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musicOMH New Music Guide: 12



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

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Shadow Parade

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 echoes 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, Björk.

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.

Paulin Voss

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.

Autumn 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 barb wire bass. This Danish three-piece create a mighty noise.

The ghost of Hüsker Dü 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

Mono/Noise live up to their name really rather well. This is a wonderful mix of analogue synth tones, glitches and digital disintegration. Haus fm rises slowly on a bed of electronic pulses and clipped beats.

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. TheRuling 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 breakdown 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.



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