Archive for February, 2008

Punk via the Stockholm 4-piece Dogday

Friday, February 29th, 2008

(Editor’s Note: Just in case you’re actually paying attention and visiting with any regularity, I thought I’d better warn you that I’m off on vacation from tomorrow (March 1) until Thursday (March 6). I’m pretty sure I won’t be posting during that time, so visit the other fine sites on my sidebar and wish me well down in Mexico.)

There’s something so punk about releasing music as a 7″. There’s no way a band that’s out for the quick buck would do that, nor would punk sellouts like Green Day or Fall Out Boys. So the very fact that Dogday from Stockholm has released their debut ep as a 4 song 7″ is cool. Ahh…but how’s the music, you ask? According to the cheat sheet checklist enclosed with the EP the band prefers Punk over EMo, The Jam over Pearl Jam, King Tubby over Prince, and 77-82 over 91-96.

“New Romance” has the punkish snarl of bands like the Fall and the Godfathers, while avoiding noise just for the sake of noise and speed just for the sake of speed. Typically not my thing but loving this track. The band has taken the punk diy ethos a step further than the 7″ and has all four tracks available on their website here.

New Romance

Karin Ström is back with a new song, video and a remix by Pacific!

Thursday, February 28th, 2008

I was going to take the day off today. I’ve been sick for the last few days and am still recovering. But an email from Karin Ström with news of a new song, a remix by Pacific! and a voyeuristic video of Karin and her real girlfriends out on the town was too much to pass up. Karin Ström is a world traveler spending time in London, LA and of course Sweden. She was discovered and signed in London by Nettwerk Records, but then dropped after her American debut didn’t sell like expected. She’s now out on her own and living in NYC. This song is part of an Absolut Vodka ad campaign.

Karin Ström’s electronic dance music is a little light for my taste, it doesn’t have that odd beat signature of Skweeee or the chiptunes/8bit sound I’ve written about in the past. But the Pacific! remix adds just enough heavy bass and light hearted vocals to make it enjoyable.

Silent Night
(Pacific remix)

Video for “Silent Night”

New song/video from Thomas Denver Jonsson, Live Jens Lekman show from Istanbul, and music from Kim Ki O

Wednesday, February 27th, 2008


Thomas Denver Jonsson’s
record The Lake Acts Like An Ocean was released in Sweden in September, but on March 22 it gets it’s European and UK release by Shellshock. I know I’ve written about this record before but I will do so again to encourage everyone in Europe to buy this today.

One Of My Blessings

The Border

New demo from the next record “Nansen”

Nansen

Brand new video for “The Border”

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Also the Australian travel writer Peter Moore contacted me about a live show from Istanbul up now on the Jens Lekman website. He’s also done a great interview with Jens Lekman here that combines Peter’s love of travel and his love of music.

Here’s the link to the whole concert.

Istanbul

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The latest update on Jens’ site is from earlier this week and is an interview with the Istanbul based duo of Kim Ki O. Jens will be bringing them along for some dates on his European tour so I thought I could share that with you as well.

Dogru

Kapali Kapali Kapali

Detektivbyrän – Pt. 2 In The Making Of The Debut Album Video

Tuesday, February 26th, 2008

The making of the debut album from Detekivbyrän, Pt. 2:

The bluegrassfolkbluesgospel of Sweden’s “Blue Eyed Blondes”

Monday, February 25th, 2008

It seems strange that on the day I’m highlighting bluegrass/gospel inspired music on Songs:Illinois that I’d be doing the same on Swedesplease. But odder things have happened.

Blue Eyed Blondes are a country/folk/bluegrass duo from Sweden made up of Lina Lönnberg and Kristoffer Emanuelsson. No surprise then that their friends section on MySpace looks like a who’s who of this genre including folks like Steve Earle, Gillian Welch, Dan Tyminski, Lucinda Williams, and Nickel Creek.

“Would You Cry” is a beautiful song, Lina’s vocals are angelic which contrasts a bit with the song references to cocaine, death by train and dead dogs. Befriend the band here.

Would You Cry

Swedish Music Roundup (Taken By Trees, Tenniscoats, Emmon, The LK, Rigas)

Sunday, February 24th, 2008

(Fuck It by Thomas Lee Bakofsky)

Walrus music blog (and here) has two Rigas related posts this week. And since I think the sun shines out of his behind of course I will link to both.

Everyone (me included) is still excited about the US release of The LK’s new record. Find out more here courtesy of What To Wear During An Orange Alert.

Lycanthropy seconds my opinion about Tenniscoats and provides links to two more mp3′s from the new record on Hapna.

Über Drivel has a first hand account of Taken By Tree’s performance at Other Music in NYC (including a link to her cover of “Sweet Child Of Mine”).

Music of the Moment is working his way through a Swedish music promo pack. With all such promo packs I’m guessing the bulk of it was junk, but the electro pop of Emmon sounds like it has potential.

Tafra’s “I’m Sorry Brakne-Hoby” (Series Two, Feb. 5)

Thursday, February 21st, 2008

I almost made the mistake of typecasting the music of Tafra on first listen. It was hard to avoid with the sweet vocals of Niklas Tafra. Then the horns kicked in and I was convinced I had this group figured out.

