“Anger and frustration can be really great vehicles to propel momentum and energy in music,” confesses Erik Wunder. He’s done precisely that with his two seemingly dissimilar projects. The sprawling progressive black metal of Cobalt and the potent dark Americana of Man’s Gin may occupy two different sonic spheres, yet they share the same sense of authentic, if bleak intensity. Erik’s latest accomplishment as Man’s Gin is aptly titled Rebellion Hymns. Adroitly elaborating on the outfit’s previous output, the album represents another resounding triumph for the Colorado native, ranking among the most powerful artistic statements in music this year. Here’s an in-depth interview that not only sheds light on the oeuvre of this immensely talented artist, but also depicts him as a fulfilled musician who’s genuinely committed to every endeavor he’s involved in.
I’ve always admired musicians who are able to divide their time between different projects. What was the reason behind forming Cobalt, and what motivated you to form Man’s Gin?
Well, Cobalt started out when Phil and I got back together and started working on new music after our previous band had broken up. We are both pretty intense, angry people. Especially in those days.
We had already been playing in bands together since we were young teenagers, playing punk/crust and metal music, so we already had a working relationship and obviously a friendship. Our prior projects had dissolved, with…
If you're thinking, "Hey, isn't this picture a little creepy?" please let me assure you that every picture of Ariana Grande is creepy. She's definitely like 8 years old.
Alright, folks, listen up, because I’ve got a cutting-edge pop music opinion for you all to devour and regurgitate elsewhere: Ariana Grande is awesome. She only has real two singles to her name: “The Way,” catchy and vibrant but with a bearable-if-you-sorta-just-ignore-him set of verses from Mac Miller, and “Baby I,” not completely new but still unreservedly awesome, the type of song so good it gets you pumped for an album by the girl from…Nickelodeon’s Victorious? Whatever: this thing sounds like Mariah Carey cosplaying as Sonic the Hedgehog, with mile-a-minute percussion, luxurious synths, and an astounding display of vocal agility from Ms. Grande herself, who may yet turn out to be the first new pop star worth the hype in quite a while.
Antlered Man won me over last year with their debut full-length Giftes Parts 1 & 2. The London four-piece has an uncanny knack for combining dexterous heavy rock with decidedly Eastern melodicism. Their music has been likened to System Of A Down, Mr. Bungle and Future Of The Left, capitalizing on creativity rather than stale song structures. The band’s genre-bending tendencies find their presence felt on “GDZ.” The track integrates the massive walls of distortion with sudden moments of relief and an infectious bridge midway through, proving that Antlered Man can be irresistibly catchy in their wildly experimental output. Both gargantuan in scope and highly infectious, “GDZ” is a fantastic indicator of what’s going to follow on the outfit’s upcoming album The Devil Is Them set to be released on October 14th through New Heavy Sounds. Stream and download the song for free via bandcamp.
Let me make one thing absolutely clear: the average Malaysian music lover hasn’t been feted like this in a long, long time, and we probably have the unlikeliest of heroes to thank for it. The recent launch of “Visit Malaysia Year 2014″ by the deeply unpopular ruling coalition, in addition to the designation of 2013 as its preparatory year, single-handedly took the country from its longtime status of international concert pariah to one of South East Asia’s premiere destinations virtually overnight. September alone will feature The Killers, Yuna, Robin Thicke, and Lamb of God (!), while October brings with it the prospect of Mew, Explosions in the Sky, Enter Shikari, Bring Me The Horizon, and also Crossfade. It’s quite a bit to stomach – and I haven’t even started talking about that mouth-watering Urbanscapes weekend in November yet. Elsewhere, the month of August has been no slouch either, as evidenced by the upcoming one-two punch of the Linkin Park and Metallica shows and, of course, the subject of this blogpost – the recently-concluded Good Vibes Festival.
For a country to whom the concept of music festivals is still a relative novelty, the Good Vibes weekend promised to be a blast from the get-go. Organized by Future Sound Asia, the festival publicly stated its aim of bringing the best of international music to the country, and immediately made good upon its promise by announcing The Smashing Pumpkins as its headlining act a few days later.…
A favorite thing of mine to do when listening to albums is to mentally track along with the drums, often using my steering wheel as a makeshift snare and hi-hat and the gas pedal as my bass (my ‘94 Accord goes). Being the cockmaster that I am, I generally believe I can play along to most songs I listen to; the reality is I rarely get around to doing it, and when I do, I’m hilariously out of time and out of my element. It’s one thing to listen to a song and think you could jam along with it, or perhaps get inspired and, you know, do something worthwhile with your creativity. It’s an altogether different beast, though, to actually go out and act on those influences, to create something fresh that pays homage to your favorites yet isn’t controlled by them, and then put it out for the world to see. Maybe they laugh at it (my drumming), hopefully they groove to it. That’s the difference between electronic artist Depth Connection and myself – I’m content to be the driver’s seat Neil Peart; Depth Connection just released a badass EP that takes hints from Tycho, Lone, and a number of other artists to create a quietly gorgeous amalgam of live studio sounds and finely textured electronic beats.
