AERS Debuts Haunting Single, “Blue Tempest”

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AERS is Tasha Abbott and Zack Nestel-Patt, currently based out of Brooklyn, New York. Their stunning arrangements liken the sounds of Grizzly Bear and Sigur Ros, channeling both as influences. The group has just premiered the dreamy, lustworthy track, “Blue Tempest,” via Redefine Magazine.

“Blue Tempest,” is a gracious first glimpse into AERS’ upcoming record due out later this Fall. The debut EP release, Blue Tempest, sets the scenery for the band’s haunting  tones that grace the record throughout. On “Blue Tempest,” Abbott’s voice lingers with dreamy lyrics, which paints a bold and sultry soundscape. Powerful yet graceful, her voice captivates delving deeper into the track. Nestel-Patt helps to build the song with layers of dark textures, bringing the piece to fruition. The sound of AERS will stop you dead in your tracks; be prepared to fall in love with every listen.

Icelandic Composer Ólafur Arnalds Announces US Tour Dates


People in Iceland are not like people on the rest of the planet. Don’t try to understand it, just embrace that we may in fact be living amongst aliens—really, really interesting aliens. You can’t really talk about Icelandic musicians without mentioning Bjork or Sigur Ros, and now that that’s done, let’s discuss Iceland’s Ólafur Arnalds.

The 23-year old composer’s work has been called ” robust yet ethereal, mid-tempo tearjerker” (Pitchfork) and Filter magazine says Arnalds “will only increase in importance.”

Arnalds returns to the US for a winter tour in early 2011. There’s an online contest where fans who “share” show info can win tickets. Check out the info at: http://www.olafurarnalds.com

Ólafur Arnalds On Tour:

Jan 24 – The Modern Theatere at Suffolk University  – Boston, MA

Jan 25 – Highline Ballroom – New York, NY

Jan 26 – St. Andrews Hall – Detroit, MI

Jan 27 – Southgate House Ballroom – Newport, KY (Cincinnati)

Jan 28 – Midtown Scholar Bookstore – Harrisburg, PA

Jan 29 – TBA – Indianapolis, IN

Jan 30 – Preston Bradley Hall @ Chicago Cultural Center – Chicago, IL (3pm)

Jan 30 – Museum of Contemporary Art – Chicago, IL (8:30pm)

Jan 31 – Covenant Fine Arts Center @ Calvin College – Grand Rapids, MI

Feb 1 – Cedar Cultural Center – Minneapolis, MN

Feb 3 – Great American Music Hall – San Francisco, CA

Feb 4 – Echoplex – Los Angeles, CA

Album Review: Weekend – “Sports”

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It’s not too often that the word “subtle” can be used when describing a noise rock band, but “subtle” is exactly what went through my head while listening to Weekend’s Slumberland debut-LP, Sports. The San Francisco trio is quickly gaining popularity, after a year of touring with such bands as Japandroids and A Place To Bury Strangers. The ten song collection of Sports excels in finding nuance within their wall of sound. Although all of the typical elements of noise rock are present—reverb guitars, droning vocals, hammering percussion, and washes of ambient and static sound—Weekend chooses not to use all of these elements continuously.

“Coma Summer” and “Youth Haunts” open the album with the kind of frenetic energy Weekend is gaining notoriety for in their live act, throwing rhythm and guitars at the listener in a frenetic, although not completely aggressive way. Creating this maelstrom of sound over two tracks gives Weekend the room to back off on the volume later on, and become more introspective and lyrical in the middle of the disc. “Monday Morning” is emblematic of exactly what the title states; a slower guitar beat combines with layers of vocals, making a dark snapshot of a grey start to the work week—full of longing (or even regret) for the lost reverie of the weekend. And although snippets of lyrics can be heard in tracks like “Age Class,” where lead singer Shaun Darkin repeatedly sobs “There’s something in our blood,” Sports is not an album that propels its personal message through words. Atmosphere is the main language of the music at hand, and Weekend takes you through incredibly fluid changes in texture throughout the album, making the music feel like a mix of both a summer trip to the beach and the soundtrack of your worst nightmare. The music is both insular and exposed, and all kinds of beautiful.

Many critics are making the obvious comparisons between Weekend and other post-punk outfits: My Bloody Valentine, Joy Division, Sonic Youth, and The Jesus & Mary Chain. Despite having very credible similarities, I couldn’t help thinking of more recent influences, like Liars’ self-titled album, and the earliest work of Sigur Rós, Von, while listening to Sports. These groups, like Weekend, craft music of sweeping crescendo and silences that coax the ear, rather than beating it into submission. Their diversity of sound ultimately makes for a more haunting and satisfying work. At best, Weekend are helping to pave the way to producing craftier and more nuanced versions of the popular post-punk sound, and at worst, they have just made a really, really good album.

Sigur Ros’ Jonsi Due to Release Live Album/ DVD

Sigur Ros’ frontman, Jonsi delivered the news of  his live record set to be released on November 29. Go Live includes a compilation of a 14-song album, and additionally a DVD of his 73 minute live performance in London during March of 2010. The album package contains Jonsi’s remastered versions of his solo work Go and comes with a collection of personal photographs taken by the band during the tour. Music and eye-candy wrapped up in one chewy gumball of Jonsi’s haunting vocals and delicate symphonies.

