Online music magazine based in Copenhagen, Denmark

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March 2015

LIVE REVIEW: Jessica Pratt, Stengade, 28.03.2015

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Jessica Pratt (Press Photo)

Although the heavy wear on the floorboards shows that this space is more than a jar for fireflies, the size of Spillestedet, Stengade’s main room, probably doesn’t exceed that of your average middle class apartment. For Jessica Pratt, whose recent LP On Your Own Love Again was almost entirely recorded in her bedroom, it’s a good setup.

Same goes for warm-up act Cian Nugent, an instrumental guitarist out of Ireland. It feels like a school dance with a wide open space in the middle of the floor as Nugent steps around a cute couple sitting on the edge of the stage to begin his acoustic set, which garners little reaction, if any, from anyone. This is partly due to the fact that Nugent is a noodler — a highly skilled one, but a noodler nontheless — and it’s difficult to tell whether he’s actually starting something. He specializes in vast-feeling folk compositions that occasionally get lyrical accompaniment but are more often built upon with these impressive technical flourishes. One moment he’s picking through the spectrum of a particularly pretty chord and the next he’s ripping a brassy tone straight out of the Chuck Berry book of licks. And in those moments it may be a secret that his songs do follow some sort of blueprint. I only get smart to it 25 minutes in when I notice myself hanging on every note. Nugent eventually gains the respect of the room, which is about three-thirds full by the time he politely says, “See ya later.”

If you weren’t near the front row just 15 minutes later, you probably didn’t see Jessica Pratt take the stage because you couldn’t for the head of someone’s boyfriend who decided to stand directly in front of you. At this point the place is packed and stays that way for the rest of the show.

While Pratt’s set is certainly one you want to be there for, it’s one of those shows you can content yourself with just listening. Pratt is “the darling in a hidden shroud” from her opener “Wrong Hands,” both in text and performance. The minimal lighting amounts to the stage being washed in a dark green cloud of dry ice. In the middle of it is Pratt, plucking away at patterns “in my mind, in my mind.”

But that doesn’t mean she’s simply turning over recorded material for us. She’s joined by Cyrus Gengras, another musician quietly based in Los Angeles. On “Night Faces,” the clean sound from his electric guitar swells to bring out the warmth of Pratt’s intricate acoustic phrasing, which could otherwise just as easily fade into the knot of some emotive chord. It’s dream pop at the ground level, where the reverb is still cave deep and the melodies clear like emeralds. But you can’t deny the tenderness with which Pratt and Gengras hold every note. That’s where we are, through to the end of the set, in the palms of their hands. Listen and you’ll hear it, during the encore, in the very last song, “What I have in my hands is, it is worth a million in gold.”

AUDIO: The Soft Moon ‘Deeper’

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Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

Post-punk on peyote, maybe? Descriping The Soft Moon is not an easy task. Being the brain child of singer-songwriter Luis Vasquez, the synth-based project is minimal, yet challenging. You can now stream the new album ‘Deeper’ at NPR – and make sure to get tickets for their concert at Loppen in May: Soft Moon live at Loppen in Copenhagen on May 20th 2015

INTERVIEW: Jenny Wilson

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Jenny Wilson (photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

It’s ten years since Jenny Wilson released her debut album, Love and Youth, and to commemorate the occasion she’s playing the album in full from beginning to end at four dates, including Skuespilhuset on 19 April.

Jenny’s style has shifted significantly in the last ten years, and revisiting Love and Youth means looking back at a different way of playing, and songs that have been missing from her set for years.

We met up with Jenny at Harbo Bar in Nørrebro at the end of January to talk about Love and Youth, her creative process, and what she’s working on now.

Are you looking forward to the anniversary shows?

It’s going to be exciting. It’s strange when ten years suddenly has passed. It was just the other day I actually went back to that album and listened to everything. Because normally I never go back to my albums. I never listen to them. It was actually [my manager] Jessica who suggested — I think it was maybe six months ago — we should do something because it’s ten years, “Oh no, I don’t want to go back to that! Oh no. No, no no no.”

