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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 21 februari 2020 | Deutsche Grammophon (DG)

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First of all, let’s point out that even though Agnes Obel’s fourth opus is titled Myopia, the Berlin-based Dane manages to musically transpose this visual disability using several acoustic treatments that more or less hit their targets. The most blatant example of this is Roscian, a track in three-quarter time that employs a sepulchral piano. Myopia is an album that (not always anecdotally) portrays the adventurous undertaking of moving out of one’s way in order to see a distant reality more clearly, a reality that was previously opaque. In fact, it’s no coincidence that one of the tracks is called Camera’s Rolling: Obel uses this metaphorical development to organically highlight the idea of opening up to the world, and not always settling for such a closed-off environment. For her, the main tool for this opening up is ‘experimentation’. Myopia feels like an extravagant and ethereal laboratory, where the main test subject is the singer’s voice, accompanied by a piano and mostly melancholic synths. Some give their bodies to science; on her part, Agnes Obel has given her voice to music, testing out a plethora of different effects. Like the test tubes of a mad scientist, her singing boldly intersects and blends together, always beautifully harmonic. Her voice is twisted in several different ways, a constant which is at the core of songs which are somewhere between Kate Bush and Scott Walker. She embarked on this adventure alone in her Berlin studio, even though there are moments here and there when a few chords are played by others. There are eerie moments (Drosera and its repetitive chords wouldn’t be out of place in a Dario Argento film), airy moments (Won’t You Call Me with its warm, cosy choirs), ones that evoke the torments of insomnia (Broken Sleep) or death (Island of Doom); her songs astonish above all with their extreme elegance. With Myopia, Agnes Obel hands us a shiny spyglass with which we can clearly see the beauty of why she seems to exist: music. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 3 oktober 2019 | Ghosteen Ltd

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Pitchfork: Best New Music
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 30 augustus 2019 | Polydor Records

Onderscheidingen Pitchfork: Best New Music
Her sensual voice is irresistible. Elizabeth Grant, aka Lana Del Rey, could sing the instruction manual for a wireless vacuum cleaner and she would still have our full attention. Even when she invites the whole world to join her (A$AP Rocky, The Weeknd, Stevie Nicks and Sean Lennon all featured on Lust For Life, her album released in 2017), she lives in her own little world where time moves slow and melancholy reigns supreme. Making music is her way of talking about her era, her contemporaries, the American Dream and, as far as we can tell, herself... With its shocking title, stylised album cover (featuring Duke Nicholson, Jack Nicholson’s grandson, aboard a boat sailing away from a burning coast) and her particularly slow tempos (only ballads here), Norman Fucking Rockwell! is largely rooted in folk. Del Rey roams around this great soundscape, more melancholic and evanescent than ever. She closely collaborated with Jack Antonoff on this album (a sought-after producer for pop stars such as Taylor Swift, St. Vincent, Lorde, Carly Rae Jepsen and Pink) and the producer shapes her melancholy with equal amounts of sobriety and slickness. The slow rhythms on this beautiful record offer a welcome break from the turbulence of today. One of the tracks that stands out is a cover of Sublime’s Doin’ Time (1996), itself a new interpretation of Gershwin’s Summertime, offering further proof of Lana Del Rey’s originality, something which is much more complex than some would have us believe... © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 29 maart 2019 | Darkroom - Interscope Records

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“We are not serious when we are 17.” But Billie Eilish has all the marks of a serious young lady and someone who we should indeed take seriously. At the age of sixteen she released the noteworthy Don’t Smile at Me, an EP created with the help of her older brother, Finneas O’Connell. The EP is comprised of the singles Copycat, Bellyache and Ocean Eyes and was posted two years earlier on Soundcloud when Eilish was just 14 years old. Critics hailed her music due to its depiction of a lost adolescent with bleached hair, dressed in oversized sweaters. With the album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? and its strange title and shocking cover, Eilish and her dark hair flaunt their more obscure side. One is immediately struck with how well polished Finneas O’Connell’s production is after an intro in which Eilish jokingly mocks her brother for his Invisalign (a kind of invisible dental brace). The first track Bad Guy features an EDM beat which contrasts with the dreaminess of the subsequent Xanny. The rest of the album follows this trend, weaving together both harsh and soft songs combined with the mature lyrics of a girl who was diagnosed with Tourette’s at the age of 11 and speaks of Xanax and young girls descent into a hellish existence. In this mix of gloomy pop and creepy trap beats, Eilish excels. A real eye-opener. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 22 november 2019 | Parlophone UK

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Ever since Coldplay started out in 1998, their leader Chris Martin has certainly not shied away from religious references. This habit, however, seems to have reached new heights with Everyday Life, the group’s eighth album. In some cases, the spiritual outbursts are characterised by a distinct (and never over-the-top) gentleness. The simple guitar/voice/birdsong track comes WOTW/POTP to mind, as does the eight-person gospel song performed with no accompaniment (BrokEn). At other points, the musical colour and content are much more lyrical, like in Church, When I Need a Friend, and Arabesque, a call for peace. This last song features Stromae (who sings in French) and the Nigerian saxophonist Omorinmade Anikulapo-Kuti. The other “big” track on the album is Orphans: over Coldplay’s typical soaring pop-rock rhythms and a large choir, Chris Martin carries the torch for forced migrants and refugees.Divided into two parts (Sunrise and Sunset), Everyday Life constantly plays with the idea of yin and yang, something which is evident even on the album cover; the quartet pose like traditional fanfare musicians next to Friedrich Nietzsche! The image appears both the right side up and upside-down. All throughout the album, Coldplay alternates between positive energy (like on the soft voice/piano song Daddy) and anger-filled denunciations of today’s social ills (such as on the rock-guitar track Guns). Towards the end of the album we find a song with an unusual title and lyrics - for a mainstream Western album that is. Entitled بنی آدم (Children of Adam in Arabic) and beginning with a melancholic waltz on the piano, the piece was inspired by Bani Adam, a text written by the Persian poet Saadi Shirazi. Chris Martin’s spiritual, benevolent way of thinking - especially evident on this album – seems to be summed up in just the first two lines: “The children of Adam are members of a whole/In creation of one essence and soul”. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 17 april 2020 | Epic

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Pitchfork: Best New Music
Time, mercifully, has not softened Fiona Apple's edges. Her long-awaited fifth album is exciting, nervy and seemingly on the verge of collapse. Apple lets it bleed without running over the edge. On "I Want You to Love Me," her voice is Mama Cass strong; she holds notes to the point that they become something else. "Shameika" and "Cosmonauts" are sonic tornadoes, while the title track is madness with its rushed vocals, chanted chorus ("Fetch the bolt cutters/I've been in here too long"), percussive manic typing, and a barking dog. Apple's humor remains wickedly sharp. "Under The Table" is laugh out loud funny, about a dreaded dinner party: "Kick me under the table all you want, I won't shut up." Over a bed of baroque or even circus sideshow piano, she tries on Lizzo-worthy sass for "Rack of His" ("Check out that rack of his! / Look at that row of guitar necks"). Occasionally, it's all breathtaking: "For Her" snaps from playground chants fueled by #MeToo fury to a soaring swell of "Good morning! You raped me in the same bed your daughter was born in." As powerful as anything she's ever made. © Shelly Ridenour/Qobuz
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Cry

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 25 oktober 2019 | Partisan Records

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Their music has always given us that “feelin’ good” feeling, so why change tack now? With their androgynous vocals, ethereal guitars, weightless rhythms and sensual melodies, the aptly named Cigarettes After Sex would be foolish to change their style. Maybe that’s why Cry follows directly in the footsteps of their eponymous album from 2017, Cigarettes After Sex. In this second album, the Texans take their dreamy shoegaze and pop to a whole new level – it’s enchanting, cinematographic, sultry and bordering ever so slightly on erotic. All the way through Cry, Greg Gonzalez and his partners in crime Randall Miller, Jacob Tomsky and Josh Marcus have managed to make their ambient-pop music sound similar to that of Angelo Badalamenti, the usual composer for David Lynch’s productions. This album could be a soundtrack for a film without a doubt! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 10 april 2020 | Cult Records - RCA Records

Hi-Res Booklet
Finally! The Strokes never stood taller in their Conversed feet than they did at their début 20 years ago. That's quite a while to be in the wilderness. In 2001, Is This It revitalised a moribund rock. Influenced by Velvet Underground and Television but also, more surprisingly, by Pearl Jam and Nirvana according to Albert Hammond Jr., the five boys headed by Julian Casablancas, son of the boss of Elite and Miss Denmark 1965, had the perfect lo-fi, minimalist rock sound and the nonchalant punk attitude to go with it. Naturally, everything had been well thought-out. "Make it sound old but like it’s from 2001", Casablancas once said. Back to sloppy guitars, bass and drums for fucked-up-sounding tracks. Down with electronics. The first album's miracle formula eroded under the weight of subsequent releases, ego duels, experiments with kidnapped synths, and it ended with the pale Comedown Machine (2013), relegating the New Yorkers to has-been status. But The New Abnormal and its prophetic title are inspired. With its visual portrayal of Bird On Money, Basquiat's exquisite tribute to Charlie Parker, The Strokes walked that thin line between underground and popular, the salt of the 80s. In the Big Apple, with Blondie. But also in Elizabeth's Kingdom. Impossible not to think of Human League's Don’t You Want Me when hearing Brooklyn Bridge to Chorus. Or Billy Idol's sharp lyricism and Morrissey's vocals on Bad Decisions. From the opening and for 45 minutes thereafter, everything will be moving. From the relentless gimmickry of The Adults Are Talking with Casablancas' busted falsetto, to the groovy Eternal Summer that calls up shades of Roger Waters on Pigs, to a plaintive Selfless with a Chris Martin tinge: Casablanca's voice is amazing, and he finally has something to say. To put some freshness back into their maturity, and oil into the sputtering engine, the quintet called upon their "saviour" Rick Rubin, founder of Def Jam. And they struck gold. Calculated melodies that feel spontaneous, synthetic textures with old-fashioned charm, economical guitars and broken-down tempos, everything works beautifully. A work with a chipped but refined beauty, both solar and lunar, that will stand the test of time. © Charlotte Saintoin / Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 14 februari 2020 | Darkroom - Interscope Records

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 14 februari 2020 | Universal Music Australia Pty. Ltd.

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Even before this fourth Tame Impala album came out, Kevin Parker was, more than ever, everywhere! Kanye West, Kali Uchis, Lady Gaga, Travis Scott, Theophilus London, The Avalanches and a handful of others were lining up to pick the Australian’s brain in one way or another; on his part, the leader of Tame Impala has dazzled the world with his talents since 2007, blending psychedelic rock, XXL rhythms and airtight choruses. However, the ultra-hypnotic psychedelics have been put on mute for The Slow Rush, his sunniest and most hedonistic work to date. There is a serious feel-good factor to this chill, 80s-sounding album which can occasionally sound very FM even slightly cheesy… The fluffy R&B of Hall & Oates and The Bee Gees, the soft art pop/rock of 10cc or Supertramp and the polished finish of early Air music are all clear influences, with the synths tending to eclipse the guitars. But such is Kevin Parker’s talent that he submerges these inspirations in a production that is 100% 2020. The Slow Rush is a formidably effective record, and the catchy Is It True could propel it to dizzying heights. © Marc Zisman/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 23 juni 2017 | XL Recordings

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Pitchfork: Best New Reissue
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 27 februari 2020 | Because Music

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This EP from Christine And The Queens – released only a year and a half after her second album Chris – continues in the musical line that is so personal to Héloïse Létissier (Chris’ real name). Electronica from the 80s and 90s appears to still be the driving force behind the singer’s music, but there are influences from Michael Jackson and Laurie Anderson as well. That’s not where the ‘new’ aspect from the title comes from then. La Vita Nuova refers instead to the first work written by Dante in the 13th century, in which Beatrice Portinari appears, a woman that Dante is madly in love with. He experiences great suffering following her sudden disregard for him, but also develops a certain level of maturity. The emancipatory virtues of moral suffering are at the heart of this EP, especially in its cornerstone track People I’ve Been Sad: “Adolescence contrariée par un millier de chardons morts/Marcher pieds nus sur du verre et maintenant tout est plus fort (Teenage years upset by a million dead thistles/Walking barefoot on broken glass now everything is stronger). Chris seems to be playing the victim, but a former victim whose pain has made them stronger, as in Je disparais dans tes bras: “Pourrais-tu m’aimer? Ça j’en doute, quand tu prends ce que tu veux de moi” (Could you love me? I doubt it, when all you take from me is what you need). If we turn our attention to the cover, the roles appear to be reversed. Other than the vague references to The Exorcist and Mary Poppins, the image of Chris looking forlornly into the distance, leaning against a lampost on a foggy street, reminds you of Joan Bennett in Fritz Lang’s Scarlet Street (1945). Bennett plays Kitty, a scheming femme fatale who plots against Edward G. Robinson’s naïve character called… Chris. In identifying with Kitty, Christine And The Queens deploys her strength, while also endeavouring to forget her painful past. The dominance of the colour purple – which in Dante’s time was the colour of mourning – across the various imagery of the project, is telling. On Nada, over an understated but upbeat orchestration, she states loud and clear that she's “never ever coming back again”. With this collection of multilingual songs (French, English, Spanish, Italian), Christine And The Queens is drawing a new map of her life, a glittering atlas with Mountains steeper and more grandiose than ever. © Nicolas Magenham/Qobuz
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i,i

Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 9 augustus 2019 | Jagjaguwar

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen Pitchfork: Best New Music
“There’s similarities and tributaries through all the Bon Iver records leading to this one and that still flow through this one. It’s an expansive sound”. This is how Justin Vernon, the driving force behind Bon Iver, defines his fourth studio album. 12 years of his life have passed, during which his project went from the wintry solitude of For Emma, Forever Ago, to the chamber-pop spring of its eponymous record, to the feverish summer glitch storm of 22, A Million. This fourth season didn’t come easy, either. The promotional tour for the aforementioned third album ended abruptly, due to Vernon’s struggle with anxiety and depression. i,i was created in that aftermath, as a synthesis of his career – a multi-layered autumn where sonic landscapes flow one into the other, and impressionistic instrumentals, glitchy samples and vocal harmonies pile on top of each other seamlessly, before being torn away to reveal the bare bones canvas lying beneath. This retrospective approach to his music is interlaced with cryptic lyrics that seem to ponder Vernon’s misanthropic tendencies: “I should've known / That I shouldn't hide/ To compromise and to covet/ All what’s inside “ he mourns on the electro-folk crescendo of Faith, undercut by growling bass and haunting background vocals. On the album closer RABi, which is a play on the words “I could rob, bye bye”, Bon Iver seems to find peace at last, in a side nod to listeners: “Sun light feels good now, don't it? And I don't have a leaving plan/ But something's gotta ease your mind/ But it's all fine, or it's all crime anyway “. It’s a cathartic finish, for a troubled artist who seems to have temporarily fought off his demons, as well as the audience – we who’ve followed him and applauded him since the beginning. © Alexis Renaudat/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 13 november 2019 | Interscope Records

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 29 maart 2019 | Darkroom - Interscope Records

