Posts Tagged ‘Cardigans’

Monday, April 30th, 2012


Review of We Are Serenades’ Criminal Heaven and giveaway

Photo by Carl von ArbinCarl von ArbinIf you require an introduction to We Are Serenades – which you probably do – then let it be known that they are the collaborative project of Swedes Adam Olenius, whom you may know as frontman of of Shout Out Louds, and Markus Krunegard, who led an outfit called Laakso. If the latter doesn’t mean that much to you, that’s reasonable as I don’t think they made it overseas at all, and really, Shout Out Louds is really the only reference point you really need for We Are Serenades’ (who were called just “Serenades” until earlier this year) debut Criminal Heaven.

Olenius and Krunegard make a point of singing together across most of the tracks, but Olenius’ faintly Robert Smith-y delivery largely defines the vocals and guest vocals from fellow Shout-er Out Loud Bebban Stenborg, most notably on “Daydreaming”, only serve to make proceedings that much more familiar for fans of the outfit. Musically, it’s more of a stylistic hodge-podge with nods to the electro-, orch-, acoustic-, and power- varietals of pop music but the pastiche largely works in favour of the greater whole. As it’s culled from across a few years of writing and recording sessions during the downtime from their main gigs, it was probably a better idea to simply pull together the strongest selections rather than craft a more cohesive statement. Yeah, it may listen more like a compilation than am album but it’s a good listen and will scratch that certain itch until the next Shout Out Louds record comes along.

We Are Serenades are bringing Criminal Heaven to North America for a Spring tour and will be at The Garrison in Toronto on Monday, May 14. Tickets are $10 in advance but courtesy of Embrace, I’ve got two pairs of passes to give away for the show. To enter, email me at contests AT with “I want Serenades” in the subject line and your full name in the body and have that in to me before midnight, May 9.

MP3: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
MP3: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Birds”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Oceans”
Video: We Are Serenades – “Come Home”
Stream: We Are Serenades / Criminal Heaven

Reunions/hiatus-ends are usually trumpeted with press releases/press conferences so that the whole world knows, but I had no idea The Cardigans were back in action until seeing this interview with Nina Persson at The Guardian. It’s just some Scandinavian (and one Russian and two Japanese) festivals where they’ll be performing all of 1998’s Gran Turismo with no promises of further activity when it’s all done, but the idea of The Cardigans as an active concern, even in limited capacity, makes me happy.

The Quietus talks to Ane Brun; her record It All Starts With One is out tomorrow and she’s in town at The Great Hall on May 10.

A second taste of Sigur Rós’ forthcoming Valtari is available as a streamed BBC radio rip; the album is out May 29 and they play Echo Beach on August 1.

Stream: Sigur Rós – “Varúð”

The Guardian and Irish Times are doing their bit to get people excited about the new Richard Hawley record Standing At The Sky’s Edge, with The Guardian augmenting their feature interview with a stream of the album. It’s out May 7.

Stream: Richard Hawley / Standing At The Sky’s Edge

The Line Of Best Fit offers a precis of an interview with Kevin Shields in the pages of the latest Mojo wherein he offers more concrete information on the alleged new My Bloody Valentine album and EP which could be out before the end of the year. The Loveless, Isn’t Anything, and EP’s 1988-1991 remasters are out May 7.

DIY chats with The Cribs about their new record In The Belly Of The Brazen Bull, out May 15.

Maxïmo Park are streaming the new single from their forthcoming The National Health, out June 11.

Stream: Maxïmo Park – “Hips And Lips”

NPR is streaming a World Cafe session with Michael Kiwanuka. He plays The Great Hall on June 19.

The New York Times talks to Dev Hynes about the new, first-person shooter Blood Orange video for “Champagne Coast” from Coastal Grooves.

Video: Blood Orange – “Champagne Coast”

DIY talks to Gerard Love of Lightships.

Magnet Q&As The Twilight Sad as the Scots prepare to take the editorial reins of the magazine’s website this week and fill it with all kinds of doom, gloom, and comic books.

eMusic explores the discography of XTC.

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

The Crowning

Review of A Camp's Colonia

Photo via mySpaceMySpaceThe first A Camp album came at an interesting time, with The Cardigans having proven themselves not just a one-hit wonder but a two-hit one (“My Favourite Game” to go along with “Lovefool”) but also rather burning out in the process. Nina Persson used the downtime to explore country music and Americana with the assistance of Sparklehorse’s Mark Linkous and not only crafted an excellent record in their self-titled debut, but carried the influences back to The Cardigans to inform my personal favourite of their repertoire, Long Gone Before Daylight. That stylistic uniformity went out the window with their next record, the eclectic but still very solid Super Extra Gravity and with the Cardies again on a break, Persson has taken that grab-bag aesthetic back to A Camp.

