Wednesday, 20 April 2011


It is rare that I am so involved with a band that I continuously await their next release and patiently comb through their gig dates in the hope that they are playing near me, but Jeniferever ever have been one of the select few bands I’ve heard that I deem important enough to place in such high esteem. Debut album ‘Choose a Bright Morning' was seeped in Scandanavian tinged psychadelic ambience and heartfelt emotion that unsurprisingly won them fans from the post-rock genre leading them to gain a comparison to Sigur Rós. It’s long awaited follow up (long awaited to me anyway) ‘Spring Tides' saw the band create a darker, more aggressive and immediate sound that while still had hints of their trademark sound, was a world away from what I had come to expect from the band (and thus, it gained a very impressive review from myself on this website). I met up with Martin Sandström on the cusp of the release of their latest album ‘Silesia’ and an extensive tour to ask where the inspiration for the album came from, how they feel it holds up in competition to their previous efforts and most importantly, why are there so many fantastic Swedish acts.

Your new album will shortly hit the shelves, any hint of nerves creeping in, how do you think people will react to the record?
I think the reactions so far have been good. Mostly. I think we hopefully once and for all can wash away that post- rock tag people always tend to put on us. I mean I like some of the bands people refer to as post- rock, but some of them really suck in my opinion. Not that my opinion matters that much, but I just feels stupid to be compared to for example instrumental bands that have 10 minute tracks consisting of one long build- up. That’s not what we do or try to do. We’re a rock band. So basically I think a lot of people will enjoy this album for what it is, and sadly a lot of people want us to be something we’re not (and never were).

Can you tell us about the album, what inspired the album, how did you go about the creation of it, etc?
This time we wrote pretty much all the album, b- sides and stuff in about six months, which is faster than we’ve ever worked before. After coming off touring last album we figured we should only have a few weeks break and then start working hard on the new album. We had our ups and downs and doubts about being able to do it this fast, but I think it turned out good. We the recorded basic tracks live together in the great Svenska Grammofonstudion in Gothenburg. Everything was recorded on tape and through an old mixing desk that has been used by David Bowie and Queen etc. So i guess you could say we got to use a lot of really good recording equipment. It was quite rewarding to go back home after four or five days of recording and have all your basic tracks recorded. Of course we spent a lot of time in our own studio doing overdubs and stuff later, but it all came together a lot quicker and easier this time to everyone´s liking.

If you could describe and sell the album to listeners in one sentence, what would it be?
I’m afraid I can’t do that. It would have to depend on who I was selling it to I guess. What references that person or that group of persons have. I mean describing music depends totally on what references you have. I mostly say we play some sort of epic rock whatever that means. I think we’re a rock band, but not conventional and not stupid. At the same time we’re not this very arty or experimental band that we’ve been tagged as quite a lot before. There are a of instrumental so called ‘post-rock’ bands that we’ve been compared to. Apart from the fact that we have vocals and that we sound nothing like most of them it’s ok. I just think that we in general move more and more towards something else than this playing the same riff for ten minutes and just changing the dynamics. Not that we ever really did that. But some of the bands we get compared to do.

I’ve been a huge fan since the release of your debut album, how do you feel you have grown as a band since that album?
I think we’ve moved in many directions. I think Spring Tides was more of the lengthy rich sounding album. I mean the first two albums were both just about one hour long and the new one is about ten minutes shorter. But I think Spring Tides feels like a lengthy album whereas this new one feels a bit shorter and more direct. There are a lot of layers of sound on this one too, but there’s more space than before in general. With this album I think we just wrote the songs without thinking too much. We just more let the songs happen maybe.

Sweden seems to be somehow massively successful in its breeding of successful musicians, why do you think this is and what other Swedish artists would you recommend?
I think it’s partly because the government helps with a little bit of money for rehearsal spaces and also the ‘communal music school’ is cheap so that pretty much anyone can have their kids go and learn an instrument when they’re quite young. Also I guess because of the lack of fun things to do and the depressing autumn and winter when it’s easy to lock yourself up in the rehearsal room. I think people in Sweden generally are very unhappy and that produces good music.

