‘No, My God’ it’s Broen Again!

Broen

When I first heard of Norwegian five-piece, Broen some moons ago, I fell hard for their debut single, the deliciously melodic ‘Iris’ with its sighing synth, yearning harmonic chorus and rippling frissons of guitar played by the charismatic Lars Ove Fossheim, who I had the pleasure of meeting earlier this year, in his other guise of David Byrne vocal doppelganger and one quarter of Trondheim indie outfit, Snøskred.

I had let Broen slip from my mind, but now that this gentle reminder had put them back on my radar, and after some retro-investo, I fell back in love with their music.

You can imagine my delight then, when this new little bundle of fun landed in my inbox!  Oh my God, ‘No, My God’, was a very welcome and much needed uplifting tonic on a tired, dark night!

“Tiny legs, tiny arms, tiny feet”

You know you’re on the left-of-left-of-centre, when you’re listening to music by a band that has a tuba player in its line-up.  Yup.  How many experimental bands are you aware of that have a tuba player?  And, a female tuba player at that! Go Heida!!

With bases dotted around Europe, Broen comprises Anja Lauvdal (synths),  Lars Ove Fossheim (guitar),  Hans Hulbækmo  (drums),  Heida Karine Johannesdottir Mobeck (tuba),  and Marianna S. A. Røe (vocals).

In the week that saw the results of a recent Ipsos survey reveal that for the first time in Norway’s history, the majority of its population no longer believes in God, this is a rather fortuitously timed release, for the aptly named ‘No, My God’, lead track from upcoming EP, ‘Yoga’ due out in May.

Following the current Norwegian song-writing trend of masking probing lyrics with a melodic shield of irrepressible positivity, the song challenges ‘righteousness’, both worldly and godly, in terms relative to a society in which #sick gen zedders document their shambolic lives via a continuum of alco-pop fuelled, bleary-eyed insta-snaps.

“Me and my friends go bumping round in high heel wearing tiny dresses,

Roaming around with nothing special to do watching random faces

Having a drink or two will calm my senses, answer questions (…) You might think I’ve gone mad!”

Despite having all the appearances of wackiness, ‘No, My God’ has its musical head screwed on.  Straight from the soundtrack of ‘Ice Age 5 – The Dance of the Dinosaurs’, this bouncing bundle of superficial happiness, is a magical medley of caustic lyrics clothed in craziness, zany ‘muppet’ noises, plodding elephantine bass and bubbling guitar melodies.  Even more interestingly, it is a song with two musical and vocal personalities, being spliced in the middle by a rap section that sees a seismic shift in tempo and instrumental sound.

Broen SC photo

The genius lyrics are laid out crazy paving style: phrasal slates like “champagne bubbling down the drain”, “party of T-Rexes”, “freaky dresses” “religious tangerines” and “dinosaur magazines” are tightly cemented together while their two-tone delivery adds an additional unorthodox quirk.  In line with the style change, the mid-point also sees a dramatic vocal shift as Marianna Røe flicks from delightful lilt to free verse hip hop, rapped with an ‘American’ ‘fluenced accent.

Musically, this is a bass driven track of “mammoth” proportions: the heavy pump of the trudging tuba and lumbering bass bring to mind a trunk swinging mastodon, dancing happily if a little awkwardly, in a haze of sunny melodies. Amidst the madness, is a meandering stream of sparkling guitar riffs, that bubbles beautifully over an earthen anchor of synth-bass, siren noises and lugubrious, heavy percussion.

This swaggering cheeky chappy has all the spark of the B52s and sting of Talking Heads: its zany qualities and  Brontosaurus bassy heaviness appealing to my childish nature, while the incisive sabre-toothed bite of its thought-provoking theme engages my more mature self.

Here Broen have created the ultimate fantasy-scape in which they have allowed their imaginations to run wild. By blending a bevvy of happy, sunny melodies with heavy bass-driven sounds, smart-ass quick fire hip hop and an invective lifted straight from the urban dictionary, they have crafted a uniquely ingenious song that encapsulates the very essence of their ambiguous style and idiosyncratic appeal.

