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Tuesday, November 6th, 2012

To The Beat Of A Dying World

Review of El Perro Del Mar’s Pale Fire

Photo via Memphis IndustriesMemphis IndustriesIt’s been interesting tracking the musical evolution of El Perro Del Mar, the musical project of Sweden’s Sarah Assbring. Her 2006 self-titled debut cast her as the mournful ghost of a ’50s doo-wop girl while the 2008 follow-up From The Valley To The Stars invited fuller arrangements into the mix – even getting jaunty at points – while keeping the sentiments beautifully downcast. 2009’s Love Is Not Pop was took great strides towards feeling more modern, mostly via studio-slick musical arrangements, and while surprisingly short compared to Valley – seven tracks versus its predecessor’s 16 – assuming that that the three dancey remixes appended as bonus tracks to the US edition were just filler would have been a mistake; they were more of a signpost.

In the three years between that release and her fourth album Pale Fire, Assbring seems to have completed the transition from old-school chanteuse to dance diva and also invested in a lot of keyboards in the process. Pale Fire is an unabashedly synthetic record, built on beats and loops and existing in a haze, sounding largely like a remix album of a more conventional work. Assbring’s retro stylings have been wholly subsumed by the dedication to the groove, but her signature sadness is still detectable – it seems the dancefloor isn’t necessarily any less lonely a place than one’s bedroom.

Assbring doesn’t have the sort of voice one would typically associate with dance music – it’s not an especially powerful or sensual instrument – but it’s that dissonance that helps Pale Fire stand out from the current crop of electro-pop, and when when Pale Fire reverts to a more traditional sonic form, as on “I Was A Boy”, the other would-be peers just fall away. Given the number of guises that Assbring has donned over the course of her career, it’d be presumptuous to think that Assbring will dwell in Pale Fire‘s aesthetic for too long, but it does feel like the end of the transformation that she’s been undertaking since Valley; maybe she’ll keep it on for a little while.

Pale Fire is out next week but now streaming in whole over at Hype Machine. A Heart Is A Spade has an interview with Assbring.

MP3: El Perro Del Mar – “Hold Off The Dawn”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Walk On By”
Video: El Perro Del Mar – “Innocence Is Sense”
Stream: El Perro Del Mar / Pale Fire

Interview talks to Joachim Läckberg of Sambassadeur, who may be releasing a new single in “Memories” in a few weeks but aren’t looking to put out their next album until late next year. Teases.

The Line Of Best Fit note that Icona Pop’s self-titled debut will be released in their native Sweden as soon as next week, November 14. A worldwide release will follow next year. They open up for Marina & The Diamonds at The Kool Haus on December 1.

Those who’ve been following along with Sigur Rós’ Valtari Mystery Film Experient and wish they could see the works on a bigger screen may be interested to know that a goodly number of the films – at least 17 – are being compiled and taken on the road for some worldwide screenings over the course of a weekend in December. Toronto gets ours on December 8 at The Bloor.

And if that’s not enough Scandi-music film action for you, 4AD has released some details on The Ghost Of Piramida, a film that documents Efterklang’s visit to the abandoned Russian town of Piramida, from which their latest album drew inspiration and its name.

Foals have confirmed the February 12 release of their next record Holy Fire with the release of the first video from the record.

Video: Foals – “Inhaler”

Pitchfork has more specifics on the solo debut from Johnny Marr; The Messenger will be out on February 26 of next year.

Justin Young of The Vaccines offers an interview to Drowned In Sound. They play The Phoenix on February 4.

The 405 meets Field Music.

NPR has a World Cafe session with Beth Orton.

Mumford & Sons enlisted Stringer Bell – that’s actor Idris Elba, for non-Wire watchers – to star in the new video from Babel.

Video: Mumford & Sons – “Lover Of The Night”

The Quietus talks to Neil Halstead about all things Slowdive, Mojave 3, and Neil Halstead. Denver Westword also has an interview.

Drowned In Sound makes a case for the importance of Manic Street Preachers’ debut Generation Terrorists, turning 20 and out in deluxe reissue form now.

The National Post and eMusic talk to Bernard Sumner and Gillian Gilbert of New Order, respectively.

The Irish Times, Burton Mail, Gigwise, and The Edinburgh Evening News talk to David Gedge of The Wedding Present.

Clash and Exclaim have features on Tame Impala, in town at The Phoenix on November 12.

By : Frank Yang at 8:30 am
Category: General

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