Tag: Peter Bjorn and John

Perth, Australia-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer Jake Webb is the creative mastermind behind the critically applauded and commercially successful Aussie synth pop/psych pop act Methyl Ethel. Webb’s Methyl Ethel has amassed over 25 million Spotify streams globally — and after landing at #4 on Triple J’s 2017 Hottest 100, “Ubu,” was named an ARIA Accredited Gold single early last year. Also, his tour dates across Australia and the UK have regularly sold out since 2016. 

Although Webb has achieved commercial and critical success within a relatively short period of time, Methyl Ethel began as a sort of personal challenge. “I wanted to see if I could write, record and release some music before the band I was in at the time finished doing the same,” Webb says in press notes. “I did and subsequently withdrew from some close friends. Relationships were severed. I severed some even closer ones. This was all played out in such a public away, as it invariably does, so I withdrew more. My first album Oh Inhuman Spectacle became the ‘why me?/fuck you/sorry’ album that I wrote as a confused coping mechanism. It helped and I enjoyed it. I continued the introspective journaling with the follow-up, Everything is Forgotten. For me, that album said ‘who cares? all your emotions are irrational and meaningless anyway.'”

Webb’s most recent full-length album, last year’s Triage may be his most introspective and reflective effort to date with the material thematically, focusing on time and its passing, of getting older and occasionally becoming more mature, of the lies we have to tell ourselves and have to keep to keep on getting by.

Interestingly, Triage‘s follow-up effort, the forthcoming Hurts To Laugh EP, which is slated for an April 10, 2020 release through Dot Dash/Remote Control was recorded at the same time as Triage. Thematically, the five song EP touches upon the psychological difference between feeling and emotion. One is a conscious response to a set of circumstances, the other is the unconscious conditions of our very being that only occasionally surfaces through feelings — with the material probing ambiguities and paradoxes, implied by the effort’s title: you can laugh so hard that it hurts (joy) or you can laugh despite the pain (despair). 

Hurts To Laugh‘s first single, the stumbling and stuttering “Majestic AF” is centered around bubbling oscillator, analogue polyrhythm, a sinuous bass line, march-like drumming and a shimmering, slightly atonal synth melody and an anthemic hook paired with Webb’s plaintive falsetto floating over the mix. But at its core, the song manages to possess a dance floor-like energy while being earnest and uneasy.

Methyl Ethel will be embarking on aStateside tour to support his latest effort, opening for Peter, Bjorn & John during the Spring. The tour includes an April 10, 2020 stop at Webster Hall. Mid-April sees Webb returning to Australia for a solo tour at intimate venues across the country’s largest cities. Check out the tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
March 23 – Teragram Ballroom – Los Angeles, CA#
March 24 – La Santa – Santa Ana, CA#
March 25 – New Parish – Oakland, CA#
March 27 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR#
March 28 – Crocodile – Seattle, WA#
March 31 – Urban Lounge – Salt Lake City, UT#
April 01 – Bluebird – Denver, CO#
April 03 – Amsterdam – St. Paul, MN#
April 04 – Empty Bottle – Chicago, IL#
April 05 – Loving Touch – Ferndale, MI#
April 07 – Johnny Brendas – Philadelphia, PA#
April 08 – Union Stage – Washington, DC#
April 10 – Webster Hall – New York City, NY#
April 11 – Brighton Music Hall – Boston, MA#
April 15 – The Outpost – Brisbane, AUSTRALIA
April 16 – Nightcat – Melbourne, AUSTRALIA
April 17 – Mary’s Underground – Sydney, AUSTRALIA
April 19 – Goodwill Club – Perth, AUSTRALIA
# Supporting Peter, Bjorn & John
All tickets

Live Footage: Les Big Byrd Perform “A Little More Numb” at Tapetown Studios

Comprised of founding duo Jocke Åhlund and Frans Johansson along with Frans Johansson and Martin Ehrencrona, the Stockholm Sweden-based indie rock act Les Big Byrd features a collection of their hometown’s most accomplished indie musicians.  Åhlund co-founded cult Teddybears with his brother Klas in 1991. Åhlund went on to play guitar in Caesars — and formed Smile, with Peter, Björn and John’s Björn Yttling. And in that insanely busy period, Åhlund managed to find time to write for and produce the legendary Giorgio Moroder and renowned Swedish pop artist Robyn. Johansson, meanwhile, was a bassist in Swedish Grammy Award-winning act Fireside since the early nineties and worked as a touring bassist with The Soundtrack of Our Lives.

