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Hello friends. Today is my birthday so I wanted to share a song that somehow, someway captures where I am right now in my life. Memoryhouse’s “To the Lighthouse” is a song that embraces conflicting musical and emotional traits. The song is undeniably wistful and nostalgic. Its fuzzy and reverby synthesized production (people are going to tell you it’s chillwave but don’t worry about it) has the feel of a laser light show slowed down and invokes Carl Sagan’s The Cosmos. This nostalgia gives way to a melancholy in the form of droning guitar lines and impassive lyrics. Despite these overt fixations on lost time and washed out memories, a sense of hopeful yearning pushes through the haze. It’s in the bubbling synth line that doesn’t stop throughout the entire song. It’s in the somnambulating trip hop beat that never gets old. Mostly it’s in the vocals, which rise in subtle crests above the waves of lo fi instrumentals that saturate the song. “To the Lighthouse” uses its own malaise to create a stunning ode to memories, summertime, youth, and “the scattered sound / of time dispersing.”

Memoryhouse – “To the Lighthouse”

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Thanks to Victor for the recommendation.


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When extrapolated, the idea of the end of music seems extreme, or perhaps even impossible.  But we’re seeing it even now on much smaller scales.

In keeping with geographical metaphors, post-rock was a forest in the late 90s/early 2000s, and it wasn’t just any forest.  It was a rain forest, a pine forest, a rural woodland.  The music encapsulated the feel of all seasons – the beauty of winter, with its snowy treetops; the beauty of autumn, leaves swirling to the ground; the heat and desire of summer.  And beyond that, bands like Godspeed You! Black Emperor were able to capture real emotion as well – desperation and fear, love and hope – within thematic albums that told stories without words.  These bands could seemingly put whatever they wanted into their music and make it work, or maybe it was us listeners that made it work, accentuating the music with our own emotions.  Either way, post-rock became one of the first genres that was brought into the spotlight by the Internet generation, through blogs and indie review sites.  It was the next big thing, the next wellspring of musical creativity… until a few years later when it dried up.

Post-rock is a disconcerting example of how we are bringing about the end of music by our fickleness as an audience in this modern Internet age.  Our attention spans are wide when it comes to the amount of music we listen to, but short when it comes to individual albums.  Instead…


Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 15, 2010. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.

Cowboy Junkies – Renmin Park (Razor & Tie)
The Cure – Disintegration [Deluxe Edition - 2LP 180 Gram Vinyl] (Rhino Records)
Devo – Something For Everybody (Warner Bros.)
Drake – Thank Me Later (Cash Money)
Equilibrium – Rekreatur (Nuclear Blast)
Foals – Total Life Forever (Sub Pop) – Davey Boy
The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang (Side One Dummy) – Nick Butler
Grave – Burial Ground {EU} (Indie Europe/Zoom)
Heartsounds – Until We Surrender (Epitaph)
In Fear And Faith – Imperial (Rise Records)
Chris Isaak – Live at the Fillmore (Mailboat Records)
The Like – Release Me (Downtown)
Sarah McLachlan – The Laws Of Illusion (Arista) — Trey Spencer
New Noise – Volume 1 [Epitaph Records Sampler] (Epitaph Records)
Ozzy Osbourne – Scream (Epic)
Rasputina – Sister Kinderhook (FILTHY BONNET)
Robyn – Body Talk Pt 1 (Cherry Tree)
Sherie Rene Scott – Everyday Rapture (Ghostlight)
The Steve Miller Band – Bingo! (Roadrunner Records/Loud & Proud Records)
Tom Petty & The Heartbreakers – Mojo (Reprise/Wea)
We Are Scientists – Barbara (RED GENERAL CATALOG)
Lucy Woodward – Hooked (Verve)

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Album Streams (please inform us of any broken links/removed streams):

