First off, let me apologise for the title: this isn’t the new DragonForce material you’ve all been eagerly awaiting.
It is, however, the UK power metal band’s Guitar Hero-fuelled hit ‘Through the Fire and the Flames’ limberly transposed to the marimba, with a little extra percussion courtesy of the boxy hitty thing that’s just out of picture but is eagerly fingered by the short-sighted man in the orange beanie.
With Activision having taken decision to end its Guitar Hero franchise, could Rock Band’s next move be to corner the fake music market completely with a marimba upgrade? There’s no evidence to suggest that they will, but nor is there evidence to suggest they’ve ruled it out completely, so we’re going to have to file this one under probably.
In the decade that they have been together, Kylesa’s story has been one of constant improvement, and in this sense, Spiral Shadow doesn’t disappoint. Although they retain the sludgy hardcore energy that made them good in the first place, the band has added new psychedelic dimensions to its sound which are fully utilised here. This is also without a doubt their most accessible offering yet, and some of the material – particularly ‘Don’t Look Back’ – hints that they may continue down this path in the future. The records highlights, however, come when the band does what it does best, such as the hard-hitting and direct ‘Tired Climb’ and the psychadelic tangle of the title track. If they continue on their ascent, Kylesa’s next moves will certainly be worth monitoring. – AliW1993
How I Got Over is a hip-hop album that carries a strong sense of purpose. Too many artists focus on the negative aspects of growing up “on the streets”, such as drugs, domestic abuse, murders, theft, etc. However, The Roots use their status within the genre (as well as their own history rising above the challenges…
For all the comparisons Pariah’s music has bought him, Safehouses manages to stand on its own two feet as something refreshingly joyous; its a romanticized nostalgic look back at a more colorful period that ever so slowly gave rise to a genre so now drenched in filth and grime. Almost too simple to be so ingenious, Pariah has crafted six impeccably explosive tracks to be explored and analyzed to the point of exhaustion, which at the conclusion will only reveal one more gifted musical engineer whose only want was to craft beats to express his admiration for music as a whole. The flawless switch between different feels and styles reveals an expert touch sorely lacking in many of his contemporaries and reveals just how far Pariah has come since last year’s single ‘Detroit Falls’ – the fact that the same man who, with just that one track typed on his resume has released this, one of the most unassuming yet addictive EPs of the year, is no less than astounding. Obliterating the dense subsonic pandemonium of dubstep and replacing it with an idm fairytale like lushness, Pariah has shown that he is an artist to keep an eye on. – Deviant
I write this blog with one arm pinned behind my back.
That’s not the premise of some crazy St. Patrick’s Day drinking game. I’ve a trapped nerve in my neck and it really fucking hurts, and this is the only way I can relieve the pain and function with some level of normality. This is inconvenient in multi-fold ways: it’s the festive season, I have lots of writing do and (as previously discussed) it really fucking hurts. Yet I couldn’t let my ancestor’s (I know priests are nominally celibate, but then as now they were randy fuckers, one and all) feast day pass by without comment.
With the possible exception of the Jewish people, there is no nation that has relied as much on emigration and the diaspora to shape its traditions, and what we now know as St. Patrick’s Day is inextricably linked to the experiences of Irish emigrants across the world, particularly in the United States. More than that, Irish culture in general – and music in particular – has fed back and forth into American folk tradition for almost as long as the free world has been populated by we vulgar Europeans.
While the standard picture of Irish emigration has always been of the poor, tattered masses making their way across the ocean on “coffin ships,” the reality has always been more complicated. During the US Civil War, Ireland was an active recruiting ground for both the Union and Confederate armies, with almost 200,000 Irish taking…
It’s odd, as a journalist, to interview someone you’ve known for nearly a decade.
I’ve known Rody Walker in some capacity since I was 14. Two years older than me, Rody was the long-haired, shredded jean-wearing frontman of Ontario’s fastest growing punk band. It was 2003 and Protest the Hero, formerly Happy Go Lucky, were riding the momentum of their first real release A Calculated Use of Sound. Sure, Search for the Truth existed, and yes, “Silent Genocide” defined my teen years, but it’s a release everyone, the band included, discarded pretty quickly once ACUoS came out.
For a lot of angst-ridden Southern Ontario teens their EP was the shit. It had it all—verbosity, technicality and political eccentricity. Drummer Moe Carlson free-flowed in a way he hasn’t since, and Rody’s passionate if shrill delivery caused many of us to lose our voices at their frequent gigs.
