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OK, this is pretty old (witness the 9.6 million plays), but it really needs to be seen to be believed. You’ll never listen to ‘Total Eclipse of the Heart’ the same way again, and if you’re anything like me it’s a life-altering event on the scale of losing the use of one’s legs. But in a good way.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 21 , 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Bloody Bloody Andrew Jackson – Soundtrack (Ghostlight)
Cam’ron – The U.N. Gunz N’ Butta (E1 Entertainment)
Paula Cole – Ithaca (Decca)
Billy Currington – Enjoy Yourself (Mercury Nashville)
Delerium – Epiphany [DVD] (Nettwerk)
Drudkh – Handful of Stars (Season of Mist)
Enslaved – Axioma Ethica Odini {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Flying Lotus – Pattern + Grid World [EP] (Warp Records)
Frankie Rose And The Outs – Frankie Rose And The Outs (Slumberland Records)
Hilary Hahn – Higdon & Tchaikovsky Violin Concertos (Deutsche Grammophon)
Randy Houser – They Call Me Caddillac (Show Dog Universal)
J57 (Brown Bag Allstars) – Digital Society (Balanced Records)
John Legend and The Roots – Wake Up! (Columbia)
Kiske/Somerville – Kiske/Somerville {EU} (Frontiers Records S.R.l.)
Manic Street Preachers – Postcards From A Young Man (Sony)
Margot & The Nuclear So And So – Buzzard (+1 Records) – Channing Freeman
Maroon 5 – Hand All Over (A&M/Octone)
Johnny Mathis – Let It Be Me: Mathis in Nashville (Columbia)
Maximum Balloon [TV On The Radio's Andrew Sitek project] – Maximum Balloon (Interscope Records)
Metallica – Six Feet Down Under [EP] (Metallica.com)
Methods Of Mayhem – A Public Disservice Announcement (Roadrunner Records)
Michael Franti & Spearhead – The Sound of Sunshine (Capitol)
Liza Minnelli – Confessions (Decca U.S.)
Vincent Minor –…

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Falling Short

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Blackened Eyes Staring

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Better Off Dead

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Flotsam and Jetsam have been around for nearly thirty years and have never truly received the attention that they deserve. Some of the blame could be placed on bad timing (Cuatro) or bad productions (When the Storm Comes Down and Dream of Death) – and their unwavering dedication to flying the thrash flag through the nineties probably had something to do with it too – but it doesn’t fully explain how this band has remained in the shadows all of these years. The real shame is that Flotsam and Jetsam seem to be…

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I bet you didn’t see this one coming.

International woman of mystery and self-appointed spokesperson for all gay people in the world ever Lady Gaga has recorded a message (not actually an “address” – shoot me) aimed at the United States Senate, appealing for the US military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy to be abolished.

Stefani’s speaking voice makes her seem kind of slow, and there’s the most awkward phone ringing sequence ever in the middle, but it’s still worth watching whether you agree or disagree with the central premise.

The resurgence of thrash continues…

Over the last decade metal has made a huge resurgence. This popularity has inspired a lot of bands to make a deliberate return to their roots (Metallica, Megadeth, etc). It has also prompted the reformation of quite a few long-defunct bands from the past (Believer, Anacrusis, etc). You can now add Connecticut’s Indestructible Noise Command (aka I.N.C.) to that list.

I.N.C. formed in 1985 and quickly recorded their first album, Razorback. The album was quirky but heavy with an underlying sense of humor that was missing from most thrash at the time. It was enough to allow them to play with bands such as Megadeth, Exodus and King Diamond. Their second album, The Visitors, built on everything that fans loved about Razorback and garnered even more attention for the band – Pantera, in their infancy, even opened for I.N.C. at one time. One of the more unique elements that I.N.C. had going for them was the vocals of Dennis Gergely. His voice provided a bit of a hardcore/metal crossover vibe at a time when only a few bands were doing it (most notably D.R.I.). Due to a lack of solid label support and funding, the band took an indefinite hiatus shortly after the release of their second album, and that was the end of the story – until now.

I.N.C. are back with a fresh set of songs that are heavier and darker than anything they did in…

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of September 14 , 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

The Absence – Enemy Unbound (Metal Blade)
Accept – Blood of the Nations (Nuclear Blast)
Al’ Tariq (The Beatnuts) – God Connections (Traffic Ent. Group)
Amorphis – Magic & Mayhem – Tales From The Early Years {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Azure Ray – Drawing Down The Moon (Saddle Creek)
Banner Pilot – Resignation Day [Remastered] (Fat Wreck Chords)
Beneath The Massacre – Maree Noir [EP] (Prosthetic Records)
Bilal – Airtight’s Revenge (PLUG RESEARCH)
The Birthday Massacre – Pins And Needles (Metropolis Records) – Trey Spencer
Black Milk – Album of the Year (100% WOMON) – Jared W. Dillon
Blonde Redhead – Penny Sparkle (4AD Records) – Cam
Buckethead – Spinal Clock (TDRS Music)
Caligula – Divine Madness (Krycek Entertainment)
The Charlatans – Who We Touch (The End Records)
Chromeo – Business Casual (Atlantic)
Dawn of Ashes – Genocide Chapters (Metal Blade Records)
DragonForce – Twilight Dementia [Live] (Roadrunner Records)
The Drums – The Drums (Downtown)
El Guincho – Pop Negro (XL Recordings) – Kiran Soderqvist
Electric Sunset – Electric Sunset (K Records)
Emmett And Mary – Emmett And Mary (My Idea of Fun)
Sully Erna – Avalon (Republic)
ESQ & Chikaramanga – The Succession (Tres Records)
Flotsam and Jetsam – The Cold (Driven Music Group) – Trey

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Singer/songwriter Darren Hanlon is reasonably well-known in his native Australia, but he’s a complete unknown almost everywhere else. So US indie Yep Roc’s decision to fly him over for the big international release treatment is a bit of a risk then, right?

Not really. Hanlon’s fifth album, I Will Love You At All, fits snugly into the M. Ward/Andrew Bird canon, with the singer’s mild Aussie twang the only potentially divisive feature of an otherwise terrific album. (And everybody loves Aussie accents, right?)

‘All These Things’ isn’t the best song on the album, or even one of the best, but it is a nice jumping off point in that it sort of condenses the entire record into an upbeat four-minute pop song. Strummed mandolin shows off Hanlon’s prowess in the mini-guitar genre (he’s also a decent banjo player), while piano and tuba lend the track some welcome gravitas. The best part, though, is the simple call-and-response routine generated between Hanlon and Portland singer Shelley Short.

Darren Hanlon’s I Will Love You At All is scheduled for release in the United States on September 21.

Darren Hanlon – ‘All These Things’

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Darren is currently on a mini-tour of the US with Billy Bragg:

09.08.10 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
09.09.10 – Milwaukee, WI @ Turner Hall
09.10.10 – River Forest, IL @ Dominican University
09.11.10 – Ann Arbor, MI @ The Ark
09.14.10 – Indianapolis,

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With the events of last week still fresh in my mind, I’ve been able to reflect on the contrasting Guns N’ Roses-related experiences the past couple of months have thrown my way.

Last Wednesday, I was treated to the most bizarre concert-going experience of my life, as Axl Rose showed up an hour late for the fourth show running, got pissy with the audience for booing him and subsequently left the stage when a water bottle was thrown limply in his general direction from the crowd. A third of the crowd had left by the time he returned, 45 minutes later, to sleepwalk through his contractually obligated set. I’m still not entirely sure what to think of it all.

Compared with my experience when Slash came to town in June… well, there is no comparison. The man took to the stage on time and blasted through a mix of cuts from his recent solo CD, old Guns and Velvet Revolver hits and even a couple of Snakepit songs for the diehards. Frontman Myles Kennedy (better known for his work with Creed offshoot Alter Bridge) was a bit of a let-down… at least, it seemed that way, until Slash belatedly revealed that Kennedy had been suffering from flu and had barely been able to speak all day.

It’s an interesting contrast: the self-absorbed rock star who can’t even bring himself to show up for a $10 million-dollar gig on time, and a true professional who will play…

For all that I have petulantly written about the death of music, whether it be a personal death inside of me or the death of the music industry as a whole, there are still so many things about music that I cannot deny – how it gets under your skin and you can feel it vibrating in your veins, how it roots you to the spot and wraps you up tight and keeps you warm, how it is the closest thing we have to something that is incontrovertibly mystical.  I could say that certain things have moved me – love, or sadness, or being alive – but those are all a distillation of the same general feelings, and none can do what music does.

Can I explain it?  Can anyone?

Of course, it has been explained.  Scientifically, physiologically.  I don’t want to know the details though.

Speaking of music’s magic just sounds trite but maybe that is because we have all felt it and balk at attempts to dissect it and classify it and file it away.  But it is a magic we can feel every day and what a shame it is that sometimes we grow bored of it, as I have so many times.  I do feel, though, that I need the boredom sometimes, that I need the reduction of music to some day-to-day minutiae born out of a years-long habit to have a melody playing in the background or something there to tell me the specifics of…

Having already broken out in his native England, Frank Turner is a rising star in the US punk community as of late. As if his signing to Epitaph for all his releases stateside wasn’t enough of a sign that the British singer-songwriter has been gaining his footing in the states, successful tour spots with The Offspring and Social D on top of a number of headlining runs all across the country have exposed Frank to thousands of new fans. Last night at the Troubadour, located in the west-side of Los Angeles, a sold out crowd sang their hearts out to a venerable folk-punk smorgasbord. Even California punk legends such as NOFX’s Fat Mike and Bad Religion guitarist/Epitaph Records head honcho Brett Gurewitz could be seen roaming the grounds among the fans.

