All Around Records

Sunday, November 27, 2022


Still Life (Official Video)

Don Giovanni Records

The lyrics are about seeing things realistically, seeing beyond what you think is real to what really lies beneath, and being self aware. The images that illustrate this, like a skeletal hand holding a cigarette, ashes building to cover a table, alcohol, a drug taken, with a poker game as a backdrop, all mixed with lots of fruit, phone cases, social media symbols, and many other images, are animated by musician Daniel Lobb.

R. Ring is Kelley Deal and Mike Montgomery, and their upcoming album, War Poems, We Rested, is their first since 2017’s Ignite The Rest. Lots of crunchy guitars from Mike and Kelley, booming drums by Laura King, and wise singing by Kelley add up to a very interesting, very great clip and song. The album will be out January 27, 2023, so if you like what you see and hear here, pick it up.

Andrea Weiss

Lisa Mychols & SUPER 8

Santa Please (Official Lyric Video)

Jem Records

This feminist twist on Christmas, sung from the point of view of Ms. Claus, features festive images and fun ones of Santa. This ultra-catchy, bouncy power pop is a nice change from the same old, same old carols modern and traditional. So if you want some Christmas fun, watch this and be merry. 

Andrea Weiss

Friday, November 11, 2022

 I first encountered Richard’s work through the excellent group In Deed. Feminist power pop is always good. Now he has released his first solo album, Sounds In English. I found the songs smart, charming, and a lot of fun.

Richard was kind enough to answer a few questions for me.

Andrea Weiss: What made you decide to make a solo album?

Richard Öhrn: When I first started out recording songs completely on my own, I didn’t have any plans of making a record. I just wrote and recorded music for the joy of it. After a while, though, the number of songs were piling up, and some even sounded decent! When In Deed sort of fell asleep again, by winter 2019-2020, I decided to pick a selection of the songs I’d been working on, and to finalize the mixes good enough to make an album. I approached Big Stir Records with the idea, playing them a couple of tracks, and once they said “Yes, let’s do it,” the decision was definite. And now, two years later, it’s here.

AW: Who were you listening to at the time?

RÖ: The songs on Sounds In English have influences from a life of listening to music. Funny, though, during periods of recording and mixing, I hardly ever listened to anything else but the stuff I was working on. There were vague ideas about what to aim for as references – but it never really turned out as I’d imagined anyway, each song took its own turns until considered finished.

AW: These songs are relationship songs--some about break-ups and some about happiness. It’s a good balance. Is that contrast and complement what you were after?

RÖ: The songs were written over a long period of time, and both ups and downs of course passed over those years. I’m glad if it comes across as a good mix! I would have thought the sad and bitter vibes to be dominant. For some reason I have more creative energy when feeling down. So, for example, the song “5th Month Announcement” is a really happy lyric about the birth of my son, but once I started recording it, the whole tune became sort of sad anyway. I’m always tempted to add that extra chord to make things a just little more melancholic!

AW: I do hear the Cardigans in your music, and I know they’re an influence. What did you get from them?

RÖ: I don’t rate the Cardigans as a major influence, although I think they have made some really good songs and albums. When working with In Deed, I guess the reference is closer, with the female lead vocalist thing. I’ve actually played as a support act to the Cardigans, with a former band, The Dubs. I think it was circa 1994, just before they had their big break. Most of the audience came to watch us, not them, at that time, hahaha!

AW: You use ABBA in an unironic way, which is great and refreshing. A lot of these songs sound like “Knowing Me, Knowing You.” Were there any others in particular that influenced your sound?

RÖ: I love ABBA… as much as everyone does. I know there are some elements of sound on my album that can be traced down that lane, perhaps in a song like “Spanish Moon,” which may have a little of “Fernando”… perhaps the intro acoustic in “Take this bottle” has an ABBA sound. It will be interesting to learn what other people hear when they listen to the album. Regardless of sounds, ABBA is a great inspiration for songwriting. They do things that seem so simple but are really complex – and also the other way around, songs that are really simple but give the impression of great complexity. That is genius.

AW: I read that you've always been fascinated by the English language and think it sounds better than Swedish. How does Swedish compare to English? What do you like best about both languages?

RÖ: Hmmm… English is more singable. You can sort of bend the sound of words and phrases more easily, I think. For me, though, when writing lyrics, the obvious limitation is that English is not my native language, so the poetic field is not nearly as big as when I speak or write in Swedish. I have written a few songs in Swedish, and the words are really good, I think! But when I sing them it doesn’t sound quite right. You really need to have a certain quality of voice to make Swedish sound good.

AW: What is the scene like in Sweden now?

RÖ: I can’t really tell, you should perhaps ask my youngest daughter, ha ha! There are some good acts, but mostly veterans and/or groups that have passed their peak days. Some cool and still active Swedish acts are of course The Hives, Bob Hund, Ulf Lundell, and The Greeting.

AW: Any plans for US tour dates?

RÖ: No plans at the moment, but if the record does well, nothing is impossible. I have a musicians US visa valid for another seven years, I think. Would be a waste not to use it again!

 Richard Öhrn

Sounds In English

Big Stir Records

Öhrn is best known for his work with In Deed. This is his first solo album. It’s very much a one man band, as in addition to playing on and producing all the songs, he took the photos for the cover art, and assembled the press kit.

The music is adult singer/songwriter, chamber pop, and power pop--very warm and intimate, and great. This is good music to think to, as the lyrics are very contemplative, and at times hurt, like on “Take This Bottle” and “If I Could Read Your Mind,” both breakup songs, and chiming, jangly rockers.

At other times the lyrics are happy, for instance “I Choose You,” which makes the album well-rounded. The guitars aren’t Rickenbacker’s, but a Burns 12-string, and Hagstrom electric and Bjärton acoustic guitars, so there is no purism here musically, but blends can be wonderful, more sounds to work with.

So if any of this is what you like, I would try this. In Deed fans will like this too, or anyone who wants someone different and smart.

Andrea Weiss

Thursday, November 10, 2022

 Richard Öhrn

Take This Bottle (Single)

Big Stir

This song isn’t about drinking anything. Instead, it’s about politely, but firmly, telling someone to go away, all set to anthemic guitar pop: a little jangle, a little Tom Petty, a little Springsteen. It’s the second single from Öhrn’s upcoming album Sounds In English and if the album sounds as great as this song, it’s going to be a winner. The single is out now and the album is slated for November 11.

Andrea Weiss

Thursday, November 3, 2022

 Richard Öhrn

Love and Friendship (Single)

Big Stir

Öhrn is a guitarist and vocalist with the Swedish band In Deed. Friendly power pop that leans folk, this happy, charming love song is from his upcoming debut solo album, Sounds in English.  This sounds like ABBA as something of a folk band, without irony, as the influence is definitely there--another reason it’s so good and charming. It’s nice music to think to, and to just kick back and relax to.

Andrea Weiss

Monday, October 31, 2022

 Crossword Smiles

The Girl With a Penchant For Yellow Single

Big Stir

This sounds like a really good Fountains Of Wayne song that Adam Schlesinger could’ve written. It’s maybe about divorce, definitely a breakup song, and rolls merrily along, including some cool Vocoder sprinkled throughout. Recommended to those who like smart pop, fun songs, and music that kicks up its heels.

Andrea Weiss


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