Posts Tagged ‘Sweden’

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Stockholm’s Les Big Byrd are back with their new EP “Roofied Angels” due out on June 26th on limited edition 12” vinyl and with the A-side and title track released digitally in May. Roofied Angels is the first piece of new music from Les Big Byrd since 2018’s acclaimed Iran Iraq IKEA LP outside of the instrumental “Snö-Golem” 7” from last fall and the English language version of the band’s 2017 hit “Two Man Gang” which was released in May 2019. The 7 minute fuzz-blizzard “Roofied Angels” might just be the best thing the band’s put their name to yet, melding Motörhead and Shangri-La’s influences into their krautrock infused psychedelic rock, while bringing to mind the heavier side of the band’s 2014 debut LP They Worshipped Cats and was recorded during the sessions for the band’s upcoming third full-length.
Releases June 26th, 2020

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Sweden’s Kristian Matsson – aka The Tallest Man On Earth – emerged as one of the most charismatic, entertaining new singer-songwriters in the world. Scowering the stage menacingly at solo performances which became infamous, his gritty twang of a voice and stunningly intricate guitar lines made early comparisons to Bob Dylan not all that ridiculous.

I will play “Weather Of A Killing Kind”. I will play other songs. I will water the plants. Kristian playing his Joni Mitchell covers. And that Bon Iver cover was so beautiful!.

I’m going to do another YouTube livestream / hang from my room this Friday, April 17th at 3pm eastern time (21:00 CET). I’m still learning how to do these, I will try to tame the buffering monster the days leading up to it.

TRACK LIST: 3:27 Fields Of Our Home 9:03 För sent för Edelweiss 16:26 Museum of Flight 23:28 Weather of a Killing Kind 32:15 A Case Of You 43:00 Winds and Walls 52:20 Tougher Than the Rest 57:40 Blood Bank 1:08:46 1904 1:21:33 ‘I want to go everywhere’ (Not an actual song, I just like his strumming pattern 🙂 1:22:44 Like The Wheel 1:25:40 Eva Dahlgren is the musician, but I don’t know the song.  1:27:59 ‘The Most Beautiful of Souls’ (I don’t know the song, sorry!)

If there was ever a time to appreciate archival live recordings, that time is now.

Many years ago, I heard the brilliantly talented and famously cantankerous guitarist Robert Fripp of King Crimson posit a provocative position on the subject of live recordings. “Of the many, many performances [I’ve seen] over four decades,” he told an audience at SXSW in Austin, “I have [never] left and felt I wished to have it on tape. There was nothing in my experience of any of [those] events which were other than available to my experience. And if I wasn’t there, I missed it. And if I missed it, photographs, recordings, nothing could bring this back to me.”

The core idea Fripp articulates is undeniably true: Nothing can fully replace or replicate being at a concert in person, as it happens. But let’s not throw the baby out with the bathwater. Archival live recordings are, as Ma Bell used to say, “the next best thing to being there.” As undeniably magical as live concerts can be, they are by nature fleeting, real-time experiences. Yes, they live on in our memories, but what’s the larger cultural value of these unique performances? When the technology was invented in the 1870s to record and preserve audio, after the spoken word, the earliest recordings captured on those cylinders were of musicians performing live. Preserving performances is arguably the fundamental underlying purpose of recording technology.

Hearing a show you attended can stir memories back to life. Amazing as that is, live recordings even allow time travel and can place us at the Tower Theater in 1975, the Roxy in 1978 or Wembley Arena in 1981 when we couldn’t have possibly been there any other way. Is it the same as having had Bruce stand on your cocktail table during the middle of “Spirit in the Night?” No, but close your eyes, let your imagination flow, and it is awfully close.

Gothenburg 28th July 2012 allows fans who weren’t there at Ullevi to travel through time and space to hear one of the best nights on the Wrecking Ball tour in a closing run of European concerts that was, to quote Stevie Van Zandt’s predictive tweet before the show, “one for the ages.”

