Tag: Refused

New Video: Stockholm’s SNAKE Releases a Mosh Pit Friendly Anthem

SNAKE is a rising Stockholm-based noise punk trio, featuring old friends Mia Maria Johansson  (guitar, vocals), Madeleine Frankie (synths, Theremin, vocals) and Tess De La Cour (drums). Tracing its origins back to 2014, the band found the longtime friends doing something decidedly different from any of their previously work: completely analog garage punk centered around heavily distorted guitars, trashy drums and filthy old synthesizers that the band says is dark without being overly emo rock and yet raw and hard without being full on hardcore punk. 

A month after their formation, the band landed their first gig — and shortly after that, the band began booking gigs across Sweden, eventually sharing stages with Chinese punk act Fan Zui Xian Fa, Bass Drum of Death and Refused among others. Building upon a growing national profile, the band released their Stefan Brändström-recorded and engineered debut, 2015’s Cradle of Snake, which the band supported with a European tour during October and November of that year.  The following year, the band won the Year’s Rock Award at the 2016 Manifest Awards. 

“Falling,” which continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Stefan Brändström, and interestingly enough, the track is simultaneously, the first bit of new material from the rising Swedish indie act in four years — and the first single of their sophomore album. which is slated for a fall 2020 release. Clocking in at a little over four minutes, the track sonically — to my ears — finds the band meshing L7, Bikini Kill and 90s Riot Grrl punk with the tense and grimy synth punk of JOVM mainstays Nots and Prettiest Eyes, as the song is centered around distorted power chords, propulsive and steady drumming, howled vocals and a rousing hook. Simply put, the song is a mosh pit friendly anthem that’s deceptively anachronistic: it sounds as though it could have been released in 1993, 2003 — or yesterday. 

Directed by Per Norman, the recently released video is a fittingly 120 Minutes MTV-like visual, in which we see the heavily made up members rocking out and moving in a frenetic fashion — before quickly switching to playing a house party in front of a cool bunch of local Swedes. 

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New Video: The Symbolic (and Messy) Visuals for INVSN’s “This Constant War”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the Umea, Sweden-based post-punk quintet INVSN, an act comprised of some of Sweden’s most accomplished musicians — including Dennis Lyxzen (vocals), a founding member and frontman of Refused, and a former member of The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Lost Patrol Band, AC4, and who has collaborated with The Bloody Beetroots and others; Sara Almgrem (bass, vocals), a member of The Doughnuts, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Vicious and Masshysteri; Andres Sternberg (guitar, keyboards), a member of Deportees, The Lost Patrol Band and a member of Lykke Li’s backing band; Andre Sandström (drums, percussion), a member of Ds-13, The Vicious, The Lost Patrol Band, Ux Vileheads and others; and Christina Karlsson (keyboards, vocals), a member of Tiger Forest Cat, Honungsvägen and Frida Serlander‘s backing band. And interestingly enough, the members of the band are five, long-term friends, with Lyxzen in particular being known for a lengthy career incorporating sociopolitical themes into his work; in fact, as Lyxzen has publicly explained, “Music always meant more to me then just entertainment. It has had a profound impact on everything that I am as a person and I see music as art and art as life. We live in a world devoid of meaning where we serve the lowest common denominator at all times. Where politics as an idea has failed us and where art is being reduced to consumerism and clickbait.”

The band’s initial recordings were written and recorded with lyrics in their native Swedish under the name Invasionen, but when the members of the band decided that it was time to take the project and their work internationally, they felt that writing and singing lyrics in English, along with a new name would be necessary — and they settled on INVSN.   Regardless of the name or the language, the post-punk band has always had a political message — and during this particular moment, when humanistic, Enlightenment values and thinking are being challenged by extreme right wing and extreme religious movements across the world, the members of INVSN strongly believe that their music, and the work of other like-minded musicians are part of a necessary and urgent outcry from a counterculture that has yet to give up. And while being righteously angry, their overall approach is rooted in the belief that change is gonna come — and it’s going to come real soon. 

The Swedish band’s latest effort The Beautiful Stories is slated for release on Friday, and the album was recorded and produced by by Adam “Atom” Greenspan, best known for his work with Nick Cave and The Veils at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg, Sweden.  Reportedly, the album finds the band experimenting and expanding their aesthetic and songwriting approach with material that possesses elements of post-punk, industrial electronica, indie rock and indie pop, which gives their sociopolitical concerns an accessible, almost radio-friendly vibe. 

Now, as you may recall “I Dreamt Music” was a decidedly post-punk leaning song, sounding as though it drew influence from Joy Division and Gang of Four, thanks to the song’s decided politically charged tone. And as Lyxzen explained in press notes,  “I wanted to write about the longing for resistance to the cultural/political/musical landscape that holds us imprisoned. I wanted to write about the naive, romantic and pretentious notion that music and art should be about ideas that can change and transform and maybe even be the beacon of hope in these dismal times.” And as a result, the song manages to possesses a sense of cynicism and distrust and an equal bit of outrage.”

