Month: June, 2013

Suuns (comet club, 05/05/13)

to give new impetus to my last (dated) gig review which ended with “music will save us for sure”, i’d like to tell you about an album that brings to an end with a track called Music Won’t Save You. the time has come to introduce a band that deserves to have the place of honour.

Suuns_berlatsky

tonight the dancing toad and the juicy frog hit the road again together for a concert at Comet Club. this is an introducing gig, because none of us know Suuns very well (pronounced soons), a part from their first (brilliant) 2010 album Zeroes QC which plays constantly in the pond. Montreal’s band tours currently europe to promote Images Du Futur, a second album released at the beginning of 2013 by Secretly Canadian.

suuns    suuns_imagesdufutur

the quartet features guitarist/vocalist Ben Shemie, drummer Liam O’Neill, keyboardist Max Henry and guitarist/bassist Joe Yarmush. it really puzzled me, when i got to know that three of them actually studied at the same jazz school, because Suuns’ music is actually unclassifiable and, ok, i’m not a music expert, but not especially jazzy. in the interview Suuns gave to McGill News, Max Henry gave this enlightening answer to the journalist who asked him about possible connection between Suuns and his jazz studies:

“The building blocks only do you a service when they eventually disappear,” he says of his musical education. “The classical world might be square building blocks, and the jazz world might be rectangular building blocks, but the shapes that we’re getting at aren’t pixelated, they’re not built out of squares or rectangles. They’re continuous.”

needless to say that the toad and i are kind of impatient to see them entering the stage, warmed-up by excellent long-lasting arab melodies which spread in the venue after the disappointing, dull, introduction by Lucretia Dalt.
the atmosphere conveys an electric agitation when the band finally shows up. some tortured, bleak vibes arise from the stage straight after.
Henry’s keyboarding notes strengthened by heady beats give a short introduction to Ben Shemie’s murky, faint, singing as Music Won’t Save You commences. what a very delicate, thickening appetizer reinforced by bewitching guitars. oh boy, this is going to be a pleasantly loud evening.

and it is indeed.
the concert is a rich mixture of both albums with (if i’m not wrong) Armed For Peace, 2020 (oh my, Yarmush’s incredible guitar impersonating Doppler effects), Pie IX, Eddie’s DreamPowers of Ten, Up Past the Nursery and Gaze among others. Suuns’ music is both complex and magnetic, with looping stacks of frenetic guitars, fantastic unconventional keyboard sounds, frantic drums and rhythms. not to mention a choking voice that gives the impression to restrain some terrible angst.

whereas my body is carried away by the post-rock drone of certain songs, my attention mostly focuses on Shemie’s half-mutter voice – a mix of insidious rage and despair. the delightful analogy with rock/punk on Armed For Peace or Gaze, as Henry abandons his keyboard for a guitar, helps me to free myself from this fascinating grip of anger tinged with gentleness.


it’s difficult (and it’s appropriate not) to box up Suuns into a music category or even to give a specific description of their music. because the foreboding Zeroes QC tends to venture into wild indie rock and shoegaze, whereas Images Du Futur flirts more with cold electro and dark dubstep and krautrock. the second album is indeed more risky, experimental, maybe more demanding and hopeless too, but damn effective.
during the concert, Liam O’Neill’s positive energy contrasts with the serious interpretation of the rest of the band. a great concentration and perfectionism are palpable, and Shemie’s smile at some point breaks the (however delightful) surrounding tenseness. i’ve never experienced such an alluring tension before.

when it’s (alas) time to come back to earth, it’s not easy to let the band go. the toad looks at me kindly, conscious that, as usual, i’ll need a few minutes to regain consciousness. as we ride back home, i’m not really surprised when the toad tells me that his favourite songs are the “rocky” ones. i also have a marked preference for Zeroes QC, although the menacing side of Images Du Futur is very exciting.
especially if music won’t save us.


but for some reasons, Suuns’ music may convince us otherwise.