As the story goes, by 2011 Åhlund and Johansson had become increasingly disillusioned with their primary gigs and they began to collaborate with each other, frequently bouncing musical ideas off one another; the band’s founding duo quickly recruited two fellow grizzled scene vets, keyboardist Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona and Caesars drummer Nino Keller to finalize the band’s lineup. 

The band’s debut, 2014’s Back to Bagarmossen EP was an atmospheric, guitar driven effort that found the quartet receiving attention from Swedish national TV. Interestingly, with a growing national profile. the members of Les Big Byrd ran into The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at a local record store, and after hitting it off with him, the band headed to Newcombe’s Berlin-based studio to jam with him — and the end result was a handful of tracks which eventually appeared on their critically applauded Åhlund-produced full-length debut, They Worshipped Cats, an album that was a decided left turn into trippy space rock.

In the winter of 2015, 18 months after the release of They Worshipped Cats, Åhlund was looking forward to working on new material; however, unlike their debut, he was determined to bring in an outside producer to allow him to focus just on the songwriting and playing. With much of their material drawing heavily from psych rock and drone, while retaining a pop sensibility, the band recruited Spacemen 3‘s Sonic Boom (a.k.a.Pete Kember) to produce the album as the band loved his work on MGMT‘s 2010 sophomore album Congratulations.  The initial sessions with Kember quickly went awry; Kember clashed with Newcombe, who also headed to Sweden to work on some ideas for the record with the band — and Åhlund eventually found himself taking up the production role, he didn’t want and wasn’t seeking.

Burned out by the experience, the band shelved the second album for a while.  “I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed to get some distance from it,” Åhlund says in press notes. “It was only after a while that I was able to go back and realise that there was a really good album in there.” The members of Les Big Byrd spent the bulk of last year remaking and re-imaging the material in their own image — with Kember and Newcombe’s contributions being limited. Recorded between two Stockholm studios — Åhlund’s own and Ehrencrona’s Studio Cobra — the band’s sophomore album Iran Iraq IKEA derives its title from a slogan that Åhlund’s saw printed on a tie while in Berlin years earlier and wanted to use for years; in fact, Åhlund felt that it suited the album, “because it gave it all some kind of subtly poetic intrigue.” However, the album’s politics — if you really want to call it that — are rooted within the personal, As Åhlund says in press notes,  “It’s about classic topics like love and failure. And about being older and feeling like you’ve pissed your life away, It’s about regrets and wishing you’d done things another way,”

The band’s Åhlund takes up production duties again, but with the admission that maybe it was something he never really wanted to give up — and sonically speaking, the band reportedly have reinvented themselves and their sound but while retaining elements of the sound and approach that first won them national and international attention.  “I still love my krautrock, and space rock, and experimental, improvisational stuff” says Åhlund. “But I also have a strong love for psychedelic sixties pop music, and I love reverb-drenched guitar with a lot of tremolo on it. All of those things make it on to Iran Iraq IKEA, but the lines are blurred – there’s a lot of electronics, and you can’t always tell where each individual sound is coming from. Hopefully it’s suggestive, a little bit uncertain and unpredictable, at least that’s what I wanted.”

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of years, you’d recall that Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios in partnership with Sound of Aarhus have been inviting national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to come into their studios for a live session, which they film and distribute through all of your favorite social media sites. So far they’ve inited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes,  Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, and up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning.  Recently, the members of Les Big Byrd stopped by Tapetown Studios to perform the bittersweet lament “A Little More Numb.” 

