Larm 2008: Pining For the Fjords

by Adrien Begrand

2 March 2008


By:Larm 2008: Pining For the Fjords part 2

Hanne Hukkelberg

A dozen or so journalists and industry types were carted off to Oslo’s Propeller Studios, and were treated to a wonderful little private concert by hospitable singer-songwriter Hanna Hukkelberg and her four-piece band. The Norway native’s sumptuous hybrid of pop, jazz, and Weill/Brecht-inspired cabaret was already captivating on her albums Little Things and Rykestrasse 68 (the latter of which will be released in North America this year on Nettwerk), but the emotional wallop of the material was elevated significantly in the cozy, candle-lit studio, as Hukkelberg and her mates delivered stunning renditions of such songs as “Berlin”, “The Pirate”, “A Cheater’s Armoury”, and a somber cover of the Pixies’ “Break My Body”. [MySpace]

Hanne Hukkelberg - A Cheater’s Armoury


I never saw this coming. I made my way into the jam-packed VG Teltet not knowing just what the hell to expect, and the four young ladies in Oslo’s Katzenjammer brought the house down. Swapping instruments at an alarming and confusing rate (including an enormous bass balalaika that dwarfed the band members), the foursome tore through a raucous set that dipped into Nordic folk, country, British pub sing-alongs, sea chanteys, and punk, rich vocal melodies offset perfectly by their contagious, manic energy. Part Dixie Chicks, part Gogol Bordello, this was the most fun set of the entire fest. With an album due out later this year, this is one band we’ll be keeping our eyes on. [MySpace]

The Thing
The Thing

The best thing about seeing shows at Rockefeller was how one could take in a set in the main venue, then dash around the corner to the Annex on the side immediately after and catch another band. Scandinavian efficiency, I tell you. Anyway, this was one of those happy accidents you wish for when you attend such an event; I’d just seen Sahg do their thing, and walked over to the main hall, only to be floored by what I saw and heard. Here was a jazz trio performing a pulverizing set, instruments being assaulted, baritone sax filtered through effects pedals, stand-up bass connected to a laptop, free jazz colliding violently with dissonant post rock. Awe-inspiring. [Official site]

Worth recommending
Alog med Sheriffs of Nothingness

Alog med Sheriffs of Nothingness

Alog med Sheriffs of Nothingness

Accompanied by a pair of violinists, musicians Espen Sommer Eide and Dag-Are Haugan pieced together a surreal mixture of minimalism and improvisation, technology melding with organic instrumentation. [MySpace]


Preoccupied with 1960s kitsch in the same way Pizzicato 5 was a decade ago, the Bergen band’s take on vintage pop is made all the more palatable thanks to charismatic singer Therese Vadem. [MySpace]

In Vain

Hailing from Kristiansand, Norway, the six-piece band alternates from classic doom, progressive metal, and blackened death metal, offering a solid balance of melody and brutality, with very strong potential. [MySpace]


Already big in Norway, the heavily-hyped Lukestar didn’t disappoint, though I found myself wishing they’d explore the more subtle aspects of their music a little more, similar to what they do on the brilliant single “White Shade”. [MySpace]

Lukestar - White Shade

Dylan Mondegreen

Twee guitar pop similar to the Lucksmiths and Belle and Sebastian, the singer-songwriter is a quiet, understated sort onstage, but the music he and his band creates is luxurious, albeit somewhat safe and predictable. [MySpace]

Dylan Mondegreen - Girl in Grass

Stalingrad Cowgirls

Haling from the far north of Finland, this all-girl trio tore up the John Dee club, serving up more guitar rawk muscle than the Donnas and Sahara Hotnights combined, pop punk given the Motörhead treatment, led by the drop-dead gorgeous singer/guitarist Enni. [MySpace]

Stalingrad Cowgirls - You Won’t Get It

The Violent Years

Surprisingly enough, Americana seems to be rather popular in this part of the world, and give the Violent Years credit, their rustic, 16 Horsepower-inspired tunes sound good enough to hold up well alongside Stateside contemporaries Magnolia Electric Co. [MySpace]

Wildbirds & Peacedrums

Comprised of a singer who sounds part Jarboe and part Karen O, this Swedish duo packs a lot into its minimal sound, furious, primal beats offset by glockenspiel, zither, and one hell of a powerful voice. [MySpace]

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