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LISTEN: Is this the strangest song ever written about Copenhagen?

Denmark and its lovely capital city have inspired numerous songs over the years and now a new and rather strange one can be added to the list.

LISTEN: Is this the strangest song ever written about Copenhagen?
How Mark Kozelek prefers to see Copenhagen. Photo: Depositphotos
Danny Kaye’s iconic ‘Wonderful Copenhagen’ may be the best-known of the bunch, but popular international artists including Tom Waits, Lucinda Williams and Van Morrisson have also penned Copenhagen-inspired tunes
 
The American singer-songwriter Mark Kozelek has also detailed his love for Denmark in song, most notably in the track ‘UK Blues’, where he croons that in Denmark “everybody's white, everyone rides bikes”. On Thursday, Kozelek added another song to the Copenhagen canon, although it’s probably safe to say this one is a bit weirder than the others. 
 
 
Performed under his Sun Kil Moon moniker, Kozelek’s newest album ‘This is My Dinner’ includes a ten-minute track simply titled ‘Copenhagen’ that showcases his trademark freeform, stream of consciousness style. 
 
 
In it, we learn that the Scandic Copenhagen is his “favourite hotel in Scandinavia”, where they know him by name and always give him a courtyard room with extra blankets and pillows.
 
The track was written on a flight to Copenhagen from Baden, Switzerland and Kozelek spends the first three minutes recounting a flirtatious post-gig meeting with a married woman in Baden that then veers off into memories of elementary school kids with speech development issues and how he’s still got his “own scars from my high school remedial reading classes”.
 
Once that’s out of the way, Kozelek really starts riffing on Copenhagen, starting with his past success in having threesomes in the Danish capital. 
 
“The line that I use is always exactly the same /I say I’ve got a cosy bed back in my hotel that will fit three/ and they say, ‘Ok, let’s go’,” he sings. 
 
We then hear about his first memory of Copenhagen, in which he met a girl “outside a Chinese restaurant” in 1997 who “is still one of my dear friends”. 
 
Listeners are then treated to a mini-rant about Copenhagen’s cyclists, who he hopes will be hampered by snowfall by the time his flight lands. 
 
“I hope the canals are frozen/ I prefer to see the bikes stuck in the ice/ People cycle too fast on their bikes/ Jesus Christ, Scandinavians love their fucking bikes!”
 
 
Despite the annoyance at the city’s two-wheeled commuters, Kozelek makes it clear he loves Copenhagen.
 
“I’m going to tell you something from the bottom of my heart / I’m not lying / my favourite place to tour is Scandinavia and that’s a fact / the trains are peaceful / the scenery is serene / the promoters are honest and they always put me in the Scandic/ and your English skills are fantastic.”
 
The song then veers into TMI territory. 
 
“I’m looking forward to playing tomorrow night in Copenhagen / and yeah I’m older now and I won’t end up in a threesome,” he sings, before going off on riffs about his previous promiscuity (“indie rock’s answer to Wilt Chamberlain”) and current inability to get an erection, both of which are probably best left unwritten here. 
 
Before wrapping up this very unconventional ode to the Danish capital, which he acknowledges has “been long enough,” Kozelek turns to one of his favourite subjects: boxing.
 
The Ohio native is a well-known boxing fan and often sings about the sport and its athletes, so perhaps it’s not a huge surprise that he finishes the song with a tribute to Brian Nielsen, the Danish heavyweight who went 64-3 in his career, with two of his losses at the hands of legends Mike Tyson and Evander Holyfield. 
 
“Let’s give it up for Denmark’s Brian Nielsen. He wasn’t much of a fighter but he had the heart of a lion,” Kozelek croons three times, thus ending perhaps the strangest song ever written about Copenhagen. 
 
‘This is My Dinner’ was released on Thursday and is the prolific Kozelek’s second full-length album of 2018. He’s released over 50 albums under either his own name or the Sun Kil Moon moniker or as part of the Red House Painters. 

MUSIC

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars

The Aarhus band Baest is poised for an international breakthrough thanks to a recent documentary and an injection of taxpayer money.

The Danish death metal band that became reality TV stars
Baest is Sebastian Adildsten, Svend Karlsson, Lasse Revsbech, Mattias Melchiorsen and Simon Olsen. Photo: Nikolaj Bransholm
Death metal is a genre defined by growling vocals, blistering distorted guitars and blast beats. The sound is typically accompanied by dark imagery that borders on the downright evil. In a music world dominated by sugary pop and hip-hop, it’s about as far away from the mainstream one can get. 
 
But a young Danish death metal band is upending all of that. The Aarhus-based Baest found its way into the homes of ordinary Danes nationwide thanks to a documentary series on public television that chronicled their attempt to make music their full-time gig.
 
The series, ‘Den Satans Familie’, follows the young band as they leave Aarhus and embark on their first real European tour. It paints an intimate picture of the five members’ relationships, both with each other and the families they left behind while on the road. Baest only formed in 2015, so the documentary captures how members Sebastian Abildsten (drums), Svend Karlsson (guitar), Mattias Melchiorsen (bass), Simon Olsen (vocals) and Lasse Revsbech (guitar) in some ways still seem to be working out how to co-exist, something that's not always easy when crammed inside a small tour van. 
 
The DR3 series meant that these young, long-haired, heavily-tattooed metal dudes were suddenly reaching a much larger audience, including many who were not necessarily fans of their sound but couldn’t help but be drawn in by their personalities and their raw struggle to make it in the music business. 
 
 
But getting featured in a reality TV show wasn’t the only boost for Baest. The band was named 'best new Danish act' by highly-respected music magazine Gaffa, which also declared their debut album Danse Macabre the best metal or hard rock album of 2018.
 
Baest was also granted 250,000 kroner from the Danish Arts Foundation, a state-run fund for supporting Danish arts abroad. The financial boost is likely to come in handy as the young Aarhusians prepare to hit the road again in support of their upcoming second album, Venenum, which is due on September 13. 
 
Following the band’s standout performance at Copenhell, the annual heavy metal festival in Copenhagen, I caught up with guitarist Lasse Revsbech to talk about the band’s whirlwind success. 
 
First of all, I really enjoyed your performance at Copenhell. What was that like for you? 
 
“We’ve never played a crowd that big before, it was amazing. We’ve been building up over the past few years in Denmark, so to see where it’s gotten to now makes it all worth it. At Copenhell, we shared the stage with some fucking true legends. Sometimes I have to pinch myself to make sure I’m not dreaming. It’s insane.”
 
How do you describe Baest?
 
“Baest is an intense band, with high energy and raw power but with an enormous smile.”
 
How did the reality show come about? 
 
“Our manager was in a dialogue with [public broadcaster] DR and they decided to send a crew to cover one of our gigs at VoxHall in Aarhus. We told them we were on the verge of going on this tour and everyone just thought it would be fun to do it.”
 
The metal world can often seem overly concerned about image and authenticity and in the documentary you come across as this group of really nice, down-to-earth guys. Did you have any concerns about how this might affect your image? 
 
“We were definitely nervous about the metal community’s reaction and how things would be edited and presented but fortunately we really think that DR hit the nail on the head. There’s been such a great response. A lot of true metalheads and touring musicians have told us that it painted such an honest picture of the music industry. A lot of metal bands have a hard time with this concept of selling out but we’ve not been told once – not yet, at least – they were are sell-outs.”
 
You also received a grant from the Danish Arts Foundation. Isn’t it a bit crazy that public money is going to a death metal band? 
 
“Haha, it makes you happy to pay your taxes! It’s so Danish! But really, it’s all about people supporting people and it’s something I think other countries should do.” 
 
What are you hoping to achieve with the release of your new album? 
 
“First and foremost, we’re hoping it allows us to tour more. This autumn, we’ll be heading out for our biggest European tour thus far, as main support for an Entombed AD & Aborted co-headling tour. Entombed are one of the pioneers of death metal, so it’s insane to go on tour with those guys. 
 
“Even if the new album doesn’t make us explode, we hope it will get us one step closer to that. We’re a band that likes to dream big, so we want to play on the biggest stages all around the world. Hopefully, this is a step in the right direction.” 
 
 
Baest’s tour in support of Entombed AD and Aborted kicks off on October 18 in London and will take them to 28 cities throughout Europe, including a November 1 stop at Vega in Copenhagen. Venenum will hit stores and streaming services on September 13 and lead single ‘As Above So Below’ is out now. The four-part documentary on Baest is available to stream here.
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