My love for Sweden just continues to grow this year. I really might need to go move there. I will wait and see how this election turns out first. I am keeping my fingers crossed and I just know election day is going to be a crazy exciting day. I am putting some faith in the American people that they will see how crazy this Palin lady is... So hopefully I will stay in this country, but Sweden might be the place to go if I need to. The music there just keeps impressing me. Air France from Gothenburg, Sweden have just put out a new EP called "No Way Down." It is on the label Sincerely Yours, which also put out the great album by The Tough Alliance. The Tough Alliance is getting some domestic love soon and will hopefully reach a wider audience. Gothenburg is the home of many of my recent favorites -- in addition to The Tough Alliance and Air France, Jens Lekman, Studio, The Electric Pop Group, and Love Is All live there. I might just have to investigate all the other bands from Gothenburg that I have not heard yet. My new favorite band might just be hiding in there, waiting for me to finally discover.
This new Air France EP is brilliant, but it is not the kind of album that will hit you in the face right away. It is sort of mellow and pretty. In their very short Wikipedia description they are described as "post-rave bliss, beach foam pop, and balearic disco." I might have to update this definition a bit, but it does sort of make sense. It reminds me of some of the tracks on the Studio album. You need to turn the songs up a bit to fully experience them. Headphones are always best for this type of music, or the privacy of your own car if you live in Los Angeles. The songs make you feel like you are floating or dreaming. Albums like these should really be used for therapy. This EP includes six short songs. They will satisfy me for a bit but I know I will want more soon. A complete album will hopefully not be that far away. The album is sort of a combination of an Orb or Future Sound of London album combined with some band like Saint Etienne or The Pale Saints. Some of the songs are just instrumental dancey mellow tracks while others are British 90's pop kind of songs over more dancey beats. Don't be surprised to hear some bird sounds and random samples throughout the album. This is what probably makes it sound a bit beach like, but not day time surf style beachy -- more like the beach music you would hear at sunset or in the middle of the night.
One of my old favorites also has a solo album out this week. I was absolutely in love with Bis way back in the mid to late 90s. They were the perfect blend of catchy pop and electronics. They put out a bunch of singles and 7"s before they had a first real album. New Transistor Heroes came out in 1997, but it was really all about "Transmission on the Teen-C Tip!," "Disco Nation," "Secret Vampire," "Bis Vs. the D.I.Y. Corps," and "Atom-Powered Action!" Those early 7"s and CD singles created a rabid fan base, however small it was. They went on to put out 3 more albums and broke up in 2003. They reformed in 2007 in their native Scotland for some reunion shows. Bis were super young when they started and still in their mid teens, but unlike the Cheetah Girls or Jonas Brothers of today, the music was not really made or marketed for the kids. I guess I was not really hanging out with many teens in 1996 so maybe they did have some teen fans as well, but all my friends who were into Bis were in our early twenties. I guess I can't really imagine being into them back then, being the age I am now. It was music made for Twentysomethings who did not want to grow up yet. They came at a perfect time in my life. They were fun and full of energy-- what great pop music should be. But they had a weird mix of punk and electronica that wasn't really being done back then.
Manda Rin has now put out a solo album called My DNA. She has definitely grown for this new album but has not lost any of her playful poppy-ness. The album at times sounds more like a new Madonna or Kylie MInogue album. It is catchy dance pop music for sure. I already found myself singing along to the songs after only the first listen. The album is great fun and hopefully she will get some new fans from it. I know those old Bis fans are out there somewhere. Hopefully they have not grown up too fast. The album is currently only an import on This is Fake DIY records. Not sure if it will ever see a domestic date. The Bis albums mostly came out on Chemikal Underground and Grand Royal. I think those that find this new album will like it. If you need some cute dance pop in your life then Manda Rin is here for you. I am enjoying it mostly for my nostalgia of my Bis obsession days, but the album also manages to be fun and catchy regardless of your past love for all things Bis.
If you are looking for some DVDs this week, I suggest you get yourself some Flashback Editions of The Breakfast Club and Sixteen Candles. No Blu Rays on these titles yet but they do come in a 3 pack box set with Weird Science. I never really liked Weird Science and hate when it is put with these other two movies. I guess I just couldn't get into a story about creating a magical sexy lady. It always seemed a bit creepy and misogynistic to me. I know they are all John Hughes movies but Pretty In Pink really belongs with these two other movies. I know he directed Weird Science and not Pretty in Pink, though. Just like Some Kind of Wonderful, Pretty in Pink was written and produced by John Hughes. They are John Hughes movies. I am sure there are some crazy Weird Science fanatics out there who might disagree. I am just not one of them. Pretty in Pink already got re-released a couple of years ago in a nice special edition. It has some great documentaries and a directors commentary by Howard Deutch. The new digitally remastered version of The Breakfast Club comes with a 12 part documentary and a special on the origins of the Brat Pack. It also has an actors' commentary track by Judd Nelson and Anthony Michael Hall. I have the DVD but have not yet had time to watch the special features. I suggest you just pick up Sixteen Candles and Breakfast Club individually. With Some Kind of Wonderful and Pretty In Pink you can make your own "Produced and Written and Sometimes Directed By John Hughes Boxset." Breakfast Club had a huge effect on me. I watched it hundreds of times and even put on a little mini version of it at my High School. I played Anthony Michael Hall's character Brian, of course. I hate to think of what my life would have been without these movies. I always thought Heathers was a more realistic although surreal look at high school life, but these John Hughes movies remain essential parts of my teen life and they still hold up to this day. Check out Charles Reece's recent blog about the fims as well.
also out today...
Hypnagogic States EP by The Cure
Uphill City by I Am Robot & Proud
Hey Ma by James
Who Killed Amanda Palmer by Amanda Palmer
Hungry Saw by The Tindersticks