There’s something about rainy shows that brings out the best in Bruce and the E.Street Band. The show opener, a cover of Creedence’s “Who’ll Stop the Rain?” is a bellwether for great things to come, with crunchy guitar leading the way. Fan-band bonds are solidified through sparkling takes of “The Ties That Bind” and “Out in the Street” (with extra long intro) before we move to the less-traveled corners of Born in the U.S.A. with an excellent “doubleheader” of “Downbound Train” and “I’m Goin’ Down.” The former extends the guitar-richness of the show’s opening salvo and benefits from the heft of the horn section; the latter restores a bit of often-missing edge to the self-deprecating tale.

The aforementioned guitar tone extends seamlessly into a sharp “My Lucky Day” in one of only four Wrecking Ball tour performances. Special nights are built on special songs, and Gothenburg has particularly juicy ones.

What is it about “Lost in the Flood?” Bruce and the band can let it lie dormant for ages, then nail it as they did in NYC 2000. “Flood” had gone unplayed for three years prior to Gothenburg, wasn’t soundchecked, yet the mighty E Street Band is more than up to the task. “In the key of E minor,” says Bruce, “then we’re gonna hit the big chord.” Do they ever. The big chord that follows Roy’s prelude smashes forth an electrifying version that sounds as vital and fresh as it did four decades prior. Bruce vocals are especially gritty, evidenced by this not-so-subtle lyric change: “Hey man, did you see that? Those poor cats were sure fucked up.” Damn.

The energy generated by “Lost in the Flood” propels the ensuing three-pack from Wrecking Ball (“We Take Care of Our Own,” “Wrecking Ball,” “Death to My Hometown”) plus kindred spirit “My CIty of Ruins.” Pick your cliche—firing on all cylinders, in the zone, killing it—all would apply, and doesn’t the horn section sound fantastic? Despite the stadium scale of the show, Jon Altschiller’s mix is tight and close, with Roy’s piano and Max’s high-hat in particularly sharp focus.

“Frankie.” Merely typing the song title brings a smile. The marvelous, lost-and-found Springsteen original premiered on the Spring 1976 tour, his first new song after the release of Born to Run. It was performed around a dozen times that year and cut for Darkness a year later (despite Bruce’s introduction saying The River). It was recorded again for Born in the U.S.A. in 1982, and that version was eventually released on Tracks in 1998.

The song’s live outings in modern times are equally limited. One-off attempts in 1999 and 2003 showed “Frankie” deceptively tricky to get right; something about the song’s lilting quality and mid-tempo pacing proved elusive. But after working through the arrangement in soundcheck, Bruce unlocks the wondrous heart of “Frankie” and lets it wash over Gothenburg in a spellbinding performance.

The show’s second act begins with slightly off-kilter take of “The River,” though normal service is restored in a crisp “Because the Night” and on through “Lonesome Day,” “Hungry Heart,” “Shackled and Drawn,” and “Waitin’ on a Sunny Day.” We step back into special-show territory with another great pick from Tracks, the rollicking River outtake “Where the Bands Are” dedicated to the fans who had travelled from show to show around Europe. It is the last performance to date of the irresistible track.  Thanks for the words Erik Flanagan

The Band

Bruce Springsteen – Lead vocal, guitar, harmonica; Roy Bittan – Piano, keyboards, accordion; Nils Lofgren – Guitar, lap steel, backing vocal; Garry Tallent – Bass; Stevie Van Zandt – Electric and acoustic guitars, mandolin, backing vocal; Max Weinberg – Drums; Jake Clemons – Tenor saxophone, percussion, backing vocal; Charlie Giordano – Organ, keyboards, accordion; Soozie Tyrell – Violin, acoustic guitar, percussion, backing vocal; Everett Bradley – Percussion, backing vocal; Curtis King – Backing vocal, percussion; Cindy Mizelle – Backing vocal; Michelle Moore – Backing vocal; Barry Danielian – Trumpet; Clark Gayton – Trombone; Eddie Manion – Baritone and tenor saxophone; Curt Ramm – Trumpet

If I Break Horses’s third album holds you in its grip like a great film, it’s no coincidence. Faced with making the follow-up to 2014’s plush Chiaroscuro, Horses’s Maria Lindén decided to take the time to make something different, with an emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music. As she watched a collection of favourite films on her computer (sound muted) and made her own soundtrack sketches, these sonic workouts gradually evolved into something more: “It wasn’t until I felt an urge to add vocals and lyrics,” says Lindén, “that I realized I was making a new I Break Horses album.”

