Search: Mogwai

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Top 10s for 2011: Thomas Jonsson (I'm Kingfisher)

Top 10s for 2011: Thomas Jonsson (I'm Kingfisher)

Top tens for 2010: Mattias Alkberg (The Bear Quartet)

Top tens for 2010: Thomas Denver Jonsson/I'm Kingfisher

Aerial - Put it this way in headlinesAerial
Put it this way in headlines


There are few opening tracks that spark so perfectly to life, coloring not only the album to follow, but drawing the listener into this creative work, as the aptly titled "First of all...". While the following track does dampen the energy momentarily, from that point on "Put it this way in headlines" unravels as an impressive addition to Aerial's catalogue. The heavier, Mogwai/Mono-inspired post-rock of "The sentinel" has been replaced by a much cleaner, almost pop-like approach -- imagine a strange amalgamation of The End Will Be Kicks and Yamon Yamon. The only serious failing of "Headlines" is that the band, after embracing a change to their sound, sometimes takes too long to hit all the right notes, and then doesn't hit those notes quite hard enough. "Zebra" should have been anthemic, but only briefly reaches that point in the closing minute of the song; it's still a damn fine track, I am just not sure why the building energy suddenly stops. A few more songs like "Vacant dreamers", a track that blurs the line between post-rock and angular garage rock, might have helped as well, though said track suffers in a similar way to "Zebra": these songs seem to be building somewhere, but they never get there; this was never a problem on "The sentinel". That said, with "Guitar ode to a sunny afternoon" and all the other gorgeous moments on the album, there is more than enough to "Headlines" to make Aerial's present and future look quite bright.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Surrounded at SXSW, more

Swedish act Surrounded will be playing a few shows at SXSW this week:

03/17 - Dominican Joes, Austin, TX
03/18 - Victorian Room @ The Driskill, Austin, TX
03/21 - The Ghost Room, Austin, TX

Preview a few tracks from their forthcoming album "Oppenheimer and Woodstock" at myspace:
No release date yet, but it was mixed by Tony Doogan (Belle and Sebastian, Mogwai, Snow Patrol), Bill Racine (The Flaming Lips, Mates of State, Sparklehorse) and Paul Mahajan (TV on the Radio, The National, Liars) and will be put out by .

Interview: For A Minor Reflection

Festival report: Eurosonic 2009

Moto Boy as a music box

Songs I Wish I Had Written is releasing the music of Moto Boy in one of the most old-school, lo-fi ways possible: as a music box. See here:
Download the song in question:
They're not the first to do it (Mogwai did the same awhile back), but it's certainly not commonplace. Says the label: In true Songs I Wish spirit we give away the music digitally and charge for the manufactured gadget. We test Seth Godins interesting Seinfeld curve theory that there is no room for the middle price range – no one pay $4 for a Seinfeld episode on TV, but to pay $200 to see Jerry in Las Vegas is not a problem. Applied to music, it's even more true. $1 per song is a construction made up by record labels that is/was doomed to fail. In Godins words: "because if you're not scarce I’m not going to pay for it because I can get if for free."
So $0 for MP3 and $25 for a totally unique musical box!

Read more:

Top 10s for 2008: Mattias Alkberg (The Bear Quartet/MABD)

Top 10s for 2008: Thomas Denver Jonsson

MP3: Sort Sol - White shirt

Of all the people who regularly pass along musical recommendations, I am most deeply indebted to Mattias Alkberg for his consistent, spot-on advice. I may not be crazy about the new Mogwai (I find that Helms Alee is a far more exciting band in that vein) and Chad VanGaalen is a bit of an uphill climb (I'm working on it), but as for his insistence I check out early Danish postpunk act Sods/Sort Sol, I'm all about it. Upon given the choice of the band's first four albums, I ask where to start. He says, "all of them" and of course he is 100% right. From the band's early roots as a more straight-ahead punk act under their first moniker to their later, more gothic leanings as "Black Sun", they created a consistently killer discography that was completely unknown to me until now. Whether you like tightly wound, frenetic punk ala "Pink flag"-era Wire or darker, more art-damaged rock with hints of Gun Club type melodrama, there is something for you here. Seriously, I am blown away. I am infatuated. Like Mattias says, there's really no perfect place to start, but since "White shirt" from 1983's "Dagger & guitar" is one of the first tracks I heard when I threw the tracks on shuffle, that's the song you get today. Sweetly sinister, devilish and beautiful; that's what it's all about. Tack igen Mattias!

