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Thursday, February 8th, 2007

Sinister In A State Of Hope

I don’t know why, but the Swedish seem to have an innate gift for mixing unfallible pop sensibilities with wonderfully downbeat melancholy – I suspect it’s got to do with the amount of daylight they get. Further proof of this phenomenon comes in the rather po faced form of Emil Svanangen, aka Loney, Dear.

On Loney, Noir, his second full-length and first for SubPop, he offers an intimate and beguiling collection of songs that sound like someone who’s been lying on the floor for a long time, perhaps/probably heartbroken, slowly but surely getting back onto his feet. The lyrics are kind of weepy, especially when delivered in Svanangen’s falsetto (which reminds me very much of Mew’s Jonas Bjerre), but grafted to some of the prettiest melodies I’ve heard in ages they can’t help but soar. Add into the equation the lightly orchestral/chamber pop instrumentation (all played by Svanangen) and you’ve got a record that ruminates quietly before periodically bursting forth with song in a way that’s almost too pretty to handle.

Everyone is all about Peter Bjorn & John right now (they also released their new album Stateside this week) and while no quarrel with them, they feel like empty calories next to Loney, Dear’s emotional depth. Too much PB&J and I need an insulin level check, but I can ingest as much Loney, Dear as the day is long. I have no clever food analogy for the name so I’m not even going to try.

Svanangen has assembled a band for his upcoming North American tour which bypasses Toronto but does include SxSW, where he’s high on my list of acts to catch. Harp wish to introduce Loney, Dear to their readers while Lunapark has an interview with Svanangen (and Exclaim an ultra-brief one). NPR declares “I Am John”, which is available as an MP3 and video, their song of the day while Idolator offers up an extra track from the record. And you can stream the whole record from AOL.

MP3: Loney, Dear – “I Am John”
Video: Loney, Dear – “I Am John” (YouTube)
Stream: Loney, Dear / Loney, Noir
MySpace: Loney, Dear

And speaking of Mew and AOL, Spinner has a 3×3 feature on the band with three video performances from the band performing live in Copenhagen and New York City. Yes, you have to watch a commercial first. Sorry.

The Toronto Star, eye and NOW all pay tribute to Toronto institution Wavelength, celebrating its seventh anniversary with a series of shows all over the city this weekend.

Pitchfork gets a little dirt on the new Maximo Park record Our Earthly Pleasures, out April 3. The video for the first single is also now available for your viewing pleasure.

Video: Maximo Park – “Our Velocity” (YouTube)

Current UK hot young things Klaxons will be at Lee’s Palace on April 8, tickets $15.

And oh man, I was prepared to skip out on Son Volt’s show at the Mod Club on April 12 – saw them in ’05 and they’re not exactly a must-see live act – but guess who they’re touring with? Drive-By Trucker Jason Isbell. Hrmmm.

PopMatters wonders why Fountains Of Wayne are so dang mean. Their next collection of melodic meanness, Traffic And Weather, is out April 3.

Chart talks to Midlake about setting out on their first proper tour and how much they hate blogs. Said tour brings them to Lee’s Palace on Monday evening and my contest for passes to see them ends tonight so if you’re interested but not quite enough to shell out some money, hop on over.

And obviously shamed by our big announcement yesterday, SxSW has finally posted an initial list of acts appearing this year. Okay, someone parse that thing – it’s making my head explode to look at it. Update: The Tragically Hip? Seriously? Update 2: Kingsnake.com delivers a much more readable list. Yay.

By : Frank Yang at 8:15 am
Category: Uncategorized
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  1. Thierry says:

    Biggest WTF? name on that list: Tracy Lawrence (a 1990s New Country star).
    Most intriguing: Mary Weiss (former lead singer of the Shangri-Las who has been recording an album with the Reigning Sound).

  2. Honey says:

    It confuses me how Midlake could have such disdain for bloggers. Almost every music/personal blog that I read last year praised/seriously (positively) criticized Midlake in some manner. One can’t really quantify whether or not Midlake would have had as much influence without blogger mentions, but if they were honest about it, they wouldn’t deny how much bloggers have actually pushed their music. I wouldn’t have known about them at all if it hadn’t been for music blogs. And now I’m a fan.

  3. modernmod says:

    Loney, Dear has been playing non-stop on the UKULA iPod….simply an amazing album. As for PB&J(I think they did that on purpose), while I agree it may not have the depth of Loney, Dear I think ‘Writer’s Block’ has some well crafted pop songs. BTW, the next issue of UKULA out in March is the Scandinavian issue and features and interview with Peter as well as The Knife and review of Loney, Dear and all good things Nordic.

  4. PG says:

    ah, another year, another completely unreadable band list!

  5. ricky says:

    klaxons!!!

  6. Jules says:

    The SXSW list nearly broke my eyes. Thanks for the link to an easier to read one.

  7. Bryan says:

    Loney, Dear… (salivating). I love that disc. Best of 2007 so far?

  8. James McNally says:

    Also check out http://www.sxswbaby.com for good updates on all three legs of the SxSW tripod, including a great "How to do SxSW Music" summary by Kathryn Yu.

  9. Dave Rawkblog says:

    Agreed on Loney’s total awesomeness.