’s Way – Rust (Deathwish Inc.)
Heems – Eat, Pray, Thug (Megaforce)
iVardensphere – Fable (Metropolis Records)
Lieutenant – If I Kill This Thing We’re All Going To Eat For A Week (Dine Alone)
Luke Bryan – Spring Break… Checkin’ Out (Universal Nashville)
Madonna – Rebel Heart (Interscope)
Marina & The Diamonds – Froot (New Elektra)
Matthew E. White – Fresh Blood (Domino Recording Company) Melechesh – Enki (Nuclear Blast)
No Spill Blood – Heavy Electricity (Sargent House)
The Rezillos – Zero (Metropolis Records)
Taylor Berrett – Great Falls (Warner Bros.)
Will Butler – Policy (Merge Records)
Young Guv – Ripe 4 Luv (Slumberland)