Finding a sound somewhere between a sixties surf band, easy listening library music, Saint Etienne’s quirky instrumentals and Air, Norway’s Orions Belte make neo-psych pop and downtempo sounds that totally mess with the fabric of time. Their debut album ‘Mint’ plunges the listener into downbeat moods that seem to constantly waver back and forth between sixties kitsch and mellow alt-pop from the 90s mellow pop. Occasionally, it’s as if things are deliberately presented at the wrong tempo, but the results are always finely crafted.
Combining elements of post-rock with a little shoegaze and a world of neo-pychedelia, Oslo’s Mayflower Madame may seem retro, but with fellow Norwegians Spielbergs mining similarly swirling and dense sounds, their sound is also hugely contemporary.
In May 2018, they unveiled their ‘Premonition’ EP and as part of the ongoing promotion for that release, they’ve now shared a new video for ‘Before I Fall’, which you can now watch in full below.
One of the best things to come out of 2018, Spielbergs are the best band from the 90s you’ve never heard. Their debut EP ‘Distant Star’ is also the first release on a small UK indie label, By The Time It Gets Dark, and between them, they have a potential classic on their hands. This EP is a real adrenalin hit for anyone who loved shoegaze and goth sounds in the 90s; a sharp reminder – if needed – that they do make them like they used to. It’s the kind of release that could make similar bands raise their eyebrows, give a collective shrug and throw in the towel. This might sound like mere hype, but frankly, ‘Distant Star’ really is that good.
Issa Oversveen made her first notable appearance on the melodic rock scene back in 2010. Her debut release ‘Sign of Angels’ quickly got attention from the AOR die-hards, with some proclaiming the album “a female fronted Journey”. An odd claim, since the songs neither had a particularly 80s shine and it had a distinctly European flair. That of course seemed only fitting with Issa hailing from Norway and her hired help all being European; it was a little better than most of the second division melodic rock being released at the time, but was still quite workmanlike. A follow up, ‘The Storm’ appeared surprisingly quickly in 2011 which, on the surface, promised more of the same but upon closer inspection boasted a better production and bigger and better songs. It may have accentuated the Euro slant a little more, but the results were enjoyable.
Keen to promote Issa as the new queen of a purer AOR sound, Frontiers Records pulled a master stroke in 2012 when ‘Can’t Stop’ presented the vocalist with a selection of melodic rock covers from the 80s and 90s. Obviously the big hitters like Journey and Survivor weren’t accounted for, but the choice of second division material made the album all the more interesting. For melodic rock buffs, it was fun to hear cult material originally recorded by the likes of Aviator, Tower City and Mystic Healer re-interpreted by new hands. It also was a welcome reminder of a golden period when now defunct labels like MTM Music were cranking out interesting albums on a monthly basis. Following a three year hiatus, 2015’s ‘Crossfire’ was well received by the faithful but, predictably, didn’t make any kind of impact beyond the melodic rock fraternity. As melodic rock albums go, it was a reasonable listen – the upbeat style of ‘Long Time Coming’ harked back to 1990 and was very much a highlight – but after the covers album, it never felt like it deserved as much stereo time.
Norwegian progressive rock band Gazpacho are back! It’s been a long time since the release of their dark opus ‘Molok’, but the past three years have been spent creating new music and touring.
The first fruits of that new music can now be heard with ‘Exit Suite’ and its accompanying video, which you can stream in full below.