I was getting stressed, “Oh no, now I have to rearrange the songs so they will be more up to date to what I’m doing right now.” Because what I’m doing right now is quite far from what I did back then. But now I’m actually beginning to embrace the old, and I can see that there is a reason to do it as it was back then. The original versions. I’m going to that.

Are there any songs that you haven’t played in a while?

I’ve played I think three songs the last five years from the first album. The rest is something that I haven’t been in contact with for a very long time. But now I listen to the songs and I read the lyrics and I start to remember how to play guitar. I played guitar live when I was touring Love and Youth, and I started playing keyboard and piano with the next album, and now I’m just playing a bit of synthesizer. So now I have to learn to play guitar again.

Do you feel that your relationship to the songs has changed, like a different person wrote them?

Oh yeah. Very much. But what I discovered now when I returned to Love and Youth again is that I think the songs are closer to me now again than they were maybe five years ago. I was pretty scared that I would think the songs to be childish or just stupid. I didn’t find them stupid or childish, actually. It’s definitely another chapter in my life, but I still feel for these songs, I can still sing the lyrics without feeling ashamed.

(Photos by Morton Aagaard Krogh)
(Photos by Morton Aagaard Krogh)

I imagine you wouldn’t feel ashamed about listening to someone else’s record you loved from 10 years ago.

If you’re an artist or a writer or doing anything creative, you need to just proceed and go forward and not look back too much, because if you look back, you won’t make anything new. I mean ten years — pretty much anything can happen in ten years. When I wrote my debut album, I only had one son, now I have two. I was still so much closer to the person I was as a teenager, even if I was at the end of my twenties. But now I’m turning 40 this year, and my first-born son, he’s 13 and he has feet like this [makes hand gesture], and I have one more son, he’s eight, so it’s like, during these ten years, I’ve become a much more — I don’t know how to say it — a much more rich person, both in my private life and also as an artist. I think I have much more insight in life. I’ve been sick twice during these years, had breast cancer, I’ve gone through a lot of stuff that has really shaped me. I think I was much more loose. I was much more of a child still, even if I was an adult.

What was the writing process like for Love and Youth?

It was a lot of trial and error. I had to invent the wheel, because I was sitting in a closet in my apartment and I had to learn everything from scratch. I had a past in a band and we made some records. I’d been through the recording process before, but this time I did it in a completely different way. I learned how to program beats and to record. It wasn’t comfortable. It was far from easy to do it. That was also the challenge in it, that I had to. I had to twist and turn everything to find my own language and my own sound. I really wanted to do something that I hadn’t tried before. I was working very, very fast, just playing around with whatever came up to my mind, because I was so liberated by the feeling of being the only one in charge. I didn’t have to ask anyone for permission to do anything, no democracy here, it was just me. And I really loved that, so I was experimenting a lot.

But with the lyrics, I was much more determined to stick to one subject, stick to a topic, and I was working very hard with getting that universe together. Many songs had other lyrics from the start, but then I changed it, because I saw this theme coming up. I thought it was a very interesting way of working to actually have one subject that you have to dig deep into and you have to describe feelings and and situations from new angles. I really, really love to work like that. That’s the method I have been doing for all my records after that. I always search for a very long time for this subject.

What has changed about how you work?

I’m much more of a professional now. I don’t have to try all the spices, I know that I can stick to salt and pepper. For my last album, Demand the Impossible, I worked very much alone for a year to find my universe and to find the sounds and to find how to produce it. But then I actually worked with two other persons, my drummer and a real sound engineer. I’m not a real sound engineer at all. Which is okay. But I really wanted to do it in another way. Also because of speeding up the process a little bit, because it takes a long time to do everything yourself. It was much more fun, and I think I you can feel that there’s a lot more energy on my last record than the first because it’s a collaboration with other human beings.

