Monday blues

It’s been one of those Mondays that make you wonder where you’re going in life… Anyway, this came to me in an email and it’s nice to listen to. Its the remix package for Pelifics’ “Wish It Could Last” featuring Electric Youth. There are remixes from Marius Vareid, Octo Octa, Poindexter and Sweet Track.

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New Music: Monika May

Quietly epic, and haunting in a very Scandinavian way. Check out here.

Interview: Quickfire with Katzenjammer

One of the more quirkier bands to come out of Scandinavia, Norway’s Katzenjammer have amassed a global fanbase since the release of their debut album ‘Le Pop’ back in 2009. Now heading to the UK to play several cities (including London on the 31st October), the band have been through one of my quickfire question and answer sessions. Take a read!

So Katzenjammer, you seem to have a worldwide following at the moment, but how would you describe yourselves to people who’ve never heard your sound before?

We´re a genreless band. Meaning that there are no boundaries when it comes to our music, and that´s why it´s so difficult to describe it. It´s a mix of how the four of us sees the world. But if it must be put under a tag, it would probably be under alternative pop/rock/folk music. If you add a bit of craziness and 15 acoustic instruments on top of that, you´re pretty close to Katzenjammer.

What musical styles inspire your songs?

We´re very different when it comes to taste in music. Some are more into classical music and electronica and others are into blues, rock, and folk music. So we´re pretty much inspired by anything. We´ve got a few common references though, like Tom Waits, old Disney music and western folk music.

And thinking aside from music, what else in life inspires you to write songs?

Movies! People! Paintings! The World!

Your albums have all gone top ten in your home country of Norway; what is it about your music that you think connects with the Norwegian music market?

It´s something new and different. And I think since our genre pool is so diverse, almost everyone can relate to at least one Katzenjammer song. And folk music has been generally popular in Norway tfor the past few years.

And this is a question I ask pretty much all Scandinavian artists; what is it about Scandinavia that makes it such an amazing place for creating great music?

I don´t know really, maybe it´s the cold weather and the darkness? A lot of depressive emotions gotta be expressed in some ways I guess. And there´s a lot of great music schools and opportunities for those who want to discover the musician within themselves. In addition to that all the Scandinavian countries are wealthy nations and it´s quite easy to get financial support through scholarships. That means it´s actually possible to live the dream.

Where’s your favourite place to tour?

England of course!

Are you looking forward to playing in London?

Yes! London is one of the highlights of the tour. AND it´s halloween so we have to figure out what to wear…

Find out more about Katzenjammer and the UK tour happening right now here.

Live: Bernhoft at Union Chapel London

One of the quirkiest venues in London hosted one of the quirkiest musical stars to come out of Norway for some years. In a sold out church, Bernhoft worked a crowd to their feet with a handful of guitars and a couple of mics. Not an easy thing to do; this was probably one of the more fun gigs I’ve been to this year. Good stuff.

New Music: Bow To Each Other

Norwegian based chilled synth-pop duo. Single’s out November 26th. Check out here.

One of the longest titles in pop

Trust those Norwegians to come up with a title for a song so long and amazing that it makes you have to listen to the track. It’s the new video by Alfitude favourites, Team Me, and is called ‘With My Hands Covering Both of My Eyes I Am Too Scared to Have A Look At You Now’. The single is the final to be taken from debut album ‘To The Treetops’, and will be released on October 29 2012.

Don’t stare into the eyes… Don’t stare into the… eyes…

I love this song by Norwegian songstress Ane Brun but the video is way too intense for a Wednesday afternoon. Gorgeous song though.

Interview: Quickfire with Bernhoft

Ladies and gentlemen, I introduce to something of a Norwegian vocal sensation. I’m talking about Bernhoft– I did feature him quite a while back but he’s coming to London in October, and it seemed like a good chance to throw some quickfire questions at the chap. It’s not as glamorous (or kinky) as the one he did with Ellen, but you know…

You’ve got a really distintive sound, how did you realise that this was the direction you wanted to pursue musically?

It kinda chose me to be honest. After my old band fell to pieces, the plan was to study teaching and grow up. However, through a hidden message in the Fresh album, Sly Stone commanded me to start writing, recording and gigging again. You don’t sah no to Sly.

Who are your musical idols, and why?

Bartok, Stevie Wonder and Keith Jarrett, for their brilliance. Keith Richards for attitude.

Your video for C’mon Talk has been seen well over a million times on YouTube- how was the response been to your music been since?

Pretty much the same as it was with 20.000 views, only coming from more people.

Why do you think there’s so much exciting music coming of out Scandinavia in the last few years?

Simple answer to that; we’re stinking rich and can afford to spend time making said music.

You’re playing London’s Union Chapel on the 15th October- are you looking forward to playing in London?

Yeah, Londoners are a tough crowd, very jaded in that so much goes on and they won’t take no shit. But I find that they love the things they like, so I’ll have to work hard. And I love that venue!

What do you have planned for the rest of the year?

Nothing but churning out future evergreens. I’ll leave the rest to chance.

Bernhoft plays London’s Union Chapel on October 15th 2012. I’ll be there, and so should you! Find out more here.

New Music: Rebekka Karijord

This is the sort of sound that is so atmospheric and big and dark that it just leaves you breathless. Check out here.

First Watch: Karin Park ‘Thousand Loaded Guns’

Im surprised with myself for not mentioning Karin Park on this site before, because I do love her. She ticks all my boxes. This is her new song, it’s all Scandinavian and epic, just the way I like it. The voice is a little Fever Ray, don’t you think?

New Music: Highasakite

Fresh indie pop from Norway. Check out here.

New Music: Ask Embla

I’m not sure why I like this, but I do. There’s a sadness to it but it’s still a bit fun. Check out here.

Pelifics – Lifetime EP Vol. 2

The Oslo producer’s newest EP, “Lifetime Vol.2”, features JD Samson of MEN and formerly of Le Tigre,  Italy via Berlin hotpot Miss Plug Inn and Montreal duo AXXE.

I can’t go to Eurovision this year, so the album will have to do…

Regular followers will know that for all my sins, I am a huge Eurovision fan. Those of you who don’t know about it; it’s the world’s most watched music TV show and its on every year, where all the countries in Europe each submit a song and the viewers from all the countries vote on a winner. It’s a big deal all across the continent, is watched all over the world and is broadcast live later this month.

I’ve been to the last couple of shows, and what I hoped would be an annual pilgrimage was shattered when Azerbaijan won last year, meaning that I couldn’t ever afford a trip there (the winner hosts the following year’s event). So sadly, I won’t be going.

But, the amazing people at Universal have given me the second best thing; a copy of this year’s CD with all the entries. It’s out this week, and even if you think the show is lame it’s really worth giving it a listen. I won’t go through all 42 entries, but these are my highlights.

I’m not going to mention the UK, because even though that’s where I’m from, I think the song is ‘just OK’ (although if it does win I will be really happy), but you can watch it here. Anyway…

Favourite Entry (and one I would like to see winning): Loreen ‘Euphoria’ (Sweden – obviously)

This is the most impressive entry this year, and one of the many reasons Sweden is close to my heart. It’s had the  most positive response of all the entries this year, and it’s looking very likely that the Contest will come to Stockholm in 2013.

Sexiest Entry (and one I would like to be in the video with): Anggun ‘Echo’ (France)

Anggun is apparently a bit of an institution in France, and the country has recently been making a big effort to have some quality songs represent it. So I think this is good, it deserves top 10.

Biggest Pile of Shit (that will probably do well): Valentina Monetta ‘The Social Network Song’ (San Marino)

Seriously, embarassing. But gaining a cult following. So who knows. Who knows…

Fiercest Diva (from an unlikely country): Tooji ‘Stay’ (Norway)

I actually LOVE this track and I can’t help but get a kick out of hearing that bit of Arabic drum in it. I really hope this does well.

Most Viral (and cutest): Buranovskiye Babushki ‘Party For Everybody’ (Russia)

My ears are bleeding… But awwww…

The ‘Probably Will Win’ Entry: Ivi Adamou ‘La La Love’ (Cyprus)

Songs with Ballearic beats tradionally do very well in Eurovision, and this track is very, very catchy. So if it wins I won’t complain, it’s good.

So yeah, I hope you share a bit of interest in Eurovision. Head over to Amazon and get the CD. Or go on iTunes. It’s just a bit of fun, and who knows; you might end up a fan…

First Listen: Tone Damli feat Eric Saade ‘Imagine’

This is a special song because it mixes two big Scandinavian pop stars together- Norwegian Tone Damli and Swedish Eric Saade. The result is perfect, harmless pop.