Some background, if you’ll forgive me. In the early 1990s, a group of friends from Louisville, Kentucky, went to a Jodeci concert in their hometown. After apparently coercing a security guard into letting them backstage, the group met with Donald DeGrate, Jr., also known as DeVante Swing, the de facto leader of Jodeci. They came specifically to Swing to promote their R&B trio, A Touch of Class, probably hoping that he would like what he heard at least enough to pass their name on to one of his connections, if not take them under his own wing. It worked, and after coming off the tour for Jodeci’s hugely popular sophomore album, 1993’s Diary of a Mad Band (which peaked at number three on the U.S. Billboard 200 and would go on to sell two million copies), Swing contacted Jawaan Peacock, a.k.a. “Smokey,” a member of A Touch of Class, who had since restructured his group into a trio with Benjamin “Digital Black” Bush, another original member of the group, and Stephen “Static Major” Garrett, a high school friend with whom Smokey had reconnected at the University of Louisville.
Some time around 1994, Swing decided Playa, as they were now called, were worth his time, and he promptly signed them to his Swing Mob label—a subsidiary of Elektra Records in the U.S.–which placed them in the company of such heavy hitters as Missy Elliott, Ginuwine, and Timbaland. Swing Mob collapsed in 1995, but Playa were able to successfully jump ship to…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 11, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
The 88 – Fortune Teller (The 88)
Alison Moyet – The Minutes (Metropolis Records)
Andrew Stockdale – Keep Moving (Caroline/Universal)
Aoife O’Donovan – Fossils (Yep Roc Records) Author & Punisher – Women & Children (Seventh Rule)Greg Fisher
The Black Dahlia Murder – Everblack (Metal Blade) Black Sabbath – 13 (Universal Republic)
Boards Of Canada – Tomorrow’s Harvest (Warp Records)
Bob Schneider – Burden Of Proof (Kirtland Records)
Boysetsfire – While A Nation Sleeps (Caroline/Universal)
Case Studies – This Is Another Life (Sacred Bones)
Children Of Bodom – Halo Of Blood (Nuclear Blast America)
Chrisette Michele – Better (Motown/Universal)
Colossus – Time & Eternal (Facedown)
Coma Cinema – Posthumous Release (Fork & Spoon Records)
Conrad Tao – Voyages (EMI Classics)
Covenant – Last Dance (Metropolis Records)
CSS – Planta (SQE Music)
Dalhous – An Ambassador For Laing (Blackest Ever Black)
Davell Crawford – My Gift To You (Basin Street Records) Deafheaven – Sunbather (Deathwish Inc.) – Eli Kleman
Dennis Callaci & Simon Joyner – New Secrets (Shrimper Records)
Disclosure – Settle (Interscope Records)
Emily’s Army – Lost At Seventeen (Rise Records)
Evile – Skull (Century Media)
Fat Tony – Smart Ass Black Boy (Young One Records)
Gold Panda – Half Of Where You Live (Ghostly International)
Goo Goo Dolls – Magnetic (Warner Bros.)
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of June 4th, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Anarbor – Burnout (Hopeless Records)
Big Black Delta – Big Black Delta (Masters Of Bates)
Big Deal – June Gloom (Mute) Camera Obscura – Desire Lines (4AD Records) – Rudy K.
