There’s a ton of noisy metal, death metal, hardcore and punk in Sweden. In general it’s not my thing but in my youth I was known to attend a few Gang Green and Black Flag all ages shows so I’m not a complete foreigner to the sound. The epicenter of the Swedish punk movement is the record distributor Wasted Sounds. They have a cornucopia of releases on their slate. Here’s a couple and really what else can you say about songs like “I’m Bored”, “I’m A Pervert” and “Hollywood Smile”.
Archive for June, 2006
I Am Sanctuary is Simon Stalhamre. Tar…Feathers is Marcus Nyke. HLG is HLG is HLG I guess. All three bands are under the HLG banner at Hlg.se. As far as I can tell Hlg is some tatted Swedish dude who knows how to party (and work animated gif files). He’s in charge of this little collective so props to HLG.
This is pretty challenging fuck-rock. Not for the faint of heart. RIYL Big Black, Tarwater, early Sonic Youth.
Stereo Test Kit is the English label that has been licensing and releasing all the best Swedish pop it can get it’s hands on. Their next project for 2006 is the new release, Brave You Free May, from Musika 77 due out in September. It’s an epic sounding disc from the at least from the sound of the first leaked track below with equal parts Smiths and Roxy Music.
Here’s “Llanvair View” from Musika 77′s debut BYFM.
I’ve written about Ed Greene (here) before but it doesn’t seem to be helping. Despite my best efforts he remains one of the most unknown Swedish artists. His new debut record came out in March on I Made This and features the song “When the Sky Is About to Fall”.
Since this is an mp3 blog I have never (`til now) witten a post and not included an mp3 but I love this song so much you’ll have to get by with this amazing video. You can hear more of the songs streaming on My Space. The song is about heaven, hell and the space in between. What are you going to do when the apocolypse comes?
Bonus: Here’s an older song
We all write about a lot of music (bloggers that is) and the constant refrain is that this is indie or that is indie. But much of it while released on small labels is not that experimental or different in any way. Since Swedesplease has no parameters beyond the fact that the band must be Swedish I’m free to post some truly experimental music.
Surplus People (My Space) are a fine example. “Killing Spiders” is a song from their 2006 release. It’s got odd instrumentation, vocals screamed though megaphones and what sounds like sounds from video games from the 80′s.
New song from PopJohan courtesy of One Louder
Some unknown twee pop from Second Hand Furniture by way of Snow Globe Universe
More songs from the upcoming Tobias Froberg record from the newish blog The Yellow Stereo
One Died Simply was the first to have the new video from Jose Gonzalez of the song “Hand On My Heart”. Like everything coming out of the Jose camp it’s simply stunning.
Who are the busiest boys in Sweden? I’m guessing it’s Mattias and Kalle of Hybris Records. They have consistently brought the goods to the readers of Swedesplease. Whether it’s the soaring rock of El Perro Del Mar, the 60′s lounge pop of Montt Mardie or the dance pop of Kalle J, each and every release has something going for it. I do this each and every day and am more or less obsessed and still can’t keep up.
So here’s a small sampling of what Hybris has been working on this summer.
Kalle J’s summer pop dance rock
And the sugary dance creation of Biker Boy
Buy em all here.
Bolywool (My Space) the name sounds much like the Indian movie industry’snickname of Bollywood but I’m not sure if there’s any correlation but perhaps the word has some meaning in Swedish (anyone?). The band is working on a new full length and dealing with some issues in the studio with mixing and mastering. So the song here will be on the new record but this version may not be it’s final form.
Another reviewer hit the nail on the head when they said Bolywool sounds like all those great bands on Creation way back when. They’ve even got that snide English accent down pat.
Bonus song from 2005:
The High Heeled Honeys play a kind of boozy, high-energy rock; since I just saw an excellent documentary on The New York Dolls I’ll reference them as at least an influence for this band.
They claim to have a split ep 7″ out on the noisy Swedish garage-rock label Alley Cat Records.
These two songs are on it.
OHM has a new single out called “
If you’ve read this blog long enough you’ll know I like the stripped down sound more than the over produced rock song. Thus I prefer the b-side ballad “Follow My Fate”. While more low key then the single it still has lovely textures including what sounds like a mandolin.
These are not new songs but since there’s been a lull in David and the Citizens and David Fridlund recordings let’s just revisit these two songs from 2003′s Until The Sadness Is Gone and 2002′s debut For All Happy Endings. Both are distributed by Morningside.
Racket and Ball are a My Space band plain and simple. Prior to that service this band from Sweden would never have a hope of getting it’s music heard and certainly not internationally as a result of a posting on this blog. I hope Marcus Palm,the man behind Racket and Ball, is aware that his unmastered demo’s are about to be sent all around the world.
“Over the Fences” is just the sort of indie folk I like to feature on Songs:Illinois. The songs gentle guitar and romantic lyrics are simple and direct. Even if Marcus wasn’t Swedish the first artsit that would come to mind is Jose Gonzalez. The result is a powerfull song of love and longing.
P.S. Unrelated artwork by Kozy N Dan.
