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  • NMR Indie Playlist 12/09

    Busy week for releases, so the NMR Playlist is packed full of new tunes for you to try. Firstly two indie tracks from Aarhus in Denmark, with ‘YGI’ from Twin Dive and their always intense sounding guitars, whilst debutants The Slow Scare have emerged with their 1st song ‘Scream (All You Want)‘ - really looking forward to finding out more about this duo. Over in Finland there’s been a cluster of releases, so there’s another new track from Astrid Swan ahead of her new album, Arosa Ensemble from their EP ‘Silver’, Sibelius University graduate Emma Raunio from her new album ‘Mind & Matter’, Helsinki duo Final Girl and a very welcome return for NMR favourite Laura Moisio. New track ‘Strange Days’ from Icelandic / Russian duo Pale Moon is a real favourite, whilst fellow indie bands Rome Is Not a Town and Spunsugar also have new songs, as do Swedish band Veiv, with a raw live version of ‘Andréa’s Driving the Car’, recorded Live at Studio Möllan. I really like the new Siri Birk EP ‘Ending’, and there’s also folk influenced tracks from Norwegian band Windmill & Giants, Louise Weseth, Danish artist everBear and HORRSE, the project of Faroese musician Ragnar Finsson, Icelandic duo heró (Helena Hafsteinsdóttir and Rósa Björk Ásmunds) appear on the list for the first time, as do Paul Bäcklin, Yndling, Velvet Volume, From Scratch, and Orlando Hotopf, whilst Danish musician trentemøller returns again with another new one entitled ‘In the Gloaming’. A couple of tracks from recent months have also been added, with the outstanding Norwegian quarter Veps featuring from their EP ‘Open the Door’, and ‘Building Skyscrapes’, my favourite track from the recent Dobbeltgjenger album ‘Smooth Failing’. More updates next week….

  • NMR Indie Playlist 04/09

    So what’s new? This weeks update to the NMR Playlist includes a mix of tracks released yesterday, plus a few that have emerged from later on in August. Firstly it’s great to get a new release from Trondheim Indie Band Onsloow, as they follow up their hit 'A Day to Forget' with another high energy song 'Being With You', whilst Tromsø band A Million Pineapples have joined with Team Me to release an even more upbeat track entitled ‘Crowd in the Middle’. A trio of Icelandic releases has reached me, with Asgeir releasing his new EP ‘The Sky is Painted Gray Today’, but I’m fascinated with ‘Keysa / Bremna’ by Róshildur, whilst it was ‘love at first listen’ with indie band Supersport! and their track 'Lag í partýi (Reykjavík!)', ahead of their new album which is imminent. Swedish band Pink Milk build up to the release of their new album with ‘Here Comes the Pain’, whilst Two Year Vacation build up to an October EP with the less dark 'Majored in Broken Hearts'. Missing a Moddi track is clearly an unforgivable error, so Omnan Går is belatedly added, as is Marianne Sveen with 'Right as Rain', and some bonus additional tracks from Frøkedal that follow on from her recent album have been released, including the lovely ‘Dreamer’. Swedish songwriter Ollie Lundgren, influenced by 20th century poets, has released a nicely arranged melancholy track entitled 'Västgötsk vaggvisa (Den gula knuten)', whilst the list also has new releases from Astral Brain, Bellman, The Here Todays, Kælan Mikla, Pelicat, Monstereo and a new one from Norwegian duo Hrada, which replaces an older track I had on the playlist. Have I missed anything? Is Abba Indie? There will be a new update next week. Hopefully.

  • NMR Playlist Update

    I'll be keeping the NMR Indie Playlist updated and the latest additions include some great new tracks from the likes of Astrid Swan, The Killing Tapes, Gypsy Chicken, School of X and bands I hadn't come across before, such as Neon Apartments (who've released a 'Single of the Year contender with 'In Tombs'), and the Anonymous Depressed Dogs Club, who really sound like my type of band. It also includes a few tracks I didn't have chance to get to previously, including the likes of Jacques Labouchere, Kingfisher and Finnish indie band Gim Kordan. Love the new track from Dear Elephant (which features previously featured TOVE), and the new Trentemøller remix of the Loa & Koan track is interesting, partly because it's introduced me to the excellent original. More updates to the Playlist soon. Take care everyone….

