Josef & Erika live in Gothenburg

Water Air Ether
Photo: Magnus Martinsson

The wind was blowing right through my bones as I walked past the empty, deserted old dock area downtown, making my way to the former head office of the Swedish America Line, a great palace standing alone as the only living proof of past Gothenburg glory. Inside the little restaurant it is nice and warm. The duo with it's accompanying brass trio are crammed up in a corner, Erika Angell sitting behind an old Harmonium by the wall, trying to tune waterfilled glasses for the opening song. Josef is measuring the distance between his bow and the head of the trumpet player sitting in front of him, warning him not to lean back whatever he does.

Earlier that day the Gothenburg morning newspaper GP has written absolutely nothing about the event and instead devoted the front page of the culture segment to talentless has-been Tomas Ledin and his "new" bar show, which will be tormenting the city for a good three months. But actually it was rather liberating just going to the small restaurant Amerikabaren and having a meal with the local families who were looking with much interest at all the instruments gathered in the corner, unaware of the fantastic event that was to come. Not everyone was totally ignorant though, a rather intoxicated gentleman tells me in between puffs of his cigarette that he has come for the concert as he is a keen jazz fan, or as it turns out, fan of jazz covers of AC/DC songs. As the clock ticks closer to 9 however, the place is getting crowded with jazz musicians, including all the people behind the record label Hoob and quite a number of young gentlemen crashing by on their bicycles and rushing in so fast that their long beards almost get stuck in the glass door. If you have heard Josef & Erika's latest album, you know it's worth losing your facial hair over it.

When the modest beginning of Floods Cover My Ankles slowly fills the room everyone goes quiet. The piece has tones of the now classic Sigur Rós album Ágætis Byrjun with Josef's strong sweeping bass, the minimalistic brass and long organ tones, but most of all in the tempo. A piece of music which is allowed to take its time and which becomes stronger by it. That power is soon helping Erika's voice hover so high she nearly steps into the wall in order not to overload the mic. The three piece brass section, seated in front of the band, become the centre of attention whenever they play, which they are worthy. The brass arrangements which has such an intricate part on the latest album Floods seem to often have a conclusive role, responding to Josef's virtuoso bass and Erika's skilled singing in unexpected ways. Far away is the typical background brass otherwise so common in pop music.

Josef & Erika - My Own (live) (lo-fi) on Vimeo.

I filmed this with my mobile phone, so bear that in mind if you press play.

When the show is over I meet the intoxicated man again and he is very excited having discovered this amazing band, blurting out that Erika should apply for Idol and that he had just told her to do so immediately. This remark leaves me almost speechless and when I later talk to Erika and asks if it is true she retorts abruptly "No that is not true. I'm not applying for Idol." In november the band will be playing at the Berliner Festspiele and hopefully more places before Erika gets busy with the Thus:Owls European tour next year. When I walked home that night I wondered to myself if anyone ever tells Tomas Ledin to apply for Idol? But of course noone would ever even want him to.

Earlier post on Josef & Erika
Main Website
Spotify Link


The Quack Playlist - without Spotify

After getting some complaints from countries where Spotify isn't available, I've taken the time to list as much as I can via Soundcloud and Grooveshark. The only song missing is Liam Finn's Jump Your Bones. You can find the original list here in case you get confused.

Music Quack Playlist #1 - DIY version

The Quack Spotify Playlist

Miss anything? Click the image below. <
Music Quack Playlist #1

The Music Quack gathered alot of favourite songs on a Spotify Playlist, inluding a Stina Nordenstam classic. So turn off the radio and listen to this instead, eh?


Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Another kiwi flipping out - and we love it
Jello and Juggernauts - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

This band presses alot of the trendy buttons all at once, but do so in their own unique way. And listen to that bass sound... Unknown Mortal Orchestra are based in Portland, Oregon and sport New Zealander Ruban Nielson on guitar, formerly of The Mint Chicks. After flipping out and ditching Auckland for the US, Ruban set up this band as an act of liberation from his plastic punk past. Gathering influences from brazilian music and early 70s funk what we get is an indie rock act using remarkably different chord progressions and melodies compared with their peers. Pressing these songs through what sounds like a vinyl player and a very lo fi drum setup and some gritty amplifiers, and voilà, there's that "I'm not quite sure what this is" feeling. The Quack loves that feeling. Below is the brand new and quite random video to the opening track on the self-titled album.

FFunny FFriends - Unknown Mortal Orchestra

UMO website
UMO facebook page
UMO twitter
Spotify link


Liam Finn - Smashing new video

Jump Your Bones

Best track on Liam Finn's latest album FOMO is the last one, Jump Your Bones. It now has a video which just premiered on rolling stone. This is a release revealing the "real" Liam so much more than what the pop single Cold Feet did earlier in the year, and what most of his previous singles have done. Drum Liam! DRUM!

Earlier post on Liam Finn
Twitter page
Facebook page


The Rapture

Don't ever look back!

New York band The Rapture has released a new album this week called In The Grace of Your Love, an absolutely wonderful piece of music. Extreme retro-synths making me think of old Sparks records and the experimental period of early Human League, disco/soul beats and grooves and the occasional flirt with 80s wannabe-gospel pop, saxophone and all, quite alot of dirty neo-new wave... Add some occasional hipster ingredients à la Animal Collective's Beach Boys rip-offs, and some Jeff Buckleyish singing à la The Antlers. Shake mix and fuck it all up until you arrive at an unmistakable, rather gritty live sound. Paste around a solid skeleton of class A songs.

