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December 2014

Albums of the year 2014

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Swans-To-Be-Kind

Swans – To Be Kind

After thirteen studio albums, Swans have not diluted their power or talent one bit. But somehow, since their rekindling in 2010, they have become more popular. To Be Kind is just as provocative and challenging as Swans’ early material, with half-an-hour-long songs like “Bring the Sun/Touissant Overture” and off-kilter oddities like “A Little God in My Hand”, but the sound and instrumentation has matured, becomings both less distorted and somehow more dissonant. As we witnessed in November, Swans are still a brutally loud and relentless live band, a constant provocation to audience and peers, and much loved because of it. – CC


 møMØ – NoMythologies To Follow

Karen Marie Ørsted is my hero. My braid swinging, ex-punk rocker, stage diving hero. I remember the first time I listened to one of MØ’s tracks, loading up Spotify and finding myself blasting ‘Pilgrim’ and ‘Let The Youth Go Mad’ for hours on end and wondering how one individual could contain quite so much effortless cool. She was the Danish alternative pop princess I’d been waiting for, ready to join a royal court populated by Björk, Kate Bush and Lana Del Rey. I waited for No Mythologies To Follow for over a year, as singles like ‘Glass’ and ‘XXX 88’ trickled out from MØ HQ. I was delighted to find that the debut album did not disappoint, as Ørsted shared something that was exciting, thematic, beautiful and most importantly, sounds fucking fantastic. From the first time I heard it, I knew that No Mythologies… was my album of the year. – HT


WhatIsThisHeartHow To Dress Well – What Is This Heart?

Tom Krell’s third album What Is This Heart touches on lighter subjects than his previous two albums Total Loss (2012) and Love Remains (2010). Not one to shy away from touching personal matters, the album starts off with ‘2 Years On (Shame Dream)’ and leads you softly into a journey that expands an extremely vivid personal dream about his family. ‘Face Again’ the stand out single along with ‘Repeat Pleasure’ work in his signature indie R&B coupled with stunning falsetto which leave you questioning how these tracks aren’t further up the charts. WITH takes a turn with grand orchestral ‘Pour Cyril’ before leading into cute power pop ballads ‘Very Best Friend’ and ‘Precious Love’ proving key changes are making a come back! – TS


 Angel OlsenAngel Olsen – Burn Your Fire For No Witness

The most immediately striking thing about Angel Olsen is her voice, a voice that could easily croon country hits but instead lopes over scruffy, dampened guitars. Her voice alone should earn her and Burn Your Fire for No Witness a place in hearts and best-of lists, but what really makes Burn Your Fire… so special is that it’s wholly intuitive. Olsen’s second full length album is her first with a full band, and it’s the album her debut hinted she was capable of making. She hasn’t abandoned minimalist solo tracks, but she balances them against full-band arrangements. And it’s not just the range of her voice that’s striking but it’s incredible malleability; that it’s raw yet gentle, that it jumps from disaffected to emotive from one line to another, that it rasps and twangs with equal affect. And while she’s not too proud to pay homage to the ‘90s on “Forgiven/Forgotten” and “High and Wild,” these frazzled moments give way easily to stark folk ballads. The album comes down so slowly that by the time you’ve reached the hushed conclusion of “Windows” there’s a sense of catharsis. Burn Your Fire… doesn’t just leave you feeling satisfied, but completed. – AF


 sharon van ettenSharon Van Etten  – Are We There

Somewhere in Tennessee there is apparently an ex-boyfriend of Sharon Van Etten who, during their relationship, kept telling her that her music was terrible. There is a lesson to be learned here.
“Are We There” is one of those records that grows on you. There is something extremely vulnerable and honest about Sharon Van Etten’s song writing and performance on stage. Her voice has depth which is completed by the unique vocal harmonies with Heather Woods Broderick. As Sharon Van Etten told The New York Times when she released her previous album “Tramp”, she does not really consider them harmonies: “I just hear two notes at once — I just hear two melodies.” – MK


6) East India YouthTotal Strife Forever
7) IceagePlowing Into The Fields Of Love
8) Scott Walker and SunnO)))Soused
9) Tune-yardsNikki Nack
10) The War On DrugsLost In A Dream
11) Future IslandsSingles
12) Sleep Party PeopleFloating
13) FKA TwigsLP1
14) EagullsEagulls
15) St. VincentSt. Vincent
16) Alt-JThis Is All Yours
17) Wild BeastsPresent Tense
18) Mac DeMarcoSalad Days
19) Ice Cream CathedralSudden Anatomy
20) Lana Del ReyUltraviolence
21) Get Your GunThe Worrying Kind
22) SpoonThey Want My Soul
23) WarpaintWarpaint
24) Shiny DarklyLittle Earth
25) BeyoncéBeyoncé

LIVE REVIEW: Run the Jewels, Pumpehuset, 19.12.2014

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Photo by Tom Spray

Killer Mike and El-P’s three year bromance culminated in 2014 with the release of Run the Jewels 2, widely regarded as the best hip-hop album of the year. The look of pride and gratitude on El-P’s face is evident even at the back of the packed room at Pumpehuset. Half-serious, half-clowning around, there is a rare chemistry between the two men, bouncing onto the stage in well-deserved celebration to the sound of “We are the Champions”.

