Archive for January, 2008

New EP from Sebastian Fors & The Ones That Got Away

Thursday, January 31st, 2008

I just watched this piece on human sex trafficking between the Czech Republic and England. It’s pretty depressing. There are elements in the song “Easy Heart” from Sebastian Fors that remind me of that piece. For instance the line…..”if the price is right, can I be yours tonight” delivered in a very Wilcoesque way seems to hint at this very idea (even if its unintentional).

I’ve been a booster of Sebastian Fors since I first wrote about him back in 2006 (here and here) but it’s been months since I’ve heard from him. The good news is he’s just back from a trip to Egypt and he has just released his new EP.

“Easy Heart” is the centerpiece with its dynamic shifts and its at times warbled vocals and at times screamed vocals. The story of a man with a whole lot of shit in his life hoping to escape his troubles and flee with the girl he loves is fairly rote, but here, with Sebastian’s emotive vocals and lyrics, it works wonders.

There are more songs from the new EP online at Sebastian’s MySpace and news of the EP’s official release should come soon.

Easy Heart

New EP from Baby Blonde and the Downs

Wednesday, January 30th, 2008

Baby Blond And The Downs have made the difficult move from a netlabel to an actual label. They have just released their new CD, Hope Is Dope, on the Spanish label Moonpalace Records and it’s a limited run of 100 copies. I’m hard-pressed to give you an accurate description of the band’s music as they mix electronics with brooding vocals and organic instrumentation and distorted stray guitar riffs. The key element in the band’s future success is the quality of the duets between the two lead vocalists – Anders and Erica. The band is based in the musical hotbed of Malmö.

RIYL Nick Cave, Cocteau Twins, and moody krautrock. Buy the new ep here.

Amish

Electronic music from the new EP from Vargpaktan

Tuesday, January 29th, 2008

I like the video game intro and the overall sound of “Yelt” by Vargpaktan but once the distorted, processed vocals kick in I get a little ambivalent. Then they start to sound a bit too much like Green Day on speed.

This dj collective from Stockholm has released a number of ep’s. This song is off their latest.

Yelt

Gothic Americana from Swedish pysch-rockers Hyacinth House (Glitterhouse Records)

Monday, January 28th, 2008

Not what you expected from a Swedish band, huh. Turns out there’s more to contemporary Swedish music than indie pop from Gothenberg or electronic duos from Malmo. And anyway, what did you think a band that names itself after a Doors’ song would sound like? This gothic americana rock, with some serious European psychedelia thrown in for good measure, is exactly what this band should sound like.

Hyacinth House
has a new record out in Europe on the venerable German label Glitterhouse Records. It’s called Black Crows Country.

Buy it here.

European Rails

Swedish Signs

Swedish Music Roundup (The Second Band, Graveyard, Magnus Carlsson and more)

Sunday, January 27th, 2008

(Blue Dress by Jocelyn Hobbie)

I’m Glowing does a summary of her favorite Swedish artists, nothing that you haven’t heard before but presented and written in such a natural way that her summary is worth a read.

There’s a whole world of popular Swedish pop that you’ll never hear about on Swedesplease, and that’s partly because Poster Girl has that genre of Swedish music covered. In this post she’s got something from Swedish pop sensation Magnus Carlsson.

Here Comes the Flood has two songs from the forthcoming release from The Second Band.

Raven Sings the Blues has the heavy blues-rock of Graveyard.

Exclusive first listen “Endless Summer” by They Live By Night (Razzia Records, Spring `08)

Friday, January 25th, 2008

Last year They Live By Night lost a band member but they gained a new sound. They lost their distortion-coated songs and tired, alt-rock leanings and gained a cleaner, simpler, indie-pop sound. They haven’t gone a 100% twee mind you, as they have kept a certain degree of muscularity and masculinity in their new music, but it nonetheless rings the indie-pop bell (riyl Montt Mardie).

The band’s new single, “Endless Summer”, from their upcoming Spring Release on Razzia Records is light and airy, catchy and sing-along-able. It’s quite a stretch from the music of their immediate past and a welcome change of pace.

Endless Summer

Bonus – here’s their previous single from 2007 release Art and Wealth:


Factory

Double bonus – Rambling Nicholas Heron with music critic Jerry Boman on Swedish Public Television (I’m interested in a quick translation of the interview particularly about halfway in when Nicholas mentions “mp3 blogs”).

New record, “Na Na Ni”, from Fredrik (w/members of The LK, Band In Box, and Vit Päls)

Thursday, January 24th, 2008

I know I should be writing about the new David And The Citizens ep but after a couple of listens it’s just not catching my ear, plus it’s probably been sent out to every other small to mid-sized blog and you can probably easily find commentary about it all over the net.

Instead, let’s check out the new experimental folk record by Fredrik (Sagomusik). The band is the brainchild of none other than Fredrik from The LK. I’d classify their music as based in epic European folk but flirting with new age psychedelia. The single and title track, Na Na Ni, features some pretty acoustic guitar and clattering, layered percussion.

