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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

Northside Festival 2014

in Photos by

Photos by Morten Aagaard Krogh

Mew

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A$AP Rocky

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Baby In Vain

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Baby In Vain (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

The Brian Jones Town Massacre

Brian Jones Town Massacre (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

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Röyksopp and Robyn

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Röyksopp & Robyn (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

The National

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Lana Del Rey

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Franz Ferdinand

Franz Ferdinand (photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

 

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Mount Kimbie

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Reptile Youth

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Cold Specks

Cold Specks

Pixies

Pixies

Pixies

Arcade Fire

Arcade Fire

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James Vincent McMorrow

James Vincent McMorrow

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Wild Beasts

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Nabiha

Nabiha

Royal Blood

Royal Blood

Royal Blood

Royal Blood
The portrait of Royal Blood explained in a tweet:

 

LIVE REVIEW: NorthSide Festival Day 3, 15.06.2014

in Blog/Live Reviews by

After the crush of the last two days, the first few hours of day 3 of Northside feel empty. There are plenty of people, but it’s easy to walk around. There are no queues anywhere for anything. It’s possible to walk down to the barricades at any of the stages, which makes it a tough gig, as usual, for the artists with early slots.

Such is the case for Royal Blood, a duo from Brighton, UK, whose sudden rise comes on the back only three singles and an Arctic Monkey wearing their t-shirt. They’re on the Blue Stage with a small audience assembled before them, the detritus of yesterday’s confetti cannon is still under foot. Frontman Matt Kerr plays bass like it’s lead guitar, tuned and distorted to sound like it’s lead guitar. The crowd is impressed with his tapping solos as well — not something you typically on a bass. Not bad for a band that’s only released an EP.

Royal Blood
Royal Blood (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

Much has been made of the gradual decline of the Pixies, and how ten years into their reunion, they have mentally checked out (or in Kim Deal’s case, physically checked out). It’s true that there are moments when Black Francis/Frank Black seems to be trying to get through songs as quickly as possible. Then there are times like when he’s playing the intro to “Ed is Dead” or performing the more recent “Bagboy” when he almost looks like he’s enjoying himself, and maybe more new material in the set is what’s needed to keep the band engaged. The most enthusiastic of the bunch is bassist of the moment Paz Lenchatin, who perhaps has the most at stake. She also does a pretty good approximation of Deal, and rather adorably has a ribbon tied around one of her tuning pegs. It would be great if more musicians could do that, please. Joey Santiago spends the last minutes of the bands set getting his guitar to feedback, either by holding another guitar to the fretboard or smacking it against his body. The audience is into it initially, but you can tell that people have gotten their 15 minute warning for Arcade Fire as they begin drifting away towards the other stage.

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Pixies (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

It’s really for the best that they do, because Arcade Fire’s set is possibly the most widely attended of the weekend. The cynical belief is because there’s no other set conflicting, but it doesn’t take long to see that this was always going to be a festival highlight for many. They open with “Here Comes the Nighttime” and confetti cannons, with Win Butler saying with delight, “We played it first because we know the nighttime is never coming.” There is a platform built out into the crowd that allows band members to come out a little further into the crowd, and is actually a point of performance for songs rather than just a one-off tease otherwise blocking people from the rail.

In terms of visuals, the spectacle is unparalleled. Whether it’s the colorful fringe on Régine Chassagne’s costume or the mirror-suited person who comes out to pivot on the platform during “Afterlife” or the conga line of people in paper mâché heads dancing to “Normal Person,” it’s a level of pageantry sometimes bordering on the surreal that not even Röyksopp’s glittery masks or Robyn’s wild outfits can beat.

Arcade Fire
Arcade Fire (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

After the spectacle and frenzy of Arcade Fire, the set from Wild Beasts is positively intimate, and has the vibe of an after party. They ease into their set with swooning, down-tempo synth-pop, initially going for the light touch instead of impact. Frontman Hayden Thorpe raises a glass of wine to the audience, saying “It helps us dance better, it helps us look better, it helps us sing better.” And there is plenty of room for people to dance. The tempo picks up, the bass picks up (and occasionally is bolstered by thunderously loud programmed bass), and slowly but surely people’s feet pick up. It is an excellent comedown after a long weekend.

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Wild Beasts (Photo: Morten Aagaard Krogh)

View the gallery from Northside Festival 2014 

Primavera Sound 2012 | Day 3

in Photos by

 

Saint Etienne St Etienne (Photo by Tom Spray)

 

The WeekndThe Weeknd (Photo by Tom Spray)

 

Wild BeastsWild Beasts (Photo by Tom Spray)

 

Scenes Justice (Photo by Tom Spray)

Justice Justice (Photo by Tom Spray)

Washed Out Washed Out (Photo by Tom Spray)

Neon Indian Neon Indian (Photo by Tom Spray)

 

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