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This is the first of two posts. Look out for another coming soon, featuring reviews of Bombay Bicycle Club, J Mascis (of Dinosaur JR), Protest the Hero and more…

Canadian Music Week, or Canadian Music Fest—honestly, at this point I’m not sure which is which—is a blur for media and musicians alike. For five days, starting last Wednesday and ending tonight, Toronto is taken over. Bars, concert halls and even the prestigious Royal York Fairmont Hotel are held captive by dudes with beards, girls with bad haircuts and eager but demanding publicist types.

This year I decided to take it easier than I have in years past, and rather than blindly stumbling from bar to bar, I decided to pick and choose my spots. For me, Canadian Music Fest started on Thursday with the Wilderness of Manitoba who were, for lack of a better term, fucking awesome.

I’d only been exposed to them through a few videos posted over on the forums, but I liked what I heard. I liked it even more live.

Playing a relatively short 35 minute set, it’s pretty surprising how many sound shifts they went through. They started with cello accompaniment, and brought a lot more ambient sounds than you’ll typically hear in the Toronto folk scene. The drums were pretty overpowering—they were thunderous and crashing, again not something you’ll usually hear in folk. Not just in their first few songs but throughout their set there was a real sense of texture to their music,…

It has recently come to my attention that not only do some of you people have lives outside of Sputnik but that there is an entire new phenomenon in this earth known as “blogging.”

Apparently there are individuals who see fit to condense their thoughts on music into chunks of less than a thousand words (daft, I know) – perhaps with the aid of media devices such as video – and see fit to do so on this strange new “blogging” format. In the spirit of  togetherness, I have decided to recognise this trend and compile a list of staff and user blogs. We may even add a blogroll at some point.

Please feel free to link to your blog down below and I’ll do my best to add you to the list. Unless I don’t like you. In which case, futch ya.

Staff Blogs:

Tyler Munro - Tyler Munro // Twitter
Tyler Fisher - The Unpopulist // Twitter
Dave De Sylvia –  Too Famous To Get Fully Dressed // Twitter
Keelan H., Kiran S. et al. – Trust Me, I’m a Doctor
Rudy Klapper – Klap4Music // Twitter

User Blogs:

Marksellsuswallets - Turkey Leg
Qwe, chambered89 & Co. - Looser Than Loose
Rasputin: Slays For Days
Crysis - Ghosts of Saturn
Liledman – Musings of Eddie
Atavanhalen – Yes, We’ve Got a Video
Conradtao –…

Living in the facebook/youtube age of instant celebrity can have its benefits. I was reminded of that today. For today, I have found “Friday,” a music video by teenage recording artist Rebecca Black. There are few words to describe what happens in the following video. This is a song about Friday. Which comes after Thursday. And is followed by Saturday. I won’t try to give you context as to who this is because there is none needed. This braces-heavy video is a ten car pile-up, simultaneously awful and mesmerizing. If you find yourself asking ‘Is this really happening?,’ the answer is yes. It is.

Once you have some context, I highly recommend watching this slightly slowed down version which turns Black’s anthem into comedy gold.

I am baffled. And obsessed.

So there I was about to write yet another blog about yet another event that I had attended, when I thought to myself “Davey, you can’t write a full blog about the SoundWave Festival. It would turn out like ‘War & Peace’ and the entire SputnikMusic Blog machine would blow up. Plus, you need to stop talking about YOUR experiences (that’s what lists are for) and give the Sputnik-ites out there what THEY want”.

So last week I ran a poll (you probably missed it) as to what you all want & three main answers stood out: (1) Jonny Craig to give you the MacBook you paid for, (2) Sex & (3) Chan to review the new Aiden album about to be released. Those points seemed irrelevant to my blog, so I took the next three best responses and decided to roll them into this one all-encompassing blog. Ladies & gentlemen, I give you (1) Metal, (2) Huge headlining acts, & (3) A tour around Australia!

Prior to our tour beginning however, a disclaimer must first be aired for legal purposes: SputnikMusic shall take no responsibility for any motion sickness caused by unsteady hand-held cameras used in the making of the following videos. The same goes for deafness caused by varying volume levels, seizures caused by blinking lights, and blindness caused by the brightness of security vests.

Our tour today – just like the SoundWave Festival – starts in the north-eastern city of Brisbane, where it is sunny one…

It’s difficult to get a handle on Frank Turner’s solo career.

He’s released three full-length albums (and is about to release a fourth), but even right after Love, Ire & Song came out, he was a folk hero, an emotional icon with all the requisite traits:  honesty, longing, anger, and an acoustic guitar.  This was all with good reason.  Although his solo career blossomed in the wake of post-hardcore band Million Dead’s demise, he was more than your typical ideological punk singer turned folk artist right from the start.  His songs didn’t feel like acoustic versions of Million Dead songs, and even when he recorded the occasional cover of a Million Dead song, such as “Smiling At Strangers On Trains,” he was able to turn them into completely different works.  He was so good that many of the people who started listening to him after Love, Ire & Song didn’t even realize that he was the same skinny kid from Million Dead.

