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Running the business end of a website online, you tend to be confronted with the odd dubious proposition, always conducted by email. We’re all familiar with the most venerable exiled Princes of Nigeria, but fewer will be familiar with the Twitter follower scam.

The Twitter follower scam is probably best explained here (in fact, keep a tab of this page open because it crops up later), but in essence it’s a “service” offered by certain professional internet people, whereby they will access your Twitter account and, over the course of a week, begin to follow a large number of automated accounts that will follow you back, thus boosting your headline “follow” figure – until, that is, they all begin to unfollow you within a few days.

Anybody with a Twitter account will be aware of just how ubiquitous these bots are… now imagine you’re following them.

Usually I ignore these offers, as well as the numerous pittance-paying ad companies that contact us daily, but today was particularly humid and I had nothing better to do. I got an email from Glyn Berrington of UK mail order company Sturnam Clothing, offering me the opportunity to gain 500 new Twitter followers in just one week for the low, low price of $40, or £25. I just couldn’t resist.

(Apologies for the low text visibility – think of it as an artistic commentary on the shoddiness of the scheme.)

Intrigued by the possibility of connecting so many lines of generic…

Believer “Ego Machine”

Believer will be releasing their fifth album, Transhuman, on April 12th through Metal Blade Records. They initially released a video for the song “G.U.T.” which showcased the band’s new direction — a direction that seemed to focus more on stiff rhythms than on thrashy aggression. It was also the first song to showcase the band’s new vocal style on the choruses. The clean harmonized vocal style worked well contrasted with the band’s typical metal ‘rasp’ and showed that they were serious about continuing to push their progression.

The next song to be released was “Mindsteps”. This is an uplifting song that closes out the album with more stiff rhythms and a huge focus on melody. It also features nothing but Kurt Bachman’s new clean singing style. “Mindsteps” is also notable because it’s easily one of the band’s most subdued numbers. With the release of this song the band proved beyond a doubt that Transhuman had the potential to be a huge departure.

They’ve now released the final song before the release of the album, “Ego Machine”. “Ego Machine” displays yet another facet of Transhuman’s overall sound. This song brings back some of the band’s thrash leanings as well as the high pitched rasp associated with it. The chorus has the potential to be a surprise to fans with its deep throaty growl contrasted with clean singing in the background. Despite the thrashier sound it also still adheres to the band’s focus on stiff rhythms and a slightly…



Gil Scott-Heron’s return to the studio in 2010 produced an album nearly as interesting as the struggles and addiction that kept him away for so long. In We’re New Here we see Heron’s latest album remixed and rethought in a contemporary fashion. Far from glossing up Heron’s gritty vocals; artist Jamie xx rethinks Heron’s material in ways totally unsuited to his rambling. Yet as with his treatment of Adele’s Rolling In The Deep, we see Jamie xx casing Heron’s vocals in a new electronic surrounding that makes no bones about departing entirely from the original. NY Is Killing Me throws such rough punches, the dark dubstep bass the perfect companion to rather mirthless lyrics. It is the wide range of ways in which the album compliments and contrasts its source that makes Jamie xx’s rethink so compelling.

For a full review of We’re New Here by Gil Scott-Heron & Jamie xx, please check out Deviant’s review here.

Canuck tween heartthrob Justin Bieber and Iowa’s favourite douche-metal band Slipknot have more in common than you’d think.

With Lady Gaga famously having Christened her fans her “little monsters,” you could be forgiven for thinking the phenomenon began with her. In actuality, musicians have been giving pet names to their followers for decades, long before Slipknot dubbed theirs “maggots.” More recently, Justin Bieber inadvertently entered the pop dictionary as a noun, his most ardent fans having been dubbed “Beliebers” by a disbelieving public.

What do these two names have in common? Simples. The late, great Richie James Edwards penned the words: “Little people, in little houses, like maggots: small, blind and worthless.” Clearly, Slipknot have a great affection for their fans – or at least did before they all grew up and realised that well-fitted clothes are always more flattering. Fittingly, Beliebers (and Believers in general) also tend to be small, blind and worthless in varying quantities.

Which brings us to the video. ‘Psychosocial Baby’ shouldn’t really work on any level yet, somehow, it works on every level simultaneously with reckless disregard for everything that is good and pure. Furthermore, it confirms three basic tenets of the Universal Law: a) Slipknot have always been a pop band with a shitty metal backing track; b) the Biebs is death metal to the core; and c) it’s still really creepy when Ludacris raps about his 13-year-old girlfriend waking him up in the morning.

There is a download link on Youtube.

I struggled for awhile with the second part to this little discourse. The struggle was that, to be in full disclosure, I had no idea really where I was going with the argument. I simply knew that my first part was not enough and as a failsafe I put that “Part 1” at the end of the title. I had a rough idea at what I was trying to get at, but in terms of putting something together—well I was at a loss. So I’ve decided to structure this second part in a very Hegelian manner. Hegel’s method of discourse, for those of you who do not know it, is essentially to have a thesis, then an antithesis, and finally a synthesis. For, the first part of this blog post laid out my essential problem: where have all the big ideas gone? My suggestion, if it may not have been clear, was that the increasingly factional categorization—I believe nitpicking was the word I used—of genre labels by communities of music lovers such as ourselves here at Sputnik, is symptomatic of the endangerment of these big ideas. A ‘big idea’, as I see it, is an attempt to illustrate something specific in a way that transcends experience and connects to the mind of the audience. This is not to say platitudes or other generalizations, in fact that’s the opposite of what I mean. No, a big idea is one that makes you think beyond the way you normally do.

I believe…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 05, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

2562 – Fever (When In Doubt)
3:33 – EP 1 (Parallel Thought)
Ambrose Akinmusire – When the Heart Emerges Glistening (Blue Note Records)
Artillery – My Blood (METAL MIN2)
Asking Alexandria – Reckless & Relentless (Sumerian Records)
Katy B – On A Mission (Columbia Records)
The Blackout – Hope (Cooking Vinyl) – Davey Boy
Blueprint – Adventures In Counter Culture (Rhymesayers Entertainment)
John Brodeur – Tiger Pop Ten (Mr. Duck Records)
Brotha Lynch Hung – Coathanga Strangla (Strange Music)
Craig Campbell – Craig Campbell (Bigger Picture)
Cold Cave – Cherish The Light Years (Matador Records)
Daft Punk – Tron: Legacy Reconfigured (Disney)
Ray Davies – See My Friends (Decca Records)
FM Static – My Brain Says Stop, But My Heart Says Go (Tooth & Nail Records)
Ghostlimb – Infrastructure (Vitriol Records)
Kina Grannis – Stairwells (One Haven)
Hollywood Undead – American Tragedy (A&M/Octone)
Hot Tuna – Steady As She Goes (Red House)
Ill Bill & Vinnie Paz – Heavy Metal Kings (Enemy Soil)
The Kills – Blood Pressures (Domino) – Rudy Klapper
Kool Keith – Legend of Tashan Dorrsett (Junkadelic Music)
Mandisa – What If We Were Real (Sparrow)
George Michael – The Lowdown (SEXY INTELLECTUAL)
Negura Bunget – Focul Viu [CD/DVD] (Prophecy)
Gretchen Parlato – The…

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Regular readers of the blog will know that we’re big fans of BBC Radio 1’s Live Lounge - not just because they invite artists to cover a diverse array of songs, but also because they invite guests from right across the spectrum of artists instead of just sticking to rock acts.

This afternoon, it was the turn of New Jersey pop-rockers My Chemical Romance, who had previously performed Blur’s ‘Song 2′ on the show. Stating a clear preference for Britpop, the group have again opted for a ’90s classic in the form of Pulp’s ‘Common People.’

Everybody knows that the original is one of the best songs ever, with a fantastic video to go with it, and William Shatner has already served up the ultimate cover version. However My Chem’s punkier take on the track manages to retain much of the drama  and intensity that made it such a great song to begin with. And more proof that the Live Lounge is the best thing since, well, ‘Common People.’

My Chemical Romance – ‘Common People’:

William Shatner feat. Joe Jackson – ‘Common People’:

Some cover versions don’t make a lot of sense. Witness Exhibit A: Almost everything on Youtube. Or Exhibit B: Any of the thousands of extreme metal covers of Britney Spears songs, none of which have ever been anything other than turgid shit and an affront to the Princess of Pop.

