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By the time March and April roll around, Winter playlists are starved for fresh musical nourishment. It’s the perfect time to launch the annual hunt for that new artist no warm weather playlist should go without. My roster of then-new artist discoveries of Sprintimes past, thanks mostly to early festival appearances, includes bands like Iron & Wine, Datarock, and Chromeo. This year’s addition is every bit as worthy: GIANA FACTORY from Denmark.
A few weeks ago, while my Skullcandy compadres were busy documenting a Wu Tang Clan show in Austin, I hit Sixth Street, stopping in front of every venue showcasing discernable live music, hoping for something I’d never heard. It can be a quick process – with 2,000 SXSW bands in town that week, most of which are good - sifting requires focus. After about an hour, the sound of something different drew me into a bar called Vice. I liked the first song enough to film the next one, which turned out to be the end of the set. But that sampler was convincing. After an impromptu post-show conversation with the band; several full trips through the promo CD they gave me; and eventually a spontaneous all-night soiree with Team GIANA and a few dozen other musicians and cultural ambassadors, ALL from Denmark except Dominique Keegan of Plant Music and band The Glass; and I’m sold.
GIANA FACTORY are three Danish women with the presence and avant garde personal style of seasoned runway models; and a unique sound that evokes the electronic darkness, atmospheric guitar, and beat-laden vocal melodies of Siouxsie & The Banshees, Clan of Xymox and The XX. The sensibility melds thoughtful, mysterious and suspenseful with familiar, airy and uplifting. It’s almost like a musical version of the teeter-tottering seasonal transition between Winter and Spring, a topic not-surprisingly referenced in lyrics by these residents of the frozen North. To clarify, however - GIANA FACTORY’s sonic balance is more a welcome equilibrium, and much easier to plan weekends around than Mother Nature’s apparent support of a complex economy based on twisted jive like weather derivatives.
GIANA FACTORY’s original recipe is the result of both nature and nurture. In 2008, vocalist Loui Foo debuted her musical chops in front 20,000 people while standing in for her older sister Sharin, who was on maternity leave from her own band, The Raveonettes. That exposure led to an invitation for GIANA FACTORY’s triumvirate of talent - Sofie Johanne (bass, synth), Lisbet Fritze (guitar) and Loui Foo (vocals, drum pads) - to support the band Glasvegas throughout Europe. They’ve since risen to every opportunity to impress crowds and win both fans and friends. Their first EP Blood Game generated acclaim from both Pitchfork and Nylon Magazine. The band’s 2010 album Save The Youth (co-produced by Tomas Barfod), released in Denmark, is no less praiseworthy. And - a side note to the official record - I personally witnessed these ladies verbally fillet fellow Danes from the band Who Made Who in a heated freestyle rap battle so technically sophisticated, that Skullcandy’s Danish street linguists are still translating it for a future post.