Nordic Adventures: Edition #5
As I mentioned last time, May was looking pretty good for Nordic music and it certainly hasn't disappointed – quite the opposite. Again I blame my being Swedish for the lack of non-Swedish music in this column, maybe it should just be re-named Swedish Adventures? Or maybe not.
First of all we've got the long-awaited (at least for complete fanboys like me) return of The Tallest Man On Earth with '1904', the first single from his upcoming third full-length There's No Leaving Now. '1904' finds Kristian Matsson back at full strength and, like the full album, it expands on the sound of his previous two LPs. '1904' is one of two tracks on the album to feature both drums and bass guitar – a first for Matsson. There's No Leaving Now will be released on June 12 via Dead Oceans and it won't disappoint, I can promise as much. Until then just enjoy '1904' below - it's bound to get stuck on repeat.
Moving into more electronic territory May saw the release of the Stockholm duo Ditt Inre's debut EP En Värld I Brand. Ditt Inre are signed to the infallible Cascine and En Värld I Brand (which roughly means "A World On Fire") consists of six tracks of dreamy electronic pop. The lyrics are in Swedish, which may or may not be a problem if you don't understand the language, but musically it's excellent. See for yourselves; you can listen to the full EP below.
While Ditt Inre is a brand new act Faye, or Fanny as she was known until last week, has been in the music business since she joined the Swedish pop group at age 13 in the early 2000s. Earlier this year she released her solo debut single 'Come To Me' via Hybris under her birth name Fanny, and last week she was announced as the third signing to the newly started Best Fit Recordings, and with the announcement she's also back to working under the name Faye rather than Fanny. Hybris and Best Fit Recordings/Cooperative Music will be releasing Faye's second single 'Water Against The Rocks' digitally on June 25 and as a 7" with 'Come To Me' in July, but you can watch the video to the track already – and it's absolutely brilliant.
Continuing in a pop direction we've got the "Nordic Adventures" mainstay Niki & The Dove who finally released their debut album Instinct in mid-May via Mercury Records – with a US release on Sub Pop scheduled for August. If you've been following this column you know that I'm a big fan of Niki & The Dove and naturally my expectations for the album were sky-high and they certainly delivered. Instinct has been met with ace reviews all over and for good reason, as the only valid complaint against the album is that many of the tracks had already appeared as singles or on EPs. Head over to NME to give it a listen.
To finish things off (well, almost at least) we've got Icona Pop's new single 'I Love It' which appeared out of the blue (at least for me) in early May. 'I Love It' is more straight-forward than their previous output, bringing the club and dance influence to the front – which may or may not be an indication of the sound of their forthcoming debut LP. The track was co-written with Robyn-producer Patrik Berger (with whom they've worked earlier) and Style of Eye and you can watch the official video for it below. Guaranteed dancefloor hit.
As per usual I can never quite decide on just five tracks and this month we've got two bonuses: the international debut album from the Finnish songstress Sansa, and the Stockholm punks in Holograms' new track 'Chasing My Mind'. Sansa's Savior was released earlier this month via KoolMusik and it's a fine mix of singer-songwriter folk and electronic pop. Well worth a listen or ten.
The Swedish punk act Holograms will be releasing their self-titled debut LP via Captured Tracks on July 10 and earlier this month they unveiled 'Chasing My Mind'. Give it a listen/grab an mp3 of it below and check back next month, when there'll surely be more from The Tallest Man On Earth and Holograms, plus much more.
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The past month has seen the release of The Tallest Man On Earth's third full-length There's No Leaving Now (which is amazing in case you haven't heard), a free surprise-EP from jj and Lykke Li covering Fleetwood Mac for a tribute album. Besides that it's been a pretty amazing month for Nordic, and particularly Swedish acts as well. [read more]
For the past month, much of my time (and I assume the time of many other music-interested Scandinavians as well) has been devoted to festivals, and there's been more than a few memorable gigs. A personal highlight for me was during the Way Out West festival in Gothenburg when I had the privilege to see one of the finest Nordic artists right now, Jens Lekman, perform an intimate set in his backyard where he showcased material from his upcoming record I Know What Love Isn't. [read more]
This month saw the return of one of Sweden's best and brightest artists Taken By Trees, the pseudonym of former Concretes vocalist Victoria Bergsman, who released the first single from her upcoming third solo record Outer Worlds. Outer Worlds is extremely interesting on the production side in a Nordic perspective as well as it's produced by Henning Fürst of The Tough Alliance. [read more]