Before I go on I'd better nail my colours to the mast here: Andreas Mattsson, about whom I'm going to write today, is possibly, and quite probably, my favourite singer-songwriter - so apologies in advance if I end up sounding like some kind of gushing fanboy here. (readers: if your own fanboy is gushing, I suggest you seek medical advice immediately.)
Andreas, as seasoned Swedish indiepop watchers will know, started out fronting legendary nineties combo Popsicle, who released five albums (or six, if you include their debut 6-track A West Side Fabrication release, Template, which I do.) between 1992 and 97. These albums are mostly out of print now, but Swedish mail order store Hotstuff (among others) do currently stock the 2005 double best of CD, The Good Side of Popsicle, which I would recommend as essential listening for anyone who fancies hearing one of the true pioneers of the Swedish indie scene at their absolute finest.
From The Good Side of... here's Popsicle's sublime 1994 single Make Up:
Popsicle - Make Up mp3 (left click to download)
Following the band's decision to split up at the end of the nineties, Mattsson teamed up with Atomic Swing mainman Niclas Frisk (who'd produced Popsicle's latter albums) to form the should-have-been-huge-but-somehow-weren't Sweet Chariots. The Chariots, as I think we'll call them, only released one album, the cumbersomely-titled Beat-Based / Song-Centred / Spirit-Led, in 2000, but it contained some songs as good as anything Popsicle ever recorded - which is extremely good indeed. Check out the uplifting and inspirational Cry No More Tears for proof of their sheer, unbridled genius!
Sweet Chariots - Cry No More Tears mp3
In 2003, Mattsson and Frisk teamed up once again to work on the A Camp album with Cardigans singer Nina Persson. Following this project, the lads hooked up with French chanteuse Vanessa Contenay-Quinones and James Iha (ex- Smashing Pumpkins) to form Vanessa And The O's. (more on them another day.)
Despite continuing to play with The O's, Andreas found the time in 2006 to record his first solo album, The Lawlessness of the Ruling Classes, for tip-top Swedish label Hybris. By far the most mellow release of his career to date, this album should appeal to anyone who enjoys grown-up, introspective pop music. (Richard Hawley would be a good comparison.) Have a listen to one of the standout tracks, the haunting Summer of Speed, and see what you think.
Andreas Mattsson - Summer of Speed mp3
Buy The Lawlessness of the Ruling Classes here.
(In other news, I've changed my Blogger display name to something a bit wacky, in lieu of an actual personality.)