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ARTICLE: Reptile Youth

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Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh

The creation of Reptile Youth’s second album, Rivers That Run for a Sea That is Gone,  was surprisingly undramatic considering the changes that took place for the band. They decided to leave their record label, Sony, in itself a fraught decision for any band, and decided to partner with Mercedes-Benz instead of another label.

“I think a lot of people who do collaborations with bigger corporate companies feel a little bit insecure about it. It can be a taboo: art and commercial stuff,” says singer Mads Damsgaard Kristiansen. “We decided to leave our record company; that made us have a gap of a lot of money that we needed if we wanted to work with this record in the way that we wanted to work with it. Then we got in contact with Mercedes, who saw some kind of potential in us.”


Because Mercedes does not function the way a record label does, Reptile Youth have certain freedoms atypical of a traditional band-label relationship.

“We own all of the rights ourselves. We have the master tapes. We have the rights to do whatever we want to,” says Kristiansen. “If you have a record label, sometimes they’ll be like, “No, we don’t want release that video because it’s too sexual.” or “We don’t want to give away this track to this magazine because we don’t think it’s a good idea,” even though we’re like, “Yeah! Let’s do it!” It’s really nice to have full control about the build up and what you want to do with it.”


Part of the build up involves Reptile Youth introducing a new, gruffer sound that fans may be familiar with.

“We wanted it to be rougher. We recorded it all on tape, so a vision for the record was to make electronic music played by hand, played on tape, because we liked the sound of something being old but being done in a fresh way with new machines and new ways of thinking about music,” says Kristiansen. “The new record is also darker than the first record. It’s probably not as pop-oriented. Something attracted us to the dark both songwriting-wise, but also standing on a stage, we found out that we really liked to perform those darker songs. We liked the energy there. That felt more natural somehow.”


Rivers That Run for a Sea That is Gone also sees Reptile Youth expanding, more or less officially, from its founding duo of Kristiansen and bassist Esben Valløe to include guitarist Mads Berglland, drummer Rasmus Littaur, and synth player and producer Simon Littaur. The new line up quickly produced more work in two years than many bands do across two albums.

“We made 40 full demoes, and we recorded 13,” says Kristiansen. “It was kind of hard to have full demoes that sounded kind of like something that we liked, me and Esben, and then the three others came in and said, ‘This is nice. We want to take this out. We hate this.’  So in that sense it was a challenge to put through that process.

“It was really nice to have fresh eyes on the songs that we did,” he continues. “It was very democratic, maybe border-lining to being too democratic. There were no leaders, really. We hadn’t been in that constellation of creating stuff before.”


Kristiansen began working on Rivers That Run for a Sea That is Gone immediately after their self-titled debut was finished. The new album came together quickly considering the various changes the band faced.

“I started writing songs just after the first album was recorded, which was half a year before it was released,” he says. “I kind of exploded in songs and wrote 15-20. Then the rest of the 40 just came dropping in while we were on tour or in the period just before we had to go into the studio. It was like, ‘okay, now we have like two months, let’s get everything out.’”


Rivers That Run for a Sea That is Gone was recorded in their soon-to-be former Nørrebro space with Simon Littaur and in Valby, Jens Benz, who is better known for his work with punk bands such as Iceage.

The album was recorded between June and September of last year, Kristiansen says,  “We were touring intensely in the same period, so it was playing festivals Thursday, Friday, Saturday, sleeping all Sunday because we were so tired, and then being in the studio Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday.”


This exhausting schedule had some benefits. “It was very much back and forth. Which was nice, because then we came out and were standing in front of 2,000 people and remembering, okay this is why I sit there and feel like an idiot for 12 hours some days,” says Kristiansen. “If we don’t go forward, but you’re still doing it, and then you come out and, okay, okay, it makes sense now.

“But it was also a little bit stressful,” he continues, “because it was all of us being together 24/7 for four months in intense situations both playing live but also making decisions and agreeing on stuff.”


Handing control of the logistics of packaging and distribution over to their manager allowed Reptile Youth to limit their decision making to how the album itself would take shape, in much the same way their deal with Mercedes allows them to focus on the art.

“I think that’s kind of the future of art, commercial brand relationship, is the commercial brand supporting the art in the direction the art wants to go. Because that’s the only real, the only authentic way to connect.”


Kristiansen feels very positively about the band’s new arrangement, but he has no illusions about why Mercedes wants to bankroll them.

“I’m aware of the fact that they do it because they want to take some of our brand and put into their brand,” he says. “Of course they’re not just a rich uncle that’s just like, ‘Here’s all this money, do whatever you want to, I don’t want to have anything to do with it.’ Of course there’s a corporate thought behind it. But I think in that sense it’s okay, because it makes me able to work exactly how I want to with my art. Having a record label would also be working with a corporate company. There’s no difference. Sony Music is just as much the devil as Mercedes is in my eyes.”

Rivers That Run for a Sea That is Gone is released worldwide today (March 10th).


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Over a year ago, I sat down on a train from Didcot to Reading, cracked open a new copy of the NME, flicked hastily to the Radar section, and saw a Danish girl with a moody press shot staring back at me. The same Danish girl who’d graced the cover of Soundvenue a few months previously. When I went back that night, I searched for , and played the only three tracks that featured her on a relentless loop for several hours; debut single ‘Maiden’, follow up ‘Glass’ and a rather shouty, stressful vocal contribution to alternative party anthem ‘Let the Youth Go Mad’ by fellow Copenhageners Broke.

And here we are, one and a half years after MØ, AKA Karen Marie Ørsted, brought her electronic loops, hollas and long blond plait into our lives, she’s about to release her debut album No Mythologies to Follow in one week. She’s nervous. “I’m terrified actually. And freaked out. I’m going through a lot of emotions, because it’s something that’s been a process for so long, with all this buzz and all this talk.” But she’s optimistic: “My producer and I are happy with the album and we feel we can look ourselves in the eye. You never know what people will say or think, but as long as you feel like you were yourself in the process, then I guess you can’t go totally wrong.”

It’s only natural she should feel the pressure. The press coverage for this debut release has been extensive. The singles and high profile collaborations with the likes of Avicii and Diplo have been trickling out for almost two years now, each with even more social media output than the last. There are sidebar ads everywhere on the internet and big summer fixtures in the UK and Denmark. You can hardly move for the artwork; a black and white up close shot of (presumably) Karen’s mouth blowing bubblegum. There’s even a link on her Facebook to help you recreate the photo. It’s a compelling image, and, like the majority of her work, conveys a strong degree of youthful attitude. An appropriate cover then for the album that Karen tells me is “very much about being young and restless and confused, and being a teen in modern world society.”

It perhaps sounds a little cliché, but at the rapid rate of social change currently taking place, MØ’s not wrong to release a ‘young spirited’ record. “It’s called No Mythologies to Follow, and it is very much about the fact that nowadays we don’t have guidelines as we used to. We don’t have religion in the same way either, which I think is good, but it just costs all of us young people that we have to find our own way. The social media becomes sort of like a bible.”

And the difficulty of social media’s quasi-worship is not restricted to its lack of guidelines. “All these social medias are so much about showing the world how great you are. It can still be kind of insane, this glorification of being young and beautiful, being perfect and not showing your flaws. It can be hard to be young and secure in that kind of society where everyone has to be Miss or Mr Perfect.”

Born in 1988, Karen’s teenage years came just before the boom of social media. And sitting behind a computer feeling insecure was the last thing on her mind. “I was a punker. I wore black clothes and went to loads of demonstrations. I was in that posse.” She recently posted a photo of herself and a friend at the local anti fascist cafe in 2003, sporting red, messy curled hair. “I was actually in a punk band for five years, and we toured Europe and Scandinavia. We also played in New York four times. But that was very underground of course.” It seems far away from the electronic fused pop tracks MØ’s released. “When I was seven or eight years old, that was when I started making music, because of the Spice Girls. So back before I turned a teenager, I was obsessed with pop music. The punk has been a big part of my life too, but I can’t run from the fact I’ve been a big pop girl.”

Karen’s adoration of and inspiration from the Spice Girls has been almost as well documented in her interviews as her alias. And it’s hardly surprising; she brought up the topic with me without any prompt. Clearly, talking about Sporty and Scary excessively has not diminished her admiration. She spread her love of girl power further recently by releasing a cover of ‘Say You’ll Be There’, complete with VHS footage of a young Karen and friends performing a routine in appropriate costume. “When I look back at me and my friends, we were all totally obsessed with the Spice Girls, like every other girl at that time. It was really cool because they were really preaching some cool messages, about girl power and about sticking with your friends, and fuck the guys if they don’t see you as what you are. I think that’s great. I think that’s a better message to send out to little girls than “you should be sexy and have every man under control.” Fuck that. I prefer “go have fun and be fucking fabulous the way you are.”

Among the artists MØ has been compared to is fellow female singer Grimes, who has in the past made statements about the sexism she’s experienced in the music industry. Following our conversation about girl power, I ask Karen whether she herself identifies as a feminist: “It’s so hard; I’ve been in this leftist environment for so many years, and I think sometimes the word ‘feminism’ can be very misunderstood. There are a lot of people who think when you say you’re a feminist that you believe you’re better than men or you think men are evil. And that’s so not the case. Men and women are equal. We are different in nature of course, that’s why there are males and females, but I don’t tend to call myself a feminist.”

She is, however, fed up with the current situation for young women. “I think you should preach some good things to the new generation of girls. For instance, I think it’s wrong to say that you should be good in school, look fabulous, be good at sports, be good in social matters and you should be good with kids and animals: It’s too much. Being perfect is about embracing what you’re good at, and what’s ‘you’, embracing your flaws and making them beautiful because you believe in yourself.” She laughs at herself. “I know this sounds very cheesy; a lot of girls, myself included, want to look good, but not just for the male, for yourself as well.”

And she does look good. Really good. But it’s not the typical look for a female pop star. It’s trainers and sports jackets and gold chains. It’s laid back. It’s very, very Danish. And it works because it’s  believable. “People are tired of all this fakeness in the music industry. When I was growing up I wanted to fit in and look good and be perfect, but I realised very early that I cannot be something that I’m not. That would be horrible. And if I were to attempt to be the great looking doll with loads of make up and big high heels and miniskirts, it would just look horrible. People wouldn’t like looking at me because it would be so wrong. From the start of all this I’ve tried to embrace what I feel comfortable doing and wearing. Otherwise I would fail miserably.”

Despite having a wealthy music scene in Denmark and Scandinavia, breaking into the UK scene is tough, and it’s something MØ, despite having a name not one Englishman can pronounce, has done. However, she’s determined to not abandon her roots in the Danish music scene, and quick to declare it as something she’s proud to be a part of. “I think it’s really cool. I think something great is going on in the Danish scene. It’s really cool because Denmark is a small country; you know each other and you help each other out. The Danish music scene is very good at making great underground music. But it also seems as though there are a lot of people making music with a lot of change over, it can be very underground, but can have this pop thing going, and be popular whilst it’s still edgy.”

We finish up by talking about the difference between English and Danish crowds, and Karen uses aural descriptors to show the distinction. Apparently, Denmark is more like “hmmm” whereas the UK is more like “ooh ah whoa!” As with everything that has come out of Karen’s mouth during the interview, it’s cripplingly endearing. MØ is multi-faceted. She’s edgy and tough, sweet and honest, and incredibly intelligent. It’s not only her talent that’s led to her success in the past year, which doesn’t look set to diminish anytime soon with the release of No Mythologies to Follow next week. This girl crush comes with real girl power.

MØ’s debut album, No Mythologies to Follow, will be released on the 10th of March, on RCA Records.


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After two albums and two EPs, Copenhageners CODY return to our collective ear holes with Windshield (February 2014), a ten-track album bent on redefining the band as a sophisticated and urbane chamber-pop septemvirate.

Frontman and songwriter Kaspar Kaae would be the first to admit that, despite the collective nature of the band, previous recordings have tended to centre on him as singer-songwriter: “In the beginning it was just me, but then I added a ton of people, because that was part of the whole philosophy. We started to be the seven piece that we are now a couple of years ago, but we continued to add horns and singers.”

This propensity for folk-inspired maximalism has not transferred onto Windshield, perhaps in part due to Kaspar sharing composition duties with guitar player David.

“Usually I arrange and record the demos, but this time we did it together, which was a challenge. Suddenly he had a say in things. For example, there are no horns on this album, because he hates it. I love it, but I thought ‘All right, lets try without them, because we’ve had them on every album since the beginning.’”

Cody (Photo by Tom Spray)

The addition of another writer paradoxically lead to a much more stripped sound, with a lot more punch that one would have anticipated. The opener, the eponymous “Windshield” has a bouncy rhythm section supporting the guitar and organ lines. Kaspar describes it as more “extrovert and simple” thanks to the “new blood”, and indeed for every melancholy acoustic number (“Rotterdam” or “Arms Around”) there are three or four that vary from the anthemic (“The Medic Blues”) to the almost shoe-gaze of “Midnight”.

“I feel like we took a hundred steps away from the last album. For you it might sound like ten.”

Talking in his Nørrebro apartment, it is clear that Kaspar is sometimes divided between enthusiasm and a propensity for self-effacement, but the result is a thoughtfulness that is clearly present in his music and lyrics.

“The whole ‘man with his guitar’ thing, we’ve done that for so many years. It was important to have other parts of the music as the structure. The first song, Windshield, it’s really the organ that is the main instrument. It’s hard to remember ‘no guitar in the middle’, but we wanted something more fresh and open. We were pretty focused on saying ‘What if we moved these chords from the accordion to the flute or the piano.’ But I’m not really ready to leave the guitar yet; it comes back and takes its power.”

Cody (Photo by Tom Spray)

One of the pleasures of interviewing musicians is simply talking about mutual likes and dislikes. Some bands are almost ashamed of their influences, perhaps feeling that they will be found wanting in comparison to their heroes. On this topic Kaspar is perhaps at his most enthusiastic. He riffles through his vinyl collection, stopping to point out a local band or something relatively obscure or surprising. I notice that there aren’t nearly as many folk or roots records as I might have expected:

“What I listen to is French pop music, Swedish indie music, and a lot of Danish bands. A lot of the vinyl over there [gestures to the pile] is from up and coming Danish bands. I listen to Phoenix or Yan Tiersen, and I can snatch parts of it, this atmosphere, this violin part. You pull stuff out. I get way more out of listening to Lykke Li than Fleetfoxes. I find it more interesting listening to pop music and then trying to take the parts I like, make them sound like a folk band.”

