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10. The Microphones – The Glow, Pt. 2

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The Microphones are about as lo-fi as lo-fi music gets. Listening through their discography, you would imagine most of the recordings were completed in the attic of a log cabin, and that certainly may be the case. Even so, their musical output sounds so much grander and richer than an album with top-notch production, and there is a simple reason for this, specifically highlighted in The Glow, Pt. 2, and that is Phil Elvrum’s heart. The Glow, Pt. 2 is a nostalgic journey siphoned through Elvrum’s lyrics, yet the underlying emotional threshold is frequently rephrased through non-spoken portions as well. Listening to the overall ambiance of tracks like “instrumental” and “My Warm Blood,” Elvrum’s specific mood is mimicked through each creaky piano strike or through the disjointed manner in which he strums his guitar. Like Neutral Milk Hotel’s In The Aeroplane Over the Sea, The Glow, Pt. 2 has an intangible presence surrounding the record that makes it simply divine.

Only listening to The Glow, Pt. 2 as a whole will allow such appreciation, though tracks like “The Moon” are able to be taken aside to be appreciated. It is at times disheveled, but the meaning is never lost as drums defiantly pound over Elvrum’s mum vocals, which exponentially add to the glumness story behind “The Moon.” Quite…


Not a bad opening match, all told!

You know, there used to be a time when the words ‘Uruguay’ and ‘World Cup’ went together like ‘Billy Corgan’ and ‘whiny bitch’. They both hosted and won the first one, in 1930, before hopping over the border to Brazil and gazumping them in their final in 1952. All this and two Olympic golds in the ’20s, too. They’re a shadow of their former selves now, though; largely relying on the skills of two gifted frontmen, one of whom looks not entirely unlike Simon Amstell.

So, who’s your favourite McFly?

Not unlike football, Uruguay’s music has tended to be overshadowed by that of its much larger neighbours, Brazil. Yet it had its own version of tropicalia, running concurrently to the Brazilian psychedelic revolutionaries, and the biggest name was in that was Eduardo Mateo. Finding an English-language equivalent for Mateo is difficult; he was an enfant terrible of the nation’s music scene, who was rumoured to struggle with mental health issues, and yet he became arguably the most influential musician the country had ever produced. The below track comes from his 1976 collaboration with Montevido born percussionist Jorge Trasante; a record recorded after both musicians were exiled from the country by the government-imposed period of martial law that ravaged the nation in the mid-’70s.

Before Mateo’s blend of rock, traditional Latin-American folk forms, and psych, though, there was the Uruguayan invasion – which is exactly what it sounds like. After The…


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Howdy. You might have noticed something that something fairly big is about to start in South Africa, and as a European I am duty-bound to spend the next month waffling on and on and on about it. It’s great, though, because the World Cup offers us a chance to do many things, like laugh uncontrollably at France, get drunk at 2 in the afternoon, tell a room of journalists to ’suck it and keep on sucking it’, and research other countries in the hope of finding another stereotype to chant about. So why not do it here? I’ll bet that 95% of the people on Sputnik own songs from, at most, 6 of the countries participating (and that’s accounting for your token J-pop albums and weirdly popular outliers like Laibach).

So where better to start than the hosts?

One of these men is called Macbeth Sibaya. Awesome.

South Africa’s music is unique amongst that of Africa in the way it has permeated American culture, largely thanks to Paul Simon and his massively successful Graceland; indeed, when the average person tries to imagine African music, from any part of the continent, it’s almost certainly the monophonic vocal harmony of Ladysmith Black Mambazo they picture. It’s an odd stereotype, for sure, but it’s one that’s ensured that they were, and perhaps still are, more famous in the US than they were in their home country.

Yet Ladysmith are a one-dimensional representation of…


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100-76 | 75-51 | 50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1

30. Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

[Myspace] // [Review]

Weirdly enough, Illinois is so damn awesome for the same reasons that so many albums released this decade were not. If the 90s were too lazy and apathetic to care, than the following decade was the total opposite. Too much music was concerned with soaring ambitions and pretensions and that sort of bullshit – and it was mostly all because of this album. Gleefully pretentious and zealous, Illinois is a simple singer/songwriter album dressed up in the fanciest and most ridiculous outfits available, all while thankfully being completely honest yet self-deprecating at the same time. Despite being presented as an embodiment of a state, Illinois succeeds and belongs on this list primarily because it exceeds those high-reaching standards, simply by never losing track of the hopes and feelings of its creator. And more than just that: it never loses the listener as well. Not even the record’s ostentatious nature could hamper Stevens’ gift for creating music that’s accessible and invitational, which is why Illinois truly deserves its following. All those ornate, elaborated singer/songwriter records that followed succeeded in copying Illinois’s aesthetic, but if only they would have recognized the record’s scope. If only. - Cam

29. Radiohead – In Rainbows

[Myspace] // [Review]

I remember waking up at 6 AM on October 10, 2007, and–before showering, eating, brushing…



There’s no denying it. Ever since Botch called it quits at the rise of the millennium there has been a void in the metalcore scene. The void they left started a power vacuum that paved the way for the funk that it’s in today. Thank god for Narrows. Featuring Botch’s almighty Mr. Dave Verellen on vox and members of such greats as These Arms Are Snakes, Unbroken, and Some Girls, Narrows haven’t quite lived up to expectations, but their recent split with John Pettibone’s Heiress seems to have put everything back on track. For the better half of a decade I’ve been kicking and screaming, praying for a Botch reunion, but if “Recurring” is a sign of things to come, I might just be praying for another Narrows release.

Narrows – “Recurring”

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100-76 | 75-51 | 50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1

50. Cursive – The Ugly Organ

[Myspace] // [Review]

Sometimes I wish every band would be like Andrew W.K. (who is crazy in a good way) but more often than not bands end up having a Tim Kasher (who a lot of times seems crazy in a bad way). Still, you can’t argue with results. The Ugly Organ almost completely abandons what Cursive did on Domestica, which was a complex, multi-layered indie album rife with aggressive post-hardcore moments to mirror its relatively simple story perfectly – a man and his wife on the road to divorce. Instead, The Ugly Organ throws much more into the mix, including Pinocchio and lyrics where Kasher actually refers to himself as opposed to a doppelganger. There are strings and hopefulness aplenty, and I would say that the end of “A Gentlemen Caller” is the most inspiring thing ever if “Staying Alive” didn’t sit at the end of the album like the Incredible Hulk about to tie helicopters into pretzels with its message of holding on. Overall, while Domestica might be a better musical statement, The Ugly Organ offers more of everything and also it won’t depress the hell out of you. – Channing Freeman

49. Tool – Lateralus

[Myspace] // [Review]

It is hard for me to define exactly why I disagree with the Tool haters, why…


So the Season 1 finale of Glee finished ten minutes ago and I am very sad that I’ll have to find a new show to talk about for the next few months.  I already wrote a blog about Glee here, but I am just bursting with things to say about why I love the show and I feel an unshakable need to share them with you, because the music of Glee is essentially all I listen to these days.

I'm trying to be ashamed but I am just too filled with happiness for that.

My fiancée, despite my numerous attempts to persuade her, absolutely refuses to watch Glee, saying that she doesn’t like musicals.  In the immortal words of Aaron Weiss, “I half-heartedly explained, but gave up peacefully ashamed.”  It irks me that she makes fun of the show and says she hates it without ever having seen an episode, but ultimately I don’t care whether or not she likes it, and secretly I’m even sort of glad that she doesn’t.  I hate when people get pissed off that their favorite band is starting to gain popularity, even though we’ve all had that feeling, even me.  You overhear someone talking about a band you like, calling them “French screamo,” (as an acquaintance of mine once called The Mars Volta), and your blood boils, wishing that you were the only one in the world with knowledge of that band, that their name wasn’t being tainted by half-wits.…


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A few weeks ago Nick Butler posted this track, which directly challenged my manhood when it came to filthy, grimy, disgusting dubstep. What Butler doesn’t know is that I carry trash bags with me on a regular basis. Enjoy this particular overseas artifact, which proves that everything in Japan is indeed dirtier.


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100-76 | 75-51 | 50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1

75. Say Anything – In Defense of the Genre

[Myspace] // [Review]

Max Bemis released his craziest and most ambitious project only after he became decidedly less crazy. In Defense of the Genre turned a lot of preconceptions about Say Anything on their heads (the loner persona, the winding canyons of his earlier songs), but mostly the album proved that Bemis had plenty of ideas beyond how much he hated everyone and everything. While the songs were shorter and less complex, they were also devoid of bullshit, and the fact that In Defense of the Genre has less filler in twice the material than …Is a Real Boy speaks louder praise for the record than anything else. Some of Bemis’ best songs are contained within, including the triumphant, lick-heavy “Shiksa (Girlfriend)” and the longing “Plea.” – Channing Freeman

74. Isis – Panopticon

[Myspace] // [Review]

Panopticon’s opener “So Did We” contains seven lines of lyrics, and they are all sung only once throughout the track. The rest of the song is made up of some of the most hypnotizing metal put to tape, and while Isis could only seem to get it perfectly right for one album, Panopticon stands as a pinnacle of post-metal. The rest of the songs are all similar in their approach yet wholly different…


two bottles of lubiderm and a box of condoms… this displeases Marshall

Last year, Eminem saying something like “Ain’t nothin’ but a whole lot of suckin goin on in rap” would be the equivalent to Oliver Perez saying something like “gee, the Mets’ starting rotation really sucks this season.” But this year, we get “Despicable,” a fucking jaw dropping two minutes where Em tears into fucking anything he wants to regardless of if it makes sense or not. On “Not Afraid,” Em promised he’d never suck again. On “Despicable,” he proves it. Eminem spits with the crazed desperation we remember from the albums where he’d fucking choke the shit out of his wife or drive off a bridge with his pregnant girlfriend in the trunk. Only now, we’re the victims. The indiscriminate “You” he threatens and mocks over two different stolen-but-sinister beats is probably everyone who wrote him off after Encore. And if this is any indication of the quality of Recovery, we’re all fucked. Believe him when he says “Bitch I’m as bat shit as Ozzy it’s obvious you can tell I go right off the bat. No pun intended but come any closer I’ll bite off your head.” Believe him when he compares himself to Donkey Kong. Marshall’s back, bitches.

(Note: in terms of comebacks from disgraced egotistical rappers, I think it might be safe to say that Eminem reigns supreme in this honkey shit.)

“Despicable”

Audio clip: Adobe Flash Player


100-76 | 75-51 | 50-31 | 30-11 | 10-1

100. The Blood Brothers – Burn, Piano Island, Burn

[Myspace] // [Review]

The Blood Brothers were one of the essential post-hardcore acts that this decade has seen. Their third full-length album, …Burn, Piano Island, Burn reciprocates such praise, as its off-kilter style combines vocalists Jordan Blilie and Johnny Whitney nasally wails with unrelenting and challenging songwriting created a mixture that was unorthodox, yet accepted. With a lack of any real musical constraint, The Blood Brothers vicariously lived through different climaxes and sounds unaccustomed to many. From the bass-synth gem in “Cecilia and the Silhouette Saloon” to the overflowing emotion in “The Shame,” …Burn, Piano Island, Burn wears its heart on its sleeve, and wears it damn well. – Ryan Flatley

99. Unwound – Leaves Turn Inside You

[Myspace] // [Review]

Unwound always had a textural ear. Throughout the beginning of their career the group always managed to make excellent tone choices that put their records into a more sophisticated level of rock. Where many groups use noise and dissonance as transitional parts of their music Unwound seemed to thrive melodically in their more abrasive sections. Leaves Turn Inside You is the opus of that exploration. From the first few moments of “We Invent You” Unwound’s sound is in a different place than they have ever…


Sputnikmusic LogoHello Sputnik regulars and internet dwellers,

Sputnikmusic will be posting our Top 100 Albums of the Decade feature in the coming week and we wanted to offer up a contest opportunity in celebration of this epic feature. The challenge of the contest is to guess our Top 10 albums of the decade. To enter please navigate to our submission form. Entries are due this coming Thursday.

We are publishing this feature in three pieces in descending order. The publishing schedule for this feature is as such:

Monday: 100-76
Tuesday: 75-51
Wednesday: 50-31
Thursday: 30-11
Friday: 10-1

Good luck!

