Well, I'm behind on uploading my most recent batch of photos, so I got nothin' for ya in the way of an outfit. BUT! I recently had a, "Holy crap, how did I not know about this band??" moment and I thought I'd share. Actually I had two such moments. Forgive me if you see these videos and think, "Oh please, I've known about these guys forever! Where the hell have you been?" I've been listening to my iPod, that's where. It wasn't until I got a smart phone and discovered the joys of listening to Pandora in my car that I unearthed all this new-to-me talent.
The first artist I discovered was Santigold, who came out with her wonderful debut release way back in 2008, while I was blissfully ignoring radio and probably listening to nothing but the same 25 songs on my almost fully-packed 60G iPod. Sometimes I amaze myself with my immense and mostly unlistened-to music collection. Mark gives me all kinds of shit about it already, so don't you even start.
I liked Santigold so much that I created a Pandora station for her, and it was there I discovered The Knife, whose song "Heartbeats" I immediately recognized from the acoustic, folk version released by fellow Swede José González back in 2005. The original "Heartbeats" dates all the way back to 2003 (just going to show how far behind the times I am), from The Knife's Deep Cuts disc. This version is pure electro synth-pop perfection; Karin Dreijer Andersson's intriguing vocal stylings blend the Scandinavian sound of Björk or Emiliana Torrini with the plaintive, raw edge of Patti Smith, throwing in a bit of Cyndi Lauper's hiccup-y warble for good measure. Combine this with the heavy bass synth beat and Karin's adorable Swedish accent, and well, click with caution -- this song is so catchy you're pretty much dooming yourself to a lifetime of addiction.
If that's not enough for you, check out José González's beautiful cover of the song, which he recorded for his 2005 release Veneer, a CD I bought after discovering José at the Iceland Airwaves music festival.
If that's STILL not enough for you, have a look and a listen to The Knife's eerie, mesmerizing live version of the song, which in some ways is even better than the recorded version. Recorded in Gothenburg, Sweden in 2006.
Want more? The Knife went on to record progressively darker and more ambitious material; their third studio album, 2006's Silent Shout, includes some truly brilliant material. It was hard to pick just one track to highlight here, but in the end the animated mice won out for cuteness.
STILL not enough? It wasn't for me either. After researching the band a bit more, I discovered Karin's innovative side project, Fever Ray. Let's just say my already over-crammed iPod was loaded up with a lot of new material recently.