Editorial - One year of Nordic Music Review

Last week Nordic Music Review was one year old. Happy Birthday us. When we started we had no idea whether anybody would read what we had to say, or whether we’d stumble and fold within the 1st month – and there’s no denying how hard it is, our collective hats are raised to the likes of One Chord to Another who’s been doing this for about 14 years - an incredible commitment and achievement. We did think we might do this just for one year and then do something else, but it would be a shame to stop right now. I remember saying that if we could get just one email or message from someone who’d discovered a new artist or band through us, it would all be worthwhile, and we’ve had lots of those typ

Lava Bangs - new single 'Ouch'

We’re trying to cover different genres of music this weekend, and after the folk sounds of Whale and the Village, its great to switch over to something slightly different. We’ve had the new single ‘Ouch’ from Lava Bangs blasting away on our music playlist all week, so we thought it deserved a few words - especially when they told us that a video had been released as well. Formed from the band ‘Volcano’, Lava Bangs from Gothenburg have been around for a few years, and they’re a riot grrl indie punk assault of guitars and noise, but its ‘good noise’, with an infectiously likeable quality to it. Anyway the single ‘Ouch’ was recorded at the famous Music A Matic Studio, and there’s no point in d

New Band - Canigou

We've featured a few artists and releases recently which have been funded through kickstarter / crowd funder style initiatives - Catself and Anna Scharling I think are both examples, so we thought it would be nice to feature a band just starting down this route. And we've been meaning to introduce you all to Canigou anyway, they've been on our 'new band list' for ages, ever since we spotted them on twitter and loved their description of themselves as a ' Tiny orchestra from Sweden. Summoning atmospheric sounds, spreading the love'. Canigou have just a few tracks out there on Soundcloud and Spotify (and even better on Itunes) for you to get to know, and I think its really interesting music, i

Introducing..... 'Whale and the Village'

Another band we meant to introduce to you a while back was ‘Whale and the Village’, a folk pop band from Turku, a city home to a few bands we’ve featured including the brilliant ‘Stillwalkers’. We like featuring a wide range of styles of music, and this is very much on the ‘folk’ side of things, and what I like about their music is that it’s so straightforward, easy to like and completely lacking in pretensions – its well written, melodic folk (pop) music with guitars, banjo, mandolins and melodica. Anyway they released an Album earlier this year called ‘Between the Tracks’ that we’ve mentioned on Twitter a couple of times, and it’s a good album packed full of tunes, its upbeat too and ther

Navelin - 'Daydream' single and video

Whilst some music takes slightly longer to grab our attention, it took seconds for ‘Navelin’ to make an impact with their new single and video ‘Daydream’. The Swedish / Irish band released their debut EP ‘SIDE ONE’ earlier this year, and ‘Daydream’ is from that EP, although its now backed up with an excellent animated video made by Michael Zauner. Navelin are a band likely to make a big impression, with the attention already of a fair few music websites. Their latest single ‘Daydream’ is the highlight of a good EP, it’s a dreamy pop track with a great tune, with throwbacks to some good 80s and 90s influences, and the vocals from Elin Johansson are soft sounding, lush and delicate too, remi

Anna Scharling - 'Anna Scharling EP'

One of the greatest pleasures in our first year has been to help introduce new Nordic artists to the UK and back home who are releasing debut material. Of course most of these artists have been performing for a while, have excellent reputations from those that have seen them, but it just takes a while (or sometimes an age) to get formal material released. A great example of this is Anna Scharling, who, in her self titled debut EP, has written a beautiful set of songs, with a voice so pure and individual, that we’re delighted to be able to write a few words of introduction. The Danish songwriter comes across as a storyteller as much as a musician, and with generally bare instrumentations, th

VALSALAND ANNOUNCE ALBUM!

We did consider doing something special to mark our 1st birthday, perhaps feature some of our favourite 'discoveries' from our 1st year, and we immediately thought that would be a great excuse to write again about Valsaland and some of their amazing, and critically acclaimed, videos. But there was no need, because we have even better news.... We are delighted to announce that the debut album from Valsaland entitled 'Fängelset' will be released next week on Monday 30th November, which is just 9 sleeps away. For those of you who don't remember Valsaland they are a Swedish project that use a huge number of musicians (29 to be precise, aged between 8 and 70 years old) and combine every musical

NANA JACOBI – WORLD VIDEO PREMIERE! - ‘Into My Arms’

In July we featured a review of the Nana Jacobi album, ‘Expander’, the Danish singer songwriter produced a lovely album that was easy to like, with excellent vocals and some gorgeous song writing. One of the highlights of the album was the cover of the Nick Cave song ‘Into My Arms’, which was performed and produced in a really beautiful and sensitive manner. Anyway Nana has combined together with Director Silas Emmery to produce a video of the song with a fairly extraordinary story behind it. He was in a Russian flea market and came across a box of films, which he bought and subsequently discovered contained footage of a Russian wedding. So he made the ‘Into My Arms’ video based on this fo

New Band - 'Antler'

We’ve featured so many new bands in the last year and we thought we should try and introduce a particularly exciting one on our 1st birthday – and we certainly think Norwegian band ‘Antler’ have a great future. Ok so they’re not quite so new back in Norway but they probably haven’t had much of an introduction yet in the UK, and its our pleasure to do that now. They’ve just released 2 new singles in advance of an album release which is due to reach us in March 2016 (on No Foreveres label), and they are already making a stir with festival appearances at Gutfeelings #6, as well as Øyafestivale, both festivals renowned for introducing the best new artists in the Nordic music scene. Anyway thei

Bror Forsgren - 'Narcissus'

I try not to read Album reviews before I review them myself, because I don’t want to have my opinion swayed – especially if the reviewer is from a national publication with far more knowledge and a better grasp of the English language than myself. But in the case of Bror Forsgren (The Lionheart Brothers, Jaga Jazzist) and his album ‘Narcissus’, I couldn’t really help it, because I actually found out about the album a few weeks back through a National newspaper review, and my eyes lit up when I read more about the artist and the album – regular readers of Nordic Music Review know that we love huge projects like this that throw together so many different genres and musical styles. This certai

Gold Celeste - 'The Glow'

We covered Amasons album ‘Sky City’ a couple of months late, and it reminded me of another album which I’ve enjoyed listening to, but never written anything about, so thought I should do an ‘In Short’ review. Gold Celeste are from Norway and ‘The Glow’ is their debut album, and it was released to favourable reviews back in September, and understandable so, with its dreamy hypnotic layers of psychedelic melody. ‘Can of Worms’ sets the tone of the album with its carefully crafted hazy tune and layers of sound, it's so laid back that you feel it might actually just come to a complete standstill. ‘But a Poem’ does have a different feel to it, a short 60’s influenced track with a lovely melody b

Amason - Sky City

We mean to write about the Amason album ‘Sky City’ when it first came out (I think it reached the UK late August), but it had received a fair bit of coverage in other music publications, so we decided to come back to it at a later date when we’d had chance to get to know it better. This was obviously a big mistake, we have a never ending list of bands we want to tell you about, and the Swedish band consisting of members from bands such as Little Majorette, Dungen and Mike Snow got slightly forgotten about - at least from a review perspective. But actually it still remains one of my most listened to albums over the last 3 months, this is a stylish, smooth and creative album with synths and pi

Laura Moisio - 'Ikuinen Valo'

Yesterday we reviewed ‘Lockerbie’ and their album ‘Hafari, and we’re sticking with native languages for a few words about a recent album by Finnish singer songwriter Laura Moisio called ’Ikuinen Valo’ (I think that means 'Eternal Light’). It doesn't seem that long ago that she released her last album, which we liked so much that it was listed in our ‘Top 10 Nordic Albums of 2014’, but it’s a pleasure to listen to her new album, which is completely delightful, and which will grow on you every time you listen to it. Obviously the language restrictions do limit us considerably, but musically this feels like a more complete if varied album than her first one, opening with the intensity of ’Itku

'Catself' - New Video

After our coverage of all things Post Rock, Folk Rock and 60s influenced Slacker Pop, we’re going to introduce you to 2 new artists (well new to Nordic Music Review at least..…) this weekend who have folk music at the heart of what they do, but are pretty unique in their approach. The first is the irrepressible Catself, a Finnish storyteller who sings unusual quirky fairytale style songs about animals, elves and everything pure and beautiful in nature. And as much as we like our melancholy singer songwriter types, it feels pretty good and refreshing to feature someone who sings about whatever she wants, and in such a free spirited way. Catself has actually been around for a few years, bui

Lockerbie - 'Kafari'

One of the many things I like about Icelandic music (it’s a long list obviously…), is the level of collaboration and sharing of musicians between bands. Now I realise that this goes on everywhere, but in Iceland it seems to be particularly prevalent. From our perspective it’s a great way of finding different artists and bands too, so whilst I was researching the excellent CeaseTone (we've written about them twice), I came across the name Lockerbie, as CeaseTone's frontman Haffi is guitarist in Lockerbie – I think he also sometimes plays with Agent Fresco too. So when Lockerbie then contacted us to advise of their new album, we already had them on our list to review anyway. The band have bee

New Band - 'The Echo Field' and single 'Is He Gone'

After the 60’s inspired folk album from ‘Days of Elisa, we’re introducing another band from Sweden, The Echo Field, who are also heavily influenced by a similar era. The band was founded by Tomas Hellberg and Niklas Mellberg, and they have released single 'Is He Gone' ahead of their debut EP which is released next week and follows up from their successful previous single ‘Watch Your Step’. The beauty of new single 'Is He Gone' lies in its apparently simplicity – not that its is simple to write songs like this obviously, or everyone would be doing it. But they make it sound so effortless, with a lovely timeless melody that could have been written 40 or 50 years ago but modernized with slightl

Kalandra - 'Love You Right' Single

I know we talk about Moddi helping inspire the creation of the Nordic Music Review, but we must not forget the part that Kalandra played too, as they supported Moddi at that gig at the Castle Hotel in Manchester just over a year ago, and they were one of the first acts featured in our ’50 New Bands’ series. At the time they were Liverpool based, but now that they have finished their LIPA studies, they have returned home to Norway, and after a successful Summer recording and playing some gigs, they are now offering their new single, which is released today. The thing I love about Kalandra is the way they mix together beautiful Nordic sounding influences, and a big alternative rock sound.

Days of Elisa - 'As Opposed to Going Down'

As regular Nordic Music Review readers will know, I normally have to listen to an album about 6 times before I feel I know it enough to review it. But sometimes it takes even longer and with Swedish band, Days of Elisa, with it's gentle paced 60s influenced acoustic folk, I’ve lost count of the amount of times I’ve listened to ‘As Opposed To Going Down’ since the album was released in mid September. It's an unusual and thought provoking album, the creation of which started 3 years ago after some extraordinary events which involved a brutal attack on singer songwriter Lars Åhlund. The event over time inspired him to write music about his recovery, and whilst he would clearly never want to

New Artist - 'Guns'

As regular Nordic Music Review readers will know, we like to highlight good new bands and artists we’ve come across which haven’t yet received much coverage from music websites and blogs, as we like to give them some attention and hope others might pick up on them too. In the case of ‘Guns’ (aka Gunhild Jarwson Tekle), I actually feel we’ve already arrived a bit late, as she’s already received wide ranging praise from various publications and websites far more influential and important than little us, including NME. And that’s hardly surprising. The Copenhagen based Artist has released 2 singles, both of which are mightily impressive. The first was the single ‘Ricochet’, which is a beautifu

Øyvind Weiseth - I Told You I Would Go single and video

Yesterday we wrote about Circumnavigate, the part Norwegian band working out of London, but today we’re writing a few words about Øyvind Weiseth, an Artist who’s British ‘connections’ come through a more familiar route - the Liverpool Institute of Performing Arts (LIPA). We've obviously featured a few Norwegian artists based (or previously based) there including Kalandra, Mari Hajem, I See Rivers and of course Nils Martin, who played at our gig at the Nordic Church in Liverpool (and we’ll be writing more about him soon). We'd come across Øyvind Weiseth's name a few times, but have been seriously remiss in not giving him a mention. He’s had an EP out for a couple of years (we’ve included the

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