Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson
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Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson

Oslo, Oslo County, Norway | INDIE

Oslo, Oslo County, Norway | INDIE
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(2CD, How is annie records)





The slow and winding road takes you many miles before you reach your goal, maybe a lot more miles than the large, three lane highway would take you, but – and that is a big but – you are missing out on the small villages, the sights to be seen when you are ready to take a closer look, the hefty inspiration of small town lives, the ups and downs of the hills and mountains, the people you meet along the way, all the small things that really make up life. And it is those small things which form mountains and hills, which amount to so much, which are able to build mountains so high, to form canyons so deep. Given the time and the concentration. Which is also the basic secret formula of the Norwegian shoegaze post-core band with the strange name Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson and their new album. “

Puzzle the detective” is a double sided album with a 32 page booklet to reveal the full story of something in all beholds and means strange and unconceivable. What’s more important – and here in Cracked headquarters we treat music as the most important thing to ever happen to anyone or anything at all – the music builds up from gentle shoegazing post-rock to a highly emotional and energetic wall of noise, which is only undermined by the soft and mixed into the back vocals. What the whole melee is about remains undisclosed, and the question is actually more: does it matter? What really matters? How much of the strain, the targets, the burdens of our everyday lives really are necessary, and how much of this shithole we call our ordinary existence, is managed totally by ourselves. An Arabic saying goes: “there is no wood and no oil in hell, everybody brings his own.”Catch my drift?

The band likes to fall back into a very slow and laidback jangling mode of not paying attention much. This is when their music floats by like a slow summer day on the beachside, like the yachts flowing by so effortlessly and relentlessly. This is when the guitar plucks a few notes, when there are strings in the back, when everything in the arrangement seems to take a deep breath before really striving forward again. And then it all culminates again towards a big wave of sound, taking everything away with it in its forcefield. And then it is back to the glistening boredeom of the overall sound of Youth Pictures… which is ever so fascinating. This dynamic really seems to be at the core of what makes up the vision of this band.

Yeah, it is a little like Milhaven or Explosions in the Sky only with very fitting vocals, and the kind of dynamic that starts like soft boiling beneath the surface only to erupt in a big wall of spectacular guitar-pop is what makes them really different from the hundreds of stale and non-descript shoegaze band arounds. There is also a little or more prog in them – just ask me what a children’s choir in a song always reminds me of. But then and again, they are actually more like The God Machine (the forerunner of Sophia, both are great in their own way) but without the heavy bass riffage. Therefore there is more focus on the soft and gentle full band arrangement. Like a lightning exploding under controlled circumstances in a field. But do you remember the remnants of such a manouvre? Evertyhing seems to have a price these days-and everything seems to come with the unavoidable price tag. A few moments of unabridged bliss and ease fused into one is probably the best thing to happen to you (or me) these days.
So what is my advice: your time span on this planet is limited. Go out, meet some friends, have a nice time, burn down the house, and then fare the well black emperor. The world outside is pitch black, people are an evil bunch of motherfuckers. Trust your friends.



www.howisannie.com - Monochrome


Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson's debut "Unnoticeable in a Tiny Town, Invisible in the City" created waves. Big waves. That was way back in 2004, though. And despite many sites/magazines deeming "Unnoticeable..." one of the best albums of that year, YPOFH never really capitalised on the buzz around it and them by waiting until now, almost six years later, to release anything new. "Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson? Name rings a bell, but I've smoked too much weed and drank too much beer since then to really remember them." Still, good music finds a way to be heard, patience is a virtue etcetera etcetera.

Platitudes are platitudes for a reason, because good music does find a way to be heard (after all, if nobody hears it how does anyone know if it's good?). I'm hearing it, and it is good. Very good. What's not to like about post-rock that doesn't stretch for crescendo after crescendo? What's not to like about post-rock that tinges their music with indie/emo, as well making astute use of violins? What's not to like about post-rock that uses vocals? I'll tell you. When there's a lack of crescendo, it can be dull and lifeless and boring to listen to. When bands try to cross and fuse genres, particularly that emo-school-indie genre, it can result in a sloppy mess that never binds together either genre cohesively, but instead jumps between contrasting sounds. However, vocals are usually the biggest impediment on post-rock. Many times we've heard vocals that are too over-powering, or too poorly produced, or just not Jónsi-y enough, to work in the grand 'scapes. YPOFH have gracefully sidestepped all of these hinderances, and have turned them into what makes the band work.

There's generally a comfort zone within post-rock, and some of the best acts are caught operating within it. You make the drums roll, one guitar plug along, whilst the other goes all out in search of something that "soars". YPOFH don't conform to this genre-stereotype. They've created an album that contains eight tracks of dreamy, snowy-mountains-of-Norway-inspired soundscapes. The spacious vocals aren't too strong, or so forward that they cloud the music; they only serve to add another layer to the lineament on offer. The production too helps rack up the dainty-score as it has a cutesy feel to it, without sounding "thick" and forceful. It's probably the indie-edge that deserves credit for making the hour spent listening pass by pleasantly. The combination of Explosions in the Sky-esque dynamics and Mineral-esque downiness is pulled off sure-handedly, which makes the listener forget about the lack of loud crescendos, and if anything, makes them count their lucky stars that there aren't any, as they'd seem terribly out of place because YPOFH can coerce your attention with delicate picture-esque compositions instead.

You'll notice a stark lack of any sort of mention in regards to song titles. This isn't because they are all long-ass and therefore a bitch to type out. How would you go about picking out the best moments for reccommendation? It's a bit like going on a walk down by the river on a sunny day, observing all the natural beatuty on display. You'll enjoy it, it'll paint your face with a smile, but if you're asked to point out specifically what you found to be the most pleasing about it, you probably could, but without giving a reason other than... it simply does. "Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson" is such a journey. Is it six years in the making? Not quite. Is there a tremendous amount of variety? No. But it's far from a chore to listen to. And, much like nature, if you willing to allow it, it can really delight you. [8]


For The Fans of: Explosions in the Sky; Laura; Blueneck
- Rockfreaks


By: Chris Polley

Sometimes I get sick of the bumps and monotony of the ride on the indie bandwagon. It’s a lot of fun for the first few miles, but when those potholes and long stretches of prairie start repeating themselves, I’ve just gotta tell the driver to pull over so I can jump off for a bit. And when I do so, I usually end up wandering aimlessly in the comfortable acres of forest where I was raised. To cut through this sloppy metaphor, there are days and nights when after scouring all the music blogs and aggregators that I just want to listen to something that sounds like the music I listened to in high school.

And while I have been distinctly removed from the realm of teenagedom for quite some years now, it’s not often I’m reminded of it in such a heavy way as I was when, for instance, I first listened to the sophomore effort from Norway’s Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson. And it’s very possible that the only reason it affected me so deeply with this particular record is because that high school recollection flooded through my headphones because of one singular aspect of the band’s sound (I hadn’t heard their debut before taking in the new one): emo singing.

Now it took a lot of cringing and a big airy sigh before I was able to type those two words. The e-word is not really a can of worms I’d like to get into right now (nor would, I think, anyone post-2006), but let’s just keep it at this – the vocals are wussy and yearning. This is notable aside from the rest of the band’s very rich instrumentation because of the way I’ve discovered my musical taste has evolved (or, rather unfortunately, stagnated) since that anti-climactic graduation day. It’s sickeningly simple, actually: take out the emo singing and you’ve got a post-rock band. Actually, many may still claim that YPOFH is a post-rock band. This, in my humble opinion, is false. They are a post-rock band with emo singing, thus making them an emo band. Believe me, I wish I could just label them post-rock and call it a day, feeling like it’s another band in my wheelhouse, just with vocals instead of letting the majestic strings and reverb-laden guitar leads rue the day.

But the truth remains painfully clear that once you add emo singing to any subgenre of music, it becomes, for all intents and purposes, emo as fuck. The human voice has that oh-so-tricky quality to it that when it’s placed on the top of the mix, even if hazy and slightly clouded by layers upon layers of sparkling arpeggios, the singing style is going to determine how it fits into the indie zeitgeist. And almost always, when it’s emo singing, it’s going to fall just outside the accepted arena of said zeitgeist. It’s just the way it is: Fall Out Boy, Plain White T’s, All-American Rejects, and a handful of others that do not need to be mentioned have claimed their spot in the Top 40 mainstream music scene, and thus even the slightest resemblance to any of these acts (or, more importantly, their predecessors) will call for immediate abolishment from the kingdom of indie.

In many ways this is sad, because this self-titled record from a quartet of mild-mannered Scandinavians is so fluidly constructed, each track built with what must have been hours upon hours of grueling composition and practice, does not deserve to be pushed aside just because their singer enjoys alternating between softly cooing like a semi-eunuch and emoting like a brokenhearted adolescent. And even as someone who has an inappropriately large soft spot for any band that consciously forces its guitarists to pick for eight minutes instead of strum for three, I can say that while it would still work as an instrumental album, it definitely is much more vivid and ornate because of the addition of emo singing. Obviously the two styles match in many ways, it’s just that since the diverging between bands like Mineral and bands like Boys Like Girls, there has been little to no reason to combine the two (unless you’re one of the few stubborn holdovers from the previous generation, like the unrelenting and eternally awesome The Appleseed Cast) unless you tweak down the emo just a bit to make way for angst and/or lite-rock cross-over appeal (Death Cab for Cutie) or tweak down the indie sensibilities in favor of a crushed-out mechanical backing band and mindless “heartfelt” lyrics (Owl City).

Luckily for me I’ve been obsessing over three different kinds of music since high school that have, together, formed a trifecta of sorts that allows me to unabashedly love this new record by YPOFH: 1) my old catalog of emo records, in which there might not be xylophones or violins, but there’s a whole lot of cymbal crown hits and aching guitars, 2) the small new catalog of toned-down emo/indie hybrids, that may include more electro beats or acoustic guitars, but still clearly can’t stop singing about girls and sunsets and the usual tripe that inspires dramatic singing, and 3) the immensely large catalog of post-rock bands trying their variation on the Mogwai/Godspeed thing, trying to prove every day that you don’t need a singer to be emo but without one you don’t have to be labeled with that dirty word.

Because Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson obviously have no interest in the game of genre politics, they can be unapologetically emo without even thinking they’d ever be accused of having to apologize for anything so arbitrary or silly. The record is stuffed with the most satisfyingly sprawling songs I’ve heard throughout my obsession with all three types of catalogs, and while it never is catchy enough to be considered pop music, nor is it concerned enough with the current trends of indie to even be part of that spectrum, the band does wear its influences on its sleeve. This is something that is ever increasingly hard to do for any band that wants to get noticed, because it’s usually so easy to call any young band out for mimicking, especially when what they’re mimicking is not even hip. But the men of YPOFH do it with such grace and efficacy that you can tell that they really truly do not care one iota about preconceptions, trying to make it, or trying to be different. They only care about what really matters most when listening to music: beauty and feeling.

Rating: 98% - Audio Suede


When two CDs arrive packaged inside the front and back sleeves of a hardcover picture book, the long-standing reviewer's first inclination is to expect that the elaborate presentation won't ultimately atone for the second-rate music accompanying it. But no such worry applies in the case of Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson's self-titled release, as the music holds up perfectly well all by itself and often spectacularly so. In this case, the visual material—a thirty-two-page book (available in red, green, white, and grey covers) featuring the work of Norwegian artists Hans Hansen and Hanne Grieg Hermansen—acts as a complementary bonus to the release's music. And don't let the band's appetite for oddball track titles—“He Can't Be Dead, I Got His Autograph Last Week” and “Our Door Handles Stopped Moving Years Ago” representative of the style—fool you either, because the music itself is serious—seriously good, that is. The release arrives five years after the band's 2005 debut (the outfit originally formed in Bodø, Norway in the fall of 2003) and suggests it spent a good amount of the time since then refining its sound. In the music's ecstatic reach, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson's blend of pop, shoegaze, and post-rock suggests a cross between Sigur Rós, The Arcade Fire, A Silver Mt. Zion, and Explosions In The Sky.

Much of the group's emotive sound can be credited to the beautiful cry of Elling Snøfugl's cello, which often rises above the guitar-based attack, and credit for its power should go to drummer Morten Samdal. That the group's sound is largely guitar-driven is explained by a front line that boasts four guitarists; thankfully, such resources are used more to generate melodic latticework than punishing volume. The opening track on the first CD (the release's first half is christened Puzzle, the second The Detective) is emblematic of the Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson style, with gorgeous melodic progressions, chiming guitar figures, and swooning vocals (lyrics close to indeciperable when heard amidst the anthemic instrumental roar) three things that recommend “Let's Rent Bikes From 1942.” “To Sit Down Or To Follow, So I Follow” cultivates a wistful and melancholy tone that's powerfully affecting. In both cases, the songs reach such fever pitches the group's normally smooth vocals morph into screams. Especially episodic is “I Think E.T. Is Involved In My Family,” which alternates between passages of graceful splendour and raging blasts of stabbing guitars and vocal howl. “Scientists Now Think This City Is Overdue” sustains its melodic allure throughout much of its ten-minute running time, in large part due to the euphoria induced by the blend of plaintive vocalizing and six-strings. More of the eight individual songs could be cited, but, while each one offers its own particular pleasures, melodic or otherwise, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson makes its strongest impression as a sixty-five-minute whole. It's a superb release from a band whose work unquestionably deserves to be more widely known.

April 2010 - Textura


I will just go ahead and get one thing out of the way. This is perhaps the greatest packaging for a CD release I have ever seen. The 2-disc album comes bound in a hard cover book with 32 pages of artwork. It is rare to receive an album in the mail and spend the first 15 minutes looking at artwork instead of worrying about the music contained within but that’s exactly what I did for Youth Pictures Of Florence Henderson‘s Self-Titled album.

YPOFH are described on their press sheet as “inspired by both post rock and old school emo” and frankly that is about as accurate as you can come when detailing the Norwegian band’s sound.

How often do you find a post rock band that follows up a song titled “Let’s Rent Bikes from 1942? (pretentious, right?) with a song titled “I’d Rather Listen To Weston” (say what!?). But, that is what is so incredibly magical about YPOFH. Where other bands of this ilk come off as completely distant from their listeners, YPOFH never do. In fact, these songs, despite their atypical song structures & lengths and unconventional lyrics, always feel inclusive in the most brilliant manner. This is pop music at its most courageous peak.

But of course YPOFH’s music is not simple. This Self-Titled affair contains eight songs that clock in at an hour in length with tracks consistently stretching past the 8-minute mark and lyrics that are hard to decipher. If you take Low Level Owl-era Appleseed Cast and add even more ambition and a certain level of improvisation as well. Add in bands like Sigur Ros, Mogwai, Mineral and Explosions In The Sky and you just might be able to barely touch the tip of the iceberg. Dare I say Post Shoegaze Emo? Well, I dare.

I really don’t know what to add at this point. This is just one of those records that you have to listen to, soak in and let it work its way through you at its own glacial, yet rewarding pace. It is a fascinating and epic listen from a band that deserves much more attention.

Label: How Is Annie / Friend Of Mine

You can get the album fairly cheaply from Robotic Empire in the US. - Sound as Language


Score: 8/10

Recently there seems to be a certain penchant of post-rock/instrumental artists to add vocals or more vocals to their repertoire. Possibly a result of growing tired of the combinations available to guitars and drums, or merely looking to add an extra dimension, artists such as North, upcdownc, Mt., and Arms and Sleepers added vocals to their mix, some more prominently (and successfully) than others. The addition of vocals to an established instrumental sound, particularly post-rock, is often feared to weaken a band’s sound, changing its dynamic and replacing the qualities that brought it fans in the first place (hello A Silver Mt. Zion). However, when done correctly (as in the bands I mentioned previously) the vocals add an extra dimension, freshening up the sound and bridging a gap between genres.

The undoubted kings of this approach hail from Scandinavia, which has seen a myriad of bands straddle the vocal post-rock approach. Aerial, Scraps of Tape, Audrey, September Malevolence and Efterklang have all benefited from an increased vocal presence on their records, and now Norway’s Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson can be added to that list. After a five year hiatus following its sublime debut Unnoticable in a Tiny Town, Invisible in the City, YPOFH returns with a self-titled follow up that develops itsearly sound to a whole new level.

