In search of vinyl

Record stores in Stockholm

Lola A. Åkerström spotlights some record stores in Stockholm.

All photos by author

All photos by author

Who says vinyl is dead?

My introduction to Swedish music came from one particular vinyl record scratching and then filling the humid air with melodic hums of “Dancing Queen” in my living room in Lagos, Nigeria. Barely five or six years old, I remember waiting patiently for that hum as the vinyl record gets ready to play its first song, and then dancing away. This was our Saturday morning traditions. Flipping through over a hundred records from ABBA to James Brown to Motown Blues.

That was my first introduction to pop rock music from Sweden. Through those shiny black vinyls which my dad still keeps and nostalgically pulls out every once in a while to play.

While investigating the roots of electro funk pop band Icona Pop, culture reporter Mark Blankenship was surprised – or maybe not so much – that the duo hails from Sweden.

“Of course. Because Sweden is the birthplace of 64% of all great pop music,” Blankenship sarcastically jokes in his article 5 Reasons Swedish Pop Music Is Everything. Do they teach kids about catchy hooks in Stockholm? Does the krona have a picture of Michael Jackson on it? Who can say? But whatever the reason, the Swedes have got pop music on lockdown,” he goes on to say.

While “64%” sounds like a pretty sweet statistic, it isn’t official and Blakenship’s musings truly hint at the popularity and reach of Swedish music and songwriters across the globe. “The demand for Swedish music is increasing abroad, as is listening to music in Sweden,” shared Elisabet Widlund, CEO of Musiksverige (“Music Sweden”). “The music industry is not driven primarily by financial interests, but by the will to create, express oneself and spread music to the public.”

And it seems chart topping Swedish musical acts and songwriters keep passing the proverbial hit-making baton to each other as they move through the decades. With their 1974 breakthrough hit “Waterloo”, it seemed ABBA became the first to kick off the musical relay of Swedish music. From ABBA who ruled the 70s and early 80s to become the second most successful groups ever behind the Beatles to Roxette,  Neneh Cherry, and Europe who rocked the 80s and early 90s.

DSC_0694-1086

The 90s also brought with it Ace of Base and Neneh’s brother Eagle Eye Cherry alongside bands like The Cardigans who would later pass the baton into the early 2000s on to the likes of indie rockers The Hives, Peter Bjorn, John, and Jens Lekman. Today, artists Robyn, Lykke Li, and Miss Li now dominate pop charts in their respective genres alongside record smashing house DJs Avicii and Swedish House Mafia.

More than just the big name musicians, you might be surprised to find that Swedish songwriters lie behind many chart-topping pop songs today. From songwriter and producer Max Martin who has penned catchy pop tunes for Britney Spears, Kesha, Taylor Swift, Katy Perry, Pink, Usher, Backstreet Boys, ‘N Sync, and Kelly Clarkson, and Sweden’s own Robyn to music video director  Jonas Åkerlund who keeps pushing boundaries with edgy music videos for Madonna, Lady Gaga, Moby, Christina Aguilera, Pink, and U2.

With such a deep history of musical acts and songwriters already making an impact globally as far back as the 50s and 60s, it’s no surprise that Stockholm has quite a healthy selection of classic and vintage record stores.

I visited Fade Records on a photography assignment. Located on Södermalm in its funky so-fo district, Fade records sells vinyls and other equipment for DJs and music lovers. The vibe was relaxed with armchairs outside on the narrow sidewalk and the feeling of being in your friend’s basement room filled with vinyl records.

 

At popular indie record store, Pet Sounds, you can pick up classic vinyl records of legendary musicians from the 1960s as well as modern CDs from the hottest current acts and it often hosts in-store jam sessions as well.

Started in 1979, Pet Sounds considers itself a living room for generations of music lovers – from hosting celebrities like Quentin Tarantino to teenagers just discovering Bob Dylan and Bruce Springsteen to music from Swedish stars like pop-rock queen Robyn.

The Golden Oldies Shop is an old school specialty shop for vinyl record collectors. They sell and buy original pressed vinyl records (Singles, EPs and LPs) from the 1950s to the 1980s, mainly in the categories of Pop, Rock, Soul, Jazz, Punk, Blues, Swedish popular songs, the Eurovision Song Contest, ABBA, Roxette, and Rhythm & Blues (R & B).

The Golden Oldies Shop was opened 38 years ago by Jan-Erik Ekblom and in 1977 was the first shop in the Nordics for avid record collectors. For over 52 years, Jan-Erik himself is an avid collector and has built up its expertise in the music and record industry continuously since 1963. Between 1970 and 1990 he worked as a professional disc jockey.

DSC_0662-1054

And here are just a couple more record stores in Stockholm worth checking out if you’re looking for classic, vintage, and even modern vinyl records for your collection.

Bengans Skivbutik – www.bengans.se

Fade Records – www.fade.se

Gelborn Records – www.gellbornrecords.com

Kollaps Records – www.kollaps.net

Little Shop of Records – www.littleshopofrecords.se

Mickes Serier, Cd & Vinyl – www.mickes-cdvinyl.se

Pet Sounds – www.petsounds.se

Plugged Records – www.plugged.se

Push my buttons – www.pushmybuttons.se

Record Mania – www.recordmania.net

Runtrunt – www.runtrunt.se

Snickars Records – www.snickarsrecords.com

The Golden Oldies Shop – www.goldenoldies.se

Recordjunkie also has a comprehensive listing of more record stores in Stockholm and you can find a couple more reviews of record stores on Yelp.

 

 

Author: Lola A. Åkerström

Lola Akinmade Åkerström is an award-winning writer, photographer, and travel blogger, and is also the Founder/Editor-in-chief of Slow Travel Stockholm. Her photography is represented by National Geographic Creative. She tweets at @LolaAkinmade.

Share This Post On