Archive for December, 2009

**Best Of 2009 Repost Series” Val Venosta

Monday, December 21st, 2009

A wrapup of 2009 wouldn’t be complete without at leas a mention )if not 5) of Val Venosta. Here’s a song from this past year plus a nice selection of their back catalog.

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(1st pic I’ve seen of this duo)

I’m going to write about Val Venosta til they drag me kicking and screaming from my keyboard. The band creates electronic dance music that always has a solid beat and usually adds just the right amount of processed vocals, robotic sound effects, and sci-fi samples. They just sent me this new song exclusively for Swedesplease readers. Enjoy!

These Days

Bonus

I Think Billy Wilder Would Like This
Womanizer
Kaleidescope
Union

**Best of 2009 Repost Series** Two White Horses

Wednesday, December 16th, 2009

Any summation of 2009 would be inadequate without a mention of the brother/sister duo Two White Horses. Here’s an update to my original post which is below, the song “Eyes Of The Noble”:

Eyes Of The Noble (via Let Me Like It)

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“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.

Best Music In The World for December (33 Countries, 33 songs)

Tuesday, December 15th, 2009

ARGENTINA: Zonaindie
CoiffeurHumedad
Coiffeur is not the name of a band, but the alias of a young folk singer and songwriter from Morón, a city in the greater Buenos Aires area). Humedad is one of the finest songs from his third album, El Tonel De Las Danaides, which was released this year by Estamos Felices (Argentina’s coolest independent label, you should check them out).

AUSTRALIA: Who The Bloody Hell Are They?
ToecutterBest Party Ever (Jordan Lightyear & Jimmy2sox remix)
Best Party Ever pretty much sums up Toecutter, a man called David Harris from Milano, New South Wales who creates dancefloor-friendly progressive house music. Apparently, Toecutter has been sitting on this song since 1984 when he recorded the hook onto a cassette and then spent 25 years deliberating on its merits.

CANADA: I(Heart)Music
The Property LineThe Start
The Property Line have only been around a few months but they’ve been building quite a local following with their brand of psychedelia-tinged country-rock. Their EP (which is available for free download on their site) is pretty strong, and nowhere is it stronger than on The Start, in which the band infuses a little Sufjan into their sound, with absolutely stunning results.

CHILE: Super 45
Gen¿Qué Le Pasó A Mi Rap
Es is the latest album by Gen (Freddy Olguin). Putting together amazing beats, social critique rhymes and sounds from another dimension, the Chilean rapper has taken the experience of listening to hip hop to a whole new level. An army of producers has helped him develop a very distinctive personality for his record, which can be compared to the sound of Flying Lotus, Subtle or even The RZA, with the result something nothing short of future-like music. It’s refreshing, experimental and highly exciting.

CHINA: Wooozy
TodayBefore Ending
Before Ending is taken from Today’s debut album which was released last year. They are searching for hope and happiness by watching everyone’s love life as a third person. You won’t feel lonely after listening to their songs. The band’s new album, Live The Life, will be out soon.

COLOMBIA: Colombia Urbana
Miss MuffinBways ‘n’ Gyals
What happens if you put together Juan Valdez and Bob Marley? Well, the answer to this experiment can be given by Isabella Escobar aka Miss Muffin, the known name for this promising talent of Colombian reggae. Originating from Antioquia, with Caribbean blood, Miss Muffin has released Hear This, an album that explores in a curious manner the various possibilities of reggae.

DENMARK: All Scandinavian
Eumig & ChinonThis Fang
The last Danish track of 2009 is also a MAP exclusive. Eumig & Chinon aka Christian Kastbjerg has kindly provided this kickass piece of funky housetronica titled This Fang, which will be on his debut EP coming out sometime next year. You’ve got to groove.

ENGLAND: The Daily Growl
Banjo Or FreakoutUpside Down
I’m bending the rules a little this month because Alessio Natalizia, who trades under the name Banjo Or Freakout, is Italian – but he’s based in London so we can claim him as our own. Just as well because his awesome soundtracks, all wrapped up in a dreamy melodious electronic haze, are worth breaking down national boundaries for.

ESTONIA: Popop
Malcolm LincolnMe Iz Loaded With Zoul
Malcolm Lincoln has been active only for about a month so there’s not much of a biography yet. The band is the brainchild of Robin Juhkental, who is joined by Madis Kubu aka Fretless Rämbu for live shows. Five more songs are downloadable here.