-Management


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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 8, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

The Acorn – No Ghost (Bella Union) {EU}
Against Me! – White Crosses (Sire/Wea) – John Hanson
Christina Aguilera – Bionic (RCA)
Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffitti – Before Today (4AD Records)
Olafur Arnalds – …and They Have Escaped the Weight of Darkness (Erased Tapes)
Andy Bell [Erasure] – Non-Stop (Mute U.S.)
Blizten Trapper – Destroyer of the Voids (Sub Pop)
Ceremony – Rohnert Park (Bridge Nine Records) – Adam Thomas
Chosen Few – New World Symphony (Hieroglyphics Imperium)
Darkness – Death Squad (BATTLE CRY)
Deer Tick – The Dirt Sessions (Partisan Records)
Delorean – Subiza (Fool House)
Delta Spirit – History From Below (Rounder/Umgd)
Edge of Dawn – Anything That Gets You Through The Night (Metropolis Records)
Eisbrecher – Eiszeit (Metropolis Records)
Enemies – We’ve Been Talking (Richter Collective)
Eyes Set to Kill – Broken Frames (Suburban Noize)
The Flashbulb – Arboreal (Alphabasic)
The Ghost Inside – Returners (Mediaskare)
Grace Potter & The Nocturnals – Grace Potter & The Nocturnals (Hollywood Records)
Hanson – Shout It Out (3CG)
The Haunted – Roadkill/On The Road With The Haunted (Century Media)
Heaven Shall Burn – Invictus (Iconoclast III) (101 DISTRIBUTION)
Here We Go Magic – Pigeons (Secretly Canadian)
Hot Hot Heat – Future Beeds (Dangerbird)
Richard Ingram – Consolamentum (White Box)
Jewel – Sweet And Wild (VALORY)
Kaiser Cartel – Secret Transit (Daniel Records)
Keep of Kalessin – Reptilian (Nuclear Blast America)
Kingdom of…


One of my great regrets from this year’s Coachella was not being able to catch Swedish-American electro trio Miike Snow Sunday evening, but I wasn’t going to miss Spoon on the main stage and Phoenix’s ridiculously energetic set. God bless Los Angeles, then, for hosting four (!) separate dates by the pop uber-producers, whose only non-sold out show was the one I made it to a half-hour away in Pomona last night. I was worried that this would be the band’s weakest set coming at the tail end of more prominent shows in Hollywood, but they put on a four-hour set that might crack my Top 3 concerts of all time once my ears finally stop ringing.

Although there were still tickets available at the door, the Fox Theatre, a mid-sized theatre with a sizable balcony, was still packed almost to the brim by the time openers Canon Blue headed off and Miike Snow arrived to the tribal beat of “Cult Logic.” Along with singer Andrew Wyatt and DJs Christian Karlsson and Pontus Winnberg, the band had enlisted another keyboardist, bassist, and drummer to put on their entirely live show. The band’s superb eponymous debut, released last summer, was a largely electronic one, but the group played everything live through what looked like some very expensive sets of synthesizer and DJ equipment. They also came out inexplicably decked in Jason-esque masks that weren’t removed until the charged wall-of-sound guitar solo that ended “Black & Blue” about halfway…


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Most people think of English as a grim shower of dullards who wouldn’t know fun if it invaded their country and brutalised its beleagured people for 800 years. And they’d be right.

Ocasionally, the English do come up with something completely amazing and it’s all we can do not to stand up and applaud.

One was hospitalised and three more have been taken in for questioning following a water fight in London’s Hyde Park that involved over 1,500 people and lasted for eight hours. The water fight was organised via Facebook and comes in the midst of a seasonal heatwave that has given rise to a unprecedented phenomenon among British youth known as a “natural tan.”

Police were so concerned by the gathering that a riot squad was summoned, while busy neighbouring thoroughfare Oxford Street was shut down completely. The assembled warriors responded in characteristic fashion by spraying police with water guns, raining them with water bombs and drunkenly trying to punch them. Thankfully, some Irish patsy caught the entire clash on video – enjoy.

In a tenuous attempt to link this awesome event to music, here’s a video of Bruce Springsteen & the E Street Band performing London Calling in Hyde Park last summer:


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