Archive for October, 2006

Kristoffer Ragnstam’s US debut – Sweet Bills (Bluhammock Music)

Tuesday, October 31st, 2006

I generally avoid rehashing press releases and posting music suggested by pr companies but of late there have been a rash of Swedish acts signed by American indie labels and they deserve your attention as much as the more anonymous bands usually found on Swedesplease. Kristoffer Ragnstam’s new cd, Sweet Bills, should be out in the states soon on the small indie label Bluhammock Music.

Kristoffer is trained as drummer so it’s no surprise that the rythyms on Sweet Bills are prominent in the mix. I haven’t heard the whole record although I’m told it’s quite diverse (Kristoffer’s a bit of a studio rat) but if the other songs on there are as exciting as “Breakfast…” Small Bills could be one of the break out Swedish albums this year in America.

Breakfast By The Mattress


Three videos of Christian Kjellvander uploaded to You Tube (it’s about time!)

Monday, October 30th, 2006

Somone’s gone and uploaded some great Christian Kjellvandr videos. Christian and his label are pretty protective of his music so let’s see how long these stay up now that the wild west of the early You Tube days is gone.


“O Night”

“Homeward Rolling Soldier”


Frida Hyvonen’s US Tour (+new song/video)

Friday, October 27th, 2006

For my taste the bulk of signings of Swedish bands by US labels are quesionable. Not to take anything away from the artists who have been signed but I would have gone in a different direction. However Secretely Canadian has a pretty unimpeachable track record so I’m going to take them at their word that Frida Hyvonen is the bomb. Her piano driven art pop is not my cup of tea but I can see why it would intrigue people.

Until Death Comes is available now from Secretely Canadian and Frida is about to begin a US tour swing. Here are the dates:

11/01/06 Brooklyn, NY – Union Hall w/ Earlimart
11/02/06 New York, NY – Skirball Center w/ Walkmen + The Wrens
11/03/06 Brooklyn, NY – Sound Fix Records- 2pm
11/05/06 New York, NY – Tonic w/ Jospehine Foster + Rachel Mason+ Kath Bloom
11/07/06 Philadelphia, PA – M Room
11/08/06 Washington DC, – R&R Hotel
11/09/06 Norfolk, VA – Relative Theory Records w/ Trespassers William
11/11/06 Murfreesboro, TN – Casa Burrito
11/14/06 Baton Rouge, LA – Red Star Bar
11/15/06 Dallas, TX – The Cavern
11/16/06 Houston, TX – Proletariat w/ Drity Projectors
11/17/06 Austin, TX – Emo’s w/ Fiery Furnaces
11/19/06 Chicago, IL – Beat Kitchen w/ Bishop Allen

You Never Got Me Right

Video for “Once I Was A Serene Teenage Child” with the disconcerting opening line of “Once I Was A Serene Teenage Child. Once I felt your cock against my thigh”.


El Perro Del Mar update (tour dates, mp3′s, videos etc)

Thursday, October 26th, 2006

El Perro Del Mar is coming to NYC (all the way from Gothenberg, Sweden) and releasing a new record on Nov. 14 on the Control Group. I’ve written about El Perro Del Mar here. These songs sound like they’re right out of an early 60′s film soundtrack. You know that time period when the beats were just fading out but the hippies hadn’t yet appeared on the scene. An innocent time but one with rumblings of sociopolitical and historical change right uder foot.

These shows should be prety special. In fact you’ll probably be reading about them soon on Brooklyn Vegan and Stereogum so acquaint yourself with her music now and just nod knowingly when the hype kicks in.

11/12/06 – Brooklyn, NY @ Zebulon Café
11/13/06 – New York, NY @ Joe’s Pub (7pm)
11/14/06 – Brooklyn, NY @ Union Hall
11/16/06 – New York, NY @ Mercury Lounge

God Knows (you gotta give to get)

Its All Good

Cool little animated video for “God Knows”

Plus a live video performance of same


The Consequences (w/Marit Bergman and Frida Hyvonen)

Wednesday, October 25th, 2006

Unless there’s some sort of weird cosmic joke most of the bands I write about on Swedesplease are not destined for bigger and better things. I expect they know that as well as I do. When a band has proven to be extremely successful it’s more of a fluke than a rule of thumb (Jose Gonzalez). However some bands are out to make it big and they both have what it takes and the means to make it happen.

The Swedish band The Consequences are shooting for no less than total world domination. Members of the band have played/toured with Marit Bergman, Mattias Hellberg and Anna Ternheim. In fact Marit and Frida Hyvonen sing backup on one of the songs below (“Parasite”). Their debut album is due out sometime in November. However in Sweden the song “Release Me From Love” is out now as the first single. The band claims it’s sound is a cross between the Flaming Lips and The Band with a little Swedish melodicism thrown in for good measure. But I hear as much mid-tempo Britrock as anything. “Release Me From Love” in particular is a catchy, well-produced slab of radio ready rock.

Release Me From Love



Ebba Forsberg’s comeback album (she was once signed to Madonna’s label Maverick Records)

Tuesday, October 24th, 2006

Ebba Forsberg released her first record on Madonna’s Maverick records in 1997. I expect at the time I may have been exposed to Ebba but I have no memory of it (like much of the late 90′s). It’s been a few years and while Ebba Forsberg truly never left the music scene this is a bit of a comeback album for her.

She’s changed much about how she records from the production (more bare now) to the songwriting (she does it all now). Her sound has changed slightly from being a little too over produced female alt-rock to a perfect blend of jazz, folk and blues (riyl Madeline Peyroux, Over The Rhine or Cowboy Junkies). Her new self-titled cd is out now and here’s a song from it:

Boy You Owe Me

Here’s a video that explains her absence and the recording of the new album.


The Hives perform 7 song medley (White Stripes, Hellacopters, Outkast, Three 6 Mafia etc)

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

Three days ago The Hives performed this 7 song medley live on Swedish TV. I expect it to go viral in the next few hours.


A peak inside the recording process with new demos from Thomas Denver Jonsson

Monday, October 23rd, 2006

A few Swedish artists have gone out of the way to include me in their recording process. This is an unintended bonus of having this Swedish music blog but it is also one of the special things that sets it apart and makes it worthwhile for me. So I was thrilled to receive an email from Thomas Denver Jonsson announcing new demo’s available from his upcoming project. If you’ve been a Swedesplease reader over the last 2 years you’ve no doubt heard Thomas’ music. Most likely you’ve enjoyed his solo recordings but you may have also been intrigued by his minimalist electronic experimentations with the duo A Perfect Friend.

These new songs are stripped-down acoustic numbers that will probably show up on TDJ’s next record. These are like the first rudimentary charcoal sketch by a painter or the dress rehearsel of a local opera company. “Only for Beginners” is a half-whispered affair with gently picked acoustic guitar. The setting of the song, the beautiful vocals and the glimpses of highly descriptive lyrical phrases make this song perfect for repeat listens (esp late at night). As time goes on these songs will be edited, overdubbed, re-worked and perfected in time for a 2007 release of Thomas’ third record. Enjoy.

Like Friends

Only For Beginners
(highly rec’d)


The band Bonnie and Clyde from Gothenberg (plus Serge Gainsbourg and Brigitte Bardot video inspired by the film Bonnie and Clyde)

Friday, October 20th, 2006

I know people out their still love that Creation sound, the classic shoegaze of old. The duo Bonnie and Clyde have the sound and the lyrical themes to be counted as part of this rejuvenated genre. What they add to the mix is a slightly 60′s lounge “These Boots Were Made for Walking” Nancy Sinatra kind of thing (esp with the song “Little Peanut”). Little Peanut is the name of the new ep from ths Gothenberg duo.

Liquid Escapism

Little Peanut

The band may have gotten their style more from this video of Serge Gainsbourg & Brigite Bardot than the movie.


The Deportees

Thursday, October 19th, 2006

The Deportees have just released their new cd Damaged Goods. The single is “Missing You, Missing Me” and since they’re on EMI/Dolores they’ve seen fit not to share any mp3 from the new record. However there is a sexy little video (and by sexy I mean it may not make it through MTV’s sensors but is actually quite tame).

Besides the visuals in the video, the song sucks in a repetitve kinda way. I’m actually glad there’s no mp3 since the song kinda sucks. “Damaged Goods” is completely lame as well when it comes right down to it. Like a Swedish rock version of the anthemic power ballads of mid-70′s Neil Diamond. Yuch!

Missing You, Missing Me video:

Bonus video of Damaged Goods


Television Keeps Us Apart (esp. tonight with Lost on)

Wednesday, October 18th, 2006

Television Keeps Us Apart will have it’s detractors who say they ape the sound created by Postal Service. But that thinnish vocal delivery over tired beats was not invented by them or even by Depeche Mode. It’d be interesting to trace that sound back to it’s origins but just because a band has a similar sound doesn’t mean they’ve stolen it and what if they have? They still have to put their personal stamp on it by adding lyrics, creating just the right track and then meshing it all together. It’s that process, that synthesis, that makes a band unique despite it’s references. See what you think.

Ticket Out Of Here


Oklahomo Trio

Tuesday, October 17th, 2006

Oklahomo Trio have released a disturbing record of songs about pedophiles, glory holes and unending pain. They do so using a musical pallet of acoustic guitar and strained vocals. They plan to make their next record more electric, perhaps in an attempt to have the ferocity of the music match the darkness of the lyrics. Oklahomo Trio are from Malmo (not oklahoma of course) and strangely are also a duo.

But still, I don’t want to dissuade you from downloading these 2 songs from their debut s/t cd. I’m just trying to prepare you for what you’re getting yourself in to. This is cathartic stuff.

Stop Signs

Choir Boys

Here’s the video for “Stop Signs” by acclaimed Australian director Genevieve Bailey


Ohm’s record released plus Tack! Tack! Tack! (The Fine Arts Showcase and Tough Alliance in London tonight)

Monday, October 16th, 2006

Just a quick note to say that Ohm’s debut was released on Sept. 30. We all wrote about it months ago (here) but now it’s the day of reckoning. Pick up Star Fall here from Sing Your Life. Here’s another gorgeous track from Ohm.

Follow My Fate

And the video for the title track:


If they force me to write about Tack! Tack! Tack! one more time I may just move to London. Besides having my favorite alcholic beverage on tap (English cider) they have again brought some of Sweden’s best bands to a London nightclub.

This month The Fine Arts Showcase is joined by The Tough Alliance so expect a little experimental shoegaze rock mixed in with electrobeats. The show is Oct. 16 in London, more details on the Tack! Tack! Tack! my space page (later that week catch TFAS w/Bobby Baby at Sounds of Sweden’s showcase in Glascow).

Tough Alliance – “Holiday”

The Fine Arts Showcase – “Hazel Ridge”


Taste Of Ra

Friday, October 13th, 2006

It’s been over a year since Hapna released Taste Of Ra‘s debut disc. Now tht the sophomore disc is out I’m truly confounded and nothing I said about their debut is still true. The band that I descrived as experimental folk has gone more in the direction of orchestral pop a la the Elephant 6 collective.

This is the second disc in a planned trilogy so perhaps the band is exploring different themes and sounds with each release. Here’s the wordless (but definitely not instrumental) track “Radhe-Shym in bliss land” which by the way is just about a perfect title for this song.

Radhe-Shyam in bliss land


Pelle Carlberg’s American debut "Everything Now" (Twenty Seven Records, Oct. 24) plus a song from his next Swedish record (Labrador, Feb 14)

Wednesday, October 11th, 2006

For upbeat intelligent pop there is no one I love more than Pelle Carlberg. It turns out I’m not alone with this sick infatuation. Twenty Seven Records, the geniuses responsible for bringing the Acid House Kings to the US and for signing Ivy League, are now prepping Pelle’s American debut. The record is called Everything Now! and features many of the songs I’ve written about before (here, here, here, here) including “Go To Hell, Miss Rydell!”, “Oh No! It’s Happening Again” and “Riverbank”. I think I could legally link to all of them but I don’t want to burst anyones sales bubble. There will be songs you’ll not be able to get on blogs on this album that could very well change your life (if not make you tap your foot).

