Lyssna: Sanne De Neige – Dans La Forêt / / Insomnie // Venin

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Det blir alltid lite förvirrande när så mycket musik släpps på en och samma gång, men nu har Sanne De Neige lagt upp tre stycken nya låtar, som inte borde stå okommenterade. Med en trummaskin, bas, synthar och gitarrer till sitt förfogande, så lyckas duon mästerfullt med att framförallt blanda de gotiska undertonerna med experimentell coldwave musik. Det framträder väldigt klart i och med sångerskan Sanne de Neiges vokalmattor som lurar i bakgrunden, men som tränger igenom den trummaskinfyllda atmosfären, täckt av ett lager med förvrängning vilket gör att rösten förutom att vara lite disträ även omvandlar en annars stickande ljudbild till ett glödgande hett inferno. Kaoset har bara inte brutit ut och tur är väl det. Särskilt i första låten “Dans La Forêt” så utvecklas omgivningen organiskt och går från att vara tämligen lugnt, till att lägga på lager efter lager och med en omvälvande kraft förvandlas till någonting alldeles eget. Utan att egentligen ta med nackdelarna som hade kunnat finnas, lyckas en tämligen statisk ljudbild bli större än förväntat.

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För den som aldrig upplevt sömnlöshet, känns det som att “Insomnie” är en representation av det i ljudform. Med en förvrängd röst sköljs stämman bort till förmån för ett industriljud med diskant, för att sedan falla in i en mer kontemplerande fas där allting känns mycket klarare. Här känns det som om man vaknar upp från sin sömnlöshet – istället för att behöva vandra i en trötthetsdimma utan dess like. Rytmerna är medryckande men fokuserade på att ställa till så mycket trubbel som möjligt, för att sedan återgå till en mer kontrollerad sväng vars melodier bygger upp en kaskad av känslor – som släpps lös till slut. Det finns också någon slags lättsamhet som inte direkt kommer av den kalla vågen, utan snarare den popiga ljudmatta som influerar små delar av hela deras ljudlandskap. Den finns inte där alltid, men är en del av det mer detaljstyrda som gör att det finns utrymme för mer än bara ond bråd kyla och allt som följer med det. En hoppfullhet som smittar av sig på allt annat.

Sedan när den sista låten “Venin” kommer, så är det i form av ett slags avskedsbrev. Det är ett tack och adjö med ett stilla lugn som omgiver allt – nästan lite balladaktigt – om man gör undantaget och inte väljer att definiera en ballad som en smörsångares sista urusla suck. Det här är mil ifrån det och tack och lov för det. Det finns en reflekterande ådra som gömmer sig i vaggorna, men så brister Sanne ut i en så kraftfull sång vilket ger låten momentum, för att sedan med trummaskinen långsamt suddas ut av den tidsram som låten är satt på. Det passar helt utmärkt. Tystnaden varar ett tjugotal sekunder, innan man egentligen förstår att låten är slut. När allting är över så finns där en förhoppning om att det ska dyka upp fler låtar, eller kanske att låtarna sammanställs i ett självsläppt album – eller att någon av våra tyngre och bättre bolag som Beläten kan ta tag i den talang de besitter. Det känns som att de passar bra ihop och att det är en pusselbit som kanske fattas hos dessa bolag, även om de sedan innan – och fortsätter att släppa – hejdundrans alternativa album som andra skivbolag ignorerar, trots dess potential. Lyssna till alla tre låtar här nedanför.

Spotlight: ZX Electric and Asesina!

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Time for your daily Spotlight. It’s been lacking from my side, since there’s been a lot to cover when it comes to exclusive premieres – but not much when it comes to regular bands that you stumble upon – or artists. Since it’s been a long time, I want to introduce two of the more peculiar acts that I have found when scouring the internet: specifically Bandcamp. One of the bands are from the UK and the other is from Spain. ZX ELECTRIC is a band that plays weird krautrock with the occasional stab of minimal synth and post-punk, whilst Asesina are the Spaniards whom has a singer that really can’t sing – but all the better that he can suffer, because that’s what it’s all about – it seems.

a3200966171_10Negative Outline” is the latest release that ZX ELECTRIC can offer to the world, having released two other albums earlier, titled “Obsolete” and “Fixed Unknown” – a rather odd blend of genres that shouldn’t be mixed, really. But there’s something about the latest album that signals to me that they’re serious. How can you even manage to fit in krautrock with minimal synth? I get that it can be applicable when it comes to post-punk, but not the other way around. However, they manage to create a rather melancholic image which they spit upon, managing to fit a semi-acoustic environment somewhere in between each track. I like the singer’s voice, it’s sincere but rather goofy at times. All the better then – that his rhythm is intact and his groove is where it should be – when the synthesizers slowly grace him and fill up the sound-scape. Not to mention how cold-wave helps to keep the semi-acoustic trance to a pleasurable level, where you just nod your head to everything you see around you.

a4144603658_10What striked me when I browsed Asesina, were their marvelous aesthetics. The slick lines that are pleasing for the eye to watch, alongside a rather odd – almost dragon-like – goose that feeds her youngin’. Maybe this has something to do with where they’re from in Spain, or maybe not. I, however, really like the way this becomes their insignia. Enter bleakness with “EP“, their first release. Together with the bleakness that appears through using black and white. When it comes to their music, I must say that I don’t know if I should hate or adore the singer. He can’t sing. But thanks to the psychobilly, surf punk or whatever they’ve mixed together into a mish-mash of difference and alikeness – his voice gives a touch of severe angst that doesn’t go away. The best thing about it is when he screams in his own language and I don’t really get anything. I don’t really want to know, either. Noise rock goes well together with every other genre they’ve plucked asunder. The good thing about it is how their low-keyed sound-scape makes you wonder when they’re going to step into black metal territory, but that really never happens – full-scale. A good listen to anyone whose interest lays in any of these more obscure genres – especially when mixed together.

Listen: Luminance / Acapulco City Hunters – The Cold Rush

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Belgium are steaming ahead of everyone else. Wool-E Tapes have been working hard at putting out new releases that catch one’s ear. The current ‘flagship’ could be considered to be Luminance – the electronic solo-project by David-Alexandre Parquier. In the month of July when his first 7¨-release “Obsession / Viper Smile” was released on Weyrd Son Records, he also did a split together with Acapulco City Hunters called “The Cold Rush” – which was their first release up to date. The Weyrd Son-release was more of a collaborative effort with him behind the machinery on both tracks, Felicie on backing vocals for “Viper Smile” and Nathalie Bruno on vocals for “Obsessions“. I am however not going to linger on that release but focus on the latest one. It is an interesting blend of house-music matched with a new-wave sound, whilst Luminance heads into a whole other direction than what can be found on his earlier releases. Sure, the minimalism is still there and his wittered electro comes into play with the general synth-pop minimalism that makes his sound so great. But I notice how he does not sway for the ambient reflections made in his first track on the release. I also believe that his tracks on this split are more in for a brutal sound coupled with more hopelessness, than his earlier releases. The notable darkwave influence does make itself reminded. The playful melodies mixed with a sound best described as when day turns into night. He’s nothing short of knowing how to make this concoction a danceable but seductive brew that is about as volatile as daggers into flesh – without the courage to strike when the day is lit.

