Posts Tagged ‘isolation years’

Luke’s Scandinavian Pop Sampler Volume 6! (November 2004)

Monday, November 1st, 2004

Click here to download a zipped file containing all 23 mp3 files and the front and back cover artwork.

1. Envelope: Stay (Stay, 2001)
Envelope are a Danish band I know very little about but a sampler CD of two of their tracks that someone sent me recently blew my mind and I sat by the mailbox biting my nails for weeks until the full length album flew through the mail-box this week. it landed straight in my CD player and hasn’t been out since….sublime pop songwriting and brilliant production.

2. Moonbabies: Sun A.M. (The Orange Billboard, 2004)
This boy/girl duo from Malmo sound like no-one else. They record live instruments playing their songs and then spend months and months editing and manipulating the sounds into sprawling, beautiful, other-worldly pop symphonies. The fact that they manage to re-create the recordings live on stage is nothing short of miraculous.

3. Daniel Saturn: It Ain’t Gonna Last (Still That Same Refrain, 2003)
Daniel Saturn is one of those unsung pop maestros making ingenious solo albums in his home studio and putting them out independently to very little fanfare except to those in the know. Long sought-after by collectors, Daniel’s out of print 1998 debut “Softly” is available from Popsicle, as is this, his 2003 follow-up. Not only that but they’re both signed by Daniel! Another Popsicle exclusive!

4. Brainpool: Junk (Junk, 2004)
Finding one track to represent this sprawling double-album rock opera about 21st century urban disenchantment is simply impossible, so I shan’t even try…I just grabbed the title track. To say that the band has looked to the classic rock operas of the 1970’s for inspiration would be an understatement. While retaining a freshness and originality all their own, Brainpool have created an album that feels strangely familiar, even on a first listen, with an attention to detail and masterful production that will bring to mind memories of Tommy, Quadrophenia, The Wall and others. This is not only unlike anything else Brainpool have ever done, it is unlike anything you have ever heard!

5. Isolation Years: Nurse Hands (Cover The Distance, 2004)
Released the day I am writing this, Isolation Years’ new single is a gorgeously perfect three minute pop song. Their “It’s Golden” album was one of my top picks of last year and they appear to be going from strength to strength. Can’t wait for the new album.

6. Eyedrop: Soaked To The Bone (You And Me Vs. The Machine, 2002)
This is one of those albums that came in a couple of years ago, I gave it a cursory listen and forgot about it. Then I stumbled upon it recently and gave it a spin and thought “This is brilliant!”. Sometimes an album has to mature and sometimes we mature into an album. Five guys from Malmo, one sweet sound.

7. Gluebellies: The Benefits Of Erudition (Gluebellies, 1996)
Ditto the above. This album sat idle for at least a year after it first came in. It didn’t grab me then, but now I acknowledge it’s subtle brilliance and ability to crawl into your brain, set up a small tent and dispense indiepop gems like candy to children. This trio from college town Lund has a streamlined indiepop aesthetic that fans of The Motorhomes, Ronderlin and Starlet will likely dig. Just one CD and three singles is all they’ve released though they are threatening to do another album.

Cute 2009 note: Unbeknownst to me for years, the singer from Eyedrop and the drummer from Gluebellies are a charming couple, and here I put them together on this sampler long before they became friends of mine!

8. Airliner: Always Never (The Last Days Of August, 2003)
This Aerospace/Acid House Kings side project is a wistfully downbeat slice of electro-tinged Swedish pop. This album creeps into your brain and refuses to leave. One of those albums you really can’t listen to before 2am. Even better if you’re still listening to it as the sun comes up. I’m still only half way into totally loving this album and it gets better and better. Sublime.

9. Acid House Kings: Paris (Advantage Acid House Kings, 1998, re-release 2002)
This is the re-release of this twee-pop classic that made Sweden really take notice of Acid House Kings. Topped up with two bonus tracks, this album features some gorgeous female vocals on several tracks. Upbeat happy pop from start to finish, and if you buy it from Popsicle, it’s signed by guitarist/bassist Johan…

10. Tribeca: Solitude (Dragon Down, 2004)
This is the latest album from Claes Björklund and Lasse Lindh whose excellent solo album “You Wake Up At Sea Tac” album not only stole it’s title from a line in “Fight Club” but contained a song called “Teenage Skin” that was virtually a complete rip-off of Matthew Sweet’s “Reaching Out” from 1993’s “Altered Beast” album…it’s identical, and it’s even in the same key! But enough about that. This album of electro-tinged melancholic indiepop is the perfect vehicle for Lindh’s sultry hushed voice.