That album is Warnings, an intimate and sublimely expansive return that, as its recording suggests, sets its own pace with the intuitive power of a much-loved movie. And, as its title suggests, its sumptuous sound worlds – dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analogue synths – and layered lyrics crackle with immersive dramatic tensions on many levels. “It’s not a political album,” says Lindén, “though it relates to the alarmist times we live in. Each song is a subtle warning of something not being quite right.”

As Lindén notes, the process of making Warnings involved different kinds of dramas. “It has been some time in the making. About five years, involving several studios, collaborations that didn’t work out, a crashed hard drive with about two years of work, writing new material again instead of trying to repair it. New studio recordings, erasing everything, then recording most of the album myself at home…”

Yet the pay-off for her long-haul immersion is clear from statement-of-intent album opener ‘Turn’, a waltzing kiss-off to an ex swathed in swirling synths over nine emotive minutes. On ‘Silence’, Lindén suggests deeper sorrows in the interplay of serene surface synths, hypnotic loops and elemental images: when she sings “I feel a shiver,” you feel it, too.

Elsewhere, on three instrumental interludes, Lindén’s intent to experiment with sound and structure is clear. Meanwhile, there are art-pop songs here more lush than any she has made. ‘I’ll Be the Death of You’ occupies a middle ground between Screamedelica and early OMD, while ‘Neon Lights’ brings to mind Kraftwerk on Tron’s light grid. ‘I Live At Night’ slow-burns like a song made for night-time LA drives; ‘Baby You Have Travelled for Miles without Love in Your Eyes’ is an electronic lullaby spiked with troubling needle imagery. ‘Death Engine’’s dark-wave dream-pop provides an epic centrepiece, of sorts, before the vocoder hymnal of closer ‘Depression Tourist’ arrives like an epiphany, the clouds parting after a long, absorbing journey.

For Lindén, Warnings is a remarkable re-routing of a journey begun when I Break Horses’s debut album, Hearts (2011), drew praise from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, The Independent and others for its luxurious grandeur and pulsing sense of art-pop life. With the electro-tangents of 2014’s Chiaroscuro, Lindén forged a new, more ambitious voice with total confidence. Along the way, I Break Horses have toured with M83 and Sigur Rós; latterly, U2 played Hearts’ ecstatic ‘Winter Beats’ through the PA before their stage entrance on 2018’s ‘Experience + Innocence’ tour. Good choice.

A new friend on Warnings is US producer/mixing engineer Chris Coady, whose graceful way with dense sound (credits include Beach House, TV on the Radio) was not the sole reason Lindén invited him to mix the album. “Before reaching out to Chris I read an interview where he said, ‘I like to slow things down. Almost every time I love the sound of something slowed down by half, but sometimes 500% you can get interesting shapes and textures.’ And I just knew he’d be the right person for this album.”

If making Warnings was a slow process, so be it: that steady gestation was a price worth paying for its lavish accretions of detail and meaning, where secrets aplenty await listeners eager to immerse themselves. “Nowadays, the attention span equals nothing when it comes to how most people consume music,” Lindén says. “And it feels like songs are getting shorter, more ‘efficient’. I felt an urge to go against that and create an album journey from start to finish that takes time and patience to listen to. Like, slow the fuck down!” Happily, Warnings provides all the incentives required.

releases May 8th, 2020

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I Break Horses is the musical project led by Maria Lindén. From her Stockholm base, the Swedish artist delivered an extraordinary debut album in the shape of ‘Hearts’, released by Bella Union in August 2011. Having last week announced their return via the track ‘Death Engine’, today I Break Horses have unveiled a visually striking video for new single ‘I’ll Be The Death Of You’ from their upcoming third LP Warnings, released 8th May via Bella Union Records

There’s a certain thrill in putting a playlist of your favorite songs on shuffle and eagerly anticipating what comes up next. But as I grow older and less exciting, I’m finding that there’s also a certain thrill in listening to the same song repeatedly—a practice made particularly easy when the song is approximately five minutes long, generally hypnotic, and never really progresses at any point. “I’ll Be the Death of You” is this idyllic type of song in its purest form, comprised of lullaby vocals and flatlined synth beats upbeat enough to never get stale. The softcore homicidal lyrics are pretty cool, too.