I think in many ways my process has been the same in these ten years. I’m a very solitary writer. I don’t want anyone to interrupt me in the beginning because I need to find — I call it “universe” because it’s like I need to create a place. It’s like creating a map where you know all the streets and you know the language and you know all the dangerous parts, you know all the good parts, all the beautiful parts, and that’s what I do when I create a record. I really need to understand my little world. Because when I do understand it, I can write lyrics that come from a completely new angle. And also the music gets more original, I think.

You just put out an album last year, but are you working on anything new?

I have not started to record anything new at all. I’m in this phase where you think that you don’t have any ideas, that you think that you will never, ever do a record again, but I know this phase. I feel completely secure in this phase now because I’ve been through it so many times. This is the first stage of starting to collect material or ideas.

I’m working with Love and Youth, I’m going to rerelease the album on vinyl with a new cover which is a kind of pastiche of the original cover that an amazing Swedish artist has made. I’m working with the shows, I have to get into that old universe again. I’m also writing poetry. I’m trying to make a collection of poetry. We’re going to release Demand the Impossible in the rest of the world now. I’m going to make a video for a new single. I’ve started to direct my own videos, which I really enjoy.

Do you have a very strong visual idea when you’re writing?

Yes I do. That’s part of actually building this world. I started to do this when I worked on my second album, Hardships: I have a file on my computer where I collect a lot of pictures. On the file for Demand the Impossible, I found pictures of graffiti, deserts, things that actually matter to me. Maybe that’s not the images somebody else sees when they hear my music, but it’s still important to have these images.

Do you write music then lyrics?

I begin with searching for something, and that can go on actually for some years in the back of my head. I’m doing other things, but something is happening. Then I start to record stuff. Usually, almost every time, it starts with the beats. Then I make some kind of melody for the voice, but I often don’t have any lyrics. I sing in some strange English, but just so I get the rhythm and then I start to produce and compose the songs. In the very very very end of the process, I write the lyrics. Often when I just play around with words, it’s strange how actually, even if I just sing out of the blue, there’s always several words that I actually stick to because they had something to do with it. I didn’t have a clue when I just sat there and sang but then I could see, “Ah! Okay!” It’s a kind of puzzling.

Do you think the songs from Love and Youth will feature more in future sets?

Probably we will pick some songs in our two-hour sets. But you never know. I’m really looking forward to playing these songs again. They’re really good pop songs, actually.

LIVE REVIEW: Dean Blunt, Jazzhouse, 20.03.2015

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Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

 

The first thing you need to know about going to see Dean Blunt live is that you are not going to see much of old Blunters himself. Shrouded in a heavy swirl of dry ice, the London producer’s presence is only intuited though his downbeat vocals and a baseball cap emerging from the cloud. It is only through the magic of our photographer’s x-ray camera that I find out, a day later, that there was someone standing behind Dean Blunt.

This air of mystery and intensity is at odds with the mood of the opening band, Danish r’n’b act Liss, consisting of Søren Holm, Villads Tyrrestrup, Vilhelm Strange and Tobias Laust. Their sound draws on everything from the Police to R. Kelly, 90s UK garage, 80s funk, though judging by their appearance they are far too young to have experienced any of those artists at first hand. Boasting an impressive rhythm section and good vocalist, the band look to be the Scandinavian answer to the colourful nostalgia of Mark Ronson and Bruno Mars.

Dean Blunt Jazzhouse-7564

If you came to Copenhagen’s Jazzhouse in the hope of spending some time in the often lush eccentricities of Dean Blunt’s critically-acclaimed Black Metal, then you were woefully ill-prepared for this gig. Blunt and his ghostly gang begin with the first couple of tracks from the album, “Lush” and “50 cent”, beset by technical problems (something to do with the microphone cable by the sound of it), which added a tense quality to his chanted vocals. Most of the sounds are produced by a sampler, but these sound oddly compressed. The effect is less cinematic than the album, but also more surreal.