New Video: Acclaimed Drummer and Songwriter Kyle Crane and The Shins’ James Mercer Team Up on a Shimmering and Nostalgic Single

Kyle Crane is an acclaimed drummer and prolific songwriter, who has been a part of the touring bands for the likes of Neko Case, M. Ward and others. Additionally, he was the drum double for the Oscar Award-winning film Whiplash.  Crane recently announced a solo album of his own, Crane Like The Bird, which is slated for a January 18, 2019 release, and the album is reportedly steeped in Crane’s autobiography: Crane’s father was a Coast Guard lieutenant and pilot, whose helicopter went down in a search-and-rescue mission in 1997. The album tells the story of the time leading up to his father’s death and the effects on them; in fact, the album cover photo is a picture of his mother at the crash site, throwing a rose out to sea, and the album art includes his father’s old pilot logs and maps. 

As a result, the album’s material touches on love, loss and memory but also ski lifts and Nintendo, perhaps as a reminder that along with love, a healthy dose of nostalgia is part of the universal experience. Interestingly, the album finds Crane collaborating with a who’s who of indie music including Conor Oberst, Daniel Lanois, Kurt Rosenwinkel, Luke Steele, Peter Bjorn and John‘s Peter Moren, Sabina Scuibba, Brad Mehldau and The Shins’ James Mercer — and each collaborator allows the material on the album to be sonically diverse, as the material nods at points to jazz, New Wave, country and others. The album’s latest single is the jangling, Smiths-like “Wishing Cap,” an achingly nostalgic track that wishes for simpler and easier times, perhaps with loved ones who aren’t with us now. 

Animated by Tim Lierman, the recently released video is a larger metaphor for being transported back in time. After putting the wishing cap on, the video’s hero is transported with the task of healing a world that has fallen apart. That world represents Crane’s broken heart, after his father’s death. As Crane explains, “When I would visit my Grandparents i would stay in my father’s old room that he grew up in. One time I was rummaging through the closet and I found an old shoe box with letters and an old green baseball cap in the closet. I thought ‘what if I put this hat on and it gives me special powers and I can climb through that old photo on the wall and be transported to the past’”

Comprised of founding duo Jocke Åhlund and Frans Johansson along with Frans Johansson and Martin Ehrencrona, the Stockholm Sweden-based indie rock act Les Big Byrd features a collection of their hometown’s most accomplished indie musicians.  Åhlund co-founded cult hardcore outfit/genre-benders Teddybears with his brother Klas in 1991, and went on to play guitar in Caesars and form another duo, Smile, with Peter, Björn and John’s Björn Yttling. He also managed to find the time to write for and produce Giorgio Moroder and renowned Swedish pop artist Robyn. Johansson, meanwhile, had played bass in Swedish Grammy Award-winners Fireside since the early nineties and worked as a touring bassist with The Soundtrack of Our Lives. As the story goes, by 2011 Åhlund and Johansson had become increasingly disillusioned with their primary gigs and they began to collaborate with each other, frequently bouncing musical ideas off one another; the band’s founding duo quickly recruited two fellow grizzled scene vets, keyboardist Martin ‘Konie’ Ehrencrona and Caesars drummer Nino Keller to finalize the band’s lineup.

The band’s debut release, 2014’s Back to Bagarmossen EP was an atmospheric, guitar driven effort that found the quartet receiving attention from Swedish national TV. As the Stockholm-based indie quartet’s profile was growing nationally, they ran into The Brian Jonestown Massacre’s Anton Newcombe at a local record store, and after hitting it off with him, the band headed to Newcombe’s Berlin-based studio to jam with him — and the end result was a handful of tracks which eventually appeared on their critically applauded  Åhlund-produced full-length debut, They Worshipped Cats, an album that was a decided left turn into trippy space rock.

In the winter of 2015, 18 months after They Worshipped Cats‘ release, Åhlund was looking forward to working on new material; however, unlike their debut, he was determined to bring in an outside producer to allow him to focus just on the songwriting and playing. With much of their material drawing heavily from psych rock and drone, while retaining a pop sensibility, the band recruited Spacemen 3‘s Pete Kember to produce the album as the band loved his work on MGMT‘s 2010 sophomore album Congratulations.  Unfortunately and perhaps unsurprisingly, the initial sessions with Kember quickly went awry; Kember clashed with Newcombe, who also headed to Sweden to work on some ideas for the record with the band — and Åhlund eventually found himself taking up the production role, he didn’t want and wasn’t seeking.

