What is Invisible Guy and how did we get here?

invisible guy logo

It’s been a great year for this blog and I can’t thank my readers enough. Since the start in the end of 2011, there’s been a constant surge and I believe I’ve put this blog on the map. To compare, this blog isn’t a journalistic blog at all, it’s a hobby or a zine if you’d stretch it that far. All this year, I’ve been working hard to keep up with everyone else and came up with my own material. There’s been a lot of in-depth interviews, reviews, promos and articles featured. Even though my project was meant to be and still is a hobby, I believe that I’ve outgrown my own shoes and I’m planning to do some new stuff in 2013. Some people have thought that this blog has many authors, but I’ll have to burst that bubble and tell you that I’m the sole writer behind all this material. Which means that I have put some real time and effort into this. I also think that I’m one of the only blogs that do track-by-track reviews, but I hope that someone will prove me wrong. The one thing I’ve been missing on Invisible Guy is the contact between me and the readers, which I hope that I can improve. Feel free to send me a mail. I’d like to thank every reader, associate, musician, blogger, friend and basically everyone that has supported me and kept me doing this for so many months. I promise you, there will be many more. Hope you have a Happy New Year and settle down with more great releases of this year, brought to you by Invisible Guy. A huge thank you to everyone.

Dream Affair – Aborted State

A somber combination of the best in post-punk, goth rock and dark wave. Scouring through the more traditional sphere of the music, picking up on the newer vibes, making it a delight to listen to. I only wish that it could’ve been a little bit longer and feature more tracks, but it certainly keeps you on the edge and reminds you of some great acts. This is the time for rock noir.

Momentform – Yearn

Blissful but moody dark wave, featuring some minimalistic synth-pop. Coming from the newly founded New Ideals label, this french act taught me well. It may not have reached the bottom, but it certainly hammered the lid and got it off in time. A sullen, yet emotional piece of music that make you waltz around in the middle of the night, as the rain is blaring on the window.

Suffer The Pain – The Last Massacre

Metallic punk, which will drive you nuts. Forcefully taking upon the mission of plaguing your ears, with some pretty decent co-operation between punk and metal. Even though it’s repetitive, I would say that I had a certain attraction to the record as a whole and I enjoyed it pretty much. It might not be a favorite, but it affected me in one way or another.

White Blush – S/T

Probably one of the more interesting genre-hopping this year. I’m not at all into pop, but this album changed the game for me. She walks in between genre, plucking stuff that seems to fit in and making it fit. Even though it was released not too long ago, I think it affected me in many ways. Amongst other things, Carol Ryu’s voice would be one of them. I suggest you check this out, because it’s a much bigger endeavor than pop.

Beyond Pink – Pride and Prejudice

One of the most powerful acts in the hardcore-scene as of today, at least when it comes to Sweden. This album has it all, it’s catchy, driven and they do hardcore the way it should be. Everything is in its place, the vicious momentum of the riffing and the drums make you want to go at it. The vocalists are also great, as almost everyone in the band sings at one point.

Night Sins – New Grave

Heavier post rock, blended with loads of other genres. A nostalgic piece that looks down the aisle and continue to walk down. Besides the lyrics, the baseline and the bonecrushing sound-scape, I also enjoy the delicate riffing that goes on in the songs. There’s really something about them that is fantastic, it also brings back glory to genres that should’ve been shelved a long time ago.

Rättens Krater – Den Stora Stöten

Some edgier stuff that haven’t been tried out for years. Reminds me of some good ole’ Onkel Kånkel, but with some new wave attachment, also add some dadaism. It’s really hard to place them anywhere, because they’re so straggly with their sound. However, one of the better releases this year and they deserve some recognition for that. Pretty original.

Barren Womb – On the Origin of Fæces

This is also some weird stuff. Country mixed with black-metal and noise-punk? Only Norwegians could think something like that up. But it works and they deliver their music with a strong hand and they’re something you should count on when browsing music online. Be sure to check them out.

Structural Disorder – A Prelude To Insanity

A fantastically skilled progressive metal band from Stockholm. Producing some of the finest quality metal to date and even though it’s an EP, I think they deserve a place here and hope you understand my situation. Looking forward to hear more material from this act in the future.

Institution – Domen Är Satt

Do I even need to say anything else? Fine Swedish hardcore blended with crust. I ended this year with a bang, as I did my last review. It is one of the best sounding hardcore albums from this year alone, with a little bit of competition from here and there, but they manage to stay alert and hold their ground. This is definitely something you should check out.

Övervarning – Mellan Rummen

I don’t really like dark ambient, so when I stumble upon an act that I like, I tend to like it a lot more. This dark ambient act from Sweden(?) surprised me a lot when I listened through it. As the sound galloped through my headphones, I couldn’t do anything but to immerse myself into the sound-scape. A notable success for someone that doesn’t like the genre.

E. E. Engström & The Twin Street Tree Trunk Love Ensemble – Loving Fog Fiends

Sweden needs some real dark jazz. At least a band with the ambition of being a little bit more eccentric and experimental, when it comes to the sound. It reminded me a lot of the great eras that have already passed, imagine yourself sitting down in a shady bar, somewhere in New York, with a whiskey being poured down in your glass, listening to this music.

Soundmeds – Hospital EP

Yeah, I know, it’s another EP. I changed the rules before the end of this year. One of the better acts within the rock-sphere. This is some ambient stuff, that will make your head turn around in a 360, waiting for the next doses of psychedelia, alternative rock and post-rock being served straight into your ears.

Notable mentions (albums/EPs/singles):

Nocturnal – Until the morning light

Dalaplan – Ta mig när jag faller

Paranoid – Hardcore Addict

V/A – Dimmorna Skingras Vol. 2

In Death It Ends – Forgotten Knowledge

Imiafan – Old School Surprise

Ekman – Kalla Rytmer Att Dansa Till I Ensamhet

V/A – The Peter Out Wave

Agent Attitude – Never-ending Mess

Thank you to everyone for making this blog what it is. I couldn’t have done it without you. Hopefully my work here has paid off and I hope that you’ll check it out in 2013 as well. Let’s hope that this year ends with a bang and that I get on track as quickly as possible, so I can supply you with more interesting reviews and in-depth interviews. I would also like to do a shout-out to Jesper Bjerke also, who made the logo and the design for this blog. Thank you for everything this year and let’s hope that you have a Happy New Year!

