Decorate Decorate unreleased

Sunday, 27 September, 2009

decoratedecorate_normandie I found some old demo recordings and wanted to share two tracks that I believe should have made it for the first record.

The first is an early demo of “11th“. It was originally released as a LIVE version on “Normandie”. I was sitting in a roof apartment with view over Sortedam Dosseringen and it was probably the first song I heard by Decorate Decorate. I was surprised that is was both original and at the same time somehow domestic or recognizable.

Eternity” was never released. Although the ending of the song actually made it as an extension to the track “Europe has no heart” on their second album “Instructions”. This is how Decorate Decorate sounded in the Scandinavian winter of 2006 / 2007. Now the story has ended – and new ones may begin †

Decorate Decorate – 11th.mp3
Decorate Decorate – Eternity.mp3

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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.

Electrelane is a rock band from Brighton, England. They have made four albums and a couple of singles, with the exception of their debut, all released at Too Pure (discogs.com). In this blogpost I wanted to write about my passion for the band.

Rock it to the moon (2001)electrelane-rock-it-to-the-moon

The title must be a reference to Herbie Hancooks “Rockit” playing with the words as if “rock it” was “rocket”. NME thinks it’s snatched from AC/DC, but I don’t get it? None the less there are several references on this record. So why not think the same of opening track “The invisible dog” as a reference to The Stooges “I wanna be your dog”? “Long Dark” include a short piece from “Pop Corn” by Gershon Kingsley. And the sound on “Film music”, “Le Song” and “Spartakiade” could be variations from a sixties soundtrack.

“Gabriel” is one of my all time favorite tracks by Electrelane. It builds up slowly to get become a wild and furious rock dance rhythm only to start over again. Gabriel is a kind of an Electrelane trademark.

With the debut Electrelane put them self somewhere around postrock and krautrock. The sound is a mixture of lots of organ playing, hypnotic rhythms, walls of guitars, echoes, sometimes some backing vocals singing “Ahh-ahh-ahhhhh”, but mostly without any vocals.

The Power Out (2003)electrelane-the-power-out

The Power Out is like travelling with the Locomotive that Electrelane put on tracks at their debut album and probably expressed at their best with the last song “mother”.

I remember as I listened to “The Power Out”, I thought it was better than “Rock it…”. I’m not so sure today, but for me I was at that time easier to understand and explore it. “On Parade” and “This Deed” are my faves, but also unexpected “The Valley” should be mentioned.

The new record differs from the former by having vocals. It’s more open and less “intellectual”. The critics called their attitude arrogant and pretentious, while others sheered the unpredictably songs as stand out of “today’s indie music”.

Steve Albini produced the record which probably made it more consistent and traditional in the name of rock. But the interplay between the bandmembers is still creating the essential sound. You are never in doubt that you are listening to Electrelane.

Axes (2005)electrelane-axes

In the beginning of “Gone Darker” there is a horn from a train that bluster through the soundscape. A saxophone sets the tones. And then we are riding with Electrelane. Faster. Faster. “Axes” once again had a lot of positive reviews, but the critics were still not convinced to name it a masterpiece.

I gladly name the gypsy-like track “Eight steps” a masterpiece. And other favorites include “One two three, lots”, “Bells” and “Suitcase”. On the other hand I admit the experiments on “Business or otherwise” doesn’t promote any magical tricks, but rather makes out a strange obstinacy to play whatever Electrelane like.

“These pockets are people” fades into “The partisan”, a successful cover of Leonard Cohen. It’s well done and a good way to use how the songs of Electrelane evolve. But I must admit that listening to the last track “Suitcase” is somehow the same manuscript as we had with “mother” from “Rock it…”. When you hear this song, you have the sum of the whole record.
Maybe. But it doesn’t change the fact that there a plenty of divers tunes and changing melodies, structures and ideas. If you think the song is a repetition of a former, then I’d say it’s another attempt to perfection and write the final song. This approach can be found in poetry as well.

