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Alternative & Indie - Released May 10, 2019 | Fire Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released February 26, 2019 | Fire Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released April 12, 2019 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released May 13, 2016 | Fire Records

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Following their debut EP, which presented their sound in already perfected form, Death and Vanilla's self-titled first LP expanded upon and further explored aspects of that sound on its way to being a fantastic debut. Marleen Nilsson and Anders Hansson were obviously fans of bands like Stereolab and Broadcast, who melded space age pop, atmospheric soundtrack music, swirling psych pop, and beat-driven German experimentalism from the '70s into an endlessly tuneful and dreamy package. Like on their debut EP, the duo take that basic approach and make it even wispier and more dreamlike than any similar band who had come before them. Listening to Death and Vanilla in one sitting is like taking a half-hour long waking nap as you let the sounds wash over you while Nilsson's exceedingly gentle vocals comfort you, and the cascading synths, bells, guitars, and samples that bubble through every inch of the arrangements fill you with a kind of warm wonderment. There are no rough edges, no sudden shifts in dynamics, no guitar solos or expressions of abandon; instead, the album is precise and soothing from start to finish. Some of the songs stand out a little, like the shuffling "Somnambulists," which would have sounded perfect coming over a radio in the lobby of the Great Northern hotel, or the almost Plone-like "Library Goblin," if Plone had Trish Keenan's sister singing for them. Mostly though, they fit together like cloud formations on a beautifully overcast day, creating a tapestry of sonic death and melancholy feelings. Not since the heyday of the bands that so clearly inspire them has a band so successfully re-created the sound of that era. Clearly, Death and Vanilla would have fit in perfectly next to Mars Audiac Quintet or The Noise Made by People on a discerning music fan's shelf in the early 2000s, and it sounds even better in 2012. ~ Tim Sendra

Rock - Released September 22, 2017 | Fire Records

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In 2015, Death and Vanilla reimagined the score for the 1976 Roman Polanski film The Tenant for a live screening at the Cinemascore festival in Spain. The core trio of the band, Marleen Nilsson, Anders Hansson, and Magnus Bodin, laid down mysterious and spooky sounds on a small variety of vintage keyboards; added bass, bells, and drums when needed; and created music that stands on its own apart from the film. The mood the music creates as it oscillates and rumbles is one of unbroken gloom and suspense delivered with graceful simplicity. The musicians never play more than they need to, laying back in order to create a unified front and sounding like the house band at a David Lynch cocktail party on "Zy and Choule," or the hold music at the Roadhouse on "Walls Have Teeth." Only around the record's midway point, when the drums kick in on "Mouvement Panique" and bust the seams open like Art Blakey on a bender, does the mood shatter just a bit. It snaps right back into place right after that and the music continues to lurk menacingly ("Dioz Delirium"), hide in the shadows ("Everything Is Always Happening"), and finally split apart ("The Bouncing Head") in shards of fuzztone-driven guitar. While it totally lacks the peaceful warmth that Death and Vanilla's non-soundtrack albums transmit, the group proves so expert at making such utterly haunted music that these elements aren't missed at all. The band could easily have a dual career crafting spooky, ghost-filled albums like this for, say, Ghost Box, while still making great pop albums for Fire too. ~ Tim Sendra
EP

Rock - Released May 13, 2016 | Fire Records

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Swedish duo Death and Vanilla arrived fully formed, as their debut self-titled EP shows that they had their sound down right away. Mixing the finely layered sound of '90s bands like Stereolab and Broadcast with atmospheric soundtrack music influences and a healthy interest in vintage keyboards, they came up with something instantly familiar while still being idiosyncratic enough to sound fresh. Plus, they had a knack for combining their pristinely wrought sound with songs that sneak into the listener's consciousness and lodge themselves firmly there. Released in a very limited edition in 2010, the EP contains four songs that are equally impressive. Whether it's the thumping drone of the opening "Ghost in the Machine," the spookily pretty "Godspeed," the reverb-drowned psychedelic rambler "Run Rabbit Run," or the soundtracky ballad "The Colour of Space," the band shows no growing pains or learning curve. They just sound great right from the beginning, ready-made and full of promise (and also a very worthy heir to bands like Broadcast that so obviously inspired them). ~ Tim Sendra

Alternative & Indie - Released November 24, 2017 | Fire Records

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Rock - Released May 13, 2016 | Fire Records

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Alternative & Indie - Released May 19, 2017 | Fire Records

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It's no surprise that when the 2012 Fantastisk Filmfestival in Lund, Sweden needed a band to score a screening of Carl Theodor Dreyers' classic 1932 horror movie Vampyr, they turned to fellow Swedes Death and Vanilla. The duo's debut album from earlier in the year had shown that they were making expansive, cinematic-leaning music already and obviously had the skill set to make it work. Expanding from the core duo of Marleen Nilsson (organ, sampler) and Anders Hansson (guitar, zither, sampler) to include Magnus Bodin on Moog, Petter Herbertsson on bass, and Magnus Westerholm on vibes and percussion, the band captures the spooky, foreboding mood of horror with a light touch that weaves a spell of ominous beauty throughout the 70-plus-minute running time. Listening to them play live as the film unspooled was probably the ideal way to experience the music, but it stands on its own very well. The arrangements are well thought out and executed, full of interesting twists and turns as the instruments appear and vanish and the mood shifts and alters. It was a wise choice from the festival heads to hire the band, which came through with a very compelling, highly listenable score. It was first released on cassette by Moon Glyph in 2013, then on a limited-edition run on vinyl by Kalligrammofon in 2014 with the addition of nine minutes of music from an early rehearsal. Death and Vanilla's record label, Fire, then gave the music the wide release it deserved in 2017. ~ Tim Sendra