Best tracks of 2012 according to Invisible Guy!

10. Seacrypt – Other Worlds

Taken from their debut album A Momentary Rift which I found randomly while browsing bandcamp. Certainly also one of the greater albums this year, with a roster of eight powerful and mind-numbingly great tracks. An ode to the greatness of darkwave, synth-pop and ambient – all in one.

9. Curxes – Spectre

One of the better bands this year and definitely one of the greatest songs I’ve heard this year. The noir pop-esque feeling that never seems to let go, wherever you lay your eyes, they’re there observing you. An emotional wonder that will hopefully stand the toll of time, and that also have lived the post-destruction era that is and was 2012.

8. Inkvisitionen – Dö som lejon

Knuckleduster hardcore from the city of Gothenburg, representing their city with a monstrous track, demanding complete annihilation of everything. One of the fiercest hardcore tracks I’ve heard this year, fortunately released before next year so it could be included in this list. Like it was meant to be.

7. INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ – The Banishing

A softie from this phenomenal constellation. Featuring my favorite genres, done completely right, with absolutely no regard whatsoever for labels to be smacked upon them. Which is an attitude I mostly support, so you should support them by tuning in and buying their stuff. With that said, this track (and the other one) are totally different from their earlier material, featuring a highly ambiguous (and) ambitious effort from their side.

6. Velvet Condom – Kalter Lippenstift (INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ Remix)

I must say that I enjoy the regular version as much, but I had to choose, so I chose the remix by INDΣΔ†HI†ΣNDϟ. Why? Because there’s so much energy in this remix, which overshadows the original song. I’d like to say that they’re good in different ways, but this one is (by far), superior.

5. Black Table – Heist

One of the more surprising tracks in this list. I must say that I have a feeling when I’m about to hear something extraordinary. So, I will have to say that this progressive metal/black metal/post-metal act deserve all credit where credit is due. This is their best track on the EP they released recently. I don’t know why, but the lyrical content and the musical ambitions are outstanding. With a pretty unique vocalist, whom I thought was a man at first. Sorry, Mers, I should’ve known that you’re a she and not a he.

4.TSTI – Love & Truth

Straight from a bedroom somewhere in New York. A man with a quest to enhance his own sound, release his creativity on analogue machinery and be a part of something organic. This track have all the little details, every influence and a feeling that shouldn’t be underestimated. Synth-pop from the glory days, but with a new twist and certainly not a copy of a copy. Deserving everything and definitely fitted for this list.

3. Niels Nielsen – Shadow Twin

I’m going back to the drawing board, I’m hoping that Zeigeist will re-establish themselves, but until then; Niels Nielsen is adequate with this wonderful track. Even though it contain some lethal doses of mainstream, I have endured and must say that this is one of the best tracks this year. Nostalgia may have gripped me by the balls, but I don’t really care. This track will be played on New Year’s eve.

2. Henric de la Cour – Grenade

Calm yet bombastic. One of the tracks I’ve wanted to get a hold of physically, but failed due to my own incompetence. Along with everything else he’s done, I would say that this is probably the epitome. This track is the best that I’ve heard from him yet, so let’s hope that he continues in this fashion.

1. the Hex Dispensers – Parallel

What can I say? I’ve been playing this track non-stop since it was released. The record has been reviewed thoroughly and there’s probably nothing that can match this. Also, it feels good that someone decided to accompany Gérard Depardieu with this track, it enriches it even more.

The runner-ups are the following tracks:

10. Alina Devecerski – Jag Svär

9. Damage – Keeping It Wild

8. The Foreign Resort – Buried

7. Agent Side Grinder – Wolf Hour

6. Övervarning – Det heliga korset

5. Monozid – rita, you know we are doomed

4. Bombangrepp – Skuggan Av Dödens Sändebud

3. Beyond Pink – Statements on statement

2. Xiu – Life Is A Lie

1. Linea Aspera – Malarone

Countdown to Christmas – 22nd December

Since I’m way off on the countdown this time, I’m going to introduce one new clip each day until the 24th of December. I’m eagerly awaiting Christmas (or Yule as we say) and this day is dedicated to The Foreign Resort. A band that I got to know more about when I wrote a longer piece on them for Festivalrykten.se. I had just found out about them when scrolling around on bandcamp, trying to find a feature for BOTD (Band of the day) on that particular site. So I wrote a piece about it and I think they snapped it up somehow. I don’t remember how they did though, but that is a story which could be answered by themselves. The feature I did was for their whole discography and for my favorite record of theirs, which is their self-titled release The Foreign Resort (2011).

