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Albums of the year 2014

in Blog by
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

SESSION: Ice Cream Cathedral and Sekuoia

in Sessions by

Two acts that Here Today has championed since the start of their blossoming careers, Ice Cream Cathedral and Sekuoia, have decided to join forces for two concert at the end of the month. It only seemed fitting to bring them into the same studio we recorded their previous sessions to get a sneak peak at this collaboration, as they lead us through “Amber Sail” from Ice Cream Cathedral’s debut The Drowsy Kingdom.

Catch them at Radar in Aarhus on 31.10.2014 or Lille Vega in Copenhagen on 01.11.2014.

Watch “Amber Sail” from the session below:

Watch “Rituals” from Sekuoia’s previous session below:

Watch “An Armful Of Rubies” from Ice Cream Cathedral’s previous session below:

AUDIO: Future 3 feat. Anja T. Lahrmann – “Roller Coasters”

in Blog/New Music by

13 years has past since “Like…”, the last album released by Future 3. Still the trio is far from forgotten; earlier this year Danish music critics honured Future 3 with “Pionerprisen” during the award show Steppeulvene, and now there is a new album coming up. “Roller Coasters”, the first single has just been released and it features Anja T. Lahrmann from Ice Cream Cathedral on vocals. You can listen to it here:

The new album entitled ‘With and Without’ will be out on October 10th.

PHOTOS: Trailerpark Festival

in Photos by

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

Reptile Youth
Reptile Youth
Communions
Communions
Trailerpark audience
Trailerpark audience
Shiny Darkly
Shiny Darkly
Le1f
Le1f
Get Your Gun
Get Your Gun
Christopher
Christopher

 

Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Broke
Broke
Sleep Party People
Sleep Party People
Trailerpark festival ambience
Trailerpark festival ambience
Ice Cream Cathedral
Ice Cream Cathedral
Baby In Vain
Baby In Vain
Trailerpark Festival audience
Trailerpark Festival audience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Mont Oliver
Mont Oliver
Naomi Pilgrim
Naomi Pilgrim
Sea Change
Sea Change
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Giana Factory
Giana Factory
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Sekuoia
Sekuoia
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience
Trailerpark Festival ambience

Thanks to Sony for letting us try their new Sony a7S camera

Check out Charlie Cassarino’s festival report 

See also photos from the individual days: Thursday, Friday and Saturday

Trailerpark Festival report

in Live Reviews by

Arriving early at a concert in Copenhagen is tremendously unfashionable, and at a festival doubly so. The benefit of being at Trailerpark in the afternoon is being able to explore the various tents, trailers and assorted installations before they are covered under a mass of pretty people. The festival focuses as much on constructing creative and comfortable spaces as it does on the music, and this year is no exception. As well as the eponymous trailers—one made up to look like a Lynchian crime scene, complete with smoke machine and eerie music, another a Tinder-sponsored shag-shack—there are swings made of recycled pallets, surrealist plush sculptures, rum cabañas and a tent devoted to what can only be described as audio-visual terrorism.

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The Tinder-trailer during a quite moment.

Fans of poor decision-making are welcome to try a spot of tattoo roulette—quite literally spinning a wheel to decide what image will be indelibly etched onto your skin—and in the wilder hours of Friday even an over-cautious curmudgeon like yours truly has to exercise a significant amount of self-restraint to avoid it. Those in search of less permanent damage can get a lopsided haircut and a single leg shaved by a bunch of clowns in bondage gear. Pretty standard fare, really.

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There is perhaps no better place than here to take stock of the quality and diversity of the Danish scene, the line-up consisting almost entirely of homegrown talent. This, however, is the only constant. One can wander away from a hip hop act at Royal stage and suddenly come across an emissary of the Mayhem/Posh Isolation scene at Outdoor stage. Throughout, DJs and smaller electronic acts are blasting away in the intimate enclave of Rebel stage.

Thursday

The day starts relatively peacefully with Alice Boman’s wistful folk pop, which transitions neatly into the music of CODY, Copenhagen’s post-folk collective and arguably one of the most talented groups of musicians in the city. Drawing primarily on material from Windshield, their latest album, the six-piece (but depending on the day there could just as easily be eight people on stage, or even just the one) manage to work their wealth of instruments into a beautifully simple whole.

The rest of the day is devoted mainly to electronic acts. Among the most promising newer artists are Mont Oliver, who add a touch of Madchester swagger to their performance (seriously, the guy at the keyboards is even wearing one of those floppy 90s fishing hats). Later on, Ice Cream Cathedral filled Outdoor stage with their pop pyschedelia, followed by a mesmeric Sekuoia.

Ice Cream Cathedral
Ice Cream Cathedral
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Cody

Baby In Vain did their best to convert the crowd to Satan, before Julias Moon could do is darndest to become the Danish equivalent of Michael Jackson.

Friday

Though every day at Trailerpark has its moments, Friday is the one that does its best to physically and mentally destroy festival-goers. In the most positive sense of the phrase, naturally. Hand Of Dust and Get Your Gun bring a dark and twisted version of Americana to town, though their early slots mean that only a handful of the most dedicated are able to witness any of it.

The tone for the rest of the evening is set by New York rapper Le1f. Preceded by a brief display from an acrobat in bondage gear (a phrase I don’t get to use enough), Khalif Diouf exudes equal parts sexuality (consider that barely an hour later will see a DJ set from someone called DJ Cockwhore) and flighty exuberance.  Cutting songs short when he gets tired of them, Le1f makes it clear that he is here to have as much fun as the audience.

Le1f
Le1f

Though Sleep Party People’s mix of lullabies and post-rock is both a visually and aurally captivating experience, the true energy of the evening is found with two bands:  Reptile Youth and Broke. Though the former is considerably more famous, the two share similarities in sound and attitude, guitar-led dance music and physicality. I can personally attest to having had Reptile Youth’s frontman Mads Damsgaard Kristiansen land on my head twice during improperly announced stage dives, and Broke’s frontman developed a liking for humping one of the central tent poles of Outdoor stage.

Reptile Youth
Reptile Youth

All this can only be topped by the utter perfection (in the eyes and ears of this reviewer at least) of The Felines, who bring wide smiles and awkward attempts at the twist to the 4am crowd.

Saturday

Fans of Danish “pop sensations” and hip hop acts must forgive me, but the real stars of the final day of Trailerpark are all at Outdoor stage. First Hate are possibly the dorkiest duo I have ever seen, which automatically makes them cooler than anyone in this tremendously well-dressed audience. It helps that they almost flawlessly channel Speak and Spell-era Depeche Mode, down to the Dave Gahan-esque vocals and dance moves. It’s pure and unabashed synth-pop, and it instantly converts all those present.

If prizes were being awarded, one would have to go to Communions, who have transformed into a much more mature band in the intervening months since our last encounter with them. The punk attitude is still there, but it no longer has a stranglehold over their sound, and finally they devote themselves to the wiry jangle-pop that was always lurking underneath the discordant tone and shambolic compositions. Those of us who spent the bike-ride to Enghave listening exclusively to Felt (or is that just me?) are in for a very pleasant surprise.

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Communions

As people gather to watch Shiny Darkly, it is evident that they are precisely the same hand-picked audience that attended First Hate and Communions. Apparently I have become a stereotype, though what that might be is unclear. Though perhaps the most obviously post-punk oriented of all the acts at Trailerpark, Shiny Darkly do not simply emulate their elders and betters. The raw riffs and chanted vocals are driven by a spartan and effective rhythm section, and on occasion even joined by a violinist or a trumpet player. The extra instruments are used with an ear for noise and harmonics as much as they add an extra layer of melody to the songs. At any rate they bespeak a level of ambition that is the mark of a healthy music scene. The likes of S!vas and Christopher might bring in the punters, but visitors looking for the true energy of the city should follow the leather jackets.

trailerpark_saturday-5726
Shiny Darkly

 View  the galleries from Trailerpark Festival here:

Thursday

Friday

Saturday

All days

Thanks to Sony for letting us try the new Sony a7S camera.

All photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

VIDEO: Ice Cream Cathedral – “Equilibrium”

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Danish space poppers Ice Cream Cathedral has released a new video “Equilibrium”.  The video, a little horror story, is made by Anne Gry Kristensen and Italian director Roberto Di Vito.

“Equilibrium” is the second single from the album Sudden Anatomy that came out in May.

 

Ice Cream Cathedral + Sleep Party People | Jazzhouse, Copenhagen, 23.05.2014

in Photos by

Sleep Party People

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Ice Cream Cathedral

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Article: Ice Cream Cathedral

in Blog by

About a month ago, I got on a bus to what felt like the middle of nowhere. I was taken about twenty minutes out of central Copenhagen to the industrial area, and then to the mysterious final stop, Refshaleøen Island, that looked a lot more like a set for an episode of The Killing than the venue location for the Eurovision Song Contest. After fifteen minutes of attempting to find the rehearsal space among the abandoned looking shacks, Anders, Ice Cream Cathedral‘s unexpectedly chatty drummer, let me in to a building with multiple soundproofed booths and a familiar weedy odour. The band are crammed into half a booth with notably messier neighbours, and a coffee stand and kettle in the corner. No pot in sight.

