| Sputnikmusic
 

Welcome to our Q3 Mixtape this year, where we further illuminate some of our favorite songs released between July – September. Featuring tracks from Amplifier, Banks, Cymbals Eat Guitars, Dog Fashion Disco, Dopplereffekt, Kimbra, Lenny Kravitz, Mr. Kitty, Oado, Seven That Spells, Shabazz Palaces, Skrew, Yuna, and more than what’s listed in the aforementioned baker’s dozen, we’re hopeful that you’ll find something worth investigating further here.

(RIP.)

This also means that this is our last mixtape of the year, as we’ll prepare for our annual Year-End feature. Whether you’re a staffer, contributor, longtime shit-poster, or a bright-eyed and bushy-tailed newcomer, everybody has an opportunity to get involved in what amounts to be a fun year-end event for us. More details to come later, but as is also tradition, I’ll have some prize packages. To see what the winners got last year, you can check out the announcement here and see the actual prizes here.

What would you like to see for prizes this year? What albums are you excited about in Q4 that might crack your Top 10, 25, 50, or 100 [or greater]? Please feel free to let us know in the comments.

I hope you’re all enjoying the NFL season (unless you’re a Jacksonville fan, I guess?) and as we head towards the majesty that is the Fall Classic.

(We also use GoPros during our indoor office wiffleball tourneys.)

Enjoy, and see you soon for all the Year-End features! –Jom

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LV & Joshua Idehen – “Waiting For The Night” (04:04)
Islands

Listen if you like:
Kode9, Dark Sky, Cooly G
Facebook | Soundcloud

As if in response to the multicultural identity of London, Islands, the new collaborative LP by garage/grime/funky act LV and British-Nigerian poet Joshua Idehen is an album that couldn’t have been made anywhere else in the world. And yet, it still feels utterly alien. Like nothing else from this world. Perhaps it’s Idehen himself – his half-rapping, half-speaking shanty rhythms are ruminations that operate entirely of their accord; like a stranger in his own town, Idehen soaks up the musical atmosphere crafted by his supporting Keysound affiliates, and former Hyperdub alumni, LV. Theirs is a blurred musical tableau of skitterish percussion and weepy, angular synths.

‘Waiting For The Night’ plays out exactly how you imagine it would. It’s a watchman’s call to shadows, when the hills in the distant suburbs roil and roll of their own accord and when concrete mountains edge closer together in collusion. When every street light reveals you to the world and turns your shadow into dancing marionettes. ‘Waiting For The Night’ is the paranoia of inner city living, a tourist in your own background. —Deviant

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Mr. Kitty – “Rats” (03:27)
Time
Listen if you like: Joy Division, Eurythmics, Ejecta
Facebook | Bandcamp

It’s always exciting to see how a solo artist (or a company of them) combines a handful of seemingly heterogeneous musical influences, in order to produce albums of gradually increasing merit. Austin TX artist Mr. Kitty is a good example in the aforementioned respect. Elements like the imperative yet smooth electropop/new wave beats, the post-punk ethics, the dark/goth keyboard soundscapes, the crystal clean yet imposing male vocals and the screamo female ones, were being fused into a quite attractive mix even from the first album D E Δ T H. However, it’s in Mr. Kitty’s latest full-length work TIME that the combination of the previously mentioned attributes works fantastic as a whole. Despite its abundance of content, the new album is so captivating, that it almost forbids the return to older Mr. Kitty affairs. –Voivod

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Magnétophonique – “Quiet Village” (06:20)
Monte / Magnétophonique Split
Listen if you like: Venn Rain, Early James Ferraro
SoundcloudBandcamp

There have been quite a few exciting and welcome additions to the world of ambient music amid the recent resurgence of underground tape releases and analog media nostalgia.  Although relatively obscure even for the niche market he caters too, Charles Belpois, co-founder of the French tape label Capri Records, has been releasing some of the most unique and strange sample based, lo-fi ambient music of the digital age as Magnétophonique.  Looping washed out samples of tropical travel guides from decades long past aside fragile synth textures and the occasional tribal rhythm patterns, Magnétophonique’s aesthetic is unlike anything else being released today.  Like something plucked directly out of Joseph Cornell dreamworld, the swirling of pacific, tropical nostalgia sounds Belpois manages to weave together are as beautiful as they are evocative.  After the extremely strong Lush Islands release from last year, Belpois has followed up the release with a split with fellow tape guru Montes, and Quiet Village (the first track on Magnétophonique’s side of the split) is a textbook example of the kind of sample looping and synth textures that makes the French musicians music so captivating.  Essential listening for tape heads everywhere. –Hyperion

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Lenny Kravitz – “Sex” (03:53)
Strut

Listen if you like:
Prince, Jimi Hendrix, Red Hot Chili Peppers
Facebook | Official site

Hey guys and gals, it’s cool to like Lenny Kravitz again! His new album Strut represents a much needed breath of fresh air in a career that has steadily dimmed, featuring a bunch of delightfully retro rock jams, at least in the first two thirds of the record. The epitome of this is the album opener “Sex”, which boasts a great laid-back, throwback, placing-girls-on-their-backs riff coupled with an energetic and focused Lenny – I really feel he’s about to engage in sweet sweet coitus with this incognito girl, and they’re both going to like it, while I am enjoying the build-up to it. “Sex” provides an initial spark that the rest of the songs manage to capitalize on, until the last three tracks kick in, which represent an all too familiar slow-and-dull side of Kravitz (even if the closer, “Ooo Baby Baby”, is a cover version of a good Smokey Robinson song, after two slow tracks, it doesn’t have the effect it might’ve, had it followed an up-tempo, last hurrah rocker). Lenny Kravitz has always,undeniably been at his best when playing straightforward, hook-heavy rock ‘n’ roll, and luckily Strut highlights that side of him in a way that lets it shine like it hasn’t since his 1998 album 5. More sex and less slow love is a winning formula when it comes to ol’ Lenny. –Magnus Altküla

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Fink – “Looking Too Closely”(05:10)
Hard Believer
Listen if you like:
Robert Plant, Bonobo, Steve Earle
Official siteSoundcloud

I made the mistake of not actively listening to Fink’s music until I heard him in the closing minutes of Suits (Season 4, Episode 8 – “Exposure”). Originally, Fink (AKA Fin Greenall) worked as an electronic music DJ and producer, but then transitioned to more ‘traditional’ avenues for recording music, and the chilled-out, wistful ambiance that permeates throughout Hard Believer is equal parts subdued and sublime. Fink’s unique fingerpicking and strum technique, the emphasis on melody and harmony in the album’s relaxing, chilled-out environment, his somber, yet silky-smooth croons, and the seamless transition between tracks all make for a delightful listen. Don’t do what I did and miss out on a terrific album and artist. –Jom

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Dopplereffekt – “Delta Wave” (05:44)
Hypnagogia
Listen if you like: Derrick May, Drexcyia, Jeff Mills
BleepSoundcloud

Detroit techno connoisseur Dopplereffekt has teamed up with the German electronic musician Objekt to bring us one of the better splits to come out this year.  In anticipation of Objekt’s full length in the 4th quarter of 2014, which promises to be one of the year’s best releases, both artists have each contributed a track to tide us over in anticipation of it being released.  Not unsurprisingly, the duo manage to compliment each other perfectly, with Dopplereffekt’s half being another welcome slice of the orbital, metallic electro sound he has been mastering over the past decade or so.  Not to be outdone, Objekt’s side forgoes the dubstep edge of his most popular tracks and creates a bass heavy, metallic resurrection of the kinds of early electronic styling’s Dopplereffekt is so fond of, albeit filtered through a layer of his own modern electronic meditations.  Whether or not this is simply an attempt to keep the aesthetic of this release cohesive, or a portent of what is to come, this EP showcases two of the strongest talents in the business, and is sure to please anyone interested in past, present, and future of electronic music. –Hyperion

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Rx Bandits – “G2G” (05:46)
Gemini, Her Majesty

Listen if you like: Latter-day Red Hot Chili Peppers, An Endless Sporadic, The Sound of Animals Fighting
Official site | Bandcamp

The beauty of a track like “G2G” embodies the sum of Gemini, Her Majesty and the triumphant(?) phoenix-like rebirth of Rx Bandits in 2014. Is it upbeat or downbeat? Is the message positive or negative? Like much of the album, there are as many detractors as there are supporters, but “G2G” is easily the most immediately gratifying track on the album. There’s a certain sugary catchiness to the chorus that becomes ironic when coupled with the lyrics “My silly girl / I stayed too long,” but it seems such an easy line to overlook for its (seemingly) basic aural pleasure. Its most impressive moments may fall in its emotional and ethereal ending vocal round, but you’ve got to admire the entirety of a track that can shift gears so much and still forge a connection on a visceral level.

But at what point does it become an inappropriate line to sing in the car with your girlfriend? Probably around the same time you start calling her your “little blue thunder.” –Tom Gerhart

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Oado – “Calmness At Stress” (08:25)
Life Era
Listen if you like: Musk Ox, Vàli, October Falls
Bandcamp | Facebook

Take a listen to the radiant, sorrowful acoustics and strings within “Calmness At Stress”. Take in the deeply mournful underpinnings beneath the falling notes and behind the overwhelming atmosphere that Oado weave here. This level of neofolk is not the kind of stuff you’d think would be coming out of Iran, but here we have it. Tehran’s Oado are playing like they are more than just a newcomer on the scene – this is stuff that could rival the larger neofolk titans around the world. Life Era is a painfully dark record in nearly every regard, and in that sense it captures a side of the genre that I consider to be the most poignant and true, because underneath it all the strings, swirling ambiance and smooth, crisp acoustic guitars swell into an atmosphere that is truly breathtaking. Not afraid to flash a bit of instrumental flair through stirring string arrangements or classical nylon string finger picking that lends an earthy flow to the leads, Oado show that despite their status as a basically unknown band in the genre they know exactly what they are doing, and have no problem creating bold, moving compositions that demand and command your attention. –Crysis

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Skrew – “Rise” (05:28)
Universal Immolation

Listen if you like:
Ministry, October File, Cult of Luna
Facebook

Where the hell did this come from? Skrew came out of the ashes of Crossover band Angkor Wat and featured Adam Grossman and Danny Lohner (of Nine Inch Nails fame).  They released their debut in 1992 — the same year Ministry released their seminal album Psalm 69. It was a dark and diverse slab of industrial metal and was the better of the two releases. Unfortunately, it was overlooked. The band spent the next five years and three albums trying to gain a foothold and find a sound that they liked — instead they broke up. So, again, where did this come from? The band got back together and no one knew. The band released two songs from this album and there was no news about it. The band release this awesome album and even their fans (as represented by me) didn’t know. This album brings back that dark, oppressive atmosphere from the debut, but mixes in the heavier moments from some of today’s post metal artists. Definitely check it out. —Trey Spencer

