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Irya's Playground

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Irya's Playground is a Swedish indie rock band with occasional electronica undertones that made its Top Five hit album debut in 2008. Based in Stockholm, Sweden, the band is comprised of Irya Gmeyner (vocals), Erik Nilsson (drums), Pange Öberg (bass), Ludvig Rylander (keyboards), Jon Bergström (guitar), and David Calgaro (guitar). Influences cited by the band include contemporary indie rockers Cat Power and PJ Harvey; American new wave bands Television and the Pretenders; British post-punk bands Joy Division and the Clash; classic rock icons Bob Dylan and David Bowie; alternative rock pioneers the Velvet Underground and Patti Smith; and soul legends Aretha Franklin and Irma Thomas. Gmeyner, the namesake of Irya's Playground, is of English heritage and grew up in Newcastle, England, prior to relocating to Sweden and ultimately basing herself in Stockholm. During the '90s she was the lead singer in the alternative rock band Urga, which released three independently released albums -- Ur Kaos Föds Allting (1997), Etanol (1998), and Urgasm (2002) -- and made quite a reputation for itself, in part through touring. Following the dissolution of Urga, Gmeyner made her solo recording debut in 2004 with the one-off single "My Angel" on the label Byker Wall. A few years later she released The Basement Takes from Textilgatan 7 (2007), a five-track EP. The following year she and her band made their full-length debut with the eponymous album Irya's Playground (2008). While the album included four of the five songs from the previous year's EP, Irya's Playground was more collaborative, written and produced in conjunction with Öberg, the band's bassist. The songs "With You" and "Room 54" were released as singles, and the album, released on Byker Wall in association with Universal Music, proved popular, eventually reaching the Top Five of the Swedish charts. ~ Jason Birchmeier

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