Tag: Reeperbahn Festival

Lyric Video: Athenian Artist Theodore Shares Expansive, Shoegazer-like “Frame of Reference”

Initially schooled in piano and traditional Greek folk music, before heading to London to study Music Composition, the critically applauded Athens, Greece-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer, Theodore frequently meshes classically inspired compositions, electronic production and rock arrangements to create a cinematic sound and approach that nods at psych rock, prog rock and experimental rock. And in some way, it shouldn’t be surprising that the critically applauded Athenian artist has publicly cited Sigur RosRadioheadPink FloydManos HadjidakisVangelis PapathanasiouNils FrahmThe NationalOlafur Arnalds and Max Richter as being major influences on his work and sound. 

The Athens-based artist performed his sophomore album It Is But It’s Not at London’s Abbey Road Studio 2 and the live footage of that session amassed over two million YouTube views. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, Theodore and his backing band played sets across the global festival circuit, including Reeperhbahn FestivalEurosonic NooderslagRelease Festival, New Colossus and  SXSW.

Adding to a growing profile, he also opened for Sigur Ros and DIIV, and has received praise from a number of major outlets including Clash MagazineMusic WeekTsugiFGUK, Gaffa and Szene, as well as airplay from BBC Radio 6 Music’s Lauren Laverne.

As a composer, Theodore has written the scores for Matina Megla’s Windo and Vladan Nikolic’s Bourek. He was also commissioned to write a new, live score for Buster Keaton’s classic silent comedy The Cameraman, which was performed by the acclaimed Greek artist and his band during a screening at the Temple of Zeus. (Seriously, how cool is that?)

Theodore’s third album, 2018’s Inner Dynamics thematically found the Greek artist looking inward to examine the dichotomies — and dualities — of his identity to seek new, creative potential. “On It Is But It’s Not, I tried to explore how the opposite elements in the universe interact, how they fight and how without the one you can’t have the other.” Theodore says, adding, “For Inner Dynamics, I was trying to express my urge to connect the conscious and subconscious part of myself so I can be creative. It’s an understanding that humans are not just one thing, and they shouldn’t try to hide certain elements of their personality because society likes to put labels of who we are. It’s the different sides of my self that makes who I am.” 

The Athens-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and composer’s fourth album, The Voyage is slated for a March 13, 2022 release through United We Fly. The Voyage is a concept album that takes the listener on a journey through space while examining and reflection on human evolution.

The album’s latest single “Frame of Reference” is a slow-burning and expansive song that begins with a lengthy introduction featuring atmospheric synths and slowly builds up into a massive, orchestral swelling with swirling, shoegazer-like guitars and increasingly forceful drumming. The two distinct sections are held together by Theodore’s yearning vocals.

“Frame of Reference” is inspired by a dream Theodore had in which he was looking back on how charmingly blue Earth was, as he was floating away in outer space. The song as he explains is about how the things we don’t really appreciate in our daily lives can often appear beautiful from a distant point of view.

Fittingly, “Frame Of Reference” is accompanied by a space imagery themed, official lyric video, which helps set the overall mood for the Athenian artist’s forthcoming album.

“This lyric video is a space journey. From Earth to the planets of our solar system, to distant galaxies and interstellar transitions,” Danai Nielsen, the video’s director explains in press notes. “It follows the emotion and intensity of the song, trying to communicate and engage the emotion that Theodore conveys musically into moving images. It has a strong element of nostalgia and exploration. We are moving away from the Earth, our safe base and home, without a clear destination. We are just floating in this infinitely beautiful space.”

New Video: Astral Swans Teams Up with Julie Doiron on a Mesmerizing New Single and Visual

Matthew Swann is a Calgary-based singer/songwriter, best known as the creative mastermind behind the acclaimed recording project Astral Swans. With Astral Swans, the Calgary-based singer/songwriter specializes in narratives of lonerism, frailty, absurdity and whimsy, told with darkly comedic empathy and helpless concern.

Swann first rose to prominence in 2015 as the first artist signed to Madic Records, an imprint of Arts & Crafts Records, helmed by Juno Award-winning artist Dan Mangan. The label was created for the purpose of releasing Swann’s Astral Swan debut, 2015’s All My Favourite Singers are Willie Nelson. The album was released to widespread critical acclaim receiving praise from Noisey, who described it as “a stark, beautiful project that embraces darkness rather than shying away from it,” and from The Calgary Herald, who called Swann, an artist of immeasurable depth, incredible smarts, remarkable bravery and infinite charm creativity and insight.