There’s a pre-order page here for this Oct 24th release.

Go To Hell, Miss Rydell!


Video of “Riverbank” (high quality, iPod ready)

One of the things I love about Pelle Carlberg’s lyrics is that they all seem to deal with his life (whether it’s the truth or not, I’m not sure). For example if you follow the storyline of “Go To Hell, Miss Rydell!” it’s about a singer who stalks a woman reviewer who panned his music. Now from Pelle’s upcoming new Swedish release (tentatively scheduled for Feb. 14) comes another autobiographical song called “Middleclass Kid”.

Middleclass Kid



Tuesday, October 10th, 2006

We’re going to interupt all this lofi goodness with a supergroup of Stockholm musicians who came together recently to form the band Buckaneers. Of course with a name like Buckaneers you might expect to hear some gypsey infused sea chanties and a pirate song or two and while they don’t quite go that far a song like “Cold Morning” does have a little Djangoish guitar and some sweet violin.

If this band is going to make it they’ll do so on the back of their beautiful female lead singer – China. If she weren’t singing in this band she could be auditioning to sit for Morrissey cover shots (she resembles Sandie Shaw).

Cold Morning


louie & clark

Monday, October 9th, 2006

Sometimes the style of music influences the length one will go to describe it. I find that extreme indie pop or twee needs very little in the way of descriptive prose or conjoling arm twisting. You either love it or loath it. I love it of course.

Here’s a couple songs from the Swedish duo Louie and Clark. They are virtual friends with Nils Folke, The Budgies, Emily Jane Powers and G.o.o.f. So take that for what it’s worth. Here’s two new songs:


The Spring Song


New song from Bye Bye Bicycle

Friday, October 6th, 2006

Bye Bye Bicycle is musically a very poppy group but the minute the vocals come in all is lost. And that’s where I was hooked. They’ve got no commerical potential at the rate they’re going. But I imagine people said the same things about the Fall, Mission of Burma and The Smiths. Bizarre.

Skatterbrain wrote them up on September 27 which happened to be the same day they added a new track to their Myspace page so I’ll add that song to his already fine post.

Telephone Lines


New songs from Koop’s "Koop Island"

Thursday, October 5th, 2006

I missed out on Koop the first go round back in 2002 when they released their acclaimed record Waltz For Koop. There’s a slight chance I may have pigeonholed them at first sight. I think the cross dressing, the makeup and the weird eyebrows may have thrown me off a bit at first. But that probably wasn’t fair since there music has more in common with Bix Beiderbeck and Sarah Vaughn than Boy George or Portishead.

The new record, Koop Islands, is a mix of Swedish songstresses and Caribbean jazz. Featured singers include Ann Brun, Yukimi Nagano, Earl Zinger and Mikael Sundin. So if you’re here for modern dance music you’ll have to wait a bit before the dance remixes start popping up.

Whenever There Is you

Video for the single “Come To Me”:


Elias Akesson’s (Elias and the Wizz Kids) cover of "Wonderwall" plus a live Hello Saferide video of "The Quiz"

Wednesday, October 4th, 2006

If Elias Akesson’s music rings the slightest little bell it may be because you’ve heard of his band Elias and the Wizz Kids (here and here). Elias has been working on his own solo material and now there are some new songs up on Myspace and they sound great (well they were recorded in his bedroom so they actually don’t “sound” great).

“Young and Hairy” has that trademark Swedish male vocal sound (a little Jens, I’m From Barcelona and Bob Hund) but musically sounds most like The Monkee’s at times (strange, huh?). This is a crude demo but hopefully will appear in better form on the upcoming solo debut record from Elias Akesson.

Young and Hairy

Bonus cover (a rave up of “Wonderwall”)


Hello Saferide’s “The Quiz”: