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Halloween draws to a close and I found myself wandering home off the bus listening to Red House Painter’s “Katy Song” on the moonlit path and thinking about words and music. I had just finished conducting a seminar on the “Sirens” episode of Ulysses. For those not familiar with the text I will explain it briefly: Joyce writes an entire chapter in a bar scene and structures it as a fugue. The language serves a tripled purpose—narrative, thematic, and sound qualities. Snippets of songs and of important lines in the book are refrained and build one on top of the other fuga per canonem. So I was churning over thoughts of language patterns, phonetics and word associations, when I began thinking about nachtmusik. There is no real reason to actually associate certain kinds of music to the night, just as there’s no real reason why Ulysses should be considered Joyce’s masterpiece of the day and Finnegans Wake his masterpiece of the night. These concepts are purely constructs of the mind, for whatever reason we do it; the Real, idleness, nostalgia, kernelization of sound.

Then it hit me: night music is night music for the same reason that language is the perpetual creative act. Because language is the highest echelon of creativity; we have our set rules (grammar) but beyond that there are infinite ways to construct a sentence (ask Kafka) and infinite ways to combine phonemes to create neologisms (ask Joyce). The same goes for music; these chords sound nice…

Music does a lot of different things to a lot of different people but I think what I love about it the most is the way it can condense and translate the most complicated and screwed-up ideas, situations or emotions into a song, or (better) just a single line. Some artists have the capacity to say in a word what would take most people a paragraph. I think of Hemingway’s response to a friend’s wager that he couldn’t write a story in six words: For Sale, Baby Shoes, Never Worn. I think what this kind of beautiful expression needs is a connection at the front end so powerful that instinct takes over and says it for you.

(Or, alternatively)

Sometimes artists express things in simple ways and it rules, LOOK, songs!

The Mountain Goats – Old College Try

I wanna say I’m sorry for stuff I haven’t done yet; things will shortly get completely out of hand.

I’m just delving into the Mountain Goats discography and I get the feeling this isn’t the only line he’s written that could fit on this list. To me, this line sums up that feeling of unavoidable chaos where you know you’re strapped into a ride that you should technically be able to stop but really, really can’t. What I absolutely adore about the way he phrases it is that it’s so matter-of-fact it almost makes it seem not his fault. Or mine.

Yeah. Stunning.

The Weakerthans – Virtute

I don’t know about you, but oftentimes I find myself analyzing the music behind a movie just as much as the film itself. It’s difficult to determine to what extent a soundtrack influences my opinion of a movie’s quality…technically it shouldn’t, but I always favor movies with indie-geared soundtracks (500 Days of Summer, Garden State) all the same. It’s something that annoys the hell out of my friends, which is why I’m not sure if this is common or if there is just something really wrong with me. But anyway, I glanced through my library and pulled out notable soundtracks (some good, others very bad) and decided to evaluate them for their contributions to the movie and their overall quality. Since it’s Halloween today, let’s begin with Tim Burton’s The Nightmare Before Christmas:

The Nightmare Before Christmas

This is one of those movies with a cult following, and I totally get why. It’s stunningly original, visually appealing for its time, and it features a thoroughly enjoyable plot. For music enthusiasts, the soundtrack has to be another reason. It follows the storyline extremely closely, sometimes even narrating through song or spoken word (via Danny Elfman). It has been remade, but nothing touches the original which, if you ask me, is a classic.

Sample: “This Is Halloween” by Danny Elfman

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Grade: A

Across The Universe

Now this one I never understood the hype for. I was a sophomore in college…

The first round of promotions is officially over. Click here for the final list of those that made the transition. New staff should click here to be added to the staff Last.fm page and new contributors should click here for their page.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of November 1, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

The Beach Boys – The Smile Sessions [Box Set] (Capitol)
Justin Bieber – Under The Mistletoe (Island Records)
Blouse – Blouse (Captured Tracks)
Susan Boyle – Someone To Watch Over Me (Columbia)
The Decemberists – Long Live the King (Capitol) – Steve M.
The Dreaming – Puppet (Epochal Artists Rec.)
Elizabeth! – Brainchildren (Canopy Jazz)
Florence and the Machine – Ceremonials (Universal Records) – Keelan H.
Girl In A Coma – Exists & All The Rest (Blackheart Records)
Idle Warship – Habits Of The Heart (Fontana)
Insane Clown Posse – Featuring Freshness (Psychopathic)
Joker – The Vision (4AD) – Deviant
Carole King – A Holiday Carole (HEAR MUSIC)
Krisiun – The Great Execution (Century Media)
Miranda Lambert – Four The Record (SONY NASHVILLE)
Lou Reed and Metallica – Lulu (Warner Bros.)
Megadeth – TH1RT3EN (Roadrunner Records) – Mike Stagno
Mike Patton – Solitude of Prime Numbers (Ipecac Recordings)
Rapper Big Pooh – Dirty Pretty Things (For Members Only)
Sick of it All – Nonstop (Century Media)
Slipknot –

Anyone booked on a Qantas flight right now is probably searching for something to do at an airport. Well, how about getting out your iPad, an acoustic guitar and a violin? Because that’s what these three gentlemen recently did at Shanghai airport.

For those unfamiliar with the guy under the hoodie (surely risking arrest by airport security just for wearing a hoodie) and the part-alien drummer, this is pop-punk outfit Yellowcard playing ‘My Hero’ by The Foo Fighters.

In case you missed it, there was a new group of people promoted last night (and earlier in the week). Please join me in welcoming our new Contributors, Staff, and even a new Moderator.

Earlier in the week my friend and yours, Channing Freeman, made the historical leap from Emeritus to Sputnik Moderator. Tread lightly for his wrath is limitless.

After resting for a few days, Mx returned and delivered us a new batch of contributors & staff. Please welcome them, as well.



- Deviant.

- Adam Knott

- Sowingseason

- Crysis *


- Alex Robertson

- This Life is Genocide

- Irving

- AngelofDeath

- iFghtffyrdmns

- Voivod

- pizzamachine *

- Eli (Xenophanes) *

You might also notice that Jom and I underwent a title change from Moderator to Sputnik ModAdmin. This last promotion will have very little effect on the average user but it’s there. Anyway, congratulations to our new promotions and if you weren’t promoted this cycle, just keep trying.


* Late addition due to accidental omission during the initial promotions

There will be a few extra news items over the last few months of the year as we gear up for promotions, year-end lists and even a surprise or two. The first surprise that we have for you is the fact that we’ve added another moderator — our own Channing Freeman. So, go flood his shoutbox with congratulatory praise, ass kissing, thinly veiled threats and random requests for favors (or you could if he hadn’t disabled his shoutbox).

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 25, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Acylum – Karzinom (Alfa Matrix)
A Loss for Words – No Sanctuary (Rise Records)
Banner Pilot – Hearts Beats Pacific (Fat Wreck Chords)
The Beets – Let The Poison Out (HARDLY ART)
Black Rock & Ron – Stop the World – Stop the World (Get On Down)
Black Sun Aeon – Blacklight Deliverance (Stay Heavy Records)
Black Tusk – Set the Dial (Relapse)
Boyz II Men – Twenty {UK} (Universal UK)
Michael Buble – Christmas (Reprise)
Casey Veggies – Sleeping In Class (Delicious Vinyl)
Kelly Clarkson – Stronger (RCA) – Steve M.
Coldplay – Mylo Xyloto (Capitol Records)
DarkDriveClinic – Noise In My Head (Metropolis Records)
De/Vision – Popgefahr: The Mix (Metropolis Records)
Death – Individual Thought Patterns [Remastered] (Relapse)
Deer Tick – Divine Providence (Partisan Records)
Dirty Projectors and Bjork – Mount Wittenberg Orca (Domino)
Dub Trio – Dub Trio IV (Roir Records)
Giant Squid –

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 11, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

3 – The Ghost You Gave to Me (Metal Blade)
Absolute Body Control – Wind[Re]Wind (Metropolis Records)
Absu – Abzu (Candlelight)
Ryan Adams – Ashes & Fire (Capitol Records) – Rudy Klapper
Lauren Alaina – Wildflower (Mercury Nashville)
Amebix – Sonic Mass (Easy Action)
Angelspit – Hello My Name Is (Metropolis Records)
As You Drown – Rat King (Metal Blade)
Bella Novela – The Archeress (Self Released)
Binary Park – The Deviated (Metropolis Records)
Bjork – Biophilia (Nonesuch) – Nick Butler
Casiokids – Aabenbaringen Over Aaskammen (Polyvinyl Records)
Charred Walls of the Damned – Cold Winds on Timeless Days (Metal Blade)
Crooked Fingers – Breaks In The Armor (Merge Records)
Cymbals Eat Guitars – Lenses Alien (Barsuk)
Divine Ascension – As The Truth Appears (Nightmare Records)
Electric Six – Heartbeats and Brainwaves (Metropolis Records)
Erasure – Tomorrow’s World (Mute)
Evanescence – Evanescence (Wind-Up)
The Field – Lopping State Of Mind (Kompakt Germany) – Deviant
Five Finger Death Punch – American Capitalist (Prospect Park)
Future Islands – On the Water (Thrill Jockey)
Graveworm – Fragments Of Death {EU} (Massacre Records)

