Today’s song is from a band that I’d never heard of until I got their email. Even before I pressed “play”, I knew that I was going to love their record. I know it’s not fair to judge a book by its cover, but I took one look at the band photo, and I was already convinced that I was going to love their song. I read their bio, and I was even more convinced. Once I pressed “play”, I knew that my prejudgment was totally justified. I really like this song.
If you only listen to one song today, make it “We Are” by Snøskred (2012, from the single “We Are”). Snøskred is an indie rock quintet from Oslo and Trondheim, Norway. One blurb of their bio pretty much says it all:
. 5 singers. Equal parts dreampop, shoegaze and improvised noise. An engaging, eclectic and exuberant musical undertow.
I think that “undertow” is a brilliant word to describe the sonic experience.
The band met in 2010 and they formed under the name “The Avalanche”. Two years later, they changed their name to Snøskred, which is the Norwegian translation of “Avalanche”. Possibly, the name change had to do with needing to eliminate confusion between them and a Norwegian dance band from the 1980s called “Avalanche”. Possibly, it was to avoid confusion with the Australian electronic band The Avalanches. Possibly, it was just to assert themselves as a Norwegian band.
Whatever the case, they just released their first single this month, and I like it a lot. They’ve got an album scheduled for release on October 26. If the A side is any indication of how the album is going to be, I think it might be one of my favorites of the year.
Anyway, here’s today’s song:
I love those cascading drums, really heavy on the mount toms. There’s a tiny bit of a Transmissions From the Satellite Heart-era Flaming Lips style guitar sound. There’s a lot more of a 1992 Boston indie rock scene sound. It’s like a cocktail of three parts Dinosaur Jr, and two parts Throwing Muses (before Tanya left). The chorus reminds me a bit of another Boston-area band of that very specific time. Drop Nineteens. I’m especially reminded of that awe-inspiring cover that Drop Nineteens did of the Madonna song “Angel”. And the more I think about it, the more the drumming reminds me of David Narcizo (Throwing Muses).
I don’t need to elaborate about the co-ed vocal harmonies. I’m always on about how much I love that stuff, and Snøskred does it with five singers. And the deafening wall of sound? Yes! Thank you very much. I can’t even imagine how much fun it is to see this song performed live.
This mailbag submission led me to Sad Songs For Happy People Records, which is a tight little division of Riot Factory Records. There’s some really amazing stuff on Riot Factory, which is already a tiny label even before subdividing it into imprints. All of it is Norwegian, and all of it is new to me. Sad Songs For Happy People is a little division of the label. It’s just for Snøskred and two other bands that they frequently collaborate with. While wandering around on the Riot Factory site, and especially on the Sad Songs for Happy People site, I found a bunch of stuff that will be featured on here very soon.
If you know me in real life, you know that I was recently on a big Norwegian film kick. I watched four in one week. First, there was Buddy. Then, Max Manus: Man of War. Then, The Bothersome Man. Finally, Hawaii, Oslo. And now I’m on a Norwegian indie rock kick. There’s plenty more where this one came from.
While the “We Are” single is a staggering work of noise-pop genius, the b-side — “Huhti”– sounds like an improvised jam session. It sounds like something that they’d play during sound check. I don’t dislike it, but it’s not on the same plane as “We Are”.
“We Are” is required listening. Outside of Norway, you should buy the “We Are” single on iTunes or Spotify.
For extra credit, check out the video:
Look for their debut album in October.