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Benni Hemm Hemm - Murta St. CalungaBenni Hemm Hemm
Murta St. Calunga


"Murta St. Calunga" should have been Benni Hemm Hemm's breakout album. After the song "GítStemm" was featured on the excellent "Fjölskyldualbúm Tilraunaeldhússins" compilation in 2006, they released their sophomore effort "Kajak" to critical acclaim. On "Kajak", you could almost hear singer/songwriter Benedikt Hermannsonn's arrangements maturing, the twinkling list of acoustic guitar and the stutter of his brass canter in increasing symbiosis, interwoven with a distinctly maritime flourish. But while "Murta" upstages the brassy pomp of its predecessors, it struggles to find depth. Too often, as on childish "Whaling in the North Atlantic" and the faux-western "Riotmand", Benni falls short of recreating the sparkling intimacies of "Kajak". Thus, the ineffective melodies and sparse acoustics must be salvaged by the atypical rhythms of their instrumental breaks. The jaunty brass, with its shifting time signatures, continues to be BHH's most potent weapon. Though it elevates the repetitive horns above those that proliferate in today's colorless indie, they are little more than a palliative here, providing temporary respite from "Murta"'s predictable doldrums. The soft, textured horn laments that worked so well on "Kajak" wander aimlessly in the album's sluggish middle, where copycat brass mimics endless iterations of what seems to be one single dim Melody.

It's not all bad, though. The Van Morrison rifflets and the faux-metal hammer-ons of "Veiðiljóð" are welcome additions, as is the warmth of "Riotmand", where glockenspiels flutter beautifully above static horns. The formulaic vocals lack the depth or vision of those on "Kajak", but Benni's voice still transmits a blissful Nordic solitude. If I had not been primed me to expect great things from Benni Hemm Hemm, perhaps I would not be so quick to dismiss this album. I'm hopeful that their next will be a return to form, as I'm hesitant to believe that BHH's best music is behind them.
- Nathan Keegan

Interview: Cecilia Klingspor

Interview: Cecilia Klingspor

Farewell to 2009

A few statistics for the year, should you be curious...

Total news items: 3880
Reviews: 77
Mp3s: 235

Top downloads (for tracks posted in 2009):
01. Florence Valentin - Spring Ricco
02. Ison & Fille - Jag skratter idag
03. King Diamond - No presents for Christmas (slightly cheating since I also posted it last year)
04. The Scrags - Psycho cyclone
05. Mercy - Heavy metal warriors

Top search terms:
01. Porno (no surprise, though I suspect most people aren't actually looking for the Swedish rapper)
02. Darkthrone
03. King Diamond
04. Melody Club
05. Black Uniforms

Remember, the mailorder goes on hibernation tomorrow so get your orders in now. Otherwise, I'm hard at work on revamping the site for 2010 and will be back with regular updates next week. Take care and happy New Year!

Swedish Grammis 2010 best video nominees

The nominees for the Swedish Grammis/MTV award in the category of best music video have been announced:

Adam Tensta, Eboi, Infinite Mass - Area turns red 09 (dir. Marcus Lundin)
Adiam Dymott - Miss you (dir. Senay & Kolacz)
Air France - No excuses (dir. Marcus Söderlund)
Amanda Jensen - Happyland (dir. Jerker Josefsson)
Bob Hund - Bli aldrig som oss bli värre! (dir. Johan Söderberg)
BWO - Right here right now (dir. Josef Andersson)
El Perro Del Mar - Change of heart (dir. Filip Nilsson)
Elin Lanto - Love made me stupid (dir. Robinovich)
Fever Ray - When I grow up (dir. Martin de Thurrah)
Jenny Wilson - Like a fading rainbow (dir. Marcus Söderlund)
Pato Pooh feat. Adam Tensta - Follow me (dir. Maceo Frost)
Peter Bjorn and John - It don't move me (dir. Filip Nilsson)
Promoe - Svennebanan (dir. Magnus Härdner)
Taken By Trees - My boys (dir. Marcus Söderlund)
The Sound Of Arrows - Into the clouds (dir. The Sound Of Arrows)
Timbuktu - Välj mej (dir. Daniel Wirtberg & Jonas Rudström)
Promoe - Mammas Gata (dir. Magnus Härdner)
Moneybrother - Born under a bad sign (dir. Kalle Haglund)
Mando Diao - Gloria (dir. Jörn Heitmann)
Melody Club - The only ones (dir. Peder Bergstrand)

View/vote here:

2010 Swedish Grammis, the list

Here you go, the (almost) full list of nominees for the 2010 Swedish Grammis:

A Camp - Colonia
Agnes - Dace love pop - The love love love edition
Amanda Jenssen - Happyland
Caroline af Ugglas - Så gör jag det igen
Erik Hassle - Hassle
Kent - Röd
Lars Winnerbäck - Tänk om jag ångrar mig och sen ångrar mig igen
Mando Diao - Give me fire!
Takida - The darker instinct
Thåström - Kärlek är för dom

Folk music/ballad:
Cajsastina Åkerström - Sånger om dej och mej
Esbjörn Hazelius - Blunda och du ska få se
Miriam Aida - Letras ao Brasil
Olle Adolphson - Tystnaden smyger som en katt... 1956-2004
Sofia Jannok - Åssogáttis - By the embers
Sofia Karlsson - Den allra båsta (1999-2009)
Sofia Karlsson - Söder om kärleken
Stefan Sundström - Ingenting har hänt
Taken By Trees - East of Eden
Väsen - Väsen Street

Hard rock:
Candlemass - Death magic doom
Crucified Barbara - 'Til death do us party
Dead By April - Dead By April
Hammerfall - No sacrifice, no victory
Hardcore Superstar - Beg for it
Lillasyster - Det här är inte musik, det här är kärlek
Mustasch - Mustasch
Raised Fist - Veil of ignorance
Renegade Five - Undergrounded universe
Wolf - Ravenous

Alice Babs - As time goes by
Bengt Berger - Beches brew
Georg Wadenius/Arild Jensen - Jul på Svenska
Jan Lundgren Trio - European standards
Jeanette Lindström - Attitude and orbit control
Jonas Kullhammar Quartet - The half naked truth
Lina Nyberg - The snow
Lisa Ekdahl - Give me that slow knowing smile
Magnus Lindgren - Batucada jazz
Trummor & Orgel - Visions

Andreas Tilliander - Show
J-Son - Never half stepping
Ken Ring - Hip hop
Lorentz & M Sakarias - Vi mot världen
Mange Schmidt - Odenplan Stockholm 1988
Maskinen - Boys II men
Mohammed Ali - Processen
Näääk - Näääk vem?
Promoe - Kråksången
Swingfly - God bless the IRS

Amanda Jenssen & Pär Wiksten - Happyland
Anna Järvinen - Man var bland molnen
Christian Walz - The corner
Deportees - Under the pavement - the beach
El Perro Del Mar - Love is not pop
Joakim Berg & Martin Sköld (Kent) - Röd
Lars Winnerbäck - Tänk om jag ångrar mig och sen ångrar mig igen
Nina Persson, Niclas Frisk, Nathan Larsson (A Camp) - Colonia
Salem Al Fakir - Astronaut
Thåström - Kärlek är för dom

Female artist:
Agnes - Dace love pop - The love love love edition
Amanda Jenssen - Happyland
Anna Järvinen - Man var bland molnen
Caroline af Ugglas - Så gör jag det igen
Jenny Wilson - Hardships!
Laleh - Me and Simon
Melissa Horn - Säg ingenting till mig
Miss Li - Dancing the whole way home
Pernilla Andersson - Ashbury apples
Sarah Dawn Finer - Moving on

Male artist:
Christian Walz - The corner
Erik Hassle - Hassle
Freddie Wadling - The dark flower (Den mörka blomman)
John Me - I am John
Lars Winnerbäck - Tänk om jag ångrar mig och sen ångrar mig igen
Markus Krunegård - Lev som en gris dö som en hund
Olle Ljungström - Sju
Salem Al Fakir - Astronaut
Thåström - Kärlek är för dom
Tingsek - Restless soul

Adiam Dymott - Adiam Dymott
Dead By April - Dead By April
Erik Hassle - Hassle
John Me - I am John
Jonathan Johansson - En hand i himlen
Larz Kristerz - Hem till dig
Lorentz & M.Sakarias - Vi mot världen
Maskinen - Boys II men
Miike Snow - Miike Snow
Name The Pet - Name the Pet

A Camp - Colonia
Asha Ali - Hurricane
BWO - Big science
Calaisa - Grafton Street
El Perro Del Mar - Love is not pop
Fibes, Oh Fibes! - 1987
Jill Johnson - Music row II
Melody Club - Goodbye to romance
Miike Snow - Miike Snow
Peter Bjorn And John - Living thing

A Camp - Colonia
Amanda Jenssen & Pär Wiksten - Happyland
Bloodshy & Avant (Miike Snow) - Miike Snow
El Perro Del Mar & Rasmus Hägg - Love is not pop
Goran Kajfes (Magnus Carlson & The Moon Ray Quintet) - Magnus Carlson & The Moon Ray Quintet
Jenny Wilson - Hardships!
Kent & Joshua - Röd
Laleh - Me and Simon
Salem Al Fakir - Astronaut
Thomas Rusiak (Adiam Dymott) - Adiam Dymott

[Ingenting] - Tomhet, idel tomhet
Bob Hund - Folkmusik för folk som inte kan bete sig som folk
Deportees - Under the pavement - the beach
Dundertåget - Skaffa ny frisyr
Europe - Last look at Eden
Florence Valentin - Spring Ricco
Kent - Röd
Mando Diao - Give me fire!
Takida - The darker instinct
The Bear Quartet - 89

Amanda Jenssen - Happyland
Anna Järvinen - Man var bland molnen
Caroline af Ugglas - Så gör jag det igen
El Perro Del Mar - Love is not pop
Joakim Berg (Kent) - Röd
Laleh - Me and Simon
Lars Winnerbäck - Tänk om jag ångrar mig och sen ångrar mig igen
Louise Hoffsten/Peter Lemarc - På andra siden vättern
Melissa Horn - Säg ingenting till mig
Thåström - Kärlek är för dom

For the full list in a hard-to-read format, go here:

Pistol Disco - EvergreenPistol Disco
Celebrity Lifestyle Records


Great albums always make me reconsider their premonitions on a type of music, especially with that labeled as "experimental". Such is the case with the new Pistol Disco release; for a while I had been a bit lost on what to write, however, now I am finally able to. What bewildered me the most was, how symmetrical the musical experimentation is being created here. At once the undercurrent was layer in drone and melody, yet all loose ends were always resolved. Gone was the notion that noise had to be profligate and vociferous, it can also be so constructed and confined to an eggshell, a thin membrane separating the outside from that within -- one that is also crafted with the same care.
- Matt Giordano

Mangrove - Endless skiesMangrove
Endless skies
Transubstans Records


It's hard to mention "Endless skies" without making reference to Mangrove's fellow countrymen The Quill, as some aspects of this album could sit very comfortably on any release by the aforementioned quartet. Just like the genre stalwarts, this Stockholm trio are to be commended for striving to keep their output a bit more inventive by showcasing a hard-rock sensibility while generally remaining within the confines of stoner conventions. It works well in that it offers a good deal more variety than a lot of the third-rate genre bands out there who opt for the mind-numbing two-riffs-and-one-beat in a six-minute song approach. With Mangrove we get Melody, dischord, simplicity and intricacy, stoner, doom, hard-rock and metal in one neat package. It's not really too far away from a lighter version of Norwegian doomrockers Sahg. Frontman Jani Kataja is easily one of the best vocalists in the game and it's this quality that helps raise Mangrove's debut above the bar in a class that, despite brimming with top-notch bands, sports a style that never really varies that much. Steeped in a passion for '70s psychedelia, Mangrove don't seem like they're ready to enter the 21st Century anytime soon and, for fans of this type of stoner-based nostalgia, this can only be a good thing.
- John Norby

MP3: Mattias Alkberg - Visst vet du att jag skiter i allt

Mattias Alkberg pitched his new album "Nerverna" to me as "selling ice to the Eskimos," saying that he would love to play this kind of rockabilly/roots rock'n'roll here in America. Not that I'd know, most of the old-time rock I hear tends to be shitty cover bands or other unbearable, "-billy" suffixed genre crap listened to by greasers and their China-doll girlfriends. Does "real" true-blue American rock'n'roll still exist? I can think of a few names I guess, but I'd never doubt that we'd be overtaken by foreign talent, much in the same way that modern jazz is dominated by Europe. Similarly, that's where you gotta go if you want to see where these styles are appreciated. Of course, Mattias is never one to play it straight, so while it might appear all hunky-dory on the surface, he's always throwing a wrench into the works. That is his way, it is a distinct part of his appeal whether solo or with his other band The Bear Quartet. Witness: "Visst vet du att jag skiter i allt" ("Surely, you know that I don't care at all"), a remake of Weezer's "Buddy Holly" in 3/4 time with new lyrics på Svenska. An extremely bold move, but Mattias pulls it off, shame that it took me many, many listens to figure out where I knew the Melody from.

Mattias Alkberg - Visst vet du att jag skiter i allt

MP3: The Psyke Project - Cursed with care

More Scandinavian ugliness, this time courtesy of Denmark and The Psyke Project. I've covered these guys in the past, but felt like they fell off a bit with 2007's "Apnea", so I didn't pick up on their latest release "Dead storm" as quickly as I should have. Now I'm playing catch-up and I'm happy to report they're back on track. There are few bands as relentlessly brutal as The Psyke Project, so it's not much of a surprise when I see their biggest, most oft-cited criticism is also their biggest virtue. No doubt, it is exhausting to sit through 50+ minutes of pummel, but trust me, it isn't all like this one track and the payoff is worth it. The band does dabble in bits of Melody and dramatic postrock dynamics, but of course it's the endless breakdown that I want to focus on today. There's no hooks, no respite; just endless atonal riffing and screaming ala "Damaged I". Ugliness and anger; let me have it, let me feel it. "No one comes in" = "Leave me be". Broken.

The Psyke Project - Cursed with care

Melody Club + Anna Järvinen - I don't believe in angels

Swedish pop act Melody Club recorded a new Christmas single together with Anna Järvinen of all people and you can now hear it at myspace:

MP3: Oriel Joans - Knuckles whiten

I eat seasonal food, I drink seasonal beer, I listen to seasonal music. Oriel Joans' new single "Knuckles whiten" is perfect autumnal melancholy, especially with that achingly sad Melody tapped out on the glockenspiel in standard Swedish indie fashion. Cliché or not, it fits just right. Great vocal harmonies too; sure to appeal to everyone who bought into the Fleet Foxes hype (I remain ignorant, more or less). Or insert your favorite 60s folk-rock act, if you feel like it. I feel like I like this a lot.

Oriel Joans - Knuckles whiten

Interview: Jonas Bjerre (Mew)

Kite confirm new EP

Kite, the excellent Swedish synthpop duo featuring Nicklas Stenemo (Melody Club, The Mo) and Christian Berg (Strip Music, Yvonne), will release their sophomore EP "II" on October 16 via Progress Productions and once again, it will be available on both CD and vinyl. Details here:
You can also hear a couple new tracks at myspace:

MP3: [ingenting] - Halleluja!

The new [ingenting] single "Halleluja!" begins with a beautiful cascading Melody and just gets better from there on out. This is Swedish pop at its absolute best; lush, gorgeous and impassioned. Even if nothing else on the forthcoming album "Tomhet, idel tomhet" comes close to touching this, they can still rest easy at night because few other singles this year have been so immediately gratifying. I posted another arena-ready track earlier today, but this so much bigger. Kent-sized even. Sing it to the rafters, to the skies!

[ingenting] - Halleluja!

Swingfly - Singing that melody (video)

Check out the new video for "Singing that Melody" from Swedish pop/rap artist Swingfly: