Archive for June, 2008

Billie The Vision & The Dancers – “Lily From The Middleway Street”

Monday, June 30th, 2008

I’ve mentioned the new Billie The Vision & the Dancers record on a couple of separate occasions but as of yet I haven’t linked to any song from it. The band has just posted the entire album online as a free download and I’ll take that as my queue to write a little about the record.

First off it doesn’t break any new ground. But seeing as how the last two records were pop wonders (especially The World According To Pablo) they didn’t have to. Like Pablo this new record also has a recurring character and this time it’s Lily. I haven’t absorbed the whole record but the individual songs are spellbinding. In fact “Someday, Somehow” has already become a singalong anthem at their live shows. And of course Lily (below) is a favorite of mine and features such lively call and response it’s hard not to shout out the chorus.

Lily From The Middleway Street

Swedish Music Roundup (Cloetta Paris, Marching Band, Parken, Lo Fi Fnk, Billie The Vision, Air France)

Sunday, June 29th, 2008


(Used Cars by Jake Waitling)

Radio Sidekick has something new from Cloetta Paris.

Cause=Time has the perfect sumptuous pop of Marching Band.

Walrus Blog has a video fo the new single from Parken (the video features Rigas on some kind of cheap Casio).

Sound Bites has news of the new summer sampler from Labrador.

The cool (new?) blog Winnie Cooper has an interview with and songs by Lo Fi Fnk.

Hits In The Car has news of Billie The Vision’s new album available free.

Crown Dozen has the new song from Air France.

Esaias Orchestra

Friday, June 27th, 2008

Esaias Orchestra from Lund describes their music as Alternative/Rockabilly/Pop but in the States I think it’d be thrown in the gothic-emo category (if that even exists). It’s pretty over the top stuff emotionally, causing the band to occasionally veer into Coldplay like howls and high pitched squeels. But here I like it (with Coldplay not so much!).

“Do You Clap Your Hands” is a new song and will be on an upcoming 2008 T.B.A. release on the Swedish label BaBa Records. “Her Hands Again” is from an earlier EP called But Hey Take A Cookie Instead.

Do you Clap Your Hands
Her Hands Again

Lovely New Swedesplease Header Courtesy of Illustrator Thomas M. Lowry

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

What can I say except that I love this new header designed by Swedesplease fan and professional illustrator/artist Mike Lowery. Get in touch with him through his site for all your illustration needs.

Oh and btw that little phrase apparently translates into “my true love”, at least that’s what I hope it means.

Refreshingly odd nautical pop from Gothenburg’s Ossian Ekenger (riyl Jens Lekman, Joel Alme, Magnetic Fields)

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

I occasionally bitch about getting too many pr, artist and label emails but for every 100 stinkers there’s a diamond in the rough. Today’s diamond comes from the bottom of the sea. Ossian Ekenger emailed me literally 10 minutes ago from Gothenberg suggesting his song “Sunset Shell” might sound nice on Swedesplease. After just a few listens to “Sunset Shell” it’s clear Ossian knows his way around an idie pop song and can croon with the best of them (riyl Jens Lekman, Joel Alme).

Check out the odd recorded voices and drum machine break down about halfway through “Sunset Shell”. Then keep listening for Ossian’s velvety and deep voice. It’s a pretty magical combination of way out experimental music and the sunny lounge pop of the 60′s. These songs are all taken from the nautically themed record The Famous Seashore Life.

Sunset Shell

Seahorse
Velvet Swimming Crab

Spin Solves The Swedish Problem

Thursday, June 26th, 2008

The one question I couldn’t answer very well all week in Sweden was: how come? Why Swedish music? I have a rote answer prepared but I think Spin answers it better in their recent article outlining the history, structure and commitment of the various quasi governmental Swedish music promotion agencies.

I’ll be back with music a little later in the day. See ya.

New video from Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck

Wednesday, June 25th, 2008

The big news around here is that Swedesplease is going to get a slight overhaul in the next few days with the main change being a new custom header. It’s so cool and I can’t wait for you to see it. I’m inept at WordPress updates so it’s in the hands of my trusty web guy (Jason over at One Flower Media) so I hope it’ll be up soon.