One of the songs that I liked a lot was Colleen, which is the first track on that album. It has such power and is an inspiring work for every band that wants to start within the new-wave/post-punk genre and not be a copy of Joy Division. Which everyone seems to say about every damn band that emerges, that could have any resemblance with that band or be influenced by them. However, I feel like The Foreign Resort are in a league of their own when it comes to their music. I also got an invite to one of their shows in Christiania, which was a great show with a lot of great people around. I had never been there to begin with, so it was my first time there.

Must say that it was an awesome experience and that it was one of the best shows I’ve attended in a long time. They were there with another Danish band and an American one, which was also a great band. They had a lot of things in common and the night was sealed there and then. Later on I also got the opportunity to review their latest album Scattered & Buried (2012) which was a great progression from their first full-length, even though it might’ve not been as good. But I think it was a great album anyway, and it shows the maturity of this band and that they deserve to be on this “list” before Yule arrives. You can also read my feature on them over at Festivalrykten.se, if you want to.

This is the 22nd of December and I’m the Invisible Guy.

Countdown to Christmas – 21st December

Since I’m way off on the countdown this time, I’m going to introduce one new clip each day until the 24th of December. I’m eagerly awaiting Christmas (or Yule as we say) and this day is dedicated to Henric De La Cour. Even though he’s been given a lot of airtime in different mainstream venues, I think it’s in place to give this wonderful artist a space over here too. I don’t think people have grasped his ingeniousness yet, since it takes a lot of time before it can sink in. He’s been active in the Swedish bands Strip Music and the more famous band Yvonne, earlier in his career as a musician.

This year has been a good year for him, since he started doing this project which is mostly a solo-project, released his first self-titled record in 2011 and have been doing great since then. He’s mostly been under the radar since 2011 and haven’t really made a fuzz, but I believe that his real breakthrough was in 2012. Every light possible was shone upon him and he got some of the recognition that he deserved, but not all of it unfortunately.

Earlier this year he released a single titled Grenade (2012) both digitally, as a cassette and a limited edition vinyl on the Swedish label Progress Productions. He’s got a lot of great songs that are just waiting to be played and he’s been around in Stockholm playing for a while. I must admit that I haven’t really been into his earlier bands, but I think his new solo-project is a bliss to hear and look at. The aesthetics are wonderful and the music is on par with that, as can be seen in the video I’ve embedded at the top of this page, which is a song from his first release Henric De La Cour (2011).

Hopefully, he will have an even greater year in 2013 and I also hope that I get to see him live sometime then. Unfortunately, I missed him when he played at electriXmas here in Malmö, about a week ago. But I will lick my wounds and hope that he returns.

This is the 21st of December and I’m the Invisible Guy.

Countdown to Christmas – 19th December

Since I’m way off on the countdown this time, I’m going to introduce one new clip each day until the 24th of December. I’m eagerly awaiting Christmas (or Yule as we say) and this day is dedicated to Au Pairs. Which is one of my absolute favorite post-punk bands. They started off their career with their first album titled Playing With A Different Sex (1981) which is one of my favorite albums. I don’t think I have a lot to choose from here, since they only released two full albums and then continued with an off-shoot together with BBC by releasing their sessions with them. Which is packed with tracks from 79-81 and is titled Equal But Different – BBC Sessions 79-81 and is a release that I can recommend too.

I don’t really know more about them, but their catchy and original post-punk makes me dance when I hear them. Both their first album and their second album titled Sense And Sensuality (1982) are worth checking out. On this album, they’ve got tracks like “Instant Touch“, “Sex Without Stress” and “Tongue In Cheek” which I like very much. The tracks that I like from their first album are “It’s Obvious“, “Come Again” and “Love Song“. If you fancy this band and want to check out more songs, I suggest you buy one of their compilations. The best one of them is the Stepping Out Of Line: The Anthology which was released in 2006. It’s got a good mix between the session tracks and the tracks you need to get your doses.

