Lars Ekengren

November 17, 2008 at 1:00 pm

Lars EkengrenThe Örnsköldsvik citizen and the singer/songwriter Lars Ekengren plays a number of instruments when he creates his beautiful Americana-inspired music. The acoustic guitar is used frequently as well as the piano, but I think his strongest instrument is his voice, that seems to be made for this music. Sligthly rough like from one of the finest sandpapers and a soul-bluesy softness and feeling that makes it sound great. It’s obvious that he’s influenced by American music, and one of the sources of this is of course him living there for more than five years:

“I heard a lot of good music when I lived in the USA (Detroit) and it has probably sculpted me and my music somewhat. A lot of not especially known (in Sweden), but yet really good artists like for example Jeffrey Foucault, Mark Erelli, Richard Buckner, Jeff Black, Peter Mulvey, Patti Griffin, Buddy/Julie Miller, Richard Shindell, John Gorka, Peter Bruntnell, Mary Chapin Carpenter, Lori McKenna, Kathleen Edwards and others…”

“Then of course we have Springsteen, Dylan, John Hiatt, Alison Krauss, Gillian Welch, Ryan Adams, Counting Crows, Son Volt, Uncle Tupelo, Emmylou Harris, Mellencamp, Jackson Browne and so on…”

About his songwriting he says:

“I have a love-hate relationship with the songwriting: 10% comes all by itself (a frase, a chord etc), the remaining 90% is pure discipline. If one should write songs only “when inspired”, nothing ever would be done. I think those that tell the contrary are lying. If that is the case, then I really lack inspiration.
The lyrics take time…” (translated from Swedish)

He claims that “I wouldn’t be able to play a barre chord even if my life was at stake”, so besides the ambition to play more concerts in the future and maybe form a band, a goal is to learn barre chords… :-)

Listen to and download three tracks from Lars Ekengren:

Hope & Faith

You will find more tracks to enjoy at Lars Ekengrens site, and you can also visit him on Myspace.

Golden Hills

November 3, 2008 at 1:00 pm

There’s no doubt that Golden Hills have their roots in the early sixties music. Roy Orbison and Phil Spector are present in the background in several of the songs. With a few dashes of country and then Christian Björks heartbreaker-vocals, this turns very delicate, with a lot of heart and soul.

Golden Hills started in 2003 and is now working on new material, which will result in a new album next year. Christian writes:

“We have changed the direction somewhat, now it’s more straight pop/rock songs with a lot of influences from the sixties (a little Beach Boys, the early Phil Spector, Roy Orbison). But still there are some mellow country in some songs. We are readily influenced by the old groups and artists, but we think we have our own sound and that there are a modern touch to it all”

Listen to three nice tracks:

Since the Day
You Know
Separate Ways

Visit Golden Hills on Myspace


October 22, 2008 at 12:57 am

AngelicaEven though I’m an old farm boy, she took my country virginity and gave me…a pair of Durango boots!

I wasn’t ready mentally yet but, physically more than ready that day, in april 2007, when she hi-jacked my ears. was the name of the site, “Off You Go” was the name of the song and this is what my review looked like then:

“Angelica R “off you go” 9 READY!
The intro! MASH 4077…wonderful, borrowed/stolen*
Voice and presence!!! Verse 1 + 2 sneak, tickle and move me!
Then, in chor.#2: the darkest piano I’ve heard in a long time…It sets a subtle, fateful & mellow but, in the context, an appropriate tone of the song. Chor: Not a vivid major lift! But then exactly what fits song/lyrics. The voice, as always, close and genuine! Prod: Can’t find any errors! Lyrics: Note made up in any case! Good! I am foremost curious about the continuation of the success story! /Janne”

Listen and download yourself now:

Off You Go

The title alone could have been (mis)understood as a revulsion directed at me, but my rock tinnitus only understood that it was a genre crossing ballad, a classic!
Already then I threw praises and cyber hugs at Angelica, because of her way of, both vocally and lyrically, managing/interpreting the feeling of abandonment that everyone/many try to describe but few succeeds in…
Now, I was stuck in the mud…
Step #2 became:

Walk Me Home

which is a more trad. country, sort of balladish, but with a Swedish southern slow groove. And just when I had learned my lesson on repeat, Angelica released her first song in Swedish “Ensam kvar” (“Left Alone”) which you hear at Angelica’s Myspace page

Angelica’s site
Angelica on Myspace

Giant Wide

September 8, 2008 at 6:27 am

Giant WideI’m sitting here in the light of the night lamp, which right now is whiskey coloured. But gee I feel good…well not only from the sweet drops from Ardbeg, more, I would say, from the sweet tones from the Gothenburg-Borås band Giant Wide.

I’m looking for influences from the psychedelic blues of Roky Erickson and from Soundtrack of our lives, where Ebbot’s vocals are more of an instrument than just vocals. But I have to say that Giant Wide sounds like Giant Wide and not like anything else. I feels like this great band has found their own unique style.

THIS IS SO GOOD!!! (whoops, the whiskey voice came through)

This is grinding guitars and a drummer that really has to fight to be heard, but really succeeds in the end. The vocals are sometimes really distorted, but is mixed into the songs, not just like “normal” vocals, but like it’s an extra instrument and offers an incredible feeling to it.

Enjoy the songs of Giant Wide:
See the Road
Our Time Is Coming
Go and Get Done
I’ll Leave You Here

Visit the band:
Giant Wide on Myspace

Keep cool,

(translated by Pär/Blindmen)

Armadillo King

September 7, 2008 at 8:00 am

Armadillo KingTo be honest artists like Bob Dylan, Neil Young and Tom Petty normally don’t frequent my speakers, but sometimes they do manage to get me going, especially Dylan. Furthermore it’s easy to see why this line of music is so appealing to many starting up their musical careers – all you need is a guitar and something to share.

The amount of “young men (or women) with guitars” is actually overwhelming when you take a closer look at the swedish demo treasure, as I’ve done during the past few years. And no matter how attractive their initiatives and ambitions may be, it’s all together somewhat watered down to me seeing how few – yes they do exist! – manage to really deliver that personal feeling they’re aiming at (and that obviously is crucial in the singer/songwriter genre). No, it rarely surprises, it all sounds very much alike to this listener.

Three things in which Armadillo King succeeds, and that must work if I’m to be part of it all, are singing, melody and lyrics. Most important about singing is of course the “expression”; it does by no means have to be especifically original or odd but must be personal, can’t be borrowed. If you on top of that, like Armadillo King, is blessed with an infallible sense of pitch as well as an equally – and paradoxically – harsh and smooth voice, you’re not worse off because of it. In my book Armadillo King is a fantastic singer.

As for melody and lyrics they should be symbiotic. Lyrics that doesn’t tell you the obvious floating safely and unstrained in a melody that seem to lack ambitions of originality but that nevertheless carries me, the melody junkie, with it all the way.

Well well, guess it’s a bit ridiculous trying to explain why you should listen to this artist, when the best argument by far is delievered soon as you click on the song of your choice. You’re likely to understand then, the concept of “young man with guitar” at its best.

Selling a Sheep
Million Dollar King
It’s Soon Summertime
Inner Peace
Turn Away
My Raincoat
Still Your Angel

Visit Armadillo King

Armadillo King on Myspace

(translated by Aurgrunn)

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