A GUEST POSTING by MARTIN ELLIOTT
Happy New Year and all the best for 2019!
I thought, why not round off 2018 with another Swedish EP for TVV?… It was another great year for new music to surface – also in Sweden. For accessibility I’ll stay, piu o meno, with tracks sung in English although it was a great year for music in Swedish. And I decided not to include Robyn as I assume most of you have had issues avoiding her return – the 2 singles released so far are in my opinion the two best tracks anyway so I won’t bore you with any of those here.
11 pm side
Former front figure of Swedish indie rockers Yvonne has gone all (goth)synth and on Gimme Daggers, his third solo album, the pieces fell into place. I believe he has some of the early New Order records at home. Did I see arms in the air?
Brought up in my home town she started out as indie rocker Jonna Lee, transmorphed into electronic audiovisual artist iamamiwhoami and in 2018 she moved into electronic (dance) artist ionnalee, releasing the magnificent album Everyone Afraid To Be Forgotten. Excellent live as well. She’s potentially the secret child of Kate Bush and Bernard Sumner.
A mix of Swedish and some English but I’m pretty sure this can take you all to the dance floor anyway!. Two brothers from the grim north, placing The Strokes‘ drummer in the lime light for 3 minutes. All that you ever want for your indie disco night: New Order synths, a steady beat, nice breaks, witty lyrics (the chorus goes You can always lie to yourself, but never lie to me) and some falsetto singing. Their first singles I disregarded as petty copies of now disbanded Swedish icons Kent, but second half of 2018 saw the release of a string of tracks taking that sound above and beyond their influence and into my heart.
File under darkwave. Red Mecca is, or rather was, the duo of Jan Strandquist (formerly keyboards in 80’s post punk/new wave band Brända Barn (Burnt Children)) and young vocalist Frida Madeleine. Unfortunately Frida decided to leave after the excellent 2018 album I See Darkness In You for personal reasons. The mix of Jan’s long history in Swedish alternative music scene and Frida’s enchanting voice was a wonderful cocktail. The band continues with new vocalist Susanne and have released their first single after Frida’s departure. I have still to be truly convinced, we’ll see if they show up here in a year or not.
4 am side
She’s back four years after the monumental hit remix of No Rest For The Wicked featuring A$AP Rocky with a break-up album. So she’s become a mother and split up since last album, but she hasn’t lost her talent – just using it to get all her sorrow out of her system. Not angry, she understands how the world turns, but she needs to get history out of her mind.
The album Romantic, 8 years after her PC war-game inspired last album, saw Nina Kinert churn out exactly what she said – a very romantic, ballad laden synth-pop album. And in my eyes the crown jewel is this wonderful duet with Future Island‘s Sam Herring. Some lyrical similarities with a Smiths track when you think about it.
Grant, after Cary Grant, is 25 year old Caroline who puts all of her bullied, torn and tormented youth into her debut album In Bloom. At times just a bit too much, but in Waterline she gets it all in the right places. The song about am in the end not committed suicide is very personal. I saw her performing this solo on a piano placed on a ramp just over the surface in the middle of a swimming pool in August – it was pure magic.
Probably this will put some of you off, a lot…. I have to say London Calling is one of my all time fave tracks in its original version, so I was mildly said sceptical when I found this on YT. But as I do very much enjoy the teeny but intelligent pop Little Jinder does (only understandable for Swedish speaking) I gave it a listen, and she has actually been able to do something completely different of the song, turning it to her own. Give it a chance, live by the river.
In the same session she did a version of her own track Goldwing with a short but kind of nice homage to Joy Division. Also on YT.
A fantastic 2019 to all of you, your faithful Swedish correspondent.