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  • 2017 Albums

    Nordic Music Review Favourite Albums 2017 A list such as this is always going to be a matter of personal opinion, and we deliberately call it our 'Favourite' Albums list for a reason. Other opinions are available, and there are some 'obvious' omissions, so feel to drop us a line to tell us what you liked, what we missed and what we maybe shouldn't have included. Thanks for reading this and we will try to bring you the best of Nordic music in 2018. Best wishes to everyone for the New Year. 25. Novocaine - 'Swept Away' Influenced by a diverse number of rock genres, Novocaine have an ability to write big rock melodies accompanied by this huge instrumental sound that will please those who like classic, progressive and post rock styles. For me they're at the best when they 'go large' instrumentally in that post rock style, and when they get it right as in 'Paradox', it is both blistering and hugely enjoyable. 24. Black Dough - Freaky Family We like to cover a diverse set of genres, and in Black Dough we were delighted to come across a band not afraid to experiment around the edges of mainstream rock, taking influences from bands such as The Breeders, but putting their own distinct mark on it. It undoubtedly takes some listening to, but you'll get drawn into the mesmerizing beats and howling vocals. With unconventional songwriting structures and some dark visions expressed through the music, Black Dough created a weighty album, with highlights tracks such as 'Constant Contact' and the mammoth 'The Well'. 23 Juha Kujanpää - Kultasiipi (Goldwing) We’ve done our very best to review a wide range of different styles of music this year, and Finnish composer Juha Kujanpää released an extraordinary instrumental based album called 'Kultasiipi' combining Nordic Folk, modern classical and some rock influences towards the end of the year. Some of the tracks such as ‘Impromptu’ are just the most beautiful compositions and positively compare with the likes of Max Richter and Arvo Part. This is well worth its inclusion in our favourite albums list. 23. Simen Mitlid - Everything Stays the Same Norwegian songwriter Simen Mitlid released his album in September, with songs well constructed and intricately written with different shades of darkness and light, and always with finely judged instrumentation which demonstrate subtlety as well as some richly textured sections. Simen Mitlid is a songwriter with a lovely natural ability to write expressive and thoughtful songs and 'Everything is the Same' was a real success. 22 Katzenjammer - 'Rockland' Not forgetting we’re a review site aimed, in the first instance, at increasing awareness of Nordic music in the UK, we almost always get a really great reaction when we point people in the direction of Katzenjammer, and their album ‘Rockland’, released back in January (I think dates may have varied across countries), is packed full of outrageous tunes, whilst their live shows in the UK have been excellent, and great fun too. 22. Line Bogh - 'Like Fire Like Fire' ​ This is an album which has really grown across the last few months. It's a an album written in very much a personal style, softly written songs with gentle melodies and her distinct vocals carrying the tracks forward. But it just has this lovely warmth, and Line Bogh's vocals are compelling throughout. 'Yellow Moon' remains an obvious highlight, as is 'Airplanes'. 21 Susanne Sundfor - 'Ten Love Songs' Susanne Sundfor’s album ‘Ten Love Songs’ has appeared in many peoples ‘Album of the Year’ lists, and this was another excellent release from the Norwegian artist, with a diverse album based around a very simple theme. 21. Lowly - Heba We wrote about this briefly back in Match, and it is an album that has also continued to grow. The band from Denmark released an impressive debut, that mixes atmospheric instrumental and vocals with innovative rhythms, and they feel like a band with a wealth of creative ideas at their fingertips. For those looking for good examples of the latest 'Nordic' sounds, I often point them in the direction of 'Lowly', and in tracks such as 'Deer Eyes' and 'Prepare the Lake' they really hit the mark. 20 Mew - '+ =' Danish band ‘Mew’ followed up their No More Stories…. (etc)’ Album with a simpler titled release called +=, and its a triumphant return which is big, bold and full of confidence. Their live shows in the UK were very well received and they sneaked back at the end of the year to do 2 in London too. 20. Death Machine - Cacoon This was an album which was released back in April, but that we only came across much later. Behind 'Death Machine' is the musician Jesper Mogensen, who started the project back in 2013, and Cocoon' is a beautifully written and stylish album, that takes influences from folk and synth artists from the 80's. The songs are melancholy and intimate, at times spiritual sounding in their vocal quality and delivery, and ultimately the album is uplifting. Highlights include 'Disco Blues', 'Under the Pillow' and the expressive 'When you Sleep'. 