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I Know What Love Isn'tTracey Thorn wrote a song that reached Jens Lekman in the early stages of his new album, I Know What Love Isn't. In her song she sang Oh Jens, oh Jens/your songs seem to look through a different lens/you're still so young, love ends just as easy as it's begun. A touching moment for the Swedish songwriter, having been a fan since his teens. But it came to him in a time when he found himself very confused and in doubt. He was changing and, subsequently, so were his songs. They weren't looking through that lens anymore.
I Know What Love Isn't came out of a break up, something Jens didn't see as worth writing about at first. The songs began more fleeting than the last go around, on his 2007 album Night Falls Over Kortedala. The songs began building from images and memories and soon began to take their own route, one that Lekman wasn't privy to their destination.
In The World Moves On he paints a picture of a sweltering summer in the city of Melbourne where he lived while writing and recording the album. The hot days that led up to the Black Saturday bushfires, but also more mundane images of feeding possums in a park or getting in trouble with some guy on a scooter. It seems to lead nowhere at first but the aimlessness in itself reaches heartbreaking conclusions later on, summed up by the soaring chorus and you don't get over a broken heart, you just learn to carry it gracefully. Like Joan Didion once said that she writes entirely to find out what she's thinking, Jens wrote until he caught up with his thoughts. And of course they led him right back to the break up.
Musically, I Know What Love Isn't chooses an economic route. From the vast palette he created for Kortedala, he's only chosen a few somber colors this time around. There are strings but not a string section, an upright piano and not a grand, a single saxophone and gracenotes from a flute. The songs are lighter, almost aerodynamic, Jens explains, I wanted the songs to take off almost unnoticeably, where the chorus is separated from the verse only through a small detail like a tambourine or a harmony. Like when you're in an airplane taking off and you look out the window and realize you're already in the air.
A dry country piano makes Become Someone Else's lift high. Vocals from Melbourne singer Sophie Brous makes the chorus in Erica America soar. Strings pick up the title track and send it up to the sky without much effort or force. In the latter, Lekman once again points the way to distill essential truths from every day life vignettes while singing about a sham marriage. I thought of the Friday nights when I'd be cruising up and down the street with my best friend in her old crappy Holden, talking about getting married to get me into the country.
The idea was so appealing, that we would build this constructed relationship around a purpose rather than some vague feeling that could change at anytime. But in the end, the sham marriage is much too great a story to be kept secret. At least when you make a living from telling stories. And that's what I Know What Love Isn't is. A collection of songs that grew to a story that had to be told. A story that is not new, but essentially human. The story of the grey areas of love that you have to excavate and explore, using the method of exclusion, to find out what love is.1. Every Little Hair Knows Your Name
2. Erica America
3. Become Someone Else's
4. She Just Don't Want To Be With You Anymore
5. Some Dandruff On Your Shoulder
6. I Want A Pair Of Cowboy Boots
7. The World Moves On
8. The End Of The World Is Bigger Than Love
9. I Know What Love Isn't
10. Every Little Hair Knows Your Name$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
When I Said I Wanted To Be Your DogCall it a curse: Jens Lekman's world is populated by an endless stream of women. There he is, his hair mussed and glasses off-kilter, sitting in the corner of the cafe with his journal once again - and he's being torn in two. Moments ago he fell in love with the redheaded barista who nailed his order - when she scooted that cappuccino across the counter, it was clear that there was a connection. And now, his eye catches the picture of divinity in the shape of the most finely featured brunette he's ever seen...and she's looking his way. But which way to go? It's tragic having to make such choices. Like Fellini's The Man Who Loved Women, Jens Lekman is a man forever at a crossroads between competing inspirations.
