Archive for October, 2007

Two eagerly awaited songs from Stockholm’s “Most Valuable Players” (plus something new from Robotboy)

Wednesday, October 31st, 2007

There’s a short little essay on the Friendly Noise site about how long we’ve been waiting for new music from Most Valuable Players and how great it is that after two years there are finally some new songs. Unfortunately what they don’t say is that these two new songs are such a huge disappointment.

For a second or two at the start of “Rondo” it sounds like MVP might be up to their old tricks but then the scratchy beat fades into the background replaced by lazy off-kilter vocals. To my ears this is a drastic departure from the more high energy urban tracks from their debut “You In Honey”. If this is your first exposure to MVP perhaps you’ll like this track but if you’re an old fan I expect you’ll feel the same as I do.

Rondo

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Since I’ve never really been exposed to Robotboy’s music before I’m more willing to give his songs a chance and his track “September” has immediately crept under my skin. There’s one more song by each of these artists on the Friendly Noise site here.

September

Jettie – “The Lay Up” from Kites for Charity

Tuesday, October 30th, 2007

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Jettie is preparing to release a new record in Sweden on Nov. 7 (it’s available now as a digital only release, soon to be out in the US on Eyeball Records). 97% of my posts are because I love the band, the sound, or find something about the song intriguing. I’ve got to admit it though, for me, posting this song by Jettie is more about getting to it first than it is about my love for this song. Hey, but at least I’m honest, right?

The Lay Up

Jettie “The Coasters”

“The Gun In God’s Hands” – Slow Motion Club

Monday, October 29th, 2007

Sometimes the stars align and a band that is little known, even within Sweden, comes up with a breakout song that should get them international recognition. I think “The Gun In God’s Hand” from their new ep Tiny Dots could be just that song for Slow Motion Club. The song is morbid and beautiful. And despite being a song ostensibly about death it’s surprisingly poppy.

The Gun In God’s Hand

Bonus from debut ep The Waltzes

Mika Song

Swedish Music Roundup

Sunday, October 28th, 2007

Missing Toof (gotta love that name) brings us more Juvelen.

The Walrus has “New Wave Barbershop Rock” from Forest and Crispian.

Raven Sings The Blues has heavy prog rock from Witchcraft.

Pop N Cherries has The Dreamers.

New (shoegazey) single from Tiac – “Catalog Of Failures” (plus Swedish video roundup with Detektivbyran, Montt Mardie, Pelle Carlberg, Little Dragon, Salty Pirates, and Hari and Aino)

Friday, October 26th, 2007

Tiac has a new single out, both songs featured on the single are layered synth and guitar pop bordering on shoegaze. Guitar on “Catalog of Failures” has that highly processed sound that Johnny Marr loves so much. The new 4 track single cdr/12″ is available on Hybris.

Catalog of Failures
Better Days

Here’s what I really wanted to share with you today; let’s call it “Swedish Indie Pop YouTube Roundup”:

Detektivbyran “Hemvagen”

Pelle Carlberg – “Clever Girls Like Clever Boys…”

Little Dragon “Twice”

Pelle Carlberg “Riverbank”

Montt Mardie “Set Sail Tomorrow”

Little Dragon “Test”

Salty Pirates “Skogspromenad”

Hari and Aino “Quite A While”

The Lancaster Orchestra head to Nashville (3 songs including a cover of “Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want” by The Smiths)

Thursday, October 25th, 2007

This is one of the odder post I’ve ever done. It’s an attempt by a blogger based in Illinois to promote a show in Nashville by a band from Sweden. The Lancaster Orchestra is a band I discovered about two years back and that I have been following ever since. I think their atmospheric americana music is unmatched by anyone else. Add to that their slightly cosmopolitan musical tastes (see Smiths cover below) and their technical proficiency and even the quality of their videos and the fact that they’re now willing to travel internationally and I think you’ve got a band that needs to be picked up by a US based label for their next record.

The Lancaster Orchestra will be in Nashville this month at the Americana Music Associations annual party and conference. They’ll be the only European band in attendance. The band appears on October 31st at 8pm at Mercury Lounge. Other acts scheduled to appear during the fest are Guy Clark, Emmylou Harris and Lyle Lovett. I urge you to attend and I double dare you not to fall in love with these three songs.

Save Me From Myself
Newfound Friends (demo)
Please Please Please Please Let Me Get What I Want (Smiths cover)

Video for “I Remember That Time So Well”

Jimmy O’s remix of Torpedo’s single “From Russia With Love”

Wednesday, October 24th, 2007

What is it that makes a bad song a good candidate for a remix. Are there some bones or structure to a song that lend it to the art of the remix. I’m not impressed with the new single from the Swedish band Torpedo but the remix of “From Russia With Love” by dj Jimmy O is something else entirely.

From Russia With Love

Anna Järvinen (Granada, Dungen etc)

Tuesday, October 23rd, 2007

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Anna Järvinen has a new record out on Hapna. Anna was a member of the great Swedish band Granada. Her solo material deserves more attention than I can give her in this small space (but check out reviews of the new album here). Jag fick feeling has only been out a few weeks in Sweden and is still not available throughout the world, but has already garnered 9 out of 10 or 4 out of 5 or simply the best album of the year by a number of international critics.

Because of the soaring vocals of “Gotgatan” and the incomprehensible (for me) Swedish lyrics I get a sense of the first time I heard the Cranberries or 10,000 Maniacs. Other song on the record have a more organic feel. But this one is as pop as you’ll ever get from Hapna. Enjoy.

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Gotgatan

Video (.mov file) for Gotgatan

Ostrich – “Icecold Kisses” (riyl Depeche Mode, Joy Division)

Monday, October 22nd, 2007

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So much talk about Joy Division over the last couple of weeks. I love it, too, as Joy Division belong in the upper pantheon of bands. Bands who were simply on another level. It’s impossible to say how many bands toiling in the electronic realm owe nearly everything to Joy Division but I’m guessing it’s around 99.9%. Ostrich is no different and they acknowledge as much in their MySpace influences section (they also name drop Depeche Mode, Placebo, and Velvet Underground).

They’ve just released a new song and are currently recording their debut record.

Here’s “Icecold Kisses”:

Icecold Kisses

Swedish Music Roundup

Sunday, October 21st, 2007

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(“Veritas odium parit” by Loin)

I would have never written about the new record from Kent but lucky for you BBQChickenRobot did here.

More remixes from The Field via Transpotter.

Into The Groove is “addicted” to Strangers In Wonderland.

This set from Jens Lekman on Swedish Public Radio was all the rage this week on mp3 blogs. Here’s the whole set courtesy of Kwaya Na Kisser.

New demos from Euphoria and The Lazy Boy (aka 1/2 of The Elderly)

Friday, October 19th, 2007

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I’ve been kind of flying by the seat of my pants for the last couple of days, so apologies if these commentaries are lacking. Luckily the music’s been good, yes? One of the slightly unusual aspects of Swedinsh indie pop culture is the amount of bands/projects/side projects/solo projects one musician can get involved in.

Euphoria and the lazy boy is Anton Mattsson from the group The Elderly (and five other bands, no seriousely!). Although these demos from 2007 were probably recorded before the release of the film Once, I get that kind of vibe from these emotionally centered folk pop songs. These two songs, “Circles” and “Goodbye”, share the slightly epic nature of the songs from the soundtrack to that groundbreaking indie film Once.

Circles
Goodbye

Honorary Swedish Ban – Rubies (With Blood Music, The Concretes, and Feist)

Thursday, October 18th, 2007

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(This is only the second non-Swedish band to ever appear on Swedesplease but since the band has a lot of friends in Sweden (and Norway), and a bunch of swedes helped record the new record in Stockholm I though it would be fitting. Plus I’m travelling and had to steal this post from Songs:Illinois.)

