Online music magazine based in Copenhagen, Denmark

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September 2013

ARTICLE: Haim – The days are long…..

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Sharing the chevelure and initial letters with Hanson, it should be obvious to draw a comparison between the boy band darlings of the 90’s and girl group Haim. Yet, there is an originality of difference between the two. Where Hanson obliged to the commercial conventions of popular music, Haim rather makes a virtue out of retaining their own original sound.

The signature elements of tom-tom drum fills, conspicuous guitar riffs and middle sister Danielle’s timeless vocal, the genealogy of which shows traces of Stevie Nicks (Fleetwood Mac), Tracey Thorn (Everything But The Girl) and Alanis Morrisette, indicates that the sisters respectfully recognize their influences, yet is also given the postmodern privilege of patterning the puzzle in new ways, most obvious in the at times unfavourable overtones of subsequent overdubbing.

Exactly the ratio between electronic and acoustic elements influences their sound for better or worse. Most recent single ‘The Wire’ serves to illustrate; if one listens to the more than a year old demo of the song on YouTube, you will hear a much more stripped down and less mastered version of the track than the official single released about a month ago. Though it might be put down to their choice of record label, that of international conglomerate Universal, the excessive postproduction appears a little redundant taking the sisters’ – all of whom are proficient on more than one instrument – musical mastery into consideration.

Growing up in a hypermusical family in San Fernando Valley, a place mostly known for its favourable weather conditions as well as being home to the adult industry, the girls’ talent is nature-given. Copenhagen concertgoers got more than a glimpse of this genetic coherence at the group’s August gig at Lille Vega, where the three sisters sang, played and charmed their way into the hearts of the crowd. Also the attendants got to have experience big sister Este’s (in)famous ‘bassface’ firsthand, the scapegoat of many a meme and gif, that in inscrutable ways probably has helped the group reach an even greater and perhaps unlikely audience.

With their debut album released today it seems like the perfect time after names like Twin Shadow, Kindness and Blood Orange have primed the ground and forefronted the turn towards the retro-sound of the late 70’s and 80’s. Likewise these acts, Haim represents a turn away from the pompous and perfectionism surrounding many artists on the contemporary music scene with their sympathetic and down-to earth attitude. A dimension in which they could actually resemble the Hanson-brothers.

Sleep Party People share ‘Here Today EP’

in New Music by

In November of last year Sleep Party People visited us at one of our studios in west Copenhagen on a damp-cold autumn morning to perform three tracks from their (then) recently released album We Were Drifting On A Sad Song. Head bunny Brian Batz has now made the audio from that session available to download via his Soundcloud as a celebration to his growing fan base. To download the three song Here Today EP click HERE

Watch the session in full below:

LIVE REVIEW: CSS, Rust, 27.09.2013

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Against unbelievable odds (an awful PA, miniscule room and a career largely built on one song), CSS managed to prevail. The Brazilian quintet played a short, 50 minute set, bringing a large quantity of punk brashness and wild enthusiasm to their particular brand of electro-rock. Singer Lovefoxxx made up for the shitty PA, which would have disgraced a 5-year-old’s birthday party, by inciting the crowd, sharing oddball linguistic insights (the main one being that “tak” is too short a word to express gratitude), and generally being very loveable. Chatting to her after the gig, next to the drawing of a slow loris riding a Christiania bike, I realized I’d spent the set trying to like the music as much as I liked the people making it. In a way CSS seem to run solely on an enthusiasm. No one can deny that even such a short set was full of some very unremarkable and very similar songs, but it’s hard to care about that. They appear amateur in a refreshing way, happy to be doing what they are doing.

I’ll be honest: I went to hear one song, and one song only. And when CSS played “Lets Make Love and Listen to Death from Above”, I was ready to forgive any inconvenience. Like Editors the night previous, they do rely heavily on certain musical styles and tropes, but CSS do so without cynicism. They are brash and, when considered soberly, almost irrelevant musically. But they are a party band,  no one has to consider them soberly.