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boiling news

short but efficient.

siguros_boilerroom

tonight at 8pm (CET), Sigur Rós will takeover the boiler room berlin. simply click on the picture for an automatic transfer to the broadcast.

see you there (stattbad wedding?)!

AM on 09/09/13

arctic_monkeys_am
090913, a simple date to remember and a few months of (difficultly manageable) patience.

AM is the title of Arctic Monkeys’ fifth album, which birth is announced on 9th september on domino records.
produced (again) by James Ford (known also under the moniker of Simian Mobile Disco) – who already supervised Favourite Worst Nightmare, Humbug and Suck It And See (not to mention the incredible first album of the Last Shadow Puppets, which follower may show up in a close future) – the album will feature Mr. Josh Homme (Queens of the Stone Age and Them Crooked Vulture, among others), Pete Thomas (Elvis Costello’s drummer), Bill Ryder-Jones (The Coral’s ex-guitarist) and the poet John Cooper Clarke.
we may tempted to call it a dream team.

note that John Cooper Clarke isn’t new in the discography of the band. he had already inspired the Monkeys’ Fluorescent Adolescent, which poem Out of Control Fairground was printed inside the single cover. words of the poet will appear on I Wanna Be Yours, the last song of AM.

let’s put our patience to the test and enjoy Do I Wanna Know which is now available in the pond.

Kveikur Live 360

sigur-ros-kveikur-album

tonight at 20:50, Sigur Rós will webcast a special interactive 360° performance live from dresden.

according to the band, “fans will be able to take control of the 360 cameras that will be placed around the stage, and watch the show from whichever angle they choose.”

amazing isn’t it?! stay tuned!

Sigur Rós’ Kveikur

in the luxuriant flood of forthcoming releases, let’s gaze today at one of the most prolific islands, with one of its best standard bearer: Sigur Rós.

the icelandic post-rock band toured extensively those past months, promoting their sumptuous last album Valtari released in 2012. but if you had the chance to attend one of their concerts, you probably noticed that the band offered us a few new songs which weren’t to be found in their existing discography. you may also have noticed the outstanding Brennisstein or Kveikur and secretly desired to be able to play them (loud) at your own water lily very soon.

be blessed, Sigur Rós made our dreams come true.
from june 17th on, Kveikur will be available at any good record shops and can be streamed right now by clicking on the cover.

Sigur-ros-kveikur

the band left a message on their page inviting us to “listen to [their] new album Kveikur and let [them] know what it makes you feel, see and imagine. Take photos, make videos, or write your thoughts down. Just use the hashtag #kveikur on Twitter, Vine and Instagram and [they]’ll collect the things you make here.”

personally, i feel pretty enthusiastic at listening to Kveikur for the fourth time (being maybe less optimistic about Stormur or Ísjaki). my favourite goes to the title track of the album, a noisy one, beautifully orchestrated with thousand exhilarating noises, excellent resounding drums and noisy guitar effects rejoined by Jónsi’s fragile voice, a perfect track to struggle up the hardest slope.

and the grandiose dirty overture of Brennistein and magnificent aggressive unfolding of the track, my goodness, this is just sterling. i can’t wait to listen to it with a proper headset, this is a killer song and i wouldn’t mind being deaf afterwards.

the bellicose Hrafntinna is punctuated by subtle brass sections accompanying Orri Páll Dýrason’s frenzied drums, giving almost the impression that a wolf pack will appear suddenly and eat us all alive. oh my, this is good.

i don’t know if the departure of the pianist Kjartan Sveinsson marked a new turning point in the band’s career, but Kveikur is definitely less ethereal than Valtari, which was a melodic dreamlike wonder. still mind-blowing, this new album offers however a few “quiet” – yet tormented – songs such as the very choking Yfirborð.

one can always wonder why a band decides to release new albums in a row, but well, i have to confess that Kveikur will rejoin the pond’s collection without further delay. this new eager shot is a very good one.

Beth Gibbons

holy cow, what a day!