The Caulfield Cult – Things Can Only Get Worse From Here (Rooftop Records)
City And Colour – The Hurry And The Harm (10 Spot)
Eleanor Friedberger – Personal Record (Merge Records) Filter – The Sun Comes Out Tonight (Wind-Up)
Future Bible Heroes – Partygoing (Merge Records)
GRMLN – Empire (Carpark Records)
Houndmouth – From The Hills Below The City (Rough Trade US)
Jon Hopkins – Immunity (Domino)
Killing Joke – The Singles Collection 1979 – 2012 (10 Spot)
Liferuiner – Future Revisionists (Invogue Records)
The Maine – Forever Halloween (Big Picnic Records)
Marquis & The Vanguard – My Skinny Bones (Marquis & The Vanguard/Bandcamp)
Matthew Morrison – Where It All Began (222 Records)
Megadeth – Super Collider (UMe)
Messenger Down – The Gentleman’s Guide To Keeping Away From People Like You (Messenger Down/Bandcamp)
Portugal. The Man – Evil Friends (Atlantic)
Quadron – Avalanche (Epic) Queens Of The Stone Age – …Like Clockwork (Matador Records) – Hernan M. Campbell
Rogue Wave – Nightingale Floors (Vagrant Records)
Shoot The Girl First – Follow The Clouds (Artery Records)
Sleeping With Sirens – Feel (Rise Records)
Steve Roberts (drums, keys) / Darran Charles (vocals, guitars, keys) / Dan Nelson (bass)
Wales-based Godsticks is one of the best new progressive rock groups. The trio’s unique symbiosis of jazz fusion, rock and pop is in a class by itself. Their second full length The Envisage Conundrum continues to expand on the outfit’s style, embracing a heavier sonic approach while retaining the distinctly melodic qualities of their excellent debut. I’ve approached Darran Charles (vocals, guitars, keys) and the new member of the band, Dan Nelson (bass) to discuss the process of putting the new album together, their inspirations, future plans, and more.
- As most SputnikMusic users may not be familiar with Godsticks, could you tell us how your musical path started? What inspired you to play progressive rock in the first place?
Darran: I don’t think we ever had a plan to play a specific kind of music, and even today we never attempt to write in any particular style. I think categories are forced upon bands for marketing purposes which, to be honest, can be quite helpful to the potential listener.
We formed around 2006 after I placed in an advert around the local music shops, advertising for musicians who were interested in playing some 70s-inspired fusion music. As you can imagine, the response was a little underwhelming but eventually a local bass player by the name of Jason Marsh (the…
‘Cranley Gardens’ by Church of Misery (taken from their upcoming album Thy Kingdom Scum)
Church of Misery have been through a lot since originally forming back in 1995. The band was founded by Tatsu Mikami (bass guitar) after the breakup of his thrash metal band, Salem. He wanted to do something that reflected his other musical inspirations – doom metal and doom rock. Apart from metal and thrash, he was strongly influenced by doom bands like Saint Vitus, Black Sabbath and became aware that his own riffs had started to include doom vibes. Also, he was very much into late 60’s/early 70’s heavy rock material like Leaf Hound, November, and Blue Oyster Cult. It was natural for him to shift his musical direction from metal to a more rock-influenced style. It wasn’t until 2001, though, that they finally released their first full length album, Master Of Brutality, via Southern Lord Recording. Since that time, they have released two more full-length albums and have continued to captivate audience with their self-proclaimed murder doom — and they’re finally about to release their fourth, Thy Kingdom Scum.
For your listening pleasure, Sputnik Music is proud to premiere the song ‘Cranley Gardens’ from that album. The band’s fourth album, Thy Kingdom…
It seems slightly blasphemous to have to type it out like this – and believe you me I’m still wincing slightly at this point – but the album that truly taught me how to love the Deftones’ music was Koi No Yokan. But while I now understand that it is far from their best work (that honour probably belongs to Diamond Eyes – cheers Greer), I think I needed the benefit of the superb range of melodies and slower dynamics showcased on their seventh studio record in order to ease myself into a band that had seemed, upon first glance, a bit too sonically uneven for me. Such a sentiment may not endear me to the most stalwart of purists, but honestly, I can think of no better purpose for an album whose title means “premonition of love”.
As I write this, Chino Moreno and co. are now on a well-deserved break after an aggressive leg of touring that saw them visit ten destinations in both Oceania and Asia. I also think it’s extremely worth highlighting out that the Koi No Yokan Tourwas actually the second tour in a row in which the Sacramento band actually came out to South East Asia to perform. Now, I’ve regularly made a fuss (especially here on the Sput) about how this region as a whole isn’t really been the best of places to be in if you’re the type of person that likes to catch live shows…
I’ve recently interviewed Steve Colca, the frontman for up-and-coming doom metallers, Destroyer Of Light. Hailing from Austin, TX, the outfit released their well-received debut EP last year, and now they’re just about to hit the road for their most extensive tour to date.
