23 October 2008

is't a prat?

in NYC for a minute, not for CMJ but i did go to this showcase, co-put-on by the fine folks at it's a trap!, featuring three swedish artists i quite fancy and have been bumpin' a lot lately. firefox ak i reviewed two albums by last week (tho the reviews still aren't up, c'mon pokies!); juvelen i've already repped a bunch both here and on amg, and still adore; hello saferide i have warmed up to more recently, after being somewhat indifferent to her/them at first (part of it is the truly awful bandname), but have a new album that i look forward to checkin' out.

ffak was up first; short and sweet (both she and her set.) leaned heavier on the first alb than i might have expected ("habibi" and "love to run"... so actually only two; but out of six...), but then it is by far the guitarier of the two, so those songs gave her more to do on stage (it was just andrea k, without her usual band, but she played a lot of guitar.) she didn't do my faves from the new album either, except for "techno tears" (the others were opener "where are we going," "once i was like you" and "river" with saferider annika on b.vox.) but no matter, it was nice just to hear her, and she's clearly got a wealth of really good songs to choose from.

the crowd was kind of sparse for that set, but it filled in nicely by the time juvelen took the stage, in possibly the same grey tank top and ski cap he wore last time. he played about the same six-song set too (the five bangers from the album, plus opener "a dream" - not my current fave "facts of life.") and i danced, just like that time - the only one at first ("thanks for the dancemoves" he said to me "you win. i mean, it's kind of a ... walk-on victory..[?]..at this point, but still. congrats"), and later on a few others joined in ("rock it like the fellow in the striped sweater.") and we kind of accidentally/spontaneously hugged as he got off stage. he's so cute!

then hello saferide, whose music i knew the least well - the only songs i'd heard before were current single "anna" and her cutesy signature song (ish?) "the quiz." the one she started with was about how people are like songs ("you're the only one i know who's 'god only knows'" - the problem being of course that "god only knows" is too short.) some of the others surprised me with their relative seriousness, and made me almost feel bad for calling her "overly cutesy" in my maia hirasawa review (not that i think that's a bad thing...) - in particular the idea of a song from the point of view of the parents of a neo-nazi (shades of "no thugs in our house"?), although that song turned out to be pretty cutesy anyway (a duet with her pianist/producer andreas mattson.) ditto, duh, the one about wanting to crawl back in her mom's womb. hmm. (she seems to have parenting on the brain.)

annika herself doesn't look especially cutesy - she's taller and tougher and more, i guess, womanly, than i might have imagined from listening to the girly early songs... and i guess she's 'maturing' now, or whatever, in her songwriting as well. anyway her smart-but-rugged flannel-wearing aesthetic fit in well with the enjoyably rootsy-rockin' band (which sometimes made her lyrics - crucial - hard to hear) and the rural overtones of her closer (complete with onomatopoeic noises for winds and trains and snow - cutesy alert!), which she introduced as being about the north of sweden: "i guess a lot of you are from sweden, but i bet nobody here is from arjeplog." "what!?" said lillie. too bad billie and the visions weren't there to sing about her.

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