Photos: Cold War Kids in-store at Grimey’s (American Noise)
Interview: Björn Yttling of Peter Bjorn and John (American Songwriter)
Peter Bjorn and John are set to release their new album Gimme Some on March 29. Formed in 1999, the band rose to critical acclaim with their 2006 breakout album Writer’s Block, which featured the near-ubiquitous, whistling-laden track “Young Folks.” Since then, the Swedish trio have been firmly established in the Scandinavian indie pop canon, including 2009’s well-received LP Living Thing. Between PBJ projects, bassist/keyboardist Björn Yttling has also established himself as a producer, working with artists such as Lykke Li, Shout Out Louds and the Suzan. We spoke with Yttling about songwriting, producing and rappers’ affinity for indie rock cred — “Maybe they ran out of disco, I don’t know.”
Album review: Peter Bjorn and John – Gimme Some (American Songwriter)
These days, “minimalist” tends to refer to lo-fi garage rock. However, Peter Bjorn and John have truly reduced their sound down to its vital parts. Album highlight “Eyes” exemplifies this, carried by a strong bassline and crisp percussion. On “Second Chance,” the guitars sound crunchier than what we’re used to hearing from the Stockholm group. In his interview with American Songwriter, bassist/keyboardist Björn Yttling has expressed the band’s affinity for garage rock, and it shows. Through their Scandinavian pop filter, the results are much cleaner-sounding, but no less refreshing. The band is able to dispatch short, fast-paced cuts with all the panache of younger artists–and much more discipline. At well under two minutes, “Black Book” fully delivers, fuzzed-out but tightly controlled. The rollercoaster “Breaker Breaker,” penned by drummer John Eriksson, segues into “May Seem Macabre,” a pure, smooth breather.
Album review: Noah and the Whale – Last Night on Earth (American Songwriter)
Artists are constantly evolving, but Last Night On Earth is not so much growth as it is an attempt to be something that Noah and the Whale are never going to be. There is no cheeky wink and nod that lets listeners know that the band is in on its own joke, that they know they’re out of place. This is not where power ballads belong, both in terms of the band’s previously established sound and the actual execution.