Montag, 30. Juni 2014
Sonntag, 29. Juni 2014
Drei EPs zum Dritten
The Nude album, which came out in 2012, is very much my gay history, my coming of age record; most of the songs on it I wrote when I was 18. It’s a very mixed album sound-wise and includes elements of electronica as well as symphonic and orchestral sounds but also darker country and rock elements. With the EPs I wanted to take the album apart, split it in three and release songs that were from different sonic worlds. While some are different versions of existing tracks, there are also quite a few new ones. (Jamie McDermott)
"Nude : Landscapes"
The first EP, Nude: Landscape is about minimalism expanding into orchestration, but there’s no orchestra – just piano, guitar, violin and cello, and we performed it in small churches and intimate venues. (Jamie McDermott)
"Nude : Viscera"
The second, Nude: Viscera is – as the title suggests – very visceral. It has more of a rock/grunge sound and is made up of mainly new songs. (Jamie McDermott)
"Nude : Forbidden"
The third and final EP Nude: Forbidden, is very much an electronic record. (Jamie McDermott)
Samstag, 28. Juni 2014
Ultimately, 7 Skies H3 is another strangely alluring addition to the Flaming Lips truly bizarre discography. Arguably less accessible and enjoyable than The Terror was, 7 Skies H3 still impresses tremendously. Always pushing the envelope doing things ‘their own way’, the Flaming Lips actually seem more innovative and fresher compared to any number of contemporary artists.
Freitag, 27. Juni 2014
Barnett has a gift for turning mundane scenarios into gripping stories—she animates each one with genial asides and jokey tangents, like she’s recounting it for you at the pub later that night. "Avant Gardener" chronicles an ill-fated attempt to get some gardening done in a heat wave, and ends with Barnett having a panic attack in the back of an ambulance ("The paramedic thinks I’m clever cos I play guitar/ I think she’s clever cos she stops people dying.") Another standout, "History Eraser", has a similar momentum, but this time Barnett doesn’t even have to get out of bed: It describes a breathless, drunken daydream in which Barnett and the object of her affection joyride on a tractor, catch a riverboat to a casino, and spontaneously sprout straw where their hair used to be—all to the tune of some rollicking, 1960s-inspired folk. It might as well be called "Courtney Barnett’s 115th Dream".
As the more up-beat numbers prove, Barnett’s comically eponymous ("Courtney Barnett and the Courtney Barnetts") backing band complements her style perfectly: they match the frontwomans’ shambling energy without taking the emphasis off her clever lyrics. A few ofSplit Peas’ slower, older songs [“Porcelain”, “Canned Tomatoes (Whole)”] do stall the momentum, but Barnett herself says she didn’t conceive the collection as a cohesive statement. "I don’t want people to misinterpret it as an album," she said in a recent Pitchfork interview, "An album is a thing you take time out and go work on. I can’t wait to make an album. I’ve got a bunch of songs half-ready to go, and I might start on it early next year." Classic slacker rhetoric, maybe, but on this occasionally brilliant (pre-)debut Barnett proves there’s more to the stereotype than meets the eye. When you’ve got an imagination this wild, who even needs a TV?
Better yet is when Barnett lets the instinctive ebb and flow of her music set the mood for her narrative songs, something you sense when she hits the right chords with the bouncing, saloon-y piano on the opener “Out of the Woodwork”. There, Barnett brings out a note of melancholy from the intuitive melody, lifting her typically monochromatic voice to hit the drawn out, lilting refrain of “I am normally pretty forgiving but only if you are.” Likewise, tone and theme line up on the VU-lite silhouette of “Anonymous Club”, as Barnett’s warm, feedback-kissed strum matches its shy romantic scene she depicts, while the understated psych-folk on “Canned Tomatoes (Whole)” creates a tender backdrop for her tentative pick-up lines, ending with her softly imploring, “You should probably call me more.”