At only 23, Lekman has deservedly been the center of much hype in Scandinavia. Having made a name for himself performing under the name Rocky Dennis, he recently hit #2 on the Swedish National Pop Charts. Most everyone who's heard him believes him to be the next great pop star emerging from the streets of the DIY underground. With an angelic voice and golden ears he seems to be drinking from the same hard waters as The Carpenters, Harry Nilsson, The Magnetic Fields, Runt-era Todd Rundgren, Bill Callahan's Smog, The Modern Lovers, Rufus Wainwright and Belle & Sebastian.Side A
1. Tram #7 To Heaven
2. Happy Birthday, Dear Friend Lisa
3. Do You Remember The Riots?
4. You Are The Light (By Which I Travel Into This And That)
5. If You Ever Need A Stranger (To Sing At Your Wedding)
1. The Cold Swedish Winter
4. When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog
5. A Higher Power$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
A Long GoodbyeLewis and Addison Rogers are brothers who make pop-music together. When they do
this, they go by the name Busman's Holiday. Lewis plays guitar, and Addison plays his
modest drum kit, complete with suitcase bass-drum. Independently, the brothers
have performed with artists such as Jens Lekman (Addison drumming and providing
backing vocals on his recent tour) and Sleeping Bag (Lewis was the original guitarist).
"A Long Goodbye", the rst proper album from Busman's Holiday was recorded by
Mark Lawson (Arcade Fire) and mixed by Drew Vandenberg (Toro Y Moi, Kishi Bashi).
The band has been featured on WNYC's Radiolab1. Bones I
2. Child Actor
3. Hoped To
6. Not Alone
7. Baby Blue
9. We Are We
10. Bones II$22.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Night Falls Over KortedalaLike a modern day Chet Baker, Jens loves to sing about heartache. This is his first album in over three years, and Kortedala refers to a neighborhood in his hometown of Gothenburg, Sweden - a depressing suburban hell. It also refers to a vague musical pop sound with hints of tropicalia that has been coming out of Gothenburg's clubs the last few years. Night Falls Over Kortedala features many previously unreleased live favorites and guest vocals from label-mate Frida Hyvonen and El Perro del Mar.1.And I Remember Every Kiss
2.Sipping on the Sweet Nectar
3.Opposite of Hallelujah, The
4.Postcard to Nina, A
6.I'm Leaving You Because I Don't Love You
7.If I Could Cry (It Would Feel Like This)
8.Your Arms Around Me
10.It Was a Strange Time in My Life
11.Kanske Ar Jag Kar I Dig - (Swedish)
12.Friday Night at the Drive-in Bingo$17.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
Life Will See You NowJens Lekman describes his new record, Life Will See You Now, playfully, but also honestly, as a midlife-crisis disco album; it's an existentialist record, about seeing the consequences of your choices. It's a typical Lekman album in several ways: sly humour is key to its heartfelt nature; it inverts pop's writing norm by making songs with sad concerns sound happy and songs with a happy subject sound sad; and it plays with notions of identity and the self. But, as the title suggests, it also represents a significant move forward, as if across a threshold. It's the more expansive, upbeat sound of a revitalized Lekman, who is just one of many characters in his new stories about the magic and messiness of different kinds of relationships.1. To Know Your Mission
2. Evening Prayer
3. Hotwire The Ferris Wheel
4. What's That Perfume That You Wear?
5. Our First Fight
6. Wedding in FinistÉre
7. How We Met, The Long Version
8. How Can I Tell Him
9. Postcard #17
10. Dandelion Seed$19.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
An Argument With MyselfIn the symbology of Jens Lekmans songbook, motion is a means to stave off insanity or succumb to it and the songs on the An Argument With Myself EP deal with many types of movement, both big and small, from why he moved to Melbourne to the societal change/movement in his old hometown of Gothenburg to simple map directions.
The opening song and title track begins with this excellent Jens archetype, recounting an inner battle while walking home through the central business district of Melbourne, Australia. While on its face, Waiting For Kirsten seems to trace an ultimately futile odyssey to track down Kirsten Dunst while she films in Gothenburg, its really an attempt to work out the complex relationship one has with ones hometown. The comfort and disappoint of whats changed, and what seems to never change. Alternately, the horn driven New Directions brings a slightly manic roadmap of directions to any place but here and any time but now. The songs are witty, literal, and impeccably location-specific, and theyre all heading somewhere as a means to either go crazy or keep from doing so.
