I read a complaint recently online that Swedesplease had been more “miss” than “hit” of late and while I take exception to that I’m sure this will improve my ratio. This song by Kasban was delivered to my inbox late last night. It instantly went to the top of the list of posts for the week. It’s clearly the most gorgeous thing you’ll hear, regardless of the language it’s sung in (Swedish).
Kasban’s MySpace page was created March 22 and at last check they had only 5 friends. So run on over and tell them how much you love this song and tell `em Swedesplease sent you.
In my other life I write a lot about music inspired by the Balkans, by gypsys and even by American vaudeville. But on this Swedish site I rarely have linked to this type of folk music. Detektivbyrän plays a facsimile of this type of Eastern European folk, but they add so many other elements that it is an entirely new entity once they’re done with it.
So I was happy to discover the Stockholm based group Davaj the other day. The band is seven members and play this folk music in a lively manner encouraging concert goers and fans to dance and sing-along. These two songs are from the groups new demo which can only be purchased at one of their upcoming live shows. Check MySpace for dates in April.
There’s a group of artists recording in and around Stockholm who have befriended each other on MySpace, maybe even met in real life and who share a certain musical aesthetic. I don’t think there’s any hard and fast membership rules, but I place The Bridal Shop, Japan Air, and now Sunday Forever in that group.
The sound they share is best described as dreamy electronic pop with crooning vocals and with emotions worn on their sleeves. Following in the footsteps of The Cure, Felt and early Depeche Mode, these bands usually are surrounded by an air of mystery with photos mostly blurred and out of focus, and cd releases hard, if not impossible, to come by.
Sunday Forever has put a couple new songs up on MySpace and it’s the newest song, “Barely”, that is the most perfect example of this type of dream pop that I’ve heard in a long time. I expect these guys will receive a call from Cloudberry, if not Labrador, some time in 2008.
Pre-order info is up now about the new album, HALLÅ, from Doktor Kosmos. I don’t have anything new in the song department to share, but this song from the 2006 record Assburner on should get you in the mood for more dancefloor wackiness from Doktor Kosmos.
From the “It’s About Time Department”: I Made This has finally redone their website. They’ve gone from basically unuseable to pretty cool in the last week. The label/management company’s site was due for an overhaul. Despite the old site their roster is strong (Ed Greene, Soviac, Streetwaves) and they have good plans for 2008.
Next up from I Made This is the new full length from Traktor called Sequence the Sequence due out April 9. Stream a couple of the new (raucus) songs here.
Here’s the really good news. They’ve made three songs from their catalog available as free downloads including my favorite by Ed Greene.
There’s a good solid chance Viva Revolucian are no longer a group. Their homepage is not up to date and their MySpace comment section is filled with spam.
If that’s true it’s a shame since they seem to do the electro-new wave-gay-punk thing as well as anybody. According to their MySpace page they’re a band made up of hookers, punkers and vagabonds. Most of that’s probably a fabrication, but from the selection of pictures on their sites it seems they were always ready to play hard and strip down to their underwear for their art. I like that in a band and I like this song.
The band is/was from Gothenburg. So if you know them, give em a poke, and tell them to get back to work.
I’ve been holding off on posting about some of the new music I’ve been listening to to make sure it is still alright a week or two after the fact. The two songs posted by Music Is My Girlfriend from the new Stars In Coma record You’re Still Frozen In Time easily pass that test.
“Invisibility Trick” is the single and it’s blend of indie pop vocals with accelerated beats and synths is pretty catchy. The album track “People Put Up With A Lot Of Shit” is more of a dance track except with jangly guitar and more of those cheesy synths (but they work here!).
You’re all going to be disappointed in me. The only Swedish act I caught at all of SXSW was Lykee Li. The problem was so much else to see and the fact that I didn’t have a wristband and refused to wait in long lines when there was so much else to see. But I will say Lykke Li had her S#$t together. Her three piece backing band was tight. They plowed through a 4-5 song set in record time. Besides Lykke Li’s commanding stage presence, I was most impressed with her band and in particular the way they processed their backing vocals to sound like a small choir. The only problem I had with the Lykke was having her hold still long enough to take her picture.
In other exciting news I’ve been invited to Sweden to cover the Hultsfred Festival. I can’t wait to come. I’ll be there on June 7-15th or so. I’m really looking forward to seeing some of my favorite artists (Sakert, Billie The Vision and Dancers etc) in their natural surroundings (sounds like an African safari, doesn’t it?!).
