Machine guns for the Weak and Disabled, Alcohol for Everyone Else.
Thirdimension w/ Caroline Schutz - The Only Healer - Thirdimension are a Swedish band who count among their membership 2 guys named Björn. What is it about Scanadnavia exactly that keeps the region churning out wave after wave of perfectly timed pop trends? And it's never just one band. Invariably there's a whole army of them, even if only one sticks. Maybe it's some sort of ingrained cultural malaise built around a desperation to recapture the success of Abba? But why would they want that? Nonetheless, Thirdimension fit in perfectly with the newest wave of psychedelia influenced Scandanavian music, fitting in perfectly alongside Soundtrack of Our Lives and current Peefork darlings Dungen - and conveniently continuing a backtracking trend from the Black metal stereotypically associated with the region to the garage rock of the Hives et al, and onward to this. When the bands newest album, Permanent Holiday came across my doorstep yesterday though, it was none of this that caught my eye. Rather, it was the presence, on a track, of labelmate and Folksongs for the Afterlife singer Caroline Schutz on this track, The Only Healer, that had me salivating with glee. Folksongs put out one of the most horribly overlooked records of last year with Put Danger Back In Your Life, gorgeous songs about sadness and what it takes to lif on up out of it. And I will easily admit to my crush on Caroline, based almost entirely on the sound of her voice. And this song... This song is just so lush, so melancholy, but the band resists the urge to equate sadness with sparseness - or worse yet, to equate it with tenthousand layers of syrupy strings. Instead, the production is decidedly tight - creating a simple but evocative rythmic background and allowing the sound of two voices in harmony to fill the room, an envelope of sadness, and of hope.
[Buy Permanent Holiday from Parasol Records!]
Nick Cave - Supernaturally - Nick Cave is back. I, like many others, found Nocturama to be a bit of a fumble for the old crooner, but I was pleasantly surprised to find that his new release - a 2-in-1 double album is a real return to form, as well as a branching out. But while Abbatoir Blues is a powerful romp through gospel and Delta Blues, the sets second disk, Lyre of Orpheus finds Cave doing what he's always done best. There's always been a gothic quality to Caves work - and no, I'm not talking about the black makeup and bad poetry set, though much enamored of him they are. It's a throwback and Cave is, in many ways, himself a Byronic figure. It shines through on this song more than anything else comes through. Unlike most of Orpheus's subdued, instrumentation, drawing attention to vocals primarily through a quieter tone, Supernaturally is a bouncing, rollicking tune. The pianos jumble and shake like the birth of rock 'n' roll all over again, the violins quiver and shake like a coward at the mouth of hell, and Cave is the rock. Cutting through the tension and the noise like a knife, he maintains his composure, his clarity, and declares "NO," commanding respect, and bringing everything into his masterful control. It's a technique Cave has used many a time before, but it hasn't gotten boring yet.
[Preorder Abbatoir Blues/The Lyre of Orpheus from Amazon.com!]