LIVE REVIEW: Editors, Store Vega, 26.09.2013

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The few early birds at Store Vega are greeted with five Belgians singing in eerie harmony over a sparse rhythm section. Balthazar are a puzzling band. A naysayer would call them derivative, unoriginal, erratic. They seem to pinch from everyone and everywhere: the odd poppy bassline, occasional spaghetti western guitars, Bob Dylan-drenched lead vocals, chimes, a violin, big group choruses, tremolo picked guitars. On paper it sounds like awful cliché. But no matter how highly you choose to prize originality, Balthazar have an undeniable if elusive idiosyncrasy, and more importantly, a fantastic live sound. Songs that on record seem rather unremarkable, like “Sinking Ship”, completely transform on stage, in this case into a thundering, Bruce Springsteen chorus. Another name, another influence, I know, but certainly not a criticism. They are constantly surprising, veering in unexpected directions, always simple, but never facile or boring. Even with five people on stage, and countless musical influences, they are able to leave enough space in their sound for every instrument to be distinct and vital. They are, in this sense, quite the opposite of Editors, who will spend the next hour and a half filling up every space they possibly can.

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Not that the audience is exactly filling the place. The balcony section has been closed off due to low ticket sales, and the back of the room is less than packed. Perhaps the casual concert-goers were already satisfied with Editors’ performance only a few months ago in Tivoli. What the crowd lacks in numbers it makes up for in enthusiasm, as the cute-couple contingent at the front and the back-rows of post-punk veterans/old farts hail the headline act’s opener, “Sugar”. The ice machines and backlighting give the place a churchy feel, and I feel an infidel among the faithful. People around me are beaming, singing along, awkwardly trying to dance, fist-pumping, or being arseholes with their camera phones. Admittedly the band have a swagger I would never have expected from them, with Tom, the singer, making witchy hand gestures and bassist Russ constantly climbing onto the drum podium. And they do manage to make each song sound exactly like the album recordings. There is just something I’m just not getting.

It’s strange. After all, I was the perfect age when The Back Room first brought Editors to international fame. I used to mouth the words. These songs should make me nostalgic. This is the first gig of their new tour, and after having toured The Weight of Your Love extensively, this is a chance for the band to dip into their four albums at will. Indeed I get a twitch at the beginning of “Munich”, a slight tingle at “Bullets”, and I have the impression, probably wholly incorrect, that the rest of the audience reacts most strongly to the songs from the debut album. But I am constantly held back, no stage theatrics or sing-alongs carry me into the same state as the people around me.

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Halfway through the concert I move back to the old farts’ section, losing in sound quality, but making up for it with the sight of overweight, 60-year old men in New Model Army t-shirts making strange arm gestures at the blatant Echo and the Bunnymen ripoff opening riff to “A Ton of Love”. My god, they must have been my age when Ocean Rain was first released.

Why is it that I can defend Balthazar while being completely baffled by people’s love of Editors? It has nothing to do with considerations of originality, or even stealing sounds, but rather that the sounds Editors chose turned out to the ones I find least interesting about those post-punk bands we enjoy. There is no surprise, no subversion. Editors are a band guided by emotion, but evidently not one I happen to share. But it was exactly what a couple of hundred people in Vega wanted, so who can fault them that?

VIEW THE PHOTO GALLERY HERE

Editors | Store Vega, Copenhagen, 26.09.2013

in Photos by

Photos by Tom Spray (www.tom-spray.com)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Delorean | Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 25.09.2013

in Photos by

Photos by Jen Tse (www.jentse.com)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

A Place To Bury Strangers | Loppen, Copenhagen, 24.09.2013

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Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

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Listen to new track from MØ – “Never Wanna Know”

in New Music by

 has shared new track “Never Wanna Know” which is set to appear on her new EP Bikini Daze. The track has appear in MØ’s setlist throughout the year and has been a stand out hit in her live shows as a slower break-up ballad number.

Listen to the track below:

INTERVIEW: Au Revoir Simone

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A new album is out with dream pop trio Au Revoir Simone. Here Today met with Annie Hart prior to the bands rehearsal hour. Among other things we talked about the time that had passed, the title of the new album, Move In Spectrums, and cover art.

Ten years ago Erika Forster and Annie Hart met on train heading for New York. They shared a dream of an all-keyboard band. Fast forward two years and Au Revoir simone releases their first album: “Verses of Comfort, Assurance & Salvation”. Another two years: Second album “The Bird of Music”. Yet another two years: ”Still Night, Still Light”.

It seems like a pattern, but no. Four years has gone by and in world of pop-music that is quite a while, but to Annie Hall it did not seem so:

“After the release of Still Night, still Light we where on tour for about 2 years. At that time I got pregnant, still we kept touring until I was about 8 months in. I had the baby and still we where playing shows. About one and a half year ago we began making this record. So much has happen in between these two albums that it does not feel like four years has past.” says Annie Hart.

