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Just scroll down to the song if you are not in a story-reading mood.

This is going to be kind of a sob story, so I’ll try to keep it brief in the interest of not turning this into a pathetic Xanga entry.

When I was in junior high, my parents thought it was a brilliant idea to move to a new city without bracing me for the move. For any twelve year-old, that can be pretty devastating, and sure, thanks to Facebook and things like that I keep in contact with my ‘old’ friends, but I had a bit of a tough time readjusting to my new surroundings because, as a socially-awkward adolescent at the time, I didn’t exactly have the gift of gab to make friends easily.

WHAT UP, BITCHES! You guys wanna play some POGS?

However, I did make one immediate friend right away — for the sake of this story, I’ll call her Beth. She was a grade higher than me, and while it’s seriously frowned upon to talk to kids in lower grades, she never treated me any differently. Unfortunately, she went off to high school while I wrapped up junior high, and her parents got into a colossally-shitty divorce. She wound up moving a couple counties away with her dad while her mom and brother continued to live next door. I had no idea where she went because it was that…

It is fairly easy to see that Alex Smith matches his peers within Detroit in terms of talent and quality of his output. That says a lot given the rich musical legacy of Detroit. His output of late hasn’t dropped off the standards set by 2005’s Just Ask the Lonely. On its own, Here’s Your Trance, Now Dance! can attest to that.

Though one can keep pretty close tabs on artists’ releases these days, sometimes a very pleasant surprise comes about unexpected. High School Graffiti is one of these pleasant surprises, with five cool little tunes. My Naffew Randy is one especially worth checking out. So hurry up and grab this EP for free here, and remember your please and thank yous.

This one’s a bit unexpected: London rapper Sway freestyling over Ed Sheeran’s ‘You Need Me, I Don’t Need You.’ Sheeran’s original is easily described as a sort of an English take on Jason Mraz (I’m more a fan of his cousin Laura), but Sway’s mix takes in a busy grime beat and a tongue-twisting lyric to give the track a completely different, much-improved feel.

Meanwhile, the lyrics – “next thing Slick Rick meets Chris from Don’t Forget Your Toothbrush” – are specific enough to alienate 95% of today’s UK hip hop audience, which is just as well since most of them are busy rioting at the minute.

Take a listen to an improvised live version of the original, here:

The recent news that Century Media Records had removed its entire catalog from Spotify ended up leading to another discussion about file sharing and everything that goes along with it. This blog post is not that serious. I’ve just decided to dredge up some old videos that were created during the intial Napster controversy.


The Original Metallica Napster Video


Hairy-stomached Moms, Bad

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 09, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Afrobeta – Under The Streets (DoIT Music Group)
Alev – We Live In Paradise (Eclipse Recordings)
Army Navy – The Last Place (The Fever Zone)
Barenaked Ladies – Snacktime (Raisin Records)
The Birthday Massacre – Imaginary Monsters (Metropolis Records)
Luke Bryan – Tailgates & Tanlines (Capitol)
Dream On Dreamer – Heartbound (Rise Records)
Drive A – The World In Shambles (Dead Conflict Record)
Eyes Set to Kill – White Lotus [EP] (Ingrooves)
Fleshgod Apocalypse – Agony (Nuclear Blast)
God Module – Rituals (Metropolis Records)
Greeley Estates – The Death of Greeley Estates (TRAGIC HERO RECORDS)
Gucci Mane & Waka Flocka Flame – Ferrari Boyz (Warner Bros.)
Hassaan Mackey & Apollo Brown – Daily Bread (Mello Music Group)
Hell Or Highwater – Begin Again (Hell Or Highwater)
Ace Hood – Blood, Sweat & Tears (Def Jam)
The Horrors – Skying (XL Recordings)
The Irrepressibles – Mirror Mirror (101 DISTRIBUTION)
Jay-Z & Kanye West – Watch The Throne (Def Jam)
Karmakanic – In a Perfect World (Inside Out)
The Motels – Apocalypso (Omnivore Recordings)
My Amends – Acceptions (Ingenious Records)
NewBreed – NewBreed (Metal Mind Productions)
Pepper Rabbit – Red Velvet Snow Ball (Kanine Records)
Royce da 5′9” – Success Is Certain (Gracie)
Sainthood Reps – Monoculture (Tooth & Nail Records)
Scattered Trees – Sympathy (Musebox)

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I must have seen her face before 
I fell in love when I was born
Now they hide her with a whisper 
It’s over

If I were to list out all the bands that I’ve ever seen live and list them in accordance to how many times I’ve dragged my ass down to some dive of a venue to see them, RX Bandits would proudly sit atop that list. Since my introduction to them back when they were just a politicized 3rd wave ska act through their growth into one of the most forward thinking acts in modern music I’ve had the honor to see them one shy of a dozen times – but it was the last two shows, two of their last three shows ever (and last in the vicinity of their southern California home) that proudly affirm how special they really are/were. Their sets at the Mayan Theater in the heart of downtown Los Angeles and two days later at the Glasshouse a half hour inland in Pomona made the previous 9 RX Bandits shows that I have attended seem reserved in comparison, which is no easy feat.