This is the 19th of December and I’m the Invisible Guy.

The top 5 interviews on Invisible Guy in 2012! (Part II)

Another one of these coming up on the site. I was sifting through all the interviews I’ve ever done and I noticed that I’ve done a lot of them. When I once started up this blog, it was nothing more than a hobby project. Even though it still is, I’ve added a layer of professionalism when it comes to the content written. I really had no idea how WordPress worked until I had used it for a long time. As I look back on the interviews I did when I first started out, I’m not really ashamed about them, but I see what kind of progress I’ve made since then. My questions have improved and I have also learned what questions that work and those who don’t. Hopefully I will learn to do even better interviews and increase the amount of interviews that I do in real life. I was thinking about starting up a podcast-oriented series where I interview the bands before they go on stage and ask them a little bit of questions. It’s a formula that I’ve been thinking about, but I don’t really have time for that right now. I’ve been planning on doing a lot of more interviews and there’s a huge one coming up soon.

Welcome to Part II, hope you enjoy your stay!

belaten-header3. Interview with Thomas from Beläten published 2012-06-08

I remember how I found out about Beläten from a totally different source than normal. After that, I also found out about other great labels. Beläten had gotten one of the most intriguing designs and continually updated the website of his label. There are many interviews that I’ve done, but I believe this is one of the absolute best I’ve done for a while. As I stepped into his domain, I asked him a lot about philosophical questions and important issues that we’re facing in the world today and I think I got adequate answers. It was a very interesting thing to do and it rendered in someone using my interviews for his students to see and practice on. I don’t know if he did though, but it feels good that someone appreciates the interviews that I conduct. I also think that this interview marked the clear cut line between the better questions and even longer interviews, which is a great thing. I would like to quote a passage from this interview:

What’s your opinion on internet piracy? Have you been affected by it?

File sharing affects everyone to some degree, and of course it will only get more and more difficult to sell records and tapes. There are still enough people around who wants the actual artifact, but we’re seeing a generation of kids that have NO relationship with records. And I think THAT is the root of the problem, and it can all be blamed on the music industry. They’ve worked very hard at making pop music utterly disposable, turning records from beautiful artifacts into a lifeless storage medium, and in the process turned music into something that just isn’t worth any money to most people.

I think the question of piracy is quite difficult. I fully support the concept of intellectual property, but if the price for maintaining it is constant state surveillance, then I say to hell with it. I try to support the small labels that are around, by buying their releases, because I like records, and I pay for downloads if there’s no analog format available, but I am quite aware that at some point, there won’t be any records around. It might not happen soon, but it will happen eventually.

I think the saddest thing about being able to download just about any record ever made, is that it has devalued music, even for me. A new record used to be an event, something almost sacred, and you would listen to it over and over and over. Nowadays you hear so much music, all the time, that it’s rare to spend any time getting to know an album. That’s something I really miss actually.

196279_1901977398166_1503655181_2067577_4706497_n2. Interview with Strap On Halo published 2012-11-19

This is actually one of the latest and longer interviews that I’ve published recently. Even though I have some more coming up, this interview is a good representation. I think that the questions were thoughtful and I got some pretty great answers from this band. This was one of those interviews that took some time to get back, but when I got it, I loved how the answers were a representation of thoughtful answers. Which is something you get as a reward when you think up better questions than you’ve done before. Even though this project is still on the hobby level, I think this interview is one of the best that I’ve conducted for this blog. I would say that I could do even better interviews, but that will be postponed for next year. But due to the lack of quality interviews, I believe that this one if still pretty much one of the best. So I would like to quote from this interview to give you a little bit of insight:

I read that you’ve had a long tour this summer, how was it to embark on the west coast and Texas? What have been memorable? You played four shows with The Spiritual Bats in September, as if that wasn’t enough – you also played at the Age of Decay festival. Were you stoked and is there anything you could tell me about this? 

