The Swedish Invasion!

Vapnet, one of the Swedish indie bands kicking our pop arses.

In the ’60s, the Yanks called The Beatles, Stones etc ‘the British Invaion.’ Of pop, not tanks.

Well, I think Britain has lately lost the pop crown to Sweden (and Scandinavia generally). Look at our pop bands, especially the indie ones. Ours are generally four good-looking lads who sound like Chas and Dave on guitars. They come, they go and their songs are quickly forgotten. Mainly because they didn’t have any in the first place: they had promotion, marketing and the NME sucking them off in order to sell copies.

Sweden, on the other hand, is overflowing with artists who manage to marry the most sublime, poppy melodies with lyrics that mean something (when I can understand them). Whether they’re making twee guitar indie, folk or electropop, the Scandies RULE!

Want to know who I mean? Just check out:

Vapnet, Sibiria, Bille the vision and the dancers, Bobby Baby, Komeda, Cats on fire, Agent Simple, The Concretes, the Honeydrips, Broder Daniel, Håkan Hellström, The Bear Quartet, Dorotea, Nixon, The Tidy Ups, The Knife, The Radio Dept., Logh

The above artists all write pop songs, albeit in different genres. It would be impossible for me to come up with a similar list of current innovative pop artists that are British. If it wasn’t for a couple of trips to Sweden and friends there, I probably wouldn’t have heard of 99% of them. And my life would be a little more grey.

Let us now hang our heads in shame… and then WELCOME THE SWEDISH INVASION!

Rumsfeld To Be Charged?

Rumsfeld + Hussein
Two mass-murderers meet.

Donald Rumsfeld, who quit as US defence secretary this week, may face criminal charges in Germany for alleged abuses in Guantanamo Bay and Iraq.

A complaint has been launched by the US-based Centre for Constitutional Rights, representing a Saudi detained in Cuba and 11 Iraqis held in Baghdad.

German law allows the pursuit of cases originating anywhere in the world.

The Centre for Constitutional Rights argues that Mr Rumsfeld was instrumental in abuses committed at Guantanamo Bay and at Abu Ghraib jail in Baghdad.

The lawyer group alleges that Mr Rumsfeld personally approved torture to be used to extract information from the prisoners.

It is also seeking to prosecute US Attorney General Alberto Gonzales and former CIA director George Tenet, among others.
(Source: BBC News)

Fingers crossed, eh?

Test Your Musical Ear(s)

Musical Aptitude test

I’ve loved Jake Mandell’s music for years now. He’s always produced startling, innovative music while never losing sight of melody or form. ‘Parallel Processes,’ the first album I heard by him, is a classic electronic record. If you like electronic music even slightly, it’s one you have to have in your collection.

So I was surprised to find his name attached to the musicial aptitude test above. At first I thought it was a different bloke. Then, maybe a joke or some elaborate promo device for a new album? But, so far, it seems to be kosher. Jake is apparently now studying to be a doctor, which could explain why his musical output has been more sporadic lately 🙂

Have a go at the test – it’s fun! But you need to be in a quiet environment or use headphones or you’ll never hear some of the nuances.

What did I get? Well, sadly I’m not a world-class musician but I didn’t do too badly:

Jyoti's musical aptitude results

77.8%… looks like I picked the right career! 🙂

Take the test by clicking here.