Rubies, the California electro folk trio, are huge in Sweden (and Norway and Japan). They have friends among the highest level of Swedish pop cognoscenti including Karl Jonas Winqvist of Blood Music, Maria from The Concretes, and the up and coming electronic duo Studio. All these artists as well as members of Kings Of Convenience, Dan Judd and Leslie Feist helped out with the new record. Their new record, Explode From Center, was partially recorded in Stockholm and the bands website is peppered with live photos from their time in Sweden.

If you’re wondering what the band sounds like think Mama and The Papas (sans Papas) powered by cheap casios and electric guitars. For now there is no US release date, although the record should be available from Telle Records (Norway) and a single is supposed to be released through Rallye (Japan) in October.

Diamonds On Fire

“Diamonds On Fire” (w/Blood Music) performing acoustically outside a cafe in Stockholm:

More Whistling Swedes – Eric Enocksson’s “Farval Falkenberg”

Wednesday, October 17th, 2007

So you say you’re a fan of Swedish bands that can whistle. Have you heard Erik Enocksson? Eric’s new record, Farval Falkenberg, is a companion piece to the film of the same name. It’s been released by the critically adored Gothenberg label Kning Disc. Kning specializes in limited run cd’s by composers of modern Swedish experimental music.
Farval Falkenberg has been called a soundtrack to the desolate places and realms of Sweden (or did I just make that up?), either way the music has an eerie beauty made all the more compelling by it’s use of minimalism and large swaths of sound. You can buy one of the 999 copies here through Kning Disc.


The State The Sea Left Me In

The Joy Of DH Lawrence

P.S. Thanks to Jason at One Flower Media the Swedesplease t-shirt is back up on the sidebar and available to order. In fact One Flower Media is responsible for my smooth move from Blogger to WordPress, check `em out for all your webby needs.

Pete Thompson

Tuesday, October 16th, 2007

Pete Thompson (here) has one of my favorite Swedish songs of the last few years with “White Shoes” off of his debut ep for Johnny Brattom. His only other release came out on It’s A Trap as a digital only download. So it’s been a while since he’s had any new music out and I’ve been waiting patiently. The wait is over at least for now since 3 demos have been added to his MySpace profile.

The new songs are only demos but my immediate impression is that some of the catchiness of earlier releases may be gone while the depth of the songs has grown substantially. On “I Had A Dream” Pete talks about finding his way during a time that he was lost. It’s a sad song sung in a off-key quavering voice and it’s stunning.

I Had A Dream

Winter Took His Life – “You Know What It’s Like To Be Alone And Shut Down” (Bless This Press, Sept. 27)

Monday, October 15th, 2007

Winter Took His Life (here) has a new record out on Bless This Press. You Know What It’s Like To Be Alone And Shut Down will be her (Susanna Brandin from Gothemberg) most produced and complete recording to date. On the song “Your Side” she brings her whispy vocals and fingerpicked guitar to this sentimental ballad. For WTHL it’s not the lyrics or song structure that put her firmly in the indie music camp but more her ambiguous delivery. To compete on the radio in any country, especially Sweden, you’ve got to belt out repetitive chorus and be propelled by a nasty beat. WTHL, as the band name and record title partly imply, seems willing to take a different, more lonely, path with her music.

Ordering info is here.

Your Side

Swedish Music Roundup

Sunday, October 14th, 2007

Bridging The Atlantic (and a few others) beat me to the punch on Rigas’ new song from his upcoming record The Hardest Pocket To Pick.

Waved Rumor has details on the upcoming Swedish music seminar being held in conjunction with the CMJ Festival.

LunaPark6 has the new song from Sambassadeur and news of how to get autographed copies of their upcoming disc.

The Milk Lounge has something pretty astoundingly great from the new record from Mojib.

