Why is it that Sweden has so many good bands? Why is it, in particular, that it has so many good indiepop bands? I don’t understand it. It’s a shame more of them aren’t better-known in England; I wish I knew more about them, to tell you about them. I’m sure Dimitra could compile a list of 103 excellent Swedish indiepop bands who started in their teens and have only ever released on vinyl,* but I can’t, and I wish I could.
I’m almost tempted to start posting “Obscure Swedish band of the week” on here, though. Recently I’ve been listening a lot to the latest Pelle Carlberg album, In A Nutshell,** which is very very good, and very very catchy; cheerful tunes and sharp lyrics. When someone comes up with song titles like “I Love You, You Imbecile”, how can you not love their writing in return? Not to mention “Clever Girls Like Clever Boys Much More Than Clever Boys Like Clever Girls”. And, as for the catchiness, I’ve been loudly singing “Middleclass Kid” to myself all morning. Go out there and listen to him, because he makes intelligent, witty, and extremely listenable records.
* I’m exaggerating. Sorry, Dimitra. But not by much. I did have one band in mind that she’s told me about in the past, a teenage brother and sister I think, but I’ve completely forgotten everything she told me other than that they were very very good.
** Which K told me about. Here’s your footnote!
Seeing as Ian loves them so much, I went out at the weekend and bought a copy of the Johnny Boy album. Ian has good taste, I know, and in this particular case he has very good taste indeed.
Capsule review: loud, noisy, nostalgic pop that sounds like it should be pouring out of an ancient transistor radio. I’ve been playing it constantly in the car, turned up full, worrying all the neighbours and anyone waiting to cross the road. The opener, You Are The Generation That Bought More Shoes And You Get What You Deserve seems to have no verses at all, just a catchy hook that builds and builds. Half of the songs on the album are equally catchy, jostling for space in my head, especially Wall Street‘s “300 million down the drain” refrain.
Still recovering from my awful, hacking-cough cold. For The Mother, who thinks I have had bronchitis continuously since August, this is more evidence that I am leading a terribly dissolute lifestyle and need to stop having sex, stay indoors watching TV, and go to bed at 9pm every night just like she does.
In lieu of a proper entry, it’s time for One-Line Album Reviews. Hurrah! In which, I try to come up with pithy lines about some of the albums he’s bought recently.*
The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club, The Victorian English Gentlemen’s Club: you can’t hum it, the same as you can’t pronounce the name after a few gin and tonics very easily; but it’s some good, chunky angular music to listen to in the car.
The Aliens, Astronomy For Dogs: Like The Beta Band doing rock, which isn’t too surprising really. Rather good.
Gossip, Standing In The Way Of Control: A bit much hype involved, which (also) isn’t surprising really. It’s not a bad album, but they’re not as good as, say, The Kills.
Get Cape. Wear Cape. Fly, The Chronicles Of A Bohemian Teenager: Note to self: unlike TVEGC (see above), do not put this on in the car. You will fall asleep, probably at a busy motorway intersection, and kill hundreds of innocent pensioners on a coach en route to Southend.
And that’s most definitely enough of that.
* thus ruling out all the dronerock the Dronerock Fairy has been sending this way. Although the forthcoming Blonde Redhead album is rather good. Erm, so I hear.
As I said yesterday, I’ve been listening a lot recently to the debut album from The Pipettes, released a few days ago. It’s light, bouncy, pop music, always trying to evoke school discos and teenage fumbling. The band deliberately tries to come across, it seems, as a modern indie version of a 1960s girl group; hiding the musicians behind the scenes and relying on the singers to front the band.
It’s a very nostalgic record – a band full of twentysomethings, aimed at twentysomethings, singing at the emotional level of fourteen-year-olds abandoned on the dancefloor. Even when they’re singing about sex, they still sound somehow childish. It’s not surprising to find that they’re fairly closely connected to The Go! Team, whose debut album – which I do like a lot – always strikes me as being the auditory equivalent of a TV talking-head nostalgia show. The Pipettes are similar, a nostalgia band for the London indie scene; you could never imagine this record having been made anywhere other than south-east England.
On the whole, though, it is good to listen to. It’s an easy listen, and there are some good tunes and hooks in there. Whoever is writing the songs knows how to put a catchy melody to equally catchy lyrics, even if the lyrics of one song – “It’s Not Love (But It’s A Feeling)” – always make me think of that cosmetics commercial with Anna Friel in it.* They will probably do quite well. By the end of the year they’ll be a Radio One staple, cropping up on Radio Two occasionally too;** then by the end of next year we’ll be wondering what happened to them.
* You know, the one with the corset and the dirty smirk. That is Anna Friel, isn’t it? The particular lyrics are from the chorus: “touch a little tighter, eyes a little brighter”.
** Actually, I have to admit here, the first time I heard them was on Mark Radcliffe’s Radio 2 show, which I listen to if I’m still travelling at that time of night.