Sunday, February 21, 2016

'Frogs' By Jünglinge Film Receives Berlin Music Video Awards Nomination

German actor Bernhard Geffke on set during the filming of the video trilogy

Last year Faraz Shariat and Paulina Lorenz aka Jünglinge Film premiered a superb video trilogy, created to accompany three outstanding tracks by Australian producer Charles Murdoch; all three can be found on his debut album 'Point' which dropped in December.

Frogs, the second clip in the trilogy made by the Heidelberg, Germany based film maker duo has been nominated for the 2016 Berlin Music Video Awards; the specific category will be announced in April.

The fourth Berlin Music Video Awards will be held May 18-21; the event was founded in 2013 by Aviel Silook.

Don't miss my interview with director Faraz Shariat from December:

Click here to read my October post on Charles Murdoch and to watch the complete video trilogy:

Monday, February 15, 2016

Viola Beach: Swings & Waterslides + Boys That Sing + Cherry Vimto

From left:: River, Kris, Tomas, Jack

As I read the tragic news from Sweden about UK band Viola Beach, I thought of how things might have easily turned out very differently more than half a century ago for The Beatles in the early days of their career: it could have been John, Paul, George and Ringo from Liverpool plunging into a canal in Germany after doing yet another residency in Hamburg rather than making it safely back to England. In the wee hours of Saturday February 13, 2016, four young men from Warrington as well as their tour manager were not so lucky as one of the five drove the rented tour van off a bridge outside Södertälje 15 miles south-west of Stockholm, into the waters 80 feet below. (The exact cause of the accident as well as the identity of the driver have yet to be determined by Swedish police investigators.)

As word spread on the Internet via main stream media and social media, people who had never heard of Viola Beach soon became fans, resulting in the single "Boys Who Sing" shooting to the near top of iTunes and being streamed many times on Spotify. As it happens, the attention is well-deserved: the three tracks uploaded to Soundcloud since the group was formed last May are superb and make it abundantly clear that much more good stuff was going to come from this gifted quartet. In addition to "Boys Who Sing", the songs "Swings & Waterslides" and "Cherry Vimto" showcase their fully formed sunny California surf vibe meets Merseybeat for the 21st century sound.

A string of shows had been scheduled for the UK between this week and October 1; they were also due to play a coveted gig at this year's SXSW in March.  Thankfully, their lovely live version of "Swings & Waterslides" was filmed last fall; it took place in London on October 27 as part of the ongoing intimate concert series Sofar Sounds (Song From a Room).

R.I.P. Kris Leonard, 19 (guitar/vocals), River Reeves, 19 (guitar), Jack Dakin, 24 (drums), Tomas Lowe, 27 (bass), Craig Tarry, 32 (manager).  

Trivia: On September 27, 1986 on the road in Dörarp in southern Sweden, Metallica's tour bus crushed 24-year-old bassist Cliff Burton after he was ejected from his bunk and through a window; he had picked guitarist Kirk Hammett's spot earlier after drawing cards. In 2006, a memorial stone was unveiled near the crash site.

Wednesday, February 10, 2016

Francis: Turning A Hand + Follow Me Home

Falun based quintet Francis has been called Sweden's best kept secret - hopefully that will change as the word spreads about their intoxicating sound. Founded a full decade ago in Mora, only Petra Mases - who provides the utterly gorgeous vocals - and guitarist Petter Nygårdh remain of the original line up; newer members are Paulina Mellkvist (bass), Oscar Bond (keys) and Jerker Krumlinde (guitar).

The debut album 'Lekomberg, We Were Kin' was released in 2011; the EP 'This Must Be Blood' followed in 2012. On February 5 they dropped the full-length 'Marathon', containing eleven tracks. The album was recorded in two stages: the first close to home in the picturesque village of Gagnef (very Lord of the Rings), the second in Brooklyn with acclaimed producer Nicolas Vernhes (Animal Collective, Bjørk, and more).

Two excellent videos have been published to accompany the outstanding songs "Turning a Hand" and "Follow Me Home"; the first directed by Malin Norberg, the latter by Johan Stolpe.

There are two gigs coming up in Sweden this week: February 12 in Stockholm and February 13 in Gothenburg. Between April 20 and April 30 ten shows are scheduled around Germany: they start off in Hamburg and finish up in Leipzig,

Saturday, February 6, 2016

Junior Boys: Over It

Greenspan & Didemus 

Canadian duo Junior Boys dropped the eleven-track full-length 'Big Black Coat' February 5, their first studio album since 2011 and the first one released by renowned German label City Slang, based in Berlin where Matt Didemus has relocated to; Jeremy Greenspan remains in Hamilton, Ontario. It would appear the changes have made the boys better than ever because the second single "Over It" is simply perfect.

The two have a very busy North America/UK/continental Europe tour schedule this winter/spring: they kicked it off this week in Canada and wrap it up April 9 in Toronto. A June 12 festival appearance in Victoria Park, London has also been announced and more summer gigs are sure to be added later.

The video was directed by fellow Canadian creative Lee Skinner.

Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Lukas Graham: 7 Years

Daugaard (keys), Lukas (vocals) Magnum (bass), Lovestick (drums)

As a Dane living in Southern California, I have to say it was pretty trippy to hear a Danish band on L.A. radio station KKRQ the other day. The quartet Lukas Graham takes its name after 27-year-old frontman Lukas Forchhammer as well as his Irish father Eugene Graham who lived and worked in Copenhagen's famous Freetown Christiania community until his death at age 61 in the fall of 2012, the year his son hit it big in Europe.

The fourteen-track debut full-length 'Lukas Graham' dropped that same year in Europe; its cover was used again in 2015 for the follow up twelve-track album, nicknamed the 'Blue Album' and also self-titled.   April 1 will see a worldwide release of the eleven-track 'Lukas Graham' album; the songs are almost exclusively taken from the ''Blue Album'.

The band's huge international hit and the opening track on the coming worldwide release "7 Years" is a moving tale thanks to its poignant lyrics and flawless vocals; it is accompanied by an excellent b/w video by NYC based Danish director Rene Sascha Johannsen.

No shows in Denmark or elsewhere are currently scheduled, but that is bound to change after April 1 so be sure to check their FB page for tour updates.

NOTE: The art work used for the album covers is a 1992 painting by Danish painter Lars Helweg who based it on a b/w nude photo of Swedish movie star Anita Ekberg (famous for her small but pivotal role in Fellini's classic 1960 film La Dolce Vita) published in Playboy Magazine in 1956.  Helweg's painting was previously used by Danish hard rock band September for their 1995 debut album; also their last. The original still hangs at Cafe Wilder, a stone's throw from Christiania; its title is 'The Lady with the Bottles'.

NOTE: iTunes cropped the image so that only the woman's face is shown. For the April 1 album release, Warner Brothers has opted for what might be termed borderline censorship, using a doctored version featuring a young boy standing in front of the painting in an art museum setting, a security guard to his left.