2018’s Scott Munro co-produced Strange Prison was released to even more acclaim, receiving praise from Paste, Tiny Mix Tapes, Post Trash and a long list of others. Album single “CONTROLS” reached #1 on CBC Radio 3 and lead to a live performance on CBC’s q.  Adding to a growing profile, Swann supported the tours across Canada, Japan and Europe, including a packed show at the 2019 Reeperbahn Festival.

Swann’s self-titled album comes after three and a half year of touring — and well, a pandemic. Unlike his previously released material, Swann almost exclusively composed the album’s songs internally on solo walks through various cities around the world before the pandemic and in the same city repeatedly during the pandemic. As Swann describes it, “the melodies were written in my head, on long walks alone, like spontaneous flowers sprouted from the id; ecstatic downloads from a cosmic wind. Sometimes the lyrics appeared with the melodies, other times they were refined, after the fact.”

The self-titled album is reportedly Swann’s most upbeat, catchy and immediate album to date. Each of the album’s songs operates as an absurdist short story filled with the Calgary-based singer/songwriter’s wry observations of the sad beauty of mundane moments. The songs range from affirmations of joy amidst dread, composed in the streets of Shimokitazawa Tokyo, ballads of disorientated musings on uncertainty and addiction, birds heckling the anxious and heartbroken in Amsterdam’s Vondel Park and more.

The album’s first single “Flood” was released to widespread praise last month. Continuing upon that momentum, the album’s latest single, “Spiral” is a breezy and mesmerizing bit of cosmic folk centered around twangy guitars, atmospheric synths and a soaring hook reminiscent of Nick Drake — but paired with Swann’s woozy delivery. Julie Doiron contributes her gorgeous vocals as a backing vocalist. Lyrically, the song reveals Swann as a sort of zen trickster: underneath the playful and absurdist jokes is a deeper message about our existence, if you pay close attention.

“This was the first song I wrote after Covid quarantine, in March 2020,” Swann explains. “It’s about seeking out joy, and trying to escape pain in ways that backfire, within reference to the hamster wheel of late stage capitalism; consumerism, addiction, neoliberalism, the reduction of identity to social media posturing, etc ad infinitum. It’s about trying to escape something that seemingly has no escape, in spite of its glaring foolishness and lack, and the desperation which it brings to a person’s humanity. In the studio we went for a 1970’s wrecking crew polished country vibe speckled with synth exploration a la Stereolab and Broadcast. Once again Julie’s vocals are the cherry on top. When I sent the final album to Jim Bryson (who’s one heck of a producer in his own right), He simply replied “you have Julie Doiron on it, you’ve already won the war.”

Directed by Laura-Lynn Petrick, the recently released video for “Spirals” follows Swann walking through a series of sun dappled and surreal settings. At one point, we see Swann pick up a black and white photo of Doiron from a stream. Throughout, there’s a sense of Swann seeking something, even if he doesn’t quite know why, what or how.

The self-titled album is slated for an October 8, 2021 release through Tiny Rooms/Major Tom Records.

With the release of their debut single “Island of Promise,” the Budapest-based electronic music production and artist duo  Belau — Peter Kedves and Buzas Krisztian — quickly exploded into their homeland’s scene for establishing a buoyant, summery and dance floor friendly sound that according to the band meant to evoke “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony.” Since its release, “Island of Promise” landed at #1 on Deezer Hungary, one of the country’s largest string services, amassed over 500,000 streams, was featured in the HBO Hungary series Aranyélet, and in an international  Pepsi ad campaign shown in 33 countries.

Belau’s full-length debut, 2016’s The Odyssey won a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album. The duo supported the album with an intense touring schedule — 120 shows in 19 countries with stops across the international festival circuit with sets at Eurosonic, SzigetReeperbahnUntold, and SXSW. After The Odyssey, the JOVM mainstays released a series of remixes of The Odyssey tracks, which they followed up with their sophomore album, 2019’s Colourwave featured a number of singles I’ve written about, including:

  • Breath,” a sultry, dance floor friendly collaboration with Sophie Lindinger centered around glitchy beats and a sinuous yet anthemic hook
  • The Massive Attack-like “Natural Pool.”
  • Rapture,” a collaboration with Blue Foundation‘s Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg centered around a trip hop-inspired production featuring shimming synth arpeggios, wobbling low end and Stubbe Teglbjærg’s sultry vocals. 
  • Essence,” a collaboration with Sophie Barker that features Barker’s sultry vocals gliding over a shimmering production centered around looping, reverb-drenched guitar shimmering synths, skittering beats and an enormous hook that brought Third-era Portishead and Octo Octa to mind  – but a with a brooding air.

Although the duo haven’t been able to tour as a result of the pandemic, they’ve been busy: earlier this year, they released “Luz,” a one-off single with Sexto Sentido that was decided sonic departure for the duo: the single reminded me quite a bit of fellow JOVM mainstays Ibeyi. Interestingly, as the duo explained in press notes, “’Luz’ is kind of a bridge to our future album; it’s a bit different from our earlier releases.,” the Budapest-based JOVM mainstays explain. “This single is a harmonic blend of traditional Afro-Cuban folk music and modern electronica, the lyrics in yoruba and spanish. This song is a spiritual journey for us, it will be the part of Colourwave DLX album with some remixes, reimagined versions and live sessions in April.

For Colourwave DLX‘s latest single, the Budapest-based JOVM mainstays recruited Ohxalá to remix album single “Breath” with Sophie Lindinger. Interestingly, the Ohxalá remix meshes dub and house music by retaining Lindinger’s sultry vocals paired with a chopped up hook, skittering beats and shimmering synths,. Interestingly enough, the remix gives the song a subtle yet completely different feel: in this case, the Oxhalá remix possesses a bracing chilliness that reminds me quite a bit of Octo Octa’s Between Both Selves.

“‘Breath’ was one of the first single from the album and also one of our favourites. We had some nostalgic feelings about that era, for example the day when we got the final master, that was the first time when we ever met with Sophie,” the Budapest-based JOVM mainstays recall. “Fun fact it was in Texas, where we played at SXSW. After the success of the song, we thought it would be great to have an alternative version, and asked Ohxalá to make a remix. We love their style because they blend traditional folk music with modern electronica, and they made a unique song which also has a new mood.”

New Audio: JOVM Mainstays Belau Team Up With Cuba’s Sexto Sentido on a Gorgeous Spiritual Single

With the release of their debut single “Island of Promise,” the Budapest-based electronic music production and artist duo Belau — Peter Kedves and Buzas Krisztian — quickly exploded into the national scene for a buoyant, summery and dance floor friendly sound that according to the rising Hungarian electronic duo meant to evoke “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony.”

“Island of Promise” eventually landed at #1 on Deezer Hungary, one of the country’s biggest streaming services. Since its release, “Island of Promise” has amassed over 500,000 streams, was featured in the HBO Hungary series Aranyélet, and in an international Pepsi ad campaign shown in 33 countries.

Building upon growing profile, Belau’s full-length debut, 2016’s The Odyssey won a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album. The albums as supported with an intense touring schedule — 120 shows in 19 countries with stops across the international festival circuit, including sets at Eurosonic, Sziget, Reeperbahn, Untold, and SXSW. After The Odyssey, the JOVM mainstays released a series of remixes of The Odyssey tracks, and a handful of singles that included “Breath,” a sultry, dance floor friendly collaboration with Sophie Lindinger centered around glitchy beats and a sinuous yet anthemic hook and the Massive Attack-like “Natural Pool.”

2019’s sophomore effort Colourwave found the JOVM mainstays expanding upon the sound that won them international attention as you would have heard on two of the album’s singles:

“Rapture,” a collaboration with Blue Foundation‘s Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg centered around a trip hop-inspired production featuring shimming synth arpeggios, wobbling low end and Stubbe Teglbjærg’s sultry vocals.
“Essence,” a collaboration with Sophie Barker that features Barker’s sultry vocals gliding over a shimmering production centered around looping, reverb-drenched guitar shimmering synths, skittering beats and an enormous hook that brought Third-era Portishead and Octo Octa to mind – but a with a brooding air.

“Luz,” is the highly anticipated follow up to 2019’s Colourwaves and the track, which features Sexto Sentido — Arlety Valdés and Yudelkis Lafuente — is a decided sonic departure for the JOVM mainstays that reminds me of fellow JOVM mainstays Ibeyi with the track being centered around shimmering and atmospheric synths and skittering beats and Sexto Sentido’s gorgeous and expressive vocals singing lyrics in Yoruba and Spanish. The end result is an otherworldly track that stretches towards the infinite.

“’Luz’ is kind of a bridge to our future album; it’s a bit different from our earlier releases.,” the Budapest-based JOVM mainstays explain. “This single is a harmonic blend of traditional Afro-Cuban folk music and modern electronica, the lyrics in yoruba and spanish. This song is a spiritual journey for us, it will be the part of Colourwave DLX album with some remixes, reimagined versions and live sessions in April.”

With the release of their debut EP, 2016’s More Escher and Random Notes, the rising Helsinki, Finland-based indie act The Holy — Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitar), Pyry Peltonen (guitar), Laura Kangasniemi (bass), Mikko Maijala (drums) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) quickly emerged into the Nordic music scene, quickly developing a reputation for an enormous and rousingly anthemic sound that has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel with Krautrock influences.

Initially cutting their teeth in Helsinki’s small venue circuit, the members of The Holy have taken an explosive and passionate live show to their homeland’s national festival circuit, playing sets at Flow FestivalRuisrockProvinssirock, Iloasarirock and Lost In Music among others. Building upon a rapidly growing profile, the members of the Helsinki-based quintet released their full-length debut Daughter last year. The album, which thematically touched upon how the 1990s Finnish economic recession impacted this current generation of its young people was a game-charger for the band, as it the album received praise across both Finland and Europe, eventually garnering a Finnish Grammy (EMMA) Critics’ Choice nomination.

The Holy supported the album with a busy touring schedule across Sweden and the Europe that included the continent’s festival circuit with stops at Eurosonic NooderslagIceland AirwavesReeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa Music LondonBerlin, and Vienna. Additionally, while they were touring, German/French TV Arte filmed the band’s set at last year’s Flow Festival in cooperation with Finland’s YLE — and KEXP filmed their Iceland Airwaves set.

Originally scheduled for release this spring and now slated for a November 6, 2020 release through Playground Music, the rising Finnish act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Mono Freedom is a semi-utopian sci-fi tale, inspired by Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which explores a number of scenarios of what would happen to Earth if humans were to suddenly disappear. Set in the somewhat distant future on a dying Earth, the planet’s last humans decide to gather their things, build a rocket and travel to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there but it’s one of humanity’s last desperate ideas and last hopes. In the realm of this world, this is generally seen as a positive, not as an absurdly hopeless, dystopian vision.

“During our Daughter tour, I read the science book, The World Without Usby Alan Weisman, and I got inspired and sad at the same time. It seems that humans just took a leap in the evolution progress a million years ago and have been fucking things up since,” The Holy’s Eetu Henrik Iivari explains in press notes. “I started to play with an idea of a space odyssey of the last people on earth, eventually building a rocket and flying into the nearest black hole. And they just don’t make it. They are too dumb to make it. And that’s it. And after a few hundred years, Mother Earth doesn’t even remember it was once occupied by humans.

“And this eventually got me thinking about the Western way of life and the idea of freedom. How one-way, single-minded and boxed-in it is. When you wake up in a modern western city — there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t rip somebody. It’s late modern capitalism, a jail built on the grounds of believing that you have a choice. And that you make a choice. But most of it is already aimed towards consumerism. We just like to think that we find things by ourselves, but most of it is given. And it’s just so frustrating. To do the right thing from one day to another and navigate in the middle of all this evil around us. 

[But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts.”

Earlier this year, the rising Finnish act released a double single, “No Trial In The Dark” and “Twilight Of The Idiots.” “Twilight of the Idiots” is a rousingly anthemic song that immediately brings s A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and The Unforgettable Fire  U2 to mind through a combination of earnest emotionality and ambitious songwriting. “No Trial In The Dark” continues in a similar vein but while being much more percussive and cinematic. “I wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots,’ ‘Swim,’ ‘The Rocket Song’ and ‘No Trial In The Dark’ very close to each other and we recorded those songs in the same sessions,” Iivari recalls in press notes. “After that I knew what other songs should be on this album and the narrative started to be clear. We followed that path and never turned back.” 