Also here’s the new impromptu video from Mockingbird, Wish Me Luck. It’s the glorious single that I wrote about here that is now available on their debut record courtesy of Blow Up Records from the UK. You can listen to some of the new record here at Last.fm.

“Picture Too big To Fit” performed unplugged on a blustery day in Bristol along the canal

More from Tada Tátá, Eardrums Stellar Summer Mixes, and Songs:Illinois Rocks

Tuesday, June 24th, 2008

One of the songs from yesterday’s post on the band Tada Tátá was screwed up for half of the day (I added one too many “w’s” to the “www” part of the url..ugh!). So I encourage you to return to that post to check out both songs by the band. I personally am nearing infatuation and easing toward a full blown obsession!

Also Knut from the mostly Nordic, sporadically Swedish site, Eardrums has put together a 2cd summer sampler. It’s available as two seperate .zip files and includes new songs/remixes/alternative takes from bands like Celestial, The LK, Slowmotion Club, The Charade, Club 8 and Ant. Oh did I mention these were free. They are. Here.

Finally, sister site Songs:Illinois has had two great posts up already this week (if I do say so myself!) with music from Embarrassed Fruits, Francois Virot and Forest Fire.

Indie pop from Umeå – Tada Tátá

Monday, June 23rd, 2008

Ever since I got back from Sweden my email inbox has been inundated with music to write about. And while I don’t want to put it all down with one broad stroke, in general I haven’t felt compelled to write about any of it. This may be a function of its inherent poor quality or it may be more about the music discovery process. Doesn’t it just seem like it’s the music that you stumble upon that is most meaningful, rather than the music that is being delivered to you by radio, press campaigns and TV?

That brings me to Tada Tátá. A two girl indie pop group from Umeå that uses ukulele and melodica and simple synthy beats to create their poetic indie pop. As they say on their MySpace page they sound like: “when you had too many cakes and you feel like you have to barf but..the moment just before that when everything’s still tasty, delicious and really really sweet…sort of “.

Enjoy this for now and don’t expect something this great tomorrow…its just not going to happen!

(Update: There’s nothing I hate more than links that don’t work. Sorry that “Ebony” was fouled up it works now though. Thanks.)

Ebony
Sticky Dumb Gum

Swedish Music Roundup (Kissy Asplund, Theressa Andersson, Cloetta Paris, Speedmarket Avenue, You/Me)

Saturday, June 21st, 2008

(“Hi Millard” by Michael Sieben)

The Parisian music blog Wuzz Magazine has the funky neo soul of Swede Kissy Asplund. I was just thinking about what happened to Lauren Hill, now I know – she’s Kissy Asplund!

Man those Swedes are resourceful. Band Weblogs notes how Theressa Andersson’s looped video for “Na Na Na” just passed 600,000 views.

Let Me Like It reminds us that Sally Shapiro is not the only Swedish Italo-disco star with this post on Cloetta Paris.

Indie Muse catches up with Speedmarket Avenue.

Indie-Mp3
has two songs from the electro-pop group You/Me.

Swedish Video Wrapup (Peter von Poehl, Sofia Tavlik, Capetown, Eskobar)(plus Benny Andersson from ABBA in the Swedish 60′s group Hep Stars)

Friday, June 20th, 2008

Peter Von Poehle

Sofia Tavlik “As Summer’s Pass”

Mona Nylin live at Pianos

Capetown “Let It Go”

Eskobar “Flat Earth”

——–

Check out these amazing videos from Benny Andersson’s first band The Hep Stars.

“Bald Headed Woman”

“Sunny Girl”

Pre-order the new record from The Budgies (plus a free download from Moofish Catfish)

Thursday, June 19th, 2008

This here is an mp3 blog. Perhaps you’ve heard of them. Free mp3′s and music discussion. So where’s the mp3, you ask? Not available. But I’m not going to let that stop me from writing about what may be one of the coolest Swedish indie pop records in a long while. The record I’m referring to is the latest and seemingly last release from The Budgies. Cosy Den is putting it out and it’s called Teatercafeet.

The best thing about the record is that it has 8 new songs, as well as including everything the band has ever recorded including two previously unreleased tracks. While there’s no mp3; you can listen to a song or two at the label’s MySpace (“Boy On a Bike”). Pre-order this release though Cosy Den here.

The Budgies “Summer Come Back”

—-

Alright so here’s an mp3 since you complained so much. This is the song “At The Club” from Moofish Catfish. I wrote about them way back when here.

At The Club

Daniel Norgren’s “Outskirt” (Super Puma Records, April 7)

Wednesday, June 18th, 2008

This past week in Sweden I was often asked why do I write about Swedish music. I never had a very good answer. But it went something like this: the Swedish music I’ve heard since I started this blog is often as good as anything else I’ve heard by any other band. Take a look at this picture and you’ll get the other answer: there are so many talented musicians toiling away and not getting enough credit.

I came across Daniel Norgren’s record in Stockholm’s Pet Sounds. It was the one new release in the store I hadn’t heard. It’s an unheralded release that is based in the blues but encompasses Tom Waitesque vocals and an assortment of acoustic and electric instruments. The new record is called Outskirts and is on Super Puma Records.

If you liked what you’ve heard from Sweden’s The Tallest Man On Earth or basically any of the new blues from the likes of someone like Moreland & Arbuckle or anything on Fat Possum than you’ll love this. Buy it here through CDON.

Who’s Knocking
The Comedian

Hultsfred wrapup – Lykke Li reviewed

Tuesday, June 17th, 2008

As I alluded to in my post about Those dancing Days I was left a little cold by Lyke Li’s competent but otherwise uninspiring performance at Hultsfred. I think a lot of the blame can be placed on the fact that her music resides in the netherworld between pop, electronic, dance and indie rock. Combine that with her thin vocals and the occasional duds in her repertoire and you get an artist that may not be able to expand upon her hit “Little Bit”.

The show was not without a little excitement though. The aforementioned “Little Bit” got the crowd jumping and singing along and a background choir that consisted of fellow festival headline Robyn sent a stir throughout the crowd.

Incidentally Robyn rode the train back to Stockholm with us, albeit in the 1st class compartment!!

Hultsfed update – Those Dancing Days reviewed plus the new video for “Run Run”

Monday, June 16th, 2008

One of the bands I was most looking forward to seeing at Hultsfred was the all girl band Those Dancing Days. I’d heard in the past that their live show was somehow lacking and it’s no wonder since the girls can barely play their instruments. A guitar solo consists of a few plucked notes, while a keyboard solo means single fingered tapping. I hope this doesn’t make it seem like I didn’t like their set, because I did. In fact I loved it!

Girls (and it was mostly girls) in the front screamed and waved to their childhood friends on stage. The band (particularly the keyboard player) were clearly giddy with excitement to be playing Sweden’s largest summer festival. The guitarist was mostly shy and humble `til near the end when she ripped off her torn stockings and danced bare footed. Lisa (the lead singer) was the one with true star presence and she used her voice (and her looks) to great advantage.

Comparing Those Dancing Days joyful brand of indie pop to the more calculated dance pop of Luke Li proves that these girls, and not Lykke Li, should be the recipient of all that glowing foreign press.

Those Dancing Days – “Run Run”

Swedish Music Roundup (Theressa Andersson, Those Dancing Days, Zeitgeist, Moto Boy, Dumb Dan and Thehelpmeplease)

Saturday, June 14th, 2008

(Via Gary Baseman)

Dumb Dan courtesy of Go Bananaz!.

Another Form Of Release links to a song from Thehelpmeplease.

Kofi’s Hat has all things Moto with the new Moto Boy single, videos and cover songs.

Electronic Voice Phenomenen has the first single from New Orleans, by way of Sweden, singer-songwriter Theressa Andersson.

If:MV has the video of the new single from Those Dancing Days taken from their upcoming Witchita Recordings debut lp. I’ll be seeing them today – can’t wait!

5 Acts has new music from Zeitgeist.

Säkert! and Billie the Vision & Dancers at Hultsfred

Friday, June 13th, 2008

Just got back from Billie the Vision & Dancers and Säkert! at Hultsfred Festival in Sweden. Both shows were great with Annika of Säkert (and Hello Saferide) playing songs from her debut on the main stage for the first time and Billie The Vision was so over the top that the kids in the audience went nuts. This was the first chance I’ve been able to hear either band and the shows were great but both a little weird.

Säkert! is Annika Norlin’s Swedish language band with members of Isolation Years Since all of her songs were in Swedish I couldn’t relate to any of the lyrics in any way. I’m very much a “lyric guy” so that was offputting. But still by the end I was singing along the best I could with all the other fans in the front row. I’m told that Annika is wrapping up a new album to be released in September by Razzia Records. That’s something we’ll all look forward to!

For Billie The Vision & Dancers I was surrounded by hordes of kids just out of their teen years and they sung along with every word. That was cool but a little surprising because even in Sweden Billie The Vision and Dancers is not a household name. Still it was great to hear all his personal songs and many of the concept numbers about Pablo.

—————-

This is a picture of a great swing they have at the park in Stockholm. It’s just for Nate and Tucker. Everyone else please ignore.

Lots of news from Sweden (Swedish TV, Metro article, Hultsfred update and even a new pop/punk/emo song from Esther!)

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

Thanks to the efforts of Kristofer and STIM we’ve been getting some great press opportunities over here in Sweden. There’s an interview with photos and top 5 lists over at Metro here.

And we made it on to Swedish National TV the other night. And you can watch that piece here on SVT (scroll ahead to the 10 minute mark or a little over halfway through).

——————


(photo courtesy of RockParty)

Well you probably didn’t come for all that, so here’s a little nugget for you from Esther. It’s from their forthcoming lp Lie To Me I Love A Good Story. The album’s out in a month but you can order it directly from the band (esthermusic@hotmail.com) or at their myspace. I like the way they straddle the power pop, punk and the emo worlds and from the photo set up at RockParty they look to have a great live show.

I Can’t Promise

P.S. I met Rigas and Parken at Hultsfred which was a nice treat. Tomorrow I look forward to seeing Säkert!, Billie The Vision & The Dancers and Lissi Dancefloor Disaster.

Bring Out The Imps (Mule Musiq, May 15) plus news from Hultsfred

Thursday, June 12th, 2008

The fruits of my hard labor (hardly!) in Stockholm are starting to pay off. At a record store called Fader I picked up a new record from the Malmoe based jazztronica group Imps. The record is the just released Bring Out The Imps on the Japanese label Mule Musiq. The record’s hard to figure out as it fits somewhere between chill out and experimental electronica. Meanwhil the band uses a lot of unusual electronic and acoustic instruments (Rhodes, upright bass, soprano sax) making them a bit unusual in this regard.

I like this track, “Second Track”, but there’s a bunch of others that would satiate your taste for experimental electronic music in the vein of Tape, Ass etc etc.

Second Track

———-

P.S. We just landed in Hultsfred and I caught the entire set by Little Marbles. They’re new and I feel are still working toward a final sound that I hope will be a mixture of MIA, Mystere De Voix Bulgare and The Budgies.

Little Melon

We’re Big In Sweden

Wednesday, June 11th, 2008


(Tom Levin)

OK. Here’s an update just in case you’re paying attention. We did Swedish TV this morning and that will air this evening at 7pm on SVT (notice the prominent Swedesplease T-shirt!). Also did a nice interview/photoshoot with Stockholm’s Metro newspaper. Both were pretty challenging with nearly impossible questions like: who’s you’re favorite Swedish artist of all time and what is it about Swedish music that is so appealing? I may have stammered through those two!

Tonight I’m off to the record release party for Tom Levin’s Unfair In My Favor (Cosmos Records, June 11) at Underbara Bar in Stockholm.

Here’s an older song from Tom plus two videos (1 and 2) of his new songs on TV4.

I Miss Her Missing Me

Here’s a couple of photo’s from today:

P.S. Hi Nate and Tucker. I miss you both. Lots of nice parks here with unusual swings. I’ll put pictures up tomorrow. No donuts here though so you’re not missing much.