1. PJ Harvey | Meet Ze Mostra
I first heard this track when I was in France, maybe ten or twelve years ago. I was bicycling up the hills of a narrow village to visit the local graveyard (and it’s view of course…) when I finally gave PJ a chance. That voice changed my view on music totally. Prior to that I had some kind of notion that a good voice was to be preferred, but in the same second as I heard Meet Ze Mostra I realized that it is what the voice is narrating that matters. Ugly has been beautiful since then and it will probably never change for me.
2. The Bear Quartet | I’m Not In Here With You (You’re In Here With Me)
Swedish Pop music were probably at some kind of height in the mid nineties. I had my 1995 walls covered with Brainpool, This Perfect Day and Popsicle. The Bear Quartet, from the Northern part of the country, was always too weird for me. A few years back I rediscovered BQ and realized that they are a fantastic band. The melodies are so weird, the lyrics great and the production is like a war between the good and the bad: mesmerizing. This track is from 1997, when I didn’t, but should have, like(d) them.
3. The Fiery Piano | Sirens
I’m not really listening too much to the current Swedish Indie scene, since you tend to lose interest if you feel too tied to it. The Fiery Piano, with its eclectic mix of Swedish 90’s Indie and Postal Service always gets me in the mood. It’s something with that lightweight guitar, which I always tend to love, and memorable easy melodies. Their debut EP has been a good fellow the last couple of weeks.
4. Jenny Wilson | The Wooden Chair (Peter Visti Remix)
It feels like the music scene in general is turning towards remixes as being just as important as the original tune, which I do not necessarily approve to. This heavy rework of Jenny Wilson’s Wooden Chair is so expressive and brings something real new to the song. Jenny is probably one of the most exciting artists in Sweden at the moment.
5. The Vaccines | If You Wanna
It’s three simple chords all the way through. And that’s probably why I like it. I grew up on a diet with Kiss, The Ramones and Swedish Marshmallow Pop (aka Roxette) and that still kinda holds me pretty tied up. I like it when things does not always have to be experimental or groundbreaking. It’s other things that matters in those cases - songs, lyrics that goes straight to your heart or, like in this case, just a catchy guitar solo for 8 bars.
6. Jaqueline Du Pré | Elgar: Cello Concerto In E Minor, Op. 85
The story behind Jaqueline Du Pré, the most amazing cello player I have ever heard on record, is so saddening. To be at the top of the world at a young age and then be forced to quit due to illness is heartbreaking. Du Pré (and in this case Daniel Barenboim) stretches every note, makes every sound matter. I always return to this piece when I need directions, when the waves tend to be overwhelming. It always feels like Du Pré’s got everything under control. She assures that everything will be okey.
7. St. Vincent | Cruel
For a long time I’ve been totally obsessed with repetitive melodies, the ones that works best in major scales and changes meaning by the choice of backing chords. With that in mind, the melody can return any time in the song and still sound great. I love that. St. Vincent was the great finding of last year for me and the new record is even better. Cruel is what I consider perfect Disco-Pop. I also have a soft spot for the smooth blend of Lo-Fi and high end production. The drums sounds perfect, but the guitars, saxophones and vocals are all dirty.
8. Dirty Projectors | Cannibal Resource
This provides me with the same feeling every time I hear it. I got totally blown off the road the first time I heard this. The amount of great ideas that could be put into one single song is amazing. We get something new every ten or twenty seconds, and still: It holds together. I also admire the way no ideas seem like bad ideas. Everything is squeezed in there. Good and bad makes super good.
9. Ma Rainey | Dead Drunk Blues
Sometimes I get some damn bored with music, at least the current set of sounds. This is when I always return to my musical roots. I remember being maybe 13 or 14 and listening to Ma Rainey's 1923-recordings in the dark of my childhood room. It was like something extra terrestrial had approach me, it felt like a totally different world - which it in many aspects actually were. Ma Rainey is, together with Bessie Smith and Memphis Minnie my favorite Blues singers. It’s a thing that I tried to keep with me all the time - to put feel into the performance and the lyrics. Sing like you believe it.
10. Big Star | The Ballad Of El Goodo
One of the most underrated band of all times. Wonderfully Beatlesque and weirdly perfect. This chorus (ain’t no one going to turn me around) has been following me through thick and thin. I do not know what Alex Chilton was pointing at, but I know what it means to me. It’s also pretty funny when you realize that some chord progression get really stuck on you. This is one of those. Falling and landing safe. Full of dreams and precise at the same time. The seventies never got better than this.