And Electrelane still have some of the same elements from their first record. The sudden shift in tempo, organs and hypnotic guitar rhythm. On “The power out” they extended the instrumentation, and they continued on “Axes”.

Singles, B-sides & Live (2006)

I don’t want to dwell that much on this compilation. It includes the songs from the EP “I want to be a president” and all B sides from their singles (before 2006) as well as some LIVE recordings.

It includes the three cover songs “The Partisan” already mentioned from “Axes”. It includes the Bruce Springsteen track “I’m on fire” and “More than this” by Roxy music.

“Long Dark” is an alternative version release from a compilation in the magazine “Comes with a smile” (Vol 9). Instead of a short piece of “Pop corn” the guitars are playing the mainline from “Push it” by Salt N Pepa in a crushing up-tempo. (I guess – I haven’t found anyone else writing this).

My favorite is “I’ve been your fan since yesterday” that has dreamy choir, distinguished piano and the well-known looping guitars besides the always heartbeating rhythm of the drummer.

No Shouts No Calls (2007)electrelane-no-shouts-no-calls

Not only is the songwriting more traditional connected to the instruments than ever before. The lyrics are more clear, emotional and bare. The repeating “it could be home, it could be home (…)” from the beautiful “To the east” works like when the guitars are looping. It’s not great songwriting, but it somehow gives Electrelane an honest edge far away from the experimental and young debut “Rock it to the Moon”.

Favorite tracks are “In Berlin”, “To the East” and “Saturday”. The last one maybe because it reminds me of somebody. I didn’t praise this record as I heard it the first time. But somehow “No Shouts No Calls” managed to crawl under my skin and become an important album in my collection. It’s truly a good thing to listen to if you are longing for a long lost love.

“Do do do we’re like fish in the sea / but I thought you were the one for me”.

It’s unknown if Electrelane will ever make a record again. In 2007 Verity Susman recorded a two track single under the name Vera November – http://www.myspace.com/veranovember. Mia Clarke has released one record together with Andy More of The Ex called “Guitargument” in 2009 and formed the band “Follows”.

MP3:
Electrelane – This Deed

cold war kids
Back in May Cold War Kids made an interactive video of “I’ve seen enough”. You can see it at their website or at MTV.

It has first come to my attention today and I think it’s really cool. Making it possible to choose which instruments the band members should play and thereby creating the song is fun. I’ve been clicking around for more than ten minutes. And now I’m hooked on the song. Smart move by Cold War Kids. I vote for best music video this year. Next year it might be most stupid?

caretaker persistent repetionThis weekend I was in Amsterdam visiting Christian. He had earlier mentioned that I should listen to The Caretaker [Myspace]. Already within the first or second track I knew I had to buy “Persistent repetition of phrases”.

The record places me in my grandparents silent apartment. A gramophone crackles while mild beautiful piano pieces are played somewhere between 1920 and 1940. And sometimes it’s a cornet along with samples.
One of the tracks is haunting as if it was the score to a cemetery. But mostly the tunes are dreamy from a time long ago.

Christian speaks about records that fill a gap in the collection. I have nothing equally.

A good review can be read at Rum-soaked review. I bought the record directly from the record company for $16 .

Review: Tiamat – Amanethes

Monday, 27 July, 2009

tiamat-amanethes“It’s been a long time but we are here again”. This is how “Amanethes” starts and I’m not talking about a white rapper introducing him for the third time. I’m talking about the latest Tiamat album from 2008, which hasn’t come to my attention before a week ago.

It starts out more black/ death since early recordings in the 90ies. But it also have lots of symphonic elements that sound more like other Century Media bands than the unique sound that I will remember Tiamat always gave the goth rock scene. (Note: Tiamat released this record at Nuclear Blast.)

Amanethes is a disappointing record. It sounds like a patriarch that lost its power, now old but still howling. This could be charming, but it’s convulsive. The record has its moments, but all in all its fragmented and missing the killer riffs and / or atmospheric passages from earlier albums.

