25 January 2008
Basically, Sweden is for hustlahs.
I've been thinking this for some time now, so I can now say I'm 100 percent ready to say what I'm about to say: Sweden rules, particularly Gothenburg. In the past three years alone, the damn country has trumped 'em all as the new home of not good, but GREAT independent rock. I even had this conversation with my homebody Whitney as we both pondered if there was ever a band we disliked from Sweden. Couldn't come up with one. Well, I'm not a huge fan of super twee as fuck pop group I'm From Barcelona!, but I don't dislike them, nonetheless.
I really would like to do a project on the music scene there. Any country that allows a huge artistic following, especially music, is fantastic.
Here are some of the artists I adore:
Boy, oh boy. Dungen, which is basically Gustav Ejstes doing all the instrumentation for the studio album but has a traveling band for tours, is the band that sparked my interest in the Swedish music scene. His second LP, Ta Det Lungt, which translates to "Take It Easy," transported me back to 1971 when psychedelia was pretty much dead but was turned into jam rock before jam rock got too hippie and repetitive. Anyway, I was super obsessed with Ta Det Lungt and deemed it a Top 3 fave album of 2005. To be honest, I've only heard a few tracks off his new album he put out late last year, but from what I've heard, it's pretty magnificent. I mean, it's Dungen. How can it be anything else?
When I bought José Gonzalez's debut full length, Veneer, I was utterly amazed that music the he was putting out was actually from the 00s. When I listened to his soft, solemn vocals along with his basic acoustic chords, I immediately thought Nick Drake--not necessarily comparing Gonzalez with the late innovative slowcore folk musician, but the fact that his music put me in the same place that Drake's music does. Although The Knife's "Heartbeats" lyrically was a serious song, musically you overlooked them because you were too busy dancing to that hot beat. But once you got a hold of José's version, it became 100 times clearer: heartbreak is a bad motherfucker. I got the privilege to catch this homie live in fall 2006 and was beyond impressed, because I never know what to expect with a solo artist performing. He didn't say much to the crowd, but he killed it. He ended it with a cover of Joy Division's "Love Will Tear Us Apart" that was so fierce that I really couldn't listen to the real version again.
Jose Gonzalez - Smalltown Boy
Oh, Jens. Jens, Jens, Jens, Jens, Jens. You know he means something to me if I chose him as my very first topic to inaugurate my blog, as well as he being my first Artist of the Week recipient. What can I say? He's the shit. Quite the charmer, that guy. I am glad that was just a hoax when he said he's never making another album until he finds his true love. I guess he realized he was only 23 when he said that silly shit. He's a special case, that guy.
Jens Lekman - Pocketful Of Money
My post on the sweetness that is El Perro Del Mar was the inspiration of this entry. I still can't stop listening to her new joint, How Did We Forget?" I already embellished on my feelings towards Del Mar, so I'll just put up a link to one of her older hits.
El Perro Del Mar - People
To be honest, I didn't think I'd like Peter, Bjorn and John because of "Young Folks" being everywhere--on the college radio, on VH1, yada. And I thought they were gonna join those I'm From Barcelona! cats into twee-dom. But I actually took the aforementioned Whitney's recommendation and said, "Why not?" Boy, was I pleased. It's kinda weird because I didn't want to admit I liked them for a while for some odd reason; maybe it's because they're so adorable and poppy and fun. Then I realized I was being ridiculous; on top of that, they've got some great lyrics to accompany their great sound. And man, seeing them live is a treat. I felt like I was at a Cheap Trick concert.
Peter Bjorn And John - Start Making Sense
Honestly, I wasn't too into The Knife, either. I felt they were too techno-y, but then I realized that every fucking music genre known to man either was good before it got bad, or vice versa. That's a note to all genre snobs, myself included. Anyway, so I got into 'em spring 2007 and it's really hard for me to not groove to their beats. I mean, they've got some naaaaaaaaaaaasty beats. I'm sure their lyrics are meaningful, but I'm sorry, they're one of those bands where all I care about is the beat, and if I happen to stumble across some powerful lyrics, then that just makes 'em even more respectable. And Karen Dreijer Andersson's vocals are so emotive that you cannot help but feel her emotions in each song.
Listen (and groove):
The Knife - Silent Shout
So there you have it, folks: Six solid Swedish bands, guaranteed to blow yer mind. Anytime.