When I want to know what is cool in Sweden, I look to labels like PNK SLM and Rama Lama Records. The latter just agreed to work with Malmo artist Talking Flowers, releasing a double single to celebrate the signing. The release is a great way to get introduced to the songwriter Astrid Lagerstedt; it’s got two sides to her songwriting, both which I’m definitely enjoying today. “Storytelling” is a smoky soul number with Astrid scrawling her vocals across this funky mix of electronic sounds and a rolling bit of drum work. “Bedroom Wall” is more of a songwriter’s piece, a light strum working with the power of voice; it’s something you’d likely find on Keeled Scales here in the States. Give it a listen, and let’s celebrate this beautiful partnership.
I was a big fan of Swedish Punk, the debut LP from Kindsight. After a bit of adoration, I finally get a chance to catch the band live next week when they come to Texas for SXSW. In preparation, the band have dropped a wonderful new single in anticipation of their journey, and also in the midst of working on their sophomore LP. It highlights the band’s penchant for song movement, bringing in soft little melodies that blossom into charming bits of buoyant indie rock. They’re one of those bands playing a brand of indie rock that seems completely built on their own terms and not on the trends, so it feels familiar yet fresh. They’ve got shows set up for SXSW, so be sure to follow them on their socials to see see where they’re playing. This single comes to you courtesy of the band’s label Rama Lama Records.
Every time the folks at Rama Lama Records send us a new song from Mary Anne’s Polar Rig, I have certain expectations. Good ones, mind you, but expectations. Their latest single, however, threw me for a huge loop. The first minute or so sheds the abrasive nature they usually bring to the table, favoring a bit more of a clean shimmer, almost sparkling with Malin’s vocals carefully moving the song forward. Elements of noise begin to creep in, though done with restraint to elongate the emotional pull; even as the volume seems prominent that shine on the melodic center is clear, almost shielding the listener from the barrage in the distance. It’s a nice little mixture of everything the band excel at; Makes You Wonder is out on March 24th.
It’s hard breaking through the US/UK press to offer refreshing music, and to be honest, if folks aren’t given stuff directly, they’re not always likely to seek out the good stuff outside of the geo-musical landscape. Good thing we’ve got some connections in places like Sweden bringing us the goods from Mary Anne’s Polar Rig, who just announced their new LP, Makes You Wonder. This Malmo duo isn’t really playing by any rules or expectations; they rip through their songs with sharp riffs and explosive moments. It’s all delivered in an off-kilter manner, keeping the listener on their toes, turning unexpectedly one second then tossing melody right in your face. Malin’s vocal performance is so primal at times, it’s hard not to be captivated by what’s coming through your speakers; it reminds me of that 2002 EP from the Yeah Yeah Yeahs in a lot of ways, so I’m completely on board here. Makes You Wonder is out in March via Rama Lama Records.
It’s that time of year when singles begin to dry up a bit, and everyone’s already sending us a reminder of all the songs/records we should have covered. But, there’s still great music to be had, thus why we’ve got some real bangers to enjoy below. There’s the expected from Dry Cleaning; I mean you can’t miss that one anywhere. Personally, I think the Melby and Twain records are my highlights this week, so don’t skip out there…especially to Melby (if they were from the States or UK, they’d be huge). Then, we’ve got a few others, including a look at Lucid Express, who visit next week for Levitation. Plus, Paul Thomas Saunders new LP gets love.
With a few weeks to go, Melby stop by with one final single before the release of their forthcoming LP, Looks Like a Map. Having spent a lot of time with all the singles, I absolutely adore the way the band have begun to flex their musical muscles, hinting at the varying sounds we’re likely to encounter. This one for instance, has these little subtle breakdowns, multiple tempo changes, and a meandering solo at its center; it all feels like it was completely constructed piecemeal, with the band’s cleverness the only way to build into this seamless pop song. Looks Like a Map will drop on October 21st via Rama Lama Records.
One of my favorite picks from this year is the Swedish Punk LP from Danish outfit Kindsight. They’ve just returned with a fresh track that I probably want to play all weekend long, as its got that sort of presence you can’t escape. Nina’s voice has this power to it, which is on full display throughout the song, but the band sets her up to kind of rise like a sort of phoenix; they’ve got these stuttering guitar notes, quieted backing vocals and little nuance that completely fill your musical cup until its overflowing with the emotive vibe of the vocals. There aren’t a whole lot of folks doing it better than this lot right here; the single’s out today courtesy of Rama Lama Records.
Our favorite Swedish label Rama Lama Records just announced a brand new signing to the label, Mary Anne’s Polar Rig. The group’s star has been rising since their debut single in 2018, with their 2021 album getting tons of buzz overseas. This new track has the band brandishing their blend of arty indie rock breakdowns with edges torn by the fuzz of guitar noise. Still, they’re equally adamant about providing huge hooks, which come in the clever lyrical delivery and melodic nature they spin through their web of explosive slacker-core. Keep an eye out on the band as one to watch!
I tend to agree with Melby here, as music should definitely feel, or at least make you feel. That said, I feel like this is the perfect track to entice the larger indie rock listeners, as it draws on the modern tropes, but still has those little details that make it feel like a wholly Melby tune. Matilda’s voice is so enticingly playful here that I couldn’t help but draw comparisons to the way we all fawned over Feist back in the day; it’s got that same joy in letting notes sort of rise and fall in syllables. You’ll get a dose of jazziness bubbling up, but ultimately, it’s a relaxed pop tune that doesn’t need much more than the band’s care, as the craft here is too superb to ignore. They’ll release Looks Like a Map via Rama Lama Records on October 21st.
The opening moments of this new Nova Blast track feel like my head right now, ready to explode. Somehow, the song feels cathartic, like the noise can surround and comfort rather than build on anxieties. Interestingly, the Swedish band seem to balance their noisy brand of rock n’ roll with a bit of an allegiance to grunge vibes, as you can certainly hear this song fitting nicely into the 90s vibe. And, just as you feel your ears can take no more, the noise subsides, and the song comes to a rest, waiting to go again. The band release Eccolalia on September 16th via Rama Lama Records.