Tag: Stockholm Sweden

New Video: Acclaimed Norwegian Singer-Songwriter Ane Brun Releases a Gorgeous and Cinematic New Single

Over the past 15 years, the acclaimed Norwegian-born, Stockholm-based singer/songwriter Ane Brun has released 12 albums of gorgeous and cinematic folk and art pop through her own label Balloon Ranger Recordings that have included 2005’s sophomore album, A Temporary Dive, which led to a Norwegian Grammy Award win for Best Female Artist; 2008’s critically applauded Changing of the Seasons, which was praised by The New York Times; 2015’s When I’m Free, which NPR’s All Things Considered called “best record yet . . . her most sonically ambitious . . .;” and 2017’s Leave Me Breathless, a collection of covers and reinterpretations of hits by Radiohead, Joni Mitchell, Nick Cave, Bob Dylan, and others.

Brun’s forthcoming (and still untitled) full-length album is slated or a fall release through her own label, and the album’s latest single, the self-recorded and edited “Trust” is a hauntingly gorgeous and cinematic track centered around an atmospheric arrangement of strummed acoustic guitar, shimmering synths and Brun’s gorgeously expressive and plaintive vocals. “It’s a song about letting go of all doubt and just letting yourself fall into the hands of fate, and trust that it’s all going to be alright,” Brun explains in press notes. “It was first written as a romantic song, but as we’re in this state of uncertainty around the planet, I feel it has gained more meaning.” 

Before the single’s official release, Brun invited fans from around the world to join in for a pre-listening party and online chat. “Many of the people who participated were alone in their homes or with their cat or dog, a partner or their family. Some were in quarantine because they were infected with the coronavirus or because they work in healthcare,” Brun says. “What we had in common was that we were all affected by this difficult situation, and most of us were isolating from the outside world. We also felt a need to trust and meet other people. It was magical to come together like this.” The recently released video will resonate will many of us, who have been isolated and feeling alone and desperately wanting to be in touch with another person.

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Lyric Video: Stockholm’s I Break Horses Releases a Shimmering and Cinematic New Single

Led by frontwoman Maria Linden and featuring Fredrik Balak, the Stockholm-based indie act I Break Horses have released two critically applauded albums: 2011’s full-length debut Hearts received praise from Pitchfork, The Guardian, NME, The Independent and others for material that possessed luxurious grandeur and 2014’s Chiaroscuro, which found Linden crafting ambitious material with a cool, self-assuredness. Building upon a growing profile, Linden wound up touring with M83 and Sigur Ros– and U2 played “Winter Beats” before their stage entrance during 2018’s Experience + Innocence tour. 

Slated for a May 8, 2020 release through Bella Union, I Break Horses’ long-awaited third album Warnings is reportedly centered around Linden’s desire to take the time to make something different — by crafting material with an emphasis on instrumental, cinematic music. As she watched a collection of her favorite films on her computer with the sound mute, she began to make her own soundtrack sketches, with those sketches gradually evolving into songs. “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.”

Sonically, the album’s material is centered around lush and sumptuous soundscapes — dreamy mellotrons, haunting loops, analog synths and layered lyrics paired together to create an immersive, dramatic tension on multiple 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.”  Interestingly, the album’s creative process involved several different dramas on its own right: “It has been some time in the making. About six 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…” Linden says in press notes.

Warnings also finds Linden collaborating with producer and mixing engineer Chris Coady, who has worked with the likes of Beach House and TV on the Radio. But his experience and expertise with dense and cinematic sound wasn’t the only reason Linden recruited 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.”

Adds Linden, “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!”

“Neon Lights,” Warnings’  third and latest single is a lush and cinematic track centered around shimmering synth arpeggios, a motorik groove, thumping beats, a rousingly anthemic hook and Linden’s plaintive and expressive vocals. And while recalling Trans Europe Express-era Kraftwerk and the Stranger Things soundtrack, the song has a much-needed we’re-in-this-together air. The track as Linden explains is “anthem for all of us who have ever felt like we didn’t fit in. It is trying to give a glimpse of hope to all outsiders who feel like they can’t find their way and to show the world that being a ‘misfit’ is a beautiful thing, not something to be pushed aside.”

Over the past couple of years of this site’s nearly 10 year history, I’ve managed to spill quite a bit of virtual ink covering Stockholm, Sweden-based multi-instrumentalist, electro pop artist, electro pop producer and Labrador Records label head Johan Angergård and his various projects including Djustin, Club 8 and his solo recording project The Legends.

Since the early 00s, Angergård has released six albums, including 2009’s self-titled debut, 2015’s It’s Love and 2017’s Nightshift, which was a decidedly From Here to Eternity/fFrom Here to Eternity . . . And Back-era Giorgio Moroder-like affair.  Along with that, the prolific Stockholm-based multi-instrumentalist, electronic music artist, producer, label held and JOVM mainstay has released a number of critically applauded, blogosphere dominating singles. He’s currently working on his forthcoming seventh full-length The Legends album — but in the meantime, his latest single, “Fascinating” finds the JOVM mainstay collaborating with emerging, Taos, NM-based psych pop duo Tan Cologne, who will be releasing their full-length debut Cave Vaults on the Moon in New Mexico this year through Labrador Records.

Clocking in at 83 seconds, the decidedly lo-fi song is a breezy and infectious track centered around shimmering and swirling layers of guitars, thumping percussion and ethereal vocals that evokes the sensation of diving through warm water — and of being awoken from a surreal, feverish dream.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Stockholm’s SNAKE Releases a Mosh Pit Friendly Anthem

SNAKE is a rising Stockholm-based noise punk trio, featuring old friends Mia Maria Johansson  (guitar, vocals), Madeleine Frankie (synths, Theremin, vocals) and Tess De La Cour (drums). Tracing its origins back to 2014, the band found the longtime friends doing something decidedly different from any of their previously work: completely analog garage punk centered around heavily distorted guitars, trashy drums and filthy old synthesizers that the band says is dark without being overly emo rock and yet raw and hard without being full on hardcore punk. 

A month after their formation, the band landed their first gig — and shortly after that, the band began booking gigs across Sweden, eventually sharing stages with Chinese punk act Fan Zui Xian Fa, Bass Drum of Death and Refused among others. Building upon a growing national profile, the band released their Stefan Brändström-recorded and engineered debut, 2015’s Cradle of Snake, which the band supported with a European tour during October and November of that year.  The following year, the band won the Year’s Rock Award at the 2016 Manifest Awards. 

“Falling,” which continues the band’s ongoing collaboration with Stefan Brändström, and interestingly enough, the track is simultaneously, the first bit of new material from the rising Swedish indie act in four years — and the first single of their sophomore album. which is slated for a fall 2020 release. Clocking in at a little over four minutes, the track sonically — to my ears — finds the band meshing L7, Bikini Kill and 90s Riot Grrl punk with the tense and grimy synth punk of JOVM mainstays Nots and Prettiest Eyes, as the song is centered around distorted power chords, propulsive and steady drumming, howled vocals and a rousing hook. Simply put, the song is a mosh pit friendly anthem that’s deceptively anachronistic: it sounds as though it could have been released in 1993, 2003 — or yesterday. 

Directed by Per Norman, the recently released video is a fittingly 120 Minutes MTV-like visual, in which we see the heavily made up members rocking out and moving in a frenetic fashion — before quickly switching to playing a house party in front of a cool bunch of local Swedes. 

New Video: Rising Swedish-born, Los Angeles-based Pop Artist Winona Oak Releases a Mischievously Twisted Visual for “Control”

Last year, I wrote about the rapidly rising Solleron, Sweden-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist Winona Oak. Oak, who was born Johanna Ekmark has a rather unique backstory: Growing up  on the small, Swedish island known to Swedes as the Island of the Sun, the Solleron-born, Los Angeles-based singer/songwriter and pop artist spent much of her childhood encountering more animals than people. As the story goes, she grew up as a trained horse acrobat and because she grew up in a musical home, she was encouraged to pursue creative endeavors as much as possible: Ekmark began playing violin when she was 5, piano when she was 9, and she wrote poetry and songs at an extremely young age.

Ekmark eventually moved to Stockholm to pursue a career in music, but a leap of faith that had her attend a Neon Gold Records writing retreat in the Nicaraguan jungle led to her meet Australian-born and based hit making producer and pop artist What So Not. And from this serendipitous meeting, she went on to co-write ““Better” and “Stuck In Orbit,” before stepping out into the spotlight as both the writer and featured artist on the Aussie producer and pop artist’s “Beautiful.”