West coast has always been a planned destination for us. Marc being from Seattle made hitting it not even a question, as with Texas for me. Seeing family and old friends seemed to hit the top of our unwritten priority list. Touring is always exciting and the things we see always sparks conversation that we share over and over, only to extend the “post tour blues”.

Having The Spiritual Bat as tour mates was probably one of the most memorable experiences from this summer’s tour. We met Rosetta and Dario in 2009 at the start of our “Quick Fix Tour”. We hosted a show in Omaha for them, met in New Orleans to perform at the same festival and during some off time that we had in-between both our tours we met up in my hometown of San Antonio, Texas. We really connected and kept in contact. So in 2012 they asked us to join them on tour. I had already booked and confirmed gigs for our tour so it was unfortunate that we could only do the Midwest part. Weekends were spent on the road playing shows and during the week we retreated to the Strap On Halo home base. We had an evening ritual and would converge in the studio just to enjoy each other’s company. It was fantastic to have them stay with us at our home and truly spend time with our friends. The house was full and alive. A comment Augustine made stuck with me. He said, “It’s all Straps and Bats in here”! He was also bunkered down with us for most of the summer. The past two tour was just the three of us and this time we had the pleasure of taking our good friend/roadie Augustine Strange who ended up being the best tour assistant ever. I honestly don’t know how we managed this long without him.

Age of Decay was a perfect end to our summer tour. Our hosts Alethea and William Carr were amazing. Florida goths are extremely welcoming and have made for us a permanent stop each year. We made new friends, had time to talk with all the bands and look forward to seeing them all again. The event had such a fulfilling vibe, I can say with full confidence that everyone had a great time and all the bands were happy to be there. I couldn’t have asked for a better finale to 2012.

This year was an extremely good year and I cannot wait to see what unfolds in 2013!

fishrider_eco_bag1. Interview with Ian Henderson from Fishrider Records published 2012-06-10

The interview I did with Ian Henderson of the mini-label Fishrider Records is one of the longest interviews I’ve conducted. But it wasn’t only long, it also delved deep into the influences of the label, Ian Henderson himself and everything around him. I also liked the appreciation that was aimed my way, because many people loved this interview. Even though I have chosen interviews on the basis of that I like them, I chose the first place for this interview because I got a lot of people telling me how great it was. It is a great challenge to be on the top when you’re an obscure and underground blog, but one of the nicest things is the appreciation when you do something good. Like helping the smaller labels and artists, which an interview could do too. Since they almost never get to tell their own story, Ian Henderson got to tell his, even though he’s done it before. But I think it turned out really good and this interview is probably the best I’ve done this year so far, hopefully you’ll enjoy the interview. I will quote a passage I like from it:

So, when a band is signed to Fishrider, what makes you different from major labels and other labels around? What defines your attitude towards the artists and creativity?

Bands don’t really ”sign”. We just talk and exchange e-mails confirming the arrangement. In general I work on the Rough Trade 50/50 profit share after expenses model. But with pressings of 500 CDs and 200 LPs there are not a lot of profits to share! So mostly what bands gain from being on Fishrider is only not having to pay to record or release their music. They also get some promotion and sometimes some help with expenses and stuff.

Each arrangement is different depending on the circumstances. The label exists to help the artist release their music. Of course I want to cover production and marketing costs and get a little return to help finance the next release. But the deal should alway favour the artist over the label.

If I have made or paid for recordings myself Fishrider still doesn’t own them exclusively. They belong to the artists, although they usually insist Fishrider at least co-owns them, which is what Opposite Sex did when I tried to give them ownership of the recordings I made for them.

Vinyl is hard because a 200 pressing will often just recover costs if you sell it all because of the freight. There is no pressing plant in NZ, Australia is way too expensive, so I get records pressed in Nashville get them freighted back to NZ so I can post them around the world! It’s crazy. That’s why I’m so happy about the UK pressing and release for Opposite Sex.

