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Posts Tagged ‘Bjork’

Tuesday, November 26th, 2013

Animal Heart

Nina Persson increases global levels of Nina Persson with solo album

Photo By Shervin LainezShervin LainezWhither Nina Persson? Despite fronting two bands, she’s made herself pretty scarce in recent years. The Cardigans haven’t released a new record since 2006’s Super Extra Gravity and A Camp, her project with Niclas Frisk, Mark Linkous, and Nathan Larson, was last heard of on 2009’s Colonia.

But she hasn’t just been taking some down time. She recently moved to New York, splitting time between there and Malmö, and as revealed in the 2011 Swedish documentary I Am My Own Dolly Parton, was diagnosed with cervical cancer. Fortunately, it was detected early and successfully removed – she discussed in in a 2011 interview with Sweden’s Express and roughly translated into English at Cardies fansite Plain Picture Parade – and she’s since become a mother. Pretty good reasons to have stepped away from making music for a while.

And now she’s back. The Cardigans are technically active again, performing a recital of Gran Turismo at a bunch of European and Asian festivals last year and playing some “greatest hits” dates in Asia and Russia as we speak – they’re actually in Osaka tonight. Whether this will lead to more dates or recording is unclear, but The Cardigans are out of mothballs, at least.

And as for looking forwards rather than back, Persson has just announced her first solo record, implying that the A Camp name is done. The album is entitled Animal Heart, written with Larson and Eric Johnson of the now-defunct Fruit Bats, recorded at her home in Harlem, and coming with “disco and eighties soul” reference points, will be released on February 10. Persson discusses the making of the album in the official bio and has released a video for the title track of the record.

Video: Nina Persson – “Animal Heart”
Trailer: I’m My Own Dolly Parton

New Zealand psych-pop-soul singer Connan Mockasin has announced a short North American tour behind his second album Caramel; he’ll be in Toronto at The Drake Underground on January 13, tickets $13. There’s features on him at The Line Of Best Fit, Interview, Red Bull, and eMusic, you can stream the new album via The Fader and watch a new video at Nowness.

MP3: Connan Mockasin – “Dolphin Love”
Video: Connan Mockasin – “I’m The Man, That Will Find You”
Stream: Connan Mockasin / Caramel

So my sleuthing around the precise release dates of I Break Horses’ new album have turned out to be a little off, but for the better – rather than the January 28 release I speculated on, Chiaroscuro will be out in North America on January 21, the day after it comes out in Europe. No staggered releases here!

Exclaim has details on the sophomore album from The Jezebels, entitled The Brink and due out February 18. Check out the first video from it below.

Video: The Jezabels – “The End”

Spain’s Delorean have premiered the new video from Apar at Nowness; they make up their previously canceled date in support of the record at The Hoxton on February 20.

Video: Delorean – “Unhold”

Icona Pop have released a new video from This Is Icona Pop and have announced a slew of tour dates which brings them back to Toronto on March 31… opening for Miley Cyrus at the Air Canada Centre.

Video: Icona Pop – “Just Another Night”

The Fly checks in with Bo Madesen of Mew.

DIY has a brief interview with Austra-Scandinavian outfit Kate Boy.

Greek duo Keep Shelley In Athens have released a new video from their debut full-length, At Home.

Video: Keep Shelley In Athens – “Oostende”

Noisey has premiered the new video from Japanese post-rockers Mono, taken from their latest album For My Parents.

Video: Mono – “Dream Odyssey”

Phoenix have premiered their new Sofia Coppola-directed video from Bankrupt! at the MoMA website.

Video: Phoenix – “Chloroform”

Spin is streaming a new song from M83, taken from the soundtrack to You And The Night, a French film about an orgy.

Stream: M83 – “Ali & Matthias”

eMusic, Billboard, and Exclaim have interviews with Cut Copy.

Paste talks Hunger Games and other matters with Of Monsters & Men.

Rolling Stone chats with Björk, and Time has dug up an old video of a young Björk explaining how a television works.