I latch on to the Yann Tiersen reference, since Kaspar has composed the soundtrack for the 2014 Norwegian thriller In Order of Disappearance. With a Scandinavian all-star cast that includes Stellan Skarsgård and Borgen’s Birgitte Hjort Sørensen, the film’s trailer promises a mix of Americana and Baltic references when it comes to music. I ask how this compares to writing music for CODY:

“It’s the total opposite of writing songs and releasing them. One of my friends who writes scores told me: ‘You need to take your ego, put it in a basement and lock the door.’ You are the tool. It’s still really fun because you collaborate with people who don’t write music, but relate to it and use it. Satisfying the director is really difficult, and sometimes you wonder ‘How can you not like this?’ It’s an interesting way to work. A lot of people put the film on the screen and play [referring to Neil Young on Dead Man]. The film wasn’t finished at all, but we had two and a half hours of movie we could work with. It was fun to see these beautiful pictures. When you see snowy mountains you can almost make anything.”

Cody (Photo by Tom Spray)

What with the film score and other projects, Kaspar confides that without David’s input, it is doubtful Windshields would have been ready by now. The rest of the band come in at a later stage, but they still have a vital say in matters, including the lyrics. By now many of them are parents, which complicates matters during a tour, but Kaspar assures me these aren’t problems, “only challenges”. Their Spring Tour has just begun to wind its way around Jutland before passing through Odense, ending back home in Copenhagen at the Bremen Theatre on March 15.

FEATURE: Ice Cream Cathedral

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2013 was an exciting year for Ice Cream Cathedral. Not only did they release ‘The Drowsy Kingdom‘, they also signed with the Norwegian label Riot Factory, playing several festivals along the way including Roskilde Festival as part of the festivals Rising program. This year will most likely triumph it; less than a month has passed and the band have already released their “Reworks EP”, a selection of remixes of songs from their debut album by artists such as Sekuoia, Indians and Scarlet Chives, its also been announced the band will play showcase festival by:Larm, Oslo in February. 2014 is also the year that Ice Cream Cathedral will be releasing their second album.

Here Today visisted the band in the studio during the recordings. While the first album was recorded in isolation somewhere in the woods of Sweden, the second album is recorded in a studio in Copenhagen, The Black Tornado. The album will be a higher paced record with a more club feel to it; tension arises between the airy melodies and the constant, forward movement of the rhythm and so the band continues their exploration of contrast. In the interview below the bands gives us a glimpse into their recording process and how it differs from the one used in the making of ‘The Drowsy Kingdom‘.

ARTICLE: FROST Festival 2014

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After the doldrums of January, Copenhagen’s music scene comes back to life in February, and the FROST Festival is a notable contributor. Now in its fourth year, FROST brings Danish and international bands to conventional and unconventional venues around Copenhagen for concerts. Running from 1 February until 2 March, the festival aims to span genres and settings.

“FROST is all about putting the live music experience in context,” says festival director Mikael Pass. “We put a lot of effort into scouting for interesting, alternative venues across the city and match them with the artists we wish to present. This way the atmosphere of the room and the music blends, hopefully taking the concert experience to a different level. This year, a lot of the events take place in venues connected with water – an abandoned swimming pool, an old aquarium, ice rinks. Don’t ask me why.”

Though the water theme of many of the settings may be a coincidence, FROST’s organizers have a set of criteria they look for in their alternative venues.

“A perfect FROST-venue needs to hold a strong story telling atmosphere. It should work as the perfect backdrop for a concert,” says Pass. “At the same time it needs to fulfill the basic requirements – electricity, toilets and, of course, an acoustic that won’t destroy the concert experience. Then we look for a band that can fill the room and reflect its ambience. Sometimes we settle on the band first and then look for a perfect venue for them. The band becomes the soundtrack to the room and the room becomes the backdrop to the music.”

Though Pass is obviously excited to see all of the bands performing, he admits to being particularly excited about a few.

“Mostly I’m curious to see how the matches between the bands and venues pan out,” he says.  “When Saints Go Machine at the old aquarium, Erlend Øye at the bottom of an empty pool, The Mountains and Turboweekend in the beautiful and historic Brew House of King Christian IV.  And I can’t wait for Moonface to sing his insanely beautiful songs behind the piano in Koncertkirken.”

Beyond the offbeat venues, the city of Copenhagen itself — especially as it stands in February — is crucial to the concept of FROST. And don’t be surprised if future editions of the festival necessitate keeping your mittens on.

“We find it very interesting to explore the possibilities in creating music events in the winter city – not only indoors, but also to get people to use the outdoor spaces of Copenhagen during the winter,” says Pass. “This year, we produce shows at two public ice rinks and hopefully we can develop more outdoor activities in the future. Another goal is to do more light installations both at our venues and across the city to light up the dark Copenhagen winter,” says Pass.

One can see how Pass can be optimistic. Almost half of this year’s FROST events have sold out before the festival has even begun, and its reputation continues to grow.

“We get the feeling that we have become an established part of the Danish (and international) music scene. This makes it easier to discuss projects with both artists and the people running the alternative spaces,” he says. “However, we don’t make things easy on ourselves: Creating one-off events in alternative spaces takes a lot of time, money, networking and energy. And it’s a very open format; every edition of the festival has been a completely different story. FROST is like the bumble-bee that wasn’t designed to fly, but so far has managed to do so anyway.”

FROST 2014 begins this Saturday, 1 February. For the full line-up and ticket information, visit


ARTICLE: Shiny Darkly – Going underground….

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Photos by Tom Spray

Hiding underground in a hill-covered bunker is a place where haunting vocals, noisy guitar riffs, hypnotic bass lines and pounding drums live and breathe alongside sinister songs with titles like “He’s Suicidal”, “Dead Stars” and “Bury Us”.

The bunker serves as rehearsal space for the young post-punk trio Shiny Darkly that came into the consciousness of the Danish music aficionados with their self-titled debut-EP in the spring of 2012.

Shiny Darkly (Photo by Tom Spray)

Since then Kristoffer Bech (vocals/guitars), Oliver Matthew Voltz (bass) and Mads Lassen (drums) have kept the well deserved hype-kettle boiling with a string of high-profile gigs at SPOT Festival, Roskilde Festival, Iceland Airwaves and South by Southwest.

These concerts have both made Shiny Darkly a tight musical unit and also served as a solid ground to continually develop their sound that graces the debut album Little Earth which will hit the record shelves in spring 2014.

”We’ve been really aware in the writing process that we wouldn’t want to repeat ourselves”, the trio firmly proclaims as we catch up with them in the rehearsal space underground.

Shiny Darkly (Photo by Tom Spray)

This development is evident in the lead track on the band’s new EP, which serves as a teaser for the album.

Ticking in on 9:35, “Dead Stars” sees Shiny Darkly aiming towards a more epic scope, while still keeping the boys’ sinister dark and twisted soundscapes intact. Actually Kristoffer Bech’s vocals are more desperate than ever as he wails like the apocalypse is at hand during the song’s different crescendos, alongside an army of cacophonic trumpets buried in the layered sound.

