Well what a week its been. Royal wedding plans, Governments are toppling, we nearly lose to the Dutch at cricket, Radiohead broke the music industry again (or did they?!) and yet almost none of this entered my little bubble until about Wednesday this week, having spent most of the previous seven days ice skating my way around downtown Oslo for the annual by:Larm Festival. I don’t want to ramble here about this now (A full review and some videos, tracks, photos, Spotify lists etc will be appearing here shortly) but I would say to those of you who haven’t encountered this amazing festival yet - do so next year. Freezing cold? yes, cripplingly expensive? Yes – indeed myself and a friend were roundly ridiculed in the main tent for purchasing halves! -but it provided an excellent reminder of everything that’s great about Scandinavian music right now - excellent bands, busy shows, some crazily productive musicians making beautiful music. I could wax evangelically about Norwegian music for hours but I wont but because what I want to talk about today is Radiohead... Am I the only one feeling distinctly underwhelmed right now? Now - I need to add a disclaimer at this point - the things I want to discuss here are not musical. I have only listened to the album once (last night) and while nothing grabbed me with the same impact as an 'Everything in its right place' or 'There there' there were, among the general feel of dicking around and seeing just how far they can push bearded musos before one of them calls bullshit, a few songs that sounded pretty good. Certainly it was more interesting to listen to than In Rainbows which to this day I cant clutch in the same way I did that run of records from Ok Computer through to Hail To The Theif. The thing that leaves me feeling really undercooked though is the way the release was distributed. This is a band who possess one of the most fervent, tech savvy, fanbases and yet decided to take a delivery route that ended up being swapping an email address and £3 for some mp3s. A team of the finest managers, marketeers, forward thinking artists and this is the best they could come up with? Contrast this to Trent Reznor who - sharing a penchant for alternatives to the tired major label system - a little while back set up an entire Alternate Reality Universe which stretched across the web, used various media including a sprawling alternate reality game, comic books, websites, on and offline and created a whole world which developed and delivered the Year Zero album, and it pales in comparison. Fucking hell - compare this new album to the old Radiohead hat hid a pager number with a message from Thom on it in the artwork to the Airbag EP and it looks lazy. All that collective brainpower and they ended up basically providing the same service as Bandcamp (with nothing but love for bandcamp implied). Indeed I don’t think it would have killed them - had this been all the functionality they needed - to put the record out in Bandcamp and at least help to provide some support to a genuinely artist friendly company helping acts across the world. I'm not saying that I expect every record to be shrouded in Reznor style madness with elaborate multimedia extensions - indeed look at how devilishly simple and amazing the Arcade Fire HTML5 video was to trail the suburbs - but something a little more inspiring than just a zip file with some mp3s in it is needed if your going to cut it digitally any more. I expect more from even simple downloads - as does a lot of the audience - when I release records digitally we always try and add value to that package with photos, videos, screensavers, extra tracks - all kinds of content to give the user a reason to buy and a reason to come back next time. I don’t mind telling you that having seen how vanilla this Radiohead release was I headed to a torrent site out of principle. I can not be the only one. The fact that they can indeed get away with it testament to the hard work done by the Major label that they were so keen to get away from - conversely new artists have to bundle this kind of value added experience into simple mp3 downloads in order to actually get anything approaching "noticed" in the crowded marketplace. What this release ended up coming off as was not the cutting edge of In Rainbows guerilla release (although again even that was pretty dull) but actually pretty cynical. That the very fact that the metadata said "Radiohead" (unless you got the WAV and therefore untagged tracks!) was seemingly deemed to bee enough (by the band at least) to justify the huge hubbub around it. Plus this kind of thing Thom (See below) makes you look like a dick. Please just stop it. Anyway - As ever the eager eyed among you will notice that this little ramble has absolutely nothing to do with the track we are featuring this week (Indeed does it ever?!) coming as it does from one Lucy Swann. Now despite being one of the acts representing Norwegian festival Øya this week at a bunch of London dates, Lucy actually hails from old blighty and has been an Oslo resident for many years now. In that time she has begun to put together a sheek electro sound that initially I have to say didn’t really connect somehow with me however seeing her play live last week at a solo show in Oslo, the penny kinda dropped - almost as if seeing it live gave the whole thing a sense of human-ness that maybe I hadn’t picked up on the record, and it made a lot more sense. Photobucket The solo show was something of a revelation - peeking over the top of a bank of keyboards and wrapping herself in swathes of pulsating loops and drum beats Swann was transformed from the quietly smoking singer songwriter we had encountered outside Mono the night before and into a full on vixen-pop performer. Prowling the stage like a feral cat with back arched, lilting into occasional proclaimers songs and coaxing all manner of noise from her larynx - the full gamut from textural yelps to a huge soulful acapella climax at the end of the set that was as unexpected as it was wonderful. I cant be the first person to have their mind changed having encountered these songs live in this way. So if you happen to be near Koko / Club NME tonight do head down and check out Lucy and Team Me (oooooooooh team me...*sighs*) and check out some of the finest exports out of Norway right now. In the meantime you can get hold of her track 'For Heavens Sake' by checking out the player below: