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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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My first individual explorations into the world of music took the form of surreptitious MTV viewings in the attic of my house in third grade. Aside from the pretty amazing collection of animated shows (Beavis and Butthead, Aeon Flux, The Oddities, etc.), MTV was most memorable for offering me the titillating medium of the music video, a form of experiencing music I only used from the years 1993-1999. In retrospect, music videos of the era (and any era really) were half-baked visualizations of the already half-baked lyrics or tone of the song. The results of these concoctions can be amazing, so I’ve decided to create a weekly dedication to my favorite hamhanded creations of the mid-nineties.

Beavis and Butthead

It’s hard to go on a hunger strike when you have the munchies.

Temple of the Dog’s “Hunger Strike” is the quintessential 90s music video. Chris Cornell and Eddie Vedder moan about sociopolitical concerns on a beach (presumably on the Pacific Northwest coast). This performance is interspersed with stock footage of a lighthouse flashing its cautionary light and a foreboding (yet hopeful!) cloudy sky. Is this song protesting American excess? Is it a confessional about conceding to said excess? Do Cornell and Vedder know if “farming babies” is metaphor or literal? Such are the mysteries of a classic third grade throwback.

I don’t mind stealing bread
From the mouths of decadence
But I can’t feed on the powerless
When my cup’s already overfilled,
But it’s on the

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Is Old Man Luedecke leading a banjo revolution? Probably not. But his latest album rules.

Regarding their late 2009 release Sigh No More, our own DaveyBoy suggested that Britain’s Mumford & Sons were, “delivering folk – and the banjo – to the masses.” While Mumford & Sons do employ the use of a banjo, they do so on an almost superficial level. On “Little Lion Man”, Sigh No More’s obvious standout, the banjo is used as little more than a reaction to the guitar. It always sounds nice and it always works but it’s never the focus.

The banjo is definitely Old Man Luedecke’s focus. He’s a “banjo revivalist” based out of Canada’s east coast. I could lazily compare his music to The Tallest Man on Earth and I just did. Maybe now you’ll listen.

On My Hands Are On Fire and Other Love Songs, his latest release, Old Man Luedecke (née Chris) enlists the help of a guitarist, bassist and fiddler (he-he) but more often than not the emphasis is on his words and his banjo.

“Foreign Tongue”, which you’ll hear below, is a prime example of how Luedecke does more with less. A uniquely written song, “Foreign Tongue” evolves from a love song about a distant, unfulfilled love into the desperate plea of a shy and nervous man who’s clearly convinced himself of a love only he’s aware of. Its 21st Century ambiguity makes it…

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After the fallout of the inaugural edition of Reviewing Reviews, someone suggested that I review one of my own reviews, which is sort of like putting a math student in a room by himself with the curriculum and asking him to grade his own test.  Despite how awesome that would be, it is a very, very stupid idea.

However, it was suggested by several people that I review a contributor or staff writer because for some reason everyone decided to ignore the fact that I said I would most likely be doing more and common sense would dictate that since I do not care about anyone’s feelings and I’m a bully, I would be taking on some contributor and staff reviews as well.  You think I don’t know that thebhoy needs some criticism too?

Anyway, Sobhi Abdul-Rakhman (kingsoby1) made waves back in 2000-whenever when he became the first colored person to make it onto Sputnikmusic’s team of staffers (except for pixiesfanyo, an honorary black man).  Earlier this year Sobhi was joined by fellow brownie Kiran Soderqvist but by that point he had already one-upped the competition by having a baby, something that not even John Hanson has been able to do despite what MTV says about 16 year olds keeping their babies.  Sobhi’s claims to fame are hype, anti-hype, and how those two things relate to hip-hop.  Here are some recent soundoffs written by Sobhi (paraphrased to point out the salient parts):

People are sucking this off way too much


Deftones - Diamond Eyes album artDeftones have always had a sound that is broader than the metal tag they received thanks to their nu-metal roots and continued grip on the genre. Two genres in particular that have helped their music be both melodic and hypnotic are dream pop and shoegaze. It’s fitting then that M83 would decide to remix Deftones’ first single, “Rocket Skates,” from their new album Diamond Eyes. The remix does a great job of setting Chino’s vocals to buzzy synth lines, but this remix isn’t just a club banger. Somewhere along the way, the song takes off and becomes an intense, electronic march, employing an array of characteristic M83 organ tones and vocal samples. Though a bit ridiculous to be my Track of the Day I figured it’d be a nice way to commemorate the May 4 release of Diamond Eyes.

