Días Nórdicos 2016
Since 2010, the Días Nórdicos festival is devoted to showcase Nordic culture in Spain and several cities of South America. From design and fashion to literature, the festival covers multiple arts and disciples. Music is at the forefront with an initial concert held in Madrid and Barcelona. Días Nórdicos brings a line-up formed by some of the most interesting indie bands from the Nordic scene. In previous years, Hisser, The New Tigers, Black Twig took the trip to Spain and this time The Hearing will represent Finland at Días Nórdicos. I’ll tag along and see if the Nordic music can cool the current heat wave in Spain.
When not acting as Cute Pink in garage rock band Pintandwefall or being involved in a few other side projects, Ringa Manner plays intense electro-pop under the moniker The Hearing. Ringa’s vocals and harmonies float over some dreamy sound palette that paints poignant and eerie soundcapes. The Hearing’s second album, Adrian, hit the store in spring. Below you can see the hypnotic video for the single Backwards.
Next year, Días Nórdicos will expand and travel to the Nordics to present artists from Spain and South American and establish a unique cultural exchange. Stay tuned.
Días Nórdicos 2016
- 9 September, Sala Joy Eslava, Madrid
- 10 September, Sala Apolo, Barcelona
The Hearing (Finland)
Nils Bech (Norway)
Hey Elbow (Sweden)
Nelson Can (Denmark)
The Fërtility Cült – The Path Is Clear
Enter into the cosmic world of The Fërtility Cült. This five-piece band from Tampere is dropping some slow-burning tunes of dark textures and prog-rock twists. The Path Is Clear is the first single off the band’s upcoming album entitled A Forest of Kings. Except for this single, which is merely seven minutes long, the rest of the songs are stretched to the 10-minute mark and transit through many different dark places. Sax and keyboards give a retro sound, and while guitar and bass could be heavier and dirtier, they form a good combo.
A Forest of Kings will be available on 9 September via your favourite digital outlet and record stores.
The Holy – Ramses The Evil Brother
A couple of weeks ago, Kuudes Linja hosted a very interesting double bill with two of the most acclaimed new indie bands in Finland: Lake Jons and The Holy. Until that night, I hadn’t been able to see them play live, so this was the perfect occasion to catch up.
I’ve written about Lake Jons before and despite the drum machine, their show was solid. However, I was not prepared for The Holy’s performance and their bombastic sound. Fueled by two drummers, the six-piece band builds a chaotic wall of sound that somehow avoids beings a total train wreck. The band’s music is hard to describe. Equal parts light and darkness, the songs have a tremendous anthemic quality. When attending to gigs in bars or small clubs in Finland, it’s not usual to see a young indie band play with such confident. Even when the songs are good, many bands are timid and self-effacing on stage. The Holy are just the opposite: bold and and daring. The stage at Kuudes Linja felt too small and their big sound easily quiet the usual bar chatter. I’d be surprised if I don’t see The Holy on bigger stages in Finland and abroad very soon.
The Holy have just released their debut EP entitled More Escher and Random Notes. The recording is much more subtle than the live performance and you immerse yourself in the peculiar soundscapes and textures, whilst feeling the band’s energy.
Flow 2016: Eight Finnish acts to see
If memory serves me right, this will be seventh Flow Festival and that means many hours spent at Suvilahti listening to music. This year I find painful clashes in the schedule as many interesting gigs seem to be happening in the late hours of the festival. In any case, here are my picks among the local artists in the program.
Fri 12.8 21:45 – Lapin Kulta Red Arena
This year singer-songwriter Mikko Joensuu embarked in an ambitious musical project with the release of poignant album trilogy entitled Amen. The second part will arrive in November, but before that at Flow, the singer will perform a very unique show, which includes a 15-piece orchestra and visuals specially designed for this occasion.
Fri 12.8 20:30 – The Other Sound
Since the late 90s, brothers Juha and Vesa Vehviläinen have combined electronic music and visual arts in intense live performances and groundbreaking video art. After taking part this summer in Daydreaming With Stanley Kubrick, an exhibition in London dedicated to the master filmmaker, the live gig at Flow will be another hypnotic sensorial experience.
Sat 13.8 17:00 – Zalando Factory
This is one of my new favourite Finnish bands. This trio plays well-crafted folk from the deepest of the forest. To shake things up, the band adds some rough guitar jams.
Sat 13.8 18:00 – Black Tent
Juuso Ruohonen is meant to be one of the rising stars in Finnish rap music after the release of his debut EP Avalon. He uses English language and the music has a captivating dark tonality that sets him apart from your regular Finnish rap.
Sat 13.8 19:45 – Black Tent
Liima is the union of Finnish percussionist Tatu Rönkkö and Danish band Efterklang. Their debut album ii features songs written in Finland, Berlin, Istanbul and Madeira, and those places inspired surprising soundscapes and textures in a playful combination of electronica and organic sounds.
Sat 13.8. 21:00 – Art Laboratory
A modern take to traditional Finnish folk music. With their three beautiful voices, kantele, bowed lyre and other ancient folk instruments, this six-person band creates far reaching world music with deep roots in Finnish tradition.
Sat 13.8 22:30 – The Other Sound
Better known as the singer of hardcore pionners Terveet Kädet, Läjä Äijälä plays lo-fi, stripped-down blues with The SultanS. Like the work of a long-lost bluesman, the music is elusive, mysterious and hard to find online, so go and see the gig.
Sun 14.8 19:00 – Resident Advisor Backyard
Finnish electro-pop duo Villa Nah, consisting of Juho Paalosmaa and Tomi Hyyppä, is back with new material after a five-year hiatus. To follow-up their critically-acclaimed debut, Villa Nah will release their second album, Ultima, in September and present a new batch of synth-driven pop songs.
Nicole Willis & Jimi Tenor & Tony Allen
Sun 14.8 23:00 – Bright Balloon 360° Stage
Ok, this is not exactly a Finnish act as it includes US-born soulstress Nicole Willis and Fela Kuti alumni and afrobeat master Tony Allen. However, Willis has been based in Finland for a very long time along with her husband and jazz master Jimi Tenor, so she’s partly Finnish, right? Anyhow, the couple will join Tony Allen to blend funk, jazz and soul in a unique collaboration. This will be their first live performance together.
The Shafts – Wallflowers
Helsinki’s The Shafts have been producing their particular brand of DIY pop for quite some time and this summer have just released a new full-length called Wallflowers. As their previous efforts, this is a collection of easy-going songs with sweet melodies and clean chimey guitar tones.
The album opens with the excellent Jangle Time, a little pop nugget greatly inspired by sixties pop. Byrds style. As a matter of fact, there’s plenty of classic pop in Wallflowers, with many songs based on a playful sound palette and showcasing a wry sense of humour. Kinks style.
Listen to the whole album below. It’s worth your time.