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The Confusions

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my Orchard
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Confusions Garmarna Left Hand Solution
Mine Vadå my Orchard
The $1000 Playboys


The Confusions Everyone's Invited
Is it the reindeer or Volvos which result in songs with more sublime hooks than Jack Charlton's fishing kit? That's the great Swedepop poser, which only a night out in Stockholm with the Wannadies, Cardigans, Popsicle, et al could never answer. Scandalously overlooked in the scramble for super-Scandos though, has been this wondrous debut by The Confusions, who manage to combine the melodious psych-pop of the Beatles "Revolver" with a refreshingly lo-fi jazz weirdness. "Cornflake King" is the catchiest song you'll hear this year.

Melody Maker, Sept 21th 96,
The Confusions "Steroid Hearts"
Svensson's worked magic here, taking a straightforward number about a "silicone face" who's always kissing boys with "steroid hearts", and stripping it naked until all that's left is the ghost of a song: the reverb, the backing vox, the tremolo the handclaps, the mouth organ, the tambourine. Stratosphere above Ocean Scene, Northern Uproar or anyone else who's forgotten what "Mod" is short for.

The Confusions, Cornflake King,
"Cornflake King" is supremely catchy and leaves all the rest of the so-called "Mod" bands well behind in their wake... Undeniably 60's, undeniable cool as fuck. Blows the rest of the Scandinavian crap such as The Cardigans and The Wannadies out of the water with ease. Deserve to be bigger than ABBA.

Buzz Factory, autumn 1996
The Confusions Everyone's Invited
The hail from Sweden (What the hell are they drinking over there?!) but piss all over the too twee by half Cardigans and the rather bland Wannadies, with some of the catchiest 3 minute ditties I've ever heard. Hardly revolutionary but highly entertaining.

THE LIST, Glasgow and Edinburgh Events Guide
The Confusions Everyone's Invited
The Confusions are produced by Peter Svensson of The Cardigans, and it shows. It's not that their music is identical -There are some delicate, melancholic pauses for thought in the tried and trusty bouncepop scheme, but the very texture of their sound is so shallow and saccharine that your teeth start to hurt if you listen for too long. As it is this album mainly sounds sweet, but ephemeral.

BB 4, Feb-97
The Confusions, Cornflake King
We are all by now quite familiar with the Swedish Pop sound of the likes of The Wannadies and The Cardigans, but for many of us fellow Swedish popsters THE CONFUSIONS are new. Don't let that put you off thought as this wonderful four track affair is well worth looking into. Yes, it isn't that far removed from the two previous bands, sound wise, but for some reason it lacks the pretentiousness, which is a good thing. Full marks for the strangest song title of the year in "Cornflake King", which winds along at a laid back yet chirpy pace and smacks of 60's weirdness, as does "Blue" which has a kind of jazz approach. "Tired Of Being Alone", smells a little of like the Lightening Seeds and "Feels So Fine" does just that. An epic indeed.

The Confusions Cornflake King
With a "doo-be-doo" melody more nagging than a whole terrace of fishwives, groove-check Beatles guitars and a lazy, biscuit-tin beat, this song serves as a dutiful reminder that Swede-pop doesn't begin and end with The Wannadies and The Cardigans (whose guitarist, Peter Svensson, produced this track). A finely crafted pop record that will no doubt earn a reputation as a cereal killer (sorry!), despite a Howard Jones cover on its flip.

The Confusions Cornflake King
More chirpy Scanda-Pop courtesy of the magnificent Confusions. Its psychedelic without being up its own arse. It's catchy without bugging the hell out of you 2 hours later and it really should receive prize slot on yer turntable.

The Confusions Cornflake King
The catchiest single ever by a new Swedish act. Lots of doobie da's make up this classic blend of 60's psychedelia and 90's pop. Truly sparkling and refreshing. Only problem now is that I'm never gonna get "I wanna be the Cornflake King today!" out of my head! Somebody shot me!

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GARMARNA Gods Musicians OMM 2014
Sweden: Land of buxom blonde babes who drink like fish and copulate like bunnies, or land of endless nights and high suicide rates and Ingmar Bergman films about terrifying weirdness?