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This seems a pretty appropriate set up for the band. They’re focused, concise and at least appear to be pretty clean living. They’re also really, really nice. They sit forward as though they’re slightly nervous, but super eager to tell me all about their band and their new musical direction. Despite being one of Roskilde Rising’s most successful acts last year, and a recent US tour that involved playing SXSW, they are still tangibly humbled by the attention they receive, but they have a clear sense of self belief in their brand of airy dreampop.

Yesterday (12th May) saw the release of their second album, Sudden Anatomy, the follow up to 2013’s The Drowsy Kingdom. Arguably the biggest challenge in an artist’s career, the dreaded sophomore album can make or break you, label you as a one off, or mark you as a band that’s just warming up. But this Danish dreampop trio is young and ambitious, and are moving forward with their musical instincts. “I think we’re all really eager to explore and not stand still in a creative manner,” says Anders. “It really shines through on this new album because we’re experimenting a lot with the concept of Ice Cream Cathedral. The first album really went song by song. We were focused on the melody and a more accessible way of thinking. With the new album we wanted to keep that stuff melodically, but we wanted to do some more with textures and rhythmics. We were kind of experimenting with our own concept. When you do that, naturally you get some kind of reference to yourself. It’s a self referential album.”

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The more I talk to the band, the clearer it becomes that Sudden Anatomy is about reaction to the old form, and has a clear goal of development in mind. Anders is the first to answer when I ask about the beginnings of the new album. “The first album was written like a layer cake and recorded in the same way. It was recorded to a specific grid and template that was pre-determined electronically. The experience of transferring that rigid material made us want to transcend the feeling of the grid and play the songs more like a traditional rock band would do. That triggered the feeling of wanting to transfer back to the compositional phase. That was pretty interesting to experience; from the beginning of our gigs we said we didn’t want to play with pre-recorded stuff playing from a computer. We didn’t want a backtrack. We wanted to play live, even though we have a lot of electronics. Then from playing that way live we realised it was also fun to write that way, to have that much freedom. Even though from gig to gig things would fuck up.” Anja, the band’s vocal lead, adds: “We would’ve been quite doomed if we had used backtrack. It’s only because we didn’t that we had that possibility. It felt strange that the new way we wanted to write in was suddenly up against what we did on the old album. That was pretty hard to get around.”

Kristian, the guitarist/keys, tells me about the first ideas. “We knew that we wanted to do something different to The Drowsy Kingdom, but we didn’t exactly know what to do. We had a serious headache about what to do in the beginning. We just knew that we wanted to be more energetic. We recorded some really funny stuff in the beginning.” Anders chimes in “it really sucked,” to the nods and laughs of the others.

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And they haven’t just developed sonically either. Anja is keen to stress the changes to the lyrics that have taken place. “There’s definitely more storytelling on the new album. I’ve been experimenting more on this one; I’ve been reading about historical stuff and really concrete subjects. The last album was more abstract in a way; it had abstract universes… At the time that we started to write for the new album we were still at school in the conservatory, and I took a lot of classes in lyrics writing. I talked to a lot of poets and found inspiration for that kind of songwriting.” Anders says “The new lyrics are more in your face, whereas the old lyrics were more veiled. I don’t know if it’s more political than the old album… there’s definitely more social stuff there.” Anja nods. “Yeah you could say that. A social consciousness.”

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The new album has also seen the band’s first large scale music video release and on screen debut, for the seven minute long debut single, ‘The Swans’. Set on a spaceship, it takes the concept of “space pop” to a tongue-in-cheek level. “I think it’s very related to our old material, where we included a lot of space influences, and the visuals of the old material as well. But Carl [Marott, the Danish director of the video] really wanted to take the idea far out,” says Kristian. The video sees the band play on synthesisers and soundboards rather than a control panel. For Kristian, this made him feel at home: “You really felt in your element with the synthesisers and stuff. We had a whole day in the location with the pictures outside, and that was the main acting part. That was quite funny.”

Anders takes a more critical eye to his acting prospects. “The hardest part about acting for a camera is the facial expressions. For me, I really felt as a first timer in front of the camera that my facial expressions had to include some kind of apathy. You should look like you don’t care. If I had to show any feelings or emotions it would have sucked.” Anja is practical. “It was really cold inside the spaceship, which made the apathy thing really hard.”

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The band are all in agreement when I ask if dreampop has a naturally cinematic quality as a genre. As his bandmates nod, Anders says “it’s in the music. Dreampop tends to be dramatic in a way. If you listen to real dreampop bands like Beach House, it’s really all about the cinematic total music effect. It gets this scored, written down feeling. It has this organic feel like it’s a whole. In a lot of dreampop music, there isn’t one element standing out. It’s more like a sausage of sound.” That has got to be the best dream pop analogy I’ve heard. “I think our music is kind of a mixture; there’s a lot of things standing out sonically, but it has this cinematic feel to it because the vocal plays as big a role as the drums.”

