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Friday, January 30, 2009

Alienhits loves... Växjö, Sweden

An otherwise quite ordinary small college town in southern Sweden, Växjö has a huge distinction in my book. It is my Mecca for pop music.
The reason? All three of my favorite bands were birthed from this same town.
It’s hard to believe, but The Ark, Melody Club, and The Mo (yep, that’s the holy trinity right there) all met each other, started making music and formed in and around Växjö. It’s practically like a fairytale.
Though I’ve been to Sweden and seen two out of these three bands live (the Mo broke up before I could make it over), I’ve never traveled to Växjö. From what I've read, it’s not a town most tourists would put on their map. Plain, boring…etc. etc. Yet it’s from places like these that I think the best groups are formed. Towns like Växjö aren’t big enough to have a “scene,” so there’s no allowances for copycatting. Nobody was doing what these three bands were doing when they broke onto the scene. Though all craft pop music with strong retro influences, their image and sound would be considered pretty risky in any other part of the world than Scandinavia. They would be misconceived as trying to be ironic or just plain cheesy (in a world where cheesy = bad). The fact is, these guys are consummate musicians, as skilled at writing a perfect pop song as they are at picking out a perfect leather jacket.
Maybe I’m biased, growing up in a small town myself, but a part of me thinks that this kind of creativity is fostered best by boredom. I'd love to walk through Växjö with an Ark/MelodyClub/Mo playlist on my mp3 player. A religious experience? Not quite, but darn close.

Learn more about Växjö here

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10 Comments:

Anonymous Natasza said...

Ola said he was strongly influenced by Jens' band TinCanBaby - "the coolest band in Växjö", as he refered to it ;) But I think that the roots of all three mentioned bands are in the group called The Tambureens, where Melody Club's Stoffe, Jon, and Erik payed, together with Ricky from The Mo (aka Kaka) and Sylvester from The Ark ;)
www.myspace.com/thetambureens

3:49 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I stumbled across your blog and had to laugh. I studied in Växjö and can attest that there is a reason tourists don't usually go there. It is remarkable in that it is so very quiet and so very ordinary. But yes, it did give the world The Ark!

8:30 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Natasza,
Yep, I've always been curious to hear more from the Tambureens, even though their style is so different from what would become the Ark/MC/Mo.

Anon,
My point exactly. It's so cool that bands like these came out of such an ordinary place!

11:23 PM  
Anonymous Natasza said...

Do you have their album?

4:32 AM  
Anonymous Julia said...

Oh, I've been reading your wonderful blogg for a while and I just had to leave a comment now since I live in Växjö:) Or to be more precise, I live in the little village (Rottne) outside of Växjö where Ola, Jepson and Leari originally are from.

I definitely understand why tourists don't come here, there isn't much to see or do to be honest. But Växjö actually still have quite many talented bands worth checking out!
Tip: http://www.myspace.com/viennaheat

Well, hope you keep up the good work! I really like it! :D

1:13 PM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

amazing blog... I found it some time ago while searching for stuff about Jann Wilde & Rose Avenue.

This post hit me because I had happened to think there must be something special about Växjö when I started listening to Melody Club, and noticed they were from the same town as The Ark, which has been one of my very favourite band since the first time I heard It takes a fool... I adore them, totally.

Now the "holy trinity" thing got me curious about The Mo (I'd never heard of them): I think I'm going to listen to something from them

bye =)

1:42 AM  
Blogger Karnig said...

Ohh I gotta comment on this one!

I actually went to good old Vaxjo and spent 2 nights in some cabin by a lake outside town back in August 2007. The reason I went? Well, 'cause the Rix FM Festival was gonna be in town and BWO *and* Danny Saucedo were both gonna perform on the same date in Vaxjo. Couldn't miss it. :)

I had a bit of culture shock spending those few days there. I'm from LA and so I'd never spent the night in a town so small! But as with all of Sweden, it's a cute little town with a cute little center, so I say it was worth the visit.

11:18 PM  
Blogger Nick said...

Natasza - No, I don't have their album. I really should give it a listen, though--for history's sake, if nothing else.

Julia & Karnig - It seems like everyone's been to Vaxjo except for me. Now I'm a little jealous! I should have scheduled a trip there when I was in Sweden.

Lisa - Were you able to check out the Mo? The Right World and Nostalgia Locomotive are two of the best songs ever recorded. I'm really eager to hear your thoughts on the group.

10:25 AM  
Anonymous Lisa said...

It's not easy to find something about The Mo... which is a shame, because from what I've been able to find and listen, they're very good ;)
Songs like "The Right World", "Dancing Like a Heathen"... "Night at the zoo" must be a very good album.
They definitely got "that something"; not sure I'd place them in my "olympus" with the ark, but for sure they have nothing less than other great bands like melody club.

7:38 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Being an American who got exposed to the proper unabashed and unique flavor of Scandinavian music in 2001 through Backroom Matches (http://www.myspace.com/backroommatches) and I didn't make the destined trip out there until 2007. So, yeah, it's something in the water out there. They have the freedom and the distance geographically to cultivate sounds out there that just appeal to my visceral, synth, pop-heavy, heartfelt sensibilities.

8:27 PM  

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