John Wesley Harding – The Sound of His Own Voice (Yep Roc Records)
Mayer Hawthorne – How Do You Do (Republic)
Tim Hecker – Dropped Pianos (Kranky)
Joe Henry…

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As part of the second wave of French House, Justice were pretty big in 2007 with their debut album (Cross). The reception to early releases from upcoming album Audio, Video, Disco (due for release October 25th) has been mixed. Clear though is the change in direction signaled with the upcoming album, with rock elements present on Cross being drawn out and put centre stage. Out now are three more tunes in which this new direction can be seen clearly.

The new direction taken by Justice is reminiscent of drum and bass act Pendulum’s transition in sound from Hold Your Colour to In Silico. For Pendulum the move proved to work out commercially, but saw a lukewarm reception critically, so how will the turn in sound fare for Justice? Well here are three tracks for you to be the judge of.

Justice – Canon

Justice – Helix

Justice – Newlands

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of October 4, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Annie Crane – Jump With A Child’s Heart (Constant Clip Records)
Rodney Atkins – Take A Back Road (Curb Records)
James Blake – Enough Thunder (Universal Records)
Blessthefall – Awakening (Fearless Records)
Blotted Science – The Animation Of Entomology (EclecticElectric)
Bonnie – Wolfroy Goes To Town (Drag City)
Danny Brown – XXX (Fool’s Gold Records)
Browning – Burn This World (Earache Records)
Dessa – Castor, The Twin (Doomtree Records)
DJ Shadow – The Less You Know The Better (Roc-A-Fella)
Dreamers Of The Ghetto – Enemy/Lover (Temporary Residence)
Emika – Emika (Ninja Tune)
Exile – 4 Track Mind (OULP)
Feist – Metals (Cherrytree/Interscope)
Merle Haggard – Working In Tennessee (Vanguard Records)
Indigo Girls – Beauty Queen Sister (IG Recordings/Vanguard Records)
Jack’s Mannequin – People & Things (Sire/WEA)
La Dispute – Wildlife (No Sleep Records) – Channing Freeman
Lights – Siberia (Last Gang Records)
Eliot Lipp – How We Do: Moves Made (Old Tacoma Records)
Loney Dear – Hall Music (Polyvinyl Records)
Lydia – Paint it Gold (Self Released)
Mayday Parade – Mayday Parade (Fearless/Mayday Parade)
Scott McCreery – Clear As Day (Mercury Nashville)
Misfits – The Devil’s Rain (Misfit Records)
Mutemath – Odd Soul (Warner Bros.)
New Found Glory – Radiosurgery (Epitaph)
Prince Rama – Trust Now…

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Let me start off by saying that I’ve been listening to Iron Maiden all day, so my ratings and descriptions might be more venom-filled than they were in the last entry because I had to pause Powerslave to do this. Also, am I the last person to notice that on the cover to Powerslave, the stairs lead right into Eddie’s crotch?

Where this entrance leads, nobody knows. Except for Eddie. He knows.

I enjoyed doing the first part a lot because I don’t often feel nostalgic. By no means was my childhood hard, but they weren’t exactly halcyon days that I reminisce about either. My childhood and teen years are just sort of hunkered down in the background of my mind, only making themselves known on very rare occasions. So it was pleasantly surprising that I felt the urge to revisit some of the songs and videos that got me into music, even though some of them weren’t all that great. It’s nice to be reminded of more innocent times, especially because we can so often be blinded by all the musical knowledge we’ve accrued over the years. We weren’t always like this, and songs like these will always be there to remind us of that.