Read more about Sort Sol/Sods at Wikipedia:

Sort Sol - White shirt

September Malevolence - After this darkness, there's a nextSeptember Malevolence
After this darkness, there's a next
A Tenderversion Recording


Listening to "...accidents happen so fast", I can't help but wonder at how brilliant an Aerial and September Malevolence show would be. The two acts share a lot in common, but as both bands are within the post-rock genre, there's plenty of terrain to be explored without encroaching too terribly into another's territory. September Malevolence lean more towards an organic examination -- "A notion, I can't shake...", which sets the scene for "...accidents happen so fast", is almost entirely an acoustic number, lacking any of the post-rock beauty that explodes into being with "...accidents"; and "Brandskär" is a gorgeous piano interlude. The group also maintains a beautiful optimism throughout their work, much like Explosions in the Sky, not stumbling down darker, more melancholy avenues such as contemporaries Aerial and Mogwai. Even "I shut doors and windows", which feels like it might succumb to the shadows never quite allows itself to drown, teetering precariously on the edge at times, but never falling. "After this darkness, there's a next" is a gorgeous album, definitely already a contender for high placement in my Best of 2008 list.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Immanu El - They'll come, they comeImmanu El
They'll come, they come
And the Sound


Having dedicated a decent amount of the past five years of my life to the music scene (in various functions and positions, most ending in savage failure), I've developed a rather refined musical palate. I nod and smile and say things like, "Yeah, this band's not too bad" when a friend plays me a song or a group they've recently fallen in love with, but rarely do I find these sessions truly rewarding. My ears have been damaged too long and too often by music for me to continuously fall over myself for new bands like I used to (but I desperately search for that wide eyed, naïve boy in the landscapes painted in new records), not unless they're really bringing something to the table. And Immanu El's "They'll come, they come" is unquestionably a forceful and substantial album; an effort that probes sections of our musical consciousness that have fallen into shadow and been ignored too long.

Sweden has Aerial and Once We Were, both bands supporting a very high standard for the cinematic explorations of other Scandinavian groups, and Immanu El pass this rigorous assessment with flair and elegance. As is often the case with exceptional records, the closer is brilliant. " valleys" is a sweeping, graceful composition, and a fitting conclusion to an album that effortlessly traverses terrain we typically associate with bands like Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, and Logh. It's difficult to truly do anything novel and unique in the genre of post-rock, but Immanu El come damned close, at the very least combining all the beauty that the aforementioned groups investigate in a subtle, distinctive manner. "Panda" demonstrates how essential Claes Nilsson Strängberg's voice is to the overall sound and achievement of Immanu El. Vocals are often absent from these types of explorations, and attempting to place a voice into the strata of other instrumentation is a complicated and precarious procedure. Immanu El excel in this respect, and in a myriad other respects throughout. Absolutely brilliant.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Interview: Aerial

Yes I am
Black Star Foundation


I am surprised that the postrock genre continually finds new champions and has not yet stagnated around its established forerunners. Scandinavia has provided many of the groups that have proved themselves able to compete in this niche genre, pushing and expanding its limits and scope, and Sweden's Pg.lost are definitely amongst my favorite of this new wave of postrock acts. While comparable in many ways to Explosions in the Sky, specifically in their buoyant musical outlook and the sense of optimism and hope that pervades "Yes I am", Pg.lost don't flinch away from distorted onslaughts similar to that of Mogwai or Mono. While I personally loathe having to compare an upcoming band to their better known contemporaries since it seems to suggest a lack of originality or an inability for a band to find their own voice, this is far from the case. While the tone and style are akin to what other bands have done, Pg.lost have no difficulty filtering these influence through their own unique approach, creating some of the best music I've heard this year. "Yes I am" is stunningly forceful and compelling given its brevity. I'm confident future recordings will establish Pg.lost as amongst the best of their field, and can only hope it is not too long until I'm proven right.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson