Fuzz Club’s very own Singapore Sling are kicking of their UK/European tour today. A legend in psych circles, Henrik Björnsson and his band will be bringing their fuzzy ode to rock and roll across the mainland, kicking things off with two shows in the UK. The band's immersive soundscapes make for a pretty special live show so make sure you don’t miss out. Check out the dates below and get your tickets here.
Their latest album Psych Fuck is the third in a line of consistently incredible records we've released from Singapore Sling, you can acquaint yourself with those releases over at our Bandcamp.
Join us for a cinematic journey into the darkest corners of art and music, as we use lyrics from Singapore Sling to describe the depraved film from which the band took their name.
Released in 1990, their namesake is a surrealist-horror-film-noir pastiche by Greek art-house auteur Nikolaos Nikolaidis. It's a deranged festival of perversity, desperation and death, that revels in drawn out depictions of sex and torture, which leave the viewer feeling equally defiled and complicit.
The tale follows a wounded detective in search of his long lost love. A typical premise for a romantic film noir, the plot takes a sadistic turn when he falls prey to a crazed mother and daughter duo who subject him to a bizarre array of masochistic sex acts involving chains, vomit, corpses, electrocution and one achingly ripe kiwifruit.
Not knowing his real name, the pair call him Singapore Sling because of a cocktail recipe they find in his pocket. It’s an odd twist of black humour that such a banal and sugary hotel lobby cocktail would be associated with this character, this film and this band.
If we give the director his artistic dues, we can say the film explores themes of love and loss through the lens of film genres of fading glory. Much the same can be said of musical approach of Singapore Sling the band, and as the film’s sinister narrative unravels, it seems as if lyrics from the band could act as an alternate commentary by a real life version of the film's hapless protagonist.
Interestingly, the band never actually watched the film before selecting their name, but instead chose it for its reputation.
If you’re brave enough, take a look at the full film here, but for those faint of heart, we’ll give you the synopsis through a lyrical journey into Singapore Sling’s extensive discography.
They're fucked up from the start"
Singapore Sling's latest video is a sultry black and white affair using slow motion and split screens to create a hypnotic smoke and mirrors effect. This is the first official video from Psych Fuck and was directed by Paula Michelle Hamilton. The song was written by Sölvi Blöndal and Höskuldur Ólafsson, and was originally performed by Icelandic hiphop group, Quarashi.
Review by Andy Uzzell, originally published in Days of Purple and Orange
Singapore Sling are a bit of a legend in psych circles, pre-empting the current explosion in all things fuzzy by some years. Formed in Iceland in 2000, the band have released some 7 albums prior to Psych Fuck, the last three of which have been on Fuzz Club, that bastion of fuzzy goodness.
I first became aware of the band when they contributed a track to a tribute album to The Monks ('I Hate You' on the Silver Monk Time: A Tribute to The Monks), a coruscating reworking of the garage punk legends. Psych Fuck is split into two sides, named, somewhat unsurprisingly, 'Psych' and 'Fuck', and is a dark trip into the noir side of life.
The 'Psych' side opens with 'Dive In', a cover of fellow Icelanders Quarashi, and straight away we are thrown into the throbbing abyss of a Suicide rhythm and ringing garage punk guitars, the twin vocals of founder Henrik Björnsson and his sister Anna portraying dread-laden ennui.
'Let It Roll, Let It Rise' has the menace of gothabilly legends Deadbolt and the fuzzed out vocals of The Jesus And Mary Chain; it swaggers, rolls and rises. ‘ÆJL’ comes on like a neo-psych version of The Litter's 'Action Woman', demanding action and satisfaction, and it certainly gives satisfaction! The addition of some organ gives the track a more melodic aspect.
'Na Na Now' has more than a touch of the Velvets; Henrik's vocals even have the same timbre as Lou Reed and the same laconic introspection. 'Try' channels the band's inner Sisters Of Mercy, the guitars could have come directly from the Sisters' Reptile House EP and the vocals have the same menacing depth and tone. 'The Underground' sees a twist in the psych tail; a bucolic trip to the old west, the trotting rhythm accompanied by pseudo countrified guitar, but it works!
The 'Fuck' side opens with 'Dying Alive' with Henrik once again joined by Anna on vocals, the twin vocals sometimes discordant, sometimes in perfect harmony, all over the top of an electronic motorik rhythm. 'Give Me Some Other' is lyrically simple but sometimes less is more eh? The music is driven by a Dick Dale guitar and jaunty percussion.