The glint of metal from a saxophone is briefly visible on stage before the lights all go off and the group launches into “Grade”, which mutates into a ten-minute soundscape of explosions and tortured sax squeals. It is roughly at this point that I remember having seen two odd shapes at the front of the stage while the crew was setting up. They are revealed to be strobe lights, directed directly into the audience’s eyes, unleashed on us for the last 20 or so minutes of the set. To be perfectly honest I spent most of that time trying to decipher the alien messages hidden in the strobe sequences, and therefore found it hard to concentrate on what songs were being played. I do recall a girl standing behind me singing the bass-line to “Punk” with both hands covering her eyes.

Though the above description sounds rather too much like a form of psychological torture, it’s undeniable that Dean Blunt takes the live experience seriously. His presence/absence on stage, the confrontational lighting, can be seen as dedication to providing his audience with a dramatic experience, though not an easy one to explain.

Sónar Festival Day 2, Koncerthuset, 14.03.2015

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Night two of Sónar is a very different experience from the first night. If the opening night was experimental music with a lot of physical breathing room for the audience, then night two is closer to a rave with wall-to-wall people wanting to dance. In some ways it’s more of a festival — longer queues for drinks and to get into rooms to the see different acts — but there’s also just the feel of it being a Saturday night, and of everyone abandoning themselves to whatever consequences will come Sunday morning.

 Words by Amanda Farah and Alex Maenchen.

October Dance — 19:30

The ‘80s were kind of cool, you guys. It’s a secret that everyone knows and it’s the basic ethos by which the fresh-faced youngsters from October Dance live and die. Stuck in the early 19:30 slot on the SonarDome stage Saturday night and fronted by Michael Cera’s mustache from Youth in Revolt, these guys have no right being as good as they are. The Danish trio, supported by rhythm keys and bongos, serve up big art pop straight out of the Peter Gabriel school of sledgehammer synths, with frequent, feverish detours into back alleys in search of manhole covers that gush out the most steam. After the fourth modulated keyboard solo in as many songs, however, a lyric by Echo and the Bunnymen comes to mind: “First I’m gonna make it/then I’m gonna break it/till it falls apart.” It’s dance. Dance. Dance. Dance. Alternately, you can put on a headband and watch a tennis ball machine spit balls at a wall for 40 minutes and you get the same effect. —AM

Kwamie Liv — 20:00

Kwamie Liv’s set is a lot like 5 a.m. The stage is washed in an opaque, bluish light and someone’s left it to the iTunes visualizer to run the show. It feels like the wrong time to show up, but there’s a sizable crowd. Liv is barely a silhouette in the fog, which suits her just fine. The soulful opener is almost heightened by it, which she sings solo. As she breaks into “Lost in the Girl,” the keyboardist and drummer make their presence known. It’s a big number, and the minimal setup really doesn’t do it justice. But Liv prefers to saunter through her songs. “All I want to do is just take you a little higher,” she sings on “Higher.” And she does, a little. And yes, Kwamie Liv has a song called “5 a.m.” but even George Michael knew not to take “Careless Whisper” so literally. —AM

Taragana Pyjarama — 20:25

There isn’t yet a name for the electronic equivalent of surf rock, but there’s plenty of the summery, breezy music to go around. Taragana Pyjarama is tapped into those sunshiny, sparkling feelings that make them kindred spirits of Brooklyn’s Blondes. The mood of the songs is heavily dictated by the drums, which either are really chill electronic beats or heart-pounding smashes, both of which give an unwitting shape to the more ambient songs. There are some live, super-vocoded vocals, and a handful of pre-recorded vocals that hint at some pop ambitions. Pop or ambient, they manage to bring a sense of spontaneity to a set with a lot of samples. —AF

Factory Floor by James Hjertholm
Factory Floor by James Hjertholm

Factory Floor — 21:30

We’re big fans of Factory Floor, but their Sónar set was not the best we’ve seen from them. Reduced to a duo without live drums, guitars or vocals, there was something definitely missing. Their hypnotic beats still attracted a huge crowd of furious dancers, far more than when we saw them at Lille Vega at the end of 2013, and there was plenty to love and recognize in their metallic beats. But while you can recreate drums and guitars from samples, there is no substitute for Nik Void’s distinctive, atonal voice. Give the girl back her microphone and it would make all the difference in the world. —AF

AV AV AV — 22:05

There’s a line out the door at the tightly packed SonarDome to see ELOQ, UNKWON, and DJ E.D.D.E.H bring some domestic, name-brand electronica for their first ever show together as AV AV AV. Their set highlights a slick mix of glossy melodic productions à la Purity Ring and stomping club beats. Amazingly, each contributing component retains its identity in the performance. The gorilla’s unmasked in DJ E.D.D.E.H., who gets the crowd going with a nice bit of run and rip showmanship, while ELOQ and UKNWON look to be cooking with as much focus and intent as Jesse Pinkman and Walter White. Some songs turn out to be little more than monochromatic shapes built to show the integrity of their design. Still, AV AV AV know how to please a crowd, and they’re not shy to let us have it, so it’s “All Good”.  —AM

Brynjolfur — 23:10

Copenhagen’s Brynjolfur stood center stage surrounded by synths and a laptop on three sides. His bright dance music has a very 80s, New Order feel to it, a vibe aided by the live drums and guitar. There were pleasant, predictable patterns throughout the set:  Slow descents into lulling valleys that freeze with seconds of surface tension and then erupt into massive banging beats. The ecstatic reaction that follows every time is just as pleasantly predictable. Brynjolfur maybe lacks some of the direct engagement of a pop star, but he’s still highly recommended if you ever wonder what “Blue Monday” would sound like if it was written today. —AF

Sónar Festival Day 1, Koncerthuset, 13.03.2015

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Sónar’s inaugural Copenhagen festival, cushioned within different spaces at DR Koncerthuset, ironically covers a lot of ground. There is the broad spectrum of electronica represented, from pop music to dance friendly synths to industrial to the somewhat frightening. But then there is also the balance to strike in atmosphere between festival and club night, unsure of whether it wants to be bright and shiny or evoke a warehouse feel. Where Sónar succeeds is in allowing everyone to physically move from room to room and adapt accordingly.

— Words by Amanda Farah and Alex Maenchen

Smerz — 19:30

There are two hard surfaces prominently at play as Sonar Festival kicks off its two-day residency in DR Koncerthuset: Metal and glass. Opening the program on the intimate SonarDome stage, the Norwegian duo Smerz embody the venue’s stark concrete staircases with their uncompromising brand of electronic pop. It feels like a deliberate choice to play on the basement level because here everything hits you heads up. Henriette Motzfeldt and Catharina Stoltenberg’s compositions are measured, two-part exercises in breakbeat that mix the sublime with the violent. The machine Smerz builds from it is one Stoltenberg operates with deft percussive gearshifts, throwing up gang signs like its a FUBU convention, while Motzfeldt feeds it with her porcelain vocals and melodic keys. They’re definitely tougher than they look and almost as tough as they sound—sometimes they rip it so hard that it seems like wheels are going to fall off, but then you hear the tires squeal so slow they grind. —AM

Puce Mary — 20:00

What’s most jarring about Puce Mary is the beautiful, serene expression fixed on her face even as horror movie screams of feedback rise up around her. The only time that beatific expression changes is when she sings, holding the mic close to her mouth in her fists and producing guttural, inhuman sounds. She spends her set bowing something that doesn’t appear to be a stringed instrument and eking out rhythms from pulsing industrial noise and series of stutters and clangs. Add to that the soft colored lights swirling around the room and it’s like going to prom in the third circle of Hell. —AF