Doing those four years Au Revoir Simone have matured as songwriters. Move In Spectrums is honest album stripped from any attempts of being “poetic”, Annie Hart explains, but finding a title for the album was a challenge. Erica went away to a meditation retreat upstate in the woods.

“The yoga teacher mentioned we move in spectrums with our feelings. It is not all black and white, you are not really angry or really happy, but there is kind of spectrum. You can shift yourself along these lines, between these feelings; you don’t have to be happy or sad, you can be in the middle or leaning one way or the other like a meter.

When she said that frase – move in spectrums – we where like ‘that is the perfect title for a record’ and we all started jumping up and down,” recalls Annie Hart.

Bright neon colors

A spectrum can also be a spectrum of light – like a rainbow – and the band where looking for excactly that kind of cover. Something Pink Floydish like a prism, as Annie Hart puts it. They had their eyes on Berenice Abbott, a female photographer, that worked twenty years to “prove that photography was the medium uniquely qualified to unite art with science”, but when they found out, what it would cost to use her images, they began to look in other directions.

During that time photographer Amelia Bauer and flower arranger Elizabeth Parks Kibbey collaborated on a project called Book Of Shadowsa series of still lifes based on magic spells. Especially one of the photographs enticed the band because of the way it combined flowers and nature with bright neon colors and black.

Au_Revoir_Simone_Move_in_Spectrums

“We and really wanted to do something with bright neon colors for this record becuase we felt that this record felt more alive, present and vibrant than our records had in the past. We wanted more a direct, vibrant sensation and we thougth that that photograph was just so beautiful and that it captured that feeling,” says Annie Hart. 

Move In Spectrums is released today (23.09.2013). You can stream it at NPR

 

LIVE REVIEW: French Films, Ideal Bar @ Vega, Copenhagen, 19.09.13

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As I was walking to the train station today, I noticed something rather depressing and undeniable. Autumn is here. I’ve been denying this fact for about two weeks now, but this evening there’s no fighting it, I am cold. As I reach Ideal Bar in the Vega complex, the cold quickly melts away due to the body heat of the audience and warm up band, like a sticky, sweaty log fire. But the real warmth comes at 10pm, when French Films jump onto the stage (after roadying themselves), play a long reverberating note to bring everyone’s attention to the fact that they’re ready, and launch into their set of infectiously good, surf pop songs and rough, punky vocals.

From their new album ‘White Orchid’ comes the title track to start proceedings. It’s a solid track, it’s engaging a few people, but the general consensus appears to be that this is a song they don’t know, and therefore don’t especially care for. By comparison, the five piece then move on to “Take You With Me”, a decidedly more popular choice. Suddenly, the audience seem to have remembered why they came and are dutifully tapping their feet and nodding their heads. A few seem to be smiling. Better keep this up, boys.

As the gig continues, the kids onstage become increasingly peppy and sweaty, as do one group of particularly enthusiastic punters, waving their slick mop tops back at lead singer Johannes Leppanen, as he waves his. And the positivity of both the music and the young band onstage can’t be helped: the audience are enjoying themselves. It is impossible to stand and listen to a track like “Escape in the Afternoon”, and not feel perky, smile and move your feet. These three minute pop songs, with their expert melodies and riffs, effortlessly define the summer feeling, and Joni Kähkönen on guitar is proving particularly impressive tonight. Some Americans standing behind me are clearly a little perplexed as to why no one’s dancing along. I’m with you on that one.

As the band play “Golden Sea” towards the end of the set, a very cheesy montage of flashbacks from summer 2013 lodges itself into my mind. It’s lame, but I have to hand it to these five young guys for helping me end the season with a bang. “You Don’t Know” initially closes the gig with a big noisy finish. Classic. They hop back onstage for an encore, and play “Where We Come From”, from ‘White Orchid’. This time compared with the opening however, the audience are loving the new sound, and Leppanen crashes into the audience to join the mop tops down the front in gratitude. Finland is not a hot country. Neither is it especially sunny, from my understanding. It is ironic, therefore, that a band from Finland should play such sunny surf rock. Seriously, these guys sound like they just stepped off the plane from San Diego, with sand from the beach still stuck between their toes. Outside it may be Autumn, but inside, French Films’ feet are still firmly planted in summertime, and that’s a very good thing.

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