However, his endeavors as of late haven’t received the acclaim that his earlier works did.  Most recently, his Rock & Roll EP received criticism and even whispers that Turner was running out of ideas and becoming lazy with his songwriting.  Judging the EP critically is difficult because it’s hard to tell whether he really was trying his hardest or if the songs were written with the sole intent of serving the theme of “rock ‘n’ roll.”  The latter would seem to be the case, judging by the aesthetics…


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Apart from the day itself being one almighty rock, punk & metal-fest that never fails to please, another great aspect of Australia’s SoundWave Festival are the related sideshows which take place. These shows (which have come to be known as Sidewaves) often see 3-4 bands from the festival placed together on the one bill. As you can imagine, they are exceptional value for money, as well as being an effective way to solve clashes on the day. Examples of Sidewaves this year were (a) Social Distortion, Gaslight Anthem & Feeder, (b) Rob Zombie, Murderdolls, Monster Magnet & Dommin, (c) Sum 41, The Blackout, There For Tomorrow & Veara, (d) Pennywise, Millencolin & The Mad Caddies, and (e) Stone Sour, Coheed and Cambria, Sevendust & 36 Crazyfists. The Sidewave I chose to stroll along to however was the “can’t miss” trio of Anberlin, The Starting Line & Bayside.

Having previously seen them live a couple of times, I already knew that NYC’s Bayside were one of the best live bands going around. It only hit me on this night however, that they are also one of the few bands who sound great right from the get-go. They either sound-check all day or are just that damn good. Kicking off with energetic new track ‘Already Gone’, the ‘Killing Time’ opener felt like it had been on their live set for the past decade, with the way in which the audience were singing along even if they had barely heard the song before.…

Believer fans should always expect the band to constantly push ahead and deliver something challenging. This is, after all, the band that mixed technical thrash with violins and an opera singer on their 1993 release, Dimensions. They’re also the ones that came back after sixteen years of silence and immediately pushed their sound in a new quirky prog direction on Gabriel without abandoning their thrash roots. If “G.U.T.” is any indication of what Believer’s upcoming album, Transhuman, is going to sound like, though, it appears that their most challenging album is still ahead.

Believer – Transhuman — Released on April 12

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 08 , 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Agnostic Front – That’s Life [7"] (Bridge Nine Records)
Angelspit – Carbon Beauty  (Metropolis Records) – Trey Spencer
Augury – Concealed (Sonic Unyon)
Ava Inferi – Onyx (SEASON MIST)
Banjo Or Freakout – Banjo Or Freakout (Rare Book Room Records)
Benedictum – Dominion (Frontiers Records)
Blood Ceremony – Living With the Ancients (Rise Above Records)
Carol Bui – Red Ship (Ex Oh Records)
Burzum – Fallen ( Byelobog Productions)
Children of Bodom – Relentless Reckless Forever (Fontana Universal)
Bruce Cockburn – Small Source Of Comfort (TRUE NORTH)
Colosseum – Chapter 3: Parasomnia (Firebox Country)
Dance Gavin Dance – Downtown Battle Mountain Pt. II (Rise)
Defeater – Empty Days & Sleepless Nights (Bridge Nine Records) – Adam Thomas
Dinosaur Bones – My Divider (Dine Alone Records)
Empress Hotel – Empress Hotel (Park the Van Records)
Riley Etheridge, Jr. – Power Keg (Rock Ridge Music)
Sara Evans – Stronger (SONY NASHVILLE)
Lupe Fiasco – Lasers (Atlantic) – Sobhi Abdul-Rakhman
Ghostpoet – Peanut Butter Blues & Melancholy Jam (Brownswood)
Ghost & Writer – Shipwrecks (Metropolis Records)
Aaron Gillespie – Anthem Song (Tooth & Nail Records)
Grails – Deep Politics (Temporary Residence)
The High Kings – Memory Lane (Ard Ri Entertainment)
Sierra Hull – Daybreak (Rounder)

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I’ll drop some further notes on this in the morning, but for now I’ll invite you all to tune in to the live broadcast of the sixth annual Choice Music Prize (the Irish Mercury Prize/Polaris/Triple J awards) ceremony.

The show has already been in progress for a little over an hour, with Halves and Fight Like Apes having already completed their sets. James Vincent McMorrow is performing as I speak and the rest of the nominees, with the exception of Imelda May who’s otherwise engaged, will take to the stage as the night progresses.

Today FM DJ Paul McLoone will be interviewing the performers between sets and chairman Tony Clayton-Lea of the Irish Times will announce the winner at around 10.45 GMT. And Morrissey is there! You can read some of my more detailed thoughts on this year’s prize here.