FINLAND: Glue
Rex WillerMy Girl
Rex Willer is a five-piece indie band who recorded the excellent Inner Moray Scenes EP at their home studio earlier this year. Influenced by My Morning Jacket, Steely Dan and Death Cab For Cutie, they are driven by groovy bass lines and old-school keyboard sounds, without forgetting good guitar licks. Let yourself be caught by the irresistible melody of My Girl while Rex Willer finishes some new material due out early next year.

FRANCE: ZikNation
Michael WookeySongs About Snow
At the age of 15, Michael Wookey was given a portable pump organ which belonged to his grandfather, who was an organist during World War II. This instrument inspired Michael to write some songs and start collecting obscure instruments. Now 26, he has released three albums and by using a portable studio, he has recorded in various sheds, basements and meat lockers. He now lives in the red light district of Paris. The French describe his music as folk baroque.

GERMANY: Blogpartei
DobréThe Melody Is A Stranger
Sometimes you realise within minutes what creative potential a musician has, and Dobré comes into that category. Usually found playing eclectic indie-folk with his mates Sepp Kennedy, he just released a ‘best of’ solo record called Tools ‘n’ Toys which you can download here. The Melody Is A Stranger is a downtempo piece of indie which strongly reminds me of early Peter Gabriel.

GREECE: Mouxlaloulouda
2-L8Excuse Me, But I Just Have To Explode (Part II)
2-L8′s second release – He & She, Angry Enough To Keep Loving In The Dark Ages (download it for free here) – is a masterpiece of avant-garde music that truly haunts the mind. It’s a passionate experience, leading the listener into excruciating catharsis – you look into the eyes of two lovers and see nothing but painful regret. It’s exhilarating and rare to hear such florid arrangements based on sharp stringed instruments and theremin, trembling, frantically passionate vocals, desperate and bleak lyrics coupled with a sense of hope and all of them laced with uncompromising experimentation, true emotional resonance and weight. A total seductive triumph.

ICELAND: I Love Icelandic Music
MorðingjarnirManvisa
Punk-rock trio Morðingjarnir (“The Murderers”) play fast and sharp three-to-four chord songs, often with some dark humour. Atli, Haukur and Helgi are influenced by Dead Kennedys and local punk heroes Fræbbblarnir. Manvisa is a song featured on their third album, Flóttinn Mikli, with guest vocals from Kata of the band Mammút.

INDIA: Indiecision
The MavynsGreener Than The Sea
The Mavyns (pronounced “May-wins”) are a rock act from Mumbai. Their music is a particularly refreshing take on the new British post-punk revival. Powered by piano-driven melodies and a charming disposition, the recently-formed quartet already look set for greater things. Greener Than The Sea makes no bones about its Beatles affectations culminating in a dizzying guitar romp. This live recording from an excellent recent set in the city is a definite sign of a career path that looks to be going only one way – up!

INDONESIA: Deathrockstar
Tika & The DissidentsWaltz Muram
Known as the diva from the indie scene in Indonesia, Tika has a beautiful voice and smart lyrics with influences ranging from swing and lounge music mashed with eclectic orchestration. I chose her and her band this month because I also want to promote Bahasa Indonesia, the official language of the country.

IRELAND: Nialler9
O EmperorPo
After an impressive appearance on Irish TV and some blog love from The Torture Garden, Cork band O Emperor are definitely on the ‘ones to watch’ list. Especially, though, after repeated plays of their debut single, Po, an unassuming number that reveals itself on multiple listens thanks to its snaking ephemeral guitar lick and a vocal that lodges in your brain for 24 hours at a time.

ITALY: Polaroid
The Calorifer Is Very Hot!Evolution On Stand-By
Italy is well known for its Prime Minister’s various conflicts of interest. For this month’s MAP I decided to act in a diplomatic way and promote a band and record that I helped to release. I could tell you that I believe these guys play some of the best indie-pop in this country. I could tell you that their lo-fi punk attitude to songwriting deserves worldwide attention. I could beg you to go to see them live and promise that you will have fun. But these would be all lies. They’re here just because I put my money in their new album – buy it!

