I didn't quite remember how I got alerted to Swedish finest indie pop label, Labrador. All I know is that I was hooked after listening to the first mp3 downloaded from their site. The Stockholm-based label is named after a breed of dog. They have the lovely practice of providing a guilt-free mp3 with every new release of theirs. (It's come to the point where I find myself
giggling like a schoolgirl abundant with joy every time I see a newsletter from them in my inbox). They have seriously good-looking press photos. And most of all, they have an AMAZING roster of artists. Here, I can only cover on some of them, but if you dig this post, there's definitely more where that comes from. Good news is, musically, this has to be one of the best posts I've ever done. Bad news is, if you like just one song from this post, then you will pretty much want to download all the rest.
Club 8 is Karolina Komstedt & Johan Angergård. They've been making music since 1995. 'Everlasting Love' happened to be the first track I've ever heard from them (and also the first Labrador track). Only a few seconds in, I knew it was gonna be great. 'Everlasting Love' is a little sweet guitar pop nugget that should see its day as an essential track for a sunny day driving. I'm so excited that their forthcoming album 'The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming' will be out this fall. The lead single 'Whatever You Want' is already making waves, and is a serious contender for my top 10 songs of 2007. Listening to it feels like a surprise visit from a long-time-no-see friend only to have her talk her heart out, then break down and cry in the middle of the conversation. It's just that good. It has almost everything in the book of the rules of good pop. Handclaps. Infectious doo-doos. Tropicalia percussion. Heartbreaking, dreamy vocals. Club 8 excels at making sad-eyed, timeless pop, and if these two songs don't appeal to you at some levels, you might be a robot.
Club 8 - Everlasting Love (from The Friend I Once Had,1998)
Club 8 - Whatever You Want (from The Boy Who Couldn't Stop Dreaming, coming soon this September)
ACID HOUSE KINGS
Acid House Kings is also a Labrador house band, founded in 1991 (Johan Angergård from Club 8's also one of the founders). Julia Lannerheim, the only girl in the band, joined in 2001. They make lovely, summery pop that you can listen to and hum along on a sunny morning, while making breakfast or just sitting by the window and gazing at the front lawn. Their music is just timeless, I can listen to any songs of theirs regardless of the fact that some of them were recorded 10 years ago or so. In 2005, they launched a karaoke contest in conjunction with the release of their most recent album 'Sing Along with Acid House Kings'. Too bad the karaoke tracks were taken down already from their official site. Ignore that pic like you never knew how the guys looked and check out the songs. If you love them (and trust me, you should) or anything from the artists featured, then more is up for grabs at the link I will be providing at the end of this post.
Acid House Kings - This Heart Is A Stone
Acid House Kings - Sunday Morning
THE RADIO DEPT.
If it was raining outside at 8PM and for some specific reasons I was forced to go out in that turbulent weather, I would grab my coat, reach for the umbrella, and put on some Radio Dept. Because their music is just perfectly made for that occasion. Just ask Sofia Coppola, she picked their track 'Pulling Our Weight' to soundtrack her most recent movie 'Marie Antoinette'.
The Radio Dept. - A Window
The Radio Dept. - Pulling Our Weight
SUBURBAN KIDS WITH BIBLICAL NAMES
First of all, awesome band name. Suburban Kids With Biblical Names makes jovial music paired with rather bittersweet lyrics. It's like I'm From Barcelona, but with just two dudes.
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names - Loop Duplicate My Heart
Suburban Kids With Biblical Names - Funeral Face
THE MARY ONETTES
When I first heard about Labrador's latest signees, based on their name I thought they were a girly all-girl pop band. They clearly are not. What I get instead is '80s-influenced pop that is reminiscent of New Order. 'Void' is the song that caught my interest. Its melodies are instantly catchy. When I find the time, I should investigate more on them.
The Mary Onettes - Void
I already posted on him before here but I just have to find an excuse to show that gorgeous photo above. I'm dying to know the location of that house, so next time I'm in Sweden, I might as well have a photo taken in front of it. What if Stuart Murdoch decided to leave Belle & Sebastian and pursued a solo career, I think it would sound like this. You can check out the cleverly-titled song below for more lovable twee Swede pop. Check out the old post for another great track, 'I Love You You Imbecile'.
Pelle Carlberg - Clever Girls Like Clever Boys Much More Than Clever Boys Like Clever Girls
Earlier this year, Labrador celebrated their ten-year anniversary by releasing a 4-CD boxset called Labrador 100 - A COMPLETE HISTORY OF POPULAR MUSIC, which is also their one-hundredth release. It consists of one track from each of every record they've released. Just imagine it, the best tracks from 100 great indie pop records you've never heard. Isn't that amazing? Up to this date, though I only heard about 1/5 from it, I assume if you have a thing for Swedish pop, this should be a collector's item.
These are just a tip of the iceberg.There are way more waiting to be found here.