New Indie-Pop on the Block

Hello Saferide – Arjeplog (Watch)
Not all Swedish acts make music videos for all of their singles, but so far Hello Saferide have done one for each of the releases from their new album, and I’m very pleased to see it, because they’re such a jolly bunch, and therefore make great videos. Arjeplog is one of the gentler, more contemplative songs on the album (although it builds up in dramaticness as it goes along), and the video reflects that. Presumably the place where Annika is walking is Arjeplog itself, a very small town (under 2000 people) in Swedish Lapland. All that we can see is snow and trees and Annika in her cute jumper and dungarees outfit. It’s easy to forget that the trendy city life of Stockholm is in the same country as such serene areas as Arjeplog.
80% Poptastic!

Patrick Wolf – Vulture (Watch)
I am approaching the new Patrick album with caution, because, although I loved his last album, I never cared for any of his earlier songs, with the main exception being the fantastic Tristan. I’m going to listen to this more, and give the album lots of time and persistance, because my fondness for the last one suggests I am capable of liking this new one. I just need to have some patience, and since I’m used to hearing catchy pop songs where the aceness is instantly obvious, I’ll admit that’s not something I’m accustomed to. What I will say, though, is that I won’t be watching the video in order to get to know the song better. Once was enough, thanks!
85% Poptastic!

Camera Obscura – French Navy (Watch)
I don’t remember where I first heard Lloyd, I’m Ready to be Heartbroken, but I do recall being instantly obsessed with it. It ended up being one of my favourite singles of that year. I never bought the album, but I did see them live, and in the end decided that only If Looks Could Kill was as good as Lloyd. I love the band’s mix of retro and twee-pop, but I think with a sound as distinctive as theirs, that can sometimes be a little restrictive and make the quality of the music inconsistent. However, I’m very pleased to announce that their new single is just as ace as my two favourites. I was recently surprised to hear of a Scottish music night in Stockholm, but now I think of it, the Scots have given us some pretty ace twee-pop over the years, such as this lot, Belle and Sebastian and Bis.
93% Poptastic!

Empire of the Sun – We are the People (Watch)
I’ve been meaning to mention this one for ages, because I think it’s a HUGE improvement on their last single. With Walking on a Dream, I always felt that I should like it more than I actually did, but here the love comes completely naturally, and you know that’s a sign of real greatness. I also really like the video, set in the desert with lots of weirdness going on. I’ve heard reports of the singer being a bit of a twit, but to be honest I don’t care – at least he wears sparkly clothes and recognises that there is more to music than guitars. Also, Nick from Empire of the Sun was responsible for the brilliant PNAU/Ladyhawke single, Embrace, so I’m on their side for that alone.
85% Poptastic!

Maximo Park – The Kids are Sick Again (Listen – 2 hours in)
With Our Velocity, the first single from their last album, Maximo Park were ahead of the crowd, going for an 80s electro style that’s now the must-have sound for indie bands like Keane and the Mystery Jets. With that in mind, I hope that their new single will not turn out to be an indicator of what we can expect from mainstream indie (yes I know that’s a contradictory name, but so’s the genre) music over the next two years. On first listen, it’s jaunty enough, but typical indie music, and certainly nowhere near the poptastic aceness of Our Velocity. It’s much more like their first album, at least with the lack of the electro-ness, and lots of people did like that, so they should do fine.
58% Poptastic!

Marit Bergman – Bang Bang (Watch)
Although this song was recently mentioned by The Pipettes on their website as a current favourite of theirs, I must say it’s not one of my favourite Marit singles. I do like the video, though. It reminded me of the thought that often crosses my mind when I watch Swedish indie-pop videos, and that is how certain I feel that the acts are doing exactly what they want, with both their music and their videos. When British or American acts are allowed to do what they like, we end up with albums like Kelly Clarkson’s My December! Many of them just can’t be trusted with their own careers, although maybe if they were more used to having creative control, as the Swedes are, they’d be a bit better at it. Anyway, back to Marit: great video, average song, but we’ll forgive her cos she’s super-ace!
77% Poptastic!

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