Review: New Sweden – Self-titled EP

2013-04-20 21.52.53(Editor’s Note: I started writing this review while in the UK. Upon my return home I found out New Sweden are playing in my town next weekend. This image was not provided by the band or the venue. It’s an Instagram picture I took while strolling by Steel City Coffeehouse in Phoenixville this afternoon.)

Having failed to enter into a PhD program after six years of academia, in 1999 I remained deep in the throes of literary ambition. Back then, newspapers still provided news, job openings and random listings. Among the latter, I discovered an ad from Wilmington, Delaware’s City Theater Company calling for submissions for 10-minute plays. Clipping the listing, I posted it to my fridge, lingering over it for the first few days, overlooking it until three days before the submission date. With this deadline looming in my mind, the play came to me verbatim in a dream that night. Written in a fury the next day, I submitted the play two days later, only to receive a call a week or so down the line to inform me my play had been accepted for that year’s festival.

My first taste of success. My only play I’ve seen staged. 1999.

It’s now 2013 and writing doesn’t come as easy. There are no dreams guiding my words.

I discovered the Wilmington band New Sweden this week through their association with other Philadelphia-area bands I’ve discussed here before. Turns out, they have a new self-titled EP.

My first listen stirred up the rush and emotion of writing that first play. Deadlines to be met, creativity that needs to be unleashed, no preconceived notions. Simply art for art’s sake.

That’s what this self-titled, “DIY EP” provides.

I can’t say I’ve heard the band’s previous release, 2011’s The Mountain, before now. But this four-song EP is what rock music should be: off-the-cuff rawness, a band honing their sound, zits and scars fully exposed. Working the songs out as you go, recording in one take.

According to the band, they “put some things on the back burner while [they] focused on [their] live set. Unfortunately, among the things pushed off were … plans of recording. This DIY EP should give you a taste of what we’ve been working on recently and what you can expect live.”

If these four songs are any indication, I hope to catch New Sweden live soon. Sniffing hints of The Rolling Stones, Deer Tick and Delta Spirit, I suspect a New Sweden house show would be bottles of fun.

Stream and download New Sweden’s self-titled EP below.

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