Recension: Institution – Domen Är Satt 12¨

Institution_-_Domen_Är_SattHänsynslös och rättfram hardcore, fast i känggyttjan, inom den hårda skolans hardcore. Där A-sidan får briljera med sitt första kort, nämligen den antemiska låten “Domen Är Satt“, som även är titelspåret. När den med gnisslande ånga tågar sig in i rummet, tillsammans med alla svart-vita figurer och ställer sig demonstrativt, för att rikta fingret i ens riktning. Sedan brakar helvetet lös. Man skulle kunna påstå att de med denna låt förbereder sig för att tillkalla en storm, där de möjligtvis inte anar att de själva är hardcorestormen. Trummorna är perfekta, det långsamma tempot i början som sedan låter sig hoppa på det snabbare hardcoretåget, bevisar sig självt genom en kraftdemonstration. Där riffen givetvis svingar sig själva till höger och vänster, genom kängträsket och vidare. Tempot blir snabbare och snabbare för var gång den tar en till runda, likt ett forskningsexperiment, där man vill ta reda på hur snabb hardcore kan te sig. Även fastän de på samma sätt inte offrar hela sin arsenal på att spela snabbt utan även är eftertänksamma och sänker sig djupare in i skicklighet, tillsammans med ett jävlar anamma av sällan skådad magnitud. Nu låter vi en passage i lyrikerna tala för sig själva: “perfektionism är målet, ingen når det“.

Introduktionen som kommer till låten “Falskspel” känns som en påbyggnad av föregående låt, fast med en helt annan framtoning. Men där den långsammare formen fortfarande inte har spelat ut sin roll utan mycket riktigt återvänder i sin fulla glans. De snabba riffen, som emellanåt “chuggar” sig framåt, levererar en tyngd och ett hopp om en ännu mer ambitiös låt. Nog för att löftet infrias med råge, så att man får stå där med gapande mun och vevande näve utan att riktigt förstå att man blivit överbevisad, gång på gång. Det finns ett flyt där av sällan skådat slag, en slags harmoni mellan instrumenten och en extremt energisk sångare som släpper loss sina djävulshundar gång på gång, endast för att fylla i med något som är viktigt, det vill säga: sång (eller skrik, i detta fallet).

Nästkommande låtKrossar dig” lever upp till sitt namn. Innehar lite sväng av den gamla skolans hardcore, som man med uppskattning följer med näven när det behövs, innan det försvunnit in i en total kängdimma. Däremot är hardcoreinfluenserna mer synliga här än någon annanstans, som mer än allt påminner om den mer rytmiska och melodiska skolan av hardcore än något annat. Där lyrikerna ställs till sin spets och levererar en oumbärlig sveda vid namn: “vill bort, men inte – fasaden rämnar“. Ett hyfsat starkt uppåtgående spiral, som sedan letar sig neråt, i skitigare sound och med än mer energiska utsvävelser. När allting kommer omkring, så levereras det till höger och vänster. Med lika mycket styrka bakom riffen som med trummorna, när esset i rockärmen visar sig vara fler än ett och att Institution kastar ut alla på bordet och förtäljer hur det är. Nu är det såhär, därför får ni hänga med och om man får göra det är odiskutabelt, för det får man.

Om man inte trodde att de kunde släppa loss ännu mer, så hade ni fel. När de skruvat loss muttrarna och kört igång låten “Kaos” så är det likt ett veritabelt helvete. Nej, det är inte flammor som letar sig uppåt genom springorna, det är en total köld. Helvetet har frusit till is och det enda sättet de kan förmedla denna känsla, är genom att ta sig igenom lager efter lager av stenhårda iskristaller. Man kan sammanfatta de i ett enda ord, med hjälp av de lyriker som låten förmedlar till en: “fasaden rämnar“. Här finns den energiska hardcorenerven från svunna tider, som letat sig in genom nyare band och till slut fäst sig själv vid Institution. Inte för inte så har de skapat en helt ny grej, trots att de hade kunnat ta del av sina tidigare meritlista och plocka därifrån. Men det som inte görs, kommer aldrig att göras. Därför känns det som att de är måna om att skapa något från grunden, för att bygga vidare på det. Med riff som gör rundsparkar i ren frustration, en lyrikmässig touch som tar det tillbaka till det normala tillståndet och en attityd som förskjuter gränser ännu längre bort.

Har man inte tappat sina ord än, så får de bli upplockade och utvidgade. Med låten “Ratad” så tas ännu en gång situationen till en ny gräns. De leker mellan det “förbjudna” och det “tillåtna”, samtidigt som de ritar linjer bäst de vill utemot gränsen som är definierad av någon annan. Skandinavien behöver detta och de har bevisat det om och om igen, men när orden tar slut så måste saker och ting beskrivas ånyo. Här finns det en potential som kan utvinnas, som utvinns och sedemera börjar växa av sig självt. Utifrån detta, kan man endast hoppas att Institution levererar och de gör de – gång på gång. Så här står jag, återigen, som en ordlös pajas mot en attack av sällan skådat slag. Där allting spottas åt mitt håll och skall beskrivas, dissikeras och analyseras. När man väl har kramp i ena näven, i ena armen och i hela kroppen så levereras ett textstycke. Man trycker i förtvivlan på knapparna, men det enda som hörs är skallgången av Institution och dess hantlangare, som levererar den tyngd på trummor som krävs och det någorlunda rytmiska känganfallet som snarast annihilierar allting i sin väg.

Varför är det så, att man alltid på slutet, ska tappa andan? Har man lyckats ta sig igenom detta, kodus, det är precis så det ska vara. Med den sista låten på A-sidan, vid namn “Utstängd“, så fortsätter de att rocka loss med en hardcorenäve i ena handen, samt en kängnäve som får hålla i den krampande armen. När man väl närmar sig slutet så känner man en suck av lättnad, men samtidigt inser man att de har gett så mycket av den uttömmande kraft de kan ge, så hur sjutton skulle de kunna köra vidare? Det finns inga ord. Låten innehar samma sväng som de andra, den är måhända stöpt i en repetetiv form, men i just den form man tycker om och gillar. Själva ljudbilden förändrar sig konstant och är inte densamma låt för låt, så med denna låten eskalerar det åt rätt håll, men samtidigt håller de sig tillbaka. A-sidan är ett guldmynt som är värt mycket mer än vad det ser ut på utsidan och vad man tolkar i förstahand. Med tanke på att de har gjort mig ordlös och textlös, så måste jag ge en elogé till dem. De har satt alla pinnar rätt och kammar hem allting, det är bara så det är och då har jag ändå inte tagit mig igenom allt. Måhända att det inte är tillfredsställande nog att sitta igenom en hel runda, men hellre för mycket än för lite. Ingenting tar slut, allting tar vid. Det här var slutet på A-sidan.

Första låten på B-sidan, “Helvete På Jorden“, är den preliminära gränsen för hopplöshet och meningslös upprepning, rent lyrikmässigt. När ljudbilden uppenbarar sig är det som om någon sticker en nål i bubblan och låter allting rinna ur, snabbare än någonsin. Konventionerna ignoreras, riffen är snabba och hardcoredominansen är satt i sten. När det kommer till lyrikerna så påminner det mig om en tidigare Totalitär med briljansen av Svart Snö, om än hårdare, som sätter parametrarna för hur apatin kan slå hårdare än en näve. Trots jämförelserna är detta något nyare, om än fast i hjulspåren. Det känns som att udden som riktas mot en är ilsken och ständigt närvarande, där fokusen ligger på snabba och korta, men repetiva riff, fastkörda i myllan. Fast det känns som om det är syftet och det är gott nog. Så den som vill hytta med näven kommer inte få nog, allting är på sin plats och det är bara att köra på. Trumpinnarna flyger till höger och vänster, Poffens undergångsskrik ljuder i sin fulla glans, även i sekunder och minuter efter att låten är slut. Det fastnar på hjärnhinnan.

Uppföljande låtHat” kan man nog allt känna igen sig i. Särskilt när man lever sig in i rollen enligt lyrikerna: “jag hatar dig och din sort“. Så rättframt och ärligt det kan bli, utan påklädnad och masker. De snabba trummorna och riffen gör livet kort med låten i helhet, särskilt med hjälp utav det hårda upplägget. Som om någon skulle banka i en musiken och lyrikerna i ett, för att få en att förstå vart de kommer ifrån. Likt en ödeläggande brand sprider sig flammorna snabbt och allting är i en ilande takt. Även om man vid vissa tillfällen knappt kan höra basen, så lägger den en särskild tyngt till ljudlandskapet, då frekvensen av den spelar en ett spratt och hoppar runt likt en gräshoppa mellan trummorna och gitarrerna, samt Poffens otroligt vilda skrik. I denna låt så känns det som om Hårda Tider dyker upp lite, om än att de kommer insmygandes bakvägen och lägger sig platta på golvet. Inte för inte så har bägge konstellationer ett väldigt hårt sound, fast visar detta på olika sätt. Måhända är det influenserna som tidigare konstellationer haft på ovanstående band, som får en att tänka i dessa banor.

När man väl suttit igenom föregående låt, ploppar nästkommande upp på ett särdeles perfekt vis. Låten “Dårarnas Paradis” är givetvis mer än namnet, men symboliken som dyker upp i skallen är tillfredsställande. En verbal hårdsmälta som läcker ut och drabbar alla och envar, som sätter sig fast i kläderna och som kommer igen för att ge en musikalisk uppläxning värd namnet. Desperationen fortsätter, drypande apati och glödgande hat är det som strömmar igenom högtalarna och får de nästan att studsa bakåt på grund av att volymen är upphöjd till (nästan) max. Den rungande känslan av gammal hederlig hardcoredänga som förtjänar sitt namn, går igen genom hela låten. Kvalitén är utmärkt och vaxet spinner likt en katt som fått för sig att sträcka upp kängtassen och veva med. Även om lyrikerna är “back-to-basic” så är de likväl starka i hur de levereras och hur de efterlevs i ljudlandskapet, känslorna de framkallar går inte att beskriva. Den lommande likgiltigheten, det apatiska hatet och den totala uppgivenheten – sprider sig likt ett muterat virus.

Hur länge det än pågår, så finns där alltid ytterligare en låt. När man tycker att man precis satt sig ned, så är man helt plötsligt vid låten “Svart/Vitt“. Flytet som Institution har är osannolikt, på många sätt och vis. Istället för att man tar det som en “vanlig d-beat”-dänga är det en kraft att räkna med. De har något särskilt, som man inte kan sätta fingret på. Att på två sätt lyckas producera både kraft och flyt, det är få förunnat. När man väl sitter här så önskar man och längtar efter mer, så riffen som läggs fram här på en liten tallrik, räcker gott och väl. Hittills är det en av de mest svängande låtarna som jag lyssnat till på det här släppet, men det är svårt att bedöma då allting är rätt svängigt. Däremot så tycker jag att riffen är utmärkta, trummorna dansar på likt aldrig förr och Poffens skrik har ännu inte tagits ur bild. Allting känns relevant, lyrikerna känns ännu mer relevanta och särskilt detta stycket: “allt är komplicerat, svart/vitt är lättare“. Ibland är det svårt att säga, men det finns givetvis en igenkännande faktor här, som många inte vill veta vid. Institutionen drar fram det ur mörkret, säger som det är och nyper dig i armen – det här är den karga, hårda men brutala verkligheten.

