2011/03/29

Edda Magnason

Beatle by Adrian Recordings

Perhaps the world doesn't need another female artist inspired by Kate Bush and Tori Amos, at least that's the critique Edda Magnason has had to suffer. And yet, that's typically the kind of "I am up my own arsehole" music critic thinking the world really needs less of.

The new album Goods(click to listen on Spotify) out today, sees her balancing between funky art pop and lengthy excursions into the fairy-tale land which naturally springs to mind when one comebines a lo-fi piano with bells, accordion, glockenspiel and strings. So, what makes her stand out? Why it's the brilliant free flowing song-writing, the outstanding production with instruments blending into one another like magic and the wide range vocals, going from jazz to smurf without any kind of implicit oddness.

I wanted to post the video for Handsome, but it seems it's not finished yet. But here's the song at least:
Handsome (Singel Edit) by Adrian Recordings
(Both songs are downloadable free. Just click the black arrow on your right-hand side!)

More at Music Quack: Video for Blondie

Main Website
Facebook Page
Spotify Link



2011/03/27

Nils Frahm & Anne Müller


Nils Frahm is a young german pianist who has made a name for himself in the genre neo-classical music. In this collaboration with cellist Anne Müller he takes a bold leap into the smaller genre: "classotronica" (yes, I just made that up). Perhaps he felt that his piano music was a near case of reinventing film-scores, perhaps he just needed the right moment to show off his brilliant laptop-music skills. Who cares? This is the most beautiful instrumental music I have heard in a long time and if I dare say a true find in the otherwise sucky landscape which is contemporary german music (please correct me with tips if I'm wrong!). Anne Müller is of course also to blame for this success, listen to the opening piece on the album 7fingers:



But on to the laptop music, a genre truly drenched in braindead toss, here we hear a truly outstanding combination of the detatched, introvert kraftwerk rhythm (think futuristic train journey) with live elements creating something which stimulates the mind, evokes images and emotions.

Nils Frahm & Anne Müller – 7fingers by erasedtapes

Hopefully we will see more of this kind of collaborations in the future.

Nils' Facebook page
Spotify Link
(I tried finding some relevant link for Anne Müller but failed...)



2011/03/24

Springtime music roundup

This time of year I always feel tired and dreary which reflects on the music I like. I know I ought to be happy with the coming of the light, but instead I find myself wanting to hide away in some ghastly corner of the world where the sun doesn't shine. Anyways, I'd thought I'd do a roundup of some soft tunes I've been listening to in this hour of confusion.

LANU and MEGAN WASHINGTON
Roosevelt Blues feat. Megan Washington by LANU
Lanu's Website

THE CAVE SINGERS
The Cave Singers - 'Gifts and the Raft' | (from 'No Witch')
The Cave Singers' website

FYNAN
The Pressure in a body by Fynan
Fynan's website


BELONG
Perfect Life by Belong
Belong's blog



2011/03/15

Mirrors


Mirrors 'Into The Heart' by skintrecords

I actually don't know much about Mirrors more than that they are a Brighton band. Their name is confusing google, there's little info at their sites and so on. But I can say that they like Kraftwerk, they probably fancy abit of New Order and they just might like Spandau Ballet, Ultravox and Simple Minds. The album Lights and Offerings just came out and it's a true synthpop gem.



Their website
Their twitter page
Their facebook page
Spotify link



2011/03/09

Francis


This band from Sweden is likely to make it big in the near future, after being the opening act for Tallest Man On Earth's european tour later this year. So, why not become a fan NOW, HIPSTER! They do some kind of Café Folk with drunken soul/jazz/cabaret style vocals. It's the kind of american culture which can only be produced in Dalarna, Sweden, cause that's probably the only place where it's still alive.


However, with Francis' latest song (posted below) we see them moving slightly more towards orchestra-indiepop, and I'm not going to argue. Not when you have a singer like Petra Mases.

I Was Never Bored At All by francis

You can get a free mp3 of this song if you send the band an email at their site: francisishere.com
Listen to their 2009 EP at Spotify.
Facebook page



2011/03/07

Papercuts


Papercuts is a melodic indie band from San Francisco. The singer Jason Quever writes all the songs and records and produces everything, so it's very close to a solo act. The band backs him up with tom-driven drums, organ, zither and bass to create a reverb drenched style reminiscent of The Velvet Underground. The comparison halts though whenever Jason's clean, howling, sometimes folk style vocals lift the songs into space and ignite stars in the sky of my lonely mind.

Papercuts - Do What You Will by subpop

The new album Fading Parade came out last week and is set to be one of the best this year. Here's a clip of them playing the opening song "Do You Really Wanna Know" to a random collection of hip and cool people:



Listen to the three first albums on Spotify.

Facebook Page
Record label artist page



2011/03/05

Liam Finn - New single


From the cloudy and sunny country of New Zealand/Aotearoa comes Liam Finn. After making a local name for himself in rockband Betchadupa he had a major breaktrough with the solo album "I'll Be Lightning" (2008). The album features plenty of 60s nostalgia, Abbey Road style arrangements and a good portion of the fresh cross-genre experimentation that I, in lack of a better word, would like to call "sunny". But there's also a kind of energetic anxiety in his music adding abit of darker colours to the otherwise rather poppy yet brilliant melodic landscape. Check out the arty video for "Better To Be" from the debut:



Now, Liam has a new album coming out and the first single from this, The Struggle, was just released. Playing around with synths and more shouty vocals does him good and promises that pretty much anything can happen in the future.

