Tag: Stockholm

Comprised of Phenomenal Handclap Band‘s Daniel Collas (keyboards, production) and Morgen Phalen (vocals guitar) and members of Stockholm, Sweden-based bands Dungen and The Amazing, indie psych pop act Drakkar Nowhere can trace their origins to when Collas and Phalen had been making music in the kitchen of a rented apartment in Stockholm. And in a relatively short period of time, Collas and Phalen’s kitchen-based music project caught the attention of the members of Dragen and The Amazing, who then joined the project to flesh out its sound, a sound that’s largely influenced by cosmic jazz, soul, jazz fusion, prog rock and psych pop among others — while being influenced by their direct surroundings, including the forests that surround the Bagarmossen and Midsommarkransen neighborhoods of Stockholm.

“How Could That Be Why?,” is the first single off the band’s forthcoming self-titled effort slated for a September 23, 2016 release through Beyond Beyond Is Beyond Records — and the shuffling and trippy single has the band pairing twisting and turning synths and keyboards, a sinuous bass line, an infectious sense of melody  to craft a song that sounds as though it could have been released in 1973. And in some way, the song naturally reminds me a bit of Collas and Phalen’s work with Phenomenal Handclap Band as well as Shawn Lee‘s collaborations with AM and Tim “Love” Lee with a subtle nod to Afrobeat — but with a subtle, cosmic glow at its core.








New Video: The Symbolistic Visuals for Mountain Bird’s “Hearts To Gold”

Öhman’s latest single “Hearts to Gold” is as he explains in press notes “a tale of celebration. Shining positive light on creators, the over-thinkers, anyone who has ever been a part of a sub-culture anyone who dealt with the anxiety of society’s expectations.” Sonically speaking Öhman pairs layers of shimmering synths, swirling electronics, boom bap beats and wobbling low end in an ethereal, dreamy yet anthemic song that possess an encouraging and hopeful message to struggling creatives everywhere, and it should push those folks forward when times seem particularly difficult.

The recently released music video is an extremely symbolistic video that begins by following a lone, black leather clad motorcyclist speeding along lonely country roads before stopping in the woods to have a fight for the death against what appears to behis/her doppleganger — or more loathsome and dangerous enemy, suggesting the intense struggles creative people often have with themselves and with outside forces as they attempt to create.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months you might recall a post on  Stockholm, Sweden-based pop quartet Red Sleeping Beauty. Comprised of of Kristina Borg (vocalist), Niklas Angergård (guitar, vocals) of Acid House Kings, Mikael Matsson (guitar), of The Shermans and Carl–Johan Näsström (bass), the quartet originally formed in 1989 and with the release of two full-length albums Bedroom and Soundtrack, a number of EPs and singles, the Swedish pop quartet received both national and international attention before the quartet quickly split up.

After several years of in other creative and professional pursuits, the Swedish indie pop quartet reunited to record a cover of Alpaca Sports song “Just For Fun” and “Merry Christmas, Marie,” a holiday-themed track, which caught the attention of fans and critics, who had desperately awaiting both a reunion and new material from the act. Continuing upon the buzz that they received, the Stockholm-based quartet followed that up with the release of the “Always” 7 inch, a set at Madrid Pop Fest and the release of “Mi Amor,” the first song the band recorded with a chorus completely sung in Spanish. Adding to the growing attention the band has received, their first full-length effort in over 19 years, Kristina is slated for release next week.

Kristina‘s first single “If You Want Affection” had the members of the band pairing a driving motorik groove with shimmering cascades of synths and an infectious hook with Angergård’s chilly yet plaintive vocals to craft a song that sounds as though it pulsates with an urgent need, while sonically the song sounds as though it channels 80s dance floor-friendly synth pop — in particular, I think of Depeche Mode‘s “People Are People”  and “Just Can’t Get Enough” among others –but with a slick, modern polish. Interestingly, the album’s second and latest single “Cheryl, Cheryl, Bye” is a slow-burning , atmospheric and contemplative song in which the band pairs layers of bass synth and shimmering keys with plaintive and aching vocals; of course, that shouldn’t be surprising as the song is one part bitter farewell and one acceptance of a truth that the narrator doesn’t want to completely accept. After all, life pushes us forward no matter how much we want to deny it. In some way, sonically the song sounds as though it draws equally from Roxy Music — think of “Avalon” and “More Than This” in particular — as it does from Pet Shop Boys.

Next year will mark the 20th anniversary of Afrobeat godfather and pioneer Fela Kuti‘s tragic and untimely death from AIDS, and in that time Kuti’s influence has managed to loom rather largely over contemporary music from Africa and elsewhere as countless bands have expanded upon the sound and aesthetic that the influential and controversial Nigerian created. And I suspect that if Kuti were alive today, the 78 year old would likely be amazed at the diverse nationalities and ethnicities, who have adopted his sound, aesthetic and message to their own particular situations, while picking up on the larger, global context that Kuti always managed to write about. But if there’s one thing I’m certain that Fela would never have imagined actually existing it would be this — Swedish Afrobeat.

Comprised of Frida Eleonore Winlöf (trumpet),  Christopher Ali Thorén (tenor sax), Jonas ‘Finland’ Rönnqvist (alto sax), Fredrik Brändström (keys), Jesper Lundquist (guitar), Tobias Alpadie (guitar), Vilhelm Bromander (bass), Wille Alin (drums), Celso Paco (congas and vocals), Jon Olofsson (percussion), and Mattias Hidemo (claves, fiddle), the twelve-member Stockholm, Sweden-based collective Music is the Weapon may arguably be Sweden’s best (and seemingly only) Afrobeat outfit. Although Sweden isn’t particularly known for a funk scene, as the band’s co-founder Christopher Ali Thorén explains in press notes “We’re not fighting the same fight in Sweden as Fela did in Nigeria, of course, but I feel that in some way it’s political to play this kind of music in clubs here. We give people the experience of big live band playing raw funk. For me it’s an act of resistance all its own.” Of course, as Thorén and   the rest of the band have also discovered, their fellow countrymen are starving for Kuti’s particular brand of funk.

The Stockholm-based collective’s latest full-length effort Sweet Choral Motion was released through Fashionpolice Records and from the album’s opening track “Black Hole,” the Swedish collective reveals an inventive take on Fela’s signature sound as the composition employs the use of complex polyrhythm that sounds as though it owes a debt to the Caribbean, enormous horns and an equally complex song structure that would make the legendary Nigerian godfather of the genre proud while gently expanding what contemporary Afrobeat can sound like, as the Swedish act’s sound also seems to employ elements of hip-hop and cosmic funk to the mix.




New Video: Sky Ferreira and Primal Scream Team Up for the Shimmering, Dance Floor-Ready Single “Where The Light Gets In”

http://cache.vevo.com/assets/html/embed.html?video=GBBGB1500163&autoplay=0 Currently comprised of Bobby Gillespie (vocals), Andrew Innes (guitar), Martin Duffy (keys), Simone Butler (bass), Darrin Mooney (drums) and Barrie Cadogan (guitar), the Glasgow, Scotland-based quintet Primal Scream can trace their origins back to […]


Comprised of Björn Rudling (drums), Carl Vikberg (vocals, guitar), Johan Melander (guitar and keys) and Viktor Åström (bass), the Stockholm, Sweden-based indie rock quartet Chirping have quickly received international attention across the European Union; in fact, their previously released singles have received airplay on Steve Lamacq‘s BBC Radio 6 show, Tom Robinson’s Fresh On The Net, Gary Crowley‘s BBC London show and Frank Skinner’s Absolute Radio show.  Of course, with the forthcoming release of their EP Dancing With The Stars, slated for a March 4 release, the Stockholm-based quartet hope to expand their international profile. And with the release of the EP’s anthemic first single “Heist,” I suspect that the blogosphere will be hearing quite a bit about them over the next few months.

As for the single, you’ll hear Vikberg’s rich baritone, which to my ears bears an uncanny resemblance to Echo and the Bunnymen‘s young Ian McCulloch paired with a driving and propulsive rhythm section, angular guitar chords and an infectiously anthemic hook. Sonically, the song sounds as though it draws from the aforementioned Bunnymen, U2, Arctic Monkeys and others — but with a much-needed, warm, summery blast that evokes  swooning, passionate, urgent and confusing summer flings.




Forming back in 2003, Stockholm, Sweden-based electro pop act Baron Bane have developed an international for a sound that explores the contrasts between cold and warmth; digital and analog; acoustic sounds and electronic sounds; and for a live show that employs the use of visual displays based around their sound. The Swedish act’s sophomore effort LPTO was released to critical praise from several major media outlets, including Uncut Magazine, who had compared the act to ABBA and Morrissey and adding to a growing international profile, LPTO album singles “Orchids,” and “Love.Cure.All” received airplay  on British radio and interestingly enough, “Love.Cure.All” was also named as a Single of the Week iTunes Japan. Additionally, “My Show World” appeared on an episode of MTV’s Awkward.

The Swedish electro pop’s act’s forthcoming third album III is slated for release in early 2016, and the album’s first two singles “By The Waves” and “Fire Play” have received international attention — “By The Waves” was praised by the Berlin, Germany-based Scandinavian music blog, Nordic by NaturePopMatters and A Heart Is A Spade. And if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past year, I wrote about “Fire Play,” a chilly and tense song comprised of layers of cascading synths and propulsive, forceful beat paired with a gorgeous pop-orientated melody that belies the dark, subtly seductive nature of the song.

III’s latest single “Hail To The Night” is a slow-burning single comprised of atmospheric synths and precise metronomic drum programming paired with Ida Long’s dreamy, unhurried vocals that evokes a chilly winter breeze blowing on your face and snow falling into your hair. And interestingly enough, the song manages to celebrate the winter solstice — the longest night of the year while cementing their reputation for crafting chilly electro pop that manages to be both brooding and yet ethereal.






Most Americans would be familiar with Stockholm, Sweden‘s capital and largest city; however, over the last decade or so, Umea, Sweden’s third (and most Northern) and Malmo, Sweden’s twelfth (and most Southern)  that have emerged with reputations for being some of Scandinavia’s most exciting creative hotbeds as an increasing number of artists and bands from Umea and Malmo have started to receive international recognition. Some of those acts have been profiled here — including the Malmo, Sweden-based lo-fi rock quintet YAST.

Now if you’ve been frequenting this site over the past couple of months, you might recall that I’ve written about the Southern Swedish quintet before. The band can trace its origins to when its founding members Carl Kolbaek-Jensen, Tobias Widman and Marcus Norberg met in the steel town Sandviken in 2007 and started writing and playing music  as a way to escape a dreary life in even drearier environs. By the following year, Jensen, Widman and Norberg relocated to Malmo which has developed a reputation for a growing dream pop and indie rock scene. Some time later, Markus Johansson and Niklas Wennerstrand, who were both members of Aerial were recruited to flesh out the band’s sound.

With the release of their self-titled debut released in 2013, the Swedish quintet started to receive attention both in their native Sweden and internationally, and as a result they’ve opened for renowned psych rock acts including TOYThe DrumsTame ImpalaDIIV,  and they’ve made appearances at several large festivals, along with a UK tour, which suggests that the band’s international profile is growing — and rapidly.

The band’s sophomore album, My Dreams Did Finally Come True was released earlier this year through Adrian Recordings to international attention with the release of the album’s first two singles — in particular, “Together Forever,” a shimmering guitar-based pop song that managed to channel  120 Minutes era alternative rock. Building on the buzz they’ve received from their first two singles, My Dreams Did Finally Come True‘s third single “I Don’t Think She Knows” and its B-side “My Dreams” will further cement the band’s reputation for shimmering and slow-burning shoegaze-leaning guitar pop with anthemic hooks and an earnest, aching heart at its core — all while being remarkably buoyant and ebullient.