Friday, April 22nd, 2005
I Could See The Smallest Things
I suspect that Mystery & Misery and Labrador Records are in cahoots to make me broke. Earlier this year, Jason turned me onto The Radio Dept (Aside – Dear Radio Dept: Please come to Canada. I will make you waffles. Love, Frank), and now with this post, I’ve discovered the joys of Douglas Heart (note – no one in the band is named “Douglas Heart”. It’s either a reference to the original JAMC bassist or the pulmonary system of King Robert the Bruce of Scotland).
I like Jason’s comment that they sound like a loud Sundays. That’s a good starting point, but Malin Dahlberg’s voice is more melancholy and wearied than Harriet Wheeler’s. It’s probably too obvious a comparison, and maybe it’s just the Swedish accent that I’m hearing, but her voice reminds me far more of Nina Persson on the later-era Cardigans records. Musically, Douglas Heart are a wonderful collision of 60s and 90s, with huge church organs and psychedelic guitars and trippy effects, but with a distinctly modern mid-fi/indie production sensibility. Their 2002 self-titled debut album was a little hesitant and stayed on the slower, sadder side while their 2004 EP I Could See The Smallest Things offered a more upbeat, edgier sound though only relatively speaking. Everything that made the first record great was still very much intact, but with a more self-assured presentation.
I’m a little worried that my growing addiction to all things Swedish will be hard on the pocketbook – there doesn’t appear to be as entensive a distribution system in North America for these releases as there is for, say, UK artists. Thankfully, there’s sites like Pop Polar – based right here in Toronto – that boast a fine catalog of hard-to-find records. Thanks to them, I got both the Douglas Heart album and EP for very good prices (and dropped off the same day in my mailbox, though I don’t think this is a service they can offer everyone). If you’re looking for pop imports of the more esoteric variety, I highly recommended looking through their catalog. End plug.
The only downside I see to discovering all these wonderful Swedish pop bands is that the odds of them finding their way over this way to tour is probably pretty damn slim. Though if it makes a difference, my waffle offer is open to all Swedes. But until they visit, check out this track from the EP, and if you like what you hear, there’s more excellent audio samples on the Labrador website:
And for others getting bitten by the Swede-pop bug, Craig from Songs: Illinois also runs Swedes Please, a site dedicated to showcasing Swedish talent. And I’ve mentioned Hello! Surprise!, the guide to Swedish pop music before, but will do so again just because.
Eisley are finally coming back to Toronto to play a headlining show of their own. Hooray for not having to open for bigger, more expensive bands I have no interest in seeing! The Texans will be at Lee’s Palace on June 22.
I am sitting at home, waiting for moving boxes to be delivered. Whee.
Update: 10:54AM – still waiting. GODDAMN.
np – The Decemberists / Picaresque