The best emerging artists making Denmark and Sweden the new Indie hotbeds!
Over the years, different areas across Europe have sprung up a host of great acts within a short space of time. The Netherlands has had fantastic periods producing lo-fi Indie acts while Ireland has been giving us some great Post-Punk acts like The Murder Capital, Sprints and Fontaines D.C. recently. Now, it feels like the next wave is Nordic as Denmark and Sweden are producing a flood of fantastic emerging artists at an impressive speed. Here are just some of our favourite new music from the region.
The Swedish trio describe themselves as Bubblegum Emo which is a pretty apt choice of adjectives that the cover of their September 2021 single 'forward is the way out' puts into visuals. The bright blend of colours and emo aesthetic of their frontman give you an indication of why they choose this description. Yet, they also fit the Bubblegum Emo moniker sonically. Their music has dark lyrical undercurrents, dealing with topics such as death, sex, love, androgyny and self-detriment, yet it often turns their subject matter inside out by throwing in completely contrasting audible atmospheres.
Their latest single 'Shut Me Up' as well as their recent performance at Melodifestivalen (The Swedish festival that determines their Eurovision entry) has shot them into the national starlight. The new track has racked up over half a million streams and it is easy to see why as it has all the components to make a timeless Indie Pop anthem that could have come straight off The Inbetweeners soundtrack. It has a bouncy Summer feel to it with a bright 00s Indie riff building its carefree, danceworthy feel. The vocals have a loose camaraderie to them with a combination between the sunny tones of Circa Waves and slightly scrappy laid back delivery of The Strokes making it the perfect track for a summer beach party!
Danish female outfit The Kubrix first shot to national fame when they took part in Denmark's X-factor last year. This may ring alarm bells with some of you but rest assured that they have little in common with the modern X-factor stars that we get here in the UK. As a group they radiate a quiet sophistication and have beautifully rich instrumentation that backs their vocal-led sound. They have recently released their first ever single 'New Generation' and it is a track packed full of warmth and empowerment.
It begins with a stripped back atmosphere. The solitary vocal and acoustic strumming create an inviting intimacy that is not dissimilar, in terms of songwriting, to Noel Gallagher's first solo outputs. However, this comforting lull is soon swept away by an expansive, layered patchwork of vocals that generate an uplifting force. The drums kick in and, with all members singing at once, they manage to produce a chorus that is soulful, yet gentle and gospel-like yet smooth and dreamy. For any fans of vocal tapestries and rich, earthy instrumentals that suit their Scandinavian homeland then The Kubrix should be the next new band on your radar!
Another artist who has just arrived with their debut single is alt-pop songwriter Hanna ögonsten. Growing up in an artistic household, she began teaching herself guitar, piano and music production in her bedroom for a young age and then went on to attend Musikmakarna (Sweden's leading music school) and write music for Swedish TV, Triple J, Vogue Paris and Jay Z's management. Now, she has finally turned her sights towards her own project and is gearing up for her first EP 'bby boo, ögonsten and you'.
The first track from this EP 'Bang My Head' is an electrifying sing-a-long anthem that has an angsty post relationship power similar to 'abcdefu'. The production is insanely crisp, with the thick acoustics turned up to the max so that it almost feels like another drum hammering down over the chorus. Underneath, a lovely winding Indie guitar line cuts through like a more optimistic 'Where Is My Mind?'. The song is full of commercial sensibilities that make it super catchy yet Hanna delivers it with enough authenticity, power and clever instrumentation to avoid any bland pop cliches. We can't wait for this EP!
After their popular 2020 EP 'Pop Up Poetry' Stockholm's young Indie trio Dixies List have been pretty quiet. However, their next release is just around the corner and it doesn't disappoint! The new single, 'Drinking In The Kitchen' is out on March 30th and it is as fun and carefree as the title suggests.
The bouncing riff taps straight into mid naughties Indie nostalgia. It rides the line between bittersweet a coming-of-age, night out soundtrack and a Summer anthem perfect for dancing around your bedroom to. The vocals remain pretty smooth throughout the verse, offering a slick, low-key accompaniment. Yet in the chorus they liven up with a bright passionate delivery. 'Drinking In The Kitchen' is a must for your upbeat Indie playlists with its infectious energetic rhythm that is perfect for fans of The Magic Gang, The Night Cafe and the likes. Hopefully, this is just one track of many more to come.
Written as a lullaby for a friend who suffers with nightmares, the latest release from Danish songwriter BREGN is appropriately soothing. He began with the captivating debut single 'Be Fine' that showcases the deep warmth of his vocal palette. It was reminiscent of Nick Mulvey, evoking honesty and close connection with nature. He then proceeded to release 'Raw' and 'Wind' which reflect the coastal landscape of his homeland. However, it is has been over a year since his last music and fans may have begun to worry that these three teasing tracks where all that they would ever get.
But this is not the case! The new single, aptly named 'Dreaming', arrives on March 25th. In contrast to the enclosed intimacy of 'Be Fine' the new song carries a more expansive sound. Although it does begin with just his swooping vocal lines and raw acoustic strumming it quickly picks up quite an uplifting energy. A blissful texture is added by long, deep strings notes and a poignant piano melody that pierces through the tangled warmth of the other instrumentals to add a lighter sense of joy within the comfort. While his previous tracks offer the perfect escapism from you surroundings, 'Dreaming' allows you to sit comfortably within them, appreciating what is around you with a new, tranquil state of mind.
Her debut single may only be days old yet Indie Pop songwriter Daniella Binyamin has already gathered attention for the uplifting cinematic sounds that the song creates. 'Grand Hotel' begins with a playful piano line that pits deep chords against bright, dreamy melody. Meanwhile, Daniella's vocals intersect with an innocent and angelic tone comparable to Sigrid's more introspective moments. There is an audible cute smile radiating from this opening sound and that smile is infectious. However, it is not long before a more contemplative mood takes over with a slight atmospheric change in the piano and the lyrics "I don't wanna go losing feelings, getting old".
Strings arrive to develop the sonic texture and allow the emotions to swell for a moment before the uptempo beat kicks in and introduces that creates the song's bouncy rhythm. The blend of the heartfelt, vulnerability of the vocals and the uplifting. high-energy vibe of the instrumentals makes for a beautiful emotive concoction. 'Grand Hotel' is a superb debut that demonstrates both a blissful vocal range and a mature capability for songwriting and arrangement. We can't wait to hear what comes next.
Swedish duo Jaguair have given us the first taste of their debut album which is expected later this year. This first sample, 'Count Madness' is in fact that first single all together and it has layed down a firm marker for what their sound is going to offer. The track is laced with drama. An eclectic blend of funky percussive elements provide a thick groove-laiden underlayer while the slightly psychedelic, drawn out vocal lines soar high above. Rather than having a distinct verse to chorus trajectory 'Count Madness' develops a mysterious and cinematic rhythm flavoured with occasional guitar plucks that echoes around the walls of the song in a style similar to some of Foals more exploratory tracks. Throughout its journey this debut single encounters feelings of majesty, angst, mystery and desperation. A very intriguing first insight into what this new duo might have in the locker.
Little known Indie quartet Slutna Ögon come with high-energy, care-free, coming-of-age tracks that are built for dancing to. They arrived pretty sharpeshly with their debut album 'Debuten' last year and it was a record that, although a little rough around the edges, offered a host of feel-good tracks that are delivered with freedom and are completely devoid of any kind of pretentiousness. The album barrels through the first half with opening track 'Gift' kicking things off with a Surf rock bassline and euphoric Indie Pop riff that is perfect for a Summer roadtrip.
Perhaps the best song on the album 'Huawei' has this same fast paced energy and bright Indie guitar work that has a coastal twang. Yet it also radiates a really heartwarming emotive tone that the the video visualizes. The vocals are passionate and even if you can't make sense of the words (as it is sang in Swedish) you can feel the raw emotion flowing from every line. This is one for speeding down the highway, hood down and imaging you are in the final scene of a your favourite uplifting movie.
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