As a reflection of the year, RTJ2 is not a subtle album but a bold one, dealing with the contradictions of being at the top just as the fraught tensions inherent in the American justice system flared up again. Though the mood of these tracks is intense, what sets them apart is the lyrical approach taken by Killer Mike and El-P. For every classic boast (“I fuck and rap/  I tote the strap, I smoke the kush, I beat the puss”) there is a moment of brutal tenderness (“And I pray today ain’t the day you drag me away/ Right in front of my beautiful son”).

These contradictions might not be as evident in the live show, but the level of energy more than makes up for it. The audience know every hook, making the signature fist and gun sign whenever they aren’t busy out-jumping each other. There is a relationship between artist and audience that is unseen in other genres, a commitment, in the words of Killer Mike, to “burn this motherfucker down.”

Though most of the set is based around the latest album, there are some choice selections from their 2013 effort, including the seasonally-appropriate “A Christmas Fucking Miracle”. And after the party it’s time to hip RapGenius.

Photos of the year 2014

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The Rolling Stones (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

It has been a busy year for Here Today. During 2014 our photographers and journalists covered Roskilde FestivalNorthside FestivalTrailerpark FestivalWasn’t Born To Follow (a mini festival by Smash! Bang! Pow!), as well as over 50 live shows with artists like St. VincentSwansAngel OlsenSharon Van EttenThe War On DrugsMac DemarcoCommunionsFirst HateLower, and many more.

We have put together a selection of the best photos of the year 2014. It has not been easy. Some stood out, though, like the picture below of Perfect Pussy; a picture that captures the raw energy of the show while still being very carefully composed and a perfect example of Henry Cartier Bresson’s concept of the decisive moment.

Perfect Pussy (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh / mortenkrogh.com)Perfect Pussy | Wasn´t Born To Follow, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Another amazing photo is the one of Damon Albarn (by Tom Spray) spitting water at the audience at Roskilde Festival. The crowd, the big empty space and the solitary figure (Damon) at the edge of the stage in a defiant stance; it is a picture with allegorical qualities, one that can make you mind wander.

Damon Albarn (Photo by Tom Spray)

Damon Albarn | Roskilde Festival, Arena Stage (Photo by Tom Spray)

Then there is Morten Aagaard Krogh‘s photograph of the The Rolling Stones (at the top of this post) from when the band played the legendary Orange Stage at Roskilde Festival, a stage that has come to symbolize the festival. The Orange Stage was originally made for The Rolling Stones’s 1976 Summer tour, but in 1978 it was sold to Roskilde Festival. For the first time since 1976 The Rolling Stones where reunited with their old stage. It was also the first time they played Roskilde Festival. James Hjertholm’s photo of Hexis’s leadsinger Filip Andersen is also very powerful and last, but not least, there is a whole gallery of photos (at the bottom of the page) that are equally great.

Hexis (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Hexis | Roskilde Festival, Rising Stage (Photo by James Hjertholm)

See the gallery with Here Today’s photos of the year 2014 below.

The gallery features photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com), Tom Spray (tom-spray.com), James Hjertholm (jameshjertholm.com), Ivan Boll (ivanrb.dk) and Jonas Bang (jonasbang.com).

All images are copyright of the individual photographers.

LIVE REVIEW: Julian Casablancas + The Voidz, Store Vega, 16.12.14

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Julian Casablancas is one of those 00’s indie heroes stuck between rock god status and being an unfortunate, talented soul desperately trying to cling onto the hype of the past by offering up repeatedly sub-standard new material. And who can blame him? When you write the record of the decade, maintaining your rep can be tricky. Casablancas’ latest effort with The Voidz (slightly impudently called Tyranny) feels rather like this, with unmoving melodies and only glimmers of promise that feel distinctly Strokes-esque. But as the unkempt and floppy haired band take the record live, Casablancas manages to convince me a little bit more, albeit slowly, of the record’s validity.

The attraction of The Strokes is their raw energy, the ability to shout and power up their audience and listeners. It is strange and perhaps even uncomfortable to see Casablancas play without this backdrop, to a record that is, for the most part, messy, incoherent and dull. On a Tuesday night, his chances of rousing a sleepy Danish audience are tested. Casablancas himself seemed confused at the lack of enthusiasm, asking “What, is it Sunday night with you guys, or what’s going on?” It’s at this point that some of the crowd inside Store Vega sheepishly look at the shoes, and feel obliged to get a bit more into proceedings, whilst others look pissed off and go and wallow their sorrow in Tuborg. Tyranny highlight ‘Where No Eagles Fly’ excites the audience a little more, but it is ’11th Dimension’ from Casablancas’ 2009 solo album Phrazes for the Young which really sees the band and audience express the energy expected for this kind of artist. Suddenly the pocket of die-hard Strokes fans (wearing merch, of course) who are putting their arms above their heads and falling over spread through the front of the venue. The crowd looks like it’s really enjoying itself for a brief glimmer. “Mange tak” says Casablancas, before suggesting they “get back to business” by performing ‘Business Dog’ from the new album.