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Sometimes you need an amazingly crafted Swedegaze pop album, and sometimes that album will kick in your door, shower you with kisses, then proceed to back its time capsule steamroller over your face. The band’s debut album “Last Forever” from 2015 was a surprise to many, not just because of its shoegaze influences but because of the depth and maturity of the songwriting. Unlike many Swedish bands Westkust didn’t fit the framework of the indie rock or the indie pop that have engulfed the guitar based music scene in Sweden . Instead they walked down their own road and followed the same path like shoegaze guitar heroes such as The Jesus and Mary Chain and that kind of patented quiet-loud dynamic that have inspired many bands.

Four years after they released their debut album Westkust are back with their sophomore self-titled record, but it’s a band that experience transitional times. First, original members Gustav and Hugo left the band to focus on other projects, but with the new line-up entailing Brian Cukrowski and Pär Carlsson added to Julia Bjernelind and Philip Söderlind, there’s greater focus on Westkust; second on Luxury Records,

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released March 1st, 2019

Malmo’s much-praised quartet of Caroline Landahl, Måns Leonartsson, Adam Agace and Lukas Thomasson release two glorious new tracks hot on the heels of ‘Siesta’, their excellent second album of last year on Fire Records.

“Swoony Swedish indie-pop.” Record Collector

“Too noisy to be indie pop, too sweet to be post punk.” Clash

‘Four Tries Down’ and ‘It’s A Mess’ further hone the band’s dream-pop adding extra allure through the musical interplay that coagulates behind Caroline Landahl’s ethereal vocal.

“Perpetually swaying between comforting and devastating” Gorilla Vs Bear reckoned of their debut album, ‘You Tried’ from 2016, and last year’s ‘Siesta’ was celebrated for being “nostalgic for ‘90s indie-pop innocence” by MOJO.

As their reputation gathers global attention, Hater have continued to blossom making a compelling slice of angular pop music that’s dysfunctional, dreamy, tempting and teasing.

‘Four Tries Down’ presents an acute hand-tooled angular rasp, with its chiming guitar chopped out against a disengaged rhythm, topped with the dreamy ambience of Caroline Landahl’s whispered confessional that cuts through the mesmerising hum.

‘It’s A Mess’ is more subtle, with a teenage Nico admitting to inevitable boyfriend trouble. Drums rattle before cutting down to the basics to let Landahls pontificate as it all goes wrong – it’s a beautiful mess. Beautiful.

London-based psychedelic stalwarts Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation are proud to reveal their third album ‘Sacred Dreams’ for Rocket Recordings. Continuing to dive into the deeper waters of experimentation, ‘Sacred Dreams’ is both a musically hefty amalgamation of reverb drenched space-rock and retro centric electronics, as well as an emotionally cathartic release for the band, marking a new direction and fresh approach.

Since their critically acclaimed album ‘Mirage’ was released, Josefin and writing partner Fredrik have relocated from Stockholm to London and have created a new Liberation around them – this new band consists of the powerful and intuitive assemblage of musicians; Maki (Go Team), Patrick C Smith (Eskimo Chain), Matt Loft (Lola Colt) and Ben Ellis, who’s worked with both Iggy Pop and Swervedriver. ‘Sacred Dreams’ was largely recorded at Press Play Studios (King Krule, Fat White Family, Yves Tumor, Stereolab, High Llamas and many others) run by Andy Ramsay of Stereolab, who also produced and even programmed his non synced drum machines adding a lot of inspiration to the album.

‘Scared Dreams’ invites you into the bands own dimensional soundscape, a world built with transcendental guitars, driving grooves and otherworldly, enchanting vocals, altogether seeped in layers of blissfully produced synths. Opener and lead single ‘Feel The Sun’ encapsulates this new direction perfectly before the anthemic ‘I Can Feel It’ makes the bands intentions known. Elsewhere playful 80s electronics sit alongside a shoegaze sensibility effortlessly and amongst the textured flow of the LP emerge pop hooks like the infectiously bluesy ‘Baby Come On’.

