Today's song of the day comes from an utterly bewitching Swedish duo known as jj. Comprised of Joakim Benon and Elin Kastlander, the group is in the midst of embarking on its first ever tour of the States with xx, a kindred act with an equally google defying moniker. Bummer or all bummers: The tour bypasses Denver, unfortunately.
We caught the act a few weeks ago at South By Southwest, though, and while from a pure entertainment standpoint, the stage show -- essentially Kastlander seated cross-legged, center stage in a darkened sanctuary, lit only by the lights bleeding in from the foyer, crooning in front of random projections to pre-recorded tracks -- is boring as fuck (seriously. If you're looking for bombast, flashing lights and pyrotechnics, go see KISS), the sound, setting (Central Presbyterian Church in downtown Austin) and experience was magnificent.
When we closed our eyes and listened to Kastlander's gorgeous vocals pinball off the cathedral ceiling, the experience was beyond rapturous -- particularly this song, "Let Go," which we've been madly in love with for a while now. The song, which sounds like Dido channeling Bjork as filtered through Basia, is fantastic. The video for this one, meanwhile, you'll notice, is rather odd and mildly disturbing toward the end.
Not unlike jj itself, which is "artfully enigmatic," as the lastFM.com listing so eloquently puts its. I mean, we are talking about an act, whose history is a bit of a mystery, that samples Charles Manson and Lil Wayne, for chrissakes. Oh and don't miss the line in "Let Go," sung with innocuous charm, "Take me away like an overdose of heroin."
A few hours after their set in Austin (their first show in this country, near as we can tell), we quite literally ran into the pair in front of the Omni Hotel, and had the chance to ask them a few quick questions about their time in Austin and their impressions of America thus far, as well as the significance of numbering their albums (the trio of releases, out on theSecretly Canadian
imprint, are tersely titled nº 1, nº 2 and nº 3, respectively).
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MP3: "Let Go" by jj
jj with XX
04/02 - Boston, MA - Paradise 04/04 - Toronto, ON - Phoenix Theatre 04/05 - Columbus, OH - Wexner Center 04/06 - Bloomington, IN - Buskirk Chumley Theater 04/08 - Chicago, IL - Lincoln Hall 04/09 - Minneapolis, MN - Varsity Theatre 04/12 - Bellingham, WA - The Nightlight Lounge 04/13 - Vancouver, BC - Commodore Ballroom 04/14 - Portland, OR - Crystal Ballroom 04/16 - San Francisco, CA - Bottom of the Hill