Portishead’s Beth Gibbons and Domino Records just got married.
the young couple plans to release a new solo album of one of our favourite singers, what a fantastic piece of news.

to celebrate the event, let’s go back shortly to the superb 2002’s Out of Season – Beth’s first album with Rustin Man (aka Paul Webb) –  with Tom the Model.

Slut

slut_nothingwillgowrong

2012 was a great year at the pond for we were introduced to a bavarian band answering to the sweet name of Slut.
lovely and alluring sobriquet, isn’t?

the Slut addiction started first with their 2002 album Nothing Will Go Wrong, a huge indie rock LP that set the tone with saturated and delicious raging guitars (Reminder, One more Day), exhilarating tunes and melodies (the perfect Easy to Love), soothing and moving ballads (Something to Die For), and cherry on the cake: the doleful voice of singer/guitarist Christian Neuburger.

Slut is a band that juggles with both sad and tender interpretation – displaying a real taste for melancholy – and nervous guitars which clearly reminds that the band may once flirt with metal.

Slut_stillno1

then came Still Number One released in 2008.
piano and keyboards which were already present on Nothing Will Go Wrong had a stronger foothold in this album, conveying a few almost-poppish (but great) tunes (Come On, Odd and Ends), without however neglecting the band’s animal attraction for guitars as Tomorrow Will Be Mine showed. if this album confirmed the band’s distance to tempered rock, it gave clear evidence of its talent for heady melodies.

you may know how impatient the frog can be when discovering a “new” band – greedy to discover more and more music.
at that time, Slut had already seven albums their credits (2009), among which their latter to date (Corpus Delicti) was a surprising concept album with the german writer Juli Zeh.

and today the pond was happily shaken by some news which announce the release of a new album on august 16th.
Alienation will see the light on Cargo Records and Next Big Thing that is already available calms down the fidgets we’ve been experiencing for weeks. stay tuned!

Unkle’s Rabbit in Your Headlights cover

it belongs to the frog’s favs, no kidding. number one on the top of the top’s list. for years.

in 1998 Unkle released one of their best singles ever, with a pounding piano tune embracing the close-to-perfection interpretation of Thom Yorke.
6:18 minutes of haunting goose-flesh and pure beauty.

Jonathan Glazer offered on his side one of the best music videos, with the excellent Denis Lavant who gave life to some psychotic and frenzy rabbit. the video won MVPA’s Best International Video of the Year Award in 1999.

 

today Thom Yorke, and Atoms for Peace, revisits Rabbit in your Headlights.
this new vision gets rid of the kinetic and obsessive dynamic but preserves the dramatic part.

 

Thom’s itching isn’t very far from Denis Lavant’s OCD, but let’s put it simple: Denis Lavant is peerless. and so is Thom Yorke’s voice.

Tomorrow’s Harvest

in april, some trailer put the Web in turmoil.


lovely reminiscence of the 70s, ambient natural mystery and a 8-year absence.

today the excellent Reach for the Dead helps us to be forbearing.


9 days left before the release of Tomorrow’s Harvest, fourth album of Boards of Canada, and the first one since 2005, on Warp.

to listen to the album before the 10th, connect to the live transmission on BoC’s website on monday, 10pm (in the pond) by clicking on the following image.

boardscanada

Perfume Genius’ Learning cover

The National are kind of unmissable those days.

busy on all fronts, promoting their outstanding Trouble Will Find Me, releasing Tom Berninger’s Mistaken for Strangers, a film on the band made by Mat Berninger’s brother, appearing on Colbert’s Show with Graceless and Sea of Love, or on Letterman’s Show with Don’t Swallow the Cap, promoting their official video of Sea of Love – which remained unseen in the pond due to (again and again) the go-to-hell GEMA copyrights law –

and… covering a song composed by Mike Hadreas, known as Perfume Genius.

Learning is the title track of Perfume Genius’ first album.
a very delicate song, a perfect example of the music of this great vulnerable and moving songwriter.

here’s the original (fragile) version by Perfume Genius

perfumegenius

and here’s the (warm) cover by The National

Print

a perfect song for a grey saturday.