Our brains are marvellous repositories of life experiences, including music and every time we listen to a piece of music bits and pieces of it get stored in our long term memory. When I hear some new music, my brain wants to associate this new music with something concrete, a piece of music that I have listened to previously and stored in my medial prefrontal cortex. The more I listen to an album, the stronger the neural connection and the easier it is to retrieve that memory.
I have spent the last week listening to “Chewing Gum”, the soon to be released EP from Promise And The Monster, aka Billie Lindahl. My brain has been trying to make associations between this new music and bits and pieces of older music strewn throughout my prefrontal cortex. I feel that there are bits of Enya swooping and swirling about, listen for it on the song “Vykort från förr” and the title track “Chewing Gum”. Her use of bass lines that build the music up to create tension shows a connection to Orinoco Flow in my brain cells.
There are also healthy doses of Nick Cave and the Bad Seeds, most evident in the use of cello on the track “One Summer”. Listen for it on Nick Cave’s album and the title track ” And No More Shall We Part”.
Billie Lindahl learned the cello at school playing Swedish folk music. My remarkable brain neurons through some feat of molecular engineering that I do not understand made a connection between Swedish folk music and Australian alt-rock, go figure.
I keep thinking of Maryanne Faithful as I listened to this new music from Promise And The Monster. I don’t know where that comes from, but I can’t seem to shake it. Let me know if you can hear it, and where if you do.
I heard echoes of Enya, Nick Cave, and Maryanne Faithful, on the other hand, Billie Lindahl tells us that she took her inspiration from Nick Drake, Kaki King and Elliot Smith. I only know for sure that Billie Lindahl sounds a lot like Promise And The Monster and that is a good thing. I also know that after umpteen listens, Chewing Gum is permanently stuck in my brain.
After she debuted her EP Antaktis in 2007 at the age of 18, Billie Lindahl kept very busy over the ensuing years releasing her solo music, as well as under her alias Promise And The Monster. She also collaborated with like-minded musicians such as Alcest and This Gift is a Curse.
“Feed The Fire”; her third full-length album came out in 2016, produced by Love Martinsen. In 2020, Martinsen joined Billie to co-write her upcoming material. The new songs explore a less introspective side of her psyche, with an emphasis on the tongue-in-cheek nature lurking beneath a veneer of earnestness.
On the signing news, Billie tells us, “I’m so pleased, together we can take this in a great new direction. I used to like writing quite cryptic stuff, but I tried hard this time to get out of that safe haven and be more direct. The new songs often express the feeling of being that last person at the party, dancing slowly in the background, waiting for something to happen. Like a sad moonlight disco.”
While the label Icons Creating Evil Art added, “We are thrilled to welcome one of the most iconic voices in dark pop to our evil art family. Promise and the Monster has been working right beneath the surface and in the shadows creating the most beautiful world of her own. It’s time we invite you all to share it with us!”
I invite anyone reading this to listen to the EP “Chewing Gum” when it is released. The single “Closed My Eyes”, is available wherever fine listening is offered.
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Happy listening and play safe.