Category Archives: indie pop

30 songs: 22

22: A song that describes you.


Hello Saferide – Travelling With HS

I’m not stupid, I understand that
It would be convenient if
I was better at conversation

I’ve learned to master the skill throughout the years
Small talking, but after an hour or so I mentally die

I mentally die

And I try, I try, I try, I try
But I can’t help but loving more
When being on my own and watching everyday lives
And I try, I try, I wish I wanted
To go see local churches with you
Or to go clubbing where the young ones do
But all I really want to do is watch the everyday lives

My friend, nothing is ever the matter with you
I’m glad to see it though I don’t believe it
You won’t have to worry, I’ll soon have figured you out
I won’t tell you when I have but I’ll find your weak spot
Your weakest spot, oh, I’ll find it

And here is mine: I try to pretend that I like to be part of it all
And that I enjoy going out with you and you and you and you and you

And I try, I try, I try, I try
But I can’t help but dreaming of
Sitting by myself and watching everyday lives
And I try, I try, but I just want to spend more time
With my mind
It always surprises me every time
And none of you ever do
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you
It doesn’t mean that I don’t

And I try, I try, I try, I try
But I can’t help but loving more
When being on my own and watching everyday lives
And I try, I try, but I just want to spend more time
With myself
I always surprises myself every time
And none of you ever do
It doesn’t mean that I don’t love you

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“You are going your way / I am going your way as well”

Spinning this a lot this spring. The Big Sleep by Deportees. Recommended if you like indie rock with original vocals. Can’t get enough of the album art, either.


Deportees – Hard Rain

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“Tell me why I can’t be there where you are”

On December 10 I was watching the Nobel banquet on tv. Why? Because it is Swedish law. Swedes who don’t watch the banquet will go to prison. Every year we are forced to oohh at all the dresses and aahh at all the food being served. Little did we know that this year’s Nobel banquet had quite a treat to offer. All of a sudden, Anna Ternheim – one of the most melancholic Swedish artists – performed this breathtaking version of Show Me The Meaning of Being Lonely (originally by the Backstreet Boys):

Isn’t it incredible? I want to live in this moment for a long time. For many years, I’ve tried to explain to people how the Backstreet Boys always had the most high quality songs of all the boy bands. Maybe now people will finally begin to agree with me.

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Findings from the MySpace era, part 3

I can’t quite recall exactly how I ended up on John Gold’s MySpace page. What I do remember is how fast his album The Eastside Shake grew on me. Well, the few tracks that were featured on his page, however. I wrote something to John about how much I enjoyed his songs, which led to him sending me a physical copy of the entire album. For free. Just like that. Those were the MySpace days, I tell you. Ever since his CD landed in my mailbox it’s been one of my favorites in my collection. Not necessarily because I think the album itself is one of the best I’ve heard, but rather thanks to the kindness of John, the memories of being 15 something and getting free records and last but not least the flawless album design.

Simple graphic design and materials. Isn’t it beautiful?

John Gold’s music on Spotify is split to two different artist pages. You can listen to The Eastside Shake here (Idea99 and There’s a (W)Hole are my favorites) and some other releases here.

John Gold currently has 14 224 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under acoustic, findings from the myspace era, indie pop, singer-songwriter

The Japanese House

Not sure how to pick my words when it comes to the EP Pools to Bathe In by The Japanese House. Let’s just say it’s been on repeat for a few days. Isn’t it great when you give something a chance with no expectations whatsoever and it turns out that thing is actually quite perfect? Listening to The Japanese House’s EP feels like floating in water with your eyes closed. At night. I’m definitely excited to see what this girl creates in the future.


The Japanese House – Still

Give The Japanese House a chance on Spotify.

The Japanese House currently has 14 256 listeners on Last.fm.

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Amanda Bergman

Photo: Julia Mård

On my way to work the other day I saw Amanda Bergman outside my neighborhood’s bakery. I didn’t stop to say how much I adore her. I just smiled at her and she smiled back at me. A few minutes later, I realised I haven’t written anything about her music in this blog. About time, then.