Burned out by the experience, the band shelved the second album for a while.  “I didn’t know it at the time, but I needed to get some distance from it,” Åhlund says in press notes. “It was only after a while that I was able to go back and realise that there was a really good album in there.” The members of Les Big Byrd spent the bulk of last year remaking and re-imaging the material in their own image — with Kember and Newcombe’s contributions being limited. Recorded between two Stockholm studios — Åhlund’s own and Ehrencrona’s Studio Cobra — the band’s long-awaited, forthcoming sophomore album Iran Iraq IKEA derives its title from a slogan that Åhlund’s saw printed on a tie while in Berlin years earlier and wanted to use for years; in fact, Åhlund felt that it suited the album, “because it gave it all some kind of subtly poetic intrigue.” However, the album’s politics — if you really want to call it that — are rooted within the personal, As Åhlund says in press notes,  “It’s about classic topics like love and failure. And about being older and feeling like you’ve pissed your life away, It’s about regrets and wishing you’d done things another way,”

The band’s Åhlund takes up production duties again, but with the admission that maybe it was something he never really wanted to give up — and sonically speaking, the band reportedly have reinvented themselves and their sound but while retaining elements of the sound and approach that first won them national and international attention.  “I still love my krautrock, and space rock, and experimental, improvisational stuff” says Åhlund. “But I also have a strong love for psychedelic sixties pop music, and I love reverb-drenched guitar with a lot of tremolo on it. All of those things make it on to Iran Iraq IKEA, but the lines are blurred – there’s a lot of electronics, and you can’t always tell where each individual sound is coming from. Hopefully it’s suggestive, a little bit uncertain and unpredictable, at least that’s what I wanted.”

“Geräusche,” Iran Iraq IKEA‘s third and latest single, is the album’s opening track and interestingly enough, the song’s title is the German word for “noise” — although ironically, the expansive and atmospheric, krautrock-like track is centered around a motorik groove, shimmering and arpeggiated keys, angular guitar lines, mathematically precise beats and dreamy sense of harmony that in some way brings Evil Heat-era Primal Scream and Joe Jackson’s “Steppin’ Out” but with a lysergic vibe.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Although initially comprised of founding members Marcus Admund (vocals) and Albin Wesley (bass), along with Nikki Nyberg (guitar) and Erik Fritz (drums), Stockholm, Sweden-based quartet Honeymilk formed back in 2012, the band could actually trace their origins to the formation and eventually breakup of Urmas Plant, a band which featured several of the members of Honeymilk. With the release of “It Might Be,” a single produced by Linus Larsson, best known for his work with Peter, Bjorn and JohnMercury Rev and Anna Ternheim, the band quickly received praise across the blogosphere and received radio airplay on several radio stations including Amazing Radio and Oxford College Radio. Interestingly, after the release of “It Might Be,” the band decided to go to the DIY route, recording and producing their own work, including their critically applauded, full-length debut Lean on the Sun.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting over the past couple of years, you may recall that I wrote about Honeymilk and their single “A Scene in Between,” a single that sonically sounded as though it were indebted to Brit pop and British psych rock – in particular, The Stone RosesThe Jesus and Mary ChainThe Verve, and Oasis. Over that time, the renowned Swedish act has gone through yet another lineup change with the band turning into a duo featuring the band’s co-founding member Edmund, along with Nyberg — and understandably with such a massive lineup change, the band has gone through a major change of sonic direction as you’ll hear on their latest single “Time Will Kill You.” With the latest single, the duo sounds as though they were subtly channeling Vampire Weekend and others as ambient synths are paired with a loose, looping guitar line played through reverb and delay pedal, a slinky bass line, an ethereal yet catchy melody and harmony and Admund’s plaintive vocals. And while being incredibly breezy, the song thematically speaking focuses on a profound metaphysical truth that we’re all aware — that time will relentlessly continue onward with or without us.