Posts Tagged ‘Sigur Ros’

New Sigur Rós?

Tuesday, May 27th, 2008

Somehow I missed this until now, but there’s a new Sigur Rós album looming on the horizon. The title is not quite as succinct or easy to pronounce (for us poor English-speaking monolingual schmucks) as Von or Takk: apparently this new record, due out June 24, is to be called Með suð í eyrum við spilum endalaust. There’s already a track that can be previewed/downloaded here. I haven’t had a chance to listen yet.

Takk, the band’s last album, was really nice, but didn’t strike the same emotional chord with me as their earlier albums, perhaps because I’ve simply become a little inoculated to their style. But watching the Heima DVD — which is absolutely gorgeous — rekindled my interest in these guys a little bit, so I’m tentatively excited about this new release. In the meantime, this is a total gem: an NPR blogger’s video of his interview with Sigur Rós, which goes painfully, hilariously badly.

In other news, I saw the Progressive Nation tour last night in DC. Writeup is coming soon — I’m behind on processing photos and I shot over 1,000 last night — but the short review is that it was good. Yes, even Dream Theater, who, as readers of this site well know, has not really been a band I’m keen on for some years now. More to come…

Sigur Rós on the road yet again

Monday, January 13th, 2003

So Sigur Rós is touring the US yet again in March. Those guys are ridiculous. They’ve played the US like four times in the last two and a half years or something like that. Unfortunately I won’t be able to catch them this time around, but hell - I saw them back in November or so, they sure couldn’t have come up with much new stuff between then and now! Especially since they’ve been, well, touring Europe and stuff…

One of my friends got to see Grey Eye Glances live at Club Passim in Boston, and absolutely loved them. She said that Jennifer Nobel was gorgeous, “magical”, and she was barefoot and she curled her feet around the stool she was sitting on… and that the guys were “weird”. Hah. Damn Echolyn prog-rockers.

What’s spinning, individual songs edition

Tuesday, January 15th, 2002

Something a bit different: songs (as opposed to albums) that I’m digging.

  • Aksak Maboul, “Palmiers en Pots” (from Un Peu de l’Ame des Bandits)
  • Biota, “Reckoning Falls” (from Object Holder)
  • The Coup, “Hip 2 Tha Skeme” (from Genocide & Juice)
  • DJ Shadow, “Midnight in a Perfect World” (from Endtroducing…)
  • Explosions in the Sky, “Have You Passed Through This Night” (from Those Who Tell the Truth…)
  • 5uu’s, “Noah’s Flame” (from Abandonship)
  • The Gathering, “Morphia’s Waltz” (from if_then_else)
  • Mr. Bungle, “Desert Search for a Techno Allah” (from Disco Volante)
  • Mogwai, “Dial:Revenge” (from Rock Action)
  • Nathaniel Merriweather, “Book of the Month” (from Lovage)
  • NeBeLNeST, “Stimpy Bar” (from Nova Express)

I saw a bunch of movies over Christmas break. One of them was Vanilla Sky. I enjoyed it until the awfully hackneyed sci-fi plot twists during the latter part, which sort of reminded me of Brazil but with a cheesy pseudo-happy-ending. However, I thought the soundtrack was awesome. Radiohead’s “Everything in its Right Place” couldn’t have been used more effectively, and the three Sigur Rós songs were also very well-placed. I recognized a couple other pieces too, but couldn’t name them. Good stuff.

Procrastinating with music

Tuesday, December 18th, 2001

It is now 4:45 am. I’m currently sitting at a computer lab computer trying to bang out a 20-page paper in one day and one night. I’ve been listening to music on headphones using the computer’s CD-ROM drive. I have no idea what the sound card and audio hardware on this machine is, but something weird is going on with it. When I listen to my music, especially CDs with strong stereo separation, certain parts of the mix get highlighted whereas others go really quiet. I’m hearing percussion in some songs on Kid A that I’ve never heard before, for instance. On the one hand, this is sort of annoying, but on the other, it’s actually kind of enlightening. Either way, though, it’s distracting me from the work I should be doing. Hmm.

My primary form of procrastination has been the popmatters.com reviews archive - I’ve found some pretty interesting stuff in there. Like, for instance, the only really really negative review of Mogwai’s My Father My King that I’ve yet read. Or, a review of a Sigur Rós concert that I think captures the awe and wonder of a good live show by that band - yeah, it’s gushingly positive and over the top, but that’s appropriate, I think. Or maybe my opinion of Sigur Rós is just way overinflated (but I knew that already). There’s also weird stuff like the statement that Sunny Day Real Estate’s The Rising Tide “would have been right at home alongside classic albums by Rush, Marillion or Kansas.” Umm… maybe. But not really.

Hehe: the new Pitchfork review of Radiohead’s I Might Be Wrong makes a point - over and over again - of calling the album an EP. A little bitter?

Sigur Rós on Craig Kilborn

Saturday, December 15th, 2001

On second thought, I guess “Threnody to the Victims of Hiroshima” is a pretty descriptive name; at least, it lets the listener know what the mood is going to be. But I’m sure there are still tons of examples that I could have used.

So Sigur Rós played “Njósnavélin” on Craig Kilborn’s show last night. I thought it was a great performance. I’ve heard the song twice in concert (I think), and I think it’s really beautiful. I’m quite surprised, though, that they would have been asked to play that particular song - it’s one of their sparsest, most subtle pieces, and it’s pretty repetitive to boot. My roommates certainly didn’t like it very much. Curious choice. In any case, I was sort of pissed because they cut off the last few minutes of the song - and with a piece that moody and laid-back, you’ve gotta have a proper resolution. Sigh.

New acquisitions from Other Music

Monday, October 29th, 2001

I was in New York on Saturday, so I stopped by Other Music and picked up Change as well as Born Into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward, the new Silver Mt. Zion. I can’t stop fucking listening to Change. To me, it’s far more immediately likable than Emergency & I was, perhaps because it’s a bit less hyperactive. Whether I like it more in the long run is up in the air, but man… I’m really digging it right now. Little bits of “Time Bomb” and “Ellen and Ben” keep getting stuck in my head. And I can’t help but smile to the lyrics of “The Face of the Earth”, which are just absurdly bizarre - telling the story of a girl who literally gets sucked off the face of the earth.

It does strike me that parts of the album, like some of the vocal melodies in “Following Through”, seem almost mainstream, and the album has definitely (as endless reviewers have already noted) moved away from the band’s pseudo-emo sound on Emergency & I. To a more “mature” sound, lots of people have said, but I don’t know what the hell that means. In any case, I think I like this move, and I have little fear of the band going too mainstream, because the vast majority of the album is just amazingly creative.

My one complaint: all those nifty keyboard oonts and groonts on Emergency & I are gone, for the most part. Oh, not entirely; for example, “Ellen and Ben” has some cool bleeping, but there’s nothing that compares to the bass-range belching from “A Life of Possibilities” or the depressing haze from “The City”. Oh well.

On a whim I picked up the soundtrack to Angels of the Universe, apparently one of the highest-praised Icelandic films from the past few years. It’s done by Hilmar Örn Hilmarsson, but Sigur Rós contributes two tracks at the end. My initial reaction is one of frustration; there are some really beautiful moments, and I really like the acoustic guitar tone that’s used on a few of the tracks, but all of the tracks are so damn short that it doesn’t allow for any melodic or compositional development. Grr. The Sigur Rós tracks, though, are fucking great, and are by far the best pieces on the album. Go figure.

On another soundtrack note, I got that Magna Carta Soundtrack for the Wheel of Time, which in all but name appears to be a Robert Berry solo album. I expected it to pretty much suck enormous balls… I basically got it because I used to be a huge Wheel of Time fan (until the last few books started, well, sucking enormous balls). The prospect of pseudo-Celtic-prog-metal-lite doesn’t sound all that appealing to me, especially with the huge potential for pretentiousness given the nature of the books. I was mildly surprised - there are parts that are, not surprisingly, really cheesy, but there are also some pleasant parts. There are also a lot of parts that are really “soundtrackey” - you know, they’re really dramatic and big (complete with tympani banging like distant thunder, blah blah blah), but at the same time sort of unobtrusive and clearly meant to be an accompaniment instead of the main attraction. Which is sort of weird, since this album isn’t really a soundtrack, unless you consider the idea of a soundtrack to a book to be equivalent to a soundtrack to a movie. I don’t.

Um, so, do I like it? Not really - the music avoids cheesiness for the most part, but it tends to be very bland - but nevertheless, I definitely like it more than I expected to.

I love the Alamaailman Vasarat T-shirt design. I’ve e-mailed the band for ordering info but they haven’t gotten back to me. Arg… I want one.

Sigur Rós, New York City

Friday, September 21st, 2001

Dominating my CD player for the past couple of days has been Miriodor’s new album, Mekano, which I received from Cuneiform last week. It kicks. Review coming.

Just bought tickets to the Sigur Rós and The Album Leaf show in New York next Monday. I’m really psyched for it - the last show Sigur Rós did in New York they thought was horrible, but I really enjoyed; and also, I’ve heard some The Album Leaf MP3s and they’re really, really nice. Unfortunately, I’m not able to make it to the Birdsongs of the Mesozoic free show that’s happening tonight, but one of my friends (an insatiable fan of Radiohead among others, who seems to like all the post-rock I throw at her) listened to Petrophonics and decided to check out the show… so at least I’ll get to hear a firsthand report while I stew in my envy.

In the wake of the September 11 bombings, the monologue in Godspeed You Black Emperor!’s “dead flag blues” is horribly appropriate. “The skyline was beautiful on fire” - “The buildings tumbled in on themselves” - “I open up my wallet and it’s full of blood”…

What’s spinning, May 18 edition

Friday, May 18th, 2001

Okay, my impatient readers: here’s an update.

In case my mysterious and virtually total absence from various music-related boards wasn’t enough of a clue, I’ve been away from the music scene for a bit. Oh, I’ve been listening to tons and tons of good music, but I haven’t been buying much, and I haven’t been writing about it much. This is mostly because I’ve finally immersed myself in photography, as I have wanted to do for some time. While it hasn’t replaced music as my consuming passion, it has left a bit less time and far less money for music.

In any case, a list of stuff I’ve been listening to a lot for the past month or so:

  • Arise From Thorns - Before an Audience of Stars
    Acoustic gothic-styled rock with pleasant female vox. Pretty nice stuff; lots of acoustic guitar, which I like, and a dark, moody atmosphere, which I also like. The whole thing is sort of on the level, with few peaks and troughs, but there are a few gorgeous acoustic guitar solos and some cool lyrics.
  • Einstürzende Neubauten - Silence is Sexy
    Still spinning a lot. What a great album, man. See below for comments. I find myself singing the ridiculously catchy “Dingsaller” refrain to myself a lot.
  • Garmarna - God’s Musicians
    Rockified Scandinavian folk music - pretty nifty stuff. I will now demonstrate my utter lack of knowledge about European world/folk music by saying that when I first heard these guys, they reminded me of Capercaillie, the band that plays rockified Celtic music. I was introduced to them by a friend at Yale, who played me a couple tracks from Vengeance, which is next on my list.
  • Karnataka - The Storm
    Sort of like a modern adult contemporary band with good female vox and lots of guitar solos. At their best, they write stuff that’s on par with the most beautiful pieces by, say, October Project. Unfortunately the album is quite uneven, with the best stuff at the beginning and end. Nevertheless, I like it.
  • Colin Masson - Isle of Eight
    Three really long compositions, almost completely instrumental and almost all of it played by multi-instrumentalist Masson. A lot like Mike Oldfield, but with more of an emphasis on the guitar work (mostly electric, with some nice acoustic parts). The textures are cool, with good variation in the thematic material. When the female vox kick in things get much simpler, but at least those parts are quite catchy. A pleasant surprise.
  • Radiohead - Kid A
    I listened to it a bit when I first got it and liked what I heard; now, listening more closely, I still like what I hear. “Idioteque” reminds me strongly of Squarepusher, but then that’s about all the experience I have with that sort of beat-driven music. The opening track couldn’t be more perfect.
  • A Silver Mt. Zion - He Has Left Us Alone…
    This took much longer to grow on me than Godspeed You Black Emperor! albums, but it’s now one of my favorites. Wistfully beautiful stuff, and perfect for road trips or train rides.
  • Spaced Out - Spaced Out
    Fusion. Not my cup of tea, in general - the stuff tends too much towards soloing without much melody. But there’s definitely some good music on this album, particularly the bass playing which is showy and fun. Fusion fans should definitely get a kick out of this one.

I’ve also been listening to a lot of various MP3s. A few Outkast tracks that have convinced me that I need an Outkast album, now. More Garmarna, most of which I actually like better than the stuff on the album of theirs I have. Some tracks from the album of remixed Sigur Rós songs, some of which are really cool and some of which suck a fat one. Univers Zero “Central Belgium in the Dark”, from the Crawling Wind EP - ah, classic stuff from one of my all-time favorite bands.

Stumbled across Brendon Rapp’s music blog. Some interesting reading there. Hi *Legion*.

They say money’s the root of all evil but I can’t tell
You know what I mean - pesos, francs, yens, cowrie shells, dollar bills
Or is it the mind state that’s ill
Creating crime rates to fill the new prisons they build
Over money and religion there’s more blood to spill
The wounds of slaves in cotton fields that never heal
What’s the deal?
Black Star, “Thieves in the Night”

Mos Def, whatever I might think of his solo album, writes some damn fine lyrics. The Black Star album - his collaboration with Talib Kweli - is masterful.

Emerson, Lake & Palmer is dominating the list of “top ten most visited reviews” on the stats page, with no other band having more than one album on the list. Blah. I hate those guys. They’re just so bad. Arr.

Not totally delinquent

Wednesday, May 9th, 2001

Alright, I’ll be home in a couple of days, and I don’t have a job until mid-June, so I should have time to actually work on this website.

In any case, I just tossed together a woefully inadequate review of the Sigur Rós show I came back from a couple hours ago. The review completely fails to satisfy me, but it’s late and I want to put some impressions up.

I’m going to see Sigur Rós!

Saturday, April 28th, 2001

Sigur Rós was scheduled to play at the Angel Orensanz Theater in NYC on May 8th; tickets went on sale a couple weeks ago. As some of you have probably heard, the damn show sold out in three minutes or so! So, the management (I believe) wisely chose to move the show to Irving Plaza, apparently a much larger venue, and more tickets went on sale this past Wednesday, at noon. Just to be sure, I took the train to the city and bought my ticket directly from the box office. I’m stoked - I’ve heard all kinds of rave reviews about these guys live.

I really like how Uzva, in the final track of Tammikuinen Tammela, use the steel pan as a melodic instrument. That album has been dominating my CD player recently, along with the A Silver Mt. Zion album (”13 angels standing guard ’round the side of your bed” is one of the most gorgeous pieces I’ve ever heard).