Tag: Low

Live Footage: Denmark’s ONBC Performs the Gorgeous and Ethereal “Copenhagen” at Tapetown Studios

ONBC is a Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet, comprised of some of Denmark’s most acclaimed musicians — and the band can trace its origins to the formation and breakup of its earliest iteration Oliver North Boy Choir, an electro pop-leaning act, which featured founding members Camilla Florentz (vocals, bass) and Mikkel Max Jorn (guitar), who were both members of indie band epo-555. After releasing a number of EPs and singles, as well as covers of The Jesus and Mary Chain and The Boo Radleys, the Oliver North Boy Choir split up. In 2014 the members of Oliver North Boy Choir reunited but with the recruitment of Tanja Forsberg Simonsen (vocals, synths), who was a member of influential Danish indie pop act superheroes and Private; Ivan Petersen (drums), the frontman of The Boombox Hearts, and a radical change in sonic direction, the band was renamed ONBC.

In their native Denmark, the quartet has received attention for a cinematic sound and songwriting approach that some have compared to Low, Chris Issak and Julee Cruise — although as soon as I heard the gorgeous, shoegazer-like “Copenhagen,” I immediately thought of Malmo, Sweden’s Fredrik, Coco Beware and Caveman-era Caveman and Beach House as the harmonies of Forsberg Simonsen and Florentz ethereally float over a delicate and sparse arrangement of shimmering guitar chords and dramatic drumming.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past 15-18 months or so, you’d recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national. regional and even internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and release through the interwebs. During the live session’s run, a number of bands have participated and been featured including British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, the Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his primary project The Fresh & Onlys, the renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes, and a growing list of others.

ONBC’s Tapetown Studio session, much like Sista Bossen’s session is presented by their label, Crunchy Frog Records and was filmed during Aarhus’ popular Danish and Scandinavian indie music festival, Spot Festival — and it may arguably be one of the most stunningly beautiful ones they’ve shot to date.

 

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Darren Jackson, is a Bison, SD-born, Minneapolis, MN-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumentalist, whose solo recording project Kid Dakota partially derives its name as a loving homage to Jackson’s home state and a play on Kid Rock. In 1999, Jackson along with long-time friend and producer Alex Oana, wrote and recorded the five songs that would eventually comprise his 2000 self-released EP So Pretty before permanently relocating to Minneapolis.

Interestingly, Jackson’s debut EP caught the attention of Low‘s Alan Sparhawk, who offered to release the EP on his label Chairkickers’ Union under the condition that Jackson expand it to a full-length album — with the full-length version of So Pretty being released in 2002. Sparhawk’s label released Jackson’s sophomore effort, 2004’s The West is the Future, which continued the Bison, SD-born, Minneapolis, MN-based singer/songwriter and multi-instrumetanlist’s collaboration with Oana while featuring Low’s Zak Sally. However, his last two albums — 2008’s A Winner’s Shadow and 2011’s Listen to the Crows as They Take Flight was released by Graveface Records.

Jackson’s fifth, full-length album Denervation can trace its origins to a brief summer vacation at his parents’ house in the Black Hills in 2014 that turned into an extended nine-month stay convalescing in a hospital bed, after fracturing his pelvis in a horrific bicycle accident. The blunt force trauma from the accident also caused severe nerve damage, which made it extremely questionable whether or not Jackson would ever be able to walk again without a brace. And naturally, he found himself in a rather dark place. To cope with crippling depression, Jackson began writing the material that would eventually comprise Denervation, which will be released by Graveface Records on February 9, 2018.

After making some rough demos, Jackson sent them to his longtime friend and producer John Kuker, with whom he has collaborated with on several Kid Dakota recordings. And as the story goes, Kuker recognized the material’s raw potential and suggested that the Bison, SD-born, Minneapolis-based artist record the album at famed Cannon Falls, MN-based studio Pachyderm, which Kuker had recently purchased and renovated. Along with that Kuker suggested that Jackson enlist Birthday Suits‘ Matthew Kazama to play drums on the album. Jackson agreed and flew out to Minneapolis in late 2014 to meet with Kazama — and the duo spent several weeks woodshedding the material before heading to the studio in early 2015. After three days of tracking, the duo planned to record the album at Kuker’s studio that spring. Tragically, however, Kuker died from a heart attack in early February 2015, and the album’s came to a standstill. And understandably the album’s material was linked both with Jackson attempting to come to terms with the trauma and aftermath of his bicycle accident and the death of one of his dear friends.

