2011/08/29

Swedish Jazz: Oddjob and Goran Kajfes

Blending sounds for tomorrow
Oddjob


The Stockholm jazz scene is full of interesting acts. I'm not a jazz connoisseur, but it's very difficult not to get stunned by the bizarre and captivating sound that comes out when quintet Oddjob decides to interpret movie themes from films with Clint Eastwood. Just listen to the first track (^above^) from their album Clint and enjoy the liberating feeling of not knowing quite what the hell is going on. Is it "jazz"? Well I don't really care.

Oddjob has been around for about ten years now, originally forming after touring together as a live backup band to pop/soul artist Eric Gadd. They are currently in the studio recording a new album.

Oddjob on Spotify
Official website

Goran Kajfeš
Dinner with Inner by Goran Kajfes from Headspin Recordings

One of the members of Oddjob is trumpeter Goran Kajfeš, son of a Croatian jazz musician and important cog in the Swedish music scene in general. He has released three solo albums, blending electronica, ethiopian jazz, balkan music, 60s film music and "regular" jazz into his very own thing. Always keen to create interesting rhytms and themes that blend, crash and collide rather than the usual "improvise til you drop".

Sand Boogie by Goran Kajfes from Headspin Recordings

Although there's nothing wrong with the electronica/jazz blend that Kajfeš does; he knows just how to blend the two together without the samples drenching everything in the sound of plastic, I do feel that his acoustic stuff is more original somehow. Perhaps I'm wrong there, but it feels like the rhytmical qualities become enhanced and the layers are quite simply more beautiful.

Goran Kajfeš on Spotify (new album is not up)
Minimalistic official website



2011/08/25

Video: Edda Magnason - Blondie

Edda Magnason - Blondie from Adrian Recordings on Vimeo.


I've got this song in my top three for best Swedish song of the year. Finally there's a video for it.

More on Edda Magnason? Click Here



2011/08/24

Still Corners

Dreaming in the UK
Endless Summer by stillcorners

From the UK but fresh out on US label subpop is Still Corners, a pop-shoegaze/psychadelia/60s euro chic band (yup, had to think hard on that one). Last year they recieved extensive blog hype with the song Endless Summer, now released as a B-side on the vinyl single Cuckoo. Debut album Creatures of an Hour will be out later this year.

Still Corners - "Cuckoo"


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Spotify Link
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2011/08/23

In wait of the new Thus:owls album Harbours

Cover of Harbours by Nathalie Daoust

Update: Whole album now streamable: HERE

Perhaps the main album release this year in Swedish quality music is Thus:Owls' second album Harbours, due out on October 6. Before we get some teaser mp3s to dwell on, I thought I'd gather some videos from this summer, where we hear two or three new songs, meet a new member and see some live performances. From what I can hear we should be expecting some more lively rhythms and perhaps a slightly different vibe from the last album. For more music sounding like Cardiac Malformations I would recommend Erika Angell's other project with Josef Kallerdahl, Josef & Erika.


Live session for Bowlegs


Interview @ homeplugged.


Short live clip from a concert in Amsterdam in May.

Excited!!



2011/08/22

New song by Civil Civic - Street Trap

Street Trap by civilcivik

Just ran into this asskicking song by English/Catalan instrumental rock duo Civil Civic. Just press play. Download free of charge by pressing the little arrow on the right hand side of the player!

Band Website
Facebook Page
Spotify Link
Twitter



Sóley

Sóley: I'll Drown by morrmusic

There are many female nordic indie singers, but I try to pick out some favourites who otherwise are threatened to sink away in the flood of boring fake jazz. Ironically, Sóley's new album is called We Sink, but I really hope it won't. Exquisite keyboard work, using the piano sustain pedal almost like a fetish, placing mics to capture that sound of wooden floors and a controlled icelandic voice which only rarely explodes in a sharp attack.

Pretty Face - Sóley

Sóley Stefánsdóttir has been a member of icelandic wool-indie band Seabear and last year she released her first solo work on the EP Theater Island.

Theater Island - Sóley

I think I hear the echo of Music Quack favourite Stina Nordenstam in the gourmet sounds of Sóley, more so than Joanna Newsom for instance, but we all struggle for comparisons. If we like we can definitely compare her with Hanne Hukkelberg when it comes to using kitchen utensils and random furniture as percussion, for that wooden edge. Perhaps there is a struggle with identity somewhere on this new album which Sóley needs to overcome in the future. It's certainly a journey I want to follow her on.

