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Rock: Folk Rock Moods: Featuring Guitar Folk: Urban Folk Pop: Swedish Pop/Rock Moods: Mood: Brooding

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Stellan Wahlstrom Drift Band

The latest album Hotel Continental was recorded the analogue way on to 2″-tape by Christian Gabel (1900, Bob Hund) at Cobra Studio in Stockholm, and mixed by Patrick Derivaz (who just came from work with Television) in Brooklyn, NY. The first single from the album is the song “The Mercy”.

On Hotel Continental the band has speeded up the tempo and cranked up the electric guitars. The sound of the new album can be described as urban folk-rock and there’s a definite flavour of international metropolis all through, not least in the title track which was written at the classic old Hotel Continental Saigon. The album cover painting by Angeles Santos was found in a museum in Madrid, a city where the lush album closer “The embrace of night” is also set. The raw and hard “Something to give” was written on a train to Delhi, while “Waxholm Hotell” could be set in almost any end-of-season coastal town.

The band in the studio consisted of Johan Werner – piano, Hammond and mellotron, Johan Adelman & Bo Schager – bass, Lutten Larsson & Per Lager – drums, and Stellan Wahlström – vocals, guitars (including an electric Hagström 12-string) and the occasional celeste. Jason Victor (Dream Syndicate) and Mats Grönmark (Eve & the last waltz) added some excellent guitar work.

Stellan Wahlström was previously in the garage rock band The Wylde Mammoths, touring Europe and the US and releasing records on the legendary Crypt Records label. He was also in The High Speed V, another wild rock combo coming out of that same scene. He has now left the garage and with his Drift Band is doing their own brand of modern urban folk-rock, or as US magazine The Big Takeover put it: ”A more sophisticated take on a cross between post-Velvets and Alt-Country with a very clean almost jazz-like ambience”.

Based in New York during the last half of the nineties, Stellan Wahlström did lots of live shows at clubs like CBGB’s, Continental and Sidewalk, and recorded the album Time leaves you behind with Patrick Derivaz (who had previously worked with Luna and John Cale among others). The song ”Watching TV” was featured in the independent film ”Rhyme and Reason”, and Stellan also did studio work for other artists, including harmonica playing on rock’n’roll band Sour Jazz’s first album.

Returning to Sweden he reformed the band, released the So this is what the end looks like-EP, and started playing live again in Stockholm (as well as acoustic tours in India in 2003 and 2005). The second album The excitable gift was recorded by Sten Hårdbåge at Das Boot Studio in Stockholm and mixed by Linus Larsson (Anna Ternheim, Eldkvarn and others), and featured the slow piano song ”Ocean Ave” which some radio stations quite liked. If the first album had a distinct taste of classic New York rock, the second album hinted more towards 70’s West Coast singer/songwriter-rock. That one was followed up by Across the room (with the single “Charlotte says”), which gained quite a lot of airplay on US college radio, and Stellan was over in New York and played at the legendary but now defunct Lakeside Lounge for that.