Oslo, Norway-based electro pop act Das Body — Ellie, Kim, Patrik, Didrik — has a long-held reputation for crafting catchy 80s-influenced pop that has been praised byThe Line of Best Fit,who once wrote that the Norwegian pop outfit creates “the best parts of pop without making it overly saccharine in its delivery.” The Norwegian act’s latest single, the Jorge Elbrecht-produced “Against the Glass” is the second single the act has released this year — and while marking the first bit of new material since the release of “Taller Than The Average Man” earlier this year, “Against the Glass” is a slick synthesis of Quiet Storm-like synth pop and contemporary electro pop, as sultry vocals lay against a bed of atmospheric synths, stuttering and tweeter and woofer rocking beats and an incredibly infectious hook.
The song as the band explains “is about the claustrophobic feeling when you realize what you’ve been working towards and finally achieved is only a result of the people around you looking out for their own interests.”
The rapidly rising Norwegian pop act’s Jorge Elbrecht-produced full-length debut is slated for a Spring 2020 release.
Over the past couple of months, I’ve written a bit about Oslo, Norway-based singer/songwriter, composer and keyboardist Arthur Kay. And as you may recall Kay has been a prominent member of his hometown’s music scene for the better part of the past decade as the frontman of of the galactic jazz act Dr. Kay and His Interstellar Tone Scientists and collaborating and touring with Norwegian rapper Ivan Ave.
Key’s self-titled solo debut EP was released earlier this month, and the EP’s material draws from several disparate and rather eclectic influences, at points channeling Thundercat, James Blake, and Sun Ra Arkestra, all while finding the Norwegian singer/songwriter, composer and keyboardist boldly stepping into the spotlight. Earlier this year, I wrote about “Holiday Pay,” a thumping, house music-based workers anthem with glistening and twinkling synths, cowbell-led percussion and infectious hook that celebrates socialism and socialist policies — in particular, that Norwegian employers are required by law to pay employees a certain percentage of the previous year’s wages to be used for the employee’s vacation time.
The EP’s second single “Higher Ground” was a slow-burning track that was one part dream pop, one part hallucinogenic dirge and one part shoegaze, as it was centered around a sparse arrangement of twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, Kay’s dreamy crooning and narcoleptic drumming. And while arguably the most peaceful song off the EP, the song was fueled by a sweaty desperation. “Lyrically, it is about the silence and calmness that comes after a big emotional and chaotic event,” Arthur Kay explained in press notes. “Those days or weeks where you feel that if you just put everything in your life on hold, to make it through the next hour without remembering or engaging in those memories, you’ll just barely make it through.”
“Say It Out Loud,” the EP’s third and latest single is a two-step-inducing bit of synth-led dance pop that’s one part Teddy Riley-era New Jack Swing and one part Larry Levan-era house music, as the track is centered around arpeggiated keys and synths, thumping beats, cowbell-led percussion, Kay’s plaintive vocals and a sinuous hook before ending with a shimmering jazz-like. And while focusing on his singular voice, the track manages to reveal Kay’s incredible versatility and dexterous musicianship.
Kay’s self-titled, solo debut is slated for an October 11, 2019 and the EP’s material, which draws from several disparate influences and channels Thundercat, James Blake, and Sun Ra Arkestra also reportedly finds the Norwegian singer/songwriter, composer and keyboardist stepping further into the spotlight as a solo artist. Now, as you may recall, earlier this year, I wrote about “Holiday Pay,” a workers anthem and decidedly house music influenced track with glistening and twinkling synths, cowbell-led percussion and an infectious hook that manages to celebrate the fact that Norwegian employers are required by law to pay employees a certain percentage of the previous year’s wages to be used for the employee’s summer vacation time.
Interestingly, the EP’s latest single “Higher Ground” is a slow-burning track that’s one part dream pop, one part hallucinogenic dirge and one part shoegaze centered around a sparse arrangement of twinkling keys, atmospheric synths, Kay’s dreamy crooning and narcoleptic drumming — and while arguably the most peaceful song off the EP that’s been released so far, the song possesses an underlying sweaty desperation. “Lyrically, it is about the silence and calmness that comes after a big emotional and chaotic event,” Arthur Kay says in press notes. “Those days or weeks where you feel that if you just put everything in your life on hold, to make it through the next hour without remembering or engaging in those memories, you’ll just barely make it through.”
“‘Higher Ground’ was sort of a tribute to Balearic House,” Kay adds. “It was one of the first times musically that I had something that was just for me. A lot of the work you do as a professional musician is taking small pieces of yourself and giving them away to other people’s dreams and visions.”
Up-and-coming Oslo, Norway-based indie pop act Hollywood is comprised of a trio of accomplished solo artists and friends — Billie Van, Jonas Alaska and Mikhael Paskalev. And while each individual member act has seen a fair share of success in their native Norway, they’ve managed to contribute to each other’s recorded output. Their newest collaboration together find the trio further blurring the boundaries between each other’s individual work — and discovering a bolder, more playful approach to their songwriting.
