When his indie-folk band, Kaiser Cartel, took an indefinite break after releasing their second album, Benjamin Cartel decided to move ahead by going back to where he'd started. That meant resurrecting the buzz-worthy solo career he'd kicked off in New York City, back in the early '00s.

Combining older songs with newer material, he carved out a sound that split the difference between John Lennon's classic pop and Wilco's wry rock & roll. Cartel began recording the tunes with a group of NY-based musicians, then sent the unfinished products to Swedish producer Kristoffer Ragnstam, who beefed up the acoustic recordings with bass, drum tracks, guitars and keyboards. A proper EP was created, almost by accident, and Cartel chose to call it Money and Love.

When it came time to record a full-length album, he turned to Ragnstam once again. This time, however, he flew overseas and joined the producer at his studio in Gothenberg, a quiet European city that helped fire up Cartel's imagination. Inspired by a feeling longing for his friends back home and a surge of excitement for his new songs, he finished the album in 12 days. The result is Gothenberg, a solo album inspired by everything from breakups to Alfred Hitchcock movies.