musicOMH.com Unsigned Guide: 12 - the Scandinavian Edition
in this issue: Shadow Parade, The Heavenly Music Corporation, Mono/Noise, Paulin Voss, Blue On Blue and The Ruling Class
Shadow Parade, from Reykjavik
Our latest mission was to escape the confines of the UK and USA music scenes,
this time turning our attention to thawed out summer in Scandinavia.
This northern exposure unearthed a host of delights, from
electronica to classy pop music via power pop - and there's not even a hint of death metal or ABBA...
If you're an unsigned or own label artist, why not let us know about you for the next edition? unsigned@musicOMH.com
Iceland's Shadow Parade started life as an electronic duo before
deciding to expand their sound. It's now the more traditional
instruments that dominate and the computer has been turned off. The
band produce a warm fragile take on indie that has echo's of
Coldplay, Turin Brakes and the more guitar based end
of Radiohead's back catalogue.
Dead Man's Hands is the perfect
showcase for Beggi Dan's emotive vocals. The chorus kicks like a mule on
speed, with guitars blasting through the mix. The warped Americana of
Gravity showcases the band's range. They could be the biggest thing
to come out of Iceland since, as cliches have it, Bjork.
The Heavenly Music Corporation
The Heavenly Music Corporation is the alias for English exile
Lawrence, who is living in Malmo in Sweden. A film and music obsessive,
he has turned his passions into some wonderful music.
He produces a
swirlingly engaging mix of electronics, voice samples and sun drenched
melody. Every Grey Hair On is a beautiful blend of laid back beats,
bleeping bass, vocal clips and a great piano part. Equal parts Brian
Eno, The KLF and DJ Shadow.
So, from Sweden we move across the border to Norway. Paulin Voss has
a voice that is beautifully airy and occupied with longing. A
classically trained cellist. Ms Voss has this pop lark down to a tee.
Song casts her voice against a bank of mournful strings, slowly
uncoiling with a dab of tracey electronics before exploding into glorious techno-colour chorus. Imagine Goldfrapp co-writing with Chris
Carrabba and you get an idea of its emotional pull. Down Below is
so sharp and focused it could be the Cardigans.
Blue On Blue
Blue On Blue slash and burn with a taut take on power pop. The
guitars are a tight mesh of melody and noise, Blue On Blue is
Sugar jamming with Joy Division, all distorted guitar and
barbwire bass. This Danish three-piece create a mighty noise.
ghost of Husker Du is evoked on 6 Miles, and there are shades of
Therapy and even the nasty grind of Big Black in the
songs showcased here. If you like you guitars spiked with anger and
attitude then you should love this.
Mono/Noise live up to their name really rather well. This is a
wonderful mix of analogue synth tones, glitches and digital
disintegration. Hausfm rises slowly on a bed of electronic pulses and
Little hooks arrive and disappear, build on random
pieces of noise that flicker like a virus on your screen. It's like a
remix of Fennesz by Boards of Canada - electronica with a soul, it should be picked up by someone like Warp
and not left to decay alone on MySpace.
The Ruling Class
We finish our northern sojourn with a little bit of Madchester via Sweden. The
Ruling Class are in love with the sound of Baggy and come across as a
blissful mix of the Stone Roses shuffle mixed in with a little
bit of early James.
If You Wonder has a funky little bass break
down and shimmering guitars. Flowers is built around a riff that
John Squire used to write in his sleep. If Kasabian can take
their Happy Mondays rewrites into the charts then The Ruling Class could add a splash of colour as well.
So, if confirmation were needed, there's more to Scandinavian music than Black Metal and ABBA.