The Bear Quartet – The best band in the world you’ve never heard of. (mp3)
And no, I do not mean the world you’ve never heard of. (I know it could read like that) I mean the band you’ve never heard of. And if you’ve heard of them, you probably don’t need to read any further because you’ll be busy listening to the best band in the world you HAVE heard of. I honestly do not remember how I came by ’89 (2009), their latest album. It probably sat there all alone in that folder for weeks, forgotten, set aside. I was assembling tracks for one of the playlists (Oct? Sept?) and I was short a few tracks. So I went rummaging through what I had, finding little, and came across a zip (or was it a rar?). I extracted the files into a new folder and started listening. And it kicked my butt. This band can play anything, and sound like they mean it. Because they do. Part of the reason for that is probably that they’ve been doing it for so long. Where have these guys been hiding? Well, as it turns out, Sweden, which is apparently a pretty good hiding place. They’ve had years of success there, and from what I’ve heard of their earlier catalog (not all of it, ..yet…) they’ve been honing their art. I find it difficult to describe their sound, so luckily they’ve allowed me to link to tracks AND the full album for download.
One of the things that stuck out immediately on the album was that they were unafraid of making the drums loud, full and open. That’s pretty rare in this world of taped, muffled, stuffed and compressed drums. As a matter of fact, it has to be mentioned that the drums on this album sound phenomenal. The first track on the album, Halmet, proves this. The Bear Quartet is unquestionably a ROCK band, but minus most of the embarrassing staples of the genre. And when a cliche’ pokes through(rarely), they somehow get away with it. They seem unafraid, experienced and still reckless in their search for the perfect song they appear to be trying to find. But don’t tell them they’ve achieved it here multiple times. It could ruin it for them. I want at least 12 or more long-playing attempts from them. That’s not too much to ask, right?
I would normally list off what I think are the highlights of the album here, but the tracks are so genuinely unique, none of them sounding like the previous one, all I can suggest is that you give the whole thing a listen and see if you agree. I think you will. Each track sounds very different, yet there’s no question that each one is a TBQ song. My favorite, at the moment, is “Millions”. Both for it’s lyrics addressing conformity and it’s infectious, stylistically immediate sound. I’ve always been a sucker for percussive guitar lines that follow along synchronously with bass-lines. And this one has a catchy one with an almost Kokolo-like afrobeat feel. Like I said, these guys can play anything.
Now. I’ve never personally purchased an album based on a review alone. The way it used to work was that I’d read about something and if the review convinced me it was worth a sampling, I’d head on down to the CD store to give it a listen or try to catch it on the local college or non-profit radio station. If I loved it, I’d buy it. If I just liked it, I’d buy it. For the most part, those days are over. In my area we still have a couple of college stations and one non-commercial community station. The latter plays a LOT of what I could best describe as near-easy-listening aging hippie music (not that there’s anything wrong with that) and the other two are typically out of range or being drowned out (IMHO, on purpose because hippie music kills babies, right?) by a religious station and a mega-huge-gazillion-watt top 40 station. So, what are my options now? I can either stream the music on the band’s MySpace (really bad quality, sorry) or the band’s site. Or in some cases the band will trust its future fans and the quality of what they’ve created to actually let us download the thing and give it a listen. And who knows? Maybe even pass it on to a friend or two who just might also love it and do the same. This is the option The Bear Quartet has chosen. And I have faith, yes faith, that it’s the right choice in the long run. It’s my hope that if you end up loving this album as much as I do, you’ll spread the news and seek it out for purchase. And if you decide not to, at least spread the word. That this band is relatively unknown in the US is nearly criminal. Lots of people in the music “industry” talk about losses these days. As if I would buy an album I heard and hated. While they attach undeserved value to the act of purely listening, it’s as if they suddenly think they deserve money for the things they create that people HATE. The term “entitlement” is used fairly loosely these days to describe the consumers of music. As if they think they are “entitled” to own all the music in the world without paying for it, while in reality the people who truly feel entitled are the ones producing absolute crap that nobody wants, then putting said crap out there for people to hear. Then once it’s downloaded for free, exposed as the junk it is, they act as if they are entitled to the 17 bucks you WOULD have paid them if it wasn’t crap. That’s the real entitlement. The real losses occur when a great band like this makes a great album and the people who love it do nothing. So, even if you cannot afford to buy it, do something! Even if that something is just telling one other person. Grab it now, while you can, and listen. If you feel the same way as I do about it, buy it or spread it. Just don’t do nothing. These guys deserve better than that.
So, here it is:
The Bear Quartet – 89 (2009) Entire album. Zip file. (right-click-save-as)
The Bear Quartet – 89(2009)Entire album. Rar file. (right-click-save-as)
and if you just want a quicker sample of their sound, try a single:
The Bear Quartet – Millions (mp3) (right-click-save-as) Seriously my favorite track on the album.
The Bear Quartet – Millions (Andreas Tilliander Version) Good re-mix-version. Well, really a complete transformation that works, by Andreas Tilliander.
If you would like to purchase the album, you can do that here: http://www.adrianrecordings.com/shop/paypal/ They do ship overseas.
All download links posted with permission.