19. Circumnavigate - 'When World Collide' This was released very late in the year, and it is an ambitious album from the British / Norwegian band who demonstrate this lovely musicality in everything that they do, from the subtle piano touches to the wonderful trumpet contributions. We have always loved the way that they infuse ideas from across genres, particularly the jazz touches, and this album is full of gorgeous moments. Not an album to listen to as you rush around on your daily routine, just chill, relax and enjoy the beautiful instrumentation and vocals. Highlights include 'Under Water' and 'Secret'. 18. Strange Hellos - Chromatic For those of you that looking for the latest guitar / shoegaze style band, look no further than Strange Hellos from Norway, their album 'Chromatic' is packed full of blissful guitars, dreamy guitars and the vocals, courtesy of Birgitta Alida, are a strength throughout. There are so many highlights, jangly pop led 'Is It Me' through to the brilliant 'We Are Trouble', and the acoustic led 'Albert' shows a different side to their songwriting too. We've mentioned this band a few times and are delighted to include 'Chromatic' in our favourite album lists. 17. Black Dog Howl – Psalm ​ It’s great to be able to include this on our Albums of the Year, as it is undoubtedly a real favourite but it also helps demonstrate the diversity of styles of music that is out there. Gothic Americana is probably not everyone's ‘go to’ music style, but take a listen to ‘Black Dog Howls’ interpretation of the genre, packed full of catchy tunes and expressive lyrics, its difficult not to like the duo. 16. Ilkka Arola - From the Depths of the Earth This a fascinating and brilliantly performed album by the Finnish jazz trumpeter, and irrespective of your normal music tastes we really hope that everyone has given this album a chance. It cleverly fuses such a variety of world music influences, from Middle-Eastern sounds to Afro-American rhythms, and the best place to start is opening track 'Qlanadia', which is a pretty extraordinary composition. But actually it's the contribution made by all musicians on the album which make this music so special, and this is a really recommended release. 15. Jaakko Aukusti - Mountain This was possibly our first detailed album review of 2017, and the Finnish musician conjured up a distinct and original sounding album, packed full of big tunes and clever rythyms. There are some really good tracks throughout, from the opener 'Oasis' right through to the excellent concluding track 'Turmoil'. Jaakko Aukusti is a musical inventor, who loves to come up with complex and entertaining musical ideas, and the album is simply great fun. If you have time check out some of his live performances on YouTube too. 14. Bjork - 'Utopia' As always so much has already been written about this album, to me 'Utopia' a far more 'accessible' album than her previous release, An exploration of 'Utopia' it is her most weighty album to date, 71 minutes and 14 tracks long. But once you get inside it, there is beauty, emotion and an extraordinary range of musical textures and sounds. No doubt there will be disagreements about the position on our list but... 13. The Sleeplings - Elusive Lights of the Long-Forgotten ​ I think its expected that there’s a few ‘hidden gem’ style bands / albums end up on our Favourite lists , and we’re delighted to include Danish band The Sleeplings on our list for 2017. ‘Elusive Lights of the Long-forgotten’ has progressive rock influences no doubt, but actually the key to its success to me is the fact that it simply has great melodies and guitar contributions, and it always sound like a band who are having great fun writing their songs. Similarly to The Stillwalkers in 2015 this is an album which hasn’t received that much attention, but those who have reviewed it have been very positive. 12. Koria Kitten Riot – ‘Songs of Hope and Science’ ​ There is no doubting that Koria Kitten Riot remain a real favourite at Nordic Music Review (even if Santa didn’t bring me the vinyl edition of the album which was on my list), and ‘Songs of Hope and Science’ is such a well written album, full of easy lilting 60’s influenced style tunes, with lyrics in particular that hit the mark – observant, thoughtful and often darkly comic. This is a band who have so much to offer, and all of their albums remain essential listening. 11. Susanne Sundfor – 'Music For People in Trouble' This is an album which has really grown on me, and which I really think everyone will like. Stripped back from her previous album, based mainly around guitar and piano, the songs allow Sundford beautiful voice to shine through, and there are some genuine ‘goosebump’ moments in tracks such as . Delighted to include this, not because we feel it ought to be there, but because it is genuinely a ‘favourite’ album. 10 Ari - 'Fræ' ​ This is undoubtedly 'our' type of music, independent multi-instrumentalist Ari Gudmundsson utilises both electronic and acoustic instruments to create a varied album with melodies and songs to sing around the house. Highlights of the album include the passionate 'Hinnin og haf' and the outstanding 'Auga uppotsins', and this is definitely an album I've kept coming back to across the year. Part of a trilogy of albums, we're looking forward to the follow up. 9 Astrid Swan - 'From the Bed and Beyond' We wrote about Astrid Swan earlier this year, but never formally completed a 'full' album review, and there was a reason for that - I honestly found it simply too powerful to write about, for reasons I wont explain but you would all understand. It was written during the long road to recovery after being diagnosed with breast cancer, and tracks such as 'Song of Fear' are so strong, poignant and personal that it is impossible not to be affected. I keep coming back to the album, and ultimately I have found it uplifting, even if it has been difficult at times. 