When it comes to Acapulco City Hunters, their or his sound is not primarily darker because they’re on the other side of the fence – but notably well-thought out and considerate. A rhythm that is in constant motion together with an ominously sounding house-music sound. No you will not find anything remotely similar to Swedish House Mafia when it comes to this. Let the acidic sounds mix with the lead melodies and blend into a thoughtful motion that could only make you reflect. It is meditative in one sense and leads you into a nicely laden vocal palette that draws upon calmness – and then comes a tribal fusion together with a obtuse frame of melody which goes into a bridge which lets an almost The Smiths-influenced intonation by the vocalist when he goes up a notch, out for display. Even though both of these artists are closely knit-together, I believe that my favorite is Acapulco City Hunters. They deliver a strong first-timed collaborative effort by teaming up with Luminance. I like their lyrical content because they remind me of how bleak the world is and can be, with all the romanticism that shies away and comes forth when you least know it. Order this release from Wool E Tapes if you like what you’re hearing. You can stream it in whole down below.

Spotlight: Squieti and Pastel – the Italian D.I.Y!

a0073546405_10With their debut-release “Impronte Nella Cenere“, the Italian math-rock outfit Squieti blend those post-hardcore vibes with a punk-attitude. Their eight-tracked album showcase their melodic talent with rather melodramatic drumming. It feels like being caught in a limbo with no way to get out of it, together with a constant barrage of melodic post-hardcore with a despaired vocalist. Even though emptiness might be his schtick, the band itself make up for a lack of atmosphere with the clinging of riffs with the concrete drumming. The technical aspects seem inverted. The arguably short hints of what could make up a rather soothing atmosphere is quickly struck down with the beat of a drum, favoring the rather amelodic connection between vocals and the general melodies of the guitars. It is clear that Squieti focus their darnedest on delivering a rather original hardcore-sounding math-rock experience, where the melody is the center of attention whilst the drums control the rhythm of the sound-scape. Positioning themselves in a fortress of their own whilst not letting anyone enter for real. There are lots of great things about their music but they have their weaknesses. Sometimes the math-rock inspired wholeness of their sound is hard to really appreciate. However, they make up for this with interesting choices of melodies and their rhythmic greatness. Their tracks seem to loosen up for the real hardcore sound when you get past the fifth track, so that’s by all means a time-stamp for when shit hits the fan for real. Listen to their album in full down below. Made possible on vinyl thanks to their friends Annoying Records, Boned Factory, Fast DIY or Die, L’oltraggio Autoproduzioni, Speed-Up Agency and Sons Of Flies webzine. Recorded and mixed by Stefano Romano in 2013, released on the 29th of January 2014.

a1784089479_10Another Italian band called Pastel did a split with the British band Merridew, featuring two songs by them titled “Momento nove” and “Laminal“. Their sound is very reminiscent of Squieti, with the difference of it being more into the screamo sound. Which is more of a 90’s-inspired one, together with desperate vocals which can also be heard from the aforementioned band. It wouldn’t surprise me if they share the same singer, because it really sounds alike when everything comes together. One main difference is the atmosphere which Pastel manages to curate from a whirlwind of drums, guitars with a rather dreamy but realistic sound, together with the stillness in between breakdowns and experimental touches of rhythm. A rather weird combination of deciding to go with a baseline that dominates through sections of their songs, especially when it comes to their second song from this split. Then it all suddenly blasts away again, making it feel like I’m able to reach further for myself, into the sky and the distant continuum that is space. They’ve got a rather space-y sound which is psychedelic when it comes to some of what it contains, but not all of it. Even though a lot of their sound is based around tempo and going downtempo, there’s nothing that can stop me from completely relaxing to this sound. Maybe it’s because of their passion which is channeled throughout, or their off-shoot from the shoegaze to the screamo sound. Whatever you’d like, this is certainly borrowing a lot of the greatest stuff from the 90’s, fueling their gruesome invasion into enemy territory. It’s because there’s a certain unfamiliarity when you try to decide for yourself what’s next. You never really know with these guys, which is a plus in my book. I might’ve heard it time and again before, but I am really into what I’m hearing. This split-release was put out by Glass of Spit Recordings on the 13th of March, and you can listen to the Pastel-side down below.