UK orchestral metal band Xerath’s cover of Michael Jackson’s ‘Speed Demon,’ on the other hand, makes an awful lot of sense. In fact, most Michael Jackson songs translate well to the sphere of heavy metal, particularly those from the run of Thriller->Dangerous when he self-consciously attempted to incorporate heavy rock into his music.

‘Speed Demon’ is far from the best track on Bad – in fact, it’s probably one of the worst – but that’s just to say it doesn’t rank up there with his innumerable classics. It’s a good song and one that suits a band who attempt to balance melody with harsh vocals, and to contrast fairly basic guitar riffs with frenetic polyrhythms (just check out the hummingbird-like synth work on the original).

Speaking of the original, it’s probably best to start at source before listening to the cover. Better still, start with the bonkers/insane/awesome video for which words could never truly do justice. I’m not a fan of quoting Wikipedia for a variety of reasons, but the crowd-sourced summary of the video was too perfectly-worded to ignore:

In the video, Jackson, in an attempt to avoid overzealous fans (even The Noid), disguises himself as a rabbit named

Meet Alexandra Wallace. Anybody who’s attended a reasonably high-profile university (or maybe even a crappy one) knows Alexandra’s type: pretty, rich and pig ignorant of the world beyond her gated lifestyle.

Earlier this month, the UCLA student and part-time swimsuit model posted a video on Youtube complaining about Asians at college. About how they have their families come over at the weekend to cook their meals for the week (not everyone can afford to eat out all the time) and disturb all her epiphanies at the library with their “ching chong ling long” phone conversations.

Oh and, seriously, you should go outside if you’re scared your relatives might have died in the tsunami because, honestly, some of us are trying to have an epiphany here.

Alexandra’s probably not a racist. As outlined above, she’s of a fairly common variety of over-privileged, entitled moron that congregates at almost every institution of higher learning because money > intelligence. Unfortunately for her, her stupidity earned her death threats from the usual throngs of anti-social idiots on the internet and she’s had to leave the school. Nobody should celebrate that.

What we should celebrate, however, is this rather delightful bitch-slap delivered courtesy of LA musician Jimmy Wong. The set-up is perfect, and the music is an oddly satisfying mix of Lonely Island-style perv-R&B parody and, er, Jason Mraz. The chorus is infectious and, barring some vocal blips, it’s really nicely recorded. Boyce Avenue got a record deal for a…

When you have over 60 international bands touring Australia at the same time, a number of things can occur… The Poms frequently get sunburnt, the yanks usually get arrested & the kiwis just never end up going back. But there’s one thing that can always be counted on… Photo shots with koalas and kangaroos. Here’s Gaslight Anthem drummer Benny Horowitz fulfilling his tourist visa obligation.

Down under, we must also look like guinea pigs or something. On the one day at the Soundwave Festival 4 weeks ago, I personally witnessed multiple new songs from bands eager to test out their new tunes on a hopefully welcoming audience. The Blackout, The Bronx and There For Tomorrow are all outfits who took the opportunity to do so, since they have new albums coming out soon. But the most intriguing band to perform a new track was New Jersey’s The Gaslight Anthem.

Still unknown as to whether this was an offcut from ‘The American Slang’ sessions, a new track for a forthcoming album, or just some awesome ditty that a talented bunch of guys can write and dispose of when they see fit, the song is called ‘Biloxi Parish’. Now I could break it down for you with paragraphs of descriptive analysis, but all I really need to say is “The Gaslight Anthem” and you should already know the quality that you are in for.

Or should you? For – as can be seen on the humorous, if mumbled, preamble on…

Hosted by Drake, who in spite of his show-leading six nominations left empty handed, this past weekend’s Juno awards were somehow pretty entertaining. Sure they made Canada’s music scene seem like little more than a conglomeration of ageing hippies and filthy hipsters, but…actually, that’s pretty much what the Canadian music scene is.