You seem to forever be on tour around Europe and often play England, London imparticular, where are your favourite places to tour and is there anything you enjoy about playing England at all?I think the UK is special to us since this is where we first started touring. Germany, especially the eastern parts, is also good. I mean we enjoy playing anywhere but I have to say Spain is also very nice. Just recently we did our first shows in Ukraine and Russia and it was great. I loved Moscow.

You’ve changed record labels since your early days, how has your relationship with Monotreme helped you not only creatively but also in terms of touring and selling records?Working with Kim who runs Monotreme is so easy and good. She’s so very hard working and so are we and we’re all in it for the right reasons. We are music fans who plays in a band and runs a record label.

The music industry is a strange place these days, obviously you have a tour to support this album but what comes after that, are there ever thoughts on giving up music and getting a general job?We all have to work when we’re home. We’ve never been able to live off the band. It’s hard but somehow it works. But mostly we work quite shitty jobs to be able to do this.

Back to the album, it is more immediate and perhaps mainstream friendly than previous releases, was it a conscious idea to do this or just a natural progression?I’m not sure. I think it’s more just what happened. But maybe we thought it’d be good to have a few songs that could attract more people. And if it is like that it’s ok. I really hate when people talk about bands selling out and stuff, I mean sometimes I can understand it, but mostly it’s just a band changing direction and if they do that to get more listeners that’s totally fine. I want us to sell millions of records haha.
In terms of the tour, I see that you have some dates from April onwards, can you tell us about the tour, what can fans expect from your shows, how many tracks from the new record can we expect to hear live?We started touring mid march and we keep going until a week into june. So far we’ve basically played the same set but with a few songs swapped from day to day. We play a lot of the new albums as we think people should get to hear it live, but of course we do at least some songs from the older albums. In general we’re quite loud, but I guess the vibe of the set varies depending on the venue and maybe the audience.

Thanks a lot Martin, and good luck with the new album…
Thank you!

Jeniferever are touring Europe right now and their new album ‘Silesia’ can be purchased via their website at

Friday, 15 April 2011

Thursday - No Devolucion

Thursday, the five piece band from New Jersey, America, have been a permanent footnote in the brief history of what fan boys have coined post hardcore, with their emotional music striking a chord with people since the release of their (official) debut album ‘Full Collapse‘. I myself have been a fan since that album and they have maintained their place as one of my favourite bands til this day (which is what, ten years on?).

Their latest album ‘No Devolucion‘ is Thursday‘s second for their new label Epitaph and the follow up to what I deemed to be the highly disappointing ‘Common Existence‘, an album full of anti-Bush political punk sensabilities that to myself, sounded like a band desperately trying to fit in with their label buddies and also a middle aged band going through that typical crisis of trying to win back the fans of the debut album after the brilliant, but poorly received by die-hard fans, experimental album that was ‘A City By The Light Divided‘.

I’m happy to say that with Dave Fridmann at the helm of production for the third time running, that ‘No Devolucion‘ sounds absolutely fantastic and unlike ‘Common Existence‘ which at times felt like it was continuously punching you in the face (aside from the fantastic indie sounding ‘Love Has Led Us Astray‘), ‘No Devolucion‘ sounds like it was made by a band who are comfortable with the fact that despite being lumped in a scene, they are very much alone in it, don’t fit in and are ready to embrace that by just being different.

‘No Answers‘ is Thursday‘s answer to everything on ‘A City By The Light Divided‘. The first single from the album is soaked in deep eighties style synths, low key lead guitar work that is bright and spacious, a glorious explosive chorus making for a great lead single. On ‘No Answers‘ Geoff Rickly is in a introspective mood with calm haunting vocals showing that he has definitely upped his game since the off key stylings of their debut album.

‘Millimeter‘ shows why Tim Payne is so important to Thursday, his dirty bass sound clicking perfect with the toms of the drums to create something original and off-beat, an upbeat dirty rock feel that we haven’t witnessed from Thursday before and perhaps won’t again.

