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!