The year 2008: Sweet Love for Planet Earth.

Wednesday, 31 December, 2008

fuck buttons street horrrsingwolf parade at mount zoomer

This was probably the year where I was more on my own, less inspired by friends and acquaintances. But as my approach to and taste in music has changed in time, my friends (mostly .chrz) have put their fingerprints on the albums I preferred this year.

Top 5 songs

Fuck Buttons – Sweet Love for Planet Earth (ATP Recordings)
Wolf Parade – California Dreamer (Sub Pop Records)
The Matthew Herbert Big Band – Battery (Accidental)
Paavoharju – Italialaisella Laivalla (Fonal records)
Shearwater – Leviathan Bound (Matador)

At the “Night before New Years Eve” the joker was “a song from the best live concert this year”. I finally got to see Lightning Bolt (I didn’t prioritize it, as they played in Aarhus some years ago). Battles, Kid Koala and Girl Talk were fine shows. But I chose to play Menomena “Evil bee” as the joker, as they fulfilled their sound through their presence and gave it that extra that I don’t get on the records, when I heard them play at Lille Vega earlier this year.

If I should make some notes on my choice this year, I have to say that “At Mount Zoomer” probably is the most overlooked album of this year. Wolf Parade have really improved their sound and made some solid melodies and fine lyrics. Especially the “Snow on the radio … make angels in the snow” is magic poetry.
As I first heard Fuck Buttons I thought it was great. And this is still my opinion. It’s a mix of the beast and the beauty. It’s harsh but also playful. This might not be that original, but it’s done with style and good sense of what’s working and what does not. Often this kind of band is overdoing it or keeps on experimenting. “Street Horrrsing” has a perfect blend.
I’ve never heard about Paavoharju before, but I’m definitely going to get there former albums. This Finish folk (and some electronica) is a children book that also can be read by adults. When writing, I would say they are above their fellow countryman like fx Kiila.
The Matthew Herbert Big Band is not something I normally listen to. Battery has a whole lot of things going on. It’s pushy, wild and swings like hell.
Shearwater is also something I normally would have avoided. But the song Leviathan Bound is beautiful and I can only recommend this.

In the end that meant there was no spot for sweet Vampire Weekend.

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The year 2007: Let’s dance to…!

Wednesday, 31 December, 2008

battles mirroredakron_family_love_is_simple

I bought more than 40 albums this year. This is a lot thinking 40 of them were from 2007. I started to buy “New and Used” at Amazon UK. There should go more than 1½ year before customs duty got some of my packaging. Well, the two albums were still cheaper including the tariff than buying it in a Danish store.
A lot of interesting things came out and I did go to a lot of concerts. Some great, some hilarious funny. Especially the Cradle of Filth concert at Amager Bio had this stupid, but funny, show on the scene. More of that, please!

The top 5 songs this year were:

Battles – Atlas (Warp Records)
Akron/Family – Ed is a portal (Young God records)
Of Montreal – The past is a grotesque animal (Polyvinyl Record Company)
Iron & Wine – Ressurection Fern (Sub Pop Records)
The Wombats – Let’s dance to joy division (14th Floor Records)

I’ve had my difficulties with “Shepherds dog” by Iron & Wine. Boy with a coin is beautiful, but getting behind these surreal texts and up-tempo songs was not easy for me. A paradox having theses troubles, as I about two years earlier would have left the record in the ditch.
The Wombats made a one hit wonder. I loved it, not much else to say about this. But there is a lot more to say about Battles. I’ve heard their EPs without being especially impressed. But “Mirrored” came with a tune that had a lot of soul on top and underneath their technical brilliance. Actually a shocking album to me, as I thought they were playing music with a new and fresh approach.
Of Montreal made several monster tracks on the album “Hissing Fauna, are you the destroyer”. I don’t really get the band and must admit that the other albums are not anything for me.
Akron/ Family is also a strange appearance. But the album has a joy and playful tune. Ed is a Portal is a fun and loveable track.

