Pools are a collaboration between the Swedish duo Fredrik Forell and Arvid Hällagård, and they have pooled their talents as the musical collaboration of “Pool”. Together they have made their debut album, ‘You & Us’, which is set to be released on 14th May 2021 via Something Beautiful.
Arvid handles the lead vocals with a voice that sent chills up and down my spine. His vocal style has an almost haunted quality which serves him well on tracks such as the opener “Grave”. About the album’s title track, Arvid says, “These are some thoughts about how she and I felt during the relationship, how you have to handle yourself, and at the same time an ‘Us’. Mostly it’s about how hard a relationship can be, having a first kid. You expect it to be in a certain way, and the disappointment when those expectations turn out to be unreal.”
Fredrik Forell mixes in music that verges on Americana folk but opens up new sounds that left me wondering “what the hell was that”?!
I love it! If iTunes had grooves, I would have worn out this album by now. The lyrics and music combine to create a portrait of pain. “You and Us” walks us through the journey of love, love lost, love that never was and love that needs room to grow.
A killer track on “You and Us” that caught my ear was “By The Old Moon”. It was an instant earworm for me. Take what sounds like a banjo and then add some sound samples, mix them all with the remorseful lyrics, and you get a song that keeps me hitting the repeat button.
I could go on and on waxing poetically about the songs, the music and the sheer brilliance of this album, but I will let “You & Us” speak for itself. Check out the singles “By the Old Noon”, “Looking For Trouble”, and “Walk” speak for themselves on your music platform of choice; I used Apple Music. And then tune in for the album to drop on 14th May via Something Beautiful recordings.
If I have a new review or two, it must be Friday, the day that new music drops regularly. So much music and so little time, a delightful conundrum.
First up is Slow Down Molasses, from Saskatoon, Saskatchewan. Only a six-hour drive away from me, in Canada, that makes them practically next-door neighbours.
The press handout for Slow Down Molasses called them post-punk, which nailed it as far as genre names go. They have an exciting blend of grinding crunching guitar soundbites that jump out of intelligent lyrics and pleasant layered synth, driving bass and perfect percussion.
I would drive the six hours to hear them play live. However, in the Covid-19 times that we find ourselves in, I will content myself with listening to them over and over on Apple Music. The single “Street Haunting” was released today, April 9th, via Divine Schism.
Paintroller doesn’t show up as a song title very often; https://genius.com/ only had three songs with paintroller in the title. There will be four as of Friday, April 9, 2021, the music group Hands Down, fronted by Filip Sjögren, will be dropping their new single with the title “Paintroller” on that day.
Sjögren took 2020 off from his vocation as a sound technician and producer to focus on creating music with his band Hands Down, a good call considering how that year unfolded.
The song “Paintroller” builds on the firm foundation of their first single “, Too Late”. “Paintroller” opens with Deep raucous percussive hits that segue into smooth as silk keys and synths, which lead us to the lyrical content. Filip Sjögren tells us, “The song about being coloured by everyone else”, says Sjögren, “and having your own ideas crushed by outside forces. Not feeling very welcome to the party, both in terms of music and society, feeling peer pressure. That’s what inspired the song. I had the whole song done at one point, and then I scrapped the vocal and wrote and recorded a whole new melody and vocal. That demo was called ‘paintroller’, and so that inspired me to write the new lyrics. I have no idea why that demo was called paintroller. But it is a very visual word”.
There are jazz elements woven into the fabric of the song and strings that would not be out of place in a movie soundtrack. “Paintroller” certainly showcases Filip Sjögren’s familiarity with music construction and how to bring all the diverse parts together to create a beautiful song. Well done, Mr Sjögren, well done.
‘Paintroller’will be available to stream from April 9 via Hands Down’s label Youth Recordings. While you wait for that, you can check this out:
I was becoming more and more piqued (feel irritated or resentful) as I listened to this album repeatedly, searching for something, anything (an excellent album by Todd Rundgren) that would move what I heard into words.
What I kept hearing was flashbacks to other bands and other eras, and that is not a bad thing. As I listened to Piqued Jacks new album, Synchronizer (not to be confused with the Central Scrutinizer by Frank Zappa), I kept trying to put my finger on what I was hearing.
