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It’s a funny subplot in popular music’s history that a friend of mine pointed out in a conversation a couple of years ago; the most timeless, interesting music always tends to happen at the tail-end of a decade. He was pointing out how crazy the music industry went in the late ’90s, and how bands like Superchunk had unbelievable and hilarious amounts of money thrown at them, and bands as obviously offputting and angular as Placebo could become superstars, but it extrapolates across the decades; in lists like Rolling Stone’s 500 greatest albums of all time, Sputnik’s own user-voted all-time chart, and the Top 3000 albums on Acclaimed Music, there’s a real swing toward records that arrived in the latter half of their decades. On Acclaimed Music, it’s only 5 of the top 20 and and just 17 of the top 50 that represent the first half. Look at the best-selling albums of all time on a worldwide level, and you’ll see that of the 20 studio albums to have solid more than 30 million copies, only 6 have a year ending in a number lower than 4. Where it should be half, it’s nearer to a quarter.

The one obvious explanation is that both musicians and labels – not to mention the media – are always eager to fashion out an identity that will define the decade, leading to a mad scramble of anything-goes creativity as people spend two or three years looking for the next big…


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Another season of American Idol is coming to an end kiddies, so get ready to start dialing and sending your parents phone bill into the stratosphere. Now we all know what happened last season; the most interesting, talented, entertaining and hardest working contestant (Adam Lambert) fell at the last hurdle… To a rival (Kris Allen) who was lucky to even make the top 5 in most people’s opinion. Well folks, it could happen again if you don’t get dialing and sms’ing. Of course, that’s easy for me to say when I live thousands of miles away and am ineligible to vote. 

The last couple of weeks of action have seen series favorite Crystal Bowersox come back to the pack a little. Yet, I actually think that her performances – while not being as memorable as on earlier weeks – have better shown her versatility as an artist. She has taken some risks and, while she has yet to hit the home run that would have sewn the series up, Crystal has proven that she could actually make an album where she didn’t just play the same song over and over again.

Since Siobhan’s ridiculous elimination (allegedly not helped by facebook not having the correct number next to her name), the last fortnight has seen both little Aaron & big Mike eliminated. Neither were real chances to win, but Aaron can definitely count himself unlucky since he was shown the door on the night where each contestant had…


Jadea Kelly is perhaps best known our readers as the voice of Kezia on Protest the Hero’s 2005 album of the same name, but in the ever-expanding Toronto roots music scene her work with the progressive metal outfit is little more than the prologue to her ever-growing solo career.

Eastbound Platform, Kelly’s second album, was released two weeks ago to the day and has already been met with positive reviews from Exclaim! Magazine and CBC Radio—expect SputnikMusic to join these ranks shortly. Praises of her work is warranted, as the album shows the evolution of a once nervous performer who—in her on stage debuts with Protest the Hero—occasionally struggled to find her voice in the band’s often boisterous, hairy-chested performances. Nervous no longer, Jadea has taken takes her soft spoken demeanour and turned it into the quiet confidence of an artist who now bleeds self-assurance (although not literally, I’m sure).

“Never Coming Back” is the lead track off of Eastbound Platform and features a uniquely groove-laden take on a traditional country rock track. On top of Jadea’s stated vocal performance, make note of the interplay between the bass’s walking plod and shifting guitar lines, all of which climax in the tracks’ wind-swept refrain. Listen to the track below.

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Written…


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The music video is probably the least relevant thing in the music industry right now.  I could be wrong about this, but I don’t think MTV actually plays them anymore at all, leaving that to sister channels like MTV2 and MTVU.  However, I owe a lot to the format, as it was my main source for music back when I was 12 or 13.  This was when bands like Good Charlotte, Simple Plan, Sum 41, etc. were all getting huge airplay and attention (they were actually bigger than a lot of hip-hop artists, which is hard to believe now).  Once I discovered how much more effectively I could waste my time on the Internet as opposed to watching television, I stopped watching music videos for a few years.

Over time, MTV reintroduced things like Headbanger’s Ball and created MTVU (MTV University), the channel that plays everything from MGMT to Underoath to KiD CuDi, which lead to a resurgence in my interest in music videos.  Steven’s Untitled Rock Show on FUSE helped as well because Steven was what I like to call “not an idiot” and played some great bands.  FUSE also had that hot metal VJ who played bands that were actually quite shit, like Trivium.

I remember her being hotter than this.

Anyway, these days Youtube has taken MTV’s place as the major source for music videos.  Lady Gaga’s “Bad Romance” video has over 200 million (!!) views.  However, I would wager that the…


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In our first showcase, some of our users recommended various Youtube covers that weren’t posted (and please, feel free). This cover, in particular, of Beirut – Postcards From Italy was done exceptionally well. Two French musicians, Agathe (on the uke) and Fine (pronounced in the French manner, as “feene”, per their Myspace page, on guitar and ‘hand’ trumpet) retell the reasons why Beirut’s enchanting music is  so lovable.

