February 13, 2009


There's something special about the music scene of Bergen, Norway. Apart from being famous for its beautiful scenery and its always extraordinary amount of rain, the city of Bergen also manages to again and again raise new and exciting bands that make people want to dance. Most of these artists are gathered in the local label Tellé, a label that unleashed international celebrities like Röyksopp, Annie and Kings of Convenience upon Norway and the world.

2005/2006 saw a lot of great releases from Bergen (and the extended Tellé family), including Whitest Boy Alive (picture above) and Datarock's debut albums.

Whitest Boy Alive - Burning
Datarock - Laurie

But since then, things were disappointingly quiet from Bergen for a while. Until now, that is! 2008 saw the release of California-based duo Rubies debut album Explode From The Center on the Tellé label. In includes guests appearances and help from some of my favorite artists - Feist and Kings of Convenience - and I've grown to love the Rubies just as much as I love these long-time favorites of mine.

March 2009 will see the release of the Whitest Boy Alive's second album, which follows up the funky minimalist pop of the debut, but adds a stronger influence of dance/house music (but still using live instruments). This new direction of sound is especially clear on Courage, listen for yourself. Röyksopp will also make a much-anticipated return later this year, and the new single Happy Up Here is sounding very fresh and promising.

Another Tellé release worth watching out for in 2009 is the debut album of the newcomers The New Wine. They sound like a Whitest Boy Alive gone electropop with chipcore Nintendo influences. The latter influence is something they hardly try to hide - the four geeks are spotted wearing Legend of Zelda t-shirts at live shows and credit Zelda and Super Mario soundtrack composer Kōji Kondō as one of their main influences. Check out their early demo "I Had To Tell You", it's funky as hell.

Rubies - Stand In A Line

The Whitest Boy Alive - Courage

Röyksopp - Happy Up Here

The New Wine - I Had To Tell You

I hope you'll enjoy some of these as much as I do. And hope they'll make you want to daaaaance!


non serviam said...

I dig the crazy music you good Europeans are making.

non serviam said...

I think the links are broken... Or maybe it's just me.

Vizitrone said...

It's not you just you! Turns out there was an uploading error that messed up all of these files. I re-uploaded them all, should work now!

non serviam said...

The New Wine is the new favorite. Amazing music, friend.

Kris said...

Good to see some attention being given to our local music scene, but, ugh, "Bergen, Oslo"?

Vizitrone said...

My apologies, Kris. That was a truly atrocious spelling mistake! It was supposed to say "Bergen, Norway". I understand how offensive it must be when I'm basically suggesting Oslo = Norway. This was however not my intention at all. Thanks for bringing this to my attention!

Kris said...

Fair enough.

I wasn't at by:larm this week, but if I were I would have been sure to catch Blood Command, The Megaphonic Thrift and Casio Kids. Hope you had a great time. As you can tell, I blog about the Bergen music scene in Norwegian, but if you're curious, Google Translate does a fine job. Feel free to email me at "my name at my domain name".

Anonymous said...

Has anyone seen KAKKMADDAFAKKA live? Ignore there myspace songs as they're well old, but live these guys my not be just the best live band in Bergen, but maybe the world!

Vizitrone said...

I highly considered seeing them on Thursday, but they played only 30 minutes before The New Wine, at a completely different venue, so I had to pass! :(