'From the Bed and Beyond' is an astonishing achievement. 8 Frisk Frugt - 'Den Europæiske Spejlbue' Frisk Frugt's album ‘Den Europæiske Spejlbue‘ is utterly outstanding, brilliantly conceived and totally original. To many I realise it's probably a bit overly complex and even indecipherable, but to me there is so much in this release that I have remained entertained all year. It's also Kavus Torabi’s (Knifeworld, Cardiacs) Album of the Year, and he really does know what he’s talking about. 8 Water Boogie System - 'Year of Silver'' ​ I really love Water Boogie System, even if their album 'Year of Silver' will be an acquired taste to some. From the instrumental theme in 'Herne Hill', to the complex 'But Why' to the gorgeous 'Hear me out', this is an album packed full of ideas, and performed by brilliant musicians who take their influences from across the rock and jazz sectors. In the midst of it all they're able to throw in extraordinary quirky tracks such as 'Hunting Song' too, and the more I've listened to the album, the more I've really appreciated just how darn clever the whole thing is. 7 Mammut – 'Kinder Versions' This is a beast of an album, dark at times, but consistently rewarding and . I guess if I was to recommend one Icelandic band which demonstrated the strength of the nations musicv it would probably be Mammut – not afraid to show their infleunces but strike their own distinct course too, ‘Kinder Versions’ has a number of really strong tracks – with ‘Breathe into Me’ and being particular highlights. 6. ONBC - 'Travelmate' This is another band we have no hesitation in recommending when we're asked for the latest Nordic sounds. 'Travelmate' is a really substantial album, with plenty of really strong tracks. There is no doubt that the style, 90's indie shoegaze / dream pop influenced songs, with big tunes and soft blissful vocals fits right into the type of music we like at Nordic Music Review, and the middle and latter tracks of this album are particularly strong. This is an excellent release from the Danish band previously known as the 'Oliver North Boys Choir' 5. TELLER - 'Strive Recess Echo' Hurrah, a proper Post Rock album in our top 5, and this is a blisteringly good listen from Swedish band 'TELLER', with epic overblown 10 minute long tracks, with huge musical themes. But listen to for the subtle contributions from both cello and trumpet. Highlights include the particularly excellent 'The Wary and Watchful'. This is an album which took 4 years to create, and you can tell, it has that precision in the detail. This is just great to put on really loud and indulge yourself completely. 4. JFDR - 'Brazil' We featured Pascal Pinon in our 2016 Albums of the year, and it's probably no surprise that JFDR, the solo creation of Jófríður Ákadóttir is included in our 2017 listings. This is a beautiful album, minimalist in its approach, and poetic in its delivery. There are so many tracks that stand out, from the opening 'White Sun', to the atmospheric 'Instant Patience' and the extraordinary 'Anything Goes', this is an album that will be on so many peoples favourite albums of the year. Jófríður Ákadóttirn is an incredible talent, and every project she's involved with offers something so special. 3. The School Book Depository - 'The School Book Depository' ​ I admit for the first week of listening I thought this might be a ‘guilty pleasure’, but this is just such a good album, packed full of brilliant tunes and incisive lyrics, which will really keep you thinking. It is such an eclectic mix of songs too, with no attempt to maintain a define style / genre. From the hip hop inspired to the gorgeous ‘Airport Aprons’, manages to consistently hit the mark, and everybody should listen to concluding track ‘treadmill heaven’. 2. Delay Trees - Let Go Sadly this has turned out to be Delay Trees final release, but what a wonderful way to go. 'Let Go' is indie pop genius, an album just so full of great tunes, and it has a charm and soft melancholy that makes it so easy to identify with. As we wrote at the time, it is as perfect an Indie guitar album as you'll get, with jangly guitars, lovely melodies and some blissful instrumental sections. Clearly it is so sad that they've called it a day, but we look forward with patient anticipation to further Rami Vierula releases, and Delay Tress have left behind such a lovely legacy in this album, and it's been such a privilege to have been able to write about them. 1. Major Parkinson - 'Blackbox'. 'Blackbox' is monumental. It is both extraordinary in scale, and extraordinary in delivery - with astoundingly conceived rhythms, wondrous melodies and astonishing musical performances throughout from the collective of musicians and singers. It has so much in it, so much amazing detail, that you can listen again and again, and you'll always discover new intricacies, and new favourite moments. 'Isabel...' and the extraordinary 'Baseball' stand out, but it is truly a remarkable composition both lyrically and musically throughout. ​ An interview with Major Parkinson will follow on January 2nd!!

