Posts Tagged ‘Agnes Obel’

With the beguiling Citizen of Glass, her third studio long-player, she looks poised to enchant the rest of the world with her dark charms. A classically trained pianist with an elegant and elastic voice, Obel’s melancholic chamber pop invokes names like Goldfrapp or Bat For Lashes, but with a succinct aura of Scandinavian refinery. Where her relatively austere prior outings relied largely on piano and strings, Citizen Of Glass revels in ghostly electronics and voice modulation, even going so far as to bring in a temperamental, late-’20s monophonic synthesizer called a Trautonium. The string arrangements are more ambitious and the composition style is a bit more opaque, but the ten-track set is unequivocally Obel-esque.

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Lead single ‘Familiar’ suggested that the Danish singer songwriter was going to mine her archetypal piano ballad territory with her third album. Turns out it was a sleight of hand, as the album explores a more cinematic and orchestral sound than Obel’s previous work. It is her deft songwriting that comes to the fore as usual though. Lilting vocals, expansive orchestrations, and development win the day.

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Pretenders – Alone

Chrissie Hynde returns with the first Pretenders album in eight years. Alone was recorded with the Black Keys Dan Auerbach at his Easy Eye Studio in Nashville, and features Hynde on vocals and guitar joined by bassist Dave Roe (Johnny Cash, Loretta Lynn), pedal steel guitarist Russ Pahl (Blake Shelton), guitarist Kenny Vaughan (Lana Del Rey), keyboardist Leon Michels, and drummer Richard Swift.

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Hooton Tennis Club release their second album, Big Box Of Chocolates produced by Edwyn Collins at his Clashnarrow Studios in Helmsdale, Scotland. If their debut album, Highest Point In Cliff Town, released in August last year, was the band’s sprightly statement of intent, Big Box of Chocolates may well be their coming-of-age: a record that retains all the colour and invention of their debut, while being elevated by richer instrumentation and lyrics that hint at slightly heavier themes: love and loss, nihilism and the ‘non-spaces’ of Northern England, all delivered in the band’s typically laconic, bittersweet style, like a Mersey Beat Murakami. The dozen tracks continue the band’s knack of combining catchy off-kilter riffs with droll storytelling; album narrators – vocalists and guitarists Ryan Murphy and James Madden – seem to straddle optimism and uncertainty with their lyrics, whether singing about their internal worlds or commenting on a motley cast of characters (Bootcut Jimmy, BBC 6Music presenter Lauren Laverne, Lazers Linda…) who turn up across the album’s 41 minutes to amuse, tempt or torment them. Whether fictional (the awkward genius Jimmy ‘looking shifty in his new shoes’) or real (Ryan’s ex-housemate immortalised in first single Katy-Anne Bellis), each character shares an equal platform, all revered in Hooton’s own low-key way. Recorded over three weeks in Helmsdale, during which time they all grew beards, drank copious amounts of tea, became birdwatchers and whiskey tipplers, the album reflects the band’s relaxed approach to songwriting ; they tend not to labour over recording demos or strumming and beating the life out of songs in the practice room -instead, ideas are allowed to form spontaneously: melodies are hummed into phones or computers, lyrics batted back and forth between Murphy and Madden, songs worked out alone in the bedroom, or layered up from scratch together in the studio.

LP – Yellow Vinyl with Download.