Devo – Something For Everybody

Equilibrium – Rekreatur

The Gaslight Anthem – American Slang

Robyn –


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Last week when we published our Top 100 Albums of the Decade feature people were most happy to see Gospel’s The Moon Is a Dead World make it into the top 10. The timing of the feature couldn’t be better. Though Gospel have been dormant over the last few years, they are now writing and recording, having released a few demos earlier this year, and just today made their new song “Tango” available for pay-what-you-like download through bandcamp. “Tango” makes good on Gospel’s two sides, featuring heavy chaotic drumming and departures to moody jam passages. The band had some words to say about the song as well:

A few weeks ago we got really fucked up at Colin Marston’s place. This is part of the end result. The song describes a ritual suicide; A summer jam for the indoor kids. We are releasing it as a digital single, pay-what-you-wish.

<a href="http://gospel.bandcamp.com/track/tango">Tango by gospel</a>


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So, that Germany lot. Pretty terrifying, eh? After their 4-0 mauling of Davey’sBoys, it feels like the big names of the World Cup have finally arrived (not like these English and American numpties). Attention thus turns to Italy tonight, and their opening game against South American dark horses Paraguay – and one suspects that Italy may have an axe to grind in this one. After all, we know the Italians love to be stylish and love to be good-looking, so how will they react when they realize that Paraguay’s star centre-forward is not just more dashingly handsome than their entire squad, but probably the whole rest of the World Cup combined?

Admit it – you want his babies.

Admittedly, pug-faced thug Gennaro Gattuso does bring the batting average down considerably for the Italians.

Paraguay’s musical scene, like that of several of the other countries this blog will cover, is shaped by the political upheaval in the country’s recent history. Here, that means flirtations with communism, dictatorship, and most damningly, the artistic oppression the country suffered under Alfredo Stroessner’s reign as President. It was only in 1989 that most popular forms of music were allowed to fully blossom in the nation, having been largely shunned (although not banned) since the start of his reign in 1954. Perhaps that history explains why, despite its sunny climate, metal has thrived in the country over the past two decades. Acts like black metallers Sabaoth, thrashers Raw Hide and Corrosion, and the more traditional…


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If you’ve got a bit of a fetish for goalkeepers, and were hoping to see some quality displays between the sticks, I would like to take this opportunity to apologize to you sincerely, on the behalf of the entire combined populations of England and Algeria. Seriously. Might I suggest you become a Nigeria supporter?

I guess with Slovenia currently sitting pretty ahead of both England and USA after Robert Koren’s tame, gentle pass somehow got shovelled into the goal by Farouzi ‘Robert Green in disguise’ Chaouchi, now’s the time to celebrate them.

There’s simply nowhere to start talking about Slovenian music other than Laibach – Slovenia’s most admired musical export by light years, and probably the only musical act from the country that most of the readers will have heard of. Named for the name the Nazis used for their hometown, the Slovenian capital Ljubljana, the band have toyed with Nazi imagery for their entire careers, both adapting the insignia into their own imagery and working extensively with anti-defamation artists and charities. Their most notorious musical moments in English speaking territories are covers – most notably Queen’s “One Vision”, which is sung in German and re-named “Geburt Einer Nation” (The Birth of a Nation, nodding to the famously controversial pro-KKK silent movie by D.W. Griffiths). They’ve been a consistently controversial group themselves, although it hasn’t stopped them from becoming a strong influence on much of the industrial and martial industrial music made since (Rammstein and Rome particularly), and in…


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Music used to be something transcendent for me, something that could carry me away to different worlds.  Every album was an adventure with something exciting and stimulating just around the corner, like walking through an expansive forest to find streetlights hanging from the trees or entering my bathroom to see the mirror made of reflective puzzle pieces.  Wondrous and new, music was a planet unto itself that consisted of objects stitched together through the creativity of a collective, notes and melodies becoming the nails and planks while the input of each individual band member was the hammer that connected everything.  For hours I could wander the streets of this new place, listening to different albums without any agenda other than the sheer joy of continual discovery.