Sekuoia — 20:25

Sekuoia takes the stage and won’t let you forget it. Behind him the LCD screen shows the name plastered in tall, static white letters superimposed on scenes of blue and white skies, blue and white mountains, blue and white islands in the ocean. And that’s what the proceedings feel like: static and white, and sometimes blue. Sekuoia may be the stage name of 21-year-old electro ventriloquist Patrick Alexander Bech Madsen, but considerable credit should be given to the mercenary work by his accompanying guitarist and drummer, who both look clean out of a Dorito-encrumbed sofa cushion variety Red Hot Chili Peppers cover band. While Mr. Madsen takes a swig of water mid-song, the facade of live performance is held somewhat intact by his band. It doesn’t help matters that these songs seem build proof, never committing to a thought long enough to let the non-dancers in the crowd enjoy it too. These kids should be watchmakers, you can set time to these beats. But some flourishes make the stage show entertaining, and this goes for the drummer especially, who at times looks to sprout second and third heads where his shoulders are. In Sekuoia’s world of stacked samples and resonant dins, the clash of a real high hat goes a long way. When technical issues bring the show to an anticlimactic end, it becomes clear that the music is just a blue color swatch, cut so square and flat that the most interesting thing about it is the funny name behind it: Sekuoia. —AM

Darkness Falls — 20:45

The Danish trio makes for a convincing, non-specifically 80s tribute band right down to their costumes: Their singer is wearing an amazing sequined dress with severely jutting shoulder pads that look like they could cause harm. Their performance paints them as a band with potential to be a really great pop band some day. Their programming is pretty slick — which is good, because there’s more programming than anything else despite the presence of keyboards, guitar, and drums — their energy is good even if their movements are a little awkward, and they have a cohesive direction. And based on the way their final song is received, they have at least a few hometown fans ready to go crazy over them. —AF

Vessel
Vessel

Metronomy — 22:00

Perhaps what fans find most charming about Metronomy is their unabashed approach to heartfelt indie pop, and with a frontman in Joseph Mount who seems the kind to shyly shrug when asked whether he’s got any plans on prom night, it’s difficult to think it’s all some sort of coy affectation. Whatever doubts a middling appreciation for their studio recordings may conjure, Metronomy are for real. On the big SonarClub stage, they get right to the point with “Love Letters,” a song which could run on an endless loop on a channel devoted to unrealized iPod commercials. Percussions are particularly emphasized in keeping with their dancier numbers, working to push the other instruments forward rather than snuff them out. It’s a simple but smart bit of audio engineering that has the rest of the band all jazzing hands and gesturing toward drummer Anna Prior before Gbenga Adelekan’s bass plunks in on “The Look.” Metronomy’s music is given dimension on the stage that it just doesn’t have at home, in spite of whatever high end DJ rig you may play them through. “Resevoir” bleeps and bloops while Prior and keyboardist Oscar Cash do a go-go jig, and “Corinne” is a go-nowhere song that highlights precisely what’s working for this group—an infectious conviction to hit the notes, no matter how dull they are, as square and precisely as possible that you could very well take them home to meet your mother and go out for a raucous jig on the dance floor afterwards. —AM

Kenton Slash Demon — 23:15

The Kenton Slash Demon set feels like a welcome recalibration of mood. Big beats veiled in thick synths—like a good lover, they take their time. This is a DJ set through and through, but you’re in it. Everything is prudently mixed so as to give generous room for the listener to sink into the pulse of the track. Their builds are like suspension cables pulling taut. Even the out-of-place looking lady who caught the tambourine during the Metronomy set can’t resist joining in. The bar setup ensures that beer flows one way, into the thick of the crowd, and where it isn’t flowing in, it’s keeping those not having any fun stuck to the floor. The guys on stage are all smiles as they pull onto the familiar gravel of their own driveway—big beats and emotional high notes. They fade out in a mist of reverb before they pop the clutch for one more go. —AM

