Archive for September, 2009

RIP Bedroom Records

Wednesday, September 30th, 2009

For awhile back in 2004-2006 it seemed Bedroom Records could do no wrong. They had indie cred with many of their releases, as well as a near hit with Friday Bridge’s single “It Girl”. But no sooner had the outside world started to pay attention than the label closed up shop. In the aftermath there were rumblings of mismanagement and missing royalties.

In a short time though the label burned bright as a beacon of Swedish indie (lofi) rock success. Here are a few of the bands/songs from that time.

It Girl (Nicolas Makelberge remix)

Sunscreen Pt 1 – All Of My Brothers Girlfriends
Sunscreen Pt 2 – All Of My Brothers Girlfriends
#2 In the Fall Suite All Of My Brothers Girlfriends

It’s Funny Because It’s True Eric Hallden
Pelikan, December 4th -Eric Hallden

Love and Hate – Rough Bunnies
Dance With Your Shadow – Rough Bunnies

When We Were Kids – The Flame (Rough Bunnies & All Of My Brothers Girlfriends)

A Little Love – thehelpmeplease
Hesitate In Love – thehelpmeplease

Out My Bedroom – Mind Control Hands

Bonus:

Dying In Africa – Sally Shapiro covers Nicolas Makelberge (via Audio Porn)

RIP Yellow Mica

Tuesday, September 29th, 2009

I’m continuing my RIP series. These are Swedish labels that clearly didn’t have a huge impact commercially but I’d argue that they were influential. Yellow Mica is the label that spun off from the band Javelins (formerly The Faintest Ideas). As you can tell by a quick perusal of the songs below the label had an affinity for lofi indie rock and pop and the occasional punk.

Like Vapen & Godis from yesterday I like this label because they had a certain sensibility and they generally clung to that despite the outcomes (ie commercial failure). The label’s site was last updated in 2008 with a message saying they are no longer in business but you may still be able to get some of the CD’s by emailing: yellowmicarecordings@hotmail.com

Jodi’s Noise – We Are Soldiers We Have Guns

Your Lover From Berlin – the Bedroom Singer

Bizarro World – Let’s Be Honeys

My Funeral – August Schwartz

When I Was Seven – Javelins
Dexter’s Got a Sinister Heart – Javelins

People Like You – the Second Hand Furniture Band

I Hate the Rich – Brotherhood of Broken Hearts

RIP Vapen & Godis

Monday, September 28th, 2009

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It’s been four years since the Gothenburg based label Vapen & Godis quietly disappeared without any fanfare. The label’s website simply stopped posting new music. There was no message or note explaining why the demise of this once prominent indie pop/electro Swedish label. At the time I, and I expect others, were hoping it would just be a break, a short hiatus, and not goodbye forever. As a result the label never had a proper sendoff on Swedesplease or anywhere else for that matter. It may be too late for that now, but since the songs by and large stood the test of time I bring you Vapen & Godis revisited.

Self Titled NovelOtur
Apart (Mr. Suitcase remix) – Otur

These Things HappenDon Agbai
Last Night When I Was Jimmy WhiteDon Agbai

KhreisMy Enemy
Add Some SpidersMy Enemy

Kiss Kiss KissTokyo Eye

Easily – cyndee lee hulko

Bonus songs (not necessarily on Vapen & Godis)

Overture – Otur
I Am A Machine (remix) – Don Agbai
My Time Coming – My Enemy
Tori Spelling Wears Me Out – Tokyo Eye
Catch One Word – My Enemy

New song/album from Friska Viljor

Thursday, September 24th, 2009

Sometimes it seems that either the bands are making their music specifically so I will enjoy it. Ever get that feeling? The new song from Friska Viljor is so quaintly autobiographical and so heartfelt that it’s embarrassingly effective.

According to Daniel Johansson from the band “it´s a tribute to the people living at the street Wohlwill Strasse, situated next to Reeperbahn in Hamburg. Me and Joakim (the other half of the band) spent a week there a couple of years ago and fell in love with it, which ended up as a song.” The joy in the lyrics is matched by the glorious horn section and soaring vocals. I think you are going to like this. The new record is call For New Beginnings and is for sale here.

