“It was back in 1938 that the brothers Erik and August and their friend Viktor migrated south. They left the small village in the northern forests where they grew up for the big city and the University, to study the science of ‘harvesting the earth’.
On the fields beside the burial mounds in old Uppsala they met Tommie, a Soviet refugee. He showed them his sole possession, a blues vinyl from 5300 BC, suspecting that it would fit their melancholy northern souls. The four sat down in a barn and played a blues jam which lasted until 1945, when the war ended and the post-apocalyptic nuclear winter beganâ€¦”
This begins the extraordinary tale of Swedish “bad luck boogie” combo THE TOWER, whose cryptic, swinging time-warp of a debut LP will be released in North America via Bad Omen Records on April 15.
The offbeat, freak-beat, and phantasmagorical psych-blues of ‘Hic Abundant Leones’ exudes an ageless charm and resounding singularity. Striking eerie, dreamlike atmospheres that confirm THE TOWER’s eccentric parallel-universe narrative. You can stream the new song ‘Exile’ — praised by The Obelisk for its “heavy ’70s loyalism” and “warmth of tone and natural, live-sounding spaciousness” — HERE.
According to the band’s self-penned timeline, in 1945 they withdrew to their eponymous Tower: “The four remained in solitude throughout the ’50s, an isolation interspersed only by a Zenith tube radio which brought them pop cultural news-pieces aired by American radio stations. They tried to adapt the rockabilly tunes they heard into their own music but were mostly unsuccessful (their innate sense of rhythm being too crooked).”
Allegedly splitting in the ’70s, they returned to the Tower in 1983, where they remained until 2012 — “when rumors of the end of the world enticed them to leave.” They recorded a demo (soon pressed to 12″ by Dybbuk Records) before cutting their mystical long-player: “The days in the studio were smooth. The loveable Joona Hassinen, who we recorded with, made us feel very comfortable, as if we were rehearsing in our ‘tower room’.”
Just what is the significance of the peculiar title ‘Hic Abundant Leones’? The band answers, “We saw it written on an ancient map of the (then-known) world. It literally means “here are lions in abundance” and was used by the cartographer to designate an uncivilized, wild and dangerous territory. When applied to Northern Scandinavia, it becomes very weird, because there are no lions here, but this only furthers the poetry by making the lions mythical. The record is such a territory. So is the place where we rehearse. And stages we play on, and the vistas of our minds, the future and the past; the unknowns we want to explore and yet, paradoxically, also the regions where we feel the most at home.”
You can pre-order a copy of ‘Hic Abundant Leones’ via the Prosthetic web store here: store.prostheticrecords.com/categories/the-tower