Echo Park might not be as well versed in Swedish culture (no, trips to IKEA don’t count), but after this weekend and Culture Collide festival, that great divide has been breached thanks to the help of Melpo Mene, The Deer Tracks, Like Swimming, and others who all brought their vibrant, if not obscenely sprightly music to town – along with their dry senses of humor.
Like Swimming came out of the gates swinging on Thursday night, turning Lot 1’s back performance space more into a dance floor than its intimate nature would seemingly allow. If we’re left to infer anything from their role as Sweden’s cultural attache this weekend, it’s that Sweden really is one of the happiest nations in the world. Even their ode to cyanide, “Go Buffalo”, was a vibrant dose of peppy beats and kinetically charged drum machines. As the song marched off gleefully to Petter Wesslander’s beat, frontwoman Ida Hedene belted out her refrain in dutiful acceptance of a dubious fate, “we are all gonna die in the summer…”, she charged. But we’re fine with it – no, really.
The Deer Tracks brought us Sweden’s humble sensibilities on stage, combined the country’s penchant for modern indie dance tracks. With blazing beats and a folksy hook that embeds itself in your soul, their track “Lazarus” enveloped the boisterous crowd in Taix’s Champagne Room on Saturday night. Their eclectic mix of sounds and varied instruments lent themselves well to the enigmatic setting of Echo Park.
Striking a blend of Sweden’s old and new, The Deer Tracks hit Sunset at a time when Echo Park itself struggles to reconcile past and future. A harbinger of sorts, perhaps The Deer Tracks offers the notion that traditional beginnings can in fact coalesce with modern convention.
Photos by Marni Epstein and Kim Willming
Marni Epstein is a freelance writer and music journalist who has also worked in both the film and digital media industries.