Class Of 2015: Blues Pills & Von Hertzen Brothers
Hitting the record shops of downtown Stockholm with Scandinavian biggest new musical exports
Scandinavia might be known for its dark winters and even darker metal scene, but the Stockholm that greets us today is decidedly bright – all sunbathed streets and sparkling waters. Continuing our journey through the cream of current rock’n’roll, we’re here with two of Scandinavia’s prime representatives: Finland’s long-serving, eclectic rock heroes the Von Hertzen Brothers (okay, Finland is technically Nordic, but culturally it’s considered Scandinavian by most of the world) and Sweden’s psychedelic, 60s-minded newbies Blues Pills. The mission: to delve into some local record shopping and see what Scandi tastes and home truths emerge.
Our first stop is the spacious Pet Sounds. Inside it’s an Aladdin’s cave of fantastic plastic, where Sweden’s recent Eurovision triumph seems obsolete. Keeping up with everyone is like herding cats. The Finns grab classic rock staples, while Blues Pills vocalist Elin Larsson pores over old soul. The two youngest Pills, Andre Kvanstrom (amiable, moustached drummer) and 19-year-old Dorian Sorriaux (very French-sounding French guitarist) land eagerly on Townes Van Zandt’s Nashville Sessions. “Dorian introduced me,” says Kvanstrom. “It’s really cool to see it in vinyl the first time.”
Blues Pills bassist (and Iowa native) Zack Anderson settles at the rear of the shop, rifling through Swedish LPs with the considered speed of an engrossed vinyl fanatic. “This is a really good Swedish folky psychedelic record,” he says, pulling out a record by Pugh Rogefeldt. “I discovered more of this after I moved here. But one of my favourite bands before I moved was also Swedish, called November.”
He sifts through a few more sleeves, grinning at one by 60s psych-rockers Clear Light. “I think this might be where we stole our cover art,” he says, as Mikko Von Hertzen brandishes a deluxe copy of Blues Pills’ debut.