But the stereotyping probably began with the bio where it says he played on a SKWBN album (from the song below it sounds like he had a falling out with those guys).

The first song I listened to started out as a simple indie pop song (nothing wrong with that, right?), but after about two minutes the vocals disappeared to be replaced by a steady, undulating beat.

Tafra’s new record Why Even Bother was released by the Nebraska label Series Two on Feb. 5.

I’m Sorry Brakne-Hoby

New songs from the Bare Knees Split LP with Ray Rumours (Cosy Den Recordings)

Wednesday, February 20th, 2008

You simply can’t over analyze the songs of Bare Knees. They are what they are and generally no more. Usually the song title tells you almost all you need to know. For fans of lo fi pop though there is nothing better than the simple, forthright songs of Bare Knees.

Their latest project is a split lp with the UK’s Ray Rumours on the Swedish label Cosy Den. Despite the extremely lo-fi sound the packaging looks absolutely charming (to match the songs I guess). I’ve shed a lot of ink on the Bare Knees here, here and here.

Both of the songs below, and probably most of the songs on the split, are about escaping the mundane realities of grownup life and becoming an innocent kid once again without a care in the world. Thus the title of the record – Songs To Play At Sleepovers.

Wine Stains On The Kitchen Floor

Bonus song from Ray Rumors:

Close The Door

Beautiful indie pop of Mockingbird, wish me luck (featuring members of Sibyl Vane)(Blow Up Records, April 14)

Tuesday, February 19th, 2008

Ah, the one day break did me some good. I’m excited to share with you the first single off of Mockingbird, wish me luck’s upcoming debut record. Mockingbird comes to us out of the ashes of the band Sibyl Vane. The lineup is loose, but contains brothers Niklas and Daniel Wennergreen. This is gorgeous indie pop with embellishments of flute, cello and lovely background vocals. The lyrics are sincere but not obvious. I have a feeling I could listen to this single for months and not tire of it.

The new record is out April 14 on London’s Blow Up Records.

Pictures (too big to fit in a sight)

Happy President’s Day

Monday, February 18th, 2008

It’s President’s Day here in the US so I’m taking a day off and celebrating Lincoln and Washington’s birthday. But I couldn’t resist doing a President’s Day post over at Songs:Illinois (the Swedesplease sister site). So if you’re interested in a couple of songs about Andrew Jackson and William Howard Taft check them out here.

Swedish Music Roundup (Graveyard, David Fridlund, Envelopes, Yeah! Woho!, and Robert Church and the Holy Community)

Sunday, February 17th, 2008

(Untitled by Alex Lukas)

The metal blog Crustcake has something from Sweden’s Graveyard.

Soundbites has something new from Envelopes and it seems they’ve discovered that a laptop is as good as a guitar any day.

Sixeyes has a reminder that the new David Fridlund free EP. I’m a big fan of his work but the EP didn’t strike me as up to snuff but this song has a certain Ben Lee meets Ben Folds vibe that is pretty addictive.

Radio Sidekick has a pretty slammin’ track from the Swedish electronic duo Yeah! Woho! (hey guys get a real host for your songs, I hate sending people to site that use free hosts).

The Lemur Blog has something new from Robert Church and the Holy Community.

Erik Levander’s wonderfully noisy electronic song “Tölvupop” (Rumraket, March 17)

Friday, February 15th, 2008

Erik Levander is a Swede living in Berlin. He was in the news awhile back when he and his label (Rumraket) had a fund drive to raise money to recover his music from a dead hard drive. Not sure what the final result of that was (Puddlegum does though), but the new record is now ready. It’s called Kondens and seems to be inspired more by the ultramodern city of Berlin than the green countryside of Sweden.

“Tolvupop” demonstrates Erik’s love of dissonant noise followed by calm with an underlayment of electronic fuzz. This is not electronic music to dance to nor is it merely noisy drone meant for sound installations at the local modern art museum. It’s meant to be enjoyed and experienced. So do.

Tölvupop

The Stoner – “The New Pink”

Thursday, February 14th, 2008

It’s been over a year since The Stoner released The New Pink. That’s a good chunk of time on the internet where everything is so rapid/vapid.

But I’d like to slow things down with these songs from The Stoner.

The Stoner is a jazz group from Stockholm and not a heavy handed psychedelic group of, well, stoners. If I’m not mistaken I hear shades of Pink Panther in that first song below and perhaps that explains the title of the record. It’s like they took that noir jazz from the film and ran it through a blender adding odd time signatures, strange percussion and an out of tune organ. It’s a pretty marvelous effect, if you ask me. Back to regularly scheduled programming tomorrow.

Naima Spelar Orgel

Bonus track:


Silent Superman

The Higher Elevations – “Breaking the News” (But is it Art?, Feb. 21)

Tuesday, February 12th, 2008

The Higher Elevations have released their new single called “Breaking The News”. This song has a slight 60′s garage sound but also brings to mind the grandeur of the euro-rock of The Chameleons and The Stranglers.

The album from which it comes, The Protestant Work Ethic, is out digitally on But is it Art? and physically on Time For Action.