Story Of The Year – “Anthem Of Our Dying Day”

It was a toss-up between this song and “Until The Day I Die,” but this song won out because it definitely brought back more memories (although I can…

I discovered music television when I was around 13 years old. As I’ve stated in numerous reviews where I incessantly talk about myself (Atavanhalen has dubbed the past few Sputnik years “The ‘Me’ Generation”), I didn’t have a very distinct notion of what music television even was for the majority of my childhood. But one day I was at a friend’s house and he turned on MTV2, and my life was forever changed by shitty music. Looking back, it’s hard to believe that I really loved some of the things I saw on television, but not surprising. I didn’t know anything else existed. Tonight however, I was struck by nostalgia and I traveled to Youtube to revisit some of those songs, and some of them hold up reasonably well. Of course, some of them are just fucking shit.  And oh my god the fucking videos.

Three Days Grace – “I Hate Everything About You”

One distinct memory that I have involving this song contains a bit of early-era elitism from me.  I told my older brother that the radio sucked, and he responded by turning on the local rock station.  This is the song that was playing, prompting him to say, “See?  One of the BEST SONGS EVER.  The radio doesn’t suck, idiot.”  And I didn’t argue because at the time, I agreed that Three Days Grace had written one of the BEST SONGS EVER.  It was a simpler time.  Back then, every song I heard had the potential…

Radiohead released their eighth studio album to some fanfare earlier in 2011. Forthcoming is TKOL RMX 1234567, an two-CD remix album of content from The King of Limbs.

The pitfalls of remix albums are not that difficult to determine. Whether from artists rushing a remix to earn a quick buck and get their name seen, or from limitations and hurried timetables enforced; almost always remix albums come out inconsistent in their quality.

Suited to the remix treatment or not, Radiohead have at least turned the album over to a superb collection of electronic artists. With remixes by Caribou, Jamie xx, Four Tet, Jacques Greene, and Shed, the artists featured are both talented and well versed in the field of remixes. Featured below is a remix of Bloom by Blawan off the album, a fair departure away from the sound of the original.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 27, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

9th Wonder – The Wonder Years (Traffic Entertainment)
Acoustic Alchemy – Roseland (Heads Up)
Apparat – The Devil’s Walk (Mute U.S.)
Sebastian Bach – Kicking & Screaming (Frontiers Records)
The Bangles – Sweetheart Of The Sun (Waterfront Records)
Barenaked Ladies – Hits From Yesterday And The Day Before (Rhino Records)
Big Troubles – Romantic Comedy (Slumberland Records)
Blink 182 – Neighborhoods (David Geffen Company) – Adam Downer
Blu – Open (Nature Sounds)
Boom Bip – Zig Zaj (Lex Records)
Brainstorm – On The Spur Of The Moment (AFM Records)
Brutal Truth – End Time (Relapse)
Chickenfoot – Chickenfoot III (Entertainment One Music)
Cobra Skulls – Agitations (Fat Wreck Chords)
J. Cole – Cole World: The Sideline Story (Roc Nation)
Collide – Counting to Zero (Self Released)
Confession – The Long Way Home (Resist Records)
Cormega – Raw Forever (Traffic Entertainment)
Download – Helicopter + Wookie Wall (Metropolis Records)
DTMD – Makin’ Dollas (Mello Music Group)
Dum Dum Girls – Only In Dreams (Sub Pop)
Evidence – Cats & Dogs (Rhymesayers)
Frankmusik – Do It In The AM (Interscope)
Gem Club – Breakers (HARDLY ART)
The Gift – Explode (Spindle Music)
Glorior Belli – The Great Southern Darkness (Metal Blade)
Hundredth – Let Go (MEDIASKARE)
Kasabian –

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ACYLUM – “Angel” (download) by alfa-matrix


Twisted electronic industrialists, Acylum, have released the first single for their upcoming album Karzinom. The song is called “Angel” and is one of the more subdued and ‘friendly’ tracks on the album. That doesn’t mean that the band have suddenly started making feel good music or anything that could be appreciated by your average music consumer. The music is still dark, the vocals are still heavily processed and the lyrics are still twisted. On the other hand, it perfectly showcases the band’s enhanced use of melodic elements to further increase the creepiness factor that has always been a part of their sound. Just don’t let this song lull you into a false sense of security, because the full album is still full of dissonant sounds, disturbing samples and a much more confrontational style, overall.


Acylum – Karzinom
Release Date: October 28th
Record Label: Alfa-Matrix

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