“I Don’t Know,'” Mono Freedom‘s third and latest single continues a run of rousingly anthemic and arena friendly material, centered around deeply earnest songwriting and breakneck yet passionate playing. While sonically, the track brings early U2 to mind — particularly Boy and October — thanks to angular, reverb-drenched guitar chords, forceful and dramatic drumming and Ivari’s plaintive vocals, the song comes from a deeply personal and lived-in place:

“This song is basically about being bipolar. At least on some level. I have no diagnosis and I might not be the right person to talk about it, ” Ivari says “but I’ve been struggling the most part of my life with heavy mania vs. depression and it has taken a huge toll on a lot of things. I have found a way to live with it and function in society nowadays, but it still takes a lot of work every day. It also gives a lot though, being in the deep end of mania is like a drug from the future and I do get a lot of things done. But it’s also super hard to keep that level and it brings you down really really low when you just can’t. 

“I learned from a silly love themed tv show that it’s good to talk about it. To give the people around you some knowledge about it and tools to work with you. So I ended up writing this song and tried to open it slowly. The tune is pretty uplifting and I wanted it to be light and kind of funny, because the last thing I want is to add a shadow of darkness and depression over the matter and keep repeating the pattern of adding shame on this kind of stuff. That it is some mystic dark depressive thing etc. It is just a thing. We all have our things.”

The Bland is a rising Swedish indie pop/folk act that can trace its origins back to when its five members met serendipitously while traveling through New Zealand as teenagers. Feeling an instant musical simpatico, the members of the band promised to keep in touch and reunite when they returned home. Upon their return to Sweden, the band’s frontman Axel Öberg rented a big house, so that the members of the band could live and work together. That living space had an ad-hoc rehearsal space — the basement.

Although they didn’t initially have big career plans, they wrote a number of songs, which they returned in their home studio, Röda Paradise, a red wooden hut in Southern Stockholm — and for money, they tagged along with a friend’s band, selling milkshakes at music festivals. In between sets they played music to entertain themselves. But little did they know, their folk pop sound caught the attention of a small, local production company, a company that managed to run one of their homeland’s music festivals.

With the release of last year’s Beautiful Distance, the members of the Swedish folk pop project started to built up a growing international profile with captivating and critically applauded live shows across Scandinavia and Europe that included stops at Hamburg‘s Reeperbahn Festival and others across the international festival circuit. Building upon a profile, the members of The Bland are currently working on their forthcoming album, La Hata Vitoye, a concept album that tells a Romantic tale of an imaginary bar and town by the name of La Hata Vitoye. The band created a detailed historical background for the town that goes back to the 1300s, then created characters and situations and wrote detailed stories, which they then wrote accompanying music to them.

The album’s concept story begins at La Hata Vitoye, a tiny bar, located by the coast. As the band explains, the bar and its town, is the sort of place where caravans and traveling entertainers take refuge after long periods of touring and traveling. It’s the sort of place that returning travelings tell stories about — stories that seem way too good to exist in real life. But every character within this world brings something new to the story. As the world begins to hear more about the town, it starts to grow — and dramatic events occur to develop the town’s destiny. The album’s latest single, album title track “La Hata Vitoye” is an exuberant, breezy and mischievous track that draws equally from Tropicalia, Afro pop and Latin music, centered around a euphoric hook. While sonically recalling a deliriously upbeat Graceland-era Paul Simon, that exuberance is actually a bit deceptive in light of the pandemic. In many ways, the song evokes the chance encounters, the late nights in some sweaty and dark club, dancing to a band or a DJ that has the room rocking, the friends and regulars you’d encounter at your bar, your favorite club or what have you and so on.

.“When we were on tour in Germany last February, we heard about the first Corona cases,” The Bland’s frontman Axel Öberg explains. “Over the next few months, as a practicing doctor in Sweden, I saw how social isolation harmed people. With ‘La Hata Vitoye’ we want to try to look at life differently again, to come together and share a positive attitude towards life. This place called La Hata Vitoye, which we are talking about, will become a real actual place at our own festivals next summer. And we can’t wait to meet as many as possible there. If the situation permits.”

