Tag: Sigur Ros

Deriving their name from a Vladimir Nabokov short story about a voyager, who finds a place so beautiful that he wants to spent his life there, before being cruelly dragged back to reality, the Dublin, Ireland-based act Cloud Castle Lake, currently comprised of Daniel McAuley (vocals, synths), Brendan William Jenkinson (guitar, piano), Rory O’Connor (bass), Brendan Doherty (drums), and a rotating cast of collaborators, friends and associates received attention with their 2014 self-released debut EP Dandelion, an effort that found the Irish pop act juxtaposing dark, despairing lyrics with a euphoric catharsis that’s largely influenced by the work of  Alice Coltrane and Pharaoh Sanders. Adding to a growing profile, the band has opened for touring acts such as GlasserLisa Hanningan and Ultraisa.

Late last year, I wrote about their breathtakingly gorgeous Amnesiac-era Radiohead-like single “Bonfire,” and the cinematic, Tales of Us-era Goldfrapp and Ennio Morricone soundtrack-like “Twins” off the band’s forthcoming, highly anticipated-Rob Kirwan-produced debut album, Malingerer both of which prominently feature McAuley’s achingly tender falsetto. Slated for an April 20, 2018 release through Bright Antenna Records, Cloud Castle Lake’s full-length debut reveals an act writing their most ambitious and thought provoking material to date, making the album a gorgeous and transcendent statement of intent, and the album’s first official single, album title track “Malingerer,” is a cinematic and expansive track that draws from the cosmic jazz explorations of John Coltrane, Pharaoh Sanders and Sun RaAmnesiac-era Radiohead and Sigur Ros — but with an unusual song structure that features several sections that manage to simultaneously be discordant yet flow into each other, while being an otherworldly experience.

As the band’s Daniel McAuley says impress notes, “’Malingerer’ started out as a recording of Brendan J[enkinson] just messing around on a piano through a cool echo effect. There was a mood to it that was instantly very inspiring. As we fleshed it out into a song we constantly referred back to the early recordings to make sure we maintained that feeling. One of the reasons it has such a bonkers structure is that we wanted each section to flow into the next and progress without losing that initial spark. A big goal of the album was to get closer to our most honest and original sound together. We consider it the one that best articulates that. I did that textbook thing and went off to a remote cabin to try write. It was in the middle of nowhere in Donegal, no running water or electricity and at the tail end of a January storm so I went a little bit crazy there and the lyrics absorbed a lot of that.”


New Video: Hearts Hearts Returns with Feverish and Surreal Visuals for Genre-Defying Single “Phantom/Island”

Comprised of David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer and Peter Paul Aufreitet, the Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts developed a reputation for crafting brooding, slow-burning and elegiac music indebted to classic musical and electro pop that drew comparisons to Sigur Ros, Flying Lotus, The Darcys and Radiohead as you would have heard on “I Am In” and “AAA” off their critically applauded debut album Young, an effort that thematically focused on tension and release — in the sense of someone desperately trying to break through and out of the familiar and debilitating patterns of their own life. 

During the release of the Austrian act’s debut Young, the band’s Peter Paul Aufreiter and Johannes Mandorfer sent two radically different sound snippets to their bandmate David Österle — an aggressive and jazzy piano loop titled “Phantom” and an electronic drum take recorded overseas titled “Island,” which interestingly enough is the German word for the country of Iceland. And as the story goes, Österle frantically began attempting to put these disparate pieces together; to synchronise what was never meant to be unified, and start singing over the results. The genre-defying album reportedly draws from the work of Bon Iver, Jamie XX and Son Lux while taking its thematic cues from the in between spaces and undefined borderlines in meaning, symbolized by the slash in every title on the album — with the band exploring both emotional and moral ambiguities, the ineffectiveness and confusions that the dichotomies and borderlines that define modern society. As the band’s Hämmerle says, the band prefers to think “think in options,” seeing the slash as representing an openness and flexibility in meaning; in similarities as much as in difference. 

The album’s first single “Phantom/Island” offers a heady and trippy taste of the overall aesthetic and sound of the album, as the band draws from jazz, electronica, indie rock, experimental pop in a way that immediately brings Kid A-era Radiohead, Flying Lotus and Kamasi Washington — and while being at their most sonically expansive and genre-defying, the track finds the band conjuring a mix of anguish and ecstasy, yearning and desire within a turn of a musical phrase, as you’ll hear a propulsive, almost dance floor friendly motorik groove during the song’s verses and a soaring, cinematic hook that conveys yearning and ache. The song finds the band at their most intimate yet cinematic,  experimental yet accessible, feverish and frenetic in what is arguably one of the most gorgeous and transcendent songs I’ve heard this year. 

Filmed and directed by Austrian artist Gabriel Hyden, the breathtakingly gorgeous visuals are a surreal and feverish dream inspired by Iceland’s equally surreal and gorgeous landscapes.  

Christopher Franzen is a Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer, and producer, whose solo recording project Lights & Motion began back in 2012 during a frequent bout with insomnia — and during the extremely dark Scandinavian winters, Franzen took to restlessly sequestering himself in a studio, where he would spend his time writing and recording music as a way to help battle his condition, and as a much- needed emotional release.  Interestingly, since Franzen has started the project, he’s been remarkably prolific releasing four cinematic, indie rock-like efforts,  2013’s Save Your Heart and Reanimation, 2015’s Chronicle and 2017’s Dear Avalanche, as well as two albums as soundtrack composer, 2014’s Dreamweaver and 2017’s Phenomenon — all of which have further cemented the Gothenburg, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, composer and producer’s reputation for crafting lush and cinematic material that balances a tightrope between melancholy and optimism.

In fact, Franzen’s latest effort Bloom, which be released through Deep Elm Records will continue in a similar sonic vein as its predecessors; however, thematically, the album focuses on rejuvenation and rebirth — and the album’s latest single “Vanilla Sky,” which prominently features twinkling piano keys, swirling synths, thundering drumming and power chords played through copious reverb around a soaring, arena rock-like hook that will remind some listeners of Explosions in the Sky, Mogwai, M83, Sigur Ros and others. And while the song evokes a pleasant breeze on a glorious Spring day; but just underneath, the song’s warm and ethereal air, is a bittersweet note, as though there’s the brief acknowledgement of life’s fleeting and impermanent nature.


With the release of “Golden,” the London, UK-based indie pop trio Mt. Wolf, currently comprised of Sebastian “Bassi” Fox, Stevie “Red” McMinn, and Al Mitchell, received both national and international attention across both major media outlets and the blogosphere. With the growing attention the band has received, they’ve played sold-out shows across Europe and the US; but adding to a rather eventful year, the band has gone through a brief hiatus and a lineup change, before recovering to write and record new material, with producer Ken Thomas, who has worked with M83, Sigur Ros and Daughter.

“The Electric” is the oceanic first single off the band’s still untitled, forthcoming EP finds the trio pairing moody atmospherics with a towering and soaring, arena rock-friendly anthemic nature as the slow-burning song that ebbs and swells as it builds up in intensity; but interestingly within that slow ebb and flow there’s an unresolved tension that never quite gets released. And as a result, it gives the song a certain ambivalence and uncertainty that is familiar — it evokes the ambivalence, uncertainty and confusion of our own lives and relationships and the hope that somehow we find a way to figure it out to the best of our abilities.


New Video: Vienna, Austria’s Hearts Hearts Return with a Brooding and Artistic Meditation on Identity, Self-Invention and Perspective

“AAA” is the Austrian quintet’s latest single off Young and sonically it’s a song that nods at Kid A, Amnesiac, and Hail to the Thief-era Radiohead as shimmering guitar chords, stuttering drum programming, swirling electronics, twinkling keys and a lush string arrangement with Österle’s tender and aching falsetto expressing a deep yearning for more while possessing an underlying uncertainty at its core. Interestingly enough as the band’s frontman David Österle explained about both the song and its video treatment: “I think that the world is a place, where we can dare to pretend. ‘AAA’ deals with that basic feature of the human condition. We fake it till we make it, and thereby go (at least sometimes) astray in the plethora of metamorphoses in that societal masquerade. I think that by assuming different roles we ourselves are fulfilling the requirements of the economy, demanding excessive flexibility and changeability. As a result we all feel like faceless puppets sometimes.

“We wanted to make a video that visually underscores this figuration of identity as a permanent process of self-inventions. The video is much about showing people in different perspectives. The images are blurry, sometimes they are overlapping and merging together seamlessly. What the lens captures, is actually the performance of a performance, the play in a play.”

Earlier this year, I wrote about the South Devon, UK-based shoegaze/dream pop/indie rock duo Matthew and Me. And with the previous release of singles such as “Patterns” and “Kitsune,” the duo received a reputation across their native UK for a sound that seemed to draw from the likes of Sigur Ros and Mogwai, and as a result, the duo received airplay on BBC Radio 1, BBC Radio 6, XFM, and they’ve made appearances at some of Britain’s largest festivals including  including Field Day, Somersault, Port Eliot, and Glastonbury. Now “Joy,” the single I wrote about at the time, was a slow-burning and expansive song that began with a lengthy, delicate and hazy introduction in which Board’s aching falsetto was paired with shimmering and swirling guitar chords and gently padded drumming — with each individual chord feeling as though it were painter’s brushstroke adding color and texture in a fashion that was reminiscent of both the aforementioned Sigur Ros and A Storm in Heaven-era The Verve.

“Silver,” the is the duo’s latest single and the first single off their forthcoming EP Startpoint, which is slated for a November 18, 2016 release through Beatnik Creative Records. Recorded between their home studio, Deep Litter Studios and Startpoint Studios, and was produced by Chris Bond, who has worked with Ben Howard and Eliza Shaddad. Interestingly, the single  is an sparse and atmospheric song in which shimmering guitar chords, swirling and soaring electronics, and a steady backbeat are paired with Board’s plaintive and aching falsetto to craft a song that sounds reminiscent of Death Cab for Cutie‘s Narrow Stairs — but with an anthemic hook.



New Video: The Brooding Sounds and Visuals of Vienna’s Hearts Hearts

Comprised of David Österle, Daniel Hämmerle, Johannes Mandorfer and Peter Paul Aufreiter, the Vienna, Austria-based quartet Hearts Hearts specialize in a brooding slow-burning, elegiac sound that meshes elements of classical music and contemporary electro pop in a way that […]