Shout Out Louds | Luna Lounge | 7.17.2007

Shout Out Louds fans are intense and loyal which makes a show that much more fun. Dancing, singing along, and one girl in front of me seemed to be, um, living the songs if you know what I mean. I’ll take that over cool detachment any day.

It was also the biggest crowd I’ve ever seen at Luna Lounge, and the best sound (maybe it sounds better with all those bodies). Tuesday was a longer set than at Spiegeltent, with more songs from the new album, including "South America" (accordion fixed or new one purchased) and "You Are Dreaming" but no "Hard Rain." Less Howl Howl Gaff Gaff songs too, but different b-sides, with "Hurry Up Let’s Go" dedicated to Merge label-mates the Essex Green who were in the audience.

No doubt, Spiegeltent was better
. But I was home at 11:30, which was before I was even allowed into Spiegeltent the night before.

I managed to get a video of the latter half of "Very Loud" when they kick into "Train in Vain," through to the end of the song/set. I missed, however, the start of it where some dude jumped onstage and decided to stage-dive, but no one was prepared so it was literally headfirst into the floor. (Audible gasp!) But he was OK, folks. Singer Adam Olenius warned the crowd, saying either "Don’t dive" or "Don’t die." I would like to think it was the latter as it would be funnier. Anyway, the clip:

Openers were Philadelphia’s Saturday Looks Good to Me. I know people who like them, but I just don’t get it. Last night they didn’t even sound like a band, more like a bunch of people who decided to get onstage and play music together. Maybe it was inferior equipment, or the mix was bad, or maybe it was just them. Utterly unimpressed.

Shout Out Louds | Spiegeltent | 7.16.2007

The show ground to a halt with these words: "I’m afraid she’s dead." Bebban Stenbourg was talking about her accordion, broken beyond repair, which meant we wouldn’t be hearing "Parents’ Livingroom," one of the best songs off Shout Out Louds‘ great new album, Our Ill Wills. It was the only misstep in what I’d have to call a truly magical show, one of those times where the setting, the crowd and the performance came together to make something special.

Spiegeltent is a very cool venue, and if there’s someone you want to see there, it’s worth the otherwise deadly combination of remote location (South Street Seaport), late set times (for rock shows, doors don’t open till 11:30 if you’re lucky) and overpriced drinks (beers are $7). The intimate venue, decorated with mirrors and brocade, holds only 350 people but I’m guessing only half that braved a late monday night to see Stockholm’s Shout Out Louds, here on a short US tour two months before Our Ill Wills hits the shelves. But those who did were genuine fans, there to sing along, dance, and have a good time.

The set was about 50-50 old and new with well-worn favorites like "The Comeback," "Please Please Please" and "Shut Your Eyes" mixed in with new tracks "Tonight I Have to Leave it," "Suit Yourself," and the Bunnymen-esque "South America." Instead of "Parents Livingroom," we got a stripped-down, drum machine-driven "Hard Rain" while real drummer Eric Edman tried to fix Bebban’s accordion.

The two best moments for me were new song (and current Swedish single) "Impossible" and show-closer "Very Loud," in which they worked in a cover of The Clash’s "Train in Vain" for good measure. (Though singer Adam Olenius rocking the agogo on "Tonight I Have to Leave It" was up there too.) They sounded great too, as you can tell from the video below. There was a PA but to my ears it sounded like they just mainly used it for vocals, letting their amps alone which meant I didn’t have to wear earplugs. This and the Peter Bjorn and John show at Union Hall are maybe the two most perfect shows of the year so far.

MP3: Shout Out Louds – South America

MP3: Shout Out Louds – Impossible (Possible remake by Studio)

And a few more pictures on my Flickr page. Tickets are still available ($15) for Shout Out Louds’ show tonight at Luna Lounge. Hopefully they will have a working accordion for this one. They play the Rickshaw Stop in San Francisco on Wednesday, the El Ray in Los Angeles on Thursday, and Chicago’s Empty Bottle on Friday. Meanwhile, here’s a video I shot at Spiegeltent of them performing "Impossible":

Shout Out Louds Cure Their ‘Ills’

Pardon the punny Billboard-esque headline, but I couldn’t resist. It’s hard not to think of Robert Smith when listening to Shout Out Louds‘ great new album, Our Ill Wills. You could hear traces of it on the Stockholm quintet’s debut, Howl Howl Gaff Gaff,(the belated, slightly altered American release made my Best of 2005 list) mainly in singer Adam Olenius‘ vocals.

But for Our Ill Wills, they seem to be fully embracing their Cure love. And not the mopey goth Cure either. I’m talking the happy pop of the band’s classic 1985 album, Head on the Door. First single "Tonight I Have to Leave It" owes enough to "In Between Days" that it has to be on purpose, and it’s not a stretch to say "Normandie" resembles "Close to Me." 

Maybe it is more correct to call them nods. Those are the two most obvious examples and neither, once they get going, really sound like The Cure, it’s more a general vibe. This could be the work of producer Bjorn Yttling (of Peter Bjorn and John), or it could just be what Shout Out Louds have been listening to in the four years since Howl Howl Gaff Gaff.

The album’s best song doesn’t sound like the Cure at all. A duet with keyboardist Bebban Stenbourg (sounding a lot like Victoria Bergsman), "Impossible" is a sweeping pop song and percussion that may do for the wood block what "Young Folks" did for bongos. It sounds like a great big hug, a song worthy of Lloyd Dobbler’s boombox.

Our Ill Wills is already out in Sweden, but America will have to wait until September when Merge (who smartly picked them up after being dropped by Capitol) will release it domestically. But "Impossible" is too much of a Summer Song to have to wait till then.

