Another Juggle

Top 5 album picks of 2016

As each year comes to a close, I’m left to reflect on the incredibly rich plethora of music that has graced my ears. This music reaches my ears in many ways. It comes from friends, acquaintances, musicians I’ve never heard of whom I hope to meet and hear live someday, and PR agents from all over the world, to name a few. Just like last year, I reached out to two of my favorite similarly music-adoring fanatical friends: Mark Levy of Bozeman’s own Ranges and Brian Haviland, a decade long friend who still finds time to talk music with me despite our geographical distance, his demanding job and his new (more?) demanding job as a father.

A little late this year but better late than never, here are the top 5 albums (5.5 from Mark because he can never stick to only 5) and the greatest song from each album, according to Deann Snyder (MFL), Mark Levy (Ranges) and Brian Haviland (Alaska-based music-loving smarty pants father).

Here is a playlist of all the favorite tracks as well:

 

Brian Haviland (from favorite to 5th favorite)

1.Teens of Denial by Car Seat Headrest

Fav track: “Drunk Drivers/Killer Whales”

2.The Hope Six Demolition Project by PJ Harvey

Fav track: “Orange Monkey

3.Human Performance by Parquet Courts

Fav track: “Human Performance”

4.A Moon Shaped Pool by Radiohead

Fav track: “Burn the Witch”

5. Next Thing by Frankie Cosmos

Fav track: “If I Had a Dog”

Mark Levy (in no particular order)

1. Hypercaffium Spazzinate by Descendants

Fav track: “Shameless Halo”

2. Magma by Gojira

Fav track: “The Cell”

3.Real by Lydia Loveless

Fav track: “Out on Love”

4.United Crushers by Polica

Fav track: “Someway”

5. The Impossible Kid by Aesop Rock

Fav track: “Blood Sandwich”

5.5 Heaven or Somewhere In Between by Kitten

Fav track: “Knife”

MFL (in no particular order)

1. Beneath a Yellow Moon by I Have a Tribe

Fav track: “La Neige”

2. Jumping the Shark by Alex Cameron

Fav track: “Holding Roses”

3. Dance Sunshine, Dance by Another Juggle

Fav track: “Not Now”

4. Shoo by Lionlimb

Fav track: “Just Because”

5. Feet First by Nive and The Deer Children

Fav track: “Are You Ready”

 

Album Review: “Dance Sunshine, Dance” by Another Juggle

Another Juggle is an indie electronic band made up of four insanely talented and dedicated musicians, based out of Copenhagen, Denmark. Last year MFL had the chance to Skype interview the band and they were gracious enough to sacrifice a bit of their rehearsal time for me. The conversation started with Emil Eggert Scherrebeck (drums, synths) and Anders Cederblad Knudsen (percussion, additional vocals, guitars) but about halfway through, Thomas Haahr (guitars) joined in and finally near the end of our conversation, Nikolaj Dalsgård (vocals) showed up. We covered a lot of ground and if you’re interested in hearing/reading what we talked about, check it out here! It’s fully equipped with both text and sound bites of the interview.

 Since the release of Another Juggle’s tracks “Dance Sunshine, Dance” and “Not Now” and now the release of their full length, they’ve gained great momentum in Scandinavia and worldwide. They’ve been recognized both on the radio and the track “Not Now” found itself a spot on the “Best Songs of April 2016” Spotify playlist for Indie Underground. The band seeks inspiration for their sound from contemporary 80’s-inspired bands like Wild Nothing and Twin Shadow and bands that strike closer to home like Danish bands, The Kissaway Trail and Mew. Another Juggle’s music is doused in a reinvented 80’s sound that is truly unique to them.

This record comes from a group of musicians who care deeply about the process of writing the lyrics and music. They work painstakingly to achieve the best possible sound, rhythm and overall mood for each and every track. I could hear this drive during our interview and you can hear it in all of their songs. From start to finish, each track is carefully crafted, layered and produced in a way to give the listener the utmost joy in the experience of listening and to communicate the message and emotion of the track as purely as possible.

The record opens with my personal favorite, “Not Now.” It’s the perfect example of the flawless layering complexity between vocals and instrumentals. Everything feels right. The guitar, the synthesizers, the rise and fall in volume and the lyrics all come together to create a what I would call the perfect electronic/dream pop bit of ear candy.

 

 

Following is the title track, “Dance Sunshine, Dance”, which is equally as drenched in synthesizers in their finest form but is a bit more danceable than “Not Now.” In fact, it’s next to impossible to not dance to this track given the fact that the lyrics are begging you to dance. One aspect of this record and of the band themselves is their love of and ability with the English language. They take lyricism seriously. The poetry within their lyrics is equally as important as the instrumental aspect. They created a stunning music video for the track in collaboration with Emil’s cousin, Peter Scherrebeck Hansen.

