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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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This has gotta be a cruel joke...

So this morning I logged onto Daggers' (aka the best new band in the world) myspace page, only to see that all the music is gone and all the blog entries are gone except for a short one telling their fans that "it's over."
This is beyond depressing. We never even got an album. I'm hoping that maybe the fans will rally and at least get them to upload any leftover/old songs so we can still hear some "new" material, but even that would pale into comparison to the huge future I had mapped out in my mind for these guys. It's a shame, as I really felt the support growing for this band across the blogosphere. I certainly loved them, and they will always have the best single of 2008 in my eyes.

Thursday, January 29, 2009

"You got a superbeat but can you beat this?"

Time for a straight-up dance song. The Slips are from the UK and have so far released songs that are pretty much along the Chemical Brothers/Hot Chip techno-dance route. But on their myspace they've got a few tracks that are a lot more song-oriented, which makes me really excited for the possibility of another great electro band. Superbeat is more concerned with the (what else?) beat and production than an awesome pop melody, but it manages to be extremely catchy anyways. It's basically just one long hook. These guys could easily end up being a production duo working with other artists, but a lot of their own stuff so far has been very impressive so an album could be very interesting.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the single here.)

Wednesday, January 28, 2009

"You and me, girl"

Giantess remind me of an American version of Sweden's Fibes, Oh Fibes. Their sound and songs are very similar, disregarding the higher-pitched vocals. It's a very summery sound, something that would be at home in a convertible speeding towards the beach. Like yesterday's track, I wasn't instantly sold on the song, though I loved the bubbly synth opening and the hook. Also like yesterday's track, I have a feeling that if these guys hooked up with the right producer they could be absolutely huge. They're refreshingly different (and poppier) than a lot of American music and could easily steal some of Chromeo's fans. Lately they've supported buzz band Passion Pit (who I don't get at all) on tour, so hopefully they'll find the recognition they need and get signed.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Listen to more here!)

Tuesday, January 27, 2009

"Don't stop leadin' me on"

In a lot of ways, this song reminds me of Outkast, though there's not any rap and the band is from Denmark. When Saints Go Machine (catchy name, huh?) seem to be on the verge of being really, really good. Their sound is a mix of dance/electro, pop and soul. Kids On Vacation is the single, and it's quite a good one too. It's one of those tracks that seems kind of forgettable at first but shines with repeated listens. There are a ton of subtle hooks in this one. Their other tracks could use a few more of these hooks, in my opinion, but there's a lot of potential for a great pop band here. I can imagine them touring with fellow Danes Oh No Ono, since they've got that sorta quirky plastic pop sound in common (which by the way seems to be a Danish specialty).

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Buy the ep here!)

Monday, January 26, 2009

"When we only had each other it was more than enough"

Up until this point, I hadn't really had any sort of opinion on Justin Hawkins' new band Hot Leg. I loved The Darkness, especially their underrated second album, but figured the new stuff would be less poppy based on what I'd heard. But to my surprise (so far at least) their output seems to actually be poppier. Take the gorgeous melody of Cupboard Love. Despite being relegated to b-side status, it's a full-on Meat Loaf style pomp rocker, and I absolutely love it. Opening with almost orchestral synths, it sounds like a ballad for awhile before the throwback background vocals come in, all leading into an complete explosion of a chorus. The album, Red Light Fever, comes out in a week and I can't wait to hear it. If it's anything like this track, then it could end up being a surprise 2009 favorite for me.

(Music posted for evaluation purposes only. If you like what you hear, support the artists. Preorder the album here!)