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, fromelectronica 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?
Iceland’s Shadow Parade started life as an electronic duo beforedeciding to expand their sound. It’s now the more traditionalinstruments that dominate and the computer has been turned off. Theband produce a warm fragile take on indie that has echo’s ofColdplay, Turin Brakes and the more guitar based endof Radiohead‘s back catalogue.
Dead Man’s Hands is the perfectshowcase for Beggi Dan’s emotive vocals. The chorus kicks like a mule onspeed, with guitars blasting through the mix. The warped Americana ofGravity showcases the band’s range. They could be the biggest thingto come out of Iceland since, as cliches have it, Bjork.
The Heavenly Music Corporation
The Heavenly Music Corporation is the alias for English exileLawrence, who is living in Malmo in Sweden. A film and music obsessive,he has turned his passions into some wonderful music.
He produces aswirlingly engaging mix of electronics, voice samples and sun drenchedmelody. Every Grey Hair On is a beautiful blend of laid back beats,bleeping bass, vocal clips and a great piano part. Equal parts BrianEno, The KLF and DJ Shadow.
So, from Sweden we move across the border to Norway. Paulin Voss hasa voice that is beautifully airy and occupied with longing. Aclassically trained cellist. Ms Voss has this pop lark down to a tee.
AutumnSong casts her voice against a bank of mournful strings, slowlyuncoiling with a dab of tracey electronics before exploding into glorious techno-colour chorus. Imagine Goldfrapp co-writing with ChrisCarrabba and you get an idea of its emotional pull. Down Below isso sharp and focused it could be the Cardigans.
Blue On Blue
Blue On Blue slash and burn with a taut take on power pop. Theguitars are a tight mesh of melody and noise, Blue On Blue isSugar jamming with Joy Division, all distorted guitar andbarbwire bass. This Danish three-piece create a mighty noise.
Theghost of Husker Du is evoked on 6 Miles, and there are shades ofTherapy and even the nasty grind of Big Black in thesongs showcased here. If you like you guitars spiked with anger andattitude then you should love this.
Mono/Noise live up to their name really rather well. This is awonderful mix of analogue synth tones, glitches and digitaldisintegration. Hausfm rises slowly on a bed of electronic pulses andclipped beats.
Little hooks arrive and disappear, build on randompieces of noise that flicker like a virus on your screen. It’s like aremix of Fennesz by Boards of Canada – electronica with a soul, it should be picked up by someone like Warpand not left to decay alone on MySpace.
The Ruling Class
We finish our northern sojourn with a little bit of Madchester via Sweden. TheRuling Class are in love with the sound of Baggy and come across as ablissful mix of the Stone Roses shuffle mixed in with a littlebit of early James.
If You Wonder has a funky little bass breakdown and shimmering guitars. Flowers is built around a riff thatJohn Squire used to write in his sleep. If Kasabian can taketheir 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.