02.27.13 — “Show” by Stina Stjern

Stina Stjern

If you only listen to one song tonight, make it “Show” by Stina Stjern (2011, from the album Days Like Waves).

I’ve been AWOL for a couple of days because I’ve been a bit under the weather. From Monday afternoon until now, all I’ve done is sleep and watch a little bit Netflix. I haven’t even had the energy to listen to music, let alone write about it. I think I’m coming out of the woods, but you never know with these things.

Before my break, I was on a bit of a jag with Norwegian indie rock, and I’m going to pick up right where I left off.

Stina Stjern is an indie rock band based in Copenhagen, Denmark and centered around Norwegian frontwoman Stina Moltu Marklund. Stjern is her grandmother’s maiden name.

In the late 1990s, she fronted a rock band called Quintrophenia, which some described as “Jethro Tull in modern wrappings”. Later, she enrolled at the Norwegian University of Science and Technology (NTNU) in Trondheim, where she earned a degree in Jazz. Although she was there to study jazz, she wanted to play rock, and she started a “hard” rock all-girl band called Supervixen. I’ve only heard snippets of their songs, and if forced to make a comparison, I’d say that they’re not completely unlike Sleater-Kinney.

She moved to Copenhagen, where she didn’t have any music network at all, but it helped her get some songs written. Still later, she moved to New York. Finally, she ended up back in Copenhagen, which is where her band is based.

She released one album with Quintrophenia and one with Supervixen, so Days Like Waves isn’t her first rodeo, but it is the first album as Stina Stjern.

She says that she’s influenced by Mazzy Star, and by the Velvets, and by Yo La Tengo. I can understand that, but I’d make comparisons to Azure Ray. Tonight’s song also reminds me a bit of Lois.

“Show” by Stina Stjern

The way the acoustic/electric guitar teams together with the rumble of the snare-and-bass drum… That’s what I’m talking about. What’s more, the lyrics are even Lois-esque:

Show me your headlights and I’ll show you mine
Holler your ambitions and I’ll holler mine

Seductive friend within your grasp
I’m a seductive friend
I’m cool and I’m shy, but I can stand out

I don’t think there’s ever been a more Lois Maffeo lyric than “Show me your headlights and I’ll show you mine”, but Stina Stjern pulled it off here. On most of the songs from the album, she sings higher, but on this one, she sings low. The way that Lois used to sing. Oh. And it clocks in at just under two minutes. Like a lot of Lois songs. I’d be really surprised if this is all a coincidence. And please keep in mind that I absolutely adore Lois Maffeo.

One of the things that I like the most about this sub-two-minute song is the buzz that builds in the last 40 seconds. Layers upon layers of sound, and a little bit of feedback. It actually gets quite noisy for a song that’s essentially built around an acoustic/electric and a minimal drum kit.

You can buy Days Like Waves as a digital download from amazon. Also, order a physical copy from Tiger Records (Norway) here.

About dlee

North Carolina born and bred. I'm a restaurant guy who spends free time listening to music, watching hockey and playing Scrabble. I have a bachelor's degree in political science and I will most likely never put it to use. View all posts by dlee

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