Certainly, it wouldn’t hurt Barnett to have a little more of an internal editor, whether it’s to stop her from drifting and meandering musically or to keep her from offering up TMI, especially on “Lance Jr.”, when she sings “I masturbated to the songs you wrote.” But that tends to come with the territory for an artist who works the way Barnett does, one who’s better off going with whatever comes into her mind rather than trying too hard to harness those energies. And in more cases than not, it’s when Courtney Barnett gets caught up in her own head that her music gets stuck in yours.
Donnerstag, 26. Juni 2014
20 Minuten neue Musik über das nächtliche Aufhalten und Umherlaufen an einem Ort, an dem einen niemand kennt und den man selbst nicht kennt. Erleuchtete Wege, künstliches Licht, kaum Gesichter, leere Straßen. Alle Möglichkeiten.
Mittwoch, 25. Juni 2014
His concerns are consistent and consistently bizarre, his delivery as unsettling as ever, the atmosphere he creates both bleak and battered--yet he’s still a man armed with tunes as well as wit, brilliance to match the bitterness; a new album that digs into the past, chokes it down and regurgitates it with a sly smile. (…)
Luke Haines has made another in a long line of remarkably interesting, unique records. His concerns are consistent and consistently bizarre, his delivery as unsettling as ever, the atmosphere he creates both bleak and battered – yet he’s still a man armed with tunes as well as wit, brilliance to match the bitterness; a new album that digs into the past, chokes it down and regurgitates it with a sly smile. (The Line Of Best Fit)
Its portraits of downtown legends like Lou Reed and Alan Vega are far more affectionate than much of his scabrous output, with music that flits between dreamy Velvets simplicity and the synthetic throb of Suicide. Haines’ genius breaks through in the Blakean visions of ‘Cerne Abbas Man’ and ‘NY Stars’, which marry America’s “mythic muthafuckin’ rock’n’roll” to England’s past via his own career as mischievous pop irritant. (NME)
The proliferation of synthesizers on New York in the ‘70s may make some fans yearn for Haines in his more baroque phases, but through such blatant Suicide tributes as “Drone City”, the instrument is justified. The shift that Haines’ output has taken in more recent years has pointed to an artist totally in control of his own direction. Acerbic and oblique tales of life’s darknesses have been replaced by songs singular in concept, accompanied by a more stream-of-consciousness lyrical approach, with Haines remaining steadfast in his outsider stance. The nearly self-deprecating statement of Haines’ heritage in the press release (“A mythical re-imagining of a long gone age, by a man who hails from Surrey, Southern UK“) seems to celebrate how the New York of the titular era looked to anyone who considered themselves a misfit or intrigued by excess. It may not be the final word in this specific chapter of rock ‘n’ roll history, but it certainly is one of the most colorful ones. (PopMatters)
Dienstag, 24. Juni 2014
Wenn sich eines über Höyems Schaffen sagen lässt, dann, dass der Mann schon lange nach der richtigen Abstimmung zwischen lieblicher Melancholie und anrührender Instrumentierung sucht, die er mit dem neuen Album endlich gefunden zu haben scheint. Selbst wenn die Veränderungen oft in winzigen Messbereichen liegen: Niemand sonst interpretiert den Borealen-Blues so einschmeichelnd und bezaubernd wie er. Ein Nordlicht, das in alle Richtungen strahlt.
Montag, 23. Juni 2014
The songs on ‘Printer Clips’ are a curious mix of newly released material and already recognizable tunes. Even in the previously unknown songs, there is are elements of familiar ideas being fleshed out for further consideration. Opening track and first teaser ‘Apparatchik’ finds Noonan in comfortable harmony with Lisa Hannigan, while a duet Hannigan has previously performed with him, ‘Some Surprise’, is handled here by Australian folk singer Julia Stone. This arrangement of that song came as some surprise to me, switching Noonan’s voice to the harmony line in a lower octave, but it otherwise remains true to the previously recorded version.