Vessel — 23:35

There is something inherently violent about Vessel’s music. His set opens with searing, painful static that, when it settles into something that by comparison could only be called gentler, it’s still thick, sludgy, and metallic. It’s also so beat-heavy that people are dancing in as thrashy a way as one can before they’re technically moshing. Behind Vessels is a series of distressing film projections — even the overly sexual ones imply distress — that are mesmerizingly well synched. So mesmerizing that I failed to notice at what point he had taken off his shirt, and really, the flailing, sweaty man behind the table would have been pretty compelling on his own. —AF

Jon Hopkins — 00:30

For a man with a slight frame, Jon Hopkin’s got clout. It seems only he can open a set with extended, elliptical whirring, like the orchestral track’s been ripped from it spine and skull, and still have the crowd visibly excited for what’s coming. The images on the screen behind him are like a minimalist film, primitive graphics interspersed with hi-def photography of particles from deep space, be it that of a night sky or a fathomless ocean. Point is, he’s sending our world spinning in a surge of fragments. His beats are incisive and sharp and dampened with sonar pings of strings. Hopkins is best when he’s building these polygonal sound structures, these open marriages of percussion and synths. About twenty minutes in there appears to be technical difficulties, with the video going black. Three minutes pass as things are furiously rewired. A heartbeat. High hat. Snare. We’re back and Hopkins is more animated than ever, a mad ship’s captain whose way of fixing what’s broke is breaking it some more. One thing was always certain—he’s was never going to let us drift. —AM

LIVE REVIEW: Pond, Pumpehuset, 10.03.2015

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The cover of Pond’s latest LP, Man It Feels Like Space Again, does a good job of evoking the mood of the band: colourful, messy, childlike, brilliantly ridiculous. Though less well-known than their sister band, Tame Impala, the Perth fourtet have received significant critical acclaim.  Justifiably so, as this set proves.

The evening kicks off with Froth, a shoegaze-y indie band from L.A., who make up for a slight lack of imagination by looking cute and earnest in their Pavement t-shirts. They are playing on the smaller stage, on the first floor of Pumpehuset, a suitably snug environment. The audience is enthusiastic but rather small, depleted, no doubt, by the Ariel Pink gig that’s happening elsewhere in town.

(Photo by James Hjertholm)
(Photo by James Hjertholm)

I’d like to think I have vaguely sophisticated tastes when it comes to music, but truthfully, all I want from a live band is a bunch of wackos happy to make fools of themselves, playing psychedelic garage odes to nothing in particular. Pond provide this in spades, bouncing through the first two tracks of their latest album, “Waiting Around for Grace” and “Elvis’ Flaming Star” (bad sub-editing there, guys, Elvis is singular, and merits an ‘s’ after the apostrophe), intermittently collapsing into the odd jam.

“This song is called ‘Heroic Shart’, which is a ridiculous name for a song.” Frontman Nick Allbrook, like his bandmates, revels in underlining their absurdist side. The sound of opening beer cans is incorporated into songs, awful dance moves are attempted. Mid-way through the set Nick and Joe muse about the baldness and possible whereabouts of Brian Eno, before covering “Baby’s On Fire” from the 1974 album Here Come The Warm Jets.

The fun comes to an end after only an hour on stage, surprising for a band with six albums under their belts. A final encore, and my new favourite Aussies disappear into a clear night in Copenhagen.

 

PLAYLIST: Sónar Copenhagen

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Since its beginning in Barcelona in 1994 the electronic music festival Sónar has expanded to over 46 cities acros the globe. This weekend Sónar is coming to Copenhagen. We have made a little selection of artists that will be playing the festival.
With a slight focus on local artists, our playlist spans the electronic pop of Kwamie Liv to the techno-infused avant-garde industrial soundscapes of artists like Puce Mary and Vessel.

Sekuoia

Sekuoia, the moniker of Alexander Bech Madsen, produces atmospheric and dreamy electronica with dry beats and synths. Listen to Here Today’s session with Sekuoia from last year, as well as the one Sekuoia recorded together with Ice Cream Cathedral.

