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23.24: p.s. if at any point I came across as a less gay or less Irish alternative to Graham Norton, that wasn’t my intention. I apologise.

23.22: Has all this been worth it? Has it fuck. Next year I’m going and getting stoned. Goodnight!

23.21: And Azerbaijan win by a mile. Decent song to be honest.

23.14: As suspected, 12 from Ireland to the singers who looked the most like Jedward.

23.13: 6 for the UK from Ireland. Take that!

23.12: Oh fuck off Mooney.

23.08: Despite a spirited bolt from Italy, Azerbaijan are walking it.

23.03: Fucked over by the French again. The hand of Henry was at work in this.

22.59: Fuck this.

22.56: No points exchanged between Turkey and Greece. Grudge.

22.50: Got my lipstick on, here I come, da da da…

22.47: Sweden!

22.46: Haha they gave 12 to Lithuania. It’s a badly-kept secret that Polish people listen to shit music, usually out of their cars.

22.45: Only one from Poland. We give you jobs and this is the thanks we get? OVER.

22.44: Yes Denmark, YES!

22.43: I’ve always loved the UK.

22.42: Seriously UK… if you don’t give Jedward 12 we are OVER.

22.41: Sweden? Really?

22.37: Seems the eastern European states aren’t huge Jedward fans. We should never have let them join.

22.25: Why is Stefan Raab… I mean just why is he even?

22.24: I think the lines are still open. I don’t know. You might still have time to vote…


Marissa Nadler – “Baby, I Will Leave You In The Morning” from Alec K. Redfearn on Vimeo.

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Marissa Nadler has a sound that is a little hard to nail down. Her music is commonly referred to as ‘Dream-Folk’, but it often feels less like a dream and more like the morning after a drunken cry. Her music is generally soft and introspective as subtle acoustic melodies are washed over by layers of warm sound and Marissa’s beautifully expressive voice. This is a sound that Marissa has been perfecting since the release of her debut album in 2004, Ballads of Living and Dying. The album title itself should leave little doubt that Marissa doesn’t often sing about summer days and sunshine. Her last album, Little Hells, was released more than two years ago, but it appears that the wait is almost over.

Marissa Nadler’s self-titled fifth album will be released on June 14 through Box of Cedar Records. In preparation for the album’s release, Marissa has posted the video for the first single, “Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning.” The video stars Marissa Nadler (apparently only the second video for her music that she has ever actually appeared in) singing in an old theatre that can only be described as haunting. The video continues its eerie trip as it fades from one peculiar location to the next while Marissa continues to sing in her flowing white dress. The song itself…


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 10, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

16Volt – Beating Dead Horses (Metropolis Records) – Trey Spencer
Africa Hitech – 93 Million Miles (Warp Records)
And One – Tanzomat (Metropolis Records)
The Antlers – Burst Apart (Frenchkiss Records) – Rudy Klapper
Anvil – Juggernaut Of Justice (The End)
Balance and Composure – Separation (No Sleep Records)
Black Label Society – Song Remains Not the Same (Entertainment One Music)
Blue October – Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening with Blue October (RED GENERAL CATALOG)
Greg Brown – Freak Flag (Yep Roc Records)
The Cars – Move Like This (Hear Music)
Cirkus – Medicine (Booga Bisquit)
Ema – Past Life Martyred Saints (Redeye Label)
Hate Eternal – Phoenix Amongst the Ashes (Metal Blade)
Jesu – Ascension (Caldo Verde)
Miles Kane – Colour of the Trap (Columbia Records) – Davey Boy
Hugh Laurie – Let Them Talk {UK} (Warner Bros)
Le Butcherettes – Sin Sin Sin (Rodriguez Lopez Productions)
The Lonely Island – Turtleneck And Chain (Universal) – Channing Freeman
Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math (Favorite Gentlemen Recordings) – Matt Wolfe
Man Man – Life Fantastic (Anti/Epitaph) – Adam Thomas
Man Overboard – The Human Highlight Reel (MRI)
Mexicans With Guns – Ceremony (Innovative Leisure)
Matthew Morrison [Glee] – Matthew Morrison (Island)

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Those who knew of Lady GaGa before she got big with The Fame were certainly witness to a musician and songwriter with much potential. Sure her debut single Just Dance may have benefitted from the guest appearance of Akon, but by the time the single Poker Face was released, there were no doubts that Lady GaGa was going to become one of the biggest names in the pop world. One hit wonder she definitely is not.

The Fame Monster was a rather fitting sequel. Not surprising given that it was originally planned as additional content on a re-release of The Fame. Yet despite two very solid releases, the barometer is signalling some rough weather ahead with the release of the forthcoming album Born This Way.

So the big question to ask is why the worry? Yes the face and body attachments she has been wearing lately are weird, but GaGa has never really been one to build her fame on looking attractive, and this isn’t exactly the first video we have seen in which her appearance has been rather bizarre.  Yes you would actually have to be one of her most loyal monsters to actually like the music video for Born This Way. Perhaps from a creative standpoint it is great that she has abandoned the generic approach of many other pop music videos. But from a commercial standpoint, it is hard to imagine it attracting more fans than it scares away. Even using a…


Though I have no doubt the more blog-savvy of you would have caught onto Jai Paul’s awesomely wobbly ‘BTSTU’ sometime last year while it was weaving its way through the blogosphere like wildfire, for those of you who didn’t, here’s your chance to hear the most delicate “Don’t fuck with me, don’t fuck with me” ever recorded. Since being listed amongst the likes of James Blake, Jamie Woon, Yuck and Jessie J in BBC’s Sound of 2011 poll, things have been quiet from the Jai Paul camp but we do know he’s signed to XL Recordings and retreated to the studio to work on his debut full length (hopefully to be released sometime this year) and while that remains in the works, we can at least cherish what we have.

Jai Paul – BTSTU (Edit) by Jai Paul


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With all the world-changing events that have occurred in the past few days – the killing of the world’s most wanted terrorist and, the big one, two celebrities getting married on TV – you’d be forgiven for asking “who gives a shit about Miley Cyrus right now?”

Well you’d be forgiven, but you’d also be wrong. See, while a team of Navy SEALs were storming a compound in Pakistan and doing what they do best, media savvy Miley was also hard at work, becoming the single most important musician of all-time. As Nitsuh Abebe’s excellent article in New York magazine explains, Miley’s 2009 hit ‘Party in the USA’ has inadvertently become Osama Bin Laden’s “death song” – the track that everyone flocks to on Youtube to have barely-literate partisan debates pissing contests.

(Incidentally, we ran with Team America’s ‘America, Fuck Yeah,’ thinking we were on solid ground. Clearly we’ve lost touch with the crucial preteen girl demographic that will decide all future world events. If nothing else, it’s heartrending proof that no matter how tight he shuts his eyes and just wishes as hard as his little heart will let him, Jom is just never going to be a little girl again.)

What does this have to do with anything? Nothing, really. Except that, not content with ousting Bruce Springsteen from the top of the “awesome anthems with USA in the title that we can chant in celebration of having vanquished the enemy,” Miley’s also…


We’ll be streaming Sarah Fimm’s upcoming album through the entire week so be sure to check it out here. Also, it appears that Rudy Klapper has completed his coverage of this year’s Coachella festival. Feel free to check into that as well.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 03, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Karrin Allyson – Round Midnight (Concord Records)
And So I Watch You From Afar – Gangs (Richter Collective)
Architecture In Helsinki – Moment Bends (Downtown Records) – Davey Boy
Beastie Boys – Hot Sauce Committee Part 2 (Capitol Records)
Cat’s Eyes – Cat’s Eyes (Downtown Records)
Decree – Fateless (Artoffact Records) – Trey Spencer
Donny and Marie – Donny and Marie (MPCA)
Dredg – Chuckles and Mr. Squeezy (Superball Music)
Elusive – Beat Placement (Fly Definition)
Sarah Fimm – Near Infinite Possibility (Sarah Fimm LLC) – Trey Spencer
Fleet Foxes – Helplessness Blues (Sub Pop) – Tyler Fisher
Foundation – When The Smoke Clears (Bridge Nine Records)
Galactic – The Other Side Of Midnight: Live In New Orleans (Anti/Epitaph)
Have Nots – Proud (Paper and Plastick)
Kate & Anna McGarrigle – Tell My Sister (Nonesuch)
Leaves’ Eyes – Meredead (Napalm Records)
Jennifer Lopez – Love? (Island)
Midnattsol – The Metamorphosis Melody (Napalm Records)
Musiq Soulchild – MUSIQINTHEMAGIQ (Atlantic)
Neranature –…


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Note: The stream for Sarah Fimm’s new album has run its course. Thanks again to Sarah for making this music and allowing us to share it before the official release date. The album is now streaming at the AOL site.

