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Official New Artillery Submission Guidelines

Michael T. Fournier's Hidden Wheel

In response to a growing amount of review requests, it’s time to lay some groundwork for submissions. Just imagine this post is a well-attended press conference.

What will you cover? I will write about albums, singles, and concerts. I would prefer not to write about demos.

How will it be covered? Albums will either get a full review or be bundled in a bi-weekly edition of my new series Tracking Sounds Alone. Singles will also be covered in Tracking Sounds Alone. Concerts will get full reviews, unless I only catch one band on the bill, in which case they’ll be in Tracking Sounds Alone.

Wait, what’s Tracking Sounds Alone? A Castor fan site? Tracking Sounds Alone is a new bi-weekly series picking up where Quick Takes left off. My tendency for super-high word counts runs counter to consistent posting, so this route should allow me to cover more music, more regularly. It will cover both submitted music and things I ran across on my own that don’t necessitate a graduate thesis to explain.

What music do you like? Check out the site’s about page for a woefully short list of albums I wholeheartedly endorse. Consult my various year-end lists for recent favorites. Scan the site index for a broader scope.

I would like to submit music for review. What should I do? Send an e-mail to sebastian@thisdomainname.com and include the following: 1. An easy-to-download link to whatever you want me to review; 2. A clear description of who you are, where you’re from, what it is, when it came out, and who released it.

What about a physical copy? If you want to send me vinyl, I won’t argue with you. (Compact discs, however, will just end up in my basement.) Send an e-mail and I’ll give you my mailing address. But I fully understand that digital promos make far more fiscal sense.

I would like to invite you to a concert. What should I do? If you would like me to attend / review a Boston-area concert, let me know when it is, who else is playing, and whether you’ll put me on the guest list. (It’s a tedious but essential point of clarification.) I can’t guarantee I’ll be able to attend—fatherly duties and weekly rec hockey games take precedence—but if I like what I’ve heard from your recorded material, I will try to attend.

Anything else? I’ll avoid grandstanding about the value of constructive criticism over enthusiastic cheerleading, thanks.

Covering Silkworm for One Week // One Band


I’m excited to report that I’ll be over at One Week // One Band until Friday writing about the songs of Silkworm. By all means head over there! In between my posts, check out their archives, to which many writers I respect and enjoy have contributed. Many thanks to Hendrik for this opportunity.

If you’re coming from One Band // One Week and wondering “Who’s this guy writing about Silkworm? Is he ever going to stop? Does he write about any other bands?” here’s a quick sampling of the better work I’ve done in recent years.

The Ten: J. Robbins: A run-through of ten of my favorite compositions he’s written as the frontman of Jawbox, Burning Airlines, Channels, and now Office of Future Plans.

The Ten: Girls Against Boys: A sampler platter for their double-bass assault.

Discographied: Sonic Youth: Catching up with the storied noise-rockers’ canon proves insightful and exhausting. Part one. Part two. Part three. Part four.

Discographied: Mogwai: One of the most prominent post-rock bands (who insist they’re not a post-rock band) offers fifteen years of notable releases and occasionally essential extras to track down.

Covering the Smiths: I convince my best friend, a Smiths fanatic, to endure eighteen covers of “Please, Please, Please, Let Me Get What I Want” from artists like Muse, Hootie & the Blowfish, Third Eye Blind. Yes, we’re still on speaking terms.

If you’re somehow still craving more, I recommend clicking through my year-end lists in the masthead and checking out the nowhere-near-comprehensive New Artillery Index. Thanks for reading!

Behold the New Artillery Index

You may notice a new link in the top left corner of this page: the New Artillery band and album index. While I cringe thinking that it is still in progress, this page is the result of hours of very tedious indexing. You can now link directly to any of the albums, shows, or books I’ve written about since 1/1/2009. Over 200 of them.

Older entries will soon be added to the index, but many of those require a certain level of stylistic and functional polish that will take longer. I’m also planning on redesigning the site sometime this fall. Lucky me.

New Artillery Twitter (with bonus new Polvo song)

Against the wishes of my team of advisers, I’ve decided to start a record-reviewing Twitter account. Given that this site has become ridiculously verbose—my Record Store Day post for The Haul is nearly 3000 words and I still need to finish discussing a few records before posting it—limiting myself to 140 characters (including artist name, album name, and release year) should be a nice change of pace. Its updates soon be crammed into the sidebar, but feel free to follow me and talk trash about the twenty words I use per album.