Similarly, ‘The Snowman’, originally a Bell X1 throwaway from 2009’s ‘Blue Lights on the Runway’, sees the light of day here in a stripped back acoustic version with the additional vocal layer sung by Gemma Hayes. The harmony is pretty, but lacking a definitive musical intent, it detracts from the quietly introspective lyrics. Then again, I’ve been chasing my tail around this song for a long time, and I’m not sure I’ve ever really gotten the gist of it anyway. Its own lyric, “I’m not saying it’s all come to nothing / It’s all come to something I’m not quite getting,” seems to sum it up most appropriately.
In ‘The Cartographer’, Noonan extends a metaphor he previously explored in the song ‘West of Her Spine’ from Bell X1’s 2003 album ‘Music in Mouth’. It might at first seem lazy for a songwriter to recycle themes in such an obvious way, but in this case the song does take a slightly new perspective on the intimacy of the described circumstance, sharing it with another voice as one would share that moment with another person. The vocal back and forth on this track is sweet and pure, the slight weakness in Noonan’s voice adequately covered by the rich texture of Maria Doyle Kennedy.
The most striking vocal combinations on the album are with Amy Millan (Broken Social Scene, Stars) on ‘If I Had Your Grace’ and Danielle Harrison on ‘My Rome Is Burning’. The purity in each of their singing voices is a perfect match for Noonan’s light and unaffected tone, allowing the quiet warmth in the lyrics to shine through the songs’ delicate arrangements.
Two narrative tracks, ‘Mrs Winchester’ (performed with Martha Wainwright) and ‘The Dolphins and the World’s Tallest Man’ (with Cathy Davey) both have a very definite Americana folk flavor in their music. In the case of ‘Mrs Winchester’, the plot line of the song is also straight out of the American West, relating the endlessly sad tale of Sarah L Winchester, heiress to the Winchester Repeating Arms fortune. ‘The Dolphins and The World’s Tallest Man’ is another bizarre tale about exactly what the title suggests, inspired by the hero of a news story from 2006. In typical Noonan fashion, the final lines of the song fix a disarming focus on a seemingly inane detail, relating the man’s effort to find a wife by advertising on the Internet: “It’s funny how these things work out / she was only from down the road / and she worked in sales”.
‘Printer Clips’ has the very definite feel of a side project by a songwriter with spare time on his hands and loose ends on his mind. Despite the spontaneous nature of the recording style, the songs themselves are carefully considered and sensitively crafted, managing to achieve both a measure of cerebral intrigue and an impression of sincere charm.
Samstag, 21. Juni 2014
"Whispers" ist stilistisch nicht weit entfernt von "All the little lights". Und doch ist einiges anders. Die Instrumentierung ist satter, die Kompositionen sind opulenter und die Arrangements ausgefeilter. Lyrisch wird Authentizität in fordernden Worten geboten. Es geht um einfache Menschen mit einfachen Gefühlen in einfachen alltäglichen Situationen. Rosenberg schärft seinen Scharfsinn weiter und blickt sarkastisch, ironisch und verschmitzt, doch niemals arrogant auf unsere Umgebung - medial wie sozial. Irgendwie geht es immer um zwischenmenschliche Vereinsamung, den Verlust von Kommunikation und Gefühl in einer mcdonaldisierten Wegwerfgesellschaft. Wo steht dort das nach Rosenberg interpersonale Wahre, das ausgehandelt wird? Wo das Gefühl von Liebe und Zuneigung, wenn jeder die Partner wechselt wie massenangefertigte Unterhosen von H&M? "If my true love's gone / I will surely find another." Traurig, aber wahr. Eitelkeitstillendes Rüberrutschen nach Partyevents kann jeder, was aber ist mit Verantwortung, sich mit jemanden den Härten des Zusammenlebens stellen? Dazu gehört eine gehörige Portion Selbstreflexion: "I know those eyes and I know that touch / I don't have many and I don't have much", singt Rosenberg in "Heart's on fire". Ist es wichtig, im richtigen Moment schlicht das Falsche zu tun? Ein definitives "Ja" von Seiten Passengers. Diese Nachrichten verpackt der Brite in grandiose Großartigkeiten von Songs wie das nach vorn preschende "27", das groovige und trompetenlastige "Thunder" oder die wunderschöne Ballade "Riding to New York" (die um ein hundertfaches besser ist als beispielsweise der Publikums-, jetzt Radioliebling "Calm after the Storm" aus den Niederlanden vom diesjährigen ESC).
