Every great summer needs a soundtrack to go along with it and this golden summer in particular has deserved one. I’m looking for a soundtrack that not only compliments the glorious sunshine and wonderful blue sky we have enjoyed for the last few months but somehow does the impossible and manages to outshine it.
The place I went looking was maybe not the first thought that comes to mind when you think blue skies and blue seas. Known far more for their snow than their sand, those wonderful, slightly mystifying and always culturally inventive countries that make up Scandinavia have come through with some gorgeous and thought-provoking songs that have provided the perfect backdrop for each and every sunset so far.
Scandinavia is perhaps the perfect place to go looking if you are in search of an eclectic mix of music that is entirely accessible due to how widespread the English language is, but also just removed enough from the American/British sphere of influence that they do things their own way. This isn’t hyperbole, some of the most exciting music is being made over there, the music scene across the North Sea is truly thriving and I’m going to take in a quick dip into the icy waters to fish out a few of the bands you really should get to know and love as soon as possible.
The first band to bring to you are a modern and incredibly inventive take on the disco scene, The Rapture are perhaps the most obvious comparison to draw when listening to them but I would be amiss not to mention another clear influence which is the Swedish music scene’s most famous group of all time ABBA (don’t worry, there is no kitsch over here though). If their name is not enough of a give away, they wear their 80’s influence on their sleeves in every song they produce but gosh, don’t they do it well.
Diskopunk really are the sound that I never knew I needed. Each and every bass line riff is there to get you out of your seat and moving around but it’s Antonio America’s vocals that lead you straight to straight onto the disco dancefloor. It really is impossible not to imagine their live show being ridiculously fun and good times all around, with their glitter and neon aesthetic just playing up the everything is fine, just enjoy yourself vibes.
If you want to delve a little deeper into their back catalogue, I can’t help but recommend their Intergalactic Remixes. Much more focused towards the house side, they are incredible fun to pop on the sound system as the summer days melt into summer nights.
Steve Buscemi’s Dreamy Eyes
A name usually tells you a lot about the music you are about to hear, Diskopunk being a prime example of what you can expect. SBDE (I’m not typing that out every single time) don’t offer any clues, I love Steve Buscemi himself but I can’t say his dreamy eyes ever stood out to me (I basically typed it out again in that sentence).
So what can you expect from SBDE? Think XX levels of relaxation or Mys as the Swedish would describe it and you are getting into the right area. ‘Closer’ seems to have been written entirely for the last night you spend with your summer sweetheart on holiday, full of longing and hope and with a guitar riff you could have plucked straight from one of The Foals best songs.
Recently they crossed over from their Native Stockholm to play The Sebright Arms and were absolutely wonderful, made up of two boys and two girls (Should I make the ABBA comparison again? It’s so lazy but so easy), they were truly a delight to see live and have one of the sweetest voices in music leading them.
I promised you a Scandinavian summer not a Swedish summer, so lets just across the border into Norway because I have some great news for you… it’s a band called Great News! They wouldn’t be out of place in the shoegaze revival that happened a few years ago and have obvious similarities with those bands such as Peace or Swim Deep.
This is the band to be putting on the speakers as the afternoon is lulling after your mid day burgers and beers, to hopefully both revive and relax you all in equal measures. They released their first album earlier this year and if you have been to any festival across Europe this summer, then the odds are you saw them at some point or another and thank your lucky stars you did.
The threesome have been making some great music but once this summer is over and the festivals are finished, I’m excited to hear what they will be back with.
Okay, so I absolutely left La Lusid until last on purpose. There is just something so charming about Paulina Palmgren’s voice that means it is impossible to hear Green Lights and not be put in a good mood. It has the feeling of a Scandinavian Disney Princess running across mountains and fjords and singing all the flowers and trees into bloom.
I wanted to make sure her voice was the thing you remember from my short Scandinavian Summer.
It’s as simple as that.