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Dimmu Borgir released “Gateways (Edit)” from their upcoming album, Abrahadabra, last Tuesday through iTunes (and probably other digital retailers). On a whim, I decided to buy the track to see if I should be looking forward to the whole CD or not – it didn’t really help. It doesn’t help because “Gateways” is different enough from their previous releases that it’s hard to tell if it is a one-off or if it is representative of the whole album.

For one, there are two different sections that contain female vocals and neither of them turns out to be cheesy.  The first section with female vocals is shouted in an almost punk-like manner, and the second section is more of a choir effect (think Therion not Cradle of Filth). Both sections were surprising because it’s a new direction for the band, and also because it actually worked. Another thing about the song is that it is much slower and more melodic than what is typical of a Dimmu Borgir track. I’m not trying to say that it’s pop or anything, but it’s definitely much more accessible. Those that actually care about the band have probably read that the album features another full orchestra, but unlike Death Cult Armageddon, “Gateways” isn’t overpowered by it. The song is more of an equal partnership between the riffs and the orchestral parts.

So, this song didn’t really help at all. If the whole album pushes the band’s sound like this song did then things might…


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To the uncultured ear (and that includes my own), searching for good post-rock can feel like a hiding to nothing. It’s not that there isn’t plenty of good material to choose from – there is – but otherwise it can take an awful long time to figure out that something is, in fact, shit.

Irish trio Halves gave me no such trouble – featured tune ‘May Your Enemies Never Find Happiness’ practically assaulted me the first time I heard it. It’s not that it’s particularly loud – they don’t seem to go to the same ear-splitting levels as other, more conventional bands (on record at least) – but it builds slowly and deliberately with soft vocals and a chiming blues guitar motif, so that the inevitable crescendos are just an aspect, rather than an aim, of the song.

It sounds like a typical post-rock track, and it is, but it’s also an incredibly moving one.

‘May Your Enemies Never Find Happiness’ is taken from the seven-track EP Haunt Me When I’m Drowsy.


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A couple of weeks ago Sputnikmusic’s own Ryan Flatley interviewed DJ Pretty Lights in preparation for his performance this upcoming weekend at the massive NYC dance festival Electric Zoo. Headlining that festival is Dutch trance DJ/producer/radio show host Armin van Buuren, who’s gearing up for his fourth album release in September by playing nearly nonstop this past year. And when DJ Magazine has voted you the #1 DJ in the world for three straight years, gigs aren’t exactly in short supply. We were lucky enough to catch up with Armin before his headlining appearance at the UK’s definitive dance festival Creamfields this past weekend.

Rudy Klapper: Being the number one DJ in the world is a pretty demanding job, particularly when you’ve been voted the best multiple years as you have. How has 2010 been turning out so far as you gear up for your album release?

Armin van Buuren: Well, it’s been really, really phenomenal. I thought last year was sort of the peak for myself but this year I’m releasing my new album, I’ve been doing a little less DJing in general because I want to focus on that.  But I still toured South America and North America, some stuff in Asia. But yeah, in the summer though I’ve just been full on doing a gig almost every day and it’s been really fantastic. Now I have 21 new tracks finished and I’m very proud.

RK: I caught your headlining act at the…


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 31 , 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

10 Years – Feeding the Wolves (Universal Republic) – Davey Boy
The Autumn Offering – The Autumn Offering (Victory Records)
Big L – 139 & Lenox (Flamboyant)
Ryan Bingham – Junky Star (Lost Highway)
Carl Broemel [My Morning Jacket] – All Birds Say (ATO RECORDS/RED)
Cephalic Carnage – Misled By Certainty (Relapse Records)
Common – Resurrection [2-CD Deluxe] (Get On Down)
The Contortionist – Exoplanet (Good Fight)
Dagoba – Poseidon {EU} (Indie Europe/Zoom)
Death Angel – Relentless Retribution {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Disturbed – Asylum (Reprise)
DJ Muggs & Ill Bill – Kill Devil Hills (Fat Beats Records)
Everything Everything – Man Alive (Piccadilly Records)
Funeral for a Friend – The Young and Defenceless [EP] (Self Released)
Godfather Don – Properties of Steel (Traffic Ent. Group)
Goo Goo Dolls – Something For The Rest Of Us (Warner Bros.)
The Graduate – Only Every Time (Razor & Tie) – Davey Boy
Bruce Haack – Farad Bruce Haack (Stones Throw Records)
Heart – Red Velvet Car (Sony Legacy)
Lyfe Jennings – I Still Believe (Asylum Records)
Jenny & Johnny – I’m Having Fun Now (Warner Bros.)
KRS One & True Master – Meta-Historical (Fat Beats Records)
Last Nights Vice – Perfect Little Noise (Last Nights Vice)
Madlib – Advanced Jazz (Madlib Invazion)


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Trawling through endless press releases and PR pitches is, unfortunately, a major aspect of my life – I say unfortunately because I am currently sat at home at 4am on a Sunday morning wading through release after release in search of something – ANYTHING – that will make the suffering worthwhile.

