Monday, 21 February 2011

Continuing the Starry Love for Crystal Fighters...



Slow on the uptake with discovering these crossover crazy lovelies, Crystal Fighters album 'Star of Love' was out in the October of 2010. They make a myriad of dreamy pop, dubstep and indie; they marry synths, guitars and percussion, have soo much hair and resemble witchfinders but the result is something quite unique and hard to describe.






 As previously blogged, currently  in lovelovelove with the newly released video for 'At Home', just gorgeousness so jumpy jump on this to watch if you haven't already, it's whimsically perfect.  Sebastian of the people that' fight with crystals' (of course that's his name and his band mate is Gilbert, 'no waaay', and the other one is very quiet Graham plus two lovelies Mimi and Laure ) describes 'Xtatic Truth' as;

'fast percussive slightly folk trancy euphoric building banger with indie tendencies'.  What on earth could I add to that?

They are not just crossing over, they are causing chaos in their genre spanning, in a chill wavy kind of way. Super love for it so far though. Check out 'Xtatic Truth' below, released as a single the previous year but happily is sitting pretty as track two on Star of  Love.








Crystal Fighters appear fearless in their brand of psychedelic Basque electro merged with African beats, dare I say folktronica, although that often makes eyes roll. Reviews of this album vary tremendously with many forecasting failure and even very unfair 'bashing' from the BBC making the accusation that the story behind the band forming;

'It’s almost certainly a lie – but it beats "band formed in garage" hands down.'


I'm not linking because he got the story wrong, the lazy reviewer.  Jump to this below for a decent piece as blogland is where you find the best reviews written by people who genuinely love music and aren't being paid to work to deadlines thus making their writing sloppy and bland.


'Although the album has a few awkward spots (which I prefer to look upon as breathers from having to dance like a mad thing) the majority of its wild psychedelia hits the spot in an entirely enjoyable way.'


Super love for this one too, of course as it's a bit dubsteppy but with plinkity plonk going on too. Definitely worth listening out for so ignore those most probably miserable old 'purists'.





Admittedly when I first saw this on Jools, I had a few reservations but feeling that 'Champion Sound' now. Mimi and Laure allegedly don't sing live (hmmm what's that all about?) however they sit at the rest of the bands feet, quite often blowing bubbles and I think that's kind of eccentrically endearing and maybe code for 'stagefright'. Who knows really? Enjoy! And if you can decipher his first line in the song, let me know...stick with it, it's a grower.



Star of Love was out in October 2010, current release is 'At Home'


Tracklist: 

Solar System
Xtatic Truth
I Do This Everyday
Champion Sound ( Alternative version)
Plage
In the Summer
At Home
I Love London
Swallow
With You
 Follow




http://crystalfighters.com/


UPDATE: 2011 has been the year for Crystal Fighters with a very successful tour and huge hit in this summer's festivals. The deluxe edition of Star of Love has been released and is worth buying for the extra acoustic tracks even if you have the original album. I'm seeing them at Bestival in the next couple of weeks so keep an eye out for my review...can't wait! x

Saturday, 19 February 2011

Crystal Fighters and Nordic Prize winner Jonsi...

The Crystal Fighters have hit my sunshiny ungoth button this week with this super lovely, run in the woods and admit you like The Polyphonic Spree tune. It's a bit hippity hoppity skipstep, oh  it's just good and doesn't need a label, la la laaaaaaa. They fight with crystals, that's just super cool surely?

This has made me feel like Spring, all Tinkerbell and no Goth; next week, I will go all dark and mysterious and claim this post was due to the potency of the full moon and complete lunacy. More importantly listenlistenlisten to the peeps that make good music and fight with crystals. Peace.







When I get out of my bubble of bliss, I will tell you when it's released which to be honest may have been a few years ago for all I know? Once the tweetie birds leave, I will check, pretty sure it's new. What the hell came out of that box? Lovelovelove.





And for more loved up whimsiness...Jonsi won the first ever Nordic Music Prize today, I should check 'hooray' in Icelandic, in fact, I will.  His album blew me away with his Tornado of the most beautiful music. Actually , I've just realised that jollity and celebration is a 'noise' so it's the same everywhere;  YAY ! Do I need a reason to blog Jonsi? Congratulations!

jonsi-wins-the-inaugural-nordic-music-prize











Yes I found almost ten minutes...I hope he's not looking and putting on a bullet proof vest as I blog my super scary fan love.  Just 'go do'  see him live as he is amazing (the drama of that clip is exactly as it is )  and not even I can make up a word for the gorgeousness of his  performance.  No wonder he won that Nordic prize! Too much love.



http://jonsi.com/

http://crystalfighters.com/





Friday, 18 February 2011

Lykke Li – Wounded Rhymes: album review




After two promising releases from Lykke Li with the singles from Wounded Rhymes, the feisty Get Some’ and the darkly romantic I follow Rivers, this album is full of some pleasant surprises. Lots of layered synths, drums and guitars all topped with the uniquely indefinable vocals of Lykke.












A myriad of sound and instrumentation, she takes you on a journey through loss in love with pounding empowering tracks of encounters with lovers alongside enchanting ballads, all this without being vomit inducing self indulgent. Lykke doesn’t bleat, she wails to full cinematic proportions in her angst.

Wounded Rhymes is full of enduring tracks with so many crossovers; dark songwriting and spooked up percussion and a definite hint of  60’s noise in a couple of tracks like the organ led opener ‘Youth Knows No Pain', the beats of ‘Rich Kids Blues’ through the ever so slight Motown sounds of ‘Sadness is a Blessing’ and ‘Jerome’. The stripped down acoustic ‘I Know Places’ has echoes of the lovelyTonight’. It’s unpredictable but pleasantly surprising as it’s all topped with her Scandinavian quirkiness, unselfconsciously insane melancholy and at times awkward creativity.

The only song I wanted to skip was ‘Unrequited Love’ but as always it could be a grower. Must downloads for a taster I think hmmm? ‘Youth Knows No Pain’, ‘Rich Kids Blues’ and of course ‘I Follow Rivers’. Soundclouding away below is the latest release from the album and it's rather good too...


   Lykke Li - Love Out Of Lust by LykkeLi


Lykke Li is clearly a bit nicely bonkers and pretty fearless, jump here for a short film she did suffering depression after being overloaded with skinny people while living in New York and ‘flippiting’ out over upcoming tour with a new album; a desert, some tribal dancing and a clever person with a camera; why can’t we all have that in our handbags?

And just as a reminder, I hadn't seen this live performance before but it's a bit good...lovelovelove Lykke Li!



Tracklist:

1.  Youth Knows No Pain
2.   I Follow Rivers
3.   Love Out Of Lust
4.  Unrequited Love
5.  Get Some
6.  Rich Kid Blues
7.  Sadness is a Blessing
8.  I Know Places
9.  Ladies Love
10. Jerome
11. Silent My Song

RELEASE DATE: February 28th 2011

Download/Pre-Order:  7digital

 It's all been a bit lykkeliscious on here of late... so here's some related posts.

Review of official video 'I Follow Rivers'

Tuesday, 15 February 2011

Humanity and Nature in Animation: 'Seed' by Asparuh Petrov and 'Hungu' by Nicolas Brault




'Seed'  and 'Hungu'  both for me show humanity's struggle and responsibility when forging ahead with development and living alongside nature with or without the destructive impact humans have been making since the Industrial Revolution.

The need for comfort, speed and convenience in development and our thoughtlessness when it comes to our actions, however small they seem, is put up against simple and natural evolution. Petrov prompts you to re-evaluate with this short animation 'Seed'. The man with the seed has consequentional visions and rethinks throwing it down to plant thus risking more of the same and ongoing damage being done to Earth; he walks on battling against the wind with the seed of doubt back in his pocket.






In contrast, with Braults 'Hungu' we see the another  story of humanity and nature, the increasing draught in  developing countries that humans battle against without the speed, the convenience and the comfort, yet retain harmony with nature and its order.

It shows the timeless story of the cycle of life as a child is dragged from his starving mother as they walk a barren African landscape in search of food and water. Sensitively animated as the mother dies and disappears into the sand leaving just one bone and her skull, her son, now grown but weak comes back to her. He makes music with her remains by making a hungu ( an African instrument, a descendant of the Brazilian Berimbau and passed on in ancient traditions) thus gathering back his own strength to carry on by resurrecting his mother's soul through music.






Both short films are simple and haunting and although very different in style seem to have connections in my mind for the ongoing story of humanity and how we live against or alongside nature. I think these two animations together serve as a reminder we need to look beyond our own backyards and think globally and spiritually for a future; embracing nature and accepting the natural order.

Wednesday, 9 February 2011

Austra...brilliant new video for 'Beat and the Pulse'


Austra seem to have embraced experimentation not dissimilar to the artistic approach of ‘The Knife’... so of course I love this new video release for ‘Beat and the Pulse'.  It’s another gem to share in a week of pretty fabulous music videos that visually tease and add to the anticipation of more to come from these new bands.


If you are at all familiar with some of her earlier work, Katie Stelmanis, the main vocalist for Austra, has always been dark and very dramatic, nowadays mixing up a menagerie of stark electro for her current band.
Sounding like early Depeche Mode, through Bjork, a bit of Lykke, some Fever Ray and all matched with vocals of operatic levels having been classically trained in her homeland Toronto; it all smacks of super brilliance.

This very interesting video directed by Claire Edmondson does give a little taste of what’s in the pipeline with Katie Stelmanis’ latest project Austra. It is stylish and darkly erotic and does have some nudity in places for those of a delicate disposition or those surfing in the office. Censorship of art isn't a good thing but if you prefer, there are 'so called' clean versions knocking about in blogland and Youtube. Nipples are welcome here though,  as are oddly webbed fingers and arms and anything wonderfully weird in music.




So what was all that about?  Not just boobies, you lazy reviewers out there. Surely a take on female sexuality and empowerment, the ‘beat and the pulse', being alive, is the beauty and truly feminine and not the tiresome pursuit of perfection? Could be?

It’s no accident that this video is packed full of women of all sizes, nationalities and looks.  The females in electronic music aren’t just singing and looking pretty anymore, they are pushing the buttons and taking more control and making points in their production; empowering on many levels in what is quite a sexist industry.

The quirky dancing ranges from the exotic to the clumsy as does the underwear they are cavorting around in for the ladies perched on chairs, ironically fully clothed and looking the most uncomfortable.   All under the watchful eye of the enigmatic front woman and the electronic beats of this fantastic debut from an album due out in May…yay!  Feel It Break will definitely be an exciting offering and guessing by the tracklist will be full of noir otherworldliness and fetish delights to dance about to.

Backed by her band Maya Postepski and Dorian Wolf and mixed by Damian Taylor of Bjork and Robyn fame, Austra are definitely making some waves now.



Tracklist for Feel It Break:


Darken Her Horse
Lose It
The Future
Beat and the Pulse
Spellwork
The Choke
Hate Crime
The Villain
Shot the Water
The Noise
The Beast



In related news, very interestingly and super cool is that The knife are doing a workshop for girls only at Popkollo, what a shame it’s only in Sweden? It seems the push for the women to become the knob twiddlers is rising.

Tuesday, 8 February 2011

Stop Me If You Think You've Heard This One Before...


....except you can't because 'Days' now has a video and it's brilliant and needs to be shared even though I've blogged them like crazy already. 

Finally revealing the faces behind Creep, Lauren Dillard and Lauren Flax start their tech pop spell in front of a gothic fireplace (of course) showing off the enchanting Romy Madley-Croft's down tempo vocals as she's seemingly trapped behind a screen.





I can't really say any more on the track that I haven't already,  I have too much lovelovelove for it. The single still sounds doom synth brilliant after many plays and people are spookily levitating to the 'House of Witch' to remix it and doing a good job...my personal favourite being the one from Deadboy. Very much wondering what will come next from these creepy girls.




There's been some witchery dubskipping over here to it from me (as Babooshka) and Orac...creepy corridors, invocations, forlorn otherworldly damsels running in dark woodland and backdrops of glitter and purpleness. Really, what's not to love about it?

Creep, Austra, Visions of Trees...loving all this new music!








Austra, Creep and some Witchery Dubskip
Romy XX ft Creep
http://www.officialcreep.com/

Monday, 7 February 2011

Natalie Shau


Beautiful works of digital art and illustration...


I have completely fallen in love with Natalie Shau's work.  A Lithuanian photographer and digital illustrator; it is beautiful, dark, whimsical and erotic and there seems no end to her imagination.






I forget where I first saw it but her creativity spans the fashion and music industries and happily I am now seeing it everywhere. A menagerie of fairy tale and horror that in tradition has always had surreal links; move over Tim Burton.



Now do I really have to pick one? So nice, so difficult, so here goes... gorgeousness!











Natalie Shau could design a beautiful tarot deck,  there are themes for me in her art depicting the 'Wheel of Fortune'  by some variant of the triple goddess. The fates of destiny come to mind for this one, in Greek Mythology, the Moirae and 'Death' appears frequently. My thoughts obviously, I doubt Natalie Shau was thinking of tarot when this was done. Jump on the link below to really appreciate her dark creativity.







Sunday, 6 February 2011

Visions of Trees - Sometimes It Kills


Visions of Trees are the dreamy electronic duo Joni Juden and Sara Atalar and 'Sometimes It Kills' is set for release on Monday 7th February after being the title track on the EP last year.