Thursday, October 17th, 2013

Rock Steady

Review of Trans’ Red

Photo By Chris McAndrewChris McAndrewThough I already celebrated the existence of Trans – all-caps is about as excited as I get online, I’ll have you know – I only recently got a hold of Red, the first in a series of EPs from Bernard Butler – ex of Suede and, in an informal poll of me, greatest guitarist of the past 20-plus years – and Jackie McKeown of Yummy Fur and more recently 1990s, whom Butler was producing when they met and began jamming together.

And jamming is the correct word, rather than writing, because the four tracks that comprise Red are certainly more about their improvised musical interplay than the considered composition that one would presume from Butler, given his track record of crafting ornate and elaborate pop music. As reluctant as I am to use the band’s own words to describe them, the Can-meets-Television descriptor is pretty apt, as the most defining aspects of the band so far are their steady, almost motorik rhythm section and free-form yet melodic guitarwork, at its most Verlaine-Lloyd-ish in the extended “Jubilee”. Lyrics are pretty throwaway, mostly nonsensical riffs on a phrase, but they both add a punky snottiness – Butler’s vocals a far cry from the ’70s singer-songwriter earnestness of his solo albums – and anchor the proceedings in a pop idiom.

There’s no question that Trans is of niche appeal, and if Butler were not involved I’m not honestly sure how much I’d have paid attention though now that I have, I can honestly say its an enjoyable listen on its own merits (and also fun to jam to on guitar), and I look forward to the follow-up releases. And while it’s probably too early to hope it leads to phone calls to David McAlmont or Brett Anderson – don’t worry Fat Richard, your job is safe – anything that gets Butler a little out of the producer’s chair and back towards making his own music is worth celebrating.

Uncut prepares for a feature interview with a short history of the project, while The Quietus has a chat with both Butler and McKeown.

Video: Trans – “Jubilee”
Video: Trans – “Rock Steady”
Video: Trans – “Building No. 8”

Speaking of musical heroes in new contexts, New York Times has got an advance stream of Stars Are Our Home, the debut from Neil Halstead’s new project Black Hearted Brother; the album is out October 22 and North American dates are going to happen. PopMatters, for their part, asks twenty questions of Mark Van Hoen, none of them specifically about the new album.

MP3: Black Hearted Brother – “This Is How It Feels”
Stream: Black Hearted Brother / Stars Are Our Home

With her new album Arrows finally set for release next week on October 22, Polly Scattergood has made it available to stream via her Tumblr.

MP3: Polly Scattergood – “Wanderlust”
Stream: Polly Scattergood / Arrows

DIY interviews Los Campesinos! about their new album No Blues, due out on October 29.

Drowned In Sound gets in-depth with Kate Nash, Noisey gets her to reflect on the moment “Foundations” broke her (in the good way), and she’s just released a new video for “Fri-End?” from Girl Talk and plays an acoustic version in a video session for The Telegraph. She’s in town at The Phoenix on November 5.

Video: Kate Nash – “Fri-End?”

Stereogum chats with Charli XCX, who finally makes her local headlining debut at Wrongbar on November 9.

Though it won’t appear on Cupid Deluxe when it comes out November 19, any new music from Blood Orange – including this Babyface and Toni Braxton cover with Samantha Urbani of Friends – is only a good thing.

Stream: Devonté Hynes & Samantha Urbani – “Hurt U”

Frank Turner isn’t kidding when he says he loves playing Canada. After doing two shows here for TURF back in July, he’s back for a gig at the Sound Academy on December 3; tickets are $23.50 general admission and $37.50 VIP balcony.

Video: Frank Turner – “Oh Brother”

London pysch-kraut outfit Toy have announced the December 9 release of their second album Join The Dots, a follow up to last year’s solid self-titled debut. DIY has details and the title track from the album has been made available to stream.

Stream: Toy – “Join The Dots”

Hot Minute gets to know The High Wire, who will release a new album early in the new year.

The new video from Travis‘ latest Where You Stand could double as an iPhone 5S commercial because it was shot entirely on the mobile phone. Drowned In Sound has the premiere and with it, details on how it was done.

Video: Travis – “Mother”

The Guardian has premiered a new video from Summer Camp’s just-released-in-North America self-titled effort.

Video: Summer Camp – “Two Chords”

British Sea Power have rolled out a new video from their latest album Machineries Of Joy. The Sunderland Echo looks into the inspiration for the song and clip.

