Posts Tagged ‘Norway’

Composed right before lock-down ensued, Spielbergs reunited with their debut album This Is Not the End producer, Tord Øverland Knudsen, for the song. And the new track is as eruptive as their previous works. With snarling guitars, fast-paced drumming, Lead singer and guitarist Mads Baklien explains the inspiration behind the track in a press release:

“I find myself looking back a lot. Looking back in regret, looking back in anger. It leads to nothing. So I’ve decided to look forward. But the only problem is I don’t know where the fuck I’m going. So I just keep doing what I’ve always done. Going nowhere.”

Spielberg’s: Noisy indie rockers on hold, “We were really well underway and have recorded a number of songs. Unfortunately, Corona and Mads’s abscess with subsequent fistula has made things stop completely. All of 2020 has only been an endless start-stop-stop situation. Admittedly, there is no shortage of songs, we just have to have the opportunity to gather at the rehearsal and in the studio so that we can finish things,” explains the Oslo trio Spielbergs. When we started playing together, we struggled to agree on what we should be called. Well into the recording process of what ended up as our first EP, we still had no band name. We had a song called the Spielbergs song (“Ghost Boy”) in which the songtitle was inspired by Spielberg’s “Close Encounter.”

So we have to prepare ourselves for even longer waits before we can get more delightful melodic noise rockers from the band that was nominated for the towering harmonies and energetic drive on their debut album “This is Not The End” in 2019. We’d love to know more of the musical heat and the bombastic tunes in the meeting points between indie, power pop and post-hardcore punk. In 2020.

Read more about frustrations over the year 2020, lack of interest in technical things and music equipment, about how the band was misunderstood by its American fans and about great musical freedom.

Norwegian power-pop trio Spielbergs combine the finest elements of Superchunk, Jimmy Eat World and Sonic Youth and bring them to life in a way that’s as fresh as it is nostalgic. Their debut should hold a grab-bag of punk-pop treasures recently reflected by single release ‘Five On It’.


Debut album from Norway’s Spielbergs.
released February 1st, 2019

Mighty Magnolias has released their third album, and it sounds like it was made in Laurel Canyon in 1974 and still manages to sound fresh and relevant. It is the best Norwegian album released in 2020 and they deserve international recognition. It almost sounds as if J.D. Souther at his best wrote songs with Jayhawks and Stevie Nicks … with a Rolling Stones type country guitar weaving in and out of the songs. The melodies, the singing and the musicianship are very strong.

It has never happened before, This year’s best Norwegian album comes from Os, and Mighty Magnolias. Two of my tentative favorites from the record are country-charged “Somewhere up the Way” and “Roots” rocker “Nothin’ is for Real”.

On their third album, Mighty Magnolias appears as a packed band that gets to show off its full and full potential. After two records recorded in Snaxville in the deep forests of Eastern Norway, they have this time made the trip to Havnelageret Studio in Bergen, where vocalist Emil Nordtveit uses everything he has learned – and takes the step forward as producer for the record.


This is a solid country rock record. As good as the songs are on the album (and they are great) they’re even better live.

They’ve made their best record, one of the best albums of the year, and one of the best Americana records made in this country.

One of Americana’s biggest head-turners in 2020 hails from Norway. The Northern Belle became a blip on the Americana radar this year with “We Wither, We Bloom”. Navigating rocking, high-octane arrangements with soaring crescendos and crisp, tasty guitar tones and harmonies, the septet have often drawn comparison to 1970s-era Fleetwood Mac and others that fall within the “desert rock” aesthetic. The band ultimately creates an atmosphere all their own thanks to the efforts of powerhouse frontwoman Stine Andreassen acting as the soulful staple to their sound. Expressive, ebullient, and instantly impressionable, We Wither, We Bloom is one slick production that tastefully elevates Americana further onto the pop stage.

