September 29, 2008

Interview: Liechtenstein

Two weeks ago I urged you all to go buy the new Liechtenstein single Apathy. In all my excitement I failed to properly introduce the three Gothenburgians. Time to make up for that!

Hello Liechtenstein! Can you give us a short history of the band?

Renée: Me, Teresa and Naemi started playing together about three years ago. We recorded the single Stalking Skills, and shortly after that Elin joined on drums. Teresa left Liechtenstein in June and so we've played together as a three piece for three months and found out it works out quite well! We've just released our second single, Apathy, and we've played live gigs mostly in Sweden, UK and Germany, but also in Denmark and Finland.

On your website you name bands like Dolly Mixture, Girls At Our Best! and The Mo-dettes among your influences. What are more current bands that you like or admire?

Renée: I like Vivian Girls and The Shool. But, as I’m very much into bands with only or mostly female members (in terms of inspiration/influence to Liechtenstein's own music writing), there are not that many bands to choose from. It's still not common with girls making the kind of music the beforementioned bands did back in the eighties... On a more personal level I've recently listened a lot to The Tartans, The Mai 68s and The Bank Holidays.

Have you ever been to Liechtenstein? Is there a special reason why you chose this as the band's name?

Renée: None of us have ever been there, but we like the name very much, both the sound of it and the way it is kind of associated with a very small principality with quite *special* politics when it comes to bank accounts, etc. And I heard they have zero unemployment, which sounds quite surreal. It seems to be a very interesting country and we'd love to go there to play one day! It would be fun to open with the line "Hi, we’re Liechtenstein!"...

What is your favourite and least favourite thing about the city Gothenburg and its music scene?

Renée: The indiepop audience in Gothenburg and Sweden is quite young and hip, a bit unlike other places we've played where it’s ok to be over 25 and still go out and have fun and dance to great music. That's a negative thing about the Gothenburg scene. The good thing is that a lot of people show up when there's something happening. The Gothenburg indiepop scene was very vivid around 2002-2004. Nowadays the scene isn't that big, but there are a few indiepop clubs and occasionaly someone puts up a good gig.

Liechtenstein's own songwriting standards are very high, but I also love your choice of covers, like for example Clothilde's Saperlipopette. Is there a specific song by another artist you wish you had written?

Renée: I’m very fascinated by the song White Mice by The Mo-Dettes - to me it is the perfect song, there isn't one thing I would change about it. Perfect to sing along to as well!

Sadly I couldn't make it to this year’s Indietracks festival, but from what I've heard it was overall wonderful. How did you experience the festival as a whole and your own performance specifically?

Elin: It was a fantastic festival! In comparison to many Swedish festivals the audience was more genuinely interested in the bands and the music, which makes it a lot more fun to play. We had a very lovely time and felt happy about our performance.

The lyrics to Apathy start: "Abolish all cute princesses in pink dresses; I've had it with those wrapped-in-glamour dreams". Is the lack of pressure to be pretty and cool one of the things that attracts you to the indiepop scene? Or do you feel it’s just as bad there?

Elin: I don't think that indiepop listeners are less concerned about looks and appearance, it's quite common everywhere unfortunately. Perhaps in the making of music or creating something of your own you can put that pressure to look good away for a while, you can focus on what you’re doing rather than how you look. I think it's very sad that as a girl, you are expected to put so much work in your looks, when that time and energy could be spent doing something more important.

Can you tell us something about the recordings on your new single?

Naemi: We recorded it partly at home, partly in a studio (with the kind help of a sound engineer named Joar) in an old prison now used for studio recordings and stuff. It took forever to finally get the single - we received three testpressings from two different pressing plants before it sounded the way it was supposed to... Then we celebrated the release by eating chocolate cake on the bus to Germany during our recent mini tour!

Renée: I was very excited about adding the trumpet to Security By Design, the B-side of the single. We asked a friend's friend (Kristin Lidell) and I think she did such a great job. It really gives a special twist to the song.

Can we perhaps look forward to a whole Liechtenstein album someday?

Naemi: There will most definitely be a Liechtenstein album, we are almost done recording the songs but there is still a lot of work to be done. It will be a split release on Fraction Discs and Slumberland.

Last question: can you pick a special highlight from Liechtenstein's history? Something that still brings a big smile to your face?

Naemi: There are many highlights, but one particular event took place when we were on tour in the UK and went sightseeing in London for a few hours. We ended up in St Paul's Cathedral, and were breathtaken by the beauty of it. Almost immediately when we got inside a woman started "preaching" to the visitors in the church about women musicians in the history of the Catholic Church. She played their music and talked about their lyrics and the obstacles they met in their profession as women musicians. None of us are religious or go to church regularly, but we felt it was a surprising coincidence, being at the right place at the right time, and we just looked at each other and it was a very pleasant yet strange moment.

Renée: I couldn’t stop thinking about The Carousel, it was very much a "The Carousel Moment" for me!

Thank you Renée, Naemi and Elin!

Visit Liechtenstein's myspace
Buy the Stalking Skills and Apathy singles at Fraction Discs

Listen to Apathy

Download (right click, save as)
1. Liechtenstein - Stalking skills

September 20, 2008

Undercover poplover, part 5

While The Pastels almost manage to improve Daniel Johnston's song, Tullycraft give The Judy's gem a fun try and The Smittens sing The Angels' classic with their already legendary enthusiasm, I almost wish every band would only do covers for a little while. There's so much great new new music coming out lately that I hardly have time to catch up anymore. If everyone would only play new old songs for a couple of months I might feel less like I'm missing half of what I want to hear.

Who could have possibly imagined a couple of years back that I would be asking for less great new indiepop? It's a wonderful world, really.

Download (Mediafire)
1. The Pastels - Speeding motorcycle
2. Tullycraft - She's got the beat
3. The Smittens - My boyfriend's back

September 19, 2008

The Lorimer Sound

Shortly after posting about my enthusiasm for the Megamoog release, yesterday I put the other recent WeePOP! release, the debut EP Greenstreets by Chicaco band The Lorimer Sound, in my CD player for the first time.

I could easily be overreacting in a premature state of euphoria, but this might be my favourite WeePOP! release so far. Might. The Lorimer Sound play a catchy classic indiepop variant with that always lovely dose of 60s pop thrown in. To stumble upon these addictive songs by a brand new band just before the weekend is guaranteed to curve my lips upwards.

Hurry to get one of the 160 copies at WeePOP!

Download (Right click, save as)
1. The Lorimer Sound - Brooklyn bound

September 17, 2008

New Liechtenstein!

Last year's Stalking Skills was perhaps the very best single of 2007. Now finally Liechtenstein is back with the delayed follow-up Apathy. And again, this will turn out to be one of the songs of the year.

Included below is a free MP3 of Stalking Skills for those who missed it the first time around.

Order the Apathy 7" at Fraction Discs now.


Download (Right click, save as)
1. Liechtenstein - Stalking skills

September 16, 2008


"We don't have any fans, except our moms and dads," it says on San Fransisco duo Megamoog's MySpace.

Megan and Phoebe should be able to add at least 160 new minimalist indiepop admirers to that with the sweet new WeePOP! release Icicle. As always, don't wait with ordering your copy, because they'll all be gone as quickly as the sun in the Dutch Summer of 2008.

Download (Right click, save as)
Megamoog - Eleanor

September 11, 2008

Old friends

Bands sometimes disappear from my playlists for months or in some cases even years without any good reason. I just forget about them for a while, and new or other bands take their place. Then suddenly something, anything, can bring them back to my attention.

Earlier this week I was reading an old Nirvana interview in which Courtney Love was mentioned. This reminded me of the indiepop band with the same name, and in that same fraction of a second subconciously this brought my mind back to Lois, Courtney Love's singer. It must have been years. I'll try to not forget her again.

Yesterday I was re-watching the opening sequence of the movie This Is England, in which some footage is shown of Prince Charles and Lady Diana. Somewhere in the back of my mind a little voice started humming Charles Windsor. Welcome back McCarthy!

Martijn's post about the All Girl Summer Fun Band more directly brought my attention back to them. While looking forward to the new album it's now first time for a little revival.

Moments like this happen all the time. Like meeting old friends, it brings back memories and a feeling of nostalgia. Some friends stay, some are forgotten once again, but it's always nice to see they're still there.

Download (Mediafire)
1. Lois - Press play and record
2. McCarthy - Charles Windsor
3. All Girl Summer Fun Band - Samantha secret agent

September 08, 2008

Dusty in here

When you wake up on a Monday morning at 5:30 from hard rain crashing against the bedroom window, again, shivering from the morning cold and with a gloomy feeling of awareness that Summer has past before it ever started, again, it's hard to fight a slight moodiness.

While I bike to Amsterdam's Centraal Station in the rain I am overwhelmed by the realisation that I'm not at all ready yet for another long long Dutch Winter. A few minutes later, in the train to work in Almere I listen to my MP3-player at random and the first song that comes on is The Go-Betweens' Dusty In Here. A perfect soundtrack to my sombre mood.

Now, typing this in an effort to get over my grumpiness, I'm playing the song again and force myself to only focus on the beauty of the music. Dusty In Here is probably my favourite Go-Betweens song. Grant McLennan's singing is somehow warm and cold at the same time, and the soft and spare piano arrangement suits the song like a beautiful yet somewhat uncomfortable winter coat. This is one of those songs that, when played loud enough, you can live in for a few minutes and then walk out of with a mysterious feeling of comfort and nostalgia. It almost makes me feel ready for Fall. Almost.

Isn't it strange how even the saddest music can cheer you up sometimes?

Download (Mediafire)
1. The Go-Betweens - Dusty in here