We’ve been following the work of Philip Ekstrom since the earliest days of this blog, though at the time, that was with his band the Mary Onettes; today he brings us another tune from his solo work under the H. Moon moniker. Our first listen definitely recalls some of the emotional effects that resonate with Mary Onettes fans; it’s like you peel away the haziness that coated that and reveal this shinier pop version of Ekstrom’s songwriting. There’s all this negative space too hanging about, kind of building that cavernous feel that lets you fall deep into the context of the song, floating endlessly in the subtle textures. Trustblood will be out on May 22nd.
We’ve been writing about the Mary Onettes since their inception back in the 00s; we continue our support as the band ready the release of a new single this Friday. The central groove of this song is sensational, slowly cascading through your speakers with these little gurgles of bass bouncing in and out. Then the bread and butter for the band is they way they’ve always draped the vocals across the entire mix; they always sort of feel like atmospherics coating the musical instrumentation. This track will be released as a single by Cascine on Friday with a B-Side to boot!
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]
The madness that is SXSW is upon us, and as we ready ourselves and our livers, we’ve got another interview featuring one of our favorite bands, The Mary Onettes. The Swedish act has had mild success in the States, but their new music is really building a solid name for the band over here, so we hope that this little introduction encourages you to get on board with us. If you do catch them…be sure to get one of those t-shirts. Read more
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.
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Yeah, this track surfaced on Friday, but what better way to start off on a Monday than by listening to the blissed out pop from The Mary Onettes. Their at work on their third LP, Hit the Waves (Labrador-March 2012), with changes in the music expected by the band; some of those changes are apparent in this first single. Sure, you can see the nostalgia remnants, but that hazy darkness birthed on their first self-titled LP seems a distant memory. Who knows where this will all end up, but I’m always glad to jam to a tune by these guys, so here you go. Happy Monday.
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Big Wave Riders aren’t exactly new to our radar, as we’ve been following the group carefully ever since they signed to Soliti Music, but now they’re drawing closer to the release of their debut, Life Less Ordinary. Listening to this new single from the album, I can’t help but recall a bit of The Mary Onettes, though with a bit more of a personality. You can sense the same sort of electronic-influenced melodic rock, but there’s a hint of energy lurking in the vocals…something you’ll surely notice too. Look for more great tracks from the band when they release their record on August 24th![audio:http://austintownhall.com/wp-content/uploads/2012/07/05-Sunny-Season.mp3]
Download:Big Wave Riders – Sunny Season [MP3]
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]