Go Live Tracklisting:

  1. stars in still water
  2. hengilás
  3. icicle sleeves
  4. kolniður
  5. tornado
  6. sinking friendships
  7. saint naive
  8. go do
  9. boy lilikoi
  10. animal arithmetic
  11. new piano song
  12. around us
  13. sticks & stones
  14. grow till tall

Go Live DVD Tracklistlisting:

  1. hengilás
  2. icicle sleeves
  3. kolniður
  4. tornado
  5. sinking friendships
  6. go do
  7. boy lilikoi
  8. new piano song
  9. around us
  10. volume pedal song
  11. grow till tall


múm’s The Word

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Close your eyes and you’ll see black. Maybe some sparks, some flecks and non-descript shapes. But when members of múm close their eyes they see two-headed talking goats, whimsical planets made of ice, and prancing forest nymphs. They see their music take shape into wondrous things. múm has long been part of the Icelandic ethereal elite (alongside Björk and Sigur Rós), producing beautiful epic noise that matches the mystique of their native land. It’s the sound a haiku would make if it could talk. And in the past 10 years, múm has toured extensively around the world, spreading the joy and sadness of their five albums, countless EPs, and compilation discs. Now they’re embarking on a European tour off the heels of a North American stint, and luckily, we got to talk to founding member Gunnar Örn Tynes prior to playing a show in San Francisco. Here he talks about his band, his roots, and the music you shouldn’t be surprised he listens to.

Modern Mystery: How different is Sing Along to Songs You Don’t Know from múm’s other albums?

Gunnar Örn Tynes: I think we always been open to doing different things because we don’t want to get stuck in a groove. But then again, we are always creating music. [Sing Along] is a lot more simple maybe. I think it’s such a linear thing for me, I’m really excited about it and the music we’re doing now.

Out of all the albums spanning your career, would you say one of them is quintessentially múm?

I wouldn’t want to say one is more than the other, it’s very hard to pick your favorite children. But I think we have the same approach to music now, [it’s] just [that] we are very different people.

You tend to have two or three-year gaps between albums, is there a reason for that?

Two years is not really a long time when you think about it. We do an album and then we do all the touring, that usually takes almost a year and then we have a little break. It’s a natural cycle.

 Are you ever not doing music then?

No, not really. I’m constantly working. I do a lot of production and engineering for other people when I’m not working on my own stuff. I’m usually with somebody else in the studio or I kick back and relax. I’m actually reading a very funny Swedish criminal story. I read a lot of different stuff, whatever people recommend.

What kind of music do you listen to? Anything people might be surprised about? 

I hope not. I think it’s very strange when people only like one type of music, when people only like one type of food. I can’t put any limit on what music I like. I listen to classical music, rock and roll, R&B, hip hop, it’s music! I have friends who really like Britney Spears songs, but they can’t acknowledge it because it’s not correct or whatever. I think it’s wrong, suppressing your own feelings.

Are there certain cities you love to play?

We just played in Japan a couple months ago, it’s amazing. It’s a great place to go play and spend some time, very different from anything else. But I just think it’s very nice going around. The interesting thing is meeting the people. People are generally interesting wherever you go.

It’s interesting, you’re fascinated by other cultures, yet Icelandic culture itself is so fascinating, especially because people don’t know very much about it. What was your upbringing like and how did Icelandic culture play a part in your music?

My parents were both working for an airline company. My dad was a captain and my mom was a stewardess, so I was off along with them all around the world on trips. Great fun for me, of course. But in Icelandic culture, [there’s] a lot of music in the traditional culture, a lot of spoken word or rhyme. There’s always been a movement, playing music not to try to make a band that’s going to be next big thing, but it’s always been a very common activity for a lot of people. It’s very collaborative in Iceland.

2009_1024CMJ0317 by you.

When did you discover music?

 Very early, I was maybe 10. I started messing around with cassette tapes and doing strange music. I never learned how to play any instruments, I’ve always been more like playing with sounds, or doing something unexpected, like an experiment. Soon after I started doing things on the computer, from there I picked up a new instrument every two years.

You call it “playing with sounds,” and that’s true about múm’s music. It’s very playful, but there’s an inherent sadness. Is that dependent on your mood?

 It’s hard to break down what feelings there are in a song, because there’s usually a lot of everything. It’s a very emotional thing to do. There are aspects of music that can elevate your moods, whichever way you go. I used to love The Cure, for example, and that music is very much sad and it’s up to you to interpret it.

What do you think you’d be if you weren’t a musician?

[It’s] very hard for me to think about it. I would probably be working with sound in one way or the other. If not I might just be a school teacher. But it wouldn’t be a glamorous business. I couldn’t.

múm has been together for over 10 years now. In what direction are you looking to take the band for the next 10 years?

Ten years is a very long time. Anything could happen. Next album could be a hip hop album, I don’t know! I look forward to seeing where the music takes me.

 -Paola Capo-Garcia

Check out Live Photos from múm’s CMJ Show After the Jump