Pelle Carleberg has uploaded a rough mix of the new song “Clever Girls Like Clever Boys Much More than Clever Boys Like Clever Girls”. Seems like a mouthful but it’s a quite accurate social statement delivered in Pelle’s perfect pop style. A rough mix of a new song by Pelle is worth a whole album of fully produced and mastered songs by your average pop star so enjoy (the Japanese blog Dopamine had it first)
I wrote about the band Dusty Fingers and the song they contributed to Cowboys In Scandinavia – the New Folk Sounds From Northern Europe on Fargo Records. The compilation sounded like a dream to me (Jose Gonzalez, Tobias Froberg, Nicolai Dunger, and Mattias Hellberg). I guess dreams come true as I just received it in the mail.
The dilemma now is which songs to share. I’m going to go with one obvious choice and one obscure one. Christian Kjellvander (here and here) has a high profile, his style of alt-country inspired by Richard Buckner and Gram Parsons has been highly acclaimed and a success commercially. Lancaster Orchestra (here and here) on the other hand is a complete unknown and has received more mentions on Swedesplease than all other media outlets combined. Buy it here.
Christian Kjellvander –
Lancaster Orchestra –
Lucky Lucky Pigeons (My Space) are the new new indiepop/c86 all girl trio from Sweden. When they started out way back in 2005 they had two songs written which they had to play twice if the crowd at their live shows was into them. They quickly wrote more songs and now have an ep, Happy Birds Day, that was released this past week.
Here’s two songs off it and if you live in Sweden you can order it here. Both are completely ridiculous and fun. Like The Pipettes if they let their hair down.
They take this world cup thing and their Swedish national team pretty seriousely. There are even theme songs that have been written for or inspired by fotboll.
If that photo wasn’t enough to get your blood pressure up, here’s highlights of the very exciting match:
Acid House Kings tour dates/songs (plus videos from Acid House Kings, Pelle Carleberg and South Ambulance)Saturday, June 10th, 2006
Songs:Illinois has the U.S. tour dates of Acid House Kings (plus the Legends) as well as two more song from their latest EP. I just found a video of Acid House Kings by accident as well as one by Pelle Carlberg, The Legends and South Ambulance.
The question I imagine some people in the music inductry asking is; can lighting strike twice? Can a tiny country like Sweden continue to produce critically and commercially succesfull artists? Or put more simply is there another Jose Gonzales somewhere in Sweden. The Californian label Cheap Lullabye (Gus Black) is taking their chances on a rather proven commodity, at least in Sweden. Tobias Frorberg (here) is their latest signing and they will be rereleasing his import only disc Somewhere In The City in late fall (the influential UK label Poptones will release it in Great Britain).
Well what about the sound, you ask? There’s the finger picking classical acoustic guitar style of Jose Gonzales (a close friend) but there’s much more in the mix; gospel-like choirs, resonating electric guitar and organ and several guest spot duets (w/Anne Brun and Teitur). I’ll need to live with this some more before I declare Tobias “the next Scandinavian superstar” as Allen McGee of Poptones recently did. I will say that the diverse songs and the reverb laced production are sure to please fans of mature orchestral (bordering on pschyadelic) pop. I’ll let you in on a little secret…if you live in the US you can pre-order this now here. Here’s a little buried track they hid toward the end of the disc.
Thanks to Hello Surprise for introducing me to my new favorite swedish band. A Smile and a Ribbon are a boy/girl duo and a sad love affair gone wrong. It’s what Belle and Sebastian would sound like had they not grown up and learned to play their instruments (and carry a tune). It’s what the sun sounds like as it breachs the horizon. It’s the sound of first love blooming/fading. (sorry StG!?)
There’ll be a full length cd soon (The Boy I wish I’d Never Met, Fall 2006) and I’ll be sure to tell you more about it when it’s released.
I usually don’t do these “clean out the email inbox” type posts but I am a little swamped with a couple of side projects so here goes. Thanks to all those readers that wrote in with recommendations and tips, I can’t possibly cover them all but I love all the input.
Most of these bands deserve their own dedicated posts though none as much as Harriet and the Harbringers. Harriet Ohlsson is in the quite happening Swedish band Hell Songs (here). that band has been signed to Hybris but her solo project is as yet unsigned. The picture below is from a recording session from Jan. of 2006. It’s hard not to compare her in a way to someone like Eddie Brickell and the New Bohemians but while there are similarities this band is more committed to improvisation and experimental (almost fringe theater) musical interpretation and almost fringe theater stage show.
Here are three demo songs from her quintet featuring Harriet on vocals and rounded out with acoustic bass, flute, cello and guitar.
Chris Magnussen from Hemstad has a sexy new project he’s calling Das Kometen. It’s beats and samples with a synthy overlay. You’ll be able to dance to if you have any rhythm.
Lucky Misu is as prolific a Swedish artist as you’re going to find and that’s saying something. He’s made friends by sharing his music as it is released with all the music blogs writing about Swedish artists. As a result I suspect his fan base is growing and we should see him signed to the label of his choosing any day now. His blend of home studio electronics with pop song structures is appealing. Here’s one song from the new ep, Buy Me Some Time, but there are four more up on his site.