11. Flemming: Flower (We Love The Industry, 2003)
Flemming are my Dutch friend Jiggle’s band, based in Amsterdam. A lot of people dug the track from their first album that I put on volume two, and they’re back on an indie label this time with a tongue-in-cheek album title considering they were dropped from Warner right before recording it!

12. Wan Light: Awake, Drunk and Average (Let’s Wake Up Somewhere Else, 2003)
This quirky duo from Stockholm named after an old Orange Juice song play music that is truly unique. Imagine a cross between Mercury Rev and Pet Shop Boys and you’re about half way there. There are shades of late 80’s indie sounds like New Order…I could go on all day clutching at comparisons but really these guys sound like nobody else, which is high praise indeed.

13. Jens Lekman: If You Ever Need A Stranger… (When I Said I Wanted To Be Your Dog, 2004)
After delivering two sublime EPs earlier this year (Maple Leaves and Rocky Dennis), perhaps the most hyped Swedish indie artist of the year delivered this, his debut full-length album. It’s hard to pick one song to represent this album, since there are pretty much 11 songs in 11 different styles. So I just picked my favourite. It’s as simple as this….you’ll love Jens Lekman or you’ll hate him. There’s not much in-between. I feel the same way about triphop crooner Jay-Jay Johanson, and I love his stuff too. Give this album a few listens and it will get its hooks in you. You’ll go back again and again and you won’t be sure why. Strangely addictive.

14. Ulf Turesson: Parade (Romance, 1998)
Freewheel albums (and their former incantation The Excuse and this recently-discovered “solo” CD from their frontman Turesson) elude me in the strangest ways. I don’t normally know that they’ve been released until three or fours after the fact, and then they are impossible to track down, being released solely in Japan. I can only imagine that record company objectives led to this coming out as a solo album, since it features the complete Freewheel line-up across 10 great tracks (some upbeat, some piano ballads), as we have come to expect from these guys. Great stuff.

15. Douglas Heart: Komplex (I Could See The Smallest Things, 2004)
Douglas Heart have been likened to the first Stone Roses album and My Bloody Valentine circa “Isn’t Anything”, although singer Malin Dahlberg sounds more like a less annoying version of the singer from the Cranberries. This is seriously spacey pop that will take you places, especially if you have the right transportation. A tasty little five track EP.

16. Kristoffer Jonzon: Drom Dig Bort (Du Ar Gud EP, 2004)
It’s been a while since I’ve put anything Swedish-language on the sampler, so here’s the first of two. If this sounds familiar, it’s because Jonzon is the brains behind close-harmony power poppers The Pendletones. Of course, I can’t understand a word of what he’s singing here, and for all I care he could be professing his desire to disembowel a goat with a rusty spoon with those sweet Beach Boys-esque harmonies and that lilting piano! A cute-as-a-button EP with four slices of unique Swedish pop.

17. Baxter: My Day (About This, 2002)
Although this album came out in 2002, it took me two years to track it down, and it takes its place as one of top albums of the year. I changed my mind 5 or 6 times about which track to include on this mix, they are just all so damn good. Fans of Baxter’s incredible 1998 debut will need no convincing. This album moves in a slightly more “electronic” direction with a bit more in the way of beats, and Nina Ramsby’s haunting voice right up front where it belongs. It retains the darker edge of their debut album, making it indispensable 4am headphones listening.

18. [Ingenting]: Ingenting Duger (Ingenting Duger, 2004)
On a couple of the mellower tracks on this album, [Ingenting] remind me a little of Sigur Ros. [Ingenting] sing in Swedish and Sigur Ros sing in their own made up gobbledygook, but it’s really all the same to me. Any music that’s good enough to keep me coming back despite not understanding a thing that’s being sung can’t be bad! This is one of those mellow tracks. For something more upbeat, listen to the sample on Popsicle.

