Category Archives: satellite stories

Five bands that prove Scandinavia is on top of their indie game right now

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This article first appeared on The Daily Listening.

Anyone who has heard my music collection would assume that I just have a thing for Scandinavian indie bands. I swear that’s not the case, but unless someone is planting them on me for the past year or so I seem to be randomly stumbling upon band after band hailing from those parts.

For those of you who were shithouse at Geography, Scandinavia is that part of the world that consists of those countries that are usually cold as hell, either rarely receive sunlight or get too much and are filled with the best looking people you’ve ever seen (according to popular culture). I’m talking about Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland.

You know what they’re also really awesome at? Exporting epic indie bands. Here’s why.

  1. Say Lou Lou

Alright, so this first one is a half / half. Sisters Miranda and Elektra Kibley-Janssen make up the half Australian, half Swedish (based in Stockholm) electro duo Say Lou Lou. On the front line of the female indie stampede, they’ve just released the latest LP Lucid Dreaming this month and singles like “Games For Girls (feat. Lindstrom)” and “Nothing But A Heartbeat” have looked unstoppable.

  1. Kid Astray

Norwegian five-piece Kid Astray are sounding more like an LA or Brooklyn based outfit than most guys from the deep north. Tracks like “It’s Alright” and “Still Chasing Nothing” leave behind the cold, dark staples of the deep north and opt for a true summertime beat.

  1. Urban Cone

Sweden’s Urban Cone seemingly came out of nowhere, pairing up with the likes of Tove Lo in their most recent tune “Come Back To Me” and hitting airwaves more frequently by the minute. But they’ve been around for quite some time, and proving their long standing brilliance are older tunes like “Freak” and “We Should Go To France”.

  1. Kate Boy

Another Swedish sensation, Kate Boy is an electronic indie inspiration. Her music is scary powerful, filled to the brim with uniquely robotic soundscapes. In 2015, she released a self-titled EP with stupidly epic tracks like “Self Control”, “Higher” and “Northern Lights” and she absolutely needs to be taken to the top.

  1. Satellite Stories

Finally, from the lesser recognised part of Scandinavia, Satellite Stories are a group of indie-loving lads from Finland. They’ve just released their second LP entitled “Vagabonds” and have a bit of a Two Door Cinema Club vibe going on…sometimes. Super consistent indie tunes is their business and if you check out the latest album, it is shit-yourself-good.

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Satellite Stories – Vagabonds

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Everyone’s favourite Finnish band, Satellite Stories have been hitting the airwaves with a few newbies of late in an exciting start to 2015. I’ll admit, there’s not a lot of Finnish acts that are that well known outside of their country, at least in Australia. But don’t let that take anything away from the incredible set that these guys have put together so far.

Their 2013 debut Pine Trails was an absolute masterpiece. Tracks like “Season of B-Sides” and “Campfire” as well as “Lights Go Low” were eerily similar to powerhouse indie band Two Door Cinema Club, proving their heritage wasn’t anything of a gimmick on this side of the world. Their latest off the new album of the same name, “Vagabonds”, is filled with pulsating guitar, rise and fall synth and beautiful sounding falsetto, fleeting through the track with confidence, while keeping the cold soundscapes we’ve come to adore from acts out of Scandinavia.

The album “Vagabonds” is out now via iTunes and for stream on Spotify.

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Satellite Stories – Heartbeat

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Those indie boys from Finland are back with another single in the beauty, “Heartbeat”. It’s a very Scandinavian sounding track, and I base that on absolutely nothing. Just something about these indie tracks I feel resonates. It’s the same thing I notice in bands like Urban Cone or The Royal Concept and that’s a pretty huge compliment standing next to those guys.

Satellite Stories should be releasing a new album at some point this year and it’s one to be excited about, if you can go from their awesome full length “Pine Trails” in 2013, which had sick beats like “Sirens”, “Campfire” and “Season of B-Sides” on it. “Heartbeat” is the follow up single to “The Trap” which was released at the end of last year and includes their same signature indie-pop style. This one is a little more anthemic though, and shoots through with beautiful soundscapes. I imagine this is what travelling through Scandinavia would sound like if it were a song.

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Issue Four

We are back with a vengeance as the last two weeks we have been balls deep in the release and discovery of an outrageous bunch of new artists and albums (to my world at least) which means this weeks top ten is just packed with face-melting awesomeness. There’s actually a few very well known acts in here as well as of course a few repeat offenders that have popped up a few times in this series so far. All I can recommend before starting is that the singles displayed here were pain stakingly picked out of a collection of crazy good catalogues and are only a window into the much more exciting finds that are the entire albums of each band.

10. Two Door Cinema Club – Sun

I’m not too sure how I feel about this album just yet. After a few listens this was the only song that really stood out to me. It’s a tough ask to deliver something new and equally as awesome after the consistent pistol of a debut that was “Tourist History”, and to be brutally honest I’m not so sure “Beacon” will go down in the history books as the album to remember TDCC by. Despite this, the song is great and it scored a few dozen listens in the last two weeks, so don’t take my word for it; check out the album for yourselves.

 
 
9. The White Panda – Nightcity
 
Although my playlists so far may not reflect this, I am a massive fan of mashups. Many of you may not know of The White Panda but they are similar to bands like Girl Talk in that all their songs are just mashed together sections from other songs. Unlike Girl Talk however, White Panda just sticks to a two song format. This is a wicked mix of something from the movie Tron (I’m told) and Rack City by Tyga which is just hilarious without this epic backing. They have a new album out called “Bambooyah” which is out now on bandcamp.com now for free (if you choose to donate $0.00).
 
 

 
 
8. Cut Off Your Hands – You Can Do Better
 

I saw Cut Off Your Hands a live a few times before heading overseas for two years and was dreaming of their new album ever since. Apparently I missed it by a whole year as their sophomore effort Hollow was released late last year and I never even knew. Not to worry, I found it this week and after a listen “Down & Out” was clearly the hot favourite. It’s kind of reminiscent of their first album but if it ain’t broke don’t fix it. Despite this, I can’t find that track on Youtube so here is the single “You Can Do Better”. If you like the sound, source out Down & Out on the album Hollow. Also, these guys are amazing live so if you get the chance to see then it’s not to be missed!
 
 

 
 
7. Satellite Stories – Sirens (Slow Magic Remix)
 
Coming in as the second mixed song on the playlist this week, it was one of the only standouts on a dissapointing September BIRP! playlist. I don’t know much about the band, the song or the mixers but it doesn’t really matter. It’s a good friggen song and deserved the continuous repetition that occured in my car earlier.
 
 

 
 
6. Van She – Jamaica
 
I was quick to dismiss most of their new album after bringing Tears in at number one a few weeks ago. I was wrong. I believe this is the second single off Idea Of Happiness and as I saw the clip at a bar in Queenstown the other week it definitely worked better in a party/social atmosphere. It made me go back and give it another chance and now I’m hooked. Sporting that jungle funk vibe that a lot of bands are picking up these days, you can’t help but bop your head and waves your arms around like some tribal figure…or someone who’s tripping balls.
 
 

 
 
5. Betamaxx – DEERHEAD/LIONHEART
 
This is another one of those BIRP! songs that made it past the first few seconds of screening and held my attention enough to get to the end where it really shines. This song was severely abused throughout the last two weeks as I continuously fast forwarded to the saxophone breakdown at the end. Once again I don’t know much about the band or song but to be honest it sounds like a one hit kind of thing. No offense Betamaxx I’m sure you’re loved in respected circles, at least you made it to top five once in your career.
 
 

 
 
4. The Royal Concept – Goldrushed
 
I warned you all that they would be in here. They came in a solid number ten last week and upon further research I discovered they have other songs (which also sound a lot like Phoenix). Among said other songs is the solid number “Goldrushed” which showcases Swedish indie at its finest. These guys are actually super talented though; I saw a clip of them doing a 50’s number acapella in some hotel lobby and was impressive to say the least. Anyway, enjoy the “Live” (and I put that in air quotes cause it’s obviously edited by the studio) studio version of Goldrushed.
 
 

 
 
3. Gold Fields – Summer in the City
 
I find it hard to believe that another Gold Fields song came in higher than Treehouse did the other week. Main reason is, this song is just fresher to my ears. Many of you may have heard this cheeky little number in the background of the XXXX Gold Summer Bright commercials all over the tele. Thanks to the gracious chaps over at the beer company, this track is downloadable for free I’m told. It’s a cover of a seventies funk song but like everything else Gold Fields does, its a masterpiece in its own right. Great song to strut to.
 
 
 
 
2. Last Dinosaurs – Zoom
 
Not too sure how old this single actually is. I’m assuming its a little old because whenever I asked people if they’d hear of Last Dinosaurs their responses were generally “pfft…of course I have”. Despite living under a rock downgrading my capacity as a judge here on The Whamtam Ten, this song definitely deserves the spot. As a matter of fact, the whole album In a Million Years… deserves the number two spot. I have played every single song as consistently as this and its in a good spot for Album of the Month this month.
 
 

 
 
1. Bloc Party – V.A.L.I.S
 
I’ve been hearing mixed reponses about Bloc Party’s new effort, Four. Most people are unsure about how they feel on the topic. I am indeed one of those people as my first listening just threw me off immediately. V.A.L.I.S however, completely saved the record for me. It’s such a good song on its own that I will retract any criticism I’ve made on the new album and say that this song carries it into being a top effort. Ok, maybe that’s a bit too much to ask; but you can tell by my overwhelming enthusiasm about the song why it came in at number one.
 
 

 
 
So. That’s it, that’s all. Issue four done and dusted. Capiche. Endo story. All wrapped up into a neat little package. Once again if you have anything to add or hints at good music just comment. More content to come in the intermission between now and Issue Five!