Abba hailed from the former Sweden, and Garmarna hails from the latter. Named for the dogs that guard the gates of hell in Swedish mythology, Garmarna sings ancient folktales about misery and death and regret and monsters and everything else that would toment you while sitting in an igloo with a howling storm outside and the nearest Prozac a hundred miles away by dogsled. Sort of a twelfth-century version of Pink Floyd, they play mostly traditional acoustic instruments, generating a soul-uprooting drone with hurdy-gurdy, violin, viola, jew's harp and various guitars. But they also have a modern appreciation for the mystical possibilities of psychedelia and know how to use modern recording technology for ultimate resonance (the drums really thwack). So their second album "Gods Musicians" (Omnium/Rounder) is just about as good as it gets for roaming around in your unconscious and confronting whatever archetypes happen to be lurking there. And be not put off that the singing is in Swedish. Emma Härdelin is the heaviest singer of folk ("folksinger" is just too lame a label ) extant, and she could make you hallucinate in any language.
By Charles M. Young, Playboy

I could write six reviews a year about this band if I could find an excuse. Hailing (or is that halling?) from Sweden, this rock band has one of the toughest, darkest, edgiest sounds to come around in a while. Garmarna is electrically powered, to be sure, but what it powers is unique. Stefan Brisland-Ferner's hurdy-gurdy stands as one of the most unique tools a rock band could use. You have to sit to play it, turning a crank that spins a wheel that rolls against a set of rosined strings and produces a sound in its acoustic state that would make hair curl and teeth sit on edge (imagine something more abrasive than bagpipes at dawn). But what happens to this instrument in the context of this band is wondrous: mysterious, softly threatening, as romantic as a Poe story. Layered aroundf this are thundering drums, heavy on the bass-end skins, light on the cymbals; synths, bass, acoustic and electric guitars, viola and violin, jew's harp; enough drones to drown in.

This would be enough to make the group a must, but over all of this are the vocals, especially those of Emma Härdelin. Here a band bercomes a force; melodic, rhythmic, emotional. With Härdelin surrounded by her male counterparts, the resulting ensemble vocals have the impact I last remember on some early Steeleye Span records. Add Garmarna's innovative musical arrangements, a purely Swedish music that pays no tithe to tradition, and it rocks. I have raved about this band before, and I will rave about it again and again. Garmarna makes sure that rock music is not only the domain of American guitars and English haircuts. This group proves it can be native, in any tongue.
By Cliff Furnald, CMJ(College Media Journal) also mentioned on the cover, a Jackpot pick,#18 with a bullet.

What's your definition of folk music? Does it include hurdy-gurdy, e-bow, samples and loops? It does for Sweden's Garmarna, in addition to bass, guitar, and a variety of drums and strings (primarily violin). They're the kind of folk band who doesn't believe traditional music was meant to be preserved as it was ages ago, but taken to heart and made your own, of the moment. Fortunately, others seem to agree: their previous album, Guds Spelemän, won the 1996 Swedish Grammy for best folk album, and their debut Vittrad was nominated in 1994. With Vengeance, the band has taken a giant leap forward with their electronics gear (greatly assisted by producer Sank, the band's "sixth member"), and put it right in your face with the first track, "Gamen/Vulture." After a brief fade-in to lull you, it jumps right for the jugular with driving drums fading fore and back, throbbing bass, and an addictive hurdy-gurdy/violin riff. Coupled with the first layering of Emma Härdelin's voice I could recall, it was not what I had been expecting of Garmarna; it knocked me back and dropped my jaw--I actually had to replay the song before I could continue. The rest of the album is more in line with their earlier work, yet still steps forward. The lyrics are kin to the original versions of Grimm's fairy tales--dark, brooding, and familiar with stepmothers, witches, and maidens betrothed to princes. Those kinds of lyrics may irritate or intrigue, but the fact that they're all sung in Swedish means it's not that crucial to the majority of us English unilinguals. Starting from a quiet gothic calm, the title track ("Vedergällningen/Vengeance") builds into a squeal of "refuge" from an impending thunderstorm provided by a tin shed. "Bläck/Ink" is simple and elegant, "Euchari" light yet driving, with electronic drums and walking bass; but overall, Garmarna's music continually reminds me of the ocean: vast, undulating, a stark loneliness, with glimpses of large oarboats emerging from the mists. It's very easy to lose yourself staring off to such boundless horizons.
Paul Goracke, Soundpollution August 99

This album makes any deathmetal look like sundayschool...
Arbetaren, Sweden

Its heavy as few, it pushes and grooves, often with rhythms heavy as led...
Metal Shuffle,Norway

Not quite folk-rock but definitely folk that rocks
Request, US

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LEFT HAND SOLUTION Wow holy shit...This is so fucking great, why haven't I heard this band before.

Left Hand Solution have released their second album through Nuclear Blast and my, is it Doomy! Sounding like the perfect combination of Type -O-Negative and the Gathering.
ILL Literature,US

Behold! Dra åt helvete vilken skön platta.
Septic Zine, Sweden

ladies and gentlemen...this...is...it...It doesn't get any better than this.
Dweller NetZine

Een van den meest opzienbare releases de afgelopen maanden...
...de muziek is uitermate gaaf!
Bacil, Holland

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In producer Martin Landqvist's hands the debut album from Mine has turned out one of the most varied Swedish albums for long. Vocalist Emma Holmér is the centre over a kind of modern Everything But The Girl-mix But with Martin Landqvist's ability to spin music on a trip hop/techno base Mine brings out a rich fusion of jazz tones, dub (á la Massive Attack) and folk music.
CO, TOP 40 Scandinavia (Scandinavian equivalent to Billboard magazine)

Classy, tranquil, jazzy, elegant nuanceful, atmospheric, spacy and soulful are words to describe this album. Emma Holmér's voice on her debut piece is enchanting kind from the beginning. Dark blue sounds produced by Martin Landqvist creates such a perfect art from Emma's songs. Only thing to what I can compare this velvet album to is Portishead. A couple of boys from Fleshquartet f.e. are on guest list. Take a swig of good red wine and sit beside your lady/man in the candlelight and enjoy.
JK, HOOTCH (Finland)

Some quotes:

What a debut...Sensuality is only the first name - Håkan Steen, Aftonbladet

Emma Holmér's voice is really a v o i c e! Few, if anyone even comes close...a wonderful album - Christer Paulstrup, Kristianstadsbladet

This years Swedish surprise so far.
Åsa Eriksson, Östgöta correspondenten

In other words this feels impossible to categorise, but it must be something of the best and most original in Swedish music for an awful long time.
Anna Antonsson, Karlshamns Allehanda

Not the usual pop and rock that I listen to, but this goes straight to the heart.
Måns Ivarsson, Expressen

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Sounding like a cross between King Crimson, Tool and Sisters of Mercy, the quintet's songs are as structurally deft and sonically pummelling as they are hooky and melodic... Red, White, Grey is of the most creative and enjoyable rock records to come along for quite some time.
Stuart Green , Exclaim Magazine, Canada

Blytung skogsindustri. Udda och banbrytande.

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Debutanterna My Orchard överraskar och klipper till med en av vårens starkaste svenska plattor. Med en vass kompositörs-penna och en förkärlek till Pixies-skrammel hittar Sundsvalls-kvartetten en egen slingrande stig någonstans mellan syntmusikens harmonier och den amerikanska gitarrockens sköna oljud.... En överraskning.
Fredrik Emdén, Vestmanlands läns tidning

Mungiporna åker upp, jag hinner nästan ropa Rentals och Weezer innan jag fattar att det finns helt vanliga svennar som gör så här maffig powerpop. Kan man göra annat än älska låtar som "Sunsets and skateboards"? Rena fyrverkeriet.

Ett av få band som gav Popstad 99 ett lyft. Larmig pop som har en egen plats i mitt gamla pophjärta. Jag misstänkter att de har hört både Posies och Hole. Men det funkar.
Magdalena Väpnargård, Hennes


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The Thousand Dollar Playboys: Stay!
Ska tala emot mig själv lite grann. För en tid sen resonerade jag kring fenomenet varför vissa artister inte kan göra några fel medan andra som är lika bra eller ännu bättre aldrig accepteras. Jag tog Duane Jarvis som exempel.
Medan vi till exempel kastar oss över varje ointressant litet band bara för att det råkar komma från Amerika dissar vi allt svenskt.
Ryan Adams är bara världsbäst.
The Thousand Dollar Playboys är - "okej för att vara svenskar".