  • ABOUT | nordicmusicreview

    About Nordic Music Review Nordic Music Review was established in 2014 after attending a really lovely gig by Norwegian musician Moddi at the Castle Hotel, Manchester. where he insisted on talking to us for ages after the gig (and definitely not the other way around), and resulting in us getting a parking ticket. It just seemed that there was such an enormous wealth of Nordic musicians and bands who didn't get too much attention in the UK, and we wanted to do our bit to help change that. ​ Almost 6 years later the World might be somewhat of a darker place, but we're somehow still here, championing in particular Indie musicians who don't get much exposure in bigger magazines and newspapers. Inevitably our initial aims have changed a little, and whilst we still want to give focus in particular to Albums, we do inevitably cover a lot more single releases too - purely because that allows us to cover so many more artists. ​ We have tried to support Nordic artists playing in the UK too, firstly by writing about up and coming gigs, but also helping promote and organising gigs. Whilst some were a spectacular success (those who saw Major Parkinson at the Water Rats will never forget it), there were a couple which were more stressful, and as such we will not be putting any more gigs on directly, but are more than happy to help in any way we can - please just drop us an email. ​ We're delighted that experienced Nordic music writer David Bentley has now started writing for Nordic Music Review. David has a wealth of experience in the Nordic music scene, is a brilliant writer and allows NMR to broaden the range of artists covered. Hopefully it will allow us to promote what we do more, and thus expand our readership and giving more coverage to the artists themselves. ​ If you want to get in touch, we can be contacted at . ​ The Writers Andy Wors ​ Andy Wors founded Nordic Music Review in 2014 with the sole aim of getting Moddi to pay him back the money ‘owed’ for a parking ticket. Born in a house by the sea, just 13 miles away from a small village and next to the middle of nowhere, he spent his formative years drinking flagons of farmyard scrumpy and creating elaborate crop circles, and claims to have appeared as an extra in a Star Wars film, but no-one believes him. His interest in music developed from watching Morris Dancing performances at the annual village Gooseberry Pie Fayre, and then even further after attending a New Years Eve event dressed as Elton John. He now writes music reviews in his spare time, whilst he waits for his own business ‘’designing and building affordable jetpacks’’, to quite literally take-off. He frequently plans to attend gigs, but never quite makes it, and the best time to get his attention is 4.20PM on a Saturday, because by then he’s already abandoned all hope in the football results and is catching up on the NMR inbox instead. His favourite Nordic Music includes: Major Parkinson - The School Book Depository - 1900 - Gypsy Chicken - Moddi - Delay Trees - The Stillwalkers - Mirel Wagner - David Bentley ​ Although he started writing about music in 2014, David Bentley ’s interest in Nordic Music goes back to 2009, and a chance online meeting with a Swedish guy. After jointly defending a British artist from a troll. he got to know him and was introduced to the music from his home town - Gävle in central Sweden. As he met more people from there he began to appreciate the huge scope of the music emanating from this small city of 100,000 which even has its own Spotify playlist of over 100 artists, including the likes of The Deer Tracks, Ida Long, Baron Bane, Stefan Aronsson, Twiggy Frostbite, Rikard Sjöblom, Di Leva, AKB, Slim Vic, Frida Scar and many others, representing just about every ‘genre’ there is. ​ Later turning to turning to music from other Nordic countries, he became truly hooked on the entire region, and has now been writing about the Nordic scene for a couple of years. He welcome this opportunity to join up with Nordic Music Review to continue to highlight this great music in the UK and abroad. He has no direct connection to the music business, working as an economic analyst in the air transport industry, although did play drums in bands when he was younger. His favourite Nordic artists and songs include: ​ HIghasakite: Hiroshima: Nightwish: Ghost Love Score: Swan/Koistinen: Singing ( ) Katzenjammer: A Bar in Amsterdam: Twiggy Frostbite: In Darkness Lights are out: Sløtface: Nancy Drew: Sykur: Battlestar: Lydmor: Soft Islands: ​ ​ ​ ​ ​ ​

  • 2019 Albums