JAPAN: JPOP Lover
Sonic Attack Blaster20000Volt
Sonic Attack Blaster, an alternative band from Tokyo’s underground scene, call their music ‘samurai rock’. Their songs actually have Japanese retro melody lines that give them an early-90s feel. Interesting and really rather weird. Their new album will be released in January.

MEXICO: Red Bull PanameriKa
Rana SantacruzCajita De Barro
Rana Santacruz’s richness lies deep in Mexican soil: a buried treasure of plundered Celtic tunes, ranchera-song lamentations and magical-realistic folktales that could have been part of a lost chapter from a rural cuento written by Juan Rulfo. Chicavasco is his debut album – a delicate collection of bohemian vignettes permeated by a true sensorial feel of rain, leather and mezcal. Watch him come up the hills and down the slopes as he slowly claims his place among one of our favourite singer-songwriters.

NETHERLANDS: Amsterdam Event Guide
The Very SexualsBowie Eyes
Hallo from Holland! This is our first submission and we’re happy to introduce The Very Sexuals. Starting out as a project between three or four other bands, this act have come together to produce an impressive, emotive and totally free album which has left listeners in dreamy shoegaze heaven since its release earlier this year. Be sure to download Bowie Eyes and look out for album number two in 2010.

NEW ZEALAND: Counting The Beat
Signer+Kicks And Kicks
Bevan Smith is the musician who records as Signer. Smith started out as an indie-guitar fan but gave that up for psychedelic electronica and synths. His latest album, Next We Bring You The Fire, has a more ambient sound than earlier records, toning down some of the more leftfield noise elements. +Kicks And Kicks isn’t that typical of the album – it’s poppier and more rhythmic – but gives a good introduction to Signer’s ability to create music which is accessible but slightly unsettling.

NORWAY: Eardrums
ModdiA Sense Of Grey
Moddi is a unique artist from the northern parts of Norway who will release his debut album Floriography on February 8. His music is poetic and dreamy, but at the same time there is a roughness in his sound. I often think of the rugged northern nature when I listen to his music, which is full of beauty but also darkness and sudden changes.

PERU: SoTB
El Hombre Misterioso80 Veces 80
The four members of El Hombre Misterioso are so versatile they would sound completely different if separated. They are always willing to experiment with rock and their second album, Inside The Corporation, narrates national historical stories. 80 Veces 80 remembers the worst days of Peruvian history, when the 1980s crisis was worsened by car bombs in a civil war that nearly destroyed the country.

PORTUGAL: Posso Ouvir Um Disco?
NoiservMelody Pops
Noiserv is one-man band David Santos, a very talented multi-instrumentalist from Lisbon. His self-released 2008 debut LP, One Hundred Miles From Thoughtlessness, was highly acclaimed by the mainstream Portuguese press. In May, Noiserv released a single through the Scottish label Autumn Ferment Records.

ROMANIA: Babylon Noise
ByronKing Of Clowns
Releasing their third album this year (A Kind Of Alchemy), alternative rock act Byron has already developed a unique sound, an alchemy of Jeff Buckley’s lyricism and Porcupine Tree’s neo-prog escapism. Dan’s voice goes from soft and warm to almost tormented, all the way spiced with wild-on-the-verge-of-insanity harmonies. The keyboard work shines with brilliant prog-inspired interventions, the guitar-playing is rock-solid (pun intended) and the use of flute on several tracks also works miracles, bringing a certain distinctness to the whole. Did I say Jethro Tull? Well, you get the picture.

SCOTLAND: The Pop Cop
The Kays LavelleAftermath
If any film directors are reading, do yourself a favour and download this song. With its eerily mesmeric piano refrain and increasingly intense, impassioned vocals, Aftermath is just begging to be played during an emotionally-wrought scene or at the end of the movie as the credits run. A studio version of Aftermath featuring the full band will appear on The Kays Lavelle’s debut album due out early next year.

SINGAPORE: I’m Waking Up To…
For This CycleFor What It’s Worth
Sixteen-year-old Weiwen Seah has a lot to be proud of. Performing under the persona For This Cycle, he has released a five-track EP this year and is currently recording his full-length album due next year. Weiwen brings a welcome breath of pop goodness in a music scene better known for its underground subculture with shades of Jason Mraz and Dashboard Confessional. In fact, it’s easy to forget that someone so young sings with as much conviction on this month’s selection, For What It’s Worth.