A full list of nominees can be seen here:

Adebisi Shank – This is the Second Album of a Band Called Adebisi Shank
The Cast of Cheers Chariot
Cathy Davey - The Nameless
Fight Like Apes – The Body of Christ and the Legs of Tina Turner
Halves – It Goes, It Goes (Forever and Ever)
Imelda May – Mayhem
James Vincent McMorrow – Early in the Morning
O Emperor – Hither Thither
Two Door Cinema Club Tourist History
Villagers Becoming a Jackal

Previous winners include Jape, the Divine Comedy, Super Extra Bonus Party and Julie Feeney. Adrian Crowley won the 2009 gong.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 01 , 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Marsha Ambrosius – Late Nights, Early Mornings (J-Records)
Agnostic Front – My Life My Way {EU} (Nuclear Blast Records)
Francesca Battistelli – Hundred More Years (Fervent Records)
Beady Eye – Different Gear, Still Speeding (Dangerbird) – Joseph Viney
Apollo Brown – Clouds (Mello Music Group)
Bugsy Da God – The Terrorist Advocate (Napalm Recordings)
Anna Calvi – Anna Calvi (Domino)
Harry Connick Jr. – In Concert on Broadway (Columbia)
DeVotchKa – 100 Lovers (ANTI-)
Simone Dinnerstein – Bach Strange Beauty (Sony Import)
Dropkick Murphys – Going Out In Style (DROPKICK MURPHYS)
Alexander Ebert – Alexander (Vagrant Records)
Eisley – The Valley (Equal Vision Records) – Trey Spencer
Melissa Etheridge – Icon (Island)
Everyone Dies In Utah – Seeing Clearly (Tragic Hero Records)
Forever The Sickest Kids – Forever The Sickest Kids (Motown) – Davey Boy
Gideon – Costs (Facedown)
Go Radio – Lucky Street (Fearless Records) – Davey Boy
Grayceon – All We Destroy (Profound Lore)
Nicolas Jaar – Space Is Only Noise (Circus Company)
Aaron Lewis – Town Line (STROUDAVARIOUS)
Liquid Mind – DREAM: A Liquid Mind Experience (Real Music)
Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes (Atlantic)
Buddy Miller – Majestic Silver Strings (New West Records)

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I think it goes without saying that when it comes to the indie music universe, there was no more celebrated reunion in recent memory than that of seminal Canadian post-rock ennead Godspeed You! Black Emperor. The announcement that they were going to be curating the 2010 All Tomorrow’s Parties Christmas event in Minehead, England created such a wave of excitement that when Godspeed You! Black Emperor expanded their comeback to include a series of tours in Europe and North America tickets sold out almost as soon as they went on sale. On February 22nd, 2011 their reunion tour made its way to Pomona, California, the first of two stops in Southern California (the other being at the Music Box in Hollywood a day later).

Joining Godspeed You! Black Emperor for the night was the stoner-drone band Om. Om took the stage right before nine o’clock. Consisting of bassist and vocalist Al Cisneros (the name should be familiar to anyone who has listened to the pioneering sludge band Sleep), Emil Amos on drums (who also plays in Grails), and multi-instrumentalist Robert Aiki Aubrey Lowe, Om’s spiritual bass grooves entranced the crowd at the Fox Theater for a solid forty minutes. Playing a set consisting mainly of tracks from their God Is Good album, Cisneros’ rolling bass grooves and zen like vocals had the audience hypnotized, but this was the calm before the storm, as when it became time towards the latter half of their set, things became more ferocious,…

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There’s a hell of a lot going on in “Don’t Stop”, the latest teaser off The Dodos’ forthcoming No Color. It’s instilled with the groups typical energy, tightly wound around masterful finger-plucking and pitter-patter percussion, and I’d dare say it might just be one of their best songs to date. There’s still no sign of Neko Case’s reported contributions to their 4th LP but it’s safe to say my interest in the rest of No Color has hit a fever pitch.

The Dodos – Dont Stop by Ragged Words

It’s fair to state that most of my previous gig attending experiences have been relatively limited to the rock / pop-punk / post-hardcore spectrum. I’ve never really considered going to too many indie gigs (how UnSputnik of me), despite liking my fair share of bands that could loosely be categorized as such. Most indie music seems best enjoyed via headphones when in a certain mood, rather than in a live setting… So I’ve always imagined if I did attend such a concert, I’d just be one of Win Butler’s friends standing there with my arms crossed, drinking one beer per song. I’d need something extra to be entertained; a strings or horn section, a crazy front-man or a stage invasion! English band Foals seemed the perfect (pardon the pun) antidote for my situation; a group whose debut LP was filled with catchy & energetic math-rock, and whose follow-up was simply too f*cken fantastic to ignore.

On an extremely humid Thursday night when floods were ruining cities to the north & bushfires were ravaging cities to the west (seriously, our climate is screwed), Mr & Mrs. Boy wandered on over to The Palace Theatre in downtown Melbourne in order to witness the aforementioned Brits. First up however were Brisbane indie-poppers Last Dinosaurs, a quartet who initially did not seem like a good match for such a gig. Having heard all of 4 tracks from the band prior to this night, I had pegged them as more of the Vampire Weekend style…

I’ll let this video speak for itself, however, for reference I suggest you listen to the original track before listening to the orchestrated transposition of “Jane Doe.”  The maker of the video used a program called Symphobia to create this: needless to say, it sounds incredible.

While I’m at it, an 8-bit version of “Jane Doe”

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