Video: British Sea Power – “Monsters Of Sunderland”

Little Boots has premiered a new video from Nocturnes over at Nylon. CNet also asks Victoria Hesketh about her favourite smartphone apps.

Video: Little Boots – “Shake”

Boiler Room has a video session with CHVRCHES.

Under The Radar and FasterLouder talk to London Grammar.

Under The Radar (the New Zealand one) and Metro (the English one) have interviews with Anna Calvi.

Veronica Falls have decided to mark their upcoming Australasian tour with the release of a new song. Listen to said song now.

Stream: Veronica Falls – “Nobody There”

GQ declares Noel Gallagher one of its men of the year, presumably just to score an interview and get him to say batshit things. Mission accomplished.

For Folks Sake have an amiable little chat with Johnny Flynn.

Delirium On Helium talks to Nicky Wire of Manic Street Preachers.

Swedish electro-pop artist Elliphant has released a new video from what one assumes will be a full-length album someday.

Video: Elliphant – “Could It Be”

WNYC welcomes Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds for a session.

Wired talks music and technology with Björk.

Exclaim has details on the kidnapping drama that has prompted Spanish dance-pop band Delorean – who are fine now – to cancel their North American tour, including tonight’s date at The Horseshoe. The new date is February 20 at The Hoxton and the rest of the rescheduled tour dates can be had at Exclaim.

Phoenix’s episode of Austin City Limits is available to stream online for a limited time.

Friday, September 6th, 2013

Lay Us Down

While I was out… featuring Holograms and things of a rest-of-the-world nature

Photo By KnotanKnotanI won’t deny that one of the reasons I was so keen to go to Stockholm on this last vacation was my affection for Swedish music, specifically the melancholically melodic indie-pop of that the likes of Jens Lekman, I Break Horses, and The Cardigans have done so well over the years. This is not at all how you’d describe Holograms, the quartet of 20-something Stockholmers who’ve just released their second album Forever; their tense and wiry post-punk has far more in common with the likes of Denmark’s Iceage than any of their countrymen, though their approach is a hair less nihilistic and more anthemic. Which is to say they’re marginally less likely to punch you in the face than Iceage.

Noisey posted an advance stream of Forever last week, but seeing as how the album’s now out, it’s not an advance stream anymore – just a stream. But what is new is a new video, premiered yesterday at Interview, and the announcement of a North American tour that hits The Garrison on December 8.

MP3: Holograms – “Flesh & Bone”
Video: Holograms – “Meditations”
Stream: Holograms / Forever

Empire Of The Sun have released a new, characteristically epic video from Ice On The Dune – just in time for their show at The Danforth Music Hall on September 9. The Huffington Post has an interview with bandleader Luke Steele.

Video: Empire Of The Sun – “DNA”

The Quietus and The Line Of Best Fit have everything you need with respect to Emiliana Torrini’s new record Tookah – the former has an advance stream ahead of its release next Tuesday, September 10, and the latter has a track-by-track walkthrough by Torrini herself. The Quietus also solicited a list of Torrini’s favourite albums.

Stream: Emiliana Torrini / Tookah

Pitchfork have an advance stream of Apar, the new album from Spanish electro-pop ensemble Delorean, while Filter and Stereogum have feature interviews. The new record is out September 10 and they play The Horseshoe on October 17.

Stream: Delorean / Apar

Clash has an advance stream of múm’s new long-player Smilewound, which also has a new video. It’s out September 10.

Video: múm – “Toothwheels”
Stream: múm / Smilewound

Icona Pop are streaming another new song from their international debut This Is… Icona Pop, out September 24.

Stream: Icona Pop – “My Party”

Danish electro-pop artist Nanna Øland Fabricius, aka Oh Land, has a new album in Wish Bone coming out September 24. She’s premiered the first video at Rolling Stone and announced a North American tour that brings her to The Great Hall on September 30, tickets $15.

Video: Oh Land – “Renaissance Girls”

Le Blogotheque films a Still Room Session with Of Monsters & Men in Rome while Iceland Review interviews the band.

Also at Le Blogotheque, a Take Away Show with Phoenix filmed in front of the Palace of Versailles. There’s also an interview at A Heart Is A Spade and they enter the wayback machine with Noisey to discuss their first hit, “If I Ever Feel Better”.