 

The album is an amalgamation of tracks about love in all it’s beautiful and not-so-beautiful forms. The band pulls from personal experiences, wrapping their stories in synth and guitar-driven melodies. Within the track “Faceless/Demon” lies one of my favorite lyrics.

Leave me carefully, I’m someone’s son.

 This is a perspective that is difficult to have or realize when you love someone.

 “Faceless/Demon” is less of a dance-inducing track compared to others on the record but it and the previous track, “All Your Charms”, allow the listener to catch their breath and drown in the 80’s goodness.

The pace of the record picks up again with the infectious track, “Cities Crash”, and then gently brings you back down with “Climb”, a truly gorgeous piece. It’s clear the order in which tracks were put on this record is important to the band. Each track compliments the one before and after and highlights the bands’ ability to generate a record with ten truly unique tracks that still are part of something coherent and beautiful.

I congratulate Another Juggle on their debut record and can hardly wait to hear what’s next. You can find Dance Sunshine, Dance on Spotify, Bandcamp and iTunes now.

Top 20 From the Last 9 Weeks!

Hard to believe it’s been 9 weeks since I did the last top 20. SUMMER SLOW DOWN, PLEASE! Pump the breaks on your summer and have a listen:

Special Feature: Episode 292 of The Justin Wayne Show

I had the absolute pleasure of sharing some of my favorite music on The Justin Wayne Show this past Monday, June 29th. The show streams live online every Monday from 1-3pm Mountain Standard Time and is available in Podcast form by the Wednesday after. The Justin Wayne Show is the ultimate supporter of independent musicians and is run by Justin Wayne in Bozeman, MT and Claire Rozario in London who sift through tons of artists’ submissions every week. It’s “music’s independent spirit.”

Not only did I get to share some of my current favorite music, I also developed a taste for many of the artists they shared on the show that day!

The link below will take you to the entire episode:

http://thejustinwayneshow.com/2015/07/tjws-292-deann-snyder-from-musicforlunch-com/

Interview: In depth with the Danish dreampoppers, Another Juggle

It was 11am Mountain Standard Time in Bozeman, Montana and 7pm in Copenhagen where Danish-originating dreampop group, Another Juggle lives, when I had the opportunity to Skype with all four of the band members. As both our days in either location are getting longer and longer, Copenhagen days have Bozeman days beat as the sun doesn’t really go down there right now. Ideal conditions for letting band practice go deep into the night, without even knowing it. I was sipping coffee and they were sipping on some brews. I was in the comfort of my home at my dining room table and they were in the comfort of their cozy studio space, surrounded by synthesizers. There was much laughter going on in both locations throughout the interview. It was a very delightful conversation and I hope it’s not our last!

The conversation started with Emil Eggert Scherrebeck (drums, synths) and Anders Cederblad Knudsen (percussion, additional vocals, guitars) but about halfway through, Thomas Haahr (guitars) joined in and finally near the end of our conversation, Nikolaj Dalsgård (vocals) showed up. Emil, Nikolaj and Thomas are all from Jutland but Anders is from a city near Copenhagen. After nearly 10 years in Copenhagen they now call it their home. It is THE place in Denmark to be a musician. Emil and Anders both trained as drummers since their childhood. Thomas learned many instruments including cornet in a brass band and choir but had a true moment of musical realization when he picked up his father’s Spanish guitar. Nikolaj came from a musical family and has been playing the drums for 15 years including time at a musical conservatory, until Anders heard him sing. Now Nikolaj is a singer!

Read and listen below for more:

MFL: How long have you guys been playing together?

AJ: Well, this band has existed for almost 3 years but before that, the four (Another Juggle: Nikolaj, Anders, Thomas and Emil) of us and two other guys had another band called, and don’t get it wrong, From the Foxhole. Yeah foxhole not F#*K hole.

MFL: I heard Foxhole, don’t worry.

AJ: I spoke to another American who thought it was “f#*khole” and he was like you can’t call your band “f*#Khole!” The old band split up after recording an EP and then two of the guys left the band and the four of us just continued in the new band.

MFL: Do you have a similar sound?

AJ: No, not at all! The old sound was quite dark. Really dark. Kind of The National. But we wanted to take it in a different direction.

MFL: Do you miss that all or do you like what you do now better?

AJ: I think we do like the new sound better. It appeals more to us and also to more people in general I think.

