4th October 2022
Ni Hao Stella ? How are you ?
Everyone allow me to introduce you to my favourite YouTuber, Stella, who has a channel dedicated to music :
As you can see from this screenshot, Stella discusses individual bands, favourite songs and genres of music, all in an educated yet very entertaining manner.
Her laugh is just about the cutest thing you will ever hear, as well.
I suggested Stella take a look at some Swedish rock and pop bands; not the global acts such as Ace of Bass, The Cardigans or Rednex (not to mention ABBA) but the lesser known bands, the indie rock of Stockholm, Gothenburg and my old stomping ground, Malmö.
What follows is the tip of the Nordic iceberg, a very mixed bag of styles and attitudes. I hope you find something of interest.
Tack så mycket (thank you very much)
To kick off, the first Swedish artist I heard, Thomas di Leva, and ‘Vi Har Bara Varandra.’ The title roughly translates as ‘We only have each other.’
Thomas was born in 1963, and achieved wide success in 1987, even being name-checked by David Bowie (the back blurb of a book on Di Leva). The main body of his work is from the mid 80s to the 90s, his last LP being released in 2013.
I think this song is so catchy, immediately infectious and memorable. I often sang it, along with the whole crowd, at festivals.
Next up is another band active from the mid 80s to the early 90s, Union Carbide Productions. My favourite song is the guitar-riff heavy ‘Golden Age.’ This one’s for you, Stella.
The band morphed into The Soundtrack of Our Lives in the mid 90s.
Now for one of Sweden’s biggest guitar bands, Kent. Here’s the video for ‘Dom Andra‘ from 2002:
The band, who broke up in 2016, released 12 albums. Lead singer and guitarist Joakim Berg also wrote for other artists, such as Lisa Miskovsky.
I saw Lisa at a free concert at the Malmö Festival, and she was amazing. This is a live version of ‘California Heart‘ from the 2006 ‘Changes’ album.
Staying in Malmö, Skilla is an all-girl band that I saw live on a few occasions. I once met Lisa, the guitarist, after a gig, and the lyricist Nina allowed me to interview her for a paper I was writing on linguistics. ‘Tragic Song‘ is from their debut album.
The next band, The Hives, had success outside of Sweden, an early album reaching number 7 in the UK charts. You may know this song, ‘Hate to say I Told You So,’ a great garage band thrash.
One Swedish band who apparently have quite a following in Japan is Mando Diao, and here’s the video for one of their early hits, ‘Sheepdog.’
Finally The Sounds, a band from Helsingborg, and ‘Rock ‘n’ Roll‘ from their 2002 debut album.
As mentioned, we have only scrapped the surface here, there are so many bands I omitted; Melody Club, First Aid Kit, The Mo, Alice in Videoland, Lisa Ekdahl, Weeping Willows, The Ark, Lykke Li, Veronica Maggio, Dolkows, Atomic Swing … I feel a Part Two coming on.
Hope you like this, Stella