Archive for December, 2007

Swedish Music Roundup

Saturday, December 29th, 2007


(Happy Birthday by Daniel St. George)

For a very short time Discobelle had a cover of Robyn’s “With Every Heartbeat” performed by Annika Norlin and Anna Järvinen.

Milk Milk Lemonade has the two new songs from the only band toiling away in the sub sub genre known as “vulgar twee” – Strip Squad.

Muzzles Of Bees has news of The Bell, one of the first Swedish releases coming out in 2008.

Most Deserving Swedish Artists of 2007 – Mr. Suitcase (**Repost**)(bonus video from Mr. Suitcase)

Friday, December 28th, 2007


I’m not the first to jump on the Mr. Suitcase’s new single from Guideline for An Emerging Century on Kitty Litter Records (Parker Lewis). But I also won’t be the last. Mr Suitcase has been remixing songs by some of Sweden’s best artists for a couple of years but he hadn’t released a full length of his own…until now. The first single is called “You Don’t Smile Anymore” and as is his custom he’s also provided two remixes.

You Don’t Smile Anymore

Bonus: here’s his remix of the Sophie Rimheden track “Can You Save Me”

Can You Save Me
(Remix)

Bonus video of Mr. Suitcases’s “Ours Is A Time For Falling In Love”

Most Deserving Swedish Artists of 2007 – Friday Bridge (**Repost**)(plus a brand new remix)

Wednesday, December 26th, 2007

Friday Bridge’s place in Swedish music has been cemented with a P3 Guild nomination for Best Pop Record of the Year. Also another sign that someone’s made it is that the remixers take an interest. And Dutch Rubbah has just given the track “Literature” the remix treatment.

Literature

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Here’s my repost from this past April:


A new song from Friday Bridge is a cause for celebration, no? “Love and Nostalgia” is the first song released from Friday Bridge’s upcoming album Intricasy (But Is It Art? Records). I haven’t exactly been able to put my finger on the quintessential Friday Bridge sound but what it reminds me a little bit of is Audry Hepburn in soft focus. FB’s music is romantically retro yet updated with synthy bits of eurodisco.

Love and Nostalgia

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Most Deserving Swedish Artists of 2007 – Little Dragon (plus a new “unplugged type video of the band perfoming “Twice”)

Monday, December 24th, 2007

Any year in review type thing on Swedesplease would have to include something from Little Dragon. I’ve been absolutely in love with this group’s songs since the moment I heard them. The repost is below, but first here’s a newish video of the band performing “Twice” at a “Back Room Session”.

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Let’s take a break from all this indie pop for a day. Little Dragon sent us (alright just me) a couple of songs. Even through my small but decent computer speakers (they even have a little subwoofer) the bass on “Forever” is formidable, as is lead singer Yukima’s silky smooth vocals. I’m no trip hop/nu jazz/soul/funk expert but if there’s a better track out there that represents this combination of genre’s I’d like to hear it. And if this sound is going to become commercially viable again I can’t think of a better sounding (looking) group than Little Dragon to lead the second wave.

Rumor has it the band has just been signed but get in touch with them through their MySpace band if you want to inquire further.

Forever

Bonus:

Twice

Swedish Music Roundup (Surrounded, Air France, Love Is All, Afraid Of Stairs, Little Dragon, Detektivbyran and The Honeydrips)

Sunday, December 23rd, 2007


(Ascension by Ala Ebtekar)

Amidst all the Christmas songs and year-end-best-of-lists a few daring souls actually wrote about music this past week. Here’s a sampling.

Lines Through Lines has three songs from Swedish rock underdogs Surrounded.

Gorilla Vs. Bear wishes us Merry Fucking X-mas with a new song from Air France.

MOKB seconds my belief that Little Dragon is hot. (Look for my own profile on the band Monday)

Eardrums has “Oh Holy Night” by Detektivbyran.

Electro Rash has news/mp3′s of a Love Is All remix album.

My Little Ghost Friend has a song off the new “spacey, melodic, shogazey” Ep from Afraid Of Stairs.

Indie Mp3 has the new single from The Honeydrips.

New songs from The Second Band (Orange Gramophone, January 25)

Friday, December 21st, 2007

Something happened to The Second Band. They admit as much when they say on their homepage that “There has been some major changes in the band. Some has left and one is all new. We’re currently not sure exactly how many persons this band exists…”. Prior to this new record the band received some amount of good press, near fame with a song placement on Grey’s Anatomy and significant blog buzz. I think all of that may have pushed the band in a slightly new direction. The songs I’ve heard (below) are more challenging, less likable and at times nearly discordant.

That’s not to say there isn’t much to love. At one time I questioned whether The Second Band wasn’t the greatest Sweden had to offer. Hearing these two songs off of the upcoming lp the definite form and sensing a new, more serious, direction from the band makes that still a relevant question. On “The Funeral At Sea” the lead singer half moans/half screams at various times during the song; where before horns were used as a celebratory effect, here they are mournful or by the conclusion of the song they are down right dirge-like in effect. On “The Urgency of Now” the music is not as somber and is nearly uplifting, but now the lyrics have taken a turn for the worse with lines like “the cancer in my head still grows, doctors say that they don’t know why the pills I get aren’t making me well” and “I can’t seem to get my melody straight, it seems to worsen each time I play”. True, the song’s chorus of “I couldn’t get out of bed, to clean up my head, couldn’t get out of bed” is catchy, but it still conveys a sense of loss and despair bordering on depression.

No, this is not your run-of-the-mill Swedish indie pop. Yes, the band has changed and possibly for the better! More info here soon or at the band’s label – Orange Grammofon.

The Urgency Of Now

The Funeral At Sea

Parker Lewis – “X-Mas Carol, NYC” video/mp3 (plus new songs from his upcoming 2008 EP)(also new songs from Bonnie and Clyde, The Faintest Ideas, and Bye Bye Bicycle via Cloudberry Records)

Thursday, December 20th, 2007

Parker Lewis‘ song “X-mas Carol, NYC” is buried in my Swedish Christmas mix but it really deserves it’s own post. Today that’s what it will get since Parker Lewis’ new label just released a video to accompany the song. They’ve also released a few more songs from his forthcoming debut ep for Mad For It. The new song “Disappear Here” sounds like Parker took some of what he learned with Kalle J and applied it to his own music. There’s a stronger electronic element than I’ve heard from Parker Lewis before.

X-Mas Carol, NYC

Disappear Here
(NEW!)
Dirty Dancing

New video for “X-Mas Carol, NYC” directed by Parker Lewis (lo-def iPod ready mp4)

Ok there’s a ridiculous amount of just flat-out amazing indie pop at Cloudberry Records. I’d love to talk to that guy some day to figure out how he does it. For instance, right now he’s got new 3″ cd’s out by Komon, Bonnie and Clyde, Bye Bye Bicycle and The Faintest Ideas, as well as music from Australia and the UK. Here’s a sampling of the new Swedish pop available on Cloudberry – Bye Bye Bicycle’s “Sirens” is very highly recommended.

First Fall
– Bonnie and Clyde
Skip The Bridge
– The Faintest Ideas
Sirens
– Bye Bye Bicycle (if you’re a fan of The Smiths and Johnny Marr than you must listen to this)

Most Deserving Swedish Artists of the Year – Detektivbyran (**Repost**) (plus a new video by/of the band)

Wednesday, December 19th, 2007

There’s no way I can do any kind of year in review and not mention Detektivbyran. So here goes. Repost from March. But first a brand new video by the band on the making of their upcoming debut album.

Plus a song I posted in November by the group.

Hem Lvuja Hem

Plus the video for “Lyckans Undulate”:

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Best band in Sweden? It’s a toss up? Most original and creative music? Easy. Detektivbryan. They’ve released another song from their mindblowing ep, Hemvagen, and it’s the magical “Nattoppet”. This sounds like music that would have fit into the creepy world created by the film Pan’s Labrynth.

The band’s just been confirmed for Emmaboda in July. Here’s the new song available from their ep:

Nattoppet

Also in case you missed it:

E18
(may be the standout track)

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Most Deserving Swedish Artists Of The Year- Those Dancing Days (**Repost**) (plus an added song and 2 videos)

Tuesday, December 18th, 2007

Music discovery is the only good reason to get into the music blog racket, so it was with some excitement that I stumbled upon the first demo songs from Those Dancing Days last February. In the post below I wrote about two of the songs but for this repost I’ve added one more song (“Disc Hoe”) and videos for the songs “Hitten” and “Those Dancing Days”.

Disc Hoe

“Hitten”

“Those Dancing Days”

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If you listen real closely you might hear the buzz. It could be whisper between two girls at a high school in Gothenburg or an overheard conversation between the aisles at Pet Sounds or maybe a gleeful proclamation (complete with emoticons) on a message board at the Emmaboda Festival site. Who are they all talking about? Could it be the band Those Dancing Days?

I’ve heard the term wonky pop used to describe these girls (yes, girls! they’re still in high school) also people hear a little Pipettes. The 5 girls romp through the suggestive retro pop of “Tasty Boy” and then they switch gears slightly to the more polished GoGo beats and Siousxie Sioux vocals of the song “Hitten”. Remember these are just demos and I believe the girls had to get back to class for finals after recording them, so take that all into account.