Remember, if you liked what you heard you should seek it out and support independent artists:

CD Baby
iTunes
Amazon (US)
Amazon (UK)
Amazon (EU)

 

 

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This album has really been a decade in the making. Obviously Sarah Fimm hasn’t spent the last ten years writing for Near Infinite Possibility, but every previous release has been building to this. Each album has slowly saw Sarah’s songwriting skills increase and her reliance on electronics and sparse compositions fade. They have been little snapshots in time — displaying her gradual inclusion of additional instruments and guest musicians. This progress seemed to culminate with Red Yellow Sun in 2009, but apparently it was but another stepping stone.

Near Infinite Possibility sounds full and varied as it picks up where Red Yellow Sun left off and leaps forward another ten steps. It is a mixture of 70s psychedelic rock, alt. rock, moments of prog and elements of folk. It is a moody album that is sometimes dark and sometimes strange, but always excellent.

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Be sure to check out Rudy Klapper’s Coachella Festival coverage beginning here.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 26, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

About Group – Start & Complete (Domino Recording Co.)
Agoraphobic Nosebleed/Despise You – And On and On… (Relapse)
Augustana – Augustana (Epic) – Jared Ponton
Bootsy Collins – The Funk Capitol of the World (Mascot Records)
Bowling For Soup – Fishin’ For Woos (RED GENERAL CATALOG)
Boxcutter – The Dissolve (Planet Mu)
Circle of Silence – The Blackened Halo (Massacre Records)
Dawn Of Disease – Legends Of Brutality (Noise Art Records)
Deafheaven – Roads to Judah (Deathwish Inc)
Steve Earle – I’ll Never Get Out Of This World Alive (New West Records)
The Echocentrics – Sunshadows (UBIQUITY RECORDS)
Explosions in the Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care (Temporary Residence)
Girl Names – Dead To Me (Slumberland Records)
Emmylou Harris – Hard Bargin (Nonesuch)
Insidead – Chaos Elecdead (Massacre Records)
In the Nursery – Blind Sound (ITN Corp) – Trey Spencer
Katatonia – Last Fair Deal Gone Down [Deluxe Edition] (Peaceville)
Katatonia – Night is the New Day [Deluxe Edition] (Peaceville)
KMFDM – WTF?! (Metropolis Records) – Trey Spencer
Lake Of Tears – Illwill (AFM Records)
Laura Stevenson & the Cans – Sit Resist (Don Giovanni Records) – Channing Freeman
Lions!Tigers!Bears! – Shallow Waters, Endless Depth (TRAGIC HERO RECORDS)
Julian Lynch – Terra (Underwater


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Photo courtesy of Maurice Li

One of the hardest things to do at Coachella is wake up in time to get to the festival early to catch the first few bands. Usually this isn’t too big of a problem – rarely has a band I’ve loved been set too early. Sunday was an exception, as Phosphorescent took the Mojave tent stage at 12:15. Missing out on the extra sleep was a great decision – Matt Houck and his band played their whiskey-strained alt-country with a steel guitar riffing and piano-pounding passion that enervated the sleepy residents of the tent and woke me up for the day better than any energy drink.

The only thing worse for a band’s Coachella audience than an early start time is extreme heat, and as Sunday afternoon stretched on and temperatures reached the highest they’d been all weekend, it wasn’t all that surprising to see Menomena’s set at the Outdoor stage less than packed as concertgoers scrambled for the tents. Menomena, after all, aren’t the same band as they used to be – with founding member Brent Knopf leaving the band this past January, songs on which he sang lead vocals were nowhere to be found. But what they did play, sticking mostly to songs from 2007’s Friend and Foe and last year’s Mines, was up to the rabid fans’ standards who braved the 100 degree heat. Closer “TAOS” was the obvious favorite.

Photo


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“It’s not like I ran for President and I said something really bad…”

Note: At some point in the last month or so, we may have given the impression that Rebecca Black hasn’t deserved all of the abuse and death threats that have been levelled at her. In light of this interview, we can see that some of the criticism was coming from the right place.

Note 2: She’s only 13. Give her a break. But fuck those are some dumb ass answers.


Photo courtesy of Rukes

A rough night meant I didn’t make it to the festival grounds until close to 3, but that was never really a problem: the first act I wanted to see happened to be Sputnik favorite The Tallest Man on Earth at 3 pm in the Gobi tent. Throughout the weekend the Gobi seemed to be getting the least love, but this afternoon it was unusually packed, everyone there just to see one tiny Swedish dude and his guitar. He didn’t disappoint – any fears I had of his occasionally grating voice transferring to a live setting were quickly dispelled: he actually sounded better live! Everything came together on “King of Spain,” the audience lifting Kristian Matsson’s voice to new heights and his acoustic guitar ringing out over the tent grounds quite effectively.