Vessel

In 2014 Vessel released their second studio album, Punish, Honey, described by Sonar as “one of 2014’s most stimulating and challenging”. Drowned In Sound wrote “It’s broodingly mechanic, and yet harrowingly human; it’s truly Bristolian, and neither futuristic nor nostalgic; it’s simply and unignorably now.”

Tri Angle, Vessel’s label, is also home to artists like Haxan Cloak and Forrest Swords.

Kwamie Liv

Kwamie Liv is on the rise. Big time. Simple as that.

Factory Floor

Factory Floor is a band that has to be seen live. With influences that range from Throbbing Gristle to Depeche Mode their sound combines dark and industrial tones with a rapturous rhythm section.

AV AV AV

AV AV AV was formed in late 2013 by three already established names on the danish electronc scene: UNKWON, ELOQ AND DJ E.D.D.E.H. They first track ‘All Good’ became a summer essantial and since then AV AV AV has progressed at a steady pace, with a big show at DR Koncerthuset and a spot on the poster for Roskilde Festival 2015.

Puce Mary

When Frederikke Hoffmeier goes on stage she is Puce Mary, an artist known for her experiental music, shifting from sound art over minimal synth to techno. Puce Mary is released on labels such as Posh Isolation, Freak Animal and Ideal Recordings.

Taragana Pyjarama

Taragana Pyjarama’s debut album was relased on the German label Kompakt, which is about as high as you can get when it comes to European electronic dance music and ambient pop. Before that – in 2011 – he had an EP out on French label Fool House. His sound has been compared to artists like Panda Bear. Taragana Pyjarama’s latest release, Nothing Hype, is published on Wyrd, his own label. Here Today did a session with him in 2013 which you can listen to below.

Sonar Copenhagen will take place on the 13. & 14. of March 2015

VIDEO: Rangleklods ‘Lost U’

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Rangleklods

Two years after releasing their debut album Beekeeper, Danish electronic duo Rangleklods (Pernille Smith-Sivertsen and Esben Nørskov Andersen) has a new album named straitjacket coming up. The first single from their upcoming album is “Lost U”.  Watch the video produced by Copenhagen/Berlin based Cyan Studios below:

LIVE REVIEW: Yung + Total Heels, Stengade, 4.03.2015

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Total Heels | Stengade | Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

It’s easy to become completely Copenhagen-centric when you live here. The rest of Denmark seems to be just where people’s parents live. It’s refreshing, therefore, to see an act like Yung, injecting some Aarhus-bred punk into the Copenhagen scene. Fresh from the release of their Alter EP and a gig supporting Metz in London, the band has drawn a significant crowd at Stengade.

Total Heels | Stengade | Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

The opening act, Total Heels, are a band I make it my business to see live whenever possible. Their manic brand of organ-lead garage rock, full of fat riffs and prehistoric drum beats, is pushed into overdrive by the energy and wit of their frontman, New-Yorker Jason Orlovich. Their self-titled album incorporates everything from the Stooges to the vocal weirdness of the B-52s, but at its heart Total Heels is a live band, all sweat and spit.

Yung | Stengade | Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

Yung are often, out of laziness, lumped in with the rest of the ‘Danish punk’ scene, whatever that might be. Yet both their sound and attitude is markedly different from their Copenhagen colleagues. Sure, there are post-punk references there in the guitar riffs and basslines, but the approach is less dark and diffident. What you get with songs like “Don’t Cry” are the emotional swings between melancholy and raucousness of American proto-emo bands, even the jagged pop-punk of the likes of Jawbreaker. Mikkel Silkjær’s vocals tend towards a high-pitched chanting and raspy shouting, a marked contrast with the disaffected drones of some of our local bands.

Both bands are models of onstage commitment, fortunate enough to have a small international audience without taking anything for granted. And in a climate where international interest in ‘Danish punk’ is bound to fade soon, that level of energy and humility will be key.

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