“We are not serious when we are 17.” But Billie Eilish has all the marks of a serious young lady and someone who we should indeed take seriously. At the age of sixteen she released the noteworthy Don’t Smile at Me, an EP created with the help of her older brother, Finneas O’Connell. The EP is comprised of the singles Copycat, Bellyache and Ocean Eyes and was posted two years earlier on Soundcloud when Eilish was just 14 years old. Critics hailed her music due to its depiction of a lost adolescent with bleached hair, dressed in oversized sweaters. With the album When We All Fall Asleep, Where Do We Go? and its strange title and shocking cover, Eilish and her dark hair flaunt their more obscure side. One is immediately struck with how well polished Finneas O’Connell’s production is after an intro in which Eilish jokingly mocks her brother for his Invisalign (a kind of invisible dental brace). The first track Bad Guy features an EDM beat which contrasts with the dreaminess of the subsequent Xanny. The rest of the album follows this trend, weaving together both harsh and soft songs combined with the mature lyrics of a girl who was diagnosed with Tourette’s at the age of 11 and speaks of Xanax and young girls descent into a hellish existence. In this mix of gloomy pop and creepy trap beats, Eilish excels. A real eye-opener. © Charlotte Saintoin/Qobuz
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 1 januari 2011 | Geffen

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen The Qobuz Ideal Discography - Hi-Res Audio
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 8 augustus 2019 | Elektra (NEK)

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 6 oktober 2014 | Play It Again Sam

Hi-Res Onderscheidingen 4F de Télérama - Qobuzism
De Deense singer-songwriter Agnes Obel brengt in 2013 haar tweede album uit, dat ze niet alleen zelf schrijft, maar ook produceert, arrangeert en mixt. Aventine blijkt nog sterker van haar debuutalbum. Op de plaat heeft Obel haar ingetogen songs nog verder gestroomlijnd, met als resultaat een even verstild als ontroerend album. © TiVo
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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 15 november 2019 | Caroline International (S&D)

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Alternative en Indie - Verschenen op 28 juni 2019 | Nonesuch

Hi-Res Booklet
Dan and Pat have been writing the handbook for rock’n’roll for almost 20 years. A decade after leaving their hometown Akron in Ohio for Nashville, the Black Keys have produced Let’s Rock, a sort of return to the roots of original classic rock that pays homage to the electric guitar from the very first minute to the very last. In other words, the title of the album says it all. After both having worked with various other musicians, the pair have accepted one another’s infidelities and are back together. Dan Auerbach founded the Easy Eye Sound label named after his studio in Nashville, released his second solo album, Waiting on a Song, and produced a fine selection of albums for Yola, Shannon & The Clams, Dee White, Sonny Smith, Robert Finley and Gibson Brothers. Meanwhile, Pat Carney produced and recorded music with Calvin Johnson Michelle Branch, Tobias Jesso, Jr., Jessy Wilson, Tennis, Repeat Repeat, Wild Belle, Sad Planets Turbo Fruits and many more, and last but not least, he wrote the theme-song for BoJack Horseman on Netflix. After this success, Auerbach admits that it felt like the perfect time for their reunion, “That period really cleared my mind, and it made it so much more enjoyable when I got back together with Pat, because we’d had all that time off. I feel like the record is a testament to that feeling”.Let’s Rock revisits all the great big seventies guitar sounds that the duo admire. A vast array ranges from Glenn Schwartz and Joe Walsh from James Gang to Billy Gibbons from ZZ Top and Stealers Wheel (Sit Around and Miss You is very similar to Stuck in the Middle With You), T. Rex, Link Wray (Polydor period), Blue Öyster Cult and many more. “I didn’t want to overthink it” adds Auerbach. “I wanted it to feel spontaneous. I wanted to be able to record something not dissimilar to ‘Louie Louie’ and be perfectly happy with it. I was looking for the Troggs!”. “Funny, I was looking for the Stooges ‘Down on the Street’”, laughs Carney, who insists on his love for “big and dumb songs. They’re my favourite. I think on this record Dan and I came to a similar place in terms of what we wanted.  I was sitting in my studio for the last year just playing electric guitar, and for the first time in a while, Dan was playing a lot of electric guitar. The record is like a homage to electric guitar [..] We took a simple approach and trimmed all the fat like we used to”. All that now remains is the meat, the best bit! © Marc Zisman/Qobuz

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Alternative en Indie in het magazine