The Knife

Photos: The Knife @ Aragon Ballroom (Chicago), 4/13/14

Swedish electro-pop duo The Knife (comprised of siblings Karin Dreijer Andersson and Olof Dreijer) brought their Shaking The Habitual tour to Chicago’s Aragon Ballroom Wednesday night, and with it a troupe of vocalists and choreographers clad in matching satin jumpsuits.

†‡† (Ritualz): Anonymous Witch-House Musician Draws from Pop’s Dark Side

This story first appeared in Chromatic: The Crossroads of Color and Music. Order your copy today.

Ritualz: CDR†‡†: CDR (Disaro, 9/10/10)

†‡†: “gOth bb”

[audio:|titles=†‡† (Ritualz): “Goth BB”]

Behind the dark electronica of †‡† (vocalized and alternately written as Ritualz) stands an anonymous, soft-spoken man. The latter is confirmed in fragmented bits over the phone, before technological limitations force the conversation to Google Chat. Once online, he explains that he’d prefer to keep his regular location to himself, though he divulges that he’s staying with family in Mexico City and has a date to perform in Monterrey, Mexico the following week. (San Marino, the location listed on his MySpace profile, is a red herring.)

An instant-message interview is very fitting; nearly everything about Ritualz’ short music career has happened on the Internet. Two days after making a MySpace profile showcasing a handful of gloomy trip-hop tracks under his nom de guerre, he signed to Houston-based micro-label Disaro. Run by Robert Disaro, the Disaro label is a standard bearer for a nascent electronic sub-genre that most are calling “witch house,” and Ritualz’ compelling mix of drone, synth hop, and industrial is a perfect fit.

Love is All

Love is All: Telling Stories with Raucous, Lo-Fi Pop

Gothenberg, Sweden-based band Love is All hails from a historic city with a burgeoning indie-music scene. Unlike its contemporaries, the band’s noisy, guitar-driven pop songs are bolstered by an undercurrent of recklessness.

Morrow vs. Hajduch

Morrow vs. Hajduch: Austra’s Feel It Break

Scott Morrow is ALARM’s music editor. Patrick Hajduch is a very important lawyer. Each week they debate the merits of a different album.

Austra: Feel It BreakAustra: Feel It Break (Domino, 5/17/11)

Austra: “Beat and the Pulse”

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Morrow: A DIY advocate from the Toronto underground, singer/multi-instrumentalist Katie Stelmanis is the force behind Austra, a new electro-pop trio that incorporates an operatic flare.  Stelmanis grew up learning the viola and piano while also singing in the Canadian Children’s Opera Chorus, and that vibrato vocal ability is what carries this Austra debut.

The musical complexity isn’t as pronounced here as it was on Stelmanis’ solo debut, Join Us, which preceded Feel It Break.  But both albums channel a moody yet melodic dance/electronic sound — a style that’s sure to draw comparisons to The Knife.

Fever Ray: A Member Of The Knife Comes To A Fork In The Road

Karin Dreijer Andersson of The Knife devotes 2009 to her new solo project, transitioning from techno and experimental sounds to organic instrumentation and motherly lyrics inspired by her children, while maintaining the ambiguity, abstraction and strangeness within her music.