There are so many new artists coming up in Scandinavia at the moment, and so many launch EPs prior to an album, that we felt we couldn’t exclude them from our summary of 2014. So here, in alphabetical order, are our favourite EPs from 2014 – a large proportion of which are from artists yet to release an album.
Elliphant – Look Like You Love It / One More
Two EPs from this eclectic Swede this year, following up from her Sweden-only debut album A Good Idea in 2013. Elliphant throws so many idea at the wall and, while not all of them stick, a lot of them are extremely exciting. Just bubbling under the mainstream, 2015 could be even better for Elinor Olovsdotter.
Erik Hassle – Somebody’s Party
So this is a bit like Michael Jackson and Prince and Justin Timberlake and everybody should go and listen to it right away.
Frida Sundemo – Lit Up By Neon
Frida specialises in extremely moving and human electronic songs, like Neon and For You, Love, but also does balls-out pop very well, too, as on Drawn To You. Across a couple of EPs and singles and a Japanese-only (?) album release Frida has always been one of our favourite new Swedes, so her promised new material in 2015 should be exciting.
Kleerup – As If We Never Won
Featuring a roster of high-profile guests – Susanne Sundfør, Niki and the Dove, Jenny Wilson – this is a collection of retro disco that even recalls ABBA in its finest moments.
Laleh – Boom
A veteran in Sweden, with five albums under her belt, she’s relatively new to the wider world. She first caught our attention with the anthemic Stars Align, featured here alongside four other very good, slightly “quirky” pop songs that come on a bit like a cross between Ellie Goulding, Florence Welch and Bat For Lashes.
Lisa Alma – Oh Darling, Let’s Be Adventurers
We will keep telling everyone about Lisa Alma until she starts to get the credit she deserves. This quiet Dane has been releasing subtle gems consistently for a little while now, and we can’t get enough. Her beautiful voice perfectly complements her soulful tunes. Good for fans of Rhye and for feeling that uniquely Danish concept of hygge.
Marlene – Indian Summer
Bon Voyage was one of the songs of 2014, and although Marlene was always going to struggle to match that, this collection is still a brilliant selection of powerful pop songs. Plus she works with Ji Nilsson, one of our favourite up-and-coming Swedes, so the prospect of a full-length album is tantalising.
Röyksopp & Robyn – Do It Again
A precursor to Röyksopp’s final album, and a reunion with Robyn, Do It Again was hugely anticipated and arrived to mixed reviews, but we love it. Monument is a simply phenomenal journey through electronics and jazz, Do It Again is as close as we’ve come to an unadulterated Robyn song since Body Talk and Every Little Thing is a moving electro ballad.
Seinabo Sey – For Madeleine
I mean, she’s already on a stamp in Sweden, so Seinabo is destined for enormous success, and For Madeleine is a phenomenal debut. Every track is distinctive yet unique and if we don’t see bigger and better in 2015 we will be very surprised.
Snoh Aalegra – There Will Be Sunshine
This came out of nowhere (for us, at least), but blew us away with its bravado and buckets of soul. Swedish-born Snoh is now based in the US, and with friends like Common and Killer Mike she could, and should, go far.
Tove Lo – Truth Serum
Eclipsed slightly now by her debut album, Queen of the Clouds, it could be easy to forget this EP which preceded it. But this is where we first heard Not On Drugs, and is still the only place you’ll find Out of Mind, which for our money is easily one of Tove’s best tracks.
Tove Styrke – Borderline
As close to reggae as we’ll ever willingly get, yet still very good. The highlight is easily lead single Even If I’m Loud It Doesn’t Mean I’m Talking To You, but this is a collection of inventive pop songs that mark a new stage in Tove’s career.
Zhala – Prophet
Of course Robyn’s first signing to her Konichiwa Bitches label was going to be special, but nothing can really prepare you for your first listen to Prophet, with its ever-increasing tempo. Zhala certainly does things her own way, but we hope to see a full-length release in 2015.