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My mind is on vacation, so I'm letting contributor Lars Garvey handle today's mp3 post:
With "Narcissus can wait", Cut City came fully into their own, exceeding even my highest expectations and demonstrating a breadth of expression and talent so often lacking in contemporary post-/art-punk outfits. There were numerous intimations of this level of songwriting throughout their career, most notably "Just Pornography (for M.E.)" off their debut full-length "Exit decades" and the anthemic "Replacement" from their split 7" with Cat Party, but the craftsmanship on "Narcissus can wait" revealed a maturity and confidence that placed Cut City decisively in a class of their own. With "The sound and the sore", Cut City continue their upward ascent. The song crackles with all the vigor we've come to expect from the band, brimming with the cautiously optimistic energy of a track like New Order's "Ceremony". Starting strong, the composition builds brilliantly to its massive, stratified close -- the final moments of the track are phenomenal, eclipsing most of what I've heard this year. Unsurprisingly, "The sound and the sore" has quickly become one of my favorite Cut City tracks, and, like much of their catalogue, it continues to grow on me a little more with each listen. While I am delighted the band had yet another gear to move into, the fact that the upcoming album "Where's the harm in dreams disarmed" is set to be Cut City's final offering is now rendered that much more heartbreaking. At least their swan song is set to be something amazing.
Cut City - The sound and the sore
A few statistics for the year, should you be curious...
Total news items: 3880
Top downloads (for tracks posted in 2009):
01. Florence Valentin - Spring Ricco
02. Ison & Fille - Jag skratter idag
03. King Diamond - No presents for Christmas (slightly cheating since I also posted it last year)
04. The Scrags - Psycho cyclone
05. Mercy - Heavy metal warriors
Top search terms:
01. Porno (no surprise, though I suspect most people aren't actually looking for the Swedish rapper)
03. King Diamond
04. Melody Club
05. Black Uniforms
Remember, the mailorder goes on hibernation tomorrow so get your orders in now. Otherwise, I'm hard at work on revamping the site for 2010 and will be back with regular updates next week. Take care and happy New Year!
Swedish rapper Porno has a new video for the track "Rush": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-kWTAxuD3Fo&fmt=18
Swedish rapper Porno now has a video for his stupid new single "Ugly girls": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=9IzMIxyuxcU&fmt=18
Swedish rapper Porno is streaming his childish new single "Ugly girls" at myspace: http://www.myspace.com/emceePorno
Keep an eye out for the new album "Tourettes" to be released soon.
Gbg-based label Release the Bats (see our recent interview) has finally released the long-awaited Cure tribute "The shameless kiss of vanity III" on limited edition cassette (250 copies). Said comp featuring 8 bands such as Cut City and The Je Ne Sais Quoi covering the entirety of The Cure's classic "Pornography" album from start to finish. Unfortunately, the cassette dub came out a bit noisy, so the label is throwing in CDR copies with all orders which will include a few tracks from parts I and II. More info and tracklist: http://releasethebats.com/rtb30.html
In other news, RTB has signed the excellent Swedish pop-punk act Hanna Hirsch and will be releasing their debut full-length "Tala svart" as a split with label Diskret Förlag. Hear samples: http://www.myspace.com/hannahirsch
As if it wasn't totally obvious from the cover, Astrid Swan's new album "Spartan picnic" is far quirkier than her debut "Poverina". It looks like something I might expect from Stina Nordenstam, though the "Spartan" of the title is entirely misleading as Ms. Swan readily embraces a full, big-band sound. However, her quirk only extends so far. There's nothing here quite as out-there as Marybell Katastrophy or As In RebekkaMaria, especially not in lead single "Sea/e life". I like it a lot more than anything on the first album, but I'm having trouble finding a strong melody to hold on to. Elsewhere on the album she fares far better, such as on the bombastic title track, so despite my misgivings about this particular song, I wouldn't write her off. And don't forget her work with Treeball either (together with producer Nick Triani). It's kinda like how Neko Case is at her best when performing with New Pornographers, Astrid Swan can be the same way with her other band. All about context.
Astrid Swan - Sea/e life
One of Lack's most admirable qualities is their sexual politic. So much of modern hardcore is either contrived macho bullshit (see Terror, Hatebreed, et al.) or fucked-up misogyny (Killwhitneydead comes to mind as prominent example) that even a marginal level of social responsibility seems refreshing. But to talk about sexual relationships outside of the usual context of love/hate songs is absolutely unheard of. The song "Deserters" from their last album "Be there pulse" was hugely progressive in its frank discussion of bisexuality and now, with "Saturate every atom", we have "I want you to call me Peter North" which openly confronts the issue of internet Pornography. It's a touchy subject, especially with the rise of so-called "alternative" porn sites such as Suicide Girls or Burning Angel or whatever. Hardcore has always generally been a boys club, but at least there used to be more of a dialog about sexual equality, especially in the 90s when I was more involved in the scene. Now I'm not calling for a return to the days of overzealous workshops (and witchhunts) from the More Than Music era (dude, the fest!), but goddamn it, any discussion is appreciated. Hardcore is supposed to be confrontational and it's supposed to challenge stereotypes, not reinforce them. I'm sure I'm not the only one weirded about what the scene has become. Thank god for bands like Lack who tackle these ideas head-on. Even better, the song is awesome. That simple snare roll going into the final chorus with the chukka-chukka guitars gets me every damn time.
Lack - I want you to call me Peter North
Springfactory surprised me. I guess I expected something more twee considering the involvement of Peter Gunnarson from Suburban Kids With Biblical Names, but that's not the case at all. Instead, what I got is smart, driven indiepop with strong female vocals (courtesy of Lina Cullemark). It makes me think of 1st-album era New Pornographers with Neko Case on vocals, 'cept that's not quite fair since I don't really like the New Pornographers (Carl Newman was far, far better in Superconductor). NP are boring and safe, Springfactory are far more rough and tumble and therefor, far more charming. Those sharper edges give them personality. "Stingy Friday afternoon" starts off kinda aimless, with a vamping bassline and skronky guitar, until we enter the first chorus and relief sets in. There's unresolved tension in that verse and it's really only apparent once you make it to the chorus. The bassline straightens out to steady eighthnotes and Lina gives us a vocal hook we can hang on to. The whoosh of guitar noise reminds us this is still indie territory, but when you get down to it, this is everything pop music should be. Nicely done.
Springfactory - Stingy Friday afternoon
Watch Peter Morén (Peter, Bjorn and John) play a cover of "Never my love" by The Association together with Carl Newman (New Pornographers): http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TXAga3Gcnxg
With their new EP out, favourite melodramatic Norwegians' keep showing their skill at crafting dark, dramatic rock songs with influences ranging from Krautrock to the Jesus and Marcy Chain and New Order. It's all very catchy and certainly a hit with anyone who's ever wanted to look "heroin chic", but just as with their debut album, the band continues their streak of horribly clichéd and pretentious lyrics. Their homepage describes them, without a hint of irony, as "a bunch of scuzzy, city crawling electronic rock deviants hooked on dark nights of depravity, Krautrock and literary Pornography." With lyrics such as "Take me down to the dreary basement where the sun never ever shines / and show me where you spent the days that killed the smile in your eyes" it's not surprising that the highlight of the record is actually the instrumental "Sleepless nights #11", which injects a dose of organ-driven melancholy (not unlike Det Gamla Landet) into the middle of the record.
- Viktor Ålander
This week's It's a trap! Last.fm/Audioscrobbler listening group top 10 artists of the week:
01. Bloc Party
02. The Shins
03. The Knife
04. The Arcade Fire
05. Death Cab for Cutie
06. Camera Obscura
07. The Radio Dept.
08. Bright Eyes
09. Of Montreal
10. Clap Your Hands Say Yeah
And the top 10 albums of the week:
01. The Knife – Silent Shout
02. Camera Obscura – Let's Get out of This Country
03. Bloc Party – Silent Alarm
04. The Radio Dept. – Pet Grief
05. The New Pornographers – Twin Cinema
06. Bloc Party – A Weekend In The City
07. The Arcade Fire – Neon Bible
08. The Pipettes – We Are the Pipettes
09. The Arcade Fire – Funeral
10. The Knife – Deep Cuts
If you listen to music on your computer or with an iPod, please join us! The more people that join, the more interesting our chart will be, the more interesting new music you'll discover. Go here to learn more: http://www.last.fm/help/
Swedish hip-hop artist Porno has confirmed that his second solo album "Out the wazooo" will be released on January 2. Download a preview clip here: http://Porno.trekant.se/files/Porno_-_Out_the_wazooo(Snippet).mp3
Heikki - Heikki 2 (A West Side Fabrication)
Imagine if Neko Case took on a more active roll with the New Pornographers and they might sound a bit like Heikki. Think power-pop with a distinct country influence and huge hooks throughout. In case you are unaware, Heikki is the side project of Maria Eriksson from The Concretes together with Jari Haapalainen from Bear Quartet. I actually like them quite a bit more than the former's main act, as the songs seems more developed, the playing and singing is stronger and the production is tighter. I'd prefer it if there were a few more uptempo tracks on the album, but there's still plenty to enjoy as is.
Imagine if Neko Case took on a more active roll with the New Pornographers and they might sound a bit like Heikki. Think power-pop with a distinct country influence and huge hooks throughout. In case you are unaware, Heikki is the side project of Maria Eriksson from The Concretes together with Jari Haapalainen from The Bear Quartet. I actually like them quite a bit more than the former's main act, as the songs seems more developed, the playing and singing is stronger and the production is tighter. I'd prefer it if there were a few more uptempo tracks on the album, but there's still plenty to enjoy as is.
- Avi Roig