Musical Survival Guide to Get Through Winter

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For Angelinos, it’s officially winter and the temperature in Los Angeles has notably started to drop. Take notice that Los Angeles’ locals do a phenomenal job adapting to this seasonal change. It’s all in the footwear. Westside beach bros and babes swap their almost year-round flip flops for Vans or other skate shoes, while the Eastside hipsters exchange their summer boots for, well, winter boots.

Röyksopp: Performing live in Berlin (Wikipedia)
Röyksopp: Performing live in Berlin

Winter boots typically feature darker coloring, thicker leather, and faux fur detailing, in case the difference seemed nonexistent. When the temperature drops from the 80s to the 60s in the City of Angels, it’s hard not to complain that suddenly the ocean becomes too cold to swim in, or that dog owners must swiftly fork up extra cash to purchase a sweatshirt for their furry, four-legged babies. Personally, my pooch rocks a fire-truck red American Apparel hoodie, and he’s never looked better or been more prepared.

Winter is coming, after all. But while Los Angeles folk complain that there aren’t enough leather jackets or beanies in the world to keep them warm, the rest of the world has to deal with snow — outside the comfort of their heated cars, if you can imagine such a thing. My sister lives in New York, a city of four seasons and public transportation … Bless her brave heart. Us Westsiders have it far too easy compared to the rest of the world when it comes to surviving winter, especially compared to, say, Scandinavia?

Please allow me to quickly explain that Scandinavia is a region in Northern Europe that is comprised of the kingdoms Norway, Sweden and Denmark.

Robyn at the P3 Guld music awards in 2009 (Wikipedia)
Robyn at the P3 Guld music awards in 2009

So, why mention Scandinavia? Certainly, Los Angeles peeps would not make it through winter over there. Think of Scandinavia as The Wall (I might as well fully commit to Game of Thrones allusions), while Los Angeles portrays the summer haven of King’s Landing — obviously before Joffrey becomes king.

Despite the freezing cold, research shows there’s been a warm front sweeping across Scandinavia — in the name of music, that is. In recent months, artists such as Röyksopp, iamamiwhoami, and Ex Cops have proven that their music is hot enough to melt away the thickest icebergs and heaviest snowfalls.

Take the two-headed Norwegian DJ monster known, as Röyksopp. Members Svein Berge and Torbjorn Brundtland have been around since 1998, yet, surprisingly, their face-melting bass beats managed to remain under the radar when it comes to the American mainstream music scene. Props to them, since radio stations with their signature power-move of overplaying, pose as music’s Achilles’ heel.

A few months ago, Röyksopp collaborated with fellow Scandinavian recording artist, Robyn, from Sweden, to release the heart-attack-inducing single, “Monument,” followed by a full album titled, The Inevitable End. Prior to The Inevitable End, Royksopp released four other full albums: Melody A.M, The Understanding, Junior and Senior.

But 2014 will be a different year for Röyksopp as it’s time for the grandfathers of European electronic music, such as Armin Van Buuren and Tiesto, to step down. Oh man, is Röyksopp the new King Joffrey? Will they behead the Ned Starks of the DJ world? Here’s hoping.

Honestly, Swede Robyn deserves a shout out of her own. Despite her collaboration with Röyksopp in recent months for songs “Do It Again” and “Say It,” she has a solid line of solo work with albums Robyn, Body Talk Pt. 1, 2 AND 3. Holy shit. Moreover, we all remember Snoop Dogg’s 2008 love ballad known as “Sexual Eruption” that put female orgasms on the map (‘cause before they were some kind of mystery slash myth). Well, Robyn’s remix of the song is so good, it actually will make you climax on the spot.

Danish duo Ex Cops pose for Interview Magazine (Wikipedia)
Danish duo Ex Cops pose for Interview Magazine

Not to mention, Robyn joined forces with another Swedish group, The Teddybears, to remix songs “Cardiac Arrest” and “Cobrastyle.” As if Sweden didn’t just gain enough cool points, let’s talk about iamamiwhoami, made up of producer Claes Bjorklund and singer/songwriter Jonna Lee, who easily resembles Daenerys Targaryen (spell check, anyone?) with her bleached blonde hair and porcelain skin.

If we’re referring to dragons, iamamiwhoami’s winged, fire-breathing pets hatched a long time ago in 2009 with their debut album, Bounty, followed by Kin, their second release in 2012. Now, in 2014, her dragons are all grown up and deadly as ever with the album Blue. Compared to Röyksopp, iamamiwhoami has a more therapeutic, relaxing, spacey mushroom-y sound, ‘cause that makes perfect sense. Whether you’re on the beach, or had a trip in which you thought you were on the beach, listen specifically to iamamiwhoami’s single “Blue Blue,” and let the waves of angelic, echo-like vocals wash over you. It’s also a love song, so that’s cute.

Now that we know Sweden and Norway are hot shit when it comes to music, it’s only right to assume that their smaller southern sibling, Denmark, can carry its own load of hot shit, even in the coldest of climates. Since I’ve dug myself into a Game of Thrones ditch, Danish duo Ex Cops best characterize Bran Stark and his visions of the three-eyed raven, with their debut album titled, True Hallucinations. Sorry, Ex Cops are not a comprised group of paraplegics (as unique as that would be), but like Bran, they are young in the game.

iamamiwhoami perform live at Stockholm music festival in 2012. (Wikipedia)
iamamiwhoami perform live at Stockholm music festival in 2012.

Originally formed in 2012, Ex Cops just released their newest record, Daggers, this November. Best described as pop-synth, I have first hand experience in that their music is contagious to the body’s muscle movements. Ex Cops performed live in Los Angeles at the Bootleg Theater a few weeks ago. Needless to say, their song “White Noise” left my body for dead, but not before bouncing it from wall to wall in sync to the 80s themed keyboard chords.

Sadly, I wish I wrote this piece before Black Friday so music lovers could go out and buy heaps of Scandinavian-based records at a better price. Yes, people still buy records — Amoeba Music, people! I know for a fact Aaron Paul of Breaking Bad still purchases CDs and DVDs. How? ‘Cause I saw him at Amoeba, shopping away, and like hearing Robyn’s remix of “Sexual Eruption,” I immediately jizzed in my pants.

Anyway, it’s not too late to start thinking of Christmas presents, and with holiday parties coming up, CDs bestow the perfect gift. By the way, does anyone have an Ugly Sweater I can borrow? But seriously, go ahead and add iamamiwhoami’s record Blue, Ex Cops’ Daggers, and Röyksopp’s The Inevitable End to your wish list, ‘cause no one wants to listen to “Jingle Bell Rock” for the millionth time.