‘No, My God’ will be available digitally for stream/download from 25th March.  It is taken from Broen’s forthcoming EP ‘Yoga’, due for release on 6th May, via 0E0E.

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Album Review : Lust for Youth ‘Compassion’

LfY

 

‘Compassion’, the latest long player offering from Swede/Dane outfit, Lust for Youth, is an impressive production that fuses sounds of shimmering light and morose dark to create a glossy ball of monochrome synthpop. Think black glitterball – spangles from the dark side.

Originally the solo project of Swede Hannes Norrvide, Lust for Youth developed into a triumvirate after a move to Copenhagen saw Norrvide hook up with Danes, Loke Rahbek and Malthe Fischer.  Now following on from their 2014 post-punk, cold wave grit-comp, ‘International’, they have released this much anticipated album, in many ways the culmination of a continuous evolution of sound.

The antithesis of its predecessor, ‘Compassion’ is a more mature, sophisticated creation, although some might say that with that same refinement comes a loss of the very rawness that gave ‘International’ a grimy and therefore, more interesting edge. Ultimately, what way you swing will come down to personal taste: if you are a dirty sounding, industrial leaning synth pop fan, then ‘Compassion’ may not be for you.  If you are a lover of slick synth-pop noir, then this is a gem you need to add to your musical treasure trove.

This eight track Lp opens with ‘Stardom’ a fusion of sketches from SGR and Black Celebration, with overtures of Wilder’s more finessed electronic flourishes a la SOFAD.  Compounding the Mode comparison is the wistful vocal redolent of a Nordic Dave Gahan, although the parsimonious modulation gives it a slight Kraftwerkian mono-automaton quality. ‘Stardom’ is a two tiered dichotomy: overhead lines of warm melodica flow in parallel with underground undulating bass electronica & dancing percussion.  Interestingly, despite being a love song, it is tinged with an air of despondency.

“I’m complete, I’m content

In your bed but I’m floating

In the air in the clear”

Second track in, ‘Limerance’, which means infatuated love, has a dreamy wistful melody that perfectly complements the songs lyrical theme of obsessive, unrequited love.  Pure 80s dance-pop, it is made up of a series of interlinking loops underpinned by an insistent drum beat and repetitive sequences of warm synth that give a honeyed glaze to a washed-out, detached vocal.

Smatterings of “found sounds” and spoken word, are dotted through the compelling meld of poignant cold electronics and warm acoustic chords that make up ‘Easy Window’, a curious yet enchanting instrumental choc full of quirks and delightfully arranged synth sequences that brings to mind a sonic Star Wars between outer space and planet earth.  From interstellar handbags at dawn, to nocturnal handbags on the dancefloor, pure 80s pop-monster, ‘Sudden Ambitions’, is an infectious muddle of NO, ‘Regret’ and TfF ‘The Working Hour’, while its mille feuille of up tempo synth layered over a foundation of gyrating percussive beats, is joyful dance pop in the mould of Pet Shop Boys.  Here Norrvide’s vocal, at its most Gahan-esque, is also at its warmest and most inviting.

Rolling with the PSB and NO sound is surging disco track, ‘Better Looking Brother’, which will sweep you away on the tide of its driving momentum, while duet ‘Display’, does a sonic volte-face changing down gears to first and brings a welcome albeit temporary reprieve from the continuous thrum of up-tempo pop. Despite comprising a bolognaise of several strands of warm electronica and melodic guitar lines, ‘Display’ is full of wide open spaces, making this ballad one of the most interesting, and for my money definitely one of the best, tracks on the album.

The album closes with the rather bizarre ‘In Return’.  Ambiguous Swedish spoken word is married with an almost ambient instrumental accompaniment, its pervasive sense of stasis given only brief moments of animation via electronic flourishes.  It’s an easy listening close but probably the most dated sound on the album.

