While we’ve covered Club 8 quite a bit during our tenure, I feel like we’ve really taken the Swedish outfit for granted; they’ve recently announced Golden Island, which will be their 10th LP. Perhaps even more impressive than their long career is this new tune; it’s a very purposeful piece of pop music. The first 40 seconds or so are pretty sparse, dominated by what can only be described as a deep pulse. In the vocals, you almost have them used as an instrument, despite their polished beauty…especially when the sampled vocal enters the picture. It’s hard not to appreciate a band that continues to involve, and in such an emphatic fashion; look for the new LP on January 26th via Labrador Records.
Not only are we Labrador Records fans, but we’re also huge fans of Club 8. They just dropped this darkened electronic gem to announce their brand new album Golden Island. For the most part, this number takes on more of an atmospheric vibe than the band has presented before, with the vocals coming across almost as carefully exerted breaths in the front of the mix. The song’s construction and minimalism illustrate that the group can work on varying levels, not just hitting you over the head infectious pop; this is pop music for those that think. Look for the new record in early 2018!
Long ago, when I was really into buying soundtracks, I picked up the Marie Antoinette CD. Admittedly, I bought it because of the Strokes, but it opened the door to my obsession with the Radio Dept. At the time, my tastes were pretty broad, indie rock speaking, but this opened an entire different world to my realm. Their songs were always playful, rooted in this expansive bit of electronica, though they tended to experiment a bit more than the other things I was listening to at that age. What struck me, probably later than my first few listens, was the band’s ability to drape political content in this airy delight that was supremely rewarding. I’ve picked up everything I could get my hands on throughout the years, with Clinging to a Scheme being my personal favorite. If you’re new to the band, I suggest Passive Aggressive, which is a great compilation from some of their best 2000-era work. They come to the Mohawk Monday night, for what I’m assured will be an exhilarating experience. It’s fresh off some rave reviews for their recent album, Running Out of Love, reigniting America’s love for these Swedes. They’ll be joined by Brooklyn’s Germans. Buy your tickets HERE. Not many make music as grand as this, but when they do, you’re better off if you come experience it live!
A few days ago this Radio Dept song was birthed into the world, and while I’m a bit behind things, I had to get it up. The band has long been one of those mysteries in the music world that begs your attention, yet declines to play by the normal rules. They release on their own terms, like they did this week with their Occupied EP. As per usual, they mix electronic music with varying arrangements, though this track relies more heavily on those beats. It’s a smooth piece of electronic pop, embraced by casual vocal delivery that dares you to turn your ears away. You can grab the EP from Labrador Records in stores now.
When The Mary Onettes released their self-titled album, everyone was enthused. They crafted those pop songs coated in dense atmospherics that created contradicting emotions; the songs were warm, yet they offered up a cold and sterile mood. But, along the way, they’ve experienced various changes, most recently on Hit the Waves. That album encompassed more of a direct pop feeling to it, shying away from the dark craftsmanship that was present early on. Now we’ve got Portico. This record succeeds in both its brevity and its return to the days of old.
“Silence is a Gun” immediately starts with this delayed effect with an occasional note thrown in, affecting the listener almost immediately. But, while the song returns to the darker aesthetic, it doesn’t mean the group has left their pop ambitions at home. Instead, this song represents the work the band has put in since 2007, honing their sound, finally perfecting the best of both worlds. Similarly, “Naive Dream” takes the same approach, though this song goes straight for the point, offering jangling guitars from the get-go. while dreamy vocals rest atop the mix.
Then we move into slightly darker territory with “Ritual Mind,” which seems crafted to slow things down a bit in the structure of the record. You can just take the pacing alone, here, realizing that this is a song where you just let yourself go, immerse yourself in the realm crafted by the combination of guitars and keys. But, you’ll only have brief respite as “Everything Everything” comes along to move things back into the more danceable direction. It’s hazy house music, crafted by a tight-knit band, making it much more enjoyable than the previous approach The Mary Onettes took a year ago.
It’s all leading in one direction however, towards the opus titled “Bells for Stranger.” Here you’ll find the band employing more of a soundtrack approach, coating the song in layers of atmospherics and sparse notes before lyrics even enter the fold. Personally, I love how some of the notes evolve, going out of key as they dwindle in the space left behind by the slowly delivered vocals. It’s clear, here, that the band set out on the journey of writing Portico with something in mind, something that they had planned and mapped out carefully. And yet, they add more to that fold by using the album’s title track as an instrumental bookend to close things out.
For me, it’s a really refreshing piece of work. I’ve enjoyed the Mary Onettes for some time, but I’ll admit that from time to time they stay in one play, musically speaking. Portico is not that record. Instead, it’s an album with a purpose, a statement. All the songs have a lineage to the group’s sound, but they’re composed and organized in a fashion that ultimately rewards the listener.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/02-Naive-Dream.mp3]
It’s really been a joy watching the growth and progression of The Mary Onettes. Their first entry into the indie mainstream was coated in a sort of wash of atmospherics, but they’ve since cleaned some things up. But, on this new single you’ll see a nod to their past efforts, though the crystalline approach to the vocal delivery is also apparent here. It’s the best of both worlds, indicating that the band has finally found the perfect formula. You can grab their latest release, Portico, next Tuesday via Labrador Records.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/02/02-Naive-Dream.mp3]
I’ve closely followed the career of The Mary Onettes since they first debuted with Labrador, and they seem to have covered quite a bit of ground musically. I’m happy to hear that they’re back with a new offering, the mini-album, Portico. It’s said to be influenced by science fiction and old photography, which seems like it’s the perfect thematic place for their music. They’ve always had a knack for constructing these incredibly atmospheric tunes, while infusing it with bits of electronic energy. They’ll also have a few dates schedule in the States, with the middle of their schedule including some SXSW dates. Their mini-album will be released on March 4th via Labrador.
I’m not sure how I skipped over this, but this beautiful track from Johan Hedberg has been floating around for about a month. Even more confusing are the lyrics, which I don’t really understand as they’re mostly in a foreign tongue. But, what I do know is that the emotional pull of this track supersedes all that. While the song starts off rather slow and simple, it builds, as all great pop tracks do. The musical release as the song erupts is so moving, that I couldn’t not post the track; I don’t want you to be without it my friends. It’s available now through Labrador.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2013/08/01-Nackamasterna.mp3]
Downlaod: Johan Hedberg – Nackamasterna [MP3]
After their announcement of a new album back in November with single “Evil Coast”, we haven’t heard much from Swedes The Mary Onettes about said new album. Today the band surprised us with an email containing a link to their brand new single entitled “Hit the Waves”, and it’s sure to show a marked change in sound for fans of the band’s older material. The band describe it best themselves when they told us “Previous influences like The Cure and Joy Division have now been replaced by Sade, Whitney Houston, Peter Gabriel and Vangelis”. That just about sums it up doesn’t it? Put this one in the queue for your next new wave dance party.
New album Hit the Waves will be out on March 12th via Labrador Records.
I’ve never wavered in my adoration for The Mary Onettes, and with the upcoming Love Forever EP, it looks like I won’t have to change my position. You’ll probably notice a slight change if you’ve been following the band, though that’s not necessarily a bad thing. On this track, there’s a bit more of a studio polish to the daunting pop number, giving more clarity to the lyrical element than you might have found on previous effort Islands. You can find this track, and three others when the EP debuts via Labrador on February 28th. Try to hate this song; you just can’t.[audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/01/01-Love_s-Taking-Strange-Ways-1.mp3]
Download:The Mary Onettes – Love’s Taking Strange Ways [MP3]