Frida Sundemo

Frida Sundemo: “the exquisite alt-pop songstress channels wide-eyed beauty and desolate melancholy”

Frida Sundemo

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I love everything about Frida Sundemo‘s “Gold.” I love how it starts out like Robyn singing Sigur Rós before turning into Charli XCX scoring a Christopher Nolan film. I love how everyone in Sweden knows how to write perfectly melancholy pop bangers. AND I love Sundemo’s voice and how little she needs to rely on a massive band, though “Gold” sounds big in the best way.

From Facebook:

“In between hope and despair stands Frida Sundemo. Wrapped in echoes and surrounded by pattering synths, the exquisite alt-pop songstress channels wide-eyed beauty and desolate melancholy with each spellbinding note and delicate breath, with each and every heartbeat.”

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Cambodian Soul Sounds

Cambodian Soul Sounds: tracks, stories, and compilations highlighting Cambodian psychedelic rock & soul from the ’50s to the ’70s.

cambodian soul sounds

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Cambodian Soul Sounds is a Stockholm, Sweden-based label that shares compilations highlighting songs and stories from Cambodia’s thriving psychedelic rock and soul scene from the ’50s to the ’70s. The compilations, curated by Richard Rossa, raises funds to support organizations that are trying to preserve and rebuild Cambodia’s cultural life. My personal favorite is Vol. II, which includes what might be my favorite cover of The Beatles’ “Hey Jude.”

From Richard Rossa via Facebook:

“The music scene in Cambodia during the 50s to the mid-70s was swinging hard! Khmer musicians of the era were influenced by western rhythm & blues, rock n’ roll, and music from Latin America. Musicians like Sinn Sisamouth studied these musical styles when traveling abroad, many Cambodians also tuned in these songs on US Armed Forces Radio during the Vietnam War and got influenced by the western sound.

The combination of styles and culture created a truly unique touch to the vivid rock music of Cambodia.

But…It all ended on April 17, 1975, the day the Khmer Rouge took over Phnom Penh. With many others – the artists were executed or sent away to prison camps to die. Cambodia fell into darkness.

During these years pretty much every original recording and master tape were destroyed. Listening to this music would have got you killed. But thanks to vinyl collectors who risked their lives concealing or smuggle their records out of the country there is still a bunch of them out there ready to be restored and archived for future generations to enjoy.

Cambodian Soul Sounds vol 1 is a compilation of old songs I managed to pick up myself when traveling in Cambodia. Even if the recordings presents a charming distorted sound, songs were also really low, but with a lot of high frequencies cutting through, making it somehow unpleasant at loud volumes. As a DJ and producer, I took matters into my own hands and reworked the recordings to give them a warmer and more suitable sound for your earphones or the DJ to blast at maximum volume at the local psychedelic soul party. Just as I do.

I am doing this because I know this music deserves a place in the context I am working in – as a Dj. It will help to find new listeners, promote and raise awareness of Cambodia as a whole. However, with its tragic history, this legacy needs to be treated with respect. I am doing this work to raise funds for project in Cambodia such as the work for music preservation and also to help disadvantaged children. The project is 100% non-profitable and every revenue from these track sales or streaming are going straight into these projects.

With this work, the lost musicians of Cambodia can continue to give aid back to their country long after they passed.”

Cambodian Soul Sounds: Facebook SoundCloud

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Trachimbrod

Trachimbrod: a new “indie” side to the Swedish-sung screamo.

Trachimbrod

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Glacial and glittering guitars, uniform and decisive rhythmic patterns, desperate shaking vocals on the verge of bursting. These are more or less the defining traits of screamo in Sweden, a country that is one of the most prolific when it comes to this niche genre. Bands like Suis La Lune, who have been pioneering this type of music in Stockholm for more than ten years, are known to every screamo fan in the world, but there are many Swedish bands that are quickly getting the international attention they deserve.

Trachimbrod is one of those bands. Their style is unmistakably close to the rest of their compatriots, but the quality of their music is outstanding. The band’s first album, ‘A Collection Of Hidden Sketches,’ came out in 2012 and was a real gem. Hoarse yet harmonious, with unforgettable guitar melodies emerging from a thick and icy sonic blanket, their songwriting felt unstudied and original, setting them apart from many similar bands in the world.

While their following split with Sore Eyelids showed worrisome chameleonic skills, resulting in them sounding way too similar to the dreamy shoegaze of their split partners, their 2017 comeback with ‘Leda’ is a breath of fresh air for Swedish and international screamo. It’s a soft-tempered record where atmospheric guitar arpeggios endlessly chase each other in a post-rock setting, reaching a climax only rarely and creating a dense emotional tension.

The singer – who also sings in the lively emo group I Love Your Lifestyle – switches his lyrics from English to Swedish this time, increasing the magic and the mystery of the band even more. Occasionally, he adds poignant clean parts that exalt the musical potential and versatility of the music, making ‘Leda’ a thorough record that will make it really easy to fall in love with this band.

Trachimbrod: Facebook Bandcamp

Writer and musician from Milan, Italy. Hardcore punk background, DIY enthusiast, Balkan culture scholar. Check him out on Twitter at @advaence

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Billy Momo

Billy Momo: the ambassadors of urban folk?

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Billy Momo is a Swedish “urban folk” group, which sounds exactly like what you imagine it to be. “Swim” reminds me of Gorillaz, another genre-bending project that meshes two seemingly clashing styles together to create something groovy and great.

Billy Momo: Website Facebook Twitter

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Öhrn

Öhrn

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Do you miss David Bowie and dig bands like Phantogram? Here’s Öhrn. According to Ja Ja Ja, “Bang Bang” will appear on an EP due late November via her own label, Eagle BrainStay tuned for hopefully more of that singing and saxophone.

Öhrn: SoundCloud Facebook

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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Brödet

Brodet

Photo by Amelie Bjurenhed

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One of my favorite genres is “BoJack Horseman’s iPod.” To qualify, a song must be deceivingly pretty and must be played when feeling sad on a beautiful day in California (think Lyla Foy’s “Impossible,” from BoJack Horseman season one). As much as we need peppy pop songs to feel positive, we equally need melancholy music to make our sadness bearable and even beautiful, and, accord to psychologists, listening to sad music can be good for you.

I’m not sure if anyone in Brödet is a fan of BoJack Horseman or have been to California (they’re Swedish), but the Stockholm trip-pop sextet’s excellent new song, “Ultra Friend,” makes me want to move to LA just so I can drive at sunset and feel blissfully sad amongst beautiful people. Hell, even the band’s artwork features anthropomorphic animals acting young and sad, which is essentially BoJack Horseman. If you’re a fan of Chromatics, you’ll recognize that spacey sound from the driving drums carrying reverb guitars and stardust keyboards. Considering that we haven’t had any new Chromatics music in a while, Brödet is making its mark at the perfect time.

“Ultra Friend,” is a preview of the band’s upcoming record, which will be released sometime this fall on Naiv Recordings and will be the follow-up to the band’s debut EP, last year’s well-received Mammon.

Brödet: Bandcamp Facebook

Brady is the founder of Headphone Nation. He’s responsible for all this mess. Sorry about that. He’s also on Twitter @BradyWGerber

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