Pitchfork reviews the deluxe reissue of ABBA's final album "The visitors", giving it a coveted "best new reissue" tag: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16577-the-visitors-deluxe-edition/
Built on a Weak Spot has a good summation of the new Forkboy discography collection released by : http://builtonaweakspot.com/post/22701681436/forkboy-1993-1999
For anyone who hasn't heard of Stavanger quartet Vaiping, the album title should at least give the genre away. In keeping with the tradition of the industrial movement this whole work just oozes odd. It's like a mix of Kraftwerk and Die Krupps, only without the innovation or variation of either. That said, "Industrial workers of the world unite" does have some inspired moments and some of the passages are incredibly well constructed and memorable. That the vast majority of the album runs on a slow-to-mid tempo is a two-sided coin of sorts. Firstly, that tempo serves to initiate a hypnotic feeling that staves off any real desire to switch off when boredom threatens to set in. On the other hand, the repetition does induce a certain apathy toward the album as a whole and this tends to overshadow the fact that the overall dismal feel here is quite unique and disturbing. Closing track "Pie in the sky" is a welcome surprise that pricks up tired ears and it's more of this type of variation throughout the album that would have made it killer. There's something captivating about the overall dark image that Vaiping convey but that doesn't mean that "Industrial workers of the world unite" is an essential purchase. The key word here is "potential".
- John Norby
Variety reviews the Finnish punk doc "Kovasikajuttu" aka "The Punk Syndrome", a film I've been very interested in seeing for a long time: http://www.variety.com/review/VE1117947508/
For more info, hit up the official website here.
Pitchfork says the new Wolfbrigade album "Damned" is a solid effort: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16575-damned/
PopMatters gives a middling review to the latest Ane Brun record "It all starts with one": http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/156587-ane-brun-it-all-starts-with-one/
Heaps upon heaps of mellotron combined with heavy prog rock guitars and emotional vocals ensure that this debut by the Norwegian six piece is firmly ensconced in the retro catalogue. This is proggy folk rock at its most haunting and with an eerie cinematic feel in its instrumental passages that would sit well in any psychological horror. The "out in nature" aspect of this album with its extensive use of field recordings works in places but fails in others -- such as in the pot-of-boiling-potatoes of "In the woods". A lot of the music itself is quite reminiscent of the likes of fellow countrymen Arcturus or Enslaved with the heavier guitar parts very like the stoned tree-hugging brother of the former's "Sideshow symphonies". To hear that style in such a different setting is refreshing for someone who is familiar with any of Arcturus' material and, likewise, prog fans who enjoy "In the mist of morning" could do worse than check out "Sideshow...". The only problem is that once the comparison is in there, that's all you can hear. On the whole, however, this is one stormer of a debut that stands up well alongside classic releases from the famed Swedish bands of yesteryear such as Anekdoten and Änglagård.
- John Norby
This album in one sentence: Crusty grindcore d-beat from Bergen that sounds like crusty grindcore d-beat from everywhere else in Scandinavia. "Livstid" is a decent example of how all the good albums in this genre sound, although it is a genre that's severely marred by its limited scope for experimentation. That limitation inevitably means that the mark of a good album within this Skitsystem-ruled world is simply the ability to keep up with the Joneses. It also means that unless you're either a devoted follower of all things crust or someone brand new to the genre, pretty much everything will sound the same to you. "Livstid" is a little cleaner and makes more use of melody than a lot of the stuff out there and there's enough tempo variation within the album to keep it interesting, but it's still predominately blistering fast and nasty, like all of these albums are. If that's your bag and you're either the devotee or the novice, you'll dig it.
- John Norby
The New York Times reports back from seeing Refused live at Terminal 5 (but not at the afterparty): http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/25/arts/music/swedish-punk-band-refused-at-terminal-5.html?_r=2
Finnish artists Huoratron and Mirel Wagner plus Swedish expat Theresa Andersson all have new albums profiled in the New York Times: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/04/22/arts/music/new-releases-from-huoratron-mirel-wagner-theresa-andersson.html?_r=3
It's a rare occasion that an album as strong as "Turn me on" comes along -- seemingly out of nowhere -- and presents itself as an almost perfect collection of tunes that showcases the work of a true songwriting genius. I say seemingly out of nowhere because for the sheer productivity of Katharina Nuttall as an artist, composer and producer the Swede has by and large flown under the musical radar in terms of global recognition of the level that she deserves. "Turn me on" is an album brimming with emotion, with Nuttall's beautiful-yet-uneasy vocals perfectly complimenting the haunting music that they accompany. With slight nods toward Neil Young, Mazzy Starr and U2 in places (for examples try "Falling down", "Bricks" and "Play" respectively), Nuttall manages to reference a variety of artists throughout the album, although all brought together in a style unique to herself. That said, "Turn me on" offers a distinct familiarity for those of you who have heard Sweden's Paatos or America's 27 (two sublime bands in their own right) sounding off like a darker amalgam of the two. That Nuttall has created a body of work reminiscent of the best of both of the aforementioned is testimony to just how moving "Turn me on" actually is. The great travesty in all of this is that it probably still won't get the level of recognition that it deserves.
- John Norby
Pitchfork gives high marks to Opeth's recent slew of reissues: http://pitchfork.com/reviews/albums/16524-blackwater-park-legacy-edition-deliverance-reissue-damnation-reissue-lamentations-reissue/
The Silent Ballet reviews the new self-titled album from Norwegian postrockers The Samuel Jackson Five: http://thesilentballet.com/reviews/2012/04/the-samuel-jackson-five-the-samuel-jackson-five
PopMatters reviews Swedish duo We Are Serenades' debut full-length "Criminal heaven": http://www.popmatters.com/pm/review/156942-we-are-serenades-criminal-heaven/