I finish by asking the band whether the genre will be as timeless as rock and roll. The music students are quick to dissect the question to find the answer. Kristian starts. “Maybe it’s not actually a genre in itself. Maybe it is just rock music. I know what you mean, but I think the genre has developed into other things.” Anders turns the question. “It depends how you define timeless, and the definition of how music moves in time. That’s the beauty of music. It’s bounded by time, metrically and sound-wise, so I guess that if timeless is a metre of reference, as in, ‘will people still listen to Ice Cream Cathedral in twenty years’, then I would definitely say yes. Some people will. But if it’s asking whether there will be some kind of revolutionary vibe surrounding dreampop as there is around rockabilly, then I would say no, because it is in itself a hybrid of milestone genres like rock and pop, that have had their moments.”

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“I remember we said in another interview that the time of idols was over. I remember saying that I really missed Whitney Houston and Michael Jackson; social figures like that. But it’s not the time for that right now, because of the market and the way people regard music. It’s become a thing for every man, because of X Factor etc. It’s become ordinary, and that destroys the glow. That destroys everything that’s special about the people onstage. If I go to a show I don’t want to see someone like myself, or someone I can relate to. I want to see someone who I can look at and think comes from a different planet. That part of music is timeless. I hope some people see that in the stuff we do. I don’t want people to think ‘I can totally relate to the way the drummer moves’. I would really like for people to say ‘I really get inspired by the way he performs’, or the way Anja sings is like nothing else. When Kristian plays guitar it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard before.’ Everything we play is bounded by time, and bounded by tradition. I guess the timelessness develops itself in the moment where you release yourself from the way society regards music today. I think the way society regards music today is destroying music. I really wish that some alien would land on the planet and do some fucked up stuff that people could understand, but not relate to.”

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It’s a slightly morbid note on which to end, but Anders makes a convincing argument, even when I ask whether Lady Gaga might be an alien (for the record, in Ice Cream Cathedral’s view at least, she’s not). In this small rehearsal space in industrial Copenhagen, I wonder about music and revolution, and whether the two go hand in hand, as this band so desperately hopes it does, even if now isn’t the best time to prove it. The band seem eager to spread something with their music, to inspire others as they’ve been inspired, and see a wealth of possibility with the power of their performance. They’re smart, driven and positive. Revolution doesn’t need to be taking to the streets or making your controversial lyrics hit the Top 40. Maybe it’s about something smaller; the desire to be inspiring. This band’s got it in heaps.

Bands to catch at SPOT Festival 2014

in Blog by

Friday

Who: Broken Twin
Where: Musikhuset, Store Sal
When: 15:30 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: Disa
Where: Atlas
When: 16:30 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: Shiny Darkly
Where: SCC
When: 18:30 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: Julias Moon
Where: SCC
When: 19:30 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: Reptile Youth
Where: SCC
When: 20:45 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: Iceage/Lower/Communions/Hand Of Dust
Where: Atlas
When: 22:00 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: Sekuoia 
Where: Den Rå Hal
When: 22:00 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: Blaue Blume
Where: Musikhuset, Lille Sal
When: 22:15 – 02.05.2014

 

Who: The Woken Trees
Where: Musikhuset, Filuren
When: 00:00 – 02.05.2014

 

 

Saturday

Who: Get Your Gun
Where: Den Rå Hal
When: 15:30 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: My Heart The Brave
Where: SCC
When: 17:15 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Mont Oliver
Where: SCC
When: 19:15 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Heimatt
Where: Radar
When: 20:45 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: The New Spring
Where: Musikhuset, Filuren
When: 21:00 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Jaakko Eino Kalvei
Where: Voxhall
When: 21:00 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Sleep Party People
Where: Atlas
When: 21:15 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Schultz and Forever
Where: Musikhuset, Cafescene
When: 21:45 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Sea Change
Where: Den Rå Hal
When: 22:30 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Naomi Pilgrim
Where: Musikhuset, Rytmisk Hal
When: 22:45 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Ice Cream Cathedral 
Where: Atlas
When: 00:30 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Ring Them Bells
Where: Den Rå Hal
When: 01:00 – 03.05.2014

 

Who: Broke
Where: Atlas
When: 02:00 – 03.05.2014

VIDEO: Ice Cream Cathedral – “The Swans”

in Blog/New Music by

Ice Cream Cathedral have shared a video for their current single “The Swans”, which is to feature on their second album Sudden Anatomy set for release May 12th on Riot Factory Records. The video was directed by Carl Marott and sees the band live up to their label of “space pop” as they control their spaceship to a faraway planet occupied by giant animals, before shrinking them down to earth size to fly them home to Planet ICC.

Watch the video for “The Swans” below:

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