Adding to a busy 2018, Ekmark covered HAIM‘s “Don’t Save Me” for Neon Gold Records’ 10th anniversary compilation, NGX: Ten Years of Neon Gold before closing out that year with a co-write and vocal contribution to The Chainsmokers viral hit “Hope,” a track that has amassed over 250 million streams across all digital platforms globally — including over 100 million streams on Spotify. As a result of such incredibly early success, the Swedish-born, Los Angeles-based pop artist signed to Warner-Chappell Music Publishing and to Neon Gold/Atlantic Records.

Now, as  you may recall, last year, I wrote about the Swedish-born, Los Angeles-based pop artist’s long-awaited debut single, the slickly produced, hook-driven and sultry “He Don’t Love Me,” and the slow-burning and anthemic ballad “Break My Broken Heart.” Both singles managed to further cement Oak/Ekmark’s growing reputation for crating incredibly earnest pop with enormous hooks. Oak ended last year with the release of an  alternate version of her last single of 2019 “Let Me Know.” The “Let Me Know (Johan Lenox Stings Mix) ” reimagines the propulsive, dance floor friendly original by pairing Oak’s vocals with a string arrangement from Johan Lenox, who has worked with Kanye West, Travis Scott and Vic Mensa. 

Building upon that momentum, Oak released her debut EP CLOSURE through Neon Gold/Atlantic Records last week. The EP’s latest single “Control” continues a run of slickly produced synth pop centered around layers of arpeggiated synths, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, an enormous hook and Oak’s achingly plaintive vocals. And while sonically the song recalls Kylie Minogue and others, the song evokes the swooning and fluttering pangs of new love and the uncertainty, insecurity and obsession it can sometimes bring. “‘Control’ is about meeting someone that makes you weak in your knees and never knowing how they actually feel about you,” Winona Oak explains in press notes. “You make risky decisions, act irrationally and tolerate things you normally wouldn’t. You’re feeling nervous, insecure and are constantly afraid that they are gonna leave you. Oh and this is when you learn – the difference between love and obsession.” 

Shot and co-directed by longtime visual collaborator Andreas Öhman and Julian Gillström, the recently released video for “Control” stars Winona Oak as a desperate and hopelessly obsessed woman who stalks the object of her affection, before trying to build a Ken doll-version of him. “For the video, we wanted to target this hopeless feeling with a twisted sense of humor,”  Oak explains in press notes. 

STRØM is a rapidly rising (and somewhat mysterious) Värmdö, Sweden-born, Stockholm-based electronic music artist and producer, who can trace the origins of his music career to experimenting with instruments as a small child, eventually playing in a number of local bands as a teenager. As an adult, the rising Swedish electronic music artist and producer developed a growing interest in production, eventually relocating to Berlin, where he studied music production and sound design.

Interestingly, STRØM’s debut single came about from sheer coincidence: he initially composed a song for a BMW commercial, which he later finished and released as “Mesmerize,” which received praise from a number of outlets, eventually landing at #1 on the Hype Machine charts.

Speaking of coincidences, the rising Swedish electronic music artist and producer’s latest track, the shimmering and downtempo “Last Try” is both the second single he’s ever released and the first official single off his forthcoming full-length debut slated for a February 2020 release through This Is Scandinavia/Sony Music. Centered around a sleek,  propulsive synth arpeggios, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, the Swedish producer and artist’s plaintive and ethereal vocals, subtle blasts of Nile Rodgers-like guitar and an enormous hook, the song manages to evoke an aching longing while being a crowd pleasing, radio friendly banger.

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I’ve written quite a bit about Stockholm, Sweden-based indie electro pop act Club 8 throughout the course of this site’s nine-plus year history. The act, which features Labrador Records label head and incredibly prolific and eclectic producer and electronic music artist Johan Angergård and vocalist Karolina Komstedt has a long-held reputation for being difficult to pigeonhole sonically: With the release of their debut album 1995’s Nouvelle, the duo initially was a Bossa nova-inspired pop act. However, with 1998’s The Friend I Once Had was a decided sonic left turn for the duo. with the material primarily being electro pop and electronic dance music.  The duo’s next three albums, which were released between 2001 and 2003 found them dabbling in old school soul.

2017 began an incredibly prolific and busy period for Angergård: his solo recording and production project The Legends released an album; Djustin, his collaboration with Rose Suau released their full-length debut Voyagers; and Club 8 released their ninth album Lost. Now, some time has passed since I’ve last written about the Stockholm-based JOVM mainstays — but this year has been busy for the acclaimed duo. They released a single earlier this year that landed on Hype Machine‘s Top 5. And following up on the momentum of that single, the duo’s latest track “The Hospital” may arguably be the most industrial/goth-leaning bit of material they’ve released in some time. Centered around thumping, tweeter and woofer rocking beats, layers of shimmering and arpeggiated synths and Komstedt’s breathy and ethereal vocals, the club banging track manages to subtly recall the likes of Depeche Mode and Soft Metals. And while being a dance floor friendly anthem, the song finds the duo at their most contemplative: the song’s narrator is in a hospital bed, acutely aware that the end may be near — but desperately hoping that it isn’t.

