Tag: Stockholm Sweden

Stockholm-based psych act Phogg released their full-length debut Slices to critical praise across Scandinavia and elsewhere — with critics comparing their sound to the likes of to Ariel Pink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Building upon a growing profile, the band released their highly-anticipated sophomore album Mofeto: Mashine Adamkosh, an album about “robots that take over the world,” in 2019.

If you were alive and coherent, last year may have been among the most difficult you’ve experienced in recent memory — and much like everyone else, 2020 was difficult for the members of the acclaimed Stockholm psych rock act: Riding high from the critical reception of their sophomore album, the band began the ambitious challenge of workin on two different albums simultaneously with the goal of working on each in parallel — and then releasing them at the same time. Attempting to record two albums at the same time wound up being a terrible decision, with the band experiencing extreme burn-out and fatigue.

During that period, the members of the band went through a deep existential crisis, which resulted in the band having deep-seated philosophical questions. “What does it really mean to be a rock band these days? Does anything matter?” The band writes in a statement. “The legendary days of rock have faded into the ruthless fart of the pandemic era. It’s not fun to make songs about the end times when you are in the middle of it.”

Phogg’s third album, The Sharkness is slated for an April 16, 2021 release through Ouyee Bayou Records, and the album’s material is influenced by the harrowing events and emotions of the pandemic, the band’s existential crises and heartbreak — most of the band’s members have had long-term relationships split up during the same time, as well.

Last year, I wrote about “Corme (Rental Palace),” a meditative instrumental jam with surf rock accents, centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric and twinkling key and a propulsive rhythm section before turning into a breakneck gallop around the song’s second half. While being one of the few instrumental tracks in their growing catalog, it may be among the most brooding yet heartfelt. The Sharkness‘ fourth and latest single, album title track “Sharkness” is a trippy and deceptively upbeat song featuring looping and shimmering synth arpeggios, a propulsive, motorik-like groove and a guest spot from vocalist Indrielle, who contributes her ethereal vocals.

But as the band explains in press notes, the overall vibe of the song is much darker: “’Sharkness’, the title track of our new album, came to be while recording the album. ‘Sharkness’ means to hold a kind of self-destructive self-preservation drive. To navigate through difficulties and hardships. To push down instincts of worries and prance forward in life. This is to hold Sharkness.”

New Video: Stockholm’s The Connecting Dots Release a Brooding and Cinematic Take on Dream Pop

With the release of their full-length debut Oblivious Beat earlier this month, the emerging and mysterious Stockholm-based dream pop duo The Connecting Dots firmly established a cinematic and hook-driven sound featuring atmospheric synths, shimmering guitars. The album’s latest single “No Rules,” is centered around glistening synth arpeggios, shimmering guitars, achingly tender vocals and an infectious hook. The brooding and uneasily creepy song may remind some readers of JOVM mainstays Still Corners and David Lynch.

The recently released video for “No Rules” is a fittingly surreal and noir-ish fever dream featuring split screens of the duo playing their instruments, gorgeous natural landmarks, dilapidated industrial factories, hypermodern cities and the like flashing before the viewer’s eyes.

New Audio: Spelljammer Releases a Bruising New Single

Stockholm-based doom metal/stoner rock act Spelljammer — currently, Niklas Olsson (vocals, bass), Robert Sorling (guitar) and Jonatan Remsbo (drums) have crafted a unique sound centered around a long-held penchant for massive, sludgy power chord riff-driven dirges with dramatic interludes.

The Swedish doom metal act’s third album, 2015’s Ancient of Days was in many ways a rebirth of sorts for the band: it was their first recorded output as at trio — and sonically, the album was a decided move towards a heavier, doom metal-leaning sound. Lyrically, the album was inspired by Swedish author and Nobel laureate Harry Martinson’s epic poem “Aniara,” in which a spaceship leaving an uninhabitable Earth is hurtled off course, sending its thousands of passengers on a steady course in the wrong direction — and there’s nothing they can do about it. The poem ends with the spaceship’s passengers dying as the ship continues on its journey through the vast nothingness of the solar system.

Spelljammer’s fourth album is the first batch of new material from the acclaimed Stockholm-based act in over five years, and the album reportedly finds the band bridging their earlier desert rock/stoner rock leanings with their recent, massive, slow-burning sludgy riffs. Continuing Olsson’s long-held obsession with the vastness of everything, Abyssal Trip derives its name from the perpetually dark, cold, oxygen-free zone at the bottom of the ocean. Interestingly, the album’s six songs embody that bleak and dark realm with rumbling and oozing guitars and dramatic melodic interludes. But unlike the band’s previously released material, the album finds the band crafting material that slowly unfurls, which gives the album a hypnotic quality.

The album’s six songs manage to embody that bleak and dark realm with rumbling and oozing guitars and dramatic melodic interludes. But unlike its predecessors, the album finds the band crafting material that slowly unfurls, which gives the proceedings a hypnotic quality. “The lyrical themes we address, like the ultimate doom of man, and the search and longing for new and better worlds, are still there,” Olsson says. “The concept of something undiscovered out there in vast emptiness is pretty much always present.” Additionally, the band employed a much different recording process: the trio opted to capture the performances live while holed up in a house in the countryside, just outside of Stockholm. “The songs benefitted from the relaxed environment of being away from everything,” Olsson explains.

The album’s first single, the expansive “Lake” was seven-and-a-half minutes of alternating sections of crushing and sludgy doom-laden dirge and menacing, galloping trash paired with a shimmering and gorgeous melodic break, and a scorching guitar solo, centered around enormous mosh pit friendly hooks. The song manages to evoke the vastness and power of a brewing storm over an enormous body of water — and the smallness and powerlessness of humanity.

Beginning with some ominous film dialogue discussing blood sacrifices, album title track and latest single “Abyssal Trip” is an unrelenting bruiser of a song, centered around rumbling down-tuned guitars, thunderous drumming and howled vocals. There’s a brief respite from that punishing dynamic through a scorching lead solo before the song ends with an abrupt jerk. The song evokes the vast and unfathomable power of nature — and its ability to crush everything and everything in its path. And as a result, the song seems like a desperate howl into the indifferent and uncaring void.

Abyssal Trip is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through RidingEasy Records.

New Audio: Stockholm’s Spelljammer Releases a Brooding and Forceful Ripper

Stockholm-based doom metal/stoner rock act Spelljammer — currently, Niklas Olsson (vocals, bass), Robert Sorling (guitar) and Jonatan Remsbo (drums) have crafted a unique sound centered around a long-held penchant for massive, sludgy power chord riff-driven dirges with dramatic interludes.

2015’s Ancient of Days was the Stockholm-based act’s third release — and in many ways it was a rebirth of sorts: it was the band’s first recorded output as a trio and sonically the album represented a decided move towards a heavier, doom metal-leaning sound. Lyrically, the album was inspired by Swedish author and Nobel laureate Harry Martinson’s epic poem “Aniara,” in which a spaceship leaving an uninhabitable Earth is hurtled off course, sending its thousands of passengers on a steady course in the wrong direction — and there’s nothing they can do about it. The poem ends with the spaceship’s passengers dying as the ship continues on its journey through the vast nothingness of the solar system.

Spelljammer’s fourth release, Abyssal Trip is the first bit of new material from the acclaimed Swedish act in over five years, and the album reportedly finds the band bridging their earlier desert rock/stoner rock leanings with their more recent massive, slow-burning sludgy riffs. And while continuing Olsson’s long-held obsession with pondering the vastness of everything, Abyssal Trip derives its name from the perpetually dark, cold, oxygen-free zone at the bottom of the ocean. The album’s six songs manage to embody that bleak and dark realm with rumbling and oozing guitars and dramatic melodic interludes. But unlike its predecessors, the album finds the band crafting material that slowly unfurls, which gives the proceedings a hypnotic quality.

“The lyrical themes we address, like the ultimate doom of man, and the search and longing for new and better worlds, are still there,” Olsson says. “The concept of something undiscovered out there in vast emptiness is pretty much always present.”

Clocking in at a little under 7:30, “Lake,” Abyssal Trip’s expansive first single is centered around alternating sections of crushing, sludgy doom-laden dirge and menacing galloping thrash, a gorgeously shimmering, melodic break and a scorching guitar solo — and it’s all held together by mosh pit friendly hooks. “Lake” manages to find Spelljammer crafting a song that evokes the vastness and and power of a brewing storm over an enormous body of water — and the smallness and powerlessness of humanity.

Abyssal Trip is slated for a February 26, 2021 release through RidingE

New Audio: Stockholm’s DOMKRAFT’s Scorching Live Version of “The Rift” Off Soon-to-Be Released Live Album

DOMKRAFT is a Stockholm-based doom metal trio that can trace their origins to when its members met and bonded over a mutual love of Spacemen 3, Monster Magnet, Sleep and Hawkwind. Drawing from those influences, the trio have crafted a sound and songwriting approach that blends towering dirges, mind-bending psychedelia and trance-inducing minimalism, embodied by the act’s first two albums, released by Magnetic Eye Records — 2016’s full-length debut, The End of Electricity and 2018’s sophomore effort, Flood.

With the release of 2018’s full-length debut Slices, the Stockholm-based psych act Phogg quickly established a buzz-worthy sound that critics across Scandinavia and elsewhere compared to Ariel Pink and Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Building upon a growing profile, last year’s sophomore album Mofeto: Mashine Adamkosh, an album about “robots that take over the world,” featured two attention grabbing singles:

  • Three Shirts:” a motorik-groove driven single that to my ears brings TOY‘s Join the Dots and Primal Scream‘s Evil Heat to mind.
  • Pearls:” an expansive and lysergic track that’s one part explosive psych rock freak out ripper and one part melodic and jangling guitar pop held together by a sinuous and propulsive groove.

Much like everyone else, 2020 has been a difficult year for the members of Phogg. Riding high from the critical reception of their sophomore album, the band began the ambitious challenge of working on two different albums simultaneously with the goal of working on each album in parallel — and then releasing them at the same time. But as the old saying goes: “The best laid plans of mice and men go awry.” Recording two different albums at the same time, wound up being a terrible decision with the band experiencing burn out and fatigue. And for a period of time, the band sort of floated around with no direction and no goal, waiting until their creative instincts returned.

During that the period, the band had deep-seated philosophical questions that tied into their own creative process. What does it really mean to be a rock band these days? Does anything even matter? The legendary days of rock have faded into the ruthless fart of the pandemic era. It’s not fun to make songs about the end times when you are in the middle of it.”

Phogg’s forthcoming third album The Sharkness is informed by and influenced by the harrowing events and emotions of the pandemic, an existential crisis and a recent heartbreak. The Sharkness‘ latest single “Corme (Rental Palace)” is a brooding yet meditative instrumental jam centered around shimmering guitars, atmospheric and twinkling keys, a propulsive rhythm section before turning into a gallop towards the song’s last half. Some dexterous guitar work darts in and out of the song’s propulsive rhythm, giving the song a subtle surf rock air. Interestingly, the track may be among the most brooding yet heartfelt tracks of their growing catalog.



Victor Jansåker is an emerging Stockholm-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist and producer, who writes, records and performs under the moniker Alec Baker. With a background in jazz and a deep and abiding love of hip-hop and pop, Jansåker cites Chet Baker, Tirzah and Chance the Rapper as influences on his sound and approach.

Jansåker spent the past couple of years traveling between Stockholm, London and New York, writing and recording material in bedrooms and studios. And as a result, the material on Jansåker’s full-length Alec Baker debut will evoke a much different, seemingly more careful time in which artists, creatives and everyone else could freely travel from place to place, absorbing the musical and cultural influences they came across during their travels. While circumstances have forced everyone to change, the emerging Swedish artist’s desire to connect and collaborate have remained a large part of his mission.

The emerging Stockholm-based artist’s latest single “Say What’s On Your Mind:” is a breezy pop confection, centered around thumping beats, finger snaps, twinkling synth arpeggios, shimmering and reverb-drenched guitars, Jansåker’s plaintive vocals, vocodered baking vocals and an infectious hook. Sonically, the song may bring Stockholm-based JOVM mainstay Summer Heart to mind; but just underneath its exuberance and playfulness, the song features melancholic lyrics that focus on the confusion and heartache of a relationship in an uncertain flux. And as a result, the song has an ironic yet deeply emotional punch if you’ve been in the sort of situation the song describes.

According to Jansåker, the song “is a result of accidents leading us in new directions, and a bit different from my previous releases. It’s an uptempo hopeful song that I had so much fun creating so I wish it can bring some thoughtfulness and joy to the listener.”

The Bland is a rising Swedish indie pop/folk act that can trace its origins back to when its five members met serendipitously while traveling through New Zealand as teenagers. Feeling an instant musical simpatico, the members of the band promised to keep in touch and reunite when they returned home. Upon their return to Sweden, the band’s frontman Axel Öberg rented a big house, so that the members of the band could live and work together. That living space had an ad-hoc rehearsal space — the basement.

Although they didn’t initially have big career plans, they wrote a number of songs, which they returned in their home studio, Röda Paradise, a red wooden hut in Southern Stockholm — and for money, they tagged along with a friend’s band, selling milkshakes at music festivals. In between sets they played music to entertain themselves. But little did they know, their folk pop sound caught the attention of a small, local production company, a company that managed to run one of their homeland’s music festivals.

With the release of last year’s Beautiful Distance, the members of the Swedish folk pop project started to built up a growing international profile with captivating and critically applauded live shows across Scandinavia and Europe that included stops at Hamburg‘s Reeperbahn Festival and others across the international festival circuit. Building upon a profile, the members of The Bland are currently working on their forthcoming album, La Hata Vitoye, a concept album that tells a Romantic tale of an imaginary bar and town by the name of La Hata Vitoye. The band created a detailed historical background for the town that goes back to the 1300s, then created characters and situations and wrote detailed stories, which they then wrote accompanying music to them.

The album’s concept story begins at La Hata Vitoye, a tiny bar, located by the coast. As the band explains, the bar and its town, is the sort of place where caravans and traveling entertainers take refuge after long periods of touring and traveling. It’s the sort of place that returning travelings tell stories about — stories that seem way too good to exist in real life. But every character within this world brings something new to the story. As the world begins to hear more about the town, it starts to grow — and dramatic events occur to develop the town’s destiny. The album’s latest single, album title track “La Hata Vitoye” is an exuberant, breezy and mischievous track that draws equally from Tropicalia, Afro pop and Latin music, centered around a euphoric hook. While sonically recalling a deliriously upbeat Graceland-era Paul Simon, that exuberance is actually a bit deceptive in light of the pandemic. In many ways, the song evokes the chance encounters, the late nights in some sweaty and dark club, dancing to a band or a DJ that has the room rocking, the friends and regulars you’d encounter at your bar, your favorite club or what have you and so on.

.“When we were on tour in Germany last February, we heard about the first Corona cases,” The Bland’s frontman Axel Öberg explains. “Over the next few months, as a practicing doctor in Sweden, I saw how social isolation harmed people. With ‘La Hata Vitoye’ we want to try to look at life differently again, to come together and share a positive attitude towards life. This place called La Hata Vitoye, which we are talking about, will become a real actual place at our own festivals next summer. And we can’t wait to meet as many as possible there. If the situation permits.”

Marble Mammoth · Have The Sun Lick Your Mind

Led by Tobias Bergholm (singer and guitarist), the Stockholm-based indie rock act Marble Mammoth features members who have played in acts like The Unisex and have collaborated with the likes of MC5s Mike Davis and The Hellacopters‘ and Imperial State Electric’s Nicke Anderson. With the release of 2017’s self-tiled, debut EP and a handful of singles including “Wrecked Ship,” “Glitter Amongst Gravel” and others, the Swedish quartet received attention nationally and internationally for crafting a sound that draws from riff driven classic rock and melodic psych rock.

Released earlier this month through Klorofyll Records, Marble Mammoth’s latest single “Have the Sun Lick Your Mind” is centered around an arrangement of twinkling keys, a bluesy and shimmering guitar line, a soaring hook and a propulsive rhythm section. Continuing a run of Brit Pop-tinged psych rock, “Have the Sun Lick Your Mind” may be the most expansive and ambitious songs they’ve released in their growing catalog — but at its core, the song is decidedly upbeat. “Have the Sun Lick Your Mind’ is about healing, abotu starting over and about feeling hope for the future, even thought it might look dark at the moment,” the band’s Tobias Bergholm explains.