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Literature – “New Jacket” (03:18)
Chorus

Listen if you like: Alvvays, The Pains of Being Pure at Heart, Golden Grrrls
Bandcamp

Literature may hail from Philadelphia, but their brand of washed out, paisley and pink, Cure-via-the-Kinks power pop is crooked teeth and crumpets all the way. Chorus is a more produced version of their 2012 debut Slumberland, and while it makes the band’s touchstones perhaps even more obvious than before, the focus on the band’s effortless way with a hook and their impressive energy make it a resounding success. The centerpiece of the record, “New Jacket” is everything that makes Literature such an addictive, fun listen. The guitars chime through a twinkling haze, Nathan Cardaci’s voice rings clear and bright, a touch of faux accent hanging on the end of every vowel, and when everything ascends into that glorious sugar rush of “ba ba ba’s,” the past feels immediate and full-blooded. Chorus currently has two ratings on this website. I’ve never been more ashamed. — Rudy K.

Yuna – “Langit” (03:39)
YouTube Single
Listen if you like:
Lisa Hannigan, Fiona Apple, Zee Avi, Damien Rice
Official Site

Every now and then, Yunalis Zara’ai looks to the heavens for inspiration. “Langit”, her standalone tribute to the victims of the recent MH17 and MH370 air disasters, is one such instance. Architecturally, the song’s arrangements hearken back to the Malaysian singer-songwriter’s earliest days as a public performer, when she was restricted to little more than cheap acoustic guitars and faded alabaster rooms. Her impassioned voice was the one true weapon she had back then, and the decision to train the spotlight on it once again is a potent reminder of what 2013’s Nocturnal, for all its polished sheen and crafty pop hooks, may have inadvertently taken away. Yuna’s lyrics are exceedingly simple this time out, but they find themselves suitably reinforced by the overarching dignity of the occasion. “The moon will be my witness tonight,” she declares, before transitioning seamlessly into a Malay language chorus that is as delicate as it is life-affirming. Whether she’s referring to her unedifying ambition, or simply sending a prayer to the stars, it’s clear that Yuna is intent on saying goodbye to the ground once again. Irving Tan

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Chris Letchford – “The Star Boys” (04:49)
Lightbox

Listen if you like:
Scale the Summit, The Reign of Kindo, Trioscapes
Official site | Bandcamp

“The Star Boys” is the sort of track that feels effortless in the hands of a master like Chris Letchford, and it’s the sort of thing he has a reputation for: creating tracks that feel like a breeze through a swinging screen door on a warm summer day. I guess that’s just the sort of thing they have down in Texas. There’s plenty of bluesy tone to this refreshing breeze with Chris’s normal guitar schemes mellowed out by a clean tone and complimented quite well by the piano work of the lads from The Reign of Kindo. Unsurprisingly, it feels like the perfect soundtrack to a summer day spent sipping lemonade on a front-porch rocking chair. Have I mentioned that it’s good to own land? –Tom Gerhart

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Tim Bowness – “Smiler At 50” (08:20)
Abandoned Dancehall Dreams
Listen if you like: No-Man, Gazpacho, NoSound, Steven Wilson
Official Website | Youtube Lyric Video

While most people know him as the charming voice on No-Man records or for his several collaborations throughout the past two decades, Tim Bowness has finally decided to step up all by himself, releasing his second solo album. A giant leap forward from his sparse, intimate debut, Abandoned Dancehall Dreams is full of guests and originated in new No-Man recording sessions. Undoubtedly the most beautiful song here, ‘Smiler At 50’ is a brilliant, nostalgic run through a woman’s life. As she comes to terms with her age, Smiler can’t help but reflect on a long lost relationship or the bleak future. The music offers a matching, cinematic setting for Tim’s magnificent voice, boasting some 80s-influenced piano leads and strings. Also, the second part reveals a majestic and rather dissonant coda that considerably boosts the entire listening experience. This is one of the most lovely songs released this year. Raul Stanciu

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Evergrey – “A New Dawn” (04:35)
Hymns for the Broken

Listen if you like:
Shadow Gallery, Vanden Plas, Pain of Salvation
Official site | Facebook

Upon the first few listens to Hymns for the Broken, I noticed how mellow the record was compared to some of their past efforts, but I really have enjoyed how the aggressive, thrashy riffs are expertly interwoven into the album’s fabric, too. This is certainly within the top 3 Evergrey albums (which might not mean a whole lot for comparison’s sake, since their previous 3 albums ranged from “short replay value” to “a bit of a clunker”; for the latter, I’ll try not to  mention any names specifically, Monday Morning Apocalypse), and where some veteran bands might have left us disappointed with their return offerings this year, Hymns for the Broken is very much a welcome return to form from these Swedes. Plus, if a band is going to take the calculated risk of having a children’s choir, it best not approach “trope status” — and in the case of “The Fire”, it’s a wonderful complement. –Jom

