Alias is a musical prodigy, only seventeen years of age. Alias ran away from home when he was only thirteen. Alias hails from Kiev, where he was brought up by his father. His father was an alcoholic and the abuse started early in Alias life. Alias mother left when Alias was a kid for work as a prostitute in the more luxurious brothels in Moscow. She sent money to Alias and his father every month, but the payment stopped when Alias had reached the age of 11. The beatings and abuse from his father worsened when the money from his mother stopped. When Alias father got visits from the mafia because of gambling debts Alias have had enough. Alias fled.
After Alias had ran away from home he ended up in London where he got to know "Baby". Baby only got eyes for girls, but she took Alias under her wings. At the time, Baby was crashing in her girlfriends studio in the outskirts of Brixton. Alias had been trained in the Ukraine musical school since he was a small child. Together they started playing with various instruments and after a couple of years and endless tears they finally had some songs on an 8-track.
To cut a long story short, heartache, financial troubles, smack never paid, fights and loveless streets made them end up on a coach at our office in Stockholm. On the forthcoming album Alias and Baby have worked with several UK dubstep producers they met in London as well as some russian based producers such as Wolfskin, DJ 2Many and DJ Trexxx.
THIS IS ALIAS AND BABY AND THIS IS CRAZY TIME. THIS IS THE SOUND OF YOUNG UKRAINE.
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Service, the Swedish record label, have pulled a neat little stunt - instead of releasing the new The Embassy single "You tend to forget" the normal way they're going to put it out as three 12" records on eBay. The first one is here and is currently going for $77. The Embassy are a great band, so hopefully they'll get some well deserved press for this, and it'd also be nice if they made some actual money from this (I will try and snatch one of the 12 inches myself). Hopefully they won't release the song on CD or as an MP3 ever, and it'll be just three people (+ band / label) who will hear this song. I suspect the track will end up on the forthcoming album though...
Lake Heartbeat - new fresh electropop by old school indiepop god!
When I first heard Lake Heartbeat I thought it sounded very interesting, then I found out they were signed to Service (Jens Lekman, TTA) and got further intrigued. But there are even more reasons to give Lake Heartbeat your full attention - here's two:
01. The producer is Dan Lissvik from Studio. 02. Lake Heartbeat is Janne Kask from Brainpool.
Brainpool never became famous outside Sweden, where they were something of an indie Busted, but with good songs. They released 3 albums with Janne Kask as the singer (2½ were great) then 2 more without Janne that were very uninteresting (Kask also made a few good songs as a solo artist). Lately Kask has been stuyding to become a doctor. There's talk about Lake Heartbeat releasing one song per month this year, and if that'll happen you should make sure you get them all.
I must admit, I haven't given Sad Day for Puppets enough attention. I remember buying their album a while ago and being very keen on it, but then I kind of forgot about it (what would my mother say! Did she not teach me the value of money? Sorry mum!). It's a good album, quite twee, a bit shoegazing and very indie, and they've got some great melodies. Twee shoegazy-like music can be horrible live (eg The Radio Dept.) or fantastic (Crystal Stilts, that I saw last Friday, blew me away), Sad Day for Puppets are hopefully not all shambolic and nervous. Go and check them out live, and listen to the MP3 below. Unfortunately for all you London haters they're only playing in the capital.
20 Feb 09 - Half Moon Putney, London (with Television Personalities) 22 Feb 09 - Old Blue Last, London 23 Feb 09 - The Social, London
Oh dear, Anna Järvinen is also releasing a new album this year.
Anna Järvinen used to be in a band called Granada (from 1998 - 2003), that were quite good but not too special. Then in 2007 she released a solo album called "Jag fick feeling" that was very serene and pretty (and sung in Swedish). On 23 March her new album "Man var bland molnen" will be released. If her new album will be better than her last one, we'll all be in for a treat. Her last album was very folky, and since her new one is produced by Gustav from Dungen, and with Dungen members playing on it, I reckon it won't be a great departure from her first album. Hopefully the Dungen connection will get her some new fans outside Sweden. I can't wait to hear it!
Like a more gay and even poppier Suburban Kids with Biblical Names, fronted by Kevin Rowland - that's how I'd describe Hammarin & Robin. Last year they released a two track EP on Swedish label Mad for it. The main track from the EP seems to be "Hell knows I'm in love" (video below), but personally I prefer the other song "Lingering regret", "Hell..." is just a little bit too annoying. I'd be interested to hear more material released by H&B, although I suspect that if they release a whole album of songs like these two, it could be a tad hard to digest.
2009's first great Swedish concert is upon us! It's the amazing Frida Hyvönen herself who will brave the London cold and play at the charming Bush Hall this coming Thursday. Hyvönen's album "Silence is wild" was one of my favourite albums of last year, and it will be released in the UK on Monday 9 February (pre-order it here). I saw Hyvönen last year and despite not having heard her new album then, her performance was amazing. So yes, I'm for one is heading West on Thursday to see her play.