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KILL or KEEP Vol.13

Sufjan Stevens – Illinois

‘Sufjan Stevens is the Picasso of indie folk. He takes the soothing NPR/car commercial sounds we know and love for their warmth and familiarity and says “Nope” and farts in our faces.’ – V. Dreth

Sufjan Stevens is indeed the most ubiquitous, evasive, phlegmatic chameleon of our times (the indie ones), and represents many a thing to many a chum. To Pangea, he represents comfort and joy. To Pheromone, he represents balance and gay. To johnnyoftheWell and MarsKid, he represents being sick to death of the press circuit around which his latest effort Javelin is still running many a lap in this limpest of years. Now, KILL or KEEP has always been about pluralism (usually in the form of severe fucking death), and as a result we are going in! Into Illinois! Everyone has something to say about this one: the songs are endless, the possibilities are infinitesimal and the classic status is, yes sure okay you get it. What will our takeaways be? Will we sync or swim (in the Maynardian sense) as a team? Only Sufjan has the answers…

Illinois - Album by Sufjan Stevens | Spotify


The team is johnnyoftheWell and MarsKid and Pangea and Pheromone.

Every song must either be KILLed or KEEPed.

There is no minimum KILL threshold. 

Every time a song is KILLed, the KILLer must name a location that Sufjan Stevens should have

KILL or KEEP Vol.12

Phoebe Bridgers – Punisher

someone walks into a bar. It’s someone. I am johnnyoftheWell. It was a slow afternoon, and there we were. KILL or KEEP? Aye, why not – which record? Several meaningful opuses were teased, all of them beyond the space of our timeslot. Where does gravity default to on a slow afternoon? Well… has anyone ever listened to Phoebe Bridgers on a fast afternoon? Is such a thing even possible? Please do contact us immediately if you have pulled this off. We signed our rights away. It was time: time to get punished! Has her downer norm-magnet SowingSeason “5.0 Classic” passport to all of social media all the bloody time throughout the whole pandemic aged well? Time to find out…

Punisher (album) - Wikipedia


The team is johnnyoftheWell, and someone.

Every song must either be KILLed or KEEPed.

There is no minimum KILL threshold. 

Every time a song is KILLed, the KILLer must name a vaguely Boygenius-adjacent artist whomst’ve the youthes should be consuming instead.


Starting Impressions

jotW: Um, I expect little from this album and am ready for anything? It has disappointed me many times and probably aged more than anyone including me is/was prepared to admit. This is very exciting boy I can’t wait to see what someone does to it.

someone: I remember listening to the record a bunch back in the

KILL or KEEP Vol.11

Weezer – Pinkerton

I had benefitted greatly from her care and yet I had always kept my heart hard to her, believing that if Weezer did make it, I would want to be free for the many superior options I imagined would be available to me. 

– Rivers Cuomo on his on-off relationship with Jennifer Chiba (later Elliott Smith’s girlfriend)

No further preamble on this one (here it is): KILL or KEEP is back in full swing, and to celebrate our return with maximum hubris, we decided to sidestep our usual brief for bloated opuses in need of a butcher’s trim. Instead, we tumble headlong into one of the worst records ever made. 

At a poxy 35 minutes, Weezer’s cursed flagship record Pinkerton might as well be a doe in the headlights here – can KILL or KEEP do justice to such a fragile ego death album with such, uh, vast horsepower behind it and Pheromone’s egregiously powerful foot at the wheel? What kind of justice can we do for a man like Rivers Cuomo, whose entire existence is itself above justice, logic and humanity? Let’s see…

Pinkerton (album) - Wikipedia


The team is jesperL, johnnyoftheWell, and Pheromone.

Every song must either be KILLed or KEEPed.

There is no minimum KILL threshold. There was no need for a maximum KEEP threshold.


Starting Impressions

Phero: This is a sexy album. It is an album about sex. It

KILL or KEEP Vol.10

Kanye West – My Fantasy!

At the start of KILL or KEEP Vol.9 (Taylor Swift – Red), we promised we were getting back together.

But then, at the end of that KILL or KEEP, we broke up again.

It took some time, but an elite KILL or KEEP hitsquad eventually assembled for a champion assignment album party. It was time to do the inevitable: to look back in time, to a time before 100 gecs, before Whorecore-gate, before nu-gaze,, before retroism decided Linkin Park were good actually, and to start directly into the face of the modern music landscaping capitalism egotism vortexes. That’s right. We were to examine a record that changed the shape of commercial hip-hop and wiped its arse across the whole consenting pop landscape including, as of now the good pages of KILL or KEEP. It was a proper comeback and we took the elevator up to the top. Can we get much higher? Is he too high? Too big for his boots? If so, just you watch as we KILL him down to size.

Without further ado, I give you: Kanye West…what do you even say about the man?

Kanye West's 'My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy' Turns 5! | 2DOPEBOYZ


The team is johnnyoftheWellnormaloctagonPheromone and Windowpain.

Every song must either be KILLed or KEEPed.

We played with a special rule: Every song KILLed must be accompanied by a cancellable take that Kanye himself has not yet said. 

We forgot to enforce a minimum KILL threshold,

KILL or KEEP Vol.9

Taylor Swift – Red

Time has passed. How much – too much! The gang at KILL and KEEP are getting back together, and where better to turn our attention than on Taylor Swift’s never-forgotten recently-reclaimed coming-of-age epic post-teen mess of an album Red

This was the time! Most of us were dumb teenagers when Red was red-hot off the press and had complicated relationships with everything and anything including this album. How awesome! Now that post-Red history has continued and happened, we have the privilege of parsing it for Taylors past, present and future – for there was a whole lotta Taylor in that melting pot! She was fresh from stabbing the entire republic of Nashville in the front and exporting her domination of teenage bedroomspace to teenage dancefloordom: no more tiptoeing towards pop stardom, this was where Taylor Swift began to stomp (but on whomst’ve?).

Also, Sputnik was down for whatever reason while we were doing this lol. Let’s go!

Taylor Swift 'Red' - Country Classics Review | Holler


The team is DavidYowi, johnnyoftheWell, Sinternet and Steak

Every song must either be KILLed or KEEPed.

The version of the album used is the original because we were invested in the time capsule, and because it is shorter and one of our number was midway through a 24-hour exam window, and Taylor Swift is rich enough as it is.

Two proposals were made

KILL or KEEP Vol.7

Big Thief – Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You

Big Thief are a nu-hipster indie band from Brooklyn. They make mostly folk musics that many people enjoy but no-one really gets. If you get it, you’re out: house rules. As part of the Big Thief tradition of doing oblique things with tangential glimmers of Meaning that deepen more mystique than they open windows, the band have released a twenty-track single album entitled Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You. Everyone including you is already talking about it. Everyone has wildly different song rankings and all of them are fucking wrong.

We at KILL or KEEP HQ wondered whether there was something #deeper to explore, and so we assembled with a big question mark. We are ianbJesperL, johnnyoftheWell, Pheromone and Sinternet. We hope you have fun. 

Dragon New Warm Mountain I Believe In You - Album by Big Thief | Spotify


Every song must either be KILLed or KEEPed.

If a contestant fails to KILL at least four songs, they will themselves be KILLed!

Special rule: Who Is The Big Thief?

If a contestant KILLs a song, they must accuse a celebrity of being the big thief.

If they KEEP a song, they are the big thief. They must reveal what they stole, and from whom.

First Impressions

Ian: so is this an album i can commit mass larceny to or no? because i set fire to 17 orphanages in the rural American south in preparation for

KILL or KEEP Vol.6

Tavito Nanao – Heavenly Punk Adagio

Hello and welcome back to KILL or KEEP. It has been a while since we partied – sorry! What you’re about to read put a solid four-month roadblock in our way, for reasons that will make sense shortly. It was what the squares and the stooges call a really stupid idea; we at KILL or KEEP HQ do not typically pay this kind of bogwash any mind, but this time around we were victims of our own bravery. Such has always been our fate. Dare you share it? We believe that the following conversation(s) have significant artistic and that you should read them. Please also enjoy them.

The story of our long story is a short one: on a snivellous November day, JesperL (TMZ: late night) and johnnyoftheWell (TMZ: earlyish morning) were laughing about an obscure Japanese indietronica megalodon uncovered on RYM. The album was none other than Heavenly Punk Adagio by Tavito Nanao, a man who begets no introduction because we still know shit all about him.

The genre tags read Indietronica, Singer/Songwriter, Art Pop, Dream Pop, Psychedelic Pop, IDM, Neo-Psychedelia.

The runtime is 153 minutes over 35 tracks.

It isn’t in the Sputnik database and likely never will be.

BaselineOOO has listened to it more than once on Last.fm.

We said “Okay???”

None of us knew shit about this album, but suddenly neekafat was online and has time to kill before an appointment at his local…

KILL or KEEP Vol.5

Nightwish– Once

Welcome to the KILL or KEEP milestone instalment, Vol.5. What a moment this is. We have gone from powers of 2 to powers of 5. We have transcended the snottiness of bashing mediocre bands like the Smashing Pumpkins and Nine Inch Nails and reached such heights that we can make up whatever bollocks we so please and potentially tackle a legitimately “good” artist one day. What a giddy moment.