SOUTH AFRICA: Musical Mover & Shaker!
Van Coke KartelVoor Ons Stof Word
Van Coke Kartel is an Afrikaans rock band. Francois Van Coke and Wynand Myburgh were previously in Fokofpolisiekar, who revolutionised Afrikaans rock music by challenging and shifting rigid mindsets. Van Coke Kartel proceeded to explode onto the SA music scene with sold-out shows and rave reviews. The group has been busy working on their new album, Skop, Skiet En Donner, which will be out in early 2010. Look out for it, it’s sure to blow your mind.

SOUTH KOREA: Indieful ROK
Oh My MelodiesI Like It All
Oh My Melodies is the US-based solo project of Jiyoung Lee, vocalist of I Love JH. She now offers home-recorded electronic pop with sweet lyrics on the recently released EP So Lazy, which can be downloaded here. I Like It All is a catchy tune with a bit of synth that makes doing the chores seem like the most delightful task.

SWEDEN: Swedesplease
Symfoniorkestern Tänd Eld På Dig Själv (För Det Du Tror På)
Wow, it was a no-brainer this month. Symfoniorkestern are a uniquely Swedish group. They are like an indie-rock band but with a grab-bag of unusual orchestration, lyrics in Swedish and lovely harmonies. The new EP, Tänd Eld På Dig Själv (För Det Du Tror På), is available here for free in its awesome, spellbinding entirety. The band spent a year and a half recording it – I only wish I could somehow give this review the same amount of care.

UNITED STATES: I Guess I’m Floating
Chll PllDick Moves
Sacramento, CA’s Zach Hill has a new project, Chll Pll – a slice of the rather raucous, noisy, blunt force corner of the electro-pop world. Dick Moves is from the upcoming debut Aggressively Humble, out now on Porter Records.

VENEZUELA: Barquisimento
FordelucsNo Queda Mas
Alternative rock band Fordelucs have been winning over fans and critics alike and building up a name for themselves in Venezuela’s music scene. Now the boys are about to start a tour that will take them beyond the borders of their country. No Queda Mas is taken from their first release, Mundo.

To download all 33 songs in one file click here

**Best of 2009 Repost Series** Love Lindblom

Monday, December 14th, 2009

This is way poppier than what I usually write about. And it’s the second post in a row sung in Swedish (that’s pretty rare on Swedesplease). But the song is catchy and the video is so charming and full of youthful joie de vivre that I have to add this to my “best of 2009″ series. What can I say I “Love Lindblom”.

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The Swedish tunes are flooding in and I see no reason to wait `til tomorrow to share with you this perfect pop song from Love Lindblom. I’m told this is the first single from an upcoming ep from Love Lindblom. The debut album will follow this summer.

I’m a real sucker for catchy music like this that 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”.

Till min syster

Video for “Till min syster”

**Best of 2009 Repost Series** Rena Rama “Klass 6b”

Friday, December 11th, 2009

Every year on my music blogs Songs:Illinois and Swedesplease I take some time in December and January to repost some of what I feel was the best music of the year. It was hard not to repost this song from Rena Rama since at the time I called it the best single of the new year. I am still thrilled when this song pops up on an ipod mix or on shuffle. So here’s the first in a series of re-posts” of “the best of 2009″.

You can get pretty jaded pretty fast doing a music blog. The daily deluge of PR emails, lame band recommendations and mp3 links is truly astounding. So it was refreshing to barely get an email that didn’t really contain an mp3 of the debut single off of Rena Rama first record. See, Rasmus Ek from the band acknowledged that he was crap with computers and didn’t know if the file he sent was an mp3 or not. It wasn’t (it was a goddamn .wma file). Anyway I converted it to an mp3, but that’s besides the point. The point is that here’s a band that has made the music first and foremost and not the marketing and promotion. You won’t hear about them on any other site, but this song is simply drop dead gorgeous.

“Klass 6B” is hard to quantify or pigeonhole. It’s very rhythmic without being overcome with electronic beats. It’s very joyous too, but I expect the lyrics aren’t all sunshine and puppy dogs. Rasmus sites influences as diverse as Timbuktu (Swedish hip-hop artist), Laleh, Maia Hirasawa and The Beatles. But there’s clearly a touch of jazz and perhaps some Eastern European folk in “Klass 6b”. Add to that the children’s voices in the background, an umpa umpa tuba, a catchy sing-along section, and a muted trumpet and you have the Swedish song of the new year.

