Trondheim Calling // The 405 Review and Top Five Discoveries
It’s certainly no myth that Scandinavia has become somewhat of a Mecca of fantastic emerging bands. Yet it wasn’t until my visit to Trondheim Calling, a small showcase festival in Norway’s 3rd largest city, that I found myself contemplating the reasons behind this. After all, it’s surely all too easy to dismiss such success as ‘something in the water’ (which was delicious by the way) or even their breathtakingly beautiful surroundings. More likely is the incredible support and resources that the Norwegian government invests into its creative industries. From my short time in Norway one thing became clear: the Norwegian music scene, as with much of Scandinavia, is truly blessed with a progressive support infrastructure that undoubtedly benefits its musicians and artists.
No more palpable was the provision of such support than in the quality of Trondheim Calling. Not only was the festival emblematic of the huge array of hidden musical talent in Norway, it represented the professionalism, musical proficiency and raw enthusiasm that its artists seem to project. While admittedly no band’s live performance truly blew me away, my time in Norway has certainly highlighted a seemingly endless supply of exciting emerging artists, and beyond all else, has reinvigorated my excitement about Scandinavian music. Here are my Top Five Discoveries from the weekend:
- Genre: Experimental Pop
- For Fans of: Radio Dept., Efterklang
- Website: Twitter
Taking inspiration from the Norwegian explorer Thor Heyerdahl is oddly appropriate for Oslo quartet Heyerdahl. After all, the band’s sound is bold, inventive and refreshingly original. Much like Thor, the band’s path has been far from standard; retreating to a lighthouse to record new material, the band are clearly equally happy to explore unusual recording techniques as they are inventive soundscapes. Luckily however, the band never lose sight of their pure pop sentiment, which is smeared lovingly across every track. Clear melancholic and atmospheric tendencies pervade Heyerdahl’s music, which serve to prove that Norwegian music can be equally as dark as it can be melodic.
- Genre: Dream Pop
- For Fans of: Beach House, My Bloody Valentine
- Website: Facebook
Don’t be frightened off by the ‘å’ in Dråpe name, the Oslo-based quintet’s sound is reassuringly recognizable. Taking inspiration from the best in shoegaze and fuzzy indie-pop, the band proves that dream pop needn’t be refined to bedroom listening. The band’s music is overflowing with rich, soaring melodies and frantic and energetic instrumentation, which, as it turns out, are the perfect ingredients for an exhilarating live performance.
- Genre: Shoegaze
- For Fans of: My Bloody Valentine, School of Seven Bells
- Website: Facebook
It’s difficult to be apathetic about a band with a name like Lovelovelove. The Oslo quintet make noise pop that is clearly indebted to 90s British shoegaze. Fortunately Lovelovelove manage to elevate an often overly contrived genre into a distinctive and enthralling sound, rich with classic Scandinavian pop sensibilities and boy-girl harmonies. There’s no denying that the band’s huge forceful guitar parts and soft vocal lines owe a great deal to My Bloody Valentine, yet the band manage to renew the sound with a captivating Norwegian twist.
- Genre: Indie-Pop
- For Fans of: Grandaddy, Deerhunter
- Website: Facebook
To say you were a fan of Angelica's Elegy‘s sound might be to say you were simply a fan of ‘indie music’. After all, no number of today’s new genres could aptly define the Oslo quartet; the band’s set seemed to schizophrenically skip from shoegaze, to garage pop, to power pop and to everything in between. Of course that’s no bad thing, not least as this versatility served as a distraction from the all-too-noticeable apathetic and lackluster live performance (the bandname may invoke a funeral yet I feel the band may have taken this literally). Strangely, it was this underwhelming performance that proves just how strong Angelica’s Elegy music is - who needs a captivating live show when you’ve managed to perfect near flawless indie-pop? Time will tell.
- Genre: Folk-Pop
- For Fans of: Feist, Lykke Li
- Website: Twitter
Ine Hoem is nothing if not a natural frontwoman. Evoking the stage presence of fellow Scandinavian Lykke Li, Ine is able to command the stage with mesmerizing charisma and conviction. Luckily however, the Oslo native, a classically trained Jazz musician, was also accompanied by a catalogue of strong folk-pop songs. In a world (not least country) overwhelmed with singer-songwriters, it clearly takes more than fine pop songs to succeed. Fortunately for Ine both her musical and on-stage proficiency should help to propel her.
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Heyerdahl are an interesting bunch. They released their debut album Øen last month to widespread acclaim, creating a unique blend of scandinavian indie-pop which left many of the more highly anticipated releases clambering in its wake. It seemed to drop out of pretty much nowhere, yet the well polished sheen which coated the record in its entirety was the factor which left quite the impression. According to the band though, it wasn't always like this. [read more]