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I live in Micronesia, a land of pay-per-KB dial-up internet and no Myspace or Youtube. Imagine, then, I'm running down Silver Gleaming Sound Machine's impressive array of e-accolades, barely able to control my excitement as I wait for "All tomorrow's gardens" to arrive by media mail. SGSM it seems, could be the knighted future of Copenhagen, the heir to the last great Danes of pop (I'll admit it), Alphabeat. A Krautrock bent and 60s psychedelia, in my mind, could prove a darker, more rewarding palette than "This is Alphabeat"'s overtly sugary appeal.
In theory. Imagine when I get the album and it plays more as a spiritual sister to Asteroids Galaxy Tour (one more band and it's officially a movement), a faulty electro-Motown update that I can't even dignify with the term pastiche, as the internet connotation of that word is moving ever so slightly towards "encomium" in our nostalgia-driven society. The sprightly percussion and electro-punk lean of album opener "Hawk" -- maybe the only redeemable song on this mini-album -- can't save SGSM from an overall lack of catchy choruses or cohesive arrangements. Typical of a crop of rising pop outfits in Scandinavia, SGSM tries to look in too many directions at once. Here's a nod to Pink Floyd, here's Le Tigre, and let's steep that all in the tinny pulse of turn-of-the-80s Krautrock! Overly smitten critics use buzzwords like "ELO" and "Kraftwerk", and in the process they forgive them for a dearth of palatable songs.
I don't know. Maybe the iPod commercialistas who find these bands great in 15 second snippets will continue to force feed us downmarket ethereals like SGSM in order to heighten the pop-futuristic appeal of tablet-based products. Maybe it's what we deserve. Whatever the case, I'm not nearly satisfied with Denmark's recent pop output. The country of Roskilde and indie greats The Raveonettes, Efterklang and Under Byen, to me, is of late lagging behind its Northern cousins in the pop arena. Whatever. Maybe we'll get lucky and the new Alphabeat album will become the Danish pop savior of 2010. Hah.
- Nathan Keegan
Danish pop act Alphabeat will release their new album "The spell" on October 19. The first single and title track is out August 31.
RIP The Alpine. I thought these guys were destined for international success when I heard their debut "On feel trips", but the follow-up album was a total dud and then they got usurped by Alphabeat as Denmark's reigning pop champs. It's a shame, but that's the way it goes. Anyhow, I'll still break this out on sunny days for years to come.
The Alpine - Box office band
Hopefully you read her analysis of Alphabeat's lyrics, but now it's time to check out Elisabeth Vincentelli's full report on the music of Swedish metal legends Bathory: http://www.emusic.com/features/spotlight/2009_200901-ug-bathory.html
Elisabeth Vincentelli deconstructs the lyrics of Alphabeat's pop hit "10,000 nights": http://determineddilettante.blogspot.com/2009/01/wit-and-wisdom-of-alphabeat.html
Scandinavian artists Alphabeat (DK), Ida Corr (DK) and Lykke Li (SWE) are three of the winner's of the 2009 Border Breakers award to be handing out at Eurosonic next month. Read more: http://europa.eu/rapid/pressReleasesAction.do?reference=IP/08/1991&format=HTML&aged=0&language=EN&guiLanguage=en
Check out Alphabeat's brand new video for the single "What is happening": http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z_7hxmcUvh0&fmt=18
The official release date is November 24.
Danish pop sensation Alphabeat will be coming to the US in January as a warm-up act for Katy Perry.
Danish pop act Alphabeat has added a bunch of new dates to their fall European tour itinerary: http://www.thisisalphabeat.com/gigs
Danish pop heroes Alphabeat will return to the UK for a string of dates this fall:
10/20 - Carling Academy, Liverpool
10/21 - University, Newcastle
10/22 - Liquid Rooms, Edinburgh
10/24 - ABC, Glasgow
10/25 - Academy 2, Manchester
10/27 - Waterfront, Norwich
10/28 - Shepherd's Bush Empire, London
10/31 - Anson Rooms, Bristol
11/01 - University, Plymouth
11/02 - University, Southampton
11/03 - Concorde 2, Brighton
11/05 - Carling Academy, Oxford
11/06 - Roadmender, Northampton
11/07 - The Leadmill, Sheffield
11/09 - Kasbah, Coventry
11/10 - Trent University, Nottingham
11/11 - Metropolitan University, Leeds
Soundvenue is suggesting that Danish pop act Alphabeat has signed with Warner in the US: http://www.soundvenue.com/news.asp?id=7204