Lärkträdet: not Lark Rising

larktradetGo on, guess what Lärkträdet means.

It kept me puzzled for a few enjoyable minutes, simply because I subscribe to the theory that Scandinavian languages sound a bit like someone speaking English in a very strong wind, and that if you tune out of the listening process, translation is instinctive.

I was wrong. I went for “Lark Rising” because of the word ‘lärk’, and the fact that ‘trädet’ might have some root connection to ‘trajectory’.


It doesn’t. Lärkträdet means Larch Tree, which is, frankly, just as nice, so I’m happy to be wrong.

Lärkträdet (the band) are Icelandic/Swedish, and sing the above song called Fristad (which means ‘sanctuary’, translation fans). It’s deeply lovely: a frosty-sunrise of a song that signals happiness, holism and deep calm.

I listened to it three times in a row. I don’t do anything three times in a row. This is a good song.

PS: Lark Rising has not been used as a band name, yet.


A remarkably brief post today, because I’m still coming to terms with the actual madness that was the stag-do I went on in Ibiza last week, and because I don’t have a huge amount of info about today’s remarkable new song/band/video.

Dream Lovers are a mysterious side project of a couple of bands I love, and as I’m uncertain if I am allowed to reveal who is behind it, I’ll keep mum and simply fuel the mystery.

Anyway – everyone knows all World Cup songs are rubbish, barring World In Motion, but the above video bucks the trend.

It is an instrumental, language-barrier-straddling song that is vaguely Brazilian, vaguely dreamy and totally brilliant.

The video shows a man standing on a wall by the Sacre Cour, overlooking Paris, juggling a football in a remarkable display of remarkableness. It suits the song perfectly, and this is also remarkable. Lap it up.


akasugaIf I could listen to only one LP for the rest of my life, it’d probably be DJ Shadow‘s Endtroducing (the deluxe edition, because if you’re only going to listen to one LP forever, it may as well be the two-disc version).

As far as LPs go, it’s pretty much perfect in every way; one of the few LPs I enjoy listening to as much now as I did 15 years ago when I first heard it.

The brilliance of the sampling, the composition of the beats and the overarching feeling that we are taking a trip through music and out the other side is inescapable and gorgeous.

Thus, I have a soft spot for choppy, sampled, soul-vibe music. Oh, hi AKA SUGA.

Now, AKA SUGA is not DJ Shadow, durr. But this is pretty great, all the same, and her sales pitch – “I’m a Japanese girl living in Bushwick making hip hop inspired soulful jams,” – is neat enough.

Anyway, slick ‘n’ loopy beats aside, I really like the odd b-boy/b-girl lyrics that feel like they have been parachuted in from another record.

Except of course, they haven’t – which is interestingly counter to the whole sampling malarky in the first place. Good stuff.



Dimman means fog in Swedish. I find that there’s a weird low-level cognisance between English and Scandinavian languages.

It’s that feeling of not understanding the words specifically, but the meaning somehow drifting across the cultural void; a bit like when someone with an almost incomprehensibly broad accent speaks to you in your native tongue.

Perhaps the same is true for Scandinavian pop music, which has been one of the most warmly embraced exports of the region.

Scandinavian pop is very recognisably pop; but it’s not quite the same, if you smell what I’m stepping in.

Anyway – this is why Dimman‘s Tiny Tokyo is enjoyable: its slight skew-whiffedness.

It’s too long to be a pop song, but is a pop song. It always teases the prospect of lyrics, but none arrive. It seems to be too languid for a simple pop song, but obeys all the pop rules.

A clever trick. Nice work, Dimman.



“Dear Joe,” sort-of read the email, “We’re a band called Modern Delusion and you once wrote about our friends Chresus Jist and here’s a split EP that we’ve just recorded with them.”

This was all rather interesting for a few reasons:

  1. I have no idea how I forgot about writing about a band with a name list Chresus Jist, but somehow I had, and here they are.
  2. Split EPs are, heartwarmingly, still a thing that bands do in the age of the record-it-quick-and-stream-it-quicker mentality.
  3. Modern Delusion is a band name so po-faced that it can only be a slyly fun and wryly-raised eyebrow of a band name, and thus I approve wholeheartedly.
  4. All of Modern Delusion’s songs are about two minutes long: i.e. the ideal length of any pop song.
  5. They say that they make “synth oriented gloomy postpunk, punk, etc.” The “etc.” part interest me the most, especially considering the preceding words.
  6. The band are from Croatia, and I have a soft spot for Croatian bands and, indeed, Croatia in general.

Well, it’s all looking rather good for Modern Delusion, isn’t it? And guess what – Sobibor is a buzzy, anti-cool, hook-laden pop song. Thanks, Modern Delusion!

CΛNS, Quality Percentage Analysis + Oh God, ANBAD Is Six


What is it that separates the good from the merely competent? 