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Big Star – Complete Third

The small but rabid cult of Big Star, composed initially of rock critics and hometown Memphis hipsters, coalesced around 1972’s ‘No#1 Record’, which supercharged the legacy of the Beatles and Byrds, and 1974’s ‘Radio City’, which brought additional attitude and poignancy to the recipe. The shimmering brilliance of Big Star’s sound and songs on those two LPs, along with its underdog allure, would have been sufficient to perpetuate the band’s legend. But there was a third album, and that strange beast of a record made all the difference for subsequent generations of fans – many of whom formed bands of their own – who turned each other on to this music as if it were a secret religion or a trippy new drug. After more than a decade of looking for additional music beyond the original album that is Big Star’s Third, the search is now over. While some demos and alternate versions of songs have dribbled out over the years across various compilations, all extant recordings made for the album are presented here for the first time in ‘Complete Third’. The collection boasts 69 total tracks, 28 of which are previously unheard session recordings, demos and alternate mixes made by producer Jim Dickinson and engineer John Fry. The set allows the listener to track the creation of the album from the original demos, through sessions to rough mixes made by Dickinson and Fry, to the final masters of each song. Besides the contextualizing main essay from writer / A&R man, Bud Scoppa, extensive notes from original participants and artists influenced by Big Star are also included: Mary Lindsay Dickinson, Mitch Easter, Adam Hill, Elizabeth A. Hoehn, Susanna Hoffs, Peter Holsapple, Gary Louris, Mike Mills, Cheryl Pawelski, Debbi Peterson, Pat Rainer, Danny Graflund, Jeff Rougvie, Pat Sansone, Chris Stamey, Jody Stephens, John Stirratt, Ken Stringfellow and Steve Wynn. Initially, the collection will be released in a 3-CD boxed set and with three separate double LPs to follow, each vinyl volume representing a CD in the boxed set.

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Kevin Devine – Instigator

Produced by John Agnello (Sonic Youth, Dinosaur Jr.), Instigator is Kevin Devine’s ninth full-length album and comes on the heels of a busy few years: In addition to recording two albums with Bad Books (the indie-rock supergroup he formed with members of Manchester Orchestra), he released the Kickstarter-funded double-album collection Bubblegum and Bulldozer in 2013 along with the wildly ambitious 2015 Devinyl Splits 7” series with the likes of Brand New’s Jesse Lacey, Perfect Pussy’s Meredith Graves and Nada Surf’s Matthew Caws. Devine is a master storyteller, and he imbues Instigator – from the biting power-pop of Both Ways to the angular Guard Your Gates and gorgeously finger-picked No One Says You Have To – with intricate details and often-uncomfortable truths. Their meanings are personal, but their themes are universal. It’s a skill that makes both his albums and his live show so alluring: Even when Devine’s writing about the world at large, he’s pointing a mirror back at himself. When Devine’s past lives meet his present-day self on the career- defining I Was Alive Back Then, the beautiful duality of his art takes center stage: Life is never all peril or perfection, a country ripped apart by war and social injustice or the joy of holding your child for the first time. The extremes might be easier to define, but it’s in the middle where life really happens.

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Agnes Obel  –  Citizen of Glass

Highly anticipated stunning third album from Danish born singer- songwriter Agnes Obel, the follow up to her UK breakthrough record Aventine. Recorded, mixed and produced by Obel in Berlin, where she currently resides, Citizen Of Glass is a work of haunting beauty and an expansion of Obel’s mesmerising world. The title surfaced in Obel’s mind while touring Aventine and, inspired by modern composers, the album conceptually and thematically revolves around the leitmotif of transparency. On this record Obel experiments with her vocals in inventive new ways, in order to manipulate them into alternative versions of her own voice, as can be heard on first single Familiar. Obel also incorporates a number of different instruments, such as the Trautonium (an extremely rare instrument that possesses a glistening, glass-like sound), alongside vibraphone, cembalo, cellos and more.

Crocodiles  –  Dreamless

Comprised of best friends Brandon Welchez and Charles Rowell, Crocodiles have earned their place as one of the United States’ most engaging, hardworking and consistent rock and roll bands of the past few years. Dreamless is the pair’s sixth LP, their most exploratory and focused release. Crocodiles’ first two albums made their home within a stew of fuzzed-out psychedelia, and the following three albums explored pop sensibilities placed against whirring guitars and barbed production, but on this latest album the duo’s artistic departure places their guitars in the backseat in favor of a more spacious, synthesizer and piano-driven sound. The title of the album works levels: “I suffered insomnia throughout the whole session. I was literally dreamless,” explains Welchez. “The past two years had been fraught with difficulty for us—relationship troubles, career woes, financial catastrophe, health issues,” he continues. “It was easy to feel as if the dream was over.” Recorded in Mexico City once again by friend and occasional bandmate Martin Thulin (Exploded View), Dreamless keeps the exemplary production on Crocodiles’ previous releases and reconciles their realigned focus on keys by pairing down the instrumentation to allow lyrical sentiments and themes to cut through.

AGNES OBEL – ” Familiar “

Posted: July 10, 2016 in MUSIC
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Berlin-based Danish folk singer songwriter Agnes Obel returns with a video for her new single, “Familiar”.

