When it comes to crafting creative pop music, I can’t really think of too many operating like Melby, save for maybe Sun June. They have this natural ability to kind of lock into grooves and subtle pop inflections, riding them until the mood strikes and they switch directions. Here, there’s almost this calming lounge vibe, a late night pop croon for you, but then it kind of snakes its way into more dangerous territory, picking up a slight pace and sort of rocking you to a close. Like a great boxer, bobbing and weaving, in and out of grooves and melodies, delivering the ultimate pop knockout.
Sweden keeps sending upbeat indiepop my way, and I’m not ungrateful, so here I am to push the latest from No Suits in Miami. This single is the follow-up the bands recent I Hope That No One Sees Me LP, which won rave reviews for the band. There’s a great bit of contrast in the band’s sound, using hook-laden synths and rhythms, contrasted against a nice energetic wall of distortion; it all spins you about and gives you a bit of vertigo until the warmth of the vocals rise to the top and tie everything together. No word on the next album, but this tune is sure to be part of that mix!
After a ten year hiatus, and a little pandemic tedium, Sweden’s Acid House Kings have returned with a spritely number to put a little attitude in your feet. This is that brand of frivolous pop music that has you jumping and grinning from ear to ear; you can’t help but just get swept up in the overall emotion of the tune’s spirit. And, despite an incredible vocal performance, the most lifting elements are the arrangements, from string arrangements to handclaps to backing vocals, all letting you punch in some fun time. Rumor has it we’ve got more from the band on the way, so please don’t skip out on the absolute joy you’re going to find below!
I’ll admit to not knowing much about Jesper Zacco, prior to this debut single for famed Labrador Records, but I’m fully on board with what he’s doing in this brand new single. The song opens with a careful vocal lurking behind some careful notes…ringing notes, synth echoes and atmospheric washes; it’s like a mischievous character playfully lurking around trees in a foggy forest. But, that mystery unfolds in the chorus, delivering this momentary clarity; it’s this sort of subtle warmth that I remember washing over me when I had early records by Nada Surf on, or maybe even the Wrens. Jesper will be releasing his debut this September, so we’ll keep you posted!
I’m about to endure the joys of being a teacher in the modern age; I’m set to spend the next six hours administering a state standardized test! Such joy. Such fun. So why not prepare for that with this great little jam from Swedish band Shitkid. It makes sense that the tune’s title translates to “Around the Beach,” as you can clearly see the nod to beach pop rock…a little steady beat pushing forward while the guitar fuzzes out the front of the mix. It’s just a straight ahead rocker that makes you want to pump your fists in the air and sing along as you walk up and down the rows of desks staring down the boredom of your favorite students. This tune’s on the final Shitkid LP, Sort Sternje, which drops June 11th via PNKSLM.
I don’t often get struck by vocals as much as I might have been at a younger age as a music fan, but when I turned on the latest tune from Sweden’s Wy, I’ll admit that Ebba’s voice just hit me immediately. The song’s barely even begun, almost like the duo are still tuning when suddenly she just belts out the first notes; she’s got this huge voice, yet almost instantly she pulls it back to quietly lull you into the core of the track. She plays with that dynamic throughout the song, alternating between striking and softness, but its the songwriting that really gives the tune/vocals clarity. Every note seems purposeful, careful not to get in the way of the other notes, tying everything together in one ridiculously wonderful pop tune. You can find this track on the group’s new Marriage LP, out May 7th via Rama Lama Records.
I’m really enjoying listening to the work of Sweden’s Sindy, as the project seems to dabble in a lot of areas that I definitely appreciate as a music fan. The dreaminess is apparent, and that’s a spot on nod for everything in my current listening rotation. But, there are also some moments that kind of pull from the sort of pop alternative sounds you’d get from a Nada Surf record, and just as you’ve come to value those two worlds colliding, the song begins to glitch and transform into something truly special. If you’re looking for a little wistful start to Monday, then grab onto this tune; it appears on the Horror Head LP, out April 23rd via PNKSLM.
The song is titled “Magic,” but musically that seems a pretty apt descriptor, seeing how far Melby have come since their early days in the Sweden scene. This go round, they’ve really branched out, writing then heading into the studio to record right away; there’s no room for lots of thinking, so we get the freshest version of the tunes possible. I’m pretty sure Matilda Wiezell’s voice could carry this song on her own, tucking notes in at the edges to round out melody, then belting with these huge, compelling notes. Of course, the band’s bounding behind her, filling in little gaps of air with fuzz and tinkering, honing in on the experimental nature of their current writing process. As for now, this is just another great single on their label Rama Lama, but lets hope there’s a ripper of an LP hanging in wait.
If you’re looking for the perfect piece of pop, you can generally rely on the good people of Sweden to help, like new outfit Marble Raft. The duo of experienced musical vets have been crafting their sound the last few years, built on the concept of pop and fables. This single is our first listen, with the band Olle and Gabrielle trading vocals throughout, uniting during the chorus to create the band’s natural euphoric feeling buoyed by heavy synth flourishes and atmospheric washes. In need of a little Monday morning warmth? Turn this one up, and be on the look out for Geography, which drops on May 7th.
None of This Makes Me Worry was a great introduction to Sweden’s Melby, but the pandemic has allowed the group to sort of rearrange their approach in crafting songs, turning practice pieces they would normally tour behind into concrete songs. Listening to “Somewhere New,” it seems like the group’s focus has never been sharper, but their willingness to sort of let songs meander on their own time also has become more apparent. This song begins in a very modern indie rock vein, with Matilda’s voice dominating the early part of the performance, particularly the way she toys with syllables. But, somewhere along this musical journey the group really begins to just let go, really let their song take on a life of its own, riding into this sort of psychedelic proto pop, both energetic and sonically explorative. I’ll keep an eye on the band’s label, Rama Lama to be sure you’re up to date with the group, as they’re on to something exciting here.