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If you thought we were going to stop posting this just because Osama is dead (so is Obama, according to Fox), you’ve clearly misread the situation horribly.

Enjoy your independence everybody, no matter what country you live in, and don’t forget to thank Will Smith for killing the aliens and making all this possible.


40 years gone, the legend of Jim Morrison has long since superseded the man himself to the point where clueless music journalists feel free to refer to his death as his “breaking on through to the other side,” a lyrical nod to the Doors’ 1967 classic single.

Such dimwitted tributes are, sadly, common currency. The image of the rebellious rocker valiantly passing over to the “other side” is a far more romantic notion than what occurred in reality (or at least in probability, as no autopsy was ever performed): Morrison and his junkie girlfriend took a suicidal cocktail of drugs overnight, leading the singer to vomit up his internal organs before slowly, and painfully, meeting his end in a Parisian bathtub.

The romantic image of Morrison is made even cuter due to the fact that he, by all accounts, was a misogynistic dog who’d fuck anything that walked on two legs, or maybe even three. Yet that’s what made him such a compelling figure: as a man, he was stirringly, disarmingly handsome and as a songwriter he was deceptively accomplished. He was the rock n’ roll ideal: irresistible and prodigiously talented.

While the abiding sonic image of the Doors as a group might be their longer, more psyched-up pieces, ‘Light my Fire’ was Robby Krieger’s baby and was driven by Ray Manzarek’s iconic keyboard melody. What Morrison brought to the party was a manic, almost primal energy, best exemplified by that distinctive guttural roar – he was in many…


In the four years since Zach Condon’s francophilia hit its gorgeous, horn-blaring high with 2007’s The Flying Club Cup, a quick detour through Mexico for the hit-and-miss March of the Zapotec EP has been the only visible marker of our hero’s musical whereabouts.  It wasn’t until the release of their latest single, the wonderful “East Harlem”, that the band’s upcoming third LP, The Rip Tide, was firmly on the map again and if the tracklist is anything to go by, it looks like Condon, whose trip to Europe inspired Gulag Orkestar, has left his travels behind for places like home (simultaneously his hometown “Santa Fe” and his part-time residence, “East Harlem”), “Payne’s Bay”, and the single b-side (the namesake of a town in Indiana (thanks Google)) “Goshen”. NOTE: On further investigation, Goshen is also an area in New York, which may make more sense.

The b-side and album track burns slowly, possibly more so than any Beirut song thus far, and Condon’s croon is accentuated by the usual suspects – the percussive-based group of brass, strings and vocal harmonies that give Beirut their shine – and a delicate piano riff. You can listen to the track for yourself below and pre-order The Rip Tide, set for release August 30th, here.

Beirut – Goshen by ListenBeforeYouBuy


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A major similarity can be drawn between the works of Cormac McCarthy and the relationship between Dan Barrett’s Giles Corey book and album. Cormac McCarthy has always been a good enough writer that it was never really necessary for him to do anything different, but as the years wore on his books became a bit more streamlined and easier to read, as if the dross of pretension was smelted away leaving pithy wisdom and a fine sense of humor. His earlier novels plumbed deep into the human psyche and extracted dark things while his later works – starting with the Border Trilogy – are mostly about the good in people. Even No Country For Old Men, whose most memorable character is a representation of pure evil, is more about goodness and honesty than anything else. Someone like Anton Chigurh only serves to make the goodness more apparent. When you read his later works, you realize that that was his theme all along, no matter how he approached it. You could put his later works and his earlier works side by side and try to contrast them but eventually you’d have to just put them all together.

The release of Dan Barrett’s book and album is similar, the obvious and key difference being that they are inherently the same work presented in two ways. Attempts to separate them to decide which is more effective are ultimately pointless, as they are most effective when combined. The album is a…


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So July is here, and once again we find ourselves nudged by the unrelenting pokey stick of time into the second half of another year. Except this time, we’re staring down the barrel of an end-of-the-world Mayan raygun year and there may not even be time for Google to deliver Mark Zuckerberg that cyber-wedgie he so sorely needs. Worst of all, in merry old England at least, you could hardly even say that summer’s arrived. Even by our standards, it’s been pretty pants.

