“My Baby She Left Me” by the Albadukes
“Crystal Heights” by Celestial
“Gold Mine” by Nervous Nellie (with cameos by Shout Out Loud and Seventhfarm)
Skull Defekts live at CMJ `08
I haven’t written about Swedish drone for awhile. But with the new It’s a Trap netlabel release of the collaboration between Tobias Hellkvist and Dead Letters Spell Out Dead Words called “White/Grey/Black” it seems as good a time as any to revisit this genre. The swedes may known as the main producers of drone (that honor may go to the German’s) but they nonetheless are fairly proficient and accomplished.
“Whire/Grey/Black” is a 57mb file divided into three parts. I’m listening as I type and so far in movement one there is an undercurrent of doom and industrial effects. I wonder how this theme will progress through the next two movements. Give me 30 minutes and I’ll get back to you.
The funny thing is 5 years ago something like this would be import only at Target at a price of about $25. No you can get the whole thing, artwork and all at It’s A Trap here.
P.S. and btw I’m now halfway through the track and the tension and the impending doom is building…
No matter what Sebastian Fors calls his latest band du jour it’s still Sebastian Fors. And that’s a good thing. He writes songs that are as hook laden and rooted in real rock n roll as some of the best of the early Ryan Adams stuff. If you were going to compare his stuff with anything else it’d have to be American – power pop like The Posies, southern elite rock like the db’s (and Chris Stamey solo work) or New Jersey rock like Bruce Springsteen.
These new songs are simple and wonderful. I like all three he sent my way from his latest/greatest project Let’s Say We Did but I’ll restrict myself to posting these two.
I hoped that last week’s post of the music of Amanda Bergman (known as Hajen) would stir some interest with other music bloggers on the internet. While there hasn’t been a cascade of coverage some other people were as impressed with her as I was and followed up on my post (a particularly thorough piece here via Scratchy Buckles).
I was so taken with Hajen that I immediately sent her a set of questions I had about her music. Before you read further though check out another of Hajen’s songs; her theme song called “Sharks”:
1. I guess first, and it’s probably a question you get or will get a lot. Why the name Hajen? What does it mean?
My name doesn’t mean anything. Perhaps I just wanted to defuse my music with an ugly and childish name. I don’t know. But in some way I guess it reflects my person and the way I subconsciously think of my own music. I mean ugly, stupid, raw, immature, ironic, humorous but at the same time very beautiful, honest, fragile, solemn and above all warm hearted. For me it was clear that I didn’t want to go by my real name, as many other females artist do. I find that boring and very impersonal. I just grabbed something. Hajen means the shark in Swedish. Sharks are great animals.
2. There are some immediate comparisons between your music and some of that from Laleh or Regina Spektor or even Tori Amos. Do you hear that as well? You also list Bob Dylan and Neil Young on your Myspace. How do they influence your piano based songs?
I can see why people make those comparisons. I mean, it all comes from the same roots. But my own references are mainly from Bob Dylan and Chan Marshall, and then everything behind them. I guess my music is, as everybody else’s, a genuine mixture of all music I ever consumed. I see no real reason to define it other than emotionally. I mean, it’s hard to be revolutionary these days. It is what it is.
3. You are playing Hultsfred soon, what do you think that will be like and who do you think you’ll see perform?
Yes, I’ll be playing at Rookie Saturday. Actually I have no idea what it will be like. Hopefully peaceful. I’m gonna stroll around and see every single band, for the sake of good manners. And for fun. I look forward to Johnossi and RamDiDam in particular.
4. Some people who follow Swedish music think of Goteborg as some sort of central spot for indie pop. You live there. Do you feel that way?
Yes, I guess there’s some truth in that. Gothenburg is more raw, rainy and more dilapidated than Stockholm and I guess that makes up good for Indie rock. Stockholm is more beautiful and stiffer and has nothing more than weekend decadence. That’s good for electro pop. Well, no. This is just an assumption. I don’t really know anything about what’s going on in “the Capital of Scandinavia”. But it’s clear that there are lots of musicians in Gothenburg, and the climate is friendly. No backstabbing. People are helping each other out, and by that more music reaches a broader mass.
5. I’m going to be discussing Swedish music in NYC this week. Have you anything to add about the scene in Sweden? Any trends that people might be interested in?
I have few things to add about the Swedish music scene. If anything going on is special for the Swedish scene, it is hard for me to tell. The only thing I know is that my generation is a very dissillusioned one, and that most young people are involved in some kind of creative self-actualization. People have time to worry too much about themselves. It’s one downside of a stable society.
6. I see that you are signed to Knoppar Records. When might you be releasing your first record?
I don’t know when or if I might release my first record. I’m not sure. Maybe I will release an EP this spring.
7. Do you have any other thoughts about your music?
I am filled with doubt considering whether or not I want to put my poor heart into making music for real. For me it’s just a hobby and a way to channel, and I like it best that way. But it is also overwhelming to get any kind of positive response about your work and you feel you want to give something back. Like a cookie. So I probably will release something quite soon. I’m gonna think about it over Christmas.
8. What about the song “Scapegoat”?
This song, “Scapegoat”, is about how stupid one can tend to act if one bear a broken heart. Also how it’s easy to blame the one who had courage.
A Swedish rock band that mixes Tom Waits with gypsy punk. How could I not write about them and their new record? These guys are called Skurklandet & Jimmy Bussenius. The new record came out in 2008 and appears to be their full length debut.
I was excited to discover the Stockholm based group Bored Man Overboard. From the photos of the band and the artwork on their new e.p. I was sure I’d discovered Sweden’s version of Arcade Fire or at the very least a Scandinavian Decemberists. Unfortunately that’s not the case. I was disappointed that with so many members and such an eclectic mix of instruments that the band’s sound was so restrained.
See for yourself by downloading the new e.p. Why Birds Return North free from the band’s Last.FM page here. “Love Is A Lie” is as close as the band comes to a marvelous cacophony of sound.
Boris and the Jeltsins have all the energy of classic punk but they also have all the flare of mid 80′s Bruce Springsteen. It’s a potent mix. Here’s a very rough demo of a song to appear on their debut record when it is released this March. More info then.
P.S. If you are going to CMj and you are at all interested in Swedish music you should attend It’s A Trap’s showcase on Oct 22. I am going to CMJ but not in time for this incredible lineup.
Of course the comparisons of Hajen’s music to that of Regina Spektor, Tori Amos, Laleh and nearly any other piano based songstress are apt. And I’m sure those are fair comparisons. But they’re just a jumping off point in this instance. Everyone’s DNA is so slightly different. So, like there are no two identical snowflakes, there are also no two identical singers. On the song “Scapegoat” there is a certain something in the way Hajen’s voice fluctuates and soars, something about her turns of phrase (“put down that shield”) and a certain something special when she growls out her lyrics that separates and elevates her from the pack.
However, it’ll probably be difficult for Hajen to break though all the clutter. She doesn’t have the big, dance beats of Lykke Li (and the incessant remixes, multiple videos and constant barrage of press) or the publicity machine of Robyn or even the big US label push behind someone like Frida Hyvönen. But from her three songs on her MySpace page and especially from her biting and bitter song “Scapegoat” Hajen deserves all the success these other Swedish imports have received.
Hajen is one of the four artists on the extremely promising upstart label called Knoppar.
Hajen will be performing this weekend at the Rookie 08 put on by RockParty in Hultsfred.
Tvärvägen “September” (Amazing video/song – highly recommended and on Vimeo so the qualty is outstanding!)
Anna Leong “Frightened Rabbit”
Val Venosta “Womanizer VVREmix”
Bjorn Kleinhenz – “At Night We Die”
Those Dancing Days “Run Run” live in Munich
Herman Dune “Next Year In Zion”
Eskobar “Silver & Gold”
While much is up for debate around the globe at the moment -the war, the economy, the environment. There can be no debate that I’ve been Val Venosta’s earliest and biggest fan. All that saber rattling on my part hasn’t done an once of good however. But perhaps this remix of “Womanizer” will get the ball rolling. But you should really go back and read and listen to my earlier posts. Thanks to Tiffany for pointing this one out.
Here’s Val Venosta’s take on Britney Spears’ “Womanizer”:
Jason from the blog The Pop Cop came up with a pretty interesting idea. He proposed that some of the blogs that focus on a singe country’s musical output do a post together once a month featuring the best music from each country. Swedesplease was chosen to represent Sweden. This is a work in progress and the format will probably change over time. Hopefully soon we’ll have one central site to send you to for each month’s archives. But for now here are the picks from October (download them all here):
* If you would prefer to download all 12 songs in one go, click here.
I was one of the biggest, earliest supporters of Ramona Cordova. I thought his music was mysterious (like a fairy tale) and his lyrics clever. His album, The Boy Who Floated Freely, was a concept record about a boy who washed up on an island inhabited by gypsy’s.
The band is located in Stockholm and Umeä but somehow got to shoot the video for their song “Oh Short Ribs and Gravy” in L.A. And I love it (thanks John!).
Video shot in L.A.
Bonus song from Ramona Cordova (you can download his simply stunning record The Boy Who Floated Freely for free here)
I’m pretty pleased with how my New Faces of Swedish Techno week came out. I was going to just sum up and link to each post today but the Italian site Popkidz of the World Unite did my job for me. So if you want to check out each post in one place check out his review here.
I’m going to ease out of all that techno and back into writing about Swedish indie pop and rock with the electronic pop of Poor Favour from Kalmar. This duo combines the English dance music of Depeche Mode with the French pop of Milli Vanilli (I know they are German but I’m ignorant when it comes to French pop).
They’ll be appearing live at Hultsfred’s Rookie fest on Oct. 24.
Leoparden just snuck into this week of Swedish techno by slipping me their new album “OneOne” earlier this week. Unlike the other posts this week I think Leoparden may have what it takes to crossover. His collaboration with Hiyoko Mame and Infinite Livez shows a little more flexibility and pop sensibility than your typical dancefloor dj duo.
You can download the whole album in .rar here for free. And I suggest that you do as it was hard for me to select only these two tracks to share.
Death By Party
Nilof is two kids from Stockholm who combine c64 blips and beeps with driving and bruising techno. Their song “Be Kind Rewind” (one of my favorite films btw) encapsulates their sound rather well.
I’m trying to not have this week of techno peak too soon. But that’ll be hard since Databas is up next.
Databas is Albin Karlsson from Jönköping. But Databas is more than that, there is an elaborate story of aliens, robots and a mysterious coded message. There’s more info at his MySpace.
Like the boys from yesterday’s post DJ Mah is also from Upsalla. Is this a trend? Something in the water there perhaps. We’ll see…
This week Swedesplease will take a look at the next generation of Swedish techno. I scourged the internets to find these five rising stars so I hope you like. I’m not going to write a lot about each. Techno is a genre that defies criticism or easy description. I think you either feel it or you don’t. With all five of these artists I’m feeling it.
Les Trois Garcons is up first. They’re three guys (naturally) from Uppsala. They’re young and they’ve got mad crazy beats (did I just write that?!?).
Is the work of one man from Kalmar, Sweden. It’s lovely, reserved, thoughtful pop. The chorus to Americs (“America is lost”) is more accurate than perhaps Orphan Songs will ever know).
There is a new record out on Oct 8. Email firstname.lastname@example.org to get your copy.