Anyone remotely interested in music can’t have missed that South by Southwest (in Austin, Texas, US) is taking place in a couple of weeks. Every year I’ve looked at the line-up and sighed, wanting to go to, since there are usually about a million great bands playing. This year they’ve got a bunch of great Swedish artists performing there, but also some less great. Here’s a list of the good ones:
Who let the El Perro Del Mar out? Not Hybris! But Licking Fingers!
This morning while walking to the post office to pick up some Marvel super heroes fridge magnets, before going to work, I strolled through the park next door to where I live and observed the curious behaviour of three black dogs. My dog knowledge is fairly limited so I don’t know what breed or sex they were – but they were black and normal size (a bit like the ones in the picture above). Two of the dogs were running around playing happily with each other, whereas the third dog constantly tried to jump on either of the other dogs and … have sex. Talk about no shame, eh? As a human, you’d have to drink quite a few shots of Absinthe or be incredibly inbred to try and mate with someone who’s busy having a laugh with someone else, in a park, in the morning in daylight with lots of people watching. Stupid inbred dogs, I say. It was fun to watch though, even though I felt both sorry for the sex-crazed dog (by running around chasing the other dogs he was involuntarily taking part in their game), and a bit perverted for watching it all.
Speaking of dogs, everyone’s favourite Swedish female artist (before Lykke Li came bursting through the blogs) El Perro Del Mar(real name: Sarah Assbring) has got a new album called “From the valley to the stars" coming out on 27 February. You can listen to it all on her Myspace page. It still sounds a lot like her, with El Perro Del Mar flutes, piano etc, but the songs are perhaps not as catchy as previously and also a bit weirder. I think I need to give this album quite a lot of time before I can give my true and honest opinion about it. If you’re looking for a hit, don’t look any further though than the ninth track on the album called “Somebody’s baby” – it’s a classic El Perro Del Mar track, just made for spring sun and sweet cider in the park. Ehm, or is is it just a line repeated a lot with a happy-go-lucky piano hammering away in the background? Judge for yourself.
I’ve previously lamented over the poor state of Swedish hiphop. A few good songs came out last year, but there weren’t any albums coming out in 2007 worth mentioning (or buying). Mind, I don’t really think there were that many good hiphop albums coming out anywhere in the world in 2007 (moan! moan! moan!). The best, but nevertheless not amazing, Swedish hiphop album of 2007 was made by Adam Tensta (“My cool”). Adam’s from Stockholm (and the suburb called Tensta) and has got a bit of a Kanye West / Lupe Fiasco thing going on (half-conscious cool rhymes with electro-like beats). There are about 3-4 pretty good songs on his album, but listening to the whole thing gets a bit dull. I've also got a bit of a problem with his crazy über-American accent. Anyway, check out two of the best tracks below. He might just make an amazing album in the future.
Déjà vu! Discobelle has today posted another Swedish hiphop track. This time it’s by Chords. I’ve always liked Chords, he’s been doing stuff with Looptroop and Timbuktu for some time. His debut album “The garden around the mansion” that came out in 2003 was not that bad either. It sounds like he’s been hanging out a lot with Timbuktu though, “Blind to the fact” could almost be a Timbuktu cover, and if you didn’t know who he was it could be easy to think that he was some kind of Timbuktu copycat (instead of sidekick).
You know who they are! (L, double O, P, T, R etc...)
Hooray! Sweden’s best hiphop group Looptroop Rockers (formerly known as just Looptroop) are coming out with new material. There’s a single called “The Building” that’s out next week, and then the album “Good things” comes out on 23 April. This will be their fourth album. Their three previous ones are all classics in my book. Promoe’s last (and fourth) album that came out in 2007 wasn’t all that, I find it a bit annoying (his other ones are great). Anyway, their new label Bad Taste Records has put up a new track called “Marinate” for free download. Not sure yet about the track though, it hasn’t exactly made me jump with joy, but it’s nice enough. Bring on the album!
Update: Ok, now I've listened to that Looptroop track at home, loud on my stereo (instead of playing it quietly on my office computer) and I love it! Saturday! It don't matter-day!
The Knife’s record label Rabid Records will release the debut EP by First Aid Kit called “Drunken trees” on 9April 2008. Oddly enough, First Aid Kit is just like The Knife compromised of two siblings, although they’re two sisters unlike The Knife’s brother / sister combo. It sounds nothing like The Knife though, but perhaps more like another sister duo from Stockholm – Taxi Taxi! – with their noodling acoustic guitars and dreamlike vocals. It’s a bit like Nick Drake and maybe Regina Spektor with a bit of jazz in there. If you’re tired, it can make you fall asleep, but if you’ve just had a Red Bull, it’s perfect. No, seriously, it’s not really my cup of tea (or energy drink, for that matter), I find it a bit dull – it makes my eyelids ache. It’s not super bad though, I’m sure you can appreciate it if you're in the right mindset, in a tea and scones kind of way.
Too late for one of the best-known European mountain flowers
Swedish superstar Håkan Hellström (formerly of Broder Daniel and Honey is Cool) will release his fourth album on 26 March. His first album (he only sings in Swedish, by the way) was all about getting wasted and being young and lost, and that's sort of the vein he's tapped into ever since. Hellström’s now going steady, got a kid, and I think he lives a lot in Brazil. Perhaps his new stuff will be more mature, and with even more bossa nova rhythms. Jocke Åhlund (from Teddybears and Caesars) has produced the album, which is called “Försent för Edelweiss”. “Försent för Edelweiss” is also a b-side from the single “Klubbland” that was released in 2006. Will this song be featured on the album? Who knows! Anyway, here you can listen to that song:
Last month I bought James Ausfahrt’s “Party for the Arty people/Arty for the Party people” (for some reason I bought it on LP, CD and cassette - hooray for triple formats!). There are twenty-two tracks on the album, and even though it’s not that great throughout, there are some fantastic tracks on it. James Ausfahrt (a.k.a . Agent Simplea.k.a. Åke Strömer) sounds a bit like Jens Lekman, Beat Happening, Jonathan Richman and Kleenex Girl Wonder. On some of the tracks it sounds as if he’s almost have had too much fun in the studio, and he seems to have forgotten to write actual songs in favour of some wacky experimenting. Apparently he’s now a member of Love is All too, which hopefully means that he’ll do some shows too whenever they come over. You can buy “Party for the arty…” here. “Lovesong no 75” is the first track from the album, and it’s a corker! Give it a spin.
Lazee’s ”Rock away” has started to get some serious airplay on Swedish Radio.It’s always interesting to hear some new Swedish hip hop, but “Rock away” just feels so clichéd and the lyrics are like torture for my precious ears. Appearently Lazee lived in London for a while and got down and dirty with grime. Listening to the songs on his Myspace you can sort of hear this, he drops the old "London street" here and a "pussy'ole" there. I can't hear any of this on "Rock away" though, it sounds more like a Kanye West song than something by Dizzee Rascal. It's better than most of the current crop of Swedish hip hop, but that doesn't says a lot. Anyway, let’s hope Lazee has got some better songs up his sleeve than this. Lazee - Rock Away
Shout Out Louds to the UK! In April! Impossible?! No! Yes!
They've been here a lot in the last few years, but now Shout Out Louds are coming back to do some more shows. They're always good live, and always worth seeing. Nice that they're playing Bush Hall, I haven't been there that much lately and it's a cute little venue.
April: 05 - The Cockpit Leeds 06 - Carling Academy 2 Newcastle 07 - Speakeasy Belfast 09 - King Tuts Glasgow 10 - Bush Hall London 11 - Ruby Manchester