Breaking The News

New Single from My Darling YOU!

Monday, February 11th, 2008

I’ve been as big a fan of My Darling YOU! as you can be. Perhaps the biggest. But their new single, “Jump The Train”, is so completely unmusical that it’s physically painful to listen to.

I like the basic beat alright and the samples throughout, but the lack of melody or even singing in key (or in tune for god’s sake) makes this hard to recommend.

Here’s the video for “Jump The Train” with pretty clever animation that can’t hide this marred track. The 12″ is for sale now through Luxury.

Here’s a couple tracks from the My Darling YOU! back catalog that will help get the bad taste out of your mouth:

Bad Times Are On

Please Don’t Talk To Me I Fall In Love So Easily
We Break Up On Friday

Swedish Music Roundup

Sunday, February 10th, 2008

(The Spiked Punch Party by Chicagoan Geoffrey Todd smith)

Editor’s note: I’ve got to admit that with these Swedish Music Roundup’s I’m trying to shape the discussion and highlight some of the bands that are most deserving of attention in the US. I hope the repitition doesn’t get you down!

Azltron (check out his artwork and tee’s) has another song from the US release of The LK’s record Vs. the Snow.

I passed on posting this song from Kaka, and now hearing it on #1 Hits From Another Planet I wish I hadn’t (isn’t that always the way).

Brooklyn Vegan has a new monthly spotlight thingy and Melpo Mene were selected this month. The dreamy acoustic pop of Erik Mattiason is just right for Sunday morning.

Pirates Of The Bargain Bin is all a twitter about Radio Dept. coming their way. I wonder it they’ll throw caution to the wind and go to the show.

The electronic heavy mp3 blog Random Circuits has a bang up remix of Pär Grindvic’s “Do Us Part”.

The hype on Lykke Li is reaching atmospheric proportions and as of yet I am still not turned off by her music/persona. In fact, with each listen and glimpse I am drawn in deeper. Just about everyone weighed in this week, but it was the always impressive Said The Gramophone who broke with convention for a really clever post about Lykke.

New song from Animal Keyboard (plus the new single from Parken – produced by Rigas)

Friday, February 8th, 2008

I wrote a post about Animal Keyboard a year ago and expected it to start a landslide of coverage for this Swedish 8bit artist. I mean, come on, the guy makes his music using a toy animal keyboard. How cool is that? The man behind the cute little animal sounds and c64 blips and beeps is Martin Wiklund. I posted a song off his 2006 demo but in the meantime songs have appeared from 2007. Here’s “Good Vs. Bad”.

Good Vs. Bad

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Flora/Fauna has released the first single from a forthcoming record from Parken. It’s been produced by Rigas so it has a bit of that throbbing, fuzzy beat and background synth sounds he’s become know for in his own work. If you don’t mind the language barrier (assuming your not Swedish) this song will grow on you in a matter of minutes.

Åt Helvete Med Himlen

New Song From The Last Party -”Come Back To Stockholm” (plus videos of Florence Valentin)

Thursday, February 7th, 2008

I got a tiny little email from a band the other day and a link to their new song. Usually I’d ignore an email like that until I had time to review it properly. But this time there was a short note that this band, The Last Party, featured members of Florence Valentin (here), and then I remembered how much I liked their stuff. So here’s the new song from The Last Party. It’s called “Come Back To Stockholm”.

Come Back To Stockholm

Florence Valentin “Glömde Bort Att Va Rebell”

Florence Valentin “Pokerkväll i Vårby Gård”

Post-Rock From Ef (And The Sound Records, Feb 2)

Wednesday, February 6th, 2008

I’m a little outside my safety zone with today’s post. Post-rock is really just a term to me, I have no experience with it as a genre.

EF is a Gothenburg based post-rock experimental group that has a new release out this week – I Am Responsible (And The Sound Records). But what led me to the group is producer Patrik Torsson (Hapna). His music is more electronic in nature so I was intrigued in what drew him to EF.

“Tailpiece” is an epic instrumental song that builds and builds by layering electronics with strings (cello) and then drums and finally the whole arsenal of the band.

Tailpiece

Patrik Torsson’s 2008 piece:

Turbiner

The Bluebridge Quartet – Experimental Free Jazz From Sweden (Aerotone, Nov. 2007)

Tuesday, February 5th, 2008

I’ve only written about Swedish jazz a handful of times. That’s primarily because the jazz community hasn’t fully accepted the mp3 as promotional tool argument the way independent rock (for want of a better term) has.

So I’m excited to present The Bluebridge Quartet to you today. They recorded and released their first ep, Adjusted for low noise tape, on the netlabel Aerotone. This is experimental free jazz at it’s finest. The pieces are without a formal structure, but the band consistently creates a cohesive sound. The band is anchored by a deep acoustic bass and an at times blurting saxophone. As it said somewhere in their bio, download this even if you don’t like jazz.

Download the whole 4 song ep plus artwork here.

Spektrum

Landet

P.S. I gave you a link to the abridged piece that ran in the Courier Mail yesterday that named Swedesplease one of the top twenty places to get free music online. Here’s a link to the complete article.