Posts Tagged ‘Sweden’

One of 2015’s most ambitious records, Anna von Hausswolff is a diamond in carving out colossal songs which start in one place and evolve into a myriad of others before, very often, bursting into something quite magnificent. We fell in love with The Miraculous the first time we heard the sprawling 10-minuter Come Wander With Me/Deliverance – before the whole album sound tracked a grey October in Budapest. The fourth album by Sweden’s Anna von Hausswolff grapples with mortality, but the music is far from morose. In fact, Dead Magic is possibly her most triumphant release to date, offering uplifting crescendos propelled by rising rhythms, swelling guitars, and von Hausswolff’s seemingly-unlimited vocal powers. It helps that von Hausswolf recorded the organ parts in one of the largest churches in Scandinavia, giving the album’s cathartic bombast and even more epic feel. But it’s not the tools von Hausswolf used that make Dead Magic so intoxicating; it’s the transfixing vision and unswerving commitment she brings to every note that she utters.

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Me, my band and Randall Dunn spent 9 days in Copenhagen recording this record. The great pipe organ you’re hearing is a 20th century instrument located in Marmor Kirken, “The Marble Church”, Copenhagen.

Here is a poem for you by the Swedish writer Walter Ljungquist (1900-1974):
”Take the fate of a human being, a thin pathetic line that contours and encircles an infinite and unknown silence. It is in this very silence, in an only imagined and unknown centre, that legends are born. Alas! That is why there are no legends in our time. Our time is a time deprived of silence and secrets; in their absence no legends can grow.”

Please enjoy the music. Yours sincerely, Anna von Hausswolff” released March 2nd, 2018

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It’s been almost four years since Stay Gold, the critically acclaimed album full of Cosmic American Music-tinged folk, put Swedish sisters Johanna and Klara Söderberg on the map. As fans eagerly awaited a follow-up, the sisters slowly broke down. Subjected to the draining tedium of a never-ending tour, they found themselves going through the motions as the ground beneath their feet never stopped moving. Written largely in Joshua Tree, where they hunkered down after the dissolution of Klara’s engagement, Ruins is a mature record.

Compared to their previous work, Ruins feels subtle, a little more grown up. While it is missing some of the energy of earlier singles like “Stay Gold” and “Silver Lining,” this album expands upon their mastery of the American songbook. Never feeling like outsiders, the Söderbergs are consistent and confident in their execution. Working with producer Tucker Martine and Peter Buck or R.E.M. fame, Ruins has the requisite twang that has charmed listeners since their debut EP Drunken Trees (2008). The perfect combination of the sisters’ voices remains the heart of their music. Their harmonizing is organically crystal clear in a time of over-synthesized production; the purity is shocking.

Ruins may not recapture the intensity of Stay Gold, but its strength lays in the duo’s swooning vocals and lyrical romance. Where it misses the loud, creative production of past albums, folk vocals with a little extra (those harmonies!) pick up the slack. Ruins is a charismatic, concise send-up of a style unclaimed by many young American musicians in 2018, but exquisitely executed by these special Swedish talents.”

Not that it’s darker, per se; their gorgeous, blood-close harmonies and the sunny streaks of pedal steel guitar keep it from ever feeling too morose. Instead, there’s a gentle weight of experience that permeates the album’s lyrics, a freshly sharpened edge of cynicism explored across several different sounds. There’s the classic country of the easy-riding “Postcard,” the ‘50s doo-wop vibe of “Fireworks” and a return to their folk roots with “To Live a Life.” 

Hater - Siesta

Hater have a new album ‘Siesta’ due out 28th September and another New single ‘Fall Off’ . Sweden’s Hater know how to sprinkle in the right amount of melancholy. The indie quartet wowed us last year with their debut LP, You Tried. It was a triumph of fuzzed out dream-pop, it earned them a spot on our Best New Bands of 2017 list. While Hater’s songs are typically filled with infectious riffs and easy-going melodies, Caroline Landahl’s bittersweet vocal delivery always keeps things rough around the edges. There’s pain between the soft glow of warm guitar tones and rosy harmonies.

