Prepare yourself, America. Swedish rockers Her Bright Skies are bringing their potent blend of post-hardcore, punk, and modern rock to the rest of the world with their most recent album, Rivals. Inheriting the mantle of fine Swedish rock exports from the past, the band’s songs brim with unstoppable power and energy. We caught up with guitarist Petter Nilsson to chat about Swedish musical history, breaking out stateside, and the message behind the new album.
From Sweden to London, England, with nothing but her guitar, a few clothes and a heart of gold, Charlotte Eriksson AKA The Glass Child has poured countless hours of blood, sweat and tears into her craft. Spending sleepless nights on the floors of generous strangers, scraping by for change to make it to the next city, and singing her heart out to audiences every night, Eriksson knows the life of a struggling artist.
With several Top 40 achievements on OurStage and an incredibly strong, captivating voice, The Glass Child is an obvious example of passion, hard work and dedication come to life. Listen to Best Part Of Me below.
That’s right folks. It was fun while it lasted, but the gentlemen in Refused have decided to call it quits again. I guess they just wanted one last taste of the punk rock lifestyle before returning to whatever adult life they live now. According to Pitchfork, the band’s final show will be in their homeland of Umeí¥, Sweden on December 15. Part of the announcement on their facebook page:
“And now it is coming to a close. It’s been kind to us. And that old punkrock golem ‘The shape of punk to come’ has done good. The hatchet is buried, 1998 is not such a terrible memory for us anymore. We’re going home. And we’re doing it in style.”
You can read the rest of the message here. Hopefully some of you got to see Refused this year. Looks like this may be the final goodbye… unless perhaps they decide to give it another go in 2025!
If you like Refused, then you might also like OurStage’s own Throw The Goat.
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It kind of sounds like atmospheric rockabilly, but that doesn’t account for the strains of tango, 1920’s jazz, and Weimar Republic cabaret that Carver Combo bandleader Peter Murphy (not the Bauhaus lead singer) cites as his band’s influences. In any case, the broad musical spectrum of the Stockholm, Sweden group definitely keeps its guitarist Staffan Johansson on his toes. But rather than attack Carver Combo’s stylistic Smí¶rgí¥stí¥rta with multi-textural orchestrations, Johansson embraces savvy dashes of minimalism to punctuate the music’s ebb and flow.
They’re the trio behind the insanely catchy whistle solo that infected everyone’s brain back in the summer of ’06, but Stockholm’s Peter Bjorn and John have a lot more to offer than Young Folks. The Swedes just released their sixth studio album, Gimme Some, and are gearing up for a tour with one-woman psych-pop outfit Bachelorette at the end of the month. We caught up with vocalist/guitarist Peter Moren to talk about Gimme Some, the double meaning behind PB&J’s album art and his favorite up-and-coming Swedish musicians.
OS: So how do you guys feel now that you’ve released Gimme Some?
PM: Great. Better than ever.
OS: Do you feel like seasoned vets now that you’ve put out your sixth album?
PM: Yeah, we’re a bit more relaxed and a bit more mature and we know that we’re going to survive no matter what happens. It feels more fun than being, like, a cool new band.
OS: A lot of critics had mixed feelings towards 2009’s Living Thing, did that affect the way you crafted Gimme Some?
PM: No, I wouldn’t say that. It’s a reaction to the album before”Living Thing”but not to the critics. You always want to do something different than the time before. We talked about, quite early on, that we wanted to do something that would be really fun to play live. Living Thing was kind of hard, we had to bring along a lot of synthesizers and, you know, practice a lot. [Laughs] We wanted to do something that was a bit more simple and that was based off the way we usually perform live, which is guitar, bass and drums with a bit more energy and punk to it. So that’s what we did. It is very fun to play live.
PM: Partly because we wanted to make this kind of record that I was talking about, and we felt that in order to be able to get the great live takes where we’re all playing in a room together, it’s nice to focus on playing and being the band and not being a producer at the same time. We wanted some outside ears and some fresh input. But it’s also, of course, that we’ve been a band for almost twelve years, and we felt that we could stand to have a fourth opinion for a short period, you know? Just bounce things off his head. Also, the thing is when you vote when there’s just three people there’s always two against one. So now it comes out two against two, or three against one. It’s another dynamic, and that’s pretty nice.
