For someone from Denmark, rated as having the happiest population on earth, the music of singer-songwriter Amalie Bruun is filled with moody and melancholic sounds from low-fi guitars and tambourines reminiscent of alternative rock bands of the 80s and 90s. Born and raised outside Copenhagen, Amalie was brought up in a musical household which prompted her at the age of 20 to busk on the streets of Paris, London and Amsterdam before getting into songwriting for other musicians in Stockholm. One of these songs she recorded herself; ‘If You Give it Up’ ultimately became the theme song of Denmark’s version of the television series ‘Paradise Hotel.’
Saturday, December 3rd, 2011
Thursday, November 10th, 2011
Big Freedia is a New Orleans rapper who uses the feminine pronoun despite the fact that she is a tall African-American man with a penchant for wearing sequined jackets and capes. At any of her notorious live gigs, the following scenario unfolds: when the beat kicks in, Freedia, like a shamanic conjurer, shouts the hypersexual lyrics to her anthem “Azz Everywhere” while scantily-clad ladies race to the front. Men are relegated to the back, and there’s an onslaught of booty shaking so intense it looks as though someone may become pregnant via immaculate conception. “There’s always a lot of energy,” she explains enthusiastically over the phone in her sweet-yet-authoritative Southern drawl. “No matter when I hit the floor, I make ‘em shake. I make ‘em work hard. When I come, the party starts.”
Monday, October 24th, 2011
When Fish Ride Bicycles, The Cool Kids’ debut album, has been a long time in the making – with an original release date in 2008, some fans were skeptical about whether it would ever see the light of day. But with their label issues behind them and a new deal with Mountain Dew’s Green Label Sound, the Chicago/Detroit-based rappers are once again on every indie hip hop lover’s radar. Chuck Inglish and Mikey Rocks gave us a few minutes to tell us about the album, working with Pharrell, and partying on the road.
Wednesday, October 19th, 2011
Whenever a touring musician rolls into a new town, there are certain must-Google spots: the closest Guitar Center, the cleanest laundromat, the cheapest auto body shop. Or, in the case of Toronto electro-goth contingent Austra, the nearest Whole Foods.
For a band that maps out their travel itinerary based on organic grocery pit stops, it seems bizarre to meet ringleader Katie Stelmanis in a Toronto bar that hawks prehistoric pickled eggs and platters of sandwich meat. But Stelmanis, with her dyed blonde hair and metallic necklaces piled one upon another, is perfectly at home with such contradictions.
Friday, October 7th, 2011
A quick visit to YACHT’s website makes it clear that the unconventional duo behind the triangle icon approaches the whole “band thing” a little differently. Proclaiming themselves not just a band, but a “belief system” (complete with lessons in “YACHT semiotics,” a list of “recommended mantras,” and an official YACHT tattoo policy), they believe that you, me, and everyone around us are all “small gods.” They are also under the impression that guitars are totally refreshing and new; at least, according to Claire Evans, the fairer half the partnership, they’re new to YACHT.
Friday, September 23rd, 2011
Harp strings echo soft and evocative tones, as the haunting hymns gradually flood your ear drums. A trumpet commandingly chimes in, and 15 seconds later you are met with a voice that sounds as though it has been stripped straight from the almighty Apollo himself. Enter Active Child, the musical undertaking of vocalist, harpist and Los Angeles resident Pat Grossi.
Monday, September 12th, 2011
On the cover of Zonoscope, the third album from Australian electropop superstars Cut Copy, a river flows through New York, descending from the heights of the Chrysler and Empire State buildings as an unimpeded waterfall. The surreal image, created by late Japanese photomontage artist Tsunehisa Kimura, sets the stage for the record’s dreamy sound. Framing the flooded cityscape is the fictional zonoscope that the album is named for. “The zonoscope is this lens that you look through to see into this ot her world that we’ve created making this record,” explains frontman Dan Whitford.
Monday, September 5th, 2011
Since 2003, Eleanor Friedberger has been working relentlessly as the fairer half of brother-sister duo, the Fiery Furnaces, who have released nine records within six years. While the hard work has clearly paid off, the songstress felt that it was time to take a step back from the Fiery Furnaces and stand alone with the release of her first solo record, Last Summer. (Don’t go getting your knickers in a twist, because this does not mean the end of the Fiery Furnaces). With fear of regret and the realization that she isn’t getting any younger, Friedberger – who appears to share the same gene pool as Patti Smith – felt that the timing was right and went forth to produce one doozy of a solo album. Weaving in autobiographical accounts line-by-line, verse-by-verse, song-after-song, Friedberger’s sing-talk vocals only heighten the album’s sense of intimacy. It’s like listening to the quirky musician read a segment of the diary she wrote last summer.
Monday, August 8th, 2011
Kreayshawn is a white female rapper from Oakland. She is tatted up, she wears a lot of eyeliner, and her single “Gucci Gucci” got infinity YouTube views (she received a record deal after it had been online for about two weeks). She is a self-described “Rap Beast” who sometimes dresses up as Minnie Mouse, and is fond of smoking blunts.
Monday, June 27th, 2011
Despite his 6 years working with Ed Banger records, producing tracks, creating remixes for the likes of Kelis, Klaxons, and Uffie and working alongside French electro alums like Mr. Oizo and Sebastian Tellier, 30-year-old SebastiAn has been a bit of an enigma, granting few interviews or media appearances. But with the release of his excellent debut album Total, SebastiAn decided he was ready to talk, and The Block was lucky enough to score some time with the talented, engagingly personable artist (whose English is charmingly faltering).