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Sufjan Stevens announces new album Carrie & Lowell, details packaging

January 15, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


The somewhat divinity-obsessed, and outrageously divine singer-songwriter Sufjan Stevens is finally back on the solo trail after more than four years without his own new material (Sisyphus and various collaborations aside). And quite frankly this news has made our face explode. With joy obviously.

Late 2010 saw the release of beautifully behemothic album Age of Adz, capturing a grandiose existential-angst that made us laugh, weep, dance, and ponder our lives simultaneously. An album that combined the gorgeous soundscapes and vast arrangements of previous work such as Illinois and Michigan, with a more eclectic electronic side as heard in Enjoy Your Rabbit – and then adding a shitload of other saccharine magic and raw feelings on top. It was like our collective hearts were drowning in loads of nice chemicals such as serotonin, or peanut butter. Read more…

Listen to Sufjan Stevens’ cover of Arthur Russell’s ‘A Little Lost’

January 11, 2015


There’s always a risk when two of your heroes, two titans, come together to create something. You remember that James Blake and Bon Iver one right? Oh actually that’s right: you don’t.

Sufjan Stevens and Arthur “hilariously ahead of his time” Russell are not Blake and Bonibear however (as much as I appreciate their music). Stevens and Russell are colossus in the music world and mean a frightening amount to many humans. So when I heard of our Sufjan covering the late, great Russell shit was lost; then palms became sweaty. Sweaty in a nervous “please please be good” kind of way, and sweaty due to the intense words Stevens used to say about his cover of ‘A Little Lost’. Warning: features an extensive amount centred around KISSING. Oh my. Read more…

The Record Stores of Reykjavík: Reykjavík Record Shop

January 8, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


The appropriately titled Reykjavík Record Shop is definitely the new kid on the block – it was only a couple of weeks old when we visited it earlier in the month – but that doesn’t mean it’s a pushover. Far from it. Their vinyl selection was stunning (check our recommendations below for proof of that).

You can find Reykjavík Record Shop at Klapparstígur 35, Reykjavík. For more information, head here.



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The Record Stores of Reykjavík: Smekkleysa (Bad Taste)

January 7, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


Here’s the story:

Smekkleysa SM/Bad Taste SM, was established in Iceland in 1986, by a group of young artists and musicians, who had been active since the Icelandic punk explosion in the early eighties. Part of their world domination or death manifesto, was to create a pop band with The Sugarcubes which in turn became the backbone for Smekkleysa SMs activities over the next few years.

The company has since grown from being an experimental cultural organization into a fully active record company. It has developed and worked with some of Icelands most interesting artists, e.g. The Sugarcubes, Björk, Sigur Rós, Múm, Mínus, Ghostigital, Curver, Ske, Slowblow, Kimono and Jan Mayen.

The shop is a museum at the same time and hosts the traveling exhibition, Lobster or Fame two decades of Bad Taste. This is the only existing exhibition about Icelandic popular culture and includes historic moments in the culture that the Sugarcubes and the movement of Icelandic artists around them initiated over 20 years ago.

You can find Smekkleysa (Bad Taste) at Laugavegur 35, 101 Reykjavík. For more information, head here.

Smekkleysa (Bad Taste Records)

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Record Shopping with Asha Ali in Pet Sounds

January 6, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


The 405 recently premiered the video for Asha Ali‘s latest single, ‘Words’, which is the kind of song everyone and their pop-loving kith and kin should be all over like butter on sizzling crumpets.

Truth be told, there’s much, much more where ‘Words’ came from on Ali’s second long-player, Loud and Out of Place. We are particularly excited, for example, about her next single from the album, ‘Go The Distance’, which would have made an incredible kick-off/comeback release for Mutya Keisha Siobhan. In a world with planets deservedly aligned, the single and album should get Ali the international attention she deserves.

We decided to go and explore Ali’s musical influences with her on a record-shopping escapade in Pet Sounds, Stockholm’s prime purveyor of music. And you know what? She was like a kid in a toyshop, her eyes visibly lighting up with delight as she found each of her five artist choices, below.


The Knife

Pet Sounds: Asha Ali

“I came across Deep Cuts much later than everyone else, as I normally do [laughs]. It was so new and so fresh to me but, at the same time, the music had an old feeling to it without that sounding like a production tool. It was just two people being honest, musically. I like their integrity. They do what they want, the way they want to. Karin, as a female artist and songwriter, is an inspiration to me. And the songs are so amazing. My favourite one has to be ‘Heartbeats’. It’s epic. It’s so sad and so beautiful.”


