Sunday is when the choices really start to gnaw at you. Choices like: “do I really need to wake up in time to see Surfer Blood at their surprisingly early Outdoor Stage time,” (no) or; “will this beer bong really help me reach my goal of not being utterly exhausted as I leave for the festival?” (yes). It’s also the day when the thought of braving particularly large crowds doesn’t hold quite the appeal it used to. While I was jazzed to see Los Angeles production duo Classixx at the Mojave, the filled-past-capacity mass of hollowed out youths and individuals fresh off two days in the hazardous waste dump that is the campgrounds on a Sunday made it a short set. Better were Starfucker, who, playing on the Outdoor Stage, made up for the searing heat with a wide expanse of glass to collapse on while watching their spacey brand of indie-pop. A relatively mundane, if nevertheless very catchy, band, Starfucker stepped up their festival game with a wide array of costumed freaks running about and several dozen blow-up dolls sporting impressive erections that they released into the crowd.
Photo by Koury Angelo
A double-punk bill of Frank Turner and Superchunk followed in the Gobi tent. While I’m not a big fan, Turner’s energy was…
The worst part about Coachella 2013 was easily the dust storm that turned Sunday into a set piece from the Depression and choked the life and easy visibility out of a struggling Red Hot Chili Peppers closing set. 2014’s storm wasn’t nearly as bad; for the most part, walking around during the day Saturday felt like you were travelling on a strange, ominous alien planet, the sun reduced to a weird, haunting half-light and the wind picking up curlicues of dust seemingly at random while bits of sound escaped intermittently over the fields. That creepy feeling was magnified by the fact that everyone seemed to be running from one destination to another, as if constantly striving to avoid the almighty wrath of the weather gods/the narc chasing them. It was how I imagined walking on Mars might be, if everyone on Mars was really, really fucked up all the time.
Of course, God being the sick bastard that he is, Saturday turned out to be my favorite day of the festival. When you kick things off with a blogger’s wet dream of Foxygen, Ty Segall, and CHVRCHES on the Outdoor Stage, it’s easy to ignore the fact that your choice of t-shirt and board shorts for the day will prove quite uncomfortable against pelting sand and an insidious wind chill. Like Friday’s HAIM set, Coachella is made for a band like CHVRCHES,…
It wasn’t the shift to two weekends that convinced me, nor was it the prevalence of EDM as a driving force in lineup selections. It wasn’t the 2012 rainstorm, the first in Coachella history, or the 2013 sandstorm, or the (slightly more tolerable) wind and dust that marred this past Saturday. It wasn’t even the waves of heat that fried me Friday like an egg as my nails curled inwards to the sound of Grouplove’s vocalist butchering Beyonce’s“Drunk in Love” as 4:00 turned into 5:00 at the main stage – the performance artist/Grouplove superfan doing a bizarrely well choreographed dance with a staff, and the internal debate of actually exerting myself in the unholy temperatures or ritually murdering everyone in the band being the only things occupying my otherwise exhausted mind. Friday, mind you.
This explains a lot (Photo courtesy of Esquire)
No, these are all the things we’ve come to expect at Coachella, the beautiful scenery made hazy by the weather and the bands determined to make their own legend notwithstanding. It was more the press releases I received every day informing me of the latest updates at the festival, groundbreaking events like: “Fergie and Emmy Rossum, who had both stopped by the Samsung Galaxy Owner’s Lounge yesterday, came back to cool off…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 15, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
The Afghan Whigs – Do To The Beast (Sub Pop)
Amps For Christ – Canyons Cars And Crows (Shrimper Records)
August Alsina – Testimony (Island/Def-Jam)
Banner Pilot – Souvenir (Fat Wreck Chords)
Big Sugar – Yardstyle (Bread & Butter Productions)
The Birds Of Satan – The Birds Of Satan (+180 Records)
The Both – The Both (SuperEgo Records)
Brandon Michael Williams – The Pride Of Titanic (Brandon Michael Williams)
Breathe Carolina – Savages (Fearless Records)
Chet Faker – Built On Glass (Downtown)
Chuck E. Weiss – Red Beans And Weiss (Anti Records)
Cult Leader – Nothing For Us Here (Deathwish Inc.)