The trio’s self-produced full-length debut Close to You was released today, and the album which was written and recorded over a two year period is reportedly finding the trio’s sound morphing and twisting between several different styles of songwriting and production in a cohesive way — while being generally inspired by 80s and 90s pop. “Parachute,” Close to You‘s latest single is a slow-burning and atmospheric bit of synth pop featuring twinkling keys, achingly tender vocals expressing longing and desire with an aching vulnerability, a soaring hook and a swaggering Timbaland-inspired bridge. Interestingly, the trio mesh slick production, forward-thinking and ambitious songwriting with a heartbreaking earnestness that ensures that the material isn’t purely seen as homage to its influences.
Featuring members of Oslo, Norway‘s jazz, indie, art rock and folk scenes, the Norwegian Grammy-winning septet The Switch formed back in 2010. They started out playing fairly straightforward pop rock with the thought that Norway — and Scandinavia in general — produced an over-abundance of eclectic, heavily hyphenated music. Eventually, their material became more forward-thinking and ambitious.
Their debut album, 2014’s Big If was a meditation on psych pop. Their sophomore album, 2015’s B for the Beast was an atmospheric, prog rock-inspired homage to their hometown. We’re Fooling No One, also released in 2015 found the band making forays into more painterly and improvised pop. Their next effort, The Switch Album found the Norwegian septet crafting a classic pop-rock-like sound — and it was their most successful album to date: it was listed on the Best Albums List of several Norwegian newspapers, before eventually winning a Norwegian Grammy (a Spelleman) in the Indie Music category.
Slated for a September 27, 2019 release, the acclaimed Norwegian act’s fifth album Birds of Paradise as the band’s Thomas Sagbråten says in press notes finds the band trying to “make a musical universe with slightly different laws of nature than real life. A bit less gravitation. The air is thicker. It’s hyper realistic but also unreal.” Interestingly, the album’s latest — and last official — single “Spring in the Forest of Time” is one Hiatus Kaiyote and Bells Atlas-like off kilter neo-soul, one part jazz fusion, one part Steely Dan-like AM radio rock: you’ll hear heavily arpeggiated synths, slashing guitars, twinkling keys, a bluesy guitar solo reminiscent of “Reelin’ in the Years,” and off-kilter syncopation held together by ethereal lead vocals and harmonizing. Centered around an adventurous and mischievous arrangement, the new single will further cement their reputation for crafting songs that are genre-defying yet hook driven, loose and jam-like yet incredibly tight.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and their longtime partnership with Sound of Aarhus. Together, the studio and the website have invited national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to stop by Tapetown for a live session, which they film and then distribute to all of your favorite social media and streaming sites. During the live series’ history, they’ve invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes, Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning, Oslo, Norway-based punk trio Dark Times
Tapetown Studios recently teamed up with Drowned in Sound and the folks at Spot Festival for another series of live sessions in which three internationally touring acts were invited to Tapetown to perform. The second act invited to Tapetown was the mysterious Danish post-punk duo Mavoureen. The act is putting the finishing touches on their forthcoming full-length debut, an effort recorded at Echo Canyon Studios with Sonic Youth’s Steve Shelley contributing drums. Interestingly, the act performed the blistering, Nirvana-like “Bliss,” a song that frenetic and furious track that features fuzzy power chords, howled vocals, thunderous drumming and a mosh pit friendly hook. Much like its predecessor, play this one as loudly as humanly possible.
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about Aarhus, Denmark-based recording studio Tapetown Studios and their longtime partnership with Sound of Aarhus. Together, the studio and the website have invited national, regional and internationally recognized touring bands to stop by Tapetown for a live session, which they film and then distribute to all of your favorite social media and streaming sites. During the live series’ history, they’ve invited British indie rockers Ulrika Spacek, Gothenburg, Sweden-based trio Pale Honey, the Bay Area-based JOVM mainstay Tim Cohen and his The Fresh & Onlys, renowned British psych rockers The Telescopes, Malmo, Sweden-based punk rock act Sista Bossen, Copenhagen, Denmark-based indie rock quartet ONBC, up-and-coming, Los Angeles-based post punk rock act Moaning and Stockholm, Sweden’s Les Big Byrd among a growing list of others.
Tapetown Studios recently teamed up with Drowned in Sound and the folks at Spot Festival for another series of live sessions in which three internationally touring acts were invited to Tapetown to perform. One of the invited acts was the Oslo, Norway-based trio Dark Times. Comprised of Ann Kristen Traaen (guitar, vocals), Sebastian Rusten (baritone guitar) and Rikke Fjell Jørgensen (drums), the Norwegian act quickly amassed a profile within their hometown’s underground scene for crafting a unique blend of punk, noise rock and fuzzy guitar pop. Since their formation, the band has been praised by the likes of NME and BrooklynVegan for their live shows — and interestingly, they became the first Norwegian act to be profiled in Maximum Rocknroll.
Building upon a growing profile the act’s 2014 full-length debut Give, which was released through Sheep Chase Records was nominated for a Norwegian Grammy (Spellemannprisen). They also played SXSW back in 2017 and released their sophomore full-length album in 2018.
The members of the acclaimed Norwegian indie act played a 10 song, 30 minute set — but the recently released video for the sessions is the feral and blistering “Give.” Centered around fuzzy power chords, thunderous drumming and howled vocals, the song will remind some listeners of Fever to Tell-era Yeah Yeah Yeahs and classic 90s grunge. Play this one as loud as possible.
Interestingly, Kay will be stepping further into the spotlight as a solo artist with the release of his forthcoming self-titled, solo debut. Slated for an October 11, 2019 release, the EP finds Kay drawing from several disparate influences, at points channeling Thundercat, James Blake, and Sun Ra Arkestra. However, the EP’s latest single “Holiday Pay” is a decidedly house music influenced track, centered around layers of glistening and twinkling synths, cowbell-led percussion and an infectious hook. And while being a shimmering, summery club banger, “Holiday Pay” is celebration of Norwegian employers being required by law to pay employees a certain percentage of the previous year’s wages for you to use towards summer vacation time. It’s a much-needed contemporary worker’s anthem — and I’m sure that many hardworking Americans wish they’d have that.
“It’s a great example of how socialist ideas work really well in the Norwegian society,” Kay explains in press notes. “Your employer is ordered by law to hold on to 12% of your income through the year, and pay it to you every June, just before the summer holidays start. Forced savings, basically, but without any banks or cash stuffed under mattresses.” Kay adds, “I consider ‘Holiday Pay’ a modern day workers’ anthem, a song anybody with a steady job in Norway can relate to. A song you can shove in your freelancing friends’ faces. They may travel the world on a regular Wednesday, and work from a laptop in a bar in Tokyo in the middle of the night But if you have a steady job, you get the holiday pay in June.”
Comprised of Stine Helen Tunstrøm (vocals), Terje Halmrast (guitar, vocals), Svein Petter Nilssen (guitar), Vegar Eriksfallet (drums, percussion) and Bendrik Dræge Orvan (bass), the Oslo, Norway-based band Monalia are deeply influenced by 60s pop and 4AD shoegaze.
The Oslo-based quintet’s debut single “My Little Lies” was released on Ghost Town Records and the song received airplay across Norwegian radio — but began to receive international attention once it was playlisted on German radio, and saw praise from international music blogs. Building upon a growing profile both nationally and internationally, the band’s debut EP 2016’s Waited All Too Long received regular airplay across Norwegian national radio and praise from a number of different blogs across the blogosphere. Since the release of their debut EP, the members of Monalia have played a number of high profile shows in Oslo and Eastern Norway, including a slot at Festivalen Sin, sharing a stage with some of their homeland’s most prominent artists including Stein Torlief Bjella, Enslaved and Greni.
Last February, the members of Monalia went into the studio to record their recently released full-length debut So Much Better. As the band explains in press notes, the album’s title is about taking an active choice in terms of how you want to live your life. In some way, the band wants to encourage the listener to step out of mediocrity and live a life in pursuit of your ambitions and passions, watching every new day with joy and anticipation rather than anxious dread. Sonically, the material on the band’s debut is a journey through doubt, darkness and longing and into a bight, hopeful future — all while further establishing what they’ve dubbed “mountain surf,” a sound and subgenre inspired by the Norwegian countryside and nature.
So Much Better‘s latest single is the slow-burning and atmospheric “Drank the Rain.” Centered around shimmering guitar lines, gently propulsive drumming, a soaring hook and Tunstrøm’s gorgeous and plaintive vocals, the Norwegian indie act’s latest single bears an uncanny resemblance to Mazzy Star and classic 4AD Records shoegaze; but as the band explains, the song is “about the contrasts between the good and bad feelings in a relationship and how all the band things make the love stronger and make you feel more alive.”
Over the past couple of years, I’ve written quite a bit about London-based JOVM mainstays Ten Fe, and as you may recall, the act which, was founded by primary songwriters Ben Moorhouse and Leo Duncan officially expanded into a full-fledged band with the permanent additions of touring members and longtime friends Rob Shipley (bass) and Johnny Drain (keys), who are two of Duncan’s oldest friends from Walsall, and Alex Hammond (drums), who was with the band for the writing and recording of the band’s sophomore full-length album Future Perfect, Present Tense.
Written in an East London vacant driving license office, tracked in Oslo, Norway and finished with producer Luke Smith, Future Perfect, Present Tense thematically is a mediation on everything that has brought them all to the point of their sophomore album, and everything they’ve willingly (and perhaps unwillingly) left behind in actually getting there. Interestingly, the London-based act’s sophomore album is a decided sonic departure from its predecessor, as the material draws from 70s AM rock — in particular, Fleetwood Mac and others, while retaining an uncanny ability to craft slick and rousingly anthemic hooks.
Now, as you may recall the members of the London-based JOVM mainstays are currently finishing up their second headlining North American tour with shows across the West Coast before returning back to Europe for a month long tour across the UK and the European Union. (You can check out the remaining tour dates below.) As the band’s North American tour comes to a close, they released a mostly a cappella cover of TLC‘s smash hit “Waterfalls” that reveals a gorgeous multi-part harmony that ends with a towering instrumental crescendo.