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Cyanotic – “The Signs of Struggle” (04:10)
Worst Case Scenario Vol. 1
Listen if you like: Rabbit Junk, The Shiznit, Acumen Nation
On Cyanotic’s previous full-length offering Medication Generation, the two best songs were polar opposites: “f@5h10n v1k+um5”, a dancey aggrotech cut that spat out truth in spades, and “Comadose”, a soul-crushingly haunting, anguish-driven atmospheric piece. It comes as no surprise  then, that off their (once again fantastic) new LP Worst Case Scenario Vol.1, the track that initially refuses to leave your brainspace is a heavy industrial metal song by the title “The Signs of Struggle”. While it’s still too early to tell if I’ll have the same opinion on the song in comparison to the rest of album even a month from now, all that’s important at the moment is admitting that “The Signs of Struggle” rips and Cyanotic deserve all the recognition they get and more. Worst Case Scenario Vol.1 is industrial metal done the right way, all the way. –Magnus Altküla

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Amplifier – “Black Rainbow” (03:20)
Mystoria

Listen if you like:
Oceansize, Coheed and Cambria, early Muse
Official Website | Youtube

A couple of weeks ago, Amplifier have released Mystoria, their easiest digestible record to date and for those who wanted a return to form, ‘Black Rainbow’ is the closest they’ll get. The aggressive, head banging main riff is the sharpest these guys have been since The Octopus and the great vocals only add to that cool attitude the early records share. No filler, just thrills, this is the band at their most concise form. For those who weren’t sure what to think about Mystoria check out ‘Black Rainbow’ and sink into their universe. Dig it. Raul Stanciu

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SBTRKT f/ Ezra Koenig – “New Dorp. New York” (02:55)
Wonder Where We Land

Listen if you like:
Little Dragon, Jamie xx, Sepalcure
Official site | Soundcloud

Electronic music craftsman SBTRKT carries in “New Dorp New York” what he needs for a killer single, though the ingredients aren’t what was likely anticipated. Some are predictable, sure: a solitary kick drum motoring ahead, and a song structure that contorts itself to the dancefloor’s whims like an inspired shapeshifter. But then there’s the unprecedented: some jangling, unidentifiable noise in the verse that makes you wonder what the hell you’re even listening to, and then that yodeler from Vampire Weekend. Ezra Koenig is talking over “New Dorp New York”, occasionally singing, and that’s it- his performance is understated, like the burgeoning beat that backs him. In this lead single from upcoming full-length release Wonder Where We Land, SBTRKT keeps things simple because he doesn’t seem to feel the need for anything more- he only wants to emphasize the straight-laced rhythm. While this song has none of the snare, none of the Little Dragon hooks that 2011’s blazing hit “Wildfire” bolstered, it’s got its own drive. “New Dorp New York”, a bizarre trip of a tune, stands out from the crowd because it doesn’t even seem to be a part of it in the first place. It exists on the periphery, thrives as spectator. –Jacob Royal

Seven That Spells – “Io” (18:25)
The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock: IO

Listen if you like:
Master Musicians Of Bukkake, Jastreb, Acid Mothers Temple, Otrovna Kristina
Official Website | Bandcamp

The Croatian psychedelic act, Seven That Spells have always focused on creating an unforgettable atmosphere on their records. However, on the ongoing trilogy, The Death And Resurrection Of Krautrock, they have toned down those hellish, feedback-laden outings to a focused, Balkan-meets Master Musicians Of Bukkake sound. The main highlight off IO is the title track (and its counterpart ‘Burning Blood’), deliver their most infectious riffs so far. The twangy guitars and entrancing vocals lead a very proficient rhythm section, creating a very tensed, almost medieval vibe. As ‘Io’ progresses it gets louder and more complicated pattern-wise. This way you get an uber-complex journey that’s only augmented by the rest of the album. A must listen for any psychedelic/progressive rock fan. Raul Stanciu

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Asa & Sorrow – “Titan” (03:54)
Legendary
Listen if you like: Visionist, Dark0, Mssingno
Asa Website | Sorrow Website | Asa Soundcloud | Sorrow Soundcloud

For two artists who have long been held in high regard for their highly intimate and emotional productions to come together and belt out such a gut-churning bass anthem as ‘Titan’ is something of a shock to the system. That both artists are so able to switch gears and flip the emotions that have been so prevalent in their works to something so outward and devastating is something of a marvel. One does hope that this string of high-roller grime instrumentals will only play out as nothing more than a novelty for these two, an outlet to dispense any big room ambitions, but when the results are this acerbic it really does become hard to argue with the results. Because in the words of the don himself Big Narstie, what’s the point when “it’s not gassed cuz?“. Indeed…

‘Titan’ is taken from the pair’s recently released Legendary EP, which you can check out via iTunes here. —Deviant


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Empire Auriga – “The Solarthrone” (05:01)
Ascending The Solarthrone

Listen if you like:
Darkspace, Rosetta, Alrakis
Facebook | Official site

Space metal can be one of the most exciting and rewarding genres; with a well-crafted atmosphere, it has the ability to take one far away from this realm, and into another, unexplored place, where our imagination can run amok. The new Darkspace (or really any Darkspace) record is a great testament to that, but while Sputnik’s been on the ball with said act, another, much smaller group has also released a harsh space-themed album worthy of attention. Improving vastly on their debut album Auriga Dying, Empire Auriga have put out a fascinating, slow-burning record of their own in Ascending The Solarthrone. That is, if you have the patience to empty your mind of everything and let Ascending The Solarthrone take you over. It will require more than a few listens to absorb it and connect with the atmosphere, but once you do, there’s so much to explore, even though the realm Empire Auriga introduce you to seems awfully desolate. While the record is better suited to be experienced as a whole, “The Solarthrone” off it is a solid example of what to excpect: songs full of  dark atmosphere that is simultaneously suffocating and titanic. A lot of static, a lot of fuzz, a lot of droning sounds, and a lot of room for the listener to fill in the gaps (is this world fatally dead, or ever so slowly moving towards a new beginning? ) – Empire Auriga’s sophomore effort is bound to be one of the finest space-related albums of 2014. — Magnus Altküla