Staff member Lewis first linked this video of Greyson Chance covering Lady Gaga – Paparazzi yesterday when it had somewhere around 20,000 views, and has gone viral beyond belief with nearly 2.1 million views as of this moment.  Greyson, a sixth grader, performed at his school’s “Chorus Performance Night.”  Many are telling Justin Bieber to ‘move aside’ for Greyson, however Greyson is genuinely talented in his own light.

Lastly, Channing Freeman recommended Boyce Avenue covering Wyclef/Akon – Sweetest Girl, and it speaks for itself.


Last week we enjoyed the worldly wisdom of Eddie Vedder and Chris Cornell, so this week I thought we could move on to the underworld by balling out with Bone Thugs-n-Harmony’s “Tha Crossroads,” one of my favorite songs of all time.

“Tha Crossroads” is about losing a homie (in this case Eazy-E) and how sometimes the only way to honor your fallen brother is turn gangster rap into a barbershop quartet performed four times as fast. The Thugs – Bizzy Bone, Krayzie Bone, Wish Bone, Layzie Bone, and Flesh-n-Bone – deserve exceptional respect for their work on “Tha Crossroads.” Not only is it an epic meditation on youth, death, and the violent realities of thug life set to stellar production, but they go the entire song without using the phrase “gotta smoke that hydro whoa,” something they were unable to do to date in their career.

The video itself is an audiovisual experience like none other. Bone Thugs start the video at a funeral where a diegetic gospel choir sings a hymn, introducing the main character of the music video, the grim reaper. In case you didn’t know the grim reaper wears a trenchcoat, leather hat, shades, and has a pair of white, feathery angel wings hidden beneath all of this. As the song proceeds we get various shots of the reaper haunting the Thugs. He takes out a homie early on, then Uncle Charles (“oh ya I miss my Uncle Charles, y’all” at 2:31),…


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From his upcoming mixtape “Str8 Killa, No Filla” comes the video for “The Ghetto”. Gibbs reminisces over his hometown Gary, Indiana as various clips from the area are shown. The beat is an update on Milkbone’s ‘Keep it Real’ off of ‘Da’ Miilkrate’. I frequently visit a record store in Palm Desert, California called Record Alley that has a whole wall of CDs for $2.99. That’s where I found ‘Da’ Miilkrate’ which is a good impression of the hip-hop that was coming out around the release of ‘Illmatic’. Lots of similar vibes between both of those records and the introspective style of rap covered by both of those rappers is present in Gibbs’ take on Milkbone’s classic. I love how he has managed to mix such classic forgotten beats into a couple of releases (i.e. the freestyles present on “The Miseducation of Freddie Gibbs”.) Is Gibbs the next big lyricist in hip-hop? His latest efforts make it seem as such and time can only tell what an album may be like if his mixtapes are this concise and developed.

Freddie Gibbs – “The Ghetto”


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The closing seven minutes of Mouth of the Architect’s new EP The Violence Beneath should sound freakishly familiar to anyone that remembers the best of 80’s rock music or has a parent that does. It takes a few minutes to realize that the post-metallers are covering Peter Gabriel’s 1986 pop-hit “In Your Eyes” because the massive hooks and gentle crooning have been replaced by sluggish volume swells and ghostly howls, but once you get it, it’s hard not to crack a smile.

Mouth of the Architect – In Your Eyes

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“Do the Astral Plane” is Flying Lotus’ late-album reminder that you’re supposed to be having fun. Forget all the self-serious overanalyzing. Don’t mind the perfect scores and the dazed, knee-jerk responses like “blown away” or “shit-hot.” Enjoy precisely what holds this collage of experiments above its pretensions: you can laugh, long and hard.  From that goofy opening beatbox to the sweeping strings, right down to the album’s most generous and easily digestible beat, Flying Lotus bounds across the line between cred-approved irony and actually surrendering to these melodramatic DJ tropes, amping up each element in an ascending escalator of synths and horns. Anything goes by the time you’re thinking “free jazz” at the expense of Nintendo glitches. I can only imagine what “do the astral plane” can mean for a track this flamboyant and sexy.

Note: This youtube version of the song includes the outro of “Mmmhmm,” the track preceding this on Cosmogramma. This is preferable for your listening pleasure for the sake of continuity and, well, it’s great. Just really great. Tell all your friends.

Cosmogramma was released May 4th on Warp Records


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ClaudioWhen most people (as in people who don’t play Dungeons and Dragons) first hear Coheed and Cambria, they think something along the lines of, “well, those dudes are pretty good at their instruments, but I hate that chick’s voice.” That “chick,” the androgynous, interstellar-creation-myth-spawning, graphic-novel and guitar wizard known as Claudio Sanchez has few vocal peers, the closest being Geddy Lee or Alvin of Chipmunks fame.

So when presented with a MASHUP (because this is the internet after all) of Tupac’s “Dear Mama” & Coheed and Cambria’s “Welcome Home,” we’d all expect Claudio’s falsetto to be replaced by sensitive Tupac verses. Instead, we, the listeners, are treated to Claudio soloing over soulful guitar licks and a chill beat. If I had to sum up my feelings about this MASHUP I’d have to cite both of these lyrical geniuses.

