Tag Archives: sweden

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


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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Dalaro – Synthetic


UK based Dalaro released the single “Synthetic” recently and it lives up to it’s name. Although being quite full-sounding, it’s got something slippery about it. It’s a very Beat Connection-esque sound they’ve got going on here. Tropical, or at least foreign sounding guitar melodies permeate the track from beginning to end, with whispy vocals a constant throughout. Even when they rise into the chorus, there’s still something a little hollow about the whole ordeal. Not a surprise given they’re named after a small part of Stockholm in Sweden.

I’d imagine live would be a whole other ordeal, with a hugely packed climax hitting towards the end of the track. It’s all a bit stunning and even more so exciting.

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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


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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Urban Cone – Sadness Disease


It looks like 2015 is pegged to be another “Year of the Scando” again as several of my favourite Swedish bands are lining up to release another album. Among them the former Miike-Snow-esque Urban Cone are now sounding fast and hot with the new single “Sadness Disease”.

It’s everything you could want in a track from these guys. Repetitive flowing synth, smooth vocal tones and some fast paced guitar stand-outs. No one paints the long cold winters of Stockholm like these guys, but it’s within the sprinting percussion and bass accompaniment that their dark lyrics actually shine, showing that within the “Sadness Disease”, there is some fun to be had.

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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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Looking for the right material

Shame on me for thinking that Shout Out Loud’s were a new thing. Apparently the band from (of course) Stockholm, Sweden have been around and tearing it up since their debut album, Howl, Howl, Gaff, Gaff in 2005. In the gap between the time they first appeared in the industry and when I first noticed they existed, they’ve toured with the likes of The Strokes, The Magic Numbers and many other big names and it’s obvious how they fit into that sort of world.

The song I’ve chosen to highlight, 14th of July, has this kind of dragging vocal that sits on the fence between happy and sad in the fact that while it stampedes through the chorus with such excitement it’s still hard to miss the edge of hopelessness in the lyrics with lines like, “…What’s the point of a sun that never sets, when I can’t forget this isn’t real?” 

That’s what Shout Out Loud’s seem to do best. Their formula reels you in with an excitable foundation of catchy pop melodies and cool, clangy funk-style guitar riffs, but at their core there is something really vulnerable in the lyrics that locks in a connection with the listener that’s hard to break.

The album, Optica, was released on the 26th of April on iTunes and you can buy/listen to it here.

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