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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.

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<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.

Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 17, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Trace Adkins – Cowboy’s Back In Town (Show Dog-Universal Music)
American Hi-Fi – Fight The Frequency (RED GENERAL CATALOG)
Antagonist – World In Decline (PROSTHETIC RECORDS)
Camu Tao – King of Hearts (Definitive Jux/Fat Possum)
Dondria – Dondria Vs Phatfffat (Malaco Records)
Dora the Explorer – We Did It! Dora’s Greatest Hits (Nick Records)
Filter – The Trouble with Angels (Rocket Science)
David Gray – Foundling (Downtown)
Jesse Harris – Through The Night (Mercer Street Records)
Hellsent – False Profit (Galapagos4)
Hey Monday – Beneath It All (Columbia)
Iron Maiden – The Final Frontier (Sony Legacy) – Mike Stagno
Kem – Intimacy (Motown/PGD)
The Last Felony – Too Many Humans (LIFEFORCE RECORDS) – Trey Spencer
Lissie – Catching A Tiger (Fat Possum)
John Mellencamp – No Better Than This (Rounder/PGD)
Miss May I – Monument (Rise Records)
Nils – What The Funk? (Baja Records)
NoFX – The Longest EP (Fat Wreck Chords)
Orbs – Asleep Next to Science (Equal Vision Records)
Sadistik – The Art Of Dying (Clockwork Grey Music)
Slayer – Live Intrusion [DVD Reissue] (Columbia)
Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin – Let It Sway (Polyvinyl) – Rudy Klapper
Esperanza Spalding – Chamber Music Society (Heads Up)
Taking Back Sunday –…

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This was released online a couple of weeks ago, but I totally had no idea Ra Ra Riot were even releasing a new album until last week. Since then The Orchard (which comes out 8/24) has been pretty much all I’ve been listening to. Can’t say I was a huge fan of their debut, which reeked of a bit too much Vampire Weekend, but their new album is far more stately, pushing the strings (and those gorgeous girls) to the front of the mix and generally slowing the pace down. Of course, “Boy” differs from most else on the album by being ridiculously bubbly, but it’s also infinitely catchy and is just the kind of summer tune I want right now.

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Yesterday on the blog, we previewed “High School Art Class,” the first track off Pretty Lights’ newest EP entitled, Spilling Over Every Side.  Today Derek Vincent Smith, the mastermind of Pretty Lights, talks about his touring, latest and future works, and the experience of playing a show with DJ Shadow.

Ryan Flatley: I just downloaded your second EP, which is fantastic by the way, and I just wanted to know if Spilling Over Every Side and your other two EPs are linked in any way or are they separate entities?

Derek Vincent Smith: Well really what I’m trying to do is try to make three separate bodies of music that can come together as a whole. And I suppose what would unify them as a whole is the fact that (it’s) the music I wanted to create in 2010, and it’s kind of where I’m at in 2010. I’m really trying to use each EP as a way to push each style I’m trying to explore at that time. The second EP is different than the first, and trying a different approach on the third. I suppose I want the trilogy to be a glimpse into the ever-change, morphing vision of myself.

RF: Do you plan on doing that on a consistent basis, as in 2011 release music sporadically?

DVS: No, I want to make it different all the time, this year I want to do the three EPs. Next year I already have planned to do something…

Derek Vincent Smith, known by his moniker Pretty Lights, has blown up on the electro/hip-hop scene during the past two years.  Supporting acts such as DJ Shadow in Dublin, Ireland along with playing nearly every major festival in the country for the past two years that it’s only a matter of time before Pretty Lights explodes once again.  Tomorrow, I will post a full interview with Derek, but first, a preview of what Pretty Lights are all about.  This track entitled “High School Art Class” is the first track off Spilling Over Every Side, the second of three EPs to be released this year, all of which can cost you as little as nothing to any amount that you would like to donate.

High School Art Class by Pretty Lights

On September 29, 2009, DJ Shadow announced the DJ Shadow Remix Project, an open opportunity for DJs and producers from around the world to remix some of the most legendary material in the trip-hop canon. Nine-and-a-half months later, the anticipated child was born, a release from Reconstruction Productions featuring 19 tracks of remixes stretching across Shadow’s discography. Endtroducing and The Private Press get the largest overhaul, including two remixes of the classic “Building Steam with a Grain of Salt.” Featured here is the Ruby My Dear remix that speeds up the song for a frenetic, rapidly changing remix that goes from Venetian Snares to The Flashbulb to Bonobo in the blink of an eye, all while keeping the main purpose in sight–demonstrating the wide influence that Shadow has had and still has for emerging producers around the world.

Building steam with a grain of salt by RubyMyDear

Check out the rest of the project here

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Not far removed from the middle of winter in the southern hemisphere, it was a cold and wet Melbourne that hosted Jared Leto & Co. at Festival Hall. Touring on the back of their disappointing 3rd album ‘This Is War’, this tour was for some reason titled ‘Into the Wild’. I’d research why, but the fact this blog has been written 2 weeks after the event should tell you how motivated I am at present.

The best seat in the house?

The venue is not exactly much loved around these parts since (ignoring its summer air-conditioning issue which leaves it feeling like a sauna) it is spatially challenged. Spreading sideways instead of back, even some of the best seats in the house (ignoring a limited capacity balcony section which is centrally located) leave attendees with too much of a side view feel. Thankfully, yours truly had one of those best seats for this particular concert since there was no way I was going to submit my ears to the screaming 13 year old girls on the venue’s floor section… The fact that the floor section was also unlicensed is irrelevant… Well, not really, but anyway…

The Art

Arriving as the support band was playing their first song; it was not a great surprise to see The Art receive a lukewarm response. Previously


Bands: A B C D E F G H I J K L M N O P Q R S T U V W X Y Z

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