Last week I might have gotten a little carried away; my wife and newborn son were spending a lot of time resting, so I was just hanging out writing about songs all week…something a teacher, soccer coach, dad and label owner typically can’t do. So, this week’s playlist of last week’s hits might be a little longer than usual, but you’re going to be all the better for it. I hope you have a wonderful Monday my friends, and enjoy the jams here!
It’s probably fair to say that Astrid Swan doesn’t get a fair shake outside of Europe, but I hope by shining the tiniest light (on all 8 of our readers!), one of them will find her work meaningful. At first, the song takes on this delicate mood, Astrid’s voice soaring over a bare bit of piano. Carefully, you can start to hear some accompaniment creep up from the distance, plucked strings and backing vocals; it helps to uplift the spirit, which sort of coincides with the thematic elements that course through this song (and the LP); a cancer survivor, Astrid says this song is about “knowing death is near, and living life to the fullest while idealizing the state where one does not worry about each day and season because it may well be the last.” Her new album D/Other will be out on October 8th via Soliti.
Ray and I go back to work full-time, kids and all, so let’s start off our first real week of work with last week’s sweet sweet jams. It’s just an easy way to ease into your Monday with a look back at what you might have missed had you not been glued to our site! We’re all over the place with new stuff from Suuns and the Shivas, plus some Austin love as always by including the latest from TC Superstar, Nolan Potter, Brother Sports and a tune off the new Alexalone LP…so browse, enjoy, tell your friends. Or don’t. Who needs that pressure on Monday?
Award winning artist Astrid Swan has already established herself as one of the strongest songwriters in Finland, but with her new album, D/Other, she wraps up a study on being a mother…from the perspective of both daughter and mother. The latest single’s a bright pop song, using these light little piano bits and steady drumming to give the song a bit of bounce. I really love the chorus here, with the perfect vocal accompaniment helping raise the melodic. This song’s got a very traditional pop structure, which leads us to believe that the whole of the album will be filled with more charm than we can handle, not to mention that it will include string work/arrangements from the heralded Owen Pallet. Look for D/Other on October 8th via Soliti.
It’s been a few years since we’ve had fresh music from Astrid Swan, but I’m here imploring you to spend some time with the Finnish artist. She spends the first minute and a half illustrating her gifts with a steady piano backbone to match up with her soaring voice; there are some angelic arrangements built in early on, but its the 1:49 minute when the song just explodes into this joyous celebration of life. The drums pound a little heavier, the song swells, horns jump in and Astrid offers up some monosyllabic melodies to win you over. The song takes on special meaning, personally, thinking of leaving your child with the perfect pop song as evidence of your love; I don’t think anyone could have penned a better one, so well played to Astrid here!
Be forewarned…the brand new Swan/Koistinen EP is a sobering four track collection. In the time of the endless scroll, we often talk about hyperbole and boost hopeful hyped artists. But, here we have two established musicians, Astrid Swan and Stina Koistinen crafting four songs that document their experience as cancer survivors; it’s four songs of these two women putting that experience on the table for all to see. Musically, I’m drawn to the throbbing pulse of “Hospital,” while I’m also growing to love the arrangements that accompany “Symptoms.” Honestly, it’s a tough listen lyrically, but perhaps one that provides many a fan with solace…ultimately ending in the joy of “Singing.” Just wanted to share it with you all; it’s available from our friends at Soliti.
This is a special song, written at one point for a special moment, celebrating and sharing the stories of two co-survivors and what it means to live as a sick woman. The two voices here are Astrid Swan and Stina Koistinen, both whom have battled diseases and bring you music to enlighten us about their experiences. This number deals with the powerful emotions of diagnosis, but in telling that story, the depth is established by the song’s arrangement; it’s sparse and emotional, aided by the string work of Owen Pallet and light electronics/piano bubbling from the depths of the song. The Swan/Koistinen EP will be shared with the world this coming May via Soliti.
It’s a shame that great art sometimes stems from personal pain, which seems to be the case with Finland’s Astrid Swan. After a battle with cancer, she got back to work, constructing a brilliant collection of the tunes that make up From the Bed and Beyond. It’s apparent in the lyrics that she’s had to confront and overcome some demons coming with such an ordeal. But, in seeing that, and delving deep into the record, you find that there’s an aura of positivity that arises from overcoming fears. I’m partial to the album’s closing number “Whos the Witch Now,” which seems to encompass the feelings mentioned above. The album will be available worldwide from Soliti Music.
Astrid Swan has one of Finland’s most powerful voices, though a battle with breast cancer in 2014 briefly had the pop songstress stepping back. But, she’s back again, making a powerful statement as she confronts the remaining fears from her experience. Her battle’s personal, but it’s also relatable for any of us who’ve been faced with the concept of death…that’s what makes music so powerful. The song has this huge feel to it, filled with backing chorus and careful orchestration to really bring the notes home to the listener. Her new album From the Bed and Beyond is being released by Soliti on March 3rd.
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It’s been a trying journey the last few years for Astrid Swan, battling cancer just after her last release. As one would expect, the music she’s crafting now is reflective of that experience…looking back on the trials, the dreams and the hopes for what comes next. You’ll hear that in this new tune, our first listen to the work she’s put into her new album. Musically, there’s a pulse, allowing her voice to filter in carefully atop, offering respite for her, and for listeners, with her lyrics. The album is not completed as of yet, but expect to hear it some time in 2017.
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