Although I’m far from impressed, I think “Katarraktis Apo Aima” has a savage rage and Johan Edlund succeeds on the two minute short track to show how vehement and lost he is. And on the other side the a more sad and slow track “Misantropolis ” also provides me with lots of real authenticity . As if Tiamat is in no use of forcing the feelings and melodies forward. Here they are, unpretentious and straight forward. And the greek guitars and drums in the end gives some of the originality which I’m missing on the record in general.

For some reason Johan Edlund continues to sing with a dark voice. To me this makes me think of the Sundown record, where former Tiamat bassist Johnny Hagel contributed. Johan Edlund explains why he sings with the low voice in an interview from 2008:

“It comes very natural for me. I do not have to struggle to sing that kind of songs. That is my natural voice. I struggle a bit more when I have to sing high or to scream, then I need a lot of energy. But the more low vocals I can do anytime.” – quote in Lords of Metal

Well. Sounds kind of boring to me not pushing yourself to the limits. You’ll find a more positive review at Metal Storm.

Review: Brand Neu – compilation

Thursday, 23 July, 2009

brand-neu-compilationI love the Quietus for having lots of balls, humor and character. In another well-written review the album “Brand Neu” is dismissed as “it becomes clear that the problem with it is (…) the fact that someone thought this album needed to exist in the first place”. Jimmy Martins (The Quietus) continues taking down most of the contributions. It does appear he’s accepting some of the songs to be good, but the context and the reference to be a big misunderstanding.

I did – nevertheless – buy the record. ‘Cause I’m one of those who wasn’t born as krautrock was at its best. I first came to know Neu after listening to post rock acts from Canada. Shame on me, or… So maybe this wasn’t a good album for Jimmy Martin, but I do like bands, which use and update the sound of Krautrock, and thereby gain a repetitive constellation, which is kind of a Bauhaus [architecture] version of psychedelics.

Buying this record doesn’t mean I got 14 new Neu songs. How could they have the same magical sound. As I see it Neu used repetition in a spiritual way, where most bands have difficulties just letting the pulse of the song continue unchanged. But to me there are both interesting and / or loyal pieces on this record.

Favorit track is “Titan Arum”. Foals has a math rock approach when using the guitars to build the texture. It gives a feeling of trance, but keeps having my attention on how it evolves. The song should have been 15 minutes instead of five. It’s also a B-side to ‘Red Socks Pugie’.
Holy Fuck gives it a go and history repeats itself. Nothing new or refreshing here, just pure motorik energy. Grrreat!
Kasabian are somehow at the same spot, but they ‘just’ made a high speed Britpop tune with a drum mashine sounding more like Primal Scream. Primal Scream that on the other hand contributes with the extraordinary “Shoot Speed / Kill Light” from the album XTRMNTR. Spot on.
Other mentionable tracks are Hook & The Twin “They’ll Get your head” and Pets with Pets “We only found this place” (originally from a magazine compilation).

I think Jimmy Martin never did ask the right question to himself, when he listened to the record. Is it a tribute to Neu or is it a representative of where the sound of Krautrock is today? Because Krautrock today is, as Jimmy Martin states, ‘cool’ and has got some attention lately.
At least I think this compilation choose an interesting perspective: instead of making coversongs of the Neu catalogue, the songs are all genuine pieces of the bands inspiration and love for the sound of Neu and the brand that has evolved around Krautrock. And this is actually the reason why I think I’m sitting with a compilation that succeeds. There are so many other compilations out there, where the songs have very little in common. These songs will as Jimmy Martins points out not have the same durability as Neu, but I think it’s a document to the continuous history of krautrock.

Beck.com is the place to be

Thursday, 16 July, 2009

button_plannedobbutton_irrelevantbutton_recordclubThere is really something going on at Beck.com. Mixtapes, interviews and a “record club”, where Beck and friends coveres Velvet Underground & Nico (Andy Warhol/ The banana album) and continues with other records within the next months. Fortunately not Ace of Bace although they were close according to a Pitchfork interview.

Take a look…

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.