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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:

PLAYLIST: Here Today’s Concerts

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The month of March will not only be treating us with some exciting concerts, but also Sonar Festival (March 13-14). We have updated our “Here Today Concerts” playlist with a few selected artists that you might want to spend a night listening to. Among them are Dean Blunt, Jessica Pratt, Yung (tonight with Total Heels), Ex Hex and Wounded Kings.

Yung + Total Heels (Stengade, 04.03.2015)

As the music scene centered around Mayhem is becoming more widely known, you might be fooled into thinking that it is the only place to go underground in Denmark. That is not the case, though, as Aarhus has it’s own very lively scene. Yung is one of the most promising bands that have emerged from there in the last few years. Tonight (March 4. 2015) they will be playing Stengade along with another great band: Total Heels. Didn’t make it to any of Iceage’s sold out shows at Jazzhouse last week? Well don’t worry, good times are waiting at Stengade. [Link to event.]

Ex Hex (Loppen, 05.03.2015)

According to The Guardian’s 5 star review of Ex Hex’s 2014 album, Rips, the band “sit somewhere near the middle of a Go-gos/Ramones/Sleater-Kinney Venn diagram, and join latterday power-pop aces like Warm Soda, the Love Triangle and Sheer Mag in making some of the most endlessly repeat-listenable should-be-hits of recent years.”

What else is there to say, sounds fun, right? [Link to event.]

Dean Blunt (Jazzhouse, 20.03.2015)

Dean Blunt, who plays Jazzhouse on the 20th of March, is an interesting new breed of experimental lo-fi R&B, dub and electronica. Last year he released the album Black Metal to great critical acclaim.

Dean Blunt is also one half of Hype Williams. [Link to event.]

Jessica Pratt (Stengade, 28.03.2015)

San Fransisco born singer-songwriter Jessica Pratt has just released her second album, On Your Own Love Again. Forget laptop wall-of-sound productions, Jessica Pratt made her album on an analogue 4-track recorder with little more than a guitar and her voice. As Pitchfork writes, it worked out really well: “Its warm, home-recorded atmosphere is more dramatic and distinctive than Jessica Pratt [her debut album]: finger-picked psychedelia, lucidly layered harmonies, hissy tape effects, an overcast haze. But Pratt’s songwriting is more cohesive and concise, her whispered secrets more alluring”. [Link to event.]

Wounded Kings (Loppen, 18.03.2015)

Life can not always be expressed in freak-folk and “repeat-listenable should-be-hits”. Sometimes you need a bit of doom metal and this is where The Wounded Kings enter the scene. Their latest album Consolamentum has received great praise among reviewers. If you sometimes find yourself nodding along to Black Sabbath, Wounded Kings are worth considering. [Link to event]

PLAYLIST: Here Today Listening

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We are debuting “Here Today Listening“, a weekly-updated playlist for which we pick out the 7 tracks from recently released or upcoming albums that we have been obsessing over the most. Follow us on Spotify and stay updated on the best tracks of the week.

Father John Misty – “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow”

The second studio album from Father John Misty, the moniker of Baltimore-born singer-songwriter and former Fleet Foxes drummer Joshua Tillman, has received high praise from critics around the world. Witty songwriting and lush melodies are at the center of this album. Lilting sadly like a barroom ballad, “Nothing Good Ever Happens at the Goddamn Thirsty Crow” shifts from lapsteel guitar to strings, and even a jazzy clarinet solo. But when it comes to Father John Misty, it’s all about the cynical one-liners: “She blackens pages like a Russian romantic/ Gets down more often than a blowup doll.”

Darren Hayman – “May Day 1894”

Darren Hayman, formerly of the band Hefner, is no stranger to history concept albums. In the summer of 2013 Hayman released Bugbears, the last album in his trilogy about 17th century Essex. Two years later he is back with a new concept album that rewrites an old arts & crafts pamphlet by nineteenth-century polymath William Morris. The result, Chants for Socialists, is collection of beautifully crafted songs that are as relevant now as they where more than hundred years ago.

Marika Hackman – “Animal Fear”

In the music press you are more likely to hear about Marika Hackman’s privileged background and famous model friends than her music, but the London-based singer-songwriter lush and down-tempo take on alt-folk doesn’t need any such context. Her latest single, taken from her debut album, We Slept At Last, balances laid-back vocals with ponderous drums, poised like a cat ready to spring.

