I have probably already mentioned that I flirted briefly with Sweden. I can't give a good reason for why this happened, but it had something to do with being trapped in a dead-end job and feeling like my horizons were shrinking, and that I'd better get out and see the world before I grew too old to really enjoy it.
What better place for a socially-neurotic Canadian to go but Sweden, which is like Canada but more so? I put off actually TRAVELING there by plunging into Swedish history, language, and culture (though I didn't go so far as to try Surströmming, being of a delicate disposition weaned on things that smell good).
During my "Swedish wannabe" phase I ran across the music of Komeda. They exemplified the hip, unselfconscious, unclassifiable nature of so many great Swedish bands that I was hearing at the time...even if many people thought they just sounded like Stereolab.
They only released a handful of albums (only two of which were in English) but they mixed styles in a way that still sounds great today: part lounge, part rock, part laid-back retro electronic. To illustrate their eclectic nature, here's their first hit single, "Boogie Woogie/Rock 'n' Roll," silly on the surface but well-tempered with considerable skill. Don't worry, cubicle surfers...this is the version WITHOUT the bare tushes.
Their second English album ("What Makes It Go?") was much slicker, and it seemed like they were being groomed for North American college radio. Their video for "It's Alright Baby" might not have dispelled inevitable comparisons with The Cardigans, but it sure was fun.
Then they disappeared. Then end.
But wait! I just discovered that they released another album in 2003. I'll have to order it so I can justify the "I'd Buy Anything" designation.
Albums to buy: You don't have a lot of choices, but "What Makes It Go" is the easiest to find and considered my many to be the best. Albums to avoid: "Pop På Svenska" is a tad larval and monotonous, and...well, it's in Swedish. So that would also put it in the "For Fans Only" category.