"Whispers" ist ein ruhiges Album. Es muss ja auch nicht immer laut zur Sache gehen, um unschöne Tatsachen anzukreiden. Mike Rosenberg mag flüstern. Und ein Flüstern kann lauter sein als jedes Gebrüll. Rosenbergs Flüstern ist ein Aufbruch, pures Geschrei und "Whispers" ein wichtiges Album.
Die Konzerte werden größer, aber auf der Straße kann man doch trotzdem spielen. Die neue Platte wird sich oft verkaufen, aber deshalb kann man sie doch trotzdem im selben kleinen Studio aufnehmen. Einfach weitermachen, das passt zu Rosenberg, dessen neue Songs wieder sanften Songwriter-Folk mit einer gewissen Nähe zur britischen Folklore haben, wegen der Fingerpickings und der seufzenden Fiddle. Das Feierlich-Ländliche wird noch dadurch verstärkt, dass Rosenberg die kanadische Folklore-Band The Once als Background-Chor engagiert hat – es wird wirklich schön gesungen auf „Whispers“. Dazu umspielt ein kleines Streicherensemble die Lieder, die dann tief seufzen und sich wiegen und mit geschlossenen Augen eng umschlungen tanzen.
Es geht einem das Herz auf, so freundlich summt diese Musik – man kann so ein Sentiment per se ablehnen, dann ist man hier nicht richtig. Ansonsten hört man einen Songwriter, der sein Gefühl im Verlauf von nun sechs Alben sehr direkt nach außen zu tragen gelernt hat. „Heart’s On Fire“ folgt Tempo und Spielart besagter Hits, das Lied klingt wie Mumford & Sons in Zeitlupe. „Whispers“ beschreibt einen verzagten Moment, Rosenberg tanzt betrunken auf der Straße, bis in einem mächtigen Crescendo alles aus ihm herausplatzt. Bei dem gedrosseltem Uptempo „Start A Fire“ mischt sich eine Trompete in die Instrumentierung, das Lied entwickelt eine epische Breite. Rosenbergs Themen sind universell traurig, berichten von der Unsicherheit eines Mannes nach dem Ende der Jugend, sind wehmütig und hoffnungsvoll und ganz am Leben. Ein Passagier, ein Reisender.
Passenger in Deutschland:
04.10.14 Frankfurt, Jahrhunderthalle
09.10.14 Hamburg, Sporthalle
19.10.14 Berlin, Columbiahalle
21.10.14 Köln, Palladium
26.10.14 München, Zenith
Donnerstag, 19. Juni 2014
They are, in many ways, a lot like The National; they’ve played the long game, turning out exquisitely-crafted records at their own pace. Where they differ, though, is that The Antlers also display a keen appetite for experimentation with their sound.
Schwerlich abzuschütteln ist auch 'Familiars' an sich, hat es nach einigen Stunden der Auseinandersetzung erst einmal gezündet. Hier stimmt einfach alles; jede Zeile, jedes Wort, jeder Ton, jedes noch so behäbige Metrum bringt neuen Segen über 'Familiars'. Ein schlichtweg makelloses Album - vom ersten bis zum letzten Taktstrich. Man kommt nicht umhin, den Indie-Rock-Musteradepten von The Antlers eine weitere künstlerische Offenbarung zu attestieren - vielleicht sogar ihre größte bis dato.
