fredag den 10. april 2009

Dogmatic Alcoholics

Image by: Album-cover to 421 Wythe Avenue

Alcoholic Faith Mission is the name of a Copenhagen duo who turned into a collective where friends were free to join to create the music. The universe is both singer-songwriter and electronic and their second album 421 Wythe Avenue has just been released. Critics have compared them with artists like American Bon Iver and Swedish José González

The sound consists of both melancholy and warmth and feels so nice and comfortable on a sunday where your head hurts. The song "Nut In Your Eye" is more up-tempo and easy going, but I have fallen just as much for "Guilty Scarred Eyes" where the male and female voices complement each other very well. But the song which instantly makes all my muscles relax and is better than any massage is "Theme From Ice Cream Products", which somebody should use in a film. 

Their second album is called 421 Wythe since it´s the name of the factory building in New York where Alcoholic Faith Mission recorded the whole album. The band made the dogmatic rule that everything they used for the recordings should be found within the factory loft which means that dictionaries have been used to create the sound of bass drums. 
I actually think that the strange dogma has contributed to a more rough and authentic sound and somehow I get an image of the loft in my head when I listen to the music. 

I guess Alcoholic Faith Mission works best under the influence of rules. On their first album, which was made in a small Copenhagen bedroom, the dogmas were that the recordings only could take place during night time, only in the light of candles and always under the influence of alcohol. 

I don´t think that the band has a recognizable Danish sound but instead it´s easy to hear the influence of both New York and also of the Canadian indie rock scene as for example Arcade Fire

søndag den 29. marts 2009

The female touch

Image by: Steffen Jørgensen

Band Ane consists of the 23-year old girl Ane Østergård and her Mr. Laptop, which she rudely manipulates to create optimistic electronica with a naive twist to it. But don´t be fooled and think that there is not hiding anything underneath the naive and childish surface. 

The music is both complex, trashed and subtle and I think Band Ane´s female touch sets her apart from most other electronic musicians who are typically male. Most of all she´s not afraid of discovering all the different features that her laptop can deliver and all the different genres it can blend. The track "Lala" is a perfect example of her range. 

Her debut album from 2006 is named "Anish Music" and was called both anarchistic and infantile by the critics - which was meant in a good way. At the moment Band Ane is in Berlin because of the initiative "Aarhus Berlin Crush" where German and Danish electronica musicians get together to play several concerts in Berlin. It´s no secret that Berlin is one of the main capitals for electronica so it´s not the worst place to make a good impression as a foreign artist. 

Enter the forest with Turboweekend

Image by: Hanne Hvattum

Their first album in 2007 got extremely hyped and now Turboweekend is ready with a second one. What is characteristic of the Copenhagen trio is their ability to appeal to both indie-rockers and club-kids and to offer an equal part of heavy danceable tracks as well as songs for lying in the coach at home. 

Their second album "Ghost of a Chance" has been out since the 23. of March and appears more quiet than "Night Shift" from 2007 and with less new rave. The first single is "After Hours" and it´s already planted solidly on my brain.  

The strong and intense voice of leadsinger Silas Bjerregaard contributes with an important contrast to the cold and impersonal synthesizers and drums. I think that the press photos of the three members standing in a dark forest captures the feeling of the music very well. 

Peter Sommer - now with anger and bitterness

Image by: Casper Dahlhoff

One of the biggest winners at Danish Music Awards 2009 was singer-songwriter Peter Sommer who could take home no less than three awards for Best Danish Male Artist, Best Danish Songwriter and Best Danish Rock Release. 

Peter Sommer has recently released the album "Til Rotterne, Til Kragerne, Til Hundene" which showed a bit of a transformation from a soft troubadour towards a more dark and angry rock-musician. On the record he puts on a more serious face which suits him well. 

I haven´t been the biggest fan of Peter Sommer because to me the music tended to lack some deeper layers and more fierce lyrics even though that he is a skilled master of playing with words. But now he finally seems to capture my interest with a more mellow and bitter attitude. 

The song "Rødt Kort" is obviously the one with the most hit- potential, and I like the direct and confronting lyrics about pulling your self together. Peter Sommer´s lyrics hits you with the tough truth right in the face without any self-pity, and his confident and laid-back voice has an authority about it that makes me want to listen. 

