Meet Malmö-based duo Wy, the new Swedish dreampop outfit using sad guitar, pulsing synths and and majestic choruses to create emotive and powerfully raw music. Consisting of real-life lovers Ebba and Michel, the creative duo both contribute to songwriting and production for the project, while Ebba’s background as creative designer and photographer lends itself to their artwork and videography. Ebba’s vocals eloquently express anxiety-ridden sentiments of powerlessness in an unfair world, layered against the backdrop of melancholic instrumentation reminiscent of The xx. Listen to “Nobody Else,” the cathartic single from their debut EP Never Was below.
Wildhart – Shake Off
‘You better shake off the stones that bother you / You better turn them into gold / You better shake them off, break them down’ warns Wildhart in an impassioned delivery during the final, frenzied dazzling moments of new song “Shake Off.”
The Swedish trio explains: “Shake Off is a fuck you to all the hardships that you carry inside when living in an patriarchic world. It’s a cry of frustration — but at the same time an anthem, a source to find strength in.” And point of fact, the experimental piece is an empowering, jittering and deconstructed composition that manages to combine elements of jazz, indie, and electronic pop. While hard to categorize, this is the exact forward thinking and eclectic brand of alt-pop that we’ve come to expect out of Scandinavian exports.
Made up of Ylva Holmdahl (vocals), Kiwi Berg (synthesizers) and Josefin Runsteen (drums), Wildhart has already drawn comparisons to Minneapolis art-rockers Poliça and Californian quartet Warpaint. While the comparison is warranted, with alchemic tracks like this one who knows — new artists may one day be likened to Wildhart.
“Shake Off” is the lead single off the group’s debut album, Shine, which will be released November 11 via Swedish label Gaphals. Preorder your copy here.
Grapell – Every Time…
Soulful Swedish group known as Grapell have a collection of love ballads on the horizon. The duo, comprised of longtime friends Emil Erstrand (vocals) and Nils Nygårdhs (drums) recorded their upcoming EP Love Chamber with a live band in their rehearsal space located in a laundry basement in Stockholm. To Grapell, a ‘love chamber’ represents a place of beauty, but also a place that one can get easily trapped. Each song on the EP is its own entity, and yet there’s a unifying thread throughout. Regarding the decision to create an EP rather than rushing to put out an album, Erstrand explains, “An EP is much easier to consume, and you want a theme to be cohesive.” The opening track for example, “Every Time” is a subdued, gossamery and reflective song, while “Some Places” is a more uptempo, glimmering sax-suffused duet with notable additions by Many Voices Speak (female vocals) and jazz saxophonist Björn Arkö.
Escape with both efforts below. Love Chambers will be out September 30 on Strangers Candy in Europe and Roll Call Records everywhere else.
Nadia Nair – Blow
You can almost see the smoke emanating from Nadia Nair‘s breathy vocals as she sings on “Blow,” the third single from the Swedish singer’s upcoming debut album. “Blow” is an empowering, galvanizing pop number about emitting the bad from your life: “It’s about letting go with passion – smoke it out,” states Nair. Aiming to blend modern sounds as showcased here amongst ancient themes on her forthcoming debut, Beautiful Poetry will be self-released on April 29 via Nair’s label, Naboobia Records. Stream “Blow” below.
The Tallest Man On Earth – Sagres
Swedish folk singer-songwriter Kristian Matsson, professionally known as The Tallest Man On Earth released his new record, Dark Bird Is Home this week via Dead Oceans. The lead single from the record, “Sagres” is a texturally-rich, affective folk track, named for the secluded coastal village (and refuge for Matsson) in southern Portugal. Accompanied by an array of instrumentation — including violin, mandolin, and guitar — the most poignant moment of the song comes towards the end when he laments, “It’s just all this fucking doubt,” Matsson’s voice nearly breaking.
Currently on tour in support of the new album, you can find full tour dates on his website, but DC locals can catch him at 9:30 Club June 1. Stream “Sagres” along with standout track “1904” from his previous album below.
RMX ROUNDUP: Shakarchi & Stranéus + HNNY / Bag Raiders / Hundred Waters + Shigeto
Welcome to another edition of Remix Roundup, a segment in which we bring you the latest and greatest mixes circulating the interwebs. First up is a refreshing upbeat edit of Swedish duo Shakarchi & Stranéus‘ “Hissmusik” from fellow Swedish producer HNNY (pronounced honey). The track amounts to insanely infectious dance music, complete with playful bass, an addictive vocal hook and even a flute solo. Treat your ears to this aural nectar below.
In keeping with this breezy and convivial vibe, we take a short remix interlude to bring you this blithe electronic track from Sydney’s Bag Raiders that we’ve had up our sleeves for some time. The now LA-based duo, Chris Stracey and Jack Glass import the tropics with “Nairobi,” an instrumental track infused with marimba melodies and conga rhythms that make us anxious for summer. Although the track was released on an EP of the same name last year, the group is allegedly at work on their second album.
Lastly, Michigan producer Shigeto recently was tasked with reworking a Hundred Waters track for their Remix album of The Moon Rang Like a Bell. While “Cavity” is a dark and spectral tune perfect in it’s own right, the Ghostly International-signed artist manages to add some levity to the original in a way that doesn’t detract — but rather gives it a new form entirely.
Exquisite instrumentation with Shigeto’s signature chimes and an intricate melody make for a revivifying final product, that sends our hearts soaring when the looping begins around 1:35 minutes in. Stream this Little Dragon-esque delicacy below, and be sure to pick up the entire Remix LP on iTunes while you’re at it.
Saturday, Monday – Marble Coast (ft. Brolin)
Saturday, Monday is a Swedish artist that recently collaborated with British singer Brolin on new single, “Marble Coast.” The beautiful alt-pop track combines classic elements such as chamber strings with modern electronics and achingly good vocals from Brolin.
Taken from Saturday, Monday’s upcoming EP Late, look forward to the official release March 23 on Swedish label Despotz.
José González – Leaf Off / The Cave
José González has shared the second taste off his forthcoming album, Vestiges & Claws — scheduled for release February 17 via Mute Records. It will be the Argentinian-Swedish songwriter’s first solo effort since 2007, after spending time collaborating with his band Junip and contributing to various other projects. According to a press release, the new LP includes an array of influences, from ’70s Brazilian productions, to American folk rock and West African desert blues.
In anticipation of the album listen to new single “Leaf Off / The Cave.” Also check out José’s recent cover of Arthur Russell’s “This Is How We Walk On The Moon” while you scope out his 2015 North American tour schedule below.
2015 North American Tour Dates:
4/06 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer
4/07 – Washington, DC @ 930 Club
4/10 – New York, NY @ Webster Hall
4/11 – Boston, MA @ Paradise
4/12 – Montreal, QC @ Corona Theatre
4/13 – Toronto, ON @ Phoenix Concert Theatre
4/14 – Chicago, IL @ Lincoln Hall
4/16 – Minneapolis, MN @ Cedar Cultural Center
4/18 – Madison, WI @ Majestic Theatre
4/21 – Englewood, CO @ Gothic Theatre
4/22 – Salt Lake City, UT @ The Depot
4/24 – Portland, OR @ Wonder Ballroom
4/25 – Vancouver, BC @ Imperial
4/27 – San Francisco, CA @ Bimbo’s 365 Club
4/29 – Los Angeles, CA @ The Regent
Say Lou Lou – Peppermint
Say Lou Lou, the Swedish sister pop outfit are releasing a new EP, Everything We Touch June 2. The twin sisters, Miranda and Elektra Kilbey are hard at work on their debut album—due out later this year—and have been generating buzz by continually sharing new material along the way. Stream their new ballad “Peppermint” off the eminent EP below.
Lykke Li – Gunshot
At long last, Lykke Li has dropped her third studio album, I Never Learn as of today via LL/Atlantic Records. The Swedish siren’s highly-anticipated album is essentially an ode to a devastating breakup, wrought with expansive studio production and emotive power ballads. “Gunshot” is the glaring standout track of the album, with its anthemic chorus and lush reverb-laden vocals. Listen below, along with a heart pounding remix by Dutch producer Joris Voorn of another single off the album, “No Rest For the Wicked.”