Archive for February, 2009

Swedish Video Wrapup (Hajen, Detektivbyrän, Twowhite Horses

Friday, February 27th, 2009

When I wrote about Hajen way back and said she deserves to break out. I didn’t really believe it could happen myself. It’s so seldom that the good stuff really does rise to the top that you can get a little disillusioned. But seeing her with a full band on Garage playing her would be hit “Scapegoat” makes it all seem that much more possible for Hajen. You go girl!

Hajen “Scapegoat”

Two White Horses – “Good Times Are Gone Forever”

Greta & The One Night Stands – “Hearts and Bones”

Detektivbyrän (on a tram)

Chiptunes from “Average Composer”

Thursday, February 26th, 2009

Chiptunes made with a Gameboy from a guy living on an island off of the southern coast of Sweden. How can I not write about that?! Average Composer is the name of the project from Björn Ekström. His new EP is called You’re Better Than Potato. And is available in its entirety at here or you can purchase one of the limited edition cd’s here.

J’aime Voux Yeux, Pierre Bourdieu

“Good Times Are gone Forever” – Two White Horses

Wednesday, February 25th, 2009

“Good Times Are Gone Forever” may be about growing up and realizing childhood is over, but it’s hard not to think about the song more in the context of our present global meltdown. I love Lovissa’s voice on this track as well as the fuzzy chug chug guitar. I’m writing about this song and posting the video (below) by Two White Horses because I got two separate requests for their music this week.

The live video of the duet “Face Me Know” is also jaw droppingly beautiful. Especially the interplay between the brother and sister team of Jacob and Lovissa Nyström. I wish I could tell you more about this group but they’ve got a pretty limited web presence but their stock is rising fast with airplay on P3, SVT, and an upcoming string of dates playing with Sahara Hotnights. Their debut album should be out in the spring.

Good Times Are Gone Forever

“Good Times Are Gone Forever” Video

“Face Me Know” Live on Garage

P.S. Swedesplease was profiled in Time Out Chicago this week here.

Claes Cleeve & Sasqutach (New americana influenced music from Sweden)

Tuesday, February 24th, 2009

Claes Cleeve & Sasqutach are a new americana influenced group from Sweden. The band’s debut LP came out internationally on Feb. 4. Influences cited on the band’s MySpace page include Roy Orbison, Jeff Buckley and Ryan Adams, but I also hear a bit of The Waterboys and World Party in the bands swirling, often buoyant, large scale sound. This is not music that hides humbly in a corner waiting to be introduced at a party. No, it’s more like the life of the party.

You can find out more about this release at the label site for Backwood Music here.

Up On A Hill

Cold Blue Islands

Swedish Video Roundup (Peter Bjorn and John, Maia Hirasawa, Japan Air, Friday Bridge, SKWBN)

Friday, February 20th, 2009

Friday Bridge “There’s No Doubt You’d Get Killed”

Maia Hirasawa “South Again”

SKWBN “Europa”

Suburban Kids With Biblical Names – Europa from Bo Mikael Hall on Vimeo.

Peter Bjorn and John “Nothing to Worry About”

Japan Air “Crack Of Dawn”

Swedish group Barabra Flor covers Nena’s “99 Luftballons”

Wednesday, February 18th, 2009

Everyone’s heard of Hellsongs, yes? They’re the Swedish band that covers heavy metal songs with acoustic versions. Well now they have competition in a genre that I really thought they had all to themselves. The band Barbara Flor does acoustic covers of mostly electronic music. They have a free .zip of their new record, Ballader Om Laila Bagge, here. On it are covers of Familjen and Tough Alliance among others. So here’s a cover of Nina Hagen’s “99 Luftballons”, funny the song went from German to English and now to Swedish, can’t say that for many other songs.

99 Luftballons

{Update} I guess I fouled up the fact on this one. The somng was by Nena not Nina Hagen. Although Nena is from Hagen so I was pretty close. I guess this is still in German and not Swedish as well. sorry, still like it though at least that part is correct.

Swedish Shoes

Tuesday, February 17th, 2009

I like that you can clearly hear that Swedish Shoes have recorded this in their bedroom. It’s bedroom pop crooned with just a dash of Morrissey and a little Antony and maybe a dash of Depeche mode (minus the electronics).

More new songs at the band’s MySpace.

Sleep And Eat

The Best Music From Around the World (M.A.P.)

Sunday, February 15th, 2009

More music, more exclusives, more premieres of the best music from around the world courtesy of some of the best country specific music blogs in the world. That’s M.A.P. and this is the February edition.

AMERICA – I Guess I’m Floating
Here We Go Magic


Brooklyn’s Here We Go Magic is the bedroom folk-pop project of Luke Temple, who is releasing his self-titled debut this year. He has been praised by Sufjan Stevens and Ben Gibbard for his uniquely gorgeous vocals and meticulous lo-fi production aesthetic. Tunnelvision is the first single – one part Shakespearean sonnet and one part circus music, swirling in a beautiful mess of poetic acrobatics.

ARGENTINA – Zonaindie
Pablo Dacal Y La Orquesta De Salón

Ella Ya Está En La Playa

Pablo Dacal is a musician, singer and songwriter from Buenos Aires. His first songs circulated in tapes and between 2000 and 2002 he published a series of EPs that caught the attention of the media. The Orquesta De Salón was founded to collate this loose collection onto his first proper album, 13 Grandes Éxitos (2005). His next record was La Era Del Sonido (2008) and Ella Ya Está En La Playa is one of the finest songs from it.

AUSTRALIA – Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
The Crooked Fiddle Band

The Rom Rebellion

More furious fiddling from The Crooked Fiddle Band, who have a new EP called Rise which they are currently touring. I’ve been getting into bands like Balkan Beat Box and while these guys are different, I like the punk element in the songs. It just sounds like it would be a whole lot of fun to watch.

BRAZIL – Meio Desligado
João Brasil


Like a tropical version of Girl Talk, João Brasil’s music is a mashup of beats and artists from different styles and backgrounds. With a strong influence of Brazilian funk carioca, a style derived from Miami bass and famous because of its explicit lyrics about sex, João Brasil released his first mashup album last year, Big Forbidden Dance. Orgasmadance is one of the best samples of his work. It starts with pieces from Orgasmatron and Brazilian heavy metal band Sepultura, before suddenly meeting Justice’s D.A.N.C.E. and other songs from Justin Timberlake, Nirvana, Snoop Dogg, CSS and Michael Jackson.

CANADA – I(Heart)Music
The Rural Alberta Advantage

Four Night Rider

The Rural Alberta Advantage, who are actually from Toronto, with frontman Nils Edenloff’s birthplace being Alberta, are one of Canada’s best-kept secrets. They specialize in Neutral Milk Hotel-esque pop with a slight twang and, as Four Night Rider demonstrates, the results are simply, passionately amazing.

CHILE – Super 45


For more than 10 years, Congelador have been a cornerstone of the Chilean independent rock scene. After four record releases and two years in a hiatus, the band came back with the Abrigo EP – six songs that gracefully move around post-rock, noise, pop and electronic music.

ENGLAND – The Daily Growl
Let’s Wrestle

Let’s Wrestle

I could continue to bring you songs from London’s fertile folk-pop scene but it’s time for something a bit different. This month we have a singalong theme song from the self-professed ‘most miserable and hateful band in London’.

GERMANY – Blogpartei

Jean Claude

Bratze is a Hamburg-based duo consisting of Der Tante Renate and ClickClickDecker. They make beautifully simple electroclash and indietronic music accompanied by sophisticated lyrics, all mixed with a DIY mindset. The featured song, Jean Claude, was their breakthrough as a newcomer in 2006.

ICELAND – I Love Icelandic Music

Goodbye July/Margt Ad Ugga

Hjaltalín is a nine-piece collective, so almost an orchestra, which uses an eclectic selection of instruments, from bassoon to bass, accordion to clarinet. With these instruments and two singers they create a wall of sound for their folky indie-pop songs. This song features the beautiful voice of singer Högni Egilsson, a catchy chorus, broken up with an Icelandic hymn sung by Sigga Thorlacius.

IRELAND – Nialler9


Tenaka is Ronan Carroll, a one-man band who creates melodic and sinewy slices of electronic pop from his bedroom but which suggest an imagination far beyond the physical. Alaskan is the soundtrack to dipping your toes into a lake before dive-bombing into its sunshine-infested yet chilly waters. The song features on EPonymously Titled, a free EP available from his MySpace. No excuses, download it now.

ITALY – Polaroid
Wax Anatomical Models

Recollections Of Our Times

Wax Anatomical Models may just have formed but they already have plenty of skills. Their sound mixes post-punk, hardcore, shoegaze and electronic influences, but the results in their first demo stand on a different level. Emotional and driving, they are a band to keep an eye on.

MEXICO – Club Fonograma
Natalia Lafourcade


The expectancy for Natalia Lafourcade’s upcoming album Hu Hu Hu is building up quick, her redefined lyricism and instrumental complexity showing true signs of an potential masterwork. She’s naturally cute and affecting, and previous material indicated talent, but her sharp new musical vision has finally reached widescreen. Azul is ornamentally sublime. In Mexico, it’s rare to find such a beautiful delicacy.