As penance for joining Twitter at this stage of its life cycle, here is the first shots from Polvo’s upcoming In Prism album, set for release in September on Merge. “Beggar’s Banquet” juxtaposes a dreamy guitar loop with some unusually upfront, fierce riffage, suggesting that Ash Bowie and Dave Brylawski have been taking the cream and the clear since 1997’s Shapes. Those riffs might be a holdover from Brylawski’s Black Taj albums, but the song’s polish is strangely unfamiliar to the creaky, mid-fi confines of Today’s Active Lifestyles. Bowie must’ve been saving up this ballsy vocal performance for years. Its ultimate build-up doesn't sound like Polvo, but I'd listen to whatever band it does sound like. (Edit: the other site switched over to "Beggar's Banquet.") The jury’s still out on this song, but I’m still looking forward reviewing In Prism on Twitter.

Summer Plans

You may have noticed that I’ve been busy lately catching up on some months-old record shopping tales in The Haul. I’m still behind in that department, having gone to town on Record Store Day, but I’d like to map out a terrifying agenda for the next few months.

The Haul: No record shopping until I’ve caught up. (My wife rejoices.) Maybe a trip to the dollar bin if I’m going through withdrawal. This process slowed down after realizing that it’s a lot easier to write about these albums after listening to them, which, amazingly enough, takes time. Unfortunately, I realized that after missing a few big entries, meaning that I have a handful of completed posts waiting for chronological order.

Record Collection Reconciliation: I’ve selected 45 LPs and ten bonus seven-inch singles to tackle this summer. Expect new entries soon.

Compulsive List Making: I have about 30 unfinished top ten lists (J. Robbins songs, songs that sound like J Robbins songs, Rodan family tree songs, etc.) and I may very well finish a few of them.

Reading List: I’m formulating my summer reading list at the moment and hope to tackle at least ten novels this summer, several of the “it’s completely embarrassing that you’ve never read this book before” variety.

Feel free to encourage one meme over another.

Help Is on the Way

From the three weeks of a temporary TextPattern design, you’ve probably guessed that my host transfer wasn’t entirely successful. Short version: be very, very thorough extracting your database before changing hosts. The new site design is now up—hopefully it’s an improvement—but much of the work has yet to be done. Over the next week or two I’ll be tweaking the new design, adding functionality (RSS feed), fixing the site’s infrastructure by setting clear sections and categories, adding images (album covers, book covers, etc.) to existing posts, and streamlining the site’s navigation. Once I resume posting, I’ll introduce a number of new memes that I’ve been working on. I’m excited about moving forward with what will essentially be New Artillery 2.0.

Please excuse any hiccups you may encounter during this process. I’d put up an animated gif of a construction worker, but it would go against my overall goal of modernizing this site.


In case you were wondering, the new header graphic features, from left to right, the hands of my friends Rick and Jackie, leaves from Sixth Street in Champaign (across from the parking garage on Daniel), the ghostly visage of Matt Mitchell of Rectangle, a view of a Hawaii sunset, bricks from one of the engineering buildings at the University of Illinois, the headstock of Shiner singist/guitarist Allen Epley's yellow Telecaster, the drumkit of Trans Am's Sebastian Thomson, some Urbana shrubbery, the blonde mane of Milemarker's Roby Newton, the fretboard of Allen Epley's yellow Tele, and finally, Allen Epley's Chavez shirt turned into a pink blaze during a Life and Times show at the Cowboy Monkey in Champaign. I thought about cutting down on the Epley, but seeing how I have both taken more pictures of Shiner/The Life and Times than almost any other band and how more of those have turned out well, it was hard to say no.


I'm considering eliminating this blog and switching over to a purely feature-based site. This move would mean the revival of the 1000 Songs project (and possibly a parallel 500 Albums project), the gradual reincorporation of my photography tree (an overdue endeavor by any means), and the elimination of the commentary for my summer reading list. Why? The typical topics of discussion—current records, recent shows, recent purchases—have been remarkably dry of late, and I enjoy reading books far more than summarizing the experience in a few trite sentences. I don’t remember intentionally shelving the 1000 Songs feature, rather, I wasn’t sure how to fit it into the new Textpattern arrangement. I’m far more comfortable writing about music I genuinely care about instead of records that might possibly hit my year-end list.

Of course, this diary-styled blog is far, far easier than actual content.

If you have any preference on this matter, if you happen to read this site at all, please comment so I can get some level of audience input.