The decision in giving the song that long a progression arose during an evening in the studio where the band was just playing the song for fun:

”’Dead Stars’ has been developed throughout live concerts since the band’s inception and has therefore always been part of our history. We didn’t really intend on recording it, but one evening in the studio, we just played it in a sort of freestyle jam and that actually ended up being the final track. It was basically just done in a one-take.  Somehow it seemed like something new and refreshing to us in contrast to the short punky stuff, we’ve already made. And also to give people a teaser of what’s to come.”

Shiny Darkly (Photo by Tom Spray)

The recording sessions for the debut album Little Earth was also quite different from the process of making the EP and shows the band’s progression and their vision for a more broader sound. Whereas the EP was recorded and mixed in a week with Jens ‘Benz’ Søndergaard at the controls, Shiny Darkly wanted to have more time at their hands to experiment and explore new stuff for the album. They found the perfect ally in Crunchy Frog label boss Jesper ‘Yebo’ Reginal who serves as producer on the album. Having him on board played a big part in the atmosphere of the recording process:

”Working with Yebo was a blast! He has an incredible amount of energy which oozed into us, and a sheer, almost childish joy when he works in the studio. That was really great for the atmosphere of the recording. Also during the moments where things weren’t running smoothly, he was good at boosting our confidence and getting the spirits back on track. Yebo was also an asset in regards to the final adjustments of the song arrangements. In some of the songs he could see that they would benefit from longer instrumental parts, nurturing the groove we had going in a particular song and letting the instruments breathe.”

Shiny Darkly (Photo by Tom Spray)

Little Earth was recorded in the esteemed studios Gula and Tambourine in Malmö, known for their warm analogue sound and arsenal of vintage equipment. Elements that also made their way onto the album, where xylophones, synths, vibraphones, congas and brass instruments fuse with Shiny Darkly’s signature post-punk frenzy of guitars, bass and drums.

The decision to record in Sweden was a deliberate choice for the band after spending intense periods in the rehearsal space for six months leading up to the recordings, they needed to get away and to create the album in an environment where they ”lived with the recording sessions” and thus prevent the breaks of concentration if they went home every night. This outing proved to be efficient for Shiny Darkly as they travelled ‘hinsidan’ just after the summer holiday. The recordings were done after only six days, four spent in Gula (recording the basic tracks) and two spent in Tambourine (overdubbing). The process was very intense at times, sometimes working 20 hours a day. But with Yebo’s good spirits raising the mood when things went awry, the trio came through and they’re very satisfied with the result:

”It has been important for us to achieve a sonic expression that hopefully shows our development. The sound of the EP is pretty lo-fi with a compact and somehow narrow scope, whereas the album has a broader sound where the details in our music are really allowed to shine through. That’s also the reason why we made the album in a high-end studio, because we wanted to give our sound and expression the best conditions. We had a pretty strong vision in regards to a really high-end well-produced drum sound against a dirty and distorted wall of guitars and vocals. The best of both worlds: something dark and beautiful in a great blend.”

Shiny Darkly (Photo by Tom Spray)

The current Dead Stars EP was also mixed abroad, in a studio in Berlin, but Shiny Darkly felt they needed to have more hands-on focus during that vital phase, so the album itself is being mixed by Jens Søndergaard, so somehow the circle has been completed. Shiny Darkly’s forthcoming soundscapes ending up in the hands of the man who first brought the band’s music to life.

And the boys are pretty much on top of things as to how the mixing will turn out and are eagerly waiting to share ‘their baby’ with the rest of us:

”The fact that Jens is mixing the album gives us a good feeling, ’cause he knows our expression and has an idea on how we want the songs to sound. And right now the collective band spirit is really high, in terms of the album turning out exactly how we wanted it. There are several moments where the dream scenario has been achieved and other moments where the music has been brought down new and exciting paths.”

Shiny Darkly (Photo by Tom Spray)

These confident words are the closing remarks from the young men and as we’re getting ready to leave the bunker, Kristoffer, Oliver and Mads grab for their instruments for an impromptu rehearsal.

After the final notes ring out, they smile at each other: ”Wow, that sounded great. It’s awesome rehearsing again. Let’s do another one.”

And this is how we leave the band, fully submerged in the thing that they do so convincingly: making dark and appealing music and loving it.

Little Earth is out on Crunchy Frog in the spring of 2014 and will see an immediate release in Scandinavia, GSA, Benelux, UK and Canada.


Photos of the year 2013

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The Hives

The Hives, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 31.01.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


The Men, Stengade, Copenhagen, 21.03.2013 (Photo by Morten Krogh)

The Soft Moon, Loppen, Copenhagen, 30.03.2013 (Photo by Morten Krogh)

Shout Out Louds, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 09.04.2013 (Photo by Hilmar Darri Flygenring)


Folkeklubben, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 25.04.2013 (Photo by Morten Krogh)

Autre Ne Veut

Autre Ne Veut, Rust, Copenhagen, 23.04.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


Daughter, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 10.04.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


Japandroids, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 03.04.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Jake Bugg

Jake Bugg, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 02.04.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Palma Violets

Palma Violets, BETA, Copenhagen, 31.03.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Schultz and Forever

Schultz and Forever, DR Byen, Copenhagen, 03.03.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Araab Muzik

Araab Muzik, KB3, Copenhagen, 08.03.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


Metz, Ideal Bar, Copenhagen, 04.03.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Crystal Castles

Crystal Castles, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 02.03.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


Cody, Store Vega, 01.03.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


Widowspeak, Loppen, Copenhagen, 08.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Øresundsfestival 2013

Øresundsfestival, Malmö, 10.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Øresundsfestival 2013

The Eclectic Moniker, Øresundsfestival, Malmö, 10.05.2013 (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Øresundsfestival 2013

Broke, Øresundsfestival, Malmö, 11.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Øresundsfestival 2013

MØ, Øresundsfestival, Malmö, 11.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Øresundsfestival 2013

Iceage, Øresundsfestival, Malmö, 11.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Øresundsfestival 2013

The White Album, Øresundsfestival, Malmö, 11.05.2013 (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Bruce Springsteen

Bruce Springsteen, Parken, Copenhagen, 14.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Bring Me The Horizon

Bring Me The Horizon, Amager Bio, Copenhagen, 18.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Beach Fossils

Beach Fossils, Stengade, Copenhagen, 21.05.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Nick Cave

Nick Cave, Optimus Primavera Sound, Porto, 31.05.2013 (Photo by Janye Yong)


Blur, Optimus Primavera Sound, Porto, 31.05.2013 (Photo by Janye Yong)

grizzly bear

Grizzly Bear, Optimus Primavera Sound, Porto, 01.06.2013 (Photo by Janye Yong)

A$AP Rocky (Photo by Tom Spray)

A$AP Rocky, Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, 11.06.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Mew (Photo by Tom Spray)

Mew, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 12.06.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

The National (Photo by Tom Spray)

The National, Loppen, Copenhagen, 20.06.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Trash Talk (Photo by Tom Spray)

Trash Talk, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 27.06.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Drenge (Photo by Tom Spray)

Drenge, Roskilde Festival, 04.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Savages (Photo by Tom Spray)

