"If these are the last days of summer, do you sleep or stay awake?" I didn't think it was possible to have a worse summer than last year, but we did and now it's over. A last-gasp week of warmth followed by rain and that unmistakable chill that signals the beginning of the end. Even year it comes like a lion, falling almost squarely on the autumnal equinox. I actually recently loaded Seven Feet Four's classic "Departure/Arrival" album onto my mp3 player, but this selection from their final EP "To kill is easy" far more befits the changing of the season. Hard to believe it's six years old already, especially considering that hardly anyone has stepped up in their wake to strive for Swedish noiserock perfection. That is, aside from bands featuring ex-members. Whatever, I guess I'm just getting old; time to go to sleep.
Danish surf-rockers Tremolo Beer Gut cover fellow countrymates WhoMadeWho from their upcoming all-covers collection "Under the covers", due out in November via . Kind of a novelty tune, but hey, when you're dealing with an instrumental surf band, that's pretty much all you're gonna get. Still worth a listen though.
More pop from the archives. One thing I neglected to mention in that last post is how Spotify has affected by current listening habits. While I'm still spending way too much time listening to all the new releases that come my way, I'm mostly exploring the vast acres of music I could never get access to previously. There's still huge gaps in availability (no Bob Seger WTF? and howabout some more Finnish folk?), but there's more than enough good stuff to keep me satisfied for a long, long time. For instance, yesterday I spent a lot of time exploring the catalog, something I would have never enjoyed without shelling out top dollar for import CDs (I highly recommend "Vesper" by New Tango Orquestra). My cup runneth over; it's easy to become overwhelmed. But let us not forget the obscure hits of years past: Boys of Scandinavia do goth/wave-y/funky synth-pop like no other. Will they ever release a new record?
Most of my summer listening this year has been revisiting old favorites, partially because there's been few 2011 releases that have stuck with me, but also just because that's what summer is for. Also, as mentioned yesterday, I've also been listening to a lot of pop lately and there hasn't been much in that department that's blown me away recently except for maybe Kaka. And the new Kite, but we'll get to that eventually. What interests me most though, are the artists that didn't make a huge splash with me the first time around; instead, they lingered on the periphery until they eventually work their way into my permanent playlist. For instance: Moto Boy. I've always likedMoto Boy, but three years on I've finally realized that yes, I kinda actually do really love him/his music. The best pop music is always about the grand gesture and Oskar Humlebo's sweeping falsetto is a case study. Dunno why it took me so long to come around, but Moto Boy has staying power, a rarity in the endless stream of mediocrity.
Moto Boy - Love is the one thing you can't pretend
There's a lot to like about the new Firefox AK album "Color the trees", but "My sister and I" is a definite standout, the first tune that made a strong impression on me besides lead single "Boom boom boom". It's got a great moodiness to it, both in terms of melody and words, and I also appreciate how its relative sparseness provides contrast against many of the record's other tunes, especially in the drum sequencing. It's a detail I've been paying much more attention to as I've taken a renewed interest in pop as of late. It's always the little things that make the biggest difference.
Love, love love Huntsville and can listen to them pretty much endlessly. Their music lends itself to such applications very easily in fact. In the same way that Vladislav Delay with Moritz von Oswald Trio explores the sounds of minimalist drone/techno as a live band, so does Huntsville; albeit with a slightly more accentuated acoustic/jazz bent and less of the cold dubbiness. While active listening can be quite rewarding, I prefer to turn it up and let it effortlessly drift by. Before you realize it, this song (the title track of the band's latest album) will have passed you by and you'll be left wondering where the last 19 minutes went.
Sahara Hotnights have been sort of treading water with their last few records in the sense that they've all left me feeling little more than indifference, but their new self-titled release is a triumph. It's just so refreshing to hear a confident and mature rock record, something of a rarity nowadays. Also, as someone who used to bemoan the lack of youthful vigor so present in their early career, it's a pleasure to hear them move beyond. Inspiring even. Many bands don't make it past those awkward teenage years and, if they do, rarely do they come out on the other side with such grace. Kudos!
Still can't say that I'm all that interested in new/contemporary black metal, but give me some mid-tempo Bathory-style pummel infused with the coldness of Satyricon and I'll take it. Pretty sure the first vinyl run of the new Craft album "Void" is long-gone at this point, but maybe there's an obscuro distro out there with a copy or two left. Who knows? Not that I'm one to play the speculation game, but I bet it's worth grabbing if only just to flip at some point down the road.
I'm kind of obsessed with this song right now. It's not new, but it's new to me and I stumbled across it while falling down an extended EBM wormhole in my possibly misguided attempt to investigate new Swedish music of that genre. I say "misguided" because as much as I enjoy this stuff when it's done well, so so so SO much of it is absolute garbage and I've been let down too many times. Then there's the fact that if you get too self-conscious about how truly goofy this stuff can be -- for instance, I can think of at least three tunes that rip off Front 242's bounty hunter motif in their classic "Headhunter" -- it's very easy to write it off, but let's not go there. It's aggressive dance music, you should expect a certain amount of lunkheadedness. Autodafeh go the extra mile by demanding you to MOVE. The rhythmic heavy breathing is the icing on the cake. Turn it up and pretend you're this guy.
For some reason I can't explain, I keep reading Skraeckoedlan's name as Snackadolodon which makes me think of a Doritos-obsessed dinosaur or something, and while I suppose that is probably actually a-okay for a Swedish stonerrock band, I'm not sure that's the image they're going for. Anyhow, regardless of however you want to say their name and what images it may conjure, I can say for sure that these dudes bring the heavy with confidence and competence, just like you'd expect from anything -related. Nothing musically groundbreaking mind you, but I must say that I very much appreciate hearing a band like this singing in Swedish as opposed to repeating the same old tired desert/driving/party clichés so many others of their ilk wallow in. And if they are repeating the same stuff på Svenska, I remain blissfully ignorant.
John is pretty much dead on in his assessment of the new Iron Lamb. The fact that these reputably talented dudes are wasting time playing C-grade punk/metal/rock'n'roll must mean that they are having too good a time at it to self-reflect. They occupy the nebulous musical crossroads where those three genres meet and everything turns to garbage; many have tried to navigate these waters and many have failed. Iron Lamb are no different and we, the listeners, lose.
Starting with a sax squeal like a boiling kettle, this is the sound of keeping on keeping on, as performed by Kitchie Kitchie Ki Me O. That's what you do when your entire life has been devoted to rock'n'roll, as is most certainly the case for these dudes. They can kick up quite a racket too, especially on tunes like "Hey honey". Definitely not bowing out quietly, that's for sure.
Down with Norwegian right-wing extremists, up with Norwegian extreme death metal! It's impossible for me to articulate just how horrible last week's events make me feel. The best I can do is extend my deepest sympathies to the people of Norway along with everyone else affected by this tragedy.
As for Execration, there will not be a better death metal album released in 2011.
400+ tracks on shuffle and this is the very first one that plays as I leave my driveway to head out on vacation. Like it was meant to be. Now it's day two back at work and I'm buried deep with no sign of relief coming anytime soon, thinking back to my time on the coast and missing it dearly.