Nevertheless, it’s always awesome to find tracks like Youth Lagoon’s ‘July’, which sound great come rain or shine, Apocalypse or lazy Sunday. The Year of Hibernation, the debut LP from Trevor Powers’ solo project, is full of songs which charm and captivate with their delightful, youthful exuberance, infectious melodies and summer-daydream fuzz. But it’s on ‘July’ where Powers really excels. Tinged with reverb, lyrics of reminiscence echo from the 22-year-old’s fragile voice whilst the song builds;  from the absorbing ambience, to the uplifting handclaps and pianos, and finally to the canyon-filling cry of fuzzy guitars and rousing oh-ohs, ‘July’ is thoughtfully and maturely structured. And yet, the song still manges to retain that feeling of rawness; of youth. Not the oft-exploited youth of impulse and parties and misguided profundity, but the youth of anxiety, of daydreams, of unrealized strength discovered when it’s needed most.

So whilst this July may be unpredictable, and possibly fill your head with thoughts of the end of the world, you can bet…


If anyone has been in the Sputnikmusic room on turntable.fm while I am DJing, you probably know that I like Portuguese kuduro group Buraka Som Sistema. A lot. Like, if the room gets remotely dancy, I’m putting on a Buraka song immediately.Black Diamond, released in 2008, remains one of my favorite dance albums of the past decade. Their Essential Mix for BBC rules. Their FabricLive album rules. “Restless”, the single they released in 2009, rules.

Point is, if Buraka Som Sistema doesn’t get you dancing, you are probably a really self-conscious person who doesn’t like to dance.

“Hangover (BaBaBa)”, their first single from Komba, their second studio album set to be released this fall, has one of the most annoying choruses of all time, but I’ve been singing it for the two months this song has been available. Although signed to Diplo’s Mad Decent and getting promotion from not only Diplo but also M.I.A., Reso, and other big names in the English-speaking dance world, Buraka have struggled to find an audience in the U.S. due to their tendency to feature Portuguese and Angolan rappers who alienate the U.S. fanbase. “Hangover”’s chorus, in essence, is a response to that language barrier. “BaBaBa” is global and undoubtedly infectious.

If nothing else, watch the video for “Hangover” for the dog at 1:30. That dog kills it.


We can listen to Gold Cobra all day trying to figure out just how ironically we’re enjoying it. We can listen to Taking Back Sunday all day, trying to convince ourselves that it’s a spiritual successor to Tell All Your Friends.

But of the albums released on my birthday, Junior Battles’ Idle Ages is obviously the most fun. It’s an album of sounds pop-punk forgot about. It’s an array of whoa-oh-ohs and shout-along throwbacks in the style of what most of us grew up on. It’s Blink 182 before Travis Barker, Green Day before “When I Come Around”. It’s Fall Out Boy before Patrick Stump got fat then skinny again.

Bloated rambles aside, it’s fun. I said that already, I said it again. I’ll say it a third time—it’s fun. But here’s the catch: I’m not posting a song off Idle Ages. I’m posting one off their self-titled 7”, which is free if you go here.

If you like this, go buy Idle Ages sight unseen. Do it for the days before MP3 sampling, when you bought albums on good faith and recommendations. Or, you know, for the days when you just bought albums in general.


Rock veterans Wilco recently left Nonesuch Records to start their own label, and with that comes, of course, another new Wilco release. “I Might” is the first single off it, initially available only to those who picked up a copy at the band’s Solid Sound Music Festival in Massachusetts but thanks to the magic of the Internet now available here online for everyone. The band’s eighth proper album, tentatively titled The Whole Love is set for a September release.

The track itself has a driving acoustic melody with a thick bass that reminds me a bit of “I Am A Wheel’s” hook minus the adrenaline, but the track is about what you’d expect from Wilco at this stage in their career: enjoyable, light, dare I say happy. It may veer a bit closely towards “dad-rock” for those who didn’t really enjoy Wilco (The Album) but if you like joyful Jeff Tweedy over depressed, pill-popping Jeff Tweedy, than you’ll be even more excited for the upcoming record.

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The 2008 film Berlin Calling wasn’t exactly a huge hit in the west, yet as actor and composer for the film, Paul Kalkbrenner achieved quite substantial popularity in Germany. Sure some such as Ben Klock, Marcel Dettman and others around the Berlin scene may have as much talent; but comparing to his status and fame would be very difficult. Kalkbrenner’s work on Berlin Calling should not be trivialised because of its popularity. Sky and Sand still connects so easily and with such minimal effort, in a way that many in his field wouldn’t have a handle on. Tracks other than the single such as Azure likewise are in persistent motion, with minimal brush strokes conveying such beautiful imagery.

Sure it was always going to be difficult to follow up on Berlin Calling given its popularity, but Icke Wieder certainly delivers on the sounds that have served Kalkbrenner well in the past. Picking a highlight from the album is difficult, with Sagte der Bär, Kleines Bubu and Der Breuzen among others worthy of a mention. Yet Kruppzeug provides a nice characterization of Kalkbrenner’s sound, very much of Berlin, and very much minimalist. The song builds carefully, a pattering beat moving persistently across a simple melody. Though moving towards an end, Kalkbrenner’s minimalist narratives prove the most rewarding experience.

For the full review of Icke Wieder


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Since Irish Dave – as opposed to Aussie Davey – pressed “refresh” on the SputnikMusic ‘Track of the Day’ yesterday and espoused all things Irish, I thought I would follow his lead today and head a little north to the sunny country of Scotland. Ever since this wee Southampton supporter got many a laugh out of trying to decipher what the hell Gordon Strachan was saying in his post-match press conferences, something about that thick accent has tickled my fancy.

Musically, the nation has always provided some fond memories. Expats such as AC/DC and Jimmy Barnes took Australia by storm decades ago, while Simple Minds and The Proclaimers set the charts ablaze in the 80s. ‘Take Me Out’ and ‘Chelsea Dagger’ saw Franz Ferdinand and The Fratellis continue the momentum last decade, while rockers Biffy Clyro were a bees d!ck away from being the most inspired live act I witnessed last year.

Continuing the notion that the Scots are just a little bit different to the rest of the world, Glaswegian six-piece Dananananaykroyd are now upon us with their crazy band name and self-labeled fight-pop genre. Performing a difficult to describe combination of indie-pop and post-hardcore, debut LP ‘Hey Everyone’ received resounding critical acclaim, while their energetic live show saw many a band member get injured as their audience were encouraged to perform a wall of cuddles!

Album #2 ‘There Is A Way’ has just been released, seeing the unique group rock up their boisterous sound.…


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 28, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

13 & God – Own Your G (Anticon)
Beyonce – 4 (Sony Music Distribution)
Big Sean – Finally Famous (Def Jam)
Evan Brewer – Alone (Sumerian Records)
Bunnydrums – Holy Moly (Metropolis Records)
Burn Halo – Up From the Ashes (Rawkhead Rekords)
David Cook – This Loud Morning (RCA)
Curren$y – Weekend at Burnies (Warner Bros.)
Billy Ray Cyrus – I’m American (Walt Disney Records)
Marianne Faithfull – Horses And High Heels (Naive)
Handsome Furs – Sound Kapital (Sub Pop)
Jolie Holland – Pint of Blood (Anti-)
Eilen Jewell – Queen of the Minor Key (Signature Records)
Junior Battles – Idle Ages (Paper and Plastick)
Alicia Keys – Songs in A Minor – 10th Anniversary Edition (Sony Legacy)
Left Banke – The Left Banke Too (Sundazed Music)
Limp Bizkit – Gold Cobra (Interscope Records)
Lock Up – Necropolis Transparent {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Dolly Parton – Better Day (Dolly Records)
Pete Rock & Smif-N-Wessun – Monumental (Duck Down Records)
Queensryche – Dedicated to Chaos (Roadrunner Records) – Trey Spencer
Redlight King – Something for the Pain (Hollywood Records)
Riverside – Memories in My Head [EP] (Laser’s Edge)
Samiyam – Sam Baker’s Album (Brainfeeder)
Selena Gomez And The Scene – When The Sun Goes Down (Hollywood)
Set Your Goals – Burning at Both…


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I’m sure you’re all fully aware at this point from my reviews, blog posts and twitter ramblings that I believe Irish music – and Dublin music in particular – is in the midst of a golden period, and nobody represents this better than labels Popical Island and the Richter Collective, either of which three-piece scuzzy pop outfit Squarehead can call home. (I’ve talked about Squarehead here before to mixed reaction.)