Thet are one of the best, most underappreciated bands “Fall Off” finds Hater at their most softly devastating, wistful and full of hope, and it’s one of our favorite tracks from the group’s beautiful new LP Siesta” .

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I heard their earlier hazy single “It’s So Easy,” which is less gloomy, thanks to some sparkly synth work and crisp production. Even so, Hater maintain their laid-back sound with bright, jangly hooks and characteristically excellent guitar work that reminds me ’80s jangle pop bands like the Feelies or even the college rock sound of early R.E.M. records. Via email, the band explained, “Sometimes one can feel that everything’s fine without really being in touch with your own feelings. It’s so easy is about seeing a close friend ignoring such things.”

“It’s So Easy” is one or two new singles we’re hearing from Hater’s upcoming album, Siesta. Like the title would suggest, the song is nothing short of easy listening, the perfect complement to a summer drive at golden hour — or, nodding to the album title, an afternoon nap after spending your morning at the beach.

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The other new track, “I Wish I Gave You More Time Because I Love You,” serves as the B-side and also directly follows “It’s So Easy” it on the Siesta tracklist. The band calls it “a beautiful song which includes a magnificent saxophone played by Inge Petersson Lindbäck.” They add, “It’s about the strong bonds you can have with a family member, being together, but still not. Also there’s some congas in there somewhere.

Echo Ladies make expert use of ghostly vocals, a style employed by everyone from Ian Curtis to CHVRCHES, where the words feel far away—like they’re coming through a radio in another room. Echo Ladies, like Makthaverskan and Agent blå are part of a flurry of post-punk-leaning pop to flood out of Sweden. New on the scene and released by the excellent U.K. label Sonic Cathedral, “Pink Noise”could be the soundtrack to a dark high school comedy (called Pink Noise, of course) that follows an all-girl post-punk band trying to make it. It’s their liberal use of synths, classic pop song arrangements, and simplistic drum machine beats that set this album apart.

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Released June 8th, 2018

All songs by Echo Ladies

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Stockholm-based Delsbo Beach Club have been one of this year’s most frequent live acts on the capital’s indie scene and are set to release their instantly charming debut single All The Way Home on Swedish label Rama Lama Records (Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes, Melby).

The track, a fine representation of the band’s expertly crafted sound, finds its irresistible strength in their fuzzy indie pop melodies, with hints of classic garage and surf rock drawing early comparisons to the likes of Mac DeMarco.

Having formed when frontman Erik Björklund moved to Stockholm from northern Swedish city Umeå and began recording a ton of bedroom pop demos, before joining together with Alexander Kuronen (drums), Max Englund (guitar) and Aron Lange (bass), the band have since developed into an infectious live outfit and will release their debut EP early next year.

Stockholm band Delsbo Beach Club’s debut single, out on all platforms via Rama Lama Records Oct 11th

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Band Members
Erik Björklund
Jesper Jonason
Alexander Kuronen
Stas Neilyk
Ebba Vikdahl

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Earlier this month, Swedish psych monoliths Goat released, ‘Let it Burn’, their first offering since 2016’s ‘Requiem’ LP. The track is an enchanting, fuzzed-out workout that sees the masked troupe amp up their lysergic psychedelic motifs tenfold to create a truly mesmerising piece of work that could be their finest to date.

‘Let it Burn’ was written specifically for the climatic scene in the short movie Killing Gävle, a The Guardian produced film (the video above uses footage from the film) directed by the very talented Joe Fletcher about the famous Gävle Goat in Sweden which every year local custodians of Gävle try to protect a giant straw goat that is built for the town every Christmas being burnt down by mischievous pagans. Obviously Goat’s music was the obvious to soundtrack the film – their back catalogue is used throughout the film but up to now it was the only place you could hear a segment of the 6 minute+ fuzz groove of ‘Let it Burn’ but now thanks to Rocket Recordings it can be heard in all its glory.