Savages, Roskilde Festival, 04.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Slipknot (Photo by Tom Spray)

Slipknot crowd, Roskilde Festival, 04.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Animal Collective (Photo by Tom Spray)

Animal Collective, Roskilde Festival, 04.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Metz (Photo by Tom Spray)

Metz, Roskilde Festival, 05.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

EL-P (Photo by Tom Spray)

EL-P, Roskilde Festival, 05.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Iceage (Photo by Tom Spray)

Iceage, Roskilde Festival, 06.07.2013

Action Bronson (Photo by Tom Spray)

Action Bronson, Roskilde Festival, 06.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

The National (Photo by Tom Spray)

The National, Roskilde Festival, 06.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Metallica (Photo by Tom Spray)

Metallica, Roskilde Festival, 06.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Sigur Ros (Photo by Tom Spray)

Sigur Ros, Roskilde Festival, 06.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

James Blake (Photo by Tom Spray)

James Blake, Roskilde Festival, 07.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (Photo by Tom Spray)

Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Roskilde Festival, 07.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Queens Of The Stone Age (Photo by Tom Spray)

Queens Of The Stone Age, Roskilde Festival, 07.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Kraftwerk (Photo by Tom Spray)

Kraftwerk, Roskilde Festival, 07.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Kraftwerk (Photo by Tom Spray)

Kraftwerk crowd, Roskilde Festival, 07.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

John Legend (Photo by Tom Spray)

John Legend, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 16.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Sleep Party People (Photo by Tom Spray)

Sleep Party People, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 27.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Smashing Pumpkins Photos by Tom Spray (

The Smashing Pumpkins, Falconer Salen, 31.07.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

OFF Festival

OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

AlunaGeorge, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

AlunaGeorge, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Cloud Nothing, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

Cloud Nothings, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Scenes, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Julia Holter, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

Julia Holter, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Walkmen, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Walkmen, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Autre Ne Veut, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

Autre Ne Veut, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Japandroids, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

Japandroids crowd, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

We draw A, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

We draw A, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Fucked Up, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

Fucked Up, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

My Bloody Valentine, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

My Bloody Valentine, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Japandroids, OFF Festival (Photo by Tom Spray)

Japandroids, OFF Festival, Katowice, Poland (Photo by Tom Spray)

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Photos by Tom Spray (

Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Tivoli Concert Hall, Copenhagen, 07.08.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


Ice Cream Cathedral, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 07.08.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)


Haim, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 07.08.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Tame Impala - Photo by Tom Spray (

Tame Impala, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 09.08.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Dirty Beaches - Photo by Tom Spray (

Dirty Beaches, Copenhagen, 11.08.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Mikal Cronin - Photo by Tom Spray (

Mikal Cronin, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 11.08.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Ducktails - Photo by Tom Spray (

Ducktails, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 11.08.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)


Trans Metro Express, Strøm Festival, 13.08.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

haxan cloak

The Haxan Cloak, Cisternerne, Copenhagen, 14.08.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)


Ice Cream Cathedral, Malmo Festival, Road Trip, 17.08.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)


Baby In Vain, Malmo Festival, Road Trip, 17.08.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)


David Byrne & St Vincent, Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, 22.08.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

MS MR Live 1

MS MR, Rust, Copenhagen, 28.08.2013 (Photo by Ivan Boll)

Matthew E. White (Photo by Jen Tse)

Matthew E. White, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 09.09.2013 (Photo by Jen Tse)


A Place To Bury Strangers, Loppen, Copenhagen, 24.09.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Delorean (Photo by Jen Tse)

Delorean, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 25.09.2013 (Photo by Jen Tse)

Editors (Photo by Tom Spray)

Editors, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 26.09.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

MGMT (Photo by Jen Tse)

MGMT, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 01.10.2013 (Photo by Jen Tse)

James Blake (Photo by James Hjertholm)

James Blake crowd, Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, 06.10.2013 (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Baby In Vain (Photo by Jen Tse)

Baby In Vain, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 04.10.2013 (Photo by Jen Tse)

Washed Out - Photo by Tom Spray (

Washed Out, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 09.10.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Foals (Photo by Tom Spray)

Foals, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 15.10.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Julianna Barwick (Photo by Tom Spray)

Julianna Barwick, Jazzhouse, Copenhagen, 20.10.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Biffy Clyro by Jen Tse

Biffy Clyro, Den Grå Hal, Copenhagen, 01.11.2013 (Photo by Jen Tse)

national 1

The National, Forum, Copenhagen, 02.11.2013 (Photo by James Hjertholm)


Julia Holter, Jazzhouse, Copenhagen, 05.11.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)


Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds, Falconer Salen, Copenhagen, 08.11.2013 (Photo by Jonas Bang)

14. okt 13 80_o

The Woken Trees, UK tour (Photo by Jonas Bang)

Crystal Stilts-7055

Crystal Stilts, Stengade, Copenhagen, 14.11.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)


Fuck Buttons, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 16.11.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Volcano Choir (Photo by Tom Spray)

Volcano Choir, Amager Bio, Copenhagen, 18.11.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Youth Lagoon (Photo by Jen Tse)

Youth Lagoon, Pumpehuset, Copenhagen, 20.11.2013 (Photo by Jen Tse)

EL-P and Killer Mike (Photo by Tom Spray)

EL-P and Killer Mike, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 20.11.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Tallest Man On Earth (Photo by Tom Spray)

The Tallest Man On Earth, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 21.11.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Get Your Gun (Photo by Jonas Bang)

Get Your Gun, Russia/Estonia tour, fall 2013 (Photo by Jonas Bang)

Trentemøller (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Trentemøller, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 22.11.2013 (Photo by James Hjertholm)


Blouse, Loppen, Copenhagen, 26.11.2013 (Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh)

MØ (Photo by James Hjertholm)

MØ, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 28.11.2013 (Photo by James Hjertholm)

Queens Of The Stone Age (Photo Jen Tse)

Queens Of The Stone Age, Forum, Copenhagen, 29.11.2013 (Photo by Jen Tse)

Destroyer (Photo by Ivan Boll)

Destroyer, Jazzhouse, Copenhagen, 03.12.2013 (Photo by Ivan Boll)

Kurt Vile (Photo by Ivan Boll)

Kurt Vile, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 05.12.2013 (Photo by Ivan Boll)


Oh Land, Store Vega, Copenhagen, 12.12.2013 (Photo by Ivan Boll)

Cut Copy (Photo by Tom Spray)

Cut Copy, Lille Vega, Copenhagen, 13.12.2013 (Photo by Tom Spray)

Albums of the year 2013

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1. Autre Ne Veut – Anxiety

Arthur Ashin’s second album oozes emotional intensity throughout, with the album title perfectly summing up Ashin’s emotions while writing this album. Whether its about the anxiety of calling his grandmother for fear of her death (“Counting”), dealing with hitting his 30’s (“Gonna Die”) or going through a break-up (“World War”). Starting off with “Play By Play”/“Counting”/“Promises”/“Ego Free, Sex Free”, Anxiety has to be one of the strongest back-to-back hit filled albums released for a while. From start to finish this is an album to you can listen to whether its a Friday night ready to go out on the town or on a relaxing Sunday morning nursing a hangover as Ashin soothes you with his alt-R’n’B.


