Category Archives: singer-songwriter

“So I just said nothing, nothing, nothing”

Every day is International Women’s Day. We fight because others have fought before us; we fight because we want to; we fight because we need to. There is no other choice but defeat and giving up will not be an option. We fight for ourselves, for those who can’t or choose not to and for all of those who will still be around when we are long gone. Hoping for them to carry on what we are in the middle of in this very moment.

What could be more suitable today than recommending a magnificent record that deserves more recognition and is performed by a female human being? Sprained Ankle by Julien Baker is a masterpiece in its minimal production. I recall someone writing somewhere (great source, right?) that Baker’s voice is the most haunting since Bon Iver’s debut album which is a very fitting comparison. In this review, Aaron Mook writes that “most of these songs [sound] as though Baker is playing them in the same room as you” and I couldn’t have described it better myself. There is also something about this album cover – possibly the gaze? – that has me hypnotized:

If you feel like giving Julien Baker a chance, here are two songs you might as well start with:


Julien Baker – Something


Julien Baker – Rejoice

Listen to Sprained Ankle on Spotify.

Julien Baker currently has 22 694 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under singer-songwriter, Uncategorized

Ed Sheeran

Over a night, I went from not caring much about Ed Sheeran’s music at all to feeling an urge to see him live as soon as possible. Reason: I was sitting in front of my tv when Sheeran’s Live at Wembley Stadium came on and I could not stop watching. The whole thing struck me as quite phenomenal; a guy with a guitar – just a guy with a guitar – playing three sold out shows at Wembley Stadium in a row? What?! A couple of songs later I finally understood how talented Ed Sheeran really is. Before this night in front of my tv, I’ve just been like yeah, Thinking Out Loud is a nice song whenever I’ve heard it on the radio. Even if I don’t see myself increasing my listening to his music, I’m definitely looking forward to Sheeran visiting Sweden again for a live show. Using this tv live special to make me realize what I’ve missed in the past was probably the most clever thing Ed Sheeran could do to convince me I have to purchase tickets whenever I get the opportunity.

Ed Sheeran – I’m a Mess (Live from Wembley Stadium)

Listen to Ed Sheeran on Spotify, in case you’ve lived under a rock for a few years and have no idea what he sounds like.

Ed Sheeran currently has 1 612 615 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under acoustic, pop, singer-songwriter

“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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Filed under indie pop, singer-songwriter, swedish

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

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

Lewis Watson

Sitting at a coffee place downtown today I was surprised to suddenly hear a Lewis Watson song. Surprised because he isn’t a very famous musician; I’m actually pretty sure he still counts as fairly unknown in Sweden. But there I was, having coffee and a cinnamon bun, when Into the Wild started playing:

If you find yourself enjoying Lewis’ voice and all you can listen to more of his tunes on Spotify. There’s also a free track available on his Bandcamp page.

Lewis Watson currently has 71 942 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under acoustic, free music, singer-songwriter

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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Filed under indie pop, singer-songwriter, swedish

“Give me one good reason why I should never make a change”

I was looking through upcoming gigs in Stockholm and there was one name on the list that especially caught my eye: George Ezra. Mostly because I’m very fond of the name Ezra, for some reason. I decided to listen to some of his songs in order to decide whether I’m going to his gig on March 21 or not. Seems like he’s only released an EP and a single so far. Which is not a problem. Those songs were enough to make me want to see him live. Looking forward to it!

George Ezra’s music could be described as indie folk in a singer-songwriter way. He has a distinctive voice which I’m sure is to his advantage in a genre I’m quite often bored with. I mean, how many people with guitars and country/folk influences can we handle? Well. Apparently one more.

Click here to listen to George Ezra on Spotify. Or just listen to this track right here:

George Ezra currently has 28 124 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under indie folk, singer-songwriter

Rest in peace, Elliott Smith

Can’t wait to go on YouTube tomorrow to see which Elliott Smith songs Badly Drawn Boy (the guy in the photo above) played tonight at the tribute show in London. Should be great. Elliott Smith was a phenomenal songwriter, truly one of a kind. And Badly Drawn Boy has grown to be one of my favorite artists out there. Hearing Badly Drawn Boy perform Smith songs should be heartbreaking but beautiful. Rest in peace, Elliott.

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Filed under indie rock, singer-songwriter

Lack of updates

I’m sorry for the lack of updates here. Apparently, I haven’t written anything in this blog since July? I’ve been so busy with school, finishing both my thesis papers. In just a few weeks, I’ll officially be a teacher of Swedish and media subjects! I’ve been studying at a university for the past five years, so you can all probably guess how stoked I am.

Also, it’s been just over a years since my mum passed away. It feels so weird, knowing she won’t be here to celebrate my graduation with me. She won’t see the apartment me and my girlfriend are moving into shortly, in Stockholm. She won’t meet the kitten, Frances, who just moved in here with us. Time will pass and I will never meet my mum again. That’s the kind of things that have been occupying my mind lately.

I’ll share a song from my mum’s funeral. It’s called Hon kommer från främmande vidder and the artist is our whole family’s favorite Swedish guy ever: Lars Winnerbäck. Me, my sister, my mum and my dad all started listening to him at the same time, about 11 or 12 years ago. Around the same time, my mum got cancer. When she passed away, she left a note with requests for her funeral. Among the music requests, she had written that she wanted something by Lars Winnerbäck played. She hadn’t written any specific songs, so my sister, dad and I sat down with Winnerbäck’s records and thought about which song to choose. We all ended up thinking about this one. It just describes mum. Sorry to all non-Swedish speaking readers; you won’t be able to understand the lyrics. But the music is still beautiful, hopefully. One of the lines would be translated as “She makes silver out of dust / She makes honey out of salt”. Yeah. Listening to this song basically breaks my heart nowadays.

I promise you all, I’ll try to write here more often. There’s still so much music to share.

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Filed under folk, singer-songwriter, swedish

Free music from City and Colour

Hurry! Dallas Green aka City and Colour has decided to share his new song Of Space and Time for free. But only for a limited time. Just visit Dine Alone Records to get your free mp3 download.

City and Colour currently has 718 219 listeners on Last.fm.

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Filed under folk, free music, singer-songwriter