fan modine. interview #39

Sometimes I run across artists that I find extremely hard to describe or talk about due to the fact that they touch me in ways (or in places inside of me) where words don’t go. More than a solid, material form there’s this profound and moving mix of feelings that are intangible to even try to be reasonable or make sense. Fan Modine is one of this artists.
Fan Modine is Gordon Zacharias. An artist that in the past 15 years, released 3 albums and became a cult figure among indie music lovers.
While the influences throughout the albums changed, the line connecting them to create a solid progression of his work (and life) is the ability to write music with an elegancy rarely seen.
I didn’t know anything about him before this interview, even though the album ‘Homeland’ has been a huge part of my life for 6 years.
All I knew was that Fan Modine, the ‘band’ that released ‘Homeland’, one of the sweetest – and saddest -  albums I have ever listened to, was Gordon Zacharias. And after reading the interview, I feel that each album seem to be a very personal interpretation of what was going in his life in the period their were made. And the beauty of all this, is the fact that this inspiration, successfully creates pieces that have this profound and universal sensibility with the ability to touch everyone that are exposed to his music.
It is clear the unsettling part of his creative being: with 3 albums out the only thing you can’t say, is that his musical moves are obvious. While ‘Slow Road to Tiny Empire’ (1997) sounds more experimental and lo-fi, ‘Homeland’ (2004) is a cinematic celebration of an elegant, melancholic, orchestral and heartfelt side of pop. And now there’s  ‘Gratitude for the Shipper’, released a few days ago and showcasing a happier, bright, romantic and rockier side of Gordon.

You can download the two first singles of his latest album, 'Gratitude for the Shipper', here:

Enough said… better than my words, the best way to get an idea of what Fan Modine stands for, is reading his own words below… (also, check the beautiful biography on his facebook page (link below)).

hong kong in the 60s

Hong Kong in the 60s ~ Places (Independent, 2010)

Keeping our electronic mood of the past couple of days, today we'll talk about a three piece band from London, with a strong multicultural background called Hong Kong In the 60s.
Mei Yau, Christopher and Tim main references are early electronic music, chinese music and italian movie soundtracks from the 60s. The result is a haunting combination of ambient electronics with musical references from a variety of places and eras.
Elegant, mellow, global and fresh.

They have just released their debut album called 'My Phantoms' under Proper Songs Records. And here you can download 'You Can Take a Heart But You Cannot Make It Beat', the first single from this album.

Here's a video excerpt taken from the lauch party of the album, last Wednesday:

Also, as a free download, you can get 'Places', an EP released on their Bandcamp page. 

01.Exploring the Landscape
02. Tracker Vale
03. At Harrington's
04. The Flower of Quincy House
05. Garma
06. Now Boarding / The Arrival
07. A Bad Night Out
08. Disintegration, The Advisory Circle Reshape


buy it
interview (indietracks)

the catcher in the rye

Azure Blue ~ The Catcher In the Rye (single) (Hybris, 2011)

Azure Blue is Tobias Isaksson from Sweden. This is his brand new project, and here, he's embarking into an electronic dream through romance and longing. In case you're wondering, yes, he's the guy from Laurel Music and Irene, two bands that made history in the swedish indiepop scene and got worldwide recognition, releasing albums through Sweden's beloved Labrador.
Beautiful electronics and vocals creating, somehow, a perfect song for daydreaming, reflection, infatuation and lazyly dancing by yourself.

"If Laurel Music was the sound of a lost first love and Irene was the impossible dream of endless summer, Azure Blue is the night after the day after. It's the summary and the reflections of the future at once." Enough said.

'The Catcher in the Rye' is the first single of his debut record called 'Rule of Thirds', out in September through Hybris.


buy it

city lights fade

The Whatevers ~ City Lights Fade (February Records, 2011)

Once a Girl/boy duo and now a four piece band, The Whatevers are back with more lovely tunes. Five to be more precise and this time they have joined forces with (also lovely) February Records. This small label has been building quite a solid catalog. And if that weren't enough, a lot of their releases are given away as free downloads. Don't you just love that?
The Whatevers also are building a strong career and have come a long way releasing singles on Holiday Records, on their bandcamp page and now on February. They are also part of the line-up for Indietracks this year which is "a pretty big deal for us", quoting an email Michael sent me a few days ago.
In case you haven't heard of them before, here's the description on February's page for the release (fun reading, folks):

Mike and Kate met at school. Kate had shaved her head to shock the locals. Mike had just split up with the only other indie punk girl in their small town, so it was natural they would become boyfriend and girlfriend. Kate would buy the NME and Mike would buy the Melody Maker and they would swap halfway through the week and cut the pictures out and practice interview techniques for the day they formed a famous indie band. Mike was in a band called Sparkling Tarts and they played at the local youth club with Kate’s band. After they had broken each others heart for about 15 years, Mike finally had enough songs and they formed The Whatevers. Al was one of their biggest fans, so they asked him to join the band.
The Whatevers sing mainly about their relationship history, radical leftist politics, not being able to get out of bed and conversations about sex that they have had at bus stops.
'City Lights Fade' delivers lo-fi indiepop in its purest state: simple melodies covered by melancholic, fun lyrics and funny music names. The last track is a cover for 'Anne Boleyn', from Eux Autres. When asked - in our interview - about doing covers, The Whatevers mentioned that they'd like to cover Eux Autres but haven't heard back from the band by that time; apparently Eux Autres read the interview and contacted The Whatevers, saying that - of course! - they could do the cover. So, yeah... if you ask me, I'm really proud 'chaotisch und charmant' might be part of this song.

01. city lights fade
02. everything but the kitchen sink drama
03. the second best of the whatevers
04. why girlfriends are better than guitars
05.anne boleyn (eux autres cover)



little chords

Little Chords ~ Little Chords EP (Independent, 2011)

Here's a little gem in form of 4 tracks filled with reverbs, laid back melancholic melodies and pure lo-fi bliss. This seems to be a side project from prolific canadian electronic act Teen Daze. Here, electronics give space to strummed guitars and shoegazy elements.
The last track is a beautiful take on Yuck's Shook Down.
Great for a balcony with a warm breeze and a sunset. And a heart.
(I hope there's more...)

01. in the guest room
02. summertime
03. valentine's day
04. today
05. shook down (yuck cover)



french films. interview #38

Let the sun shine and the warm breeze of summer flow into your ears in the form of new wave-ish French Film’s melodies. Five boys (Johannes, Mikael, Santtu, Joni and Antti) from Finland – yes, cold Finland – started the band last year and with Golden Sea, a four track EP released under GAEA, brought the attention to their sunny tunes (almost anthems in their intensity and addictiveness) being made in frigid suomi lands. Comparisons range from The Drums to Joy Division and The Cure.
An album is being mixed as I write and will be out this year. And pretty soon the first single will see the light of… well, the hot summer sun –which couldn’t be more appropriate.
So for the folks in the North hemisphere: wear sunscreen, shake of the ice, go to the beach and expect new French Films music soon.
Folks in the South: enjoy French Films while you keep dreaming about warmer times.
  Golden Sea EP by French Films

Here's my chat with Johannes...

VIDEO delay trees.about brothers

Here's the beautiful new Delay Trees video for one of the best songs of their debut album. A beautiful piece directed by Teemu Erämaa and starred by his brother, Tomi.


death valley sleepers.interview #37

Tobias Winberg is Death Valley Sleepers. And Death Valley Sleepers is one of the most exciting acts making music in Denmark nowadays. He's been releasing music (some as free download) for a few years now and on the verge of releasing a new album, we had the chance to ask him a few questions.
photo by Emil Ronn
The new album - which has no release date yet - also seems to be a new step (or direction, as Tobias says on the interview) in terms of sound for DVS: enough change to give a fresh feeling to it but still reminiscent of the rockish/shoegazy layered indiepop that got us all hooked into his songs, his mellow, whispery voice, guitar hooks and 60's influences.
The new versions of the debut album, can be found on his myspace (so far we can listen to three premix versions)... the sound is cleaner and brighter and there's a (great) addition of keyboards to some songs.

All we can do by now is wait until the album is released. Meanwhile, read my chat with Tobias: we talked about origins, free music, the new phase of his career and how a tv commercial got him more fans... between the questions, you can see two live performances at Drone Bar, in Copenhagen.

cover me

The Boombox Hearts ~ Cover Me (single) (Our Little Sisters Records, 2011)

After the (awesome) Oliver North Choir Boy dissolved, Ivan and Mikkel started to make music under the name The Boombox Hearts alongside Kathrine, Steffen and Arne.
Now, they're about to release a new ep called Monte Carlo (out april 25th on Our Little Sisters Records, a sublabel of Pad and Pens Records) and 'Cover Me' - a cover from a Bruce Springsteen song - is the first glimpse of this new work. The song is a pretty and quite sad take on the Springsteen hit with a beautiful trombone solo (as mentioned on the press release).

Below, you can listen and download the track:

Also, a beautiful live performance for 'Extras, When You're Ready, Please'