Men jag är själv skyldig. Den här cd-n har stått i min hylla i månader utan att jag vågat ta i den, än mindre spela den. Jag tror det beror på alla uselt meningslösa recensioner jag läst om svenska band. Jag har läst om svenska band som skulle vara så fantastiska och så har det ändå och alltid slutat med Weeping Willows. Dessa patetiskt överskattade Weeping Willows.

Men en dag åkte "Stay!" in i brist på annat.

The Thousand Dollar Playboys är mer än okej för att vara svenskar.
The Thousand Dollar Playboys är mer än okej i hela världen.

De flesta nya (svenska) band av The Thousand Dollar Playboys-typen brukar ha hatat country. De har lik förbannat upptäckt Gram Parsons och eftersom Gram Parsons (men inte Merle Haggard) är "rätt" är det okej att gilla country om det är Parsons. Typ.
Alla låter för jävligt. De låter för jävligt eftersom de inte förstått att det är innehållet och inte formen som avgör om det är bra eller dåligt. Det gäller i och för sig all musik, men ändå.

The Thousand Dollar Playboys är intressantare än så. Det är som om de inte upptäckte Gram Parsons själva. Det är som om de förälskat sig i Rolling Stones från tidigt 1970-tal och sen läst sig till att Keith Richards i sin tur älskade Gram Parsons. Inget fel i det. Tvärtom. Det ger The Thousand Dollar Playboys musik en större vidd och skojigare originalitet. Det är bitvis väldigt gott larm med blås och allting.
Men The Thousand Dollar Playboys största tillgång är sångaren Lars Bygdén.
Han har en fantastisk röst.
Han har en röst som kunnat förgylla vilken nydepressiv skit som helst.
Han har en röst som kommer från hjärtat.
Han har en röst som är både spröd, spräcklig men manlig.
Han har en röst som inte rädd för att sjunga de realistiskt vardagliga texter som han själv skrivit.

Det är nog därför såna som Ryan Adams automatiskt betraktas som "finare", "bättre" och "rätt". För att de ska klydda till allting så man inte begriper det. Låten här heter "A Very Special Christmas". Jag blir alldeles kall, alldeles berörd, alldeles knäckt varje gång jag hör den.

It's a very special Christmas
on a very special year
The first Christmas since you left me
there ain't no need to hide my tears
I've gotten used to being alone
but with this season comes the pain
And I'm waiting for your phone-call
but your phone-call never comes

It's a very special Christmas
I don't know what I should say
When ma and pa say they've missed us
they don't know you went away
It's a very special Christmas
and your number's by the phone
I know I shouldn't call you
'cause I get the numbers wrong
And when I finally hear your voice
I just don't know what to say

Lars Bygdén har varit där. Vi har alla varit där. Få kan gestalta det så hjärtskärande som Lars Bygdén och The Thousand Dollar Playboys.
(6/10) Mats Olsson Feber 24 november 2001

Två år av euforiska musikskribenter och svalt skivbolags-intresse har slutligen fått resultat. The $1000 Playboys debutskiva är en imponerande uppvisning i stilsäkerhet: från stalldoftande renlärig country via Nick Drake-ballader till svettig boogierock.
Men mest av allt handlar det naturligtvis om country. Full av ensamma nätter, oförstående flickor, slideguitar och knarr på rösten. Självklart finns en risk för att det urartar till truppgymnastik - det vill säga imponerande men föga njutbart. Men The $1000 Playboys klarar sig undan den fällan. De gör mer än att härma.
Kalle Dixelius, Dagens Nyheter

...precis som Nomads spelar de omtalade medelpadingarna utpräglat amerikansk musik med en autencitet, en självklarhet, som inte borde vara möjlig. Det låter verkligen som att Lars Bygdén och hans fem medmusikanter vuxit upp i Tenessee och fått den här rustika americanan med bröstmjölken. De förstår den ända in i minsta körarrangemangsdetalj. Lika märkligt som imponerande.
Betyg: fyra plus av Per Bjurman, Aftonbladet