Blur – “Go Out”

We still have two months to way before the release of The Magic Whip, Blur’s first album in 12 years. Judging by “Go Out”, the supposed “Asian” theme of the album is thankfully limited to artwork and lyrics, rather than the cultural insensitivity of Siouxsie and the Banshees “Hong Kong Garden”. The single features a cheeky bass-line, care of Alex “the smug cheese man” James, noisy guitars from Graham Coxton, and Damon Albarn singing about onanism “at the local.”

The Pop Group – “Mad Truth”

The comeback of the year aware has to go to The Pop Group, not just for the length of time between album releases (35 years), but also for the power of this belated punch to the face. Citizen Zombie might be a little more accessible than their 1979 debut, Y, but the same manic energy is apparent. “Mad Truth” is a gorgeous piece of violent disco funk, proving frontman Mark Stewart has lost none of his confrontational attitude.

Courtney Barnett – “Pedestrian at Best”

The Australian singer-songwriter came to critical attention with the release of her double EP in 2013, full of laid-back Americana-influenced jangle. “Pedestrian at Best” substitutes that slacker image with grungy riffs and a witty barrage of lyrics (“I think you’re a joke but I don’t find you very funny”). It’s a promising taster of her upcoming album, Sometimes I Sit and Think, and Sometimes I Just Sit, due at the end of March.

Screaming Females – “Ripe”

Speaking of grunge, New Jersey’s Screaming Females are back with the scorching Rose Mountain. Thanks to the production of Mat Bayles, the band’s sixth studio album has a decidedly stoner-rock flavour, full of chugging bass-lines and fat guitar tones. Marissa Paternoster’s vocals punch through the noise, adding a brilliant demented edge to the already manic tones of songs like “Ripe”.

 

INTERVIEW: Gazelle Twin

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Gazelle Twin

Photos by Amanda Farah

Gazelle Twin’s second LP, Unflesh, with its viscerally minimalist approach to electronic music and singular conceptual vision, has received a good amount of critical acclaim over the last few months, allowing the formerly Brighton-based composer Elizabeth Bernholz to tour widely across the US and Europe. This week, on the occasion of her concert at Vega’s Ideal Bar, accompanied by her husband, visual artist and musician Jez Bernholz, we caught up with the pair.

Gazelle Twin and Bernholz, Elizabeth and Jez, have much to teach the world in terms of touring on a budget. The couple manage to carry all their gear (one sampler and one keyboard) in a single suitcase, travelling from gig to gig across Europe by train. I get the impression that, for all its practicality, it is the romanticism of train journeys that fires up Jez. His own brand of electronica pulsates with a passionate earnestness, typified in tracks like “Austerity Boy”, which complements the more sparse and aggressive compositions of his partner.

It is difficult in retrospect to reconcile the energy and terrifying blanked face of the character prowling the stage in a blue hoodie with the soft-spoken and charming woman I interviewed only a couple of hours before the gig. Backed by glitchy and hard drum and bass lines, this embodiment of teenage violence whispers, breathes and chants, half thug, half shaman. The imagery evoked in her words can be clearly guessed by glancing at the titles—“Unflesh”, “Exorcise”, “Anti Body”, “Guts”—eviscerating and tortured, innards and fluids sprayed on a backdrop of cold, artificial sounds. Hidden within that alienation, though, are traces of some kind of reserved humanism. Where “Belly of the Beast” uses the sounds of supermarkets to evoke ideas of parasitic consumption, the haunting “Premonition” reaches towards a more pastoral mode. The human voice, altered or dry, singing or just breathing heavily, stands above all else on the record.

Though many have already pointed towards some fairly obvious influences on Gazelle Twin—The Knife and Björk perhaps mentioned most often—there is clearly something quite unique and personal about Elizabeth Bernholz’s music which merits close listening. So on Wednesday evening, over dinner at a Thai restaurant on Istedgade, I am keen to find out what lurks behind the character and music of Unflesh.

Gazelle Twin

What has it been like to transition from recording to performing this record live?

For this record it has been almost seamless. It’s quite easy to perform live because it’s so minimal, and there was that intention to strip things away, half thinking that I wanted to be able to perform it really dry, with a solid sound, and not to have to rely on any effects.

Was it more difficult with your debut album, The Entire City?

With the previous record, which I didn’t perform that much, it was much more difficult, because I didn’t write it with that intent. It was very sweeping, you needed a visual part to it. I never felt that satisfied performing it.

But now you perform live with Jez, what is that like?

Jez and I are married, and he kindly offered to perform with me. I used to perform with two guys who had their own projects, and it was always very hard to organise that part of it, to get everyone available. But also I’m just very anxious, and performing is quite a lot to get through for someone who is very sensitive, so it’s actually been very helpful having you [turning to Jez] just to have some security. Performing this way allows me to be more aggressive and play a role.

Does your approach to the songs change as your perform them more and more?

I haven’t felt the need to change much in the songs. I think we’ve to go a point now where we’ve done close to fifteen sets in this tour, when we’re starting to think it needs something else, something in the same vein, probably not a new song but a cover. In the past I’ve covered Joy Division, which is a bit audacious. “The Eternal”, which fitted into my older stuff. The most recent one is a Wire cover, “Heartbeat”. Credit goes to Jez for that. I always try to cover stuff that’s as different to me as possible, usually songs by men, rather than female-written ones. Prince is one.

“Premonition” has a very different mood to the rest of the record. Almost pastoral.

It’s just that one melody [sings it]. It has that medieval feel, it’s in lots of music, especially choral music—the bedrock of all my music—and then transitioned into folk music. But it’s not really anywhere else on the record.

Are you ever surprised by your work?

I never thought I’d be doing spoken word—or “rapping”, if you want to call it that. If you’d told me that two years ago I’d have cringed. But I try to do it as naturally as I can.

Is being natural important?

I like artificial sounds. I wanted the elements of this record to be very distinct from one another other: bass, drums, vocal, a background of choral vocals or synthesisers. I didn’t want too much synthesiser on this, or if I did I wanted it to sound like a human voice, and most of them actually are. I like the way I can affect my own voice. There’s an earnestness to the dry, natural voice, but I wanted to get away from that completely.

All the videos and promotional material for this album feature you with a pixellated face and blue hoodie. Where does this character come from?

It just comes from lots of childhood experiences, lots of memories that I unconsciously started to think about in the process of wanting to make music that was really aggressive. It’s all about school, displacement, being a young girl, really. There’s adult anger in there as well, but mainly it’s a teenage expression of anxiety. I just wanted to scream a little bit, which I never did at the time. But it’s not all meant to be deadly serious, there’s a cockiness to it, playful aspects which I hope come across.

And the hoodie?

Originally I’d wanted it to be a P.E. kit, but that would have been a bit weird, dressed as a child. There’s more room to disguise myself this way, and I’d had a blue thing going through my previous costumes. Blue is a bit of a school colour, a sporty colour.

As for the tights over my face, obviously there is this association with crime, this really masculine image. I always found that hilarious, butch guys with shear tights on their head. But it was just a way to blank my face out. I wanted to look pixellated. And it has this doll-head effect at the same time, so hard and soft.

Is it difficult to perform with that get-up?

There’s so much breathing that sometimes the hair of my wig goes down my throat. Really horrible experience, but I have ways of getting around that.

Do you plan on keeping the character for future projects?

The more I’ve externalised the character, the more I’ve thought “that’s it, there’s nothing more to say.” But I think there are still other routes to take it. My ultimate plan would be to stop touring the album and work the character into a graphic novel, so that the girl is a stand-alone character, existing beyond the music. I’m not sure the music is the fullest expression of that persona. I’d like there to be something that lasts and has a different kind of existence.

So which comes first, character or music?

The character came after I’d written most of the music. The music was just my experiences. It’s hard to remember, really, because so much is visual when I’m writing. I collect a lot of images and film, and sometimes I will just write down words and pick a word I want to write a song about. It always starts with a musical loop, or I’ll pick a word and imagine how it will sound. Or an image might give me a feeling for something to express. It’s a whole jumble, I’m completely all over the place when I’m making stuff. I just gather things, hoard things, just live with them for a while.

It reminds me of the kids I was scared of in middle school.

I wanted to look like one of those Cronenberg kids from The Brood. The P.E. kit was my version of that child.

Gazelle Twin

AUDIO: Shadow Age – ‘Shutter’

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Exciting new music hitting our inbox this Monday morning, Shadow Age, the moniker for Copenhagen based producer Benjamin Fischermann. Benjamin (the former member of electro duo Ghost Venue) has been locked away in his basement studio during the winter of 2014 developing his new sound, which leans on the dark elements of electronica. ‘Shutter’ is the debut track is released online only and is expected to feature on his EP which is set for release later in 2015.

Listen to ‘Shutter’ below:

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

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)” .

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