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by Kirstie Shanley

1 Jun 2009

Ah, Norway: Land of free health care, fjords, and a bustling creative art and music scene. From the psychedelic rock of fellow Norwegians Serena Maneesh to the complex lullabies of Hanne Hukkelberg, it seems like Norway is chock full of amazing bands. Though four piece I Was A King is part of this community, they also have a unique sound all onto their own. Using guitar pedal effects to create just enough fuzz, the sugary pop songs recall something akin to a fuzzier, feminine Beulah. Without the effects, it could have easily been considered twee-pop but it was also less silly and more focused. Still, one couldn’t help smiling while listening to the tunes, which came off as super happy and very catchy. 

Visiting Chicago as part of their very first American tour, I Was A King were energetic and fun but did not talk too much in between songs, attempting, instead, to play as many songs as possible. Lead singer Frode Strømstads even announced that they were minimizing their banter with the purpose of doing just that. The chemistry within the band seemed understated as well between songs, but it seemed as though they were perhaps saving it for the melodious songs instead. The lovely intertwining female/male vocals from Strømstads and Anne Lise Frøkedal created a certain sense of lushness that was interesting and reassuring at the same time, like a sweet dream.

 

In some ways, it was fitting that Strømstads wore an Elephant 6 shirt because it would be easy to picture him listening to many of the bands in the collective (their self titled record even has a guest appearance by Gary Olson of Ladybug Transistor). However, I Was A King came off as a little more accessible than most of those bands and not caught up in a sense of idiosyncrasy. Though they treated Chicagoans to nearly an hour of songs that, if edible, would surely be delicious, it felt as if a mere fifteen minutes has passed by the time they finished. Those are the type of songs one could easily listen to all night, relishing in the glorious texture and hooks.

by Alan Ranta

1 Jun 2009

I never liked the direction Ghislain Poirier has been headed in recently… until I saw this video of “Wha La La Ling” from his new Soca Sound System EP. Alright, already… you’ve got my attention. Now what?

by PopMatters Staff

1 Jun 2009

Son Volt
American Central Dust
(Rounder)
Release: 7 July 2009

SONG LIST
1. Dynamite
2. Down to the Wire
3. Roll On
4. Cocaine and Ashes
5. Dust of Daylight
6. When the Wheels Don’t Move
7. No Turning Back
8. Pushed Too Far
9. Exiles
10. Sultana
11. Strength and Doubt
12. Jukebox of Steel

Son Volt
“Down to the Wire” [MP3]
     

by PopMatters Staff

1 Jun 2009

The Radio Dept.
David (4-track CD single)
(Labrador)
Digital release: 24 June
Physical release: 28 July

SONG LIST
1. David
2. Messy enough
3. David (Rice Twins remix)
4. The Idle Urban Contemporaries

The Radio Dept.
“David” [MP3]
     

by Alan Ranta

1 Jun 2009

Give it a try and I think you’ll agree: Dent May’s ukulele really is magnificent.

Dent May & His Magnificent Ukulele “Howard”

//Mixed media
//Blogs

The Moving Pixels Podcast Looks at the Scenic Vistas and Human Drama of 'Firewatch'

// Moving Pixels

"This week we consider the beautiful world that Campo Santo has built for us to explore and the way that the game explores human relationships through its protagonist's own explorations within that world.

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