Record Label: Peacefrog Records
Gothenburg, Sweden is a hotbed of diverse and escalating musical talent. From the mighty Soundtrack of Our Lives to idiosyncratic songsmiths Jose Gonzalez and Jens Lekman, through to the unpredictable pop styles from the likes of Love is All and Audrey, not to mention the infamous black metal scene, Gothenburg now boasts the dynamic, organically soulful pop sounds of Little Dragon. Featuring radiant vocalist Yukimi Nagano and her close high school friends Erik Bodin (drums), Fredrick Kallgren (bass) and HÂkan Wirenstrand (keyboards), Little Dragon stepped into the spotlight with the release of their first double A-side single on Peacefrog "Twice/Test".
A former Rough Trade "Single of the Week" and universally hailed as a masterpiece of free thinking soul, according to One Week To Live. Born and raised in Gothenburg to a Japanese father and American mother, Yukimi says, 'I grew up listening to American folk because of my Mom, but I've always had an affinity for R'n'B.' Meanwhile, keyboardist HÂkan spent his childhood in the deepest, darkest woods of Smaland before moving to Gothenburg, hearing a lot of Swedish folk music, later getting into electronic and synth music. Erik grew up hearing early hiphop and jazz. From time to time we have had to get side jobs, Yukimi sighs, 'but weíd rather stay broke, so we can concentrate on the band.' Their true vocation can be in no doubt based on this divine debut offering. Yukimi has sung with Sweden's electronica-jazz outfit Koop, and both Yukimi and Erik play live with Jose Gonzalez. Erik also drums with Peps Perrson, a legendary Swedish blues/reggae artist. We had an admiration for each other musically, and way before we defined ourselves as a band we were making music and hanging out, Yukimi explains. 'It's like a family, and the band is our big passion. Little Dragon reminds you that when you're really creating music, it's like building a ship that will travel in a direction previously inconceivable.'
However, what unites these disparate influences is an undeniable swing and lightness of touch, braced with bass heaviness, borne from the intuitive connection between the band members that epitomises Little Dragon's music. Unwilling to stick to definitions or reasons for why Little Dragon is what it is, Yukimi offers effusive and illustrative impressions, which is as good a way as any to understand this very special band. 'Maybe Little Dragon is a city, she muses. 'Blue traffic-lights, fast food-signs, neon, love, loneliness, technology in a city reflected in the middle of a vast ocean. The music juxtaposes tradition and intense knowledge of musical tools, with destruction, invention... blazing a new trail. I like to think of our music as dreamy, but not always in a pleasant way. Some songs are emotional and some more free and naive.'
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Joseph Abajian (DJ Jab) founded Fat Beats in 1994 with nothing more than a shoestring budget and an earnest obsession with the music, the culture, and the brotherhood of New York’s burgeoning rap scene. What began as a simple vinyl shop in Manhattan’s Lower East Side quickly became an integral hub for artists, both aspiring and established, to convene and collaborate on new projects. Joseph’s timing couldn’t have been more impeccable. When the 90’s cultural zeitgeist – and, in turn, the music industry establishment – chose hip-hop as its new arbiter of cool.
International tourists and touring artists alike flocked to Fat Beats for rare vinyl, kindred spirits, and exclusive in-store performances from Jay Z, Eminem, Gang Starr, Outkast, Slum Village, Mos Def, and more. One thing was clear: the Fat Beats phenomenon could no longer be contained in a single basement shop.
In the late nineties, Abajian proceeded to open new stores in Amsterdam, Tokyo, Los Angeles, and Atlanta. He further expanded the company’s profile to include global distribution and record label branches. Distribution has since proven to be the company’s strongest and most enduring enterprise. Today Fat Beats Distribution stands poised as one of the country’s pre-eminent distributors of vinyl & specialty item records: a proud survivor in an industry now famous for its mortality rate. Despite market fluctuations, technology innovations, and stylistic revolutions, Fat Beats has remained steadfast in its commitment to the timeless vinyl format and to the loyal community who keeps it spinning.
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