wears the trousers magazine


kría brekkan: uterus water (2010)
January 11, 2010, 8:59 am
Filed under: EP, review | Tags: , ,

Kría Brekkan
Uterus Water •••
Paw Tracks

As she told Wears The Trousers in an interview last year, Kría Brekkan’s only goals as far as her ‘solo’ career is concerned are simple: “Just to practise more things and educate myself.” Three releases in, totalling just fifteen tracks and barely an hour of music, her self-education is certainly proving to be an intriguing one. Her latest 7″, limited to only 100 copies in Europe, finds the Icelander as wildly experimental, clashing and sometimes frustrating as ever. Standing outside of Brekkan’s own little bubble, it can be difficult to appreciate her work given its extreme insularity. But mere self-indulgence can be transcended into art if it can be mastered, and Uterus Water proves, as the hairs prickle up on the back of your neck, that Brekkan is approaching a kind of auteurship.

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free music friday: kría brekkan
July 3, 2009, 3:22 pm
Filed under: free music friday, mp3, review | Tags: , , , , ,

wie_kriabrekkan_01Kría Brekkan
‘Bee Xlaura’

Premiered on the Gorilla Vs. Bear music blog last week, ‘Bee Xlaura’ is the first taste of a series of double A-side 7″ singles that Kría Brekkan intends to release later in the year, and a hint of what’s to come in the next part of the “journey”, as she described it in our recent interview [here]. Recorded in early 2007 with Múm collaborator and member of Icelandic band Slowblow, Orri Jónsson, ‘Bee Xlaura’ is a beautiful stripped-down piano track that’s (dare we say it) accessible in a way that none of Kría’s previous releases have been. The first listen was three minutes of bated breath waiting for the seemingly inevitable moment that schizophrenic daggers of electronic distortion would engulf her, but that moment never came. What we’re left with is perhaps the purest essence of what makes Kría Brekkan so utterly captivating that we’ve heard to date. We can’t wait to hear the rest. MP3 after the jump.

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kría brekkan: “I don’t think I’m a very easily definable person!”

A slightly abridged version of this article appeared in Wears The Trousers issue seven. Order a print copy here.

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words in edgeways with kría brekkan

According to one episode of ‘Star Trek: Voyager’, the concepts of time and space can be folded with the aid of the right technology, theoretically allowing us to travel vast distances and cover huge periods of time in the blink of the eye. I doubt that Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir has managed to invent or discover this kind of technology just yet, but she does seem to have a knack for travelling far and letting time fly right past her.

It’s taken the best part of two months and two international time zones to finally track her down for an interview. Firstly she was in New York – her current base – where for a month either I was late calling her or she was impossible to contact. Then she was in Iceland where either I was too early to catch her or she simply wasn’t around. When I finally get hold of her at her mother’s place, her apology is huge but is swiftly followed by yet another blow: “I’m actually at a dinner right now and we are about to eat. Can we rearrange to talk again for Friday perhaps?” 

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UPDATED: inside issue seven!

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Issue seven available NOW

We know you were all hoping for an exclusive interview with the illustrious Susan Boyle. Sorry to disappoint. Instead we chat with the following:

Ane Brun • Marissa Nadler • Emilíana Torrini • Amanda Palmer • Camera Obscura • Tara Jane O’Neil • Alessi’s Ark • Soap&Skin • First Aid Kit • Leila Arab • Kría Brekkan • Tift Merritt • Carina Round • Karima Francis • Ana Silvera • plus reviews of the new albums from Tori Amos, Peaches, St Vincent and more.

Free promotional copies are limited to 3000 – get yours now and pay only postage and packing. Details below.

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sounding off: march 2009 (II)

The second batch of March mini-reviews: five more…

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Madeline
White Flag ••••
Orange Twin

Folky songstress Madeline Adams has collected multifarious comparisons to other musicians online, and even after the shortest of listens it isn’t hard to see why. There seems to be some Regina in there, a bit of Joanna, and definitely more than a touch of Joni. There’s even a hint of ’90s country pop on the titular ‘White Flag’. Fortunately, Madeline’s own personality isn’t lost beneath the tumult.