    Nordic Music Review Favourite Albums 2019 Do lists like this matter? Probably not, but we know people look at them and for us it's a good way of wrapping up the year and setting ourselves for 2020. We deliberately call it our 'Favourite' Albums list for a reason. Other opinions are available, and there are some 'obvious' omissions, so feel to drop us a line to tell us what you liked, what we missed and what we maybe shouldn't have included. Thanks for reading this and we will try to bring you the best of Nordic music in 2020. Best wishes to everyone for the New Year. 25. 'Ari' - 'Radikoj' Icelandic songwriter ‘Ari’ is always welcome in Nordic Music Review, a quirky songwriter with a true ‘Indie’ spirit. His 2019 release ‘Radikoj’ is the 2 nd in a trilogy of albums he’s planning to release, and it is a warm, thoughtful release with some real stand our songs such as the particularly lovely and cello accompanied ‘Repeat’, as well as the catchy ‘Blue Neon Moon’. We’re delighted to include ‘Radikoj’ in our favourite 2019 album list. 24. 'Loyal Liar' - 'For the Sharks that Roam Below' ‘Loyal Liar’ were a new name to Nordic Music Review, and the Swedish / Austrian duo consisting of Albin Andersson and Hanna Godl released a charming album entitled ‘For the Sharks that Roam Below; at the start of the year. Soft, warm and always melodic, the duo are clearly influenced by the likes of Sufjan Stevens and ‘Belle and Sebastian’, which is always going to be a positive in our eyes, but this is an album definitely worth of inclusion in our list in it’s own right. 23 Juha Kujanpää - Kultasiipi (Goldwing) We’ve done our very best to review a wide range of different styles of music this year, and Finnish composer Juha Kujanpää released an extraordinary instrumental based album called 'Kultasiipi' combining Nordic Folk, modern classical and some rock influences towards the end of the year. Some of the tracks such as ‘Impromptu’ are just the most beautiful compositions and positively compare with the likes of Max Richter and Arvo Part. This is well worth its inclusion in our favourite albums list. 23. Junius Meyvant - 'Across the Borders' I guess we were expecting a sophisticed slick release from Icelandic musician Junius Meyvant, and it certainly didn’t disappoint. ‘Across the Borders’ is a beautifully written soul folk album, which is as cultured as it is stylish and has some lovely string arrangements throughout. Highlights include songs such as ‘Punch Through the Night’, ‘Holidays’ and the title track itself. ​ 22. 'Pelicat' - 'Pelicat' ​ We were really spoilt with Norwegian indie pop / rock releases in 2019, with bands such as ‘Beezewaz, ‘The Side Ways’ and of course ‘Pelicat’, who opened the year with their self titled release in January. Timeless indie pop songs with a big hint of 60s / 70s influences, including the warped ‘Tell me I’m Wrong’, the anthemic single release ‘Down at the Arcade’ and my personal favourite, the lovely ‘Inside your Head’. ‘Pelicat’ is still a release which I really recommend. 21 Susanne Sundfor - 'Ten Love Songs' Susanne Sundfor’s album ‘Ten Love Songs’ has appeared in many peoples ‘Album of the Year’ lists, and this was another excellent release from the Norwegian artist, with a diverse album based around a very simple theme. 21. . M Rexen - 'The United Kingdoms Part 2 – Animals of the Frozen Cloud' ​ ’The United Kingdoms Part 2 – Animals of the Frozen Cloud’ may take some time to get into, but it’s really worth the time and investment, and in retrospect it’s an extraordinary release courtesy of ‘M. Rexen’ . There are some beautiful moments, such as the gorgeous end to ‘Autumn Home’ and lovely musical arrangements throughout, and it’s unusual, quirky and interesting, He’s also prolific in his releases, we didn’t even have time to consider his follow up release ‘And They Danced’ released in the last couple of months – it is definitely worth checking that out too. 20 Mew - '+ =' Danish band ‘Mew’ followed up their No More Stories…. (etc)’ Album with a simpler titled release called +=, and its a triumphant return which is big, bold and full of confidence. Their live shows in the UK were very well received and they sneaked back at the end of the year to do 2 in London too. 20. 'Highasakite' - 'Uranium Heart' ‘Highasakite’ released 'Uranium Heart’ at the start of the year, and it’s without question my favourite of their 4 albums released to date. The duo, as they now are, poured an incredible energy and passion into the album, and it really shows, as it’s both personal and powerful. Tracks such as ‘Mexico’ are a particular highlight, as is the incredible title track, which is also one of my favourite songs of 2019. Since the album release the band have gone on to release the EP ‘The Bare Romantic, Pt 1’ the 1st part of what will comprise a new album next year 19. Fródi - 'Hola' ​ Multi-instrumentalist Fródi from the Faroe Islands captured our hearts with his gorgeous release ‘Hola’, which mixes classical minimalist and folk influences with some delightful melodic moments. Some of the magic might even be lost on me due to the lyrics being in Faroese, but there’s just much going on here, with complex arrangements, experimental elements and delicate thoughtful vocals. It really is a clever album. 18. 'Beezewax' - 'Peace Jazz' As we said at the time, there’s really nothing not to like about ‘Beezewax’ and their album ‘Peace Jazz’ which was released back in May – especially if you like bands such as ‘Teenage Fanclub’ as much as we do. Incredibly this is their 7th album, and they’re a prolific touring band too, and ‘Peace Jazz’ is an irresistible album full of warm indie pop melodies. Check out tracks such as ‘Two Diamonds’, which are just classic indie and the excellent ‘Rainbows’ 17. 