In January 2010 I attended a concert with Mathias TjÃ¸nn in Oslo. It was one of those excellent concerts that I even blogged about! And as it turned out, Mathias is a nice guy too. We both live in the same hood in Brooklyn now, and I have attended quite a few more shows with his indie folk band Racing Heart. The photo is from a concert at Sycamore this summer.
Mathias hasn’t been playing that many concerts lately, but that’s simply because he’s been busy recording an album; To Walk Beside That Ghost. You can hear the songs Emma, This Pretty Mistake and Photos at racingheartmusic.com or his bands’ Facebook page. I’ve been lucky to have the whole album on repeat for quite a while already. Beautiful vocal harmonies are with us throughout, with the ultimate highlight in the short, a cappella song Et Ã¸nske, et hÃ¥p. These days the quiet Soft Voices is my personal favorite. While the first single, Emma, is a great synth track, it might not be the typical Racing Heart song. Then again, it’s hard to give this album a specific label anyway. Indie folk seems to be what comes closest. Let’s just listen to it instead of labeling, shall we?
The wonderful news is that Norwegians now can listen as the album is finally out back home. And even better, Racing Heart is visiting Norway to play for lucky guests at Internasjonalen, Sound of Mu and Kvarteret in late February. Americans won’t get the pleasure of hearing the full-length album until April. But then again, you can probably catch the gentlemen that make up Racing Heart; Mathias TjÃ¸nn, Justin Keller and Kendall Eddy at various venues around Brooklyn in the future. I’ll let you know!
Oh No Ono (DK) @ Samfunnsalen was a pleasant surprise. I had not listened to any of their music, but their weird pop harmonies and nasal voices really impressed me. I will definitely get to know them better now. Starting here.
Casiokids (N) @ Rockefeller. Yeah. They’re big in Norway. And lots of tall people like them, and love to jump very high to express their joy and love for songs like Finn Bikkjen. Me and my small friends had to step away from the fun to survive.
Seabear (ICL) @ John Dee. I guess my very high expectations made me disappointed… For some reason I did not recognise any of the songs I had listened to lately in the set they played. Songs like: I Sing I Swim and Arms. Oh well.
Okey. I am going. I thought I would skip it this time, because it is so demanding. So much to see, so many choices, so little time. I end up running back and forth, from stage to stage, cutting corners, freezing, falling in the snow. But then I remember the music, the discovery of new music, the laughter, the beers, the friends. And now the festival ticket is payed for, and I just have to remember to breathe in between every concert. While running to the next one.
A year ago, at the large Oslo music festival called By:Larm, my friend Veronica and I sat down at our favorite kebab house to take a break from an endless line of concerts. We ate our falafel, had a photo shoot (a weird tradition we have at Parthenon kebab), and then looked closer at the festival program once more. In this one hour spot we could choose between a whole lot of concerts, but we didn’t know any of the bands at all. So. We just picked a name that sounded weird. And this was the concert with the Icelandic band HjaltalÃn – which ended up being the best concert experience I have ever had.
We have attended two more concerts with this wonderful band after this love-at-first-sight meeting. One of these was localized in the Norwegian mountains and involved tents and large amounts of water falling from the sky…
Me and Veronica to the left waiting for our falafel – unaware that we are about to meet the love of our life, HjaltalÃn, at their John Dee concert.
Two HjaltalÃners performing at the Vinjerock festival. And our camp site filled with happy campers welcoming the long lost sun in the Jotunheimen mountains.
Now I am counting the days until HjaltalÃn will be back in Oslo again; at Revolver Wednesday February 3rd. I listen to their beautiful album Sleepdrunk Seasons all day, watch their YouTube videos, I hum along, and get the warm fuzzy feeling inside. And instead of me rambling on about how fantastic this band are, you should check it out for yourself on MySpace. And watch their beautiful music videos:
Unfortunately I stepped on the red carpet to the Norwegian Crown Prince tonight. That wasn’t very popular amongst the police. But as you can see in the photo, we were quite a crowd at the opera house in Oslo, and I believe showing our support for the people of Haiti was more important than royal carpets this time.
Lots of artists contributed to this evening called «Dugnad for Haiti». The act I enjoyed the most was when Ingrid Olava, Thom Hell and Lars-Lillo Stenberg sang Beatles’ song Because. My Mom «discovered» the great sound of the band Minor Majority, and the voice of Noora Noor, which is fantastic. If you’re into soul music, anyway.
For me both Thom Hell and Minor Majority are the sound of fall 2004 when I just moved to Bergen to study – and Bergen broke all records when it comes to rainy weather. I handled the rain by staying indoors listening to nice music. Thom Hell’s album «I love you» is definitely lovable, and I just have to list some of the songs from this album, because I want to share those amazingly beautiful pop tunes (links to Spotify): Mourning Sun, So You’re Leaving, Tired , Some guy, Why Do I Feel
But back to the victims in Haiti – call 820 44 001 to give 200 NOK to the Norwegian Red Cross, or use this account number: 8200.06.08331. Or choose another help organization from this list.
Going to The XX concert tonight at Garage. After I have seen the movie Precious at Filmens hus. Which is after I have spent 3 long hours at the hairdresser. Hopefully my curly new do will look smashing, because I refuse to run home in tears and miss tonight’s concert…
Saturday night I discovered two new things at once. 1) Cafe Mir – a cafe that has been in Oslo forever (or since 1994), but that I still haven’t visited for some reason. Now that I finally did, I know I will be back soon. It was discovery number 2) Mathias TjÃ¸nn, that sent me in the right direction. Or his release concert, anyway. Great concert. I particularly like the song «I Wrote a Book and That Means I Can Do Anything». Here is a portion of the lyrics from that song:
I like the timetable
because it keeps me up to date
about what will happen where and when.
You see it’s like a map of time
except it’s not
because a map will tell you where things are
but time won’t stay in place.
Which leads me right to a discovery I did yesterday that includes timetables, maps and other nice things – with lots of clever words wrapped around them. Read my blog post about this discovery, The Language of Graphics.
How I love the Christmas feeling. This year the moment arrived when I was attending a superb Christmas concert at Parkteatret Friday night with a bunch of my friends, leaning from side to side singing «War is over – if you want it – war is over – NOOOOOOOOW». My favorite Norwegian indie band, My Little Pony, was the band backing the audience choir. In addition to playing some of the good old classic Christmas songs, they played their weird, cute song about someone close to you being dead with these fantastic lyrics:
Now you’re dead
and there’s nothing I can do about it
nothing I can say to bring you back.
Cause you’re dead
and I will never see you again
and I don’t know what this means
but it scares me so.
I wish that I could have some kind of religion,
but no matter how much you want you can never get stupid again.
From the song I don’t know – Part 1
My sister and I both bought their album, Think Too Much last year, and in the car on our way to Bergen, we played it on high volume. Then this upbeat tune about death came along – which was sort of bad timing considering that we were driving to Bergen to attend our grandmother’s funeral… However, the sincere, straightforward lyrics of the song just made us laugh. Check out this album – there’s a lot of songs to get you in a good mood!
Obama is in town. Will Smith is in town. Wyclef Jean is in town. But this day is all about REGINA SPEKTOR. While I was waiting for Kings of Leon to enter the stage at John Dee a cold autumn night in 2003, this weird girl sat down by the piano to sing songs about «cleavage, cleavage, cleavage» and «UH-merica». I enjoyed her quirky act enormously – which is more than I can say about Kings of Leon’s distant, stuck-up and arrogant performance. However, I forgot about Regina until I heard her song, Fidelity, on the radio a couple of years later. The album Begin to Hope is one of the albums I have been playing the most since I bought it, and That Time, Better, Fidelity and Hotel Song are still quite near the top of my all time favorite songs list. Let’s hope she will take my list into consideration tonight at Rockefeller!