01. Vapnet – Döda fallet I haven’t seen Pitchfork give this album a 9.6 review yet. What’s going on? Have they lost their copy of the album? It took me some time to get into this, but now it’s like potatoes to me – great, versatile and very secure (like an old friend).
02. Moto Boy – Moto Boy Best new artist of the year! Moto Boy came from nowhere and released the most beautiful album I’ve heard in a long time. His live show was also magnificent (what a charming man!).
03. Envelopes – Here comes the wind I stopped listened to this after I saw them do a disappointing show last month, but before that I played it every day for weeks and weeks. There are so many great songs on here, and I just can’t resist that lo-fi charm!
04. Joel Alme – A master of ceremonies If you don’t like The Smiths or crooners, you might want to avoid this one. If you do like The Smiths and crooners, this will be like audio gold for you (I obviously belong to the latter category of people).
05. Juvelen – 1 I refuse to not mention Juvelen in the same sentence as Prince, but that doesn’t stop his music from sounding fresh and modern, and there are some real slick hits on his debut album.
06. Markus Krunegård – Markusevangeliet You could make a very good compilation CD with Laakso, but so far they’ve failed to make a consistently amazing album, so I was rather surprised with how good singer Markus Krunegård’s debut was.
07. Lykke Li – Youth novels Hype-hoopla! Ok, this is not as amazing as it should be, but still – it’s a fine, fine album. She’s even better live, that where she shines.
08. Pacific! – Reveries The singles that have been released from this album are all astonishing, the rest is ok. Still, half of the songs being top notch, and the rest average make for a bloody great album.
09. Afasi & Filthy – Fläcken Swedish hiphop album of the year, and sometimes I wish they’d rap in English so I could share it with my non-Swedish friends without them saying “It sounds great, but I really wish I could understand what they’re rapping about”. Someone called these guys Sweden’s Lil’ Waynes, which is a charming and somewhat fitting description. Nice grooves!
10. Håkan Hellström – Försent för edelweiss Lots of people love this but in my opinion Hellström’s latest album is the weakest one of his career – there’s just too much lame progrock on it! There are some corkers on here though, so there future is still looking bright.
Disappointments of the first half of 2008 Looptroop Rockers – Good things With pre-released MP3s “The Building” and “Marinate” my hopes were sky high! They all fell flat.
El Perro Del Mar – From the valley to the stars Where have the great melodies gone?
Albums from the first half of 2008 that might be great, but I need to listen to them properly before I can pass judgement
Speedmarket Avenue – Way better now Niccokick – The good times we shared , were they so bad Gentle Touch – In memory of savannah Alf – Tivoliv
I sure like a good cover, and earlier this year The Kidreleased one of the best I’ve heard in a while (read about it and listen to it here). Now they’ve got a new single out and also an album coming out Wednesday 18 June (same date as Sweden vs Russia – sorry my brain has started going white and developing black patches as of late). You can order the album here. They (The Kid, not Sweden or Russia) seem to have improved a lot since their last half-baked album, but despite that I usually order anything from Hybris without batting an eyelid, I might need to give their album a listen before I decide to buy it or not. Hopefully they put it up as a stream somewhere. So far so good though! The Kid – Transient dance (mp3)
After watching all four football games over the weekend I've come to realise I need to watch as much of the Euro Cup as possible during the next few weeks. I've got two gigs this week I must go to, first to Death Disco on Wednesday, which will be fun and I'm only missing Turkey vs Switzerland (yaawn!). Ages ago I bought tickets for a show at The Luminaire on Friday (Darren and Jack playing Hefner songs + lots of great support bands), and I must go but Holland are playing France at 7:45 pm! Damn! Damn! Oh yeah, here are the most important events this week:
Tuesday 11 June - Greece vs Sweden - 7:45 pm ITV Saturday 14 June - Sweden vs Spain - 5:99 pm BBC
Anyway, Lykke Li is playing in London on Wednesday, and she's actually doing a bunch of dates in the next couple of months:
Tuesday 10 June - The Jericho Tavern, Oxford Wednesday 11 June - ICA, London Thursday 17 July - KOKO, London
and a date in October:
Wednesday 1 October - Scala
+ she's playing at Latitude, Big Chill, Summer Sundae and Bestival.
Anyway ... Romania vs France starts in 3 hours ...
I once met Tafra(real name: Niklas Tafra) when Suburban Kids with Biblical Name played the Barfly in London some years ago. All I remember from the meeting is that we were both drunk and I also vaguely remember disliking him because I got the impression that he was hitting on my girlfriend (he might be innocent of this hidenous crime though). This deep hidden drunken hatred hasn’t really left me and I haven’t given the guy a fair chance until I heard “Cheesy epic” on the radio the other day. When I found out it was the same guy I got a bit … annoyed. The song feels like a bastard child to SKWBN and The LK, with a distinct lo-fi setting and quirkiness all around. Best thing about the song though is the clever sampling of a mobile disturbance (or whatever you call that static sounds mobile phones can make speakers blurt out). Music for the kidz!
The Embassy have been around for about 8 years, and they definitely made the blueprint for a lot of Swedish music. Without them there would be no The Tough Alliance or Pacific! for example. Their first album "Futile crimes" came out in 2002, their second and last album "Tacking" in 2004. Both were fantastic. Now they've released a new single (song?) from their forthcoming album. It's called "State '08" and it's a thunderous song! It wipes the floor with everything else out there, though it's quite repetetive but repetetive in a good way! Yes! It's a lovely summer tune and I've been listening to it all day on repeat wishing I was out in the sun instead of stuck in an office (what a cliché!), when I walked to work I really felt like not turning left and up the stairs to the office but continue to walk around London for the rest of the day. I had shorts on! I bet if that I had this song in my earphones this urge would have been stronger (of course I would still have gone to work, I'm not crazy). You must really give the song a listen, it's sublime! Listen to it NOW before it starts to rain again.
There has been a kind of remix craze going in the last few years. At the moment it feels as if every song needs to be remixed as if to justify the original song’s existence / hype. It has reached a stage where a new remix is given more attention than a new song by the same artist. It was a long time ago that remixes were the sole property of dance music and rare white labels that could be found in shops in Soho, which after all is fair enough. I rarely get excited nowadays by a new remix, especially if I’ve heard the original song previously. I’m not really into hearing a new version of a song where someone has cunningly added a piano to the mix or more reverb to the vocals. Sometimes it can be quite interesting though, such as the remix of Lil’ Wayne’s “Lollipop” that had Kanye West on it, the Rocca remix of Lykke Li’s “Everyone but me” or Aesop Rock remixing The Mountain Goats. There has to be an element of subversion or surprise there, which is why I find Black Kids remixing Lykke Li to sound more like a PR trick than something I’d like to listen to. Black Kids seem to have done a remix of “I’m good, I’m gone”. It’s no fantastic remix, but they’ve removed those half-annoying tinny backing vocals in the beginning of the song! Wowcha! Boom! Bam! One super hip artist remixing another! Who would have thunk it? Personally I prefer that live performance of “I’m good, I’m gone” with Robyn etc that came out earlier this year. Gothenburg band Pacific! (who are pretty great) have recently remixed The Concretes’ “Keep yours”, and they’ve managed to put their own unique mark on it, which I guess is something that should be given credit to – take a good song and make it sound like your wrote it! The infamous Kleerup (whose new album is a bit of a disappointment I must say) did a terrible remix of the same song last year. Speaking of terrible remixes, Monster Bobby is not exactly doing any favours to Marit Bergman’s “Out on the piers”. Ok, I know I risk sounding like an old fart here. I’m not getting all annoyed by remixes and I’m not thinking of putting a bumper sticker on my car nor starting a facebook group advocating “death to the remix”, I’m just a bit baffled that’s all. Are people craving remixes or is it just a phenomenon that has spiraled out of control a bit? I still get pissed off if I buy an EP from a band and there are 4 remixes of the same song on it, instead of any b-sides / new songs. The Sound of Arrow’s new EP “Danger” has got a nice format – three songs and four remixes (plus an intro and outro) – everyone’s happy (even those intro/outro fans)! Hopefully some other artists will take note, probably not. Maybe the whole music climate where no one listens to a song more than a week doesn’t give artists and labels any choice but to flog remixes instead of new material. A remix of or by an artist is a good way of telling people that the artist is alive and well (this is how Pet Shop Boys seem to have survided in the last few years, and done it rather well). On the other hand, the thought of artists remixing each other’s songs is rather charming and romantic, it brings to mind some kind of notions of community and friendship. Have a listen to some of the above mentioned good and bad remixes:
Tuesday 3rd June 2008 - Shout Out Louds - White Heat, Madam Jo Jo's
Wednesday 4th June 2008 - Those Dancing Days - 100 Club
Wednesday 4th June 2008 - Lykke Li + Shout Out Louds - Cargo
Sunday 8th June 2008 - Robyn - Astoria
Lots of Swedish girls!
By Stop Us Not On At 3:44 pm
Last Saturday I saw Gothenburgs' own Jonas Game (real name Jonas Lundqvist) play live. This might make me sound like a twat, but I’ve had way too much whiskey for my own good before his show, so I can’t really remember exactly how it was except that it was inside a tent and pretty hot. A darn shame really, since I've been wanting to see him for some time! Jonas used to play the drums in Bad Cash Quartet who released three albums between 1998 – 2003, that got them a big fanbase among Sweden’s indie kids. You'd be able to make a mean greatest hits CD from those three BCQ albums. Jonas Game released his ace debut album “ADHD” last year, but now he’s released a new song that Discobelle and Yours Sincerely (The Tough Alliance’s label that Jonas is signed to) posted last week. “Fish and shark” sounds like something that would fit onto “ADHD” or maybe even a BCQ album, ie a catchy chorus and very romantic lyrics with a distinct Gothenburg feel. He’s currently touring in Sweden, but with no UK label or profile I can’t see him coming over here to play in the near future. Check out the songs though, you might as well be prepared! Jonas Game – Fish and shark (mp3) Jonas Game - Won't back down (mp3) Bad Cash Quartet - Outcast (mp3)