So, with our Scandi Soul Mustang parked outside our favourite night spot in Stockholm, I recline in the leather seats, press play on the album - Addicted, and shine our reverse lights on Adée.
Directly touching at my soul is the single - A Gospel by the Swedish band Twaine.
'A Gospel' was first released on the Japanese compilation album 'We -Songs of Hope-', and all royalties went directly to the people affected by the catastrophe in Fukushima, Japan, 2011. The single also features on their new album - A World in Change.
The Norwegian quartets exquisite, jazzy-soul tracks have impressed since their debut, and the first compilation of their music can now be found in a strikingly designed, 12-track album - A Million Things.
After reviewing music from Finland over the years, I can conclude that Finnish soul artists always give 100%. There is no midpoint to aspire to. They’re passionate about music, so it’s all or nothing.
Finnish soul began with Quintessence, became established with Tuomo, and grew with Nicole Willis & The Soul Investigators, Dolla Lova, Humus and The Napkins, to name but a few. All have all set the standard, and it’s a high one.
With a beautifully designed vinyl album, a CD and a live DVD (yes, a live DVD) to accompany his latest release, Nothing Can Stop My Spirit, it’s clear that Mikko Pettinen is another passionate Finnish music creator, too.
Fast forward just over a year from the release of Olympus (what was for me one of 2015’s best releases) Uppsala combo Beat Funktion deliver Green Man, their 6th LP in six years, and their first that could be considered a vocal LP.
I already knew that the band could play, but when word of the vocal guests who would be appearing on the LP hit my ears I was initially intrigued. With each announcement of vocalists my intrigue turned into eager anticipation, and having listened to the LP for the last few weeks, that anticipation has turned in to deep appreciation.
Simply put Beat Function have delivered an LP steeped in the heady brews of 70s Soul, Funk, Jazz and Fusion and it sounds like heaven.
Strange as it might seem, Swedish people don’t cross the road unless the green man at the crossing is lit. Even if they see no cars for miles in any direction, they’ll wait patiently until they’re told it’s safe to cross.
Most people dress the same, eat at the most ‘hip’ places and listen to the same popular artists. It’s one of the many idiosyncrasies, often conservative, that I discovered in Sweden.
The single on the new album from Swedish electro/pop trio Artymove sums up the band’s response to their country’s national reserve: “Fuck That!”
That’s why I love them.