Pascal/Mattias Alkberg split details

Details have been revealed for the upcoming Pascal/Mattias Alkberg split:
Pascal contribute 5 tunes, including a cover of Peter LeMarc's "Håll om mig" with Matti on guest vocals while Matti gives us 4 tunes with his cover selection being "Regnet i Södertälje" by Conny Nimmersjö. The official release date is April 13 via .

Riddarna - Känner du som jag

Check out a stream of "Känner du som jag", the first single from Riddarna's upcoming self-titled debut full-length, due out April 6 via :

MP3: Katharina Nuttall - Turn me on

How is it that I've never known about Katharina Nuttall until a week ago? With two previously released albums and numerous production credits under her belt (including Ane Brun), I feel like I've been seriously blowing it, especially since her flavor of dark, melancholy rock is exactly what I'm into. "Turn me on" is the lead single and title track from her upcoming album, due out March 23 via , and it sounds like a caustic hybrid of PJ Harvey and the barebone rawness of early Madrugada. Of course I'm way into it, how could I not? On the other hand, I must admit to being a slight more partial to her melodramatic wrist-slitting balladeering side, as evidenced by the older video posted above. But fear not should you be of similar mind! There's bits of that on the new album as well. Definitely a spring release to look forward to.

Katharina Nuttall - Turn me on

Graveyard, Riddarna, LDOA confirmed for IAT Clubnights

Dates are finally confirmed for our upcoming IAT! Clubnights at Debaser Malmö! First up on December 10 we have hard-rockers Graveyard (who I presume will be premiering matering from their forthcoming, much-anticipated album) plus recent -signees Riddarna! Maybe even guest DJs too, who knows? And then in January, Last Days of April who will be playing in support of their new album "Gooey" which just came out on . Look for a support act to be announced soon and see you there! ('cept that I won't)

Paper back in the studio

Paper will be spending the next few days in the studio recording their sophomore LP "Our world", due out this fall via /.

Pascal e-card

Check out an e-card for the new Pascal album "Orkanen närmar sig", out now via :

Manifestgalen 2010 nominees are go

The nominees for the 2010 Manifest Awards, Sweden's alternative Grammy, have been announced:

En Svensk Tiger - Versace style ()
Troublemakers - Made in Sweden ()
Tysta Mari - Sveriges Casino ()
The Clichés - Monkey see, monkey do ()

Minilogue - Samlad årsproduktion
Samuel L Session - The man with the case ()
The Field - Yesterday and Today ()
Tomas Andersson - Stiff Disco ()

Bengt Berger - Beches Brew ()
Jonas Kullhammar Quartet - The Half Naked Truth 1998-2008 ()
The Opposite - Intertwined ()
Plunge With Bobo Stenson - Origo ()

Calle Real - Me Lo Gané ()
Jaqee - Kokoo Girl ()
Music is the weapon - Music is the weapon ()
Syster Sol - Dömd att bli bedömd ()

Florence Valentin - Spring Ricco ()
Makeouts - In A Strange Land ()
Murder by guitar - Murder by guitar ()
Skriet - Skriet ()

Anna Järvinen - Man var bland molnen ()
El Perro Del Mar - Love Is Not Pop ()
JJ - JJ n° 2 ()
Jonathan Johansson - En hand i himlen ()

Abandon - The Dead End ()
Candlemass - Death Magic Doom ()
Katatonia - Night Is The New Day ()
Tribulation - The Horror ()

Arvid - Andetag ()
Dupont - Entering The Ice Age ()
Emmon - Closet Wanderings ()
Rupesh Cartel - Anchor Baby ()

Ane Brun - Live at Stockholm Concert Hall ()
David Åhlen - We Sprout In Thy Soil ()
Jonna Lee - This Is Jonna Lee ()
Kristofer Åström And The Rainaways - Sinkadus ()

Taken By Trees - East of Eden ()
Miriam Aida - Letras au Brasil ()
Tore Berger - I huset långt på landet ()
Esbjörn Hazelius - Blunda och du ska få se ()

Mohammed Ali - Processen ()
Organismen - Om Gud vill och vädret tillåter ()
Promoe - Kråksången ()
Stor - Nya skolans ledare ()

Best live:
Frida Hyvönen ()
Jenny Wilson ()
Fever Ray ()
Florence Valentin ()

Best unsigned:
Den Svenska Björnstammen
Extended Heads

Go here for more:

Existensminimum - Ok boysExistensminimum
Ok boys


On this album there is a dark, all-too-understanding awareness of the minor tragedies that, despite their relative insignificance, leave their mark on us, possibly for life -- an understanding and mood I've really only ever found before on Markus Krunegård's solo effort. Both Krunegård and Magnus Henriksson (the mastermind of Existensminimum) propose similar answers, too -- get out of the house, onto a bus, and into a bar; it may not change a thing, but at least you're not alone. Accordingly, the thematic landscape of "OK boys" is matched by a dark, cruelly detached, and vulnerable lexicon of musical expression: on "Fugelsang", Henriksson channels his inner Bowie ("They'll send me off to space...") over the droning, lost guitar lines of the chorus; "Signs of human life" has a slight Phil Spector, 60s pop feel to its demure arrangement; "1993" staccato-stabs its way through the account of a life spent trying to find meaning through chemically-saturated escapism; and closer "Messin' up" adopts a Lovekevins-style pop vehicle with which to voice its final, lavishly cynical pronouncement. There is a touch of sub-genre-schizophrenia on here, but this very minor flaw is only noticeable when you skip around the album; as a fluid whole, "OK boys" ebbs and flows, but never quite jumps the banks. By the time you're a few songs in, you wouldn't care whether Henriksson went completely off the rails or not, just as long as he took you with him.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Hyper Plastic - EPHyper Plastic


Opening with the wryly constructed "Ron Asheton's loafers", Hyper Plastic, the electronic solo project of former This Perfect Day guitarist Rickard Johansson, establishes what we can expect from the EP - clever arrangements of simple melodies, a mess of blips and bloops entwined with Johansson's guitar work, driving electronic drums, and coolly detached vocals. One can't but hear elements of "Punk rocker"-era Teddybears throughout the EP, even in its most inspired moments for at the core of Hyper Plastic is a need to channel angular punk energy down the darkest of pop-saturated avenues. As "Love & hate" demonstrates, Johansson has a fantastic understanding of atmosphere and mood (favoring the brooding kind), and utilizes this awareness to elevate his compositions just clear of being dismissed as merely simplistic distortion-tinged pop songs. That said, the cynical charm of Hyper Plastic starts to lose some of its appeal after a few listens -- though, in all honesty, this fate awaits the vast majority of four-track EPs. I'm curious to see what Johansson could do with more time.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Antennas - Feeling feline tonightAntennas
Feeling feline tonight


Antennas do not lend themselves easily to comparisons -- there are elements of the pop structures of Shout Out Louds, of the angular nature of Laakso's approach, among other such attempts to define their sound, but very few of these associations hold up as you move through the tracklist. "The collector" is kitschy-chic, like a Weeping Willows ballad hijacked by CDOASS; "Lies" has far more soul and funk in its composition than three Swedes should be able to manifest in song; "Youngbloods" channels a bit of Brit-rock suave before throwing itself recklessly down dance-punk avenues; "Upwardly mobile" could almost be a Hot Chip track... and yet "Feeling feline tonight" feels like a unified work, each track flowing easily into the next, despite the differences in tone and method. Novoton Records apparently can do absolutely no wrong: "Book of Norma" was my first 10 out of 10, postpunkers Paper and Pixies-style rockers Pascal both put out fantastic efforts in 2008, and "Feeling feline tonight", with its ability to combine 80s pop craftsmanship and angular indie rock with the interesting, reactionary elements of some 90s music (think Stone Roses and Pulp), only strengthens Novoton's position as one of the very best labels in Sweden. "Feeling feline tonight" is my first great surprise of the year.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Norma - Book of NormaNorma
Book of Norma


I'll admit that I had a little difficulty at first with Norma's debut "1". I fell hard for "Love no other", but found it slightly demanding to be as powerfully drawn to the rest of the EP. As an English professor of mine would carefully say about a book he didn't appreciate to the extent his colleagues did: "I'm not ready for it yet." Still, something about Norma imbedded itself into me and I couldn't shake them. I can say now: I'm ready for Norma.

"Book of Norma" is overwhelming and disconcerting, yet it is precisely in this difficulty that Norma best profess their talents. No band attempting to provide a facile listening experience would start a record with "S.A.M", a track that starts off as though its been recorded from the backstage room of a club. Even in the most simple, driving moments of "S.A.M" or "Waste", there is a fullness that most bands lack - in "S.A.M" this comes from the dark amplitude of the production and in the bridging of Krautrock with indie rock; in "Waste", Norma separate themselves through attitude and approach alone, taking what could almost be a track from Tiger Lou's "The loyal" and saturating it with a dysphoria present not only in the song's pacing, but in the detached lyrics. "Book of Norma" is brilliant, be it in the near freak out of "Evelyn", the unsettlingly fast/slow pacing of "You go, we follow", or in the beautiful closer "Empty hands" which is only made more remarkable through Andrea Kellerman's (of Firefox AK) backing vocals. I've never given full marks to a band before, nor do I hesitate to do so with this - "Book of Norma" is the record to beat in 2008.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Paper - An objectPaper
An object


Can Novoton Records do any wrong? Paper's "An object" and all its wondrous lo-fi post-punk magic is yet another indication that, in fact, Novoton may be the best record label in Sweden at the moment. A shadowy effort, Paper create a storm of string-thin guitars, bass riffs and analog synths, punctuated by the dark vocal delivery and the assured drum patterns - and its something to behold. Like the missing step between Joy Division and New Order, "An object" carefully captures both of these influences and then proceeds to twist them around the more raucous post-punk of the later 80s, all without sacrificing the individuality of the compositions themselves despite all of these reference points. "To her" should be the opening track to a late 80s cinematic effort, "Out of it into it" is a powerful thesis for the album to come, and closer "Ideal plane" is a strangely serene, beautiful ending to an album that seems most comfortable observing frantic destruction, but this peculiar ending works; an introspective close to one of the best new post-punk albums that I've heard in a long time.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Pascal - GalgbergetPascal


Ever since the 2006 debut "Förbi fabriken", this three-piece combo has been associated with The Jesus and Mary Chain and sure, I see where that's coming from. However, I'm more inclined to name The Cramps as a major influence. The naïve and primitive musical approach that is the trademark of said band is also a large part of Pascal and of "Galgberget" in particular. Each song featured is an attack that when combined, forms an unstoppable force of distortion, reverb and repeating lyrics. The lyrics are, in their simplicity, superb and maybe it's just because they are that simple, it makes them so good. For example, take the first tune "Stort och vackert" wherein they sing (translated) "I'm gonna build something big and beautiful/that I can crush you with." That right there are the only words to that song. The "less is more" device is integral to the whole record and I can cope with that. Especially when it's done this well! Dealing with love, suicide, Elvis ("Min enda vän"), the lyrics accompany the dark and sometimes gloomy music perfectly. And the cover of Judas Priest's "Painkiller" ("Smärtstillande") is awesome! If you're only gonna buy one Swedish punk rock album this year, be sure to buy this one. A good time is guaranteed.
- Jonas Appelqvist

Norma - 1Norma


"Love no other" is one of the finest opening tracks an album has ever used as an inception point. An effortless blend of electronic, shoegaze, and post-rock influences - like a bastard child of some unholy union between Aerial, the Radio Dept., Ulrich Schnauss, and My Bloody Valentine - Norma's debut EP is astounding, a heralding cry of a band with the future wide open ahead of them. My only true complaint with this collection of songs is that fact that the ending of "The dark", before it is appreciated for what it is (which doesn't take long), feels like its building to an even heavier, thunderously devastating finale, and the abrupt close is a little abrasive at first - the drums come in for just that final bar... and then fade. In all seriousness, this grievance is extremely minor, and slips from your consciousness with repeated listening. "1" is the first collected recordings of an amazingly talented group of musicians, laden with youthful energy and confidence beyond their years, and, especially for an EP, worth investing in.
- Lars Garvey Laing-Peterson

Existensminimum - Last night my head tried to explode and I wrote everything downExistensminimum
Last night my head tried to explode and I wrote everything down

Most of you know Existensminimum as the drummer of Moneybrother, and you, like myself, had probably heard the first version of "Running down everyone" over a year ago as a single. With that song, one could see parallels with the two group. Those parallels are have know been extinguished. What Existensminimum has now given us is a stellar experimental/noise/pop/psychadelica record that rips and tears and lilts and flies with each track. The segments of each song interweave with themselves, layering instruments and loads of texture. He suceeds greatly, as none of the tracks are cluttered, and each sound gives way to another. Tracks with vocals, the afformentioned "Running down everyone" (although substantially different now from the older version) and "Cina" hit the listener with hooks. "Sweden" is a true gem, a subtle, delicate number that explodes with vocals chaos towards the end. Existensminimum has created a top-notch debut, and I cannot wait to see what's next.
- Matt Giordano