Tag Archives: Bella Union

Maybe a soundscape for the next vampire flick aptly named Feed the Fire

Promise and the Monster Feed the Fire Album CoverDon’t hate me for what I’m about to say, but when I started listening to Promise & The Monster I immediately started thinking about Twilight. That whole Saga, whether you like the stories or not (which I admit I do) has a pretty powerful soundtrack. I mean everyone knows Supermassive Black Hole by Muse and I hope we can all agree it’s a pretty awesome song.

I ramble.

So who is Promise & The Monster? Well the woman behind the band is Billie Lindahl. They are preparing to release their third album Feed The Fire out January 22nd on the Bella Union label. And the entire album is pretty dark and spellbinding. Honestly, it would be a great backdrop in a vampire flick.

“All the songs are, in a way, tales of violence,” Lindahl explains. “When I started to write the lyrics, I wrote about killings, where I imagined being inside the killer’s head. At the same time my own life started to collapse, starting with a break-up, and it took some bad turns. For a couple of years I lived a desperate life amongst the ruins of my old life. The landscape in the lyrics is an imaginary one, an apocalyptical landscape, but it resembles those ruins.”

Feed The Fire was recorded in Stockholm, where Lindahl lives, at Labyrint, a small basement studio run by her friend Love Martinsen who produced the album and shares most of the instrumentation with Lindahl.

The opening title track sets the scene with the immediate confession “I’m already too involved / I’m forced into the core.” ‘Hunter’ expands the dreamy, eerie mood with an echo of girl-group drama filtered through a remote Swedish forest, featuring the Erhu, a Chinese violin. “It’s a great instrument,” Lindahl says. “It sounds a bit like somebody is weeping, and I think we managed to make it weep.”

The view keeps changing: ‘Time Of The Season’ is a more urgent rush of blood, with chiming guitar, ‘Hammering the Nails’ is gentler despite the image, “this taste of blood in metal” and the tremelo guitar twang and an exquisite coda of Mariachi horns in ‘Machines’ resemble a slice of vintage Americana. ‘Slow And Quiet’ and ‘Julingvallen’ offer a sonic calm and respite. Images of skin, flesh, bone and rust create a clash between humanity and the natural world, while the words, “The blood and the seeds have dried” appear more than once. The album finale, a cover of the traditional British folk song ‘Fine Horseman,’ taps the same essense, but is the song’s foreboding drum mantra leading you out into the light, or further into the dark?

Duality sits at the core of Feed The Fire, and likewise the name Promise & The Monster. “To feed the fire can be seen as both constructive and destructive,” Lindahl concludes. “You keep the fire burning, the spark alive. But fire can kill you. Like life and death, it’s not really a contradiction. I think it’s necessary to be open to destructive forces if you want to live a life where strong emotions are present. To see, listen and feel is quite a violent and confusing experience, and I think my lyrics often evolve around that, blurring boundaries between dream and reality, and between sanity and insanity. To me, Feed The Fire is a concept album that explores those kinds of themes, from certain places and real happenings.”

Self-titled debut from Sumie hits shelves Dec. 3rd

Sumie-Packshotcopy2.131431 our secret shrines, we kept our past in

Sometimes less is so much more, and in the case of Sumie’s self-titled debut, the combination of her voice and an acoustic guitar casts the most hypnotic and disarmingly simple spell.

Born Sandra Sumie Nagano in Gothenburg, Sweden, she first began recording her songs in 2008, a few years after becoming a mother. Unlike her sister Yukimi, who fronts the electro-pop outfit Little Dragon, Sumie has pursued a solitary and acoustic path. “It was not a style or a sudden choice but more me playing my guitar and having two small children so I could not make much noise,” she explains. “But I also love minimal and delicate music, so that felt like a natural direction for me.”

After years of travelling, Sumie had re-settled in Gothenburg and released a handful of tracks via digital store Bandcamp plus an animated video for the album highlight ‘Never Wanted To Be’, where images of snow, water and trees intercut with a glowing pyramid mirror the intoxicating, intriguing undercurrents of Sumie’s music. She waited to record an album, “until it sounded like I heard it in my head. Once I met Nils Frahm, Dustin O’Halloran and Simon Raymonde, I knew it was the right time. They understand what I’m doing.”

The album was recorded at German pianist Frahm’s studio; producer (and fellow pianist) O’Halloran has given Sumie’s songs a beautifully dappled light and shade, with the occasional subtle enhancement from his own piano. Befitting Sumie’s bloodline (Swedish mother, Japanese father), the album fits both current Scandinavian and Japanese folk strains. “I have always thought that the cultural differences are very interesting,” she says. “My way of doing things definitely carries the duality of both cultures.”

Sumie is released 3rd December on Bella Union.

The Acorn Debuts Endless Summer Stop Motion Video for “Restoration”

Just in time for summer nostalgia to kick in, Ottawa’s The Acorn have debuted a brand new stop motion video for the song “Restoration” via AOL Spinner (also available at TheAcorn.ca). “Restoration” is the first single off their forthcoming record, No Ghost, available digitally now and physically from Bella Union Records on 9/7.

The video, directed by Exploding Motor Car, features the band having a picnic at The Mataseje Family Farm in Beamsville Ontario, an hour outside of Toronto. As the sun sets, things take a turn for the eerie as the band is dragged into a surreal forest filled with otherworldly creatures. Front man Rolf Klausener described the tedious stop motion shoot as spending “20 hours, mostly sitting on a picnic table that was jerry-rigged to a rail cart, moving in 2 inch increments. The crew was tireless and totally focused. The cyanide-based smoke machine they used took about 6 years off our lives. By 7am, everyone was delirious, seeing apparitions in the foliage, and speaking in tongues.”