Wohlwill

Teaspoon (riyl The Beatles)

Wednesday, September 23rd, 2009

Is anybody else on a massive Beatles kick now that the remasters are out? I’ve been playing Rubber Soul and Revolver virtually nonstop here at chez Swedesplease. So it was nice to stumble upon the 60′s psychedelia of the Gothenburg based group Teaspoon (even the name conjures up late 60′s Haight-Ashbury).

The song below is from an EP the band released in June of this year. They are also part of a pretty amazing lineup of Swedish bands playing Stars N Bars in Gothenburg on Oct. 2 and 3. Here’s their song “A July Afternoon”.

A July Afternoon

Random Swedish InBox Stuff

Tuesday, September 22nd, 2009

Lots of random stuff in the inbox lately. Not sure if I’d highly recommend any of this but I ‘ll pass it along.

talar_i_tungorindustri royal

An EP from Folding a Firehosehere.

Creepy experimental music from Goblin Ensemble.

Mollgäng

The cream of the crop may be the netlabel release by
Emilie Lund. The EP is available here free.

Childhood Friend

Something new from Sweet Serenades:

On My Way

And this will be what all the kids will be talking about:

Blue PlanetLake Heartbeat

Faster Glenn (riyl The Wedding Present)

Thursday, September 17th, 2009

Faster Glenn is another Swedish band with an upcoming release on Susy Records. The band combines guitars with a vibrant horn section. From the photos of the band performing live it seems they have a pretty good – hot and sweaty – live show.

The band’s singer reminds me most of The Wedding Present. In my book that is a very, very, good thing. Here’s a couple songs from the band’s website.

Somewhat Naive
Broken Wrists

Catchy shoegaze from the Swedish duo Leaving Mornington Crescent

Wednesday, September 16th, 2009

Elisabeth & Stefan form the duo Leaving Mornington Crescent from Malmö, Sweden. I’m pretty sure that’s them kissing in the photo above. They have a 3″ split cd available on Cloudberry. Their new record is on the Peruvian indie pop label Susy Records. It’s once again a 3″ cdr but this time there are 6 new songs. Buy it now from Susy – it’s a limited edition consisting of 100 numbered copies.

From the sound of “Seventeen” the band ventured into new territory. Unlike the sunny 60′s inspired indie pop of “April Song” from the Cloudberry split cd, “Seventeen” is a rather heavy, shoegaze number with buzzing and churning guitars and a solid backbeat. Still the vocals retain the cheeriness of “April Song” with a chorus of “I’m seventeen on the inside, the only difference is…”.

Seventeen

Bonus track from the Cloudberry 3″ cd:

April Song

33 of the Best Songs from around the World (via M.A.P.)

Tuesday, September 15th, 2009

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
MatildaVanidad
Matilda is an electro-pop duo based in Rosario (one of Argentina’s largest cities), consisting of Juan Manuel Godoy and Ignacio Espumado. Vanidad is the opening track from Para Ser Movimiento, their second album, which was recently praised by Mexican pop star Julieta Venegas on her Twitter page. It was released by the Planeta X label in a physical format and as a free Creative Commons licensed download (http://bit.ly/kNiJK).

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
Deep Sea ArcadeDon’t Be Sorry
One of the more exciting new bands to come out of Sydney in the past couple of years, Deep Sea Arcade is blessed with a very captivating frontman in Nic McKenzie, who genuinely loses himself in every song they play. Don’t Be Sorry is the single they’re currently touring but the live shows indicate there’s a lot more to come from this Sydney five piece. One to put on your watchlist.

BRAZIL: Meio Desligado
Cidadão InstigadoDoido
Acclaimed by critics, Cidadão Instigado’s third album UHUUU! is probably one of the three best Brazilian records of 2009. Their sound is a mixture of vintage ‘brega’, 70s rock and avant garde. The band is one of the most creative of the contemporary music made in the country and (besides its experimental and complex songs) has a growing fanbase. Doido, which means “crazy”, is a bit reminiscent of John Frusciante’s solo work with lyrics about paranoid hallucinations.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
Dan ManganRobots
Robots isn’t a complex song, but it more than makes up for that by being insanely, incredibly catchy. I’d challenge people to hear it and not walk around with the closing chorus (“Robots need love too / They want to be loved by you”) in their head for days afterward… except I’m pretty sure it can’t be done.

CHILE: Super 45
Picnic KibunDrop Your Panties
If we could define Picnic Kibun in just one word, it would be “party”. A party in which a crazy Japanese sings about women getting rid of their underwear, where a couple of electronic musicians start rapping out of the blue and where a bass player with a surfer look makes rock songs. Fiebre Tagadá is the name of their first album and, just like the band, it’s a wild party in which you can dance and get drunk.

CHINA: Wooozy
Tang Qie NongI Want To Go Through Your Body
In the summer of 2008, the experimental duo Tang Qie Nong was founded by Fangqi and Tangguo in Guangzhou. The single I Want To Go Through Your Body from their self-titled EP is about the long-cherished ambition of a person who faces death. He wants to go back to the origins and purity, but you must be careful what you wish for.

COLOMBIA: Columbia Urbana
JhonblackSola Solita
Hailing from Pereira, Jhonblack is seducing women with his sexy music. His offer is based in electric sounds mixed with hip hop, R’n'B and pop music without forgetting his Pacific roots, to which he is adding a little bit of jazz and soul to create fresh and innovative sounds. Sola Solita is one of his most melodic songs and shows why he is known as one of the greatest urban music artists in Colombia.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
SlaraffenlandThat Great Love Sound (The Raveonettes cover)
This year, legendary Danish label Crunchy Frog – the first home of The Raveonettes among others – celebrate their 15th anniversary. To commemorate the landmark they asked 25 Danish non-Crunchy artists to interpret 25 songs by Crunchy artists and released the results on the double album Saluting The Crunchy Frog-a-logue. Here’s Slaraffenland’s excellent cover of The Raveonettes’ That Great Love Sound.

ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
Beth Jeans HoughtonGolden
Beth Jeans Houghton is a glam folk pixie who injects her sweet acoustic songs with a high-grade dose of pure pop. She has killer tunes, energy, a curious taste in wigs and a certain boldness that’s only natural given her Newcastle roots. She rules. She has a new EP coming out this month where “all of of the songs are about a guy who looks like Roger Daltrey circa the deaf, dumb and blind kid days. Apart from I Will Return, which is about Wilson the football floating away from Tom Hanks in Castaway”. Golden isn’t from that EP but it’s still great.

FINLAND: Glue
Keramick & LoboBrown-Eyed Susan
Producers Jussi Mikkonen and Visa Mäkinen, aka Keramick & Lobo, combine their downbeat electronic layers with a wide array of musicians for a perfect blend of machines and real instruments on their new album The Braille. Nineteen artists, including singers Eeppi Ursin and Teemu Tanner, participate on the duo’s compositions and provide a smooth jazz beat with violins, trumpet, saxophone, percussion and a few other instruments. Brown-Eyed Susan is a dark and intriguing track, a real film noir piece of music.

FRANCE: ZikNation
Caravan PalaceLa Caravane
Three sequence programmers – Charles Delaporte, Arnaud Via and Hugues Payen – with a love of electronic music and swing jazz, together with Toustou, Zoé and Chapi make one hell of a band. They will soon be heard at the famous Paris Olympia – proof that Caravan Palace are becoming rather popular.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
Me SucceedsMy Main Discipline
This Hamburg-based trio is quite Janus-esque since they combine gentle melodies and preppy non-parallel vocals with a highly energetic synth-bass. That might sounds like normal indie-electro but both pillars stand on their own to create a quite unique sound.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
Diafana KrinaAgnos
Diafana Krina is possibly the most brilliant and idiosyncratic band to emerge from Greece in the early 90s. Agnos is taken from Ki Agapi Pali Tha Kalei, an incandescent guitar-oriented album with superb, dark, poetic and heart-bruising lyrics. Long, swelling arrangements are organized cosily around Thanos Anestopoulos’ weathered baritone with blankets of keyboard and jarring bursts of exploding drums. Each song blends pure emotion and is expertly crafted, with an amazingly punchy set of melodies delivered by an extremely tight band. Unfortunately, after six records, Diafana Krina disbanded in June 2009.

ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
Reykjavík!Æji, Plís
Reykjavík! is a raw rock band in which most members originate not from Reykjavík but Ísafjörður, the capital of the Westfjords. This is one of the loudest Icelandic bands, a collective of philosophy majors, shopmongers and social workers, with an exclamation mark partly as a reference to the vast amount of hyperbole Iceland’s capital receives. Æji, Plís is taken from their second album, The Blood. The song features a surf-rock guitar riff, rhythmic bass, kick-drum percussion and Bóas’ vocals fluctuating between grunting, chanting and falsetto.

INDIA: Indiecision
SwarathmaJamba
Swarathma plays honest, unpretentious folk-rock. This hardworking act from Bangalore was recently given the chance to record with renowned British producer John Leckie (The Stone Roses, Radiohead) and play a mini-tour of the UK. Jamba (meaning “pride”) comes from a compilation album produced by Leckie featuring Swarathma and a few other top new Indian acts. Sung entirely in Kannada, the song, like the band, finds its roots in Carnatic music and combines these sensibilities with orchestral pop trappings to create something that’s more a new direction than a middle path.

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
KoilAku Lupa Aku Luka
Koil are one of the greatest rock bands in Indonesia, their songs and style influenced by the industrial/darkwave/gothic/metal scene, with lyrics that tell stories about spiritual journeys, nationalism or just personal things which are easy to relate to yet have a deeper meaning.

IRELAND: Nialler9
Nakatomi TowersCut Me Out
This is the first real tune from Belfast-based boy/girl duo Nakatomi Towers and what a cool beast of electro-pop it turns out to be. From the “duh-duh-duh” nonsensical yet catchy chorus to the insistent disco bassline, this is promising stuff for all 2 minutes 47 seconds of its duration.

ITALY: Polaroid
Giardini di MiròLa Vampa 02
Giardini di Mirò is the one of the most important bands in the Italian indie scene. Formed in 1998, notable acts they have toured with include Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Karate, and they have been remixed by Styrofoam and Dntel among others. Their new album is an amazing soundtrack for Il Fuoco, a silent movie from 1915 directed by Giovanni Pastrone. La Vampa 02 (“The Fire”) is the second part of the central chapter, when the two lovers surrender to passion and their love burns away.

JAPAN: JPOP Lover
nhhmbase9/8
The latest offering from the Tokyo underground scene is nhhmbase (pronounced “ne-han base”). Formed in 2004, they have complex music frameworks with irregular beats and dramatic code which makes their sound innovative and pop. They have already opened for many foreign acts such as Deerhoof, Tyondai Braxton (Battles) and The Eternals in Japan.

MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Menuda CoincidenciaSin Enganche
Hailing from Monterrey, Menuda Coincidencia is a ‘rap en Español’ trio that made feature appearances on records from some of the genre’s top figures – such as Bocafloja and Akil Ammar – before a long overdue but excellent debut EP, Ai Con Permisito. Lead single Sin Enganche is full of crazy and juicy, jumpy jazz hooks with playful swing samples that sustain an existentialist manifesto, ambiguous yet intelligently expressed by its two MCs.

NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Jordan ReyneThe Proximity Of Death (Blue Eyed Boy)
The Proximity Of Death is taken from Jordan Reyne’s fifth album How The Dead Live. A musician who has combined folk, electronica, soundscapes and industrial, Reyne has gained a strong following in the darkwave scene. How The Dead Live is her most contemplative work. The album was commissioned by the New Zealand Department of Conservation and was written in an artist in residence programme. The album fictionalises the life of an actual pioneer woman Susannah Hawes adding history as a character. Reyne has announced this will be her last album.

