(SXSW 2015 flavoured!) Bands to Watch #342: Amason

By on Wednesday, 25th February 2015 at 12:00 pm

Just last week, it was revealed Scarlett Johansson has launched a supergroup. Oh, the horror. Here at TGTF, we’re more interested in supergroups that have actual musical merit. The Dead Weather, Divine Fits, bands of that ilk. The latest supergroup to appear on our radar this time is from Sweden. No-one is quite sure how Miike Snow alum Pontus Winnberg came up with the name one day – Amason happens to also be the name of a highly popular ‘60s-era make of Volvo – but it’s now the name of one of the most promising music collectives to come out of Scandinivia in recent memory.

The band comprises Winnberg (piano), his brother Petter (bass / vocals), Petter’s childhood friend and frequent collaborator Nils Tornqvist (drums), Gustav Ejstes of rock band Dungen (organ / guitar / vocals) and Idiot Wind singer/songwriter Amanda Bergman (synths / vocals). As one would expect with musicians who love their craft, the sum of the five musicians’ disparate influences and experiences is greater than its parts, strongly indicative of the strength of the Scandinavian music community, happy to share their talents and souls in the pursuit of creating amazing music.

Not only did the quintet gel the first time they booked time together in the studio, live they also made a massive impression on industry bods at CMJ 2014, with NPR’s Bob Boilen noting them one of his top 10 discoveries from the annual emerging music event last year in New York City. Unsurprisingly, the band’s debut album ‘Sky City’ released at the end of January was granted a First Listen feature on NPR. Translation: they have a good chance of making it very big here in the States, and they will no doubt have good, if not claustrophobic crowds going to see them at SXSW 2015 next month.

The first two singles Amason released, in 2014, both appear at the beginning of ‘Sky City’. Opening track ‘Älgen’ has an irresistible driving rhythm that should be amazing to watch performed live with its layered synths and effects; they’re situated well during the current era of the anthemic synth-driven band as it shows no sign of waning. This is swiftly followed by ‘Duvan’ (“The Dove”), with arresting vocals from Bergman compared favourably by some reviewers to the smokiest from early Stevie Nicks, while the backing instrumentation envelopes you with its smooth, lounge-y feel perfect for the nighttime. Which is when I imagine Amason will shine the brightest in Austin: under the cover of darkness, where they can surprise and wow punters looking for something different to hit the spot.

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