heard on the wire

Here’s your room and here’s your records

SLF Nobody's Heroes

While Sweden seems to be able to produce a sparkling, new indie pop band at will, its Nordic neighbours’ kids seem more content to speak an impenetrable language, swan around Copenhagen on bicycles or luxuriate in the oil wealth that enables them to afford ridiculously over-priced beer. And, frankly, who can blame them.

Recent Swedish marvellousness includes recorded by Acid House Kings, Alpaca Sports, Liechtenstein and Sambassadeur, to name but four. For the countries to its east, west and south, there is some catching up to be done.

A few years back, Denmark gave us Northern Portrait, that perfect blend of the Smiths and Gene, while regular readers will be aware of the Finnish-Malaysian sounds of Eva on the Western Castle Island. Now it’s Norway’s turn. Making Marks are a four-piece from Oslo who’ve made their mark on 2013 with a couple of finely judged singles, the second of which even managed to survive a remix treatment.

Making Marks :: Barcodes [Soup Mix]

Barcodes do not figure prominently in the history of rock, pop ’n’ roll, but they did provide the inspiration for the cover of Stiff Little Fingers’ second LP. I can’t hear single, the band’s biggest hit, without being transported to school corridors, ties tied upside down so only the thin end showed and badges covertly pinned to the the back of blazer lapels.

Stiff Little Fingers :: At the Edge

Audio MP3

Renowned New Order sleeve designer Peter Saville took the idea one stage further in his artwork for the band’s Confusion and Blue Monday singles and subsequent LP, Power, Corruption and Lies. The titles and catalogue numbers of the record were displayed as a series of coloured boxes, the key to which was printed on the reverse of one of the best long player’s ever made.

New Order :: We all Stand

Audio MP3

Making Marks began life as My Little Pony, which has to be among the worst ever names for a band, especially one that made records as good as this.

My Little Pony :: Fragments of an Island

And, from Pretty Decent Swimmers, an EP released earlier this year, here’s an example of that marvellous Smiths–Gene hybrid I mentioned.

Northern Portrait :: Happy Nice Day

Twitter: Making Marks; Northern Portrait.

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