Saturday night saw indie collective Popical Island – jointly run by Squarehead drummer Ruan Van Vliet – put on their second annual Popicalia, a free all-day, child-friendly gig featuring as many of the label’s acts as they could fit in, including Land Lovers, Yeh Deadlies, Groom and the excellent We Are Losers (see the full, awesome running order here).

Time constraints meant I could only make it along for two acts – the aforementioned Losers and Squarehead – but I walked away with one particular tune stuck in my head and I haven’t been able to shake it since. Squarehead’s ‘Fake Blood’ was voted #1 Irish song of 2010 by Ireland’s most popular music blog, Nialler9, and it’s a real belter of a tune, resting somewhere between Weezer-influenced alt. rock and ebullient Brian Wilson-inspired pop.

‘Fake Blood’ appeared on the first Popical Island compilation (€5 on Bandcamp). The second compilation (which features another Squarehead song, ‘Candle’) can be streamed here and will also (presumably) be available for the same low price on Bandcamp soon.


ANTHRAX – Fight’em ’til You Can’t by NuclearBlastRecords

Nuclear Blast records is making the first single from the upcoming Anthrax album available for free download. The song is called “Fight’em ’til You Can’t” and is taken from Worship Music which will be released on September 13th through Nuclear Blast Records. The song itself is pretty much classic Anthrax with just a hint of their 2003 release, We’ve Come For You All. It’s got the classic hardcore-tinged thrash riffs, Joey’s soaring vocals, a strong chorus and a fuckin’ driving beat. What more needs to be said? If the entire album is like this then it’s going to kill.

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Download “Fight’em ’til You Can’t” here: Nuclear Blast Records


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Fair to Midland – Arrows & Anchors

Release Date: 12 July 2011

Label: eOne Metal

 

 

 

We recieved a link to the webstream of the new Fair to Midland last night, and I finally got around to listening to it for the first time. Since things are slow right now I figured that I would give my initial impressions based on a single listen. For those that are into pain, there is also a track-by-track that was written in real time as I was listening to the album. Below that is the official video for “Musical Chairs.”

My overall impression of this album is that it is not nearly as instant as Fables From a Mayfly. The choruses and vocal melodies are good, but they aren’t as simple and catchy as they previously were. This shouldn’t be taken as a bad thing, though, because the album is definitely going to be one that grows on people. One negative that I can point out is that the vocalist was definitely much more restrained on this album. He never hits those high notes or odd melodies the way he did before. This kind of makes the first listen blend together a little bit because the vocals are all very similar for the most part. It’s also not nearly as heavy or chaotic as the song floating around Youtube would have you believe. Now that it’s established what is missing, we should get into what the album actually is. The music…


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 21, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

1,2,3 – New Heaven (frenchkiss)
Dave Alvin – Eleven Eleven (Yep Roc Records)
Attack! Attack! – The Latest Fashion (Rock Ridge Music)
August Burns Red – Leveler (Solid State Records) – Adam Thomas
The Black Dahlia Murder – Ritual (Metal Blade)
The Black Rabbits – Hypno Switch (Rock Ridge Music)
Blaq Poet – Blaq Poet Society (Brick Records)
Bon Iver – Bon Iver (Jagjaguwar) – Cam
Cindy Bradley – Unscripted (TRIPPIN & RHYTHM)
Cassettes Won’t Listen – EVINSPACEY (Daylight Curfew)
Co$$ – Before I Awoke (Tres)
The Crimson Armada – Conviction (Red Int/Red Ink)
Crossfade – We All Bleed (Eleven Seven Music)
Dayton Family – Charges of Indictment (Psychopathic)
The Devin Townsend Project – Deconstruction (Inside Out U.S.)
The Devin Townsend Project – Ghost (Inside Out U.S.)
Draconian – A Rose For The Apocalypse {EU} (Napalm Records)
Ellwood – Lost In Transition (Fat Wreck Chords)
Liam Finn – FOMO (Yep Roc Records)
Gomez – Whatevers on Your Mind (ATO RECORDS)
Grieves – Together/Apart (Rhymesayers)
In Flames – Sounds Of A Playground Fading (Century Media) – Trey Spencer
I Set My Friends On Fire – Astral Rejection (Epitaph)
Jagged Edge – Remedy (Slip N Slide)
The Japanese Popstars – Controlling Your Allegiance (ASTRALWERKS)
Jungle Rot – Kill on Command (Victory


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