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Mellow Music

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A few notes on a couple of bands that came to attention recently. All of them make slow music, which would't give an alliteration as post title, though.

Kings of Convenience

Riot on an empty Street cover I know this comparison has been made a million times before, but it's just so right: Kings of Convenience are for you if you liked Simon and Garfunkel but are a kid of the new millennium. They have a little bit of occasional 1980s cheerfulness and are slightly funkier in their latest album Riot on an Empty Street, though. Just dig the beginning of Love is no Big Truth, for example.

Whether you like the music or not, with albums named Quiet is the new Loud and Riot on an Empty Street, they certainly have a knack for good titles. And while the cover of their first album is stylish but lo-fi, the latest one just needs a caption à la Coduroy Sofa £5950 by xyz, Oak and pine chess board £999 by ... to be published in glossies like Wallpaper.

Finally music that's good enough to be enjoyable without offending the people I'm having dinner with. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

TV on the Radio

TV on the Radio record cover With an album title of Desperate Youth, Blood Thirsty Babes, TV on the Radio aren't exactly from the boring record department either. Slow but every so slightly funky with a strange a capella piece Ambulance in the middle of the record.

Again not too thrilling but again not offending guests without being boring. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

Moneybrother

Moneybroteher cover The good thing about Moneybrother is that they're / he's Swedish. I have a weakness for Swedish bands, as they tend to be good (cue Mando Diao, The Hives or The (International) Noise Conspiracy). In addition they've been the favourite artist of our favourite (== only acceptable) music TV show.

But I must admit I don't like it. Too much falsetto. Cheesy stuff – probably I just got used to it as I saw it on telly too often. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

The Killers

Killers Hot Fuss Cover The Killers' Hot Fuss is another record I didn't find convincing, despite an odd name and cool cover art (somehow reminding me of Wilco's Hotel Yankee Foxtrot). I think the review at Pitchfork Media pretty much nails it.

Some songs are fine, such as the cheerful Somebody Told Me (of music telly fame) or the odd closing track Everything will be Alright. But otherwise the album seems to be going nowhere – and drops too many Eighties sounds while doing so for my taste. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

The Shins

Shins record cover Another friendly record is The Shins' Chutes to Narrow. Friendly cover art, friendly acoustic guitars. Nice old-fashioned summer music. But with good melodies and lyrics so it's good for more than being background music. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

Snow Patrol

Snow Patrol Cover Snow Patrol are another band from Scotland (the other 'country' whose name starts with and S and that produces good bands). They're also the band that didn't show up for the Hurricane festival. They might be the least 'mellow' band in this collection. They've got proper guitars, sometimes with proper distortion and and the occasional fast beat between the slower bits. Their cover reminds me slightly of Sigur Rós with their gas-mask/stencil things. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

Aerogramme

Aerogramme Cover Aerogramme, another Scottish band, aren't actually new to me – I just re-discovered their 2002 album A Story in White. As I just learned on their website, they've had another album, Sleep and Release, since which I don't know. Aerogramme's music is cool. Intensive guitars with a little singing. A lightweight version of Mogwai with lyrics, if you wish.

I like their name as well. When I was little and we lived in South Africa, aerogrammes, those strange things mid-way between a letter and a postcard fascinated me. Today they look like relic of the old times where world-wide travel and airmail where still exciting and unusual. Where people would still know how to write letters. Not SMSes, not E-Mails, not post cards, real letters. Where as a matter of course the official language of international organisations was French. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

Looper

The final Scottish contribution, pointed out to me by Dan, is Looper, (ex) Belle and Sebastian's Stuart David playing with electronics, and loops. There's a record called The Geometrid which appeals to the geometer, I guess. It contains the Modem Song which contains those funny beeps and bings coming from said machines, without being too geeky. Not too shabby. [Buy at amazon .com, .uk, .de]

August 1, 2004, 17:11

Tagged as music.

Comments

Comment by Dave Walker: User icon

I know it’s not really your sort of music, but one half of the Kings of Convenience, Erlend Øye, plays DJ gigs where he spins user-friendly house and techno. What’s amusing (and a bit endearing, actually) is that he sings over some of the records, improvising little lyrics lines over the instrumental records and singing along with the vocal ones. It sounds like it should be irritating, but it’s actually rather pleasant. He’s got a mix CD in Studio K!7’s “DJ Kicks” series. I’m quite fond of this solo single of his, which reminds me quite favorably of early OMD and other bands I used to listen to back when dinosaurs ruled the earth.

August 1, 2004, 19:53

Comment by Buzz Andersen: User icon

If you like Kings of Convenience, you might also like Clientele (their album “The Velvet Hour” in particular). Thanks for the recommendations!

August 1, 2004, 21:20

Comment by tom: User icon

If your a fan of mellow music I suggest you by the sound track to the film Garden State, not only is it an amazing film its soundtrack includes Cold Play, The Shins, Simon and Garfunkel, Cary Brothers, Remy Zero and many many more…

June 10, 2005, 18:02

Comment by pop: User icon

i think the shins are great! i love there songs, Pink Bullets and they’ll soon discover

July 5, 2005, 22:12

Comment by jess: User icon

i agree with tom. garden state is an awesome movie. its how i got into the shins. and now i love them. seriously good movie. thanks for the good recomendations.

July 10, 2005, 10:55

Comment by james: User icon

i think the shins are great too, and so is garden state, but did everybody start finding out about the shins after the soundtrack. they were always a great band. no one used to know about them, but if u like the shins, u should try some of their other stuff. and does anyone know where i can get some shins t-shirts, i’ve looked everywhere, they’re either sold out, or XL?

July 15, 2005, 4:09

Comment by lindsey: User icon

Yeah, I really want to get a good shins t-shirt. my brother got one at a concert, but you could look on e-bay. there isn’t much seeing as they are sort of undiscovered, but it’s worth a try.

September 10, 2005, 1:00

Comment by Baron Sigur Ros: User icon

how about wicker park? it’s good movie too.. rating stars 5/5.. damn marvelous movie! staring by Josh Hartnett

http://www.wickerparkmovie.com/

November 3, 2006, 10:28

Comment by Systech: User icon

All great recommendations!

Thanks :)

June 19, 2007, 10:53

Comment by Anonymous: User icon

Snow Patrol are not Scottish

June 25, 2007, 16:44

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