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Statik Selektah – “The Imperial (feat. Action Bronson, Royce da 5’9 & Black Thought” (04:15)
What Goes Around

Listen if you like:
The Roots, “Hip Hop Moments”
Official site | Soundcloud

This is what “Control” should have been. While Kendrick Lamar’s now-legendary verse attracted swarms of hyperbole-laced acclaim for its audacious call to arms, the content of the verse as a whole left a bit to be desired – in all likelihood, the verse will be remembered for its final 16 bars while the first 40 fade into the lost annals of hip-hop lore, the product of King Kendrick getting hot briefly rather than consistently. Leave that to the godheads. “The Imperial,” Statik Selektah’s lead single that dropped just a couple days into Q3 lists three features, but we’re really only here for one. Although Statik’s lush strings and shimmering keys stand out during the song’s first two verses, it’s Black Thought’s presence, with his gruff delivery and tough bars, on the song’s colossal closer that truly commands the sprawling jazz. Armed with an almanac of culture, Thought mentions everything from Afrobeat legend Fela Kuti to the past and future of Atlanta hip-hop, reminiscing over late friend J Dilla along the way. He strikes the mafioso balance between being both FromDaHood (“roll with no entourage, but I roll with heat like I’m Dwyane Wade, Lebron, or Bosh”) and a paragon of class (“exotic fabrics on my blazer like the Maharaja”), calls Nas a hater, and recounts his history as an OG of hip-hop, and after all that, Thought proposes one hell of a mission statement during the final bars of the song, reminding heads everywhere that he should be a lock in [at least] the top 10. It’s a contender for verse of the decade, and the strongest hip-hop moment of an otherwise stale year. –Aziz

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Noisia – ‘Running Blind’ (05:34)
Purpose
Listen if you like: The Upbeats, Black Sun Empire, Phace
Official Website | Youtube Channel

I’ve said a lot of words about Noisia over the years, and recently, said a few bad ones as well. But it’s reassuring to see that after all the EDM-baiting and the video game soundtracking, that the Dutch trio still have it in them to belt out such a snub-nosed warehouse d&b roller. As such, I find myself running out of things to say about the group, so instead I’ll leave you with this quote from the movie Children of Men, as delivered by Julianne Moore’s character. It seems more than apt given the material.

Y’know that ringing in your ears? That ‘eeeeeeeeee’? That’s the sound of the ear cells dying, like their swan song. Once it’s gone you’ll never hear that frequency again. Enjoy it while it lasts”.Deviant

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Cymbals Eat Guitars – “XR” (02:35)
LOSE

Listen if you like: Ought, Cloud Nothings, The Wrens, Japandroids
Soundcloud

I don’t know what my favorite song is off Cymbal Eat Guitars’ excellent third album, LOSE, but there’s no question that “XR” is the record’s heart. In its short little run-time, a blast of drunken harmonica and shuffling, shit-kicking rock ‘n roll, Joseph D’Agostino rips out his soul and holds it up for a quick, beer-soaked dissection: where did all those feelings of my youth go, and how can I get them back? The loss of D’Agostino’s close childhood friend that haunts LOSE drives the narrative behind “XR,” but it’s the wistful memories of a wild, rough era made softer by the passage of time that transforms D’Agostino’s story into a deeply universal one. “XR” chronicles the degeneration of those burnished reminders into a hopeless attempt to recover something that is never, ever coming back, try as hard and as without regard to one’s personal health as D’Agostino nevertheless does. “Wanna wake up wanting to listen to records / but those old feelings elude me,” he screams as the song rambles off into a whiskey-swilling, nostril-burning coda that captures everything you will never forget and will never have again: “High is just a tingling behind my eyes.” —Rudy K.

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Blues Pills – “High Class Woman” (04:30)
Blues Pills

Listen if you like:
The Flying Eyes, Janis Joplin, Mount Salem
Official site | Facebook

The retro vibe might turn some off overall (and being signed to Nuclear Blast might be a bit curious, too), but when you have the impeccably versatile Elin Larsson as your vocalist behind a groovy, funky backdrop with very ’60s-like production, this is a fantastic debut. One of the album’s many strengths is its malleability: from the soulful, Motown-infused flair to the obvious psychedelic blues rock, and all the raucous and fuzzy guitars in-between, Blue Pills is worth a spin. You don’t even have to watch Austin Powers: International Man of Mystery to set the stage (although I might encourage it after watching Dr. No, just so you can appreciate parodies in film). Did I mention how stunning Larsson is as a vocalist? See her live and marvel at how she can replicate those studio vocals on stage. –Jom

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Biome – “Monastry” (05:46)
Layers – Part II
Listen if you like: Perverse, DJ Madd, J:Kenzo
Bandcamp | Soundcloud

I couldn’t tell you exactly what caused it, but for an artist who started out with one of the most fluctuating degrees of quality, Biome has come a long way in recent years. Another in a long line of up-and-coming dubstep producers who emerged in the wake of the genre’s big explosion, Biome (and friends) have carried the torch for cast-down echo chamber dubstep. But somewhere along the way, the producer found an identity all to himself, retrofitting his bass-heavy craftsmanship around a rigid techno skeleton, and in the process releasing some of his best material.

