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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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Watch this video for the new Queensryche song. If it helps with your decision, there are a lot of half-naked chicks in it. The song is called “Wot We Do” and it comes from the Seattle band’s upcoming twelfth album, Dedicated to Chaos. The video was created by the band’s vocalist, Geoff Tate, and features performance and backstage footage of the Cabaret shows that they did last year, and it’s a testament to just how far they have fallen. This is the same band that released the excellent concept album Operation: Mindcrime and once almost got themselves shot while trying to secretly record gang members talking so that they could include it on the song “Empire.” So, what went wrong? In interviews for this album the band have been trying to make it as clear as possible that this is supposed to be a very current and modern album. Geoff Tate told Paul Anthony of U.K.’s Rock Radio, “It’s kind of like an Empire record set 25 years in the future,” and drummer Scott Rockenfield said, “It’s huge rock but with a great dance vibe to it, real modern dance. It’s kind of like Rage [For Order] through a time tunnel, bringing it into the now.” If you’ve just watched the video for “Wot We Do” you have to be wondering what the hell they’re even talking about.

Do they look like a group that knows what


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Dutch alt-prog artists, The Gathering, are currently in the studio recording the follow-up to their critically acclaimed (by me) album The West Pole. The currently untitled album will be the second to feature new vocalist Silje Wergeland. In order to create a bit of excitement for its eventual release, the band have released one of the songs as a free download and video. The song is titled “Heroes for Ghosts” and clocks in at just under eleven minutes.

Sonically “Heroes for Ghosts” shares the same crisp clear production featured on The West Pole (which dropped the grittier sound of the few albums before it), but musically it has more in common with the expansive and moody experimentation of How to Measure a Planet. Over the course of the eleven minute song, it seems to pull from a handful of different influences that the band have tried over the years. There’s the obvious experimentation of How to Measure a Planet, the synth/brass sounds and distorted guitars of Mandylion, the chill vibes of The West Pole and even a bit of Souvenirs in a few of the percussive elements. It’s definitely another excellent song by The Gathering and seems to imply that they aren’t ready to make the same album twice. With the lack of a clear, recurring chorus the song will take a few listens to sink in, but it seems to be The Gathering’s preferred method.

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 14, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Bad Meets Evil – Hell: The Sequel [EP] (Interscope Records)
Bella Morte – Before The Flood (Metropolis Records)
Black Veil Brides – Set The World On Fire (Republic)
The Book Of Knots – Garden Of Fainting Stars (Ipecac Recordings)
Marc Broussard – Marc Broussard (Atlantic)
The Dear Hunter – The Color Spectrum (Triple Crown)
Departures – When Losing Everything Is Everything You Wanted (FITA Records)
Dismantled – The War Inside Me (Metropolis Records)
Emily’s Army – Don’t Be A Dick (Adeline Records)
Jackie Evancho – Dream With Me (Sony Music Distribution)
Gel Roc – Beautiful Tragedy (Abolano Records)
Andy Grammer – Andy Grammer (S-CURVE)
Junior Boys – It’s All True (Domino)
Ledisi – Pieces of Me (Verve Forecast)
Ziggy Marley – Wild And Free (Tuff Gong Worldwide)
Matt – What I Became (Piccadilly Records)
Pat Metheny – What’s It All About (Nonesuch)
Mr. J. Medeiros – Saudade (De Medeiros LLC)
Marissa Nadler – Marissa Nadler (Box Of Cedar)
Of Mice & Men – The Flood (Rise Records)
Owl City – All Things Bright and Beautiful (Universal Republic) – Rudy Klapper
Madeleine Peyroux – Standing on the Rooftop (Decca)
Planningtorock – W [Physical Release] (DFA Records)
Q-Tip & J. Period – The [Abstract] Best vol.1 (RBC Records)
Random Axe – Random Axe…


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Despite the unequivocally loud – and at times violent – protests for ‘Idol Thoughts’ to make a return to the SputnikMusic blog, your humble and flattered reporter simply could not find the time to keep up with the goings on of J-Lo and Steven Tyler this year. Fear not however, as the over-saturation of music-based reality shows which span the globe nowadays, is always likely to serve up some form of quality entertainment.