 2. My Bloody Valentinem b v

If you say you’ve been waiting 22 years for this record, you’re lying. Even the most faithful of My Bloody Valentine fans gave up hope of ever seeing another release from the band long ago. When this album was released in February with little ceremony and an ordering process that temporarily broke the internet, there should have been no shock that it wasn’t another Loveless. Instead we’ve been treated to unexpected guitar solos, unexpected guitar-free compositions, more of Bilinda Butcher’s beautiful voice, and a few genuine what-the-fuck-is-that-sound moments. If you say this album wasn’t worth a two-decade period of absence, you’re lying.

iceage (1)

3. IceageYou’re Nothing

Still pissed off, still drawing heavily on post-punk angularity and tinny black metal bleakness, Denmark’s finest return with a more diverse album than their debut. The fast tracks still explode with spit and bile (“Ecstasy”,“Coalition”), but interspersed are moments of slow, muddy thuds (“Morals”), and even the odd Hüsker Du-influenced riff (“In Haze”).  Iceage are lads of impeccable taste, whose energy elevates them out of the mire of influences that so often burdens hardcore bands. The “New Way of Danish Fuck You” might not be so new any more, but with any luck, it is far from over.



Vampire Weekend

4. Vampire WeekendModern Vampires Of The City

With this album, Ezra Koenig and his gang have progressed from the afro-pop elements of earlier days to a more diverse soundscape. Evident in the infectious pop tune ‘Step’, the playful ‘Ya Hey’ with manipulated chipmunk-voices and the beautiful vocal harmonies on ‘Obvious Bicycle’. The different textures are quite seductive and ‘MVotC’ has been a recurrent visitor on my record player. On top of that Ezra Koenig has a way with lyrics that really enthrals me: ”The harpsichord is broken/The television’s fried/The city’s getting hotter than a country in decline” from ‘Finger Snap’ is a line you don’t hear everyday. A great album that showcases a great band’s development.



factory floor

5. Factory FloorFactory Floor

“Turn it up”. Take their advice: Factory Floor’s first album is a commanding blend of instinct and control, the human and mechanical. The trio’s double LP draws as much on minimalist, New York disco as it does on Throbbing Gristle, resulting in tracks whose power lies in the combination of cold synth lines, ghostly voices, and infectious beats (drummer Gabe respects, as we should all do, the mythical cowbell).

Nick Cave and The Bad Seeds Push The Sky Away

6. Nick Cave and The Bad SeedsPush The Sky Away

Push The Sky Away is Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds 15th studio album. The first album, where Nick Cave is the only remaining member of the original line-up, and also a masterful example of the growing collaboration between multi-instrumentalist Warren Ellis and Nick Cave. After the end of the loud and noisy Grinderman, which in large parts consists of the same people as The Bad Seeds, Push The Sky Away can be seen as return to a more quiet expression that makes you recall albums like The Boatmans Call. Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds was formed thirty years ago; Push The Sky Away is a promise of many more years of great music to come.


7. Julia HolterLoud City Song

Loud City Song is the third album in as many years by LA-based Julia Holter. As with her earlier albums, the classically trained artists has found inspiration in artworks from the past – this time the 1958 musical Gigi. The album is diverse, yet very coherent, and Julia Holter manages to breed new life and sounds into a classical instrumentation of horns, strings, piano and drums. Loud City Song is atmospheric; it feels more accessible than her earlier albums (that are also great) without losing the playfulness and experimentation.

As she explains Loud City Song began with the end of her second album Ekstasis; more precisely the song Maxim’s III. The song need it’s own album, she thought, and what an album it got!


8. The NationalTrouble Will Find Me

High Violet was always going to be a tough album to follow up for the Cincinnati quintet, however, I had the same thought with some of their previous albums Alligator and Boxer, they seem to effortlessly write albums start to finish that are hard hitting and grab you in a way no other band can. Trouble Will Find Me gives us an insight into the life Matt Berninger has settled into in his more mature years having admitting “…I didn’t care what the songs were going to be about, or if they were going to seem depressing, or cool, or whatever”, even so, they still manage to roll out the hits with tracks such as, “Don’t Swallow The Cap”, “Sea Of Love” and “Graceless”. 


Ed Harcourt

9. Ed HarcourtBack Into The Woods

In the 12 years since Ed Harcourt released his Mercury Prize-nominated debut, he’s explored all complexities for the conveyance of his baroque pop style. So if he decides to strip things back, he must be certain of himself. Recorded in just six hours at Abbey Road Studios in London, Back Into the Woods is the kind of natural, unadorned performance you can only get away with if the songs are really that strong.

At its core, most of the album is just Harcourt at his piano or guitar, and a natural warmth that emanates from the instruments, in lovely contrast to the husky timbre of his voice.


10. Queens Of The Stone Age….Like Clockwork

Frontman Josh Homme was sidelined for months after complications from a routine surgery, and …Like Clockwork is the manifestation of him literally getting back on his feet. If a little strife provides good inspiration, then it’s no wonder this is QOTSA’s strongest album in years. It’s equal parts brutal and creepy, with tracks like “If I Had a Tail” marking Homme as heir apparent to Scott Walker. Dave Grohl plays a bulk of the drums, and there are guest spots from Trent Reznor, Mark Lanegan, and Elton John. If you haven’t paid much attention to QOTSA in recent years, …Like Clockwork will make you regret ever counting them out.


11. Kanye WestYeezus

Yeezus‘ bookends feel like a follow on from My Beautiful Dark Twisted Fantasy, a time when he was going through darker periods of his life after the death of his mother and a break up, to his current life with Kim Kardashian with “Bound 2”. If this is anything to go by we can expect the follow-up to Yeezus to be an R’n’B love album…….yeah right! The album contains unmatched production qualities with tracks that will make Kanye’s live set for years to come as he rolls out the albums other hits, “Black Skinhead” and “New Slaves”.

Sigur Ros

12. Sigur RósKveikur

In tribute to Jonsi’s made up language, “hopelandic”, I have retranslated my review in six different languages, resulting in some nonsense they can be proud of:

“Finally ROS Sigur dark, interesting bass lines and shiny surfaces with just the ignition Mogwai album in Iceland felt a huge area, sounds more and more electronic sound plan. Browse all Vacuum guitar violin, or Jónsi is much better able to withstand it.”

In English, Sigur Rós have returned with a power that had largely dispersed in their later recordings. The tweeness has been replaced by darker and heavier electronic sounds, undercut by Jonsi’s distinctive vocal style.



13. TrentemøllerLost

Trentemøller has gradually shifted away from the more overt, techno style of electronica towards grander, more cinematic compositions. Lost is a sweeping, sometimes broody, cinematic work that prioritizes subtlety. It’s definitely an album made more for headphones than stereos, and maybe it’s most conducive to quiet moments of reflection, but ultimately, it is beautiful. And with appearances from Blonde Redhead’s Kazu Makino, Low’s Mimi Parker, and the Drum’s Jonny Pierce, Lost might prove to be one of those gateway albums that lures unsuspecting rockists into the dark underbelly of electronic music.