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kría brekkan: apotropaíosong armor (2008)
December 31, 2008, 2:22 am
Filed under: album, review | Tags: , , ,

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Kría Brekkan
Apotropaíosong Armor ••
Self-released

There are some artists that you continue to love and remain loyal to no matter what. You have followed them through numerous incarnations and found yourself bewitched every step of the way. Their work becomes almost like a back catalogue of lovers. Each project of theirs has a significance to your past in the same way an ex does, and you feel guilty if you follow them when they venture into territory you’d ordinarily be less than thrilled with. Even still, you find their occasional critical failures eventually becoming your favourites, and that seems to strengthen your loyalty toward them (see: Kate Bush’s The Dreaming). Like that seedy affair you shouldn’t have had, but are secretly quite glad of. But alas, there does actually come a time in some fans’ relationship with their icons when they simply have to draw the line and say, “No really, what are you doing!?”. It is uncertain whether Kría Brekkan (aka: Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir, former lead singer with Icelandic folktronica hermits Múm) has reached that point just yet, but she is pretty close for sure and is not exactly making it very easy for any potential listeners who may be following her post-Múm recordings to continue to carry their torch.

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EPs of the year: readers poll results (part II of V)

EPs of the year: #20–16

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Kría Brekkan
Wildering EP
After Hours 

With Wildering, Kría Brekkan (ex-Múm) has hit upon the sound of a child recorded plucking their first guitar from the next room, pressed onto vinyl, then left to age in a dusty attic for 20 years, only to then be played on a turntable with a duff stylus by a person who’s slightly deaf in one ear. You can’t help but think that only half of that description was the effect she was actually aiming for while recording these songs. Stranger still is that despite how easy it is to pick Wildering apart and criticise, there is still something strong here that quietly seduces with a shy charm. [full review]

FREE MP3: ‘Wildering‘ [download from Raven Sings The Blues]

Not available on iTunes

 

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An Horse
Not Really Scared EP
Phantom Sound & Vision 

Originally the solo project of Iron On’s Kate Cooper, An Horse soon grew to include Damon Cox of Intercooler. Voted for almost exclusively by Tegan & Sara fans (probably), the duo made quite an impression as the support act for the twins’ European tour earlier this year, and rightly so. Not Really Scared, the band’s debut outing, is relatively gentle compared with Iron On’s wall of furious sound. That’s not to say it isn’t noisy, it is, it’s just somewhat moderated by a nakedly emotional punch. A full length, Rearrange Beds, followed in October but no one seems to have noticed.

Not available on iTunes

 

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The Lovely Eggs
Have You Ever Heard The Lovely Eggs? EP
Cherryade

The Lovely Eggs are more than lovely; they are wonderful. Pressed on yolk-yellow vinyl, this 7″ EP is a tea-party feast of imaginative, Technicolor ditties. Fitting snugly between kooky kitsch and borderline avant-garde, Have You Ever Heard The Lovely Eggs? is a noisy little slice of heaven, injected with comic book adventures, riot grrl fire, punk-infected folk and a gentle, dancing psychedelia. [full review]

iTunes £3.16

 

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Maria Taylor with Andy LeMaster
Savannah Drive EP
Nettwerk

For her first release outside of the Saddle Creek stable, Maria Taylor partners with her former Now It’s Overhead bandmate and Saddle Creek stalwart Andy LeMaster for this lovely acoustic stopgap release. Four inventive transformations of Taylor’s old material lie serenely with new tracks ‘Ladyluck’ and ‘Tell Me’ and one of LeMaster’s own compositions. Replacing urgency with honesty, Savannah Drive is luxuriantly basic. An oxymoron, but true.

iTunes £5.53


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Nicole Atkins
The Way It Is EP
Columbia

Released in the US with the far superior title of Nicole Atkins Digs Other People’s Songs (also with far superior artwork!), the UK version of this deservingly applauded EP tacks on album track ‘The Way It Is’ to covers of The Doors, The Church, Nada Surf and ‘Mama’ Cass Elliot. Best of all is ‘Crystal Ship’, which takes Jim Morrison’s hazy, LSD-drenched ‘Light My Fire’ B-side and packs it full of emotional wallop. Even the normally untouchable ‘Dream A Little Dream Of Me’ succeeds as Atkins diets off the rock muscle she shows elsewhere for a sweet and simple, whistle-happy reading. Lovely.

FREE MP3: Nicole Atkins, ‘Under The Milky Way‘ [thanks to Stereogum]

iTunes £3.95