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.

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the girls can hear usI can’t help it, but The Girls Can Hear Us are really catchy. The rap and electronic blend from Onitario, Canada, are making danceable, cool and smashing tracks. Only 39.000 visits at their MySpace profile up to date, but I guess (and hope) the buzz will blow the numbers within short time. Record labels should watch out for this unsigned act.

A few words on the music. The Girls Can Hear Us are not the holy new shit. But they stand on the shoulders of giants and improve what you like already. Daft Punk, Justice with somekindof light hip hop. Nice tweaks, smashing tunes, trivial lyrics and maybe way to pop-ish for my taste normally. Meh! It’s Friday night and I’m feeling good.

I first read about them at Mashable, a site that normally provides me news on Social media. You can also listen to a couple of remixes at Hypem.

Just listened to… Thunderheist

Tuesday, 25 August, 2009

thunderheistSeems like electro acts continue to pop up like weeds. Thunderheist is another one. The two piece act is from Canada and their first album has been released this summer at Ninja Tune.

There are similarities to Peaches (without the explicit sexual lyrics) and the beats could have been inspired from Salt N Pepa and upgraded with a lot of distortion and grungy noise.

“Jerk it” get’s me up and going, but I think the songs in general are missing the extra fun, rocking or original thing.

There are a couple of songs at their MySpace profile and you can listen to the album at Ninja Tune.

kim-hiorthoy-for-the-ladieskim-hiorthoy-hopenessDotshop.se is closing and I just bought a bunch of albums. This also included the two Kim Hiorthøy EPs “For the ladies” and “Hopeness”. I like the Kim Hiorthøy sound very much. It’s both funny and sexy. I know, this doesn’t really describe his music. Maybe the electronica should have the tags light, minimal, melodious and sophisticated?
Hiorthøy debut is from 2000 and he has since recorded a couple of records. Both EPs are from 2004 and this is where the similarities are ending. While “Hopeness” is much like the sound I know from “My Last day”. It’s happy, simple and joyful. On the other hand “For the ladies” is a mess of silence, untouched field recordings and requires more patience than I’m willing to offer.
The artwork is not beautiful as mentioned at Boomcat.
The Milk Factory has a more positive review of the record.

Best albums first half of 2009

Sunday, 5 July, 2009

DM-Stith-Heavy-Ghostsanimal-hospital-memoryThis is my top 10 list of albums released in 2009 (listed alphabetically).

Animal Collective ‘Merriweather Post Pavillion’, Domino. Finally they made me understand why there is so much hype around them.
Animal Hospital ‘Memory’, Barge Recordings. Varied and layered soundscape par excellence.
Dan Deacon ‘Bromst’, Carpark Records. Unstoppable dance punk electronica.
Decorate Decorate ‘Instructions’, A:larm Music. Yes, they skipped the dots. Read my review here.
Julie Doiron ‘I Can Wonder What You Did With Your Day’, Jagjaguwar. A female singersongwriter shows her personality.
Mountains ‘Choral’, Thrill Jockey. Warm, rich, detailed drone.
The Horrors ‘Primary Colours’, XL recordings. Absolutely stunning mix of Joy Division and Neu!
Tim Hecker ‘An Imaginary Country’, Kranky. Dense drone and overwhelmingly captivating.
Yeah Yeah Yeahs ‘Zero’, Interscope. Sexy and rocking with attitude and popular melodies.
Zu ‘Carboniferous’, Ipecac. Read .chrz review here.

I also want to promote a list of the five best albums I bought this year, but was released last year or earlier.

b.fleischmann, ‘Angst is not a weltanschauung!’. Morr Music. Read my short review here.
DM Stith ‘Heavy Ghost’. Asthmatic kitty records. Probably the record I’ve listened to the most. For fans of Radioheads new material.
Kazuki Tomokawa ‘ Blue water, red water’, P.S.F Records. Read my comment on Tomokawa here.
Mugison ‘Lonely Mountain’, Accidental records. Islandic singersong writer. Really nice, calm and lonely.
Paavoharju ‘Yhä Hämärää’, Fonal records. Folk-electronica from Finland. Mysterious and wise.

reigns-house-on-causewayb-fleischmann-angst
I have earlier mentioned the agreement between Chrz and I giving each other a recording every quarter. In Q1 2009 I got Reigns “A house on the causeway” and now I’m finding reason and time to write a short note about it.

The cover has nine pictures of a foggy landscape. All pictures are looking the same and not looking the same. And this is how I feel about this record. It reminds me of something. Maybe Tarwater as the slow-mo melodies and the recording sound like something from the bedroom. Apart from the parallel to Morr Music there are less clicks and it’s less withdrawn.
To some extent this is a sad record, but as the sadness ends where the story begins and I keep listen to the record as I get familiar with the fog. And as I get familiar with the fog, I see and explore the differences as I listen more careful to the music.

In the beginning of this year I bought B. Fleishmann “Angst is not a Weltanschauung”. The record is from Morr Music and in some way this marks the record inevitable. I bought the record after a review at Cokemashineglow.
Opposite to Reigns the lyrics from B. Fleischmann are mostly personal. It gives the album strength and intimacy.
My favourite track is with vocals (and written) by Daniel Johnston. Johnston is a broken like when a car is broken – but it can get damn (beautiful) sincere in all the misery (look at “Don’t Play cards with Satan”). “Phones, machines and king kong” is actually a simple track with simple (bedroom made) melodies and an unusual heartfelt vocal. It left me speechless wanting to tell the world about it.

Roskilde Festival 2009

Monday, 15 June, 2009

roskilde-festival One year ago I said I wouldn’t participate in the wild and wonderful Roskilde Festival. Two days before I changed my mind and saw memorable performances by MGMT, Battles, Girl Talk and Shantel, while Yeasayers and others have gone into oblivion.

Again this year I am not going. But if I were, there would be plenty of bands to see. The smaller stages have my attention as always. I believe Pet Shop Boys, Coldplay as well as Oasis and Trentemøller are going to kick as at the Canopy stage. But there are a some other bands I would like to promote.

It’s both Karen O’s rock’n’roll attitude as it’s the good melodies and details in the production that convince me Yeah Yeah Yeahs are going to play a great concert. Fever Ray has released a promising album. I’m not sure what to expect – as The Knife only played a few concerts this could both be spectacular or disappointing. I’d also promote White Lies and Friendly Fires for their 2009 dark sound and popular and danceable tunes.

More dark and metal I would love to hear Zu. They are from Ipecac (Mike Patton label) and is all about drone riffs, monster drums and jazz-saxophone. They have some kind of the same approach as Lightning Bolt. I have never seen Isis live, which probably would be enough reason for me to see them. And talking about the heavy stuff I would recommend both Mono and Wolves in the Throne Room.

It’s not going to be heavy all of it. Den Sorte Skole, Hauschka and maybe Shogu Tokumaru have made some impressing releases lately and their approach are never more far out than I think of dancing or dreaming myself far away. Especially Danish act Den Sorte Skole is a must see.

More crazy and edgy you’ll find Gang Gang Dance and Deerhoof. Sometimes Deerhoof gets somewhat annoying in a childish way. Sometimes Gang Gang Dance get too arty farty. However Roskilde Festival must be the perfect place to see these two bands.

After this I’ll probably need to rest and relax. Both Jenny Wilson and Marnie Stern could be nice to see. And The Whitest Boy Alive indeed. If you pass the Lounge stage I’ll recommend you to see the poet Morten Søkilde. His exploration into the sound of syllable is both amazing, beautiful and a somehow kitsch.

Have a nice festival!

Review: Dim Dim – Whip

Thursday, 30 April, 2009

dim-dim-whip Last year I bought Books on tape “dinosaur dinosaur” out of curiosity and without exploring the album or artist any further. It’s an okay album with some fun and light stuff – but not more than that. At least not for me.
Maybe history is repeating itself this year. I just got Dim Dim “Whip” without knowing what I was in to and should expect. I think it’s important to be updated on new music, but also to dive into unfamiliar music.

I must have heard “Sheena” somewhere on a mp3-blog? It’s a good track that doesn’t hesitate at any moment, but just steadily keeps exploring its own peculiarity.
The tunes are very playful and toy-ish, both twisted and cute. One of “Whip”s qualities is that it never gets repetitive. But it might also be one of its flaws. Sometimes it seems like Dim Dim is scared the listener might get bored? But accept the fact and enjoy the 18 short tracks. They are positive, alternative lounge tracks that cartoon figures might like to dance to.
Whip is the 6th record from Jerry Dimmer. I think it’s tight and the samples are never overdone.

At the end of the record it’s just a guitar and a childrens choir playing. At some point surprising, but it’s also a very smooth transition. And a final note to self: Artwork is fancy and fits the mood of the album.

the depreciation guilt

The Depreciation Guild is a light and funny tune that I listened to today. Reminding me a lot of the electronica/ shoegazer band M83. Same floating ambience, gazing guitars and soft vocals. But with the twist of 8-bit Nitendo.
Nothing extraordinary. But go listen to their EP anyways at 8-Bit People or their debut album In Her Gentle Jaws at Inhergentlejaws.com (for free)

I heard them first at Indiemusic newssite Chromewaves.

Just listened to… ZZZ

Monday, 9 February, 2009

ZZZ - Banggang 12inches

I have a fashination of simple piano hooks and catchy guitar riffs. At their MySpace page ZZZ describes their music as Shoegaze, but I’ll say this is cheesy eurodance. And in some way this commodore computer electronica reminds my of Kavinsky (Myspace page), who made a blast of an EP in 2007 (sadly vinyl only), although they probably seek their inspiration in different decades.