Chemical Goo is in Greek (really it’s Greek) but there’s tons of great Swedish music on there.

Sneak peak at a new unreleased song from Hello Saferide (plus videos from Brazil from Maia Hirasawa and SKWBN)

Friday, October 12th, 2007

Hello Saferide and Maia Hirasawa are touring Brazil together. Musica de Bolso captured these La Blogotheque style impromptu videos of these two great Swedish singer-songwriters. “I Wonder Who Is Like This One” was recorded in an elevator and compares people with songs. Anika’s voice is beautiful in such a small space (wouldn’t it have been heaven to get in on that elevator on the first floor?) and somehow she keeps her composure as people get in and out of the elevator.

Hello Saferide’s “I Wonder Who Is Like This One”

Maia Hirasawa’s “Cracker”

SKWBN “Middleclass Life”

The Shout Out Louds and Johnossi land in Chicago – Ann Sathers be forewarned!!

Thursday, October 11th, 2007

Normally I wouldn’t write about a band like The Shout Out Louds. I’d be a little turned off by their overexposure on other blogs, the relentless good press, and the obvious machinations of the pr machine of a band that size. But it’s hard not to be charmed by their playful new record Our Ill Wills. The fun that they seem to be having with their music, in their tour photos, and in videos is catchy and reminds me of any number of films from Wes Anderson.

The other reason The Shout Out Louds became a must-mention on Swedesplease is that the band is passing through Chicago on their North American tour. They play October 19 at Logan Square Theater with Swedish opening act Johnossi. “Tonight I Have To Leave It” sounds like the Echo and The Bunnyman single that that reunited band has been trying to record for the last twenty years, could even be the lost b-side outtake from Oceans?!

Tonight I Have To Leave It (downloadable iPod/iPhone ready .mov file)

Johnossi:

Man Must Dance (Courtesy of FreeIndie.com)

The Shout Out Louds “The Comeback”

The Shout Out Louds “Please Please Please”

New songs from Dear Euphoria (Stereo Test Kit Records, Oct. 22); plus the new video of “Young And Hairy” from Elias and The Wizzkids

Tuesday, October 9th, 2007

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If you read more than one Swedish pop music blog be prepared for a barrage of words like atmospheric, stunning, gorgeous, etc etc. That’s because Dear Euphoria has had their debut cd re-released in the UK on Stereo Test Kit Records. Blogs that write about this strange creature known as Swedish Indie Pop have been singing her praises for a year and a half now. And despite being a gigantic Kate Bush fan, a rabid Cocteau Twins fan and a fairly large My Brightest Diamond fan I don’t get all the fuss.

The songs are gorgeous but I miss the lyrical depth and occasional dynamic shifts of say a Regina Spektor, or the full out Diva moments of My Brightest Diamond or the incomprehensible stream of consciousness ramblings of the Cocteau Twins. Still, you make up your own mind about Dear Euphoria and leave it in the comments.

Pre-order this Oct. 22nd release here.

Snow
Falling Behind

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Now to the really good stuff: a new video of the recently released 2nd single, “Young And Hairy”, from Elias and the Wizzkids. Buy it here.

Happy Day That A White European “Discovered” America And Began 500 Years Of Genocide And Ethnic Cleansing (oh yeah and a great song by japan air)

Monday, October 8th, 2007

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The one other post about Japan Air in the annals of mp3 blogdom is by the fine site Scatterbrain but you’ll learn as much about the band on that site than on the band’s homepage or here at Swedespelase. And that’s very little.

The bands influences are pretty clear though as they tread water somewhere between Joy Division, Felt and My Bloody Valentine. The few songs they’ve released have been instrumentals but today I have a short new song called “Takes 1 To Know 1″ that features heavily distorted and inaudible vocals. However once again it’s the instrumental track “Eat Me” that is truly special.

Eat Me

Takes 1 To Know 1