It has been matched with  this surprisingly bleak video of  urban decay produced by Saloon Films and directed by  Ben Strebel and Lewis Kyle White.  The video jarred a bit with me at first but they do seem to have a unique fusion of urban ambiance going on in their music that lifts you out of the greyness of city life.

 
The video sort of clashes with the whimsical feel of the track that reverbs Sara's vocals along side a Joni's buzzy synth sound, but I suspect that is the point and it's always good when musicians experiment with these things.

They sounded pretty fab at Bestival last year so it's not surprising Moshi Moshi have snapped up this London duo. Hypnotic vocals and tribal beats...all good good and one of my favourite acts that being newbies meant they were in a teeny tent doing an intimate set. The video certainly grounds you and stops you floating away with the music. After a couple of listens, much lovelovelove...enjoy!








Images: taken by me Bestival 2010

Saturday, 5 February 2011

The Praying Machine

Animation is my new thing...this is kind of cool? Not sure why completely but please do share with me if you have a point to make on this one by whatever means are convenient. Nothing is quite as it seems in this short film, taking place at first on a Tibetan mountain within a temple and moving quickly to a 'gentleman's club',  the final shot is the point.

I think it's all about the 'machine' of beliefs symbolised by the mechanic monk;  the guru is wired up to a belief system and watches the overburdened, crippled woman climb the stairs. Cold and lacking compassion for the cripple, he watches her walk through the door of perfection .' Perfection' dances for her audience, lacking humanity and suffering symbolised by her old self with a blank canvas and flawless body.  The prayers are answered and there is a  return to the overburdened cripple...the truth and the real beauty.

The robotic monk, minus his plugs and the machine, can now freely put out his arm to someone weak. It's all about pimping perceived beauty, speed and fear, a collision of Eastern and Western culture and this has cut us off  from true spirituality. The candles went out. My thoughts anyway.

Tokyoplastic in collaboration with Adelphoi music.




Wednesday, 2 February 2011

Ash

It always take me  foreverness to find this track as it's one of many Untitled ...haunting and beautiful.  Look at this for our babies...puts swine flu hysteria in perspective really. Look at the bigger picture.


Esben and the Witch - Violet Cries


This is a band surrounded by accusations of Goth, rumours of a dark comeback on our shores…quick run! Well personally, I don’t think it ever went anywhere so don’t go rushing for your mirrored sunglasses just yet, it merely shapeshifted into bands like The XX , even Bat For Lashes… hmm controversial, I think so anyway.

This melancholic trio are made up of Brighton's, Rachel Davies, the Siouxsie-esque front woman, along with Daniel Copeman and Thomas Fisher.



It’s an easy target really; ‘Goth’ is only taken seriously if it’s part of a literary movement but' hurrah' for now as Esben and the Witch have quite a traditional Goth sound going on that is nowhere near cringe worthy. All they need now is a dark style makeover? Although I’m guessing that’s their secret ingredient; no big hair, not even much black and they even have a man with a bloody beard, not even a wizard shaped one; too much risk of the cliché factor.

So the album ‘Violet Cries’, did you shiver? It’s slow, ambient in places, it builds and builds and sometimes just stops; not one for you hook craving whores, it’s a just a bit spooky, a tiny bit in the shadows, ethereal, melancholic la la laaaaaaa, reverbing like All About Eve on a happily sad day. The tales of armies, the evil, dreams, nature; it’s the ‘batty’ for lashes mixed with Miranda Sex Garden and the perfect self indulgent come down sound. Music has many uses after all.

The opening track is such a perfect choice and mood setter for the album. ‘Argyria’ is just gorgeousness, not one for the impatient types and definitely for those that like that ‘spirited away’ feel every now and then. ‘Marching Song’ is just protesting on epic proportions and so obviously the single from Violet Cries. 'Light Streams' is the weakest track for me…but with beatitude of 'Warpath', 'Eumenides' and Marine Fields Glow, it’s a dark side winner without the pretence.

And for all those people saying Esben and the Witch are the new Florence…what? If  Flo tried to protest about anything, it would involve skipping, giggling, a harp and some drumsticks fashioned out of twigs or something and possibly forgetting words, equally as entertaining and lovely but not the same.

Here’s the video for Marching Song…kind of enjoy?


Released 31st January… step away from the velvet dress and embrace the very grown up corporate/political goth seriousness.

Tracklist :

1. Argyria
2. Marching Song
3. Marine Fields Glow
4. Light Streams
5. Hexagons IV
6. Chorea
7. Warpath
8. Battlecry/Mimicry
9. Eumenides
10. Swans