Dan Wilson – Love Without Fear (+180 Records)
Deleted Scenes – Lithium Burn (Park The Van)
Emmure – Eternal Enemies (Victory Records)
Heartsrevolution – Ride Or Die (OWSLA)
Ian Anderson – Homo Erraticus (Kscope)
Ingrid Michaelson – Lights Out (Cabin 24 Records/Mom + Pop Music)
Jack Bruce – Silver Rails (Esoteric)
Jamie O’Neal – Eternal (Shanachie)
Jason Derulo – Talk Dirty (Warner Bros.)
Jim Byrnes – St. Louis Times (Black Hen Music)
Megafauna – Maximalist (Danimal Kingdom)
NEEDTOBREATHE – Rivers In The Wasteland (Atlantic)
Odonis Odonis – Hard Boiled Soft Boiled (Buzz Records)
Pharmakos – Nude (Pharmakos/Bandcamp)
Plague Vendor – Free To Eat (Epitaph)
A Pony Named Olga – The Land Of Milk And Pony (Saustex Media)
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 8, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – Enter The Slasher House (Domino Recording Company)
Black Label Society – Catacombs Of The Black Vatican (Entertainment One)
Chuck Inglish – Convertibles (Federal Prism)
Consider Me Dead – Young At Heart (Standby Records)
EMA – The Future’s Void (Matador Records)
The Faint – Doom Abuse (SQE Music)
Flutronix – 2.0 (Flutronix Records)
For The Fallen Dreams – Heavy Hearts (Rise Records)
Highasakite – Silent Treatment (Inkind Music)
Incan Abraham – Tolerance (White Iris)
Ital Tek – Mega City Industry (Civil Music)
Joan Osborne – Love And Hate (Entertainment One)
John Frusciante – Enclosure (+180 Records)
King Dude – Fear (Dais)
L’Orange – The Orchid Days (L’Orange/Bandcamp)
Martina McBride – Everlasting (Alliance)
The Mary Onettes – Portico (Labrador/Universal)
MercyMe – Welcome To The New (Fair Trade Services)
OFF! – Wasted Years (Vice Music)
Ratking – So It Goes (XL)
School Of Language – Old Fears (Memphis Industries)
Sleepmakeswaves – In Today Already Walks Tomorrow (Monotreme Records)
SOHN – Tremors (4AD)
SoftSpot – MASS (SoftSpot)
Split Single – Fragmented World (Inside Outside Records) Squarepusher – Music For Robots (Warp Records) – Hyperion
SZA – Z (Top Dawg Entertainment)
Teebs – E S T A R A (Brainfeeder)
Thus Owls – Turning Rocks (Secret City Records/Universal) Todd Terje – It’s Album Time…
It’s been a busy year for Comeback Kid. The Toronto-by-way-of-Winnipeg based hardcore act have released their fifth LP Die Knowing and are currently in the opening months of a year of touring that will carry them around the world. Before their set at Rock City Studios in Camarillo, California, I had that chance to talk to vocalist Andrew Neufeld about their new record, the band as a whole, and keeping things fresh after over a decade of being one of hardcore’s premiere bands.
I’ve been listening to Die Knowingfor a couple months now, and I’ve noticed that you have incorporated everything that falls under the guise of “hardcore” over the last twenty or so years into the sound of that record. You cover everything from crew pit parts, to big Ignite hooks, to just pummeling the listener on the heavier end of it all. How do you go into writing a record like that? Is that something where you say you’re gonna cover all this ground, or does it come out naturally?
It just kind of… we just write a bunch of songs, really. Actually with this record it wasn’t until we had a whole mess of them written we sorta sat back and said. “wow,” because there’s a lot of heavy songs on the record. In my head the record is kind of split, a little bit, because it starts off with “hard” hardcore, ya know…
As the champion of Malaysian Flight Simulator, I have a keen understanding of how music can fall off my proverbial radar undetected.
To protect you from having the same fate, we’ve collaborated on delivering to you some first-quarter artist and album highlights from our personal highlight reels. From the avant-garde and the macabre to the uptempo, D&B, and “dad rock” genres, we’re confident that you’ll find something in our 27-song playlist that’s worth checking out here.
Featuring tracks by Tokyo Police Club, Nebelung, Calibre, Kamchatka, and Animals as Leaders, we hope our diversified showcase underscores that 2014 is off to a splendid start.
I don’t think this is intentional on my part, but I have such a Euro-Austral-’Murica tilt in my listening habits that there’s a distinct lack of Asian artists per my RYM listening map (while I haven’t updated this in awhile, it’s probably damning that my only listed bands are Boris, The Black Mages, Orphaned Land, and Koji Kondo, who composes soundtracks for The Legend of Zelda…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of April 1, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Austrian Death Machine – Triple Brutal (Artery Recordings)
Band Of Skulls – Himalayan (+180 Records)
The Body – I Shall Die Here (Revenge International)
Chevelle – La Gargola (Epic)
Chiodos – Devil (Razor & Tie)
Christina Perri – Head Or Heart (Atlantic)
Cloud Nothings – Here And Nowhere (Carpark Records)
Combichrist – We Love You (Out Of Line)
Dan Croll – Sweet Disarray (Capitol)
Fartbarf – Dirty Power (Space Jumbles Music)
Hank Williams III – Ramblin’ Man (Curb Records)
Inventions – Inventions (Temporary Residence)
Jamaica – Ventura (Pias America)
Jon Langford & Skull Orchard – Here Be Monsters (In De Goot Recordings)
Kaiser Chiefs – Education, Education & War (ATO Records)
Lacuna Coil – Broken Crown Halo (Century Media)
Leon Russell – Life Journey (UMe)
Lost Society – Terror Hungry (Nuclear Blast America)
Mac DeMarco – Salad Days (Captured Tracks)
Manchester Orchestra – Cope (Loma Vista/Republic)
Matt Andersen – Weightless (True North)
Mike Oldfield – Man On The Rocks (Mercury)
Millie & Andrea – Drop The Vowels (Modern Love)
Mobb Deep – The Infamous Mobb Deep (Infamous Records)
Nickel Creek – A Dotted Line (Nonesuch)
S. Carey – Range Of Light (Jagjaguwar)
Saintseneca – Dark Arc (Anti Records)
Smoke DZA – Dream.ZONE.Achieve (Cinemtaic Music Group/Surf School Recordings/Priority Records) Sonata Arctica – Pariah’s Child (Nuclear Blast America) –…
I recognize that there are exceptions to every rule, but parody songs tend to bastardize the original source material beyond the point of recognition.
This isn’t the case for Freddy Scott’s tribute to one of his purported musical heroes, Trent Reznor. Imagination and imitation may very well be the sincerest forms of flattery.
As angry as Reznor was on Pretty Hate Machine or as self-destructive as he sounded on The Downward Spiral, my hunch is that the guy could still find a sense of humor in this. Scott originally posted the lyric video to this song back in January, but recently shot a video for the track (which also features SNL guitarist Jared Blake Scharff), which perfectly encapsulates Reznor’s mannerisms and video production to a ‘T’. My favorite bit is in the opening verse, but when it comes to accurately depicting the Nine Inch Nails videography and Reznor’s blueprint in a less-than-3-minute spoof… well, to paraphrase Scott’s own lyrics: “Yeah, it sounds really awesome.”
With a little more than a month left until Finnish melodic death metal giants Insomnium release their highly anticipated, sixth full-length offering to the world, Sputnikmusic got an exclusive chance to peak behind the covers a bit, as Ville Friman, the band’s guitarist, sat down with me to discuss all things Insomnium. The following interview took place on March 19th and gives insight into the current state of the band, as well as what to expect from their upcoming album Shadows of the Dying Sun. Among other things, Mr. Friman also discussed the current state of the music industry, how nature affects him, and what he himself is excited to hear in 2014.
Good evening! How are you doing on this 19th of March?
I’m doing fine, it has been a busy day at work and I just came back home to do interviews, but it’s going well and it’s very nice to talk with you guys and see that you’re interested in our new album. So, I’m really good.
Has it been very hectic lately in the Insomnium camp? Have you guys been able to take a breather or two before your new stuff is released?
I thought that we would have a bit more spare time in our hands, but it has been quite hectic. When we got out of the studio, we started to mix the album right away, and after that we started with the (album) covers and all kinds…
The first time I saw GWAR I was 18 years old. It was the summer of 2005 and the band were slotted for an hour long, 5 o’clock spot at the Sounds of the Underground festival. I had no idea what I was in for. All I knew was the lore that surrounded their live show. It was supposed to be an event. It was. It was the dead center of the Bush years, a new pope who spent part of his childhood in the Hitler Youth was now sitting atop Christendom, and all that and more would serve as kindling for GWAR’s 60 minute performance piece.
For as much as I remember that show, it is not what happened on stage that resounds the loudest of my memories of GWAR on that July afternoon. An hour before their set, I got the chance to meet Dave Brockie. He was in his full Oderus Urungus regalia, four foot sculpted rubber phallus and all, standing in the back of a makeshift tow cart that was hitched to a boxy looking ATV. As he was being carted though the crowd in his makeshift Kawasaki chariot, for some reason or other it stopped for a few minutes, and as the driver was trying to coordinate his new plans via walkie-talkie, I nervously made my way to say hello. I can vividly remember his bare ass hanging out of the back end of his get up. It was a humorous bright spot in…
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 25, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Animals As Leaders – The Joy Of Motion (Sumerian) – Thompson D. Gerhart
Asia – Gravitas (Frontiers Records/Universal)
The Bad Plus – The Rite Of Spring (Sony Masterworks)
Barry Manilow – Night Songs (Stiletto Entertainment)
The Baseball Project – 3rd (Yep Roc Records)
Big Scary – Not Art (Barsuk)
Boy George – This Is What I Do (Very Me Records)
Chimurenga Renaissance – Rize Vadzimu Rize (Brick Lane Records)
Chuck Ragan – Till Midnight (Side One Dummy)
Circa Zero – Circus Hero (429 Records)
The Colourist – The Colourist (Republic)
Future Islands – Singles (4AD)
Glenn Kotche – Adventureland (Cantaloupe Music)
Grieves – Winter & The Wolves (Rhymesayers)
The Hold Steady – Teeth Dreams (Razor & Tie)
Howler – World Of Joy (Rough Trade US)
Jimi Goodwin – Odludek (Pias America)
Johnny Cash – Out Among The Stars (Legacy)
Karmin – Pulses (Epic)
Kylie Minogue – Kiss Me Once (Warner Bros)
Liars – Mess (Mute)
London Grammar – If You Wait (US Release) (Columbia)
Memphis May Fire – Unconditional (Rise Records)
Mr Little Jeans – Pocketknife (Harvest)
Of Sinking Ships – The Amaranthine Sea (Broken Circles)
Owls – Two (Polyvinyl Records)
Seahaven – Reverie Lagoon: Music For Escapism Only (Run For Cover Records)
Shakira – Shakira (RCA)
Thou – Heathen (Gilead Media)
THYX – Super Vision (Metropolis Records)
There are few better storytellers in music than the late Townes Van Zandt, and few more overlooked, which is why it’s exciting to see more contemporary artists celebrate his timeless music as on the 2012 tribute album, Songs of Townes Van Zandt, featuring Steve Von Vill and Scott Kelly of Neurosis and Scott “Wino” Weinrich of Saint Vitus. Though all the covers contained on the album are exceptional, Von Till’s “Black Crow Blues” might just be the hardest-hitting. The supremely smokey voice that many have come to love from the post-metal titans breathes new life into the simplistic, lament-filled hymn of one of country music’s greatest and most tragic figures.
Thou – “Something in the Way”
As influential as early sludge was on a young Kurt Cobain, it seems fitting that Nirvana’s somber acoustic number from the seminal Nevermind was given the down-tuned treatment from modern day sludge masters Thou. Their rendition begins pretty straightforward and true to the original before erupting into something seething and relentlessly heavy, conveying just as much emotion as the original—even if that emotion happens to be crushing hatred rather than depression. If their really was “something in the way,” that’s no longer a problem, because Thou’s cover smashed it into tiny bits.
Here’s a list of major new releases for the week of March 18, 2014. Please feel free to request reviews for any of the following albums from staff or contributors.
Black Lips – Underneath The Rainbow (Vice Music)
The Coathangers – Suck My Shirt (Suicide Squeeze)
Dead Rider – Chills On Glass (Drag City)
Earth Crisis – Salvation Of Innocents (Candlelight/Universal)
Eliza Gilkyson – The Nocturne Diaries (Red House Records)
Enrique Iglesias – Sex & Love (Universal Republic)
Foster The People – Supermodel (Columbia)
Freddie Gibbs & Madlib – Pinata (Madlib Invasion)
Gus G. – I Am The Fire (Century Media) Hark – Crystalline (Season Of Mist) – Greg Fisher
Hauschka – Abandoned City (Temporary Residence)
I Am The Avalanche – Wolverines (I Surrender Records)
JT Woodruff – Field Medicine (InVogue Records)
Kevin Drew – Darlings (Arts & Crafts) La Dispute – Rooms Of The House (Workhorse Music Group)
Lyla Foy – Mirrors The Sky (Sub Pop Records) Motorpsycho – Behind The Sun (Rune Grammofon) – Raul Stanciu
Perfect Pussy – Say Yes To Love (Captured Tracks)
The Pretty Reckless – Going To Hell (Razor & Tie)
Riley Etheridge Jr – The Straight And Narrow Way (Rock Ridge Music) Ringworm – Hammer Of The Witch (Relapse)
Sisyphus – Sisyphus (Secretly Canadian) Skrillex – Recess (Atlantic) – Will Robinson Taking Back Sunday – Happiness Is (Hopeless Records) – Adam Thomas
Therion – Theli (Deluxe Edition) (Nuclear Blast America) …
Elitism is part of being human. There is literally no way to escape from the fact that people are constantly, perpetually looking down on others for reasons that have little practical merit while simultaneously holding themselves above others using reasons that are equally hollow. It’s the ever-pressing desire to distinguish oneself from those around them; a cry for individuality in a world where individuality is no longer possible. In a world where you have to stand well above the crowd to achieve even slight success (definitions of what success means aside), is it really that shocking that people look at art, music, food, video games, cars, clothing, possessions, obsessions, politics, philosophies, and lifestyles as ways to further their own sense of self-superiority? It’s all relative, too. Someone can think themselves as superior because they listen to Band X which is somehow artistically superior to Band Y, yet at the same time proponents of Band Y think the same about listeners of Band X. Let’s face it: it is elitist to even say that one is above elitism, as it is just another way to assert your superiority over others.
Perhaps nowhere is this superiority complex more prevalent than heavy metal. It is the embodiment of musical elitism, a place where you can be dismissed as a credible “true metal” fan for liking one band deemed so delicately as “complete shit” by the larger crowd. We’ve all seen it, and we’ve all done it. Anyone who has listened to metal has…