Tuesday, 29 January 2013

The Knife- Full Of Fire (new single from Shaking the Habitual due out April 2013)

We are closer to having our ‘habitual’ thoughts and expectations ‘shaken up’ by The Knife’s new album. I’m assuming that nothing will be as expected from this new album, which is to be expected from this wonderfully uncompromising electronic and experimental duo.

After Karin Dreijer Andersson’s solo meandering as Fever Ray, a very dark, wonderfully eerie and tribal drum resounding experience, she’s teamed back up with her brother Olof to fill our eager ears with something a little ‘Aphex Twin-ish’.

It’s quite a hard techno sound, occasionally foraying into Chemical Brothers (yep, 'Setting Sun' really) put with a short film full of gender and class politics. ‘Asking questions’ the lyric repeats and surely does visually with cross dressing domestic workers, motorcycle, gender blurred bondage, and urination in the public domain, representing all difference in humanity and that that is often hidden.

Although musically very removed from anything on the electro opera of ‘Tomorrow, in a Year’, it sounds so far like it may work in a similar theme of questioning all that is obvious and mainstream, the so-called ‘norms’ of existence, beginnings and sexuality. We shall see soon. As the short film is directed by Marit Östberg, a filmmaker and challenging visual artist, it is no wonder these themes have worked together so finely in The Knife’s comeback single ‘Full of Fire. Enjoy it with me… as Marit says herself on the film;

“Our actions create reality, we create each other. We are never faceless, not even in the most grey anonymous streets of the city. We will never stop being responsible, being extensions, of one another. We will never stop longing for each other, and for something else.”

Karin’s vocals end on..

When you’re full of fire
What’s the object
of your desire

Let’s talk about gender baby
Let’s talk about you and me

I lovelovelove its energy and cannot wait for the release of 'Shaking the Habitual.'

*Jump to The Knife's official site for more information*

Monday, 21 January 2013

Crystal Castles: Sad Eyes - new video

Crystal Castles seemed to have got very grown up with this latest album. They've been interviewed (even the elusive Alice), they seem to be more 'pinnable' down than they have in the early days, they've been thanking fans for fan videos and now they've released an official video for 'Sad Eyes'. (Not the whole track though, don't be so greedy)

As much as I liked Ethan and Alice's sulky, uncooperative air of mystery (there always seemed something carefree and even comic about it), this small window into what makes them click is making them both more interesting. Promo pictures have often obscured them, ranging from clean and stylised to drugged up, hiding their faces with cup cakes or Jedi style hoods. There has always seemed a level footing in the partnership about them, equally mysterious, equally inputting in this mad creativity without the cliché 'availability' of a front woman and moody guy pressing buttons in the peripheral 'thing'.

This video is more revealing, it's as good as 'Celestica' from 2010 and much better than last year's 'Alice in an empty swimming pool in some sort of gothed up wedding gown' which just didn't work (and the track has escaped me even though I loved album II).

It starts with the bang and chaos of live (ish) footage, strobing to Alice's 'sad eyes' (and new purple hair, very nice!). Her pose is a strange mix of vulnerable yet defiant, a kind of signature look for her and maybe that's why she's ended up punching the odd crowd groper; it's a sort of 'don't mess with me' anger that's feeding into the music, lyrics and claustrophobic beats of their music.

There's some masked in 1000+ denier tights snogging action symbolising a robbery of someone's face? Who knows? It clips to Ethan with a Barbie doll behind him, sparklers, Alice in some strange, Stepford wife get up cradling a small girl, clipping to more masked men in a 'Clockwork Orange' type tunnel.  Barbie appears behind Alice while Ethan helps up a young woman up off a pavement and Alice dances with a fag in a Marge Simpson jumper. A little girl looks on.

It's all a bit 'wah wah' but surely a comment on female repression and faceless intimidation? Great song, check out the video and see if you can de-code it.

Sadly I think music videos have died a bit and bands have got lazy, I like it when you can get your teeth into one personally, even if it's unfathomable in places, in fact, even better. Thank you Crystal Castles...do more.

Ssion: Luvvbazaar-another brill video.

And here's another great video from Ssion's album 'Bent'. (I don't think he does 'subtle') I really, really love this tune. It is heavy with memorable hooks, funny and charming and the supermarket scene/break in the track is comedy genius and musically perfect. Biggups to the drag queen outro. Amazing.

Who says you can't sport red lipstick and a big moustache...Luvvbazaar.

Related Post:

Crystal Castles Album Review III

Related Links:

Ssion on Twitter

Wednesday, 9 January 2013

New year, new music, new tour dates...

Herve- featuring Austra: Save Me

It’s been a long time since Austra had any new news but as they did here way back in 2011, Katie Stelmanis’ voice is darkly haunting January with this ‘featuring’ track; let’s revel in New Year intensity with her. 

Katie's signature cry weaves melancholically through Herve’s (DJ, did some stuff with Fatboy a while back) layered and moody instrumentation. ‘Save Me’ is a reminder for me of later Siouxsie and the Banshees, not a bad thing at all in its delightful spookiness.

Herve’s album 'The Art of Disappearing' is out in March and also features ‘Niki & The Dove’, a much lighter band to collaborate with so that should offer something interesting and hopefully surprising too. I loved Malin and Gustaf more when they tinkered on the dark side with earlier tracks like ‘Mother Protect’ so everything crossed that this alliance casts shade in the leaning of Niki & The Dove once again.

The first single from Herve’s album is below, and if it’s anything to go by,  the tracks to come will be worth checking out.

The Knife: new album and tour dates

In other news, The Knife are touring with a new album due out in April ‘Shaking the Habitual’, check out the typically intriguing trailer for that album here, Olof (dressed as a woman) and Karin sporting the most neon in jumpsuits in a playground of high heels and weirdness. More dates are to follow so please, please make them London too. With the help of friends and lovers...

Crystal Castles: tour dates and video for Plague

That plea also goes out to Crystal Castles who have announced a tour of North America with III (amazing album, buy it) but none yet for this side of the Atlantic, I really hope they don’t just land at Reading Festival as they have been known to before. 

If you’re not already feeling a bit penned in by January, this rather claustrophobic stir-crazy video for Plague will help you along. Enjoy the madness of possessed and jerky choreography that echoes that of vintage ‘Tales of the Unexpected’...and the inside of my head when I have to suffer a tube journey. Enjoy!

Related Post:

New video for SAD EYES from Crystal Castles III

Related Links:

More info on The Knife tour dates here and Crystal Castles here.