The BY:LARM Music Festival is a showcase festival and music conference coming up this week in Oslo, Norway. Earlier this year NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION already went to Trondheim (Norway) to visit Trondheim Calling Festival and find out about the hottest new acts from Norway. Now it’s time for BY:LARM, which is the biggest and most important showcase event for Scandinavian music. NOTHING BUT HOPE AND PASSION did all your dirty work and cultivated a playlist for you to sample the offerings. Now, it’s a given with showcase festivals, these are usual everything-but-the-kitchen-sink affairs: you’ve got metal, hip hop, all varieties of electronic, punk, rock, pop, and singer songwriters of every ilk. Like any festival that boasts over 100 different acts, there’s a lot of garbage. There’s plenty of musicians who will be worthwhile in a few years. There’s plenty who are currently worthwhile. And there’s many many who will never be worthwhile, but will be mere dots on the footnotes of endnotes of up-and-coming Scandinavian music. Here’s what we, in our esteemed expert opinions, think you should listen to. Decide what theme you want to think about, and following are the best bands to provide that soundtrack.
BY:LARM Festival 2014 – Playlist
THINK ABOUT LIFE
Indie pop fans, BY:LARM is your playground. ANGELICA’S ELEGY continues this latest craze for late eighties, nineties indie: think lo-fi pop that gives you warm fuzzies. AWAY is for fans shoegaze, wall-of-sound pop. It’s also a band made up of eighteen year old boys. Still in it’s early phases but could end up being something good. Norwegian shoegazers DRÅPE are inspired by SLOWDIVE and MY BLOODY VALENTINE. Now, is it worthwhile shoegaze? 100 %. IAMPSYENCEFICTION is like a Norwegian indie super group, with members from EINAR STRAY and DRÅPE, like the National and Red House Painters. With ATLANTER, we will pay attention anytime there is sitar being played. Check out their Norwegian version of “desert blues”: some elements of kraut rock, with a distinct Norwegian flair. ICE CREAM CATHEDRAL brings excellent space pop, and SHY FOR SHORE you some cheerful, dreamy synth pop. JAAKKO EINO KALEVI is the number one name in “deep fried cosmic pop” like Syd Barrett before he went crazy.
SAMSAYA is worth checking out, despite being essentially pretty Top-40-style pop, her songwriting is sarcastic and bitingly self aware.
SEINABO SEY is Swedish soul: dig her beautiful, rich vocals over excellent production. TOVE LO is Sweden’s next original pop voice, standard but the lyrics will speak to anyone who’s gotten totally bent out of shape and destroyed to to avoid thinking about an ex-lover.
VILDE TUV go see the female guitarist because of her interesting sound and her more interesting, ridiculous, cheap-eighties-photo-studio poses-with-guitar promo photos.
ERLEND ØYE Norwegian Indie legend (WHITEST BOY ALIVE) teams up Icelandic reggae legends HJÁLMAR, for a project called ERLEND ØYE and HJÁLMAR. What’s more surprising, the collaboration or that Iceland has a ‘reggae legends?’
THINK ABOUT ALL KINDS OF ELECTRONIC
COPIA DOBLE SISTEMA is like the Danish MAJOR LAZER: fun and danceable, cumbia and reggae beats over electro. COUCHERON brings catchy EDM. Keep in mind he’s 19 years old yet he got to remix USHER and 2CHAINS (featured on this track.) Keep your eyes on this one, fun to dance to.
DISA is the Icelandic GRIMES: witchy electronica with ethereal operatic vocals. ZHALA is the Swedish GRIMES: more pop focused and with driving drum tracks. INTERTWINE has some thought provoking minimalist techno, and if you like that then check out TARAGANA PYJARAMA, which is prettier but similar vein of sparse beats with occasionally melodic digressions. SEA CHANGE is breathy female vocals over expansive techno, could go somewhere interesting. Don’t miss LUST FOR YOUTH: if you see one band at BY:LARM this year, see Hannes Norrvides’ project. What began as lo-fi atonal synth drone experiment that rocked our worlds in 2011 with Solar Flare is now his sound is moving in a more melodic, beat driven synth.
Oh, and JAMES MURPHY will be at BY:LARM this year (it’s just a DJ set, don’t expect LCD SOUNDSYSTEM.)
THINK ABOUT ROCK N ROLL
Those who love guitars need not go hungry at BY:LARM, there’s plenty of rock n roll. DEATH BY UNGA BUNGA, who already convinced at Trondheim Calling Festival earlier this year, play garage rock, in the sixties style of THE ZOMBIES and THE TROGGS. THE WOLVES bring old style rock n roll and songs about skateboarding. DEATH HAWKS is sounds like early seventies psychedelia rock n roll, this is 100% stuff to listen to tripping on mushrooms. BABY IN VAIN is a powder keg trio, see them for a combustible live show in the style of BLACK SABBATH.
THINK ABOUT YOUR ANGER
For those that like their eardrums assaulted, not massaged, check out GIRL ARMY, a hardcore band, and LOWER, a punk industrial band l whose energy is matched by their frenetic live show. For more hardcore, ONDT BLOD will be sure to make you stomp your feet and get your anger out. Of course, you metal fans can get your fix with OSLO FAENSKAP.
So pack good walking shoes, earplugs, lots bottles of water, and lose yourself in the multiple venues of Oslo’s BY:LARM Festival this year.
Check out BY:LARM’s full line-up on the next page