All 3 entries tagged Indietronica
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December 04, 2006
If there’s one thing which seems to unite all music blogs, and most music fans, it’s the desire to bash the NME. This makes it particularly grating when they manage to get it right, but never fear, there are always other big selling magazines which are spouting rubbish. The Worst Piece Of Music Journalism Of The Year award this year goes to Q Magazine which reckons Silent Shout by Swedish electro geniuses The Knife is “A hideous mess of electro noodling and maddeningly obtuse, tuneless vocals” worth one star out of five. Now everybody is entitled to their own opinion. However Q likes to play it safe. For all its gushing about Radiohead and Pink Floyd, the most typically Q bands are Keane and Coldplay. Safe. Indie. Definitely not the sound of the entire history of electronic music collapsing into a blackhole.
Such a shame for Q really that in fact such a collapse sounds as magnificent and wonderous as it does. You really would have to be a technophobe, and an impatient one at that, to give Silent Shout one star. It suggests you have listened to it once, probably not even all the way through.
For those who want a real assessment here it is – Silent Shout takes all the distinctive, overused, overplayed features of electronic music and reimagines it as something beautiful and human. Yes, human. At heart this sounds like a woman (specifically singer Karin Dreijer Andersson) battling a stream of conflicting emotions against some challenging but rewarding music. And some blatant pop.
It takes guts to release the most tricky track on your album as a single, but The Knife took that leap and sent ‘We Share Our Mother’s Health’ out into the world. It is the perfect encapsulation of them. On first listen it’s a noise, a mess, and a disturbing one at that. Any more than one listen, however, is enough to bring out the thrilling rush of the piece, the melody (yes, there is one) and the feeling that it’s not really that disturbing, more a mad rush.
The rest of the album is more accessible, and quite emotional at times. There is an unexpected pathos in many songs, ‘Marble House’ and ‘Forest Families’ in particular should rip out the heart of any listener.
This isn’t about easy listening. This isn’t about trying to appear cool. This is simply pop music as you forgot it could be, challenging, rewarding and real.
Listen to these tracks. I was going to give you ‘Marble House’ but that song is so amazing, so wonderful, so fantastic that I believe you should bloody pay for the privilege of listening to it. Yes, that good.
December 01, 2006
Well, December has finally arrived, and here at à la discothèque (a secret for you – yes, we know that it should be à and not á, but where’s the wonderful symmetry in that? Don’t tell anyone our evil French literary boo though) we’ve decided that to celebrate 2006 in music, we’ll review 31 albums in 31 days in the style of an advent calendar, as well as keeping up with our usual music tomfoolery. Excited? Good. Go!
White Rose Movement are a post-punk/electro band from London, who style their music around danceable, sexy music. I frigging love it. Around about April/May time, when I was first discovering and getting into the whole indietronica/dance-rock scene (Postal Service, Hot Chip, !!!, that kinda jazz) I heard the wonderful Girls In The Back from the RaW playlist. I immediately came home and ordered WRM’s debut album, Kick.
When the album came out, it didn’t go down particularly well – a lot of the music blog fraternity marked WRM as boring and one-dimensional, but personally I think the album’s a bit of class, particularly with songs such as Testcard Girl, London’s Mine and Love Is A Number. The album builds up through electronic/guitar-heavy songs such as Kick and Girls In The Back, very danceable choons, to the more experimental and abstract beats of Deborah Carne later in the album.
Altogether the album holds up well, and has stood well against the test of time. Here’s some tracks to enjoy:
July 16, 2006
Acoustic singer songerwriter guy. Bloke with guitar. He walks into a bar and sets up his stool before strumming gently and bubbling away about something mildly inconsequential… At least, that's what he does 999 times out of 1000. But someone's always got to be different. Maybe he doesn't want to be armed just with a guitar, especially when we are engulfed in a wave of male singer songwriters who are so devoid of rough edges (i.e. interest) that they are making us pine for the days of such uber–fascinating characters as David Gray.*
That person, on this occasion, is Khonnor. An eccentric from Vermont, Khonnor has taken the gently strummer singer songwriter pattern and dipped it in the pot marked 'Electronic Things Which Go Whoosh!'. It's not a very subtle pot. It drenches his work in all sorts of sweeps and unexpected sounds. It also adds a somewhat unsettling ambience to proceedings. It's quite alright to find yourself looking around the room wondering where that noise came from before you realise it was very probably meant to be on the track you're listening to. Probably. Best check just to be certain.
Like a sci–fi version of film score legend Ennio Morricone, Khonnor creates things which are less songs than soundtracks which seep out of the speakers and envelope the room, colluding with the furniture, the lighting and your own feelings to shift you somewhere unworldly. His songs are curious, sometimes it's hard to recall what they sound like, yet the second the first sound (sometimes a note or chord, sometimes just that, a sound) hits you you will remember the song.
The songs below are two good examples of what to find on his album Handwriting (buy it y'hear ) which is the best place to start. He apparently has new stuff coming out as Khonnor later in the year but for those who find this to be not quite enough there is also his alter egos…
Khonnor – 'An Ape Is Loose' MP3 Expired
Khonnor – 'Man From The Anthill' MP3 Expired
Grandma is a more electronic sound than Khonnor, distorted vocals and even (shock) a scattering of beats which you could conceivably dance to (though don't expect a hi–NRG workout to burn those calories off). Downloads of Grandma's EP 'For Your Broken Heart' can be found at Monotonik's website.
More electronic still is his releases as I, Cactus. These are less unnerving than his other pieces, more chilled and relaxed. Each track is a new cactus based experience.
It might not be what you're used to hearing but isn't it worth giving your eardrums something a little different from time to time? If this concept does not appeal then piss off to Radio 2 where I'm sure some bloke with a guitar is waiting to serenade you with bilge about something–or–other breaking his heart. Bet he doesn't use the pot marked 'Electronic Things Which Go Whoosh!'.
*Who is quite good if you can get past the ubiquity of certain tracks of his.