While the ‘(insert country here)’s Got Talent’ franchise is usually more likely to serve up a contender for ‘Funniest Home Videos’ than reveal a musical genius, there is something about the ad-libbing kitchen sink nature of the show’s format which could attract an undiscovered gem.

Case in point is the aptly named James “Chooka” Parker, a contestant on the current series of Australia’s Got Talent. While rural Victoria is not exactly the Australian outback, it is not completely out of the question that young Chooka actually does not own a television, let alone the modern necessities that are a smartphone and the internet… The fashion sense definitely suggests so anyway.

Already the owner of more facial hair than the average red-head is likely to see in their lifetime, the self-taught 16 year old – yes, I said 16 – wandered on to stage for his debut appearance a few weeks back, ready to apparently make everyone laugh. What followed was a mixture of hooting, hollering and bewilderment, which later resulted in one judge calling him a “freak”……


Working-class hardman turned middle-class investigative journalist Ross Kemp has seen a lot of things in his time, not least the most vicious gangs ever to emerge from the barrios of Rio, Bogota and San Salvador, as well as Maori tough men, Timorese martial arts cults and Ricky Gervais.

But not even his experiences in the most deprived, most dangerous parts of the world could quite have prepared him for the slaughterous aural wrecking ball that is And So I Watch You From Afar’s Gangs. I gave it a rather ambivalent 3/5 on its release a couple of months back, but let’s hear what the far more discriminating and battle-hardened Kemp has to say…

Courtesy of Maybeshewill


Bon Iver’s second album, Bon Iver, Bon Iver, isn’t scheduled for release until June 21, but labels Jagjaguwar and 4AD have made this charming little widget so fans can get familiar with it before the big day.

Read staff member Cam’s review of Bon Iver, Bon Iver here.

Bon Iver is simply the lush-est, loveliest album of the year. “Towers” and “Wash.,” in particular, are two of the warmest, most inviting songs I’ve heard in a long, long time; they each seem to weirdly possess the aural consistency of a warm blanket, or a nice cup of cocoa. Vernon’s voice is the main draw: his singing has improved tenfold, elevating to stratospheric and angelic heights and then descending to a low rumble, a restless sigh, or a breathless declaration, all within minutes.


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 07, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Above & Beyond – Group Therapy (Ultra Records)
All Time Low – Dirty Work (Interscope/Hopeless) – Dave Donnelly
Amorphis – The Beginning Of Times (Nuclear Blast)
Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions (Century Media) – Mike Stagno
Arctic Monkeys – Suck It And See (Domino) – Joseph Viney
Battles – Gloss Drop (Warp Records)
Black Lips – Arabia Mountain (Vice Records)
Blindside – With Shivering Hearts We Wait (Red Int/Red Ink)
Mike Bloom – King Of Circles (Little Record Company)
City and Colour – Little Hell (Vagrant Records)
CMG (Conscious Daughters) – The Jane of All Trades (Llerrad Music Group)
Cults – Cults (Columbia)
Dale Earnhardt Jr. Jr. – It’s A Corporate World (Warner Bros.)
Def Leppard – Mirrorball [Live] (Bludgeon Riffola/Mailboat Records)
Depeche Mode – Remixes 2: 81-11 [Deluxe Edition] (Reprise)
The-Dream – Love Affair (Def Jam)
Elevate: I Am – The Ghost Eclipse Sessions (A Lullaby Factory)
Ford & Lopatin – Channel Pressure (Software)
Fucked Up – David Comes to Life (Matador Records)
Chilly Gonzales – The Unspeakable Chilly Gonzales (Wagram)
Hail Mary Mallon – Are You Gonna Eat That? (Rhymesayers)
Hammerfall – Infected (Nuclear Blast)
Hiromi – Voice (Telarc)
Ashlyne Huff – Let it Out (Liquid Digital Media)


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There is something ill-fitting, discomforting about the manner in which the legendary Gil Scott-Heron’s passing has been treated by print media, particularly in Britain.

Scott-Heron was largely ignored in his lifetime by traditional media and by the mainstream in general. He had hits, undoubtedly, and his classic screed ‘The Revolution Will Not Be Televised’ has entered the pop culture lexicon almost without acknowledgement. However, until a recent revival on Richard Russell’s XL Recordings and a remix album chaired by Jamie of the xx, his cultural cache was cult – a musician whose influence far overreached his renown. Five years ago, his death would have been notable, but not this notable.

