Trondheim Calling – New Music Focus : Tellef Raabe

Erik André Nes Photography
Erik André Nes Photography

ARTIST:   TELLEF RAABE

LABEL:   RIOT FACTORY

DISCOGRAPHY:

2012 (DEBUT) STRANGER THAN THE REST (RAABE RECORDS)

2014 (EP) OF SMITH’S FRIENDS (RAABE RECORDS)

2015 (SINGLES)  DEAR APHRODITE (RF), FAYE DUNAWAY (RF), 1+1+1 (RF),    (EP)GYMNOPAEDIA

2016 (SINGLE) KILL ‘EM WITH KINDNESS (JAN)

TC SET:  SATURDAY Dokkhuset– 00.30

SEE: http://trondheimcalling.no/artister/tellef-raabe/

The release of Tellef Raabe’s latest single, ‘Flying on the Ground’ is a timely coincidence, coming as it does in the midst of our Trondheim themed series.  Tellef is  TCs closing headline act, wrapping the festival with his live set, late into Saturday night and the wee hours of Sunday!

It is a bizarre fact that every time I play a track by Tellef Raabe, the depth and sonorousness of his voice still catch me by surprise.  Raabe has an exquisitely rich baritone voice and alongside Susanne Sundfor, quite possibly the clearest diction & pronunciation with which I have heard any Norwegian vocalist sing.  His bio doesn’t tell me if he’s had his voice trained – but if he hasn’t, then that makes his perfect pitch and breath control all the more astonishing.

‘Flying on the Ground’ his new single, is a very 80s oriented Euro electro-pop/dance track, choc full of catchy hooks, dreamy melodies and swathes of electronica, with delicious female harmonies courtesy of the protagonists sister, Sigrid Raabe.  Tellef writes his own songs and given the highly romantic nature of the lyrics, one must assume that he is a man who is in love with love, or at least the sentiment.

‘Flying on the Ground’ is a delightful love song, with a sweet uplifting nature and a catchy rhythmical beat.  A romantic flight of fancy, it whisks me off at high speed on a virtual Eurostar bullet train back to late 80s France, azure blue skies, dazzling sun shining down on fields of golden wheat, a warm breeze perfumed by wildflowers and …

In demand by arty types to compose for both film and theatre, Tellef is also busy working on his debut album as well as doing a short EU tour. As I said at the outset, the tour includes a stint at Trondheim, and in a few days time, this will afford me the opportunity of seeing this consummate and hugely talented singer/songwriter perform live with his touring 5-piece band.  I have a strong feeling it will be a total pleasure!

Tellef’s new single, ‘Flying on the Ground’ in on release now via Riot Factory and available for download via Bandcamp.  Tellef plays the headline set at Trondheim Calling on Saturday 6th February – see here for tickets.

You can keep up to speed with Tellef’s music and gig news on his website, Facebook and Twitter.

Check out the schedule dates for Tellef’s ‘Idiographic Tour’ …

06.02 Trondheim Calling

21.02 Nordklang, St. Gallen, CH

01.04 Parkteateret, Oslo

02.04 Samfundet, Trondheim

07.04 Hulen, Bergen

Advertisements

COLDPLAY ANNOUNCE NEW SINGLE, HYMN FOR THE WEEKEND

Coldplay 15

Coldplay have announced that the second single from their acclaimed new album, A Head Full Of Dreams, will be the rocket-powered Hymn For The Weekend. The single’s video premiered today and features a guest appearance from Beyoncé (who adds dream-like vocals to the track).

The vibrant, colourful video was filmed on location in Mumbai and directed by Ben Mor. It also features a cameo from Bollywood superstar Sonam Kapoor.

A Head Full Of Dreams is Coldplay’s seventh album. Since its December release, the album has reached Number One on iTunes in more than 90 countries and sold over 3 million copies. It has also helped Coldplay to their current position as Spotify’s most-streamed band in the world.

Hymn For The Weekend is the follow-up to the album’s first single, Adventure Of A Lifetime, which became Coldplay’s 21st UK Top 40 hit, staying in the Top 10 for six weeks and topping the UK radio airplay charts.

Earlier this month, it was announced that Coldplay have been nominated for Best British Album and Best British Group at the 2016 BRITs, where they will also perform. This takes their career total to 23 BRITs nominations (more than any other band). They have also been confirmed as the recipients of the Godlike Genius Award at the 2016 NME Awards.

On Sunday, 7 February, the band will headline the prestigious Pepsi Super Bowl 50 Halftime Show in Santa Clara, California, watched by an estimated worldwide TV audience of more than 160 million.

Coldplay will then tour extensively in 2016 in support of A Head Full Of Dreams. The band have already announced a run of stadium shows in Latin America and Europe (including four nights at London’s Wembley Stadium). Yesterday, they also confirmed dates for their first ever U.S. stadium tour, with tickets on sale on Friday, 5 February.

EP Drop : Odd Loves to Dance – ‘Demon Wizard’

OddOla!!!  Greetings from sunny Dublin, the city from which Storm George has departed and is now en route to snowy Norway!!  That’ll clear your drifts!!

Now, I love surprises …. adore them.  Even better again, I love hitting upon musical surprises that not only make me smile, but send a rush of sonic adrenalin through my veins.   Anyone who follows this blog, knows that when I hit upon something that resonates, TRULY resonates, I just have to write about it.

Guess what folks, today’s the day … IT HAS HAPPENED … Ta-Dah!

I was reminded by a post on FB that Norwegian band, Odd Loves to Dance, has an EP, ‘Demon Wizard’, out today.  So, having a million things to do, but being the mistress of prevarication, I dipped into SoundCloud, hit play on the  lead track, ‘Out of Minds’, and  released four minutes of serotonin inducing indie bliss into what had been up to then, dullsville.

I don’t know who does what in this band, in fact, I know absolutely nothing about them except that Gold Celeste (The Wonder of Love) “not the drummer” drummer, Petter Haugen Andersen is a member, and if this incarnation sees him returning to his instrumental roots then it should see him playing bass guitar, or electric guitar at the very least. (See photo for clues).

Odd 3

According to their FB page, the other two members of the Odd team are Axel Larsson and Hallvard Gaardløs (extensive research has show that the he be the dude in the wizard’s hat in above promo photo!!)  Further photographic evidence seems to reveal Gaardløs as lead vocalist with Larsson at the percussive helm.

Odd4

Ok – PS – Since the original publication of this review, Petter (Haugen Andersen has confirmed some finer details :-

“Axel (Larsson – Drums) sings the first track – ‘Out of Minds’, Hallvard (Gaardløs – Bass) also has vocal duties, while PHA (Guitar) takes on the vocal mantle on ‘Nothing to Say’. The EP was also mixed (as well as co-produced) by Simen (from Gold Celeste) in his then studio (Greener) in Trondheim.”

Right, now that we have the personnel sorted and duties assigned, down to business!

A bit of poking around and I can see that the afore-mentioned lead track, ‘Out of Minds’ was released as a single last September.  Soundwise, it’s musical manna from heaven.  A bit Dråpe, (especially in the RS department) with its clever meandering jazz style bass and crack shot percussion, this is a pacy, animated track intermixed with interludes of clear focus riffs here and hazy effusive guitar there.  Gaardløs uses his voice well to convey nuance and emotion while his mellow timbre adds to already honeyed melody lines.  This is a cracker of an opener and was a wise choice for lead single.

‘Tango’ is an absolutely gorgeous song in which everything is – well, perfect.  The bass playing is exceptionally good and the spot on drumming packs just enough punch without  overpowering a very restrained vocal.  The track is dotted with (here we go!) “twinkling synths” and some truly lovely guitar and keys sequences.  The instrumental perfectly conveys the lyrical imagery –  dreaminess,  wistfulness, escape, colour, nature, gloom (if I’m wrong, sorry, but I’m on my own here guys!).

“Here I am with sand under my heels, Sinking slowly into the land my ego is on its knees

Now I am dead, and you’re dancing through the graveyard, I’d crawl out and dance with you, you know I would if I could”

‘Cinnamon’ is a really interesting slice of “spice”.  Playing bumper cars with tempo, it races from one pace then brakes to another and then u-turns back again.  A quirky, short lived affair, it’s got a great lyric, and one hell of a rabid guitar sequence, topped and tailed by a lovely line in “louche”. Too short – want more!

Penultimate track, ‘Melvin’ is an edgy 60s affair underpinned by the best basslines and drumming on the EP . Referencing some serious jazz blues, the RS gives this track a serious amount of cool, while expertly performed guitar solos are VERY 70s a la Jeff Beck.  One mischievously sexy tune this.  But, if you stripped everything else away and left me with just that cheeky RS sketch, I’d happily listen to it for hours! That’s how good it is.  Kudos guys.

Odd guys

The EP closes with ‘Nothing to Say’ and we’re back in “redolent of” territory again.  The vocal is very Ketil Myhre (always a good thing) while the instrumental is veering towards a Gold Celeste vibe, but given the close interconnections between so many of these bands and their members, it comes as no surprise that they would bring traces of sound and style across from one to the other, whether deliberately or subconsciously.

The highlight of this track has to be the guitar sequence at 3.14+ – I don’t usually use the word beautiful when describing guitar, but that is exactly what this is.  Beautiful honeyed hypnotic guitar washed over with some lovely dreamy harmonies. Then, just when you think it can’t get any better, in jumps Jimmy Page with some seriously sweet 70s rocking to close out the track.  This is one groovy tune and the perfect way to bring the EP to a close.

And that folks is about all I can tell you about Odd Love to Dance and ‘Demon Wizard’. I have no idea what the release plans for this EP are – but if I were “Mr Record Company”, I’d be looking to release ‘Tango’ as the next single!  Just sayin’.

Odd Loves to Dance aren’t playing Trondheim – but I wish they were!  Note to organising committee  … please ensure these guys are included in the 2017 TC line up.

Five-Track EP, ‘Demon Wizard’ is out now in digital format via NO FOREVERS , available through various sources, links below, and you can listen to the lead track, ‘Out of Minds’ here.  Enjoy x

iTunes: https://goo.gl/sxKYZ4
Tidal: http://goo.gl/fRF00z
Spotify: https://goo.gl/zci4gC

Single Review : Snøskred – ‘Lexington Hotel’

unspecified

Today we are introducing Snøskred, an upcoming four-piece from Norway. They hail from Trondheim,  Norwegian music mecca and home of rock, and comprise Karl Klaseie (vocal/guitar),  Lars Ove Fossheim (vocal/guitar), Martin Hvidsten Berger (bass) and Kyrre Laastad, (drums).

Snøskred are signed to indie label, Riot Factory, and it was through RF sub-label, Sad Songs for Happy People, that they released their domestic debut album, Whiteout, in late 2012.  Recorded in Greener Studios, Trondheim, the album was self-produced with the help of Gold Celeste frontman, Simen Hallset.  Two singles, Come Closer and We Are (7″) were warmly received with the album itself being hailed as one of the best indie releases of the year.

Much touring, gigging, projects, writing, and recording later, September 2015 saw Snøskred release ‘Puzzle’, the lead track from their long awaited international debut album, ‘Empty House’ which they started recording in June 2014, again in Greener, and which is due for release 19th February coming.

.

In advance of the album launch, the band have just dropped new single ‘Lexington Hotel’ about which lyricist, Karl Klaseie explains:

‘Lexington Hotel’ came to me in a dream after a late night viewing of Scarface. I was in the middle of a mobster shakedown and woke up thoroughly confused and sweaty.”

Lexington Hotel

 

Louche, I think is the word I’d use to describe this track; a slow, sexy, languidly louche sonic strut.  Actually, it doesn’t so much strut, as undulate, to the provocative rhythm of its sensual pulse.

Fraught with tense, menacing, guitars, and blackened by moody, cavernous basslines, the lingering instrumental is an atmospheric slow-burn. Martin Hvidsten Berge’s bass peripatetics wholly underpin this track – a musical marvel to behold on this doom-laden composition – its dark, heavy, syrupy sound transudes through tremolo heavy walls of grinding guitars.

Kudos to Kyrre Laastad for some very cleverly arranged percussion including some lovely, lazy conga/batá beats. Actually, the sync between the RS is tighter than tight, thereby adding to the songs intensity by making it feel somewhat claustrophobic.

Conversely, the chorus is something of a release, coming like a breath of fresh air after the stifled atmosphere of the verse. Warm melodic Kraut-country lines lift the mood, with some gorgeous, shimmering guitar sequences from Lars Ove Fossheim, giving memorable if momentary relief.   And so it plays out, long stretches of dark, brief flashes of light, which lead into a final electronic fuelled thrum that gives the track an interesting if unexpected close.

The vocal has Damon Albarn stamped all over it, with vocalist Karl Klaseie having that same Albarn-esque way of letting the vocal slip effortlessly from his lips – languorous, subtly playful, and nonchalantly cool.

Timing is everything and Snøskred’s is impeccable: the arrangement is timed to perfection, thereby ensuring maximum effect.  Highly imaginative, exceptionally well mixed, arranged with pinpoint accuracy, and very perceptively produced, this is an extremely unique and very strong track that hopefully gives a pretty clear indication of what is to come on the album.

A rich, sticky ooze of dark toxicity, ‘Lexington Hotel’ lures, captivates and holds you in the thrall of its highly potent and dangerously addictive nature.  You are left longing for more …

Snøskred play two live sets during  the Trondheim Calling Festival, the first on Thursday 4th at Moskus 23.00, the second on Friday 5th at Olavshallen Lille Sal 23.30, details here – http://trondheimcalling.no/artister/sn%C3%B8skred/

‘Lexington Hotel‘ is available to stream via Spotify and to download via Amazon.  It is also available via Bandcamp.  The album, ‘Empty House’ is scheduled for release via Riot Factory, on 19th February.  You can follow Snøskred on Facebook and Twitter.

Trondheim Calling – Let’s Talk: Slutface

Kill em with Kindness

It’s all about Trondheim Calling this week and one of the highlights for many festival goers, including myself, will be seeing today’s featured artist live!  Raucous, riotous, punchy, spunky and awash with talent, not to mention brains to burns, Slutface are on the sofa, to give us some opinions, insights, facts, hopes and humour!

ARTIST:   SLUTFACE

PERSONNEL:  HALEY SHEA ( VOCAL),  LASSE LOKOY (BASS),  HALVARD SKEIE WIENCKE (DRUMS),   TOR – ARNE VIKINGSTAD  (GUITAR)

LABEL:   PROPELLER RECORDINGS

DISCOGRAPHY:

2013 (EP) SLUTFACE EP INC ODE TO JOHN & CALL TO ARMS

2015  (SINGLE)  SHAVE MY HEAD / GET MY OWN (OCT)

2016 (SINGLE) KILL ‘EM WITH KINDNESS (JAN)

TC SET:   SATURDAY – ORA STUDIO– 21.30

SEE :  http://trondheimcalling.no/artister/slutface-1/

Slutface currently divide their time between their university studies and creating music.  Fast becoming known for their outspoken but totally valid and correct views and opinions on subjects such as equality, misogyny and misrepresentation of emerging artists by scuzzy media types, Slutface articulate their views not just through the spoken word, but also via both the musical and lyrical content of their songs.

Current single – ‘Kill ’em with Kindness‘ is an invective against blinkered press peeps who try to kick down upcoming artists … Lyrically it gives “two fingers to the inane, dull-witted misogyny normally directed by flaccid media dullards at “she-merging” music artists as they try to kick the shit out of the musical glass ceiling, held so firmly in place by the “brothers”!  You can hear the track below …

So, without further ado, let’s hand the mic to Slutface.

Oya
Oya

“We think growing up in Norway has made us acutely aware of fairness”

It’s interesting that you guys are still in full time studies at University.  What are you studying and how does it impact on your being in the band?

“We’re all trying to slow down the study process a little bit (it’s been a bit too hectic the last few months) and just focus on band for at least the next six months. Tor-Arne and Lasse (guitar and bass) are studying business, Haley (vocal and lyrics), molecular biology and Halvard (drums), construction engineering.”

Molecular biology ! #faints  Have they set up a ‘Slutface Society’ at your Uni yet?

“Haha. We go to two different colleges so that’s not really an option. Also people we study with don´t really care we’re in a band.”

Nothing like keepin’ it real!  How do you think being from Norway both positively and negatively impacts on your attitudes (humanity, society, sexuality, the environment, culture, music) and view of the world?

“We think growing up in Norway has made us acutely aware of fairness, as it is drilled into us from childhood that Norway is one of the most balanced places in the world to grow up. That is probably why it has been so important for us as musicians to write about inequality, especially when it comes to women, because women are still treated unequally in a country obsessed with fairness and democracy we are still a long way from equality. When it comes to the music business, it has probably been a great place to start, because the industry is so small everyone makes friends with everyone. Regardless of genre. Meeting other musicians is one of our favorite parts of being in a band, so that suits us really well.”

“Women are still treated unequally in a country obsessed with fairness & democracy”

You currently reside in the realm of “noise/neo-punk/riot grrl” – do you want your music to be classified – are you happy to stay within the confines of that classification or do you see your musical style as something that will evolve with yourselves – life/musical experiences, broader range of influences, musical maturity?

“We, as most bands, will evolve as we continue to write music. We like for people to classify our music however they hear it and usually stick to very simple genre descriptions ourselves, like pop-rock. At it’s roots all of indie/punk/pop/whatever is really a mix of rock and other things, so we’re not really too bothered with how people classify our music.”

What brings you to the themes of the songs you sing about?  Do you decide – this is something we need to sing about or do your inspirations come from a mix of predetermined and random sources?

Haley: “Usually I just write about things that suddenly show up on paper as I start writing. I don’t decide to write a song about a specific topic usually, but as I think about women’s issues and pop/youth-culture a lot, a lot of our lyrics end up in that vein. As I am working with the lyrics as the song develops I usually decide I want to angle the lyrics to convey a certain message, or be about something more specific. Like how I decided during the writing process that “Shave My Head” should criticize the way women are viewed in popular culture.”

Who are your musical influences? Norwegian and Global.

“Our Norwegian influences have often been our local metal and punk bands live-wise. Kvelertak and Honningbarna are really really great. Music-Wise we are really inspired by the british sound (Arctic Monkeys, The Wombats). But everyone in the band listens to different music and get inspired of different genres and artists. Lasse loves electronic music, Halvard listens to John Mayer and Tor-Arne is really into Tweens right now and Haley loves The Smiths. The meld of all of our preferences is what makes it so fun to write music as a group.”

“There is a whole new wave of young, socially conscious people fighting for equality”

You are quoted as saying about the song “Get Your Own” that it shares the same theme as ‘Shave My Head’ but is a more “direct way of saying women deserve more space than we are given, and we are going to step up and take it” >> Why is it do you think that there is still a need to repeat a decades old mantra?  In your opinion what or who is it exactly that is getting in the way of there being male-female equality.  

“We feel the need to repeat such an old line because it is obvious that we still haven’t reached the kind of equality that men and women deserve. Mostly old habits and out-dated traditions are keeping us from the equality we should have, but luckily there is a whole new wave of young, socially conscious people fighting for equality. We are really happy to be a part of that energy.”

KemW Artwork

How do you view the history of women in punk/noise/garage and do you think that bands of your generation are now turning that view/fact on its head and leveling the playing field, or at least trying to?

“One of our favorite things about punk is actually the fact that it didn’t matter what your gender was, even though that fact has been downplayed a lot by historians. We feel like more and more women are starting really cool bands every day, but we still have a long way to go for women and men to be equal in the music industry. Bands of our generation are breaking out of all of the old stereotypes, in terms of gender, but also in terms of genre. That is one of the really great parts of being a musician in an age where millions and millions of artists and songs are just a mouse-click away, it makes you more open to experimenting and makes you less concerned with what you should be doing, because amazingly talented people are being inspiring all over the world.”

“Crazy, loud, energetic shows are one of the most fun things ever”

How participative would you like your audience to be, or how inclusive would you like to make your shows?

“We would like to try to break down the barrier between the crowd and the stage as much as possible. We want everyone that comes to our shows to feel like they are part of an experience with us, and want to be sure to make our shows a really safe place for everyone. We love to encourage people who have never stage dived or been in a mosh pit before to try something new and realize that crazy, loud, energetic shows are one of the most fun things ever.”

Ok. If you could collaborate with another artist or band who would it be?

“Our ideal collaborator would probably be Weezer or Green Day. Imagine how cool a Slutface x Weezer song would be!”

And if you could have someone do a dance remix of Shave my Head what do you think it would sound like and who would that someone be?

“We absolutely love the Disclosure x Lorde song “Magnets” and like to think it could sound a bit like that by Disclosure.”

What’s on the agenda for 2016?

“This year is going to be really busy for us. Mostly we’re focusing on writing a kick ass debut album and touring as much as humanly possible. We just really want to become a lot better this year!”

And there you have it folks … the world according to Slutface 2016.  Focused, intelligent, informed, talented, fun loving, high octane energy, youth.  These guys  have it all going for them … Their releases so far have set a pretty high bar, and have most certainly got “media – those in the know” tongues wagging around the London music scene.  It can only be a matter of time, most likely after the release of their debut album, before the name Slutface is as recognisable as the Weezers and Green Days of this world.

Author’s note – I don’t know about moshing – I’d probably dislocate something, but I’ll certainly be up there with the best of the rest next Saturday night!

Music by Slutface is available to stream via Spotify and for purchase via iTunes.  Their debut album will be released via Propeller Recordings, later this year!  Follow them on Facebook and Twitter to keep up to date with all their fun stuff! They play Trondheim Calling Sat 6th Feb – limited tickets still available here – http://www.billettportalen.no/nb/arrangement/trondheim-calling-2016/billetter

I’ll leave with you an acoustic version of their latest single, Kill ’em with Kindness, recorded live by NRKP3.

My sincere thanks to Haley, Tor-Arne,  Lasse and Halvard for taking the time out of the extremely hectic schedule to do this interview – cheers! Also big thanks to JG for all your help. X

Trondheim Calling – Let’s Talk : Antler

Trondheim Calling
Trondheim Calling

As part of our Trondheim Calling Week we are viewing, reviewing and interviewing (that’s a lot of “views”) some of the exciting new/emerging acts playing this renowned festival, held annually in the snowy climes of northern Norway.

We’re kicking off proceedings with newbie trio Antler who took time out of their busy schedule to give us the skinny on the whys, the whats, and the whens!

ARTIST:  ANTLER

PERSONNEL:  NATALI GARNER (VOCALS), AXEL SKALSTAD (DRUMS), JOHAN LINVALL (SYNTHS)

LABEL: NO FOREVERS

DISCOGRAPHY2015  (DEBUT) ANIMAL (OCT), THE DIP (NOV)

TC SETS: THURSDAY – MOSKUS – 21.00, FRIDAY – ROCKHEIM RESTAURANT – 22.30

SEE http://trondheimcalling.no/spilleplan

No need for bios, intros or otherwise – it’s all here  – so let’s get down to it …

So guys, why music? What drew you to it? How does it make you feel? and How does it inspire you?

“I guess we´ve all always been playing music in some way shape or form and have been lucky enough to have had the opportunity to make it our profession.  When your friends and acquaintances all come from the same field, it would seem very unnatural to ignore that fact. It’s as simple as that.

We love making music, we love listening to it, we love playing our own songs again and again. There is something never ending with the work as well. We can be extremely happy with a concert or a recording, but there will always be things we can do better, or differently which gives a reason to continue.  The ‘musical road’ extends as you go along it, which creates a kind of tension and curiosity, cos you never know what your next song will sound like. You have to make it to know.”

Okay, so music has always been a part of your life.  Let’s go back to the beginning – how/when and with what instruments did it begin?

(Johan) “I was six when I got my first Casio keyboard, (which I still have and we sometimes use). I started playing piano and jazz at the age of twelve and then it just escalated from there.”

(Natali) “In Norway/Sweden high (secondary) school is the first place during the educational process where you get to make curricular choices.  In addition to the more academic subjects, you can choose music, drama, social science, etc.  All three of us did music at high school, which just enhanced an interest that had already been developing.”

(Johan) “After high school Axel and I did a FolkHighSchool year,  which is a gap year where you do something fun, or interesting, but without having grades and exams. Some people do music, or drama, even Third World studies.  We both studied jazz,and after that we both studied at the Norwegian Music Academy, Oslo, where I did a degree. I am  currently finishing my Masters specialising in jazz and improvised music.  Axel undertook the “youth musician” program and is now currently studying at NTNU in Trondheim, in the jazz department there.”

(Natali) “I started playing the cello when I was four through to nineteen.  During that period, I played with several orchestras and quartets.  I started singing just before turning sixteen.  I never wanted to be a musician, and was just doing it for fun.  But I also ended up doing the “young musicians” program at NTNU.  At one point I wanted to quit music completely and even went to a theatre-school, but after 2 months I really missed it and applied at the Norwegian MA department for jazz and improvised music, and got in. And the rest, as they say is history!”

How did you get to the point where you were signed by No Forevers – how did that come about?

(Natali) “I met Jonny from No Forevers at a festival, and we just got talking. Axel had talked to him earlier about maybe being able to sign at NF, so he was familiar with our music. From there it was just a walk on the beach really, everything coming together smoothly :)”

Who are your influences and why did they attract your attention over others?

“We don’t really have a common influence. But we all “originate” from the jazz and the improv scene, and are very influenced by a lot of different music, eras and genres. Since the music scene in Norway is so small, there are a lot of musicians working within different genres, which might be the reason that there is so much music from Norway that is really hard to define.

Radiohead is probably the best known band that work that way, and who we would cite as an influence. They are defiantly within the pop genre, but they still seem to go about it a lot more like creating art, not creating mainstream pop, which maybe is a growing norm nowadays. They are an influence purely because they do just that. We also try to let different music styles influence us: be it chords, form, melodies or the way we build our layers, and since we play a lot of different music, the different genres influence both the way we make music, and what we make.”

New Promo

You completed your album last year. How did you approach the writing and recording process?

“When we compose/make music we do it all together in the rehearsal room. That is in many ways the clue to our music; all of our different musicalities coming together. The texts either come together part by part whilst making the melodies, but usually that’s the last element to fall into place!

We are not a band who meets up in the studio not knowing what to record. We had an idea regarding all our songs, and all of them were songs we had been playing live for some time. But there were two songs we re-wrote in the studio. Both our second single, The Dip, and Features (a song not yet released) were totally different when they started out. We had recorded The Dip a year earlier as a demo – it still kind of worked, but not totally, especially when we performed it live, so we decided to re-write it.  So when we hit the studio we started with the groove, improvised new parts, keeping what we liked and in the end landed on some ideas.  Within twenty minutes we had a new groove, new synth sound and a new melody. After having recorded the drums, and whilst Johan was recording the synth, Natali changed the lyrics. So it all came together quite nicely.  It’s actually ended up being one of our favourite songs.

Working like this, and managing to keep calm, is one of the amazing things about being in the studio. It is so easy to see and sense that all we are actually doing is moulding out and creating our own way, without knowing the outcome.”

Can you give us some more background to the album – what should we expect, who produced it, how many tracks, what are the themes, etc?

“The album contains eight tracks.  When we went in we had some more songs, but as we had stopped playing some of them live, we didn’t a reason to record them. We recorded in Greener studios,Trondheim.  A lot of really good Norwegian bands have done their recordings there.  Our album was actually the last full-length album to be recorded there. Karl, the guy who recorded us has moved to a bigger studio, where we mixed our album. We didn’t really have a producer as such, but Karl and Natali had most ideas in the studio and Karl mixed it with Natali as a creative-over-shoulder-person.  We haven’t decided on a title yet.

The themes are all a mix of being from an observers perspective and a very physical perspective. A lot of them also have to do with slowing down, or going back to nature, or back to our roots. Finding our instincts. Giving up on this world where there are so many choices and so much chaos. Its funny, cos the first song we felt we really managed to pin down, was called “heavy air” and was all about escaping from town and going back to nature, feeling the grass beneath our feet and all those things. That theme hasn’t really changed, just expanded and evolved!”

So, what’s the plan for the coming year?

“Well, we’ve just played Phonofestivalen in Bergen and of course, we are playing Trondheim Calling – we have two sets on the Thursday and Friday.  We also have a few more concerts planned during spring. We’re also hoping to play some cool Norwegian festivals during summer.

Our debut album is scheduled for release in April,  as well as another single, probably before that.  At the moment we are trying to organise a ‘delayed’ release tour in Norway in the Autumn when the album will also be released internationally (Europe and America).  We’ll follow that with a tour of the countries where the album has been released!

We just really want to play as many concerts as we can, for as many people as possible,  and to spread the sound of our music as far and wide as we can.”

Antler play Trondheim Calling February –  Thursday 4th (Moskus 21.00)  and Friday 5th (Rockheim Restaurant 22.30) February – you can buy tickets for the festival here.

Their debut album is scheduled for release via NO FOREVERS records in April date tbc

Single Review : Frøkedal – ‘The Sign’

Photo Julia Naglestad
Photo Julia Naglestad

Purveyor of some of the most interesting sounds currently circulating the Norwegian ‘musicsphere’, singer/songwriter extraordinaire, Frøkedal, has just unloosed yet another sonic thread from forthcoming musical weave, ‘Hold on Dreamer’, her debut album scheduled for release next month.

Where Frøkedal ended 2015 on a tranquil, wistful note with the exquisite ‘Kid’, she enthusiastically kick starts the New Year by doing a total 360 with uber vibrant and spirited new single, ‘The Sign’.

“But our memories, they are no longer our own,  & there will be no secrets here at all”

Speaking of the process behind recording ‘The Sign’, the singer explained: “I tried the arrangement in several different settings, until Olaf (percussionist Olaf Olsen of Bigbang and Todd Terje fame) and I pieced together a recording of it with him on the drums and me banging it out on an acoustic guitar at his house. And that’s what you can still hear at the heart of the track. It’s the biggest arrangement on the album.”

‘The Sign’ is the antithesis of what we have come to expect from mistress of minimalism, Frøkedal.  A jubilant, rambunctious affair, it is undoubtedly the singers most full-bodied production to-date.

A percussion driven track, the only one from the debut LP to contain any drumming, it comprises elements of jazz, big band and folk-pop, the muddle of which sees Frøkedal continue on her serpentine journey of eclectic experimentation and diversification of sounds.

Zesty, animated jazz-drumming invigorates while emphatically marked ‘chopsticks’ style piano chords and melodic guitar riffs flesh out the body of the song. Frøkedal’s pitch perfect, sunny voice shines through a haze of angelic choral harmonies, extending just a wee touch of heaven onto what is a most uplifting and enchanting song.  A brawny, brassy breeze is a most welcome addition to the outro.  Not only does it add warmth and texture, it fills the musical spaces inherent in Frøkedal’s work.

Album cover by: Erlend Ringseth Photo by: Julia Naglestad
Album cover by: Erlend Ringseth
Photo by: Julia Naglestad

“…And there’s no need to feel so bad, we’ve already lost everything that we had … Still we pick up pieces together and we will wake up to find another way …”

‘The Sign’ is a magical  musical magnet, the pull of which is instantaneous.  From the opening clicks of Olsen‘s drumsticks it pulls you in and lifts you up, and, like a roller-coaster rush of adrenalin boosting E numbers “éclatant de vitalite”, floods the bloodstream with a surge of ‘feel-good’.

An attention seeking sonic cocktail … ‘The Sign’ is a spirited, robust and deliciously optimistic musical high ball – stimulating, intoxicating and very, very moreish.

‘The Sign’ is taken from forthcoming album ‘Hold on Dreamer ‘(released 26 February via Propeller Recordings). Frøkedal will kick off her UK tour at The Islington in London on 25 February – full dates available at frokedal.com | facebook.com/frokedalmusic | twitter.com/Frokedalmusic

Single Review : Sauropod – ‘Sunny Day’

Sauropod3

“One more song from us to you before the whole record’s out: Here’s “Sunny Day”! Short and sweet like the hours of daylight this January! Just close your eyes and picture spring…”

In the build up to the release of their latest long player, ‘Roaring at the Storm’,  Norwegian ‘noisesters’, Sauropod, have released yet another track to whet your appetite – this time it’s spirited scorcher, ‘Sunny Day’.

‘Sunny Day’ not only diverges from the musical path of its forerunner ‘Headphones’, veering towards bluesy ‘rock n roll’ rather than grungey neo-punk, it also has a more optimistic attitude than that of its more acrid predecessor.

The perfect R&R amalgam of swaggering guitar riffs, jazzy-r&b basslines and some seriously dynamic drumming, act as a powerful rhythmic backdrop to perfectly synced ‘he/she’ vocals that are as animated and unyielding as their instrumental counterparts.

Snappy, sassy ‘Sunny Day’, comprises straightforward melodies set to an emphatic beat, delivered with pure rock-n-roll va-va-voom and an air of self-assured bullishness.

Another short, sharp, Sauropod, sonic shock.

‘Sunny Day’ features on the album, ‘Roaring at the Storm’, due for release 22nd January via RIOT FACTORY records.

You can follow Sauropod on Facebook and Twitter.

Single Review : Slutface ‘Kill em with Kindness’

Kill em with Kindness

” … Break out the old cliches, clear space on your front page,  Good stories sell more than you will ever do …”

Norwegian #nextbigthings Slutface, have just dropped their second single, and what a musical volte face this one has turned out to be!  If you created a ‘supergroup” that included members of The Strokes and Johnny Marr, with Gwen Stefani up front, and asked them to produce a piercing indie-pop hit with a bit of turbo exhaust – the resultant tune would be something of the ilk of ‘Kill em with Kindness’.

Slutface is Haley Shea (vocals), Lasse Lokøy (bass), Halvard Skeie Wiencke (drums) & Tor-Arne Vikingstad (guitar).  Their sonic stance thus far has been riot grrrl tinged with neo-punk and a dash of garage, so producing ‘Kill ’em with Kindness’, with its radio friendly pop undertones, is a broadening  of their musical horizons.  At this early stage in the game, it is good to see Slutface testing the musical waters rather than pigeon-holing themselves into a single genre or sound that could ultimately see them stuck in a musical rut further on down the road.  The ability to diversify it key to a longevity in the a music industry with a low boredom threshold and short memory.

With Shea continuing song writing duties, it is not surprising that once again the gender issue rears its head.  Shea is fast becoming a “gen mill” vocal tour-de-force in the campaign not just for gender based equality,  but for equality across the board.  Needless to say, this isn’t just her (Shea’s) message alone – frankly, her lyrics would be pretty pointless not to mention hypocritical, if Slutface, did not fully stand behind them as one unified whole.

” … You’ve seen it all before, Madonnas of the world, Crawl across broken glass …”

‘Kill ’em with Kindness’ is ‘I Will Survive’ modern stylee – a song with which upcoming female musicians can serenade their detractors in the male dominated music press!  This anthem for “survivors” gives a none too polite two fingers, to the inane, dull-witted misogyny normally directed by flaccid media dullards at “she-merging” music artists as they try to kick the shit out of the musical glass ceiling, held so firmly in place by the “brothers”!

Slutface convey a very clear message which should resonate with their diverse network/geography of followers, especially as most of their digital gen fan-base make up a growing groundswell currently moving steadfastly towards change.

Musically ‘Kill ‘Em With Kindness’ is punchy, catchy and energetic.  It comprises gated guitars a la Marr, urgent scratchy riffs and stylishly exuberant pop driven bass lines all set off by some pretty pacy, dynamic drumming. Shea’s vocal is pure American rock-pop, but her razor-sharp tone is such that it cuts through the softer, poppier edges of her delivery. An energetically performed, spirited “pop” song, with catchy hooks and urgent addictive beats, it is sure to set sparks alight across the airwaves, if not across the desks of some neanderthal media types!

Funked up and gated out, this punk meets pop anthem makes for pretty addictive listening, and with its ‘of the moment’ lyrical messaging, ‘Kill ’em with Kindness’ should resonate with enough clued-in music fans to do well across Nordic/Euro/UK Charts.

‘Kill ‘Em With Kindness’ drops ahead of Slutface’s appearance at the renowned Trondheim Calling Festival and their UK Tour with Fufanu. It’s out now via Propeller Recordings – you can check it out, along with their full tour dates, below.

 You can follow Slutface via various social media – Facebook, Twitter, Insta

FUFANU UK TOUR DATES
W/ SPECIAL GUESTS SLUTFACE

25 FEB | Shipping Forecast, Liverpool
26 FEB | Headrow House, Leeds
28 FEB | Nice N Sleazy, Glasgow
29 FEB | Head Of Steam, Newcastle
01 MAR | Sebright Arms, London
Tickets via AXS.com / Seetickets.com

Music Review : Aurora – ‘The Conqueror’

Aurora Live Jan 16

Aurora Aksnes, is a Norwegian singer/songwriter whose star is currently burning brightly in the sonic skies.  Having gone from nought to sixty on the notoriously difficult track of the WW music circuit in the past 12 months, Aurora’s career is now very much in the uber ascendant, with the eyes of worldwide media firmly fixed upon her every musical move.

Known simply as Aurora (a sign of the extent to which her fame has grown), this unique and immensely talented artist is continuing to blaze her musical trail into 2016 with the unexpected release of single, ‘The Conqueror’, a song which features on the FIFA ’16 soundtrack.  The track is accompanied by a quirky David Heath directed visual, set in a dark, wintry, star-filled night-scape.  The video centres on a fluttering kaleidoscope of butterflies that eventually come to rest upon a solitary, bare branched tree.

“Broken mornings, broken nights and broken days in between
Open ground, the sky is open, makes an open sea”

 

 

‘The Conqueror’ is something of a musical departure for Aurora.  It sees her veer away from her trademark other-wordly, Scandivarian sound and march confidently into the realm of vibrant, vivid pop.  While the dark thematic strands so intrinsic to Aurora’s lyrical style are retained, the overall mood and sound are dynamic and buoyant, energised by upbeat melodies, catchy hooks, strong definite vocals and uptempo percussion.

‘The Conqueror’ is the most animated track we’ve heard from Aurora to-date, and is a clear indicator that she has the talent and ingenuity to lift her songs up from the mysterious shadows in which they have been nestling thus far.  Whilst she has indicated that the upcoming album will be “heavy, dark and emotional” with a “viking influence”, it is  clear that it will also comprise of splashes of colour-pop sounds that will invigorate and embolden even the starkest of brooding lyrical landscapes.

Speaking of ‘The Conqueror’, Aurora enthused, “I’m very excited that can finally listen to my new single ‘Conqueror’. This is one of the only happy songs that I have. It’s a special child. Thank you so much for waiting! I hope you find it satisfying.”

With ‘The Conqueror’ Aurora has struck upon the perfect balance between quirky and catchy, edgy and poppy, lyrical fantasia and musical effervescence.   Herlig!

‘The Conqueror’ features on AURORA’s upcoming debut album “All My Demons Greeting Me As a Friend“, which is due out on 11th March via Petroleum Records.  See below for a message from Aurora and pre-order/download  & merch details.

Aurora kicks off her live tour on 1st February at the Deaf Institute, Manchester.

You can follow Aurora on Facebook, Twitter and her official website.  See here for a list of live tour dates.

I am so happy to announce that you can now pre order my first album, ‘All My Demons Greeting Me As A Friend’ (and I will even sign some copies)! It’s been fun recording it … I have so many stories to tell. It will be out on March 11th. Thank you so much for waiting and being wonderful supporters HUG x

Order on the Official Store (includes limited edition deluxe, book and artwork bundles + signed copies): http://po.st/DemonsFBeC
Order on iTunes: http://po.st/DemonsFBiT

Pre order album – https://itunes.apple.com/gb/album/all-my-demons-greeting-me/id1064052299?app=itunes

Download on iTunes: http://po.st/DemonsFBiT
Listen on Spotify: http://po.st/DemonsFBSp