19. Aerospace: Summer Days Are Forever (The Bright Idea Called Soul, 2001)
This is a jangly guitar-pop affair that fans of Acid House Kings and the mellower Happydeadmen material will appreciate. It is inherently Swedish in execution and has a lilting 60’s/70’s soft rock approach. This band has been favourably compared to Belle and Sebastian in the Swedish press.

20. Kristofer Åström: The Wild (Loupita, 2004)
I love this guy’s solo work, which is musically a world away from what he does with his band Fireside who are sort of a melodic hardcore band. On his solo albums, Åström is quiet and reflective with barebones production highlighting the fragility of his song structure. A few songs are upbeat, but by and large this is an album to put on late at night (again!) and chill out to. Produced in four days, this album is so laid back that on one song he even breaks a string and leaves it on the album!

21. Savoy: (Savoy, 2004)
Ask me why I’ve never included Savoy on my sampler CDs before and I’ll look at you with a blank expression. This husband and wife a-ha side-project has been churning out great albums since 1996, and on this, their self-titled fifth album, they are on top form with a more laid-back sound than any of their previous efforts. Lauren’s vocals feature more prominently than ever before, and though I love Paul’s voice, this album works really well this way.

22. Kings Of Convenience: Cayman Islands (Riot On An Empty Street, 2004)
The three year wait between albums was well worth it as “Riot” sees this exceptional Norwegian duo shake loose of the intimate vibe of the material that had seen them through one indie and one major label album, across a span of over four years. There’s still much of the familiar KoC sound here, but they break new ground on tracks like the tongue-in-cheek “I’d Rather Dance With You” (track down the CD single with the video for the cutest clip you will see all year!). Presuming a lot of you already have this, I am including a rare acoustic session version of “Cayman Islands” here. The album version features a full string arrangement.

23. Chasing Dorotea: The Anchor Song (Chasing Dorotea, 2002)
Not all of this album is as mellow as this cut, but I couldn’t resist putting this song on here for the “Wow! does that girl ever sound like Stina Nordenstam!” factor. Chasing Dorotea is the brainchild of Christopher Sander who writes these exquisite three minute introspective pop songs. Actually, a lot of this album is more upbeat pop, but not so much that it doesn’t work at 2am. What is it with me and 2am. I guess it’s when I do my best listening….

Luke’s Scandinavian Pop Sampler Volume 4! (April 2003)

Tuesday, April 1st, 2003

Click here to download a zipped file containing all 22 mp3 files and the front and back cover artwork.

1. Popium: Favourite Blunders (Popium, 2001)
2. The Motorhomes: I Wanna Make You Sing (The Long Distance Runner, 2002)
3. The Pendletones: Problems (Move Along, 2002)
4. The Kooks: Rollercoaster #2 (Verbal Jujitsu, 2002)
5. Leslies: Still Can’t Believe (Leslies, 2001)
6. The Men: Baby, Don’t You Do It (The Men, 2001)
7. The Klerks: Chance (The Klerks, 2001)
8. The Confusions: The Pilot (Trampoline, 2002)
9. Magnet: Where Happiness Lives (Quiet & Still, 2000)
10. Cranbury Sauce: Mrs. Betty T. Ward (Circular Songs, 2002)
11. Moonbabies: I’m Insane But So Are You (June and Novas, 2000)
12. Eyedrop: City Moan (single, 2003)
13. Erlend Øye: Ghost Trains (Unrest, 2003)
14. Isolation Years: Talking Backward Masking Blues (Inland Traveler, 2001)
15. The Perishers: When I Fall (From Nothing To One, 2002)
16. Righteous Boy: Loved Among Friends (I Sing Because Of You, 2002)
17. Reminder: Scared (Broken Tone, 2001)
18. Popium: Silver Lining (Permanently High, 2002)
19. Ward J. Little: The One Who Got Away (Homing Tones, 1997)
20. Edson: T.G.I.F. (For Strength, 2002)
21. Måns Wieslander: Illium (Twin Piloda, 2000)
22. Lloyd Parker: Numbers (Faster, 2000)