Could you tell me how your musical path started? What inspired you to play music in the first place?
When I was younger, my sister’s ex boyfriend left his CDs, and I took them because he never came back. In that pile was Alice in Chains – Dirt. At this time, I hadn’t heard anything so melodic, dark, and heavy; it blew my mind. Jerry Cantrell’s guitar work inspired me to head into a heavy music direction. So, my sister’s now husband gave me his first ever guitar, and I started to write my own songs until I finally found my voice.
I know that you’d played in the stoner metal project before you formed Destroyer Of Light which is a traditional doom metal affair. What inspired you to change your style?
Poor Bastards Revolt! was old high school friends that had great chemistry and enjoyed playing with each other. We wrote some cool songs and we had a lot of fun. In fact, PBR was the first band that I started doing vocals in, before that I was just a rhythm guitar player.…
Having been released earlier this year, ‘Riptide’ isn’t a brand spanking new tune, but given it would have barely been heard around these parts, I thought it would be well worth spotlighting. It’s creator is Vance Joy, a pseudonym for 25 year-old Melbourne singer-songwriter James Keogh.
Talk about a rags to riches story: Just 4 years ago, Keogh was playing state league Australian Rules Football for the Coburg Tigers, hoping to get drafted by an AFL team. Two years later, the young man was working part-time as a gardener while also showcasing his unpolished musical skills at open mic nights around Melbourne. Come 2013, with only a five track EP to his name, Keogh has signed a five album deal with Atlantic Records!
The infectious ‘Riptide’ is undoubtedly the track which got Vance Joy noticed by the label heavyweights. It’s a fantastic little folk-pop song with its charming ukulele & bright harmonies seemingly perfect for any season of the year. Including a chorus that will instantly implant itself in your mind – as well as give you a chuckle in the below video – the song is bound to pop up on a film, tv series or advertisement some time soon. When it does, just remember that you heard it here at SputnikMusic first.
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 28, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Alex Bleeker & The Freaks – How Far Away (Woodsist)
Alice In Chains – The Devil Put Dinosaurs Here (Virgin Commercial Marketing/Universal)
Anvil – Hope In Hell (The End Records) ASG – Blood Drive (Relapse) – Greg Fisher Baths – Obsidian (Anticon) – Jacob Royal
Black Star Riders – All Hell Breaks Loose (Nuclear Blast)
Black Sun Empire – From The Shadows: Remixed (Black Sun Empire)
Blue-Eyed Son – Shadows On The Son (Eenie Meenie Records)
Brazos – Saltwater (Dead Oceans)
Cinema Sleep – Truth For The Seeker (Standby Records)
Cloud Boat – Book Of Hours (Redeye)
CocoRosie – Tales Of A Grasswidow (Transistor Recording)
Crystal Fighters – Cave Rave (Atlantic) Dark Tranquility – Construct (Century Media) – Kyle Ward
Dew-Scented – Insurgent (Prosthetic Records)
The-Dream – IV Play (Island/Def-Jam)
Eisley – Currents (12th Street Records)
Free Time – Free Time (Underwater Peoples Records)
Haraball – Sleep Tall (Fysisk Format)
Hooded Fang – Gravez (Full Time Hobby)
Imaginary Cities – Fall Of Romance (WEA)
John Fogerty – Wrote A Song For Everyone (Vanguard Records)
Kermit Ruffins – We Partyin’ Traditional Style! (Basin Street Records)
Kylesa – Ultraviolet (Season Of Mist)
Laura Marling – Once I Was An Eagle (Ribbon Records)
Man Overboard – Heart Attack (Rise Records)
Mike Marlin – Grand Reveal (All…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 21, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
30 Seconds To Mars – Love, Lust, Faith + Dreams (Virgin/Universal)
Alpine – A Is For Alpine (Votiv)
Amos Slade – Hungry Earth (Sodak Media Group)
Baptist Generals – Jackleg Devotional To The Heart (Sub Pop)
Christopher Paul Stelling – False Cities (Christopher Paul Stelling)
Club 8 – Above The City (Labrador/Universal) Daft Punk – Random Access Memories (Columbia)
Darius Rucker – True Believers (10 Spot)
Dead Gaze – Dead Gaze (Fat Cat Records)
Dirty Beaches – Drifters/Love Is The Devil (1-2-3-4-GO!)