The night began with Lansing, Michigan’s Cheap Girls. The only act of the night that didn’t feature acoustic guitars, Cheap Girls took control of the gathering crowd with their upbeat Texas is the Reason by way of The Replacements brand of crunchy, no-frills rock and roll. Given the context of the rest of the night, they were a wonderful appetizer to the main course of Andrew Jackson Jihad and Frank Turner. The only downside was that given the crowd’s unfamiliarity with their material and the incredibly low placement of singer and bassist’s Ian Graham’s vocals in the overall mix killed the potential audience participation factor during their performance.

Despite Frank Turner’s name being on top of…

Baths‘ new album Cerulean has been blowing me away for only twenty four hours but I must share its excellence with the world. I’d write a review but the video for “Lovely Bloodflow” is memorable and haunting enough make the sell on my behalf.

Baths – “Lovely Bloodflow” from anticon. on Vimeo.

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After watching a number of reality television shows, specifically Survivor, the music tends to be a dead giveaway in challenges.  Often, you will find a climax or crescendo for any attempt, such as shooting coconuts in a basket.  Along with that, you will hear a triumphant crescendo as a team is about to win.  Here is an example of the music in reality television shows, in this upcoming years The Amazing Race.  I will let the video speak for itself, but listen to the music as the events unfold as this contestant tries to hurl a watermelon at a knight in shining armor.

Yes, I just wrote a blog about reality television so I could show Sputnikmusic’s readers the most incredible moment of reality television challenge.

Electric Zoo Festival 2010 – Saturday

On Sunday, the biggest clouds in the sky were those made of dirt and dust kicked up at every stage from dancing.  Unlike Saturday, Sunday brought fewer early birds, likely because of the exhaustion from the day before, and a slightly weaker initial line-up.  The weather was once again picturesque.  When I arrived, I really had no set plan of who I would see until Laidback Luke.  Therefore, I started the day the Red Bull Music Academy Riverside Stage where XXXChange was playing to a pintsize crowd of about 50 to 100 people while there had to have been over 750 people at the time and stage the day before.  There simply was not much of a buzz at any tent early on, even if XXXChange was dropping mixes of DJ Kool’s “Let Me Clear My Throat.”  However, D. Ramirez was slowly sucking everyone to the Hilltop Arena where all of the local house favorites were blasting while Jon Hopkins was luring a more IDM crowd with his haunting beats, something that was out of the ordinary at Electric Zoo, in a good way.

Trying to find some shade in the afternoon sun.

On a side note, the tents set up at the Red Bull Music Academy Riverside Stage and Hilltop Area were perfectly sized and positioned, especially if it had rained.  Unfortunately, a few feet outside of the tent and the sound quality was unbearable.  In…

Many of you will remember producer wait what’s, mashup project the notorious xx. The album quickly gained a ridiculous amount of attention from a variety of sources including The New Yorker, New York Magazine, and Rolling Stone among others. Rather than sit back and live fat, wait what decided to ball out and follow up with a mixtape, this is real life, which features some hood tracks that gather source materials from modern indie (Sleigh Bells, Justice, LCD Soundsytem, etc.) and the annals of the late nineties rap (Black Rob, Lord Tariq & Peter Gunz).

wait what – this is real life [Download]

this is real life by wait what

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This past Labor Day weekend brought magnificent weather to the New York City area, as Hurricane Earl bypassed the area completely, allowing the second edition of the Electric Zoo festival to thrive.  For a total of 24 hours split between Saturday and Sunday, Randall’s Island was New York City’s hottest club, and potentially a newfound earthquake hotspot.  Booming beats resonating from four precisely placed stages likely sent the rest of the island humming.

Obviously the best outfit seen at the festival

Festival goers dressed in green latex suits, deer costumes, and tiger body paint, among other bizarre outfits littered the grounds, provided a unique flavor of diversity.  While the average stereotype of dance music and the New York area would assume that it would be thousands of juicehead guidos with blowouts, it was hardly the case, in fact quite the opposite.  The mix of concert goers among the 25,000 plus each day was welcoming to all sorts of characters geared with pacifiers and surgical masks.

Starting off on Saturday, LA Riots brought early excitement, mixing Estelle’s “Freak” with distorted beats while catching onto the infectious “Pon de Floor” by Major Lazer in what proved to be a house filled weekend.  Forty minutes felt like five minutes during LA Riots set as climaxes and crescendos came at perfectly timed moments.  After a glorious start, I quickly made the rash and hasty decision of watching Boris (not to be confused with Japanese noise-rockers Boris) at…

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