Joni Mitchell

Pet Sounds: Asha Ali
“I started listening to Joni when I was 19 and Blue was introduced to me by an old boyfriend’s mother. I remember listening to it and being blown away by the way she wrote her lyrics and her melodies but also by her freedom – she was not bound by one particular form. She is so poetic and I relate to what she means, you know – being able to make sense of what she sings about, out of my own experiences. I sing along to her often when I’m washing the dishes or something and my son would say ‘shut up, I’m trying to watch TV!’. And I’d go, ‘you can’t say shut up when there is singing in our house!’ [laughs]. She is definitely an inspiration and a strength-giver to me. My favourite song on Blue is ‘All I Want’. I also love ‘A Case Of You’. That’s an amazing song. Oh, and ‘My Old Man’! Actually, I guess every song on that album is my favourite one [laughs].” Read more…

Tónlist trailer – the 405 Icelandic Music Documentary

January 5, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


Header photo by Nick Miners

In 2013, filmmakers Stephen Bevan and Tim Boddy in association with the 405 spent a considerable amount of time in Iceland, embedding themselves within the music scene during the course of Iceland Airwaves and beyond. The purpose of this stay: to film a documentary on the Icelandic music scene.

Tónlist (the Icelandic word for music), the result of this filming expedition, is now to be released on the big screen exactly one year later.

Rather than a purely ‘dry’ look at the festival, the documentary explores a deeper understanding of the Icelandic psyche – and delves into the culture and society of the nation itself (though, often drawing parallels back to the festival and how the Icelandic spirit makes for such a remarkable five day experience).

What is it about Icelandic culture that produces such a rich genre of music? Tónlist features Icelandic musicians, music industry experts, journalists – while utilising the breathtaking scenery from across the island for some truly stunning visuals that are heavily prominent in the doc, alongside footage from the festival itself and the lively scenes found in Reykjavik. Volcanoes from the air, record stores, waterfalls, hotdog stands, glaciers, and magnificent beards: Read more…

Tracks of 2014

January 4, 2015


Here is a posting in regards to my tracks of 2014

Here is a Rdio playlist of my tracks of 2014 (it’s a mammoth 708 minutes long)

Here is a Spotify playlist of my tracks of 2014 (it’s a more slimline version at a mere 3 hours 24 mins)

Here is a link to my Albums of 2014 (it’s 53 albums long)

Here is the end of this post in regards to my tracks of 2014

Acts and their Cats: Labyrinth Ear

January 4, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


This feature is taken from our Autumn schedule.

They say don’t work with children or animals, but this ‘they’ are not aware of the 405’s obsession for all things cat-related.

For our brand new photo feature series, we’re setting up photoshoots with musicians and their feline companions. So what better way to begin than with passionate cat fans Labyrinth Ear – Emily even draws pictures of her and Tom’s cats (which are included in the gallery below). Also be sure to check out their Instagram, which is pretty cat-centric.

Tim Boddy was on hand for the dramatic shoot that began in the living room – however two of the cats got rather camera shy and did not want to be there…

Acts and their Cats: Labyrinth Ear
Acts and their Cats: Labyrinth Ear
Acts and their Cats: Labyrinth Ear

…Following this a neighbourhood stray cat, and a total beast of a cat, Tigger, we Read more…

The 405 meets iamamiwhoami

January 4, 2015

Originally posted on the 405


Videography, editing and additional photography by Tim Boddy

Original Artwork by Mark Belan

“Without you, I am who?,” asks Jonna Lee on ‘Blue Blue’, the doubly-eponymous title track from iamamiwhoami‘s third album. The ‘you’ here is a reference to the followers of the Swedish audio-visual wonder merchants, depicted in their latest series as black-clad, faceless figures. This lyric echoes the not-so-thin line that runs through all of iamamiwhoami’s work, to date, embracing a very close kinship with a curious, engaged and loyal audience.

Cemented organically as something of a coterie from the very beginning of the project five years ago, iamamiwhoami’s fan-base has, at least in part, also made the ten-song set and its visual siblings financially possible through GENERATE, a monetised contribution platform on Lee’s label, To Whom It May Concern‘s website, earlier this year.

BLUE is, in some ways, iamamiwhoami’s most straight-forward, discovery-friendly and mainstream release, but one which nevertheless stands as pioneering. The songwriting cleverly manages to universalise lyrics which, in essence, pertain to iamamiwhoami’s evolution and interaction with its supporters, so that unsuspecting listeners can easily surmise their own meanings and stories from Lee’s words. The production and arrangements avoid predictability and reconfigure the electro-pop genre’s blueprints into something that is always fresh and never dull. Read more…

Because the Internet needs another album of the year list… 2014

December 30, 2014

Albums of 2014 list

Back due to popular demand (I think one person asked) here are my Albums of 2014, to prove that I’m still relevant. I’ve once again assigned a .gif to the top 25 albums that best sum up my feelings on the respective album, as you know, buzzfeedification of the Internet and all of that. See my 2013 list here.

Also I’ve included a bunch of albums below these that I also enjoyed, but didn’t quite do it for me for whatever reason (or I haven’t listened to enough yet).

1) Wild Beasts – Present Tense

2) East India Youth – Total Strife Forever

3) Adult Jazz – Gist Is Read more…