Noisey talks to Kate Boy’s Kate Akhurst while Vogue takes her shopping.

The Guardian Q&As Björk.

Tuesday, July 30th, 2013

Hold On

Annie streams comeback EP

Photo By Maxime BallesterosMaxime BallesterosI don’t know that Norwegians are especially renowned for their senses of irony, but it’s pretty funny that following the 2009 release of her second album of sassy, sugary, and on occasion, delightfully smack-talking electro-pop Don’t Stop, Anne Lilia Berge Strand – that’s Annie to her public – seemingly did just that. Okay, that’s not entirely fair; after touring behind the album, she was reportedly back in the studio in 2010 working on the follow-up, but the results from those sessions didn’t surface until earlier this year in the form of the “Tube Stops And Lonely Hearts” single, which was certainly welcome but didn’t necessarily come with a promise of more material to follow.

That promise finally came earlier this month with the announcement of a new EP – The A’NR EP, named for Strand and her producer Richard X and slated for release as of yesterday – and a steady stream of stream premieres, such that you could reasonably wonder why not just stream the whole thing in one place? As it turns out you can just below.

The Fader, The Line Of Best Fit, and DIY have interviews with Strand where she explains her absence and her return, but doesn’t tip her hat as to when a proper third album will be out. So with that in mind, you can also get your Annie fix via a recent single from Norwegian electronic artist Ralph Myerz, to which she contributed lead vocals.

Video: Annie – “Tube Stops And Lonely Hearts”
Video: Ralph Myerz featuring Annie – “Take A Look At The World”
Stream: Annie / The A&R EP

Pitchfork has the details about the new Icona Pop record they’d like you to think is their debut but really isn’t, really – according to the tracklist at DIY, This Is… – out September 24 – overlaps with their Swedish debut by only their already-released singles but is otherwise all-new. They’re streaming one of those new songs and have released a video for another, and are featured in an interview in Instinct. And while they were supposed to play Garrison Commons as part of The Grove Fest this coming Saturday, one can’t help but notice they’re no longer listed on the website. You do the math (hint: it’s subtraction).

Stream: Icona Pop – “All Night”
Video: Icona Pop – “Girlfriend”

Experimental Icelandic composer Jóhann Jóhannsson will be at The Music Gallery on September 8, bolstered by the ACME String Quartet; tickets are $20 in advance.

MP3: Jóhann Jóhannson – “Odi Et Amo”

The Line Of Best Fit has premiered the official video to accompany the new I Break Horses single released a few weeks ago and which precedes their second album, due out in October-ish.

Video: I Break Horses – “Denial”

Noisey talks to Elias Ronnenfelt and Loke Rahbek of Vår.

Under The Radar interviews the gentlemen of Junip.

Channel 4 is streaming the meeting of Björk and Sir David Attenborough.

Video: When Björk Met Attenborough

Raggi Thórhallsson of Of Monsters & Men answers some questions from MusicOmh and Gigwise (in two parts).

Thursday, July 18th, 2013

Biophilia

Björk at Echo Beach in Toronto

Photo By Frank YangLucia GracaWhile no one would argue that Björk has always done exactly what she wanted from an artistic point of view, the broader audience that met her first three solo releases and made her one of the unlikeliest stars of the Alternative Nation in the ’90s – as well as probably the most famous Icelander in the world – has waned somewhat in the 21st century. But regardless of the muted response to 2011’s Biophilia, she still counts her fans by the thousands and they were out in force at Echo Beach on Tuesday night for her first local show in almost six years, since headlining the first night of V Fest 2007.

That show – also on the water, albeit across the harbour from this one on Olympic Island – was a confetti-and-laser-and-brass-powered extravaganza fitting the tone of her previous album Volta, but given the relatively inward-looking tone of Biophilia – the first tours in support of it were performed in intimate theatres in the round – it’s not surprising that the stage setup was rather more austere. Or so it seemed, at first. As far as players went, Björk was traveling with only a percussionist and keyboardist/programmer, but the fourteen members of female Icelandic choir Graduale Nobili would prove to be more than the equal to a conventional band.