I think it is important for labels to have these discussions upfront and for everyone to be aware what is happening and to be happy with it.  My arrangements might be unusual and not very business-like but the business part of the label is just a necessary evil and a means to an end. My goal is to mix altruism with commerce and for Fishrider to be ”music arts & crafts” more than ”music industry”. I hate the word ”industry” used in conjunction with music. It is art, not industry. Sadly most commercial music labels are ”industrial”.

I read a lot about labels and managers being irrelevant now. Musicians don’t need them and can do their own thing now.  Yes they can and, if they want to, then they should.  But not everyone has the time, skill or self-confidence to run their own business and market and promote themselves and their music. Few in NZ can survive on music alone so they have to balance work and/or study with music. Opposite Sex and The Puddle don’t want  to do the business side of things, or maintain websites and don’t have the time or skills to do that. I would rather they concentrate on making music and trust a friend to be a partner to help with the non-musical stuff for them. I can’t make the music they do, yet I want to hear it made. So I offer the skills I do have so they can make and release their music. I said it was altruism, but really it is selfishness!  I do it to get the rewards of pleasure and satisfaction from it.

So, I think there is still a role for labels and managers but it has to be for the right reasons – a partnership to facilitate the artists’ art, where everything is transparent, fair and done with mutual agreement

I also believe the artists have artistic control. I still like to have ideas and make suggestions but in the end it is the artist’s decision.  It can be a fine line between being encouraging and pushing too much. Sometimes I do things that need to be done without checking with the artist to save time or not to disturb them. Opposite Sex have strong ideas on visuals and this caused a bit of tension once. I know what they expect now.

Thank you everyone for making Invisible Guy what it is today! Hope you have a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year!

Countdown to Christmas – 18th December

Since I’m way off on the countdown this time, I’m going to introduce one new clip each day until the 24th of December. I’m eagerly awaiting Christmas (or Yule as we say) and this day is dedicated to Martyrdöd which is not an obvious candidate for these posts, but whatever, it’s their time to shine. So far, they’ve released four albums, an EP and also a compilation-split with a few other renowned bands within the genre. I don’t know when I started to listen to them, but it was when I searched for a lot of D-Beat on blogs and alike. There, I found one of their albums which became my instant favorite.

The album I’m talking about is In Extremis (2005) which has a lot of great songs and I believe it’s one of their best albums up to date. Another album that I also have listened a lot to would be Sekt (2010) which is a real piece of crust punk that delivers a smack to your face instantly. With some of my favorite songs which are “Gloria Runt Iris“, “Sekt” and “Död Åt Vek Punk“. Since I’m not that into crust, I believe that they have a different formula when it comes to their music, which engages me.

I like when it’s raw and I like when there are a lot of things happening at the same time. But I like some refinement to it too, it can’t just be something effortless. They’re also going to release an album on the eminent label D-Takt & Råpunk in January/February in the year of 2013. I’m looking forward to it and it will probably be the first Martyrdöd that I buy since I bought their two CD’s a long time ago. So I’m hoping that I have enough money to buy it, because seriously, you should. I’m also telling you to check out the Parasit release, because I believe it will be as great.

This is the 18th of December and I’m the Invisible Guy.

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Countdown to Christmas – 17th December

Since I’m way off on the countdown this time, I’m going to introduce one new clip each day until the 24th of December. I’m eagerly awaiting Christmas (or Yule as we say) and this day is dedicated to The Stockholm Monsters – a criminally overlooked band which released one album and a number of EPs and singles. One of those records were their first and only album Alma Mater (1984) which contained one of my favorite songs from this blissful act, songs like “To Look At Her“, “Your Uniform” and “Terror“. Besides that, I’ve also got some other favorites that I’d like to tell you about here. The single How Corrupt Is Rough Trade? (1985) is one of their best singles ever to be released, accompanied by their other single which was released earlier, that goes by the name of Miss Moonlight (1983).

I must also say that I have no favorite EP that this band has released, since the singles and their only album at hand give me the listening pleasure I need. However, I need to recommend the compilation that was released in the 2000’s, titled All At Once (Singles 1981 – 1987) which was released in 2002. The track at the top is from this compilation and I think it pinpoints their sound and really doesn’t compromise with it either. All the tracks that are supposed to be on it is in there.

This is the 17th of December and I’m the Invisible Guy.