Swede Relief

I was watching Grey’s Anatomy last night, which I have grown to somewhat unashamedly like despite the introspective 30-Something vibe it has. The show’s music supervisor is Alex Patsavas, who also handles the tune selection on The OC, and on both shows she has surprised me on a couple occasions with somewhat obscure choices. (Trivia: the title of every episode is named after a song. Last night’s was "Owner of a Lonely Heart.") Last night’s closing five minutes was set to the Moonbabies "War on Sound." I am a huge Swedish music fan, and a Moonbabies fan in particular — their The Orange Billboard is one of my favorites of the last two years, definitely one of the great unheard albums of 2004. (Though it was available to buy in December 2003 through awesome mail-order store Parasol Records. I remain confused as to the actual worldwide release date.)

Hailing from Malmö, Moonbabies are Ola Frick (Vocalist/Muliti-instrumentalist) and Carina Johansson (Vocalist/Piano/Keyboards) and have been recording in one form or another since the late ’90s. Their sound is not that far from the Notwist or My Bloody Valentine (minus the tremolo bar), but a bit more folky and poppy. Seriously, go buy The Orange Billboard right now. It’s so good. As almost no one in the US seems to know who they are, it was nice hearing a song on Grey’s Anatomy. Here are a couple MP3s:

"War on Sound"

"Sun A.M."

I’ve been on a real Swedish tear recently. A customer at my video store turned out to not only be Swedish (The Knife was playing on the stereo) but also a pastry chef (I’d had a Thanksgiving ice cream misfortune involving chestnut honey; she talked me through creme anglaise fears, though that wasn’t the problem with the ice cream). We ended up talking about music for a while and she turned me onto a bunch of new music I’d never heard. Here’s some new-to-me Swedish music I really like:

Håkan Hellström – "Känn Ingen Sorg För Mig Göteborg"
Broder Daniel – "Dark Heart"

[ingenting] – "En Bättre Dag"

The staff of Parasol Records’ great in-house label, Hidden Agenda,is almost an underground railroad for Swedish music. (Perhaps someone there actually is Swedish.) In addition to the Moonbabies, they also brought José González stateside, they originally released Soundtrack of Our LivesBehind the Music, The Wannadies‘ great, mostly-unheard 2003 album Before & After, and their roster also includes Thirdimension, Peter Bjorn and John, AK-Momo and quite a few more.

Sweden isn’t just known for it’s great pop music, you know. They also make some fine food. Sure, most of it contains herring, but it is delicious. And the best way to sample Swedish cuisine is via Smorgåsbord. And guess what? It just happens to be Smorgåsbord season! Yes! New York Magazine reports on two places where you can eat like a kung.



  1. I'm really glad you recommended that Moonbabies album-I've listened to it quite a few times since I was lucky enough to find it in a store here! I like War on Sound too but The Orange Billboard even better!

  2. Bill – you got the angstrom in Håkan, don't you think you could have shared the love with the sandwich table? It's actually smorgåsbord.
    Can't say I really share your love of swedish food, but it's a beautiful language (despite being somewhat singsong-y and perhaps structurally simplistic).
    I'll have to check out the Moonbabies stuff…sounds like it's up my alley. (And I'll cop to being somewhat fond of grey's anatomy, as well, despite the smarmy feel-good factor)
    Finally, on the copy editing front…I'm still waiting to hear what your customer was in addition to a Swede and pastry chef; you seem to be missing a clause on that first sentence in the third paragraph.

  3. You Big Takeover guys sure do like to point out my mistakes. I guess I should be glad someone is reading at all.
    Corrections made, thanks guys. I meant to have a "but" instead of an "and."
    And Swedish food can be awesome. I went to Aquavit this summer for Herring Week, and tried what seemed like 12 different kinds of pickled fish, along with some meatballs and a flight of aquavits. I don't crave it that often, but a couple times a year it hits the spot. And if I can work food into a rock post, all the better. I'm on-message.

  4. We're just trying to bend you to our will 🙂 Actually, I don't read many blogs (just following referral links from the logs to see who's linking to the redesigned site, and how). Saw that this was your blog, and I recalled that you used to be a fairly regular (and eloquent) poster on the old Westnet Weddoes list (or was it the Subbacultcha list…? so many defunct lists in my past…), so I thought I'd poke around a bit. I like music, and I like to eat (and cook), seems that this is a good combo. I may very well be back…though I'll try to leave the red pencil at home 😉
    (And the edit makes more sense now, but I kind of liked the suspense of the original version… 🙂

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