It’s hard to take the spotlight off of Björk, especially in an electric blue sparkly dress and huge orange Biophilia wig, but Graduale Nobili were the perfect backdrop/accompaniment for her, both aurally and visually as the stage setup was more akin to a theatre space than a concert stage and they were called on to perform as dancers as well as singers. Their parts meticulously and brilliantly arranged, they were by turns mysteriously foreboding or giddily celebratory and offered their matriarchal leader support or cover as the show demanded, their presence energized the show and especially gave extra life to the Biophilia material, with the presentation of “Crystalline” in particular coming across as revelatory compared to the recorded version.

But as improved as the newer material sounded live, it was still the older songs that proved the show-stoppers, and not just because they were the most familiar. “One Day” – the only nod to Debut despite marking its 20th anniversary this month – was stripped down to a gorgeous and haunting vocal and steel hand drum, and if Graduale Nobili had been brought along only to provide the call-and-response chorus to “Pagan Poetry”, it’d have been worth the price of the airfare. If there’s a moment everyone will remember, however, it’d be “Army Of Me” wherein a pair of Tesla coils in a cage descended from the stage ceiling, their electrical arcs synched to the synths while over a dozen girls danced like mad on the stage. Simply amazing. And ranked right alongside as show highlights would be “Hyperballad” transforming midway into a strobe-powered rave up cover of LFO’s “Freak” (so I’m told, I wouldn’t know an LFO song if I heard one) and the massive walls of flame and sparks that backlit set closer “Náttúra”. After that breathtaking peak, the banging one-song, Trayvon Martin-dedicated encore of “Declare Independence” seemed almost unnecessary – the preceding highs were not to be topped – but considering how rarely Björk finds her way here and how spectacular her shows are, if you’re doing anything less than savouring every minute of it, you’re quite simply doing it wrong.

The Toronto Star, Exclaim, BlogTO, The National Post, The Huffington Post, and NOW also have reviews of the show. Noisey reflects on Björk’s 20-year solo career in terms of both music and visual style.

MP3: Björk – “Verandi”
MP3: Björk – “It’s In Our Hands”
MP3: Björk – “Cosmogony”
Video: Björk – “Hollow”
Video: Björk – “Mutual Core”
Video: Björk – “Moon”
Video: Björk – “Crystalline”
Video: Björk – “Innocence”
Video: Björk – “Declare Independence”
Video: Björk – “Wanderlust”
Video: Björk – “Dull Flame Of Desire”
Video: Björk – “Earth Intruders”
Video: Björk – “Where Is The Line”
Video: Björk – “Triumph Of A Heart”
Video: Björk – “Who Is It”
Video: Björk – “Oceania”
Video: Björk – “Hidden Place”
Video: Björk – “Cocoon”
Video: Björk – “Pagan Poetry”
Video: Björk – “Joga”
Video: Björk – “Bachelorette”
Video: Björk – “Hunter”
Video: Björk – “Alarm Call”
Video: Björk – “All Is Full Of Love”
Video: Björk – “Isobel”
Video: Björk – “Possibly Maybe”
Video: Björk – “I Miss You”
Video: Björk – “Army Of Me”
Video: Björk – “Hyperballad”
Video: Björk – “It’s Oh So Quiet”
Video: Björk – “Human Behaviour”
Video: Björk – “Venus As A Boy”
Video: Björk – “Big Time Sensuality”
Video: Björk – “Violently Happy”
Video: Björk – “Play Dead”

The Village Voice has an interview with Icelandic composer Ólafur Arnalds and Altsounds asks him what kind of gear he’s brought along for his current US tour.

Exclaim reports that Icelandic pop singer Emiliana Torrini has set a September 9 release for her new record Tookah, and the first single from it is available to stream now.

Stream: Emiliana Torrini – “Speed Of Dark”

Norwegian singer/producer/pop star Annie tells Noisey that the break that followed 2009’s Don’t Stop is over and to prove it, a song from her new release The A&R EP, out August 5, is available to stream.

Stream: Annie – “Hold On”

Indians have rolled out a new video from their/his debut Somewhere Else.

Video: Indians – “Magic Kids”

The Independent talks to Jose González of Junip.