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Josefin tells us “This album comes out of a period of heartbreak, loss and dissolution, but also of deep love, warmth and beauty unveiled in the middle of it. A sacred dream, the way we see it, is not necessarily a golden fluffy cloud river, but instead also contains all the shadows that need to be seen and felt in order to drop what has to go in order to truly live. And the dissonance of such a dream may not be immediately apparent, let alone the meaning of it. In a way all of these tracks seem to emanate from that place where we have almost reached a new shore, or maybe we missed it and are headed somewhere else entirely, but there’s no way of telling until afterwards.”

released April 22nd, 2019

 

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As Swedish noise quartet Les Big Byrd release their new single,Snö-Golem we look forward to a limited edition 7″ vinyl due to hit the shelves soon. The Swedish four-piece Les Big Byrd appeared in the spring of 2011 like a freshly hatched egg, if not a noisy, mind-bending, reverb-drenched, guitar-heavy drone pop egg, but fresh nonetheless.

A limited edition 7” single released ahead of their imminent European tour, the heavy ‘Snö-Golem’ is the first taste from Les Big Byrd’s upcoming third album, due for release in the beginning of 2020. The Stockholm-based four-piece show off the krautrock influences in their sound more prominently here.

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Their sound is a melodic, melancholic, psychedelic masterpiece that is both manic and understated, you could pop this four in your headphones and lose whole days to it, it’s a glorious noise.

Their first release, single Zig-Smile, came with a remix by Carli Löf of Savage Skulls and Stay Gold fame and was met with rapturous applause from pretty much all corners.

Their first album, They Worshipped Cats, saw the light of day in 2014, and was described by Gothenburg Post as a heady mix of krautrock and psychedelics, and it is hard to argue with that.

The band’s second album, Iran Iraq Ikea was released in the autumn of 2018, and according to lead vocalist, Jocke Åhlund, it is about “ageing and feeling pissed off” with the wider world. If you haven’t heard of Les Big Byrd, “Snö-Golem” gives you a snippet of their heavier krautrock sound, it was released on September 19th digitally, the limited edition 7” vinyl is due on the shelves on November 29th.

Les Big Byrd is Joakim ÅhlundFrans JohanssonMartin “Konie” Ehrencrona and Nino Keller and their third LP is due out at the start of 2020.

Jesper Lindell was the breakout star of 2017 on the Swedish music scene, when he released his debut EP. Produced by Benkt Söderberg, father and former producer of the world-renowned sister duo First Aid Kit, “Little Less Blue” presented a collection of songs that were equal parts soul, Americana and rock.

Lindell went on to star in the acclaimed show “Who by Fire”, a tribute concert to Leonard Cohen organized by First Aid Kit at the Royal Dramatic Theatre in Stockholm, where Lindell performed the Cohen classic “Chelsea Hotel #2”.

Jesper Lindell’s enticing debut album Everyday Dreams (out November 29th via Alive Naturalsound Records) is a clever mixture of rock, folk, blues and soul, performed by a 26 year old musician in love with classic pop, Stax-Volt R&B, and that old time rock & roll. The album finds the young guitarist/pianist/songwriter delivering an intimate collections of songs that could have been recorded in the late sixties. This is modern classic rock music, and hearts full of soul will fall in love.

“Stormy Waters”, one of the main singles on the new album. The song is a groovy nugget of throwback soulful rock and roll. Lindell showcases a voice that is completely original and well-suited to lead a band. Speaking of band, his conjures a subtle yet powerful sound, letting the music ebb and flow around the singer’s emotive vocals and the catchy choruses and harmonies. With its stomping piano and revelatory lyrics that feel like Lindell conquering life’s challenges,

Lindell shares his own story behind the song:

“When I wrote ‘Stormy Waters’ I was signed to one of the larger record labels in Sweden. I had just been to a meeting with the label and had played some of my demos, and the head of the company didn’t like any of them. And I remember feeling like a shipwreck when I got home. And that’s when I wrote ‘Stormy Waters.’ Though the song is not about that meeting. It’s about that feeling. And holding onto something that’s dragging you down. The songs I played for him turned out to be my debut album Everyday Dreams.”

Taken from the album “Everyday Dreams”