Tag: Sigur Ros
After 15 years of making the most dreamy, ethereal music to ever grace the ears of the common masses, it looks like Sigur Rós are finally bringing some of their nightmare into the equation. Jónsi and his Icelandic cohorts have always made music that casts the listener into an internal and existential journey. When you take down all your walls and let their music consume you, it’s like being absorbed in the breath of the divine – a slow passage between rising and descent where the common laws of emotional response break down. It’s much like that first experience with some new drug where you’re not sure whether you’re laughing or you’re crying – rather you’re just responding to the convergence of all potential human response. Yet as much of a ride as their music will take you on, especially in a live setting, it has rarely been frightening. But with today’s release of their new track “Brennisteinn,” it seems like the fellas have finally realized there was a part of the human experience that they were neglecting to include.
Regardless of this video, which seems to be depicting some sort of human sacrifice during a solar eclipse and is reminiscent of something that Tool or Nine Inch Nails would have produced in the 90′s, this music itself is somewhat terrifying. The ethereal drift is still there, but it’s punctuated by insidious rupture. At times the melody is completely abandoned for static implosion, and there’s a very literal sense of what potential apocalyptic booms may ring of. There’s a touch of My Bloody Valentine quiver, and there’s a degree of forewarning much akin to God Speed! You Black Emperor, but there’s still no doubt that this is Sigur Rós, and to imagine how this new sound will fit into the live setting is a massive conjecture. I’ve personally witnessed complete emotional breakdowns at their concerts before, and adding this sensual flux into the equation will only make the ride all the more complex. There’s no doubt of its’ massive epic-ness.
The band announced today that their new album, Kveikur, will be released on June 17th. Could this be a sign of a new prolific age for the band? Previously there had never been anything shorter than a 3 year gap between albums, and now this dark warrior rises merely a year after their last masterpiece. Let’s hope so, as any new music from this band only makes the puzzle seem clearer.
10) Cloud Nothings – Attack on Memory
Dylan Baldi’s latest album scares me in the most brilliantly amazing way possible. What started a couple years ago as a heavy, low-fi basement project has turned into the most powerful indie-shred rock on the planet. This is perhaps the only band of the past 2 decades that deserves to be mentioned in the same breath as Nirvana.
09) Alabama Shakes – Boys and Girls
If the Grammys have any integrity left, then the Shakes should be a shoe-in for Best New Artist. The pulsing soul-rock of the Brittany Howard-led band was my go-to record this year for early Summer evenings in the back yard, and it was hard to find a better match for sharing a cold beer with friends.
08) King Tuff – King Tuff
Tuff creates a world where he coexists with half of himself not giving a fuck about any of the pre-set boundaries of pop music, and the other half acting like the greatest pop-punk scholar of the past 2 decades. It’s an astoundingly warm land to share with him. Holy fuck this album is amazing.
07) Japandroids – Celebration Rock
They really couldn’t have named this album any better – punk rock with the melodies of classic rock boombastics and just the right usage of the word “fuck”. It’s hard not to completely love this album, and upon each listen you discover more subtleties in the recordings that make you realize how perfectly they made this record.
06) Beach House – Bloom
Luckily for all of us, the dream-pop duo essentially just made both a sonically and emotionally twin to their 2010 album Teen Dream with their latest record. Bloom has an extra spark of punch than its predecessor, but still is the most psychedelic drift-off of the year, and Beach House remain the crown-bearers of the dream-pop moniker.
05) Dr. Dog – Be the Void
A lot of the long-time fans of the Dog I know didn’t think this album was up to snub with their other masterpieces – I told them all they were out of their minds. While it may not necessarily have the striking indie-pop hits of some of the earlier records, Scott McMicken is astonishingly at the top of his lyrical game. This album tests how deep you’re willing to go with connecting your heart and soul to a present-minded yet traditional rock band, but the payoff is tremendous.
04) The Tallest Man on Earth – There’s No Leaving Now
This Swedish singer-songwriter does things with just his lyrics and acoustic-guitar that tens of thousands of folks would sell their souls to be able to do. If you love old-school 60’s Dylan, then this may the first guy who will ever come close to making you feel the same way. His first two albums were great, but this one is perfect.
03) Flying Lotus – Until the Quiet Comes
To put it quite simply, there’s basically nobody in the same league as Steven Ellison when it comes to modern creative production. Calling him an electronic producer is an insult – he touches on classical, jazz, ambient, and anything else that would create the perfect sound he needs to manifest. The man is a true artist, and his music deserves to be showcased in the Museum of Modern Art.
02) Animal Collective – Centipede Hz
As crazy as it may sound, I thought things got a little too stream-lined on the last A.C. record, Merriweather Post Pavilion. But on this year’s album, they figured out how to once again mesh their totally nutso attack of instrumentation with the melodic pop sense of the previous record. Some folks found it too jumbled upon 1st listen, but if you give it a chance, it all makes perfect sense. It’s not only the most listenable album they’ve ever made, but my favorite of their career.
01) Sigur Rós – Valtari
The Icelandic lords of all things ethereal have had their fluttering moments of perfection since 1999’s Ágætis byrjun, but Valtari is the first full album that can stand by the magic of that breakthrough. You have no clue what the lyrics mean, but still they seem to shake the essence of your soul. This is music of the angels, and the last necessary piece of the puzzle to define these guys as one of the greatest bands of all time. Prepare for a massive shot of heart quivers.
When Sigur Ros first entered the universe a decade ago with Agaetis Byrjun, it was positively like nothing I had ever heard before. It felt like ripping into a droned out My Bloody Valentine track, plucking away layers and layers til you have this stripped out essence of true ethereal drift. I used to lie on my bed with headphones on listening to it late at night and just quiver in serenity and joy. Since then the Icelandic magicians have floated in and out of some different tangent realms of their music, and frankly a whole album hasn’t been able to hold me like that first one. The Untitled album came pretty damn close, but Takk kinda sucked, and the last one felt lie it was only half-way complete. Luckily, I’ve been getting utterly floored for the past month or so by their latest offering Valtari. It finally seems like the companion piece to the first album that’s been waiting to be re-birthed for some time. The shit is fucking transcendent. Listening to it takes me to this blissed out nether-world, kinda like some place in a Bon Iver video. I guess that’s why Sigur Ros did everything they could to make sure the first 2 videos for the album then look nothing like a Bon Iver video.
Essentially, it’s like someone looked directly at my Top 20 list of things I don’t want to see in a music video, and took 2 of those ideas to run. Things Adam King doesn’t want to see in a music video #12 – A How-To video for the Heimlich Maneuver, and #5 – Shia Labeouf’s Balls. The Shia one I kinda get – sometimes you gotta drop some nuts for everyone to understand the pain of psychedelic addiction you’re trying to present. The Heimlich one just seems like a Monty Python skit with no punch-line. Either way, you can’t say the boys don’t try to go out of the conventional spectrum.
Here’s “Fjogur Piano”
And here’s “Eg Anda”
I’ve fallen in love with the new short video released today by Todd Cole and Rodarte, The Curve of Forgotten Things. Featuring Elle Fanning and a clever way to showcase fashion, the 8 minute surrealist piece has her cycling through a house in a series of different dreamlike transitions, all set to an incredibly beautiful ambient soundtrack by Deerhunter. Definitely got a very Sigur Ros vibe to it, but either way the music goes elegantly with the video – when the drums kick in at the 6 minute park I get total goosebumps. Watch it here for the next week, then I think it disappears:
And just in case it does, here’s a killer vid of good ole’ Stevie Nicks crushing it back in the day. Only because I’d hate to put off the readers who didn’t appreciate the randomness of my Nicks bashing in my last post, so here’s random redemption points. She really does kill it here, you can see Lyndsey Buckingham loving it – probably because they were still banging hard in the dressing room every night with a pile of disheveled dashikis left in their wake.