Nu ligger man på golvet, iakttar hur den svarta vinylskivan snurrar runt, trycker ihop hörluarna ytterligare och får höra låten “Omänskligt“. Av någon anledning så verkar det som att följetången är någorlunda intakt, det melodiska i riffen ökar och hårdheten ligger vilande likt en pågående storm – någon annanstans. När man lyssnar noga, så verkar det som att spiralen är återkommande, att man går längre ner i gyttjan för varje låt som kommer. Man dansar med lite oförsiktigt med sina ben, till den milda grad att man välter ner något. Någonstans påminner jag mig själv om hur det hade varit om Institution spelades på radion, när alla hade en radio, istället för Beatles. Då tror jag att mycket hade varit annorlunda, mycket hade också varit mer käng och d-beat. Fast i sin tur ännu bättre än vad som erbjuds. Återigen överbevisar de sig själva, när de trycker in rader i refrängen som: “alla för en själv, resten får klara sig själv“. Detta vill jag höra sändas från en piratradio, någonstans precis utanför Sverige. Där kan den fiktiva karaktären Dr. D-Beat (namnet är säkert redan taget) lägga på vax allt eftersom och påminna oss om d-beat och käng utöver det vanliga. Här finns det saker kvar att hämta och det finns sannerligen en ådra som går igen. Däremot är den föränderlig och introducerar en till skicklighetens domäner, för att sedan förvisa en till apati – återigen, en skrämmande bra låt med allt som hör till.

Mitt i allting så kommer låten “Visiterad” in och gör en påmind. Efter att ha diggat, med både fötter och händer samt huvud, så börjar tröttheten välkomna sig själv. Raderna i denna är nog rent lyrikmässigt de intressantaste, man förstår vad det handlar om och det är rakt i ens ansikte. En särskild rad som gör sig påmind är denna: “betydelselösa detaljer, bygger en bro av luft“. Som blir uppburna av det som skulle kunna klassas som en frälsning för hardcorentusiasten och en sammanbundenhet mellan käng och hardcore. Även om det känns hårt, så måste det sägas i ren trötthet att trots att man är slutkörd, så är man nöjd. Det finns ett inneboende nöje, samtidigt som man gått igenom allt från apati, hat, likgiltighet och den serien mörkare känslor. Hela registret har fått en att bli tröttare, så detta skulle även kunna kallas för en vaggvisa för den envise hardcorenäven. Åtminstone när man tagit sig så långt och det smattrande ljudlandskapet levererar gång, på gång, på gång. Nu är nästan allting förseglat och redo att köra igång igen, frågan är vem som hoppar på, för det gör nog alla utan någon eftertanke överhuvudtaget. Lockad av hardcore.

Vad är då mer passande, än en låt som sträcker sig långt den med? Jo, nu är det “Vill Bort” som är på menyn. Trots att det rakt igenom är en slags fäktning mellan känginfluenserna och de renodlade hardcoreinfluenserna, så enas de på olika sidor av planhalvorna, för att dyka in likt en blixt från ovan och leverera det bästa av två världar. Hela tiden när man lyssnar på det, så ögnar man igenom lyrikerna, som är en stor del av behållningen med detta nya band. Likt ett facit om man inte hängde med i den musikaliska råheten, som svart på vitt eller som de själva yttrar sig via Poffen: “banaliserad skit, allt är förbi“. Allt emellan hårdare riff, längre (någorlunda) melodiska passager och trummor som skenar iväg likt ett tåg som är på helt fel spår. Men skillnaden är, de är på rätt spår och det märks allt eftersom. När orden tynar bort och man greppar efter grässtrån, som inte finns kvar, blir ljudlandskapet desto brutalare och den avslutar B-sidan med bravur. Nu är plattan slut och det har varit ett äventyr som heter duga. Detta är något man bör införskaffa och skulle nog kunna sålla sig till en av de bästa hardcoreplattorna i år. Så nu är resten i gott sällskap och bra är väl det, för det behövs mer av denna kalibern. Tusen tack.

Peoples take on Invisible Guy and why they think it’s a good blog!

Since I want to keep a good line of contact in between me, the musicians I am in association with when reviewing, the people that I interview – I decided that it was time for their opinion of my blog. After all, I think it’s important to get other peoples thoughts about your blog and why it is sufficient. Which makes me even more productive. So I sent out a couple of mails and invited people to write some things about what they think is good about this blog. I can also tell you why I didn’t ask for constructive criticism, it’s because I’ve gotten some criticism, so I know what needs to be improved. I’ve also got a lot of thoughts myself that I will elaborate on before this year ends. I would like to thank everyone that participated in commenting on what makes my blog good. Thank you, people. Also, don’t worry, I will reach out to my readers also in an article that I’m writing which will be published on the 31st of December.

Invisible Guy is thoughtful, far reaching and meticulous in his reviews. Rather than wasting time with a rating system, he shares the emotions and experiences invoked in listening to the music.

Pleasure Curses

Invisible Guy…. where to begin? The ‘long-form’ in-depth music blog is a rare thing. Even rarer is a new music discovery blog that takes its time to delve deeply into a few unheralded artists and labels from around the world. Unlike the majority of new music discovery blogs where it’s a quick song link, video and a few words, Invisible Guy takes time to get inside the minds of the musicians. His interview questions are thoughtful and disarming and so can gain insights that even his interviewees may not have thought of before. I enjoy reading posts on Invisible Guy.  It is interesting finding out about the people behind a range of music from around the world most of us would never hear about otherwise.  All the best for doing more of this in 2013 Invisible Guy!

Ian Henderson, Fishrider Records – Dunedin, New Zealand

Musikbloggen av Invisible Guy har under det gångna året gått från anonymitet till ett av landets främsta vad gäller musikens gömda skatter. Och det med bitsk nyfikenhet liksom stort egenintresse för skrivande som hantverk.

