Scandinavia has produced a host of popular bands and singers, including Of Mice and Men, Aurora, and, of course, Sigur Rós. However, here are five Norwegian bands who you may not have heard of, but need to.
Formed in 2011 in Trondheim, Norway, Highasakite have grown to become one of Norway’s biggest bands. In fact, they hold the record for the longest period of time that an album has been present in the Norwegian album charts – their second release Silent Treatment has been in the charts for over 100 weeks (and counting). Lead vocalist Ingrid Helene Håvik’s voice fires through heavy synths and drum beats, producing dark, electro-pop ballads. Their third album, Camp Echo, has just been released, and they are playing at a variety of festivals this summer including Latitude and Øya in Oslo.
Norwegian feminists Sløtface (previously Slutface – they had to change their name due to censorship issues) are definitely one for any post-punk fans. Lead vocalist Haley Shea says of their most recent single ‘Sponge State’ that it is “a reaction to the apathy and lack of action that is symptomatic of our generation”, and this call for change and action is apparent in the fast paced, but melodic, guitar riffs and Shea’s urgent vocals. Their Sponge State EP was just released on the 27th May, and they’re also playing Secret Garden Party Festival in July.
Frøkedal is the moniker of Anne Lise Frøkedal, who previously led Norwegian band Harrys Gym before going her own way after they split. Now she makes haunting folk songs, and her debut solo album Hold On Dreamer has just been released. She has been compared to Fleetwood Mac and Joni Mitchell by 6Music’s Lauren Laverne, and in terms of contemporary bands her almost ghostly vocals and joyous use of instruments evokes First Aid Kit or The Staves. Most recent single from Hold On Dreamer, ‘The Sign’ gives a good idea of what to expect from the rest of the album, which Frøkedal herself describes as an attempt to “remove as much as I could and be left with a beating heart”.
Political and environment activist Pål Moddi Knutsen began playing music at just 20 years old, and uses his self-taught skills at the accordion and guitar to craft beautifully melancholy folk songs. His debut album Floriography was recorded in Iceland, and a listen to the first song on the album, ‘Rubbles’, introduces you to Moddi’s unique and passionate vocals, which are accompanied by an accordion line that seems to swell and fall with Moddi’s voice. Moddi’s passionate beliefs seem irrevocably connected to his music – he cancelled a concert in Tel Aviv in 2014 in protest against the Israeli government, and refused a €100,000 grant from a Norwegian oil and gas company on environmental grounds. So, for anyone with a passion for both activism and intricately crafted folk music, Moddi might be for you.
Apothek are a duo consisting of singer Morten Mykleburst and producer Nils Martin Larsen, whose debut album of electronic influenced melodic ballads will be released later this year. Their first single ‘Family’, combines rhythmic synths and Mykelburst’s echoing vocals, and this is continued in second single ‘Waiting for the Thunder’, where dark and hard-hitting synths provide a backdrop to the catchy and powerful chorus. Apothek are also playing Oslo’s Øya festival in August, and keep an eye out for their debut album later in the year.
For more European music, see: German and Dutch Artists You Need to Hear