After the runaway train that was TV’s The Killing, it seems like we can’t get enough of Sweden at the moment.
We won’t go to the predictable and usually awful Ikea or meatball gags, but it’s not just furniture and snowy crime dramas we could be pilfering from there. There’s a rather sparkling music scene too.
Weird, daring and just as exciting as what the UK scene is conjuring up, Sweden has moved on light years from the spangled jumpsuits of ABBA. So we’ve put a brief little selection of some of Sweden’s finest you might never have heard of that will fit right into any playlist. We’ve even done put some samples at the bottom.
Our first pick of music scene is a nice easy little introduction. Lisa Miskovsky, for lack of a better comparison, is the Swedish Sheryl Crow. But while Crow dips her toes into country for her inspiration, Miskovsky’s looking in a whole different direction.
Taking her cues from the worlds of folk and electro (the two closest genres, obviously) Miskovsky blends them together with traditional pop. Miskovsky’s sheer range alone makes her one of the easiest singers around to get along with, switching quite easily from driving guitars, to gentle harmonies and more lately electro cuts, all alongside her gorgeous vocals.
All the more impressive is her return from the wilderness. Her fourth album Violent Skies that came out this year, her first for more than 4 years, feels fresh and new, meaning that pretty much everyone is catered for with ease.
Moving more into the storm clouds of electro, we have Tove Styrke. The former model and contestant on Swedish Idol has more than enough verve to make it in the current electro revival.
With more keyboards than a Casio factory, Stykre displays both wonderfully light and deliciously dark beats that could leave Gaga for dead without blinking an eyelid, all while pulling off vocals Alison Goldfrapp wouldn’t be ashamed of. Her debut, self-titled album, hits the same highs as La Roux’s, without falling into the same pesky holes as that record did.
Definitely one of the rising stars in Sweden, it’s only a matter of time before she hits it off all over Europe.
Time to step of the electro rollercoaster that Sweden does so very, very well and slow things down a bit with something totally unique. That would be Jens Lekman, the cross genre singer who not only totes catchy pop-riffs, but some wonderfully charming lyrics.
Always playful, rambling, deadpan and quasi conversational, Lekman is a truly unique beast, like a nu-folk version of Mike Skinner if that’s at all possible or Morrissey with a sense of humour.
Add in some truly unique instrument combinations (a tambourine and a saxophone sound a lot better together than you would have thought), Lekman’s a real Scandinavian oddity, but never reaching the occasionally off-putting bizarreness of Sigur Ros.
Continuing on the ‘one man and his guitar’ theme, we have The Tallest Man On Earth.
Now on his third album, the singer-songwriter has been featured on both Jools Holland and in the pages of Rolling Stone, yet still doesn’t have the following his gorgeous, stripped down acoustic guitar tracks deserve.
His vocals are the ear catching part though, sounding that close to those of Bob Dylan that they only just go beyond impression. You might just start believing in reincarnation it’s so close.
Actually citing the great man as a piece of inspiration, Tallest Man sit’s quite comfortably in the American country wheel house without ever feeling like a mockery.
When most of Sweden is deciding to lead the way in cutting edge electro-pop, this county throwback is captivating, heart-breaking and utterly enchanting.
Offering just about something for everyone, Sweden can more than match up its reputation of being one of music’s current hotspots.
FemaleFirst Cameron Smith