Extrema – The Seed Of Foolishness (Scarlet Records)
FACT – Burundanga (Good Fight Music)
French Montana – Excise My French (Interscope Records)
The Front Bottoms – Talon Of The Hawk (Bar None Records)
Have Mercy – The Earth Pushed Back (Topshelf Records/Universal)
Japanther – Eat Like Lisa Act Like Bart (Recess Records)
The Joy Of Painting – Tender Age (South Division Records)
Linda Draper – Edgewise (Linda Draper)
LVMRKS – Pale Fairytale (LVMRKS Records)
Majical Cloudz – Impersonator (Matador Records)
Man Or Astro-Man? – Defcon 5…4…3…2…1 (Warm Electronic Recordings)
The National – Trouble Will Find Me (4AD Records)
NK – Nothing To Be Gained Here (Triple Crown Records)
Palisades – Outcasts (Rise Records)
Radiation City – Animals In The Median (Tender Loving Empire)
Red Hare – Nites Of Midnite (Dischord Records)
Saturday Looks Good To…
There is a moment right after the first chorus in “Ezekiel 7 and the Permanent Efficacy of Grace” from which the song can go anywhere. Two piano chords wobble on a tightrope, back and forth, and one can’t help but wonder if perhaps the song is just going to end at that point, the soft heartbeat of percussion pulsing more weakly until it goes unheard, succumbing to the implacable fade. This is the world in flux – lives waxing in and out of their parallels, possible futures vying for dominance. Think about how rare it is these days to be genuinely surprised by a song, to sit with bated breath as you wonder where the music is going to take you.
Think about how rare it is for a song to imitate life so exquisitely that it hurts.
What I am trying to delineate here is why I feel bothered when people say something like, “The Mountain Goats are still great, but nothing compares to Darnielle’s output pre-2005.” I can’t count the number of posts I’ve read saying something similar to that. The phrasings may change a little from person to person, but the general idea is that Darnielle made better music when The Mountain Goats consisted mostly of one or two people. Of course, any Darnielle – old or new – is good Darnielle, so my annoyance can never be too great. But his output from 2006-2012 is one of the greatest musical runs ever, and some…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of May 14, 2013. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
The Abramson Singers – Late Riser (Copperspine Records)
Adult. – The Way Things Fall (Ghostly International)
Agnetha Fältsko – A (Verve)
Amy Grant – How Mercy Looks From Here (Amy Grant Productions/Sparrow Records)
Anamanaguchi – Endless Fantasy (Redeye)
Andy Cato – Times & Places (Redeye)
Army Of The Universe – The Hipster Sacrifice (Metropolis Records)
Beams – Just Rivers (Beams)
Benga – Chapter 2 (Sony UK)
Bibio – Silver Wilkinson (Warp)
The Blank Tapes – Vacation (Antenna Farm)
Bobby McFerrin – Spirityouall (Sony Masterworks)
Calibre – Spill (Signature)
Candace Bellamy – In My Lane (Candace Bellamy)
Captain, We’re Sinking – The Future Is Cancelled (Run For Cover)
Deep Purple – Now What?! (Eagle Rock Entertainment)
Demi Lovato – Demi (Hollywood Records) The Dillinger Escape Plan – One Of Us Is The Killer (101 Distribution) – Jacob Royal
Dungeonesse – Dungeonesse (Secretly Canadian)
Eluvium – Nightmare Ending (Temporary Residence)
Eve – Lip Lock (From The Rib Music)
Extinction Protocol – Aeonic Obliteration (P2)
George Strait – Love Is Everything (MCA Nashville)
Gold & Youth – Beyond Wilderness (Arts & Crafts)
Heart In Hand – Almost There (Siege Of Amida)
Immolation – Kingdom Of Conspiracy (Nuclear Blast)
John Grant – Pale Green Ghosts (Partisan Records)
Kisses – Kids In L.A. (Cascine)
Koji – Crooked In My Mind (Run…