'Glitter' is a glorious gallimaufry of noise and sound; the crashing drums, ringing guitars and fuzzed out vocals all make for a wonderful 'wall of sound' straight out of Phil Spector's nightmares. 'Astronaut' is a childhood dream soundtracked by JAMC; it's the nearest this album comes to 'happy'. 'Shithole Town' is an understated paean to urban love. Once again, a comparison to the Velvets is inevitable but this time the slower, more introspective side to the VU.
The album is brought to a close by 'The Tower Of Foronicity' (also the name of the last album.) The intro is reminiscent of 'The Spirit of the Sky' and the track provides a musically optimistic and lyrically pessimistic finale; " When you think you're at the top, you're already at the bottom". The jauntiness of the shimmering guitar and sparkling percussion belying the inevitability and inconsequence of existence.
Certainly in 2015, Fuzz Club have not put a foot wrong; every release has been of the highest quality and this album is no different. 'Psych Fuck' has an artful chiaroscuro about it, much the same as the Iceland of the band's origin; the beauty of the landscape in stark contrast to the long, cold nights. It is an album of shimmering beauty and texture and has shape and flow. Another Fuzz Club release that will figure highly on the inevitable 'End of Year' lists, and rightly so. 'Psych Fuck' is available from the Fuzz Club store - the deluxe edition of the LP is sold out but the CD and regular vinyl are still available.
Singapore Sling will be playing 17 dates across the UK, Europe and Scandinavia kicking off on 27th January 2016. Check back for more ticketing and event info soon.
27th January - UK MANCHESTER - Gulliver
28th January - UK LONDON - Shacklewell Arms
29th January - Belgium BRUSSELS - Secret show
30th January - France PARIS - La Maroquinerie
1st February - Netherlands AMSTERDAM - Paradiso
2nd February - Germany HAMBURG - Hafenklang
3rd February - Sweden MALMÖE - Plan B
4th February - Norway OSLO - Revolver Club
5th February - Denmark COPENHAGEN - Stengade
6th February - Germany BERLIN - Bassy Club
7th February - Poland WARSAW - Kulturalna
8th February - Austrial WIEN - Arena
9th February - Italy PORDENONE - Astro Club
10th February - Italy RAVENNA - Bronson Club
12th February - Switzerland THUN - Mokka Bar
13th February - Germany FREIBURG - Slow Club
14th February - France LILLE Australian Bar
Join the Psych Fuck tour events page for updates and information.
In an ocean of rock music aloofness, manufactured coolness and glittered naivety, Singapore Sling are one of the few truly teenage-hearted bands that can make some serious noise and get your hips shaking like it’s 1955. Their eighth album Psych Fuck is a dark and noisy exploration of rock ‘n’ roll nostalgia that would make a fitting soundtrack for James Dean’s death car.
The new album was originally planned to be released as Part II to their 2014 release The Tower of Foronicity. However during its inception it became more like an evil twin than a comrade, which is evident from the opening track “Dive In,” a Suicide-like nightmare spiced up with horror piano riffs.
Björnsson says, ‘I decided to call the album Psych Fuck because it’s much more ferocious and a lot more fucked up and experimental in the way I mixed it”. This is evident in the bouncy go-go rhythms overlaid with dark and noisy shoegaze fuzz, to evoke a mix of teenage despair and sex-spiked fun. Described by Pop Matters as ‘a soundtrack for future prequels to either Pulp Fiction or Reservoir Dogs,’ the Singapore Sling sound combines the shambolic rituals of The Cramps, the apocalyptic neon landscapes of Suicide and the devilish cacophonies of White Light White Heat, which can be heard in the first single "AEJL".
Psych Fuck is released on vinyl, CD, digital and limited deluxe edition vinyl featuring silk screened cover art in reverse colours to the standard edition, and they're embossed, numbered and pressed on red vinyl.
Stream the full album on SoundCloud.
Singapore Sling was formed back in 2000 in the wild and darkness of Reykjavik, Iceland, by Henrik Björnsson who is also a founding member of Dead Skeletons and former member of Bang Gang. Since then the group has created a legacy of music described by Drowned In Sound as being ‘at the forefront of the new psychedelic explosion long before its current wave of popularity went stratospheric,’ and are cited as an influence by many of the bands operating in the scene today.
We've just received some stock back from one of our US stockists and it's full of sold out releases! Some of these are fetching very high prices on Discogs so we're lucky to have them back in store. Here they are...
