Friday, August 04, 2006

Scandinavia - Not just for Vikings

The Del Vikings - Come Go With Me : Stand By Me Soundtrack

OK, so right up front I'll tell you that this post isn't about vikings. Hopefully most of you won't stop reading here. Instead, I'm going to talk about some musical exports that we can thank Scandinavia for.

More on a whim other than anything else, I picked up Ane Brun's semi-recent (released May 15th) album, titled
A Temporary Dive, at the local used music store. Although Ane (a Norwegian, but with no telling accent) has been around for a few years in Europe, this is her first release over here in the States. I had seen her name on a few blogs here and there but hadn't checked her out. I finally got around to seriously listening to it today and was impressed enough to start writing this post after getting out of work at 9:30 last night.

First off, let me warn you; this CD is not an album you throw on to crank in your car with the windows down, nor is it an album that will cheer you up if you are having a bad day. Were I to know nothing about Ane other than her songs, I would assume that her life is fairly miserable and gloomy.

Ane Brun - Rubber and Soul : A Temporary Dive

In my mind I`m crawling on your floor
Vomiting and defeated
Total absence of grace
Your reluctant voice
saying; you decide your own fate

The arrangements are sparse with just enough accompanying instrumental background to help the songs flow while not detracting from Ane's beautifully haunting voice. Here's what I find the most uplifting of the tracks from the album:

Ane Brun - Song No. 6 : A Temporary Dive

It would be so easy
To sing a song about you
It would be so easy to sing a
Sobby, pink song about you

Ane Brun - Humming One of Your Songs (live) : Song No. 6 Single

Check out an interview over at Culture Bully.


Another fellow from Sweden that I've been into lately is Jens Lekman. His song, A Sweet Summer's Night on Hammer Hill, was another track that I first heard on I Guess I'm Floating's summer mix. You have to listen to Jens' lyrics carefully to catch on to the witty lines he comes out with. His voice sounds like that of a crooner, but if you catch what he's saying, it's pretty entertaining. For example:

Jens Lekman - A Man Walks Into A Bar : Oh You're So Silent Jens

a man walks in to a bar
orders a beer and bowl of peanuts
but the bar turns into a spaceship
and the bartender gives him a haircut
I can't remember the end of that joke

Jens Lekman - Someone To Share My Life With : Oh You're So Silent Jens

If you're into Jens and would like to download some rare (and free) tracks, head over to his website, where he serves them up on a silver platter for you. Here's one that I've been enjoying:

Jens Lekman - How Much You Mean to Me


And the music doesn't stop there, all of the following musical acts hail from the Scandinavian peninsula. Some we can thank them for, others, decide.

a-Ha - Take On Me (live) : originally on Hunting High and Low

ABBA - Dancing Queen : Arrival

The Cardigans - If There Is a Chance : Live in Helsinki 2003-10-28 (originally on Long Gone Before Daylight)

Rednex - Cotton Eyed Joe : Sex & Violins

And before you say anything, yes I know Ace of Base also comes from Sweden, but unfortunately, all of my Ace of Base mp3's were accidentally deleted by my 2 year old daughter while she was practicing programming HTML.

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