Fever Ray (Sweden) – ‘If I Had A Heart (Fuck Buttons Remix)’

The Knife’s Karin Dreijer Andersson in her solo Fever Ray guise releases her new album digitally today from Klicktrack and iTunes (physical formats follow, oddly, in over two months on March 21st). [See previous post for info on this project]. The cover art brings to mind comic artist Charles Burns – indeed, it may well be Burns, given that The Knife’s ‘Silent Shout’ video was apparently deeply inspired by his work.

A 7″ single also drops shortly (Jan 27th) with remixes of the ‘If I Had A Heart’ single, including this version from my latest obsession, Fuck Buttons (playing in Sydney this week, including an appearance at the Nick Cave curated All Tomorrows Parties on Cockatoo Island).

mp3: Fever Ray – If I Had A Heart (Fuck Buttons Remix)

img | origamadon

Fever Ray | If I Had A Heart

The Knife‘s ‘Silent Shout’ remains as good as it sounded right from day one – dark, fucked up, dramatic gothtronica, that is in turns both desperately sad and perversely beautiful. ‘We Share Our Mother’s Health’ remains one of the most bleak and morose electro-pop songs yet committed to tape, but with her Knife offshoot project Fever Ray, Karin Dreijer Andersson seems determined to plunge still further into the darkness.

The lead single “If I Had A Heart” (released today on The Knife’s Rabid Records via 7Digital, Beatport and Klicktrack) borrows much of the vocal styles that Karin employed on ‘Silent Shout’ – the screwed, wound-down slow-mo treatment, dropped here in tandem with Karin’s untreated voice. As a precursor for the self-titled album due on March 21st, and a proposed live show being prepared in tandem, it offers those with a Knife-shaped hole in their heart some hope to lean into.

First Aid Kit | Tiger Mountain Peasant Song

firstaidkit.jpg

A few months back, the YouTube clip for Swedish duo First Aid Kit and their cover of Fleet Foxes‘ ‘Tiger Mountain Peasant Song’ skipped round the world-wide-eyed web like the world-wide wildfire. Such is the love for Fleet Foxes, such is the love for the fact that they were signing it in the middle of a forest, and such is the the strength and savage roar that First Aid Kit bring to the track. Savagery that’s all the more remarkable given that they’re two teenage sisters from Stockholm who run marathons and love Gary Numan. Klara and Johanna Söderberg confess to not only loving the Numanoid but also have a penchant for Bright Eyes, Bob Dylan and Leonard Cohen, which explains how they might have come to write such intense yet delicate songs, yet fails to capture the story of the honey-flecked, bear-like growl that posits them as a DNA mutation, birthed via a netherworld tryst between Cocorosie and Johnny Cash.

The album, ‘Drunken Trees’, is rather fittingly released via The Knife’s Rabid Records label (availably digitally), and will be given a UK reissue next February via Wichita – complete with the Fleet Foxes cover (which you can also download below), and a DVD featuring more tracks sung in that Swedish forest. Last week they were given the oddly dubious nomination of “Most Promising Swedish Act On MySpace” and you can give them your vote-love via their MurdochSpace blog.

First Aid Kit – Tiger Mountain Peasant Song | mp3 (mediafire link)

Lykke Li (Sweden) – ‘Little Bit’

lykkeVideo: Lykke Li ‘Little Bit‘ 

I’m certainly not the first to write about Lykke Li and I’m sure I won’t be the last. And while there’s a tendency for blogs to swarm around hyped artists in an effort to stay painfully relevant, I’m jumping on this bandwagon for good reason – the reason being that ‘Youth Novels’ is a remarkable album, worthy of the attention it has already received; an album that has been on repeat rotation in the Fat Planet house since its Swedish release earlier this year.

A swift comparison places 22-Year Old Li Lykke Timotej Zachrisson in a continuum that joins the dark, moody sweep of El Perro Del Mar and the skewed electro pop of Robyn, levitating above ground between both. With production from Bjorn from Peter, Bjorn and John, the album fails to fully adhere to the Swedish indie-pop blueprint and chooses instead to veer into less obvious laneways. Case in point: while ‘Dance Dance Dance’ might be something you could hear falling from the lips of the glorious Victoria Bergsman, ‘Complaint Department’ – with its dirty, looping piano stabs – is in a forest of its own.

Even more remarkable is the seemingly carefree ability for Li to continuously channel that rarest of commodities – the perfect pop song – and do so many times over in one extended collection. Lasse Mårtén worked as engineer on the album and a glimpse at his resume might explain why this brand of alt.pop works so well – he’s chalked up fader duties for Pink, Peter Bjorn and John, Marit Bergman, Shout Out Louds, Kelly Clarkson (for ‘Since U Been Gone) and … (bless ’em) The Veronicas. Put simply, ‘Youth Novels’ is as good as indie-pop gets.

Lykke Li is touring throughout the UK and US this month & next, and the ‘Little Bit’ EP lands in North America on May 6th. Download her SXSW set at lullabye.net.

Friday Bridge (Sweden) – ‘The Story Of Agnes’

mp3: FRIDAY BRIDGE the story of agnes

i’m sure something has been lost in the inevitable translation, after all who would have thought that ‘friday’ and ‘bridge’ would sit together as comfortable little soulmates? miss friday bridge certainly likes to tease – dropping light, electro pop peans to a yesteryear that’s impossible to pin down. 60s, 80s, neither? sounding much like el perro del mar on a happy day, the latest friday bridge release is titled ‘intracacy’ and comes to us via swedish label, but is it art? (an exceedingly good question). miss bridge claims that “in its mildness and refusal to trade intellect for friendship, friday bridge is most subversive”. there’s something of the ztt in all of this – for that, and for the fact that the klf and teki latex are in her top 8 murdochspace friends – we salute the bridge.

Alexis Weak (Sweden) – ‘Stang Av Techno’

mp3: ALEXIS WEAK stang av techno

i know what went through your head this morning: “what i really need is some swedish guy, hard rapping over the thomas banglater remix of dj mehdi’s ‘signatune'”. here at fat planet, we aim to please, for that is exactly what we give you right here, right now.

alexis weak storms straight out of the ‘la vida locash’ stable, home to swedish purveyors of dark-syrup electro pop, lo fi fnk and kocky. following the release of lo fi fnk’s ‘boylife’ and the recent drop of kocky’s ‘kingdom come’ (feat jens lekman, mapei and more), the label is about to deliver the new mixtape from stockholm’s alexis weak. there’s scant info available thus far on weak, other than he initially cropped up on last year’s ‘radio locash’ podcast as mc alexis aka weak, and returns with what appears to be a set of original flows over familiar electro bangers, not entirely dissimilar to cuizinier‘s two volume mixtape output. safe to say, we’re primed and ready to more.

more : myspace.com/alexisweak

Taken By Trees (Sweden) – ‘Lost & Found’

after eleven years as the unforgettable voice of the concretes and a globe-spanning guest appearance on peter bjorn and john‘s ‘young folks’, victoria bergsman steps out on her own for her new project, taken by trees. in an attempt to preserve the spontaneity of her decision to record the album, she locked down the recordings in only six days, roping in andreas soderstrom (who records under the glorious name of ASS), plus electralane‘s verity susman and pbj collaborator, bjorn yttling.

i make no secret of my love for the concretes – bergman’s voice found a perfect home against the icepick-sharp drama of their scandanavian wall of sound. take a listen to ‘you can’t hurry love’ from 2004’s self-titled release if you need a point of entry. for ‘open field’, bergsman has dispensed with the concretes’ theatrics and opted for a smaller, pared-back sound; the album title is a precise indication of the best place to listen to this – on your back, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, with nothing but the sky for company. for all the calm that such an idyll might induce, there’s still no denying the chilling, ethereal qualities of bergsman’s voice, which provides a eerie counterpoint to this newfound sense of space and solitude.

more: takenbytrees.com

Kim Hiorthoy, Jens Lekman, Annie

first up, thanks to a couple of people who helped make this week’s show a cut above the norm – namely fbi’s emily farrell for her interview with sigmatropic (see last post for more info and mp3). catch’s emily’s show roundabout every monday at 10pm.

and double-thanks to another fbi trooper, jules thomas, for calling in with a live report from the icelandic airwaves festival in reykjavík. currently making her way round europe, she called at 5am her time, so i reckon you’ve got to give props for that… this week’s playlist is now live, and here’s a few tunes from some of today’s artists – co-incidentally, all three are from scandanavia. chilly… >>

KIM HIORTHOY [NORWAY]
det blev fel mp3
thanks to yet another fbi broadcasters, peter hollo from utility fog for picking up a copy of kim hiorthoy‘s ‘hopeness’ on his recent travels and dropping it into the fat planet pigeonhole. played the track ‘mandarinera’ today – the above mp3 is an old one (posted liberally throughout the blog community it seems), but i have a particular fondness for this track – it being my first experience of the norwegian electronic minimalist, taken from one of the excellent ‘wire tapper’ compilations. this mp3 is from the bubblecore web site – i recommend a long visit to track down some of the other mp3s on there, particularly mice paradeigloored snappernobukazu takemura and HiM‘s wonderful ‘slow slow slow dub’ (not to be confused with a scandanavian death metal dude of the same name…)