Richard Ingemann, Mosher.se

Jag gillar produktivitet när det kommer till bloggar, och om produktiviteten samtidigt leder till kvalitet och att jag upptäcker nya saker när det kommer till musik så kan man vara säker på att jag är helnöjd efter att meningarna har nått sitt slutgiltiga mål. Invisible Guy är en blogg som jag har hållit ögonen på sedan jag först upptäckte den, då den uppfyller just dessa små men höga krav. Bra material, ständiga uppdateringar och framför allt en hel del nya saker som ingen annan i Sverige skriver om. En intressant och beundransvärd detalj är när skribenten Invisible Guy i sina recensioner går igenom låt för låt, vilket är ett arbete som inte många recensenter där ute skulle vilja ge sig in på. För läsarna kanske det inte verkar vara en så stor sak, men tro mig det tar tid att bara skriva en vettig recension och du sedan bara beskriver 4-5 låtar. Att beskriva varje låt plus ett albums/EP:s helhet är med andra ord ett mastodontarbete som gör att Invisible Guy sticker ut ordentligt, vilket även gäller när han ger sig in på både podcasts och intervjuer.

Lukinzine

I didn’t know about the blog until I saw their review for my band’s recent single (Luxury Stranger’s ‘Nothing Holy’ / ‘Ripple’). I’ve dropped in every once in a while since then to see what’s what and all that jazz. My thoughts are that it’s a very honest blog – not contrived. Also what I like about the blog is that it is doing some great work for independent music – for example, the review of our single was the first I read for the single and I feel it helped us to achieve the success we’ve had with the single (the single entered the European Alternative Music singles chart at #4 in week 51!) and I really do believe that the Invisible Guy blog helped that to happen. Great work and great support for good things! Keep up the good work and thank you for everything!

Simon York, Luxury Stranger

The moment you start to check out the many in-depth posts on this page, you realize that The Invisible Guy is serious about what he is doing. Super well prepared articles show what the artists are about and what their intentions behind the music are. It takes time and dedication to keep this up and I’m very proud to be featured on here. All the best for 2013.

Jogging House

If anyone else wants to contribute, you’re free to do so. I just sent out some mails to people and asked people the question: “What do YOU think is good about Invisible Guy?“. You can contribute with your feelings, thoughts and everything in between, by sending me a mail (like the ones above) over here: psyborg[at]countermail[dot]com

Interview with James from Plunder The Tombs!

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Plunder The Tombs is a blog ran by the Australian gentleman James. It features in-depth writings about everything from goth to death rock, which means everything that could fit into that category or be related. His blog is an investigation into the heart of what goth rock was, as he proceeds to sift through every great release there ever was. With his expertise within the genre as a lodestar for his writings. He’s been involved with everything you could imagine, being a DJ since the 90’s in the Perth area of Australia, playing in clubs such as The Cell and Dominion, which were largely goth-themed clubs. He also helped found the 6RTR FM’s goth & industrial showcased called Darkwings. His blog also largely revolves around the first wave of gothic, which would be the years from 1979 to 1988. It is also a blog that I’ve followed or stumbled upon when browsing the internet, so I decided to interview him about everything from the first wave of goth rock, to the definition of goth rock and everything you’d ever want to know about that particular genre and the blog Plunder The Tombs. Hope you enjoy your stay and may The Sisters Of Mercy be with you.

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Review: White Blush – S/T

3645117286-1A newly conjured and dreamy landscape with dark pop. With the first song “True Luv” Carol Ryu expands the thoughtfulness of catchy pop-tunes, to be something more than just fluffy dreams and fantasies. This melancholic piece of coated pop is more than someone could handle, reminding me of a Ladytron mixed up with Crystal Castles with a pinch of Cocteau Twins. Her soft-spoken and gentle voice is a stark reminder of the contrast between the sound-scape and herself, putting it at a distance between them both and a cutting point only a needle could pinch through. Even though they’re remote, they’re close to each other. On the other hand, the dreaminess of the sound-scape and the sharp edges mildly resemble a nightmare with a light in the end of the tunnel. Not really an apocalyptic scenario, but by far something sinister. It might be a little bit minimalistic at heart, but it holds a greater width inside. Where the more ambient and dreamy pop surge throughout the body of the peculiar (yet not unreasonable) mixture.

Furthermore, the next song titled “Mirror” might just be the antithesis of the first song. Where the softer and more dreamy elements have been put in the foreground, with an electronic arpeggio running straight through it. The reverb used on Carol Ryu‘s voice also clings through the sound-scape with the percussion, which gives the listener a gloomy feeling, and a lush one too. Even though the voice might be a little bit too much beneath the surface and the instrumentation a bit louder, the general lyrical content is as fitting as ever. It feels as if it’s something you should try to decrypt, as if it leaves a message cut into pieces, for you to pluck together and make something out of. All the sublime elements of this song make it special and drive everything creative out, just to insert it in different parts of the song. Sometimes the more quirky synths can be a little too much, but everything else is on point. There’s a lot of things that are great about this songs and some that could be improved, like removing the weird “8-bit” synth in the garbage can, together with all its screeching.

Whilst the next song “Jolene” takes on a more ballad-oriented and genuine nostalgic pop-sound, the percussion is still doing its job. Definitely one of the strongest cards yet, as the melodies and the rhythms all entwine and create a bombastic yet dreamy sound-scape, almost bordering to ambient. The lushness of her voice is almost indescribable, but trying to describe it would be like opening your finest bottle of champagne and taking a sip from it. Then resting in your chair in front of an open fire. A luxurious endeavor not meant to be exposed for us less fortunate. But yet, inviting us in with a smile on the face and giving us high-quality art. As I’ve said in earlier reviews, there’s something about a girl’s name being the title of a song, it almost always turns out to be one of the stronger songs on those albums. Also, the mix of down-tempo and somewhat up-tempo electronica, makes for a wonderful mix that can keep rolling for all I care.

Every album also needs an intermission song, which “Wait” is a symptom of. Nothing bad with that, I enjoy a little bit of rest before punching the alarm clock and moving on. Here, it’s also noticeable how a strong yet lush voice can give a sound-scape that extra feeling of grandeur. It’s like an instrument in its own way, of course and if you a little bit of watery reverb on it, there’s something going to come out of it. The result is very much a lo-fi, down-tempo and angelic experience nobody should be without. Like sitting in an empty church by yourself, hearing the wonderful voice of someone who can hold it out long enough for it to be strong. Filling up the space with a lot of wonderfully interpretative motions in and of sound. The stripped down sound is minimalistic and enthralling enough to put it on once again, just to enjoy the wonderful sound of a singer’s voice that is on par with the sound itself.

But here, something changes. With the next song titled “808 Myst“, the chilling effects of a darkwave-oriented pop mystery unleashes its thorns. The sound is very much a confusing and bedazzling one, which keeps itself in your mind, yet reminds you awfully a lot of white noise. There’s something for everybody to fetch here. Sheer ambiance, scary darkwave or mysteriously harsh melancholy. Almost gaining a little bit more confidence to call itself dark ambient. At times, the swooping yet steady sound is crushing the inside of your skull, while releasing enough pressure to keep you listening to it. There’s always some pressure in this song, which quenches the thirst to hear it once more. Its notion is also radically different from anything I’ve heard on this album, which is a little bit confusing, but maybe not surprising. Because there’s certainly a darker vein to some of the songs, which just happened to escalate into something beyond the pop notion that it has been involved with throughout.

Which makes us delve into the last track on the album. It’s titled “Juice of My Heart” and contains the same elements as the aforementioned song. Instead of reminding me of some dark ambient mixed with crushing power electronics/darkwave, or something in that manner, it reminds me of some heartfelt movie soundtrack of the 80’s. The pulsating percussion, the lo-fi sounding elegance and the glamorous environment it revolves around. If someone would’ve told me anything about it, I would’ve picked a movie like Top Gun for it to be in. Even though it might not be as bombastic or in-your-face as Berlin’s song, it might actually have been featured in anyone of those movies if it had came out in those days. I think this album is great and also one of the reasons I wouldn’t shy away from the dream-pop genre. It’s got all the necessary things to keep it afloat, and it actually brings something more to the table than reverb-drenched nonsense being spewed out together with boring electronica. You should listen it through and make up your own mind, but I would like to recommend it.

THRAW – Signs with Metal Tank Records

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THRAW, the Slovenian thrash metal machine released the first single from their upcoming full-length album scheduled for release in 2013 on Metal Tank Records. The song entitled “Doomsday Code” can be heard exclusively by visiting ROAD RAYGE or on Metal Tank Record’s official SoundCloud profile down below. More information can be obtained by visiting Metal Tank Records.

Interview with Agent Attitude! (English Version)

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Agent Attitude is a hardcore band that comes directly from Uppsala and started in 2010. The band consists of five guys that wanted to start a band, but without the rules that many bands live after. In short: real hardcore punk, played in the way it’s supposed to be played. Since 2010 they’ve  recorded one demo and two EPs, toured in Europe plus in Sweden and they’ve made themselves a name both internationally and inside the Swedish hardcore scene. In the year 2013 they’ll be releasing their first full-length album and herein comes a foretaste, but also aftertaste to what they’ve accomplished so far, who they are and what they’re aiming at. Invisible Guy interviewed Jacob, which is the lead singer of this band. Have in mind that this interview was conducted some months ago.

Who are the people behind Agent Attitude, when did you start the band and how did you come in contact with hardcore for the first time?

– Agent Attitude is me, Jojje, Victor, Lars and Sven. We’re all from the Uppsala-area. We have one future librarian, a programmer, an construction-worker, a music-nerd and one sceneworker in the band. I came in contact with hardcore by my brother who played drums in a local punk-band. When they started to play abroad, I went with them and got into it more and more. I was about ten years old or something when I got into it for real. After that, I began  to attend more and more local gigs and there I met Jojje and Sven that played in other bands at that time. Me and Lars are childhood friends and played together in Pointless Youth for seven years. I met Victor in higschool and he had a Ramones t-shirt on him so we bonded straight away.

What does UAHC (Uppsala Hardcore) mean for you, what separates that scene from the other ones in the country and how long have you been a part of it?

– Besides a cool letter-combination, it’s basically our lifestyle. I’ve got to know loads of people through UAHC and friends that I’m mostly hanging around with and gotten friends for life. We put up gigs together and support one another. The thing that separates UAHC from other scenes in Sweden is probably mainly the attitude. Many people in Uppsala are crazy, for real. When you go to gigs in Uppsala you’re sometimes scared as fuck. There’s much blood and punches in the face and stuff like that here. We’re not afraid to say what we think and we don’t follow all these trends that come and go.

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I know that you write songs about both hate and love – but what’s the strongest one right now? Specifically, where does the inspiration comes from?

– I don’t really know, maybe I should. But I write about what I feel is relevant for myself. There’s so much to be pissed off about and that’s something everyone should agree about and then it easily becomes something you write about. But we’ve got songs like Never-Ending Mess which is a tribute-song to UAHC also. We’re not exactly a positive hardcore-band. The inspiration comes from everything. I almost exclusively write about my own experiences. Things I’ve been through. It only feels wrong for me to write about this “normal” stuff (I have no example, unfortunately) just because that’s how its supposed to be. I’m not exactly a great writer, but my song-texts become much better if I can believe in them, which I believe many bands forget about at times.

Since you started out you’ve been getting a rumor about yourselves of being really good. I’ve almost exclusively gotten to hear about Agent Attitude, but what do you think about it yourselves? Is it justified?

– Haha, tough question. Of course you like your own band, otherwise it would be boring to travel around, playing your  bad songs all the time. We’re very serious with the band. We rehearse three times a week, book gigs all the time, write new songs et cetera. That was the whole purpose from the beginning, to be serious and not to sleep on it. We’ve played in many bands before that were the exact opposite, where there isn’t happening anything. But it’s actually much more fun to do what you think is pleasant, all the time. It’s fucking great that people have been stoked about it since the start.

But people should go and see us today. We’re better now.

In what way would you say that you complement each other in the band and who does what?