The Antlers live:
- 12.10. Hamburg
- 14.10. Berlin
Mittwoch, 18. Juni 2014
Auch die Kritiker sind sich über "Nausea" uneins, so dass hier die Meinungen von PopMatters (8 Punkte) und Pitchfork (5,8) gegenüber gestellt werden:
In these days of Soundcloud, YouTube, and single-song digital downloading, it’s a rare occurrence when an album can inspire such as great degree of trust in the listener. Though its subject matter is often delicate and its arrangements are often ornate, Nausea sounds so sure of itself, so utterly comfortable with where it’s at and what it’s about, it holds together in extraordinarily solid fashion. Several tracks have airy, vaguely Far Eastern melodies, while “Dwindle” features sitar-like guitar and what sounds like an Indian sarangi. But Nausea is not the sound of an artist trying to turn away from past success and be artsy and pretentious just for the sake of it. The moment the airy “Changing Faces” reaches a beautiful, Spanish-style strummed guitar interlude is when you fully realize Vallestaros and Craft Spells have completely and naturally transcended their bedroom-pop beginnings.
They haven’t completely abandoned perkiness, either. “Twirl” is a shimmering guitarscape whose sing-song chorus makes disaffection sound like a dizzying, life-affirming first crush, and even sneaks in a bit of distortion at the end. Lead single “Breaking the Angle Against the Tide”, the album’s only real uptempo number, swirls on a bed of strings and a pining, circular guitar riff that would make Johnny Marr proud.
The secret key to making this all work, though, is that Nausea overcomes the biggest weakness in Craft Spells’ previous work, one which was nearly crippling. That would be Vallesteros’ voice. It has been compared to Ian Curtis, but that was just a kind way of saying it was flat and off-key. Plus, it had none of the potential energy of Curtis’ brooding. When fronting plucky synth-pop, it just didn’t work. Here, though, Vallesteros is swathed in reverb, which works wonders. He also sings more confidently and melodically, lending his voice a certain soothing quality. You put a lot of stock in these songs because you, in turn, have confidence in the man who is singing them.
Craft Spells’ previous work wasn’t bad, but Nausea is such an unexpected metamorphosis that Vallesteros could just as well have changed the band name. Even in a crowded dreampop field, this is music to bask in, whatever you call it.
Nausea often sounds disembodied, as every instrument's given a glassy, shellacked quality. “Twirl” nearly achieves liftoff in its chorus before tapering off, lest it overheats and melts the surrounding coat. Nausea’s eerie sense of removal is most effective on the Elephant 6 reverie of “Komorebi”, which takes its title from a Japanese word that loosely translates to “when sunlight filters through the trees”. At its best, Nausea takes after “Komorebi” in evoking a feeling that doesn’t have an exact verbal equivalent while sounding anachronistic in a way that’s both unnerving and fascinating, like watching colorized black & white movie.
Elsewhere, the production and arrangements often have to compensate for the monochromatic songwriting. The conception of Nausea was delayed as Vallesteros battled writer’s block; after the release of 2012’s Gallery EP, the Stockton transplant became bored with guitar, intimidated by the Bay Area's focus on raw garage rock and hip-hop and paralyzed by his reliance on social media. These are topics that are ripe for exploration, of feeling displaced and connected at the same time.
And yet, while nearly every track on Nausea finds Vallesteros trying to grapple with these issues, he rarely wrenches out any insight or personal detail. Both plainspoken and vague, the lyrics of Nausea sound like the result of someone simply trying to overpower a mental deadlock.
Dienstag, 17. Juni 2014
Kürzer fielen beim Nachfolger sowohl die Wartezeit als auch die Titellänge aus: "How To Keep From Falling Off A Mountain" erschien Anfang Juni sowohl in digitaler Form als auch als LP. Für die Produktion des zweiten Slowness-Albums sorgten Monte Fallier (Weekend, The Soft Moon, Wax Idols) und Geoffrey Scott, das Mastern übernahm Kramer (Low, Galaxie 500).