Also, I had dry clothes on the washing line and then it started raining. Shit.

‘Hard To Say I Love You’ isn’t quite the panacea I crave, but it is the first thing I’ve seen all night thoughtful enough and, dare I say it, innocent enough to penetrate the deep-rooted cynicism I’ve built up this eve.

Dylan works as an a&r at a label (I don’t know if he wants me to say which), but he contacted me on Friday with an entirely different project: a summery pop video he made with his brother and an unnamed friend. ‘Hard To Say I Love’ you is undeniably raw and more than a little bit trite, but the man I believe to have identified as Dylan spends most of the video topless, which is always a plus.

Dylan and his brother Noah hope to make it as more than just a music video in the near future, and I can only wish them the best of luck as their video has made my life just a little bit brighter this evening.


You wanted the best? Well they couldn’t fucking make it. So here’s what you get. From Brazil. Marcelo. Bruno N’ Douglas!

*worst


We value discussion, and we’re happy that lists are so popular. However, there is a thin line between users having fun and annoying trolling. Recently (or perhaps not so recently), there have been a few trends that I’ve noticed:

- Users creating multiple accounts to bother other users, publish bogus lists, and generally be an annoyance.
- Lists that serve no other purpose but to start a discussion in the comments section.
- Users attacking newbies who aren’t aware of the site’s cliques/conventions, etc.

Currently, the forums aren’t well integrated with the review site, so there isn’t a prominent place where users can engage in general discussion. We’re working on fixing this at some point in the future. In the meantime, here are a few small changes/guidelines we’re rolling out:

- We now have a way to track alternate accounts. In other words, expect the possibility that you may be banned on all of your active accounts if you are banned.

- We’re not going to allow people to use disposable e-mail addresses in registration.

- Users now have the option to prevent other users from commenting on your lists. If you love polka and want to post your top 15 of 2010 without instant replies of “lolololololol sucks,” this option is for you.

- Mods can now lock discussions that are getting out of hand.

- You can delete posts by other users on your lists. If…


<a href="http://sufjanstevens.bandcamp.com/album/all-delighted-people-ep">All Delighted People (Original Version) by Sufjan Stevens</a>

You’re probably going to need an hour-long EP to get through this, so start listening.

Anyone remotely connected to the indie music world knows that Sufjan Stevens surprised the world last Friday by releasing an hour-long EP completely unannounced. Even more surprising was the mode of release. Instead of putting it on iTunes (although it did reach other digital stores on Monday), Sufjan and Asthmatic Kitty Records decided to upload the EP on Bandcamp. And it was probably the smartest decision they could have made, considering Sufjan’s usually tech-savvy fanbase who, if the EP had premiered on iTunes, would probably have pirated the EP if only to avoid the awkward file format used by iTunes.

To compare the world of digital music stores to the world of Internet browsers, the iTunes Store looks more and more like Internet Explorer–widely used but antiquated in many ways, rendering them completely unusable to anyone who does not use iTunes. iTunes has also faced numerable phishing scams, including a very recent one that came about the same time as Sufjan’s EP.

Bandcamp, in keeping with the web browser analogy, is the Mozilla Firefox of digital music stores–not necessarily the fastest, but the one with the most customizable options. On Bandcamp, the musician or label simply uploads their master files, and the service converts them to any file format you could possibly want: 320 kbps mp3, VBR mp3, FLAC, Apple Loseless,…


We’ve got one copy of the incredible deluxe vinyl box set of Dark Night of the Soul to give away.

The album is a collaboration between producer Danger Mouse (Gnarls Barkley, Gorillaz), alt. rock band Sparklehorse and film director/artist David Lynch, recorded just months before Sparklehorse frontman Mark Linkous’ tragic death. Read Alex Silveri’s review of Dark Night of the Soul here.

The deluxe box set (pictured above) includes the Dark Night of the Soul album on CD, on double-LP vinyl, a CD containing instrumentals from the album, a 40-page 12″ x 12″ photo book (curated by Lynch), lobby cards, a limited edition photo card and an 18″ x 24″ poster.

To be in with a chance of winning, simply answer the following simple question and send it, along with your full name and username, to sputnikreviews@gmail.com with the tagline “Dark Night of the Soul contest.”

Question: What is your favourite David Lynch film?

NB: The contest is only available to residents of the United States, so please confirm that you’re resident in the country in the email itself to avoid confusion. Multiple entries will be ignored. Closing date is 23.59 on Tuesday, August 31.


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This fall Cee-Lo will release The Lady Killer, his first solo album since 2004’s Cee-Lo Green…Is the Soul Machine.  Appropriately enough, “Fuck You” is the first single off The Lady Killer, a song that soulfully belts about a gold digging woman in such a graceful fashion.  Honestly, it proves how fickle curse words are and how beautiful they can sound.  If you hadn’t figured it out, this song has a few curse words, so be mindful of your surrounding before listening, even though I’m sure no one will care, but rather sing along.


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 24 , 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Accept – Blood of the Nations {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Adebisi Shank – This Is The Second Album Of A Band Called… (Richter Collective) – Dave de Sylvia
Apocalyptica – 7th Symphony (Jive/R.E.D.)
Chris August – No Far Away (Fervent Records)
James Blackshaw – All Is Falling (Young God Records)
S. Carey – All we Grow (Jagjaguwar) – Cam
Chk Chk Chk [!!!] – Strange Weather Isn’t It (Warp Records)
Coin Under Tongue – Reception (Death By Audio)
Dead Confederate – Sugar (Razor & Tie)
Eels – Tomorrrow Morning (E Works) – Adam Thomas
Fantasia – Back To Me (J-Records)
Jesse Harris – Through The Night (Secret Sun Recordings/Mercer Street)
Ion Dissonance – Cursed (Century Media)
Isobel Campbell & Mark Lanegan – Hawk (Vanguard Records)
JJ Grey – Georgia Warhorse (Alligator Records)
Kataklysm – Heaven’s Venom (Nuclear Blast America)
The Klaxons – Surfing the Void {UK} (Polydor)
Brad Laner – Natural Selections (HOMETAPES)
Land Of Talk – Cloak And Cipher (Saddle Creek)
Little Big Town – The Reason Why (Capitol)
The LoveCrave – Soul Saliva (Metropolis Records) – Trey Spencer
Malevolent Creation – Invidious Dominion (Nuclear Blast America)
Mestizo – Elecholo (Machina Muerte)
Mogwai – Special Moves [Live] (+1 Records)
Never Shout Never – Harmony (Sire/Wea)


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Charles Manson’s The Inner Sanctum is the saddest thing I’ve ever heard.

I don’t mean to say it’s the saddest thing I’ve ever heard because it’s awful, although it certainly is awful.  What I mean is, it is depressing to hear this old man plunk away on his guitar while muttering indecipherable lyrics, probably wearing the exact same outfit and the same exact expression as he is on the cover, which looks sort of like he is taking a shit, about to vomit, and trying to work out a complex algebra problem in his head all at once.

The Inner Sanctum is a 3-track EP.  The bookends, “Air” and “Just Love Someone,” are tuneless acoustic meanderings complete with Manson drawling away in a semi-bluesy tone.  The real gem is the second track, “Labor of the Mind,” which isn’t a song; it’s 3:15 of Manson talking.  About what?  I’m not sure, I wasn’t really paying attention.  He says something about how religions worship violence or something and that, within a religion, “improv becomes the devil,” which doesn’t seem to mean anything at all.  It all seems very blasé until you realize that this is the guy with a swastika carved into his forehead and then it just becomes very very ironic in a very very sad way.

I can’t help but feel a little bit depressed for Manson when I listen to Inner Sanctum.  I mean, this is a man who was described as the most compelling, charismatic, mesmerizing man…


In my last post on this blog, I spoke of my ‘long hiatus’ (it was all of two weeks). This time, I’ve upped the ante and have refrained from posting for a full 4 months. After some effort, the Norwegians have managed to drag me out of my self-imposed literary slumber. Celebrate by checking out Royksopp’s latest mashup: ‘This Space’

This Space by Röyksopp


Color me confuzzled. Someone, apparently a Milwaukee group named Photon Wave Orchestra took Justin Bieber’s “U Smile” pumped up the reverb and slowed the song down 800%. The result is probably the best ambient track you’re going to hear all year, although the slowed down drums can get kind of annoying after a few minutes. Joke or not, what the track proves is, at its finest, ambient music takes all of the simplicity that makes pop music so accessible and lays it bare before us. It’s what Hammock does, it’s what Sigur Ros does, and apparently, in the second level of Christopher Nolan’s dreamworld, it’s what Justin Bieber does as well.

J. BIEBZ – U SMILE 800% SLOWER by Shamantis


Below, comedians Mario Cantone, Sherri Shepherd and Jackie Hoffman read excerpts from Destiny’s Child 2002 autobiography, Soul Survivors.

No further explanation needed, really.


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