‘Empty Glass‘ see’s Thursday slow it right down, the focus on Geoff Rickly new found focused vocals as well as his as always harrowing thoughts on politics and stories of pain with Rickly softly howling “We’ll trade all our memories for forgetting”, it is here that you really understand why Thursday have maintained a fan base, with Rickly’s emotional pain felt clearly throughout.

Anyone that knows how much I love Thursday will probably just say that I am foaming at the mouth for this record simply because it is Thursday but to put it bluntly ‘Common Existence‘ didn’t even get to half of what I expect from the band. ‘No Devolucion‘ works because its a mature honest album, Rickly is still being unashamedly political but it’s more subtle than before, less preachy. ‘No Devolucion‘ also has somehow found a good combination between tempo’s and musical styles, often straying away from post-hardcore for a post-rock and even indie synth sound. It sounds like everyone has upped their game and from a song writing perspective Thursday have definitely managed to hone their craft and start writing some real competent chorus’.

No Thursday record is complete without drawbacks and for the unitiated Rickly’s voice will still be strange, if not bordering on unpleasant to listen to (even though I think it definitely works for Thursday), while many hardcore fans will start baiting the band saying that it’s no ‘Full Collapse‘ etc, but that’s the point, it isn’t meant to be. ‘No Devolucion‘ is a record made by a band that have grown vastly in the years they’ve been a band ande if this record is anything to go by, Thursday are here to stay for a lot longer.

Friday, 8 April 2011

Alt Track - The Banana King

What started as a Muse-lite band, Alt Track have steadily used their influences and work ethic to carve out a sound that is not only original but inspiring also. Their debut full length album was an eclectic collection of political punk, folk, hip-hop, trip-hop, post-rock, drum and bass, whilst also keeping a rock alternative edge which saw them gain favourable reviews by myself amongst others, alongside some fantastic press for their ongoing live shows.
The two-piece have grown and matured some what since then and their upcoming european tour marks the release of a new three track EP, 'The Banana King' available either on tour or free via their soundcloud (which I will link you to later).
'Speakers' has an electronic Radiohead mixed with a piano pop ballad feel to it musically as it builds up to showcase the somewhat expected spoken word rap before relenting to allow the more mainstream friendly singing to come to the fold. It's by the fifth minute where Alt Track really show you why they are such a promising band though, it is here where everything ups itself an extra notch and the vocals combined with the infused electronic drum and bass feel alongside some beautiful piano work really brings out everything that you should love about this band, it's Radiohead in their Kid A era, mixed with65daysofstatic, mixed with Muse and lets say Public Enemy for good measure. It sounds like a mad hash of influences, but the band make it work for themselves somehow.
'Slave Song' is a more straight up affair than 'Speakers' and is my favourite on the EP. The reggae influence is clear from the straight up drumming alongside the ska friendly bass-line, while a clangy country-esque guitar cuts in and out of the track brilliantly as Pete Williams once again politically tells us whats what in his politically infused lyrics. Again, it is towards the end of the track where Alt Track really mix it up, bringing the tempo up considerably to work some almost dubstep style drumming and samples along the clangy guitar, and it is this that really marks the track up to make it fantastic. A lesson once again, that all songs should be listened to until the very end.
'White Nights' is perhaps the black sheep of this release. Brilliantly melodic, a keyboard melody creates a lullaby while Micky Dey (that's the singer rather than the rapper for all you not in the know) creates a haunting soundscape behind, with your standard low key electronic elements to boot, and the occassional reggae guitar line. It is all very low key and understated, which, while quite awkward on this EP, does show a side to the band that while perhaps wouldn't work in a live setting, really would make a nice addition perhaps in the middle of an album (rather than on the end of an EP making it feel somewhat like a singles b-side).
This is definitely a release for those already familiar with the bands music, or fans of the bands I've mentioned about. Alt Track don't ever seem prepared to become poppier or more indie to be more commercially popular, and that to me is always a good thing, whether it is to you is a complete different story, but check out the EP, it's free, and I highly recommend it.

4 / 5

Alt Track Myspace
Listen To The Banana King For Free