 

 

 

With the release of their debut single “Visions of You,” feat. Electric Youth, the up-and-coming Stockholm and Los Angeles-based electronic production and electronic music artist duo ROOM8 — Ezra Reich and Nic Johns — quickly established a reputation for crafting a sound that draws from electro pop, electronic dance music and film soundtracks. Building upon a growing profile, the duo produced, wrote and/or cowrote a series of attention-grabbing singles including Electric Youth‘s “Without You” which was praised by NPR, as well as “No Hard Feelings,” feat. King Deco and “This Place Again,” feat. Polina, which received praise form Neon Gold, Huffington Post, Noisey, Blackbook, Flaunt and elsewhere. “Better Than Music,” a collaboration with acclaimed British electro pop artist Little Boots premiered on Billboard.

Now, as you may recall, this year has been an incredibly busy and productive year for the duo: they produced the score for the forthcoming motion picture Cuck and their latest album Transduction is slated for an October 11, 2019 release. Earlier this year, I wrote about the atmospheric and slow-burning “Only You.” Transduction‘s latest single is the shimmering and nostalgic “Jasmine Nights.” Centered around pulsating mini-moog basslines, shimmering synths and Jesika Miller’s delicate vocals and a soaring hook, the uptempo song manages to be cinematic while nodding at Stevie Nicks’Stand Back” — but at its core is an expression of devotion to a loved one in there time of need.

“‘Jasmine Night,’ was written at a time when a family member was battling a serious illness. Sometimes in Los Angeles, while you sit out at night, there is an incredible scent of jasmine that drifts through the air and canyons,” the duo explains.

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: Up-and-Coming Swedish-born Singer Songwriter BERG Releases Haunting Visuals for Shimmering and Brooding “What If”

Born in Stockholm to a Swedish father and American mother, the London-based Swedish-American singer/songwriterAlexandra Berglöf, a.k.a BERG grew up on a houseboat on the Swedish island of Djurgården. When Berglöf turned five, she began intensive piano lessons under the strict supervision of a Romanian concert pianist. And by the time she was 13, Berglöf was performing all over Stockholm. While studying to join a piano conservatory, she was simultaneously scouted by pop producers for her vocals; however, after a family tragedy, Berglöf left Sweden and music behind for some time. 

As an adult,. Berglöf relocated to London, where she used music as both a form of escape and as a coping mechanism. She also met her producer and collaborator The Horrors’ Faris Badwan. And with Badwan’s help Berglöf began to explore the disguises and facades we wear and the various sides of ourselves that we die from ourselves and others. Starting off as internal dialogue, BERG’s lyrics are rooted in honest moments of self-reflection. Through her music she hopes to create a world and soundscape that invites listeners to unlock and face the stories that they’ve buried. 

Berglöf’s BERG debut album Fake Love was released earlier this year, and the album pairs Padwans’ ethereal and dream-like production with Berglöf’s gorgeous vocals. Thematically the album’s material explores our international conversations and the constant battles and crises we have within ourselves. “I tend to only show my light to others. I hide my flaws, mistakes and falls, then beat myself up about it,” Berglöf says in press notes. “Maybe by exposing some of those truths, I can stop others from feeling so alone in their darkness.”

Interestingly, “What If,” BERG’s debut single and the album’s first is a sparsely arranged  , Mazzy Star-like track centered around shimmering guitars, gently padded drums and Berglöf’s gorgeous and ethereal vocals. But at the core of the song is a sense of regret over missed chances from cowardice, stupidity, self-doubt and bad timing — including unspoken love. And in some way the song asks the listener an important question: what if you weren’t bound by fear and could reveal how you really feel, would you be where you are right now? How would your life be different?  

Directed by Connor Carver-Carter, the recently released video follows a couple frozen in time at various points in their history together with each particular scene referencing a painting. Each person within the relationship are suffering through an internal struggle, which impacts themselves and their relationships — and throughout you can see the unease, uncertainty and despair as seen through their lack of contact and communication.