epo-555 in U.S. Next Week; Album Out
Mikkel Max Hansen, of Danish synth alt-pop groups epo-555 and Oliver North Boy Choir has been in touch. Seems I inadvertently married his wife/current ONBC bandmate/former epo-555 bandmate Camilla Florentz to their ONBC bandmate Ivan Petersen in a recent post. So to clear that up: it's Hansen and Florentz who are married and Florentz is not married to both of them (as far as I know. I can't swear there is no secret bigamous marriage. How would I know? That's not how secrets work. But there probably is no secret bigamous marriage.)
Fortunately, Hansen took the mis-husbanding well. It might have helped that the rest of the post contained a lot of praise for his bands' music. It very likely helped that he was writing with very good news.
epo-555's second album, last year's Mafia (which followed 2004's Dexter Fox) has now been released in the United States, by Rykodisc.
Plus, the band is traveling to the Eastern U.S. for a mini-tour. There will be one show each for for some lucky people in Brooklyn, Manhattan, Hoboken, and Boston.
Hansen sent 3 MP3s that might make those of us nowhere near those cities pretty jealous. 2 are from Mafia; the other is from the Radioaktiv - Mafia Fallout 7" EP, which hasn't been released in the States but is available through Vibrashop, the mail order arm of the band's Danish record label, Crunchy Frog.
"Examinor no. 39" is amazing. The poetic lyrics tell a touching story and are sweetly sung. The tale is drenched in guitars and synth until it sparkles, but it's the spark of a dancefloor, thanks in no small part to some tight drum work.
The song is about someone who inspects decks of playing cards. Hansen told me, "I found the title on a little piece of paper in a deck of cards one time in Arizona, and I imagined the guy (#39) examining the cards to see if they're all there." He decided to "send him off to a better destiny," to the San Fernando Valley, in Los Angeles.
Yes, an L.A. blog got an L.A. song. Hansen says epo-555 doesn't have a Boston or New York song, so we have that going for us, which is nice. (Oregon and Berlin also have bragging rights to epo-555 songs.)
epo-555 - Examinor No. 39 (on Mafia)
During most of "Hyperschlieb", the tune sweetly soars in a way that's a bit reminiscent of Stars, but as the song moves toward its closure, heavier guitars move it into more Radiohead-like territory. A very layered sound, with drums, guitar, vocals, and lots of synth, gradually narrows to just a guitar, and then to nothing. Perfect.
epo-555 - Hyperschlieb (on Mafia)
"Grisslappan-Radioactive" is filled with handclaps and synth. When done well, that's a way to my heart. This is done very well. Infectious alt-pop; the male/female harmonies work very well and sound just right with the male lead vocals. More on love and space from epo-555, to a pop beat.
epo-555 - Grisslappan-Radioactive (on Radioaktiv - Mafia Fallout 7" EP, which includes 3 other songs, including the excellent "Sugarspiced Suicide" and a cover of Depeche Mode's "Stripped")
epo-555 began with Hans Emil (bass, synth), Camilla Florentz (vocals, synth, melodica), Ebbe Frej (drums, guitar, bass, electronics), and Mikkel Max Hansen (vocals, bass, guitar, electronics). When Florentz left the band last summer, Linda Bonde joined... for a while, anyway. Tine Winther will be with the band, at least for the tour, and her official duties are "vocals and electronics". But what of the melodica? Won't somebody please think of the melodica? Hope you get melodica, east coast. Either way, it should be a great show.
Leipzig, Germany gets treated to epo-555 with a Festival (or "Fetzival") appearance in August, and hopefully many more dates will be announced later.
epo-555's Upcoming Shows:
June 25 - Brooklyn - Union Hall (8:00 PM, with Taxi Taxi, $7)
June 26 - Manhattan - 200 Orchard (8:00 PM)
June 27 - Hoboken, NJ - Maxwell's (8:00 PM according to the band's website, 9:00 PM according to Maxwell's, with "special guests", $7)
June 28 - Boston - PA's Lounge (8:00 PM according to band's website, doors 8:30 according to PA's Lounge website, with The Daily Pravda and Polarbaron, 18+, tickets $7 for 21+ $10 for 18-20)
August 10 - Leipzig - Fetzival (8:00 PM)
Rykodisc has a Mafia e-card with clips of all the songs on the album. Impressive stuff. These Danish kids will go far... even farther than - bah - New York.
The video for "Pre-Emptive Stroke" (from the band's first album, Dexter Fox):