Part 1: August 4th, 2011 @ the Mayan Theater

Shows at the Mayan are always a mixed bag. On one hand the size of the venue and its stunning décor that looks ripped straight out of the intro scene of Indiana Jones and the Raiders of the Lost Ark add a remarkable ambiance…

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The 59th edition of FabricLive‘s mix sets features Four Tet aka Kieran Hebden, and this lovely future single culled from the end of it is now available for streaming. It’s graceful and hauntingly beautiful, perfect for that 5 am comedown. As Hebden noted: “This mix is not about my DJing. It’s about London and fabric and nights out and my take on all that. The memories and the influences. I used old and new music, I used recordings of fabric, and I made new tracks of my own for it. I hope people play it fucking loud and lose their minds in it and remember or imagine what it’s all about.” Check out the FabricLive compilation when it drops September 19th and for now, enjoy this fantastic single.

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Greetings and salutations, friends and acquaintances.

Life’s been pretty hectic lately (attending your buddies’ bachelor parties kicks ass; I highly recommend it) and I know I haven’t written anything that doesn’t suck in awhile (if ever — HEY OHHHHH), so I’m not really gonna bore you to tears. Instead, I wanted to pass along something that’s caught my ear (and later, my eyes, which’ve recently been Lasik’d in all their glory).

As most of you know, I have a soft spot for Aussie hip-hop (although I’d never want to live there because of things like HOLY FUCKING SHIT), so it shouldn’t have come as much surprise when I valued Hilltop Hoods’s State of the Art as much as I did.

Today’s catch o’ the day (or whatever you wish to call it — I wanted to incorporate Trap Door somehow but I like Berk too much as a friendly blue blob…) is by an Adelaide-based group known as the Funkoars; the song is called “Where I Am”. Unsurprisingly, they have a tight connection with Hilltop Hoods and are part of the Aussie hip-hop conglomerate known as the Certified Wise crew: sixteen South Aussie artists collaborating, producing, and appearing as guests on one another’s works. You may remember Trials’ guest verse on “The Light You Burned,” for instance, or his producing credits on Drapht’s Brothers Grimm record.

“Where I Am” will be featured on the group’s fourth LP, The Quickening, slated for a September 16th release through Golden Era Records. The…

Das Racist, the joking-but-not-joking rap group from New York, released their first paid single to the world yesterday in the form of “Michael Jackson”. It comes from their upcoming album Relax, and brings a lot to unpack, from the Wingdings-inspired album art to Heems’s RZA reference to the meaning, if there is one, to the song’s anthemic hook: “Michael Jackson/ A million dollars/ You feel me?/ Holla.”

But all I really have to say is this: “I’M FUCKING GREAT AT RAPPINGGGGGGGGG!”

Das Racist – Michael Jackson by Transdreamer

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 02, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Antigone Rising – 23 Red (101 DISTRIBUTION)
Archers of Loaf – Icky Mettle (Merge Records)
Trace Atkins – Proud To Be Here (Show Dog Nashville)
Battlecross – Pursuit of Honor (Metal Blade)
Boston Spaceships – Let it Beard (Guided By Voices)
Richard Buckner – Our Blood (Merge Records)
Bury Your Dead – Mosh N’ Roll (MEDIASKARE)
Caina – Hands That Pluck (Profound Lore)
Greyson Chance – Hold On ‘Til the Night (Geffen Records)
Dead and Divine – Antimacy (Wolf At Your Door Records)
Denial Fiend – Horror Holocaust (Ibex Moon)
Direct Hit – Domesplitter (Kind of Like Records)
Dir en Grey – Dum Spiro Spero (The End)
Excruciator – The Devouring (Heavy Artillery)
Flourishing – The Sum Of All Fossils (The Path Less Traveled)
Fountains Of Wayne – Sky Full Of Holes (Yep Roc Records) – Rudy Klapper
Fruit Bats – Tripper (Sub Pop)
Harvest – Years of Defiance. Years of Disgust. (Good Fight)
John Hiatt – Dirty Jeans & Mudslide Hymns (New West Records)
Hot Water Music – The Fire, The Steel, The Tread / Adds Up To Nothing (Self-released)
It Prevails – Stroma (MEDIASKARE)
Jesse Sykes & The Sweet Hereafter – Marble Son (Thirty Tigers)
Keb Mo – The Reflection (Yolabelle International)
Machine Drum – Room(s) (101 DISTRIBUTION)
Malefice – Awaken the…

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Scottish post-rock act Mogwai gave their fans the first glimpse at their upcoming EP Earth Division this week with the haunting “Get to France”. The eerie piano driven piece is the EP’s lead off track and comes off as the warped bastard cousin of songs like “Friend of the Night”. If this is any indication to the mood of Earth Division then it looks like we’re in for a treat.

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Here at Sputnik Towers, we get sent some pretty bad press releases.

Most of them are harmless enough – just things that nobody but the band and their immediate families would be interested in. A lot I’ll delete without reading. Some I’ll quietly seethe over for a while first. Hard rock bands tend to be the best at shamelessly taking advantage of natural disasters. New York indie bands tend to be the quickest to lash out an over-sincere cover version when a major musician dies. I thought I was immune to it at this point. Until today.

