While the stupidity of June 23rd and the fumbling-in-the-dark it lead to continues to dominate the news (unless America votes in a racist, misogynistic Oompa Loompa today) I thought I’d revisit my initial “Out of Europe” list… I thought I’d go for a region, in this instance Scandanavia, but quickly found I’d come up with five from the same country.
So, in the same “this is what we’re saying goodbye to” thought, here’s a Top Five From Sweden (in no particular order, of course, and without a Waterloo in sight*):
Kristofer Åström – How Can You Live With Yourself
There’s just something so amusing and great about the juxtaposition between those gentle strums and lyrics like “I hope you’ll burn in hell”.
Refused – New Noise
I don’t think I ever was or ever will be – especially as my clock has just clicked over another year closer to 40 and I merge quietly into listening to ‘Dad rock’ – to talk about Refused or profess fandom in the same way I’m probably unlikely to be considered serious when I talk about At The Drive In’s Relationship of Command (“Hello, mother leopard. I have your cub”). I will say, though, that I love and loved The Shape of Punk To Come in all it’s screaming, emphatic and brutal force.
Shout Out Louds – Oh Sweetheart
I cannot recall how I found this band back in the mid 2000’s. Their first album Howl Howl Gaff Gaff is chock full of cracking, upbeat and well crafted tunes like this and The Comeback. I can’t say I’ve heard a great deal since though, so perhaps it’s time to head to Spotify….
Junip – Line Of Fire
Having found solo success on his own with his bare, acoustic tracks and covers (including Heartbeats) José González did the sensible thing and got the band – Junip – back together again. I first found them on the The Secret Life of Walter Mitty soundtrack and then their 2013 self-titled.
Last Days of April – The Thunder & The Storm
I could have put anything from Last Days of April here, they remain my favourite European export and I’d be hard-pushed to find a dud in their catalogue. So I went with something form their latest – last year’s Sea of Clouds – if only for the moment halfway through when the pedal-steel and guitar takes over and just keep going. For a quick LDOA bracer:
There’s some honourable mentions for this one (Sweden has sent some wonderful music out into the world) including that one-hit-wonder Glorious by Andreas Johnson, The Knife – purveyors of the original Heartbeats, and Lykke Li’s wonderful Melodies & Desires.
*no matter how many people claim there’s something great in ABBA I cannot stomach them, the DJ at my wedding was even banned from playing them no matter who made a request (I have a list of those that did, too).