The brainchild of Colorado native Tanner Lichty aka Sputnik user twlichty(ex-Solterra), Depth Connection describes itself as “a collage of unfamiliar yet…
After hearing about the possibility of a new No-Man record coming up soon, I contacted Tim Bowness (singer, songwriter) to ask him about his latest projects, personal favorites and the new album in the works. For those unaccustomed to Bowness’ discography, he has released (besides No-Man of course, which started as a main project all the way back in 1987, with Steven Wilson) a myriad of collaborative records such as Flame (with Richard Barbieri), California, Norfolk (with Peter Chilvers), Warm Winter (with Giancarlo Erra of Nosound, under the moniker Memories Of Machines) or his latest, the second Henry Fool record, Men Singing, among many others. He has also released a solo album, entitled My Hotel Year, in 2004 and is in charge of Burning Shed, an independent record label.
- You have been active for over three decades in the music industry now. How much has the music world changed in your opinion? What do you like and dislike about these changes?
In some respects, it’s changed massively. The business of music and the technology involved in making it are almost unrecognizable from the early 1980s when I started.
In terms of recording, it’s been a change for the better. Studios can do more yet are far simpler to operate. The technology allows a much more direct way of capturing ideas.
The shifts on the business side have meant that it’s become harder to make a living from music for many people and that music itself has…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 6, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Amanda Shires – Down Fell The Doves (Lightning Rod Rec.)
Anna Rose – Behold A Pale Horse (White Pony Records)
Asking Alexandria – From Death To Destiny (Sumerian)
Barbarossa – Bloodlines (Memphis Industries)
Blondes – Swisher (RVNG International)
Brendan James – Simplify (Noble Steed Music)
Brett Eldredge – Bring You Back (Atlantic)
Centuries – Taedium Vitae (Southern Lord)
Chick Corea – The Vigil (Concord Jazz)
The Civil Wars – The Civil Wars (Sensibility Recordings/Columbia Records)
The Dangerous Summer – Golden Record (Hopeless Records)
Dead Letter Circus – The Catalyst Fire (UNFD)
The Defiled – Daggers (Nuclear Blast US)
Eric Copeland – Joke In The Hole (DFA Records)
Exhumed – Necrocracy (Relapse)
Explosions In The Sky & David Wingo – Prince Avalanche (Temporary Residence)
Hugh Laurie – Didn’t It Rain (Warner Bros.) The Icarus Line – Slave Vows (1-2-3-4-GO!) – Greg Fisher
Iwrestledabearonce – Late For Nothing (Century Media)
Jake Bellows – New Ocean (Saddle Creek)
James LaBrie – Impermanent Resonance (Inside Out US) Karnivool – Asymmetry (Workhorse Music) – Jacob Royal
KT Tunstall – Invisible Empire/Crescent Moon (Blue Note Records)
Kyle – Beautiful Loser (Indie-Pop)
Long Lost – Save Yourself, Start Again (No Sleep Records)
Lumerians – The High Frontier (Red Distribution)
Medicine – To The Happy Few (Captured Tracks)
Moderat – II (Mute)
For a song about the consequences of car use, “Go Green” sure doesn’t make it any easier for you to hop on your bike instead. With a slick guitar slide providing the perfect in, Buddy Peace’s wonderful summer-cool drum loop gives Prolyphic a great platform to make you feel guilty for wanting to play his song through rolled-down windows. First, he attacks himself for damaging the world with his car and electronics. Second, he attacks the corporations that try, under the guise of a supposed moral backbone, to make a tidy profit from cleaning up the messes they’d previously made. But though the usual chip on Prolyphic’s shoulder should be the draw, it’s Buddy’s breezy and revitalizing beat that gives the track its pull.
Check out Prolyphic and Buddy Peace’s collaborative album ‘The Working Man’, released earlier this year through Strange Famous Records. (Better yet, check out Buddy Peace’s 2008 mixtape masterpiece ‘Wolf Diesel Mountain’, released through 2600 recordings.)
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of July 30, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Alelea Diane – About Farewell (Rusted Blue Records)
Backstreet Boys – In A World Like This (K-Bahn LLC/BMG Rights Management)
Barricades – With Perfect Aim (Barricades)
Buddy Guy – Rhythm & Blues (RCA)
Chimaira – Crown Of Phantoms (Entertainment One)
Confide – All Is Calm (Confide)
Cosmoscope – Hero Or Menace (Cosmoscope)
Elitist – Between The Balance (Consumer Records)
Enduser – Retox (Retox)
Five Finger Death Punch – The Wrong Side Of Heaven And The Righteous Side Of Hell – Part I (Prospect Park)
Fortune Howl – Earthbound (Fortune Howl/Bandcamp)
Joan Of Arc – Testimonium Songs (Polyvinyl Records)
Michael Franti & Spearhead – All People (Capitol)
Missing Monuments – Missing Monuments (Dirtnap Records)
Moreland & Arbuckle – 7 Cities (Telarc)
The Reign Of Kindo – Play With Fire (Candyrat Records)
Russell Howard – City Heart + (Rock Ridge Music)
Shpongle – Museum Of Consciousness (Twisted Records)
Soft Swells – Lifeboats (Modern Outsider)
Sparks The Rescue – Truth Inside The Fiction (Sparks The Rescue)
Tech N9ne – Something Else (Strange Music)
Tiefighter – Tiefighter (Tiefighter)
Vince Gill & Paul Franklin – Bakersfield (MCA Nashville)
Swedish outfit Goatess may have just released their debut album on Svart Records, but they’re all experienced musicians. Most notably, vocalist Chritus Linderson has made a name for himself, performing with such renowned doom metal acts as Saint Vitus and Lord Vicar. The eponymous full-length release from Goatess fuses the meandering tempo of doom metal with stoner rock-channeling grooves and psychedelic vibes to great effect. Granted, this Sleep and Electric Wizard inspired style is hardly anything new, yet the album makes a profound impact mainly due to the strong vocal performance of Linderson. His traditionally melodic croons often lend the music its memorable quality. “Alpha Omega” is one of the record’s undoubted highlights, perefectly encapsulating the quartet’s desire to capture the all-consuming power of elephantine riffs.
