Mårten Lärka – “Alouette”

February 6, 2017 at 8:37 pm

Mårten Lärka

A Swedish artist releasing an album with French lyrics isn’t anything you see everyday, and it’s even more uncommon if he doesn’t speak French and is known since before for his rock, pop and folk songs in Swedish. Mårten Lärka says that he’s been addicted to French music for a long time and that he has listened a lot to everything from Jacques Brel, Serge Gainsbourg and Francois Hardy to Stereo Total and Telephone. And I understand him. Due to other writings I started listening myself to French pop and rock a couple of years ago. To my surprise a fascinating world of music opened up to me.

When pop and rock currents from the US and England swept in over France in the 60’s they mingled with chanson, cabaret-traditions, world music etc and created a unique musical melting pot. I sense that they took some parts much further than in other contries, maybe because this was very much alive since before. Of course I’m thinking about the romantic side, but perhaps even more about the rebellious, provocative and defiant sides. Also humour, poetry and contemplating lyrics is something I associate with French music. Well, and then there is this thing about the language itself.

Mårten says that he heard something in French he didn’t know what it was, but that got him excited even though he didn’t understand the words. Something in the colours, the shades and the sound of the language. He decided to dive right into it and started from the beginning by studying Frech on his own.

“But I grew impatient and wrote pieces of lyrics before I had understood the language. It was quite a creative and fun way of learning a language, though. I rather feel like a pioneer in that area. You could apply it to any language education. I managed anyway to write som half-measured lyrics with good help from dictionaries.”

“My saviour was my French-speaking friend Hamid Khodja. He helped me out with pronunciation and choice of words. But it took more than a decade before we started for real. Before that all my song lyrics was in Swedish. But after several attempts to complete a tribute song for my tomato-red Renault 4 L (Laban, Quatrelle) something clicked. It just had to be done in French and there I was back again with my dictionaries.”

The end result after several years of work is the album “Alouette”, a collaboration with Hamid Khodja, who has written many of the texts and also sings on one of the tracks. The album was released last year and is an earthy, downscaled blend of rock, americana, blues and French pop vibes. I hear the rock rebel inside of him as his expression changes when he’s now singing in French instead of Swedish. And he does it with a spark of humour and catches this unexplainable French vibe in his own way. It’s a wonderful, playful and nicely unpolished record. He proves in the opening track that it had to be done in French as “Je suis un rockööör…” really can’t be expressed much cooler in any other language. I picked out three of my favourites and asked him to tell us something about the songs:

About “Je suis un rocker”: “It’s a translation of a song that was called “I am a rocker” from the beginning. We played it in the 90s in my band Opossum. When we changed name to The Trimatics we continued performing the song, but we never got a good recording. In 2014 I stumbled upon the first sketches from the portastudio and started playing with it again. On two tracks there were vocals/harmonica and guitars. I added drums and guitar fills on the two remaining tracks. This happened just as Hamid and I had started again and it fit like a glove to do it in French. This means that the harmonica and the rhythm guitar were 17 years old when the song finally ended up on vinyl. What else to say? Well, about the lyrics, “I am a rocker”. It’s about freedom and joy here as well. A naive and simple idea about seeding some love and like yourself and your life, and to be rocker once in a while.”

About “C´est ma vie ´a moi”: “The first lyrics Hamid gave me were “C´est ma vie ´a moi”. He started from a character he thought fit with my persona. It’s about living your life, with all the flaws that comes with it, without caring to much about what others has to say about it. A rather free and simple attitude to life. ‘I’m neither a prince nor a king but I sleep like a king by night’.”

About “Belle Quatrelle”: “I am (still) very proud that I on my own managed to rhyme Volvo with Voulez vous. Belle means beautiful and Quatrelle (4L) is the French nickname for the amazing car we in Sweden call Laban. A wonderful kitschy tune full of other familiar cars, that can’t be compared with Quatrelle, though. What about Porsche, Chevrolette, Citroén and the mentioned Volvo? I have written the lyrics myself but Hamid has made some corrections. After this song Hamid started writing lyrics for me. But it was “Belle Quatrelle” that started it all.”
(translated from Swedish)

Mårten Lärka’s site – on Facebook – on Spotify – on Apple Music

Merry Christmas! – Christmas special 2016

December 22, 2016 at 1:50 pm

And here’s my best wishes for a warm and relaxing Christmas holiday. Taste some new Christmas songs.