With their affection for words and the pure heartache in old country music, The Northern Belle have captured the attention of Oslo’s folk/country-scene. They mix traditional country with pop and Norwegian folk music, resulting in a unique musical output. The singer is a true storyteller and the instruments, especially the Hardanger fiddle and the steel guitar, enhance the melodies and tales. 

Written as an examination of personal relationships, the new album by The Northern Belle is aptly titled We Wither, We Bloom. The Norwegian septet is among the pioneers of the nordicana scene that has been gaining momentum in the US the last few years. Fronted by prolific singer-songwriter Stine Andreassen (also of folk quartet Silver Lining) and armed with pedal steel, slide guitar, lush harmonies, a string quartet and their secret weapon, the Norwegian Hardanger fiddle, The Northern Belle have developed their own unique brew of pop-oriented americana and folk music. Imagine Fleetwood Mac fronted by Jenny Lewis in a country mood.

Brimming with melodic tunes and clever lyrics, We Wither We Bloom is the band’s third studio album, albeit the first to be released internationally. Having made the difficult decision to quit her day job to pursue music, Andreassen and The Northern Belle received widespread praise and a Spellemann nomination (Norwegian Grammy) for the 2018 album
Blinding Blue Neon. In the spring of 2019, Andreassen traveled to Nashville for three months to write the follow-up. The welcoming and thriving music scene found east of the Cumberland River sparked a creative songwriting spell that resulted in this inspired collection of tracks. The distance from home allowed for new views on friends, family, love, loss and homesickness, resulting in the band’s most personal album to date.


The songs vary in tempo and style, from the melodic rocker “Gemini” to the string-laden “Born to Be a Mother”. “Remember It” is a fiery tell-off to a horrible ex (“I wanna hurt you and remember it”), “Tailor Made” is a tribute to the band’s Nudie suit-wearing heroes of the past, while “Late Bloomer” in a way sums up the album title – a song about taking time before daring to pursue music.

“I’ve struggled with the feeling of not being good enough, being labelled because I’m a woman and that I should have had kids already and that the clock is ticking. I’ve destroyed friendships and made new ones, but I’m left with feeling stronger than before because I’ve confronted the things that hurt in my songs,” says Andreassen, who has written the bulk of the album with a few contributions from local Nashville songwriters.

Constantly evolving as a band, The Northern Belle’s sound in 2020 is inspired by contemporary acts such as Erin Rae, Kacey Musgraves, Phoebe Bridgers and Marit Larsen, as well as legends such The Beach Boys, The Byrds and Glen Campbell. All resulting in a record that pays tribute to its inspirations while also showing true originality.
Released August 28th, 2020

Sløtface, 2020. Credit: Marthe Thu

Norwegian political punks Slotface were just over a month into the release of their acclaimed second album ‘Sorry For The Late Reply‘ when the coronavirus lockdown forced them to scrap their tour and stay home. Then, after months of trying to distract themselves, they decided to re-record a bunch of their songs in a much more stripped-down way to the fiery post-punk you may know them for.

As a result, the songs took on a new life and meaning – including an old one that nearly never saw the light of day. ‘Doctor’ is released – a track that deals with “the struggles women face with a lack of understanding and focus on their bodies in medicine”. It’s also the first taster of a new acoustic album ‘Slumber Tapes’ coming out next month. Lasse Løkoy [bassist] explains.

It’s almost two weeks since you got to hear the first track! What did you all think about “Doctor”? It was really fun to share it with you guys, especially since it’s been laying around since Try Not To Freak Out. “We had originally recorded ‘Doctor’ for ‘Try Not To Freak Out’ as one of the first songs we worked on, but then it didn’t make the cut,” singer Haley Shea says “We feel that it really gets to shine with a new arrangement.

This Friday we’re releasing the rest of “the Slumber Tapes” – some new songs and some re-recorded versions of old stuff with a bit of a new sound. We’d talked about making an ‘acoustic’ album for a long time, and when all of our touring plans suddenly went down the drain we suddenly had a lot of time free, and we chose to spend it in the studio.

Haley Shea (Vocals Guitar), Tor-Arne Vikingstad (guitarist) , Lasse Løkoy (bassist)

Propeller Recordings Released on: 2020-09-25


“If you have a vacancy for another favourite new band on your listening device, Pom Poko would like to apply for the role,” tweeted Tim Burgess last April, as Norway’s finest punk-pop anti-conformists revisited their joyous debut album, “Birthday”, for one of Tim’s mood-lifting twitter listening parties.

Pom Poko pimp their cv on all fronts with their glorious second album, “Cheater”, is due for release via Bella Union in November. between the quartet’s sweet melodies, galvanic punky ructions and wild-at-art-rock eruptions, Cheater is the sound of a band celebrating the binding extremes that make them so uniquely qualified to thrill: and, like Tim’s listening party, to fulfil any need you might have for a pick-you-up. as singer Ragnhild Fangel explains of the leap from “Birthday” to “Cheater”, “I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. in the production process I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording, but also let ourselves explore the less frantic parts of the Pom Poko universe.

I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.” both sonically and thematically, that sense of amplification asserts itself right off the bat with the tearaway title-track. bursting into life on the back of a blast of fractious guitar noise, a thrashing riff and a sweetly sardonic vocal, “Cheater” laces its serotonin rush with tangy lyrics about dreams and, says Ragnhild, the kind of “cheating kid who doesn’t understand why they didn’t get things exactly like they wanted on their first try”: thematic motifs that reverberate throughout the album. from here, Pom Poko court their extremes with firecracker confidence. its lilting melody laced with a critique of gender stereotypes and set to a breeders-style lurch, “like a lady” is sharp and catchy. “Andrew” upholds a facility for simplicity in one of Pom Poko’s loveliest choruses, though a band such as this will never settle for the obvious: Martin Miguel tonne’s jazzy guitars seem to do everything except what you expect them to.

Further evidence arrives in the contrast between the thrilling, think-on-its-feet thrash-pop of “My Candidacy” – made in less than three hours – and the mellifluous “Danger Baby”, a tale of irrational fears with Ragnhild’s vocal and Martin’s guitar merged in unexpected union. That love for surprise synchronicities, slanted sounds and unexpected subject matter propels “Andy Go To School”, where a tempo-tweaked guitar line accompanies a lyric extolling the pleasures of water parks and a free-flowing sonic palette. “Towards the end one of the guitar pedals made a huge bzzz sound in a pause, but we thought it was cool and raw so we just rolled with it,” says Ragnhild. “We like to mix the feeling of a surgically produced piece of music with the random sounds that also happen when you are a band playing together.” after its opening, almost Bolan-esque belches of guitar, “Look” extends that spirit of openness to an invitation to look outside of one’s self, before “Body Level” ends the album on a characteristically generous, unguarded – amplified – note of positivity. “Things Get Better,” sings Fangel, embracing directness with the same readiness as Pom Poko exult in giddy intricacy. The sound of four distinct personalities driving in divergent directions towards one destination, the result is an evolved snapshot of the bracingly contrary chemistry forged when Fangel, Tonne, Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) united to play punk during a jazz gig at a literature festival in Trondheim (the band-members studied jazz there.) taking their name and spirit from japanese animation visionaries studio Ghibli’s marvellously out-there film about raccoon-dog rebels with unfeasibly large testicles, Pom Poko showcased that convulsive individuality to exuberant effect on 2019’s Birthday. along the way, they drew praise from NME, interview magazine, DIY, Popmatters, the Line of Best Fit, the Independent and BBC radio 6, where Miranda Sawyer was moved to note that Birthday’s “Crazy Energy Night” seems to contain about 20 songs in one.

Meanwhile, a huge touring schedule included countless sold-out headline shows and a rapturously received uk jaunt with Ezra Furman. Written in the same run that produced interim releases “Leg Day” (with its playful dance-based video) and “Praise”, and recorded/produced in cooperation with Marcus Forsgren (jaga jazzist, broen, arc iris), Cheater does its predecessor proud on every front. bursting with colour and wonky life from its cover art (by close collaborator Erlend Peder Kvam) outwards, it differs from Birthday primarily in that its songs did not have a chance to be road-tested before going into the studio. but you wouldn’t know it. as Ragnhild explains, “that meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time.” in other words, consider that vacancy for free-thinking punk-pop adventurism in your life filled.

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Tora is a blues inspired pop/rock band fronted by Norway’s new female guitar hero Tora Dahle Aagård, who has earned herself widespread recognition and popularity due to her playful virtuosity, raw energy and unique stage presence. Her popular Instagram account is followed by over 120.000 fans from all over the world.

Tora’s first full album “Tora” was released in February 2019 and was defined as “a promising debut by a new female guitar hero” by the Norwegian newspaper Dagbladet. Their next album will be released this autumn and features exciting new collaborations with acclaimed musicians such as guitarist Joey Landreth and drummer Aaron Sterling (John Mayer). The album’s first single was Desire, followed by the catchy Money released in March. The next single, “Lately”, will be released 15th May.

In October 2018, Tora made history by becoming the first female guitarist ever to sign an endorsement deal with the British guitar company Chapman Guitars.

2019 was an eventful year for Tora Dahle Aagård. She has played with the likes of Paul Gilbert (Mr Big) and Jennifer Batten (Michael Jackson), as well as Aaron Sterling (John Mayer). In addition to playing gigs at numerous renowned Norwegian festivals and venues, Tora performed in London’s Royal Albert Hall on 10th November 2019, as part of The Norwegian Blues Adventure, a concert featuring Norway’s leading blues musicians, joining forces to show the best of what the Norwegian blues movement has on offer.

Tora is set for yet another eventful year, including the release of their new album, followed by a UK tour. Other highlights include performing at Molde International Jazz Festival, one of the oldest and most prestigious music festivals in Norway.

Tora was formed in 2011. Their discography so far includes 2 EPs – of which their second release, Change of Scenery (2016), reached the top of iTunes’ album charts. Several of their tracks are frequently played on Norwegian radio stations.

The band consists of Tora Dahle Aagård (guitar and lead vocals), Isak Seltveit (bass guitar), Guri Tranås (backing vocals), Andreas Dahle Aagård (guitar) and Magnus Galguften (drums).

The songs are written by Tora herself, some in collaboration with Andreas Dahle Aagård.

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The Hold Steady were on a roll before quarantine, with a great new album and their sporadic weekend runs that are also always great, and since quarantine started, they’ve been releasing recordings from those weekend runs on Bandcamp and donating a portion of the proceeds to the venues they were recorded at. It’s a very cool thing they’re doing, and it reminds you how great of a live band The Hold Steady still are, but for today’s live video roundup we’re going back in time to when The Hold Steady were supporting “Boys and Girls in America”.

The Hold Steady are a band you really need to see live — they and frontman Craig Finn especially display a great deal of showmanship — and this pro-shot video really makes it feel like you’re right there with them, rocking out with all the enthusiastic fans in the crowd.

show from the Hovefestival in Norway June 26th 2007.

01 – Stuck Between Stations 0:59, 
02 – The Swish –
04 – Chips Ahoy!
05 – Hot Soft Light
06 – Cattle And The Creeping Things
07 – Massive Nights –
08 – Party Pit –
09 – You Can Make Him Like You
10 – Multitude of casualties
11 – Stevie Nix –
12 – Same Kooks –
13 – Hornets! Hornets! –
14 – Your Little Hoodrat Friend
15 – Southtown Girls –
16 – Killer Parties –

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Nordic mellow: those two words perfectly describe the music of Oslo-based indie folk artist Siv Jakobsen. It’s apropos, since that is also the title of her 2017 debut LP. Somehow this talented singer with celestial vocals has not found global stardom yet. Perhaps the release of her next album – the aptly titled A Temporary Soothing – will help the world realize what they’ve been missing. Siv’s music is beautifully mellow, much like diary-entries – filled with unfiltered thoughts and reflections. With references to Damien Rice and Ane Brun, listening to her music is like being a fly on the wall while she sings you her secrets.

If “Fight or Flight” is your introduction to Jakobsen, you are in for a treat. She just shared this single a few days ago. The melody greets your ears with fireside warmth while her crystalline voice caresses you. Every note provides comfort. Every layer complements the rest. There is a peaceful calm to her overall style that is on par with Daughter and Ane Brun. But the beauty of Jakobsen’s sound is its sun-kissed elegance. “Fight or Flight” has a early springtime quality, imbued with the hope of better things to come while still feeling the coolness of winter. This is the perfect song for these times: a tonic for our souls. 


Siv Jakobsen should be on your radar. You simply do not encounter a voice this pure every day. A Temporary Soothing from Bandcamp is available on April 24th.


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“How Do You Smile?” from Closing Eyes. The track is a psych-friendly gem with a deeply grooving bass line, buzzing restrained guitars, and enjoyably dazed vocals. In the final couple minutes especially, a sprawled-out guitar tone coexists alongside the hypnotic rhythm section, as lush vocals complement; it all makes for a wholly consuming conclusion to this stellar track.

The Norwegian act is releasing their new album Eternal Fidelity on May 8th, and I’ll certainly be looking forward to it. Band member Eirik elaborates more on the album below:
“Sometimes I try very hard to hold on to something but it just feels like it’s slipping through my fingers. Ideals, dreams, identities or friendships are all things that live so strongly and easily when we’re young but often seem to lose footing as we grow older. Convictions that seem so solid can suddenly dissolve and become unresolved issues. I don’t think we’re too good at dealing with that. Mostly, Eternal Fidelity is about those feeling. It’s about trying to hold on, let go and make sense of it all. It’s about clinging to what’s important even though it might not be easy all the time.”


Band Members
 Eirik Asker Pettersen,
Magnus Asker Pettersen,
Emilie Lium Vordal, 
Anders Emil Rønning,
Jørgen Bjella, 

At first listen, “The Practice of Love”, Jenny Hval’s seventh full-length album, unspools with an almost deceptive ease. Across the eight tracks, filled with arpeggiated synth washes and the kind of lilting beats that might have drifted, loose and unmoored, from some forgotten mid-’90s trance single, The Practice of Love feels, first and foremost, compellingly humane. Given the horror and viscera of her previous album, 2016’s Blood Bitch, The Practice of Love is almost subversive in its gentleness—a deep dive into what it means to grow older, to question one’s relationship to the earth and one’s self, and to hold a magnifying glass over the notion of what intimacy can mean.


As Hval describes it, the album charts its own particular geography, a landscape in which multiple voices engage and disperse, and the question of connectedness—or lack thereof—hangs suspended in the architecture of every song. It is,an album about “seeing things from above—almost like looking straight down into the ground, all of these vibrant forest landscapes, the type of nature where you might find a porn magazine at a certain place in the woods and everyone would know where it was, but even that would just become rotting paper, eventually melting into the ground.”

“Look at these trees/ Look at this grass/ Look at those clouds … Study this/ And ask yourself/ Where is God?” Leave it to Jenny Hval to open an album with words that could’ve been lifted from a self-help mindfulness exercise and turn them into an existential reckoning. The Practice Of Love grapples with all kinds of questions, as any of Hval’s work does. But at the same time as Hval remains thought-provoking, she’s now housed these meditations in futuristic pop songs like “High Alice” and “Ashes To Ashes,” locating an accessibility and infectiousness we might not have ever expected from her. The Practice Of Love is a thing of shimmering beauty throughout, but perhaps this is its most moving takeaway: constant searching leading to new thoughts and new sounds, history and memory and life lived stoking yet another evolution.

From ‘The Practice of Love,’ out September. 13th, 2019. Sacred Bones Records