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INTRODUCING: We Like We

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

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

LIVE REVIEW: Amen Dunes, Huset, 14.09.2014

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A Sunday night in Huset, remarkably sold-out, is a slightly surreal affair. The weight of the upcoming week, added to severe lack of sleep and some very cheap ear plugs, give the effect of viewing a gig through a fishbowl. This might not be the best set of circumstances, but they find their match in the acoustic psychedelia of Amen Dunes. Damon McMahon’s “anti-love songs” work well as anti-lullabies from the Land of Reverb, aided by a drummer and ambient guitarist/keyboard player.

Love, Amen Dune’s latest release, is a little sweeter and more lush than the noisy negativity of Through Donkey Jaw, but Damon’s onstage presence shows that dark irony lingering just behind the surface of his otherwise laid-back attitude. He does the very singer-songwriter-y thing of introducing several songs, but these are welcome forays into his approach to his music, rather than indulgent ramblings. This evening he reveals the origin of “Ethio Song”, claiming it to be a cover of a piece of unknown Ethiopian music coming through the walls from his neighbour’s apartment. Tonight’s version of the song sounds very un-Ethiopian, with none of the trebly guitar lines from the record, but this is but one instance of a general impression: Love, more than previous efforts, is the closest thing to what Amen Dunes sound like in the flesh.

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Standing right in front of Damon allows the audience to the clean acoustic sound of the guitar behind all the effects, adding some meat to the live sound. The vocals are incredibly high in the mix, cutting through everything else with ease, as if to confirm that Damon’s freak-folk tinged vibrato is the sine qua non around which everything else revolves. There are, of course, exceptions: “Rocket Flair”‘s picking style and low-key, driving drums, is the closest Amen Dunes get to 60s psychedelia as most would recognize it.

Throughout the evening, it is revealing to observe Damon McMahon offstage. Is commitment to music, not just his own, is clear in the intent look on his face as he quibbles with the sound engineer during the opening act, Xander Duell (ah yes, nepotism’s black tentacles reach far into the music industry). He nods along to the second act, Hand of Dust, and leaps to the merch booth the second the Amen Dunes set ends. It’s been a long evening, but a musician’s job never stops. Fortunately, that is not the case for a music reviewer.

VIEW LIVE PHOTO GALLERY HERE

INTRODUCING: First Hate

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First Hate are a Copenhagen based synth-pop duo who formed in the early part of 2013. Although in previous interviews they’ve tried to deny it their sound is leaning heavily on 80’s gloom synth with hints of early 90’s electronica creeping through. Since their debut performance at Henry’s Dream in July 2013 the guys have played a handful of festivals including Distortion, Trailerpark Festival, an AUDIO:VISUAL set at CPH:DOX and have just been hand picked to support Trentemøller on his east European tour.

The band release their debut EP First Hate today (Friday 12th September) after an offer from Ben Cook (Fucked Up/Youth Club) to help distribute the EP in North America, the 10″ is in limited supply with only 250 copies pressed. Grab one while you can.

Listen to the First Hate EP below: 

Watch the video for “Holy Contagion” below:

INTRODUCING: Roskilde Rising 2014

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We’re pleased to announce that Here Today is Roskilde Rising‘s official media partner, we’ll be working along side them to help promote each act part of this years project and follow them in the run up to this years festival. The Roskilde Rising project started a few years ago with the aim of offering a platform to hand picked Scandinavian acts playing their Pavilion Junior stage at Roskilde Festival. They give artists a helping hand guiding them to the next stage of their career. This year Roskilde Rising returns with 9 acts picked from their new stage ‘Roskilde Rising’ that will be situated in the camping area and will run up until the main days of the festival. Heres an overview of each Rising band for 2014:

 

Karl William

Karl William

Hoods, ginger locks, and the moody glance of a teenager music making teenager not to be messed with. King Krule? Try Karl William. This red head offers up rap and R&B over the simple beats on single ‘Kostumerant’, and tastefully turns his head to synth and autotune on ‘Foruden at Forgude’. Having released his four track EP 1. Sal last September, this Danish rapper looks ready to take the Roskilde rap fans by force. 

