Farewell Detektivbyrån, Hello Martin

You might remember that post about a year ago when I raved on about my new obsession. If you don’t, it’s okay. The post is still up and it is a fast and worthwhile read. I had just been caught up in Detektivbyrån fever, which is a remarkably pleasant sort of fever, though it did result in me buying an old accordion on eBay and inadvertently serenading my neighbors during the summer when all the windows were open.

Yes, it was love – pure, sweet, and beautiful. But like most summer loves, it eventually had to end. The Detektivbyrån brothers, Martin and Anders, announced that they were disbanding and I promptly went into mourning. I was left with a big, gaping, Detektivbyrån-shaped void, which I, in classic ex-stalking fashion, attempted to fill by listening to their albums repeatedly and checking their website every few minutes hoping to find an announcement saying, “just kidding, kids!” No such luck along those lines, but I did find some other pretty interesting things along the way.

First of all, this amazing mix crossed my path at the perfect time and brought me out of my Detektivbyrån slump. It was the perfect transition from my old Swedish obsession to my new. (I love you, Those Dancing Days!) They have been lighting up the Indie Handbook lately, and are so fresh and cheeky. Have a look:

Do I need to remind you to read Eric’s post on “I’ll Be Yours” and “Fuckarias“, if you haven’t already? I hope not. You won’t be disappointed.

Then, I started to follow what Martin Molin, former half of Detektivbyrån, was up to. Apparently not one to slow down, and quite the Renaissance man, he now has his own production company and studio in his home in Göteborg, Sweden, and is working for some pretty interesting groups.

He has produced a lovely little single, Alibi, for Winding Stairs, a cool, soft, synthy, alt pop duo, also from Göteborg. You can hear it on their myspace page. The story goes that they met in a coffee shop and ended up in a recording project together, which is proof that all those hours Eric and I have spent in various coffee shops has not been wasted at all. I will just start thinking about it as a musician’s more delicious version of a social networking website.

Martin is also playing with Maud Lindström & Nåt För Alla these days, a band that sings on all things love, sex, culture, and power and leads some pretty cool creative workshops for schools and artists on living and working as a freelance musician. Was that an accordion I heard in “Vacker vid vatten?” Martin, you are the best.

So in the end, it all worked out. Though my dream of seeing Detektivbyrån tour in the States will now never come true, I do have other things to look forward to. Martin is not going anywhere and Those Dancing Days are certainly going to keep me dancing through mine. Plus, I think I may have found the perfect venue for realizing Eric’s dream to put together a band mash-up recording project a la In a Cabin With. Check out those studio pictures on Martin’s website! He even has a kitchen! 


“2 words”, says Eric, “theremin and accordion”

We have another guest post for you tonight!  We love guest submissions, and always encourage them for many reasons, but until now, Dan Holloway has been the only one to really run with our invitation.  Tonight, I introduce to you Kate Metcalf, a fellow musician, anthropology-lover, and dear friend to us both.

First of all, for the sake of full disclosure, you should know that I have an ongoing love affair with everything Swedish. Blame my heritage if you want, but they have just about everything cool in spades. I mean really, Volvo, ACNE, Nina Persson, and H&M all call Sweden home. It makes me wish I did too, just to be as cool as them.

So having said all of that, I am in the throes of yet another freak-out for Sweden because they are the homeland of one of my new favorites, Detektivbyrån. The thing I love about this band is that they are chock full of seemingly far-fetched combinations made to seem totally plausible, like “of course this is the most natural, obvious thing in the world.”

They combine Swedish electronica from Stockholm and traditional folk music from their childhood region, Varmland. They dress like rock stars and live on a little farmstead outside of Gothenburg. But leaving those things far in the dust are their instrument combinations. Theremin and accordion, Moog and glock, traktofon and music box, toy piano, real piano, shoes, scissors, oh my! They are an amazing relief from the tried and true but often tired voice, guitar, drums combo. They are a purely instrumental group, with nary an ax in sight, that manages to do what I never thought possible with instruments like theremin and accordion. They make it all very, ridiculously cool.

At this point, Detektivbyrån has two records available, E18 and Wermland. Both have a few tracks bearing a striking resemblance to the music of Yann Tiersen in Amelie, which I love. They in fact cite Amelie as one of their major influences along with their time spent as street musicians when glocks and accordions were conveniently portable. Now they’ve taken those influences and melded them with electronica and synths to craft a very distinctive and genre-spanning sound about which they say this:

“Indie kids come up to me after shows and tell me their parents gave them an accordion as a birthday present, they started to play it since they listened to us, and that’s one of the most beautiful things I can hear after a show. Then there’s an local radio station which has this accordion special every Thursday and usually there’s just old traditional stuff, but they really dig us and play for the old people out there, and these people send cute e-mail to us, they are glad we are taking care of their accordion tradition.”

So fantastic!

If you want to hear more, hop on over to www.detektivbyran.net to check them out, download a couple songs, and even stream both albums. Even better, hit up the store for the CDs or vinyls. They are ridiculously affordable and the guys send out all their orders personally, so they’ll sign the covers if you say pretty please.