Posts Tagged ‘metro jets’

Luke’s Scandinavian Pop Sampler Volume 7! (August 2005)

Monday, August 1st, 2005

Click here to download a zipped file containing all 21 mp3 files and the front and back cover artwork.

1. CoStar: Yeah Right (Keep It Light, 2004)
When Even Johansen’s solo success as Magnet caused the demise of Libido, few people were watching what the other band members would do. Certainly no one expected drummer Jorgen Landhaug to “do a Dave Grohl”, put together a new band and write and record one of the most engaging and under-rated rock albums of 2004. Re-naming himself “Brighton Gay”, this Norwegian maverick roped in his former Libido bandmate Johansen to mix the majority of this album, and it has Magnet’s magic stamp all over it. This album features catchy, hook-filled rocking songs which grow on you with every listen. No two songs sound anything alike. I was right about Magnet when no-one was giving him the time of day, and I believe I’m right about CoStar too. Fantastic stuff.

2. Johan Bergqvist: Bliss (Throwaway Moments, 2004)
Johan Bergqvist’s full-length debut album delivers on the promise of his previous EP “Boy Extracting Thorn”. It lulls you with piano/voice opener “A Silent Cry For Help” before exploding into the power-pop single “Bliss” which isn’t 100 miles away from Ben Folds when he takes himself seriously. Bergqvist also delivers a disarmingly mellow interpretation of Popsicle’s powerpop classic “Hey Princess” which has been highly praised by it’s composers. More piano-based than his earlier work, this album is balanced out by having an equal number of ballads and upbeat numbers. And Johan has very kindly signed every copy he sent us. What a nice chap!

3. Moi Caprice: To The Lighthouse (You Can’t Say No Forever, 2005)
This was one of Spinguy’s discoveries, and I’m glad he found it. Moi Caprice rose to underground fame when they were the first ever unsigned band to hit no. 1 on the Danish Alternative Chart. One of two Danish bands who have gotten us excited in recent months, Moi Caprice are really hard to pigeonhole. The singer has a unique, velvety voice that’s not a million miles away from Mercury Rev’s Jonathan Donahue. The music is mostly upbeat pop but has an other-worldliness to it that you can’t put your finger on. This album and their earlier debut release (see track 20) are two of my most played CDs of recent months.

4. The Mopeds: Refused Demoland (Fortissimo, 2005)
It’s been four years since The Mopeds released “The Land Of The Three” and while nothing IMHO can touch their 1998 debut ”The Hills Are Alive With The Sound Of Mopeds”, Fortissimo is a great return to form for this Malmo trio. They are studio wizards and this album is brimming with frenetic high energy power pop that bursts from the speakers from start to finish. This is one to play loud, and exclusively signed for us here at Popsicle by all three Mopeds!

5. Labrador: Freeway To Mars (Instamatic Lovelife, 2004)
This is the second album from Danish pop dude Flemming Borby and his almost-one-man-band Labrador. Spinguy reckons that this album could easily be one of the greatest all time pop recordings ever made. “Every song is like an instant long lost friend who’s company never grows old” he says. Well, I wouldn’t go quite as far as that, but if you like your Scandinavian pop light, airy and whimsical, this album is surely for you.

6. Metro Jets: Lady Gwendoline (download-only single, 2005)
You’ll be forgiven for not realizing that Metro Jets had released a second single, seeing as it was a download-only affair on a Swedish website that even I had trouble navigating my way around. So Magnus kindly let me share the track with you on this sampler, and it’s a real corker of a song. While it lacks the immediate-pop-heaven-hookiness of “The Morning Show”, it’s a delightful piano-based 70’s influenced romp with cascading vocal harmonies that would put a smile on Brian Wilson’s face. Lord only knows what these guys will come up with next!

7. Girlfriend: Blank (Opening Nights, 2001)
Girlfriend is the other Danish band we’ve only just discovered. Spinguy was horrified to find that you couldn’t get their albums anywhere, so we decided to stock both this one and their just-released “Blue Sky Love Scene” (see track 19). They have in common with Moi Caprice an unusual lead singer, but Girlfriend are a more straight-up pop/rock band who have clearly been listening to all the right guitar bands of the last ten years. I actually hear a lot of The Motorhomes in their sound, which can only be a good thing. These guys have been in heavy rotation here at Popsicle HQ lately.

