Recension: Agent Blå

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Och så var den här, Agent Blås fullängdare, efter en lång rad singlar. Singlarna, som alla återfinns på albumet, var larmiga postpunkdängor med mycket (döds)popkänsla. Resten av albumet låter likadant. Det är ett jämnt och enhetligt album, och kvalitén är definitivt hög, men det är aningen odynamiskt. De göthbergska Robert Smith-gitarrerna går som en röd tråd genom hela plattan. Likaså det relativt snabba tempot, och skivan hade absolut tjänat på ett par långsammare nummer för att bryta av och skapa fler nyanser och mer djup. Det ska dock tillstås att gitarrerna är skivans stora behållning – lead-gitarristen är Göteborgs nästa gitarrhjälte.

Man uppnår en dynamik med sistaspåret, tillika plattans odiskutabelt bästa låt, Faust. En sex minuter lång, kylig postpunk-dräpare om en relation som inte riktigt vill sig. Här tar gitarrerna stor plats och de gör de allra bästa av det. Jag gläds med alla unga (och olyckliga) dödspopälskare, som får ha denna pärla i hörlurarna på väg hem efter någon mindre lyckad kväll. Här hittar man en tyngd och ett uttryck som man mer än gärna får ta med sig till uppföljaren. Och jag ser fram emot att följa dem.

 

Bild hämtad härifrån.

 

Manchester – 10 of the best

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I’ll be writing this English, because the situation calls for it.

In honor of today’s events, here is a list celebrating one of my favourite cities on the planet – Manchester. Ten of the best Manchester songs of all time. One song per artist/band/songwriter, and the artist must be from the Greater Manchester area.

Stay strong, stay handsome, and remain your brilliant self.

 

10. I am KlootTo the Brink

  • Kloot’s beautiful 2010 paean to drink and the safe havens that are Northern English pubs.

9. John Cooper Clarke Beasley Street

  • Apparently about the rundown streets of Salford in the late 70’s. Dark, gritty, mancunian spoken word by the true bard of the urban North West.

8. MagazineMotorcade

  • Howard Devoto looks at the world from a twisted perspective, while death creeps up slowly all around.

7. The ChameleonsPerfume Garden

  • Gorgeous atmospheric mix between dream pop and post punk, about the fallacies of nostalgia.

6. The VerveSonnet

5. Bee GeesHow Deep Is Your Love

  • Born on the Isle of Wight, raised in Manchester, started their career in Australia, made it big after moving back to Britain, heavily associated with New York Disco. They’re not Mancs through and through, but just about. And it helps if you’ve made one of the most beautiful love songs of the 70’s.

4. Stone Roses Mersey Paradise

  • At first glance a jangly celebration of the North West. But a closer look reveals suicidal thoughts, drowning and betrayal. Cheerful music, disturbing lyrics – how Mancunian.

3. Joy DivisionAtmosphere

  • No other band embodies the post-industrial and gritty air of Manchester and the North West better than Joy Division, and this haunting, elegiac piece is perhaps the best example of it.

2. OasisLive Forever

  • Exactly the kind of message of love and freedom the world and Manchester need right now.

1. MorrisseyNow My Heart Is Full

  • The title says it all.

 

The picture is LS Lowry‘s The Blitz, retrieved from here.

Recommendation/New Discovery: Hater

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I’ll be writing this post in English since the band’s lyrics are in English. They also have a great chance of making it outside of their native Sweden (mainly because I think they’re good enough) and as many people as possible should check them out.

The band I’m speaking of is Hater, hailing from Malmö, Sweden. They debuted last year with an EP, Radius, released on PNKSLM. Their first full length, titled You Tried, was released one month ago (also on PNKSLM), and that album is the main focus of this post.

The music that Hater play is a moody sort of (indie-)pop. It’s not cute enough to be twee, it’s not dark enough to be post punk, not fuzzy enough to be shoegaze nor shimmering enough to be dream pop. Yet they incorporate all of these genres into their own expression. They have the aforementioned moodiness, and some of the darkness, of certain types of post punk (Common Way, Always to Get By). They have the wistfulness and melancholy found in dream pop (Carpet, You Tried) and the sometimes distorted, sometimes jangly guitars of C86/twee (Stay Gold, Mental Haven). And on Heavy Hearts they play an almost Fleetwood Mac-ian kind of sophisticated pop (pinch of salt, please) – in an ‘indie’ sort of way, of course.

Their singer, Caroline Landahl, alternates (convincingly) between hoarse cries and an almost velvet-y whisper. She sings of lost love, getting by in life, dealing with yourself and others – and I believe every word she says. The melodies surrounding her voice and lyrics are strong, yet subtle. You might not be walking down the street whistling any of the songs off of You Tried, but when you listen to the songs, the melodies, you feel them, way down in your gut.

I was supposed to see them live this past December, supporting Radio Dept., but my plans fell through (as so often they do…), and I wound up selling my ticket instead. Better luck next time, I hope. And hopefully soon!

Their album is available for purchase at PNKSLM’s store and all the usual places.

Photo from: http://pnkslm.tictail.com/product/hater-you-tried-lp-black-vinyl