This is a question that has been asked forever; indeed it’s probably the only question this blog has asked – albeit obliquely – since it began six years ago.

Six years. Ouch.

Anyway – one of the reasons I don’t post quite as much as I used to (or should, if you trust a blog titles’ accuracy) is simply because there is so much average music at the blunt end of the new-music pyramid where I inevitably end up scratching around.

The percentage of good-compared-to-average-compared-to-bad is about the same as it always has been in any art form (a 10/60/30 percentage split by my reckoning) but now the sheer number of people throwing their musical hat in the ring makes sifting often a chore.

For example. I listened to a ton of similar-sounding new electronic artists today before I found CΛNS. CΛNS makes great music, like Karren. The others that I rejected were average.

But the others had so much in common with CΛNS – the BPM, the rhythms, the clicky sonic pallette, the influences (Burial, Four Tet, BoC, etc), the artwork, the snippet-loop samples… what made CΛNS stand out?

Why was Karren so much better than the rest? How did CΛNS billow the net where others hit the bar?

I really, really dunno. I have a vague theory that CΛNS is an established artist masquerading as an unknown, but whatever.

I suppose the point of any art is to ask this question, and never get any closer to the answer, and to be intoxicated by the good things you find en route.


The Zenobite; Twice Shy

I don’t think I’ve featured much Spanish music on ANBAD in the six years it’s been going – unless you count the endlessly brilliant Seward of course, but they would probably categorise themselves as Catalan or “from the moon” or something like that.

Anyway, I definitely haven’t featured much Spanish slo-mo acid house, which is pretty much what The Zenobite‘s Engranaje Mecanico is, and frankly this is about as much info as you’re getting from me, as it’s all I have to go on.

Still, there’s always time for his kind of thing, even if you think that this kind of thing is the last thing you really want to listen to. Trust me.

This is what people in 1989 thought all music would sound like in the future. If only.

JEDENPUS: Twice in a row


Cor. I have a few days off from writing on ANBAD, and the guilt is almost overwhelming.


Actually, in the meantime, I schlepped off down to London, and aside from being struck by how svelte and aloof most people were, my thoughts on What It Is To Be In The Music Industry These Days kind-of solidified a bit more.

Basically, my thinking thus far is as follows, and none of it is very original:

  1. The tech industry is to today what the music biz was to 20 years ago
  2. This applies to all comparable points on the compass: emerging wannabes to monoliths
  3. If you want to have the Rock ‘n’ Roll experience of cash thrown all over you, and then hoovered away from you just as quickly, then start coding, not playing the guitar
  4. We’re not letting traditionally off-the-wall artists shape our culture as much any more – and no-one is really sure how that will affect things
  5. That’s it.

Hey, I said it was unoriginal. Maybe the point is that music and tech are so intertwined now that they are practically the same thing, except now you pay loads of money for the objects that provide the music (iPods, iPhones and gigs) and virtually nothing to the artist itself.

Maybe nothing’s changed after all. And yet, people are clamouring to be heard, and we are all happily complicit in milking their keenness. Ain’t we all stinkers?

Anyway. The flip side is that it’s the reason this blog is still (sporadically) being run, and why people are not content to simply play the same Beatles LP forever instead of finding something new, and why Jedenpus made this devilishly simple semi-lullaby.

I don’t know anything about Jedenpus at all, and I dunno how much of the lovely, brief, affecting Wake Up My Love (Tribute To Haruko) is just copied-and-pasted, or lifted off a virtual shelf, or what have you.

I don’t really care, because not caring about originality or provenance is the point of pop music. And this is a song that I played twice in a row.

Pullahs: An Ocean Pulling On A Shingle Beach


Like most of the rest of the world, I’ve been hypnotised by Future Islands’ performance on David Letterman last week – or, specifically, Samuel T. Herring’s outrageous performance.

I can’t figure out if Future Islands have their sights set on stadium superstardom or not, but this could easily have passed as a play for just that.

Herring’s deep sincerity, un-self-conscious chest-thumping, vocal oddities, and outlandishly expressive show has caused ripples because it is so rare.

We’re fed bands who apply a thin veneer of irony to everything they do – from band names to song subjects to fashion to performance – and this veneer is a sign of weakness. It’s there as a protective barrier from criticism: a get-out clause, a durr-we’re-only-kidding-stupid punchline.

It’s weak because these bands have no faith in their own performance. If they did, they’d put themselves out there, just like Herring did, and invite people to laugh, gasp, dive in.

Anyway. Today’s new band have something, indeed, to follow. Pullahs aren’t so far removed from Future Islands’ sincere synth-pop, funnily enough:

Runaway Story has the same wooziness as you’d feel after staying up all night to watch the sunrise. It’s just so deep and heavy. The weight of the ocean pulling against a shingle beach.

As always, another nod to the inimitable Bad Panda for digging up more great tunes.