Peter Bjorn and John

Peter Bjorn and John

The secret to longevity is reinvention. Or, at least, it’s the secret to Peter Bjorn and John’s impressively long career, which has spanned nearly two decades and eight albums. Darker Days, the Swedish trio’s eighth full-length offering, is evidence of how evolution and a willingness to shift methodology can bring vast rewards. The three musicians, Peter Morén, Björn Yttling and John Eriksson, began writing almost immediately after releasing their 2016 album Breakin’ Point. That album was the result of numerous collaborations and nearly five years of effort, so the idea this time was to get less bogged down in the details.

“Our common goal was to talk less and play music more,” Björn says. “The idea of ‘anything goes’ that applied to the last album stayed, but we decided to do it all ourselves this time. We cut out any meaningless discussions and middle men, and made each band member his own boss and producer. We didn’t have to explain every move we made.”

“It was about going back to how we used to work,” Peter adds. “In the past we put out a record every second year and most of them we produced ourselves in Stockholm. I really enjoy making records quick. And then on to the next thing – constantly moving. It helps keep the joy of it.”

The trio spent some time together in Stockholm’s Atlantis Studios laying down basic tracks and then separated to work on the songs individually. They agreed on the title of Darker Days, which became a starting point and the eventual central thread of the album. The idea was that each band member would be responsible for his own songs, both in the writing and the production. The band members would play on each other’s songs, at various studios around Stockholm. While the last album was grandiose in concept, this one would be composed and simple, connected by both the title and the musicians themselves.

“This time we’re highlighting our differences instead of trying to always agree,” John says. “It’s ten songs with ten different shades of darkness. Coming from the north of Sweden we are used to the static state of not seeing the sun for six months. It’s a melancholic feeling, rather than pessimistic or apocalyptic. We interpreted the theme in different ways. It can be the gloom of a pitch black Swedish forest or the blackness of a newspaper headline or a personal tragedy. You can hear the three of us in different variations on this album.”

“Music should really be in the ear and eye of the beholder and up for interpretation,” Peter adds. “But no one can say anything against the idea that we are indeed living in dark times for lots of reasons: political, environmental etc. Whatever the separate songs’ initial conception was, the theme was definitely a helpful path to bring the project together.”

The idea of the title indeed appears in different incarnations throughout the album, which retains the charming melodic pop sensibility of the band’s previous releases. Björn found himself focusing on relationships and how those relationships are specifically affected by living in Sweden. “Wrapped Around the Axle,” a shimmering indie pop number, observes how two people have to untangle themselves during a breakup, asking “How do we unwrap ourselves from the messes we make?” John looked through a different sort of lens, particularly on “Heaven and Hell,” the album’s introspective closing track. The poem-like song is unlike any of PBJ’s prior numbers, offering a chain of existential snapshots.

Peter conjures up the one contrasting track, a soulful number with a lo-fi Motown swing called “One For the Team,” which is about pepping each other up, even during these shadowed times.

“It’s about the band, in a way,” he notes. “It’s about being proud of having been able to stay together for this long and being a band. We put the pettiness aside to make music. There’s worth in what we’ve built and that we’re still doing it together. On this record it all goes back to the three-piece. It all starts with the three of us and then we put stuff on top of that. We have a DNA and you can recognize our style even when we write separately.”

Indeed, Darker Days feels resolutely like a Peter Bjorn and John album, although it hints at new ideas and refreshed tones. The three musicians have stayed together through thick and thin, always coming back together no matter what musical adventures they have as individuals. That history comes through in every note, even when the notes are written in separate rooms. There’s just no denying, especially as the songs on this album unfold, that PBJ have a chemistry that only comes from years of being a band, from creating and releasing numerous albums and from spending years on the road touring.

That sentiment is reflected in the album’s cover art, which depicts three broken bones coming together in a triangle. For John, that image represents how the three musicians had to dig into their past to find fossils of themselves in order to rebuild themselves from what they’ve learned. “To form that image you have to break our bones,” Björn adds. “You have to dig deep and work hard to get it together, which we have on the past few albums. It’s about a state of mind. Not death, but resurrection.”

In 2001 they released their first EP, Forbidden Chords (EP) and a pair of singles "Failing and Passing" and "I Don't Know What I Want Us to Do", soon after they signed with the tiny Beat That! label.

Initially any fan/press attention they got had to do more with Björn's past production CV, as well as the other members guest appearances on other more well known bands records.
This began to change when in 2002 the home recorded self-titled debut album was released and songs like "Matchmaker" and "People They Know" became favourites with the indie-rock crowd.

2004 saw the follow-up with the more complete, mature and darker "Falling Out". The track "It Beats Me Everytime" became a hit on Swedish radio and the album was released Stateside the following year.

Two years later was released the album that would definitely launch the band, (worldwide speaking). The new album "Writer's Block" (recorded in Björn's studio in Hornstull, Stockholm) is the first to showcase all three members as songwriters with each taking on lead vocalist duties, and sees the band go into a new musical direction. The first single from the album, "Young Folks", features the vocal talents of Victoria Bergsman from The Concretes and has been hammered even before it's official release.

In 2008 the band released their first instrumental album, "Seaside Rock". And the following year they released the album "Living Thing" (and also a deluxe edition CD, where Seaside Rock came as a bonus CD).
DJ Mick Boogie remixed the tracks and released them in digital format, calling them "Re-Living Thing".

The biggest highlight after "Writer's Block" was the 2011 album "Gimme Some", the hit "Second Chance" became even better known as the opening theme of the American television sitcom
2 Broke Girls which was succeeded by 2016 "Breakin' Point".

On October 19, 2018 the band released their eighth album, "Darker Days"!

Jonathan Something

Hailing from Brooklyn, Connecticut (not to be confused with Brooklyn, New York), Jonathan Something is the musical project of writer, producer and multi-instrumentalist, Jon Searles. Today, Jonathan Something releases 'For All My Life,' the first of three bonus singles from debut album Outlandish Poetica, released November 2018.

Listen to 'For All My Life Here' here, out now on Solitaire Recordings.

'For All My Life' is to Jonathan Something as 'Unwritten' was to Natasha Bedingfield -- A song of living free of inhibition, of reaching for something in the distance, of feeling the rain on one's skin, of doing whatever the heart desires and, along the way, not letting the little things weigh you down. As JS quotes Ricky Martin: "I'm Livin' La Vida Loca."

Past Supports: Still Woozy, Partner and Blank Range & Pearla. Supporting Another Sky Mar 11 @ Mercury Lounge, NY.

The songs' expressive imagery and vivid storytelling are a perfect preface album, Outlandish Poetica. As anti-folk made light of folk music, Outlandish Poetica creates an almost anti-blues/anti-rock style that masters classic sounds while still mocking the perceived seriousness in the established music scenes. While on the surface, the track may feel very satirical, the song somehow takes this very quality and makes it emotive and heart-warming in its very own, unique way.

$23.50 - $25.00

Sold Out

There is a SIX (6) ticket limit. Excessive orders in any one name, address, email address and /or phone number will be cancelled.


* There is a $4.00 fee that is added to every ticket purchased at our Box Office. This includes Day of Show pricing.

Upcoming Events
3TEN Austin City Limits Live