'Pastis' – 'Circles' ​ If it’s a more traditional style of ‘Indie’ you’re looking for then look no further than ‘Finnish band ‘Pastis’, their album 'Circles' is packed full of anthemic sing-a-long indie numbers, such as the excellent ‘ Amazon’ and ‘Valour Valour’, as well as more whimsical songs such as ‘Barrack Street’ and my favourite of all, the irresistible ‘Ballad of Franz Reichelt’. We’ve featured ‘Pastis’ a good few times in the last couple of years, and the band who first met on the football terraces are worthy of inclusion in our favourite albums of 2019. 16. 'ELVAR' - 'Daydreaming' ​ Another true ‘indie’ artist, Icelandic musician ELVAR released his album ‘Daydreaming’ back in Spring, and its a thoughtful album which doesn’t confine itself to a specific genre – just 11 expressive songs with plenty of tunes, with an appealing blend of synths and guitars and interesting instrumental sections. Check out tracks such as ‘Over and out’, ‘Runaway Heart’ and the reflective ‘One of a Kind’. 15. 'dj. flugvél og geimskip' - 'Our Atlantis' ​ Experimental artist 'dj. flugvél og geimskip' released album 'Our Atlantis' way back in February, and its certainly one of the most memorable releases of the year. The album considers the fabled city underneath the ocean, but in the context of each person's choice to decide how they perceive their own world view. There's such an amazing fusion of sounds, melodies and rhythms here, with a mix of influences and moments of brilliance, interspersed with electronic complexity and vocals which are inspired and slightly unworldly. ​ 14. 'Spielbergs' - ''This is Not the End' For slightly heavier guitar releases, you really can’t get much better than Norwegian band ‘Spielbergs’ who released ‘This is Not the End’ and have followed that up with an extensive European tour, including some fantastic live performances in the UK. Their album is packed full of high energy and blistering tracks, such as the obvious favourite ‘We Are All Going to Die’, but also ‘You All Look like Giants’, as well as my personal favourite, the atmospheric ‘Familiar’.. 13. 'Nattfari' - 'D-Sessions' ​ We don’t include anywhere near enough Post Rock style albums in Nordic Music Review, and we really need to try harder in 2020. This year ‘Nattfari’ from Iceland returned from a long hiatus with a beautifully handcrafted instrumental release, which has real diversity in the writing of the tracks. There is so much to get totally absorbed in here, check out tracks such as ‘Hafsjor’ and the thumping ‘Sonic’, which will give you a good indication of how fantastic this band must be in live performances. 12. Moddi – ‘Like in 1968'’ ​ A favourite Album of the Year list doesn’t ever seem complete without Moddi, who released his 5th studio album, and ‘Like in 1968’ is as memorable for the inspiring lyrics as much as the familiar melodic arrangements and vocals. Inspired by an era where music really did matter, it was written not so much longing for the past, but to ‘pick up some of the threads’ from that time, and in songs such as ‘Kriegspiel’ he absolutely achieves that - ‘who are we really fighting for,’ indeed. 11. 'Melby' - ''None of This Makes Me Worry' Undoubtedly one of my favourite releases of the year, Swedish band ‘Melby’ released ‘None of this makes me worry’ and it’s a well titled album for a laid back psychedelic indie pop album, which is interesting, cleverly conceived and always easy on the ear. Released through the always excellent ‘Rama Lama Records’, check out the delightful ‘Overthinking’, as well as more unusual tracks such as ‘Always’. We would love to see some more UK live performances from these guys. 10 Marteinn Sindri - 'Atlas' ​ After featuring Marteinn Sindri and his debut single back in 2017 (after spotting him at ‘Sofar Sounds’), it was lovely to be able to feature his full length debut this year. The album ‘Atlas’ is well balanced and feels so natural in its songwriting and musical arrangements, with beautiful musical contributions from an array of musicians - the phrasing throughout is genuinely lovely. Check out tracks such as ‘Dice’, ‘Spring Comes Late Sometimes’, ‘Summerwine’ and ‘Drops’ - relistening to this album over Christmas has reminded me what a gorgeous release this is, please give it a listen. 9 rauður - 'Semilunar' ​ Undoubtedly one of our favourite releases of the year (partly because it just came as such a lovely surprise) came courtesy of Icelandic musician rauður, thanks to her album ‘Semilunar’. Behind 'rauður' is the experimental electronic musician and producer Auður Viðarsdóttir, and ‘Semilunar is a pretty startling album, incredibly clever in its construction, with tracks such as 'Flugdreki' and 'Lost / Love' a great example of her ability to merge both darkness and light into one, and with concluding track 'We Will All Feel Better One Day And / Or Die' a stunning conclusion. 8 Frisk Frugt - 'Den Europæiske Spejlbue' Frisk Frugt's album ‘Den Europæiske Spejlbue‘ is utterly outstanding, brilliantly conceived and totally original. To many I realise it's probably a bit overly complex and even indecipherable, but to me there is so much in this release that I have remained entertained all year. It's also Kavus Torabi’s (Knifeworld, Cardiacs) Album of the Year, and he really does know what he’s talking about. 8 'Phogg' - 'Mofeto: Mashine Adamkosh'' ‘Mofeto: Mashine Adamkosh’ by ‘Phogg is a sprawling fusion of traditional rock influences, warped psychedelia and experimental ideas, which just has so much going on it will take you months to fully appreciate. There’s a darkness to the Swedish quartets music too, which I loved from the moment I heard pre release single ‘Stupid kid’ and then in ‘Pearls’, the 2nd track on the album. ‘With Love’ reminds me of some of my favourite bands, and the whole album has become an absolute favourite the more I’ve listened. ​ ​ ​ ​ 7 'Pom Poko' – 'Birthday' What can I say about Norwegian band ‘Pom Poko’, who simply exploded on to the indie scene in 2019, with outstanding live performances, extensive coverage on stations such as Radio 6 and the release of their album ‘Birthday’. The 4 piece band, who met at Trondhrim Music Conservatory take influences from such a wide array of places, and the result is an extraordinary blend of sounds, all delivered with incredible energy. Check out ‘Follow the Lights’ , the post punk inspired ‘Day Tripper’ and the incredible ‘If U Want Me 2 Stay’. 6. Ida Wenoe - '‘The Things We Don’t Know Yet’' ‘Ida Wenoe’ stunned us with her release ‘The Things We Don’t Know Yet’, an album I will always personally treasure and made a real impact back in April. She managed to create so much intensity and command so much presence through her quiet, delicate vocals and with the sparsest of instrumental support too. Check out tracks such as ‘The River of Treesbury Hill’ (everyone needs one) along with Self Pity’, and in particular of course Another Kind of Love’ . 5. 'The Wit' - 'A Whole Article. A Life' To be honest, it’s pretty much impossible to separate our top 6 favourite Albums of the Year, and ‘A Whole Article. A Life‘ by Norwegian band ‘The Wit’ (featuring band members from Drape and Gold Celeste) is one of my favourite releases of the decade, let alone this year alone. Packed full of great songs, it mixes heavier guitar led tracks such as ‘Tiny Crack’, with great indie pop in the form of ‘If You Ain’t Got Nothing to Do (Don’t Do it Here’), and one of our favourite moments of the year was Indiefjord festival picking up and booking the band courtesy of our review. This is just such a good album. 4. 'The School Book Depository' - 'Bob and the Pitchfork Mob' 'The School Book Depository’ featured really high in our 2017 favourite Albums of the Year list, so it was great to see them back in 2019, courtesy of the excellently titled ‘Bob and the Pitchfork Mob’. The project courtesy of songwriter Fredrik Solfors is one of my most listened to Nordic artists and the new album is a real treat, with a mix of warmth and melancholia, and lyrics that so cleverly sum up humanities failings, but do so in a way that makes everything seem just about ok again. Check out the amazing title track, as well as the lovely ‘Tear in the Fabric’. 3.'Cats of Transnistria' - 'Aligning' ​ I have so much time for Finnish band ‘Cats of Transnistria’, and their album ‘Aligning’ is pretty magical from start to finish. The duo based around Tuomas Alatalo and Henna Hietamaki write such stunning songs, balancing shoegaze rock and ambient electronica, and the result is an overwhelming musical experience, with rich unusual textures and gorgeous vocals. Their music is so distinct, powerful and yet always personal and intimate too, and everyone should have room for some ‘Cats of Trans’ in their lives. 2. 'Moron Police' - 'A Boat on the Sea' My expectations of the new ‘Moron Police’ album were rather high, but it way exceeded what I could have dreamed of. ‘A Boat on the Sea’ contains so many jaw dropping moments of musical brilliance, its no wonder it took so many years to conceive, record and release. Somehow combining power rock, progressive elements and pop anime it’s hugely entertaining, and 100% guaranteed to put the biggest smile on your face. Highlights include ‘The Phantom Below’, ‘Captain Awkward’ and the brilliant end track ‘Isn’t it Easy’. Marvellous stuff. ​ Also isn't the artwork fantastic? Our review came at quite a busy time, so if you didn't catch it first time, it's here . ​ 1. 'The Sideways' - 'Can't Wait to Arrive Somewhere''. ‘This is of course carefully defined as our ‘favourite’ album, which is often our most listened to release, and this year our favourite ‘Album of the Year’ is from Norwegian band ‘The Sideways’ and their lovely indie pop album ‘Cant’ Wait to Arrive Somewhere’. Without question my ‘go to’ album of 2019, listened to just so much for its carefree melodic jangling indie guitar sound, somewhere between Teenage Fanclub and the equally loved Delay Trees. Similarly to the ‘Stillwalkers’ album from a few years ago, this just appeared out of nowhere in an Inbox somewhere, and with tracks such as ‘Hiding in Plain Sight’ and the gorgeous ‘A Man Behind Glass’, this album represents everything that we love about indie music, and we’re just so privileged to have been sent it. ​ Best wishes to everyone for 2020, and the reviews will start again on January 3rd thanks to a brand new release from none other than Major Parkinson...

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