Split into two four track albums, Puzzle and The Detective, Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson is an album rich with melody and purpose, with a level of maturity that many bands will struggle to find in the duration of their entire careers. YPOFH may have hinted at a more vocal heavy approach on its debut, where the vocals were sparse, sometimes non existent and mainly used for harmonies, but on both Puzzle and The Detective this approach is fully realised to great effect. There are no fears about a loss of direction here, as YPOFH imbues the same aesthetic to the vocals as it does to all its other instruments; they are carefully considered, never under or over used, with a depth and subtlety to create maximum impact.

YPOFH is still essentially the same band it was five years ago. Such is the strength of their balancing act that the tranquil post-rock movements from its debut remain - in fact, the inclusions of vocals would be rendered pointless without such a fantastic bed for them to lie on. Tracks like “This League Will Never Let The Albino Kid Win” and “Scientists Now Think This City is Overdue” would be equally at home unaccompanied, with rich guitar tones and melancholic string interludes, but it is the haunting vocals, often low in the mix, that propel the tracks forward into each movement. Comparisons with other Scandinavian post-rock artists are obvious, but there’s something more going on here; the emotion contained on the record, both from the guitars and vocals, is more reminiscent of the early emo championed by Deep Elm and Vagrant. Puzzle and The Detective are both united in this sound, with the yearning “Let’s Rent Bikes From 1942” from Puzzle and the heartbreaking melodies of “Our Doorhandles Stopped Moving Years Ago” from The Detective the most salient examples, akin to The Appleseed Cast circa Mare Vitalis, a compliment if ever there was one.

Puzzle’s splendid closing track “To Sit Down or To Follow, So I Follow” is not only the highlight of the entire album, but also the greatest example of YPOFH’s refined sound. It is elegiac and mournful, flowing effortlessly from rising melodies to contemplative breakdowns, very post-rock in its structure but with fragile, emotive vocals that expose the track to a sense of redemption, hope, love, and fear. Puzzle and The Detective are powerful statements from this Norwegian septuplet, maintaining a grand vision from start to finish (from the double album to the packaging itself), an epic arc dotted with serenity. Youth Pictures of Florence Henderson hasn’t destroyed the classical notion of post-rock, but rather forged its own path to explore in the future. Our only hope is that it doesn’t take five years for their next release.

-James Ould - The Silent Ballet


Discography

Still working on that hot first release.

Photos

Bio

"If youre looking for something to help get rid of anxious sleep patterns or long daunting car journeys, then let this bands aura flow through your ear canal and cling onto your nerves and arteries for dear life" - review of Small Changes We Hardly Notice, released on US-label Count Your Lucky Stars (2012). 

Beeing a 7-piece band, the band has created their own sound inspired of skate punk bands, postrock and old emobands like American Football and Christie Front Drive.

YPoFH is a DIY-band, book their own shows, run their own label How is Annie records, one of the most interesting and active indielabels in Norway with over 15 bands and 40 releases.

Second album "Puzzle, the Detective" was released march 2010, getting a lot of attraction and led to touring Europe, US and several perfomances at SXSW 2011. 

Debutalbum "Unnoticable in a Tiny Town, Invisible in the City" released in 2005, dominating norwegians "best of" that year.

Past shows:

12/07/2013: Caf Mir, Oslo
09/15/2013: West Track Studios, Canterbury, UK
09/14/2013: TDT HQ, Sheffield, UK
09/13/2013: Nekro Bar, Manchester, UK
09/11/2013: Catch, London, UK
06/01/2013: Sandermosen, Oslo
02/07/2013: Kampen Bistro, Oslo
10/20/2012: Bureau 20B, Trondheim
08/07/2012: Caf Mir, Klubb-ya, Oslo
06/19/2012: Byggeklossen, Oslo
06/16/2012: Sandermosen, Oslo

05/27/2012: Lobbyen, Trondheim
05/26/2012: Revolver, Oslo
05/12/2012: Sort og Bl Scene, Porsgrunn
05/10/2012: Bl, Oslo
02/26/2012: The Workshop, London, UK
02/25/2012: Bang Bar, Basingstoke, UK
02/24/2012: Casey's, Canterbury, UK
02/11/2012: Klubben, Samfundet, Trondheim
02/10/2012: John Dee, Oslo
12/02/2011: Energimlla, Kongsberg
11/17/2011: Supa, Trondheim
11/13/2011: Landmark, Bergen
11/12/2011: Consul80, Stavanger
11/11/2011: Revolver, Oslo
08/09/2011: Caf Mir, Klubb-ya, Oslo
04/15/2011: Revolver, Norges beste band-festivalen, Oslo
04/09/2011: Bl, Novafest, Oslo
03/20/2011: The Hi-Lo Club, Oklahoma City, OK, USA
03/19/2011: Swan Dive, SXSW, Austin, TX, USA
03/18/2011: Plush, notSXSW, Austin, TX, USA
03/15/2011: Bear's On Fairfield, Shreveport, LA, USA
03/14/2011: The Coup, Clarksville, TN, USA
03/13/2011: Soapbox Laundro-Lounge, Wilmington, NC, USA
03/12/2011: Crayola House, Harrisonburg, VA, USA
03/11/2011: Yaya's House, Annapolis, MD, USA
03/10/2011: Tony's House, Ridgewood, NJ, USA
03/09/2011: Millcreek Tavern, Philadelphia, PA, USA
03/08/2011: Legion Bar, Brooklyn, NY, USA
03/07/2011: Pianos, Manhattan, NY, USA
02/18/2011: Parkteatret, Oslo
01/23/2011: Teglverket, Kvarteret, Bergen
12/03/2010: Revolver, Oslo
12/02/2010: Hulen, Bergen
09/17/2010: Privat Club, Berlin, Germany
09/16/2010: Mosaic House, Praha, Czech Rep.
09/15/2010: Rhiz, Wien, Austria
09/14/2010: Kommune 2010, Offenbach, Germany
09/13/2010: Tsunami Club, Kln, Germany
09/11/2010: Fighting Cocks, Kingston-upon-Thames, UK
09/10/2010: Den Eglantier, Antwerpen, Belgium
09/08/2010: Caf Video, Ghent, Belgium
09/07/2010: Ekko, Utrecht, The Netherlands
09/05/2010: AJZ, Bielefeld, Germany
09/04/2010: Malzhaus, Plauen, Germany
09/03/2010: Fngelset, Gteborg, Sweden
09/02/2010: Betong, Oslo
08/13/2010: Sjsiden, ya-festivalen, Oslo
06/19/2010: Blst, Trondheim
06/18/2010: John Dee, Oslo
06/04/2010: Sinus, Bod
02/13/2010: Blst, Trondheim
02/06/2010: Speilsalen, Kvarteret, Bergen
01/23/2010: Parkteatret, Oslo
11/13/2009: Sinus, Bod
01/29/2009: Bl, Oslo
01/24/2009: Klubben, Samfundet, Trondheim
11/06/2008: Caf Mono, Oslo
09/20/2008: NG2, Phono-festivalen, Bergen
08/23/2008: Utsikten, Vent naa litt-festivalen, Oslo
08/05/2008: Caf Mir, Klubb-ya, Oslo
04/07/2006: Studenterhuset, Kbenhavn, Denmark
04/06/2006: Gimle, Roskilde, Denmark
04/05/2006: Studenterhuset, rhus, Denmark
04/04/2006: Caf Mono, Oslo
03/04/2006: Speilsalen, Kvarteret, Bergen
02/10/2006: Lillescenen, Kulturhuset, By:larm, Troms
09/09/2006: Loftet, Driv, By:larm, Troms
09/07/2005: Betong, Oslo
09/05/2005: 3B, Trondheim
09/02/2005: Speilsalen, Kvarteret, Bergen
08/27/2005: Knaus, Samfundet, Trondheim
07/30/2005: Huldra-scenen, Stors-festivalen, Stors
05/21/2005: Sinus, Bod
12/04/2004: Prestngbrygga, Kabelvg
10/13/2004: Bl

Band Members