Once upon a time, I honestly hadn’t heard a proper hip-hop record. I was perusing through Sputnik’s recent releases, and lo and behold, a hip-hop album with cool artwork! Sobhi’s review for Dark Time Sunshine’s Vessel sounded promising enough, and so I decided to go out on a limb for the album. I found it on Amazon for a penny, and three days later I experienced the thrill Sobhi did– my experiences with it really lacked that pivotal context, though. I think one appreciates Vessel the most when they’re aware of hip-hop’s history, and understand how many new things the record brings to the table. This is drastically different than my first– and rather superficial– interpretation of the album: “Whoa, these cool beats, man!” In the beginning I saw the diversity of the album, as well as the fact that it traversed both optimistic and grimy territory with the flick of a switch– and really well, too. But there’s more about Vessel to consider.
One of the biggest things about Vessel that I’ve come to appreciate is what rapper Onry Ozzborn brings to the table. His lyrics are personal, but not too revealing– although we can all tell “E.R.” stems from a personal experience he’s had, we aren’t being drowned in the details. We can understand where he’s coming from, and that sense of relatability is what makes songs like “E.R.” really stand out. But on the other hand, Onry sometimes removes…
From May 11 until May 18, Sputnikmusic has the exclusive chance to stream Enshine’s debut album Origin, which will be released on May 15 via Rain Without End Records.
Enshine is an atmospheric metal project that got its start in 2009 under the hand of Jari Lindholm (guitars, ex-Slumber, Atoma). Soon enough he teamed up with Sebastien Pierre (vocals) of Fractal Gates and Inborn Suffering fame, with Oscar Borgenstam (drums) and Siavosh Bigonah (bass) completing the recording line-up. Origin was over two years in the making and the production of the album was finished in the summer of 2012. After that, the band started searching for a label and finally teamed up with Rain Without End Records in December 2012.
With their debut album, Enshine present the listener a charming atmospheric metal journey full of lovely melodies and brisk ambient soundscapes. The album sounds like a perfect mix between Pierre’s Fractal Gates (melodic death metal) and Lindholm’s ex-band Atoma (atmospheric metal), as an airy and meditative atmosphere collides with tasteful melodic riffs. “A musical exploration of the world within” is the tagline the album is being promoted with, and it couldn’t be more accurate, as Origin is a metal album for the thinking man.
For the life of me, I’ve never quite been able to figure out which elements of Gold Panda’s music speak to me the most. I’ve always been fascinated with the orientally-focused electronic producer, because he has this way of expressing Asian culture in a distinctly relatable lens, but what about it works best? “Brazil” answers these questions with a (probably warranted) eye-roll, reminding us it’s all about the textures and percussion. Because ultimately, what’s most important here is the mood the reversed sample creates, the serene and almost angelic vibe it gives off. But damn, does the percussion complement it– as confident as ever, the tom hits are as important as the basic drum-&-snare pattern. The two merge in a marvelous way that’s characteristically Gold Panda, assuaging any remaining anxieties about the producer’s upcoming release. The only complaint about the track is the sub-par sample used, a man apathetically saying the song’s title. It wouldn’t be an issue if it weren’t utilized as the primary voice of the track, but its monotony detracts from the overall mood “Brazil” presents. But annoyances aside, the track continues to tread the same path Gold Panda’s been working towards for his whole career. Maybe by the time he stops messing around with all these teasers of releases, he’ll have built the worthy and telling compilation of oriental culture his talents have always demanded of him.
Keep your eyes peeled for Gold Panda’s upcoming full-length, titled Half of Where…