The Tyranny tracks have received a much needed small injection of energy. It seems as though this is a record which works far better live when the band makes an effort. The frontman suddenly changes his tune to tell the audience that it’s an “honour” to play for them. But it’s still not much. Many exit the venue before the encore, which features The Strokes track ‘I’ll Try Anything Once’. Casablancas and a synth express some half-hearted feeling to complete a half-arsed gig, and the band bow out of their European tour.

VIDEO PREMIERE: RA – Prism (Trentemøller remix)

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RA

Earlier this month we had the pleasure to premiere RA ‘Prism (Trentemøller remix)’ from their latest EP ‘Remixes’. Since then things have been moving fast. RA has been named one of the most relevant bands in 2015 by Nordic by Nature and Hype Machine are also on to them. Well, not to mention they now have a video out for RA ‘Prism (Trentemøller remix)’ and here it is:

RA – Prism (Trentemøller Remix) (Video Edit) from Adrian Recordings on Vimeo.

RA will be going to Japan in January where where they will be playing  U.F.O Club in Tokyo Shimokitazawa on the 7/1 2015 and Daisy Bar in Tokyo Suginami-ku on the 8/1 2015. The band will play one show in Stockholm before they are off to Japan. That will be in Debaser Strand on the 26/12 2015.

 

INTRODUCING: We Like We

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We Like We produce experimental chamber pieces that manage to allude to the works of minimalist composers like Arvo Pärt and Steve Reich while retaining the spirit of independent music. The Copenhagen-based quartet, consisting of violin, cello, vocals and percussions, meld the technical virtuosity of their respective classical backgrounds with a good ear for harmonics, dissonance and rhythmic dexterity, wonderfully captured on their debut release “a new Age of Sensibility”, released by The Being Music.

Though recently formed, We Like We are no strangers to the Danish music scene, having played their first live performance alongside Efterklang at Frost Festival in 2013. The release concert for their album will take place at Københavns Musikteater on December 16.

AUDIO PREMIERE: RA – ‘PRISM’ (TRENTEMØLLER REMIX)

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RA

Malmö-based RA is yet further proof that Copenhagen is not the only Scandinavian city that can turn out that sought-after ‘nordic noir’ punk. The band, who recently played at Roskilde Festival and Copenhagen Psych Fest, formed in 2012. Their music is dark, driven by guitar and bass  and likened to acts like Brian Jonestown Massacre. Ra has released both and 10″ and a 7″ records and will be releasing their debut album in mid 2015.

RA’s latest release is entitled “Remixes” and features, appropriately enough, remixes from Trentemøller, Noe Spagato, Myth and Bam Spacey. It was released on vinyl on the first of  December (it will be released on digital the 29th of December). The first single is called “Prism (Trentemøller remix)” .

LIVE REVIEW: Samaris, Ideal Bar, 02.12.2014

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Winter has fallen suddenly on Copenhagen. It’s only in the last week that the temperature dropped those crucial few degrees to make it feel properly cold, that the wind picked up enough to make the cold really bite, that everyone has been chased indoors.

So people clustering themselves in Ideal Bar to see Icelandic trio Samaris seems wholly appropriate on different levels. People are sitting on the floor in a ring, leaving walking space between themselves and the stage. The band, with their downtempo music and gentle movements, inspire similarly subdued reactions from those who are standing. There is no threat of anyone getting stepped on — so much the better for those who have taken off their shoes.

Even though Samaris build their songs around loops and echos like an aural reflecting pool, there is a decided ambient quality to their music. The sounds produced from the table of gadgets manipulated by a floppy-haired boy are mostly subdued, lulling, and even when the beats kick in it’s all very relaxing. The conflicting pattern in “Lifsins Ólgusjór” unfortunately demonstrates how delicate the balance is, how easy it is to throw off the groove, but things fall back into step.

The one other instrument, a clarinet — also looped and delayed — provides an organic counterpoint to the electronics, and to synthesizers in general. It’s really an under-utilized instrument in alternative music. When the electronics angle towards noise, the clarinet is lost, and that applies to the vocals as well. But these are clearly strategic decisions, and singer Jófrídur’s voice is mostly up to the challenge.

What is it about Iceland that produces singers with voices that are atmospheric in their own right? Jófrídur could be the linch pin that pulls the electronics and the clarinet together, but then it all feels like it’s been perfectly slotted together. The sense of what’s been scaled down from what could be — kimonos instead of costumes, fake yoga poses instead of choreography, a cosy bar instead of a theatre — is still tailored specifically to this experience. That if we’re going to sequester ourselves from dark and cold, minimal, chilled out electronica is exactly what should soundtrack the escape. It’s going to be a long winter, and this is a good way to ease into it.

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