The band is unsigned out of Stockholm and is preparing to release their self-titled debut on January 27 with a release party and show that night at Debaser Slussen.

Klass 6b

Popmonstret presents Aright!

Thursday, December 10th, 2009

The Swedish band Aright! can’t seem to decide if they’re going for a Bright Eyes sound or a Depeche Mode kinda of thing. So they’ve merged the two and added catchy harmonies a la Oasis just in case. And it’s fine by me. This group from Stockholm has just released their debut EP called I Can’t Stand The Rain I’m Made Of Sugar. Here’s the song “First Day Of My Life”:

First Day Of My Life

From The Inbox (Swedish Edition)

Tuesday, December 8th, 2009

This is all the stuff that has arrived of late in my inbox. I don’t/can’t vouch for all of it, but I will be generous and share it all with you. With that said the Richard Reagh and Jenny Wilson tracks are pretty good.

Richard Reagh’s second single from his upcoming album I’m Younger Than That Now (ThisIsPop/Border) – Release date 24/02/2010.

I Don’t Cry

Techno from Labbet

Heart And Soul Of A Lion

Remix from the new Jenny Wilson record Hardships

Pass Me The Salt (Front Of The House Remix)

A song from the new record by La Fleur Fatale

I Wanna Be Adored

New stuff from We And Lisa; the Ep is called simply Winter EP

Your Indifference (Doc Ron Remix)

Something from Dubious Quip (funky soul)

Free

Swedesplease Christmas Mix (The Hives, Hello Saferide, Sally Shapiro, Parker Lewis, The Knife, etc)

Thursday, December 3rd, 2009

Well I did it. I waited `til after Thanksgiving to post my Christmas mix. So far a lot of these songs are from last year (or years past), hell I even recycled the photo. I’ll do my best to update this mix as new songs appear. I love these songs. They are some of the best Christmas songs you’re likely to hear and for a large part they are ones I’ve dug up first. So Enjoy and Merry Christmas (three weeks early).

P.S. I’m so low tech it’s not even funny, so if someone wants to create a .zip and host it somewhere be my guest and email me the link cbonnell@gmail.com.

P.P.S. If you are really hard up for more Christmas music you can check out the roots leaning Christmas sampler over at my other site Songs:Illinois here.

Snow Angel – Kate And After

It May Be Winter Outside (But In My Heart It’s Spring) – Lisa Millberg

Christmas In July – Ossian Ekenger

All I Want For Christmas – The Genuine Fakes

A Chistmas Duel – The Hives Vs. Cyndi Lauper

Carol for The Lonely – Sofia Talvik

Anorak Christmas – Sally Shapiro

X-mas Carol NYC – Parker Lewis

Oh What A Christmas – El Perro Del Mar

Oh Sweet Christmas! – Oh Sweet Music!

I-Pod Xmas – Hello Saferide

Christmas On The Beach – Irene

Holy Night – Thomas Denver Johnsson

All These Winter Nights – Higher Elevations

Christmas Peace – Shade Tree

Santa Claus Is Coming To Town – Bobby Baby

This Christmas (If You Come Back) – The Carny

A Blue Christmas – The Perishers

Bon Jovis Jollat – Montt Mardie

Christmas Reindeer – The Knife

Last Christmas – Le Sport, Montt Mardie, Mr Suitcase

Christmas Day – Strayfolk

Poetry for the Winter – Komon (hopped up twee on adrenline)

Jingle Jangle Christmas – Metro Jets

Snodde Julen I Är – Ish (Sophie Rimheden and CK)

Run Away With Me – Jens Lekman

It’s Christmas But Not For You – TIAC

Christmas On The Dancefloor – Sophia and Sophia (Rimheden & Talvik)

Dance Me Dead

Tuesday, December 1st, 2009

It’s always hard to follow up an epic post where I pour out my guts about a band but I’ll try. The band that is going to follow up my post on Le Fever have a different pedigree and different influences so that makes it easier.

Dance Me Dead are a seven piece band from Östergötlands län that try to get people dancing with their own brand of epic indie rock. Think The Chameleons Uk meets The Cure and then a little A Ha thrown in. these two songs are from the band’s new EP, more info over at MySpace.


The Best Is Yet To Come

I wish You Could Hear Me Now