 

 

 

New Video: Acclaimed Swedish Folk Duo First Aid Kit Tackle a Beloved Willie Nelson Classic

Acclaimed Stockholm-based sibling folk duo First Aid Kit — Klara and Johanna Söderberg   can trace the origins of their career to growing up in a rather creative household — their father was a member of the Swedish pop rock act Lolita Pop and their mother taught cinematography. As children the Söderberg Sisters loved performing, often giving concerts using a jump rope as a pretend microphone. Klara wrote her fist song when she was six. 

When Klara was 12, a friend introduced there to Bright Eyes and it led her to Johnny Cash, Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, The Carter Family, The Louvin Brothers, Townes Van Zandt, Gram Parsons and Emmylou Harris. That same year, she received a guitar as a Christmas present and quickly learned to play it.

Johanna Söderberg grew up listening to a wide range of music including Britney Spears and German techno; however, watching O Brother, Where Art Thou and listening to the film’s soundtrack changed her life: both the film and the soundtrack inspired her to sing “Down in the River to Pray” with her sister. Fascinated and impressed by how they sounded together, they started to get more serious, eventually busking in the Stockholm metro and in front of liquor stores. 

As the story goes, Klara came up with the band name when she was 13. She was looking through a dictionary and found the term “first aid kit,” and thought it best descried what she wanted her music to be. As they were getting more serious about being a band, the Söderberg Sisters began writing their own original material inspired by Devendra Banhart, CocoRosie and others. 

In 2008, they began to receive attention across the blogosphere for their cover of Fleet Foxes’ “Tiger Mountain Peasant Song.” And since 2008, the Söderberg Sisters have managed to receive international acclaim — they’ve been nominated for two Brit Awards for Best International Group while releasing four critically applauded albums, four EPs which include 2018’s Ruins and Tender Offerings EP, as well as a number of singles and covers. 

Recorded close to a decade ago and unreleased until recently, the acclaimed Swedish duo recorded a straightforward yet gorgeous cover of Willie Nelson’s beloved 
“On The Road Again.” And while marking the first bit of material from the duo since the release of the aforementioned Ruins and Tender Offerings, their latest single adds to a growing list of covers. But more important, proceeds from the single will be donated to Crew Nation, a charitable fund created by Live Nation to help those working backstage, who have lost work this year as a result of pandemic-related lockdowns and quarantines. Of course, interestingly enough, because of the lockdowns and quarantines, Nelson’s classic feels more relevant and hits much deeper and differently than ever before. I’m longing for live shows, travel and adventures; of the new friends I’d meet; of the new food I’d have; the new things I’d see and know.

As we speak, I think of being with some newfound friends in Montreal and how we passed along a bottle of beer while we were walking from dinner to a showcase; of an older woman crowd surfing during Corridor’s set at Le National; of chatting with a group of incredibly Midwestern women in between sets at The Wood Brothers and Nicki Bluhm at The Vic Theatre; of randomly running into a new festival friend in an airport bar and cheering to our safe travels home; and of so many more things I can’t do and miss so much. The video adds to that dull and constant ache I feel lately — but while capturing the Söderberg Sisters (who are absolutely adorable, by the way), their backing band and crew goofing off on the road, playing in front of enraptured fans and more. 

“We’re excited to release our version of ‘On The Road Again’ by Willie Nelson. We recorded this cover a couple of years ago and recently found it while digging through the archives,” the Söderberg Sisters explain in a statement. “The song is a country classic, it feels like we’ve known it forever. Because of the situation with COVID, sadly, the theme of the song has never felt more relevant than it does today. 

We made a video for the song using cellphone footage from our tours throughout the years. Going through all those videos made us emotional. It made us realize how much we appreciate being able to roam freely around the world. How much we love the feeling of playing live for people, in the flesh. How much we miss our incredible band and crew. 

All the proceeds from the streaming of the song will go to Crew Nation. So much of the magic happens behind the stage. It’s easily taken for granted, but without our touring and venue crew live music wouldn’t be possible. It’s important that we help them out right now. 

Oh, how we wish we could get back on the road again! Hopefully we’ll see you down the road sometime soon.”