Colonia, released in Europe last week but not out in North America until April 28, collects 11 songs that could have been Cardigans tunes in another life but could never be mistaken as such in the forms that they’ve been recorded in here. With the formal addition of Persson’s husband Nathan Larson (of Shudder To Think) and Niclas Frisk as members of A Camp, it’s now more of an official band than before but rather than imprint that band with a particular sonic identity, they instead reinvent themselves in whatever way necessary to compliment the songs. Persson’s vocals are unmistakable but the sounds that surround it incorporate elements of show tunes, electronica, glam and country to name just a very few – there’s enough of everything to make it sound familiar but never to the point of being able to place a song in a tidy pigeonhole.

If there’s a common thread, it’s the sonic richness and elegance each song is imbued with. No matter what they put in it, it sounds marvelous, even if some songs are less memorable than others. But the keepers are worth cherishing – “My America” is buoyed by jaunty horns, the languidness of “Chinatown” beautifully channels Television in its guitar lines and lead single “Stronger Than Jesus” boasts a melody that’s as indelible as anything Persson’s ever come up with. Though I wish as much as any fan that the Cardies break will be a short one – apparently Persson’s bandmates are all using the time to tend to fatherly duties – if it continues to yield more A Camp records then there’ll be no word of complaint from me.

Persson is engaged in conversation by The Sunday Mail, The Telegraph and The Independent. And perhaps as a way of making up for the fact that the album isn’t out domestically for another three months, Nettwerk have made available a live session MP3 of “Stronger Than Jesus”. Update: Stereogum is streaming another song from the record and talk to Nina about it.

MP3: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus” (Harlem Session)
Video: A Camp – “Stronger Than Jesus”
MySpace: A Camp

The Toronto Sun, The Province, Montreal Mirror and CityPages interview Lykke Li.

Spin gets a sneak preview of the new album from Mew, currently untitled but targeted for a June release.

There’s new videos from both bands playing The Phoenix on April 25 – Peter Bjorn & John, whose Living Thing is out March 25, and Chairlift.

Video: Peter Bjorn & John – “Nothing To Worry About”
Video: Chairlift – “Evident Utensil”

Also with a new video – School Of Seven Bells.

Video: School Of Seven Bells – “Half Asleep”

Check out the title track of The Thermals’ new album Now We Can See, set for release on April 7.

MP3: The Thermals – “Now We Can See”

Some in-stores of note to tell you about. The Von Bondies will hit up Criminal Records this Friday, February 13, at 5PM before heading down the street for their show at the Horseshoe. And next weekend,Alela Diane, whose To Be Still is coming out next Tuesday, will be at Soundscapes on February 21 at 6:30PM in advance of her show at the Horseshoe that evening opening for Blitzen Trapper and the next day (February 22) at 3PM, Sonic Boom will host Ben Kweller leading up to his show at the Mod Club that evening.

MP3: Alela Diane – “White As Diamonds”
Video: Alela Diane – “White As Diamonds”
Video: Ben Kweller – “Fight”

The National are returning. They’re at the Kool Haus on May 21, tickets $24.50.

And finally, The Chicago Sun-Times weighs in on what could be the most disturbing bit of music industry news in a sea of disturbing music industry news, the merger of Live Nation and Ticketmaster. No good can come of this, none at all. But my question is – how does this affect the Canadian divisions of those respective companies? I ask because I remember way back in the ’90s when Pearl Jam were boycotting all US TicketMaster venues, they still played TM-serviced venues up here and said that was because TicketMaster Canada was a separate entity from the US one they were protesting. Though it could/should have been pointed out that even if that were true from a corporate POV, they were still as asshat-acular as their Stateside counterparts when it came to price gouging and exorbitant service charges. And do you have to have bought tickets for a specific show to take part in the class action suit or can you just be generally irritated?

Sunday, February 1st, 2009

The Morning Benders covers The Cardigans and The Submarines

Photo via GiganticGiganticLet it never be said that NoCal’s Morning Benders are afraid of doing a cover version or two. Though they’d just released their second album Talking Through Tin Cans in May of last year, they still found the time to put together an album’s worth of covers a couple months later, which they released for free download as The Bedroom Covers (still available to grab!).

One of the selections on the compilation was “Lovefool”, the song which both acted as a worldwide breakout hit for Sweden’s Cardigans back in 1997 and lightly damned the band as a one-hit wonder to those who couldn’t perceive the deliciously dark undercurrent that ran through both that song and really, their entire oeuvre. And watching the two videos the band made for the song, I have to wonder if that would have happened had they released the rather sexy and very European version over here rather than the cutesy one with Nina Persson batting her ridiculously blue eyes? Persson will release her second album with A Camp, Colonia, in Europe this Monday and in North America on April 28.