Interestingly enough, Beautiful Stories’ latest single “This Constant War” finds the band pairing jangling, Country-leaning guitar chords, layers of buzzing electronics and a propulsive rhythm section with boy/girl harmonies and a soaring, swooning hook in a song that sounds a bit like Joshua Tree and Achtung Baby-era U2 but filtered through Primal Scream, New Order and Ministry, while nodding at The Lonely Wild, as the material possesses a cinematic yet yearning quality at its core. 

The recently released video for “This Constant War” features the members of the band passionately singing the song or broodingly staring off into space as the hands of an unseen person smears colored paint onto the faces and bodies of the bandmembers. 

New Audio: The Politically Charged, Post-Punk Sounds of Sweden’s INVSN

Comprised of Dennis Lyxzen (vocals), a founding member and frontman of Refused, and a former member of The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Lost Patrol Band, AC4, and who has collaborated with The Bloody Beetroots and others; Sara Almgrem (bass, vocals), a member of The Doughnuts, The (International) Noise Conspiracy, The Vicious and Masshysteri; Andres Sternberg (guitar, keyboards), a member of Deportees, The Lost Patrol Band and a member of Lykke Li’s backing band; Andre Sandström (drums, percussion), a member of Ds-13, The Vicious, The Lost Patrol Band, Ux Vileheads and others; and Christina Karlsson (keyboards, vocals), a member of Tiger Forest Cat, Honungsvägen and Frida Serlander’s backing band, the members of Umea, Sweden-based post-punk act INVSN are five long-term friends who are among some of the country’s most accomplished musicians — with Lyxzen in particular being known for a lengthy career incorporating sociopolitical themes into his work. In fact, as Lyxzen explains in press notes, “Music always meant more to me then just entertainment. It has had a profound impact on everything that I am as a person and I see music as art and art as life. We live in a world devoid of meaning where we serve the lowest common denominator at all times. Where politics as an idea has failed us and where art is being reduced to consumerism and clickbait.”

Initially, the band recorded several albums in their native Swedish under the name Invasionen; but when the members of the band decided to take their project internationally, they felt that writing and singing lyrics in English, along with a new name — INVSN — would be necessary. But regardless of the name or the language, the post-punk band has always had a political message and interestingly enough when human decency and humanistic values are being challenged by extreme right-wing movements across the world, the members of the band believe that their music is part of a necessary outcry from a counterculture that has yet to give up. And while being angry, their overall approach is rooted in the belief that change is gonna come — and that it’s not far away.

The Beautiful Stories, the band’s forthcoming full-length effort was recorded by Adam “Atom” Greenspan, best known for his work with Nick Cave and The Veils at Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg, Sweden and the album reportedly finds the band expanding upon their sound, meshing post-punk with industrial electronics and a indie rock/pop sensibility — or in other words, the band manages to pair political messages within an accessible fashion.

“I Dreamt Music,” The Beautiful Stories’ latest single is a decidedly post-punk song, sounding as though it drew from Joy Division and early 80s post-punk while having a decidedly political bent. As Lyxzen says of the song ” I wanted to write about the longing for resistance to the cultural/political/musical landscape that holds us imprisoned. I wanted to write about the naive, romantic and pretentious notion that music and art should be about ideas that can change and transform and maybe even be the beacon of hope in these dismal times.” And as a result, the song manages to possesses a sense of cynicism and distrust and an equal bit of outrage.

The Beautiful Stories is slated for a June 9, 2017 release through Dine Alone Records.

Over the last couple of years, Umeå, Sweden has developed an internationally recognized reputation as the home of burgeoning indie scene, as the Northern Swedish town is the home of artists such as Casja Siik, Old Man’s Will, RefusedMeshuggah, Tove Stryke, DeporteesLisa Miskovsky, and Frida Selander. And with the release of her first two, critically applauded full-length albums, Selander has been largely considered by many Swedish critics as her country’s closest thing to Patti Smith and PJ Harvey. Granted, those may be incredibly lofty but they also aren’t far off base, as Selander’s sound, as you’d hear on “Like A Cat” and on her latest single “Soon” off her forthcoming album I Hear Sunshine pairs blues-based rock chords, propulsive drumming, incredibly catchy, anthemic looks with Selander’s expressive and sultry vocals. It’s straightforward but in the case of “Soon,” the song possesses bluesy, boozy swagger that perfectly suits Selander’s vocals, which are feel warm and comforting, as though she’s commiserating with you and your pain.

Indeed, much like “Like A Cat,” “Soon” possesses a fearless honesty and emotional honesty that most music these days just doesn’t have — perhaps because the song comes from hard-fought personal experience, life altering mistakes. And thematically speaking, the song says you have to stop struggling against the tide and accept the fact that things happen at their own speed, and in their own way.