NEW ZEALAND – Counting The Beat
The Enright House

Scattering The Sun Like Gunshot

The Enright House is the musical project of Mark Roberts from Christchurch. Despite being predominantly a solo affair, his 2007 album A Maze And Amazement was filled with songs that had a real sense of grandeur. Some of these have recently been re-released in acoustic form on the Six Acoustic Renditions EP and, as demonstrated in Scattering The Sun Like Gunshot, they lose none of their epic qualities in the translation.

NORWAY – Eardrums
Richard Holmsen

Great Speed

Richard Holmsen is the singer of the band Delaware but his main focus these days seems to be his solo project. His music is fragile and simple, with few elements other than his guitar and tender vocals. This is quite the opposite of Delaware’s grand, melancholic indie-rock sound. In recent years Holmsen has also made music for film and been involved in an electronica project called Sea. Great Speed is a Music Alliance Pact exclusive, written and recorded only a week ago.



After 10 years in the local scene, Catervas – formed by brothers Pedro, Raul and Javier Reyes – swapped their previous shoegaze sound for melodic rock on 2008 album Hoy Más Que Ayer. With its optimistic, convincing pop songs, Hoy Más Que Ayer is pure passion made into music. Covida is the second single from it and easily the band’s best song to date.

PORTUGAL – Posso Ouvir Um Disco?

Play Hot (extended mix)

PressPlay are Playgirl and Lisa (aka The Party Queen). Playgirl does vocals and guitars, while Lisa does vocals and electronica. Their influences are PJ Harvey, Peaches, Electrocute, Cobra Killer and Miss Kittin but they sound much better than some of their heroes – and they’re definitely cuter. The extended version of Play Hot, which is the debut single for their upcoming debut album, was mixed by Woman In Panic, who is actually a guy called Pedro Lourenço.

ROMANIA – Babylon Noise
The Amsterdams

Suffering And Surfing

The Amsterdams are a post-punk, indie power-pop band based in Bucharest. Inspired by the famous Dutch city, their name symbolises the freedom of spirit in every sense. Suffering And Surfing is featured on their forthcoming album, a blend of reckless vocals with freewheeling, volatile riffs and rhythms.

SCOTLAND – The Pop Cop
Broken Records

Nearly Home

Edinburgh seven-piece Broken Records have just signed to renowned label 4AD, the just reward for over two years of personal sacrifice and preaching to the soon-to-be converted with their relentless touring schedule. Devoted followers like myself have already amassed as many as 18 of Broken Records’ epic, swooning, orchestral songs in one form or another – enough to predict that their debut album, scheduled for release this summer, will probably be 2009’s best.

SINGAPORE – I’m Waking Up To…

Fear Strikes Mankind

Nuance is a four-piece rock band, with a recently self-released eponymous EP. At the heart of the record is the two-part epic Fear Strikes Mankind, an ambitious and intense journey that invokes the rock sensibilities of 90s Radiohead and contemporary post-rock experimentation. In the first part of the song (provided here), the biblical narrative of Abraham’s willing sacrifice of his son, Isaac, is related through the perspectives of both father and son. It’s a troubling journey, but the band does well to face the challenges head-on, both existentially and emotionally.



Seokjune released his first EP, Dok, at the start of 2009. Equipped with an acoustic guitar and a voice that conjures Elliott Smith, he performs one delicate tune after another while singing in Korean or English.

SPAIN – El Blog De La Nadadora
Nouvelle Cuisine

La Comunicación No Verbal

Nouvelle Cuisine are a band with a French name but Spanish nationality. They come from Galicia and have self-produced their new album, De Memoria, which is reminiscent of indie bands in the 90s. They develop their essence in personal lyrics and the soft melodies of their songs.

SWEDEN – Swedesplease
Love Lindblom

Till Min Syster

I’m a real sucker for catchy music like this which builds and builds into a frenetic climax. I love when the horns kick in. I love the DIY nature of the video – you just know he asked all his friends to help out. In short, I think I Love Lindblom.

To download all 22 songs in one file click here:


Disco Friday!

Friday, February 13th, 2009

Well, not really, but instead here are three Swedish electronic acts with new songs that each explore a different side of techno.

Transdisco (techno/disco/house)

Etzolin (atmospheric electronica)

You Killed My Robot Friend
Nyhlin (geek/blip/8bit)

More new music from MFMB

Wednesday, February 11th, 2009

I wrote about the electro funk of Stockholm’s MFMB in November here. At the time I was writing about their new ep The Fine Detail. Well, now they have ep # 2 out. Heat Like This builds on the sounds of the first ep. They tend to throw everything but the kitchen sink into the mix so listen for keys, bongos, electronic beats, guitar (sounds like The Cure), background vocals, and odd samples.

The band plans to release this ep on vinyl and mp3 this spring in conjunction with a tour. Here’s the title track.

Heat Like This

Minimalist instrumental music from Musette (Tona Serenade, Feb 24)

Monday, February 9th, 2009

I like that I don’t have any ads on Swedesplease or Songs:Illinois. It frees me up to post whatever I want. I never have to fear about losing readers or not attracting enough. In fact for the past several years I’ve run this site more on the belief that driving people away with the most obscure Swedish music may be the best service I can provide.

I say this not because the music of Musette is offensive (it’s not) but because unlike a lot “blog rock” it doesn’t try to reel you in in the first 5 seconds with a catchy beat or hook. Musette and his brethren are making thoughtful, minimalist, experimental music. The debut release by Musette is Datum and comes out Feb. 24 on the new label Tona Serenad. The songs on Datum all arise out of specific events and experiences from days gone by. Below is “May 24″.

24 Maj

Swedish Video Roundup (Jonna Lee, Ironville, Grand, Jose Gonzalez, Celestial, and Unarmed Enemies

Friday, February 6th, 2009

“My High” Jonna Lee

New video for the older Ironville song “Roses”

Celestial “Lonely Blvd”

Grand “No sleep”

Jose Gonzalez “Cycling Trivialities”

Cycling Trivialities from Jose Gonzalez on Vimeo.

Tunes United remixed by Unarmed Enemies

Leffe P’s irresistible indie pop

Wednesday, February 4th, 2009


I haven’t written about a single Swedish act with any sizeable U.S. following for weeks if not months. You can do a search of Swedesplease and find no mention of Loney Dear, SKWBN, Lykke Li or anything on Labrador for that matter. I think that’s pretty astounding (and it’s taking a toll on my readership). But I got into this to write about lesser known Swedish acts and will continue on that path `til I quit.

Leffe P is one such band creating music that is catchy and fun loving. The band’s bio goes something like this (via Google Translate):

For some peace of the soul a washing machine
For some infidelity is a dishwasher with the cord in
For some people are happy not happy at all special
For some people happiness is a glass cone with chocolate
For some, everything is nothing and nothing is everything
It spins around in the world, is starting to feel cold.

My childhood waiting, no one knows what it is waiting for.

As you can probably tell by now I like my Swedish indie rock to have a horns, accordion, Glockenspiel, piano, odd percussion and singable harmonies. You’ll find all these in the songs of Jeffe P. Especially the song below and the video for “Alla vill ha öl men ingen vill dö”. “Njutanger” is from the band’s new EP Pensionatsbacken. Enjoy. And don’t evah say I was a sellout.


“Alla vill ha öl men ingen vill dö”

“Alla vill ha öl men ingen vill dö” by Leffe P from Nisse Axman on Vimeo.

New Mats Udd directed video for the song “Fuglesang” by Existensminimum…

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

…complete with donkey-headed, bikini-clad zombies.


New song/video from Symfoniorkestern (Sweden’s only experimental indie symphonic orchestra)

Tuesday, February 3rd, 2009

I’m going to follow up on my previous post about the group Symfoniorkestern (the only one ever for the band) with yet another post about this Symphonic Orchestra. How’s that for obscure Swedish orchestral indie pop?

Here’s the band’s eclectic list of influences courtesy of their Myspace page:

beethoven & debussy & chopin & bach & pachelbel & the brilliant green & kaji hideki & shiina ringo & pizzicato five & cornelius & kent & sergio mendes & broder daniel & lars winnerbäck & takeshi kobayashi & vapnet & sibiria & hospitalet & fiona apple & judy and mary & frank sinatra & the beatles & david bowie & tv-resistori & malice mizer & schytts & joe hisaishi & nobou uematsu.

And here’s the new song followed by the video. Enjoy.


And the cool handmade animated video for “Reprise”

Symfoniorkestern – Reprise

Swedish Garage Rock from Stockholm’s Den Stora Sömnen

Monday, February 2nd, 2009

Of late I’ve only had time to respond to my emails and not search out great new Swedish music. Fortunately I’ve been getting a lot of pretty great stuff sent my way. Take Den Stora Sömnen for instance. They don’t have the thickest or buzziest garage rock sound but they are more than competent and they are at least a little brash.

The band’s debut album is out on March 4. Here’s the first single from it.

Allt vi gör går åt helvete