Tupac – “Changes”

“I made a G today” But you made it in a sleazy way
sellin’ crack to the kid. ” I gotta get paid,”
Well hey, well that’s the way it is

Coheed and Cambria – “The Crowing” and “2113″

Dear Ambellina, the Prise wishes you to watch over me
Dear Ambellina, the Prise wishes you to watch over me

But IRO-Bot will never die.
IRO-Bot will never die.
But IRO-Bot will never die.
But IRO-Bot will never die…

Tupac & Coheed and Cambria – “Welcome Home Mama”

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Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 11, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

16Volt – AmericanPornoSongs // Remixed (Metropolis Records)
As I Lay Dying – The Powerless Rise (Metal Blade) – Adam Thomas
Brain Drill – Quantum Catastrophe (Metal Blade) – Adam Thomas
Combichrist – Scarred (Metropolis Records)
Crash Test Dummies – Oooh La La! (RED GENERAL CATALOG)
Dead Letter Circus – This Is The Warning (Warner Music)
The Dead Weather – Sea of Cowards (Warner Brothers)
Decoded Feedback – Aftermath (Metropolis Records)
Foals – Total Life Forever (Warner Uk/Zoom) – Davey Boy
Sage Francis – Li(f)e (Anti-)
Gayngs – Relayted (Jagjaguwar)
Holy F**k – The Latin (XL Recordings)
IAMX – Dogmatic Infidel Comedown OK (Metropolis Records)
Indian Jewelry – Totaled (We Are Free)
John 5 – The Art of Malice (60 cycle hum records)
Just Surrender – Phoenix (Razor & Tie)
Keane – Night Train [EP] (Interscope Records)
Keep of Kalessin – Reptilian (Nuclear Blast Records) {EU}
Kivimetsan Druidi – Betrayal, Justice, Revenge (Phantom Sound & Vision)
Male Bonding – Nothing Hurts (Sub Pop)
Meat Loaf – Hang Cool Teddy Bear (Roadrunner Records)
Menschdefekt – The Human Parasite (Metropolis Records)
The Morning Pages – Rising Rain (Zealous Records)
The National – High Violet (4AD) – Channing Freeman
Phosphorescent – Here’s To Taking It Easy (Dead Oceans)
Sing It Loud –…


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The Opus is an instrumental hip-hop project out of Chicago, and they’ve just released their latest EP, Praying Mantis.  The EP is jam-packed with seven dense tracks of strong beats and interesting samples, with a flair for ambient openings.  Oddly, the EP begins with “Divorced”, labeled as a bonus track.  I have yet to see a version of the EP without the “bonus” track, and I couldn’t imagine a better opening to the EP.

<a href="http://theopusonline.com/track/divorced-bonus-2">Divorced (bonus) by The OPUS</a>


It’s a little bit difficult to call Crown on the Ground a pop song. While the vocals of Alexis Krauss are firmly rooted in accessible, catchy melodies, they’re caught in a whirlwind of Derek Miller’s (ex-Poison The Well) aggressive, in-your-face instrumentation, a flurry of dense guitar wailing, handclaps and loud, buzzing synths that engulf what is otherwise so sweet and simple. Go loud or go home. The best part is, for all its disorienting, decibel-abusing madness, it’s actually fun.

Their debut album, Treats, drops May 11th on M.I.A.’s NEET Recordings label.

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There’s a certain almost unexplainable grandeur about The National. It feels inherent in everything they do – the quiver in Matt Berninger’s baritone, the forcefulness of Bryan Devendorf’s drumming – and this quality was none more evident than last night at the Royal Albert Hall in London. As the lights dimmed and the five nearly still silhouettes on stage broke the nervous, excited silence with the first chords of “Mistaken for Strangers”, lead singer Matt Berninger beckoned the seated crowd beyond the standing pit to their feet, engaging them like a group of friends. The energy seemed to rush forward with every knee buckled upright, back past where I stood in the huddled standing crowd and on to the stage where these Ohio-born musicians had only just begun to charm a crowd that had long since fallen in love with them. They already had us in the palms of their hands.

All photography by David Emery


The show continued with this same momentous energy, following with “Anyone’s Ghost”, before reaching one of the many highlights of the night, just 2 songs in, “Bloodbuzz Ohio”. A staple in their live set since early 2009, it elevated the already terrific atmosphere into something close to life-affirming, the crowd moving and holding on to every word as Berninger collapsed into the exhausted “I’m on a bloodbuzz….God I am” chorus. Boxer favourite “Slow Show” was another highlight, coming in about half way through the initial…


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It’s been a little over a decade since the alternative rockers Far last put out an album and yet, barely any of their luster was lost.  On May 25th, At Night We Live drops as the follow up to their cult classic Water & Solutions.  Opening A Night We Live, “Deafening” is certainly the heaviest Far track to date, and while it does not reflect the rest of the album, it provides a glimpse of how the band has changed since their hiatus.  To purchase At Night We Live, click the album art provided above.


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