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:
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:
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 Lives‘ Behind 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.