‘Monastry’ is a return to the slow-burn brand of meditative dubstep that made the producer such a house-hold name (if of course you happen to live in London), and while it certainly doesn’t reinvent the wheel, it’s a prime example of how much atmosphere and dread can be wringed out of echo and space. The tribal samples, the disembodied vocals – welcome to the dungeon. Just make sure to pop your headphones in for this one. —Deviant

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Tricky – “Gangster Chronicles (feat. Bella Gotti)” (03:00)
Adrian Thaws
Listen if you like: Massive Attack, Portishead, UNKLE
Official Site | Soundcloud

Last year’s False Idols was, at least to me, Tricky’s most solid effort since Maxinquaye. We all know Tricky’s career has fluctuated through the years both critically and commercially, and as a result, the shadow that Maxinquaye’s monumental status has casted over virtually every album that followed it has only grown larger and darker through the years. False Idols felt like a new beginning though. It had a relatively mellow sound that exhibited a brilliant blend of earthy and ethereal aesthetics, and along with Tricky’s slick production style, False Idols culminated into a surprisingly refreshing and immediately accessible album. Even a year a and a couple hundred listens later, it’s still as potent as ever. This year’s Adrian Thaws is a beast of a different nature though. If False Idols was about mellowing out, then Adrian Thaws is determined to raise the fucking roof. The minimalistic and relaxed style has been completely replaced with compellingly erratic and kaleidoscopic soundscapes that reflect the many different sounds that Tricky has made his own through the years (ranging from emphatic hip-hop beats to Prodigy-like dynamism and even one jazz-based number). The album also features a near ridiculous number of guest appearances, but honestly, Tricky has an impeccable ear for casting the right voices for his songs. Among his finest choices through the years I would probably says are: Martina Topley-Bird in “Black Steel” (I know this is blasphemous to say, but I think this version tops Public Enemy’s original), Rodigan Morgan in “Baligaga,” Fifi Rong in “If Only I Knew,” and now, Bella Gotti’s performance in “Gangster Chronicles” is added to that list. “Gangster Chronicles” is a riveting tour de force among Tricky’s hip-hop styled tracks. The beat’s got an energy and groove that keeps the speakers pulsating, and Bella Gotti’s spit-fire delivery and tempered narratives of the dog-eat-dog nature of street life rival Nicki Minaj’s verse on My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy’s “Monster” as one of the most amped-up vocal performances by a female rapper I’ve ever heard. “Gangster Chronicles” hooked me right from the get-go, but the second I heard Tricky sampling the heeey, hey, hey, hey’s from Massive Attack’s “Unfinished Sympathy” into the beat, “Gangster Chronicles” propelled itself from compelling to god-tier. – Hernan M. Campbell

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My Fictions – “Wake Anxious” (02:33)
Stranger Songs

Listen if you like:
The Saddest Landscape, State Faults, Frameworks
Topshelf Records’ Bandcamp | Purchase via Topshelf

After a couple EPs and splits (Aviator, The Saddest Landscape), it took several months for My Fictions to write and record Stranger Songs, and while much of the record is draped in melancholy, patient listeners will be rewarded by its precise instrumentation, chaotic vocals, and especially its dark, foreboding atmosphere. Stranger Songs slays without feeling repetitive or uninspired, sporting welcome slices of respite before the next onslaught.

(If there’s anything that can get Hep Kat to come back to the site, it’ll be me highlighting this album here [I legitimately didn’t know he had left; I’m a terrible person]. It’s either this or reviewing that Night Birds 7″ he told me to check out, so if this doesn’t work, I have one fallback plan in place.) –Jom

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Banks – “Beggin For Thread” (04:16)
Goddess
Listen if you like: SOHN, MØ, Lykke Li
Official Website | Youtube

Yeah, I know. I already wrote a review for this, so what more could I possibly have to say here? Well, the truth of it is I’m still utterly in love with this woman album. As confident and assured as it comes across, there’s that fragile naivety that simply hooks you in. That alluring sexuality that tightens around your throat, and yet without it, you’re drowning. So here we are – it’s dark, the lights are dimmed, and the wine looks like blood in the midnight hour. One more time, with feeling. —Deviant

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Shabazz Palaces“Motion Sickness” (03:50)
Lese Majesty
Listen if you like: Antipop Consortium, Outkast, cLOUDDEAD
Official Site | Soundcloud

To me, Lese Majesty plays like hip-hop’s own version of Smile. Where 2011’s Black Up produced a totally immersing collection of off-kilter, surreal-hop tracks that could stand on their own like individual widescreen epics, the tracks in Lese Majesty coalesce together to form a disorienting sequence of vignettes that in the end culminate into something far more enrapturing than what’s found in Black Up. In other words, Black Up was a collection of songs, Lese Majesty is an experience. Since so much of Lese Majesty depends on the listener’s commitment to wander through all the twists and turns of its maze of mind-fuckery, Lese Majesty is hardly an accessible or even pleasurable listen for anyone other than devoted fans. But honestly, it’s Shabazz Palaces’ emphasis on ambiance over traditional songwriting that makes Lese Majesty not only one of the most intriguing hip-hop albums of the year, but also a strong candidate for album of the year (I know that’s a big thing to say, but damn if I don’t believe it). Initially I claimed that Lese Majesty is all about the collaged effect rather than its individual tracks, and I still stand by that, but there are definitive standouts to be encountered nonetheless (even Smile had “Surf’s Up” and “Good Vibrations”). “Motion Sickness” gives a decent enough glimpse of what one can expect to hear in Lese Majesty, although do keep in mind that the duo’s stranger instincts aren’t nearly as evident here. “Motion Sickness” really reminds me of “Sparkles” from the Of Light EP because it too seems to have its feet firmly placed in both the laid-back and subtly groovy territory of hip-hop and neo-psychedelic ethereality. The low-key and dreamy production provides a fitting stage for Ishmael’s deeply pensive and romanticized narrative of crime-inclined hustlers looking to satisfy their secular urges while keeping their head afloat in a concrete jungle. It’s a vivid and compelling story that Ishmael recites, and one that also leaves some crucial advice for the listener before it ends — “Life’s a bitch, treat her good or she’ll get you back.” –Hernan M. Campbell

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Kimbra“Madhouse” (04:05)
The Golden Echo
Listen if you like: Michael Jackson, Janelle Monae, St. Vincent
Official Site | Facebook

Kimbra Johnson is clearly on a roll, and there are absolutely no subpar cuts on her phenomenal second full-length, The Golden Echo. “Madhouse” causes a stir because it’s an incredibly sharp spin on a space funk formula. Due to its skipping rhythm, the song immediately reminds you of Michael Jackson’s “Thriller.” Yet, as is the case with all music on the album, Kimbra’s uncanny knack for experimentation shines through. The result is the track that sounds both grounded and dynamic, channelling concerns connected with stardom in an unpretentious manner. “In the chaos and disorder I’m a mess then I’m a messiah,” the artist proclaims in the song’s powerhouse refrain. The artwork by Nicola Verlato, which envisions Kimbra as a muscular warrior, perfectly captures the kinetic energy of the track. After all, it takes plenty of strength and stamina to survive in the music business. —Greg Fisher



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The Bilinda Butchers – “Edo Method” (03:55)
Heaven

Listen if you like:
A Sunny Day In Glasgow, Whirr, Slowdive

The Bilinda Butchers masterfully combine your standard shoegaze revivalist tones with big J-pop melodies. It’s a refreshingly new take on Loveless worship. The muddled vocals and fuzzed out guitars track back and forth between the room filling histrionics of the early 1990’s and the intro music to an anime. On first listen it can seem a little cheesy, but further exploration unfolds a rich tapestry of noise that’s as fun as it is memorable. “Edo Method” is The Bilinda Butchers firing on all cylinders; the hooks are more pronounced and the music is even bigger than all the songs that come before it. It’s a glorious cross section of Asian flair and British tradition that perfectly encapsulates the bustle of making the most out of the last rays of summer and the fading light of autumn. Adam Thomas

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Dog Fashion Disco“End Of The Road” (07:28)
Sweet Nothings
Listen if you like: Frank Zappa, Mr. Bungle, Twelve Foot Ninja
Official Site | Facebook

It’s difficult to select your favourite tune from an album as stylistically diverse as the new Dog Fashion Disco offering. It really depends on your mood. While the scintillating funk of “Doctor’s Orders” would be my summery pick, the closer “End Of The Road” splendidly evokes the atmosphere of gloomy autumn. The sextet are in their usual genre-hopping mode, boasting adventurous songwriting that harks back to Frank Zappa and Mr. Bungle. The song advances from contemplative bluesy balladry to doom metal agony. The guitars pummel mercilessly, the distorted bass thunders, the keys squeak in a demented fashion, and Todd Smith screams out ominously “Pale death’s creeping in.” This is Dog Fashion Disco firing on all cylinders and in the process reaching their full potential. —Greg Fisher

Thank You Scientist – “Blood on the Radio” (09:21)
Maps of Nonexistent Places

Listen if you like:
Coheed and Cambria, Circa Survive, Streetlight Manifesto (the horns, man!)
Official siteiTunes

I had the distinct pleasure of seeing and meeting Thank You Scientist live on September 24th and I’ve got to say… these guys are the real deal. It’s impressive that every musical element in this sextet from guitar wizardry to horn-driven melodies is prominent, proficient, and purposeful… and a track like “Blood on the Radio” has everything from rock to swing, jazz, lounge, and more, with all of its most critical elements on display in new and exciting ways. With a Latin tempo fueled by a Circa Survive-esque chorus backed by Salvatore Marrano’s matching vocals (and shocking pink mohawk!), it’s hard to deny the influences, but “Blood on the Radio” and Maps of Nonexistant Places still come across as incredibly fresh by blending catchy hooks and new fusion concepts with a tasteful display of technicality.

Sure, maybe I’m letting this track in on a technicality (the album was originally released in 2012 via bandcamp, but has been re-released via Claudio Sanchez’s new record label), but did any of you really pay attention to it when Calc reviewed it way back then? No? Well, shame on you. And shame on me. This is something that should’ve been making waves long before now. This is the future of the modern progressive rock sound and I, for one, welcome our pink mohawked overlords. –Tom Gerhart


============= Our 2014 Mixtapes =============

Q1 (January – March)

Q2 (April – June)

Q3 (July – September)

Q4 (October – December)





Jom
09.30.14
Many thanks to everybody who contributed this time out, as always!

theacademy
09.30.14
OAK over KC, ANA over OAK, BAL over DET, ANA over BAL

PIT over SF, WAS over PIT, LAD over STL, LAD over WAS (in 7)

LAD over ANA


theacademy
09.30.14
also i gotta get into this scientist and dog disco stuff damn

http://wolfpupy.com/comic/30.html

Jom
09.30.14
I know LAA/WAS is the sexy World Series pick, but I'll definitely be annoyed if it's Halos/Dodgers. I did pretty well on DraftKings this year in MLB, but the NFL has been a different beast altogether. In the office pool I'm 0-4 (thanks, scrotum-splitter AP), and I've lost more than I've won on DK.

Voivod
09.30.14
Great work everybody, there's so much material to digest!

theacademy
09.30.14
im thinking JDR for the Raiders job... u?

PappyMason
09.30.14
Whoa, this looks great! I'll go through them when I get a bit of free time.

Metalstyles
09.30.14
That's right, I put Lenny Kravitz here, I feel no shame!

Jom
09.30.14
>> im thinking JDR for the Raiders job... u?

I don't think he wants to leave Denver if they're close to a Super Bowl. Knowing the Raiders, they'll give it to Sparano on an interim basis, try to make a run at Gruden, Gruden will tease a return, and then decide to stay at ESPN. The Raiders will then not sniff .500 until approximately 2019.

Irving
09.30.14
"That's right, I put Lenny Kravitz here, I feel no shame!"

YOU SHOW EM MAGNUS

insomniac15
09.30.14
I knew Greg would add some Kimbra. Should've included Miracle if you took Madhouse!

Judio!
09.30.14
Omg fucking sweet to see Oado on here! I'm actually working on a review for Life Era right now.

Rhyme
09.30.14
looks like there's a lot of interesting stuff here

literature, cymbals eat guitars, my fictions, and the bilinda butchers sound especially intriguing

Pangea
09.30.14
I've only heard Looking Too Closly and I kinda like it. Will check the rest

greg84
09.30.14
I've added a spotify playlist. Not all the tracks are available though.

Yes. Miracle is awesome too... like every track on that album.

SgtPepper
10.01.14
Literature is amazing, wish i heard of it before this and the SBTRKT... track is really fun.

ExplosiveOranges
10.01.14
Great job on this, guys. I know what's gonna be dominating my lastfm plays for the next two weeks.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
10.01.14
^I should think it would be the new Electric Wizard album, no?

SgtPepper
10.01.14
i hate myself for just having now downloaded that. everyone's been saying it's amazing.

JohnnyOnTheSpot
10.01.14
might wanna save room for the new Godflesh... it's sounding pretty sweet

indigonowhere
10.01.14
:3 good feeling to have contributed to this one. Glad u like New Dorp Hernan

ExplosiveOranges
10.01.14
@Johnny Oh yeah, that too. Will check Godflesh as well. And don't feel bad, Hernan.

Deviant.
10.01.14
Looks great. High 5's and ass slaps all around to everyone involved, especially Jom for whacking this all together

TMobotron
10.01.14
Sweet write-up, some awesome stuff on here.

Phlegm
10.01.14
wicked! glad to see magnetophonique make the cu :~) intrigued by the Objekt/Doppel song and the LV track, cheers boys

Let
10.01.14
Literature sounds sweet. I'll have to give their LP a spin. That Objekt/Dopplereffekt split so good. And as much as I like Doppler's track, Objekt's blows me away every time I hear it. SOTY for me.

Mad.
10.01.14
Awesome t00ns here. I don't agree that the riff in Amplifier's Black Rainbow is good tho, while the song is pretty cool the riff is terribly simple/generic

insomniac15
10.01.14
It's an awesome riff man. I want that riff!

That's it! No more Amplifier for you!

Mad.
10.01.14
Lol, but it's just the same 3 power chords played forward then backward!?!?!?

insomniac15
10.01.14
Yes, but sometimes the simple stuff works better and that's the case. I love that song!



klap
10.01.14
props to everyone involved, beeyootiful

SharkTooth
10.01.14
Lenny Kravitz made a new album? I didn't even know he was still active!

GO MAGNUS!

Jom
10.03.14
I was really excited about this one, but it looks like people ran out of steam. Everyone's probably saving their pre-emptive list is shit lol butts for the year-end features.

indigonowhere
10.03.14
It's ok Jom you and I can keep the dream alive

iswimfast
10.03.14
nice cymbals yes

Metalstyles
10.04.14
"I was really excited about this one, but it looks like people ran out of steam. Everyone's probably saving their pre-emptive list is shit lol butts for the year-end features"

In a way (or more appropriately, during lone night hours when I don't have anything more productive to do anyway), I'm looking forward to last year's repeat of sitting down into my corner on a late December night, with only candlelight serenading me, opening Word and writing a few hundred words about a record that clicked with me (and a few others so it made the list) whilst gazing at the blizzard raging outside.

klap
10.04.14
jom i actually think this is the longest mixtape we've had no?

Jom
10.04.14
Yep! 33 submissions this time out, which'll be great practice for the year-end festivities.

Irving
10.05.14
"Everyone's probably saving their pre-emptive list is shit lol butts for the year-end features"

XD

ShitsofRain
10.05.14
dev all over the place

Pangea
10.20.14
Langit is such a pretty song

Irving
10.23.14
^ Word!

anarchistfish
10.24.14
wow I thought only I knew Bilinda Butchers

favourite shoegaze song: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6uEtSG-xt_s

klap
10.24.14
smh fish smh

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