Sonniger Shoegaze aus San Francisco kommt von der Band SLOWNESS: Doch die ätherische Band mischt in ihren Sound noch viel mehr, es kommen Dreampop-Elemente und Indiepop der Neunziger Jahre dazu, die Musiker selbst sprechen von Drone-Pop und dieses Gesamtwerk trägt dazu bei, die Zuhörer regelrecht mit umschmeichelnden und loopenden Melodien einzuspinnen.
Lead single ‘Mountain’ opens the album and unsurprisingly, it’s one of the strongest tracks. While ‘Division’ follows a light groove and highlights the beautiful vocal harmonies, a delight throughout the LP. It’s perhaps the most conventional song on the album, from this point Slowness start their exploration. Taking queues from classic prog rock, psych and dream pop but not sitting firmly in any particular camp. ‘Anon’ could’ve been written in the 60s or 70s, if it had, Pink Floyd would’ve been fans. This is trippy stuff! ‘Anon (Part II)’ is the most concise but there’s plenty of indulgent moments, or minutes (is more accurate). Which is intentional however it will eliminate casual listeners and be too slow moving for some (excuse the pun). Slowness have distilled their dreamy psych pop powers into a hypnotic concoction that’s thoughtful, meditative and wholly intoxicating. It’s not a quick fix, this is a mature record but it’s worth the trip. Perfectly suited to a smoke filled room!
(sounds better with reverb)
Slowness in Deutschland:
18.06.14 Oldenburg, Polyester Klub
20.06.14 Köln, Tsunami Club
22.06.14 Regensburg, Mono Bar
Montag, 16. Juni 2014
There's not a song here as good as Video Games, but you could have said the same thing about Born to Die, and overall, the writing feels sharper and stronger. Every chorus clicks, the melodies are uniformly beautiful, and they soar and swoop, the better to demonstrate Del Rey's increased confidence in her voice. It's all so well done that the fact that the whole album proceeds at the same, somnambulant pace scarcely matters.
Most songs on ‘Ultraviolence’ link up with a bluesy smoke of a sound. Whereas ‘Born to Die’ flirted with gloss and glitz, this is the sound of Lana hitting the road. Producer Dan Auerbach in tow, most of the time the tempo doesn’t get any quicker than a Kolo Touré sprint. It’s a strung out, tear-drenched collection, beginning epic with opener ‘Cruel World’ and only getting more dramatic as it progresses.
‘West Coast’ is an odd lead single. Within the context of an album, it’s a brilliant track, but like ‘Sad Girl’ and ‘Shades of Cool’, parts of this song feel almost intentionally out of place. Choruses - big, brilliant choruses at that - sweep in out of nowhere after awkward bridges and faltering falsetto-ed build-ups. It’s a strange, uncomfortable form of expression, and it’s a big part of a record that’s a hundred times more cohesive than ‘Born to Die’.
The highlight, ‘Brooklyn Baby’, manages to bring the dusty, fog-drenched breeze of ‘Ultraviolence’ into one brilliant single. It struts confidence, boasting the tongue-in-cheek line “Yeah my boyfriend’s pretty cool, but he’s not as cool as me.” But it also keeps the fragility that sums up Lana best. She’s a Wes Anderson character that’s wound up in a David Lynch film, and she knows it. ‘Ultraviolence’ sees her playing with pre-conceived ideas. ‘Born to Die’ didn’t have a moment’s notice to deal with the backlash. This second record knocks the rumours and naysayers out of the park. After all, there’s a track called ‘Fucked My Way Up to the Top’. Confused by Lana Del Rey? Good - that’s exactly how you should feel.
Samstag, 14. Juni 2014
Dies setzen sie auch auf '48:13' fort und schließen damit nahtlos an den chartsgekrönten Vorgänger 'Velociraptor' an. Das bedeutet: knochentrockene Riffs, schweißtreibende Beats, flirrende Synths und über allem der hiphopartige Sprechgesang von Energiebündel und Biervernichter Tom Meighan. Sein kongenialer Partner, Gitarrist und Songschreiber Sergio Pizzorno rundet das zu Recht auf dicke Hose machende Gesamtwerk ab.
Freitag, 13. Juni 2014
On “So Much Wine” (here re-titled “So Much Wine Merry Christmas”), Bird takes a minor key approach to the original’s major key progression that, when the song opens up, makes the sentiments expressed and tale of Christmas-morning domestic violence all the sadder, perfectly complimented by vocal work from his Hands of Glory backing group featuring Tift Merritt, Alan Hampton (bass), Eric Heywood (pedal steel), and Kevin O’Donnell (drums). His slower take makes an already impossibly sad, reflective song all the more so when given a more balladic treatment that shrugs off the original’s heavy two and four in favor of a subtler, more delicate approach.
“The Sad Milkman”, one of the duo’s better known songs and often covered in concert by Bird, simply doesn’t compare to the original’s devastating beauty. Of the songs here, it is one of the few better suited to Brett’s voice than Andrew’s. By no means bad, it simply feels as though something is missing and overall does not possess quite the same gravity as when conveyed by Sparks. Bird’s almost conversational recitation of the lyrics doesn’t help matters much either, lending an almost off-hand approach to one of the more lyrically compelling songs in the Handsome Family catalog.
Album closer “Far From Any Road (By My Hand)” most resembles Bird’s current live performances with the violin doubling at times as a mandolin before switching back to bowed playing. Rennie’s exceptional, devastating lyrics, the impact of which is sometimes lost due to Brett’s often idiosyncratic delivery, are presented here with a clarity that helps illuminate their poetic quality. Bird’s hauntingly ethereal bowed overtones circle high above the sparse arrangement’s brushed snare, spare guitar and plucked bass, adding to the overall eeriness and beauty conveyed by the song in its basest form.
Above all, Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of… serves as a musical love letter to friends and inspirations; exceptional in execution, beautiful in its haunting simplicity. If there is any justice,Things Are Really Great Here, Sort Of… will open the door for further exploration by equally sympathetic artists to one of the best contemporary American songbooks out there.
Donnerstag, 12. Juni 2014
As it turns out, sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg are only getting better with age. This barely twenty-something duo manages to occupy a lyrical and musical space well beyond their years and place of origin. [...] While The Lion's Roar was an exercise in infectious melancholy, this time the sisters from suburban Stockholm appear eager for change and keen to move on. There's heartbreak, loneliness and homesickness here, but the album's subtext is restlessness.
Mittwoch, 11. Juni 2014
It begins with “Lazy Bones”, a brief instrumental track of resonant, inflected keystrokes that quiver like sea anemones. Ponderous and inquisitive, its pseudo ambience would charm Brian Eno himself. “From The Halfway Line” bears very little resemblance to its namesake, basking in the languid swell of an Animals-esque Gilmour guitar. Save for the perfunctory percussion that grounds the track halfway through, there is little in the way of form. Taylor delivers a gruff respirator purr on “Immune System”, shivering on its own echoes amidst blunt, arrhythmic synth beats. The studied, repetitious minimalism of “Elvis Has Left The Building” is an understated triumph, a melodiously miserly hymn to Whitney, Dylan, Prince and the King, even if it is overlong by about two minutes. If the best moments from In Our Heads were a series of endlessly complex and interlocking geometric shapes, some of the most arresting tracks on Await Barbarians are like watching ripples magnify and spread themselves across the surface of a liquid.
Even the most compositionally cohesive songs here are situated further to the left of his usual leftfield. There’s no more of the bouncy didgeridoo funk of Nayim...‘s “Hot Squash”, for instance, a song which is made to look positively kitsch compared to “Without A Crutch (2)”. The record’s first single practically a country ballad of sorts, trundling along on a composition of banjo, harmonica and delicate slide guitar (all played by Taylor himself), giving him ample room for some sweet but typically abstruse verses: “You’re stone and my paper’s rough/But scissors this blunt still can cut/It’s not a game we’re playing here/The die’s been cast but it rolls too near”.