After a hiatus of over a year Jezebel Records has just released the new record and it’s available here now.

Na Na Ni

Bonus track from Na Na Ni:

1986

Double Bonus – The US single from the Kora Records release of The LK’s new record:

Private Life Of a Cat

Plus here’s their “hit” “Alina’s Place” (would have liked to been there for that!)

An Ode to Labrador – “I Heart Labrador Records” by Jam On Bread (riyl Darren Hayman, The Bobby McGees, Tullycraft and Herman Dune)

Wednesday, January 23rd, 2008

I got an email late last night from a guy who goes by the name of Jam On Bread. He was born in Grimsby which sounds a bit Swedish but now lives in Manchester (Yes Manchester, Not Stockholm!). He wrote me with a song to share. It’s his ukelele strummed ode to Labrador.

The email questioned whether I would post it since he’s not from Sweden, but come on it’s a lo-fi, pop gem that name-drops Sambassadeur, Irene, Radio Dept., Ronderlin, Acid House Kings, and SKWBN all while lovingly performed on a ukelele (perhaps Jam on Bread hasn’t read all my lo-fi ukelele posts over on my other blog Songs:Illinois).

Are you kidding? How can I not post it?! Not only will I post it, but it went right to the top of the queue. See how clever I am? I used the English word queue because Jam on Bread are from England.

“I Heart Labrador Records” is beyond cute with lyrics questioning why there are so many Swedish pop bands (perhaps it’s the “magic indie-pop hands” each Swedish child is born with), and why a guy from Grimsby can’t be signed to Labrador (if only he could bribe some Swedish Government official).

There are more jangly indie-pop songs on the Jam On Bread MySpace page, check em out and leave a comment. Here’s a Swedesplease exclusive:

I Heart Labrador Records

Emma Hasselblad

Tuesday, January 22nd, 2008

This is one of those “any friend of yours is a friend of mine” type posts. Emma Hasselblad is a virtual and perhaps real life friend of Oh No Miriam! (they appear together in Stockholm on Feb. 9).

Emma’s music is the epitome of the term handcrafted, with the piano being the prominent acoustic instrument augmented by simple electronics and occasional beats and percussion. On the song “Fall” she loops her own vocals creating a duet with herself. The song begins with jaunty piano chords, then sets up the scenario of a relationship gone bad and then concludes with a simple (enjoyable, catchy) chorus of “all I want is to fall back into your arms”.

This is just a beginning for Emma Hasselblad (and Oh No Miriam!) but it’s an auspicious start.

Fall

MLK

Monday, January 21st, 2008

Swedish Music Roundup (Santa Maria, Little Dragon, Robyn and Sally Shapiro)

Saturday, January 19th, 2008

Indie Surfer Blog has a song from Santa Maria. They claim the record is forthcoming. Does that mean a US release for this record, one of the best Swedish releases of the year?

Are you sick of Little Dragon yet? Me neither. Have You Heard has a couple songs.

If:MV has the new remix single/video from Robyn.

The folks behind the rise of Sally Shapiro continue to keep her front and center via remixes, video and tour dates. The latest is a remix and tour dates in NYC and Chicago (hey! I live there!!). How’s The Pie? breaks the news and links to “He Keeps Me Alive” (Brooklyn Vegan has the remix of “I’ll Be By Your Side”).

New videos from Ida Maria

Friday, January 18th, 2008

In case you missed it, the new video from Ida Maria for the song “Drive Away My Heart”. Plus a preview of her next video for “Stella”.

To me the video for “Drive Away…” is too linear, I’d rather have something more along the lines of a live concert or something more abstract. The song too seems over-written as well. But it’s Ida Maria for God’s sake!

“Drive Away My Heart”

“Stella”

Birds On Holiday – “In Foreign Countries” (Sandbox Tree Records, Jan. 15)

Thursday, January 17th, 2008

Birds On Holiday has just released their debut record, In Foreign Countries, possibly a reference to the fact that the band was previously scattered throughout the globe. They are now all living in Sweden.

In an increasingly common arrangement this release is being put out by a label in the US. So that means you can get this import for only $10 here courtesy of Sandbox Tree Records.

Keep What you Got

New Swedish Indie-Pop from Moofish Catfish (Red Fish, Blue Fish?!)

Wednesday, January 16th, 2008

Moofish Catfish is the latest signing from the up and came Swedish label Cosy Den. The band’s name is a complete mystery (is translation even helpful; it seems to be in English!?). The group came together recently when the duo known as Rastlös added a drummer to form Moofish Catfish.

“At The Club” is a song about a getting picked up at a club while “Are You A Boy” is a gender bender song that questions one’s sex and sexuality. Both songs hint at the awkwardness of life’s uncertainties.

At The Club

Check out this video: are you a boy

Rambling Nicholas Heron – “Here In Dreamland” (Valiant Death Records)

Tuesday, January 15th, 2008

On his newest record Rambling James Heron (wrote about him first here) places himself firmly in the center of the Swedish indie-pop movement. His song “As If I Didn’t Know It” from his US debut, Here In Dreamland, has all the hallmarks of perfect indie-pop a la Herman Dune, I’m From Barcelona and Billie The Vision and Dancers. This is an autobiographical ditty about postering gigs, visiting the music shop and being befuddled by a girl. Musically it’s got that jangly guitar we all love, some whistling and what sounds like a flute. The laughter at the end is the clincher for me!

The new records out on Valiant Death in the US so let’s all thank them by purchasing this 15 track 53 minute dynamo for only $5 here.

As If I Didn’t Know It

“Only This And Nothing More”

You Cream My Pants

Monday, January 14th, 2008

At first I was pleasantly shocked by the vulgar twee of Sweden’s Strip Squad, but now I feel like it’s just an act that is getting tired and old. The new songs, that were just released in advance of a new lp, are not stylistically different from anything they’ve done in the past and the novely of the lyrics is no longer shocking.

On the song “You Cream My Pants” the guitars are pleasant, the girl’s vocals are a bit sexy and the of Fergal Sharkey talk-singing about midway through may be novel, but the whole experience leaves me nonplussed.

You Cream My Pants

“Down Out And Away” at Emmaboda

Swedish Music Roundup (Lykke Li, The Touch, Yellus, Rigas, and Pascal)

Sunday, January 13th, 2008

(This Is Auto Chop by Evah Fan)

5 Acts has some nice tribal electronica from Rigas.

Big Stereo has some rather bland music from The Touch but the discussion in the comments is worth the visit alone (more from The Touch here and here).

I mentioned this earlier in the week but I’m still liking Yellus via Phase 2.

Eardrums
has something new from Pascal, as always, I’m impressed with this group.

Filles Sourires, a blog from the Netherlands, sums up Lykke Li quite nicely.

The scrumptious indie-pop of Lisa Bouvier – “Princess Of Aggravation”

Friday, January 11th, 2008

Lisa Bouvier is a self proclaimed power-pop artist from Lund, Sweden. Fortunately, for us, her version of power-pop leans heavily on the jangly, indie pop sounds we love here at Swedesplease. I’d like to say this is a new release from 2008 but in fact it’s something I missed out on from 2007.

Her newish album is called Princess Of Aggravation. These are some of the standout tracks. Check out all the ah ah ah’s in “Chambermaid” or that funky/cheesy beat in “Belgium”. How great is that? And who does her vocals remind you of? Is this the best indie pop you’ve heard all year? And what’s with all the questions?!

Chambermaid

Belgium Tomorrow or Today

Unlike some acts Lisa Bouvier translates live. Lisa has a number of live tour dates over the coming month or so including club dates in Stockholm, Umea and Kristianstad. From the looks of the these live videos the shows should be a treat filled with silly dancing, plenty of hand-claps and quirky instruments.

“Belgium”

“Guiding Light”

Anna Järvinen w/Grumpy Bear (plus her cover of Robyn’s “Without Every Heartbeat” and her own “Gotgätan” live)

Thursday, January 10th, 2008

I was scouring the net for music to post for my other blog Songs:Illinois when I came across a new song by Grumpy Bear. In fact it was a cover of a Depeche Mode song that’ll be part of a new compilation of DM covers on Asaurus Records called Letting You Down Again – Lo-fi Vs. Depeche Mode. How does this relate to you, oh wonderful fan of Swedish music? Well on the Grumpy Bear MySpace page there was an item about a collaboration they’d done recently with none other than Anna Järvinen. Perfect, I thought, and it was. So here it is:

Round The Bend

Anna Järvinen and Annika Norlin (Säkert) cover of Robyn’s “With Every Heartbeat”

“Gotgätan” performed live on a Swedish/Finnish talk show (wow!)

Lissi Dancefloor Disaster (Remix by Sophie Rimheden)

Wednesday, January 9th, 2008

I probably would have glazed right over the netlabel-like electro house of Lissi had she/they not name-dropped Sophie Rimheden. I’ve been following Sophie R. since I started this blog so I was interested to hear her remix of Lissi Dancefloor Disaster’s track “Oh My God”. I know virtually nothing about this style of electronic house music but I like what I hear here. The song is about the connectivity the internet provides and it’s stuttering electronica and processed vocals gives the song a fitting computer/robotic feel. If you have a comment on the relative merit of this song/remix please leave it in the comments.

Oh My God
(Sphie Rimheden remix)

P.S. Three administrative things of note.

Firstly, the radio feature on the right is working like a charm. For a few weeks it was skipping every other song but now it’s working brilliantly. Check it out!

And secondly, the email subscription service to the right is also fully functional and pretty cool. When I update the site you’ll get an email notification along with the post. So sign up if you’re interested.

Finally, I just completed an interview with Sweden’s largest local newspaper, I’m told it’ll run this Sunday in the arts section of Helsingborgs Dagblad. If I get a link I’ll include that on Monday but keep an eye out.