Sweden may be best known for exporting its world-famous meatballs, the band Ghost and the puzzle games known as IKEA furniture, but they have many more treasures that everyone should know about.
The seventh happiest country in the world is home to many artists who are redefining what it means to be alternative. These bands range from soft indie rock to raging heavy metal, and they all deserve a spot on your playlist. Hopefully soon, we’ll be able to travel to see these groups in person in Sweden’s beautiful green spaces.
Check out 10 Swedish bands you need to know below. You’re sure to discover a new artist who fits your music taste and finds a home in your Spotify playlist.
Self-described as “Swedish bubblegum emo,” Tribe Friday combine grunge and upbeat pop synths to create a truly unique flavor of alternative. The trio have already made waves with singles “Loosie” and “Cool Song,” as well as their latest release “drugs x boys x drugs,” appearing on The New Alt, New Noise and other prominent Spotify playlists. After releasing two EPs, Waiting For A Sign and Chasing Pictures, in 2020, it’s already clear that the band have so much more to offer. If you need any more convincing to add this act to your playlist, just know that John Feldmann thinks they’re “burning up the streets. They’re so hot!”
Mama Sonic are overflowing with nostalgic indie-rock flair. Though they’ve been releasing music since 2015, the quintet dropped their self-titled debut album in 2019, with the guitar rock tracks “Ella” and “Slow Train” serving as the singles. If you need a blast to the past with Talking Heads and Kinks vibes, look no further than this group, who offer a modern twist on old-school rock.
Normandie call themselves “Sweden’s best-kept secret.” Though the band have thousands of streams and a long discography dating back to 2013, they’re still growing and evolving their sound. What started as a metal project has grown into a rock outfit, where they explore softer vocals as well as urgent guitars. Alternative fans are sure to find one era of this band to love. You can start with their most recent singles (“Atmosphere,” “Holy Water,” “Jericho“) and work your way back through the years to find your favorite tracks.
Rock quartet Noija blend pop-punk guitar riffs with charming vocals, powerful choruses full of urgency, clever use of synths and even hints of piano. This culminates into an immersive and raw experience where you get to step into the minds of these creative Swedish songwriters. This past summer, they released their sophomore album, Through Fire All Things Are Renewed, featuring tracks such as “Crawl Into My Skin” and “Runaway.” These true instrumentalists will take you on a roller coaster of sound on their most recent release.
Solence deliver infectious energy and memorable melodies on their latest EP, Direction, with an unforgettable title track. “With this song, we wanna make you feel like you’re strong enough to believe in your beliefs, create your own rules and follow your own personal direction,” vocalist Markus Videsäter told Alternative Press. Fans of experimental metal need to add Solence to their playlists right away to see what they’re about.
Stockholm-based singer-songwriter Linn Koch-Emmery is an indie-pop queen who may not be a household name yet, but her amazing work speaks for itself. Since 2016, she’s released a handful of singles along with two EPs, Boys and Waves. Her nostalgia-inducing guitar work and breathy vocals will lure you away from all of your troubles and give you the beach vibes you crave during this cold, lonely winter. Based on her most recent 2020 release, “Hologram Love,” we can’t help but hope that more is on the way. She’s also emo at heart, as she performed an amazing Lil Peep cover of “Falling Down.”
Fans of New Years Day, In This Moment and similar heavy rock bands fronted by badass women will love the addition of Swedish symphonic metal band ELEINE to their daily playlist. Vocalist Madeleine Liljestam sings powerfully and elegantly alongside guitarist/growler Rikard Ekberg, who crafts a dynamic performance on top of heavy riffs and blast beats to offer a unique spin on traditional black metal. They released their new record, Dancing In Hell, in November 2020, including “Ava Of Death” and “Enemies.”
With only two songs out on Spotify, Boy Destroy already has a lot of clout on the international stage. Add “Warpaint” and “As Time Goes By” to your playlists and you’ll be able to say you heard Boy Destroy before he blew up with the 2021 release of his debut EP. Certainly this artist has a promising start in emo rap and alt-pop.
Sailor & I
Sailor & I is the brainchild of Alexander Sjödin. “Thinking About You” is the first single from his forthcoming sophomore album, Diving For Lost Treasure, with buzzing electronic pop sure to make you dance, even if you’re not in a Swedish night club. His energetic synths and steady beats are perfect for fans of Foster The People and MGMT.
Teddy Failure is the project of writer/producer duo Teodor Runsiö and Frans Torell. With only three releases available on Spotify so far, the pair have already amassed more than 400,000 monthly listeners. “Tissues” and “Change” are lighthearted, with upbeat pop beats and acoustic elements, but when you take a closer listen, you’ll hear dark storytelling at work. This is a must-hear for those who are fans of songs that are frequently used on TikTok.
Did we miss one of your favorite up-and-coming Swedish artists? Let us know who else we should add to our playlists in the comments below!