I was 14 when all this happened. Rody was 16. I’m closing on 23, Rody on 25, and Scurrilous, the band’s third full length, is the first time his name’s been on a lyric sheet since. Understanding Rody’s lyrics means understanding Rody, and for some that’s not easy. The reason for this intro, as long-winded as it seems, is to preface such an understanding.
Ever since Kezia came out, Rody’s been known as the loud-mouth of the band, with good reason–he is, after all,…
Sarah Fimm’s upcoming album, Near Infinite Possibility, is going to be released on May 5th and the first single from that album is “Yellow.” If you’re familiar with Sarah Fimm’s music then you’ll know that the album title is the perfect description for the way Sarah seems to view life as well as the potential direction of every new album. She has delivered such a wide array of music over the course of four albums that it’s hard to ever predict what she might do next. She’s dabbled in trip hop, ambient, soulful acoustic rock and even some atmospheric alt. rock.
If “Yellow” is any indication of the direction of Near Infinite Possibility then we’re going to be in for quite a treat. “Yellow” continues Sarah’s move towards an organic sound that relies much more on live instruments than on electronics. The song is mellow, emotional and even kind of depressing. The depressing atmosphere shouldn’t really come as much of a surprise once it’s learned that the song (and video) were inspired by Charlotte Perkins Gilman’s short story, “The Yellow Wallpaper,” a dark collection of journal entries written by a woman whose husband has put her on “rest cure;” confining her to a bedroom of a house that he has rented for the summer. Forbidden to work, she has to hide her journal entries from him, so that she can recuperate from what he calls a “temporary nervous depression —a slight hysterical tendency,” a diagnosis common…
A brand new National song has found it’s way onto the internet, with a particularly special premise for the seasoned slow-burning indie rockers; “Think You Can Wait” is the first song the band has written specifically for a film. Win Win is Tom McCarthy’s latest feature following 2003’s The Station Agent and 2008’s The Visitor (excellent films, I might add), as well as writing credits for Pixar’s Up, and it’s been getting a great reception on the festival circuit, including the currently underway SXSW. Starring Paul Giamatti and Jeffrey Tambor, amongst others, the film follows Mike Flaherty (Giamatti), an attorney, high school wrestling coach, and all-around sad sack, who uncovers a wrestling prodigy, only for the boy’s mother to turn up, from rehab and without a penny, and threaten to dismantle everything.
“Think You Can Wait”, which plays through the credits, is a moving, pensive song that seems to float along as gracefully as we’ve come to expect of the band, on the back of Berninger’s rich baritone and typically understated instrumentation and string arrangements. It’s a song that tucks in nicely between “Lemonworld” and “Runaway”, off their hugely-acclaimed 2010 release High Violet, though as a whole burns more in tune with the mood of 2007’s Boxer. “I’m out of my mind / think you can wait?”, Berninger wonders broodingly in the enigmatic lyrical style that, over the course of five LP’s, has carved itself into its own comfortable, idiomatic niche and as he wallows, “I’m trying / but…
If that headline got you clicking, you either already know what follows or you just want to know what could possibly bring these three popular British artists together. Or you just clicked. Whatever.
Four Tet and Burial have already produced music together with “Moth”, but today, the three announced a new 12″ single with two songs on it, titled “Ego” and “Mirror.” Later tonight, Four Tet premiered the tracks on his radio show on Rinse FM.
The Internet provided, almost immediately, radio rips of the tracks, and they sound much like you would expect. Dark, introspective, but at the same time pretty uptempo. Yorke sings with his typically spaced out, reverberated vocals as Four Tet and Burial combine on the production. “Ego” sounds more in Four Tet’s vein while “Mirror” takes a huge cue from Burial’s album Untrue, using the same rim click backbeats found on “Archangel”. They’re also really good.
At no more than a year older than me, it’s remarkable just how much Sandman Viper Command sound like seasoned vets. Of course they are: they released their first album a few years ago, not long after hitting their 20s, and they’ve spent the last few years touring relentlessly. Now, the Burlington boys with the ridiculous name are finally back with some new music. As good as their first album Everybody See This was, and it was pretty good, “Rough Love” might be better. The first single off their upcoming 7″ of the same name, the track shows the progression of a band that took a step back from school to live, breathe and study music. The Beatles influence is obvious, but it’s the song’s second half that catches my fancy, going from bouncy, riff’d out jaunt to an amplifier exploding blast of Iommi-fied groove.
Listen to it, won’t you?
To coincide with the group’s debut release in North America – and their second overall – we’ve teamed up with the lovely Sargent House and the Richter Collective to offer you a stream of the Wexford trio’s eponymously-named second album.
Touted by none other than me as “a bold step and one that marks them out as one of the few breakout bands in recent years to genuinely justify their own hype,” The Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank builds on the frenetic math rock template of their debut and adds more deeply-textured melodies and Japanese video game music influences to the mix without sacrificing the triumphant sense of chaos that made the first record such a refreshing listen.
I’m 64 years old now, and there just isn’t the same demand for wildlife paintings and woodcuts as there was when I was 25. Income has been scarce and I’ve had some close calls with paying the bills. Many times these past few months have I considered hanging myself in the garage, but I can’t work up the courage, so I sit and paint pathetic, morbid little pictures depicting death and suffering. My daughter thinks I might actually be able to make more money selling those than my wildlife pictures but they are too private for anything like that. They strike me as being a bit too modern, which goes against the principles I’ve always stood for with my paintings. I started painting wildlife scenes because they are essentially timeless; a picture of two ducks swimming in a pond could be set in 1915 or 2013 without being explicitly modern or old. I pledge allegiance to no period in time. The only concession I’ve made to the modern age was hiring someone to make a website advertising my work. My daughter posted the link all over the Internet, and there was a small spike in business for a little while, but eventually things settled back into a rut.
So imagine my surprise when a young man by the name of Chris Brown sent me an email asking me to paint the cover to his new album. I had never heard of him before and immediately…
This is the second of two posts. Read the first one here
Things got a lot heavier on Friday, both musically and alcoholically. Let’s just say that Saturday morning and I didn’t see eye to eye, but boy was it worth it.
Friday was an early-starter, since I was off to Sonic Boom Records to catch an early in store set by the dudes in Pkew Pkew Pkew (Gunshots), who, if you haven’t heard—and I’m betting you haven’t—are a shit-ton of fun. If you couldn’t figure it out based on their name, they take themselves less than seriously, and their sets are shout-y, hand-clapped and tambourine dominated riots. They’re what happens when indie rockers grow up on Rancid, and even though the crowd at Sonic Boom was real young and inexplicably sitting cross-legged, they were as fun as ever. From the hooks of “Asshole Pandemic” (asshole pandemic/why’s that fucking dick gotta be such a cock?) to the stomp of “Friends Don’t Let Friends Move In With Girlfriends”, their short set was a barrage of gang-vocals, synths and guitar(s) turned to eleven. The best part? I liked when Jordan (guitar) and Brodie (Vocals) high-fived with their tambourines. Yay, friendship!
Pkew Pkew Pkew (gunshots) – Asshole Pandemic
The Users’ Top albums of 2010 feature is coming along at a steady pace and is set to begin on Friday (barring any unforeseen issues). In the meantime, our contributing reviewer Deviant has compiled a list of the albums that just barely missed the cut. If you’d like to see albums 100 through 51 as chosen by the users of Sputnik Music click here: 100 – 51
The next order of business is to draw your attention to this post which outlines some criteria concerning your indiviudal user names on the site. If you have a long/excessive/questionable screen name for the site, you may want to take a look at the linked post.
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 15, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
This is the first of two posts. Look out for another coming soon, featuring reviews of Bombay Bicycle Club, J Mascis (of Dinosaur JR), Protest the Hero and more…
Canadian Music Week, or Canadian Music Fest—honestly, at this point I’m not sure which is which—is a blur for media and musicians alike. For five days, starting last Wednesday and ending tonight, Toronto is taken over. Bars, concert halls and even the prestigious Royal York Fairmont Hotel are held captive by dudes with beards, girls with bad haircuts and eager but demanding publicist types.
This year I decided to take it easier than I have in years past, and rather than blindly stumbling from bar to bar, I decided to pick and choose my spots. For me, Canadian Music Fest started on Thursday with the Wilderness of Manitoba who were, for lack of a better term, fucking awesome.
I’d only been exposed to them through a few videos posted over on the forums, but I liked what I heard. I liked it even more live.
Playing a relatively short 35 minute set, it’s pretty surprising how many sound shifts they went through. They started with cello accompaniment, and brought a lot more ambient sounds than you’ll typically hear in the Toronto folk scene. The drums were pretty overpowering—they were thunderous and crashing, again not something you’ll usually hear in folk. Not just in their first few songs but throughout their set there was a real sense of texture to their music,…