There was (probably) going to be a celebration of this belletristic triumph, but before it got organised, Sputnik MVP Staffer Dewinged (legeeend) spontaneously declared that he was going to listen to a Nightwish album with one hour’s notice, and a different kind of gravity asserted itself.

The album in question turned out to be Once, the 2004 opus among opuses viewed by many as the group’s symphonic peak – this being the most significant Nightwish album that JohnnyoftheWell (lol loser) had not heard, a glitzy pact was formed on the spot. Dewi got to take the next steps on his Epic journey with added style; Johnny got to go back in time and cover his tracks. What’s not to love?

Unfortunately, these motivations were both ultimately selfish, hardly reflective of KILL or KEEP‘s deeper imperative for critical justice and practical public advice. To remedy this and save the whole affair from corrupt SputStaff-exclusive sticky-pokey, we invited the unmodified unmastered vox pop microdeity LeddSledd into the fray (baaased). With not partisan attachments past, present or (likely) future, he…

KILL or KEEP Vol.4

Deftones – White Pony

Welcome back once again to KILL or KEEP, where we take a classic album that everyone knows but not everyone loves, and run it through a set of users with conflicting takes. They will consume the album for public entertainment and post their slander for all to see.

This time is a little different because our most ambitious plans got postponed for boring reasons andwe didn’t want to leave things hanging for too long. The solution? Do what the rest of the Sputnikmusic userbase does when it runs out of ideas and needs a ten-a-penny Masterpiece to chew over:

We are listening to Deftones. Specifically White Pony, but if there’s one thing we can tell you about White Pony right off the bat, it’s that it certainly is a Deftones record.

Deftones are a band that needs no introduction. What a relief. Today’s KILL or KEEP is brought to you by Pheromone and JohnnyoftheWell, but we felt a little self-conscious about trawling through one of the most lowest-common-denominator Sputnik classics as two of the most washed up Sputnik personalities, so we decided to add some spice by fishing out a new friend from our Discord web of horror. Please welcome Windowpain11 to Sputnikmusic!


Each participant must KILL and KEEP a minimum of three songs. Because White Pony is a pretty tiny album by KILL or KEEP standards,

KILL or KEEP Vol.3

Carly Rae Jepsen – Emotion

Welcome back once again to KILL or KEEP, where we take a classic album that everyone knows but not everyone loves, and run it through a set of users with conflicting takes. They will jam the album for public entertainment and post their hot takes for all to see.

Except this time it is different.

It is time for change. It is time for an album that, perhaps, everyone does love. The last two installments in the series were directed at bloated capital–penis-shaped–M Masterpieces by men with huge egos and poor evaluations of the limitations of their talents.

This must be the opposite.

 We will examine a female songwriter whose attention is entirely occupied with relatable subject matter, whose songwriting models is excessive in its leanness, whose sound has been diluted to the perfect vanilla average by wave upon wave of unseen collaborators. We turn now to true greatness. It is time for Carly Rey Jepsen.

Carly Rae Jepsen


Some would say that it is always time for Carly Rae Jepsen; we respectfully counter that now is the time for specifically KILLing and KEEPing her lauded sugaropus Emotion, by which we mean both Side A and Side B. That’s 20 tracks: primo K/K territory (but no bonus tracks because we don’t have that time)!

We have read…

KILL or KEEP Vol.2

Nine Inch Nails – The Fragile

Welcome back to this series, where we take a classic album that everyone knows but not everyone loves, and run it through a set of users with conflicting takes. They will jam the album for public entertainment and post their hot takes for all to see.

The rules are simple: for each track, our valiant competitors must give one of two verdicts: KILL or KEEP. To give things a trademark Sputnikmusic positive spin, each user must KEEP at least two tracks. To keep things alive, they must KILL at least one.

Our competitors today are: MiloRuggles, Pheromone, DivergentThinking, johnnyoftheWell and Nocte.

That’s a lot of bois for one album, but if you’re worried that things were getting cramped, we chose thise one for legroom: our target is Nine Inch Nails’ very famous double-album statement landmark The Fragile. It came out in 1999, which is a long time ago (this year is 2021). Since then, mastermind Trent Reznor has been ripped off by a load of godawful bands and turned his primary career instincts towards OSTs for people with leather sofas. Fascinating stuff! Just what will this megascoop uncover? Let’s delve!


