On “Monday Morning” we get a nice mix of angular guitars, anthem-like vocals, and that wonderful swede-accented English.
Hello Saferide “Arjeplog”
Go Cart System “Always Been The Same”
Niels Nelson “Same Old Sheit”
Capetown “Mr Telephone”
The Late Call “Cards On The Table”
Marit Bergman “Bang Bang”
I had prepared a “Swedish Video Roundup” post for today and all was proceeding well until I received an email from the pop group My Sunrise. I think the song is called “My fix” and it clearly sticks to the band’s 3 minute perfect pop formula.
The band’s bio includes only this quote:
My Sunrise is about your first kiss, your first letdown, your first truly beautiful moment. Three minutes and forever.
Stereo Arcade have the look and the sound to succeed. This 5 piece from Sweden creates catchy pop with moments of alt-rocky guitar goodness.
I wrote about The Tiny last week and how unique they are. While that sentiment remains true there is a new record coming out any day by a band called Thus:Owls that combines experimental rock with indie cabaret in much the same way The Tiny do.
The band’s debut record is Cardiac Malformations and is coming out on the Gothenburg based label Hoob Records. “Climbing The Fjelds of Norway” will be a nice surprise for fans of Kate Bush, Regina Spector and/or Tori Amos.
Hey. I just wrote up The Late Call last week here. At the time there was talk of a video. Well, it’s here. And it’s gorgeous (the video and the song). The song “Cards on the Table” picks up where “Linnea” left off. Again we’re dealing with heartbreak and a long distance relationship. The song is based around a simple slowly plucked acoustic guitar, but is supplemented with strings and xylophone. Mats Udd is the young Stockholm based director. Stick around for the whole song and be rewarded with a wonderful closing image.
I hope there are some marching bands at SXSW. Here in Chicago we have a couple of great bands including Mucca Pazza and Black Bear Ensemble. These guys have the name but not the corresponding sound. Instead Marching Band make a type of lush quiet pop. Makes for a nice listen but not sure if it translates live.
You can see for yourself when they play St. David’s Church on Saturday. More info here.
P.S. For some reason I don’t seem to mention Swedish music enough. It’s not that I don’t write a ton about Swedish music, it’s just that I don’t actually write the words “Swedish music” enough. I did a Google search and Swedeplease doesn’t turn up on any of the first three pages of results. So to improve my Google ranking for the phrase “Swedish music” I intend to write about even more Swedish music in the months to come. There, that should do it!
P.P.S. I won’t be updating this site til Monday but you can follow me on Twitter here during SXSW.
The original intention of SXSW was for unsigned bands to find a label, a major if all went well. With the number of crappy bands playing SXSW for the past few years that original intent has shifted over time. For many of the bands making the trip to Austin this year being signed is a pipe dream.
With that said it seems to me (a very amateurish music fan who has never dabbled in A&R) that Steso Songs has a chance of breaking big. Steso Songs is Karolina Stenström from Malmö. She only has an ep under her belt but is young, attractive (don’t downplay the importance of that), and talented. If the right people see her perform her music live I do believe she has a shot at something more.
Check her out here.
I’m not sure if the kids dance at SXSW. But if they do, the Karma Lounge on Saturday will be a good place to find them. Dmitry Fyodorov should hit the stage with his computers and mixers around 1 am. Check out his jarring electronic house mash ups live if you can.
Also Dmitry is spinning all afternoon at the Sweden Goes SXSW party, here’s the lineup:
12:00-12:15 Adam Heldring
12:20-12:45 Sofia Talvik
1:00-1:20 Wildbirds and Peacedrums
1:35-2:00 Teresa Andersson
2:15-2:35 The New Wine
2:40-3:00 The Tiny
3:15-3:45 Dag for Dag
5:30-6:00 Loney, Dear
w/ DJ Dmitry Fyodorov
I’m really supposed to be previewing the Swedes at SXSW. But when I heard about this debut record from The Late Call being put out by the very fine German label Tapete everything else was put on the back burner.
The Late Call is really just one guy (+friends) from Stockholm named Johannes Maye. His debut record is called Leaving Notes and chronicles the long distance relationship he had with his girlfriend. The record and this song has an organic feel on account of the mostly acoustic instrumentation. He’s joined by Andreas Söderström (ASS, RUBIES, TAKEN BY TREES), Elias Åkesson (Stockholm’s ELIAS & THE WIZZKIDS), BJÖRN KLEINHENZ and Henrik Roger (GHOST OF TOM JOAD).
“Linnea” is an example of the gorgeous pop you can expect from The Late Call. Lots more info on this project here.
A band I’ve been writing about faithfully since 2006 (here, here) has been newly signed and minted by Labrador Records. I don’t think I should ignore them now that they’ve made it. So here’s their first single and the title track off Little big Adventure’s upcoming Labrador release.
The Music Alliance Pact just keeps getting bigger and better. Here are a slew of songs, hand picked by music bloggers across the world, for your enjoyment.
AMERICA: I Guess I’m Floating
4 Viernes – Glacial Change Of Pace
Viernes are an electronic rock duo from Florida who’ve managed to capture a thrilling loud/quiet/loud aesthetic akin to Grizzly Bear. Glacial Change Of Pace – a MAP exclusive – brings together hard-hitting psychedelia with gorgeously subdued lulls, and vice-versa, in a seamless display of sonic movements and emotions. Look out for their debut album Sinister Devices in the near future.
4 Lola Arias & Ulises Conti – Te Voy A Vencer Por Knock-out
Lola Arias is a writer, stage director, actress and singer. Ulises Conti is a composer, producer and multi-instrumentalist musician. They started working together in 2003, making music for several theater plays. This wonderful pop-rock love song is from their debut album, El Amor Es Un Francotirador, which comprises the original music from a play with the same name that was directed by Lola and Alejo Moguillansky. The translated title of the song here is “I’m going to beat you by knockout”.
AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
4 Leader Cheetah – Bloodlines
Festival State four-piece Leader Cheetah are the less manic, more soulfully melodic reincarnation of now-defunct Pharaohs. Their music is layered folk-rock twang meets brooding pop – think Neil Young’s moody younger brother in stormy weather. Bloodlines reminds me of Interpol circa the jangling guitar, tonal shift glory days of Turn On The Bright Lights. The vocals of singer Dan Crannitch are mind-addlingly beautiful and dark, especially when met with the surge of harmonies in the chorus. Leader Cheetah’s debut album The Sunspot Letters is out now on Spunk Records.
4 Black Drawing Chalks – Big Deal
Any fan of Turbonegro, Queens Of The Stone Age and others bands who make dirty and fast rock’n’roll will love Black Drawing Chalks. Describing their sound as “music to drink and fuck to”, they come from Goiânia Rock City and have one of the most incredible shows I’ve seen on the Brazilian underground.
4 Amos The Transparent – Lemons, aka (BigFishLittlePond)
Ottawa may be Canada’s capital but it hasn’t produced much in the way of great Canadian music. Amos The Transparent are the exception to this rule. Their debut, Everything I’ve Forgotten To Forget, featured contributions from members of Stars and Broken Social Scene, and sounded like those two other bands. Lemons, aka (BigFishLittlePond) is taken from their about-to-be-released follow-up EP and finds the band inhabiting similarly stunning territory.
CHILE: Super 45
4 Vapourboat – Full Trains Of Dead People
Vapourboat is the Scottish project of Chilean-born Nico Carcavilla. His songs are composed entirely in his bedroom, inspired by the genius of Otis Redding. Perhaps it is this influence which makes Carcavilla sing like a man who has lived it all, when he is actually just starting. Being only 14, his songs incorporate instruments such as ukuleles, accordions, guitars and keyboards, and the Neutral Milk Hotel-esque arrangements end up developing into sad, long walks that owe their intensity to Beirut.
DENMARK: All Scandinavian
4 Kellermensch – All Time Low
Their name is inspired by Fjodor Dostojevski’s novel Notes From Underground, they’re heavily influenced by the German expressionist movement Die Brücke and the Esbjerg-based Danes are musically related to both Tom Waits and metal acts like Tool. Their eponymous debut album is stunningly original and a massive contribution to the already vibrant Danish rock and metal scenes.
ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
4 Blacklands – Come Sad Light Of Dawn
This month we return to folkiness, mainly because if I don’t cover Blacklands soon, main man Al Murphy will have moved to New York and his music will no longer be ‘England’ for MAP. It’s lovely sepia-tinged fireside acoustic pickings. Come Sad Light Of Dawn is a gorgeous song, conceived in Berlin, executed in a cottage on a desolate Yorkshire moor. You may be able to tell.
4 Sliimy – Trust Me
Sliimy may be best known for his cover of Britney Spears’ Womanizer but the 20-year-old is a talented artist in his own right, with his high-pitched vocals and pop sensibility reminiscent of Mika.
4 Five! Fast!! Hits!!! – Keep My Name Out Your Mouth
Five! Fast!! Hits!!! have been an institution in Munich for years. No month without at least one gig, until now. Singer Raffi is moving to London while Amadeus, the true head of the band, will pay attention to his other projects such as Elektrik Kezy. Their melodic, hectic, eclectic and energetic shows will be missed.
ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
4 Ólafur Arnalds – Himininn Er Að Hrynja, En Stjörnurnar Fara þér Vel
Ólafur Arnalds is a talented 21-year-old musician, part of the new generation of classical composers. He hails from the suburban town of Mosfellsbær, just outside Reykjavík. He has toured extensively around Europe and North America with a live string quartet and last summer he supported Sigur Rós on some European shows. The song here – translated as “The sky is falling but the stars look good with your dress” – is on his Variations Of Static EP which shows off his crackling electronics and sounds.
4 David Kitt – Move It On
The opening track from Kittser’s sixth album The Nightsaver displays the same solid thread of songwriting and homemade invention he has always been able to produce regardless of the style inherent within thanks to his distinctive voice and ear for a tune. The album, which was recorded at the top of a winding staircase somewhere along Dublin’s Grand Canal, may turn out to be his best yet.
4 Death In Donut Plains – Over And Above
Death In Donut Plains is the solo project of Enrico Boccioletti from Pesaro. He plays evocative electronic music with a wide range of inspirations such as Aphex Twin, Fuck Buttons, M83 and The Radio Dept. He has created some lovely covers of Liars, dEUS and Good Shoes but his latest EP has a lighter and more pop touch, in a sort of Postal Service mood.
MEXICO: Club Fonograma
4 Juan Son – Mermaid Sashimi
Mermaid Sashimi is the first solo album by Mexico’s most prolific contemporary vocalist, Juan Son. After the breakup of his highly celebrated band Porter, he expands his already singular vision with much confidence and complete freedom, delivering what’s arguably Mexico’s best production in a while. He has the sensibility of a story-teller and the thirst of a scientist.
NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
4 The Verlaines – Yangtze Cod And Chips
The Verlaines were one of the bands to define the Dunedin Sound, releasing a number of classic recordings on the iconic Flying Nun Records label between 1981 and 1996. They returned in 2007 with a well-regarded album Pot Boiler and are about to release a new politically-inspired record called Corporate Moronic. Songwriter Graeme Downes has fire in his belly as you can hear on this song about the unlikely subject of a free trade agreement between NZ and China.
4 The Electones – Right Foot From Left
The Electones make beautiful experimental pop almost without creative boundaries and its foundation rests heavily on 60s-inspired folk and jazz. They are musical cousins to artists such as Múm, Psapp Sigur Rós and The Accidental. The Electones’ debut album If You’ll Be Null, I’ll Be Void will be released on Beatservice Records on March 23 and the band will also be a part of Birdsongs, Beesongs – the upcoming, free Eardrums compilation.
4 Resplandor – Solar
Resplandor are probably better known abroad than in Peru. Formed a decade ago by Antonio Zelada and Luis Rodriguez, the band’s shoegaze dream pop sound has seen them play with The House Of Love and The Radio Dept. Their most recent album Pleamar was produced by Robin Guthrie and opener Solar is the best song on it.
PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
4 Corsage – Dried Up, River Blues
Corsage are an indie band from Lisbon who brought out their first EP in 2004. The following year they recorded a cover of a Scott Walker song, Angel Of Ashes, for a tribute release to the British musician by Portuguese bands. In 2007, they were featured in the compilation Novo Rock Português (“New Portuguese Rock”) and one of their songs was selected for the soundtrack of a Portuguese soap. Last month they released their new album Finito L’Amore, where you can find this month’s track, Dried Up, River Blues.
ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
4 Grimus – Backseat Driver
Grimus are an indie/alternative band from Cluj. They formed about four years ago and their debut record Panikon was declared Romania’s best album of 2008 by several musical/cultural communities. Although influenced by the likes of Placebo, Muse and Interpol, they manage to create a unique style and sound. On top of that, these guys are great live on stage – you not only get a performance, you’re in for a show.
SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
4 We Were Promised Jetpacks – Ships With Holes Will Sink
We Were Promised Jetpacks ought to be one of the biggest stars of this year’s SXSW. They mix sweeping, sonic brilliance with a melodic accessibility that has made them Glasgow’s most talked-about band since Frightened Rabbit. Indeed, they have followed in the footsteps of their city chums by signing to FatCat, who will release their debut album These Four Walls in June. Until then, here’s a teaser from it to whet the appetite.
SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
4 A Vacant Affair – Connecting The Dots
A clean, clinical and almost methodical country like Singapore can only boast the undercurrent of a disenfranchised youth who find different ways of breaking the status quo. A Vacant Affair almost does that, not by being cynically political about the culture here, but by embracing the emotions that come along with it. A post-hardcore band that shares influences with the likes of Underoath and Deftones, they bring it all out in the fantastic debut album closer, Connecting The Dots. AVA steer the listener into a swimming plethora of swirling vocals and guitars as they finally explode into an extended outro that acts as a buffer between you and this crazy, mixed-up world.
SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
4 Pavlov – The Lioness
If you’re looking for some rock’n’roll you should definitely listen to Pavlov. If you’re not, you probably should anyway. Not a big fan of the genre myself, I gave Pavlov a chance after being told to think of them as AC/DC and The Hives with a frontman who looks like Jarvis Cocker with Tourette’s – and it was not something to regret. Everything they’ve recorded has something special to keep you listening and when the last song has finished it’s hard not to play everything all over again.
SPAIN: El Blog De La Nadadora
4 Bedroom – Japanese Girl
Even in Spain there are still lots of people who don’t know the powerful secret that Bedroom hides. Folk, torch-songs and traditional music join together around the presence of Bert, the engine behind Bedroom. His debut album LaCasaDinsLaCasa surprised us last year – now it’s your turn to listen to Japanese Girl and discover why.
4 Two White Horses – Good Times Are Gone Forever
Good Times Are Gone Forever by the brother/sister duo Two White Horses 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.
To download all 24 songs in one file click here.
The Tiny are one of Sweden’s most intriguing bands. They create some of the most dynamic and mysterious music coming out of Sweden. I think they match up well with/against Regina Spector, Kate Bush, and a more sane (and accessible) Joanna Newsom. I’ve written about the band every chance I get. And now word is that there is a new record coming out in the fall of 2009 produced by Paul Webb (Beth Gibbons, James Yorkston).
“Burn” will undoubtably find it’s way on there. It’s an epic track that somehow manages to awe without incendiary over the top instrumentation or grandiose vocal theatrics. But still it is powerful stuff.
The Tiny play SXSW on Friday, March 20 at The Wave.
Kaka is just the type of Swedish band that the hordes will expect at SXSW. He’s got that euro pop sound down cold. He’s also got that cool detached Swedish vibe going on.
“It’s A Longshot” is from Kaka’s debut record which came out in Feb. of 2008. It’s a catchy bit of electro fluff. See Kaka live at the Elysium on Wednesday the 18th.
Adam Heldring is one of the handful of Swedes playing the annual Austin music conference known as SXSW. Unlike all the other Swedish bands Adam didn’t have that far to travel since for the last year or so he has been playing and recording in NYC. “OK Goodbye” has a couple nice moments but it’s way too polished for me and there are just too many song ideas and musical styles present in this one song. I suspect live will be a different story and this song and others by Adam Heldring may come alive.
Catch Adam at Wave Rooftop on Saturday March 21.
Through various singles, ep’s and one off internet downloads the Swedish band Pinto has really cornered the market on lofi power pop. I’ve consistently written about the bands music in part becasue they remind me so much of the music I grew up loving from the U.S. (the Smithereens, The Bears, Sloan, The Posies).
Now the band (really just one guy) is prepared to release their 2nd lp called Short Songs About Longing Are Better Than Long Songs About Shortcomings. “Restless Heart” is the first sample from it and the song is simple, catchy and cute (based on the Christmas classic “The Little Drummer Boy”).
Just in time for summer here’s the new Swedesplease t-shirt design. It’s the header image modified with the phrase “Vill Vu Dansa Med Mig?” The design is by the acclaimed artist/designer/illustrater Mike Lowry. I’ll put an order in soon and should have an order page up soon.
The old t-shirt design is nearly done with only a few left in stock. Thanks to Erik Kraft for designing that one.
P.S. On a slightly unrelated note Hype Machine (the blog aggregator that many music blogs get traffic from) has changed some of it’s settings. For this blog to be listed there it needs to be in the top 100. That’s measured by a combination of Technorati links, Delicious bookmarks and “watchers” on Hype Machine. If you can help me out by linking to or bookmarking my blog from any of these services that’d be much appreciated.
The Deer Tracks – “127sexfyra”
Tobias Froberg “You Are Someone I Can Believe In”
The Long Gone Smiles Band – “Crazy Arms”
Plast – “George”
I’m generally against animal cruelty. But I can’t overlook this opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. Sarah MacDougall is an ex pat Swede living in Vancouver. Her brand of polished folk pop is perfect for Songs:Illinois, while her Nordic routes make her an ideal artist for Swedesplease. So this post will appear on both today. Sarah’s new record, Across The Atlantic, came out this year on the excellent little label Copperspine.
“Crow’s Lament” is a great example of the eclectic nature of this new record. The song’s a whirling dervish of a tune about death. It features Sarah’s lusty vocals, some of the unusual instrumentation from the record (dobro, weissenborn, lapsteel, odd percussion, rhodes, and pedal steel) and clever lyrics.
Two mainstays of the Swedish indie pop community have new songs available today. The first is the new single from Montt Mardie. He continues to explore perfect pop complete with background singers and his trademark vocals. Here’s “Names Not Forgotten” off of the upcoming Hybris CD
The second group with a new song is a former Swedesplease favorite that hit a rough patch a year or so ago. It sounds like they’ve gone back to the sound that got them the attention in the first place. “Spring” is classic My Darling You! More info about the two new EP’s here.