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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

Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir

By: Dave Mustaine & Joe Layden
Released: August 3, 2010
Hardcover: 368 pages
Publisher: It Books

Mustaine: A Heavy Metal Memoir has something for even the most apathetic of Megadeth fans and is written in a very entertaining manner thanks to the dry humor and no-holds-barred attitude of Dave Mustaine.

I’ve never considered myself a huge fan of Megadeth. Their earlier albums always seemed to be very inconsistent in terms of quality, and their mid-era commercial attempts were mostly terrible. There are exceptions of course, Rust in Peace is easily one of the best thrash albums of all time and Endgame is just about equal (and sometimes better, depending on my mood) – but this isn’t about me and isn’t really about Megadeth either. This is about Dave Mustaine; the man that has had the great fortune of being part of two of the biggest metal bands of the last thirty years. He’s also the man that everyone has loved to hate due to his tendency to speak his mind and treat fellow band mates as if they were totally expendable (in hindsight one could argue that they really have been). If anyone in the metal community has lived a life that is worthy of having a book written about him, it is Dave Mustaine. The man has dealt with drug use, the stigma of being dropped from Metallica, the total…

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 10, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Amorphis – Forging the Land of Thousand Lakes [CD/DVD] (Nuclear Blast America)
Angelfire – Angelfire (THE RECORD LABEL)
Ayatollah – Live From the MPC 60 [3 CDs] (Green Streets Entertainment)
Black Label Society – Order Of The Black (E1 Music)
Sarah Blasko – As Day Follow Night (Universal Music Group)
Bottomless Pit – Blood Under The Bridge (Comedy Minus One)
The Budos Band – The Budos Band III (Daptone Records)
Kathryn Calder – Are You My Mother? (File Under: Music)
Common Grackle (Factor) – The Great Depression (Fake Four)
Charlie Daniels – Land That I Love (Koch Records)
George Duke – Deja Vu (Heads Up)
Exile – AM/PM (Plug Research)
Kataklysm - Heaven’s Venom {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Killola – Let’s Get Associated (Killola)
Landing On The Moon – We Make History Now (Young Love Records)
Language Room – Language Room (Anti-)
Lights Out Asia – In the Days of Jupiter (n5MD)  – Adam Downer
Lost In The Trees – All Alone In An Empty House (Anti/Epitaph)
Madlib – High Jazz [2 LPs] (Madlib Invazion)
Moe Pope – Life After God (Brick Records)
Mike Posner – 31 Minutes To Takeoff (J-Records)
Noblesse Oblige – Malady (Metropolis Records)
Over-Reactor – Lose Your Delusion, Vol. 1 (Free Download)
Blake Shelton – All About Tonight…

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Huge, yearning, beautiful. What the avalanches might have sounded like in 2010, where dilla may have been going. Star Slinger picks up where they left off, and, when he’s on his game, brings it to the moon. Four minutes of bliss.


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I post this slightly poor-quality recording of ‘Suspect Device’ from an Ulster Television broadcast in 1978 not because it’s a particularly good representation of the song – in fact, it does very little justice to one of the best punk songs ever written – but purely because it challenges the myth of what “punk,” in its earliest form, stood for.

Here we see a decent-sized crowd of disaffected Northern Irish youths kitted out in the usual punk clobber – ripped shirts, shredded jeans, leather jackets and even the odd dog collar – and seemingly united in their desire not to be seen showing any form of emotion. You’ll notice a trio of lads jumping around in euphoria towards the middle of the video – rest assured they were not representative of the crowd and were soon removed from the venue.

It’s worth considering the context in which bands like Stiff Like Fingers and the Undertones entered the music scene: groups like the Sex Pistols and the Clash may have been infuriated by the extent to which their mummies didn’t pay enough attention to them, but these groups of Catholic Irish teenagers experienced real hardship and oppression on a daily basis, and they made a conscious choice to break the mould by fighting back with their music rather than guns and improvised explosives.

The lasting legacy of these groups’ music was to unite thousands of middle class teens from across the religious divide would unite against a bitterly unfair regime –…

My renewed obsession with reading books combined with my lack of Internet access has led to a waning interest in listening to new music.  It is sad, I will admit, that even if I did have Internet access, I would probably not be using it to procure new music.  Furthermore, I am unable to listen to music while I read, as some can, and so the only time I listen to music lately is in my car, where I choose from a large but still limited selection of CDs. 

But I have found a sense of freedom in all of this.  I read all the time and I write all the time and as I grow in both of those areas, I am able to further appreciate music I’ve already heard in new ways.  Undertones of emotion that were heretofore unheard by my ears have been opening themselves up to me, turns of phrase stand out not like sore thumbs but like oases, and song structure has become revelatory.  Even production techniques – something that I had previously paid attention to only in a disengaged manner – are wells of inspiration.  So it is through this disillusionment with music that I have come to appreciate music more.

I have always been a lover of lyrics; for as long as I’ve been listening to music, the words have been equally important as the music and melody.  Lately though, I have been able to analyze lyrics more deeply, to pay attention to…

I love music. I would argue that I have the ability to love all music (except for country… sorry, ex-girlfriend!), although some would argue that they think that I have absolutely no sense of taste when it comes to music (see: my pie chart).

And somehow, I wound up a music journalist for a print publication (amongst other things, anyway) and an editor for an online publication (take a guess as to what that might be – and if you haven’t figured it out by now, drink the first thing you find underneath your kitchen sink).

Note: festive attire optional.

I have interviewed famous people (and not-so-famous people) about their bands and I have a blast doing so because I make it fun for them. I would ask them questions like, “Do you think homeless people hate knock-knock jokes?” or “What smell would you NOT want your shampoo to smell like?” and other such unprofessional absurdities to facilitate the more important (and significantly more appropriate) questions.

For the record, Andrew W.K. thinks homeless people LOVE knock-knock jokes and thinks that a shampoo that smells like Ranch dressing would be the worst shampoo ever.

And, while being a music journalist and a music editor are fun gigs, there came a point when I stopped liking being the former for a bit.

In particular, I stopped liking the unprofessionalism exhibited by bands.

Every time I got on either Gmail or Facebook –…


I heard Salem’s “King Night” a little over a month ago when a few blogs started premiering it, but I have to admit that I hardly paid attention. To be honest, I have no idea how this did not draw me in back then. What was I distracted by? It could have been The Roots, Big Boi, Sleigh Bells, or any of the other incredible music I had been digesting around that time, but “King Night”, the first track released off of Salem’s forthcoming album of the same name, shows just as much promise as any of the great music that has already come out this year. It’s a post-dubstep masterpiece, and not in the way that Mount Kimbie makes a weak, watered-down mixture for the headphones. “King Night” moves the grimy underbelly of Burial to a cathedral, featuring none other than a choir singing “O Holy Night” with walloping, powerful bass as the choir’s accompaniment. It’s an inspired tour de force of music for the new decade.

King Night is released on September 28th.

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of August 03, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Arcade Fire – The Suburbs (Merge Records) – Tyler Fisher
Autolux – Transit Transit (TBD Records)
The Black Crowes – Croweology (Megaforce)
Buckcherry – All Night Long (Eleven Seven Music)
Bun B – Trill O.G. (Rap-A-Lot)
Dr. John And The Lower 911 – Tribal (429 Records)
El-P – Hell Megamixxx 3 (Gold Dust Media)
Fleshwrought – Dementia/Dyslexia (Metal Blade Records)
Gaelic Storm – Cabbage (LOST AGAIN RECORDS)
Freddie Gibbs – Str8 Killa (Decon)
Paul Gilbert – Fuzz Universe (Shrapnel)
Gov’t Mule – Mulennium [Live] (Evil Teen Records)
Immortal – The Seventh Date Of Blashyrkh [Live DVD/CD] {EU} (Nuclear Blast)
Lady Gaga – The Remix (Interscope Records)
Lady Gaga – The Cherrytree Sessions [EP] (Interscope Records)
Les Savy Fav – Root For Ruin (frenchkissrecords) – Cam
LloydMiller+Heliocentrics – LloydMiller+Heliocentrics (Strut Records)
Los Lobos – TinCan Trust (Shout Factory!)
Katie Melua – House (Universal Motown)
Queens Of The Stone Age – Rated R [Deluxe Edition] (Interscope)
Secondhand Serenade – Hear Me Now (GLASS NOTE RECORDS)
Squeeze – Spot The Difference (XOXO RECORDS)
Ryan Star – 11:59 (Atlantic)
Tony Da Gartorra vs. Gruff Rhys – The Terror Of Cosmic Loneliness (Self-Released)
Wavves – King Of The Beach [Physical Release] (Fat Possum) – Lewis P.
Wretched – Beyond The Gate (Victory Records)

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A recent New York Times profile of Brooklyn resident David, creator of the Pitchfork Reviews Reviews blog, gives an interesting insight into the online sub-culture that has sprung up in opposition to the influence of the internet’s most far-reaching music reviews site.

Early each weekday morning, the indie music Web site Pitchfork posts five new album reviews. Hours later a 22-year-old reader named David downloads them onto his BlackBerry, reads them on his way to work and muscles out a rambling but surprisingly fluid response using his phone’s MemoPad function: no links, no capital letters at the start of sentences, just adrenalized response.

In essence, what David does is turn the tables on Pitchfork: each weekday, he reads every new review on the site, comments upon it and assigns it a score on a scale of 0.0 to 10.0. Instead of “Best New Music,” he gives an award for “Worst New Review.” As far as satire goes, it’s only marginally more subtle than the Scary Movie series, but it is effective nonetheless. Furthermore, it’s the ideal subject matter for a shockingly impersonal medium like tumblr, where small communities choose to blog about each other’s posts rather than having actual upfront discussions.

It’s not so much ironic as it was inevitable that Pitchfork would reach this position. It was originally created as a counterweight to the hegemonic power of traditional media (your Rolling Stones and, yes, your New York Timeses), and any fule…

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Oh you’re so silent Jens. How long has it been? 3 years since you last charmed us with Night Falls Over Kortedala? Where have you been? What have you been up to? Heartbreak, if “The End of The World is Bigger Than Love” is anything to go by. Staggering, string-laden heartbreak.

Jens Lekman – The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love by stripeyjumper


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