New Audio: Hungarian JOVM Mainstays Belau Team Up with Sophie Barker on a Sultry and Brooding New Single

Over the past two years or so, I’ve written quite a bit about the the Budapest, Hungary-based electronic music production and artist duo Belau — Peter Kedves and Buzas Krisztian — and as you may recall, with the release of their debut single “Island of Promise,” the Hungarian duo quickly exploded into the national scene for a buoyant, summery and dance floor friendly sound meant to evoke “cheerful places, filled with sunshine, where one can relax, unwind and find peace and harmony,” as the duo explain in press notes. “Island of Promise” eventually landed #1 on Deezer Hungary, one of the country’s biggest streaming services, and since its release, the track has amassed over 500,000 streams, and was featured in HBO Hungary series Aranyélet, as well as in an international Pepsi ad campaign shown in 33 countries.

The Budapest-based duo’s 2016 full-length debut The Odyssey won a Hungarian Grammy for Best Electronic Music Album — and they supported the album with an intense period of touring that saw them playing 120 shows in 19 countries with stops across the international festival circuit. including Eurosonic, Sziget, Reeperbahn, Untold, and SXSW. Since the release of The Odyssey, the JOVM mainstays released a series of remixes of The Odyssey tracks, and a handful of singles that included “Breath,” a sultry, dance floor friendly collaboration with Sophie Lindinger centered around glitchy beats and a sinuous yet anthemic hook and the Massive Attack-like “Natural Pool.” 

The duo’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Colourwave was released late last month and the album finds the duo furthering and expanding upon the sound that has won them attention internationally: downtempo electronica with moody atmospheric, shimmering synths and thumping 808s.  Last month, I wrote about “Rapture,” a collaboration with Blue Foundation‘s Kirstine Stubbe Teglbjærg centered around a trip hop-inspired production featuring shimming synth arpeggios, wobbling low end and Stubbe Teglbjærg’s sultry vocals. The album’s second single “Essence” continues the duo’s collaboration with female vocalists — this time, Sophie Barker. Much like its immediate predecessor, Barker’s sultry vocals glide over a shimmering production centered around a looped and reverb-drenched guitar, shimmering synths, skittering beats and an enormous hook. Sonically, the song brings Third-era Portishead and Octo Octa to mind  –but a with a brooding and seductive air. 

BonFire Records · Wolf & Moon – A Tape Called Life

With last year’s full-length debut Before It Gets Dark, which was released through German label AdP Records in Europe and BonFire Records in North America,  the Berlin-based pop duo Wolf & Moon received attention across Germany and elsewhere for a sound that they described on their Facebook fan page as “somewhere between the folky sound of Angus and Julia Stone and the electronic influences of The xx . . ..” Adding to a big year, they played sets at SXSW and Reeperbahn Festival, where they received a Best Newcomer Award nomination at the festival’s VIA Indie Awards. Adding to a growing profile, they received airplay on Dutch radio stations 3FM-FX, ZuidWestFM, BredaNu, A-FM and Indie XL, Chicago’s WGN, and German radio stations Sputnik, DETEKTOR FM and SWR3 — and they’ve been featured in  The Guardian.

The duo — Dennis and Stef — have also developed and maintained a reputation for relentless touring with a minimal live set up — generally,  a travel guitar, electronic drum machine, a mini Casio keyboard and their voices. Late last year, the Berlin-based duo were approached for an export grant from the Dutch Music Exchange, which helped the duo record and produce their highly-anticipated sophomore album slated for release in September.

“A Tape Called Life,” the second single off the duo’s sophomore album is a carefully crafted bit of dream pop featuring shimmering guitars, rapid fire beats, the duo’s hushed boy-girl harmonies and an infectious hook, continuing a run of material that will likely draw comparisons to JOVM mainstays Geowulf and Moonbabies. Interestingly, the track is deceptively breezy; thematically, the track explores the difficulties of aging and growing older. The duo asks the listener to look back upon their youth with rose colored glasses — but while acknowledging that in doing so, that the present may not seem as beautiful or perfect.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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With the release of their debut EP, 2016’s More Escher and Random Notes, the rapidly rising Helsinki, Finland-based indie act The Holy — Eetu Henrik Iivari (vocals, guitar), Pyry Peltonen (guitar), Laura Kangasniemi (bass), Mikko Maijala (drums) and Eero Jääskeläinen (drums) quickly emerged into the Nordic music scene, quickly developing a reputation for an enormous and rousingly anthemic sound that has drawn comparisons to Bruce Springsteen and Peter Gabriel with Krautrock influences — and for an explosive live show. 

