Albums of 2016 - The Holy - More Escher and Random Notes

Albums of 2016 - The Holy - More Escher and Random Notes

I've lavished praise on The Holy here countless times, slowly but surely people are starting to listen. The Helsinki quintet do not fuck around, leaving everything on the table at the end of their songs and treating you to these beautiful yet humungous soundscapes filled with soaring guitars and pummelling beats, their debut EP More Escher and Random Notes sums that up in more over five quite glorious tracks. 

"This Will Be the Day That I Die" was the track that started it for me a good while ago now, a huge, sweeping epic filled with darkly hued atmosphere. it's edgy, it's gorgeous and it's tense and it's even buoyant. Opener "Can't Remember Your Name" is another slow burning beauty that's just the right mixture of brooding and beauty, the percussive melody slowly rises in intensity amongst different, but always darkened textures, add in cascading synths and brooding guitars and soon it will command your complete attention up to its unsettling conclusion.

There's lots of drums throughout (there are two drummers in the band) and "Airport for Lovers" rushes along like Springsteen on acid with pulsating rhythms and soaring guitars duelling for attention. I can't pick a favourite but perhaps it is "Ramses The Evil Brother", similarly brimming with ideas, darkened in colour and majestic in delivery, rushing through at breakneck speed and triumphant in its fuzzy, dramatic conclusion, a truly glorious listen it is too.

More Escher and Random Notes is quite simply the best thing that passed through my ears in 2016 (closely followed by Blackstar - I'm not going to bother reviewing that one at the end of January - I'm sure you've heard it).

Albums of 2016 - Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - Mirage

Albums of 2016 - Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation - Mirage

One of the most complete and seamless albums of 2016, Mirage, the second release in as many years from Sweden's Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation is a wonderfully immersive psyche-pop record that will have you hypnotised from the get-go.

"The State (I'm In)" kicks off Mirage and sums that up.  a hazy blend mix of throbbing synths, glistening guitar and forthright percussion, with Josefin's ethereal vocals floating on top, it's a gorgeous summer breeze of a track. "Sister Green Eyes" is moodier, combining repeating, droning rhythms with gauzy vocals and ominous intent. Both sublime.

Honestly, I could easily pick any track to laud with praise, the duo of tracks "In Madrid / Rainbow Lollipop" merge into one combine pulsing electronics with irresistible poised words. The atmosphere remains throughout, it's contagious and romantic all the same, never more so than on perhaps the absolute highlight "Rushing Through My Mind".

Josefin Öhrn + The Liberation are one of two bands I've not seen that I really, really fucking want to (the other is my next post). I've managed to miss them in London already and their next show coincides with when I'll typically be in Scandinavia myself. I hope I can break my duck soon, they promise to be an absolute revelation. 

Albums of 2016 - Shura - Nothing's Real

Albums of 2016 - Shura - Nothing's Real

One of my two favourite pop records of 2016, Shura's debut full length Nothing's Real may have been a long time coming for those of us with her from the outset but it rewards the listening fully and offers a perfect addition to 80's indebted pop with a modern twist that's finding an increasingly prominent place in my record collection.

The entire record is direct and emotional from start to finish, filled with a broken-hearted mood amongst smooth, shimmering textures, take the wonderful trio of tracks that predated the album "Touch", "Just Once" and "Indecision" as perfect example and the brilliant "Indecision", a more 80's indebted, school dance-floor jam with sparkling synths and woozy guitars that is both restrained and luxurious as an example of the more upbeat moments seen best on the bedazzling "White Light".

The softly spoken vulnerability reaches its peak on my favourite two new tracks ("Touch" will always be the Shura song for me) "What’s It Gonna Be?” and "What Happened To Us", both see Shura challenging her lover with forthright questions about the potential end of relationship and hit hard with the tangled web that is human emotion. Despite its often brittle subject matter, Nothing's Real comes across as sexy and poppy and I love it. 

Albums of 2016 - Rachel Sermanni - Gently

Albums of 2016 - Rachel Sermanni - Gently

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I hope you haven't got any plans for the next half an hour, if you have, call them off because I guarantee there is nothing better you can do for yourself that cut to the end of my waffling words here and press play on the beguiling Gently EP by Rachel Sermanni.

Recorded with Rachel's friend Jennifer Austin (who has the final track named in her honour) in her flat and on her piano, the resulting four tracks ebb and flow with an understated yet hypnotising grace and beguiling beauty to results that touch deep inside. The opening "Gently" is pure poetry, a softly waltzing melody made up of little more than Rachel's acoustic guitar and Jen's piano chords, it leaves you with the sort of feeling that makes all your worries float away, dreamlike and devastatingly pretty with Rachel's breathy, ethereal voice and captivated words. That's a pretty accurate summation of the three "Gently" tracks which run into twenty minutes but feels half that, just exquisite. 

Albums of 2016 - The Sun Days - Album

Albums of 2016 - The Sun Days - Album

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Easily amongst the best indie-pop albums of the year, The Sun Days bright, beautiful melodies and warming harmonies (since the release of the record the band have changed vocalist, a hot and steamy show in London's Lock Tavern back in July showed that doesn't matter) don't seemingly match their Gothenburg roots (it's a wonderful City mind), but Album immediately charms the pants of you with its smile-inducing bounce and vigour, the sort of record that can do nothing but bring a smile to your face and have you jumping around your room whilst swooning at the heart-warming vocals.

"Don't Need to be Them" is the one, a killer, killer track that pulls you straight into the quintet's uplifting, positive world with a shimmering spirit and catchy chorus that will be firmly imprinted in your head by it's duration (the entire record is similarly infectious) but that doesn't mean Album is a one track pony, "I Keep on Wondering" and "Busy People" couple knock-out vocal performances and melancholic lyrics with jangle guitars and machine gun percussive drums that sound so upbeat that you're propelled to sing along and think pleasant thoughts. "You Can't Make Me Make Up My Mind" is the first track I heard from the band back in 2014 but it sounds just as fresh and radiant today. I could go on but Squarespace has already deleted my first draft and I'm waffling...

Yes 2016 has been a shitter for many reasons but let The Sun Days raise one more smile before pressing the reset ahead of 2017.

The Best Acts at The Great Escape 2016 (that I saw)

Sorry for the quiet spell on the blog, it's been quite the time... I'm back from The Great Escape (my ninth time) in one piece, more or less, and in lieu of a full day by day recount of the weekend and the thirty odd bands I saw I'm going to cherry pick the absolute best. I'm also going to stop waffling and get on with it.

Hyphen Hyphen
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Friday at Brighthelm

Yes. This was the one TGE 2016. 

Hyphen Hyphen are a French electro pop quartet whom appear to be pretty popular in their home country (so much so that they won best live act at the 2016 edition of their Brit Awards equivalent - I now know why) but I'd never heard of until looking for a band to end my night on Friday, I went with Hyphen Hyphen simply because I'd already seen Ary three times this year and their description on the festival app (which was much improved this year, just missing Spotify integration and defaulting to the correct time on the line-up page in my opinion) sounded interesting. The show was their live UK debut and will certainly not be their last, surely soon to be singled out by bigger and better blogs than this as a future crossover artist (with 1.3M views on their "Just Need Your Love" video perhaps they already have).

It took about a minute to fall in love with the band, emblazoned in warpaint and radiant smiles and just about long enough for front-woman Santa to catapult from the side of the stage and launch into the first of the bands hypnotising songs. I've seen some commanding leads in my time and Santa immediately joins the select best, filled with a boundless energy that sees her catapult around the stage quicker than anybody I've ever seen in my life and coupled with this incredibly powerful voice, each song filled with soaring, ethereal melodies, glistening 80's keys and tribal drums and after half an hour passes in the blink of an eye I'm itching for more. Unfortunately it is 2am and the venues security are quickly chucking everyone out of the room before we can even give them the reaction they deserved.

This is how to put on a show.

I'm later asked to describe them and the best I can muster is London Grammar on acid, that'll do for now. Go and discover them yourselves UK.

Muna
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Saturday at Coalition

Another band making their debut UK performance this weekend and another set to hit the headlines, LA's Muna performed a ridiculously accomplished set of their flickering, 80's indebted pop-rock. They also received the absolute biggest reception of any band I saw at the years festival. It was similar to last years Aurora show in the same venue, the audience immediately putty in the hands of a band clearly on their way to bigger things (it probably helped that the band clearly had a handful of friends in front rows whom knew every word to every track).

"Loudspeaker" is a song I featured on this blog a year ago, the name of their recently released EP and the bands closing track. It's glistening dark pop filled with crystalline vocals and the perfect summation of the girls sound, undoubtedly likely to draw immediate Haim comparisons although much more cinematic with each polished guitar hook, pulsating synth beat and rich vocal washes over you with a rich, warming glow. You feel like you're starring in your own 80's montage. 

I'm pretty soon making an unscheduled trip back to my nearby hotel room to drop of the bands vinyl.

Dream Wife
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Friday at Photomatic

Packed into a tiny shop in the lanes, handed a free beer and sweating profusely; pretty much the ideal situation to finally catch Dream Wife live I'd say.

The Brighton based band did not disappoint in their home town with a raw, shrill and energetic show that reminded me of a slightly more pop Dolores Haze (whom I'd caught up with again after seeing twice, quite brilliantly at By:Larm in March the night before). Rakel Mjöll's vocal changing from innocent pop sweetness to snarling, ferocious bite in the blink of an eye amongst driving grunge rhythms, killer pop hooks and chaotic drums, the packed room lap it up and my friends who see the band at one of their other shows return with similarly positive reviews. 

Noisy, aggressive, poppy, brilliant.

Julia Jacklin
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Thursday at Komedia and Friday at The Haunt

I have one simple question to ask you. How the fuck had I not heard of Julia Jacklin until the day before The Great Escape? Not only seemingly one of the talked about acts of SXSW this year (and soon to be the same after her shows at TGE) but every drop of her music couldn't be any more 'me' if she had come into my house, taken my record collection and tried to replicate it. 

Both of her sets I catch are chocked full with wounded country ballads that are akin to Angel Olsen and Caitlin Rose, filled with stirring electric guitars from her wonderful backing band (when the sound desk broke at The Haunt and caused a twenty minute delay they took to some impromptu jamming - I doubt Julia will remember the second half too fondly, the mix was certainly not as you'd like) and intimate, honest lyrics.

"Pool Party' closed both sets and is Julia's debut single, it sums up the shows, a combination of swelling instrumentation and devastating voice that makes you linger after her every word, it's achingly pretty, beautifully sad, outrageously brilliant. 

She plays in London again tomorrow before returning in September. That's pretty good news.

Al Bairre
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Thursday at The Prince Albert

2015's TGE highlight Al Bairre return a year later to pretty much the same reaction, 'oh fucking yes, this is awesome'.

The Prince Albert stage is tiny, it doesn't lend itself too well for a band as boundless as Al Bairre but it's okay, bouncy indie-pop knows no boundaries and soon enough the afternoon crowd is nodding along to each rhythm and smiling to every infectious, exhilarating track. The good news is this year I know the words to most of the tracks and I'm left grinning like a slightly mad cat, a slightly drunk cat too as I'd perhaps had a few too many beers in the afternoon beforehand.

I said it last year, I'll say it again. Go and listen to this band now. Two sold-out shows in London either side of the festival signal people are. 

The Big Moon
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Saturday at Komedia

I think this is my fifth time seeing The Big Moon already (not my last) and easily the best, a new track kicks off the set and it's brilliant. It sets the tone for a great 'matinee' show to please a packed early Saturday crowd.

Fun and engaging, polished and charismatic, the quartet whirl through half an hour's worth of brilliant guitar pop, there's killer hooks at almost every turn, plenty of shredding guitar duals and enough singalong choruses to pack a stadium.

With tracks like "Cupid" and "Sucker" already in their arsenal, the future keeps on getting rosier for this outstanding quartet. 

Dagny
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Thursday at Komedia

Now signed to Island Records (which will hopefully mean we'll have some more music to share soon) Dagny is surely a shoe-in to appear on pretty much every 'Sound of 2017' list and now I've seen her a couple of times, I'm happy to be along for the ride.

There's an additional guitarist at Komedia in comparison to the show I caught at By:Larm and it only adds to the dynamic performance. I love the fact she employs a real band around her, I do struggle with singers and laptops, the live band not only makes for a compelling live show but adds so much 'feeling' to the music over a digital backing. I'm running out of things to say about "Backbeat" so I'll just say this, magic.

Aldous Harding
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Friday at Paganini Ballroom

Playing exactly the same venue as twelve months before Aldous Harding is the real deal. It's a set that's entirely made up of new music from her amusingly titled forthcoming record Party and one that beguiles from start to end.

Her music is fascinating, the first four track all see Aldous on her traditional acoustic guitar playing long-lasting finger-plucked melodies filled with wounded tales of personal battles and losses before she switches to vocal duties alongside a friend playing keys and changes key completely, from heartbreaking whispers and spine-tingling emotions to strong, defiant bellowing and dramatic arm movements which both have the audience equally transfixed throughout. The set, as the year before, is littered with Aldous' dark humour and unnerving faces, you aren't quite sure if theatrical or real, I think it's probably both. 

Don't miss her when she returns to the UK later in the year.

Ekkah
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Saturday at Synergy Centre

I already knew that Ekkah knew how to get the party started, now I know they can end one too. Ending Saturday with a typically disco-laced set in the strange surroundings of Synergy Centre to a healthy crowd who danced away like the venue was still the night club it was some years ago (and I can remember go to when I visited a friend at uni some dozen years ago). 

"Last Chance to Dance" sums it up perfectly, just listen to that bass-line. Its funky throwback melody moulded with infectious hand-claps and ultra smooth vocal hooks sound like the love child of The Jackson 5 and 80's Madonna and the result is just is good. "

The absolute highlight though is the look on everyone's face as they enter the building after being ID'ed (and I'm talking everyone, especially Robin at Breaking More Waves). 

By:Larm 2016 - Friday Review

After a late morning breakfast I spend much of the day sightseeing and manage to find a curry house that is very nice before heading out for the evening music session.

Friday starts with a special Sofar Sounds show, the picture might make it look like it's in someone's house but in realitiy it's the basement of a hotel. I listen to a hip-hop artist who isn't really my thing and am very happy after about ten seconds of Ida Stein is introduced as the second act...

Friday. Ida Stein. Sofar Sounds

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I'm not sure the stripped back setup that she employs here is one that Ida Stein had played with before but that doesn't matter, the pared-down, acoustic nature of the set suits her voice to the ground, allowing her ethereal whispers to silence the crowd with its blissful melancholy and intimate longing (there’s a track called “Melancholia” which sums it up).

The recorded sound I hear for the first time on my return to the UK is more electro pop in its nature but still resonates around her soft vocals and flickering synths. A new fan is found.

Sea Lion. St Edmunds Church

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For someone I first wrote about on this blog as long ago as September 2012 it’s incredibly the first time I’ve seen Sea Lion perform live and the setting, the beautiful St Edmunds Church is perfect (it’s reminiscent of St Pancras Old Church which can only be a good thing).

A short, sweet and satisfying set follows over the next twenty five minutes with tracks taken from last year’s Desolate Stars leading the way. The acoustics and the silent crowd help to bring out Linn's fragile vocal, intoxicating around naked acoustic strums and haunting melodies. 

Pale Honey. Rockefeller

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Another band I've blogged about multiple times here and finally managed to break the live duck of at By:Larm are Pale Honey, the sets a cracker too. Perfectly suited to the big Rockefeller stage the trio produce a set of punchy beats and tight guitar and the result is explosive and energetic. The highlights are arguably the tightest tracks from last year’s debut LP Youth, the title track and the propulsive “Over Your Head” and by the time it ends I’m humming the infectious riffs on the way out. 

Tina Refsnes. Crossroad Club

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This show wasn’t actually on my agenda before the festival and it wasn’t even part of the main schedule but I bumped into Tina Refsnes the day before at Siv Jakobsen’s gig and actually said hello (I’m absolutely the worst at saying hello to people, I tend not to want to impede on people’s own life – hence me walking past Jarvis Cocker earlier in the day!) and Tina then told me about the gig and I gladly tweaked my schedule to take it in.

The set is delicious and another treat, it’s great to see people like Tina, Unnveig Aas and Siv in their native country because they are playing with their traditional setups, backed by a full band of familiar musicians instead of the usual touring solo / session musician set. The full band sound here truly helps and I’m very happy with the set, a combination of twanging country blues, heartfelt ballads and stomping rockier moments that takes in all of my favourites from last year’s No One Knows That You're Lost. “I Don’t Know” and “Alaska” particuarly impress with the familiarity and association as my discovery song tingling my senses.

I don’t stop around after to say hello!

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Julia Adams. Verkstedet

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I think this is the first time I'd ever stood through an entire set in a foreign language, one that I don't even speak a word of.

Swedish artist Julia Adams is worth it though, an engaging performance of strong, shimmering electro-pop melodies and bittersweet vocals. There’s a couple of slower songs where Julia moves to a keys and these are probably my highlights although the swaggering “0400am” runs in close in this live setting.

I don’t understand the in-between song banter either and as sad as I am, I find it amusing to hear the odd English word or saying filter through. 

Pixx. St Edmunds Church

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Even though Pixx is the first UK artist I see here in Oslo, I’ve actually never heard of her before and arrive purely because of the ‘buzz’ surrounding the new 4AD signing. The church settings are certainly suited to the atmospheric blend of exotic rhythms, subtle guitars and minimal electronics and the delicious haunting vocals weave an enticing proposition. I’m not familiar with any of the tracks but I’m absorbed by the seductive combination of unhurried instrumentation and soft, hushed voice. A mental note to listen to more on my return is made.

It’s incredibly been a week since my flight already, so I have of course listened to more since, I love the floating, dreaming nature of “A Way to Say Goodbye”. The buzz seems to be justified. 

Sara Hartman. Drømmeteltet

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I think this was Sara Hartman's second show of the night, fresh from supporting Ellie Goulding somewhere else in Oslo. You can immediately tell she’s used to sharing bigger stages. An engaging lead performance from a young artist who belies her age, swaggering back and forth with gusto and armed with chorus after chorus and track after track that seems to hint at a stadium bound career.

Quite incredibly Sara starts with ‘the hit’, “Monster Guide Me Home” immediately gets the crowd going and the elation doesn’t drop throughout the half hour set.

Dolores Haze. John Dee

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Round two for Dolores Haze and it’s immediately apparent that my ‘love-in’ of yesterday was not made by alcohol intoxication. Dolores Haze are absolutely brilliant again.

At the start there’s two girls on stage with them, a Shampoo meets Clueless pairing who add even more enthusiasm to the first track, as if that was possible. Their half hour set disappears, once more, in an instant, a blur of gritty power, grungy guitars, handclaps and boundless fun. I grab a t-shirt shortly after. It costs the same price as a beer.

The Prettiots. Rockefeller

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The t-shirt buying means I arrive upstairs at Rockefeller as The Prettiots are playing but soon another new band to follow is found. I should have probably checked out the American trio before as they released a record very recently via Rough Trade. That record Funs Cool is where most of the tracks are sourced from – although a set highlight “Blow It” – which I wrongly think is called “Blow Him” until I catch the band again the next day (which changes the meaning of the track somewhat!!) is not.

I imagine The Prettiots are a bit of a Marmite band, love them or hate them, songs about adolescent boy-chasing, boy-dissing, moving to LA and so on all wrapped up in sugary harmonies, strong bass rhyhtms, ukulele and incredibly funny anecdotes. I love it.

By:Larm 2016 - Wednesday & Thursday Review

Over the next couple of blog posts I will write about the favourite acts I saw during the four-day festival By:Larm held annually in Oslo, Norway. This was my first trip to Norway and obviously the festival and I'm already hooked.

I'll briefly start at the end by saying By:Larm was an absolutely fantastic way to experience new Scandinavian music and that Oslo was a fantastic city (bloody expensive mind, everything you hear about it is true – 7 pound beers – ouch to my wallet!). Thankfully the flights and accommodation were relatively cheap. 

My friend, who I talked into coming with me last October/November when I had the urge to book tickets after seeing the initial line-up, said it reminded him of The Great Escape about five or six years ago and that analogy is spot on. It's smaller, more compact, less commercial, less crowded (over the weekend there was only one show I wanted to get into that I didn't and that was in a 95 person capacity venue that I turned up-to just as it was starting, so it's hardly surprising) and incredibly high in quality, diverse artists. There's no male-centric lines-up here and By:Larm revels in its buzzing, positive atmosphere and its focus on exciting new music (although, boy, Norwegian men are tall!). 

Wednesday. Virgin Suicide. Pokalen

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For me at least, Virgin Suicide were head and shoulders above are any other act playing on Wednesday evening, the launch event for the festival held at Vulkan and its neighbouring Pokalen.

It's impossible for me to write about the Copenhagen band without referring immediately to Suede, the unmistakable tone of the vocal, the shimmering, jangling guitars, that blight sing-along choruses, it all reminds me of them in their swaggering pomp. Clear, energetic pop that brought a smile and dance to all listening down the front.

I'd not heard of the band before but the UK, it seems, is already taking notice of the band with them receiving The Guardian new band of the week (and an amusing review which said very much what I said last Wednesday) just days later. don't be surprised to hear a lot more from this promising young band.

Thursday. Siv Jakobsen. Mono

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I have to be careful here, I'm probably posting about Siv Jakobsen more than is justifiably allowed and I wouldn't be surprised if I received a knock at my door from the police with a restraining order any time soon! That said however, oh my fucking god, this show is incredible. What a way to start the festival officially. 

I'd seen Siv play before last year at The Great Escape in Brighton (twice in fact) playing solo acoustically and that was beautiful but the addition of a gorgeous string quartet and impeccable keys add a dimension to the tracks, primarily taken from last year's The Lingering EP that simply took my breath away. 

I'll be honest and say I was worried when I walked inside the venue and saw a darkened spit and sawdust sort of place, the sort you'd expect to be hosting rock acts but the second Siv and band start playing I forget all about that and am instantly transported to somewhere magical. The sensation was similar to that I had when I saw Broken Twin in Copenhagen a fortnight ago, it makes you want to close your eyes, soak in every emotion and hug the person nearest. You will be glad to know I managed to restrain myself!

The half-hour set disappears almost in the blink of an eye and I'm left longing so much more (I do see Siv again on Saturday -  so that will be me writing about her again soon then!).  Highlights are difficult to pick, "Bullet" is one of my favourites from the release and the strings here were especially well-placed, swooning and seductive it pulls on every heartstring and "How We Used To Love" will remain one of those songs that touches me every time I hear it. There's a new track and it stands up brilliantly with a stronger, more forceful vocal that is reminiscent of Laura Marling on Once I Was An Eagle, it hints at even more exciting future ahead, as if we needed that.

Unnveig Aas. Verkstedet

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I've heard the name said a handful of times now and I still have absolutely zero idea how to pronounce Unnveig Aas but I can safely say that I was blown away by their set and this coming directly after the incredible show I'd seen at Mono just before.

I obviously have blogged about Unnveig Aas so I was familiar with her material but still, I wasn't expecting her live sound to be quite so vast and grand, with a pedal steel, a super tight band and a completely unexpected commanding stage presence I was truly reminded of the Country gallop of Caitlin Rose and you should know how much I love Caitlin... 

The music fluctuated from bounce to croon giving plenty of time for toe-tapping rhythms before soothing with gorgeous ballads as Unnveig stared wide-eyed into the crowd and danced in unison with her exemplary band. It was something to saviour and sitting back here in the UK now and knowing what I know about what I saw, I regret not seeing her other show on the Saturday. For sure, those that did were in for a treat.

Ary. Rockefeller

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I keep thinking Ary is one of the hyped Scandinavian artists at the minute and this years Aurora, well after seeing her twice live over the weekend in By:Larm I'm removing the Aurora comparisons. The sound really isn't that similar...

Ary is more experimental and exotic, the synths and beats are firmly placed high in the mix (perhaps too high at times) and she comes backed by two male backing singers - the first time I've seen them since Hurts years ago (do they still have a solo male backing singer?). Anyway, the result, especially on the incredible "Telescope" is nothing short of exceptional and the crowd in the packed venue respond accordingly as Ary shows herself to be a natural in front of a huge audience, swaying and smiling in equal measures as her tracks show why she's destined to spend much more time in the limelight during 2016.

Dagny. Rockefeller

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If I was unsure how good Dagny was after hearing just one track, now I know for sure, she is set to be an absolute star. Sure the familiarity of "Backbeat" is undoubtedly the set highlight but the material played during her half-hour set stands firm around it and I, for one, am fully appreciative of the tight backing band she employs around her. A traditional four piece set up that adds sheen and gloss to her ready made pop aesthetics.

Track after track is filled with glistening pop melody complete with a clever, infectious style and lyrics and it's apparent to all in the room, even more so after "Backbeat" sends the crowd in rapturous applause that Dagny will soon have room after room singing along to her every word (once further tracks are released of course).

Dolores Haze. Verkstedet

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The undisputed never heard before highlight of Thursday and probably the entire festival are Swedish quartet Dolores Haze. It wasn't until after their set that I turn into their Facebook and see that nine my friends already like them, clearly I'm just late to the party. But what a party it is.

The set is filled with hard hitting drums, grungy riffs, punchy bass-lines and brattish vocals that hiss and delight in equal measure. Sure it's punky attitude that we've all heard before but something sets the quartet apart. The feisty energy and enthusiasm throughout the well rehearsed set is the sort that you can only get soaked up within and soon I'm nodding my head in agreement to each distorted guitar line and squealing vocal yelp.

There's more mellow moments too but the cover of Peaches "Fuck the Pain Away" sums up the set, growling with intensity that is raw and certainly divisive but for those who sign-up it guarantees a fun, frenetic experience. I'm completely sold and plans are made to see them again the next day. 

As you can tell, Thursday at By:Larm was really quite spectacular.