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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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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 24, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Acid Reign – Diversity (Uncommon Records)
Aerosmith – Tough Love: Best Of The Ballads (Geffen Records)
Against Me – Total Clarity (Fat Wreck Chords)
Amorphis – The Beginning Of Times {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Army of the Universe – Mother Ignorance (Metropolis Records)
Art Brut – Brilliant! Tragic! (Cooking Vinyl) – Joseph Viney
David Bazan – Strange Negotiations (Barsuk)
Black Stone Cherry – Between The Devil & The Deep Blue Sea (Roadrunner Records)
Black Tusk – Passage Through Purgatory [Remastered] (Relapse)
Boris – Attention Please (Sargent House)
Boris – Heavy Rocks (Sargent House)
Carter’s Chord – Wild Together (Universal Music)
Cave In – White Silence (Hydra Head Records)
Clan Of Xymox – Darkest Hour (Metropolis Records)
Coerce – Ethereal Surrogate Saviour {AU} (Capitalgames Records)
Destroyer 666 – To the Devil His Due (Hells Headbangers)
The Devil Whale – Teeth (The Devil Whale)
Fireworks – Gospel (Triple Crown Records)
Foster the People – Torches (Columbia) – Rudy Klapper
Friendly Fires – Pala (XL Recordings)
Haemorrhage – Hospital Carnage (Relapse)
Inevitable End – Oculus (Relapse)
In Solitude – World the Flesh the Devil (Metal Blade)
Johanna & The Dusty Floor – Northern Lights (Red Valise Records)
King Creosote and Jon Hopkins – Diamond Mine (Domino Records) – Observer
Lady Gaga

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“Your troubles are gonna be so far gone… way gone… like, all the way over there.”

Photo courtesy of Cecily Rhys Perez

That was an interesting night for Tallest Man on Earth fans. They filled Shepherd’s Bush grand venue top to bottom, a venue one might find more fitting for a veteran indie band like Wilco, but not so much for a newbie of folk with two albums and the peak of his career still arguably ahead. It felt closer to waiting for an arena rock sell-out than for the guy who eventually swaggered on a few minutes late. But boy, did Kristian Mattson make the night his: the crowd were surely acting like this was arena rock, and Mattson, so unexpectedly for a man known for such understated folk songs, was happy to entertain that little fantasy. No waiting around or opening with a little song, as many of us expected (“The Wild Hunt” was absent from the night as a whole), Mattson instead opened with the immediate presence of “I Won’t Be Found” and moved through two songs of Shallow Grave like they were anthems for sharing.

And that’s how it was for a good hour of the night. The crowd were more excited to be a part of songs from The Wild Hunt and Shallow Grave than they were to hear them, and that’s the way of this man live. He seemed very much happy for the participation that came with “The Gardener”-…

Channing Freeman’s existential review of Lady Gaga’s Born This Way has received much attention on the Twitter Machine and elsewhere, however we’ve never before received criticism so thoughtful and so immaculately-presented as what follows. Mr./Mrs. Freeman will be licking his/her wounds after this one.

And, yes, those are pictures of the inimitable Gagster.

Victory Records, I am disappoint…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 17, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Anaal Nathrakh – Passion (Candlelight Records) – Jared Ponton
Arsonists Get All The Girls – Motherland (Century Media)
Bela Fleck & the Flecktones – Rocket Science (Entertainment One Music)
Chrome Division – 3rd Round Knockout (Nuclear Blast)
Company of Thieves – Running From A Gamble (Wind-Up)
Danger Mouse & Daniel Luppi – Rome (Capitol)
Edo G – A Face In the Crowd (Traffic Ent. Group)
The Elected – Bury Me in My Rings (Vagrant Records) – Rudy Klapper
Face To Face – Laugh Now, Laugh Later (People Like You Records)
Gallhammer – The End (Peaceville)
Glasvegas – Euphoric /// Heartbreak \\\ (Columbia)
Hammerfall – Infected {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Ben Harper – Give Till It’s Gone (Virgin Records)
Hell – Human Remains (Nuclear Blast)
Sarah Jarosz – Follow Me Down (Sugarhill)
J Rawls – The Hip Hop Affect (Green Streets Entertainment)
King Sun – XL (Traffic Ent. Group)
Mai Doi Todd – Cosmic Ocean Ship (Virtual Label)
Mayan – Quarterpast [Epica Side Project] {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Metal Mother – Bonfire Diaries (Post Primal)
Moby – Destroyed (Mute)
Neek the Exotic+Large Pro – Still On the Hustle (Fatbeats)
New Boyz – Too Cool to Care (Asylum Records)
Oddisee – Odd Seasons (Mello Music Group)
Pestilence – Doctrine (Mascot Records)
Planningtorock – W (DFA Records)
A Storm…

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Because we had to do it.

23.24: p.s. if at any point I came across as a less gay or less Irish alternative to Graham Norton, that wasn’t my intention. I apologise.

23.22: Has all this been worth it? Has it fuck. Next year I’m going and getting stoned. Goodnight!

23.21: And Azerbaijan win by a mile. Decent song to be honest.

23.14: As suspected, 12 from Ireland to the singers who looked the most like Jedward.

23.13: 6 for the UK from Ireland. Take that!

23.12: Oh fuck off Mooney.

23.08: Despite a spirited bolt from Italy, Azerbaijan are walking it.

23.03: Fucked over by the French again. The hand of Henry was at work in this.

22.59: Fuck this.

22.56: No points exchanged between Turkey and Greece. Grudge.

22.50: Got my lipstick on, here I come, da da da…

22.47: Sweden!

22.46: Haha they gave 12 to Lithuania. It’s a badly-kept secret that Polish people listen to shit music, usually out of their cars.

22.45: Only one from Poland. We give you jobs and this is the thanks we get? OVER.

22.44: Yes Denmark, YES!

22.43: I’ve always loved the UK.

22.42: Seriously UK… if you don’t give Jedward 12 we are OVER.

22.41: Sweden? Really?

22.37: Seems the eastern European states aren’t huge Jedward fans. We should never have let them join.

22.25: Why is Stefan Raab… I mean just why is he even?

22.24: I think the lines are still open. I don’t know. You might still have time to vote…

Marissa Nadler – “Baby, I Will Leave You In The Morning” from Alec K. Redfearn on Vimeo.


Marissa Nadler has a sound that is a little hard to nail down. Her music is commonly referred to as ‘Dream-Folk’, but it often feels less like a dream and more like the morning after a drunken cry. Her music is generally soft and introspective as subtle acoustic melodies are washed over by layers of warm sound and Marissa’s beautifully expressive voice. This is a sound that Marissa has been perfecting since the release of her debut album in 2004, Ballads of Living and Dying. The album title itself should leave little doubt that Marissa doesn’t often sing about summer days and sunshine. Her last album, Little Hells, was released more than two years ago, but it appears that the wait is almost over.

Marissa Nadler’s self-titled fifth album will be released on June 14 through Box of Cedar Records. In preparation for the album’s release, Marissa has posted the video for the first single, “Baby, I Will Leave You in the Morning.” The video stars Marissa Nadler (apparently only the second video for her music that she has ever actually appeared in) singing in an old theatre that can only be described as haunting. The video continues its eerie trip as it fades from one peculiar location to the next while Marissa continues to sing in her flowing white dress. The song itself…

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 10, 2011. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

16Volt – Beating Dead Horses (Metropolis Records) – Trey Spencer
Africa Hitech – 93 Million Miles (Warp Records)
And One – Tanzomat (Metropolis Records)
The Antlers – Burst Apart (Frenchkiss Records) – Rudy Klapper
Anvil – Juggernaut Of Justice (The End)
Balance and Composure – Separation (No Sleep Records)
Black Label Society – Song Remains Not the Same (Entertainment One Music)
Blue October – Ugly Side: An Acoustic Evening with Blue October (RED GENERAL CATALOG)
Greg Brown – Freak Flag (Yep Roc Records)
The Cars – Move Like This (Hear Music)
Cirkus – Medicine (Booga Bisquit)
Ema – Past Life Martyred Saints (Redeye Label)
Hate Eternal – Phoenix Amongst the Ashes (Metal Blade)
Jesu – Ascension (Caldo Verde)
Miles Kane – Colour of the Trap (Columbia Records) – Davey Boy
Hugh Laurie – Let Them Talk {UK} (Warner Bros)
Le Butcherettes – Sin Sin Sin (Rodriguez Lopez Productions)
The Lonely Island – Turtleneck And Chain (Universal) – Channing Freeman
Manchester Orchestra – Simple Math (Favorite Gentlemen Recordings) – Matt Wolfe
Man Man – Life Fantastic (Anti/Epitaph) – Adam Thomas
Man Overboard – The Human Highlight Reel (MRI)
Mexicans With Guns – Ceremony (Innovative Leisure)
Matthew Morrison [Glee] – Matthew Morrison (Island)

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Those who knew of Lady GaGa before she got big with The Fame were certainly witness to a musician and songwriter with much potential. Sure her debut single Just Dance may have benefitted from the guest appearance of Akon, but by the time the single Poker Face was released, there were no doubts that Lady GaGa was going to become one of the biggest names in the pop world. One hit wonder she definitely is not.

The Fame Monster was a rather fitting sequel. Not surprising given that it was originally planned as additional content on a re-release of The Fame. Yet despite two very solid releases, the barometer is signalling some rough weather ahead with the release of the forthcoming album Born This Way.

So the big question to ask is why the worry? Yes the face and body attachments she has been wearing lately are weird, but GaGa has never really been one to build her fame on looking attractive, and this isn’t exactly the first video we have seen in which her appearance has been rather bizarre.  Yes you would actually have to be one of her most loyal monsters to actually like the music video for Born This Way. Perhaps from a creative standpoint it is great that she has abandoned the generic approach of many other pop music videos. But from a commercial standpoint, it is hard to imagine it attracting more fans than it scares away. Even using a…


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