Hot Dance Mess from Shout Out Louds

Shout-Out-Louds-IllusionsI’ve been waiting for Shout Out Louds to replicate the deliciousness that was 100 Percent from their first LP, and I think this new track, Illusions, might just be that perfect step.  It combines the element of indie dance music with the group’s current musical warmth, due mostly to the soft spoken female backing vocals.  You can listen to this song and not feel a bit of personal exuberance; you better be tapping your toes or spinning about at your cubicle/bedroom.  This tune has me thoroughly excited for the band’s new album, Optica, which comes out on February 27th via Merge.

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New Beauty From Shout Out Louds

I’m sure many of you have already heard this sweet new tune from Shout Out Louds elsewhere by now, but I don’t really give a damn to be honest.  We’ve always been huge fans of the band since their inception 10 years ago, and we’re all excited to see them resurface after near silence since Work from early 2010.  The new song tearing up the internet this week is called “Blue Ice” and can be downloaded for free below.  It’s a beauty of a song that has me majorly excited for the band’s planned early 2013 release.

Also, apparently the band has created some sort of crazy 7″ single of this song that is made entirely of ice.  Don’t get too excited, only 10 were made, but a contest is currently running here to win one of these highly sought after items.


Download: Shout Out Louds – Blue Ice [MP3]

Imperial Teen – Feel the Sound

Rating: ★★★½☆

After nearly two decades together, what’s their left for a band to accomplish, or say that matter?  Well, after spending the last few days with Feel the Sound, the most recent release by Imperial Teen, it’s clear that there’s plenty more to be done.  There’s always been an infectious brightness to the band, and they don’t hold back on this effort, giving you 11 new tracks to which you can tap your toes.

“Runaway” doesn’t hit hard, but it hits you in all the right places.  Guy/girl vocals, one of the band’s specialties, provides a certain sentiment of joyousness, propelling the album along in the precise manner one would expect.  As the song rolls along, a smile will begin to spread from ear to ear.  This approach seems to be the most successful on Feel the Sound, with songs like “All the Same” using steady drumming, precision guitar play and a penchant for a nice hook to keep us bobbing along with the group.  Listening to the increased pace and stomping drums in the middle of the aforementioned track will have you seeing precisely why Imperial Teen have been able to win us over again and again.

Don’t think that the record’s just going to pound you with furious bubblegum flavor from start to finish, as restraint is definitely a forte on this outing.  One of the standout tracks, “Don’t Know How You Do It,” really comes across as an indifferent jam, yet you’ll find that it slinks its way into your heart.  Monosyllabic chants always get me, personally, but the effortless cool of the track itself reminds one of the great tracks by current label mates, Shout Out Louds. “Overtaken” has a much more melancholy tone for listeners, almost in the vein of mellow post-rock, which might come as a surprise for most fans.  The lyrical line of “it’s overtaking us” provides in ominous mood, yet those soaring harmonies always make it hard to fall too deep into the darkness with Imperial Teen.

While there’s plenty to absorb, musically speaking, on Feel the Sound, it’s an interesting collection of tunes.  None of these tracks are going to absolutely blow your mind, but there’s a certain playfulness that allows you to really get carried away in the listening experience. Take the brief, “It’s You,” with its sexy vibe and sprightly bounce and you’ll hear the sort of maximum enjoyment that band can offer up in a heartbeat.  Whether you’re looking for a solemn tune, or something to lift up the spirits, this record really does have it all.  A little bit of time, and you’ll realize exactly why Imperial Teen have been able to sustain such great longevity; the band’s just flat-out good, simple as that.


Download:Imperial Teen – Runaway [MP3]

New Track from The Serenades

At the moment there’s not tons of news stateside about The Serenades, other than it feature Adam Olenius of Shout Out Louds, and his friend, Markus.  They’re not crafting bubbling pop with hints of melancholy; they’re offering up sweeping pop music that only the Swedes seem to know how to perfect.  They’ve got an album out called Criminal Heaven, and it’s full of really warm numbers with swelling bursts of exuberance.  It’s the perfect track to fit into your midweek listening rotation.  Just kick back and enjoy this little ditty.


Download: The Serenades – Oceans [MP3]

Shout Out Louds – Work

shout-out-loudsRating: ★★★★☆

It seems like our obsession with Sweden has faded since a few years back, but luckily for us, there is still a lot of great music coming from the Scandinavian country.  It’s the home of Shout Out Louds, a quintet who has slowly built a following in the States by releasing several albums chocked full of pop hooks and those crafty Swedish melodies.  Work is another solid display of a band who knows their strengths, who can pull them off with such precision that it’s hard to find a thing wrong.

We’ll start our journey with “1999,” a tune that spends its first thirty seconds tinkering away on the piano before Adam Olenius’ vocals kick in to really get the song going.  Just for fun, they toss in a couple of “oohs” to grab you with a little hook.  But, where some bands might push the limit during the chorus, Olenius has the band pull back, leaving a perfect pop gem in the wake.

You can continue to push through this record, and those of you who are familiar with Shout Out Louds will notice that the work of Phil Ek (producer) has really put the spotlight on the group’s assets.  Sure, they have those New Order guitar chords cutting in and out of the entire album, but you’ll definitely take note of the percussion.  One of the things that made bands of this ilk so fashionable was the drummer, and Eric Edman definitely solidifies everything in the music.  He’s steady, and his delicate touch in songs like “Candle Burned Out” display his dynamics behind the kit.

Percussive elements are not the only noticeable difference with Work; Shout Out Louds have gradually grown a little bit softer.  On Howl Howl Gaff Gaff, they seemed a lively bunch, eager to have you bounce around the club to their tunes, but that’s all changed.  It appears now that they just want you to nod your head and tap your toes, which has admirable traits in itself.  “Too Late, Too Slow” has a jangle to the guitars, but instead of pushing forward as the group has done in the past, they let vocal interplay between Olenius and Bebban Stenborg carry out the song.  While it may not jump up and drag you to the dance floor, it might convince you to grab your lover and dance once around in the living room together.  “Walls” does much the same thing.  It chugs along pleasantly with steady guitar, and while you might find it catchy, it’s a restrained sense of joy.  And, the chorus is quite emphatic, showing they’ve never strayed too far from where they began years ago.  These are how perfect pop moments are made.

Just make sure that you save your dancing shoes because the group hasn’t given up entirely on their knack for throwing in a solid groove.  You might have to wait until the end of the record, but “Show Me Something New” is not only one of the best tracks in this collection, it’s the one most likely to get you moving frivolously to and fro.  Using Stenborg to balance out Olenius’ voice perfects the chorus, and it seems the group can do little else to win you over.

Shout Out Louds seem to have outlived the fad of the Swedish invasion, and they’ve done so by not sacrificing their original formula.  Instead, they’ve chosen to perfect each inch of recorded material; they’ve pushed Adam’s vocals to new levels, and they’ve pushed themselves to an entirely new levels.  Work shows a band who have finally found the place where they’re the most comfortable writing great pop songs, and we’ll all be better off for it.


Download: Shout Out Louds – Walls [MP3]

New Music From Shout Out Louds

shout-out-louds1Imagine my surprise today when I found this new track from Sweden pop group Shout Out Louds!  This band won me over a few years ago with their album Our Ill Wills and I have been a fan ever since.  The new LP from the Swedes, Work,  is due out Feb. 23rd on Merge.  First single “Walls” from the record is below.  2010 is shaping up to be one helluva year.


Download: Shout Out Louds – Walls [MP3]

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