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Protomartyr

Albums of the Year 2017

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Slowdive
Slowdive

Whether you count from their last studio album or from their initial reunion in 2014, we’ve been waiting on a new Slowdive album for a long time. But with their self-titled album, Slowdive have found the perfect balance between the dreamy guitars and their later electronic experiments. The results are delicate, heartbreaking, and absolutely worth the wait.

EMA
Exile in the Outer Ring

Erika M Anderson understands middle America better than most and tells her version without romance or sentimentality. Exile in the Outer Ring is a fried circuit, the narrative to our modern dystopia, and a fatalist slice of life. Lean into the noise and come away feeling completely wrecked — it’s extremely cathartic.

Mavis Staples
If All I Was Was Black

Mavis Staples recorded the greatest protest album of the year. With the help of songwriter/producer Jeff Tweedy, Staples taps into the rage, hope, empathy and plans of action that define America right now. No other album this year will uplift you and light a fire under you in the same way, regardless of how much attention you pay to the news.

Protomartyr
Relatives in Descent

When the year of Trump is coming to an end the album to end I’ll be waving my middle finger to is Protomartyr’s brilliant fourth studio album Relatives in Descent. Unlike Mavis Staples’s If All I Was Was Black this album offers little hope or comfort; it’s bleak and angry post-punk when it’s best. 

Arca
Arca

It’s strange to think of an album as dark and mysterious as Arca’s self-titled as the Venezuelan producer’s stepping into the limelight, but the revelation of his own gorgeous vocals accomplishes precisely that. This, together with his work on Björk’s Utopia, truly makes 2017 the Year of Arca.

Ryuichi Sakamoto
async

Opening with a piano full of classic Sakamoto romanticism, async quickly tumbles into a contemplative world of soft noise, in which natural sounds merge into machine drones, organs flow into synthesizers. If you needed further proof of Sakamoto’s enduring influence, look to the accompanying remixes by everyone from Daniel Lopatin to Arca and Yves Tumor.

 

Jane Weaver
Modern Kosmology

I came across Jane Weaver relatively late into her career, with the magical witch-glam of “Don’t Take My Soul”, but on Modern Kosmology Weaver has added a healthy dose of warm synths and motorik drum machines. Ground is left thoroughly unbroken, but this is the kind of low-key spaciness that I need at this time of year.’

the war on drugs

The War On Drugs

A Deeper Understanding

When The War On Drugs in 2014 released their magnificent album Lost In A Dream it seemed they had perfected the sound and musical style developed on their second album Slave Ambient. It was interesting to see what direction frontman Adam Granduciel and his band would go next. The answer came this year with A Deeper Understanding, an album that takes the listener even further into the strangely familiar, yet unique musical universe of Granduciel which must be considered a great success.

julie byrne

Julie Byrne

Not Even Happiness

When Julie Byrne played Jazzhouse earlier this year we were impressed with how she brought the beauty and intimacy of her album Not Even Happiness to the stage. The album is centered around Julie Byrne’s incredible voice, her finger-picked guitar, some minimal orchestral arrangement and her brilliant songwriting. In the song ‘All the Land Glimmered’ there is a line that I think captures the feeling of the album: “Will I know a truer time / than when I stood alone in the snow”.

LIVE REVIEW: Protomartyr and Metz, Loppen, 07.11.2017

in Live Reviews by
metz live at loppen copenhagen

On paper, Protomartyr and Metz sharing a bill seemed absolutely brilliant. And before we get any further, we’ll confirm that their co-headlined show at Loppen — evenly split with an hour for each band — was, in fact, brilliant. What we didn’t quite anticipate was how strange those two bands are when placed side by side.

Part of the discrepancy is that Protomartyr is not a band you immediately associate with being laid back. The brashness of their albums translates as more of a nonchalance live, not least because vocalist Joe Casey’s performance style is more voice actor than singer. His dry delivery is the defining characteristic of the band, and even though his physical presence is often stock still and a bit hunched, he is devastatingly effective.

“Sorry for spitting on the people in the front row,” he says in a rare bit of between song chat. “It’s what I do.” Casey can toss out throwaway lines with deadpan humor, but when he chants, “everything’s fine,” it’s disconcerting.

Protomartyr live at loppen copenhagen

But what really makes Protomartyr seem relaxed is when Metz take the stage and the opposite approach to performing in every way: Everything is louder, the band’s movements are more violent, and the half-spoken vocals are replaced with screaming.

The shift in energy is somewhere between deranged and comical. The next hour is filled with loud guitars alternating between clanging and vibrato. Drummer Hayden Menzies plays in a fashion that suggests he would smash anything set in front of him to pieces (though the layered effect on one cymbal that makes it sound like he’s hitting the lid of a trashcan is a nice effect). Frontman Alex Edkins is a relentless screaming mess, likely restraining himself from leaping across the stage only because Loppen has a low ceiling.

It’s on that thrashing note that the evening comes to a close, but even if the line up is a little strange, on the whole it is adeptly paced. It leaves you drained with no eardrums left to speak of, but absolutely satisfied.

Photos by Morten Aargaard Krogh

PHOTOS: Roskilde Festival 2016, Day 4

in Photos by
Mø

Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Mø live at Roskilde Festival 2016
Mø – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

New Order

new order live roskilde festival

New Order, Arena, by Tom Spray

Protomartyr

Protomartyr - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Protomartyr – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Gojira

Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira- Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Gojira – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Cate Le Bon

cate le bon live roskilde festival
Photo by Tom Spray

Guardian Alien

Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
Guardian Alien – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

LCD Soundsystem

LCD Soundsystem - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
LCD Soundsystem – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
LCD Soundsystem - Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh
LCD Soundsystem – Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh

LIVE REVIEW: Protomartyr, Loppen, 12.11.2015

in Live Reviews by
Protomartyr / Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)

Photos: Morten Aagaard Krogh

Listening to any of Protomartyr’s albums, and in particular focusing on the deadpan delivery of singer Joe Casey, it’s that their show at Loppen will go one of two ways: Either Casey will be a complete maniac on stage, or he’ll match his dry delivery with every other aspect of his being.

As it turns out, it’s the latter of the two options. Casey is as nonchalant in his body language and facial expressions as his voice suggests he would be. When he does growl, he’ll immediately avert his gaze as though he surprised himself. It’s hard not to look at him, not just because he’s center stage, but because he’s in the middle of so much more overt activity. It’s especially clear at the halfway point in their set when they play “The Devil in His Youth” and the band band have loosened up and a few hoots are called from the crowd, but Casey is singing with one hand in his pocket.
Protomartyr / Photo by Morten Aagaard Krogh (mortenkrogh.com)
This does serve to highlight the charm of their bassist rocking back and forth on his toes with surprising lightness. Protomartyr are not a bass-heavy band, and it would be easy to overlook his contributions, however when you can see him literally in time with their drummer, it is immediately clear just how strong their rhythm section is.

Their natural energy is a good counterpoint to a singer who, meanwhile, is placing a failed balloon animal that has made its way on stage next to his beers as though this were perfectly normal (in the encore, he’ll conjure that it’s a “sword – I hope”).

What makes such a reserved performance so watchable is undefinable, but by the time “Why Does It Shake?” rolls to a close we’ve all been sucked into the peculiarity. You definitely won’t get the same thrill just by turning up the volume on the album.

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