One of the biggest surprises of the night, other than Neil Young’s inexplicable victory for Artist of the Year and Shania Twain’s reference to her “Canadian Bush” was Drake’s job as a host. From his before-show Skype skit with news anchor Lloyd Robertson and Justin Bieber to his Chilly Gonzales accompanied rendition of Snow’s “Informer”, Drake was a surprisingly personable and entertaining host, but perhaps no part of Drake’s hosting turn was as goofy and peculiar as the skit you’re about to see. In it, Drake plays on the “Young Money” label by, well…harassing a bunch of senior citizens. Cuuuuuute?

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All faces.


The Users’ Top Albums of 2010 feature has finally run its course. If you missed it, feel free to check out 100 – 51 and the finish the journey here: top 10 EPs.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 29, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

After Midnight Project- You Belong [EP] (Self-Released)
Aiden – Disguises (Victory Records) – Davey Boy
Amon Amarth – Surtur Rising (Metal Blade)
AWOLNATION – Megalithic Symphony (Red Bull Records)
Marcia Ball – Roadside Attractions (Alligator Records)
Beardfish – Mammoth (Inside Out U.S.)
Becoming The Archetype – Celestial Completion (Solid State Records)
Bibio – Mind Bokeh (Warp Records) – Rudy Klapper
The Boxer Rebellion – The Cold Still (Boxer Rebellion)
Broken Bells – Meyrin Fields [EP] (Columbia)
Burial – Street Halo (Piccadilly Records)
Cavalera Conspiracy – Blunt Force Trauma (Roadrunner Records)
Clemits – My Secret Garden (MSG Records)
Demonaz – March Of the Norse {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
DJ Spinna & Mr. Thing – The Beat Generation (BBE Music)
E-40 – Revenue Retrievn-Graveyard (Heavy On The Grind Ent.)
E-40 – Revenue Retrievn-Overtime (Heavy On The Grind Ent.)
Emery – We Do What We Want (Tooth & Nail Records) – Davey Boy
Erland & The Carnival – Nightingale (Yep Roc Records)
FaltyDL – You Stand Uncertain (Planet

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In the hours following my blog post on Black Robot vs. Bl_ck R_b_ts, I received an email from the former’s PR person, Jenn. She’s given me permission to publish our correspondence verbatim.

Hi Dave,

As someone who works for the band in the US, I just wanted to clarify a few things that your story missed:

First, the Irish band came to our attention after someone posted about them on Black Robot’s Facebook page.  They appeared to be getting ready to release a new CD and it’s pretty impossible for two bands to share a name (as you can imagine).  We initially tried to deal with the Irish band privately.  From the start,  they were mocking the US band and making a joke of it.  They also published all private messages.  We realized we would get no cooperation and had no other choice but to let FB and Myspace review and handle it.  This was a decision of management, first and foremost.

Second, you refer to “cyber bullying” in your article, when in fact, it was NOT on our part.  We have had to ban no less than 25 people including band members (all from Waterford or nearby) for coming to Black Robot’s page and posting negative comments including insults to their music, age, appearance, etc.  No band member, friend or fan of Black Robot (US band) went to the Irish band’s pages and retaliated that we were ever aware of,

A couple weeks back, after a bit of an absence, I wrote a review.

See, I just wanted an excuse to post a South Park clip, although everybody knows that Randy Marsh has convincingly overtaken Cartman as being the funniest character on the show.

No, no, it wasn't me – it was a SPOOKY GHOST!

All tangents aside, the review covered Digital Daggers’ debut EP, entitled Human Emotion. Sonically, it sounds a bit like Frou Frou meets Boards of Canada. The group is comprised of Andrea Wasse (The Weekend, not to be confused with newcomer artist The Weeknd) and Space (he of many hats, including his solo effort, Memento, and Kevin Martin & The Hiwatts), the band has garnered a bit of buzz from their covers of “New York New York” (Liza Minelli, Frank Sinatra) and “Head Over Heels” (Tears for Fears), not to mention their original tunes being spotted in various television shows (“Surrender” on ‘One Life to Live;’ “No Easy Way” on ‘Nikita’).

Today, I wanted to highlight the title track, which is my personal favorite from the EP.

Digital Daggers – “Human Emotion”

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Never again with your human emotions
I won’t take the hate from your heart
I’ll take my chances outside of your kingdom
You know when I stop I won’t start

I long to be where the stars still shine brightly
You know they won’t breathe where…


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