MP3: Shout Out Louds – Impossible

MP3: Shout Out Louds – Normandie

If you haven’t heard Howl Howl Gaff Gaff you really should pick it up. Toby over at Finest Kiss has the mp3 of the single and an awesome remix, but here’s the "Tonight I Have to Leave It" video:

SoundBites Best of 2005 | Albums

Don’t let anyone say 2005 was a crummy year for music. I coulda done a Top 50. But that takes too much time. Here’s my Top 20 Albums of 2005, which probably changed more than NME‘s lineup right down to posting.

ElbowLeaders of the Free World (V2) | Elbow‘s third album is not only the best thing they’ve ever done, it was the best thing I heard anyone do in 2005. Gorgeous melodies, inventive arrangements and musicianship, and some of the most heartfelt (without treacle) lyrics around. And Guy Garvey‘s amazing voice on top of it all. Album of the Year by a mile. Best songs: "Station Approach," "The Stops," "Mexican Standoff," "The Everthere."

Art BrutBang Bang Rock and Roll
(Fierce Panda) | The year’s most flat-out enjoyable record. The humor
in singer Eddie Argos‘ lyrics hits you first ("I’ve seen her
naked…TWICE!") but these are songs that are funny, not novelty rock.
(Some may disagree.) And, as Argos sings on their manifesto "Formed a
Band," this is not irony. "We’re just talking to the kids!" The hits
keep coming through all 12 tracks, from "My Little Brother" through
"18,000 Lira."


New PornographersTwin Cinema (Matador) | Not as immediate and crammed with hooks as either The Electric Version or Mass Romantic, album number three for this mostly-Canadian supergroup seemed like a bit of a dud on arrival. Weeks of play, however, and songs constantly coming up on shuffle on the iPod, have proven Twin Cinema to be another batch of winning songs with perhaps the most staying power of them all. Dig new New breed: "Sing Me Spanish Techno," "These Are the Fables," "The Jessica Numbers."

Of MontrealThe Sunlandic Twins
(Polyvinyl) I remember seeing Of Montreal back in 1999, playing with
Ladybug Transistor. There were props and slide-flutes and other twee
type things. I didn’t like them. But somewhere down the line they
transformed from utter whimsy into a band capable of filtering poppy,
’60s-inspired melodies through Eno-esque new wave. I was hooked. One of
2005’s earlier releases (well, April), The Sunlandic Twins has
stayed with me for most of the year. Get some Sun:"Requiem for
O.M.M.2," "Wraith Pinned to the Mist (And Other Games)," "Forecast
Fascist Future."

The RakesCapture/Release
(V2) | These guys have, so
far, been met mostly with shrugs in America (the record’s not out yet here), dismissed as the latest
post-punk whatever. There may be a little disco hi-hat in the drumming,
but The Rakes are miles better than any of the others and actually
remind me of Pink Flag-era Wire with a working-class attitude
and an articulate grasp of late-20s ennui. "Might as well go out for a
fifth night in a row" indeed. Capture/Release is genius from start-to-finish and has some of the year’s
best singles, too, including "Work Work Work (Pub, Club, Sleep)," "22
Grand Job," and "Strasbourg."

Field MusicField Music (Memphis Industries) | Despite having ties to both the Futureheads (singer Andrew Moore used to be in them) and Maximo Park (they share a drummer), Sunderland, England’s Field Music sound nothing like them. It’s all delicate, sparse arrangements (not unlike Spoon), nods to ’60s baroque pop, and a cut-the-fat approach to album making. Debut album of the year, rock division. Choice cuts: "If Only the Moon Were Up," "Shorter Shorter," "Got to Write a Letter"

LCD SoundsystemLCD Soundsystem (DFA/Capitol) | When LCD Soundsystem‘s debut got two Grammy noms, I began to question my own taste for including this on my best-of list but no, dammit, this is a great album. It still sounds great after having it for nearly a year, and being played at every party, before every show, and on The O.C. It will be interesting to see what James Murphy does next. Killer jams: "Daft Punk is Playing in My House," "Tribulations," "Beat Connection"

My Morning JacketZ (ATO) | Like The Clientele, My Morning Jacket dare to drop one of their calling cards (the gallons of reverb), then drop a key band member and pull a 180 musically. The result being the best album they’ve ever done and the first one I’ve truly liked start-to-finish. And yet they still sound like My Morning Jacket, thanks in no small part to Jim James voice-of-heaven vocals. Prime cuts: "Wordless Chorus," "Into the Woods," "Anytime"

Richard HawleyColes Corner (Mute) |
Third album’s the charm for this former axeman for Longpigs and Pulp,
who once again leaves indie stylings behind in favor of full-on crooner
mode, a la Roy Orbison, Burt Bacharach, Marty Robbins, or even
Morrissey. Even though it was written about Sheffield, England, Coles Corner
makes a gorgeous soundtrack for NYC too, and sounds even better after
midnight. Swoon: "The Ocean," "Hotel Room," "Born Under a Bad Sign,"
"Coles Corner"

Malcolm MiddletonInto the Woods (Chemikal Underground) | If you read the lyrics sheet, you may wonder about the state of mind of Arab Strap‘s Malcolm Middleton
on his second solo album. For example, on "A Happy Medium" he sings,
"Woke up again today/Realized I hate myself/My Brain is a disease." But
Into the Woods is not a dreary exercise in woe-is-me-isms. Like so many
before him, Middleton turns his pain, fear and doubts into something
beautiful. Even those who have never had any time for Arab Strap should
give this one a chance. Get into: "My Loneliness Shines," "You’re Gonna
Break My Heart," "A Happy Medium"

The other 10 after the jump…

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