I searched through my musical brain’s dusty neurons, and I touched on an oldy goldy from the past, Trooper. The opening track from Synchronizer is Golden Mine, and it opens with a great guitar riff that reminded me of Trooper. As the album spooled out, I heard elements of more modern bands such as Ferraro.
Having said all that, I do not want to leave the impression that Piqued Jacks have plagiarized anyone else’s music. I do not think that. What I do believe is this, I believe the Piqued Jacks probably listen to a variety of music, and from that listening that have gathered bits and pieces together and created a fine album of their own that sounds like Piqued Jacks.
“Synchronizer” is the third LP by Italy’s Piqued Jacks; recorded at both Esagono Studio in
Rubiera (RE), Italy and in England, alongside three of Britain’s top producers: Julian Emery
(Nothing But Thieves), Brett Shaw (Florence + The Machine) and Dan Weller (Enter Shikari).
Synchronizer is the first LP for Piqued Jacks under the INRI label. It should be the first one in your playlist this weekend.
I want to introduce you to a piece of paradise via a record album.
The album I am referring to is “Another Day In Paradise” by Vita Bergen. Led by multi-instrumentalist William Hellström, and a supporting cast of Tuva Lodmark, Gustaf Gunér, Patrik Wennberg and Josefin Eklund.
The album opens with the single “Can’t Hold It Much Longer”, a strong opener with vocals that punch through the synth-pop melody. Then Vita Bergen shift gears into second the second song “La Lumiere”. Google translate told me that the title is “The Light”, but that is all I know other than the fact that it sounds like a lovely song.
A shift in gears back to first with the power-pop song in “Hold On Kid”, I would love to see them perform this song live; it is a mover and shaker, and would make a great closer.
The fourth take is “All Is Gold”, a smooth ballad with Tuva Lodmark taking over on vocals. A short vein of gold, but golden just the same.
Vita Bergen shift gears again, and we move to a powerhouse called “Over Now”. This song is a catchy toe-tapping nodding head song. It will make a great earworm.
Tuva takes on the vocals again on track 6, “Falcons”. Her staccato delivery meshes perfectly with the reckless guitar and on again off again synths.
“Lines” is the first of two instrumentals on this album, and it shines and pulls the listener into its orbit, great stuff.
“Marion”, “Bedroom”, and “Slowdown” lead us to the closer and the second instrumental on the album, the title track, “Another Day In Paradise”.
Let me be clear about this, any day you can listen to music that is this good is indeed another day in paradise. Vita Bergan, lead by William Hellström, have moved us into another realm, a bit closer to paradise with the LP “Another Day In Paradise” via Woah Dad Records.
The Casual Sexists are willing constituents of the emerging wave of satirical, frenetic Avant-pop. Embarking on what they call their magnum opus, the Brooklyn-based dyad have disclosed the coming of their debut album; YourPrescription Is Ready. The first single lifted from the record is ‘My Heartbeat Keeps Me Awake’, which came out 5th March 2021 via the indie label It’s Hurting My Feelings. Their debut album, ‘Your Prescription Is Ready,’ will beout on 7th May 2021.
The Casual Sexists, that’s a great band name. Right? Just that name compels me to listen to them to find out what is behind the moniker. I found catchy synthpop that is reminiscent of Gary Numan on his album In Cars or Martha and the Muffins on Metro Music. Smart lyrics and a beat that compels me to tap my foot or bob my head, a good recipe for a best selling album. The Casual Sexists are on the right track.
I was hooked by the lyrics that The Casual Sexists throw out:
“My heartbeat keeps me awake
Repeating information that I already know.”
Putting our brains on an endless loop as we fight to get some sleep. Yeah, I’ve been there and done that—more than once.
“I dance, although I feel like I could die.”
The music lifts my spirits when my brain wants to curl up in a corner and make the world go away. The music compelled me to get up and dance, and those moments, those three-minute songs, keep me going. They give me life instead of dying. And “I dance although I feel like I could die.”