My indie rock embarrassment of riches began shortly afterwards with Americana group Delta Spirit at the Outdoor stage. They may not be the most original band, but as a live performance they put on quite the show. Singer Matthew Vasquez’s long dark locks made him look like Dave Grohl’s lost twin, but he sounded more Walkmen than Foo Fighters, his gravelly voice propelling the band’s dust-and-blood barroom tales further than they could have hoped. For a band with a minimal following at the festival, Delta Spirit, like Titus Andronicus the day before, really delivered it for their fans.

I then caught the latter half of Irish rockers…


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Photo courtesy of Gavin Langille

For all the hype surrounding Coachella 2011 – the six day sellout, the mounting confusion and problems regarding the festival’s new wristband ticket method, the fear of scalpers selling fake tickets and wristbands not shipping out in time, once the festival was under way it was still the same old Coachella. Friendly people slapping hands and exchanging “happy Coachellas!;” temperatures routinely soaring above 100; enough drugs to make Noriega and Kesey blush; and music. Music that was at times brilliant, enthralling, obtusely weird, fist pumping, merely okay and atypically shocking and everything in between, but still the lifeblood of the festival no matter who came . . . and there were a lot. From shirtless fraternity boys to forty-year-old scene veterans, from stoned, bleary-eyed hipsters to day-glo-adorned rave kids, Coachella stuck them all in a boiling polo field of a pot and, for one weekend at least, helped them appreciate everything and everyone else. Coachella may be becoming more of a place to be seen than appreciated nowadays (over the course of the festival I saw Katy Perry, Tara Reid, Paul McCartney and even David Hasselhoff, all almost exclusively in the VIP lounges enjoying the drinks rather than the music), but few festivals can match its uniting experience. And it remains unforgettable.

I didn’t know it at the time, but Friday was going to be the coolest day of the weekend – a “pleasant” 93 degrees, blinding sun…


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While gamers everywhere explode with frothy, hyper-excitibilty over the release of the second installation in Valve’s Portal series, The National have given the rest of us a reason to be just as happy; hot off the heels of their contribution to the soundtrack of indie flick Win Win, they’ve dropped another new song to go along with the videogame.

“Exile Vilify” is meant to evoke the “same visceral reactions from its listeners that Portal does from its players” and though my gaming knowledge extends as far as Mario Kart and FIFA, if that statement rings true, you can count me in. It’s the sort of somber, slow-moving ballad that the band seems to be able to produce at a whim, suspending Matt Berninger’s croon above a beautiful piano melody and string arrangements, and it’s just as good as we’ve come to expect from a band that rarely ever puts a foot wrong. You can find it below, along with the teaser trailer for Portal 2:

The National – Exile Vilify by Hypetrak



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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 19, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Azymuth – Aurora (Far Out Recordings)
The Belle Brigade – The Belle Brigade (Reprise)
Blackfield – Welcome To My DNA (Kscope)
Blu – Her Favorite Colo(u)r (Nature Sounds)
Kimberly Caldwell – Without Regret (Capitol)
Cam’ron & Vado – Gunz N Butta (Entertainment One)
Del The Funky Homosapien – Golden Era (The Council)
Dengue Fever – Cannibal Courtship (Fantasy)
DJ Quik – The Book of David (Mad Science)
Duff McKagan’s Loaded – The Taking (Eagle Records) – Joseph Viney
Eliza Doolittle – Eliza Doolittle (Capitol)
Explosions In The Sky – Take Care, Take Care, Take Care {UK} (Temporary Residence Limited)
Former Thieves – The Language That We Speak (No Sleep Records)
French Horn Rebellion – The Infinite Music of… [Digital release] (Once Upon A Time Records)
Graveyard – Hisingen Blues (Nuclear Blast America)
The Head and the Heart – The Head and the Heart (Sub Pop)
I’m From Barcelona – Forever Today (MUTE)
InfinitiRock – Apeirophobia (Base Trip Records)
Lanu – Her 12 Faces (Tru Thoughts Recordings)
Leaves’ Eyes – Meredead {EU} (Napalm Records)
Lenka – Two (Epic)
Mf Doom – Operation Doomsday: Lunchbox [Box set] (Metal Face Records)
Midnattsol – The Metamorphosis Melody {EU} (Napalm Records)
Mike Tramp & Rock N Roll Circuz – Stand Your Ground (Cleopatra)
Tracy Nelson – Victim of the Blues (Delta Groove Productions)
Norther – Circle Regenerated (Century Media)
Pendragon – Passion (Snapper Madfish)
Periphery – Icarus Lives!…


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