Swedes Please picks the top five Swedish bands
This week, I profiled Oak Park blogger Craig Bonnell, an ex-teacher and stay-at-home dad who has, remarkably, become the Web's authority on all music Swedish. His Swedes Please site serves up impeccable Viking pop each day to thousands of readers. He's even thrown a spotlight onto the mind-blowing world of Scandinavian hip-hop.
I asked Bonnell for his top five favorite Swedish acts, and he surprised with an unpredictable list: no Cardigans, no ABBA, no Hives in sight. Dig in and explore.
1. Hello Saferide
Annika Norlin's narrative songs could almost be classified as twee country. "Anna," the first single from More Modern Short Stories From Hello Saferide, builds off a cute what-if romantic premise, with Norlin dreaming of a super daughter. You suspect a darker reasoning behind the fantasy, and indeed heartbreak crashes in for the chorus.
2. Maia Hirasawa
Indeed Bonnell does love Hello Saferide, as his No. 2 pick served as a backup singer for No. 1. Makes sense, once you hear the Japanese-Swedish singer's bouncy piano-and-horn pop.
I'm spotting a trend here. Dude digs his Swedish female singer-songwriters. Hard to argue, with another delicious find. This Iranian ex-pat released her third album, Me and Simon, about a month ago, and it bridges gentle acoustic Scandinavian folk-pop with the sweeping, woozy strings of her homeland.
4. Blood Music
Stockholm's Karl-Jonas Winqvist is Blood Music, a home-spun one-man-band project. It's rough-around-the-edges lo-fi chamber pop (even the video looks shot on camcorders), but spun into expert melodies, because, well, it's Swedish.
5. Ed Greene
Yet another joyful folky gem from Stockholm. He has a lovely number about being hooked on HBO. This isn't it, but it'll get your toe tapping.
Be sure to keep up with all the goodies on swedesplease.net.