Spotlight: Q///Q – Azores Azul

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Quirky and steadfast, but gloomy, experimental minimal wave in a tropical setting. With our ears the minimalism can go just as far but not further, Q///Q decided to have a sound-scape that is totally subdued into minimalism with their release “Azores Azul“. Those whom stand behind this moniker are Peter Kris, GT and Quinn – which doesn’t really say that much to me. But accordingly, one of the tags are German Army, so one could say that people from the army might be involved. That wouldn’t be too surprising, because the experimentalism of Q///Q head into their territory at times. But this is a rather different palette, more quirky synthesizer, a weird landscape of sound which is suggestive to say the least. The rambling of an inane person viewed through an hourglass, slowly transforming into sand. It is like being stung by electronic bees.

The outlet for this weird music is not that surprisingly; Skrot Up – the Copenhagen haven for crazed music. Even though five tracks make up around fifteen minutes, whilst listening to this music – you can’t help being lost in transmission. Each and every hit on the synthesizer makes an awkward sound, each and every beat that can be heard is odd to say the least and the vocal impersonations that are carried around in the tropical sound that is overwhelmingly there – remind you more about every seminar you wanted to miss – with a person babbling incoherently about stuff you’ll have to learn but don’t want to. This is a good mark for Q///Q though, because they execute this weird combination with astonishing results. Experimentalism is the end and beginning within this landscape of sound, the quirkiness and the general attitude in which they bring this upon us. I’ve found my salvation, probably. You can buy the release directly from Skrot Up, it is strictly limited to sixty cassettes, you can also stream the release down below.

Listen: extravague – L’Ombre d’Un Doute EP

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Ah oui, c’est incroyable,” I uttered. When you combine the melancholic aura that revolves around those pesky Frenchmen, since this gave way for the romanticism and coldness of cold-wave. It’s always surprising when you find the less atonal cold-wave, the wave that rides on a stringent melody. So therefore, when I looked around I came upon the group extravague –a duo consisting of two guys lost in “a hall of dashed hopes“. Before their first EP they released a live album with eleven demo-tracks, titled “Demo / Live in Empty Room” – which they recorded at home with only one microphone. This was three months ago, fast-forward and you’ll see the realization of their debut-EP which is aptly titled: “L’Ombre d’Un Doute EP” (Shadow Of A Doubt EP). A rather bleak example of what can be done when you combine the coldness of cold-wave with a post-punkiness, changing into a more new-wave styled phase which garner the wondrous melodies which they’ve carefully composed. There is actually only a small difference when it comes to how they’ve recorded this one, in comparison to their first release, because it’s also been recorded live with a microphone – but a hell of a good microphone at that – being able to pick up their music. But this time it’s also mixed into the wonderful sound-scape. You should listen to their release down below and stream it to your francophilic joy, or despair. Whatever you choose to do, it’s a great release that deserves to be listened to.

Premiere: The Pocket Rockets – The Pocket Rockets

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Since they released two singles “Somewhere We Can Be Alone” and “Summer Girl“, the band The Pocket Rockets have finally released their first album. A self-titled one which collects these singles and a couple of new tracks by the names of “No Control“, “Who We Are” and “MDNGHT“. Jon Siebels (Eve 6) have produced this album for them, and as they say in the first song: “nothing can stop us now“. That’s how it should feel when you’re a new band that is continually making progress. With their good kitsch indie-rock themed songs, early rock’n’roll vibe, mixed together with post-punk vibes. This  gives them a rather more interesting shape of what their indie-rock should be about, rather than the same old, same old that a lot of indie-rock bands seem to be doing. As they’ve created their own version of what it should be, the careless riffs and on point drumming is a joy to be heard. Even though a lot of their lyricism derives from the simple, it’s catchy and good together with the rest of the music. Nothing can be done more than to bob your head to this fine piece of indie-rock, feeling that summer is ahead of me – but closer then ever. We’re giving you a premiere of their self-titled album “The Pocket Rockets“, so you can listen to and take in this band on your own. Because they’ve been with us since some time now. Stream it from their bandcamp and enjoy.