 

Blaue Blume

Blaue Blume

Dramatic in the most theatrical sense of the word, Blaue Blume sound like they’re transmitting from another dimension. Their debut single, “Lost Sons of Boys,” out now, has hints of psychedelia to it, but many of the other tracks they’ve made available follow the darker strain running under that syncopated rhythm. Dominated by a freakishly high yet unexpectedly soulful falsetto — think Cat Stevens without anything to ground him — that offers a severe contrast to the otherwise muted, lethargic arrangements, it’s downtempo, but don’t expect to be able to chill out to these songs. In fact, it might be best to prepare for a little paranoia.

 

Heimatt

Heimatt

Fronted by Magnus Grilstad, Heimatt approaches indie rock through vibe of traditional English folk with its predominantly acoustic arrangements and a violin that offers not only colorful harmonies but sometimes erie textures as well. Grilstad’s throaty vocals have a deep, sensitive resonance and occasionally shade into an American country twang. Their debut EP, To The Mountain, released in February, is energetic in spite of fact that the lyrics betray a pretty constant sadness. With a majority of their tunes being upbeat, however, there is a perfect foil to all of that melancholia, or at least there’s a sense of catharsis. 

 

Get Your Gun

Get Your Gun

Rumbling verse lines followed up by crashing americana rock choruses is the confident offering from Get Your Gun. It’s simple, no nonsense guitar music, without teetering into Scandi-metal territory. Formed by brothers Andreas and Simon Westmark, Get Your Gun have been making music since 2008, but are finally releasing their debut album The Worrying Kind this month.

 

The Awesome Welles2

The Awesome Welles

Copenhagen’s newest ambassadors of brooding and theatrical indie rock may have a pun for a name, but their music is inspired by the straight-faced sincerity of bands like the National. Songs like “120” hark back to the grungy power-pop of the 90s and early 00s, whereas their newest single, “Undertaker”, – reportedly inspired by Soren Kierkegaard – sees them going for a more anthemic approach, with a very clear Scandinavian angle. Having supported the likes of Kellermensch and The Floor is Made of Lava, the Awesome Welles are poised to receive their own share of the limelight.

 

My Heart The Brave

My Heart the Brave

Producer Caspar Hesselager’s brand of electro-pop relies on tightly syncopated rhythms and organic instrumentation. A classical pianist by training, Hesselager layers his songs with quirky riffs that encourage the listener to keep rewinding, in an attempt to prize the layers apart. The “Keep Me From It” single might seem to aspire to summer-hit status, but it’s off-kilter rhythms and steel-drum-imitating piano complicate the song and invite closer listening – which reveals a frantic bassline hidden under the heavy synth stabs. All these elements are brought together by Hesselager’s accented, low-key vocals. 

 

Förtress

Förtress

For those that are more hard rock inclined, look no further than the naked, tattooed torsos of Förtress. Recent single ‘Forest of the Wicked’ has all the long hair thrashing a heavy rock fan could wish for, whilst maintaining a solid melody and listenability. They keep their description on the band’s Facebook page simple: “Heavy Rock. Big Dicks. Balls of Steel.” Will their set match the male bravado?

 

Hexis

Hexis

Trading mostly in sludgy rhythms, rolling percussion, and lots of growling, Hexis have a sense of dynamics that gives their songs real dimension. Amongst the distortion and evil bellowing are countering shouts and unexpected cadences. The Copenhagen-based five-piece black metal outfit released their latest full length album, Abalam, in January. While their songs do have a thick, unsettling, buzzy quality to them, don’t expect endless, formless droning. They speed through most of their songs in quick, vicious succession, and Abalam clocks in at a succinct thirty five minutes — just enough time to rev you up or give you serious indigestion. 

 

Narcosatanicos

Narcosatanicos is a heavy name for a heavy band. The Aarhus-based sextet – including three guitarists and a saxophonist – draw from the likes of Suicide and Hawkwind to create a distinctive form of freeform, psychedelic noise-rock. The No-Wave saxophone wails, coupled with meaty basslines, make this a band that commands attention, manhandling the listener as their sonic hallucinations progress. Though one could spend several happy hours charting Narcosatanicos’ various influences, their sound is all their own, and their live performances promise to be intense and memorable experiences. 

INTRODUCING: Novo Amor

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Attention all ambient folkophiles, you’re in luck. Novo Amor is the brainchild of British multi-instrumentalist Ali Lacey, whose simple acoustic tracks are packed with beautiful, melancholy goodness. Lacey perfectly channels musical inspiration Justin Vernon with whispering falsetto vocals and echoing, shimmery background tones. For the cinematically inclined, the video for top track ‘Holland’ has a grey and windswept pebble beach setting with Lacey giving one of the most believable music video performances by an artist ever. Some even better news? Debut EP Drift and single ‘From Gold’ are both available for free download from the Novo Amor website.

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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.’”

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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.”

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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.”

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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.”

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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).

INTRODUCING: Communions

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Like their big brothers, Iceage and Lower, Communions are squarely based among the Mayhem set, where waistbands are high, haircuts sharp, and screamed vocals drenched in reverb. The young quartet has gained attention by melding the typical hardcore/goth hybrid of the likes of Iceage with surf-rock melodies and one-note guitar riffs. Today, marks the release of their first EP, Cobblestones, naturally released by Posh Isolation. The title track features the band at their catchiest, and “Children” sees a battle between some jaded vocal drawls and a very involved drum kit thrust far back in the mix.

For those who didn’t manage to get their hands on a copy of Dokument #1, the 500 or so copies of Cobblestones provide a rare chance to access a band that has so far shunned any kind of online presence.

INTRODUCING: Sekuoia

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Patrick Alexander Bech Madsen, the almost annoyingly-young Danish producer recording under the name Sekuoia, embodies electronica in its most internationalist form. Düsseldorf, Detroit and Denmark are distilled into concentrated, mid-tempo pieces that give plenty of space to a rich intertwining of analogue instruments, record hiss and broken vocal samples. The imperfections are what give depth to the laid-back vibe of a track like “Rituals”, from his split 12” with Rain Dog, released by Berlin’s Project: Mooncircle.

Though he played a set at Roskilde 2013, our first live encounter with Sekuoia is described in the review of Washed Out’s gig from last October, at which Sekuoia opened. Joined by a guitarist and drummer, the live act acquires a lower, more threatening tone, which made for the main topic of discussion after the gig had ended.

INTRODUCING: Sohn

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There’s nothing like melancholy electronica to revel in during the Scandinavian winters. Cue Sohn, whose cold rhythmic snapshots on the electronic music scene are breathing some new air into post-dubstep. Living in Vienna, this English music producer’s tracks are minimalist, but not bleak and boring. There are always surprises and drops to be released, and the focus is on build. Sohn draws on the contrasting atmospheres of his two European bases, the aggressive sound of London, and the calm of Vienna, to create a sound that is both urban and energetic.

Top track “Bloodflows” is a dissonant blend of drum loops and synthy chords. They back a powerful croon by Sohn himself, that It bursts forward at the drop and regenerates itself as a curling, hiccuping electronic instrument. Listen below:

INTRODUCING: Pegase

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Pegase is French for “pegasus,” and in this case it’s also the name of the solo project of Raphaël d’Hervez (who’s backed by a full band live). It’s a re-imagining of bedroom electronica with multi-layered arrangements and vocals that range from an easy, subtle tenor to a pretty sweet falsetto. His songs are woven with whimsy in his vocal samples, glockenspiel and wood block textures, and the bending sound of a synthesized sitar. There’s a playfulness contrasted by an underlying sadness in the lyrics that puts on edge on all that dreaminess.

Pegase released two EPs last year. You can stream or download them and a couple of remixes he’s done on Bandcamp. Look out for his debut full length Out Of Range set for release February 3rd 2014.

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