Mankku [Mancko] – “Brustna hjärtan på annandag jul”

A Treehouse Wait – “Make the Gates All Wide”

L.E.J – “Game of Bells”

Finnegan’s Hell – “Drunken Christmas”

Femme – “2016 (Cry Cry Cry)”

Nilson – “Blessed”

December 16, 2016 at 2:29 pm


When Bosse Nilsson has some time over from leading the Landskrona-based record label Melody, producing other artists or playing with the band Prebens Pågar he heads out on his own under the name Nilson. His next album is scheduled for release in Spring and this Autumn he has released a couple singles as a first taste, the title track “Blessed” and “A Lullaby”. It’s a harmonic artist we meet who has settled in a low keyed and laidback mood in these soft rock ballads that come with plenty of country vibes.  Taste the two songs here below.

Nilson’s site – on Facebookon Spotifyon Apple Music

Weibenfalk – “Nu är vi här”

November 29, 2016 at 3:30 pm


For his next album Thomas Weibenfalk wanted a more open and a closer sound than on the last album, also this time in collaboration with the producer Andreas Dahlbäck. And when he lets us taste the record on the new single I can sense it immediately. It’s less “Vassa eggen” and more live vibes, and one reason is that it indeed is recorded live in the studio, with Jens Frithiof on guitars and Surjo Benigh on bass, among others, with no unnecessary adds, as he writes. His presence is perfect and the sound pure candy for someone who likes singer/songwriter-rock in Swedish. It’s a growing track with an increasing dramatic ambience which ends with an instrumental crescendo where we can revel in wonderful, chrunchy guitar layers and whining guitars that send shivers down my spine.

I asked Thomas to tell us something about the song:

“The song ”Nu är vi här” speaks, to a large extent, to the people I got to know, and who became some the best friends in my life, during my time in Skåne and Lund. We had great fun together and a small group of people formed that hopefully will stick together all life. At least on distance.
As you get older you get a job, start a family and move out to other parts of the country and you don’t see each other that often anymore. I think many recognize that. We also live in a world of violence, egoism and despair which I’m also trying to reflect in the song and on the entire album. We easily get stuck in our own stress behind screens och cell phones, forgetting what really means something: the people around us.” (transl. from Swedish)

Producer: Andreas Quincy Dahlbäck
Music, lyrics, vocals and guitars: Thomas Weibenfalk
Guitars: Jens Frithiof
Bass: Surjo Benigh
Keys: Mikaela Hansson and Joel Sjödin
Drums, vocals: Andreas Quincy Dahlbäck
Sound engineer: Frida Claeson Johansson

Weibenfalk on Facebook – on Spotify – on Apple Music

Lilou & John – “100 Faces”

November 23, 2016 at 6:48 pm

Lilou & John

I’m almost hypnotised by Lilou’s vocals. Her dark alto voice breathes of blackness, mystique and rock attitude, like a magical music incantation I just have to listen to again and again. Together with her husband she form the duo Lilou & John, who earlier this Autumn released the debut EP “100 Faces”.

Here we hear them in five tracks that spans from epic folk songs to alternative rock and indiepop, all wrapped in an unpolished sound that perfectly matches Lilou’s charsima. Each song also has a corresponding music video created by different video artists from USA and Brazil. You can watch an example here below in the video to the song “When Murder Victims Die”, a video created by Patrick Paax. The other videos are available on their Youtube channel.

Lilou & Johns site – on Facebookon Spotifyon Apple Music

About “He Broke My Neck, Joséphine”: …inspired by a vivid dream that came to Lilou one night. The ghost child Elizabeth shared with her the last days of her life, and in the dream Lilou felt the brutality when the father of Elizabeth’s love Joséphine broke her neck. It happened somewhere at the end of the 19th century or beginning of the 20th not far from the city of Jönköping.

About “100 Faces”: “About our instinct to always hide our true self, maybe further emphasized by the alienating effect of the modern society of consumption and our emotional difficulties.” (transl. from Swedish)

About “When Murder Victims Die”: …tells the story of the post-traumatic experiences of a child surviving a brutal serial killer. The lyrics was highly influenced by Motörhead and Lilou decided at an early stage that she would sing the song in a weird, tim-burtonesque way, balancing on the edge of quirky disharmony.

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