July 27, 2009

Swedish Breezy Electro-Pop: A Primer

(Swedish band, The Tough Alliance)

Some of the best breezy, beachy Summer jams for the last few years has been coming from a city with highs in the 60s all summer long and only a half million people. Gothenburg, Sweden is the country's second largest city and home to Scandinavia's largest university (University of Gothenburg) so it is not strange for it to be breeding ground for music, but the music makes you think they don't spend a minute away from a beach, pool or BBQ. This city must be the happeist place on Earth. Over the past few years albums by Studio, The Tough Alliance (both with their own record labels) and new comers Air France have been laying down some of the most beauitfully textured eclectronic pop songs of recent with incredible circular, looping samples that give the songs the feeling of perpetual bliss. I have presented some brilliant songs along this "loopy electro-pop" genre (a term I have coined for better or worse) from Beach Boy revivalists Panda Bear (of Animal Collective) and Brandon Cox as well as Delorean on Friday. Here are some more brilliant and fun summer jams from Sweden:

Air France - deriving their songs equally from Brian Wilson and electronic sampling pioneers, The Avalanches, their album No Way Down is hit after hit of summer jams. These site presents 3 of my favorites including "June Evenings" with its angelic vocals, riffing horns and understated driving percussions (listen closely to the xylophone-esque beats in the backround)...just heavenly LINK

The Tough Alliance - owners of Sincerely Yours, the label that also includes Air France are one of the pioneers of this uniquely Swedish take on electro-pop. Check out their tunes on their myspace: http://www.myspace.com/toughalliancemusic. Their latest album A New Chance is a must have CD. Brings in some great elements of 80s, some Primal Scream Screamadelica and Carribean island isntrumentation...love it.

Studio - stand on their own in this category. They form the missing link between the late 80s early 90s Cure (you will hear some Robert Smith in singer's voice), afrobeat and disco. Their songs take on more sonic exploration than the other two above and less loopiness. These songs tend to twist and turn while always maintaining an underlying cohesiveness. Probably my favorite of the three and that is saying a lot. Check the brilliant album, West Coast, it blew my mind when I first heard it. Check out the epic, "Life's A Beach" (appropriate summer jam title) and the Dan Lissvik (one half of Studio) remix of a great Fever Ray track, "When I Grow Up": LINK

Just writting this up has got me hooked on Studio again - it will be spinning in my car all week now.



  1. I love Swedish acts. Another amazing organic music affair from the Swedes - the magic of Peter Bjorn & John behind Lykke Li's "Youth Novels".

  2. Agreed - that is a phenomenal album. Amazing minimalist production behind the beautiful voice of Lykke Li.