Best Albums first half of 2010

Thursday, 24 June, 2010

Like last year I’d like to list the best records I’ve heard so far (alphabetically). I haven’t really heard that much music as last year, which might affect my list.

Caribou ‘Swim’, City Slang. “Odessa” is a monster track. And album is not bad, not bad at all.

Joanna Newsom ‘Hav one on me’, Drag City. Newsom tops her beautiful ‘Ys’ with 200 minutes of incredible song writing and singing.

LCD Soundsystem ‘This is happening’, EMI roecords. Dance music with hang over? Sounds like a party at 6 in the morning.

Shearwater ‘The Golden Archipelago’, Matador. Pompous pop music, much like the record ‘Rook’.

The Besnard Lakes ‘Are The Roaring Night’, Jagjaguwar. Vocal based post rocking little gem. Heard them first via Chromewaves.

The National ‘High Violet’, 4AD. Great sound, good and bad lyrics but all in all on heavy rotation at home and at work.

Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra ‘Kollaps Tradixionales’, Constellation. Read my review.

Battles and Wolf Parade still to be release later this year. This can become a pretty good year, but I probably need to step up and explore the unexplored a bit more. Else I could get disappointed about 2010.

I would like to mention some good records that I bought, but that are not from 2010:

Ben Frost ‘By the throat’, Bedroom Community Record. Mistake not buying it last year.

Eels ‘blinking lights and other reevlations’, Vagant Records. Emotional and strong.

Interpol ‘Turn n the Bright Lights’, Matador. I’m late. But when I heard “Hands away” I knew I had missed the record and went straight out and erased my mistake.

Prog is not a four letter word’ compiled by Andy Votel, Delay 68 Records. Heard ‘Sun Ui Lim’ at and has not been disappointed about the compilation on obscure prog.

Best album in the decade 2000-2009

Wednesday, 19 May, 2010

Maybe I mistake most important album with most important band.
Maybe the album isn’t even their major masterpiece, that one was released in the 90ies.
Maybe half of you who read this disagree, but my choice is far that controversial as the release of the album.
To me it is a “safe choice”. Maybe many of us are wrong, when we pick an album of the last decade so close after leaving the former decade.
But this album is a landmark. Their so-called masterpiece from ’97 promised an inheritor to U2. Not extrovert, rather introvert and sneering. And while Ok Computer is facing backwards, Kid A is forward-looking into the new decade, maybe even century.

I met with a couple of guys, just the same from the previous “Night before New Years Eve”, and we played two songs from albums within three categories:

  • Most important album from a musical perspective.
  • Most important album from a personal perspective.
  • And most important album from Denmark.
  • As introduced above I chose Radiohead “Kid A” from a musical perspective. My friends chose the following albums:

      Scott Walker – The Drift
      Elbow – Asleep in the Back
      Modest Mouse – Moon & Antarctica
      Eels – Blinking Lights and other Revelations
      The National – Alligator
      Battles – Mirrored
      Kevin Drumm – Sheer Mellish Miasma

    From the personal perspective I have been very fond of Thee Silver Mt Zion. But if I should bring out an album that has meant the most to me I’d say Man’sbestfriend “New Human is Illegal”. The poetry, the aggression, the samples, the humor, everything is just a perfect ‘unit’. My friends chose:

      Ilyas Ahmed – Between Two Skies / Towards the Night
      Interpol – Turn on the Bright Lights
      Sigur Ros – ()
      Christian Kjellvander – Songs from a two-room chapel
      Beirut – Gulag Orkestar
      The National – Alligator
      Bonnie ‘Prince’ Billy – More Revery

    In the last category I and one other chose Efterklang “Tripper” to be the best album from Denmark in the same decade. Other picks were:

      Manual – Azure Vista
      Moi Caprice – The Art of Kissing Properly
      Tiger Tunes – Absolutely Worthless Compared To Important Books
      Decorate Decorate – Normandie
      Speaker Bite Me – If Love is Missin It must be Imposed
      Mikael Simpson – Bsider, udtag og meget triste radiomix

    Oh my a lot of albums have not even been mentioned above. But if you like some of the choices above, do check out Pitchfork > P2K. Maybe you find your own favourite there.

    The (new?) flagship of Constellation Records has once again released a beautiful, epic album. With all the greatness, desperation and poetry we know them doing the best.

    Thee Silver Mt. Zion still have the well-known large, saturate sound of electric guitar, violin, drums and singing on “Kollaps Tradixionales”. The compositions have somehow moved back to “Horses in the sky” but with the rawness and somewhat rock tunes of “13 Blues for Thirteen Moons” integrated. But there is a larger diversity in the soundscape than before.