Here is the song "Rødt Kort" made as a short film by Casper Dalhoff, who follows Peter Sommer in the studio.

Lucy Love steps up from the underground

Image by: Miriam Dalsgaard 

Enough with all the sensitive guys and their guitars. Let´s move on to a girl with guts. 
British grime is not exactly my field, but I´m making an exception with the incredible Lucy Love. Behind the name is a 23-year old girl, who has already been named the grime queen of Denmark and she can easily challenge an artist like Lady Sovereign with her sharp cockney accent, which she may have from her English mother. 

But Lucy Love is definitely no copycat and even though Danish grime artists are almost impossible to track down - especially female ones - she has somehow managed to add her own Scandinavian touch to her English-inspired music. 

What also makes her stand out from the rest of the grime scene is her lyrics which don´t reflect tough ghetto life in the poor suburbs, since that´s not the reality of her life. Instead she criticize social issues in her daily life as her being fed up with everybody longing and acting to be VIP. 

I think Lucy Love has the ability to reach far beyond the Danish borders because of her international sound which shines through on her debut album "Superbillion" that was released in the beginning of March. Her music also has the opportunity to appeal to an audience beyond the grime scene, which probably was one of the reasons why I was struck by it. 

Lucy Love only discovered grime three years ago and before that she was dedicated to singing soul. After she decided to shift into rap she quickly got known in the underground club scene but it seems like she in no time has reached the more established level. 
Have a look at the video to the track "No VIP". 

The William Blakes less playful

Image: PR-photo 

There is particularly one thing I like about the experimental trio "The William Blakes" which is that they are not afraid of going beyond the norms and as I read in an interview the band is not afraid if their music turning out to be completely crap. 

The band consists of the former music-tv host Kristian Leth and the two brothers Frederik and Fridolin Nordsø, who are well-known indie and r´n´b producers both in Denmark and abroad. 

Their first album "Wayne Coyne" from 2008 got admired by the critics despite the fact that it was deliberately written and recorded in a very limited amount of time in Sweden. The concept is that they are making music without fear, which must be very liberating. 
The band who is named after the English poet and painter William Blake has yet again gone to Sweden to record and has just released the outcome of the trip with the album "Dear Unknown Friend" which is supposed to be influenced by ´60´s psych and solid ´80´s pop. 

As on the first album The William Blakes enjoy to get political, to diss the government and especially the Danish prime minister Anders Fogh. Be my guest. 
The opening track says it all and goes by the title: "My Government is killing every hope for me" 

While "Wayne Coyne", named after the lead singer of The Flaming Lips, was a playful child of experiments the new album is accused of being a bit more moderate and conventional. I just hope that The William Blakes don´t get their madness too much under control, since it´s what made them so refreshing and daring. 

Give me Loveshop not Unmack!

Image by: Letsfaceit

The charismatic singer-songwriter Jens Unmack are out now with a new solo-album called "Hestene løber som dage". Apparently he has hired The City of Prague Philharmonic Orchestra, which pervade the whole record and on some tracks it gets a bit too much with all the string players. 

I have always been more a fan of "Loveshop", where Jens Unmack is the front figure, than of his solo carrier. The strong and poetic Danish lyrics and the soft 1980´s inspired rock/pop, have always been able to put me in a nice, day-dreaming mood. 

But "Hestene løber som dage" does not reinvent the musical sound of Jens Unmack. I can´t help feeling that I have heard it all before on his too former solo albums "Vejen hjem fra Rock´n´Roll´" and "Aftenland Express". It´s as if he just wrote them on autopilot. 

Loveshop was shortly reunited in February this year for one night because of the death of guitar player and producer Hilmar Hassig who had been an important member of Loveshop before the band got dissolved. Hilmar Hassig died tragically in a car accident last fall, and the revenue from the concert in Vega went to his two children. 

But a part from that I don´t get my hopes up that they will get back together any time soon, especially not after the loss of Hilmar Hassig. I think I will just stick to my old Loveshop albums, since I have a hard time imagining that Jens Unmack can reach the same level on his own, even if he was the primus motor behind the band. Something is simply lacking on his solo records, he gets close, but not close enough.