JENS LEKMAN [SWEDEN]
rocky dennis farewellsong to the blind girl mp3
jens lekman is one of those artists (like joanna newson) who divides people entirely, right down the middle. it’s straight-forward loving or loathing. the problem people seem to have with lekman is that his music is ostensibly comedy, albeit pitch black. take the track i played today ‘a higher power’ (from his new collection ‘when i said i wanted to be your dog’) which starts with a proposal to his girlfriend that they both shove plastic bags over their head and shuffle off this mortal coil. the above mp3 is similarly tounge in cheek, although it makes it perfectly clear why many folks love the guy – the music is consistently excellent. strip the comedy from this and lekman’s name would probably be sung from higher mountains. seems the old dilemma still exists – how can you write funny songs and be taken seriously?

ANNIE [NORWAY] (pictured)
chewing gum (fake ID’s juicy fruit bootleg) mp3
annie‘s ‘chewing gum’ hasn’t hit australia yet – however, when she hits, i’m sure it’ll smack like a tsunami. from what i’ve read, annie’s all over the uk and probably rightly so. this is 100% pure pop, it’s what the phrase ‘bubblegum pop’ was invented for. she’s an artist that royksoppthe streetsrichard X and mylo have all chosen to work with. so maybe pop is no longer the dirty word that it once was? ::: and here’s where i wrestle with my conscience – i’m not so much breaking the rule of this blog, more bending it… i don’t post commercially available mp3s, but if i can’t be bought… well, it might worm its way on here. the above mp3 is a bootleg from one of my favourite bastard pop mxrs, fakeID and glitches up annie into a harder territory. check out his site for loads more where that comes from.

Visionary Underground, Air, Limited Express (Has Gone), Girl With A Monkey, Former Selv

VISIONARY UNDERGROUND [ENGLAND]
100 vibes (feat. aref durvesh & matthew barley) mp3
i played a track from dj feelfree today, one of the main forces behind the uk asian drum’n’breaks crew visionary underground. i use the term drum’n’breaks intentionally, as it’s also the title of the album from which the track ‘sonic solution’ came from – ‘nasha – eastern drum’n’breaks’. it’s a top flight compilation of some of the finest dark, alternative asian music being made in the uk right now. to generalise (which you know i love to do…) it’s much like asian dub foundation when they roll out the drum’n’bass welcome mat. there’s heaps more mp3 downloads on the visionary underground site – i’ll check them all out and report back one day soon…

AIR [FRANCE]
planet vega mp3
played a great remix today of the new air single ‘alpha beta gaga’. the mix is by mark ronson and features rhymefest dropping his mc skills all over it. sadly, no free mp3 of that one, but check out this li’l rarity from the grand royal compilation ‘at home with the groovebox’ (courtesy of the old faithful, epitonic)

LIMITED EXPRESS (HAS GONE) [JAPAN] (pictured)
downtoborn (edit) mp3
sadly this is not a full-length mp3, rather a short edit designed to act as a teaser for their 2002 album ‘feeds you!’, released on john zorn’s tzadik label. i played their version of the la’s ‘there she goes’ today – now that’s what i call a cover version, pretyy much nothing like original. if the boredoms had a younger punk sibling, then limited express (has gone) could probably play them in the bio-pic. stuterring, off-kilter, psychadelic pop-punk. everything you could wish for in a band, really.

GIRL WITH A MONKEY [SWEDEN]
mark my words 
mp3
a great example of someone who found this blog, emailed me some of their music and it finally found its way on air on today’s show 🙂 how curiously the world works… although apparently not quite so strange – although the band are ostensibly a swedish six-piece, apparently the singer (monika kovacs) was brought up in western australia. which, from where i’m sitting, might as well be as a far away as sweden…

FORMER SELV [US: MICHIGAN]
nichiyobi mp3
thanks to smart music for turning me on to this one. former selv is another name for detroit-born jerry abstract, now resident in seattle. apparently, he’s a techno boy at heart (wit a 12″ on t.raumschmiere‘s shitkatapult), but as former selv it’s broken beat electronica that’s to the fore. check out their brief interview for more info.