All in all, ‘Compassion’ is more retro than its more futuristic predecessor.  It references some of the best 80s brand names, which in turn adds to the sense of wistful nostalgia so integral to the album’s thematic core.

‘Compassion’ is a dark reflective stroll through 80s pop highlighted with some wonderful flashes of melodic silver lining. While it may be less edgy than ‘International’, it is significantly more mature, and as far as pieces of polished synth-pop noir go, this is one classy affair.

Lust for Youth’s album, ‘Compassion’ is out now on Sacred Bones records.

The band are currently on tour, you can check out the tour dates below (they play London’s Moth Club 22/4)

You can follow Lust for Youth on social here, Facebook, Twitter

Lust for Youth Tour Dates:

22.03.16 – Los Angeles, US – Teregram Ballroom
24.03.16 – Brooklyn, NY – Market Hotel
02.04.16 – Copenhagen, Denmark – Sigurdsgade
06.04.16 – Berlin, Germany – Lido
07.04.16 – Leipzig, Germany – Ilses Erika
08.04.16 – Zürich, Switzerland – Südpol
09.04.16 – Milan, Italy – Serraglio
11.04.16 – Paris, France – Le Petit Bain
12.04.16 – Lyon, France – Le Sonic
13.04.16 – Madrid, Spain – El Sol
14.04.16 – Barcelona, Spain – Sidecar
16.04.16 – Lisbon, Portugal – Musicbox
21.04.16 – Warsaw, Poland – Klub Hydrozagadka
22.04.16 – London, UK – Moth Club
20/05/16 – Rome, Italy – Spring Attitude Festival
11.06.16 – Montreal, QC – La Sala Rossa

 

SUSANNA – SHARES NEW VIDEO & SINGLE ‘HOLE’

Photo credit: Anne Valeur
Photo credit: Anne Valeur

“This song comes from a dark place, and is about the feeling of falling, and the feeling of falling into the dark. Not entirely a negative experience though, as the repeated visits to this mental state can give a certain safety.”

Norwegian artist Susanna, has a voice that sits somewhere in the realm of Joni Mitchell and Agnetha Fältskog, having both the duskiness of the former and melodic Nordic lightness of the latter.

Her current single, ‘Hole’, for which the accompanying visual has just been released, cuts across this vocal divide, covering both ends of her range. Here Susanna’s delightful vocal is in stark contrast to the song’s thematic darkness.  An honest introspective, it is a reflective monologue on slipping into mental darkness, that shadowy nowhere-land that can either be a sanctuary or can subsume and consume.
A song built on spacious electronic beats and spirals of synth, ‘Hole’ matures slowly into an inviting and delightfully melodic passage filled with uplifting instrumental flourishes and Susanna’s enchanting vocal.

The video, directed by Norwegian photographer/filmmaker Carsten Aniksdal, was shot below ground in Oslo.   Using contrasting lighting effects and varying degrees of brightness and shade, the film features a series of dance sequences shot in a confined, almost prison-like underground space.

Discussing the basis for the films concept Susanna explained:  “We wanted to illustrate the existential topic of the song with dance and movements”.

‘Hole’ is lifted from Susanna’s forthcoming album, ‘Triangle’, which will be released via SusannaSonata on 22nd April (which you’ll find featured on The Monitors) and is available to pre-order via iTunes & via SusannaSonata.  Watch the video for it here,

You can see Susanna play the following Norwegian and UK live dates (if You move quickly):

16th March – Musikkavdelingen, Trondheim, NO
17th March – Fryd Scene, Ål, NO
19th April – Café Oto, London, UK
20th April – Café Mono, Oslo, NO

You’ll find her socialising on the following s/media spaces

Susanna Facebook, Susanna Twitter, Susanna Website

by:Larming around Oslo : Gig Review – Electric Eye

Photo D Mc Cloat
Photo D Mc Cloat

Sometimes it’s something as simple as a line, a note or just a beat, to bait, hook and reel you in.  With Electric Eye it was the first bar of ‘Bless‘, the lead track from their sophomore album, Different Sun‘, released at the start of February.  Having been put onto them last October, by fellow Norwegians Dråpe, I had tuned into a couple of tracks from their debut Lp, “Pick-up, Lift-up, Space, Time”, and really liked what I heard, but it wasn’t until ‘Bless’ dropped into my ‘musicverse’ that I gave Electric Eye some serious undivided attention.