Full version is taken from the single ‘Let it Burn’ released 25.05.18

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Well, this is all a bit of a ‘Hoo Ha‘ isn’t it? The latest tune from London via Sweden quartet Francobollo is a bit of guitar-led, slacker goodness that’s sure to get you feeling nice and dreamy.

Named as a tribute to one of their favourite bands (the excellent Hoo Ha’s), the Francobollo boys keep things suitably off-kilter as they flick away with guitar riffs that keep reality at busy. There’s plenty of space in between the flutters of genius and the band show an impressive patience – they know things are always ready, simmering, on the verge of kicking off but their restraint in holding back until they’re all set to release hell makes that sweet, sweet chorus even tastier. It’s the final 20 seconds or so when everything breaks down that Francobollo come into their own, keeping those good vibes going just that little bit longer so you’re getting close to your three minutes worth out of them.

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Band Members
Sean Bean, Simon Nilsson, Petter Grevelius & Sven Bailey.

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Last year Swedish indie rock outfit Hater released not only their great debut album “You Tried” (which was among my best albums of the year list) but also the EP with Red Blinders.

The band recently stopped into the Danish studio Tapetown to record a “Live At Tapetown” session, giving us a heavenly version of Red Blinders track “Blushing.” Fans of Alvvays should look no further, these guys will be  among your new favorite bands. Hater performed the set in Aarhus a few weeks back for a headlining set in TAPE.  They were positively grinning from ear to ear  when Hater was up for doing a Live At Tapetown session .  If you were one of the lucky few who happened to be there, you got a great lil’ show. It might have been the first time they’d performed in Aarhus . The rest of the indie-savvy scene is catching on to them. This might help if you’re new to the ball.

Tracing Bruce Springsteen’s career arc from cult artist to superstar, theater to arena headliner, there’s a case to be made that a series of radio broadcasts on the 1978 Darkness On the Edge of Town tour played a significant role. The five home-recorded, fan-traded and oft-bootlegged concerts from The Roxy, The Agora, The Capitol Theater, The Fox Theatre and Winterland captured and ultimately spread the magic of Bruce and the E Street Band’s live show, and seemingly converted thousands to fill arenas two years later on the River tour.

Despite that rich history, there were no live broadcasts from the River tour, the Born in the U.S.A. tour or the U.S. leg of the Tunnel of Love tour. Which is why in 1988, after ten years of radio silence, the announcement that a portion of Springsteen’s July 3rd show in Stockholm would be broadcast live via satellite to the U.S. and the world was huge news for fans.

Like many among us, I tuned in that Fourth of July weekend and heard a potent 90-minute first set that wrapped with Bruce announcing plans to join the Amnesty International tour before wrapping the broadcast portion with a cover of Bob Dylan’s “Chimes Of Freedom” (later released on the EP of the same name). It was the first of hundreds of listens to follow.

Conveniently apportioned to fill a 90-minute cassette tape, the Stockholm broadcast joined the five ‘78 b-casts as the most played live Springsteen recordings most of us had. There was just one problem: as great as those 14 songs were, 20 other songs were played in Stockholm after the satellite feed came down, and short of a crummy audience tape, few of us have had a chance to hear the full show, until now.

Happily, this complete, multi-track recording validates what we all presumed: the Stockholm show was one of the best on the Tunnel tour, offering a passionate, hyper-focused first-set and–freed from the pressure of a global listening audience–a rollicking, playful second set and encore. Looking for a sign of Springsteen’s mood after the transmission ended? How about the inclusion of Gary U.S. Bonds’ ultimate party track “Quarter to Three” for the first time since 1981.