I call the lyrics on “My Heartbeat Keeps Me Awake” anthems to the aging. Aging is a constant reality from the moment we are born till the day we die. It is happening to every one of us, every minute. And The Casual Sexists have fun with it.
I give them a hearty thumbs up for the single “‘My Heartbeat Keeps Me Awake’.
This is me, is the title of the new single from Lee O’Brien, from his forthcoming album. It will now be an agonizing wait until I get the vinyl of this album because if this single indicates its power, it will probably knock my socks off.
Catchy music, intelligent and insightful lyrics delivered in a clear and firm vocal style. This release has it all. Lee O’Brien lists The Beatles and Pink Floyd as his influences, and he can’t go wrong there. They are consistently on my turntable as well. He proudly proclaims that he plays Pop/Rock, which sounds about right after giving him a good listen. It sure ain’t jazz! He also says that he plays music in flavours similar to John Lennon, Oasis and Beatles. Those are good flavours, that make tasteful and tasty music. Inspiration? Lee tells us it was “following your dreams. Whatever that dream may be, for me, it was being able to write an album good enough for release, which I believe we have achieved.” Yes, Lee O’Brien, you have achieved that and more. Many albums get released, but precious few cause me to keep hitting the replay button. This bit of music does that. I keep listening, again and again. Lee O’Brien, your album is not only good enough for release; it is good enough to top the charts. Keep on dreaming, and I will keep on listening.
I am not often left speechless, especially when it comes to me having an opinion about a piece of music. But it has happened, just now. Well, it has been two days of putting the music on endless repeat till my brain cells formed around every nuance, every shimmer and every guitar note.
I am referring to the EP ‘In Waves’ by Franz Kirmann & Roberto Grosso on the label ‘Days Of Being Wild’. The EP doesn’t arrive till April 9 of this year, but the single ‘Saudade” came out on February 12, and I can’t get enough of it.
Franz Kirmann is a seasoned musician and producer with an impressive resume. A rich and diverse background has seen him produce numerous compositions for a variety of high-profile projects, including the score for the BBC/AMC series McMafia and BBC4 Storyville documentary Locked In. Franz Kirmann has been releasing music since 2006, both as a solo artist and with composer/multi-instrumentalist Tom Hodge with their electronic/post-classical crossover project Piano Interrupted. Between 2012 and 2016, Franz released three solo albums and three Piano Interrupted albums (primarily on German label Denovali) and touring around Europe. In 2009, he founded the electronic music label Days Of Being Wild. French producer Franz Kirmann has now teamed up with Italian artist Roberto Grosso to deliver their new single ‘Saudade’, lifted from their forthcoming collaborative EP ‘In Waves’ through Kirmann’s Days Of Being Wild imprint.
The music they have created is the perfect chill recipe. I have put this on repeat and indulged in surfing the internet, working on my hobby of building dioramas and even reading a book. The music ebbs and flows, and there are moments when I have to hit pause on whatever I am doing and focus on the music. Back it up and play that section again. Good, now hit play and repeat. And my day passes with ‘In Waves” moving in and out, around and about. It has been a good listen. Indulge yourself and give this ‘Saudade’ a spin, put April 9 in your calendar and listen to the whole EP ‘In Waves’. You’ll see what I mean once you get their groove going in your headspace.
I accepted the challenge. I was asked by James, from Silent Kid Records, if I would be interested in doing a review of the new EP from Tony Njoku. I gave it a quick listen with a glance at the artist bio and decided I would give it a go.
I listened to the songs front to back about a dozen times. I read and reread the lyrics. I studied Tony’s song notes like I was cramming for a final exam. And I am still not sure what my take is on this EP. Let’s break it down.
Song 1. Killtony.
Tony Njoku tells us that this track is a favourite because he worked on it with his younger brother, New World Ray, and borrowed some words from a song of New World Ray’s. Killtony is supposed to be a catharsis song as he confesses that he has made bad choices in the past but is ready for a change.
“Imma change don’t desert me imma change.
I’m moving forward ‘fore the demons come in range.”