8. The Charade: Monday Morning (The Best Is Yet To Come, 2005)
One of the most touted Swedish pop releases of the year, The Charade has the right pedigree, featuring members of The Shermans with roots that go back to both Red Sleeping Beauty and Happydeadmen. The first time I put this particular song on I didn’t make too much of the verse, but the chorus was like slipping into a warm vat of pop custard and I was hooked. Any fans of jangly guitar pop and girly vocals will be hard put to find a warmer slice of pop sunshine this year.

9. Jens Lekman: The Opposite Of Hallelujah (The Opposite Of Hallelujah EP, 2005)
I saw Jens play a packed club here in Toronto the day this EP came out (on tiny local Toronto indie label Evil Evil). After the show he took his ukulele out onto the street, followed by half the club, and played three more songs to the assembled masses in the freezing cold on College Street! True to his previous EPs it’s a cohesive and brilliant bit of work that has tracks that will not see the light of day on any album. Brilliant use of horns, strings and his curious style make this as noteworthy as all his previous EP’s. Don’t wait until they’re gone…these are bound to become collector’s items.

10. Magnet: Believe (The Tourniquet, 2005)
This was easily my most anticipated album of the year, having loved everything this guy has ever released, and that was BEFORE I found out that my pop hero Jason Falkner was co-producing and playing all over it! Suffice to say it was worth the wait. I was surprised to find that it was a little more understated than his previous work, especially with Falkner onboard, but that’s easy to forgive when the songs are this good.

11. Daniel Saturn: Settle Down (Softly, 1998)
I was looking over the past sampler tracklists and I realized that I never featured anything from Daniel Saturn’s bedroom 8-track masterpiece debut “Softly” before. Coupled with the fact that NO-ONE has ordered it from Popsicle despite the fact that it’s the only place ON THE PLANET where you can get this CD, I figured it was time to give it a little push. Basically, If John and Paul had been born ten years later and played in Stockholm instead of Hamburg, with Bjorn and Benny instead of George and Pete, well….they might have sounded like Daniel Saturn. Oh, and all our Daniel Saturn CDs are signed by the elusive man himself.

12. Ane Brun: To Let Myself Go (A Temporary Dive, 2005)
I was taken with Ane Brun’s disarming voice and unusual songwriting and production right away, and this album is proving to be one of the best of the year. Ron Sexsmith makes an appearance too, but not on this song.

13. The Perishers: When I Fall (From Nothing To One, 2002)
I make no bones about my love of The Perishers. I’ve been hooked on these guys since I first heard this, their debut album a few years ago. I was delighted when they got picked up by Nettwerk, and I was thrilled to watch them sell 900 copies of their new album off the stage at a single concert in Toronto opening for Sarah McLachlan in May. Then I found out that Nettwerk are basically doing absolutely nothing with their debut album and decided it was my duty to make it more widely available. BOTH their albums are pure solid gold from start to finish, it’s as simple as that. I dare you not to love this band!

14. Dive: Alive (Unfortunately Dead EP, 2004)
Spinguy got his knickers all in a twist over this Danish four-piece earlier this year. He thought they were the second coming. So much so that he talked me into stocking this 4 track EP, something I don’t normally do. I get where they’re coming from with their PIL-inspired 80’s tinged sound and I love the strings on this tune. The singer has a really unusual voice which Spinguy loves and I can take or leave. Here’s hoping they do a full-length album soon so we can see what they’ve really got going on. Four songs just isn’t enough to go on…

15. Labrador: In A Blue Balloon (Goodbye Susanne, 2002)
Here’s another one that you really can’t find anywhere unless you can navigate your way around Japanese websites. Labrador’s debut album only ever came out there, and it costs an arm and a leg to import, but Spinguy threatened not to share his toys with me if I didn’t get it, and I must admit it’s a rather special little album. Flemming Borby barely changed his sound between the two albums, which won’t draw complaints from fans of this style of spacey boy/girl tweepop.

16. Holm: Tell It Like It Is (South Of The River, 2004)
Keeping up the tradition of featuring a non-Scandinavian artist on the sampler CD, I present you with Holm, a German pop crooner whose “South Of The River” album is a real treat. I don’t know if he listens to anything that came out after 1972, but let’s not hold that against him. His voice is lovely, the songs are great and his arrangements fit the music perfectly. Spinguy did an interview with him which you can read here: http://www.indiespinzone.com/bands/holm.html

17. Popium: Matters Of The Heart (Camp, 2004)
I’d like to go on record as saying that this CD was a BUGGER to get hold of. I started trying to get it the week it came, and it was in my hands, oh, about six months later. Lazy record companies aside, there are some real pop gems on this third Popium album, as you would expect. I don’t know how much touring they did behind it but they’re apparently back in the studio already working on the follow-up.

18. Girlfriend: Everyday I Wake Up (Blue Sky Love Scene, 2004)
Here’s a second cut from Girlfriend, this time from their most recent “Blue Sky Love Scene”. It’s a more ambitious album than their debut but they pull it off nicely. There’s not a duff track on it.

19. Moi Caprice: Daisies (Once Upon A Time In The North, 2003)
I think I’ve listened to this album 15 times at least in the last month. The fact that Spinguy and I are BOTH blown away by these guys should be a pretty strong indication of how great they are. I mean, listen to this track….have you ever heard anything quite like it before? I certainly haven’t.

20. Jaga Jazzist: Stardust Hotel (What We Must, 2005)
I’m going out on a bit of a limb with this selection, but I reckon that if you’re still coming back after seven sampler CDs you’ll give me a little latitude. Norwegian 10-piece instrumental “new jazz” combo Jaga Jazzist have released one of the most engaging left-field albums of the year. It’s much more guitar-heavy than their previous efforts, which is one of the reasons I like it so much, and they even dropped the “Jazzist” part of their name in recognition of their new direction, but they are still referred to by the full name in most circles. Make sure you listen to this track at least three times, and play it loud. At night. In the car.

21. Anna Ternheim: I’ll Follow You Tonight (Somebody Outside, 2004)
This album came out late last year with very little fanfare. My contact at Stockholm Records sent me a copy and I listened to it a couple of times and filed it away. Then Anna started to gather steam in the Swedish charts and I decided to have another crack at it. Like a fine wine it had matured considerably and has been in heavy rotation for the last few months. This is super introspective, sparsely arranged folk/pop with a truly unique voice. There’s a limited edition double CD with the second disc full of solo renditions and some non-album tracks.

Luke’s Scandinavian Pop Sampler Volume 5! (December 2003)

Monday, December 1st, 2003

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

1. Metro Jets: The Morning Show (single, 2004)
Metro Jets is the perfect pop fix for those of you who are waiting patiently for a new Beagle album. Magnus from Beagle and David from Brainpool bring you this slice of power pop perfection which is actually the theme song for Sweden’s new hit TV sitcom Hipp Hipp…did  someone mention The Rembrandts?…

2. Ola Framby: My Turn (EP, 2002)
Ola Framby was the songwriting force behind and frontman of The Girls in the early 90’s whose masterpiece “It’s Not For The Oskon” album has become a sought-after rarity among powerpop collectors. On this one-man-band solo project he flexes his considerable songwriting muscles with a set of innovative and unpredictable tunes which will  draw you back again and again.

3. Vibeke Saugestad: Velvet Revolution (Overdrive, 2003)
This Norwegian singer’s latest album “Overdrive” is a powerhouse of catchy powerpop numbers, co-written and co-produced by Beagle’s Magnus Borjeson and Brainpool’s David Birde who also play bass and guitar on the album. Also co-produced by the great Christoffer Lundqvist, it’s absolutely essential listening.

4. Johan Bergqvist: Shine (Boy Extracting Thorn, 2002)
This just came across my desk recently and blew me away. A young Swede with a knack for catchy writing that brings to mind influences such as Elliott Smith, Popsicle, and Shawn Smith. Bergvist even contributes two tunes to an upcoming Shawn Smith tribute album. Don’t know who Shawn Smith is? We need to talk!

5. Freewheel: Queen (Varandra, 2000)
It only took me three years to track down this Japanese follow-up to “Starfriend”. In all honesty it’s not as good as its predecessor, but it has a few standout tracks including this one.

6. The Mopeds: She Went Boom (Celebrate The Herring, 1998)
Possibly the Mopeds’ finest song, this was a single in Sweden and has never appeared on an album. It does show up on this excellent Japan-only Celebrate The Herring EP from 1998 though.

