A GUEST POSTING by MARTIN ELLIOT
(Our Swedish Correspondent)
It’s once more into the bleach – my summary of last year in Swedish music. For different reasons, pandemic mostly, some of my usual sources of finding new music were delayed so last year actually saw me discover music that rightly should have been included in my summary already last year. Therefore, this year (to save me from tears) I included a bonus 12″ with overlooked (on my part) Swedish music from 2021. I hope this “deluxe” version of the Swedish Annual is accepted.
2022, side A (a bit more guitars):
A Sunday morning I was offered a free ticket to a small venue the same night with 2 Swedish bands on the bill I had never heard of before. An offer I guess based on limited ticket pre-sale, and as I have been there several times before I’m on their mailing list. Better people come and buy something in the bar at least… First I felt too lazy and was about to skip it, but then I pulled myself together; better alone at a gig than alone at home, so I went there – very luckily since both bands were actually great! Gothenburg based indie kids Beverly Kills were second band out, they played their just released debut Kaleido from start to finish. A great ending to a great evening!
All female indie rockers Sahara Hotnights are back after an 11 years hiatus with an album slightly more pop than usual. The album, Love In Times Of Low Expectations, has received a bit mixed reviews being more low key than what they did 11 years ago. More mature, more self assured, less aggressive. Given a bit of time the album has grown on me, and live they still have great energy on stage.
The new album House is short, it clocks in at about 32 minutes (compare to their Our Ill Wills album that has about 57 minutes on the vinyl!), but it is concentrated and effective. The first single, Sky And I, surfaced by the end of 2021 while the album was released early May. When I first started listening to them, in 2007, they were recording their second album, the just mentioned Our Ill Wills, and I remember reading that they had Disintegration playing on repeat in the studio. I guess it never left the CD player, the influences are still here.
First band out on that Sunday evening, Many Voices Speak is the moniker for singer/songwriter Matilda Mård. In the studio she does almost everything herself but live she brings a small band on stage. Dreamy, guitar based, indie-pop in the veins of Victorialand Cocteaus or maybe Daughter. I really enjoyed her set, and left with both her and Beverly Kill’s albums under my arm.
2022, side B (a bit more electronic):
Last year Göteborgselektronikerna dropped new music pretty much out of nowhere and in September a new album was released. Less obvious in their Kraftwerk influences, more playful and accessible on this their second album. Very electronic this one.
Third album from Badlands, I had her included also last year with the epic Fantasma I & II. This album, Call To Love, is more dreamy, less darkwave-ish than the last. Still very emotional, this time dealing more with (lost) love than loss of life.
Another artist that has “matured” over the last few years and released an album a lot more low key than her previous outings. If the earlier albums have been more of young adult snapchat type lyrics about (lost) love, feeling outkast and alone this new album sees an artist reflecting with some experience on pretty much the same topics. It’s in Swedish so most of you won’t make much of it, but with this track title you might get a knack anyway…
Annika has earlier released material in Swedish under the moniker Säkert! and in English as Hello Saferide, so when she now makes her debut under her real name she does it with one side in Swedish and one in English… Mostly rather quiet songs, especially the Swedish side, lyrically slightly less direct and to the point than earlier. Leaving a bit more to the listener to work out what she is singing about. This track taken from the English side then.
The lost 2021 bonus single-sided 12″:
Linn released her debut full length album in 2021, having released 2 EP’s a few years earlier. Guitar-laden indie I would love to experience live.
They opened up for The Wannadies at a small club gig I attended in April last year, I had never heard them but was impressed and picked up their 2021 debut album from the merch stall afterwards. Quirky indiepop, in Swedish.
Maja has been around the Swedish music scene for some years now, and I have seen her joining First Aid Kit on stage a couple of times. I completely missed the release of her debut album in 2021 until late last year, but have since played the album repeatedly. At times her voice reminds me a lot of Jolene version Dolly Parton. Fragile, angel-like, and just lovable.
With hopes for a better 2023, all the best.
JC adds..…As I say every single year, I always look forward to Martin’s end of year round-up as there’s inevitably something in there that is of huge appeal, and this year is no different. These tunes are well worth a listen.