Interestingly, it was only after Jackson got married and returned to Minneapolis from a stint teaching music in rural South Dakota and his Ph.D. studies in philosophy and film at Virginia Tech that he began to find the fortitude to finally finish the album he had started with his dear friend two years prior. And when he went to the studio, he enlisted the help of an All-Star cast of friends and collaborators for the Denervation sessions including Martin Dosh, Andrew Broder, Alan Spearhawk, Johnny and Molly Solomon, Jeremy Ylvisaker, Jeremy Messersmith, Todd Trainer and Dave Simonett. And as you’ll hear on the album’s first single “The Convalescent” the material possesses a feeling of loss, as the material focuses on loss from similar although different perspectives. Whereas some of the album’s songs focus on the potential loss of the use of a limb and its subsequent sense of helplessness, this particular song focuses on the loss of someone close — and as a result, their lingering and inescapable presence. Sonically speaking, the song pairs precise, math rock-like, angular guitar chords and drumming with arpeggiated synths, and arena rock-like hooks, evoking an uneasy, tense vibe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Stark and Beautiful Post-Apocalyptic Visuals for Magnetic Ghost’s “Landfill”

Earlier this year, I wrote about Minneapolis, MN-based multi-instrumetnlist and vocalist Andy Larson and his solo recording project Magnetic Ghost — and interestingly enough because the Magnetic Ghost project’s sound possesses elements of shoegaze, drone, krautrock, freak folk and post-punk, Larson’s work has been compared favorably Low, Sonic Youth, Popul Vuh, Talk Talk, Women, Flying Saucer Attack, and others, and as a result, Larson has opened for a diverse array of artists including Low’s Alan Sparhawk, Will Oldham, Bitchin Bajas, The Telescopes, Flavor Crystals and others. Further cementing a growing regional and national profile, Larson released his latest Magnetic Ghost album Loss Molecules last month, an effort that was recorded with renowned indie rock producer Neil Weir at Blue Bell Knoll and by Larson at Magnetic Manson.

The album’s first single “Vanish/Vanishing” featured Larson’s plaintive and ethereal vocals paired with layers of droning and shimmering guitars, a propulsive bass line and stuttering drumming in a moody bit of shoegaze that sounded as though it could have been released by Silber Records. Loss Molecules’ latest single “Landfill” manages to evoke a malevolent storm of privation, desperation, brutality and the end of things we were all familiar with and loved are on the horizon. And that shouldn’t be surprising as Larson explained to me via email, “Landfill” is “”a song truly about the lead up to this particular point in American politics we find ourselves in — the horrible mash up of celeb culture, consumerism, and politics amidst decay.”

Produced by Chase Butler, the recently released music video for “Landfill” captures both greed and decay with a stark and haunting beauty that suggests that the end result of our ambitions, of our constantly exploited and desperate need for stuff and of our dreams is decay.

Currently comprised of founding members Alan Sparhawk (guitar, vocals) and Mimi Parker (drums, vocals) along with Steve Garrington (bass), the Duluth, MN-based indie rock trio Low have a long-held reputation for slow-burning and heartfelt material comprised of minimalist arrangements, which showcase Sparhawk and Parker’s harmonizing. Just as the band was about to embark on a UK and Ireland tour in which they’ll be playing their critically applauded Christmas EP, the members of the trio released a Christmas season original “Some Hearts (at Christmas Time).” And  the latest single will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting slow-burning, minimalist and thoughtful indie rock in which a strummed, plaintive guitar motif and swirling electronics are paired with Parker’s ethereal vocals harmonizing with Sparhawk’s gently processed vocals in a song that looks at the close of the year with a hopeful look ahead.  Certainly, while this year has thrown many of us quite a few punches, there are a couple of things that we cannot forget — that through fate or plain dumb luck we’re still here to love, to dream, to fight yet another day; that sometimes hope may be the only thing that gets us out of bed; and that in difficult times, we may only have each other to depend on.

 

 

New Video: The Dreamy and Hypnotic Sounds and Visuals of Magnetic Ghost’s “Vanish/Vanishing”

Larson’s forthcoming Magnetic Ghost album, Loss Molecules was recorded with renowned indie rock producer Neil Weir at Blue Bell Knoll and by Larson at Magnetic Manson and the effort is slated for a November 18, 2016 release. “Vanish/Vanishing,” Loss Molecules’ latest single has Larson pairing layers of plaintive and ethereal vocals with moody and hypnotic instrumentation consisting of layers of droning and shimmering guitars, a propulsive bass line and stuttering drumming. Sonically speaking, the song reminds me quite a bit of the Silber Records roster.

The recently released video for the song features cinematic and widescreen shot footage of natural phenomenon — i.e., the sun rising in the horizon from the distance, as cars whir past, wind blowing through fields of grain, ice floes in the Arctic, smoke billowing from smokestacks, and so on. It looks like the sort of footage you’d stumble across while watching National Geographic specials — and as a result, it emphasizes the slow-burning, dreamy feel of the song.