7. Sweet Chariots: All I Want Is What I Had (Beat Based, Song Centered, Spirit Led, 2000)
This album picks up where Popsicle left off with their 1997 release “Stand Up And Testify”. Main Popsicle dude Andreas Mattsson hooked up with longtime Popsicle producer and Atomic Swing dude Niclas Frisk to put together this very Popsicle-esque CD a couple of years back…great stuff!

8. Andreas Johnson: Glorious (Liebling, 1999)
This album was produced by Peter Kvint of Melony. It’s the kind of music  you think you’ve heard on the radio before. Lush production and lots of catchy hooks. This track was a hit in Europe.

9. Popundret: That What Makes Me Love You (Montmartre 15 40, 1996)
I got this track on a sampler a while back and it took me ages to track the album down. I don’t normally go in for a lot of Smiths-inspired jangly guitar stuff but this Skellefteå band have their pop hooks down.

10. Komeda: Nonsense (Kokomemedada, 2003)
How a new Komeda album could almost slip right past my radar is a mystery, but I just picked this one up and it’s great. Only released in Europe, this album picks up where 1998’s “What Makes It Go” left off, albeit with a more laid back and dreamy approach.

11. Rubbertribe: Above The Sun (Wound On My Neck For You, 2001)
Someone sent me CD single of the track “Daylight” from this obscure CD back in 2001. Two years later I finally have the CD in my hands and it doesn’t disappoint. There are some powerpop moments on this album, but they also have a touch of the Radioheads, in a good way, like The Motorhomes. Recommended.

12. Ray Wonder: We Got To Be Good To Each Other (A New Kind Of Love,  2000)
This should have gone on one of the previous samplers, but there was never room for it. Ray Wonder are half way between Komeda (the band that spawned them) and The Cardigans. Indeed, Nina Persson turns in a sublime guest vocal on album closer “Lid”, and Baxter’s Nina Ramsby guests on this cut.

13. Ola Framby: Coming Home (Ola Framby, 2003)
Here’s another slice of offbeat brilliance from Mr. Framby.

14. The Venue: What’s In His Head? (Mmhm!, 2002)
If ever a band were living in the 60’s, it’s beat revivalists The Venue. This album is chock full of great numbers. Roll on 1966…

15. The Motorhomes: It’s Alright (Songs For Me And My Baby, 1999)
It wasn’t until I’d OD’d on The Motorhomes more recent “Long Distance Runner” album that I even knew they’d done an earlier album. What? Another superbly produced CD of killer songs? Every bit as good as it’s follow-up…killer!

16. Vibeke Saugestad: Not On Your Life (Into The Shimmering, 2001)
While her more recent “Overdrive” is the one to get, Vibeke’s major label debut from 2001 has some great cuts on it as well.

17. The Isolation Years: It’s Golden (It’s Golden, 2003)
This little-know band from northern Sweden released this impressive debut earlier this year. It’s a tasty little psych-pop affair, and this track features the most superb theft of a Beatles lyric I’ve heard in years!

18. Ronderlin: Reflected (Wave Another Day Goodbye, 2002)
Another album I’ve played to bits over the last few months, this guitar pop affair is very reminiscent of The Leslies and Happydeadmen. Full of great pop hooks.

19. Starlet: When Sun Falls On My Feet (When Sun Falls On My Feet, 2002)
Here’s some slightly darker stuff from this band’s third album, released last year. There are some jangly guitars reminiscent of earlier R.E.M. and some nice horn arrangements. Not to be played before 2am.

20. Edson: Every Day (One Last Song About You Know What, 2003)
Another great EP from the always great Edson. I actually wanted to put the title track on here but it wouldn’t fit!

21. Doris Days: To Ulrike M. (Live In Poland, 1996)
Anyone who got into Lloyd Parker from the last sampler will want to check this out. I worked my way backwards from Lloyd Parker and found that Markus Gylling was formerly in Doris Days who released this little-known  album in 1996. It’s another slice of dark trip-pop with another great  female vocalist, Lisa Carlioth, who sounds quite a lot like Pineforest Crunch’s Asa Eklund. Great stuff. Incidentally, recorded in a studio in Sweden, and not live in Poland.

22. Magnet: The Day We Left Town (On Your Side, 2003)
Even Johanson returns with another sublime offering from earlier this year. This guy’s making waves all across Europe, but fairly predictably, nothing over here. His imagination is vast. This album is like nothing I’ve heard before. I must admit I personally prefer his previous “Quiet and Still” album which had a simpler production, but this album is immense.