Cutting their teeth in their hometown’s small venues, the members of The Holy have built up a national profile, playing sets across the Finnish festival circuit, including Flow Festival, Ruisrock, Provinssirock, Iloasarirock and Lost In Music. But last year, was a momentum changing year for the band: The band’s full-length debut Daughter, which thematically touched upon  the 1990s Finnish economic recession and its reflection on the youth of its time received praise across Europe and Finland, resulting in an EMMA Nomination for Critics’ Choice.

Building upon a growing profile, the band has supported their recorded output with tours across Sweden and the European Union with festival circuit stops in Germany, The Netherlands, Switzerland, Luxembourg and Austria, playing sets at Eurosonic Nooderslag, Iceland Airwaves, Reeperbahn Festival, Where Is The Music, JaJaJa Music London, Berlin, and Vienna. Last year, the German/French TV channel Arte filmed the band’s set at last year’s Flow Festival in cooperation with Finland’s YLE — and KEXP filmed their Iceland Airwaves set, which will be published on their YouTube channel in the near future.

Slated for an April 17, 2020 release, the rising Finnish act’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Mono Freedom is a semi-utopian sci-fi tale, inspired by Alan Weisman’s The World Without Us, which explores a number of scenarios of what would happen to Earth if humans were to suddenly disappear. Set in the somewhat distant future on a dying Earth, the planet’s last humans decide to gather their things, build a rocket and travel to the nearest black hole. They know that there is probably nothing out there but it’s one humanity’s last ideas and last hopes. All of this is seen as positive, not as a dark, hopeless dystopian vision.  

During our Daughter tour, I read the science book, The World Without Us by Alan Weisman, and I got inspired and sad at the same time. It seems that humans just took a leap in the evolution progress a million years ago and have been fucking things up since,” The Holy’s Eetu Henrik Iivari explains in press notes. “I started to play with an idea of a space odyssey of the last people on earth, eventually building a rocket and flying into the nearest black hole. And they just don’t make it. They are too dumb to make it. And that’s it. And after a few hundred years, Mother Earth doesn’t even remember it was once occupied by humans.

“And this eventually got me thinking about the Western way of life and the idea of freedom. How one-way, single-minded and boxed-in it is. When you wake up in a modern western city — there is almost nothing you can do that doesn’t rip somebody. It’s late modern capitalism, a jail built on the grounds of believing that you have a choice. And that you make a choice. But most of it is already aimed towards consumerism. We just like to think that we find things by ourselves, but most of it is given. And it’s just so frustrating. To do the right thing from one day to another and navigate in the middle of all this evil around us. 

But even though the theme is not the lightest in the world, I wanted the album to mirror hope and to be empowering. A friend for people having similar thoughts.”

Interestingly, instead of releasing a one-off single, The Holy have specifically released a double single “No Trial In The Dark” and “Twilight Of The Idiots.” “Twilight Of The Idiots,” the first single is an atmospheric yet enormous, arena rock friendly song centered around shimmering guitars, twinkling keys,  rousingly anthemic hooks and Iivari’s plaintive vocals, the song sonically brings A Rush of Blood to the Head-era Coldplay, Peter Gabriel and The Unforgettable Fire U2. And as result, the song finds the rising Finnish act balancing intimate observations with earnest emotions and ambitious songwriting. “No Trial In The Dark” continues in a smilier vein — and while being the most percussive and dramatic of the pair, it may also be the most cinematic of the pair.

“I wrote ‘Twilight Of The Idiots,’ ‘Swim,’ ‘The Rocket Song’ and ‘No Trial In The Dark’ very close to each other and we recorded those songs in the same sessions,” Iivari recalls in press notes. After that I knew what other songs should be on this album and the narrative started to be clear. We followed that path and never turned back 

“I feel that No Trial In The Dark and Twilight Of The Idiots do set the stage for the album. The first conflict and the hopeless overview of the modern times. I always wanted them to go out at the same time and they do follow each other on the album for a reason. They open the window to The Holy’s inner world of 2020 – way deeper than just releasing a regular one-off.”