Singapore Sling was born out of love and hate. Love for rock’n’roll and hatred for the majority of music that was around at the time. It was formed by Henrik Bjornsson back in 2000 in the beauty and darkness of Reykjavik, Iceland. Today Singapore Sling are renowned as one of the founding figures in the ballooning psych scene, where they keep things grounded with their garage-heavy, blues-tinged, whisky-breathed, psych fuck rock‘n’roll.
Nathan J Barrett interviewed Henrik ahead of the release of their 8th album. The name really says it all but we thought we’d find out more.
Can you tell us a bit about the new album?
Psych Fuck. Well, when I was piecing together The Tower of Foronicity last year I had so many songs I was happy with that I was thinking about doing a double record. But that was obviously still going to be too long. Casper (from Fuzz Club) suggested we do Part One and Part Two, which I thought was a good idea except I decided to name this one Psych Fuck instead of Part Two. Psych Fuck was one of the titles I was considering anyway and the title fits this one. This one's more fucked up.
What about it makes it more fucked up? Musically or lyrically or..?
It´s songs from the same sessions so they don't sound much different. They just sound a bit more fucked up because of the way they’re mixed and mastered - they sound more like demos. But for the Tower of Foronicity I chose the songs that fit best together lyrically. There is a certain theme there and the theme is "foronicity". On Psych Fuck there isn't really a theme, although it's mostly a continuation of the foronicity.
“Try” is one of my favorites on the new album. That guitar in there just burrows into your soul, and never seems to let go. How do you go about your songwriting? For instance, in this song, was it the guitar that drove it, because it seems like such a vital component to the song?
I get an idea for what kind of a song I want to do. I get an idea for a riff, a beat or a melody, then I record that and then something happens that might take that idea somewhere else. Recording and playing is part of the writing process. In "Try" the guitar was of course part of the idea. I didn't know how I was going to do it though until I started playing around with the guitar and pedals.
Many years ago, you had some ventures in film making, and even had a TV show called, Konfekt. How have those experiences influenced your art and Singapore Sling over the years?
I´m glad to hear you mention Konfekt. It was the best job I´ve ever had in my life. I could do whatever the psych fuck I wanted and get paid for it! It was presented as a "cultural" TV show but it was in fact an absolutely absurd show unlike anything that had been on television before. We made short dadaistic sketches and took absolutely foronic interviews. We basically did whatever we felt like doing. We wrote down every idea we had and were able to make something out of most of them and create what we wanted. I do that with music as well. It's the same thing really, just a different medium.
I haven't really had any ventures in actual filmmaking apart from playing a couple of roles in short films by my friend Thorgeir Guðmundsson (Tank). But I would love to have some proper ventures in film making. I would love to do soundtracks.
Speaking of influences, what else do you draw inspiration from? Certain music, film, nature… what feeds the fire?
Apart from getting inspiration from music I have always been inspired by other things like movies, books and art. Movements like Punk and Dada had a big influence on me when I was a teenager and they still inspire me. Punk and Dada are probably my biggest influences. Punk, Dada and The Velvet Underground.
What I want to do with my music is to create a world of my own. Something different from this "real" and "normal" (boring) world we live in. And to create a certain mood. Be it dark, cool, beautiful or completely twisted and absurd. (So I guess, like, God is my biggest influence, y´know? He, like, created a whole world, y´know?)
A few years ago, there was a group of artists, mainly from Iceland, that were part of the Vebeth Collective. What can you tell us about this, and is it still around today?
It was just a way to unite friends who were making music and art under one moniker. No, Vebeth is finished. I still love and keep contact with most of those bands though.
I heard a rumor about a new project you possibly have coming up. Can you tell us anything about that?
I have a project with a friend coming up called The Pure Essence of Dirt but I can't imagine where you heard about that. It´s a live project and we we´re planning on doing performances mostly in galleries or unusual venues.
What is your first memory of music, one that made you fall in love with it? Or did you just slowly fall in love with music?
My parents were music lovers so there was always music around me, but mostly classical and jazz. I discovered rock´n´roll a bit later and fell in love with it immediately. I still love classical and jazz though and just about all kinds of music, except shit music.
Thank you so much for this Henrik! Always a pleasure! Any last words to send our readers off on a mind fuck while they listen to Psych Fuck?
Yeah, fuck school.
Psych Fuck has been pushed back to November 13th due to severe delays at the pressing plant. Pre orders will be sent out as soon as the records come in.