Tuvaband - Everything We Do Is Wrong

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Tuvaband were another of the acts I saw twice ay By:Larm, take a listen to "Unknown" and you'll pretty quickly learn why.

A half British / half Norwegian duo (they played live as a trio) who have to date shared a couple of elegant and spacious tracks that sparkle around a strikingly beautiful vocal and sparse yet absorbing melody. Less is certainly sometimes more. 

Pikekyss - Tåke

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Pikekyss achieved one of those very rare things at By:Larm (for me at least), produced a set I absolutely loved (and went back for a second helping of during the festival) without me having a bloody clue what they were saying! I find out after that these two shows were the bands first with a new vocalist, so consider me further impressed.

It was all there, tight harmonies, controlled and energetic percussion and shimmering guitars, the lead guitarist is perhaps the star but that takes nothing away from the gorgeous vocals, I just cannot understand a word of what they sing. As I leave both Mono and Herr Nilsen where the band play I cannot help but think this Is melodic pop made for the bigger musical audience of the UK, call me a philistine but I really hope the band translate or produce some English language track soon.  Earlier EP called Tåke contains a couple of tracks I remember fondly from the shows and provides a great taster to the band "Hjemlengsel" and "Hjertebank" (complete with plenty of singalong ooh's and aah's). Think all your favourite indie pop moments (just in Noreweign).  

Ponette - I'm Alone

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I only caught 2/3's of Ponette's set at BLÅ because I was rushing over from Mono after seeing Julia Jacklin, I was certainly left wanting more (so if you are free to pop over to the UK any time soon that would be great) after a set that was different than I was expecting after listening to their debut EP I'm Alone earlier that day but at the same time was exhilirating and left me with a massive smile on my face. 

On record Ponette sound pure and gorgeous, take "Relief" and "I'm Alone" as examples, spacious, restrained electro-pop filled with a melancholic and dreamy atmosphere that's perfect for the Nordic winter, icy and somewhat dreamy but filled with more than a hint of darkness. It's this later sound that comes alive during the show, morphing into a thrilling beast where apocalyptic sounding percussion collides with soaring guitars and punchy pop choruses that come somewhere between shoegaze and Paramore. I love it. 

Amazing photo by @magnordstrand.

Strange Hellos – We Are Trouble

Another band discovered at By:Larm (I cannot believe it was a week ago already) is Strange Hellos, a Norwegian super group of sorts (all the artists have other bands they'd call home) whom are gearing up to release an album later this year and arrive to me new and unheard at Sentrum Scene last week, I was more than happy with what I discovered thereafter (so much so that I went to see them again at their second set the next day).

Recent single "Monumental" sums up Stange Hello's sound well, a band that seem to have perfected the knack of writing gorgeous pop songs with more than a penchant for a romantic, wistful melody all wrapped in a wash of fuzz. "We Are Trouble" is even more addictive, filled with beautifully hazy vocals and a lovely, warm nostalgic guitar sound. It's the sort of thing we've all been listening to for years (and will do for years to come). 

Pom Poko - It's A Trap

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Hello there.

I returned from Oslo on Sunday after my second By:Larm festival, the 2017 renewal didn't quite have the familiarity of the 2016 festival for me (indeed, I'd only really heard and seen Julia Jacklin beforehand from the entire festival line-up of some 100+ artists). Over four nights though I discovered a good handful of wonderful artists in-between drinking the expensive beer (ranging between £7.50 and £9.60 a pint!) , the first of which I'm featuring here I saw twice, the wonderfully frenzied freakout that is Pom Poko (and any band that references Studio Ghibli in their title is a winner with me).

The band seemingly have picked up a bit of press prior to the weekend, with Best Fit writing about them a few times and most recently last month but the band seemingly won some festival prize and I'm sure more support is soon to follow. After seeing their live performance I know it will. With a few earlier tracks seemingly removed from the Internet for now it leaves "It's a Trap" as the sole Pom Poko track available, it serves as a fine introduction in itself. An intriguing blend of pop-punk noise, where kaleidoscopic guitar riffs and cascading vocals grab your attention from the get-go and refuse to let go.  

The entire set followed suit, a chaotic mixture of chunky riffs, boundless enthiasm and brilliant tracks. I've included a live video from one of the shows I was at, not taken by me to give you more of an idea... (the curious 80's attire was worn both nights). 

P.S. I want some merch here in the UK.

Molly Burch #3 - Try

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I doubt I'll do a 'tips for 2017' (I've really not been active enough this year to have a real handle on acts that are genuinely exciting me). If I were to do one, I can safely say Molly Burch would have been included, the heavenly "I Adore You" is probably my favourite track of the year (that or "Baby Love" by Petite Meller but that's arguably a 2015 release)...

"Try", the latest track to be taken from her debut full length album Please Be Mine out Feb 17 on Captured Tracks (and available on LP (w/ limited special edition pink here) sums up my attraction perfectly, a sumptous blend of effortless and endearing beauty which pares Molly's swoonsome vocals with rolling drums and playful guitars. 

Our Girl #4 - Being Around

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I'll forgive Our Girl the nearly year long delay since their excellent debut "Sleeper", lead vocalist/guitarist Soph Nathan has her fingers in more pies than most (some newbies may recognise her from The Big Moon).

"Being Around" re-introduces the London/Brighton trio with a typically heady concoction of meaty riffs, precise percussion and Soph's deliciously melodic vocal, it immediately sweeps through your speakers and gives a big warm hug. I love it.

The track is taken from Our Girl's forthcoming 12" Normally and is available for pre-order now via Cannibal Hymns.