Wednesday, April 08, 2009

Listening Habits 03.2009

Spring is here again...and it's off to a good start with a blossoming of fine new music, as you can see in this month's extensive and varied album list. The album of the month, as you may have guessed if you've read our previous post or the feature I wrote for mixgrill, is the recently released "Fantasies", Metric's fourth LP, which is currently dominating my mp3 playlist (the cd is coming soon). The self-released effort comes almost four years after "Live it out" and boasts some of the finest songs of their career so far, with leading track and first single "Help I'm alive" being a fine example of their dynamic sound. It is also very interesting to compare the album version of the track, that rocks like The Pixies on fire, to the hauntingly beautiful acoustic version available as a free mp3 from the band's site - the many faces of Metric's sound revealed to the tune of the same, yet so different, song.

Another release from a Canadian band is the next entry in our album list. It's «Face Control», the second Handsome Furs album on Sub Pop. The group consists of the husband and wife duo of Dan Boeckner (also a member of Wolf Parade) and Alexei Perry. Their idiosyncratic rock sound has become more accessible here thanks to the electropop elements creeping in their music and the influence of New Order (album track «All we want, baby, is everything» is actually based on the Mancunians' classic «Temptation»).

The Top 4 is completed by two Scandinavian entries: «Futuro», the fourth release by Low Frequency In Stereo from Norway, and the self-titled debut of Fever Ray from Sweden, a name behind which hides Karin Dreijer Andersson from The Knife.
Low Frequency In Stereo started their recording career at the beginning of this decade as a typical post-rock band, but they've gradually shifted their sound by adding some fine vocal harmonies and making their krautrock and dream pop influences more prominent. This year's record is their best and also most accessible work to date. On the other hand, the word «accessible» is certainly not applicable to Fever Ray's work. Only those already familiar to the strange, dreamlike world of The Knife (the group consisting of Karin and her brother Olof) will feel at home to the otherworldly, haunted sounds of Fever Ray. But if this is your first introduction to Karin's music, it will probably take several listens before surrendering to these seductive electronic nightmares. Like the eccentric cinematic world of David Lynch, this record is certainly not for everyone but it is definitely worth a try for an experience unlike any other.

Top 16 Albums

1. Fantasies - METRIC
2. Face Control - HANDSOME FURS
4. Fever Ray - FEVER RAY
5. Radio Wars - HOWLING BELLS
6. Alight Of Night - CRYSTAL STILTS
7. High Places - HIGH PLACES
9. Middle Cyclone - NEKO CASE
10. Fortress 'Round My Heart - IDA MARIA
12. Dark Was The Night - VARIOUS ARTISTS
13. Love Hate And Then There's You - THE VON BONDIES
14. 200 Million Thousand - BLACK LIPS
15. Dear John - LONEY DEAR
16. Grace/Wastelands - PETER DOHERTY

Top 20 Tracks

1. Help I’m alive - METRIC
3. I’m confused - HANDSOME FURS
4. Treasure hunt - HOWLING BELLS
5. Seven - FEVER RAY
6. This tornado loves you - NEKO CASE
7. Young adult friction - THE PAINS OF BEING PURE AT HEART
8. Departure - CRYSTAL STILTS
9. Me & Mary - ASOBI SEKSU
10. From stardust to sentience - HIGH PLACES
11. Troubles like mine - GUN OUTFIT
12. Devotion - VIVA VOCE
13. Oh my God - IDA MARIA
14. Pale bride - THE VON BONDIES
15. Short fuse - BLACK LIPS
16. Bells of creation - …AND YOU WILL KNOW US BY THE TRAIL OF DEAD
17. Well-alright - SPOON
18. Last of the English roses - PETER DOHERTY
19. Walking on a dream - EMPIRE OF THE SUN
20. Everything turns to you - LONEY DEAR

Handsome Furs - I'm confused

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