With more fractured textures that combine horns, flutes, string swells and arpeggiated guitars, the opening of the EP finds Jens in constant state of transition, musically, as well. However, as An ArgumentWith Myself comes to a close the arrangements get looser,more reggae-tinged and relaxed, like a music box winding down. For a moment, the motion almost stops. For now.1. An Argument With Myself
2. Waiting for Kirsten
3. A Promise
4. New Directions
5. So This Guy At My Office$14.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
SuccessorAnthonie Tonnon first came to attention in his home country with the band Tono and the Finance Company. The band released two Eps and the full-length Up Here For Dancing. With dry wit and observational lyrics that recalled The Smiths and Pulp, Tonnon sang of urban life in New Zealand's cities. Anti-gentrification anthem "Marion Bates Realty" caught the attention of Beirut, who invited the band on their 2012 New Zealand tour. In 2013, Anthonie Tonnon began touring under his own name, influenced by stage techniques from the comedy and theatre worlds as much as formative influences like Jonathan Richman and Jens Lekman. He was recently named in Billboard's "list of New Zealand acts you need to know about."1. Railway Lines
2. Bird Brains
3. Sugar In The Petrol Tank
4. The Songs Of Your Youth
5. Water Underground
6. A Friend From Argentina
7. Mt. Cargill
8. The Capital
9. Dumpster Diving$15.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now
The Best Of Gloucester CountyThe whole represents a new and welcome chapter in the Danielson oeuvre-a startlingly effective new band, a new thematic field (the locally-grown opus), produced with more sonic ambition than any recent Danielson effort, but without sacrificing the brave interior journey that we have come to expect from Daniel Christopher Smith: the world is complex, slightly dangerous, full of temptations, but there is still grace, beauty, meaning, and the music that is required to suggest all this is anything but easy, but that doesn't mean it is not rewarding, beautiful, funny, sad, and generous.
Released five years after 2006's well-received Ships, Daniel Smith's Best of Gloucester County finds the Danielson Famile in a bit of disarray. While sisters Megan and Rachel and Smith's wife Erin all make appearances, the bulk of the Famile has fled the nest, but adding four new members (Jens Lekman and longtime Danielson staple Sufjan Stevens appear as well) has done little to tarnish Smith's signature blend of art school indie pop and freak folk Sunday school gospel. While Best of Gloucester County (named for the New Jersey province that serves as the members' stomping grounds) may feel a bit more settled than previous outings, the complacencies of adulthood, as filtered through Smith's manic croon, are hardly destined for commercial airplay. Closer in tone to 2004's Brother Is to Son but with Ships' loftier (but still D.I.Y.) production, Gloucester County's opening cut, Complimentary Dismemberment Insurance, sets the tone with a straightforward blast of Neil Young-meets-Frank Black folk-rock, in which Smith delivers some his most evenhanded vocals in years. The Day Is a Loaf and Grow Up follow similar suit, but overly precious cuts like Lil Norge and People's Partay come away feeling more uncomfortable than whimsical. Still, a middle-of-the-road Danielson Famile/Danielson/Brother Danielson album is hardly a disappointment, as Smith has always been the sole proprietor of his niche, and with each new collection can rewrite the rules however he sees fit. If anything, Gloucester County proves that Smith is willing to let his unique style mature, which may at some point provide some insight into one of the underground's most elusive personalities. - James Christopher Monger1.Complimentary Dismemberment Insurance
2.This Day is a Loaf
5.But I Don't Wanna Sing About Guitars
8.You Sleep Good Now
9.Hovering Above That Hill
11.Hosanna In the Forest$16.99Vinyl LP - Sealed Buy Now