Weekly: The Other Neighbors To the North
Yeah, it's a stupid title. Corny, but it gets my point across, I hope. Scandinavia and the surrounding region (still not quite sure where Scandinavia cuts off) has for, like the past 5 or 10 years, been pumping out bands at a ratio of one band to every ten citizens. It's not quite like that yet, but considering the size of the non-band population "up there," the number of people in a group is gigantic. Give them another 25 years, and everyone and their grandmother will be in a group.
I posted about that group, the Envelopes, a while back. I liked them for their international (or at least European) approach to making music. They have someone from England, someone from France, and someone else from Finland (I believe), which is pretty impressive, I guess. But after listening to their album, Demon, for a while, I got tired of them. They seem to have gotten together a bunch of excellent ideas -- perfect for making a great record -- but then ended up just recording the demos and releasing it as such. So the final product seemed a tad underwhelming (and sorry -- the accents upset me a little).
So Laakso is the fine-tuned version of the Envelopes. They have that lo-fi jangle pop sound, like the Envelopes, but they've put this tense edge on all of their stuff, making them seem a bit more "finished." I like the vocalist more, too. Oh, and they're from Finland! Listen to streamed versions of High Drama, Drinking, Second Winter, and Kiss Me.
Just by the name alone, Boys of Scandinavia fits perfectly into this Scandinavia-themed post (by the way, their hipster name is simply "Bos" ... uh ... way cool ... )
They're this sort of electro-funk thing ... it's slick, yet gritty ... dark, yet light and uplifting. They are a true amalagation of bizarre combinations and styles. Check out Why Do You Love Me, from their new 7" single. I like these guys too much ... they are that missing link that the likes of the DFA and the Rapture and Liars never filled in ... funk don't just come from disco beats and post-punk basslines ... it comes from a more primal aesthetic, found in bands like A Certain Ratio and Maximum Joy and No Wave dudes. These guys draw more from that sort of style, making them fresh and exciting.
Lastly ... the Ark (dramatic, eh?)
Imagine a Swedish version of the Darkness. But instead of the Darkness' arena rock style, think arena funk. Or something like that. The band is really flamboyant and sort of goofy, but they play some pretty cool, slick funk rock.
I've spent nearly an hour composing this post since my internet sucks, so I'm not going to bother trying to find MP3s and stuff ... I'm just going to cry in my bed out of frustration. Man this is annoying.