Sóley is touring Europe with Sin Fang in September. Tour dates-Click here.
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Spotify Link



2011/08/15

Franke

Sounds of Gothenburg

press photo 4
Skinnad - Franke

Franke is a five-piece Gothenburg indie-rock-punk band named after its two brothers Niklas and Fredrik Franke. They don't give much of a shit about marketing themselves beyond playing lots of live gigs, so to be frank (ha ha) I don't know much about them. They released the debut album "Optimismens Hån"[Optimism's Mockery] in 2003, then changed labels and released the follow up "Det Krävs Bara Några Sprickor För Att Skapa Ett Mönster"[It Only Takes A Couple Of Cracks To Create A Pattern] in 2009. Anyways, in our Gothenburg series they are quite essential, as being one of the main alternative bands of the 00s, the decade of Håkan Hellström hosting old peoples singalong programs on television. Fuck that shit. I have a vague memory that Franke comes from Hisingen, the bad side of Gothenburg, but I might be wrong. Perhaps it just sounds that way.

Spotify Link



The Bitter and Sick and Die Alones

Sounds of Gothenburg

Photo: Johan Lund

Photo: Johan Lund

The Bitter and Sick and Die Alones - Vultures

This Gothenburg duo with Christoffer Johansson(vocals/guitar) and Emanuel Svensson(drums/percussion) dwell in the darkest of folk swamps. Their music has a Tom Waits vibe to it, which is rather refreshing considering the Neo-Nashville-Mainstream wave engulfing the city right now. If you live in Gothenburg you are alot more believable as "bitter and sick" than "looking for that lonesome cowboy over the prarie" or whatever. Anyways, who gives a shit, just listen to the song, it's brilliant.

Facebook Page
Myspace link



2011/08/14

The Antlers

Brooklyn's finest coming to Scandinavia late this autumn

the antlers press photo
The Antlers - Parentheses by Frenchkiss Records

These days when the trendy airheads have fallen into finding inspiration from the brainless dead ends of Toto and Phil Collins it is very pleasing to find a band that keeps the flame of sad and depressed weird pop music alive. The Antlers are rather wide in their sound, but I'd describe them as Jeff Buckley with Massive Attack at an 80s college party. Originally singer Peter Silberman's solo project, The Antlers are today a three piece collaborative band with Michael Lerner on drums and Darby Cicci on keyboards. The latter's love for korg synthesizers have no doubt shaped the band's dense but airy sound, and that is probably needed. Imagine someone playing songs like "Put the dog to sleep" or "Every night my teeth are falling out" on an acoustic guitar? No, rather not. Instead the darkness of the Antlers is wrapped in a luminous soothing glow which feeds the mind with its beauty.

French Exit - The Antlers

A couple of months ago The Antlers released their second "proper" full-length album, Burst Apart. The previous one, Hospice, was centered around a theme of hospitals, death and hinted at someone close but perhaps not so dear dying of cancer. Apparently Peter needed to explain that this theme was somewhat fictionalised, probably due to the large amount of attention the band was getting. Art is a tricky business, especially when family starts asking questions. The new album doesn't seem to have a similar theme but is perhaps a little more inclined towards bad romance and all the horrors that entails.

The band just played in Oslo, but later this autumn they are coming back to Scandinavia:

26 November - Århus @Voxhall
27 November - København @Vega
28 November - Stockholm @Debaser Slussen

Full tour schedule - Click Here

For a hint at what they are like live, check out this video from pitchfork (thanks to @flokemon):


Don't miss them! Below is the "pop" single off Burst Apart.



Spotify Link
The Antlers website
Twitter
Facebook page



2011/08/13

Fucked Up

fucked up press photo

If you google ["fucked up"] and press 'images' you get quite a few pictures of a large, naked, tattooed and very pale man with his cock tucked in between his legs. But guess what? It's a band!

Click with discretion...

It's the great Way out West festival here in Göteborg right now, but I'm at home sick, well I wasn't actually going because of work obligations, but this has just made it more unbearable. So I'm sitting here checking out the bands that are playing. Tonight at 00.30 Fucked Up are playing at Brew House. First thought when seeing a band name with "fuck" in it was "oh, they must be canadian", and ha ha, yes they are (becoming prejudiced due to one other band, scary).

Ship of Fools - Fucked Up

I don't listen to "Hardcore" music much, except for that crazy Marnie Stern, but I do sometimes get dragged in by the melodious side of it, and Fucked Up is a good example of that. This band knows how to get their songs to fly, even if the vocals are often of the shouting nature, the guitars are flying over and under you in a harmonic yet distorted Beach Boys manner. I guess it's this almost ethereal feeling that I always thought was what made the Canada Scene.

A Little Death - Fucked Up

Anyways, I don't have too much more to say about them, other than that I think it's good music and you should listen to the whole album on Spotify because the best songs just aren't on soundcloud...
And watch the video for Queen of Hearts. It's one of them videos with loads of editing on the music, but it does kick in abit more after a couple of minutes. I also think it wins a Most Pretentious Video of the Year nomination, don't you think? :-D



So, if you're in the mood for seeing a large pale man with his dick squeezed between his legs you know where to go tonight.



2011/08/11

Introducing: A.M.E.

Sounds of Gothenburg



The best you'll ever know - A.M.E

Anna Maria Engberg of Gothenburg, Sweden, has a long and broad background in the arts. Educated in acting, dance, eurhytmic music education and music performance, an experienced violinist, cellist, guitar player and backing singer, she is now launching the solo project A.M.E. Given her multi-instrumentalist tendencies I ask her what her main instrument is in practice.

- It's actually the violin, but I do most of my composing on the guitar, sometimes the piano. I've written songs since a very early age, but the oldest A.M.E. songs probably have about 6-7 year on them now. I made a demo already in 2004, but it wasn't until my EP in 2008, "Not Sure I Tried", that things started to take shape.

Her music has a clear "indie" vibe with reverbed guitars, soft vocals and careful string arrangments. The song (above) "The Best You'll Ever Know" makes me think of Swedish jazz-indie goddess Stina Nordenstam.

- Yes, I do like her. First song I heard of hers was He Watches Her From Behind. I was about 13 and attended a dance course where we made a choreography to that song, a moment I will never forget. But my main influences are a blessed mix of Bach, Bowie, Tom Waits, Nina Simone, Neil Young and Thåström. Not sure if it's apparent, but influenced, I certainly am. I have played alot of classical music and klezmer, and I also think that affects how I write and arrange music.

Curages Curl - A.M.E.

One would imagine that a violinist, and previous member of the Swedish Youth Symphonic Orchestra would feel out of place suddenly jumping into the world of rock'n'roll, but that is hardly the case here.

- When I was a teenager I was in an all girl band supported by a project called "Tjejrock"("Girl Rock"). We had quite a few gigs. One was at an illegal bar in Halmstad, where we played after a large karaoke session only attended by Japanese men. Suddenly the premises were raided by police and under much commotion we were smuggled out the back. We were only 16! I think I got a lot of experience already then.

Working primarily with theatre and as a musician in numerous other projects it is hard to see how Anna has had the time to record an album and make a video. And yet, as is somewhat common on the Gothenburg music scene, she manages with the kind help of many other musicians, producers and film editors who are willing to work for almost nothing to create something great.



- The future? I am so happy having just finished making a video and a new logo. In some manner I need to take everything with A.M.E. in baby steps. I am so dependent on finding time and other people to help me attain what I want. I am however really hoping to be able to release the finished album I have, but I am not signed to a label yet!

Surely it's just a matter of a very brief time before that happens.
More on A.M.E. here: Video: A.M.E. - Curages Curl

Website
Facebook Page
Soundcloud Page
Youtube
Myspace



2011/08/03

Cato - a one year project


Brilliant Malmö record company Adrian Recordings hosts many great artists, Edda Magnason, Bear Quartet and Familjen, to name a few. One of their most interesting releases however, is a one year long project with musician/producer Marcus Cato. After a severe hangover and anxiety-driven arguments on whether or not there was truly new music in the world the head of Adrian Recordings challenged their collaborator to make three songs a week for a whole year, from which altogether 52 songs would then be compiled and released on their website. The project was finished in 2009.


Largely instrumental and piano based, the music in the Cato year project makes me think of things like Mussorgsky, Erik Satie, even Alexandr Skrjabin, only to expand and move on to 60s movie soundtracks, and 70s german experiments. Other possible influences that come to mind are the Swedish jazz pianist Jan Johansson and some of Depeche Mode's instrumental works. Always with a hook, or many. Some of the songs have a deep haunting quality which makes a vocal-obsessed person like myself forget entirely about voices. Time and again you find that a theme is just added on top of another until one sits wondering how it can still sound so simple. Listen below for some examples.


Press the button on the nose.

This project is oddly enough not available anywhere else but the Adrian Recordings website, where, on the other hand, it's available for download free of charge.

Download first half of all the songs by clicking here.
Download other half by clicking here.

Official page for Marcus Cato with streaming.

And no, there is no other homepage for this project.