Múm – I Can’t Feel My Hand Any More

Mum the bandMúm (pronounced “moom”) are from Iceland.

I first heard them this afternoon on a lovingly crafted mixtape. Mixtapes are tough because they’re rarely something you can play all the way through. They tend to be a very particular slice of someone else’s taste – even though invariably done with you in mind. Sadly, if you’re anything like picky about your music you normally only tickle your way through it once and then leave it on the back of your desk with the old pizza crusts and dead flies.

From 20 tracks on my mixtape there were only 4 that I enjoyed, one of them being a track by Múm. I really like this kind of electronica, with the occasional soft vocal on some tracks and weird clicky percussion. It’s like Radiohead without the mmm, oh so very public masturbation.

Múm were formed in 1997 by original members Gunnar Örn Tynes and Örvar Þóreyjarson Smárason (‘Orvyporsmar’ to his mates), who were joined a year later by twin sisters Gyða and Kristín Anna Valtýsdóttir. According to band the name isn’t significant so I have no fun story for you. However, it turns out for some reason the twins left the band a few months apart. I don’t know why, they’re keeping múm about it.  Ahem.

Their fourth album was released in September 2007 – ‘Go Go Smear The Poison Ivy’. I love the titles given in English by non-native speakers; always worth a giggle for some inexplicable reason.  Below is a lovely little homemade video by a fan; combined with the music it has a bittersweet nostalgic flavour I think you’ll agree kiids.

Anyway, they have a few other songs on YouTube and the ones I’ve found are all worthy of your time and ears. Don’t try searching for them on Google though, it’s possibly the most unsearchable name after The The. I’m hoping for a new album soon, with perhaps a cover of ‘Da Da Da’.

Best consumed on a frosty night in room 303 of The Ice Hotel. Pair with cinnamon vodka and fluffy slippers.

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Lovechild of:

Radiohead + Aphex Twin + Squarepusher + Grandäd & Grandmúm

Agent Orange – Surfing To Some Fucked Up Shit

Agent OrangeAgent Orange hold a special place in my record collection. They remind me so clearly of a moment in time when music, clothing and the great outdoors were irrevocably linked.

As a youth I was a huge fan of skateboarding but I was more of a watcher than a doer. I wasn’t interested in actually skating. Instead I was influenced by the fashion, the music, the Betties and the rebellious vibe to some degree. Of course, these days you’re a rebel if you don’t have a skateboard – and now every kid in the world dresses in black.

20 or so years ago skating was edgy; you were chased by cops, threatened by security guards and skate parks had been closed all over the world – most bulldozed into memory by councils and parents terrified of injuries and law suits.  Being a skater meant being outside in all weathers, whether you were on your board or not, and part of a subculture that for the media and governments in the day was on a par with today’s gun-toting street gangs. How stupid those authoritarians look now; with our copies of Thrasher and armfuls of “Skate or Die” stickers the worst anyone ever did was steal a milk crate to make a jump.  

There were no drugs you see, not even a whole lot of booze where I hung out. Skating was the buzz, music and import vids and mags from the US were addicitons along with new bearings and trucks. Even today the kids down the skate park that are really into their skating, not carrying their board around town like a fashion item, are pretty much the kids that have their shit together. 

Back in the day I must have seen the Powell and Peralta videos a hundred times each – seen Lance Mountain and Tony Hawk do their thing in a small park in Mansfield, England – and listened with admiration and inspiration at the painfully simple garage rock stylings of Agent Orange

The first two Agent Orange albums are lo-fi classics.  ‘Living in Darkness’ (’81) and ‘This is the Voice (’86) were the soundtrack of that era for a generation for skaters.  Listening to them now you’d be forgiven for thinking they were new releases. A thousand bands since ’81 have taken from and added to their energetic skate-punk sound. Without Agent Orange there would be no Blink 182, no Simple Plan and no Green Day.

This video has some recent live footage, but the recording is the original from back in the day. Bloodstains is 1 minute 45 seconds of catchy skate-punk that hasn’t aged a nibble. The new album comes out this week. I have no real information on it but I’ll post a track or two here once something appears on YouTube.

Best paired with Gatorade and Cookies from the petrol station. Have you cleaned your room and made your bed?

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Lovechild of:

Stiff Little Fingers + Sham 69 + Undertones + Gator Rogowski