Deftones – “Rocket Skates (M83 Remix)”

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Anacrusis were a technical thrash band that started around 1988. Over the course of four albums they continued to perfect their sound – a sound that based itself around multifaceted vocals, razor-sharp bass and guitar tones, introspective lyrics and an aggressive thrash foundation. Unfortunately they broke up in the early nineties, but they have started to show signs of life again. Hindsight: Vol.2 Reason Revisited is the complete re-recording of the band’s second album by the original members. Reason was their first album to really display the technical and progressive tendencies that they would eventually perfect on their subsequent album, Manic Impressions. For your listening pleasure, three tracks from Reason Revisited.

– Terrified

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– Misshapen Intent

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– Afraid to Feel

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I mean, seriously. Bask in it. Isn’t it glorious?

The music’s not shabby, either; dip into this blend of English folk and indie pop and see what you make of it.

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In Evening Air Album ArtYesterday Future Islands released their second LP, In Evening Air on Thrill Jockey Records. Our track of the day is the first single from that album, “Tin Man,” a track that has an upbeat but moribund energy. Future Islands combines sparse guitar lines with a steel drum and gruff but sensitive vocals that sound somewhere between Hot Water Music’s Chuck Ragan and PixiesFrank Blank. “Little Dreamer” is the final track of their first LP Wave Like Home which was released on vinyl earlier this year. “Little Dreamer” is a sweet ballad cast in the same lo-fi, bristly electronics of “Tin Man.” Future Islands are strange in that on paper they seems like a combination of common sounds – new wave, punk, indie, folk – but somehow they are leagues above all the other bands dabbling in similar genres.

Future Islands – “Tin Man”

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Future Islands – “Little Dreamer”

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After solo albums by practically every member in this indie supergroup, Canadians (and Virginian fox Neko Case) the New Pornographers released their fifth album today, the aptly named Together. I wanted to pick a lesser known song then their first single for this Track of the Day, but damn! it’s just too good. One of the most propulsive melodies on the record lit up by a killer lead vocal by Case and surprisingly apocalyptic lyrics coming from one of music’s sunnier bands. After her strong performance on this album and last year’s Middle Cyclone, I’d have to consider Case in my top 3 female indie vocalists.

“The ruins were wild / Tonight will be an open mic.”

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When Ronnie Drew died in the summer of 2008, having lost a two-year battle with throat cancer, his death was greeted with the kind of pomp and reverence usually reserved for a military hero – the Irish President and Prime Minister issued statements of condolence within hours, and streets were lined as his funeral procession came to a halt in Greystones, Co. Wicklow. At his funeral, it was telling that, of all the songs and poems that were cited, none was as poignant as the excerpt from a lament to Brendan Behan: Words have no meaning now, silence is master, laughter and songs bow.”

Behan was a child of old Dublin, born shortly after independence to a  family of revolutionaries. His father fought in the War of Independence and his maternal uncle wrote the national anthem, which persists to this day and graphically recounts an ambush attack on a troop of British soldiers in Ireland. Infused by that same spirit, at the age of 16 Behan joined the IRA (Irish Republican Army) and went on a rogue mission to England to blow up the Liverpool docks. He was caught and placed in a youth prison for three years, whereupon he wrote his memoir, The Borstal Boy; years later, he would write his defining work, the play The Quare Fellow, and had his brother Dominic, himself an ex-convict, write a haunting ballad to open the work.

The track is usually performed a capella with a single lead vocalist, in this…


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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