Check out the piano in the video below. I don't know if it's a sample, it's almost too good to be true.

Unofficial video for How Deep Is Your Love?

The Rapture's earlier albums were more of a blend between house music and post punk like Violent Femmes and perhaps Jane's Addiction, and the experimental style of the past may be missed by some fans. With the departure of a member they now sound almost like a new band. The Music Quack however prefers this melodious, more ethereal Rapture and we are throwing this album into the fierce battle in our minds for Best Album of 2011. Just listen to the opening track Sail Away and you'll know what it's all about...

The Rapture - Sail Away

Stream entire album on soundcloud
The Rapture on facebook
The Rapture on twitter
The Rapture on spotify


Jens Lekman EP

Long-awaited lyrical subtleties
Jens Lekman - An Argument With Myself by DOJAGSC

Jens Lekman releases a new EP before the new full-length comes out and the Quack had a listen. Quite harmless pop and more or less bitter lyrical subtleties. I sometimes wonder if he hates or loves Gothenburg. We love him, that much is certain. Will be very interesting to see what he has saved for the album, coming later this year.

Note: the stream has been taken down, but the first track is still up.


I Break Horses

Stockholmers set the internet on fire with new album
Photo: Sebastien Dehesdin Wired by I Break Horses

Maria Lindén from Stockholm is the main brain behind this debuting electro-shoegaze duo succesfully blending the old (my bloody vallentine, kraftwerk, ride) with the new (sigur rós, m83) and layering synths with guitars into heavily reverbed masses of sound, yet never covering up the melodic qualities, who are of an almost neo-classical style. I believe it's the influences from guitar music on a keyboard musician which makes this band stand out. At times it sounds a lot like shoegaze, and yet you quickly realise it's nothing like it. The album is the result of three years' work, including a failed studio recording trip to Poland. In the end the album was recorded at Maria Lindén's flat instead, which of course is both impressive and very 2011.

Cancer by I Break Horses

It's no real wonder so many blogs have gone crazy over I Break Horses. The album is quite simply one of the very best this year, without any weak tracks. It gives you this recurring feeling of wonder, not so much over how much reverb one can use on a recording, but over the chords; the seconds, the fourths, the fifths, the sevenths and so forth. Also the numerous melodic hooks hiding slightly under the production makes this the perfect pop-yet-not-pop record of the year.

I Break Horses - Hearts from Bella Union on Vimeo.

Relevant Links:
Stream the entire album Hearts on soundcloud
Official website
Spotify link
I Break Horses on Facebook
I Break Horses on Twitter


New Little Dragon video: Brush the Heat


Nicolai Dunger

Sweden's greatest singer-songwriter?
This Land by Nicolai Dunger

It's not the first time, but here's another Swedish artist who is rather well-known abroad that I hadn't heard of until today. Sometimes the Music Quack feels like a fail blog, but at least we are learning. Pressing play on this album I'm met with the sweetest songwriting and lovely country-folk singing, and a slight Rufus Wainwrightish vibrato. Nicolai Dunger has been around since 1991 after ditching a career in football. He has worked with Ebbot Lundberg, Will Oldham and Esbjörn Svensson Trio. His new album, out last week, is called Ballad of This Land and is quite the masterpiece. The result of a trip to Ireland, it has the acoustic guitar at the front, touches of brass, violin, accordion, female backing choir and the occasional piano. But the true centre is the voice. The singing catches you in whatever you are doing, so wonderful, so perfect. An album like this should be heard and played everywhere.

Wind and the mountain by Nicolai Dunger

Nicolai Dunger has been more experimental in the past, sniffing on jazz and trashy blues, and the song above is a new version of an old song which he recorded under the name "A Taste of Ra". I haven't found a link for that, but if you want a little example check out this Youtube link.

Listen to the whole album on Soundcloud
Spotify Link
Facebook page


Wye Oak - New video "Holy Holy"

Here's another male-female indie rock duo. It's funny how different they are from yesterday's post. Wye Oak are from Baltimore and do an attractive blend of folk-indie, classic indierock, a bit of 60s psychadelia and that "dreamgaze" thing that seems to be everywhere this year, well at least wherever I look. That pretty much means that there usually is a quiet base to the songs but that suddenly everything can explode with lots of distortion, delay and reverb in the most wonderful way, an effect and style which has many names and many different shapes. It's great when it works. They just released a new video for the song Holy Holy. Watch it below.

Official website
Facebook page
Bandcamp link


Big Deal

Debut album from indie guitar-pop minimalists
Big Deal - Lights Out from Mute Records

I might be exaggerating, but it seems these days a lot of music is somewhat overproduced. Perhaps it's the availability of all software plugins imaginable, or that bands just add stuff to create that "woah" effect which makes bloggers instantly share their songs for a quick fix from boredom. Anyways, been listening to lots of high valued new albums the past week not finding what I was looking for until I stumbled upon Big Deal's debut album Lights Out. It's guitar(s) and two voices, great production of that simple material and the good songwriting you notice. Forget about all that other stuff for an hour.

The band name seems to be another example of an indie act not wanting to be easily found through google. If you do an extensive search however, you find lots of babble about whether or not the band members, bla bla, sex, bla bla, age stuff. Sad, and I couldn't care less. So this will be a minimalistic blog post too. Indie, Sonic Youth, girl and boy, Broken Social Scene or is it the same influences, belle & sebastian maybe, who cares eh?

Oh, and don't skip listening to the track Locked Up above. Or the last track, Pi...

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