The song also mentions Yvonne Rainer for the first time; she turns up again in track #3. I have to confess that I didn’t know who Yvonne Rainer was so I spent a good chunk of my life finding out who she is, what she has done, why she is culturally relevant and why New World Ray and Tony Njoku mention her in their lyrics.
“I you try to run it again, then imam leave him for dead
I feel like Yvonne Rainer, dancing on his grave.”
It turns out that Yvonne Rainer has had a lengthy career in the field of interpretive dance, free form dance, performance art and choreography. Not my thing, but I respect these lads for knowing who she is and what she does. The song closes with Yvonne Rainer dancing on Tony’s grave.
Song 2. Zoro
I’ll let Tony explain this one himself as there isn’t much that I could elucidate that he hasn’t done already.
“ZORO too is a fun ride through some interesting and at time poignant themes. The track features a new UK rapper that I hope to hear more from in the future. I sort of just gave him the beat to do whatever he felt lyrically. A lot of the lyrics are quite self facing and unashamedly boastful, which is typical for this kind of work and some are quite thought provoking as well as sentimental; and the delivery is explosive in parts. I also think this is the only rap song I’ve heard that mentions the Anthropocene. Which is funny to me.”
Song 3. The Strange Dance Of Reality
Tony’s words again: “The Strange Dance Of Reality is an experimental waltz. It’s a song that makes reference to the avant-garde dancer and artist Yvonne Rainer’s style of dance and uses it as a metaphor to describe how I see/experience our lives playing out from moment to moment. Ebbing and flowing, rising and falling, decaying and growing; we’re all part of this nearly formless dance that’s perhaps aimless and definitely awkward but either way, in an endless scene, helps us create this strange reality. We’re all co-creators of this madness.”
I dived into this song and juxtaposed it as a dance with Yvonne Rainer.
“I followed Yvonne’s lead, her awkward movements
A formless dance that interprets life oh so well.”
If you are still reading this, here is a lyric sample that you should be aware of: “I know that I’m not perfect at all
I’m OK with it we’re all full of shit.”
I’m OK with it.
The Strange Dance of Reality song has some of the best lyrics that I have encountered recently, listen carefully for the waltz. It’s in there, but you have to pay attention. It doesn’t jump out at you like “Waltz, No. 2 (XO)” by Elliott Smith, a favourite of mine. You can “Take This Waltz” with Leonard Cohen, or do the “Pansy Waltz” with Shakey Graves. It might even make Tony Njoku as rich and famous as Queen who did “The Millionaire Waltz”.
I jumped in this far, I might as well go one step further, a dance step further that is, from a waltz to a minuet, the “Subway Minuet” by Manraygun. Enough already!!!
Song 4. Death By Dimitri
“This is a song about our existence; a lazy stampede and it’s marching towards
Death, like left right left, like left right left”
My quibble: I have been to lots of stampede’s, I have even ridden in a rodeo, which is a small stampede, and I have never, ever, known a stampede to be lazy. Hell no! Those horse’s come out or those chutes as 680 kg of pure adrenaline. They don’t march worth a damn either, it’s more like a rocking motion for the horse, and the cowboy does rhythm with both feet forward and in time with the horse, nope, not lazy, and no marching either.
Disclaimer: I participated in a rodeo, that should not be confused with being good at it, I wasn’t.
Tony’s take on Death By Dimitri: “Dimitri sort of follows on from that thought, but takes a more fearful approach I guess. There’s less hope here, instead of moving towards growth it’s “marching towards death”. And though that’s not a bad thing, I mean it’s inevitable…. however the tone here is fearful and perhaps angry. But in all that existential angst there’s still hope…here it’s presented as the guise of abstraction, psychedelia, the dive into the inner realm, spiritual relief etcetera etcetera. Production wise, it has the liquid feel to it. Like a lot of my production there’s that psychedelic quality in there as well. Essentially it’s a slow cruising trap influenced track about the enlightening qualities of intense psychedelic experiences.”
This EP challenged me in a good way. I had to listen attentively, I had to read carefully, and I had to be open to new and often awkward moments. I would recommend this as a good listen. The high falsetto voice is a bit of an acquired taste, but hey, I learned to like the Bee Gees in their disco days, so a little extra falsetto never hurt.