More Wildbirds & Peacedrums
This is not the usual kind of thing I post. But I'm becoming increasingly obsessed with the Swedish duo Wildbirds & Peacedrums, whom I blogged about a month or two back, after spending a goodly chunk of time with their forthcoming album, The Snake, as well as their debut, Heartcore. (I know, right? But listen a time or two, and you'll forgive the title.)
Wildbirds & Peacedrums are a very different band, and not just because they've got the whole husband-wife thing going on. They're minimalists, but not in the usual way. Most of their songs are constructed of Andreas Wallentin's sparse, muscular drumming and Mariam Wallentin's mercurial voice; a goodly portion of the new album features no "tonal" instruments whatsoever—just drum kit and bellow. On others, vibraphones, bells and autoharp come into play, but it's just shading. Wallentin carries it all, in a voice that reminds me variously of PJ Harvey, Cat Power, Kate Bush. Sometimes their songs make me think of Swans—even though, oddly enough, these all-acoustic jams sound more like the early, punishing Swans than their later, acoustic incarnation. (Not that these songs are punishing. You'll have to trust me, or better yet, prove me wrong so I can figure out where I'm going with that thought.) I get a touch of White Magic's rude folk, but W&B are less lush, less rosy; more like a hunk of coal than a drying thistle. Their psychedelia sounds less like freak-folk's feathery thatching than the Boredoms' primal hammer. Somehow, I suspect, at least one copy of Folkways' great Mountain Music of Kentucky (Amazon) found its way to Gothenburg, at some point.
Here, W&P perform for Bandstand Busking, somewhere in a park in drizzly London. (Appropriately, they are shielded by a bandstand.) I didn't know about the series until now, but it looks promising: also featured are similarly low-key, public performances from the likes of Hauschka, Black Lips, Gregory and the Hawk, Loney Dear, Psapp, Asobi Seksu, Of Montreal and others.) After catching Cortney Tidwell's awesome live show last night (culminating in a solo performance on drums, Casio and voice all at once), I can only hope to find her archived here soon as well.