What are the best Norwegian bands

Five musicians and bands from Norway that you should know

Aha! When in Norway or remembering the country's recent musical past, should we think of A-ha now and forever?

As a wonderful band the legendary group is, the oil-rich country certainly offers more than Morten Harket, Magne Furuholmen and Paul Waaktaar-Savoy. Handsome and talented men, but there must be more. On the one hand there is Black Metal. Yeah, okay, and the rising suicide rate that supposedly caused the scene. On the other hand, everyone has of course also heard Röyksopp. But more great and famous bands from Norway? Difficult question, right?

Why should we make the task so difficult for ourselves by focusing on the past when a brilliant present can give us that answer? So, off to Norway with us, we introduce you to five top bands and musicians from the country.

Spielbergs

It is not at all easy to be successful as a band, but the Spielbergs are, at least with the critics; however, they have not yet reached the general public. But that will also come to pass.

For this they have the support of the British label, By The Time It Get’s Dark, the small music business found the band in Oslo and put it in the spotlight. In the spring of 2019, the single “Five On It” hit the radio waves in Europe, and suddenly “US College Rock” fans had new heroes. From Norway! The song sounded almost perfect, an irresistible mixture of melody, a rough but melodious voice and a rarely heard rock-plus-pop sensitivity. Had the world already pronounced rock dead? No. He lives!

Gold Celeste

To the north, 500 km from Oslo, is Trondheim, a city of culture and education, thanks to the large student community there. Far from capital cities, creativity flourishes, and Trondheim is no different.

The city is home to beautiful bands like the three-man Gold Celeste, who released their second album in 2019 with “The Gentle Maverick”. An English-language title, songs sung in English, and, as with the Spielbergs, one can observe a certain American tone here too. Does Norway have a problem with the native language? Music is considered escapism and the world Gold Celeste created is a world San Fransiscan-hippy-psych-lovers would most like to live in, whatever the official language.

Panda panda

Trondheim has something special, that much is clear and another special band from the city is Panda Panda. Panda Panda is so cool that she can't do without the doubling, right?

The first example of the talent of the five musicians appeared in 2016 with the single “New Friends”. There hasn't been an album since autumn 2018 and there is peace over all peaks. What actually happened to Panda Panda? Did panda panda break in the meantime? So we have to admit that Nordic showed up very late for the party, but did you really miss the boat? Hopefully the band is working on new music up there in Trondheim and we'll hear more from them soon. But if not, you know where the recall started to get Panda Panda back on the scene. Here with us.

Simen Mitlid

Being a solo artist is freedom. Own ideas and no obstacles between what can be found in the head and what will eventually be recorded in the studio. Nevertheless, there is often this feeling of loneliness and vulnerability with any single musician, which fits well with the image of Simen Mitlid from Oslo.

Officially referred to as a folk musician, thanks to the music media and their algorithms, Mitlid is actually difficult to classify. In 2019 he released his third album, which is called “Neutral” and on it you can hear the acoustic guitar and soft drums, but also electronic tones, piano and polyphony, in addition to the gentle voice of Mitlids himself.

“Tell Me Everything”, a title that was released in mid-2019, offers good access to the dream world of the musician who lives on a planet similar to that of Sufjan Stevens or The Shins.

Strange hellos

The three-piece band, Strange Hellos, lives in Bergen, far north of Europe. They had the stage appearances e.g. in Stockholm, but just like Panda Panda, the band has not officially released anything since 2016. Disappointing.

Still, as I said, she's alive! Cheers! “Broken Teenage Heart” was loud, melodic and lyrically coherent, like the golden era of sub pop, grunge and college rock. If The Bangles and Nirvana had started a family, Strange Hellos would have been the result.

The bass intro, slow, followed by the frenzy of the fuzz guitar which is the most important element. The feminine, confidence-inspiring voice presented an undoubted power. With sensitivity. Who could resist this?

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Rob Allen

About the author
Rob Allen is a freelance journalist and PR expert, specializing in art and music, from the north of England. He writes for The Guardian, News of the World and Manchester Evening News, among others. Now he also writes in German for NORDISCH.info. - Find it on Twitter at @northernrob.