Sunday, May 11th, 2008
Söndag Städning – Volym 90
This week, a look at the three Swedish ladies who will be taking the stage at the Mod Club tonight. Tickets $15 in advance, a bit more at the door. The tour continues down the west coast through next week.
|El Perro Del Mar / From The Valley To The Stars (The Control Group)
When we last saw Sarah Assbring, she had crafted an exquisitely sad record in El Perro Del Mar’s self-titled debut that sounded like she couldn’t quite decide whether to go to doo-wop group practice or throw herself off a bridge. But surely time heals all? Judging from her just-released follow-up, such is not entirely the case though things might be looking up. Her vocals are still utterly mournful but lyrically, there’s a sense of – if not hopefulness, then the desire for hopefulness. The sadness is there, as always, but is not to be wallowed in. There’s a greater growth in the musical end of things. Though still spare, the production is broader and brighter – even jaunty at times – and incorporates sounds and arrangements that are generally associated with spiritual matters, organs and chorals and the like. The ensuing blend makes for a juxtaposition of downcast and uplift that ties in nicely with the album’s title, though rather than implying progress from point A to point B, Assbring may well just be suspended halfway. It’d be so much sadder like that.
|Lykke Li / Little Bit (The Control Group)
Lykke Li Timotej Zachrisson (the shorter stage name is probably a wise move) is already a full album ahead in Sweden than the rest of the world, but based on the buzz already around her, the four-song Little Bit EP has obviously proven to be all she needs to impress. The title track kicks things off in sultry and seductive fashion, Li’s vocals slinking coquettishly around a simple but effective arrangement built on mandolin and percussion. The remainder of the EP strike a more innocent, playful tone but after that decidedly tingly first impression, you know it’s just a front and just what’s hiding behind that shy smile. For some reason, these days “sexy” music seems to immediately imply hard, synthetic beats – the resolutely organic sounds make up Little Bit prove that sometimes, simple and naked is sexier.
|Anna Ternheim / Halfway To Fivepoints (Decca)
Of the three acts on the tour, Anna Ternheim comes across the most conventional, but also the most grandiose. She takes her decidedly melancholic singer-songwriter material, built on skeletons of guitar and piano, and mates them to arrangements that sweep and swell from rock band to orchestra as needed. It’s not anything new, but it’s done exceptionally well and Ternheim has a voice perfectly suited to delivering her downbeat sentiments. It’s interesting, I remember receiving a copy of her self-titled EP from last year which shares a couple tracks with the album and it didn’t make nearly the impression that the full-length has. I guess her Fleetwood Mac cover struck more of a chord with me than her Iggy/Bowie one (I’m never sure who “China Girl” should be credited to/blamed on).
PhillyBurbs has a feature on Ternheim.