– Everyone’s in on it. But I’d have to say that I do most of the work. I like to tinker with everything, from writing songs to booking tours. But sometimes I force the others to help out. The music is starting to get written, more and more, by everyone in the band. Very often, someone in the band just comes up with a riff, so we put the song together with everyone in place joining in to finish it. We sort of like the same music so everything flows on great almost every time. Everyone in the band are good at drawing the line, which is important to us. Otherwise we’d be sounding like Metallica or something now if we’d allow ourselves to wing out. It can actually be purely retarded ideas that we can imagine ourselves doing at times, but there’s always someone saying; no, this is the world’s lousiest idea.

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What do you think about Uppsala when it comes to hardcore and how is it on the bandfront? How was it before and how is the shape of it now?

In Uppsala we’ve got Undergång, Bad Review, Diskonto, Obnoxious Youth, Always War etc. We’ve got a lot of very good bands, considering the size of the city. Before my time, there were a lot of crustbands and such too. If you compare with Stockholm, which almost doesn’t have any good hardcorebands, makes it pretty cool. We have a small but active scene in Uppsala today. It’s a pity that there are not enough gigs there, maybe. People like to play in their own bands instead of putting up gigs here, which isn’t negative at heart, but it would be great if there were more gigs. But we’ve actually got a new place underway over here that we’re hoping to get started, featuring more gigs. So we’ll have to see about that.

But I think when we’re talking about bands is that Uppsala is fucking great. Both in quantity and quality.

You’ve also got a blog that you haven’t updated or deleted the posts on, how will it be used in the future and what happened with it?

– Well, it was some kind of impulse thing that we thought of updating when we were on tour. But we realized that it’s funnier to do stuff instead of sitting by a computer and writing about it when you’re on tour. I don’t really know what’s happened to it right now, or if it even exists. We’ll see if anyone in the band will take the task of writing every once in a while.

You put up your first demo for free, how was it received and what did you think about it yourself?

– It was fucking well-received! We wrote the songs on some week and recorded it in a couple of hours in our rehersal room, so we had no expectations at all. So it was fucking cool to see that people liked it for real. Even though it felt more like an EP than a demo, directly when we received it and it turned out as an EP later on. Very primitive songs. I like it myself a lot, especially when playing the songs live.

Some time after this you also had two songs featured on the compilation SHITFUN #1 with other Uppsala-bands, could you tell me more about the two songs and how did the record turn out?

– Yeah, it’s ”Can’t stand to stick around” and ”Change your ways” from the already mentioned self-titled EP. It’s those two songs that people often recognize. I don’t remember if they were written as one song or two, but it certainly turned out as two songs bonded together. At that time most of the songs didn’t have any certain deeper meaning. For example, Can’t stand to stick around, is about hanging out with people you don’t like which could result in a bad atmosphere. Which in turn would make you want to run away, haha. Not that I write deep lyrics now, but they could at least be slightly deliberate.

I only released SHITFUN #1 on CD-R and it was just a thing we did to promote UAHC-bands. We sold it for, like, 20 SEK or gave it away for free. It was only printed in 100 copies or something like that, but I’m afraid I don’t have it in my belonging anymore and I’ve barely heard anything about it after the release.

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It seems like you’ve been very active since you started out, where do you find all your energy and how is it that you’re so inexhaustible?

– As long as you like what you’re doing, you could be going for as long as you’d like. I don’t really have a good answer for that question really. We’ll be carrying on as long as we like doing it. I’ve said earlier that we’ve always tried to be as serious as possible about it and it’s the same thing here. We’re not even thinking about going at half-speed when we can do everything to 110%. There’s no reason not to do things, I think.

I read in an interview that you’ve been arrested by the cops in Poland and that there’s been severeal incidents when you’ve been out touring, is this what usually happens when Agent Attitude is in town?

– Haha, it sounds worse than it actually was. We were at an afterparty in a tattoo-studio in Krakow and were about to go out on a pub or something. We were a bit loud, I think and I drank a beer on the way there, which the cops didn’t like. But we managed to bribe them so everything went smooth. We’ve actually been pretty spared from cops and trouble on tour, it’s pretty weird since we like to act like you shouldn’t be acting. I think we got away with the fact that we’re: “crazy Swedes, they’ll leave tomorrow” so people can stand us for the day, at least.

But at times you can be a little bit frightened when hanging around with the idiots of this band, haha. I myself am one of them so nothing harsh meant about it. We like to have fun.

Of pure interest I wonder what internal-jokes you throw around? I’ve heard that you’re quite good at that part too?

– Well, it’s really not funny jokes if you’re not there when it’s happening. It’s mostly our guitarist Lars that like to hold forth. There where some people that asked us on our latest europa-tour: “what’s the name of the funniest guy in agent attitude”, and the answer was of course: Lars. We also got to know, in Serbia, that his name means bad ass there. So then it became like: “Bad ass, the funniest guy in AA”. Many inconvenient jokes can emerge.

We listen to a lot of nonsense-music when we’re out touring, too.

If we’re to talk a little bit more about your records as you have so far released “Never-ending mess” and a self-titled seven-inch last year – could you tell me about how you proceeded in the studio before both of the records?

– As I said, the first self-titled seven-inch only sook some hours to record. We recorded it live, every instrument at the same time and added some solos and the song afterwards. The other seven-inch took a little bit longer to make, we took some time for us for some reason. We were there in a months time, maybe four to five days or such, recording. I thought it was a painful process, I would’ve rather been there constantly for five days and had it done all in one time, otherwise you get off in between the recording sessions. In those sessions the bass, drums and guitar were recorded at the same time. We put on the song, solos and things like that afterwards. But it was fun like hell to have guests in the studio that were widespread on the record. Johannes from Dr Living Dead and Undergång, Affe Piran from Undergång, Obnoxious Youth and Joel Håkansson from Pointless Youth where there, guesting.

There’s also a lot of coffee, hamburgers and beer so you can put up with it.

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You’ve also gigged on Stockholm Straight Edge, what does Straight Edge mean to you and do you live that lifestyle?

– No, no one of us is straight edge. Straight edge, to me, is like Minor Threat and I love Minor Threat (who deosn’t?). But because I’ve never occupied myself with things like that, I can’t express any thoughts in that matter. People can do whatever they want for my part, I’m not going to judge anyone. Straight-edge people in general usually, at times, have a tendency to do stuff and be dedicated from what I understand. I fucking like that a lot. I’ve got a difficulty for people that don’t want to do anything at all, sit-at-home-not-doing-shit people aren’t the ones I often hang around. They’re pretty uninteresting. Drunk or sober doesn’t really matter if you’re nice.

There have been a lot of tours on your part, how many have you been on so far and which of these have been the craziest? What cities did you visit and when did these tours take place?

– We’ve been on two big tours in Europe and then had some smaller ones in Sweden. The latest Europe-tour was definitely the craziest, so much ruthlessness and cool gigs. It was so fucking cool, and that tour was in June this year and the first one was in June last year. Studies and jobs have held us back from touring even more, but now we’re apart from that and we’re going to try to do more stuff. We’ve almost played in every major city in Sweden that put up gigs. Even though we want to play everywhere, so some cities are probably remaining. We’ve been a lot in the west and east of Europe, but it’s been too many cities to count it out. On the latest tour almost every gigs were the best we’ve done, but it was often because we went on to another city and told ourselves that: “yesterday probably was the funniest gig we’ve ever had”, which is a pretty cool feeling.

We’re going to try to tour in more places, we’ve been talking about the US, Indonesia and Australia. I’d really like to get over to the states and start touring!

I’ve also read that you were torn to shreds by Swedenmetal.se, what do you think about that specifically and have you  learned to handle real chords yet? Haha.

– That joke of a journalist probably haven’t heard a real rock-song in his entire life. However, it was amongst one of the funniest things I’ve read. He thought that I looked like a tiger in a cage, is that supposed to be bad, or? And he wrote that we couldn’t play real chords, we play power-chords, and yes, that’s something you ought to know about. I don’t know if he wanted us to play some kind of whimper-emo-chords.

What’s the difference between Agent Attitude in the year of 2010 and Agent Attitude today? What’s happened to you since then and in what way have you developed?

– We’re older, more handsome and wiser. No, we’re just older. Honestly, I don’t know. We’re definitely a much better liveband as we’re more played together in a totally different way and the fact that we’ve played about hundred more gigs since 2010. When it comes to our music and our influences, it might’ve changed a little bit, maybe. We’re probably a little bit more influenced by the Oxnard-bands and stuff like that. Before that, it was a lot of Minor Threat, Uniform Choice and stuff in that vein. Battalion Of Saints has in the latter period been a huge influence for me. We’re a little bit rawer, a little bit faster and a little more face-punch today.

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I also saw that you’ve worked a lot on your choreografy, have it gone home with your hardcore-fans?

– Eh? That I do know nothing about. We’ve actually never ever decided something prior to a gig. Everything that happens there is totally spontaneous.

What could one expect if one is present in the same room where Agent Attitude is playing?

– I don’t know. As I said, we don’t usually prepare ourselves in the way that it’s like we have certain things planned out. Everything that happens is impulsive. I think people should come and see it for themselves. But idiocy is guaranteed, at least. Last weekend we played in Malmö when someone started shooting with a fire-extinquisher during the gig, which resulted in dysnopea. Good times!

Something funny always happens, we like being retarded.

You also eat a lot of tacos, but is it hardcore to do that? Do you go with the hot stuff?

Of course! Replace the punk-stew with tacos. Sometimes we actually have taco-Thursday with the UAHC-crew, whereas we do a Thursday at your own home and make tacos for everyone. So fucking good. We actually only eat two dishes: hamburgers, tacos and texmex-burgers. Uppsala has a good range of taco-restaurants so we’re fortunate. A Mexico-tour would be like a dream come true.

Agent Attitude were also in the Uppsala-article in the fourth edition of the Law & Order zine, how does it feel to be there? What did you say?

– It’s cool as fuck to be in and represent our generation of Uppsala Hardcore. The article is cool, but I can think that some things should’ve been more highlighted. But as I said, it’s fun to be in it, especially among the other bands in the article, that basically are legendary. It’s cool that people have started to notice that there are things happening in Uppsala too. We mostly talked about our tour and how we got into punk and hardcore. However, there’s much, much more than what’s in the zine.

I thought that we should talk a little bit more about your merchandise, what is there to buy? Who design your logos and stuff?

– We have the usual things: t-shirts, stickers, records and such. However, we’d like to print some cooler stuff, but perhaps it will come. We’ve put a big emphasis on our artwork. Primarily, we ask our friends who we think are rad at painting and doing stuff for us, like Erik from Hårda Tider that have created both the cover for Never-Ending Mess and our signature, the agent that sticks everyone the finger. Our logo was made by our pal Affe from Undergång/Obnoxious Youth. We’ve also got a t-shirt made by Tremor from Milisi Kecoa, which is a band from Indonesia. We’ve got a release on the way, “First Two EP’s”, that will be painted by João whom plays in the band The Black Coffins, from Brazil.

Coffee-mugs, underwear, toothbrushes, footballs etc are things we’d of course want by our merch-table. So we’ll have to press up some stuff like that.

What’s going to happen in the nearest future on the gig-front now when you had to cancel your gig on Ingbofestivalen?

– Hehe, we have a policy to never cancel a gig. The reason that we canceled Ingbofestivalen was because we didn’t have time to get to the time we’d gotten because of work. But we snuck in later in the evening and played after another band on their time. It was nice as hell, but maybe not the most appreciated. However, we’ve never ever canceled a gig! We gladly play, and often, but now there haven’t been showing up anything. We’ll probably tour a little bit in Europe in autumn, winter and spring. This gig-drought come very opportune, because we wanted to work on our full-length. It will be recorded this winter, so we’re hoping to get it out in the beginning of the next year!

Are you going to release anything new in the nearest future?

– As I’ve said, we’ve got an LP and cassette titled ”First Two EP’s” that will contain our first two EP’s plus two unreleased songs and the full-length is on its way! It will be the best one we’ve done, guaranteed.

Thank you for letting me interview you! What do you want to fill the end up with? Say something clever!

– Thank you! I don’t really have anything sensible to come up with, so it’s good as it is.