And to mark the Morning Benders’ upcoming tour with The Submarines, which hits the Drake Hotel on February 15, the two acts have released a digital single of each band covering the other. The Morning Benders will also be releasing a new EP in Grain Of Salt on February 24 to coincide with the finale of the tour. OC Weekly has an interview with the band.

MP3: The Morning Benders – “Lovefool”
MP3: The Morning Benders – “1940”
MP3: The Submarines – “Waiting For A War”
Video: The Morning Benders – “Lovefool” (live)
Video: The Cardigans – “Lovefool” (European version)
Video: The Cardigans – “Lovefool” (North American version)
Video: The Submarines – “1940” (live)
MySpace: The Morning Benders

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Here Are Many Wild Animals

A Camp sets release date for Colonia

Photo via MySpaceMySpaceJust yesterday morning I was listening to The Cardigans’ wonderful and underappreciated Long Gone Before Daylight, and it occurred to me that I hadn’t heard any news about the new record from A Camp, Nina Persson’s solo project, in a while. Cue NME, who yesterday reported that said record – Colonia – will see the light of day on February 2 in the UK and Europe. Not sure if there’s a North American schedule on the books yet, though.

Don’t know if the background music at their website is any indication of the direction of the record, but there’s also a photo gallery of the band in the studio to whet one’s appetite. I had heard that they wouldn’t necessarily be continuing the vibe that made the now eight-year old (!) A Camp debut so delicious – Mark Linkous isn’t driving things this time – and while that’s sort of a shame, the fact that there’s a new record coming from Persson, Cardies or otherwise, is good news any way you look at it. Core collaborators on the record are Niclas Frisk and Persson’s husband/Shudder To Think guitarist Nathan Larson and there are guest spots from James Iha and Joan Wasser, amongst others. And the album cover looks like this. That’s all I got right now. So until there’s more, here’s a live Neil Young cover I posted a while back and the vids from the first album.

MP3: A Camp – “On The Beach” (live)
Video: A Camp – “I Can Buy You”
Video: A Camp – “Song For The Leftovers”
MySpace: A Camp

State interviews Lykke Li, set for a date at the Phoenix on February 6.

Following up on last year’s Guilt By Association covers compilation featuring the likes of Superchunk, Luna and The Concretes covering songs they deemed to be guilty pleasures, Pitchfork has details on the sequel. Volume two doesn’t have quite the star power of the first and its mandate is shifted slightly to encompass Top 40 pop from the ’80s through today (guilty pleasure or not), and as such you’ve got the likes of Frightened Rabbit, My Brightest Diamond and Matt Pond PA amongst the coverers and Toto, Billy Joel and Katy Perry amongst the coverees. Though the CD isn’t out until February 17 of next year, you can stream it below and it’s already available digitally from the likes of eMusic. A third volume is also already in the works. Check out the My Brightest Diamond contribution to the new comp, as well as the Journey cover by Petra Haden that opened volume one.

MP3: My Brightest Diamond – “Tainted Love”
MP3: Petra Haden – “Don’t Stop Believin'”
Stream: Guilt By Association 2
MySpace: Guilt By Association

Clash Q&As Frightened Rabbit frontman Scott Hutchison and Pitchfork reveals that the band has contributed a track to a compilation that accompanies Australian zine The Lifted Brow. And since said zine is far from cheap ($40!), don’t feel bad about downloading said track, also from the ‘Fork.

MP3: Frightened Rabbit – “Last Tango In Brooklyn”

Chart discusses Intimacy and mythology with Bloc Party’s Kele Okereke.

Drowned In Sound has posted part two of their interview with Okkervil River frontman Will Sheff.

Beach House have rolled out a new video. Just in time for Winter.

Video: Beach House – “Used To Be”

Prefix interviews The Rosebuds.

Blurt offers a short feature on Wolf Parade.

Creative Loafing talks to Brendan Canning of Broken Social Scene. They’re playing two nights at the Sound Academy on November 27 and 28.

Also now doing a two-fer at the former Docks is the Jingle Bell Rock tour featuring Metric, Tokyo Police Club, The Dears and Sebastien Grainger & The Mountains. There’s now a December 12 show to go along with the originally announced December 13 date.

Caribou has revealed what he did with his $20,000 in Polaris Prize winnings – part went to finance the next album and the rest went to charity. Next year, I think the money needs to go to someone seriously decadent. Artistic merit be damned, that money should be spent on hookers and blow.

Matthew Sweet talks pottery with Blurt.