Tag Archives: say lou lou

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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ALBUM REVIEW: Say Lou Lou – Lucid Dreaming (2015)

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This article first appeared on The AU Review.

Everybody knows I have a thing for Scandinavian indie. Swedish indie exports are at an all-time high at the moment and leading the assault are quality acts like electro-pop duo Say Lou Lou. Despitespending well over 90% of their time in Stockholm, it’s also interesting to note that twin sisters Miranda and Elektra Kibley-Janssen are one-half Aussie. It’s only minimal I know, but in their latest effort Lucid Dreaming, there’s something inherently ‘Triple-J-esque’ about it all and on first listen I’d be proud as all hell to claim even 1% of it as Australian made.

Kicking off the ordeal at a mountainous high is the single “Everything We Touch”. Released late last year in early anticipation of Lucid Dreaming, the track is complete with deep, brooding verses that build up tastefully into a chorus that’s hard to deny. It’s a powerful song that shows a rock-solid belief in their abilities, leading with the words “everything we touch turns to gold”, and pushing that notion well into the final seconds of the track. Often an album is summed up in it’s first couple of songs. If you tend to fade by track two or three you can say goodbye to my interest, I’ll buy the single. Luckily for Say Lou Lou, I bought into that confidence in the first track because song two, “Glitter” isn’t much to write home about.

You’ll be happy to give this album more than one try, because as soon as “Games For Girls” kicks in you realise the previous track is an anomaly and the rest is hard to put down. This single hit some waves among the blogs of the world because of it’s noticeable difference from the rest of the Say Lou Lou collection. It’s a look into the potential these guys have for dance hits, carrying a steadier, upbeat tempo that could be evident in something like an RAC or Miami Horror remix. “Beloved” treads along the same path as a lot of the other tracks on this album, but it’s a cracker of a song. It’s an uplifting electronic ballad that hits a beautiful peak as it reaches each chorus with heartbreak personified through melancholic vocals.

“Wilder Than The Wind” has something hugely nineties about it. Like a whispered, indie take on Mariah Carey or something like that. Maybe not exactly, I wasn’t too in tune back in those days, but you get the drift. The beat drags a bit in the verses, so much that it can sometimes feel like the rest of the elements should be playing catch up. It’s one of those rainy day songs that might only feel right for a listen if the mood fits.

Their most recent single, “Nothing But A Heartbeat” is where this album truly takes a swing in a whirlwind of pop brilliance. An epic, breezy tune that is dark, but oddly affirming. I guess you could say that for a lot of the singles on this album. Others that came previously on the album like “Angels (Above Me)”, or “Julian” have a similar vibe. Dual vocals permeate these tracks, bouncing between catchy falsetto and solid stand-your-ground type melodies. Like an impressive con, Say Lou Lou play their audience throughout Lucid Dreaming with a sneaky seductive underlying, while being well aware of the fierce confidence they bring in all of their lyrics and melodies.

The album bows out on “Skylights”, one of the more straight forward arrangements on the release. It’s a nice, easy way to go out, laced with enjoyable vocal melodies that chug through at the forefront of a slow-tempo beat and locomotive like synth. It has that outro feel that most tracks do when they’re placed lucky last on an album, and is simply put the logical way to finish this album.

Lucid Dreaming is an appropriate name for this effort by Say Lou Lou. Like a dream, the album is an up-and-down experience. Some of it is powerfully vivid and the other feels half-awake. It’s largely sequential and hazy, streaked with some impressive vocal work ranging from deep and finite to masterfully thin. Where the album shines brightest is when bordering on mainstream pop. The singles like “Nothing But A Heartbeat”, “Games For Girls” and “Everything We Touch” are stellar highlights that will stick in your head, whereas the rest get pigeon-holed in the realm of emotionally meaningful, but not memorable. Overall, it’s a quality album that deserves at least a week or two straight of repeat playing.

*****

7.8 out of 10

Lucid Dreaming is out now in Australia via iTunes and for stream on Spotify.

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Kate Boy – Higher

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Kate Boy launched at a pretty sweet time for female indie artists. CHVRCHES had risen to fame, others like HAIM, Say Lou Lou and Chloe Howl has started to peak the interest of the bigger labels. But Kate Boy approached it with a thunderous, aggressive style of music that struck a unique chord on the indie blog-o-sphere.

This year she’s released a short EP with the lead single “Higher” beaming with anthemic bravado. Her classic deep female vocal style shines against thumping underground drums and bass and gliding synth. It’s a kind of new wave 80’s style and a great single right out the gate. Maybe after the success of all the aforementioned acts, this one might be the release to break out for this absolutely unreal Scandinavian act. I certainly hope so.

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Say Lou Lou – Nothing But A Heartbeat

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The Stockholm based electro-duo Say Lou Lou are back with an epic, breezy tune “Nothing But A Heartbeat”. It’s dark, but then oddly affirming with the sisters brilliant dual vocals permeating the track with catchy falsetto and magical tones. The start of 2015 has been pretty stellar for female vocalists in this genre, with Aussie artist Eves The Behavior also getting some great recognition for her song “TV”, which is a pretty similar vibe to these guys.

The single, which will see release on February 6th, is taken from their very exciting forthcoming album Lucid Dreaming, which will be sure to rock the world very hard. That album is out on Feb 23rd in Scando and April 6th everywhere else. Can. Not. Wait.

 

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Say Lou Lou – Better In The Dark

I’m really loving every little piece of music coming from Scandinavia lately. Even the Finnish have some sweet stuff with Satellite Stories pumping out their latest album Pine Trails this year like a polished, Scando take on Two Door Cinema Club. 

In line with other Swedish acts of the sort like Kate Boy and Purity Ring, Better In The Dark, the latest track from the Swedish sisters and lady-duo Say Lou Lou is a brooding electronic fantasy with brilliantly emotive and elevating vocals. The huge drum and bass track bursts through the chorus with intimidating blows, marching in your face to claim attention and shit, it does just that.

I know Say Lou Lou have released a few tracks in the last year or two, but this is the first time I’ve stood up and paid attention. I’m looking forward to hearing more stuff from them.

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