Archive for November, 2008

Michael Bach – “I Fell Down” EP at the intersection of Johnny Cash and Connor Oberst Streets

Wednesday, November 26th, 2008

I’ve written about all of Michael Bach’s self-released, semi-lofi releases over the past 3 or 4 years (and that’s not something I do for just anyone – just ask all the artists with emails sitting in my trash folder). He’s part of something called The Wild Geese collective. His music is always freely available as a download with artwork, liner notes and all. In the past I’ve compared both his music and his outlook to Neil Young. With the release of his new ep I’ve got to change my perception of Michael and his music. He’s clearly more than a one trick pony. On the new ep, I Fell Down, Michael leaves the rust belt of Young folk behind and enters the world of Nashville circa Johnny Cash/Carl Perkins on several songs and alternately the wear-your-heart-on-your-sleeve angst (confessional) rock of Connor Oberst and company on several others.

It’s a welcome change and I’m loving these songs. Here’s two of my favorites representing each of the two directions the ep heads in (as described above). More info and full ep download here.

I Fell Down

Let’s Wait For It All To End

P.S. That’s It for now. I’ll be celebrating Thanksgiving off and on `til Monday. See you then.

P.P.S If you like country check out the Canadian Honky-Tonk of Scotty Campbell and His Wardenaires over at Songs:Illinois today.


Monday, November 24th, 2008

It’s nice to see Gravitation have some success with The Tallest Man On Earth. It’s this unlikely worldwide attention of a fringe artist that makes the net and blogging so exciting. I hope Gravitation can pull it off again with their new signee Francis.

Francis takes the blues of TTMOE and adds a circus/cabaret atmosphere. “Bad To The Bone” is the first single. It sounds like a transgender version of Stevie Ray Vaughn if he/she worked in a traveling eastern European circus and was channeling Tom Waits.

Bad To The Bone

Swedish Music Video Roundup (Sofia Talvik, The Tallest Man On Earth, Moto Boy)

Friday, November 21st, 2008

Sofia Talvik – “Clown”

King Str – “I Made A Sculpture and Danced With It”

Tallest Man On Earth – “Stepstone”

The Tallest Man On Earth: Stepstone (Traditional) from shoottheplayer on Vimeo.

Moto Boy – “Pie Jesu”

Annielle – “Desert Flower”

More electronic weirdness from Sweden courtesy of Smulton

Thursday, November 20th, 2008


Sticking with yesterdays theme of experimental electronic music from Sweden, here are a couple short vignettes from Smulton. Check out how the organic (kalimba) or odd percussion sounds mix with the electronic.


god morgan


Experimental Jazz Trio – Auton

Wednesday, November 19th, 2008

It’s a Trap has been pushing the creative jazz trio Auton pretty hard. And I’ve come out of my insular little shell long enough to see the light. I’ve complained about the lack of promotional mp3′s from the Swedish jazz scene. The reason I get annoyed by this is that the scene is a vibrant and respected one throughout the jazz world, but promotionally they are a tidal backwater (much the same way U.S. jazz has a tough time marketing itself domestically).

But here’s a group that is inventive, electronic, and experimental that understands the current state of the medium and has evolved its promotion accordingly. They have 2 sample mp3′s and a video available from their most recent release Anywhere Out Of The World (Structures Sonores).

Lament II

El Dorado

Auton – “Slagskepp”

Auton – “Slagskepp” from Viktor Sjöberg on Vimeo

The Argument

Tuesday, November 18th, 2008

I was on a Malmö kick a few weeks back and one of the bands I sneaked in with little comment was the group The Argument. As I said at the time the band is made up of members of Big Strong Union and Bakers At Dawn. These guys are all part of the unofficial Canarie Records co-op. The sound is either unstructured pop or tightly controlled experimental rock, pick your poison.

The new record Summer/Winter Nights is pretty rough production wise, but the energy and the songs on there point to good things in the future from this band

The Argument’s new record is now available in full from here.

The Air I Breathe

Best songs from around the world – November edition of MAP

Friday, November 14th, 2008

Music Alliance Pact month 2 is upon us. the goal is for all of these websites to share all of these songs on a given day each month. Today’s the day. So here for your listening pleasure are all the best songs that made an appearance on the internets for the month of November.

AMERICA: I Guess I’m Floating
City Center

Summer school

Brooklyn’s City Center is the solo work of Fred Thomas from Saturday Looks Good To Me, focusing on ornamental, experimental pop songs created from found sounds, manipulated samples and Thomas’s own guitar and vocals. While there’s no official debut yet, he has released a handful of 7”s and there are over 30 free MP3s up for grabs at his blog ( Look for a debut sometime in 2009.

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
Sync FilmicoEl Polvo De Tus Sentimientos
With heavy influences from alt. rockers like Radiohead and Jaime Sin Tierra, this song is from Sync Filmico’s second album, El Mar. It was released this year on CD and as free MP3 download from their website ( Their first record was published under a Creative Commons license and can also be downloaded for free.

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
The Temper Trap

Sweet Disposition

There’s a lot of buzz surrounding the new material from Melbourne’s The Temper Trap and no wonder, because the first taste of their 2009-due album, Sweet Disposition, is a delay-driven melody fest. Recalling the sounds of ’80s U2, Sweet Disposition was recorded in the UK with famed producer Jim Abbiss, who has worked with some little-known acts like Arctic Monkeys, DJ Shadow, Bjork and Massive Attack.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
Ketch Harbour WolvesSo Long To The Ground
Even by the standards of Canadian indie rock, Ketch Harbour Wolves are pretty under the radar. Dead Calm Horizon is one of the best albums of the year – and free for download on the band’s site ( no less. Imagine that The National were transported to the Canadian wilderness and started writing songs about rural living and you’d have a good idea of where Ketch Harbour Wolves are coming from. The results are, simply put, hauntingly gorgeous.

DENMARK: Pastries, Peppers And Canals
Heidi Mortenson

It’s True

Highly regarded as the queen of experimental, unpredictable music, Heidi’s website says that she “makes colorful and textured songs with a nerdy and dazed approach; her sound grows from playful experiments and inventive production. Add emotional drive, a mentalist flavor and soul of old cartoon” – and who are we to argue?

ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
Mumford & Sons

Roll Away Your Stone

Here’s some new folky goodness for you. Not folky as in the beardy sense, mainly because the kids in Mumford & Sons are probably too young to grow beards. Led by Marcus Mumford, this west London band peddle a sparkly, breezy, bluegrass-infused folk-pop, and given that they’ve been together for less than a year, they’ve arrived remarkably fully-formed.

ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music


Together the two boys and two girls of Hellvar stir up a cocktail from electronica to new wave with a twist of lime. Debut album Bat Out Of Hellvar was released at the end of 2007 and was the first release on new Icelandic label Kimi Records. The band have toured in the USA, Germany and China.

IRELAND: Nialler9
Cap Pas Cap

We Are Men (Thatboytim remix)

Cap Pas Cap are heavily inspired by rock music on the fringes – no wave, punk and Krautrock. As a taster for a debut in 2009, the band will release the We Are Men 12″ in December with one original track and three hi-grade remixes from Decal, Jape and this from Thatboytim. As well as playing in Cap Pas Cap, members of the band run the Skinny Wolves label which releases stuff from the likes of Indian Jewelry, Telepathe and Effie Briest.

ITALY: Polaroid

Ask U2

If I could have Foals playing at my house tonight, I would surely call Did as opening band. Four young guys from Turin who play “yellow punk-funk” with pop melodies. They have a free download debut EP out now on Kirsten’s Postcard label ( Dance!

NORWAY: Eardrums
My Little PonyI Don’t Know Pt.1
“The band, not the brand” seems to be a statement that will follow Norwegian indiepop orchestra My Little Pony forever. They recently released their debut album Think Too Much to great critical acclaim and new fans include one of Norway’s biggest pop stars, Marit Larsen. My Little Pony are a pure pop band, where strong melodies and interesting lyrics make the framework of their music, but they also mix in several other genres in their indiepop universe, from bluegrass and Afro-jazz to reggae and more folk-oriented elements.

Cementerio Club


Cemeterio Club’s history can be summed up in numbers – a 10-year career, four studio albums, three acoustic albums, one lengua MTV. Led by Jose Arbulú, they are a clear example that good rock sung in Spanish exists. Here’s Stereoman from their latest album, released last year.



Beerjacket is a young man with an acoustic guitar whose backing band comprises a tambourine and a drum machine. Stylistic comparisons to Elliott Smith or Jose Gonzalez wouldn’t be far off, while his prolific output of albums offer an endearing lo-fi sound that lets the quality of his songs and the calibre of his songwriting steal the show.

SPAIN: El Blog De La Nadadora

Profesora De Primaria

Espanto are a duo formed by Luis and Teresa, who come from a small city in the north of Spain. After releasing a series of extraordinary demos, their first CD, Cantando En Tu Siesta – on the Spanish label Birra y Perdiz ( – compiled their best songs up till 2007. Their music is basically pop, with references that range from Television Personalities to The Magnetic Fields.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Hajen has a very limited repertoire (three MySpace demos to be exact), but she’s just the type of artist that deserves the wider recognition the web can provide. She may not be completely ready for primetime but her uniquely Swedish take on the piano pop of Tori Amos and Regina Spektor is impressive. Hajen means shark in Swedish so it seems appropriate to highlight her theme song. With its warning of “sharks in the water, sharks up on land” you can bet this is not simply a tale of danger in the ocean.

Meet the jangly, alt-country inspired, indie rock of Sweden’s The Servants

Wednesday, November 12th, 2008

I got sent two songs from a new group called The Servants today. Lucky for them their blend of Wilco meets Byrds meets indie rock was right up my alley. It also didn’t hurt that their song “Present” has lyrics about a dull and dreary rainy day and that’s just what I’m living with here in Chicago.


Montt Mardie – B-Side to the “Modesty Blaise” single (Ruffa Lane)

Tuesday, November 11th, 2008

I’m a big fan of Montt Mardie. But since he’s been signed to the English label Ruffa Lane I haven’t been writing as much about him since the BBC and NME and countless blogs have confirmed what I originally wrote about him years ago. And that is that he is a pop phenomena that could, with the right help, ascend the charts. His new single is called “Modesty Blaise”, but that’s been written about elsewhere so I asked to write about and link to the b-side “Come On Eileen”.

If there’s one thing I know about Montt Mardie (from his music, blog postings, and all around persona) is that he feels things very deeply. In the song “Come On Eileen” he doesn’t so much sing about his troubles as he does moan about them. It’s just this the over the top emotionalism and wearing his feelings on his sleeve that I love about Montt Mardie.

(single cover art)

Come On Eileen

Brilliant (Non-Swede) Indie Pop By Kevin McGrother

Monday, November 10th, 2008

This is a first. This is the the first song to appear on Swedesplease by someone with no known association to Sweden. I’ve written about a lot of indie pop over the years here and just thought that if anyone was actually reading this blog on a consistent basis and liking said Swedish indie pop then they’d probably like to hear this as well. The minute I heard the title of Kevin McGrother’s the new record and saw that Kevin was an indie popster I was intrigued. Living In An Enid Blyton World sounds like the best of British indie pop from the 80′s. Think Max Eider, The Housemartins, Jazz Butcher, Blue Aeroplanes, etc., etc.

“Summer Starts on Sunday” has all the elements of a perfect indie pop song. It’s got that slightly melancholy sound of keys mixed with jangly guitars that is a perfect match for Kevin’s laconic vocals. The persistent indie pop themes of love conquering all, the beauty of nature, and the glories of summer are all present. This record deserves to be blogged about on each and every English music blog, indie pop blog, fanzine and webzine. And that’s why I added it to Swedesplease today.

Buy it here.

Summer Starts On Sunday

The White Moose (featuring Mattias Hellberg)

Friday, November 7th, 2008

I haven’t been around these parts much this week. And the reason is geopolitical. I live in Chicago and as you all know by know so does Barack Obama. And all week I’ve been caught up in the election. But I’ll make up for it today with the new song from Mattias Hellberg’s band The White Moose.

Just about everybody into Swedish music knows the name Mattias Hellberg. He’s worked with members of The Soundtrack Of Our Life, formed the band Nymphet Noodlers, joined The Hellacopters and many more. With so many projects it becomes a little difficult to keep up. Enter Swedesplease. I’ve got the new song from his new group The White Moose.

It’s an exclusive so you’ll only get it here. Pre-order the new record Out Of The Frying Pan Into The Fire here.

Final Call

Electronic thrash from MFMB (riyl New Model Army, The Damned) plus Hajen perfroming live at Rookie Fest

Wednesday, November 5th, 2008

Just because our “New Faces of Swedish Electronica” week is over it doesn’t mean we shouldn’t have more beat heavy Swedish music on Swedesplease. The Stockholm based band MFMB combines electronica beats with shoegaze fuzz and agro vocals. It’s an od mixture and one I haven’t really heard since the UK groups New Model Army or The Damned.

The bands’ new ep is called The Fine Detail and is available as a free download here (updated link – thanks to those who wrote in).


Anthill Man

Sharks by Hajen at Rookie Fest