    Nick Southgates ends his review in the Wire [313, March 2010] with the words “and perhaps best enjoyed one slice at a time”. If so, I recommend listening to all tracks by Thee Silver Mt. one slice at a time. The intensity of emotions, the big sound (loud or quite) and the poetic lyrics are the main ingredients in the works of Thee Silver Mt. Zion works. They have their ethics, aesthetics, ideals and “political” stance. And this probably attracts the audience as well as it rejects other.

    Favorite track is ‘I built myself a metal bird’ and is the closest they ever got to a popular (punk) rock song. Efrim singing “Dance Motherfuckers” as the beat of the machines making the world go around. An effective anthem and probably wonderful track LIVE.

    Since “13 Blues…” the lyrics has been a part of the physical release. It helps somewhat to understand the creative nature of the songwriting, when being able to read the lyrics. From ‘There is a light’:

    “But there ain’t no truth but the no truth but the no truth, Yeah! Ain’t no thing but the nothing but the nothing”

    The lyrics still have “trumpets in heaven” and “the olde dirty flag”. It’s both a personal pledge as it is a global inquiry. I like the always returning repetition that musical as lyrical gives the text some edge, intimacy and introverted character.

    ‘ ’piphany rambler’ is another great song. The closing track has builds up as many other Thee Silver Mt. Zion tracks, but it never gets to the final crescendo. And that actually – to me today – makes the song a little more outstanding, a little more painful and pushes the sadness without ending in an expected desperation.

    Gonna Make It Through The YearI was a bit disappointed about ‘Lost Channels’ by Great Lake Swimmers. It’s a fine record. But in my opinion it lacks the great hit single or exceptional song that put distance to every other band that manoeuvres in the genre.
    Ever since I heard “I could be nothing” and later “Your rocky spine” I might have been expecting a bit too much?

    Today Bad Panda Records released “Gonna Make It Through This Year”. They release a song every Monday, but this is really a scoop. The song by Great Lake Swimmers is more up-tempo and has this wonderful melancholy. Midlakes “Act of Man” has got new competition on my home stereo for sure.

    Go download the song under a Creative Commons Licens at Bad Panda [Week 16].

    I follow a couple of blogs written by researchers. Especially Forrester researchers seem to be encouraged to blog about various things. Mark Mulligan is one of them and has posted a fine short view on the Music’s Digital Decade (denial, confusion, acceptance, rebuilding).

    Read the full post on the “Forrester Blog for Consumer Product Strategy Professionals“.

    Best music videos 2009

    Sunday, 3 January, 2010

    Music videos can showcase the artist, serve different purposes or just be small cinematic poems. Music videos has a serious expression since birth of MTV, and although we in some countries have limited access to the videos on Youtube and others, the genre is widely appreciated and Spike Jonze, Chris Cunningham and Shynola shall have lots of credit for their work in the past and present.

    When I look back at the year 2009, I think there have been several videos that have promoted the artist or song in a highly entertaining way. I like the genre for being something in itself – the videos aren’t always just an add-on.

    My top 5 is:

    1. Röyksopp – This must be it [open in new window]
    It’s difficult to describe how they use the normal music video storyboard and create

    2. Ramona Falls – I say fever [open in new window]
    Very aesthetic, very pleasing to the eye. It’s a short, but strong movie and I think the music fits beautifully.

    3. Coldplay – Strawberry Swing [open in new window]
    Impressiv work by Shynola. And do also check out “Life in Technicolour

    4. Rymdreglade – 8-bit trip[open in new window]
    Very amazing and crazy lots of work behind. Absolutely perfect match between music genre and video style.

    5. PomplamooseMusic – Beat it [open in new window]
    The development within technology makes it easier to produce your own fancy video. There has been a couple of fun DIY videos. Fx by Kutiman doing a mashup of sounds on youtube and SOUR using the video in a simple but very creative way on ‘Hibi no neiro’.
    But Nataly Dawn and Jack Conte behind Pomplamoose Music are very loveable and ‘Beat it’ is a great cover version.

    The year 2009: Paddling Ghost

    Thursday, 31 December, 2009

    Downloading didn’t kill the music in the new decade. It has once again been a very good year with lots of great records, hit singles and bands touring around the world. Seeing Bedroom Community at the “Nye rødder” festival was the best concert this year, but unknown “Boy without god” made a fine appearance at Lades.