NORWAY: Eardrums
Sirkus BjøverHeavy Metal
The song is called Heavy Metal, but it’s as far away from heavy and metal as you can get. This is nice, happy and friendly pop music with a big heart. The members of the duo, Vegard Markhus and Bjørnar Sangolt, grew up as neighbours in a forest in western Norway. They held regular circus shows for their families as kids and called their performances “Sirkus Bjøver”. Now, 15 years later, the two have become neighbours in Bergen, and the old circus is revitalized as a band.

PERU: SoTB
Plug-PlugTambores
The sound of Plug-Plug falls outside any conventional tag. Some people call them garage, others hardcore – the truth is that when you hear any description it is never enough. Plug-Plug makes acid songs which sometimes sound melancholic, but this band from Lima is more than a style, they’re a mixture of sensations.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
IconoclastsAnything Will Do
Iconoclasts are a six-piece from Lisbon with Diogo and Pipa singing and screaming (not at the same time), Pedro doing freaky dances while playing bass, Ricardo hammering away on the drums like his life depends on it, Vitor playing guitar while pounding on every effects pedal imaginable, and Sérgio doing the same with every annoying thing he lays his hands on. They have a debut EP freely downloadable from here.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
Sunday PeopleWin Your Face Back
The story of this particular band is not what you might call ordinary. It all started in the bedroom of very young Abu Dhabi-born brothers Sultan and Hasan. As they grew older, the bedroom became a recording studio where their dreams, influences and ideas were born. Two actors/musicians joined them later – Cristi Rigman (drums) and Ana Ularu (vocals) – and they found their sound: a mixture of riot, love and intensity.

SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
The XcertsCrisis In The Slow Lane
The Xcerts are the real deal – a rock band who come fully formed with an album of songs to believe in and a pop sensibility that will, at the very least, have you air-drumming to their choruses. Crisis In The Slow Lane perfectly sums up what they and their debut album In The Cold Wind We Smile are all about – every dial is set to ‘epic’ as it gradually builds to a soaring conclusion. If you’re a fan of Biffy Clyro, or good music in general, you’ll love The Xcerts.

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
MUONCylons Dream Of Electric Sheep
Can cold, heartless, surgical machines ever have souls? Well, experimental dark electronica group MUON thinks they can. If the computer is dreaming inside, it dreams in ones and zeros, harsh squelches and inane beeps, each a little exegesis looking for proof of life. MUON have put together a creepy Frankenstein of deeply resonating drum loops, bleating sheep and what could pass as the theme from the Zelda videogame.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Jax PanikTalking To Myself
A crazy, outrageous mix of electro-pop and a dash of rock ‘n’ roll is what Jax Panik’s music is all about. He started out as an ‘online only’ artist but the success generated from his activity soon led to a full-length album release. The album was named Cigarettes And Cinnamon from which Talking To Myself is taken. The song artfully showcases Jax’s winning formula which consists of catchy beats, meticulous production and lyrics that reveal a slightly dark edge upon closer listen. With a new album out in March, Jax Panik is set to become an even bigger hit, both locally and abroad.

SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Plastic PeopleB/W Picture
Folk-rock duo Plastic People has been around for many years, all the while successfully trying out various musical directions. On their most recent album Snap, released in July, the selection of songs is more diverse than ever with modern folk, some rock tracks, a bit of psyche-pop and C86-inspired twee. Choosing just one song when they’re all amazing in their own way proved a difficult task, but it had to be done so here’s the captivating slow-paced rock piece B/W Picture that inspired the snap-shot theme of the album.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Vikta FåglarWalk Along
Vikta Fåglar literally means “folded bird” in English. Loosely, I think it translates into the term origami. Musically, the band combines elements of the Swedish folk tradition with some classical and even experimental noise – such as when the cymbals come crashing in towards the end of Walk Along.

TURKEY: Reset!
SolardipParalyze Me
Solardip is an electro-indie three-piece formed in Istanbul. After a couple of years successfully performing on the local scene, the band has just released their first EP, Dip Inside, and are about to make a big comeback with their new sound and concept. Solardip, often compared to The Presets, offers laser-like synths, danceable tunes and arousing vocals.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Holiday ShoresPhones Don’t Feud
Holiday Shores, Twosyllable Records’ latest discovery, continue to diversify the label’s output by creating equally messy and melodic indie rock that’s about as addictive as anything else of the same vein coming out this year. Their new album Columbus’d The Whim is available for consumption – sink your teeth in before the hipsters do.

VENEZUELA: Barquisimeto Musical
Nana CadaviecoNo Hay
Nana Cadavieco is a young Venezuelan singer full of energy and hype, which she reflects in each and every one of her performances. Exposé, her latest record, is undeniably influenced by rock, pop, indie and disco-punk and a few world music and electronic elements. Nana says of the song, No Hay: “It portrays a human reality, very close to Latin America. The message I want to send with it is the process I went through with my new CD. After all, I still smile, albeit with a little sarcasm.”

To download all 33 songs in one file click here

New EP/video from Klifton Filente

Monday, September 14th, 2009

I’ve been getting plenty of new music in lately. But have’nt had time to post any of it in the past week or so. I’ll try to remedy that with multiple posts this week.

Klifton Filente is the solo project of Gothenburg resident Jonas Lundvall. His music is a mostly acoustic blend of 60′s folk (Paul Simon) and 70′s singer-songwriters (Nick Drake). “The Center Of a Group” is the most polished and most fleshed out song on the new EP Matter Of Light And Depth. There’s a video of the song as well below. You can download the whole EP here.

The Center Of A Group

“The Center of A Group” video

Epic 80′s Alt-rock from Le Bataillon Des Fous

Friday, September 4th, 2009

I’m a child of the 80′s. I lived through that time. I saw Echo and the Bunneymen, The Smiths, The The, Siouxsie and the Banchees all at small clubs (then later at outdoor venues). These groups all had two things in common: a certain degree of theatrics and fairly epic lyrics/music.

The Swedish band Le Bataillon Des Fous shares some of these influences and some of these attributes. On their single “I’m Ready To Love You” you can hear a little Peter Murphy mixed with Morrissey. The guitars are just slashy enough and despite the song being a rocker it’s got that hint of dancibility that all the great songs from the 80′s had.

I’m Ready To Love You

The wonderful music of Vikta Fagler

Wednesday, September 2nd, 2009

Vikta Fagler literally means “folded bird” in English. Loosely I think it translates into the term origami. That’s important because these seven women use an origami like technique to compose the lyrics to their songs:

The text to the song is written in the same way as when children write stories together. We sit in a ring and write a few phrases each on a piece of paper, we fold back what we have written so there is just one or two words for the next person to see as we pass the paper along and they continue the story. The lyric is then created together by all members of the band, sometimes it becomes a bit strange and sometimes just really beautiful words shaped together to even more beautiful phrases.

Musically the band combines elements of the Swedish folk tradition with some classical and even some experimental noise (like when the cymbals come crashing in towards the end of “Walkalong”). Together they play 25 different instruments including tuba, cello and typewriter. On “Walkalong” the result is a combination of magical snippets of lyrics combined with music you’d expect to hear from a gypsy caravan.

Walkalong

“Kick” video

Rymdreglage – “8-Bit Trip” Lego video

Tuesday, September 1st, 2009

If you’re up to the minute with your internet memes you have already seen this by now. I came across it on Twitter a couple of days ago and decided not to post it due to it’s already incredible popularity. I’ve reconsidered though. Most people are focusing on the incredible stop motion animation job and the amount of time/energy/creativity it must have taken to do all that with LEGOs. I concur on all those points but I’d rather focus on the c64/8 Bit music that is the basis for the video.

Swedesplease has covered this music often and at length. While it’s not a unique Swedish phenomena there are some tremendous c64 bands coming out of Sweden. It appears we’ll have to add the duo Rymdreglage to that list.