Regarding the “Night before New Years Eve” Jesper didn’t make the cut and no new one came in. The joker of the year was “best non-album” track giving the ability to put more attention on remixes, b-sides and the like. A lot of EPs was played. I did too. Mansbestfriend made an EP of outtakes from “Poly.sci.187”. It had lyrics and led the thoughts back to the amazing “New human is illegal” from 2004. I can’t get the original copy, is that non-album irony.

the knife silent shoutbeirut gulag orkestar

I think I learned about Last.fm at svingninger.dk, but I’m not really sure. I did immediately sign up and began to use it. I liked the idea of counting how much I’ve listened to one or another song. Also when this included Britney, Mariah Carey or what ever. .chrz and Lasse were hooked too. Asbjørn did never get to use it fully. At the “Night before New Years Eve” there were made a small change. DJ Caine cancelled and newbie Jesper had been invited.

My choice of a top five this year was

The Knife – Mothers health (Rabid Records)
Beirut – Postcards from Italy (Badabing records)
Infadels – Jagger 67 (Wall of Sound)
Oh no ono – Am I Right (Morningside Records)
Matmos – Rag for William S. Borroughs (Matador)

I don’t think this was the best year regarding releases. But I missed both Horse Feathers and Tim Heckers albums, which both had tracks that definitely would have made it to the top five. But this is also a premise.

This year the joker was to play a song from the album with best cover artwork. I chose Peeping Tom. It was a disappointing album, but the interactive cover art is fun!

Thee Silver Mount Zion Memorial Bandwhy? sanddollars

It was another fantastic year exploring new music and widening the musical horizon. I was both getting back to my metal roots and had a breakthrough regarding folk slash alternative country.

Before mentioning my top 5, I would like to make a small introduction to the crew of “Night before New Years Eve”. We are not experts nor more competent because we have listened to more new music than some other guys out there. We have a great interest in music and although there are similarities between each other, there is also a huge difference. Along the respect of each other, this makes this happening to something very special. Maybe the other guys have a different approach, this is mine.

Mikkel: One of my best friends since 2000. A great inspiration in life and did a lot to make me like the Cure, The Smiths and new music from Sweden and Britain (NME bands). He’s a former freelance DJ, who played both in Copenhagen and Aarhus.
Christian (or .chrz): Never standing back on a challenge and exploring the corners of music history and future. Long time friend through poetry.
Asbjørn: Singer in Decorate.Decorate. As DJ Land a former DJ at Indie Night and now freelance DJ having played at acknowledged night clubs in both Copenhagen and Berlin. Also a friend whom I first met through digte.dk.
Houmøller: Know him through Mikkel. A freelance music journalist writing for Jyllands Posten and some other magazines. DJing freelance as “DJ Dada”. Born in 1967 the eldest around.
Lasse: Guitarist and singer in Salli Lunn. Know him through Mikkel and lived with him at Holtegade in most of the year 2005.
Jonas: Met him at the same time as Mikkel. Is peaking when listening to David Bowie and folk/ country. Maybe also classical music.
DJ Caine: Founder and host of Indie Night at Stengade 30.

In my opinion the best five songs this year were

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la Band – God bless our dead marines (Constellation)
Why? – 500 Fingernails (Anticon)
Deerhoof – Green Cosmos (ATP Recordings)
Sunn o)) – CandleGoat (Southern Lord)
Electrelane – Eight steps (Too Pure)

A Silver Mt Zion is still the most interesting band from constellation and with Efrim singing, wailing, chanting and continuing evolving the sound of the band. God Bless our dead marines is outstanding.
500 fingernails is a one hit wonder that never got enough attention. Although the melancholy and sadness this songs always makes me want to dance.
The EP “Green Cosmos” was not my first encounter with Deerhoof (I think it was “My pal foot foot”). But is were the only one, where I was completely turned on. There are several tracks I like, but this stood out for me.
At The Rock I had an amazing concert experience with Sunn o)). Black one is a dark masterpiece and although only .chrz appreciated me playing CandleGoat, I’m very pleased to have in my top 5. Actually I had the promo of “ØØ Void” for many years, but this concert was the breakthrough and a new start for me to explore the genres of metal. Again.
I love (my perception of) Mia Clark. And “Axes” was the best release from Electrelane so far.