(the line of best fit)
As Await Barbarians opens to the off-kilter arrangement of 'Lazy Bones' - its woozy piano pitching and shifting in tone - there's a brief concern that this might be yet another exercise in obfuscation; Taylor's eccentricities getting the better of him once again. But as the track slowly levels out and gives way to the undulating raw soul of 'From The Halfway Line', what emerges is a more intimate portrait than we're use to; unguarded reflections on companionship, love and death peppering the album in the form of his spare compositions.
It's something best exemplified on the album's centrepiece 'Without A Crutch (2)', a minimalist country-indebted ballad that drifts along with the ease of a gently flowing stream; the twang of guitars washing softly over piano chords, the gentle wheeze of a harmonica mimicking its infectiously simple sing-a-long hook. It tells the story of a relationship which, while not quite collapsed is in need of some serious scaffolding; "It's not as though our hearts are tough/Why do we rub ourselves so rough?" sings Taylor in a startlingly personal moment. It's a poignancy which is only solidified when the track returns in a stripped back form towards the end of the album. Its reprise adding further layers of brittle clarity to Taylor's lyrics; his fragile falsetto straining to breaking point as it draws the album to a close. (...)
Await Barbarians won't be for everyone and if you're expecting anything approaching Hot Chip then keep on walking. But if you were intrigued by Taylor's early solo efforts and have been hankering for him to produce something more cohesive, then this is a beguiling and downbeat gem. The witty and intelligent intimacy of his lyrics and his finely restrained vocals growing richer with each repeated listen.
(drowned in sound)
Platten vor Gericht dient uns als Plattform, um uns über neue Alben auszutauschen, sie vorzustellen und teilweise heftig zu diskutieren. Seit 2002 bewerten wir alle Alben, die uns zu Ohren kommen, mit Noten von 1 bis 10, so dass am Ende eines Jahres das "Album des Jahres" gekürt werden kann. Auch Gäste unseres Blogs sind herzlich dazu eingeladen, ihre Meinung zu äußern und Bewertungen abzugeben.
exzellent (10 - 9,5 - 9 Punkte)
sehr gut (8,5 - 8 - 7,5 Punkte)
gut (7 - 6,5 - 6 Punkte)
passabel (5,5 - 5 - 4,5 Punkte)
uninteressant (4 - 3,5 - 3 Punkte)
schlecht (2,5 - 2 - 1,5 Punkte)
unfassbar (1 Punkt)
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- The Irrepressibles - Nude EPs
- The Flaming Lips - 7 Skies H3
- Courtney Barnett - The Double EP: A Sea Of Split P...
- Pascal Finkenauer - Tourist EP
- Luke Haines - New York In The '70's
- Sivert Høyem - Endless love
- Printer Clips - Printer Clips
- Passenger - Whispers
- The Antlers - Familiars
- Craft Spells - Nausea
- Slowness - How To Keep From Falling Off A Mountain...
- Lana Del Rey - Ultraviolence
- Kasabian - 48:13
- Andrew Bird - Things Are Really Great Here, Sort O...
- First Aid Kit - Stay gold
- Alexis Taylor - Await Barbarians
- The Pains Of Being Pure At Heart - Days Of Abandon...
- Haunted Hearts - Initiation
- Bob Mould - Beauty & Ruin
- Tom Vek - Luck
- The Echo Friendly - Echo Panic
- Echo & The Bunnymen - Meteorites
- Das Platten vor Gericht Mai Mixtape
- The Great Dictators - Liars
- Jessica Lea Mayfield - Make my head sing...
- Neue Gerichtstermine: Juni/Juli
- Teleman - Breakfast
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