Much of it has to do with the success of his return to music – he hadn’t released a thing between 1994’s  Spirits and 2010’s sardonically-titled I’m New Here – and some is due to print journalism sourcing more and more of its content from social media. But that doesn’t quite account for everything – some of the coverage given to Scott-Heron’s death has gone beyond hagiography, effectively crediting the man with creating the entire culture of hip hop (but only the nice, positive parts, of course).

It took me a while to figure it out, but then it all made sense: Barack Obama. While the President’s standing in the world has diminished somewhat since taking office, he remains an object of utter fascination for most Europeans, particularly in the English-speaking countries. Obama swept into the UK last week, leaving…


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 31, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Arch Enemy – Khaos Legions {EU} (Century Media)
Autopsy – Macabre Eternal (Peaceville
Big L – The Danger Zone (RBC Records)
Blue Stone – Pandora’s Box (Neurodisc)
BT – These Re-Imagined Machines (Nettwerk Records)
Kate Bush – Director’s Cut (Fish People)
Dave Matthews Band – Live at Wrigley Field (RCA)
Death Cab For Cutie – Codes and Keys (Atlantic) – Rudy Klapper
The Dismemberment Plan – Live in Japan 2011 (Bad News Records)
Egypt Central – White Rabbit (FAT LADY MUSIC)
Eliane Elias – Light My Fire (Concord Picante)
Samantha Fish – Runaway {EU} (Ruf Records)
Flogging Molly – Speed Of Darkness (Thirty Tigers)
Matthew Good – Lights of Endangered Species (Cobraside)
Jello Biafra & The Guantanamo School of Medicine – Enhanced Methods of Questioning (Alternative Tentacle)
Jordan Knight – Unfinished (JK Music)
Kool G Rap – Riches, Royalty, Respect (Fat Beats Records)
Loss – Despond (Profound Lore) – Adam Thomas
Madlib – Channel 85-Nittyville (Now Again Records)
Maybeshewill – I Was Here for a Moment, Then I Was Gone (Function Records)
The Melvins – Sugar Daddy [Live] (Ipecac Recordings)
My Dying Bride – Evinta (Peaceville)
My Morning Jacket – Circuital (ATO RECORDS) – Rudy Klapper
Kelli O’Hara – Always (Ghostlight)
Pagan’s Mind – Heavenly Ecstasy (Steamhammer)
Pain – You Only Live Twice {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Robert Pollard – Lord Of The Birdcage (Guided By Voices)
Seapony – Go With…


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Following on from his cover of Willow Smith’s ‘Whip My Hair’ last year, late night talk show host Jimmy Fallon has once more grabbed his hat, guitar and harmonica to portray Canadian singer-songwriter Neil Young.

Choosing to cover a song from a much more mature artist this time around, Fallon turns his attention to Miley “Hannah Montana” Cyrus. And what better way to ‘Party in the U.S.A’ than with a couple of Rock’N’Roll hall of famers in David Crosby and Graham Nash.

“Nodding my head like yeah, moving my hips like yeah”.


No press please.

One of the celeb-spotting highlights of my time at Coachella 2011 was seeing pop starlet Katy Perry, or should I say Katy Perry surrounded by a fat entourage of men allowing only the slightest glimpse of her pixie-sized body, walking across the field towards the VIP area. I found it mildly fascinating that, in a festival where numerous stars could be seen hobnobbing and generally enjoying themselves, Perry found it necessary to travel in a way that would paradoxically maximize not only her protection but also her visibility. There’s few things better suited to announcing to the world that HEY! PLATINUM POP STAR PASSING THROUGH! than traveling in a caravan.

Luckily, one of those few things is tour riders, one of the best ways to determine whether a pop star’s desire for control is beginning to spiral a bit out of reach. The Smoking Gun recently got a hold of Perry’s 2011 rider, and it delivers. We’ve all heard the “only brown M&Ms” horror stories common in the industry, but Perry, who prefers organic snacks, takes things to a diva-tastic level. Demands run the gamut from precisely delineated types of chairs (cream-colored armchairs, God help you if they’re in eggshell white) to a somewhat disturbing repulsion towards carnations (underlined AND capitalized, indicating potential harm to Katy if she is indeed exposed to such flowery trifles) to a comprehensive list of things her driver is NOT allowed to do, including…


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