Eventually, everything had to be supplemented with music.  Was it storming outside?  I had to listen to an album that complemented the weather.  Was I sad?  I had to listen to sad music.  I feel now that it was a lazy response, one that cheapened the experiences at hand.  Music as a form of escape isn’t inherently purer than doing anything else to avoid problems just because it’s music.  It is counterproductive.  Listening to sad music because I was sad set me up for more sadness, but listening to happy music made me feel like a clown, an idiot, trying to jump-start a good mood based on the sounds hitting my ears, like some slobbering Pavlovian dog.  Music failed me at those times and…


Sputnikmusic LogoHi Sputnik Regulars and Internet Dwellers,

Congratulations to Greg Rybak (aka greg84 who successfully guessed all 10 albums in the top 10 and had the most accurate ordering of those 10 albums. He wins a special edition copy of Converge’s Jane Doe. Thank you for playing.

-Management


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Yes, attempting to blog about the music of the USA on a site like Sputnik is patently ridiculous. I know. That’s one of the reasons I’m getting it out of the way early; the other is to say YOU’RE GOING DOWN AMERICA

Be honest – who’s side do YOU want to be on?

Ahem. So anyway, I suppose the best way to approach this to go back to a time when American music was exactly that – American music, and not some globally-dominant behemoth that just happens to revolve around California for some reason. And to kick that off, I’m resorting to playing personal favourites with comedian, country pioneer, and all-around vaudeville nutcase Uncle Dave Macon. This is the sound of America in its youth, still in thrall to the Appalachian folk music developed by Americans working in tandom with the Irish and Scottish diaspora, yet to discover and assimilate the blues music of the slaves that would lead them to musical world domination. Macon’s vocal delivery was radical for his time, particularly in terms of the music being recorded at the time, and his performing style was no different – more aggressive and raucous than country or folk has been since. And that’s before we consider the knee-slapping sexual innuendos that abound in so many of his songs, puns so well-concealed that half the time it’s not even clear whether or not it’s accidental.

There were many things – World War II,…


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Sputnikmusic LogoHey Sputnikmusic Regulars,

You were just treated to the Sputnikmusic’s Staff’s Top 100 Albums of the Decade. Now it’s your chance to have your own top 100. To submit please navigate to the submission thread in our forum. Please also note that we are going to be very stringent about submissions so please read the directions carefully before popping off a list. Thank you!

-Management


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1. Dredg – El Cielo
2. Glassjaw – Worship and Tribute
3. Gospel – The Moon Is a Dead World
4. Thrice – The Illusion of Safety
5. Kayo Dot – Choirs of the Eye
6. Deftones – White Pony
7. Circle Takes the Square – As the Roots Undo
8. Kidcrash – Jokes
9. Deltron 3030 – Deltron 3030
10. Have a Nice Life – Deathconsciousness
11. Hot Cross – Cryonics
12. In Pieces – Lions Write History
13. The Shape of Broad Minds – Craft of Lost Art
14. Daft Punk – Discovery
15. Venetian Snares – Rossz Csillag Allat Szuletett
16. Radiohead – Kid A
17. Against Me – Reinventing Axl Rose
18. Sun Kil Moon – Ghosts of the Great Highway
19. Passion Pit – Manners
20. Blue Sky Black Death – Late Night Cinema
21. Meet Me in St. Louis – Variations on Swing
22. Son Lux – At War With Walls and Mazes
23. Cursive – Domestica
24. Jaga Jazzist – What We Must
25. The Mars Volta – Frances the Mute
26. Deftones – Saturday Night Wrist
27. Kayo Dot – Downsing Anemone With Copper Tongue
28. Girl Talk – Night Ripper
29. Dead to Me – Cuban Ballerina
30. Hopesfall – The Satellite Years
31. Kronos Quartet & Mogwai – The Fountain OST
32. The Microphones – The Glow Pt. 2
33. Modern Life Is War – Witness
34. Maudlin of the Well – Bath
35. Girl Talk – Feed the Animals


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

10. The Microphones – The Glow, Pt. 2

[Myspace] // [Review]

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…


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