Tasty Boy

Hitten

Most Deserving Swedish Artists Of The Year – Abraham And The Ditsy Blondes (**Repost**)

Monday, December 17th, 2007

I first posted about Abraham And The Ditsy Blondes back in the beginning of the year but subsequent emails and new songs from the band kept them in the forefront of my mind. Below you’ll find my original post, but first here’s one of those new songs I mentioned:

Golden Goat

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Nowadays truth in advertising has become somewhat of a foreign concept. But for Abraham and the Ditsy Blondes and their song, “My Best Song”, that’s exactly what you get. Stories of Abraham is the new record from this band that is led by Jonas Abrahamsson. “My Best Song” will oddly appeal to fans of both Josh Rouse and Antony and the Johnstons. Safe to say it’s my new favorite song and possibly a contender for best Swedish pop CD of this new year (I haven’t heard the whole thing yet).

My Best Song

Excellent bonus song from the band’s self-titled debut

My Vocabulary

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Swedish Music Roundup

Sunday, December 16th, 2007

The Devil Has The Best Tuna has a couple of songs from Stockholm based “glum rockers” The Bell, he says RIYL Echo & The Bunnymen, The Church, The Lemondrops etc.

Sometimes I feel I could start a second Swedish music blog and have it all be death metal except that that’s about the one genre I can’t tolerate. However the band Witchcraft is not quite that heavy; Crustcake has a song from the new record.

Radio Sidekick has a Christmas song from Komon that gracefully combines twee and lofi electonica.

Indie MP3 has the new single from The Honeydrips.

Most Deserving Swedish Artists of the Year – Richard Reagh (w/Mr. Suitcase and Sophie Rimheden)(**Repost**)

Friday, December 14th, 2007

In this year of irrelevant and often completely fabricated “best of” lists I hope you haven’t come to Swedesplease searching for some sort of convenient year end wrap-up. Because I don’t have any intention of doing that. I assume you don’t come to Swedesplease for a rehash of the biggest Swedish releases of the year by the likes Jens Lekman, Peter Bjorn and John or even Jose Gonzalez.

And I certainly don’t want to add to all the list noise out there at the moment. But to be frank the holiday season is a quiet one for new music (besides x-mas tunes), so for the next few weeks any new posts will be mixed in with reposts of what I think were some of the best and most under-appreciated songs/albums of the year.

And here’s the first repost from January.

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I’ve written about Canadian ex-pat and current Stockholm resident Richard Reagh enough that I don’t think anything further of substance needs to be added. There is some news in his camp however. He’s released a new single from his record Is this the blues i’m singing? and has had it remixed by two of Sweden’s finest – Mr. Suitcase and Sophie Rimheden.

Check out these divergent takes on the new Richard Reagh song “Winterlight”.

Winterlight
(remix by Mr. Suitcase)
Winterlight
(remix by Sophie Rimheden)

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Sakert’s (aka Hello Saferide) New Single (plus an unreleased demo for the new song “Faller Isär)

Thursday, December 13th, 2007

Sakert (aka Anika Norlin, aka Hello Saferide) has released the new single, “Det kommer bara leda till nåt ont”, from her soon to award winning self-titled debut on Razzia. She’s started a bit of a contest online for the best fan created video; my Swedish isn’t great but I think these gals are either in the running or may have already won. It’s cute, but what did you expect? Check out that Johnny Marr guitar riff throughout.

Not sure how long this has been circulating but here’s an unreleased demo of a song called “Faller Isär” that’s not on her debut. It’s incredibly upbeat but my guess is the lyrics are anything but.

Faller Isär

Second-Hand Furniture (Plastilina Records, sometime in 2008)

Wednesday, December 12th, 2007

If Swedesplease (and all these other pretenders…just kidding guys!) were around in 2003 we’d all have been falling head over heels for Second-Hand Furniture. The band played a couple gigs, released some singles and an ep or two and were just generally indie popsters around town.

The Peruvian based (Yes, Peru!) Plastilina Records will be compiling all their music including two unreleased songs in a upcoming 2008 release called Game, Set, Match. Here’s three songs off that upcoming record; the first two from a 2005 7″ EP called Everything Will Fall and the last one from their self-titled 2004 debut EP on Yellow Mica.

Nice Try Sunshine

Hard To Distinguish

People Like You

Band members went on to form groups like Thirst For Treasure, Punktslut and Mr. Pedro. Just for kicks here’s two songs from Thirst For Treasure now based in London but still churning out Swedish indie pop.

I Want To Shoplift Your Heart

Downsize My Path To Everything

And something new from Mr Pedro plus his remix of My Darling You!

VS 4theKix Lets XXX

Please Don’t Talk To Me I Fall In Love Too Easily (Mr. Pedro remix of the My Darling You! “hit”)

I Always Wanted A Pony (winner of “the best twee band name that isn’t a twee band name” award)

Tuesday, December 11th, 2007

I Always Wanted A Pony is the band name of a Swedish dj that clearly idolizes Daft Punk and Kraftwork. There’s a discussion going on online at the moment on the merit of the Swedish band Studio. The question is whether their retro electronica is slightly derivative or just plain stolen. I haven’t heard enough dance/house/electronica to come to any educated conclusion, but I imagine there’s only so much you can do with a throbbing beat and electronic noises. So yes, probably derivative, but fun nonetheless.

That’s my opinion of I Always Wanted A Pony.

Strobe Light

Lou Reed Never Came From Metropolis

P.S. I know it’s a cliche and it’s my least favorite phrase that’s plastered to cd jewel cases of some truly horrible bands, but nonetheless you’ve got to crank this up a bit to get the full effect.

Romantic Indie Pop From Gothenburg’s Chuck Morgan

Monday, December 10th, 2007

Chuck Morgan describes his music on his MySpace page as Spanish Pop. This may be an in-joke but there is a hint of truth in that statement as these songs do have a touch of romantic Spanish acoustic guitar in certain sections. Chuck Morgan is from Gothenburg, a city that seems to be as romantic as any in Europe or Scandinavia so perhaps I’m just adding the romance based on that. Chuck Morgan is working toward putting out his debut ep tentatively titled Spring, Sprang, Sprung.

These songs are rough little indie pop gems that combine a bunch of influences with a number of different sounds (Spanish guitar, electronic beats, emo, folk). Chuck puts it best when he writes: “I hope you tolerate my clumsiness and find something of value here…” We do Chuck. We do.

Talent For Luck

We May Even Bloom

Reveries and Reveries

Swedish Music Roudup (Tenniscoats, Indurain, Maia Hirasawa, Billie The Vision and Dancers, Christian Kjellvander)

Sunday, December 9th, 2007

(Mel Kadel, “Up Your Sleeve”)

Raven Sings the Blues confirms my feelings about the new Tenniscoats album, as well as doing a good job of describing the music, something I failed at in my original post.

Eveyone’s writing about Indurain. Here Hits In The Car piles on.

So you want to get linked here, just write something nice about Maia Hirasawa and you’re in like Flynn. Aurgasm throws his hat into the ring this week with a link to the song “Crackers”.

Radio Sidekick has their year in review type thang and since the blog is based in Sweden and the writers do a radio show at the local college it’s pretty chock full of Swedish music tips.

What I said about Maia above holds true for Billie The Vision and Dancers as well. So congrats to This Odd Sock they get the grand prize – linkage for one and my humble thanks for writing about such a cool band.

You Crazy Dreamers has new songs from Christian Kjellvander. Brilliant as always.

Michael Bach’s New “Forgetting How” ep

Friday, December 7th, 2007

Michael Bach is a 27 year old singer songwriter originally from the North of Sweden. He performs all the instruments, writes all the lyrics and does all the production on his new ep. Somehow he’s made it all sound so effortless. As always with a member of the Swedish music coop Wild Geese Collective this new ep is a free download. The song I linked to, “Dancing Through The Night”, has just a hint of REM’s Michael Stipe to it, and just that little hint makes it so appealing.

Dancing Through The Night

Unrelated video interview of I’m From Barcelona

Debut LP From Springfactory (members of Suburban Kids and The Big Picture)(Series Two Records, Dec. 4)

Thursday, December 6th, 2007

Springfactory has a new record, their full-length self-titled debut, out on Nebraska’s own Series Two Records now. The record is a combination of their first two eps and a couple new songs.

Springfactory is a duo consisting of lead singer Lina who is also in the band The Big Picture and Peter from Suburban Kids With Biblical Names. They play a loose style of lofi indie power pop. Which means lots of fast guitar strummings and an incessant beat.

No More

Get Out Of Bed

Songs from The Big Picture:

A Good Start

I Wonder What they’re Doing Now

Le Sport and Montt Mardie Cover Wham’s “Last Christmas” (plus the same song from Pas/Cal and a Wham video – I couldn’t resist!)

Wednesday, December 5th, 2007

Thanks to the Songs I Wish archive I’ve got a new (old) song to add to the Swedesplease Christmas Mix. The track, a cover of Wham’s “Last Christmas”, was a standout from years past. It’s a duo of Le Sport on beats and Montt Mardie on vocals. The song is as syrupy and sweet as they come and I think the song is actually improved upon in this version.

Here’s the song, which you can also get to here on the main Christmas Mix post page.

Last Christmas

Hard to avoid posting this version by Pas/Cal:

Last Christmas

OK you asked for it! Here’s Wham’s “Last Christmas” (check out that hair!)