Blood Orange

14. Blood OrangeCupid Deluxe

There is a good reason why Devonté Hynes is the producer in quest these days. The Englishman’s musical sensibilities are as sophisticated as a cat walking through a dollhouse, knowing exactly where to place the paws without compromising the arrangements, that is perfectly balanced between the cheesy and the chic – just as if the aesthetic of the 80’s was taken to contemporary society. Exactly the 80’s are along with New York the main point of reference for the album, which combines the best of the decade (New Romanticism, Golden Age Hip-Hop and New Jack Swing) with a who’s who of Brooklyn-socialites such as David Longstreith (Dirty Projectors) and his fiancé Samantha Urbani (Friends). Cupid Deluxe is in many ways the preliminary redemption of Hynes’ vast talent.



15. These New Puritans – Fields Of Reeds

Taking inspiration from classical and experimental composers of the 20th century, Benjamin Britten foremost among them, These New Puritans may not be the most light-hearted or humorous of bands, but Fields of Reeds is the culmination of the band’s unique and exacting approach to music. Singling out songs from this tightly woven work may be counterproductive, but “Organ Eternal” signals the power TNP can generate from a simple, “Tubular Bells”-like riff. Don’t think progressive, Fields of Reeds has the best claim this year on the title of “timeless”.



16. James Blake – Overgrown

Last year, when I told people James Blake was Dubstep, they refused to accept the fact. Whilst ‘Overgrown’ is hardly at Skrillex’s level on the ‘drop the beat’ scale (yuck), it’s a lot closer than the artist’s debut. Blake’s talent means one can never tire of ‘Overgrown”s multiple layers; it has an extraordinary power to be at once very personal, whilst the electronic framework makes it like the grown up echo of a dance album. It’s about when the songs bite, just like a “Digital Lion”. See “Retrograde” for reference. What that boy does with a piano, a vocal warble and a computer is just insane. No wonder that Mercury Prize ended up in his hands.


Arcade Fire (2013) Reflektor LP Vinyl Record Album 1

17. Arcade FireReflektor

Alongside countless other fans, I was impatiently awaiting the release of the fourth album by the Canadian seven-piece. A release that consolidates Arcade Fire’s position as one of the greatest indie bands on the planet. ‘Reflektor’ shows a more up-beat side to the band, in the disco-tinged title track, ‘We Exist’ and ‘It’s Never Over (Oh Orpheus)’, alongside rock anthems like ‘Normal Person’ and ‘Joan of Arc’. Utter magnificence that keeps growing on me, fuelled by Win Butler’s intense vocal delivery.

With a playing span of 75 minutes the band’s typical epic scope remains constant and this album is another brilliant addition to an awe-inspiring catalogue.


Darkside Psychic

(18) DarksidePsychic 

Described as “rock’s cosmic outer edges through the immersive, body-moving framework of 21st-century house and techno”, upon the release of Psychic, Nicolas Jarr and Dave Harrington’s debut album brought a breath of fresh air to the electronic music scene in 2013, just as Jarr has previously done with his solo venture. Post-rock riffs and downbeat electronica dominates Psychic. Tracks such as “Paper Trails” has glimpses of Jarr’s solo work vocally, although admittedly containing a denser and more textured sound. Darkside have left us hungry for more as they continue to take the album on the road in 2014.

cate le bon

19. Cate Le Bon – Mug Museum

The always-evolving Cate Le Bon found sunshine in California and a more stripped-back sound for her third full length. The Velvet Underground influence on Mug Museum should smack anyone over the head, even if s/he hasn’t gone on a Lou Reed listening binge following his death. Le Bon’s sparse, minimally-produced album has easy sing alongs, a few moments of total chaos, a duet with Perfume Genius, and stays just on the right side of that vaguely surfy vibe to distinguish her from every other band that has hit the reverb a little too hard. Mug Museum is 2013’s best palate cleanser.


20. Arctic Monkeys – AM

“Who the F*ck are the Arctic Monkeys?” Only kidding! Perhaps you didn’t see enough of the Arctic Monkeys on every music magazine’s front page and website this summer? Never fear, they’re gonna be on every end of year list. With very good reason. The Sheffield band’s fifth studio album was an absolute masterpiece from those first two drum whacks of “Do I Wanna Know?”, (a song which also possesses one of the best rock riffs of all time), to the dreamy, track twelve cover of John Cooper Clark’s poem, “I Wanna Be Yours”. The pace is sickingly fluctuating, but the adrenaline is never wavering. It also produced a video of Alex Turner wandering around London pretending to be drunk and hallucinating about kebab salesmen humping, so who can complain?

ARTICLE: Robert Glasper, not just the man behind the keys

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It’s practically almost easier to mention who Robert Glasper has not worked with. Coming from a jazz background, there is off course all of those that would ring a bell in those circles, but what might come as a surprise to the average listener is that Glasper also has collaborated with a broad segment of contemporary urban and pop artists, ranging from The Roots to Solange and Q-tip.

Never to self-important to degrade either dimension, the pianist instead forged the two into one of last year’s most remarkable records, the critically acclaimed Black Radio, and is now ready with its follow-up, logically named Black Radio 2, that might tap into an even broader audience, potentially giving Glasper the recognition he rightfully deserves.

The right album at the right time

Fed up with the lack of new thinking within the jazz community, pianist Robert Glasper and his Experiment set out with the relatively humble ambition to stir things up a little. The outcome – ‘Black Radio’ – went far beyond that, literally inscribing itself into American music history by taking home a Grammy for Best R&B Album in 2012. The conditions of the time were however also favourable as renowned trumpeter Nicholas Payton had sparkled his campaign to re-naturalise jazz music among other genres under the umbrella-term Black American Music (usually abbreviated as BAM).

Glasper nevertheless dissociated himself from this conception, diplomatically rejecting it; “I just don’t think to call it Black American Music is the way to go, because there’s a whole lot of black American music under that umbrella, and they all have names.” More so, Glasper in his own right, involuntarily came to forefront a new movement among jazz musicians, and Black Radio also marked itself as the principal work among a wave of similar projects from contemporary, coming-of-age jazz acts such as ERIMAJ, Gizmo, Lakecia Benjamin and NEXT Collective, all of whom were rounded by the popularity of urban music during the 1980’s and 1990’s.

Creativity emancipated

With most of its tracks being either covers or do-overs, much more than the lyrical content, the true innovation of Black Radio was the musical mastership of The Experiment. From Glasper’s floating finger technique and Derrick Hodge’s empathized bass play, to the adaptively march-infused drums of Chris Dave, all rounded of by jack-of-all-trade Casey Benjamin’s signature vocoder and whatnots.

That’s not to talk about what the prime roster of artists from the urban intelligentsia brings to the table; Stokley Williams breezily everting his soul on ‘Why Do We Try’, an unusually underplayed version of Bilal on David Bowie’s ‘Letter To Hermione’ and Erykah Badu’s stylish take on jazz standard ‘Afro Blue’.

The fact that the majority of the album was recorded through intense jam session over the course of 4 days, is only to be heard in how the decades of accumulated experience assembled in the studio lets their informed impulses lead the way, yet never goes astray down otherwise seductive pitfalls of irrelevance; every solo is appropriate, every improvisation on point.

A co-creational effort

Whether it was the Grammy nomination that encouraged the Experiment to further go down the R&B-path is uncertain, yet that is however what they did on their follow up, Black Radio 2, being released this week. To compensate, almost all of the material on the new record is original content, co-creatively conjured through the Experiment’s tight arrangements as the musical backdrop, setting the perfect scene for each of the featured artists’ unfolding.