First and foremost, I couldn’t decide on a title for this post because Amanda has used so many different names as an artist.  When I started listening to her she was known as Hajen (The Shark in Swedish). Very few songs were released, so I listened to three songs or so over and over and over and over again. This one, for example:


Hajen – Scapegoat

And you don’t have to understand Swedish to find Svensken (Meaning “the Swede”) beautiful, am I right?:

Later on, Hajen changed her stage name to Jaw Lesson. There was at least one song released using this name. And then it suddenly happened again: a new name. This time Amanda decided on the name Idiot Wind and she has stuck with it for years now. She released a couple of EP:s and they were both stunning. Check them out on Bandcamp or, if you’re lazy, just listen to this this track to start with:

Idiot Wind – For to Save One

A lot of people waited and waited for Idiot Wind to release her first full-length, but it just didn’t happen. What did happen, though, was Amason. A band where Amanda is one of the members. They recently released their debut album Sky City which features this song:

Amason – Went to War

What else about Amanda Bergman, then? Well, she’s married to Kristian Matsson, also known as The Tallest Man on Earth. How dreamy is that? When I saw Amanda live at a bar as Hajen years ago, The Tallest Man on Earth joined her for a few songs. A couple of years or so later when I went to see The Tallest Man on Earth live, Amanda joined him on stage during the last few songs and life was so good.

To summarize: Amanda Bergman is one of my favorite Swedish musicians, for sure. Walking past her that morning outside the bakery just made my day a little brighter. It’s all about the smallest things, right? I also enjoy living in a small country like Sweden where chances to stumble upon musicians you like are quite big (once at a concert, one of my idols Lars Winnerbäck was sitting behind me; I almost cried of happiness). Pretty cool. Speaking of small countries; one of my sister’s friends from school is the person who has shot the photo of Amanda at the top of this post. She’s also shot my favorite The Tallest Man on Earth photo of all time. She’s just friends with Amanda and Kristian or something. Not jelly at all.

Free downloads available through Hajen’s Last.fm page: Scapegoat, Sharks and Svensken.

Idiot Wind (combined with Hajen, Jaw Lesson and Amanda Bergman) currently has 12 342 listeners on Last.fm.
Amason currently have 41 452 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under free music, indie pop, singer-songwriter, swedish

Elderly people rocking

Urban Cone, who refer to themselves as an indie-electro-rock band, will be playing in their hometown Stockholm in May. I visited the Facebook event page and found this post:

It says: “Grandma is coming hugs”. This really cheered me up, and now all I can think of is grandma dancing like there’s no tomorrow (swinging her body/hands in the air) to Sadness Disease:

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“Well, maybe I am / Maybe I am”

Jens Lekman – Black Cab

Perfect song for a Sunday. Safe to say this is one of the best Swedish pop songs ever written.

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Congratulations, world!

Photo: Robert Henriksson.

Wait, are we celebrating? Fuck yeah, we are! One of Sweden’s finest lyricists, Annika Norlin, just released another record. What the hell, who am I kidding really? Annika is Sweden’s finest lyricist. Not that it’s really a competition, but she is absolutely outstanding. Annika Norlin writes and perform music using two different stage names. One for her Swedish releases – Säkert! – and one for her English releases – Hello Saferide. Well, this description is a little bit of a lie, because a few years ago she actually made an English album as Säkert! where she had translated the Swedish lyrics from the record Facit and a few other tracks as well. Confused yet? Don’t be. Just listen to her and enjoy being alive.

The new record I’m talking about belongs to Annika Norlin’s Hello Saferide project. It’s called The Fox, The Hunter and Hello Saferide. And I’m not surprised it’s a really great album. I’m sure that by the end of 2014, it’ll be on many Swedish Album of the Year lists. They usually are. Her records.

However, I’m more interested in talking about the earlier releases from Hello Saferide and Säkert! (Säkert! means Sure! in Swedish, by the way.) The first Hello Saferide album – Introducing… – opens with the track My Best Friend, where Norlin sings: “Damn! I wish I was a lesbian / Damn! I wish I was,  so I could fall in love with you”. In my opinion, this record really stands as a classic when it comes to Swedish indie pop. Well worth many listens.


Hello Saferide – My Best Friend

A couple of years later, Norlin released her debut Swedish album as Säkert! This was her major break as a musician. In one of the singles, Allt som är ditt, Norlin sings a brutal and devastating story about how she wants to take revenge on the men who raped a woman. Norlin singing “De jävlarna ska skjutas” (“Those bastards will be shot”) with poignant anger in her voice gives me the chills every time I hear it. Another amazing song from this record is Vi kommer att dö samtidigt and luckily enough a Swedish indie rock act called The Animal Five (let’s get back to these guys at some other point) made a great cover of this one. Let’s have a listen (skip to 1:10):

The Animal Five – We’re Going to Die 

I hope a lot of you who read this will give Säkert!’s debut album a listen or two, even if you won’t understand the lyrics. The melodies are beautiful, too. There’s also the album Facit that I mentioned earlier, and quite a few of Säkert!’s songs were – as I wrote – also translated into English and put on an album called Säkert! på engelska (Säkert! in English).

