cina polada – “nowhere”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

in a little more than a month, the finnish quintet cina polada will drop their self-titled debut extended play via the swedish label strangers candy.  after sharing its cascading lead single, “gloom,” earlier this summer, cina polada has returned with the ep’s closing number, “nowhere.”

arguably even more propulsive than its predecessor, “nowhere” is centered on the tumultuous union of a frenetic drum line and a dizzying guitar melody, which pummel the song’s texture in tandem while a cavernous lead vocal glides effortlessly through its stratosphere.  once again, cina polada proves to be extraordinarily adept at sculpting irresistible snippets of pop perfection.

cina polada arrives september 29th; get swept away by “nowhere” below.

the radio dept. – running out of love

– featured image courtesy of per vikström –

“album of the fortnight” is a new bi-weekly feature that digs into a recent release of note.  the articles will run roughly during the middle and at the end of each month, always on a friday; the album or body of work in question will have been released at some point during that two-week span.  this column focuses on art that resonates deeply, on pieces that necessitate more than just a knee-jerk reaction.  next up: the radio dept.

America’s political climate has been so tumultuous for the past year and change that you’d most likely be forgiven if you believed this ominous instability was confined to our borders.  it’s not.  great britain’s exit from the european union earlier this year was tinged with nationalist, nativist rhetoric.  prominent right-wing extremism has also resurfaced in germany, partially in opposition to an influx of migrants seeking refuge and asylum from their war-ravaged homelands.

to the north, a similar nationalist movement is stirring amidst a larger backlash against immigration; the swedish democrats, misleading moniker in tow, have recently made strides in the country’s parliament, providing structure and platform to an enraged, panic subset of citizens.  the radio dept.’s first album in six years, running out of love, was crafted in response to this excess of fear-mongering, a well-measured retort against bubbling hysteria delivered that’s in smooth consonance.

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i’m not a diehard radio dept. fan; to be quite honest, the swedish duo existed more as a peripheral awareness in my mind before this album cycle took hold.  in recent months, pet grief and clinging to a scheme have become familiar bodies of work (lesser matters has yet to be digested), but the radio dept.’s seminal status amongst indie pop bands is clear and warranted.  hooks are effortless, intimate; instrumentation augments the pair’s maximalist and minimalist moments with equal aplomb, trading guitars for synths and adjusting timbres within each family as needed.

more than half a decade away clearly was not a hindrance to the duo’s songwriting partnership; the ten tracks across running out of love retain a singular fluidity, from examinations of a nordic arms race amidst distorted, stuttering synth pads on “swedish guns” to the buoyant, trebly bass line found in “this thing was bound to happen” all the way through to the utterly irresistible vocal hooks sprinkled throughout “committed to the cause.”  johan duncanson’s lead vocals are perennially pillowy and inviting, so much so that it becomes easy to overlook the gravity of songs like “slobada narodu” and his blatant calls for “freedom now” or the pensiveness that pervades the rather maudlin subject matter of “can’t be guilty.”

most likely aware of this inherent enveloping quality, the radio dept. do dedicate sufficient album space to confronting these political issues head-on (see the repeated hook in “swedish guns” over its aforementioned sonic texture and the steadfast, drone-like mentality that permeates “committed to the cause.”)  running out of love already feels, as does the rest of the duo’s catalogue, like a timeless piece of work, but it’s also an inherent product of 2016’s turmoil, a beautiful collection of songs that strives to combat what is hopefully a political aberration, but sadly may become the new norm.  ingest thoughtfully, with pen and paper nearby.

the mary onettes – “juna”

– featured image courtesy of the artist –

this fall seems to be a prime time for swedish indie-pop stalwarts to re-emerge.  on the heels of the radio dept.’s first album in six years comes new music from their labrador label-mates, the mary onettes, as well.  the quartet’s first single in over a year, “juna,” is the focal point of an oxford television campaign called cool robot, and is currently enjoying the generous hosting of the inimitable cascine.

with its crystalline synth arpeggios and gentle percussive propulsion, “juna” is anthemic and inspiring in just the right ways.  take a listen to the track below.

oxblood – “teenage crush iv” (ft. korallreven)

Oxblood - 1
photo courtesy of the artist

oxblood’s latest single is the byproduct of reciprocated reverence and the creative friendship that subsequently bloomed.  after the young producer expressed his admiration for swedish pop stalwarts korallreven in the summer of 2015, the two acts slowly began gravitating towards one another before finally colliding on “teenage crush iv.”  it’s a beautiful, covertly celestial track, with percolating arpeggios and warm brass tones dominating the foreground while korallreven’s vocal line hovers slightly above, barely scraping the stratosphere.

“teenage crush iv” is a coming-of-age effort for oxblood and an unexpected but welcomed addendum to korallreven’s swan song, “here in iowa,” which marked the end of the duo’s tenure last fall.  perhaps that’s why the repeated lyric of “afraid i’ll never see you again” towards the end of the track feels exceptionally poignant.  hear “teenage crush iv” below.

listen to a new song from josé gonzález

jose gonzalezjosé gonzález is set to release his first solo album in nearly eight years, vestiges & claws, on february 17th via mute records.  gonzález has kept busy in the interim with junip, his collaborative project with fellow swedish musician tobias winterkorn, but a return to recording under his given name is long overdue.  vestiges & claws is prefaced by the excellent “leaf off / the cave,” the second single to emerge from the album after last year’s “every age.”  gonzález’ music needs little introduction, so take a listen to “leaf off / the cave” below.

listen to a new song from alice boman

alice boman is set to release her sophomore effort, ep ii, on june 3rd via the control group here in the united states.  the swedish singer-songwriter relies on a relatively lo-fi aesthetic and powerful vocal delivery throughout most of her music, and “over” is certainly no exception.  the second single from ep ii has been on heavy rotation here at dimestore saints for over twenty-four hours, and it will probably get stuck in your head, too.  you’re welcome.  stream “over” below, courtesy of boman’s soundcloud page.