Starting Impressions

Each user, please briefly explain your feelings on the album going in, and what you hope to achieve here? Do you want

KILL or KEEP Vol.1

Smashing Pumpkins – Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness

Welcome to this series, where we take a classic album that everyone knows but not everyone loves, and run it through a set of users with conflicting takes. They will jam the album for public entertainment and post their hot takes for all to say.

The rules are simple: for each track, our valiant competitors must give one of two verdicts: KILL or KEEP. To give things a trademark Sputnikmusic positive spin, each user must KEEP at least two tracks. To keep things alive, they must KILL at least one.

Our competitors today are: Pheromone, DivergentThinking and johnnyoftheWell. The album is none other than Smashing Pumpkins megaopus ‘90s-affirming double-album Mellon Collie and the Infinite Sadness. How well does this album hold up? Is it a timeless classic or an overworked sack of hot air? Let’s find out!

Starting Impressions

Each user, please briefly explain your feelings on the album going in, and what you hope to achieve here? Do you want to KILL/KEEP as much as possible? Or is this just about trimming some fat?

Pheromone: Hello fan, I anticipate a more negative vibe than my rating. It’s been years since I’ve craved any Smashing Pumpkins not named “Mayonaise”. I expect to still super love some of the songs but I’d be surprised if out…

Full Disclosure:

Everybody will have different experiences based on their preferences, their familiarity with one product or another, as well as what hardware they’re using. In the interest of transparency, this is my brief history and a list of test devices. I’ve been a member of Spotify Premium since July of 2011 and I’ve never really had any issues with it or a desire to try to find anything better. On the other hand, I do like Apple products so I had to give Apple Music a shot. The ‘test devices’ that were used for my comparison of Spotify and Apple Music are the following: iMac, Macbook Pro, iPhone 6+, iPhone 4S, iPad 3rd Generation and iPod Touch 5th Generation. There will be a lot of comparisons to Spotify since that service is obviously Apple’s biggest competitor.

The Good:

The actual presentation of both the desktop and mobile versions of Apple Music are beautiful.  On the desktop, the streaming albums integrate flawlessly with any purchased/ripped music that is already on your iTunes. The only way to tell the difference is the little cloud icon with an arrow through it that lets you know that you can download the track for offline use. The integration doesn’t stop there, though. When you select an individual artist there are a few new features that pop up. The most noteworthy is the addition of three tabs at the top of the band page. The first is ‘My Music’ which is exactly what you would…

My, how time flies… Can you believe that 2015 is almost half complete? To mark the occasion, I thought I’d use a couple of ‘Sputnik Discusses’ blogs to reflect on some of the releases that have graced our ears over the past six months. But instead of immediately jumping into a ‘Best Of’ discussion, I thought it would be interesting to share with your SputnikMusic brethren some of your more exclusive finds of 2015. Personally, I find it kind of exciting when I come across musicians who don’t have an artist page on this website. And the last thing you want to do when you come across such musicians is keep them to yoursef. Write a review here and let the world know. Or if you can’t be stuffed writing 700 or so words, then this is where this very discussion comes in handy… Typing the artist and album title below will do just fine.

To throw out some examples, I’m going to list three 2015 releases which, prior to yours truly rating them, had all of one solitary rating between them (Damn you Thuckabe, you ruined it). Now, unsurprisingly (because [a] it’s me, and [b] they’re overlooked), there are some poppier leanings here… But I think you’ll find enough genre variety enclosed within to satisfy your needs.

First up is one Nathan Feuerstein, who goes by the moniker of NF. This 24 year old may remind you of someone… He is a…

With June shaping up as an excellent month for new album releases, I’m in between jotting together a few potential reviews at the moment. As these albums require more detailed listening and examination for the sake of an informative dissection, I’m often lacking the time to hear many other 2015 releases at the same time. What I often do in this case is stockpile a handful of EPs, for the obvious reasons that they take less time to listen to. By pure coincidence, I came across 3 consecutive EPs last week that were all acoustic based. For the record, I enjoyed all three, which were recorded by Pvris, Brigades and State Champs.

I recall looking at the track-listing for the State Champs EP (titled ‘The Acoustic Things’) and being disappointed that only one of my highlights from their album ‘The Finer Things’ was included. Yet, upon listening to the 7 included tracks, I found that the tune ‘Simple Existence’ stood out. I wondered why I had not included that as an LP highlight, so I went back and listened to the electric version. The answer was simple? The acoustic version was better!

Without harping on the pop-punk goes acoustic factor, it reminded me of a couple of years back when I was listening to the discography of (arguably middling) Massachusetts quintet A Loss For Words. Sure, they have a knack for a catchy hook, but so does 90% of pop-punk bands. The…

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