I’m off to SXSW. There’s no way I’ll get to see all the bands I love that I write about on both Songs:Illinois and Swedesplease, but I hope to do my best. Here’s the complete Swedish SXSW lineup even including some bands/shows I wouldn’t be caught dead at (you’ll have to figure those out for yourself). Most bands are playing more than once and in the case of someone like Lykke Li she may play 10 different times.
I’m not going to bring my laptop so I probably won’t update from Austin. Have a great weekend; see you Monday.
The excellent Swedish leaning blogs It’s A Trap and Indie Mp3 have been talking up the Swedish/Scottish (Swelandish?!) group The Social Services for a little while now. So not wanting to feel left out I’ve jumped on the bandwagon. I’m not sure exactly what it is about the band that is so captivating. It could be that for such a new band their sound is strong and confident. Their self-released recordings sound as good as any major label indie pop I’ve heard. And the clash (or melding) of the two cultures is an interesting sideshow that could really develop into a compelling sound.
“Folkan” is a great example of a couple of these ideas as the song has both English and Swedish language sections, as well as a diverse musical palate with traces of Scottish folk, gypsy music, and circus sounds. Miraculously the band still claims to be unsigned on their MySpace page!
The band’s put together this MySpace video called “Touch The Swede” where they travel around Stockholm doing just that accompanied by snippets of their music. Watch for the Elias and The Wizz Kids cameo about halfway through and the “touch and run” at the very end…
Totally unrelated: Songs I Wish I Had Written wrote today with news of a new single by Gentle Touch. It’s from the forthcoming record In Memory Of Savannah out March 19. It’s a slinky electronic dance track that brings to mind any number of euro pop bands from the 80′s.
In all of music there may not be any ensemble, group or band that is more capable than the jazz trio. To hear each instrument occupying it’s own space and then coming together as a whole is a wondrous thing. Thelonious Monk, Bill Evans and Oscar Peterson may have defined the form but increasingly the future of jazz and the trio itself can be found in parts of Europe and Scandinavia.
Open Trio is a Swedish jazz group that’s been together for over 6 years. They play a structured improvizational style of jazz. The song “Heartland” from their upcoming release Goodbye Every Time (Found You Recordings) was composed by the band’s leader/piano player Joakim Simonsson. But it’s the interplay of all three musicians (bass, drums and piano) that makes this special. All three players have terrific solos and when the group comes back together for the finale it’s simply thrilling. You can pre-order the new record here at DotShop.
Pop `N Cherries seconds my disbelief at the musical wonders known as Moofish Catfish.
Underground electronic culture blog Subdrive has a new video from The Touch.
The best thing I’ve heard all year (although it sounds so much like Maia Hirasawa that it’s a bit disconcerting) is the new song by The Social Services called “Baltic Sea” exclusively available over at It’s A Trap.
I can’t get enough of Those Dancing Days; the music blog Apparently is having the same problem.
Fuck Yeah! Go Team! has second thoughts about the new record from El Perro Del Mar.
With every other music blog and their brother writing about Swedish music (note this week’s blogasm about the new video from The LK) it’s getting harder to bring you the newest/best/original Swedish music. That’s been the intent of this blog since the beginning. But lately bands like Lykke Li, Sally Shapiro and The LK are getting coverage left, right and center for every (bowel) move(ment) that they make. The bands and the music are by and large the same great stuff but the amount of coverage and the press machine working in the background has really grown out of control.
My answer is to do the same that I’ve always done and that’s focus on Swedish music that is deserving but not overhyped, unusual but not contrived, and experimental but grounded in pop.
The Beat From Palookaville are a ska, r `n’ b, jump blues, early rock and roll outfit from Stockholm. They’re a band out to have a little fun, a couple of pints and maybe earn enough $$ for gas. I expect that the live show is a sweaty mess of dancing bodies, blurting horns and full of hepcats and greasers from the mean streets of Stockholm.
So here’s an mp3 from rehearsal with the band doing an acapella thing sans instruments:
Swedesplease was the first daily mp3 blog devoted to Swedish music. It's gone on to be recognized by Swedish Public Radio, Swedish press, The London Times, The Guardian, The Chicago Tribune and on and on. If Swedesplease has a slant or plays favorites it's a mostly due to an insatiable love of Swedish indie pop, electronica and twee. Most songs posted are free and legal courtesy of the artists and labels. If for some reason you think a song should come down please email me at cbonnell (at) gmail.com.