In Sweden, even the sad/earnest cover versions of pop songs that they use on adverts are a cut above the usual. Here’s El Perro Del Mar stretching the three minute masterpiece that is Fångad av en Stormwind into a languid, transcendently miserable ode to offshore wind generation.
Weirdly, there’s not a full version on YouTube, but you can use this link to find it on the streaming service of your choice. https://lnk.to/FangadAvEnStormvind
And I’ve just realised I ought to do a bit about how wind turbines are similar to schlageriffic wind machines, but they work the other way round. Still, I think if you were wearing a big frock on the top of an offshore wind platform, you’d get quite a billow going.
Apologies to readers in Sweden, who will no doubt be familiar with this Christmas song.
For readers outside Sweden, this is something like their equivalent to Jona Lewie’s Stop The Cavalry. The chorus is ‘More christmas, I want more Christmas, give me more Christmas’ and there’s some lovely festive Swedish vocab in the verses. Enjoy. Add to your Christmas playlists and thank me later.
What do we like? We like theremins, we like surf-esque guitar hooks and we like punk songs about not being normal. Gamlar Pengar, a punk band from Gothenburg in Sweden bring us all these things and more. Look through their back catalogue and find lots of shoutalong, minor key choruses and a bit of the old yelling at the old bourgeoisie.
Gamlar Pensar are on Bandcamp
If you haven’t had a chance to listen to Säkert or Hello Saferide yet you should get round to it. I’ve been listening these acts for ages now, and this Friday night you could take the opportunity to get in on it too. Both of these bands are really the work of songwriter Annika Norlin. Her lyrics are frank, sweet, explicit, dark, hilarious, tragic and always sit beautifully on top of an adorable melody.
I love her work. A great introduction is probably the album “Säkert på engelska” which has great English language versions of wonderful songs (particularly The Lakes We Skate On, Can I, November, and Dancing, Though) or “Introducing Hello Saferide” which is funnier, sadder and has more extreme stories – I particularly like Long Lost Penpal and My Best Friend on that record.
These are the kind of songs that you don’t ever totally forget, with tunes that you’ll find yourself humming years down the line. They’re the kind of highly specific but totally universal songs that you could give to a younger friend or relative as a guide to how adulthood is essentially a game of pretend.
And the final match of the group stages is between Sweden, a country where I’d already got a totally acknowledged love of their pop scene and Belgium, a country whose pop scene is new to me and with which I’m totally enraptured.
For Sweden we have the wonderful, celebratory sound of Ida Redig’s Du är bäst which is like a sort of energetic piano cover of a mid-nineties inspirational house song, with all the heart-swelling emotion and danceability that implies.
For Belgium we have the smokey and slick modern pop of Alice On The Roof, which meanders beautifully and insistently into your brain.
Du är bäst – Ida Redig [Uplifting hands-in-the-air stuff with a big heart]
Lucky You – Alice On The Roof [Adorably polished modern pop music]
Two lovely bits of insouciant, rough around the edges female-fronted indie here for a match that I’m sure will be a cracker.
Maria Antonietta is a really interesting artist – she’s making spirited feminist music with a punk ethos, but it’s also informed by her background in art history and her interest in the feminine aspects of religion.
Pfemme Records are a feminist musical collective, and we’ve recommended this song before, but it’s so massive that I am posting it again and I’ll post it again until you all like it.
Quanto eri bello – Maria Antonietta [Smart indie pop for thoughtful gals]
Ingen är bara här för att dansa – Pfemme Records [Dancefloor indie with a punk spirit and Swedish swearing]
We’re not just here to dance. Except this song definitely came here to dance, in that amazing 2001 to 2008 guitar disco way. Remember when the NME still cost money? Remember when suddenly you could actually dance at the indie disco again? Remember when you put rhinestones all over your Converse? (Was that just me?)
Pfemme Records don’t have a lot of info in English, but via my Level 5 Duolingo Swedish (I’m working on it) and Google Translate, I have worked out that they’re a Swedish feminist indie rock collective. They have produced for us this awesome tune with splendidly, defiantly political lyrics and some proper dancefloor action. And now I know how to say ‘minimizing us is not an option’ in Swedish, amongst other important vocab building phrases.
In a hypothetical ‘Listen Outside’ club night, we would play this back to back with Standing In The Way Of Control and we’d all chant along to the ‘dig, dig, dig, dig, dig’ bit in the middle eight.
Pfemme Records are on Soundcloud
Pfemme Records have a shop