Fondness for the familiar first set is richly deserved. It starts with Bruce inviting the audience in the stadium and at home to come aboard with a wonderful “Tunnel of Love,” now followed by a horn-blasting “Boom Boom’ (with its unabashed sentiment of “I need you right now” replacing “Be True,” performed in this slot for most of the US leg). The brazen John Lee Hooker cover forms a bond of emancipation with what follows, “Adam Raised a Cain,” again propelled by the five-piece Horns of Love. Bruce hadn’t toured with a horn section since ‘77 and their presence is a critical component in the distinct sound and theatrics of ‘88 shows.

Because the broadcast was limited to 90 minutes, the first set showcased key Tunnel tracks, including a majestic “Tougher Than the Rest,” “Spare Parts,” “Brilliant Disguise” and “All That Heaven Will Allow.” Bruce also featured two killer non-album tracks: “Roulette,” unforgivably left off The River, but resuscitated to sound an alarm on the Tunnel tour; and “Seeds,” another take on the plight of working-class Americans and this time they’re pissed.

Perhaps the surprise highlight of the first set is “Born in the U.S.A.” Separated from its namesake tour and attendant misinterpretations, the song’s deep-seated anger is rekindled. Listen to Bruce’s shrieks of angst before Max’s drum crescendo, echoed later his own impassioned guitar solo. The story has grown more personal, too, as Springsteen adds new flashback lyrics after the final verse: “I just want your arms around me/I see the fire from the sky/I need your arms around me.” A stunning performance.

Set two is a totally different animal, but no less satisfying. I have often wondered how a seemingly long-forgotten song returns to the set, and there is no better example of this than the sudden reappearance of the instrumental “Paradise By the ‘C’” which opens the second set, after premiering four nights earlier in Rotterdam. What prompted its resurrection, after going unplayed since the Darkness tour? Sure, it suits the horns, but then again, there was no horn section in ‘78.

Regardless, it is a welcome showcase for Clarence and the Horns of Love, and sets the tone for a highly entertaining second set that milks the expanded band lineup and staging dynamics for all they are worth on songs like “You Can Look (But You Better Not Touch)” (which begins with a long, bit of musical teasing and showmanship often referred to as “Don’t You Touch That Thing”), “I’m A Coward” (Springsteen’s comic rewrite of Gino Washington’s ‘60s original) and a chock full o’ horns encore sequence of “Sweet Soul Music,” “Raise Your Hand,” the aforementioned “Quarter to Three,” and the inevitable last song for a show this joyous, “Twist and Shout.”

There are a few serious moments in the back half, among them the fine ‘88 arrangement of Bo Diddley’s “Who Do You Love?” into “She’s the One,” the first “Downbound Train” of the tour, and an unflinchingly earnest reading of Elvis’ “Can’t Help Falling in Love.” Interestingly, Stockholm ‘88 has a connection to Springsteen on Broadway in that the solo acoustic version of “Born to Run” that Bruce is currently performing was first played in that arrangement on the Tunnel Of Love tour, a fine take of which is captured here.

Stockholm ‘88 has always been a fan-favorite because of the simulcast. Now restored to full length and remixed from the master tapes, it rightly joins Springsteen’s other legendary radio broadcasts as one of the best concert recordings of his career and a great representation of the Tunnel of Love tour’s European edition.

thanks E Flanagan

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Swedish indie-pop duo The Radio Dept. last massaged our ears with 2016’s Running Out of Love, a political statement against encroaching apathy that embraced their musical strengths—satin keyboard textures and Johan Duncanson’s pacifying voice. On Friday, the duo—Duncanson and Martin Larsson—returned with a new song, “Your True Name,” the first single on their own label, Just So! The song flutters along with a hazy chug and insistent snare a la Yo La Tengo, with some electro accents peeking through here and there. It’s the perfect tune for a winter thaw, warm and enveloping in tone if not entirely in content.

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Band Members
Johan Duncanson
Martin Carlberg