Liam Finn - "The Struggle" by Yep Roc Music Group
Get this on iTunes: HERE

Links:
Website
Twitter page
Facebook page



2011/03/04

Little Dragon

Sounds of Gothenburg


Little Dragon are from my town Göteborg, Sweden, but I don't know them, in fact I had never heard of them until just recently, the type of annoying phenomena that has made me start this blog in the first place. Little Dragon was formed by singer Yukimi Nagano together with drummer Erik Bodin, Fredrik Wallin and Håkan Wirenstrand. Their main genre is electro, but that name is really to vague to describe them, perhaps experimental soul could work too. Listen to this Cabaret Voltaire goes graffiti all over Erykah Badu's ass:

My Step - Little Dragon

And to top it off, they are possibly the only band in existence who have mastered the autotune! Listen to this fragile indie ballad, complete with shadow puppet video and all:



This video has 1,8 million views, and yet Little Dragon are virtually unheard of in their home country. The problem with Swedish media is that there seems to only be room for one "serious" music act at the time. At the moment it's Lykke Li, so perhaps in the autumn some other lucky artist could get some airplay, tv coverage etc. Anyways, hopefully if we start more music blogs we could change this sad collapse of good music media. Sprid detta, till alla, hela tiden!!

Relevant links:
Main Website
Twitter page
Facebook Page
Spotify Link



2011/03/01

How to become an ELITE hipster.


Any idiot can become a hipster as we all know, and these days when hipsters are the favourite hate object of half the world, what are we to do? Well, hidden in the whole hipster hate machine is the obvious answer: everyone thinks they know better than hipsters. So all you need to do is become an ELITE HIPSTER. But to become that you must go way beyond listening to Animal Collective, Fleet Foxes and Kany West, because all that stuff is just *cringe*. No no no, here's how to do it.

Classical music
Everyone likes Bach and there are plenty of people who will speak for hours about "nothing" happening "after Bach", but that scene is just for losers. What you need is Domenico Scarlatti, on Harpsichord (of course):


[Spotify link]
Rehearse these phrases : Actually, Domenico Scarlatti inspired Bach with his daring harmonic experiments...
I prefer Scarlatti's adventurousness before Bach's constricted formality.

Do NOT say: Scarlatti was better than Bach. This will cause the Bach freak to explode and you'll be stuck in a debate you can't handle.

Now, on to more modern music. The regular classical hipster will namedrop Arnold Schönberg, but don't you worry, nobody actually listens to him. What you need to go for is Alexander Scriabin. Check out this piano roll recording (extra authenticity!) and take careful note of the facial hair.


Rehearse these phrases: Scriabin went much further than Schönberg, even without using a proper atonal system...
He is often overlooked, but I'd say Alexander Scriabin was the most important composer of the 20th century...
(none of these are true, but because noone understands Scriabin they are safe)

Contemporary art music
Classical music is very good for the elite hipster, but it can't really measure up to it's modern variety, Art Music. Here you can almost choose anything to listen to, except for mainstream sell-out acts like Arvo Pärt, Michael Nyman and Philip Glass. I'd say you should study this brilliant piece by Karlheinz Stockhausen and use it as a ruler.


Phrases: Only one type of music is able to say something about the world we live in...
I've had precious, brief moments when I've really understood Stockhausen...

Electronic music
Obscure Croatian house just won't do here. What you need to do is go back in history, and there's nothing better then than swedish "Elektronmusik". It's vintage, groundbreaking and hopelessly annoying to listen to.


Rehearse these phrases: There hasn't really been any daring electronic music since the experimental Stockholm Elektronmusik school...
People talk about Kraftwerk, but from a serious perspective they are little but sell-outs...

Folk music
No, not "Folk", that is for hipsters. But you could try going for the source, listening for instance to blues legend Son House:


Phrases: Son House didn't have a fucking beard...
You know, Son House inspired both Dylan AND Tallest Man On Earth...

However, I suspect the Folk hipster scene has travelled that far already, so maybe it is better to go all the way here, to avoid sounding like just another idiot. How far? We are going to Tuva, in Siberia. The band is called Huun Huur Tu. You just can't beat this, it's weird enough to kill any hipster at first listen.

Huun Huur Tu - Fantasy on the Igil
[Spotify link]
Phrases: Folk music ain't worth shit unless it's from people really living the life...
Bon Iver singing from the gut in "Skinny Love"? Fuck that shit, he doesn't even know where his gut IS...

Now you are pretty much set to go. Just trim the beard to early 1900s style, loose anything plastic which isn't a 1970's megacomputer, sell your vintage analog synth you've been using for house music and buy a harpsichord, go through your grandfather's wardrobe for ridiculously vintage clothes and Voilà! Enter the ELITE hipster!