Among these fantastic songs one did stood out at the “Night before New Years Eve”. The joker this year was “most unthinkable to like”, which means the best song you couldn’t have imagined you would like. For example this could result in playing songs from artists or genres you normally dislike. And it did for me. Normally my view of country was that is boring and singer songwriters didn’t really catch me. But the collaboration “Calexico | Iron & Wine” did. And this was not for this night only. My view on folk and country had changed since being inspired by .chrz and others. I started – slowly – to accept the genre and find joy listening to different tunes. But there is still a lot of crap – as in many other genres.

The year 2004: Under the influence of .chrz.

Wednesday, 31 December, 2008

mansbestfriend new human is illegalblack heart procession solbakken in the fish tank

Mikkel moved out and .chrz moved in at Holtegade. He is an amazing guy with a outrageous taste in music. It’s funny, interesting, provocative and challenging. But this is also how music can get exciting.

We danced to Franz Ferdinand two-songs-in-one “Take me out” and we were amazed by the raw and endless energy by Lightning Bolt. It was a stunning year regarding musical exploration. Christian moved out in October and Lasse moved in instead. Another team player and inspiration regarding music.

This year we started a tradition, which has continued every year ever since.

The concept is rather simple: The day before New Years Eve we meet. In Danish we call it “Lille Nytårs aften”. There is no such word in English, so I’ll just have to refer to the “Night before New Years Eve”.
Everybody has their own list of the best five songs released within the last year. First the 5th best song is played by each participant. Then the 4th, then the 3rd and so on is played. Between the rounds the order is changed as everybody is taking a new ball – with a number on the inside – from the bowl.
Between the 2nd and 1st we have a “joker” (bobler), which is a changing theme every year. This year it was “Best band I never have heard before this year”. This was quite interesting, ’cause maybe others did know the band, but to me it was the first time I heard them and they were great.

The atmosphere is both relaxed but also intense. What are the others playing? What do they think and respond to my choice? But it’s also fantastic and surprising to be inspired by new music from friends you know so well. Music is a nice way to get each other to know better and also keep in touch. This is absolutely recommended. The following year we did also try some theme nights, meeting within the year playing “best hip hop songs ever”, “best country songs ever” and “I died in my teens”. An evening playing the best songs from our years as teenagers. We first met after the age of … 23? So there are a lot of unknown pleasures and it was a funny evening. But we haven’t kept these evenings alive in the same manner.

My choice of a top five was

Mansbestfriend: Victim Idol (Anticon)
Black Heart Procession: Dog Song (In the Fishtank)
90 day men: Too late or too dead (Southern Records)
Björk: Triumph of a heart (One Little Indian)
Rammstein: America (Universal)

No doubt about the first ones. Björk was a surprising choice. Dokaka is doing his stuff really well on this homogenic, warm and beautiful track.
One of the strengths of Rammstein is their popular sound. Its sing-along heavy without getting (too) corny and I believe “America” is one of their better tracks. The references to songs from the 80ies don’t make it worse.
90 day men made their best album – “Panda Park” – and “Too late or too dead” is only one of more exceptional tracks. To sad they stopped playing together. Never got to see them live. Well.
Black Heart Procession did play a rather boring concert at Roskilde Festival. Their “In the Fish tank” release with Solbakken is a very nice collaboration. “Dog song” and “Things go on with mistakes” are outstanding tracks.
Mansbestfriend – a project of one of the founders of Anticon, Tim Holland aka Sole – took me with surprise. It made me see Hip Hop as something completely else. My bad not knowing enough about this genre before. The concept of the record is brilliant and the lyrics have been a creative inspiration. Victim Idol is one of more songs that every year could go in my top 5.

I did also listen a lot to the demo of Wolf Parades “Songs and daughters of hungry ghosts” and Kå “Næste sommer”. Wolf Parade didn’t make it to the list and I have regretted this, as this was by far their best song until releasing “At Mount Zoomer”.

depeche mode - songs of faith and devotionsash adelante

Returning to Copenhagen after a year of failure in Aarhus also meant a beginning of new musical discovery. In Aarhus I was introduced to The Cure and Depeche Mode. While I couldn’t cope with the voice of Robert Smith, Martin Gore and Dave Gahan were straight forward. Musically I had got closer to the Goth and industrial scene, but personally I had just grown older and had some unexpected life experienced.
In Copenhagen I met new friends. Jonas and Mikkel. And after moving in at Mikkels apartment in Holtegade the 80ies were introduced properly.
Kim Schumacher had in the late 80ies introduced me to popular music like Belinda Carlisle, Rick Astley and Grandmaster Flash on his radio show. It’s not because I remember it very well, but I found a mix tape. Ha!
But in these years The Cure, Cocteau Twins, The Smiths, Joy Division and Danish artist Martin Hall also became a part of my repertoire. Well. Actually The Cure and Martin Hall only. And some of the hits of the other mentioned artists. I also searched the catalogue of Depeche Mode, but never did I see them live. How could I share my intimate devotion with +20.000 other people at one time singing “In your Room”?

We (Mikkel and Casper) went a lot to the second hand shop Accord and within those years I bought 14 different CDS by Sash! Yeah. German Eurodance. And Antiloop. Swedish Eurodance. Hurrah. I’ll never forget my first mix tapes back in the 90ies.
I did also listened to the German Goth act Lacrimosa, rediscovered Bush and I began to understand music as impression and expression. Not only to act within this scope, but also formulating my interpretation. My view was broadened – and narrowed.

Part 4: Die for metal. (1995 – 1999)

Saturday, 27 December, 2008

moonspell - wolfheartthe gathering - mandylion

I had listened to Rage Against the Machine years before and was a little familiar with heavy metal like Manowar, Megadeth and Blind Guardian through high school friends. But it was when Moonspell as a support band to Morbid Angel played at Pumpehuset in 1995 I got hooked. This sound was majestic, symphonic and gothic. As Moonspell was signed at the German record company Century Media I became familiar with The Gathering, Tiamat and Samael. And through mail order from Nuclear Blast I bought lots of albums including the Black metal acts Dimmu Borgir, Cradle of Filth and The Kovenant.
I was also found of Type O Negative. Sadly their concert was cancelled in 1996 cause of a down tool by Danish truck drivers. I could have got a free concert with Marilyn Manson, but in anger and sorrow I refused and went home. Doh!
I was to regret this a couple of month later, as I heard – and immediately loved – “Antichrist Superstar”. This was their breakthrough and I believe the record and the gossip have had a huge impact on later artists. Maybe more than people actually realize.

nirvana-nevermindnirvana-in-utero

The 3rd CD in my humble collection was Sophie B Hawkins “Tongues and Tails” and I don’t remember what the 4th was. (I have a friend (blog) who from the beginning has written down the chronological order, when every album he owns has been bought).
Maybe it was Metallica. It doesn’t really matter. My 5th CD became one of the most important albums I have ever listened to. My first experience with Nirvana was on MTV the same year as I listened to “More Powers Ballads”. At first I didn’t like the single “Smells like teen spirit”. I turned the TV off a couple of times (it was on heavy rotation). But I began to like it more and more. And when starting in school after summer holiday, my musical taste got a fast forward direction.
Namedropping: Pearl Jam, Stone Temple Pilots, Breeders, some Sonic Youth, Stina Nordenstam, Radiohead, Tori Amos and the Danish Dizzy Miss Lizzy (preferred above Psyched up Janis and Kashmir). Most of the influence came from the radioshow “Det elektriske barometer”, but music was suddenly something I could talk about in school – not just listen to what other spoke about and thought was cool. Indeed an identity was built on music and style. But as I had no knowledge on fashion. And my power of judgement regarding cloths was on the one hand terrible. And on the other hand I did my shopping with my mom. How was she supposed to understand the fashion of grunge artists and sloppy teenagers from independent boarding schools for lower secondary students (there must be a better word)?
Still I had a lot to learn. As Incesticide was put on to the shelves of HMV (later M&M Shop and then Fona 2000), I thought it was a brand new record, not knowing the meaning of b-sides and demos fully.
Going to high school improved the musical direction and my dedication to – not only grunge -but music in general. Going to concerts, night clubs (Dancecore at Stengade 30) or just listening to the records of my new friends added a social and extroverted dimension to something that first and foremost had been something I listened to in my bedroom.
The Grunge wave got me. And I while some records were left behind I continued to play “Nevermind” and “In Utero” when my attention shifted from Seattle, USA to Britain with bands like Pulp, Oasis, Radiohead (once again) and Garbage.

Part 2: Learning to fly. 1989 – 1992

Friday, 26 December, 2008

more-power-balladsmarky-mark-and-the-funky-bunch

I’d like to imagine my musical taste in the early years in school was just as bad as anyone else. Listening to Marky Mark and the Funky Bunch while reading Mix (youth magazine) or even better to Vanilla Ice. I even went to see the Movie Cool as Ice just trying to figure out what was all this fuzz about being a fan and knowing stuff about the artist that was not directly related to the music?
Before – or was it at the same time as(?) – listening to these “hip hop” acts a school friend had a mix tape from his brother containing MC Hammer, Army of Lovers, Snap, KLF, Dr Baker, Del Tha Funkee Homosapien and Cut n’ Move. Or this is how I remember getting these acts to know.
MTV might have had its influence too, as I later was introduced to U96 “Das Boot”, A-ha “Take on me”, Genesis, Michael Jackson and other music videos in heavy rotation.
I remember a sunny summer holiday in lovely Austria where I watched a lot of MTV and stayed inside listening to my new tape “More Power Ballads“. I don’t remember how I got hold of it, but the classic songs – Scorpions “Send me an angel”, Mr Big “To be with you”, DAD “Laugh and ½” and Led Zeppelin “Stairways to heaven” among others – was played over and over.
I bought my two first CD’s in a record store in City 2, a horrible shopping mall. Dr Alban “Its my life” and Snap “Rhythm is a dancer”. I’m happy to tell You that I still have these marvellous albums.

the beach boyselvis presley

Born in the year 1978 where legendary bands like Van Halen, Dire Straits, The Police, Prince, Mike Oldfield, Kate Bush, Toto, The Cars, The Buzzcocks and many more released their debut album. None of these have ever really got my attention.

Although my father is a pop musician well-know within the borders of Denmark, I was never raised with modern music. Even though I found out he made his living as a drummer in a band playing rock n roll, there was no rock, no gossip, no drugs; music just don’t play the same role to my parents as it does to me.

My father introduced me to jazz music and I learned to play the trumpet at the age of ten, because I wanted to look like Louis Armstrong. Did I mention I was ten? I remember Sunday mornings with radio programs named “Hot and Sweet” and “Hotel Evergreen” with Mogens Landsvig as the host of the show(s?).
Music played a role in our family as it was the professional career of my father. But he always told us kids that life as a musician was tuff and not something to wish for. The business was bad and a lot of people not reliable. I don’t know if that was why he never gave me any records to be inspired by or introduced me to any great artists. Maybe it was because I never asked.
This relation followed me the many years to come. To seek and find by myself. It could have been so much easier, if there had been one or more soul mates to share the musical experience at an earlier age. But it was to come.
So I started to listen to Elvis and The Beach Boys. Had to start somewhere; music was compelling.

Note: I guess the title of this entry says more in Danish than English?…