The Acorn are preparing for a North American tour, heading out mid-September through October. As the band recorded No Ghost at a secluded cottage in Northern Québec, they will bring elements of that rustic atmosphere with them on the road with a thematic stage show, props, special guests, and more.

Check out the Megafaun remix of “Kindling To Cremation,” premiered by long-time Acorn fans My Old Kentucky Blog. There’s also a Four Tet/Born Ruffians remix 12-inch, available in select indie stores now.

The Acorn Tour Dates:
September 15 – Halifax, NS – St. Matthew’s United Church
September 16 – Fredericton, NB – Harvest Jazz and Blues Festival
September 17 – Sackville, NB – Sackville City Fair
September 21 – Cambridge, MA – TT and The Bear’s *
September 23 – New York, NY – Mercury Lounge *
September 24 – Brooklyn, NY – Littlefield *
September 25 – Philadelphia, PA – Kung Fu Necktie *
September 26 – Washington, DC – DC9*
September 28 – Pontiac, MI – Crofoot Ballroom*
September 29 – Cleveland, OH – Beachland Ballroom *
September 30 – Chicago, IL – Schubas *
October 1 – Minneapolois, MN – Turf Club
October 2 – Madison, WI – The Frequency
October 13 – Los Angeles, CA – The Echo ++
October 14 – San Francisco, CA – Cafe du Nord++
October 16 – Portland, OR – Doug Fir ++
October 17 – Seattle, WA – High Dive++
October 20 – Victoria, BC – Lucky Bar++
October 21 – Vancouver, BC – The Biltmore Cabaret ++
October 23 – Edmonton, AB – Starlite Room++
October 24 – Calgary, AB – Republik ++
October 25 – Saskatoon, SK – Amigo’s ++
October 26 – Winnipeg, MB – Park Theatre ++
October 27 – Thunder Bay, ON – The Apollo ++
October 28 – Sault Ste Marie – Loplop Lounge and Gallery ++
December 4 – Ottawa, ON – Capital Music Hall++

* w/Basia Bulat
++ w/Leif Vollebekk

The Acorn Returns to the States

Ottawa-based five-piece The Acorn will be heading on tour to support their third full-length album, No Ghost, out now digitally and due September 7 (CD/LP) on Bella Union. The Acorn recently returned to NYC, playing three highly successful shows in expectation of their upcoming fall tour. While in NYC, the Acorn were featured on WNYC and were filmed performing tracks off the new album in the Time Out NY offices and in an apartment for The WILD Honey Pie Blog. The title track from No Ghost was recently premiered and made available for download on Stereogum.

After headline runs and bouts touring with bands such as Bowerbirds, Calexico, Phosphorescent and Akron/Family, the Acorn retreated from two years on the road to an isolated cottage in northern Quebec to begin work on No Ghost. Songs took shape at all hours, crafted from hazy late-night improvisations, early morning melodies pulled from the thinning threads of sleep. Modernity clashed with the bucolic via exploratory percussion, feedback, acoustic textures and the natural surrounding sounds.

With the record now in hand, The Acorn is ready to return to the road, with dates spanning North America. Check out their incredible acoustic performances on Southern Souls to get a preview.

The Acorn Tour Dates:
9/21/10 – T.T. the Bear’s – Cambridge, MA
9/23/10 – The Mercury Lounge – New York, NY
9/25/10 – Kung Fu Necktie – Philadelphia, PA
9/26/10 – DC9 – Washington, DC
9/28/10 – The Pike Room at the Crofoot – Pontiac, MI
9/29/10 – Beachland Tavern – Cleveland, OH
9/30/10 – Schubas Tavern – Chicago, IL
10/1/10 – Turf Club – St. Paul, MN
10/2/10 – The Frequency – Madison, WI
10/13/10 – The Echo – Los Angeles, CA
10/14/10 – Cafe Du Nord – San Francisco, CA
10/16/10 – Doug Fir Lounge – Portland, OR
10/17/10 – High Dive – Seattle, WA

The Acorn to Release No Ghost

Ottawa-based five-piece, The Acorn, is pleased to announce the release of their third full-length album, No Ghost, due September 7 (CD/LP) on Bella Union and available digitally June 1. The album includes bonus materials and artwork not found on the digital release. Equally indebted to folk and experimental pop, No Ghost follows 2007’s ambitious and widely-praised concept album Glory Hope Mountain.

After headline runs and bouts touring with bands such as Bowerbirds, Calexico, Phosphorescent and Akron/Family, the Acorn retreated from two years on the road to an isolated cottage in northern Quebec to begin work on No Ghost. Songs took shape at all hours, crafted from hazy late-night improvisations, early morning melodies pulled from the thinning threads of sleep. Modernity clashed with the bucolic via exploratory percussion, feedback, acoustic textures and the natural surrounding sounds.

The band then traded trees for telephone poles to finish recording in a sweltering heatwave at Montreal’s Treatment Room Studios (Plants & Animals, Angela Desveaux). There, the breezy ease of rural surrounds was buried under sweat-caked skin and cracked asphalt, birdsong drowned out by thick air and engine hum. No Ghost is a recording swaddled in dichotomy: togetherness and isolation, acoustic and electric, destruction and restoration.

The Acorn is currently touring Europe before returning in June for dates in the US and Canada in support of No Ghost.

Listen:

The Acorn – “Restoration” (mp3)

The Acorn’s No Ghost is out 6/1 via Paper Bag in Canada, and 6/1 digitally (8/10 physically) via Bella Union.

Enjoy!