Dag för Dag
Dag för Dag are an American brother and sister duo formed in 2007 (the musical act that is, the brother/sister thing was formed at birth). Upon exploring the world on a journey that took them from San Francisco to Spain, Greece, London and Honolulu, Sarah Parthemore Snavely and Jacob Donald Snavely eventually made Sweden their adopted home, a place to finally write music. Well, it worked for ABBA, The Cardigans and The Hives, to name but a few. Dag för Dag (which means ’day by day’ and is pronounced ‘dog for dog’) were joined by Swedish drummer “Chuck Bukowski” early on and then toured extensively, supporting everyone from The Kills to Wolf Parade and The Handsome Furs. The band first recorded an album in 2008, which ultimately got split into two, a dissection from which sprang last year’s From The Shadows EP. Boo, their first album proper, was recorded in two separate sessions – one in Sweden and one in the States. Five of the tracks were produced by Secretly Canadian artist Richard Swift, with the remaining seven songs produced by Dag för Dag with help from Johannes Berglund.
Filed under: album, review | Tags: serrina sims, stephanie heney, sweethead
The Queens Of The Stone Age camp are as well known for their side projects as they are for their own work. With a family tree of Jon Spencer or Nick Cave proportions, each member has a finger in several musical pies, as does every musical second cousin. (It would seem that the fewer degrees of separation from Josh Homme and Mark Lanegan one can demonstrate, the cooler a musician you are.) Named after a David Bowie B-side, Sweethead is the latest export gliding in on the QOTSA conveyor belt, this time from the band’s current guitarist Troy Van Leeuwen. Only one link away from both Homme and Lanegan, Van Leeuwen can also be further connected to the family tree via Eagles Of Death Metal and the Gutter Twins. Sweethead’s drummer Norm Block (of Mark Lanegan Band and Plexi) and bassist Eddie Nappie (Mark Lanegan Band and Handsome) make up the rest of the backing band, but what makes Sweethead relevant to Wears The Trousers is frontwoman and relative newcomer (to this scene, anyways) Serrina Sims.
Armonico Hewa ••½
Formed by Boredoms drummer Yoshimi P-We as an amateurish side project in the late ’90s, all-girl four-piece OOIOO frequently get described as ‘experimental’, a category that seems to be music journalism’s all-encompassing dumping ground for everything that’s, well, uncategorisable. They’ve been steadily trickling out albums every two to three years since, always labouring under unwieldy comparisons with their frontwoman’s primary outlet (an ensemble also described as experimental) but doggedly teasing out their sound with each successive release, building on its improvisational origins to form a style that’s very much their own. Their 2006 release, Taiga, was the band’s most direct and expansive album to date, so Armonico Hewa arrives with some expectation weighing on its shoulders. And with a title that’s derived from Swahili and Spanish to mean ‘air in a harmonious state’ — an idea that’s beautifully expressed by the album cover’s serene depiction of wind turbines surrounding a sunset-headed girl — could Yoshimi, Kayan, Aya and Ali be going a little soft on us?
Filed under: album, mp3, review, video | Tags: 2009, charlotte hatherley, music, stephanie heney
New Worlds •••½
Charlotte Hatherley’s musical career to date has been well documented: rocking in the grunge influenced outfit Nightnurse by 15, she was plucked from obscurity to become the fourth member of Ash at 17, discarding her A-Levels and a normal life to do so. When she left Ash in 2006 to pursue a solo career, it seemed a bold move on the part of someone who had some serious guts to go from being in a successful and established ‘day job’ to going it alone. However, what isn’t so well documented, and which has only just recently been revealed, is that it was actually Ash who asked Hatherley to leave, wanting to return to their trio status. So this somewhat changes the perception we have of Hatherley; she went it alone full time because she had no choice, not because she was gutsy. Although her first solo album Grey Will Fade was released while still in the band, subsequent works are now more than a side project created while on a winter break. Now the solo work is the day job.
Filed under: album, mp3, review | Tags: 2009, carla bozulich, evangelista, music, stephanie heney
Prince Of Truth ••½
Carla Bozulich is a veteran of rock and industrial music and has been singing, composing and playing since the age of 15 in various incarnations. Previous lives have included the post-punk outfit Neon Vein, industrial band Ethyl Meatplow, Scarnella (a duo with Nels Cline of Wilco), spook alt-country outfit The Geraldine Fibbers and traditional ‘rock’ band Night Porter. Bozulich’s first solo release in 2003 was a peculiar interpretation of Willie Nelson’s classic album, Red Headed Stranger. Featuring an amazing ensemble of Cline, Brooklyn Jazz scene stalwart Jenny Scheinman, Devin Hoff (of the Nels Cline Singers), Carla Kihlstedt (who has recorded with Tom Waits), Marka Hughes, and Nelson himself, it rightly won overwhelming critical acclaim. Evangelista is yet another Bozulich project; the self-titled debut album was her first for Constellation in 2006, followed by 2008’s Hello, Voyager. Both of these albums became a catalyst for the core line-up, featuring most notably Tara Barnes, who, among other things, plays bass and writes lyrics, and whose musical bond with Bozulich has been an influential force in third album Prince Of Truth.
Filed under: album, review | Tags: 2009, music, stephanie heney, times new viking
Times New Viking
Born Again Revisited ••••
When Times New Viking formed five years ago at art school in Columbus, Ohio, only one-third of them actually had any musical ability at the time. A mere technicality, however, when punk DIY ethos is the order of the day, and Beth Murphy, Jared Phillips and Adam Elliott (who had the aforementioned ability, on drums) promptly became a band anyway. Their 2005 debut Dig Yourself was followed by 2007’s entertaining Times New Viking Present The Paisley Reich and enough sought-after EPs and 7″ singles to award them an upgrade from Philadelphian indie Siltbreeze to the mighty Matador roster with last year’s voraciously acclaimed Rip It Off. Their sound has often been described as lo-fi indie, but, really, indie is too tame a descriptive to illustrate their style, which is very much characterised by the use of distortion and feedback. And lo-fi certainly doesn’t equal minimalist for this volatile trio.
Filed under: album, review, video | Tags: 2009, lisa o piu, music, stephanie heney
Lisa O Piu
When This Was The Future •••
Lisa Isaksson is the frontwoman for Sweden’s Lisa O Piu (very roughly translated as ‘Lisa, and then some’), and she has tread a wholesome musical path since growing up in a small town on the outskirts of Stockholm. From finding an old guitar in her attic to her early experiments with a four-track recorder on solo effort Cantering (available in an extremely limited edition of 30 copies) to performing to friends, it seems only natural that she has ended up where she is, recording a debut album in a remote cottage with a band made up from school friends. It’s no wonder then, that said album When This Was The Future is as close to nature as you could imagine, evoking pristine rural simplicity and woodland mysticism. Piu are no innocents though – the album is produced by the highly respected Matthias Gustavsson (of Dungen) and Isaksson herself has performed with the British folk idol Roger Wootton of ’70s acid-folk legends Comus.