Artist: Kazakstan

Country: Sweden
Genre: Indie/Pop/Rock
Reviews: s/t / Julien (mp3)
Viewing posts 1-10 out of 10

Alarma Man: Lager out, Skantze in

After seven years and over 100 shows, guitarist Viktor Lager has left Alarma Man. His replacement Tom Skantze (ex-Kazakstan) will make his live debut with the band on June 12 at Pustervik in Göteborg.

MP3: Joachim Willumsen - Turning 24

I suspect that most readers don't care/don't remember Kazakstan even though I posted an mp3, did a profile piece and even rated their 2006 self-titled album as an honorable mention on my best of 2006 list. Yes, my enthusiasm defied contagiousness. Well, it's been two years now since I've heard anything new from the band and I have no idea what's going on with them, but I did recently receive a few solo tracks from Joachim Willumsen and I'm happy to report that they pick up right where the band left off. Same folksy vibe, same understated melodicism, same great music. 24 going on 35, I'd say. Shame that the acoustic format doesn't give him the opportunity to show off his talent for clever arrangements, but the clever twists of the lyrics make up for it. It's also a shame that artists like this often go unrecognized. Quirk free ≠ boring.

Hear more:

Joachim Willumsen - Turning 24

Here's the playlist for this week's radio show:

01. The Bombettes - I wanna
02. TALK 1
03. Anna Järvinen - Helsinki
04. Leütenhaven - Still life (trompe l'oeil)
05. Pay TV - Fashion report
06. TALK 2
07. Timo Räisänen - My valentine
08. Jonna Lee - And your love
09. José González - Killing for love
10. The Bear Quartet - It only takes a flashlight to create a monster
11. TALK 3
12. Kristofer Åström - The dark
13. Munck//Johnson - The streets
14. Bertine Zetlitz - Draggin' me down
15. Dieter Schöön - Warm hearts
16. TALK 4
17. Superfamily - The radio has expressed concerns about what you did last night
18. Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - Ashen like the sky
19. Kazakstan - Song to the past
20. TALK 5
21. Marvins Revolt - Bugs in time
22. Menfolk - Ghosts
23. Pelle Carlberg - I love you, you imbecile
24. TALK 6
25. Sambassadeur - Subtle changes
26. Stina Nordenstam - So Lee
27. Tobias Hellkvist - Abomination
28. TALK 7
29. Marybell Katastrophy - Slabiak
30. Sinikka Langeland - Høstnatt på Fjellskogen
31. David Åhlén - Wasted breaths
32. Printer - Minds out
33. TALK 8
34. Montys Loco - Wasteland
35. Lampshade - Fjäril
36. NEI - Trip to Luleå
37. Laakso - Hang me in the Christmas tree
38. TALK 9
39. Honey Is Cool - Drums and boys

Don't forget to vote for Sirius Blog Radio at the Plug Awards! Vote here:
We are nominated under the category "Media (Obsessive) > Specialty Show Of The Year (Commercial Radio)".

Last night's Sirius Blog Radio playlist:

01. Superfamily - The radio has expressed concerns about what you did last night
02. TALK 1
03. Asha Ali - These months
04. Boys of Scandinavia - Why do you love me? (radio edit)
05. Promoe - Headache
06. TALK 2
07. Closer - Sensing the wake
08. The Bear Quartet - Mom and dad
09. TALK 3
10. Kristofer Åström - Just a little insane
11. Familjen - Kom säger dom
12. Pavan - The bird
13. TALK 4
14. Kazakstan - Song to the past
15. Universal Poplab - Vampire in you
16. TALK 5
17. Scraps of Tape - Death as it should be
18. ARM - Drving by accident
19. The Idealist - The knives are my eyes
20. TALK 6
21. Tsukimono - Gathering heavy breathing
22. Pimentola - Wish upon a fallen star
23. Plain Fade - Uliaan leski
24. TALK 7
25. The Skull Defekts - Six six for eyes
26. Logh - Into the night
27. TALK 8
28. Aerial - You will all die, all things will
29. Tobias Hellkvist - Moment at ven
30. Audrey - Views
31. TALK 9
32. Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words - Ashen like the sky

Top 10s for 2006: It's a trap!

Kazakstan - s/tKazakstan

It's a good thing the quality of the music isn't always signalled by the album cover, otherwise I'd expect something subpar from this debut by Sweden's Kazakstan (the cover art depicts the underwear-clad waist of some hairy dude with twin revolvers tucked in his briefs). Fortunately, this is a pretty cool little CD, if rather short. As Avi pointed out previously, Kazakstan's somewhat similar to Wilco; there's definitely a kind of strain at work here. But just when you think a song is trotting along lazily, it'll suddenly shift into something more exciting. Take the opener, "Song to the past". The acoustic beginning gives way to a brass-flavored rockin' section four minutes in which sounds fantastic. "Tierra del fuego" is uptempo from the start, with a sublime dynamic shift halfway through that shows the arranging smarts of this ensemble. There's one or two near-instrumentals, one of which features some atmospheric keyboards. Much potential here, and even though this disc isn't meaty enough to be a classic, Kazakstan sound musically disciplined and creative enough to keep a sharp eye on in the future.
- Kevin Renick

I neglected to mention it the other day, but I've got new CDs from Kazakstan (see my fawning review here) and IAT.MP3 artist Sonores in the webstore now. Both of course are very highly recommended. I also took some time to throw some new tracks into the webstore's jukebox, so check it out if you've got the time.

This week's It's a trap! listening group top 10 artists of the week:

01. The Knife
02. Radiohead
03. Death Cab for Cutie
04. Tiger Lou
05. Camera Obscura
06. The Beatles
07. Johnny Cash
08. Sufjan Stevens
09. Belle and Sebastian
10. Peter Bjorn and John

Top 10 tracks for the week:

01. Marit Bergman – No Party
02. Kazakstan – Julien
03. Tiger Lou – Until I'm There
04. Camera Obscura – Lloyd, I'm Ready to be Heartbroken
05. I'm From Barcelona – Collection of Stamps
06. I'm From Barcelona – Treehouse
07. I'm From Barcelona – We're From Barcelona
08. The Knife – The captain
09. The Postal Service – Such Great Heights
10. The Knife – Silent shout

Want to make your own playlist count? Join us! Go here to learn more:

Profile: Kazakstan

MP3: Kazakstan - Julien

Ladies and gentlemen, let me present to you the first great release from the second half of 2006. I know there's lots more good stuff on the way from lots of established artists, but Kazakstan is the first I've heard that has really impressed me. The music came described as "experimental pop" and I think that's both good and bad. Bad because it sounds intimidating. Often the tag "experimental" also means difficult and that's most definitely not the case here. On the other hand, it's good because it dispels any notions you might have of this band being yet another rock band with guitars. The songwriting is rooted in folk/pop tradition - they'd probably all sound just fine on acoustic guitar - but like later-era Wilco, there's a lot more going on in the production and arrangements. Listen to "Julien", the song I've posted today. The verse riff is 100% quirky indierock, but then the chorus smacks you upside the head with a huge hook that will linger for days. But, as you'll note, the first chorus is only a teaser - the song retreats to a solo keyboard riff before offering up a completely different variation on the verse before really truly launching into the chorus again, this time with more power. It's a fantastic arrangement that shows off the band's tremendous skill and audacity. The band was also kind enough to answer a few questions, so they are also this week's featured profile piece: [click here]
So very highly recommended.

Kazakstan - Julien