Did you know that Strangeways, Here We Come was THE SMITHS‘ fourth album? And critics today are locked in furious debate over whether it’s their best? This is also the fourth edition of NBHAP’s ‘Amazing Sweden’ column, so perhaps far into the future, when these columns have been treasured for millennia and are displayed in museums and so on, critics will also debate over whether this one, the fourth one, was best? Probably not. Anyway, you know the drill by now. We, along with our buddies at Nordic By Nature and STIM pick three slices of really amazing Swedish music from the endless supply that seems to flow from the Nordic country, and then we dress it up real nice and present it to you lucky people, the readers. This month’s choices are below, enjoy.

Photo: Irika Sandström

Photo: Irika Sandström

As far as I’m aware (and I did one Google search on it, so I can’t possibly do more on the researching front here) no university offers a degree in A-Grade pop music. But if they did, NOONIE BAO would probably zoom through a degree, grab a PHD in record time and go on to teach the course. BAO churns out pristine pop music with ridiculous ease, so much so that she’s now one of the big-hitter songwriters major labels call in to write tunes for the stars, with writing credits for CHARLI XCX and CARLY RAE JEPSON already notched up. On the basis of songs like I’m In Love however, it won’t be long before BAO joins them in the music stratosphere herself. The song is a slinky, uber-melodic tune, spring-loaded with about five songs’ worth of hooks.

Francis Press Shot

FRANCIS‘ track Follow Me Home is a very pretty song. From the steady groove of the bassline to the the guitar riffs that shimmer across the track, it’s full of elements that interlock perfectly to craft a delicately elegant sonic picture. But what Follow Me Home has got that not every pretty song in the world has is singer Petra Mases’ superbly expressive voice. Mases has a knack for injecting extra sensitivity into the lyrics, stretching them into something far beyond the base meaning of the words themselves, right from the ‘I go dahncing’ that opens up the song. It’s this quality that gives Follow Me Home that little extra something special that moves it beyond being simply a nice indie song.

Brothers Of Wera

BROTHERS OF WERA is a name that, when I heard it first, made me worry that the band were some kind of awful metal band. But BROTHERS OF WERA are not a metal band, and are definitely, definitely not awful. They’re a Stockholm-based folk troupe, and Death In The Afternoon is the musical part of their campaign with Djurens Rätt, the Swedish animal rights association, against bullfighting. The song is a lush-indie folk tune, backed up by Iberian-flavoured trumpets and lyrics about how stabbing animals with a sword over three hours for fun is well, pretty fucking gross. Which is easy to agree with. The song is out now and you can find out more about the campaign at