Fredrik: Flora (The Kora, 4/12/11)
Fredrik: “Rites of Spring”[audio:http://alarm-magazine.com/wp-content/uploads/2011/04/rites-of-spring.mp3|titles=Fredrik: “Rites of Spring”]
Fredrik is an experimental folk-pop band from Malmö, Sweden. On its newest album, the simply titled, elegantly crafted Flora, layers of organic instrumentation meet dark, thundering electronic elements. As its name alludes, it was recorded in the band’s own “ramshackle garden studio.” In this piece for ALARM, the band decided to go to an eccentric local flower store to explore the theme of its new album.
The Flowers of Flora
As you may or may not know, we are Fredrik, a band from Sweden. We’ll be releasing our third album soon called Flora. People have started describing it as being about “things that grow.” Fair enough. But we always start out building on dream stuff and freewheeling association. So when a music journalist recently asked us, “Dewds, which flower is this record about?” we sort of didn’t agree.
One of us said, “All of them.” The other person said, “The ones that grow in darkness.” Third person said, “It isn’t.” So, to settle the confusion, we figured that we’d find out for real. In our neighbourhood in Malmö, there’s a really old, strange flower store that literally has 10,000 varieties of exotic plants (allegedly the biggest collection in the whole of Europe). So we headed there, intent on finding the all-star representative of this album’s alt-conscious musical theme. Here’s the top 15.
The Flower Store
15. Some damn orchid
Okay. Thank you. Nice. But here’s one for the record: orchids are for wimps.
14. Aomorian Biscuit Belly
We Wikied this. Aomori is a town on the island of Hokkaido, Japan. Supposed to be really pretty there. No idea about the rest. Somebody probably just made it up.
13. 10-Ribboned Agave
Y’all think these are aloes, right? Nope. These guys are kind of hard and had a weird smell, a bit like coconut without the sweetness.
12. The “Northern Hemisphere” section
Right: Saskatchewan Bellwhistle
Center: ignorant bystanders
11. White flowers
Imagine these guys in tacky blue. Would have made top three, easy.
10. The mysterious entertainer
The weirdest thing about this guy wasn’t the outfit, the sax, the makeup, or the demon horn, but the AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) tattoos on his eyelids. Feel like he’s trying to say something. Is he happy? Can we help him? Is that makeup or just a seriously boozed-up sniffer? Can you still be anonymous if you’re an alt-celebrity and everyone knows you’re doing it?
9. Manchurian Scorpionette
Ola stung his hand so bad on one of these babies that we thought he was gonna faint. Props. Nature vs. nurture, 1-0.
Carp are kinda chill. They live for 100 years, survive in just about any kind of water, and actually put up with honky-ass tourists and cameras EVERY day without having a mental breakdown.
7. Some flower
Imperfection is emotional. Eno said that once about voices (and possibly also speakers). People generally take that guy very seriously. We think he has a cool name.
6. Polynesian Walnut Bush
Fred mostly thought this photo looked like some ad for a crappy Web firm, or something out of an entry-level photo magazine.
5. Amphibious Morning Glory
No idea. Feel like this would make a good album title if we played chill-wave-type music.
4. Sicilian Giant Poppy
These guys were like chunky rods where you could actually feel stuff moving inside. Scary as hell. And sort of made you want to take a bite.
3. The Rejects
You probably get the beauty in this. If not, you may want to consider clicking the “close” button at the top left (Mac) or right (PC) corner of the screen.
2. Green Plant
Small, unassuming, and very likable. Fred’s fave. For some weird reason, “extrapris” means bargain in Swedish. That’s handy to know if you ever go thrifting or shopping for groceries in Sweden. Other common misnomers include “slutrea,” which means final sale, and “infart,” which means car entrance. Swedish can be strange for English speakers.
1. The Junior Kentucky Mayhems
These guys reeled us in right away. There’s like a thick fur on them, with the prickly things underneath. The clerk said they’re also poisonous. If you took a bunch of German art rockers and buried them in ice for 12 centuries, this is how they would come out. There was no sign or name tag, but a torn newspaper was lying next to them. The words “Junior,” “Kentucky,” and “Mayhem” sorta lined up at the front.
Should we really do this?
O: You know what? We could just ditch this ALARM thing, use this for a press shot, and go get ready for that festival in Cowboyland.
F: I don’t know. I’m not feeling this shot. Your camera is in the frame, your hand looks like a skeleton hand, you’re doing the scary professor face, AND someone put a red lame-ass tuque on your head that makes you look like you think you’re in a Wes Anderson movie.
O: WAIT a minute! Deep-sea divers in France wore these tuques in the early days, like early 1900s. Made their helmets sit really soft on their heads so they could even out the pressure by bumping the regulator with the forehead. And it made them easy to spot in the water. It does NOT have anything to do with Hollywood.
F: People are still gonna think you’d blow Mr. W for a pack of straights.
O: Drop dead. I don’t even smoke.
A: There’s a huge white flower sticking out of Fred’s nose.
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