OS: Can you tell us about the album art?
PM: Actually, we did a photo session of the band for a magazine, and in the picture we all did thumbs up. We didn’t use that picture, but we liked the idea of the three thumbs up. So we talked to a graphic designer we knew, Jonas [Torvestig], and he came up with this deformed, three-thumbed hand. It’s just a great image because on one hand it’s colorful and positive and peppy, and on the other hand it’s cut off so it’s a bit morbid and scary. And I think that describes the music accurately. It’s positive pop music that’s energetic, but at the same time the lyrics are pretty dark and negative. It’s like a description of the album.
PM: Well, I actually just learned about a band yesterday that just released one song. It’s a brand new project, but I actually found out who they were. They’re not brand new people, but I’m not going to say how old they are. [Laughs] But it’s a very good song. They’re called the Serenades, very good song. I think they have a Web site, like, serenades.com. And there’s another new band I like a lot, which is called Into the Woods. And they haven’t put out anything yet, I think. Really new. New, new stuff.
OS: You guys have said before that you get asked about your homeland so often that you sort of feel like music ambassadors for Sweden. Do you like that, or do you get tired of being that Swedish band?
PM: I mean we are a Swedish band, so it would be hard to get rid of that. But I feel we’re part of a long and proud tradition. And also the not-so-well known indie scene in the nineties, which is kind of what made us start to play. Per [Sunding], the producer, he was in a band called Eggstone in the nineties before we started Peter Bjorn and John. There was a lot of bands at that time, too, that are not so well-known to the rest of the world. But it’s not a new thing with the Swedish, the indie thing. It’s just that after the Internet came it was easier to get out there. We always had some really good bands over time.
OS: The tour with Bachelorette starts at the end of the month, are you looking forward to that?
PM: Yeah, that’ s gonna be fun. I haven’t really, to be honest, I haven’t heard a lot from her. But I think it’s going to be good. I’m really looking forward to the shows, and playing the new album.
OS: Is there a different energy when you play shows in Sweden and Europe compared to those in North America?
PM: No, I mean we always essentially do the same thing. We play and jump around and sing and dance. [Laughs] I don’t know. Audiences might be different here and there, but American audiences are usually very, very good. So I’m not worried about that. Sometimes it might be different at different venues, actually. Even if you’re just playing the same town, if you’re playing a bigger room or a smaller room sometimes the audiences are different. I don’t know why, but I think it’s more about the venues than the city. If people like a venue, they’re more happy. I don’t know.
PM: I guess we maintain the blog and the Twitter because of fan interaction, but I definitely think that part of it is amusing ourselves. Most of the funny pictures, actually, that’s John. John is a really funny guy. I think he puts them up to amuse me and Bjorn, maybe. And the fans as well [Laughs] And the fans as well. It’s really good.
OS: After six albums, is there anything new you still want to explore in your music?
PM: There’s always new things that you want to try, and even when you sit down to do something it usually ends up being something else. You can’t really plan to much, but you can have an idea beforehand of what you want to explore. And it’s not so much about songwriting. The songs you can really mold in any kind of way. You can actually write the song first, and then you can decide afterwards how you’re going to perform it. Like now on the tour, we rearranged some of the Living Things songs, for example, and they really fit in with the new songs because we play them differently. What we have been talking about for the next album, and I’m not sure that’s going to happen, is a bit more funk and soul and blues. That’s the next thing we’ve been talking about.
This week’s Needle In The Haystack is a mystery wrapped in good tunes. While Oh My! seems to have accounts on a respectable number of various sites, they choose to let the music do the talking, leaving little to be said by way of bios, etc. We do know that the five-piece hails from Sweden, which we had to correct ourselves in thinking was the land of the wooden shoes (that’s Holland, by the way). And that they are “defying the icy chill, delievering the rock, bop and swing.” Our favorite tid bit has to be them citing Christopher Walken’s hair as an inspiration. Isn’t it always, my friends.
Listen and learn more about these Swedish imports below, and stay tuned for more from Oh My! throughout the week.
For fans of: The Strokes, The Kooks, Arctic Monkeys