March 2, 2024

Now then, this is an unusual, interesting and potentially ground-breaking release! Swedish independent label Lövely Records proudly presents ‘Honor Roll of Hits’, a four-way vinyl split set that comes out on 8 March 2024. It’s quite special, the record company having collaborated with four of the bands signed to their label as representing the label’s musical and cultural essence. Each band has contributed their own unique, fresh material, and all parties involved are delighted with the outcome.

Patrik, Co-Founder Lövely records on ‘Honor Roll of Hits’ says this: With this 4-way split we kind of sum up the essence of Lövely Records. This represents the feeling and the background of our musical taste. Being an adolescent in the nineties, punk, hardcore, indiepop, grunge and alternative rock was a big part of everything around. I came from a more metal background but with the growing punk/hardcore scene in the area I got caught in the DIY culture and a more politicized approach for music. These 4 bands tick all my boxes in their own unique way!

In effect, the release incorporates four EPs: ‘Split Image‘ by Sweet Teeth, ‘A Fair Warning‘ by First in Line, ‘Culture of Death‘ by Statues, and ‘GASP‘ by GASP….The combined ‘Honor Roll of Hits’ will be released on transparent red vinyl, and all 20 featured tracks will also be available on various streaming platforms. 

Here Goes!….

Sweet Teeth

Sweet Teeth supply a bittersweet blend of catchy, punky, fuzzy power pop and ’90s inspired alternative rock – in effect, classic Scandi-rock! Small town dreams expressed through noisy guitars, sugar sweet melodies, and honest, straightforward lyrics. Sweet Teeth sounds like Hüsker Dü mixed with The Flamin’ Groovies, Ramones mixed with Big Star or even The Hellacopters mixed with Dinosaur Jr. Hailing from the rural parts of Sweden, the members of Sweet Teeth have played in bands such as The Deadbeats, Disfear, Dollhouse, Year Of The Goat, Tortyr, and The Dontcares. Together they find a perfect blend of musical history, but still manage to keep their own take on powerpop and making it relevant for the 2020’s.

The band released their debut 7 track mini-album Acid Rain in 2021 which immediately received praise from both fans and media. Classic Rock Magazine called the album ”a brutal, scintillating mush of frill-free Scandinavian power-pop aggression that calls to mind Hüsker Dü at their most angst-driven and impatient”. The four-piece released their second studio album High Anxiety during the autumn of 2022. On this new EP we have three tracks – So Gone, Move On and Walk Into The Fire – all of which have a big hit of Stiff Little Fingers for me as well as the aforementioned Ramones – a very encouraging start!

First In Line

First in Line have been around for a long time -since 1988 in fact, originally as Prehistoric. They released a Split CD with Allena in 1993 and appeared on various compilation albums until 1996 when the band changed singer and their name to First In Line. 1998 was the release of their first single iunder tht moniker, I Know (Bridge of compassion), followed in 1999 by Backside LKPG/F.I.L. They then took a break that lasted until 2008, since then the band has gigging around Sweden and released three further singles. F.I.L is rooted in American hardcore, loving the raw, fast, no-frills, energy explosion involved. Patrik first saw them flying the flag of fast, melodic hardcore about 30 years ago and they still blow his mind every time, being his role models and inspiration in his formative punk years.

Lövely Records obviously have a soft spot for F.I.L. and it looks like they have the “lion’s share” on this collection with nine tracks – all of which I have to say are break-neck speed, fairly derivative three-chord-thrash punky stuff in the mould of (say) Sham 69, so don’t expect too many musical boundaries being broken! But they’re great fun, and they certainly stand up for what they believe is right.

Statues

90’s Alternative Rock was never anything else then great pop-songs filtered through screaming guitars. The Swedish based power trio Statues can be filed under your typical SST band (America’s definitive underground rock label from that era). Simple, impulsive, eccentric, and just wonderful. They could be that third band that played somewhere in the Midwest together with Hüsker Dü and Sonic Youth during the late ’80s.  

The band comes from Umeå, Sweden and has a dense stubborn-ness as their musical trademark. Much of their work is a blend of indie-rock and post-punk in a North American-style tradition and again, the big influences are a young and hungry Hüsker Dü as well as legendary alternative labels like SST and Dischord. The trio has been playing together in different combinations since 1991 but “Statues” was only truly formed in 2018 with their debut album Adult Lobotomy released through German label Crazysane Records. The furious and straightforward expression of the high-intensity debut drew rave reviews being described as “a rare and successful blend of politics and fun, aggression with melody, with classic rock grooves thrown into the mix”. Sounds good, eh?

2020 saw the release on their second album Holocene, now on Lövely Records. The band wrote over 40 songs, carved these down to 11 and recorded them in just three hours (It was the first time ever that the Sandås Silence Studio refunded a band for unused pre-booked studio time!) Statues began writing and recording more new material in 2021, and after a couple of covid quarantines the new album was recorded mainly live in a furious tempo over a five day period. It boiled down all the energy, melody and hit potential from their previous work, blended it with a hardcore/punk heart and threw in some alt-rock from the 90’s – and there you have them!

Four new tracks feature here: Culture of Death, Don’t Fear What We Become, Mercury and Draconian Laws – and they’re all quality numbers, very Sonic Youth, there’s a hint of Our Lady Peace in there, and the last one is very like a revved-up version of the Killers. Scandi-rock at it’s best!

GASP

GASP started out in 2018 when three 30+ women from the DIY-culture, picked up some instruments for the very first time and learned how to play and create music. The music that came out was noisy and distorted with a hint of pop rock riffs that bring you songs with a lot of attitude and energy. Gina (guitar, vocals) and Daniella (drums) started the band in 2017 and was joined by Emma (bass, vocals) in 2018 when GASP fully took shape. After a few years of hard work in the rehearsal room GASP made their presence known in the punk community in 2021 when they released a string of well received singles, a video for the song Gut That Living Thing and also did their first live shows together with Gluer and Diakron.

Daniella sadly decided to leave the band early 2022 to give time to other interests which led GASP to temporarily join forces with Ulf Blomberg (Hoborec, Grace Will Fall). Ulf is now banging the drums until Agustina Etcheto is ready to take over the sticks. Agustina is, in true GASP-spirit, just learning how to play drums and she’s expected to joining the live line-up later this year. There’s four of their offerings included here, all with a signature level of angst and energy. Burning, Lose It, Running, Lost…there’s a bit of a theme “running” through their titles and subject matter, all delivered powerfully.

*****

So there you have it – this four-fold collection does definitely capture the essence of Lövely Records – an amalgam of power-pop, punk, hardcore and Scandi-rock. You know what you’re in for when/if you support this package, good luck to them, I say!