I’m very much in a mellow mood this Monday, and thus my offerings have been fairly gentle today, like this new tune from Simen Mitlid. The Norwegian songwriter has been holed up for the last few years, quietly working on the follow-up to his 2017 release, Everything is the Same. What we have now is the same folk style he offered, only now it seems to be brimming with layers and textures; these make his quieted tunes feel like they expand inside your ears. Atmospheric touches build this blossoming pop euphoria within your head, still keeping things close to you as the light guitar strums pull your ear towards the speaker. Birds will be released later this year.
Looks like we’re spending a lot of time up in the Scandinavian part of the world today, which popped up earlier, and now brings us Remington Super 60. We’ve covered the band before, showing our appreciation for their beautiful pop sound. Here they return with this subtle, almost lounge-ready, gem; the pacing definitely lends itself to a moment of early morning reflection. Nice gentle bubble of bass beneath the feathery vocals; this is the sort of number that’s going to make your day infinitely better just be soaking in its natural warmth. The band release their aptly titled, New EP, today, so if you enjoy, go hear the rest.
The great thing about the labels left in the world is that you can always rely upon the tried-and-true ones, like Fika Recordings. By and large, they release a lot of stuff I already love, but sometimes they bring up something I adore that I wasn’t even aware of, like The Little Hands of Asphalt. It’s the project of Sjur Lyseid of Norway, who has been mostly quiet since 2012, working behind the scenes in studios, rather than up front. Today, Fika shared two beautiful pop gems that will appear on the new album, Half Empty. There’s a fragility in these two tunes that I didn’t know I missed, so I wanted to be sure and share those with you today. The new album should be out on March 27th.
If you read these pages, you surely know of my affection for really light indiepop gems built around wonderful melodies that stick to your soul. Today, Norway’s Simen Mitlid drops his Neutral LP, and this track is definitely one of the album’s spotlight tunes. Our journey together begins with this soft gallop and carfeul strum that work with Mitlid’s mellow vocal delivery. Then things pick up, albeit ever so slightly so as not to detract from the core of the song. Bits of tinkering fill in the empty space, leaving the listener with this joyous swell that makes the whole world better. The LP is out today in the world, so go forth and enjoy.
I always like to move into Mondays with something a little bit calming, something that seems to have sensation of easing into the week…so here I am with this wonderful Shikoswe track. While the first 50 seconds feel like my day, slowing moving along, there’s a nice uptick in the energy around 53 seconds that I couldn’t turn away from when listening; it added an underlying energy that crafted that dream drift we all search for…at least for fans of the genre. The chorus “it’s all the same” is a sublime slice of pop sensibility surely soothing several of you. Look for this track on the new album Back in the Tall Grass.
The history of Remington Super 60 goes back over 20 years ago, and while that alone is remarkable in this day and age, what matters most is that they sound just as delightful now as they did back in ’98. I think the first immediate comparison that comes to mind is that ground popularized by Camera Obscura; it has that same structure of indiepop, bringing in classic pop sounds and updating them in a more modern fashion. Of course, there’s this natural warmth here too, which almost makes me wish it was Winter time, so I could sit by a fire and let the magic of this track do the rest of the work for me. Look for a new EP from the group later this Fall.
I always try to keep up with what’s hip over in Scandinavia, as witnessed by my undying love for Finland’s Soliti Records. Today, however, I’m turning my head over to Norway and the band Kongle. They came with a reference to Dungen, which I suppose I can hear, though it feels like there’s a heavier lean towards expansive pop maneuvers; it’s less prog/psych, so it’s all about melodies. That, of course, doesn’t mean the musicianship isn’t spot on, with the recording coming off like a super-tight live band. Their new LP, Skogen, will be released on April 5th.
- I don’t know too much about Oslo-based Sauropod, but I feel like I need some sort of noisy rocker to kick start Monday. It’s a guitar-pop masterpiece pulling on fuzzy guitar lines and a catch chorus that sounds a lot like Nirvana’s “Sliver.” I can’t help myself, however, I just want to turn it up and sing along like some freed juvenile. Plus, the grunge rockers are giving a message within the confines of this number, offering their proposed retribution for men who assault women. Hooks and a message? Happy Monday. Look for their self-titled EP to drop on August 24th via Propeller.
If anything, I’m a pretty loyal listener, but being a fan of I Was a King has always been easy. They craft this beautiful mixture of heavy-ish indie rock and power-pop, and their sound seems ever evolving. This track relies more on the indie rock side of things, filled by crashing cymbals and distorted guitars grumbling in the distance. But, the smooth melody of the vocals cuts right through the noise, balancing the track in the most perfect manner. They even include some extra flourishes, such as the faint echo of children’s voices (at least that’s what it sounds like to me) near the 2 minute mark. This is a band that no longer needs to experiment or dabble in genres…they’re building their own sound, and I couldn’t be happier. The new single drops digitally on Friday with an album to follow later this year.
Norway has a special place in my heart, musically…seems I can always trace some bit of my pop affections back to the country. Today, it’s responsible for Great News, offering up this glittering bit of pop rock, harkening back the shimmering pop of the 80s. While the spirit’s uplifting, there are still some gruff bits of distorted guitars pushing through the polished exterior. The band will be releasing their new record Wonderfault on February 16th, and the tune below should be enough evidence that it remains on your radar!