I know I’m basically doing the PR’s job for them here by reposting the press release verbatim. They might get mad at me for openly mocking their craft and refuse to send us stuff anymore. That would be a crying shame, because if they’ve got even one more release like this in their armoury then I might just actually explode, spraying litres and litres of hot, juicy amazoplasm all over the walls. I’ll be sure to put that one on Youtube.

Next week: Mikael Åkerfeldt exchanges emails with David Coverdale.

When Petrucci and James Unite

As a regular contributor to the LickLibraryAndy James is no stranger to hosting interviews with some of the best Rock & Metal guitar players in the world. Zakk WyldeGus G and Judas Priest are among those recently grilled by a man who is already hot on their tails for joining that very list.

In a short space of

Saturday’s schedule was underwhelming to say the least, a day filled with artists I never bothered to check out and bands that seemed undeserving of Pitchfork’s raves, but their mass coverage of the artist before the album seemed to predicate them attaching a best new music tag to the group’s album or single — artists like Gang Gang Dance and Julianna Barwick. Fittingly, I saw Bethany Cosentino of Best Coast walking around during the day.

I didn’t bother showing up until No Age played– again, one of those bands I just never got around to. Their two-person punk rock was energetic, but the show made me wish I was watching the more energetic, anthemic, and impressive Japandroids. Guitarist Randy Randall’s rig was nothing short of impressive, with three huge cabinets and a massive array of effects pedals, but he only ever seemed to use one distortion sound and, at the beginnings of songs, would occasionally loop and delay the feedback that inevitably ended every song. Perhaps I missed something due to the sound levels; clearly, the engineers were still tuned in to dance act Chrissy Murderbot, who had played the Red Stage before No Age, as the only thing audible for a good half of No Age’s set was drummer and vocalist Dean Allen Spunt’s bass drum. Indeed, bass-heavy mixes were a complaint for most of the festival.

Gang Gang Dance

Destroyer @ Pitchfork Music Festival, 7.16.11

Following No Age, I vaguely watched Gang Gang Dance, but aside from “Mindkilla”, they did almost nothing exciting, even with…

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

All Shall Perish – This Is Where It Ends (Nuclear Blast)
America – Back Pages (eOne Music Group)
Bodeans – Indigo Dreams (Oarfin Records)
Bomb the Music Industry – Vacation (Ernest Jenning) – John Hanson
Vanessa Carlton – Rabbits on the Run (Razor & Tie)
Eric Church – Chief (EMI Records Nashville)
City Lights – In It to Win It (inVogue Records)
Communic – The Bottom Deep (Nuclear Blast)
Dawkins & Dawkins – From Now On (Light Records)
Falling In Reverse – The Drug In Me Is You (Epitaph)
Heartsounds – Drifter (Epitaph)
Iwrestledabearonce – Ruining It For Everybody (Century Media)
Jasta – Jasta (Entertainment One)
Karmakanic – In a Perfect World (Inside Out U.S.)
Little Dragon – Ritual Union (Peacefrog)
Machinedrum – Room(s) (Planet Mu)
The Milk Carton Kids – Prologue (Milk Carton Records)
Pimps of Joytime – Janxta Funk (Wonderwheel)
Release The Sunbird – Come Back to Us (Republic)
Rival Sons – Pressure & Time (Earache Records)
Jay Rock – Follow Me Home (Strange Music)
Kelly Rowland – Here I Am (Motown)
Roxette – Greatest Hits (EMI)
Joss Stone – LP1 (Stone’d Records/Surfdog)
Mick Taylor – Mick Taylor (Iconoclassic)
Tidelands – If… (Redgummy Records)
Trophy Scars – Never Born Never Dead (The Same Ghost Collective)

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Pitchfork Music Festival Day 2

The Pitchfork Music Festival is strange. It’s strange because unlike so many other festivals around the United States, the organization behind the festival has its own ideas and its own opinions – opinions that are widely known. Indeed, Pitchfork could be considered the MTV of the 21st century blogosphere, a tastemaker and a major influence on the popularity of bands in the indie scene and, increasingly so, in the hip-hop scene. Whereas a Lollapalooza or a Coachella will book a group based on the number of fans it can attract, Pitchfork looks to not only attract visitors, but also showcase their taste. It comes as no surprise that a vast majority of the artists playing at Pitchfork have received the publication’s coveted “Best New Music” tag, either on an album, track, or reissue. So when multiple acts thanked Pitchfork for their “generous support” or “continued enthusiasm” or what have you, the gesture seemed a bit stranger, and it seemed that the artists had a more intimate relationship with the publication that they might have with Bonnaroo’s organizers.

Pitchfork’s opinions have not gone without criticism and controversy. Anti-domestic violence demonstrators picketed outside of Chicago’s cozy Union Park, where the festival is held, to protest the appearance of rap group Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All. (In response, Odd Future gave them cupcakes before their show). Pitchforkreviewsreviews.com, a website cryptically run by a guy named David, used to review the reviews that Pitchfork posted everyday. Now, David has taken to analyzing…


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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