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Thursday, December 4th, 2008

Scandinavian Blonde

Review of Frida Hyvonen's Silence Is Wild

Photo By KnotanKnotanWith her 2005 (2006 in North America) debut Until Death Comes, Swedish songstress Frida Hyvonen established herself as a distinctive new voice, capable of veering from stark confessionals to demented whimsy at the drop of a hat. I base this as much on my recollections of her deliciously entertaining March 2007 performance at the Mod Club as I do from whatever impression the album itself made because, well, I no longer seem to have a copy of the album around to refer to.

But I do have the follow-up, Silence Is Wild, and it does reaffirm those impressions. This time out, she chooses to frame her compositions in richer and at points, more theatrical trappings which suit her quite well – better, in my estimation, than the simpler presentation of the debut. The focal point is still her voice – huge yet fragile – and piano, but the grander arrangements lift everything up and offer a broader emotional and musical range that Death simply didn’t have.

Considering my favourite tracks from the album – “Dirty Dancing” and “London” – are also the biggest, I obviously like this change in tact for Hyvonen. The vivid imagery of her lyrics combined with the exuberance of their delivery strike just the right chord in me, and offer a stronger contrast to the smaller, more intimate moments of the album. But even with what some may consider to be a more conventional musical approach, Hyvonen’s innate eccentricity still shines through and sets her apart.

Ms Hyvonen did some solo dates on the east coast in October, so I don’t know if there’s any further North American touring in the cards. But if so I do hope there’s a band involved, even though it’s probably cost-prohibitive. As charming and engaging as she was in the solo context last time, I couldn’t imagine a lot of the new material being done proper justice without all the proper sonic accouterments.

Hyvonen picks her favourite song of the year for Line Of Best fit, gives Aquarium Drunkard a guided tour of her hometown of Flarken and subjects to herself to an interview at RCRDLBL, where you can also download an MP3 of “Birds” from the new album. And check out a live performance of “Dirty Dancing” at PSL.

MP3: Frida Hyvonen – “The Enemy Within”
MySpace: Frida Hyvonen

Clash talks to Lykke Li about her really big 2008. She’s at the Phoenix on February 6.

The video for the first single from A Camp’s forthcoming Colonia is now up. The album is out February 2.

Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”

If you were one of those bummed about the cancellation of Noah & The Whale’s North American tour, maybe this Basement Tapes session with the band, recorded their last time through the continent and featuring downloadable live tracks, will ease the pain a bit.

MP3: Noah & The Whale – “5 Years Time” (Basement Tapes session)

The Courier-Mail discusses the art of songwriting with Mountain Goat John Darnielle.

LAist interviews John Dragonetti of The Submarines. They’re at the Drake Underground on February 15 and The Morning Benders have been added as co-headliners on the whole tour.

New York City’s Virgins have a date at the El Mocambo on February 5, tickets $12.50.

MP3: The Virgins – “Rich Girls”
Video: The Virgins – “Rich Girls”

Dose.ca, The Montreal Gazette and The McGill Tribune spend time with Stars, gearing up for a three-night stand at the Queen Elizabeth Theatre December 11 through 13.

Gentleman Reg, who is opening up the middle of those Stars shows (the 12th) as well as playing his own gig at the Drake Underground tonight, will release his new album Jet Black on February 24.

Le Blogotheque takes away a show with Margot & The Nuclear So And So’s.

Prefix talks to Mark Lanegan about working with Isobel Campbell.

JAM interviews Richard Thompson.

By : Frank Yang at 8:10 am
Category: General

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