I’ll say the same thing about ‘Pink Rabbits’ that I said about ‘Conversation 16’ back in 2010: if you still haven’t heard The National’s best song to date, then you are depriving yourself of the year’s best moment. It seems like every time this band puts out an album, there is one track on it that is arguably better than anything else released within the same 365 days: ‘Mr. November’, ‘Apartment Story’, ‘Conversation 16’…and now, ‘Pink Rabbits.’ What all these songs have in common is accessibility, propelled by underlying emotional turmoil that prevents them from sounding watered down. I would say that’s their formula, or something else intelligent-sounding, but honestly The National just do whatever the fuck they want and excel at it with relative ease.
Here, they go the route of the sedated pop ballad. The song is so perfectly constructed that it doesn’t matter what Matt Berninger is singing about, but as usual, he has paired top-of-the-line musicianship with phenomenal lyrics. The meaning of the song is somewhat ambiguous, especially when it comes to determining whether it was written from the perspective of a guy – “I’m so surprised you want to dance with me now, you always said I held you way too high off the ground” – or from a girl – “You didn’t see me I was falling apart, I was a white girl in a crowd of white girls in the park”, but either way it’s ridiculously poignant. From the guy’s perspective, I can’t…
Welcome to Sputnik’s Second Infinite Playlist of 2013. Here you can look through some of the finest tracks of the past 3 months, as selected by the users of the site, and find some of the best music you might’ve missed this year.
Elena Tonra’s haunting, Florence Welch-esque vocals and heartbreaking lyrics pervade this lovely track from Daughter’s album If You Leave. As my favourite song from their 2011 EP The Wild Youth, I was expecting (and hoping for) a carbon copy of the song on the album. Whilst the LP version isn’t as intimate, the thumping drums and ethereal guitars transform the song into a different beast entirely. Some may feel the lyrics are treading a very fine line between genuine and cliché, but I reckon they fall just on the right side of that line. This track is well worth checking out, and gives a great indication of what you can expect from the rest of the album.
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of July 16, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
ASC – Time Heals All (Silent Season)
Born Without Bones – Baby (Born Without Bones/Bandcamp)
Beach – In Us We Trust (Short Story Records)
Calibre (being released under Dominick Martin) – Valentia (Signature Recordings)
Call It Closure – Holotype (Call It Closure)
Candice Glover – Music Speaks (Interscope Records)
Cherry Poppin’ Daddies – White Teeth, Black Thought (Cherry Poppin’ Daddies)
Court Yard Hounds – Amelita (Columbia)
David Lynch – The Big Dream (Sacred Bones Records)
Defeater – Letters Home (Bridge Nine Records)
Desert Stars – Habit Shackles (Desert Stars)
Evan Brewer – Your Itinerary (Sumerian)
Gauntlet Hair – Stills (Dead Oceans)
King Conquer – 1776 (Mediaskare)
Mayer Hawthorne – Where Does This Door Go (Universal Republic)
Patrick Sweany – Close To The Floor (Nine Mile Records)
Pet Shop Boys – Electric (Kobalt)
Robert Randolph & The Family Band – Lickety Split (Blue Note)
Sara Bareilles – The Blessed Unrest (Epic)
Sarah Miles – One (Rock Ridge Music)
Soft Metals – Lenses (Captured Tracks)
Tallhart – We Are The Same (Equal Vision Records)
The second full-length record from French metallic noise rockers Sofy Major, Idolize, is a testament to the trio’s perseverance. On October 29th, hurricane Sandy destroyed the Brooklyn studio in which the outfit was going to track, annihilating all the recording equipment and instruments. After a couple of days they luckily managed to start recording with the invaluable help of producer Andrew Schneider and Dave Curran of Unsane’s fame. The result is an aptly furious endeavour that encapsulates the feeling of powerlessness really well. Full of pummeling bass lines, dense drumming and sludgy riffs, this record is at once unabashedly groovy and punishing, showcasing the trio’s knack for crafting off-kilter noise rock that doesn’t steer clear of unexpected flourishes. Idolize is streaming over at Sofy Major’s bandcamp page.