A co-creational project in all regards, several of those (that include Common, Emeli Sandé and Jill Scott, among others) are participating by request from their fans, thus showcasing the mastermind of Robert Glasper not only as a composer and producer but also as a marketeer – but most of all an artist, way ahead of his time.

Spotlight On: Iceland Airwaves 2013

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Since 1999, the Iceland Airwaves festival has been early Christmas for every music enthusiast in Iceland. We may not have the muddy campsite or 60,000 people jumping up and down in front of the Orange Stage, but what we do have is more stages, more bands, and more to drink. To be accurate, 221 bands will perform this year on 13 different stages downtown in Reykjavík at Iceland Airwaves. The number of stages isn’t a problem because the next show you want to see is never more than two songs away.
When Iceland Airwaves approaches every Icelandic musician gets goosebumps just thinking about the festival. It’s the time of the year when Icelandic music goes all in. For domestic bands the festival is a springboard to the world. Many music agents and reporters come to the festival hoping to find something new to show their bosses, and bands hope to make the headlines.

A band doesn’t need to have a radio hit on their résumé to get a gig at Airwaves; if the band can play and someone will show up they are good to go.

In the last few years many Icelandic artists have had great success. The gap between selling a few copies of rare albums at a local store in Reykjavík and playing at a festival for 50,000 is getting smaller. Of Monsters and Men is probably a good example of that. For that reason, more foreign people are starting to show an interest in visiting the festival. It’s frustrating for Icelanders that it can be hard to get one of those 7,000 tickets. But for those who were too late or too broke to buy a ticket there is an off-venue schedule with many big artists who play for free.

Iceland Airwaves is not all about the natives. Artists from all over the world visit the festival. Many great bands have made their appearances at the festival, for example: TV On the Radio, Fatboy Slim, Hot Chip, Florence and the Machine, Bloc Party, and Flaming Lips. This year 64 foreign artists will perform, most of them from USA, Canada, England, and Sweden. The biggest act, no doubt, is Kraftwerk in 3D, however you have to buy an extra ticket to see their show. Other exiting artists playing this year are the long living Yo La Tengo, Jagwar Ma, Mac Demarco, Gold Panda, Fucked Up and AlunaGeorge.
It is not just the bands that make Iceland Airwaves such a good gathering; the atmosphere is one of a kind. Even though you are freezing in a long queue, the show has started, and you lost one shoe, you’re still in a good mood. Let’s take a look at what the fuss is all about.


FM Belfast

FM Belfast

The Iceland Airwaves festival in 2006 marked a breaking point in FM Belfast’s orbit. The couple Lóa Hjálmtýsdóttir and Árni Hlöðversson were in need of more people for their performance at the festival and were joined by Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (founding member of múm), Árni Vilhjálmsson and part time member Björn Kristjánsson (also known as Borko). Together they have made two albums; How To Make Friends (2008) and Don’t Want Sleep (2011). Their main ingredient is hyper electronic pop music that is almost impossible not to dance to. If you intend to see FM Belfast live you should not make any plans afterwards that involve using a lot of energy. These kids will show you no mercy: They will suck all the energy out of you, and make sure that your toes will get stepped on.


Retro Stefson

Retro Stefson

If you are used to saying to the bartender, “just bring me something funky, fresh and exotic,” Retro Stefson is definitely your type of cocktail. They mix together various music genres and the outcome is universal summertime dance music with lyrics in Icelandic, English, Portuguese and French. Retro Stefson was formed in 2006 by frontman Unnsteinn Manuel and his brother Logi Pedro. The setup is completed with five former schoolmates. The band’s first album, Montana, was released in 2009, in 2010 Kimbabwe made the spotlight, and last year their self-titled album came out. All of these albums have included many singles which have gained them unstoppable airplay and uncountable number-one hits in Iceland. In spite of their young age, Retro Stefson has gained a large fan base in Iceland and they have started to get noticed outside the country. They have played in every Iceland Airwaves festival since 2006 and 2013 will be no exception.

Ojba Rasta

Ojba Rasta

In 2009 Icelandic reggae gave birth to its second offspring named Ojba Rasta. There had been no tradition for reggae music in Iceland before Hjálmar made their appearance in 2004, so Ojba Rasta was very welcome in the club. All their songs are in Icelandic except for their biggest hit, “Jolly Good”. They released their self titled debut album in 2012, and this month their second album Friður hit stores. Ojba Rasta has eleven band members including a dub-master, organist, guitarist, bassist and several wind instrument players. This mingling of instruments brings their live shows to a higher level, and  audiences float in the groovy atmosphere that they create on stage.




Originally performing around the world with the indie band Seaber, she has now discovered that she can just do it by herself. Sóley is more popular than her band ever was and she is gaining a lot of fans in Europe. Her debut EP, Theater Island, was released in 2010, and was followed the year after with the studio album We Sink. Sóley is a multi-instrumentalist supported by a drummer and a guitarist/keyboardist. Her songs contain distant simple beats, beautiful piano strokes, and Sóley’s seductive voice which should be able to calm all the stressful nerves in your body.




He made a huge appearance in the Icelandic music scene last year, topping the charts on every radio station in Iceland. He appeared out of nowhere with the singles “Sumargestur” and “Leyndarmál”. Suddenly he made the album Dýrð í Dauðaþögn and won four awards at the Icelandic Music Awards. It is safe to say that he is the most popular artist in Iceland these days. The music is melodic folk, singing in a high pitch, sounding a lot like Bon Iver and making it hard to sing along. Ásgeir used his father’s poems as lyrics for his album.  In spite of his young age and the popularity he has gained (especially from young girls), he has kept unobtrusive and says that this popularity has surprised him and that he just goes with the flow, not trying to impress anyone. Still he got John Grant to translate his lyrics to English to adjust a bigger market. His English version of Dýrð í Dauðaþögn will be released in January next year.




Active since 1997, múm have released seven records. Their debut, Yesterday Was Dramatic, Today is OK, came out in 2000, and their latest, Smilewound, was released last month (with a bonus track featuring Kyle Minogue). Bringing together electronic beats and melodies from founding members Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (FM Belfast), they are supported with classical tones and instruments played by their fellow band members (including Ólöf Arnalds). Following up their album, the band has been playing gigs and festivals both in Asia and Europe. múms’ live shows is always a great experience. The loudness can be surprising compared to how comfortable and quiet their music sounds in the speakers at home. They are often accompanied by a dozen of people who help them put together the show which can be fun and energetic and sometimes feels like a jam session rather than a concert.


Ólafur Arnalds

Ólafur Arnalds

He might not be the first artist who comes to mind when think of a music festival, but the gig he’ll be performing will be something special and different from all the other acts on Iceland Airwaves this year. Backed by The Iceland Symphony Orchestra, Ólafur will perform a special show which you will need to buy an extra ticket to see. He will be performing the best from his career, which includes three studio albums: The first one, Eulogy for Evolution, was released in 2007 when Ólafur was only 20 years old. His latest, For Now I Am Winter, came out earlier this year. Ólafur is known for mixing classical music with ambient/electronic pop and the combination is mature experimental beauty.

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