Man, you couldn’t pay me a million bucks to be a teenager again! (Have you seen “13 Reasons Why”?) But for articulating with unironic commitment the feel of a world falling apart, go straight to the source: Agent blå and their latest single “Derogatory Embrace,” all clanging guitars and passing-trains drums. The members of this band, ranging from ages 16 to 20, play with obvious skill and instinct. Furthermore, they’re goth kids from Sweden who bonded over a love of Joy Division and Slowdive, so your search for the next cool band can pretty much stop right now.
It’s not all minor-chord calamity on Agent Blue, Agent blå’s debut album (and English translation). “Rote Learning” is a sticky sugar rush of a relationship heart attack, singer Emilie Alatalo dropping F-bombs atop a whistling keyboard that brings back memories of the postpunk pop of Altered Images. And on that geezer Gen-X reference, I’ll show myself out the door.
A sociology professor living in upstate New York, Leonard Nevarez is patiently waiting until his kids are old enough for a family roadtrip to Maryland Deathfest. He blogs at musicalurbanism.org and is writing a book about Martha & the Muffins and the late 70s/early 80s downtown Toronto music scene.