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 sit here hopefully thinking that this new Swedish band of rockers are giving Austin’s Levitation a nice little nod with their band name, American Levitation Co. But, my digression aside, the group are pulling on their JaMC shirts and dropping a stomping bit of fuzzed out rock n’ roll. One listen through and you’ll be greeted by that thumping beat and squall of guitars, all of it tied together by this gooey melodic vocal work that drives home the pop sentiment. I love its familiarity, and am interested in hearing if they can move into making the sound fully their own as they go forward.
The Mary Onettes have been part of this site for the better part of a decade; I even spent a good deal of this year hunting down a reasonably priced copy of their self-titled LP, so I’m happy they’re back with a fresh set of tunes. They open things up here with an infectious bounce immediately, letting the guitars drift distantly before the vocals decide they’d like to join up. Honestly, Philip’s lyrical writing isn’t too far off from Glenn Donaldson’s RPP track from last week, calling on artists to take care of themselves while being drawn to create…sadly a sentiment folks like me need to remember. Oh man, this melodic chorus too, is just something special. Stoked to have the Swedish outfit back in any form.
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.
As we closed out the year and wrapped coverage in December, one artist hit me with several memorable songs and left a lasting impression going into 2023. Chicago based Sofia Jensen, and her recording project Free Range, really struck a chord with me and will likely be a top new artist to push in the coming year. After three incredible singles to serve as an introduction to the project, Sofia is releasing a full, debut LP this week entitled Practice and I am here to push this gem of a record however I can. I was fortunate enough to send along a few questions to Free Range and I’m pumped to share this intimate look into Sofia’s process and musical tastes. Full interview with some song links and LP streaming/buying options after the jump.
Johan Angergard’s a seasoned hitmaker, playing roles in Club 8 and Acid House Kings, but it’s his Legends project we’re hear to listen to right now…and it might be my personal favorite project of his. This latest single immediately grabs you with this snappy little snare bounce, giving your leg that uncontrollable need to go up and down with the beat. In the guitars you’ll find the driving rhythmic nature that makes a good pop song, though its careful to hide beneath the vocals, only popping up in between to display the musicianship. Vocals, as you expect from Johan, are drenched in sugar, with duties shared with Club 8 bandmate Karolina Komstedt. Can’t wait to hear a new LP!
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.
Too Good to Be True Records has some solid singles ready to go throughout next year, and our first peak is with the beloved Swedish outfit, the Slow Summits. They offer up a classic indiepop sound, albeit one with their own bits of nuance and flare. You’ve got deep vocal tones, similar to those releases by Cats on Fire that charmed your pants off. Sure, there’s some jangling here, but it’s calmed, not rushing, letting little bits of horns and backing vocals creep in from the background to add the perfect bit of texture to this tune. They always craft these tunes that fit any time of day or year, so right now seems the perfect time for this new single!
There’s something in this season of the year that always makes us reflect, for whatever reason; I blame all the family time. Still, you need a soundtrack, and this morning this track from Sweden’s An Echoic just magically works. It’s got this adventure in it, be that in the song’s title itself, or the way the vocals get stretched to the edge of the Earth’s atmosphere. Something in the way the vocals just kind of hang on to the edge of certain tones reeks of the longing, the sense that we’re all barely hanging on, the fragility of it all…thus the need for that new adventure into outer space.
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.