If you’re not into the whole Swedish language thing (but why wouldn’t you be?) just stick to Annika Norlin’s songs as Hello Saferide. I’d recommend the record More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide as an introduction. The opening track alone is simply brilliant:

People are like songs, it’s true
Some seem dull at first but then they grow on you
Me, I’m like ‘Can’t Get You Out of My Head’
Annoying at times but I make you wanna dance

And you are the only one I’ve met who’s ‘God Only Knows’
I liked you the first time I met you, and it grows and grows and grows

People are like songs, I swear
Some found you as a child and still they’re always there
A boy I once knew was ‘Anarchy in the UK’
Burned out too quickly but in such a beautiful way


Hello Saferide – I Wonder Who is Like This One

So, how come I claim Annika Norlin to be Sweden’s finest lyricist? She has a unique naked way of writing about everyday life and everything that comes with it. Good and bad. Never glorified, never understated. It’s just life. As we all know it. In the song Travelling with HS, she sings: “I’m not stupid, I understand that it would be convenient if I was better at conversation / I’ve learned to master the skill throughout the years / Small talking, but after an hour or so, I mentally die”. I could go on and on about lyrics from this Hello Saferide record (don’t even get me started on the anguished “You stupid fuck, you need to come back!” in 25 Days. And speaking of that one… “You and I hadn’t even met 24 days ago / I must have been so low / And I didn’t even know”) but let’s just say that I recommend it with all my heart. I recommend Annika with all my heart. Let’s just stop here. With a quote from the song 2008: “We’re not worth more than anyone else but surely not worth less”. You’re right, Annika. As always.

Hello Saferide currently has 223 169 listeners on Last.fm.
Säkert! currently has 77 485 listeners on Last.fm.

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Tove Lo

Photo: Viktor Fremling.

A little over a week ago, I went to see kent. kent is Sweden’s biggest rock band. Today I won’t be writing about them, though, but one of the concert’s supporting acts. I had heard her songs on the radio before seeing her live, but it wasn’t until now that I really listened to her music and realized she is really good. Her name is Tove Lo and her music is some sort of melancholic indie pop. Amazing, however. Check it out for yourself:

Tove Lo on Spotify.

Tove Lo currently has 121 794 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under electropop, indie pop, swedish

Ásgeir Trausti

Yesterday, I found Ásgeir Trausti’s songs by accident. I was having a lesson with my students (I’m an upper secondary school teacher) and we were talking about North Germanic languages. As a part of the lesson I showed them music videos from Danish, Norweigan, Faroese and Icelandic musicians. As an example of Icelandic I first played a song by Jónsi, but the students wanted to hear one more song, so I started googling for Icelandic popular music and that’s when I stumbled upon Ásgeir Trausti. At first, I just saw the name and thought it sounded really cool. On YouTube I picked his song Nýfallið Regn because it has the most beautiful title of them all. Newly fallen rain. It turned out the song itself is also fantastic:

Check out Ásgeir Trausti on Spotify. And this is his other Spotify page. Quite confusing. But as I understand it, he’s changed his recording name to simply Ásgeir now that he’s touring all over the world.

Ásgeir Trausti (combined with Ásgeir) currently has 45 092 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under indie folk, indie pop

Winter vs spring vs summer

Okay, I might’ve gotten a bit carried away today while out walking. What happened was that it was really sunny and the streets were dry. For everyone who hasn’t been in Sweden these past few months I can just say that we have barely seen the sun at all, and it’s been either snowing or raining pretty much all the time. So today, when I was walking with the sun in my eyes, I didn’t just start thinking about songs that I associate with spring. My thoughts went all the way to hot summer nights abroad. And by abroad I mean warm countries. Countries where they have that special sort of orange glow during the evenings when the sun is going down. And I started thinking about songs by one specific Swedish band, that I think has captured those orange summer nights very well within their sound: Billie the Vision & the Dancers. To me, it’s even a little weird listening to them while it’s still winter, but when I came home I just had to give these two songs a listen:

Billie the Vision & the Dancers – A Man From Argentina (Download this one for free here)

Billie the Vision & the Dancers – Nightmares (Download this one for free here)

These fellas currently have 136 676 listeners on Last.fm.

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