    At the event “Night before New Years Eve” I played these songs as the top 5

    Dan Deacon – Paddling Ghost
    The Horrors – Sea within a sea
    Animal Collective – My Girls
    The Big Pink – Crystal Vision
    Oneida – The River

    Dan Deacon is wacky electronica. The layers are somewhat simple, the tunes are high pitched and the energy is impressive. I’m absolutely crazy about “Bromst” record and I could have played both “Build voice”, “Snookered” and “Paddling Ghost” as my favorite track this year.
    The Horrors have huge success in Britain, but in Denmark it seems like people don’t really find it interesting. “Sea within a sea” is a perfect blend of Neu! and Joy Division. I’m not raised with these two band, so I have no romantic feelings about the cannibalization.
    Animal Collective were mentioned on almost every hit list, both the independent as well as established magazines. “My Girls” is just above almost everything I’ve heard this year always making me happy when listening to the song.
    The Big Pink has as well been hyped. As I mentioned I started to listen to them rather late. But none the less “Crystal Visions” (and “Dominos”, “Velvet” and “At War with the Sun”) are among the songs I’ve been listening to the most this year. It’s not original in any sense, but I love the walls of guitars…
    Oneida probably made the most interesting record this year, if you ask me. “The River” has a good drive and the sound is both primal and rough. You should check it out, if you are into raw rock music.

    This year the “joker” was related to the best musicvideo. I chose Röyksopp “This must be it”.

    Worth mentioning is that Jeppsson became a member of our “Night before New Years Ever”. And we had community singing to a Lemonheads cover version of Gram Parson thanks to Mikkel. Most played were Animal Collective, Muse and Morrissey with two each.

    Review: Oneida – Rated O

    Tuesday, 1 December, 2009

    ‘Rated O’ is a 3 x CD album release with around 40 minutes of play on each disc. There are sometimes vocals, some jamming and there is lots of repetition. I do first think of Krautrock and psychedelic rock back from the late 70ies. And compared to other bands of today influenced by the Krautrock genre, Oneida leave it pretty raw and make use of more improvised – or experimental – pieces within the tracks.

    The critics have been very dissident. Everybody seems to respect the groups back catalogue. But some like the first CD, and others only like the second or third CD in this ambitious release.

    The first CD is a mix of reggaeton, noise and dance rhythms. I’m not that familiar with the sound, but it seems like this raw power tunes gives Oneida a lot of edge and weight. You’ll find a band jamming and playing without direction, but still ending up in a beautiful repetitive part during the “10:30 at the Oasis” (with the help from Trans AM member Phil Manley). Both the opening track “Brownout in Lagos” as well as “The human factor” are primal screams: heavy and alien. I wonder if I ever find myself in all this mess?

    The second CD is how Oneida play straight forward rock with a vocal in the drugged chaotic haze. Both “The River” and “I will haunt You” are up-tempo rock songs with reference to the psychedelic seventies. But after two months of listening I’d better make references to Black Sabbath and Stooges. Maybe prog rock indie piece “The Life You Preferred” is favorite track for now.

    The third CD is a soundscape of cosmic jamming. Sitar, drums, drones, bells and psych guitar are pulsing and while they are travelling down a moody road, I lose the reference point. I think the influence from Boredoms especially have put its marks on drummer Kid Millions, which comes to expression on this third part of the release. In an interview with the Quitus he tells about the magnificent Boadrum 77 and 88 and meeting Eye getting a more spiritual understanding of being a musician.

    Some critics say the record would have been better, if it has fitted one CD and fillers were left out. I must disagree. If I read a book or is watching a movie the highlights alone will not tell the whole story worth remembering.

    Last year ‘Preteen Weaponry’ gave me a pleasant surprise. Especially the drumming and repetition seemed steady, lasting and absorbing. What’s going to come next year is not easy to say. But by now having released 10 full albums and several EPs since 1997, the follow up on ‘Rated O’ and last album in the trilogy surely has something to live up to.

    Band website:

    Just listened to… The Big Pink

    Monday, 30 November, 2009

    I don’t like when bands are getting to much hype. I tend to get uninterested and neglect the fact that the music is good. The Big Pink released their debut “A Brief History Of Love” on 4AD in September this year and it’s a wonderful shoegaze indiepop album.

    Sure they sound like early Black Rebel Motorcycle Club, Spacemen 3 and Jesus and Mary Chain. But then again: all popbands have a reference to another band through history. Who cares?

    Favorite tracks are “Dominos”, “Crystal Visions” and “At war with the sun”. Go check it out!

    Band website:

    I stumbled upon a couple of days ago. It’s an online radio that has playlists made to fit emotions or a specific activity. For example “road trip”, “It’s raining” or “happy”. The music is primarily indie, rock and electronic and songs are from newer or newest releases.

    I somehow miss the ability to interact with the existing playlists. But the service can be fun anyways. I have created an account, collected songs to my own library and put up tags on existing tracks. I can also make my own playlist and share it with friends. But they can only see these, if they are logged in. The Stereomood playlists can be heard without login.

    As long as it’s possible to play the music in the country, where I live, it’s better than some other services around. But I do find songs that are no longer online and therefore not able to play from the site. That’s rather annoying and could leave my two first playlists rather empty within weeks or months depended on whether the source has taken the songs down for one or another reason.

    My two playlists so far:
    “Working hours” and “Collection of covers”.

    But I can also recommend Stereomoods “Berlin Calling”.