“Familiar” is Obel’s first new material since her UK breakthrough album Aventine in 2013, which yielded the BBC 6 Music play listed singles “Dorian”, “Words Are Dead” and title track “Aventine”, and saw the Berlin-based Dane headline gigs at Somerset House, Shepherd’s Bush Empire and Barbican in 2014.

The Alex Bruel Flagstad directed video uses digitised graphics to create a work rooted in a kind of retro-modernism. This approach leads to a video that manages to feel both nostalgic and futuristic at the same time, helping to draw attention to the excellence of the song.

“Familiar” was recorded, produced and mixed by Obel at Aventine-Neukölln and Brand NewMusic-Studios in Berlin. Featuring violin by John Corban and cellos by Kristina Koropecki and Charlotte Danhier, Obel provides keys, rhythms and the song’s mesmerising vocals.

By altering the tone of her voice in the chorus, Obel in effect duets with herself. “Familiar” is a highly welcome return for Obel, sure to draw attention to her work after a period of seeming absence.

Live performance of Agnes Obel’s single ‘The Curse’ taken from the new album ‘Aventine’.Agnes Obel’s touring band currently consists of one, some or all of the following musicians…
Anne Müller – cello, guitar, melodica, backing vocals, Mika Posen – Violin, backing vocals, Charlotte Danhier – cello, backing vocals, Sophie Bayot – Violin, Viola, backing vocals
Has it really been almost three years since Philharmonics? Agnes Obel’s debut album still sounds as fresh as a daisy. A delicate flower which became a quiet phenomenom, selling almost half a million copies to date. Philharmonics received a gold award in Holland, platinum awards in Belgium and France, and went quintuple platinum in her native state of Denmark, where Agnes won five Danish Music Awards (the Danish Brits) in 2011.

They say the sophomore album is the most difficult of all. You spend your whole life preparing the debut LP, but as soon as its out there, the clock starts ticking for the follow-up. So how did Agnes Obel, European Border Breakers prizewinner in 2012, succeed in avoiding the traditional pitfalls of album 2? .
Aventine is Agnes Obel putting things into perspective. A second album adds depth to the picture, otherwise the first record stands alone as a snapshot of brilliance without any real indication of where the journey is heading.

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The elusive neo-classicist Agnes Obel performs an ethereal live session at Berlin’s Heimathafen Neukölln, captured by artist and filmmaker, Alex Brüel Flagstad. “Words Are Dead” is taken from the Danish artist’s critically acclaimed sophomore record “Aventine”, with the album’s shadowy, baroque orchestration currently on tour, around the recital halls and opera houses of Europe, the US and Australia. “I am still learning about what it is to perform music—especially something you feel connected to and responsible for,” says Obel, understating her captivating live performances. “One thing I’ve learnt is that you can’t really hide anything on stage. The reality is that you are super exposed when you are performing. Her breakout single “Riverside.” “I wanted to respond to how lingering the track is,” he says. “It has a real 1970s vibe. No cutting, no noise in the background; just prolonged shots and all on film.”

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During her 2014 Tour, Agnes Obel has started to work on her third album : “I’m planning to work less with piano, and more with other kinds of older keyboards . I’m focusing on it because I’m planning it. I’m trying to find new instruments to work with, so it’s sort of on the research phase and starting to write things.” Agnes says also : “I have some clear ideas but I’m not sure it is a good idea to go into specifics on such an early stage. I mainly plan to work with old keyboards like spinet and harpsichord and then see where they take me.

 

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Agnes Obel performed a superb set at Latitude Festival earlier this year, this is a remix from David lynch which suits her vocal so much, the Danish songwriter and pianist is a powerful and poignant performer it seems only fitting that she has worked with David Lynch who has added his haunting soundscape remix.

If you have seen the trailer for the new BBC1 dectective series of “Shetland” the haunting track is “Riverside” from Agnes Obel this session just delivers what an awesome talent she is

AGNES OBEL “Riverside”

Posted: March 6, 2014 in MUSIC
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Taken from the “Philarmonics” album this track “RIVERSIDE” is the track that has been haunting me all week as its being used for the BBC1 trailer for the new detective series “SHETLAND”