Listen below to our chat about the origin of their band name, Another Juggle:

MFL: You told me that From the Foxhole was a little bit darker like The National sound. Where did the inspiration come from for the more electronic sound that Another Juggle has?

AJ: I think we started listening to a lot of bands from the 80s inspired phase like Wild Nothing and Twin Shadow.

Below is a playlist of musicians who are a source of Another Juggle’s musical inspiration:

MFL: Any actual 80s bands?

AJ: Talking Heads, The Smiths, Kate Bush. And also we listen to a lot of new indie music like Youth Lagoon and Cut Copy, Australian band and also Grizzly Bear and Beach house. Also a band like Blood Orange actually. We kind of like the mix of the 80s sound and the indie song writing.  And the special sound from Scandinavia. The melancholic sound from the place we grew up from the dark weather.

MFL: Do you think that actually has an influence?

AJ: Yes, we think so! I guess it’s like the northern part of the US produces a lot of bands with a darker sound and more melancholic and CA produces a lot of bands with light beats and a lighter touch.  Also our song writing has always been very melancholic and dark so we kind of wanted to sort of contrast that against the sound of the music.

AJ (Thomas): Deep down inside somewhere I had been listening to electronic music before I started playing guitar for the band.  Sort of going back to the roots of what I did before I even joined the band

Listen below to hear about working on their new album.

MFL: Is this your practice studio only or where you record, too?

AJ: Both. Every now and then vocals are recorded at Nikolaj’s place but usually everything is done here. A lot of the song writing is done in our different bedrooms where we cry our hearts out onto the paper. The paper is all wet from the tears!

We chatted for awhile about the infamous Morten Bue. A well known producer and mix master who lives in Copenhagen Denmark. Click here to check out his website. Morten Bue mixes for some of Another Juggle’s favorite Danish bands like Mew and Kissaway Trail, both of which were represented in the “In Between Another Juggle’s Ears” playlist. They found Morten through a friend in a band called The Rumor Said Fire, who also had Morten mix their music. The rest is history!

MFL: Do you play live a lot?

AJ: Not together in this project. We’ve been focusing quite a lot on writing and recording. We hope to play a lot more live when we release the album. Before this project, the old band played a lot. Like A LOT. Almost every venue in Copenhagen that I can think of. We’re hoping to visit a lot of Danish festivals next summer and maybe get to do some warm up gigs for Danish bands around Denmark. Maybe this fall as well. Very much depends on if our songs make it to the radio. If you can manage that, it will be very possible. You never know, though.

For a moment, I got to be interviewed! Thomas was very curious about how I found their music. I admitted it was random chance as I was home alone on a Saturday night, creating my weekly playlist. Listen below to our conversation about what they think of Soundcloud and how they find out their music is making it out into the world.

We next discussed what they all do outside of music. All of them, besides Emil who goes to school for comparative literature and writes for a Danish newspaper, are teachers. Anders teaches Danish, history and religion, Thomas teaches mathematics and music and Nikolaj just finished his education to teach gym class, music and mathematics.

I asked them what their game plan was for practice that night and we also talked about how they go about writing songs. This song features a track of theirs called “Cuddle Guy.”

Emil then described the creative process for their new music video for “Dance Sunshine, Dance.”

AJ (Emil): We made the video because we wanted to do something special when we released our first single. My cousin Peter (Scherrebeck Hansen) is a video artist. I’ve known him for my whole life but as we are getting older and are getting more dedicated to making our different kinds of art we started talking a lot and I just figured he would be perfect for the job. So we played the song for him and he came up with a beautiful and intense video.

MFL: How do you incorporate your personal experiences into the lyrics collectively, though since you have different experiences?

AJ (Emil and Anders): We don’t do it collectively actually. It’s mostly me and Anders who are writing songs right now. We just write the lyrics and the melodies. Then we bring it to the studio and we all collectively record the song but the songwriting is individually done. In our different bedrooms! We try to make the sketches or the things we come with as simple as possible. The melody and the text and maybe some guitar chords. Not a lot of things going on so there’s a lot of room to interpret so it can be made into a songs that is ours. That way you’re not already stuck with an arrangement or a way of thinking of that song when the other guys join in. It can be turned into anything.

After speaking for over an hour and a half we realized I needed to get back to work and they needed to rehearse. It was difficult to end the conversation. I felt like I was saying good bye to old friends. They were so endearing and genuine. We chatted about Carlsberg beer for a few minutes before parted ways as they promised that next time I visit Copenhagen, we’ll have to get a beer together. Thank you Nikolaj, Anders, Thomas and Emil for your time and for putting your music on this earth.