What a difference four minutes can make … and oh boy, what a four minutes.  Having heard a track that addictive, I was hooked immediately by its potency, so when I saw that Electric Eye were on the line up for Oslo based festival, by:Larm, I was more than a tad excited at the thoughts of hearing ‘Bless’ and more, live.

Before by:Larm, Electric Eye released ‘Different Sun’ which garnered much critical praise (you can read my review here) as well as spades of positive feedback from their multitude of fans, so it was with fizzing anticipation that I pitched up at Uhørt to see them rock out for their headline slot on the penultimate night of the festival.

Electric Eye, who count members of The Megaphoic Thrift among their line up, played to the biggest capacity crowd I saw across my three nights at by:Larm.  An absolutely thronged venue heaved and surged as the Bergen four-piece laid into set opener ‘6am’, an already lengthy instrumental which they extended even further.  Like a surreal sonic snake, it captivated, beguiled and hypnotised the by:Larm revellers.  Row after row of psyched out fans was literally going crazy to its powerful blues driven rhythm of clean guitar sequences sitting between frenzied rock grooves, intense drum rolls and crazed spirals of synths.  If you could describe music as being “opiated”, then this is the perfect track to do so.

Describing their sound as “Groove-psych-space-rock from Norway“, they pretty much hit the nail on the proverbial head.  Spaced-out rock from rockin’ out musicians who nearly had the paint off the walls, and the varnish off the woodwork, as their music blistered and scorched creating an electrically charged atmosphere the wattage of which I haven’t experienced since the Manics blew the roof off the Olympia in 2014.

Quality over quantity was the order of the setlist, and instead of trying to cram in several tracks, Electric Eye opted to play just four songs, with extended instrumentals on all.

Essentially an instrumental oriented band, they let the music do the talking for the best part, but in finishing with current single, ‘Mercury Rise’, they proved that they are 100% capable of producing an equally strong vocal delivery.  ‘Mercury Rise’ a glittering homage to Marc Bolan’s T-Rex and all things 70’s glam-rock, was the perfect closer to 30 minutes of entrancing psychedelic grooving.

This was the psych rockers gig of gigs – an unsurpassed guitar-fest and synth fantasia that had the crowed reeling and afterwards baying for more. (I have literally never seen anyone’s fingers move so quickly on a synth – EVER!).  I don’t tend to score gigs, it’s something I rarely do; but on this occasion I’ll make an exception.  10/10.

Electric-Eye

Electric Eye have their sound down pat, and their musicianship skills honed to perfection.  Having long since gained the respect of Norwegian music critics, the band has now caught the eye and ear of top UK music publication, the NME, being featured in their by:Larm round up as one of the hottest bands to play the festival.  Garnering attention and print space beyond Norwegian borders is nothing more than Electric Eye deserve, and with any luck, they’ll garner even more during their Tex-festing stateside.

I’ll leave you guys with a taste of what you have to look forward to at Øya later this Summer, or, if you’re one of the lucky dudes travelling to SXSW, then you’ll need to tick this on your gig-go-to next week!!  Happy St Patrick’s Day with Electric Eye y’all!

