Last time they played London, Love is all played at Cargo. This time around they’ll play around the corner at the Hoxton Square Bar & Kitchen. Love is all are fantastic, so you better get your tickets now and put the date into your diary. If it wasn’t always so packed out, I’d go to Kick and play some foosball before the show. Oh yeah, the day is Wednesday 21 May 2008 - see you at the front! Here’s a song from an old Love is all 7”, while we wait to get our dirty hands on some new shiny songs.
I don't think I even know what "web 2.0" really means....
The once quite fantastic Swedish indie princess Marit Bergman has gone all web 2.0 on our asses and started a website / blog with a subscription option (85 SEK / per year – that’s cheap, about £7 for a year or 60 pence per month) where you can download a least one song per month and I guess she'll have some blog and maybe there'll be other stuff (frankly, I'm just interested in the music). I couldn’t resist and did actually pay for it (crazy!). Is this the way forward for artists in today’s non-existent CD sales climate? Huh? You go and write about that on your blogs, this is not a blog about crap like that – it’s a blog about the music, man! So what about the music? Well, if you paid £7 for Marit Bergman’s thing, today you got a song called “Out on the piers”. It’s a pretty good song. You also got an acoustic version. Have a listen to the acoustic version below, then go and sign up if you like it. The non-acoustic version is actually better and much more of an indie anthem. In my opinion, Bergman’s first album was a bit patchy but very charming affair, her second album was fantastic, and her third album was a professional but uneven affair (about 2-3 good songs on it). She also used to be in a band called Candysuck that I loved when I was a kid. Perhaps she’ll release some exciting songs now when there’s no label pressure involved (?). I don’t know about you, but I’m pretty excited about a subscription service like this one and I would easily pay other artists that I like for the same type of thing (and I’m in no way affiliated with Marit Begman, by the way, believe it or not), especially when it feels like the artist is behind it, and not just some record label department (pah!). Actually, is this something that has been going on for a while? That's a rhetorical question, since you can't tell me because I can't get the stupid comment function to work. Feel free to send us an email (stopusnot at gmail.com) though, and tell us if Britney was indeed doing this long before she shaved her hair off. Anyway, it's finally Friday and soon it's time to drink beers...
Listen to a recording of Speech Defect playing live at the release party for their album “Come for da funeral stay for da food”, that took place in Gothenburg, Sweden on 1 March – here. It takes about two minutes before the show starts, there’s an interview (in Swedish) prior to all the hands in the air, say "yeah", etc etc. Seriously, Speech Defect are a fine, fine live act, you should go and see them if you ever get the chance. Check it!!!
(You need to allow popups, if not press the big button in the middle of the page that comes up to listen. Good luck)
Swedish electropop artist Robyn is once again coming to the UK to play some shows (doesn't she play here every other day?!). I’ve seen Robyn a few times now, and I think it can be a bit hit and miss. I’ve mostly seen her play small clubs though, can’t really imagine seeing her at The Astoria. I wonder if she'll bring a band or something, that stage is quite big for just one person to fill up. All the best to Robyn though, she’s great. Although I’m pretty sick and tired of her last album by now though after listening to it for 3 years. Here’s hoping for a new EP before she plays here.
18 April - Camden Crawl, London 06 June - The Arches, Glasgow 07 June - Carling Academy, Birmingham 08 June - Astoria, London, London 10 June - Academy 2, Manchester 11 June - UEA, Norwich 12 June - Carling Academy, Bristol
Not sure if I've had my head up my ass about this but I really don't know much about "The Sound Of Arrows".
All I know is what I've read on their myspace page and the lovely mp3 that dropped through my mailbox from everyone's favourite label, Labrador. It appears TSOA have signed to Labrador and you can buy their debut ep "Danger!" there.
But what's it like? Well I'm a big fan of this kind of electro-pop (think The Legends recent stuff sung by a less-annoying Brian Molko (only 29 results?!?)).
I looks like these guys haven't been going that long so I'll give them a break and not critise a slight lack of an edge. Tell you what, hjave a listen yourself as Labrador have made the title track from the ep available to download for FREE.
Alternatively you could listen to the much better remix by Mr Pedro here (even if he destroyed My Darling You!'s "Please Don't Talk To Me I Fall In Love So Easily"):
here - (sorry, it looks like a shitty 93kbps MySpaz rip...)
With so many gigs and venues at SXSW, lots of them are naturally to suffer from logistical problems. The LK's show on the last SXSW day was unfortunately one to suffer. I got in a bit late, since I was told in the door that the place had reached capacity, although when I got in there it was half-empty. The sound was actually the worst I heard throughout the whole of the festival. Also, I didn't hear the melodic The LK that I love, but they seemed to be in a more jazzy / experimental mood this time around. All well and good, I guess, despite it was quite rubbish (so not that well or good, considering). The last 5 minutes consisted of the singer sporadically jumping up and down while the other guy played his trumpet. Now and then Ola (the singer) also screamed a bit into the trumpet. Hmmmmmmmm! I saw some amazing bands at the 2008 edition of South By Southwest, so I wasn't that bothered that one of them didn't live up to my expectations.
This is how SXSW was for me: Wednesday: Got in to Austin, saw lots of unknown bands that were all pretty much pants. Thursday: Many amazing shows. Nice rock'n'roll end to the night. One of the best festival days ever, ever! Friday: Some ok gigs and three absolutely astonishing gigs. One was the best I've seen in years, but not by a Swedish artist, so I won't name him (or her!) here … Saturday: Tired. I thought this was the least interesting day of the festival. Saw a bunch of shows, nothing too exciting.
Being one of the most talked about artists of the whole SXSW (except R.E.M., Vampire Weekend, MGMT etc etc), the pressure was on Lykke Li to kick some serious ass! Her show was quite similar to the last time I saw her earlier this year, but much shorter, and due to a smaller sized venue, much more intimate (she didn't do "Can I kick it" either, unfortunately). It was a pleasure watching her perform though and if it had been a full length performance it would have been a real killer show. Another formerly hyped woman playing SXSW was Duffy, who was a massive disappointment. Whereas Lykke Li was mesmerising and super sexy, Duffy’s show was sterile and forced. Lykke Li seems to be at that stage where people are trying to figure out if all the talk about her is really justified. I’ve listened to her album a lot, and seen her live twice (so I think I'm almost a Lykke Li expert now, or at least a Lykke Li junior fan), and I’d got to say that Lykke Li deserves all the fame and money she can get. Don’t be a fool, go and see her live and buy her album (perhaps in the reversed order).
Before Jens Lekman played at Emo’s in Austin, Texas at the SXSW festival yesterday, he asked the audience if they could kindly not videotape his performance (which was something everyone actually respected). Stuff like this only adds to my perception of Lekman as a lovable pretentious eccentric, such as Jonathan Richman. It’s admiring how much heart Lekman puts in everything he does, which combined with his astonishing music I guess is what makes him such an ace artist. Yesterday It was just him and an electric guitar on stage (and his nice white shirt, as seen on the superb photograph above). He started out by playing mostly songs from the new album. It was quite interesting to hear these songs accompanied by nothing but Jens and his guitar, with no loops or other instruments. Then after a few songs he started dropping in some old classics in his set, such as “A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill”, and then when he played “Black cab” it’s was so great that my neck hair literally (and I mean literally, not metaphorically) stood up on end. I love that song! I’d almost forgot how much I love it though. How silly of me. He did all the usual little skits in between some of the songs too, which is charming, but perhaps a bit grating if you’ve seen him do a similar routine more than once or twice before. All in all it was pretty damn amazing though, as always with Jens Lekman, and together with some great sets from some American rock’n’roll bands later in the evening it made the second SXSW day one of the best festival days I’ve ever experienced, truth be told.
Just finished watching The Tough Alliance do a show at Karma Lounge, Austin at SXSW. They did about 4-5 songs. Last and first time I saw them, I hated it. That was about 4 years ago. This time I was almost falling asleep before the gig and ordered a shot of whiskey, as a pick-me-up. Instead of a shot, I got a glass (it was only $6 though - thank you bartender and weak dollar). This might have helped me appreciate TTA’s somewhat theatrical and absurd antics a bit more. I love their songs to death, but the whole karaoke is just so off-putting. The 20-30 people there watching the gig seemed to enjoy it though. Lucky bastards! The show was just stupid, I just don't get it. At stages it was quite disturbing, like when one of the guys do his "scarecrow pose". Oh well, you can't have it all, I guess.
I used to love The Cardigans when they started out, they were all cute and twee and Nina Persson was the ultimate indie princess. I really liked their first two albums, but when “First man on the moon” came out in 1996 and they got worldwide success with “Lovefool” I behaved like the silly teenager I were and stopped listening to them. I wasn’t until seven years later that I went back to them, due to the amazing song “Communication” on their “Long before daylight” album. The Cardigans for me are now a band that have about 1-3 great songs on every album they release (and have released). “Rise and shine”, from their first album, was what got me into the band. I remember seeing the video on TV and getting hooked. Now they’ve got a greatest hits CD out, adventurously called “Best of”. It’s a pretty good compilation, and like I said, The Cardigans are very much a band suited for compilations. I’m sort of thinking about buying it, just so I can throw away all my other The Cardigans CDs. It also comes with a b-side and rarities collection (which to be honest, I’m sure won’t be something for me). Anyway, listen to “Communication”, it’s pretty much one of my favourite songs ever.
As previously reported here, Jens Lekman is coming over to play some shows in the UK in May. It's now been announced that he'll play The Scala in London on 20 May too. Nice choice of venue, I'm sure it'll be a fantastic night! Get your tickets here.
Here's an old Lekman classic ("Maple leaves"), sung in Swedish.