Snoose Boulevard (btv075)
Buy Online | one-sided LP
1 Arrow and Bow
2 Doom di Doom
3 Sweet Careless
4 Snoose Boulevard
5 Based on Me
|I went back to visit my friend Krister in Umeå, Sweden in the fall of 2001. We spent one of the evenings listening to a bunch of records from area bands. One of my favorites was Isolation Years‘ Inland Traveler album which had this lush, Americana or American gothic influenced psychedelic sound, if that adjective can even apply to Swedish bands.
The album, with its beautiful mix of singing saw and horns with a more traditional line-up, brought to mind Italian western film scores or even the venerable Neutral Milk Hotel. Band member Jakob Nyström lived a few houses away from Krister and they were friends. Over the next several years, Krister would continue to collect copies of all the Isolation Years releases and live recordings and send them to me. I have no problem calling myself the biggest American Isolation Years fan. Inland Traveler was later re-issued in 2003 in the US by the Galaxy Gramophone label and ended up on my friends’ top 10 list for 2003 in the Village Voice. I didn’t know anyone else knew who the band was at that point and we started to share the subsequent releases I had gotten. Krister and I started to talk about doing a release together and Isolation Years was the easy first choice. The band had been saving up some material to release as an ep and it’s made it’s way to this one-sided release. There are 5 songs, showcasing the band’s abilities with Ben Volta’s etching of ants on the B side. Snoose Boulevard is the name that was given to the main street of a Swedish section of town in the late 19th century, Snoose being an English take on the Swedish word for snuff, snus. It seems to be an appropriate name for this LP, Isolation Years‘ first vinyl release in the United States.
Isolation Years are very popular in Scandinavia and Europe, with 4 full-length albums, 2 EPs, and 2 7″. Their Swedish home is the North of No South (NONS) label who also press vinyl for each release and this quickly sells out. Their continental Europe home is Germany’s Stickman Records.
Spring 1999: Jakob Nyström, Jakob Moström and Daniel Berglund got together to record some songs on their 8-track. Jakob and Jakob had written some songs separately and now they intended to make them reality together. The idea was just to fulfill the potential of each individual song and not to care whether they fit together. There were, after all, no plans to record an album or even start a band at this point. The results were surprisingly good and to make rehearsals easier they invited Daniel’s younger brother Anton to play bass.
July 1999: 12 songs were recorded at Jakob Nyström’s parents house in Sävar, much to the annoyance of their neighbors. A friend at Chalksounds Records wanted to release a 7″ from that session so the band was christened “Isolation Years“, a line in the title song from the EP called Idiot Pilgrimage. The band added Mats Hammarström on piano/organ for live performances and later he joined the band as a steady member. After a few shows Isolation Years gained a growing reputation for delivering atmospheric yet powerful pop music. Pressure from friends and fans convinced the band to aim for the world outside mid-northern Sweden.
June 2000: Some 15 chosen songs were recorded in their homemade studio with the intention to release them by themselves if nobody else cared. Fortunately the recordings turned out excellent and somebody cared a whole lot.
2001: Shows in Stockholm and some summer festivals were played and the recordings were mixed and mastered for a release on Stickman Records. The album was titledInland Traveller.
2002: Lots of shows in Sweden, one tour through Germany and a tour of Germany and Holland followed. The Talkin’ Backwards EP was released in February.
2003: The dreaded second album, It’s Golden, is recorded and released, and it’s a masterpiece! Great press and a lot of touring through Scandinavia, Germany, Austria and Switzerland followed. The video to “Open Those Eyes” was spotted on MTV Nordic and Onyx, as well as the song receiving a lot of radio airplay all over Europe. This year also hailed the release of Inland Traveller in the US on the small independent label Galaxy Gramophone. Shortly before the end of the year, the EP Frosted Minds is released in Sweden by MNW.
2005: Cover the Distance is released and receives rave reviews all across Europe. The album is followed by extensive touring and a ton of interviews for the European press.
2007: Their fourth full-length Sign Sign is released in Scandinavia and will be released in the rest of Europe later in the year.
The past: Jakob and Jakob have known each other since early childhood. Daniel and Anton Berglund teamed up with Jakob N. in Sävar (a town outside of Umeå) in the mid-80’s. They played together in various constellations ranging from cheesy pop to hardcore. Jakob M. sleeps with his tape-echo and likes spaghetti westerns while Jakob N. listens to psychedelia and enjoys playing the saw. Daniel used to drum for Komeda and is now practising on the trumpet and Anton plays accordion and is currently learning the euphonium. And last but not least, Mats is an excellent guitar player and sound engineer but is currently playing the piano.
The future: looking bright.