The album ‘Different Sun’ is available on Bandcamp, iTunes and Spotify. You can follow Electric Eye on Facebook and Twitter.  They will play the Norwegian Glasto – Øyafestivalen – in August.  Their schedule for SXSW is here:

Electric Eye at SXSW
Electric Eye at SXSW

A Sad Loss Is Announced

CONOR-PROFILE-3-copy

It is with a heavy heart and huge sense of loss that I type these words.  Ireland has lost one of its most prodigious talents today, with the sudden passing of pianist and composer, Conor Walsh.  Hailing from Swinford, he had only recently posted his delight at having provided the music for the Feargal Ward, short film, ‘Bungalow Bliss’.

Having started composing as a teenager, Walsh, who was influenced by Chopin amongst others, went on to become an highly respected professional musician, appearing at Electric Picnic, Body & Soul, and Other Voices (Dingle).  His music also featured on several Irish television programmes.

Composing pieces in the mould of Olafur Arnalds and Arni Gretar, his style was minimalist, neo-classical. Sadly, this gifted electro-acoustic pianist had only just released his debut EP, ‘Front’, via Ensemble Records last December.  Critically acclaimed by the likes of Jim Carroll, ‘Front’ was as destined for success as was Walsh.

Our thoughts are with his family and friends tonight!

Death leaves a heartache
no one can heal;
Love leaves a memory no
one can steal”

Hozier Promotes ‘Cherry Wine’ & Confirms New Music For 2017

Courtesy of RTE Late Late Show
Courtesy of RTE Late Late Show

During his appearance on RTE’s ‘Late, Late Show’ tonight, the artist known as Hozier confirmed he would be releasing new music in 2017.  When asked by host, Ryan Tubridy, if we would hear new songs next year, the Irish singer/songwriter replied – “Hopefully the next time you see me, I’ll have a whole rake of new tunes”.

Hozier was appearing on the LLS to promote ‘Cherry Wine’ the proceeds for which are being divided out among several worldwide domestic abuse charities.  After playing the song live on the show, the singer discussed the background to the song, making the video with Oscar nominated Irish actress Saoirse Ronan, and how the charities will benefit from any sales and downloads – see here for more details – http://www.Hozier.com/cherrywine .

In conversation with Tubridy, Hozier explained that he already had some songs penned and that despite loving touring, which he described as a ‘by-product’ of creating music and selling albums, he was “hungry to get back to making music”.

During a humourous interactive section of the interview, Hozier was asked a series of questions taken from members of the audience and the Late Late’s Twitterati.  One such Q came by video link from a Mancunian fan who wanted to know if Hozier thought she should get a tat of his countenance on her arm, over where he signed his autograph, she proudly explained!  A blushing AHB stuttered, “Oh, there are better mugs out there … wow, that’s incredibly flattering … whatever makes you happy” before Tubridy confirmed that the fan had actually gone ahead with the tattoo, which they then showed her displaying by video link.

As gracious and natural as ever, despite being one of the most successful singer/songwriters on the planet, Hozier chatted with ease about being on the road, the things he missed – like making himself coffee and being able to get Barry’s tea, the difficulty in having relationships when you’re on the road, and trying to get home to his family as much as possible.

A beautiful soul, with a beautiful voice, who has done a beautiful thing for such a worthy charity, Hozier, we salute you.

Watch the beautifully filmed, respectful but honest visual for ‘Cherry Wine’ here; you can download the single here.  Please, please, like, support & share.

Hozier’s eponymous debut album is available, here.

Fiordmoss – ‘Madstone’ Single Review

Still courtesy of Fiordmoss & Jan Durina
Still courtesy of Fiordmoss & Jan Durina

The strangest concoction springs to mind when I listen to ‘Madstone’ from Fiordmoss.  Japan here, Bjork there, Prince’s ‘When Doves Cry’ around and about.  It has an air of 80s experimental electronica mixed with jungle drums & ‘Purple Rain’ percussion/electronic strobes.

Dark, haunting voids are spliced with smatters of twinkling synths, groans of electronic noises and jungle percussion with intent.  Intermittent interruptions of serrated drones and static friction intensify an already loaded atmosphere, seeping through which like a cold mist is the icy vocal of vocalist Petra Hermanová.

Fiordmoss are based in Berlin, but of Czech-Norwegian origin.  They’ve been around a few years now, developing experimental sounds and seem to have found their niche in slightly avant-garde dark electro-pop.  Definitely a band I would like to see live (check their live dates below), and certainly one I’ll be keeping an eye out for, from now on!

 

Good night wolf bite,  One of a kind
Lie low, wipe all traces of a fight
Charcoal blind foal, Limps by her side
Bow and arrow lead them to the hole
She may be the child of spring
Let her in to greet her king
She wore a madstone

Skin tight moonlight, Along her spine
Fireflies swarm wild in a chilling rite
Warm ink, sweet milk, Run down her thighs
Boil glow unknown, simmer until dawn
She may be the child of spring
Let her in and hear her sing
She wore a madstone

Madstone is available via bandcamp, here, and also via the following digital channels below.  Watch the self-produced visual for the single here, shot at various petrol stations and truck stops on the outskirts of Berlin, with the assistance of photographer, Jan Durina.

Spotify: http://bit.ly/1O6quFh
iTunes: http://apple.co/1TWuFe4
Soundcloud: http://bit.ly/1owRVU7

Fiordmoss play the Czech Rep on 18th, 19th March and again later in June, details here.

Dawn of a New EERA – EP Review

Image by Alice Rainis
Image by Alice Rainis

Honest, pure, raw, delicately powerful, visual, dark, introspective, textured, emotive, sensual, deep, touching, full of feeling, sonically simplistic, minimalist, not trying to emulate, unusual.

Just some of the words I’d use to describe my initial reaction to EERA’s eponymous debut EP.

This 4-track stunner opens with ‘White Water, the Norwegian’s latest single release. It is a delicious combination of moody, grungey guitar chords, intermittent elongated splurges of electronica, and darkly complex lyrics delivered with an almost other-worldly vocal.

In contrast, ‘Drive with Fear’, is a melting pot of several sketches: shimmering, whirling dervishes of synths, low almost monotone basslines, solemn funereal organ sounds, and snappy drum loops. Brief interludes of horn add warmth, colour and texture, while the two-toned vocal switches from husky to delightfully angelic, crossing through EERA’s full vocal range. Evocative and poignant, ‘Drive with Fear’ summons images of EERA reaching out with vocal arms, imploring the listener to “drag him out”. This track sparkles as clearly and brightly as the diamonds EERA sings of.

‘Marry Me’ is an hommage to the artists grandparents.   Assuming the voice of her grandmother in conversation with her late husband on the cusp of what would have been their 60th wedding anniversary, this is a touchingly penned love poem set to a meld of jewellery box noise and a mini rock opera complete with ghostly choral harmonies and a dramatic build in the form of a guitar driven crescendo.

Starting with electronic pulses, a dull low slung thrum, short spacious drum rolls and EERA’s vocal at its most pristine, it shifts weight through a clever tempo change into a dark guitar lead sequence, whilst still maintaining that sense of space until it hits the chorus line. A beautiful sparkle of ballerina jewellery box music carries the song through to a blush of harmonies and serrated guitar chords underpinned by a continuum of bass. Again, there is another change of tack. At times distorted, at times pleading, EERA’s vocal gymnastics bounce off a many layered guitar instrumental interspersed with bursts of what sounds like contorted fairground organ.

“I spoke to him late last night, after I laid a cloth on his face, the love of my life,

My shoe fell on the floor, no need to reach down, I’ll stay here until I can feel him,

Oh Marry me …Thanks for showing me, journeys I couldn’t do on my own, please wait for me,

Oh Marry me, again … Hold on”

EERA’s vocal on this track is nothing short of remarkable, as she performs it in at least four different styles, continuously altering the tone, timbre and pitch to marry the moments in time of this grand-maternal monologue. The best track on the EP, it’s pretty spectacular stuff. Complex, beautifully vocalised and more than dramatically arranged, ‘Marry Me’ lovingly pieces together the emotional chapters of what must have been a truly wonderful romance.

EP Cover

“There are so many ways of dying, the worst one is to continue on living”

The EP closes with “Undressed,” a lush one woman and her guitar track. It is pretty much just EERA singing with her electric guitar until just past the mid-way point when a series of noises, horn, acoustic guitar and a mille-feuille of vocals bring this most delicious of EPs to a close.

It is quite uncanny that EERA has sprung from nowhere into the consciousness of so many so quickly. Undoubtedly she has cut her teeth over the course of some years, gigging, open micing, honing her lyrical craft and so on. But to pen, arrange and produce a debut EP as arrestingly beautiful and breathtakingly honest as this is simply quite remarkable for someone so young and inexperienced in the world of recording. If this is what EERA is capable of on her first outing, what is to come with her first album should be pretty amazing. 9/10.

Follow EERA on Facebook and Twitter.

The EERA EP is out now via House Arrest in both vinyl and digital formats.

Clear vinyl – http://smarturl.it/Eera.Clearvinyl, Black vinyl via Rough Tradehttp://smarturl.it/Eera.RoughTrade
Amazon US – http://smarturl.it/EERAAmazonUS & Spotifyhttp://smarturl.it/EERAEPSpotify

by:Larming around Oslo : Gig Review – Mats Wawa

CR Club

Off:Larm, The Crossroad Club, Oslo, March 2016.

After a pro-longed series of delays courtesy of SAS and the weather, I finally arrived in Oslo on a cold and snowy Thursday night, and, with little time to spare, flung bags and Duty Free onto the bed, grabbed my phone and hot footed it down to the hotel lobby, grabbed a map and got directions to The CrossRoad Club, where I was due within a matter of minutes for a night of ‘off:Larm’ musical mania.

Arriving at the end of a very brief but incredibly expensive taxi journey (even more expensive than the TC gin og tonic), I went through the hand stamping routine (really?), pulled up a high stool, ordered an exorbitantly priced drink, (with complimentary straw), and settled down for my evenings entertainment.

Starters on the musical bill of fare was Mats Wawa, a young 60s-70s pysch influenced band from Oslo.  Having heard their debut EP, ‘Classics’, I was looking forward immensely to hearing them play live, and you know what folks, I wasn’t disappointed.  The band was joined on stage by Gold Celestes Petter Haugen Andersen in his newest capacity as flautist, and, when he wasn’t generally fluting around, he could be found vigorously shaking a pineapple (and probably developing very strong biceps in the process).

Mats Wawa played a 7-song set that kicked off with non-EP track, ‘Hola’, and, from the get-go the crowd were ‘on it’, cheering, whistling and being generally, good humouredly interactive. If the opener warmed up the crowd, second track in, ‘Worries’ got them nicely toasted.  This country ‘fluenced tune-for-cruisin is heavy on Americana guitar juice and sing-along chorus lines, and, was the perfect track to get the partee started and the mood imbued with lurve.

Retro-psych with it’s many layers and textures is not the easiest of sounds to translate into a live performance, but Mats Wawa managed to pull the musical rabbit outta the hat with relative ease.  For a band so young, their instrumental competence is not to be underestimated and the quality of their musicianship on the night, especially on the synth/keys, slide guitar and drums, was quite astonishing.

The best example of the tightness of this unit came on Lego inspired, ‘Lord Bisnis’ which saw all elements – vocal and instrumental – come together effortlessly, easily producing one of the highlights of the set.  Full credit must be given to PHA who gave a pretty high class performance of what is quite a complicated flute sequence, an instrumental accompaniment that gives this track its full bells and whistles Jethro Tull vibe.

Kudos too to Jonas Rohde-Moe for producing some pretty darned tricky, finger twisting guitar sequences on ‘Planet of the Grapes’.  And indeed to Metallica wannabe, Emil Kjærnli for giving it sox, when he had the full Status Quo rip-roaring guitar in the air at full throttle thang going on.

These are not easy songs to sing, and all due credit to Wang and Torkellsen whose vocals held up well on the night.  The only downer came as a result of faulty or damaged cabling, which gave some intermittent gyp, particularly on the leads mic.  All a bit unfortunate, but being consummate pros, Wang & Co kept going, adjusting their positions accordingly, to mitigate against the interference.

Their short but rockin’ 30min stint closed with the song ‘Dead’ of which, if anything, the band were the antithesis.  Electrifying, energetic and full on, this brought their set to a dramatic and clangorous close.

Mats Wawa are as happy a unit as ever I’ve seen on a stage.  Undoubtedly good friends, there is a magic to their synergy, while their effervescent enthusiasm spills over into the crowd, creating an energy that flows back and forth between band and audience.  As a unit, they are in their infancy, and it will be interesting to watch their progress especially if, and most probably when, this band produce a full long player and take it out on the long and winding promotional road.

More JaJa than Wawa, this is a band with a bright future ahead of them.  Giving one of the most entertaining live performances I saw during my time in Oslo, Mats Wawa is a band I would strongly recommend you check out next time you see them on a gig listing near you!

Setlist:  Hola, Worries, Bed of Love, Walking with You, Lord Busines, Planet of the Grapes, Dead

Mats Wawa are Mats Wang (vocal/guitar), Terje Vea Torkellsen (vocal/keys), Mathias Sagedal (Drums) and Emil Kjærnli (bass guitar), with the addition of Jonas Rohde-Moe (guitar) and Petter HA (flute/percussion) for live performances.  You can find them on Facebook, here.

The EP ‘Classics’ is out now, links here,

Spotifyhttps://play.spotify.com/album/69RyJth1sRwzjKt3qp5T5e

TIDAL/Wimp:  http://tidal.com/album/56849971

 

Noel Gallagher’s Birds Fly From Manchester to Mexico For Record Store Day

Noel Gallagher

Arriba, Arriba

On 16 April, Noel Gallagher’s High Flying Birds will release an exclusive, limited edition 12” picture disc for Record Store Day – El Mexicano (The Reflex ‘La Revolucion’ Remixes) – featuring previously unreleased remixes of The Mexican by The Reflex.

Noel Gallagher

The Reflex is a London-based French native Nicolas Laugier, who takes his cue from the first wave of disco remixers by using only the original sounds from the master tapes to breathe new life into soul, pop and disco classics. Fans of The Reflex include Nile Rodgers, Kid Creole, Disclosure, Jazzy Jeff, and Greg Wilson.

Noel is a supporter of Record Store Day and says “Record shops are as important as the records themselves”. 

The Mexican is taken from the number one album Chasing Yesterday, which was one of the highest selling albums in its first week on sale in 2015.

The band have a packed touring schedule this year, playing a sold out UK Arena tour in the Spring with special guests Super Furry Animals, followed by headline festival dates with more to be announced soon.

Live Dates and Track Listing below … meantime, to whet your appetite, here’s a vid of HFB live in concert … enjoy.

 

Live dates:

21/04/16   SSE Hydro, Glasgow

24/04/16   GE AECC, Aberdeen

25/04/16   Echo Arena, Liverpool

27/04/16   First Direct Arena, Leeds

29/04/16   Genting Arena, Birmingham

30/04/16   International Centre, Bournemouth

28-31/07/16   Kendall Calling, Kendall

30/07/16   Y Not Festival, Pikehall

04/08/16   Lytham Green, Nr Blackpool

28/08/16   Victorious Festival, Portsmouth

04/09/16   Festival Number 6, Portmerion

 

Track-listing for the limited edition Record Store Day 12”picture disc: 

  1. El Mexicano (The Reflex ‘La Revolucion’ Vocal Mix)
  2. El Mexicano (The Reflex ‘La Revolucion‘ Dub Mix)
  3. El Mexicano (The Reflex ‘La Revolucion‘ Instrumental)