by:Larm 2015: Awards Edition | Under the Radar Magazine Under the Radar | Music Blog for the Indie Music Magazine
Thursday, May 30th, 2024  


AURORA, Redder, AV AV AV, Samaris, Sea Change, Nordic Music Prize 2015, Sylvan Esso, Tellef Raabe, Karin Park, by:larm 2015 Day Two, by:Larm 2015 Day Three, by:Larm 2015 Day One, by:Larm 2015 Day Four, By:Larm 2015, Vök

by:Larm 2015: Awards Edition, March 7th, 2015

Mar 10, 2015 Photography by Laura Studarus
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Oh by:Larm. Four whirlwind days of bands, friends, and life lived out loud in the vibrant Oslo streets. While it’s impossible to catalogue every noteworthy event over an action-packed four days, from strange food, to angelic pop, to award ceremony upsets, here are a few of our favorite festival highlights.

Telling it Like it is Award: Sylvan Esso

For the first time in the festival’s seventeen-year history, non-Nordic musicians were invited to perform at the event. Among those was Sylvan Esso, whose sprightly sets proved the potential behind the singer/producer live setup. In addition to playing songs from their self-titled debut, frontwoman Amelia Meath also used her time on stage to ask the question burning in every non-Norwegian’s mind. Namely, “Is everyone here hot?” It’s a question we happily cosign.

The ‘Whaaat?’ Award: The Nordic Music Prize

The centerpiece of events at by:Larm was the awarding of the Nordic Music Prize. Last year the big winner was The Knife. The year before First Aid Kit took the honors. Going into the ceremony informal bets were placed on Lykke Li taking home the trophy, or perhaps Todd Terje, who wasn’t nominated for a Norwegian Grammy. Instead the honor went to Finnish folk singer Mirel Wagner for her album When the Cellar Children See the Light of Day. Jaws dropped and Finland celebrated their first ever win.

Export This Badass Award: Karin Park

Seriously why hasn’t Karin Park received more attention stateside? An aggressive singer/songwriter with an electro pop lean, the Swedish musician preformed the hell out of her opening night set at the main stage. (It’s not accident her new album is called Apocalypse Pop—she’s got the kind of voice that could shake civilizations.) So powerful is her onstage persona, that when Park strapped on a keytar it instantly became cool. No small feat.

Most Likely to Join Smiths’ Family: Tellef Raabe

Okay, so maybe his single “Of Smith’s Friends” might be a tongue-in-check jab at over-zealous fans of the English band. But from Raabe’s silky alto croon to his stage antics (There was microphone chord whipping—lots of it.) it wasn’t hard to imagine that there was something in the Bergen-based singer/songwriter’s set that Moz himself would approve of.

The Cool Kids Award: OFF-Larm

Much like SXSW, a series of unofficial events spring up around by:Larm. And like SXSW, they can be the source of some unexpected gems. (And free beer!) Tomorrow We move to Hawaii’s aggressive electro rap wasn’t on the by:Larm menu, nor was Sea Change’s stunning pop—but I wouldn’t have missed them for the world.

The People’s Choice Award: AURORA

The easy fan favorite was AURORA, who managed to pack out the 2000 person capacity Sentrum Scene. Earlier that day, even Katy Perry had tweeted her love for the eighteen-year-old singer, saying that AURORA’s music made her heart “flutter.” It was hard to deny the fairytale quality of the young artist’s voice and writing. From start to finish, her set was a magical act of escapism rarely seen at a music festival.

Icelandic Tourism Board MVP: Samaris

Samaris had the difficult job of going on after AURORA, who brought the house down. Rather than compete with her pop powerhouse, the band offered a different, more mysterious vibe, added by a clarinet player, and copious amounts of theatrical smoke. Sure, the performance was every adjective that non-Icelanders associate with the country (beautiful, mysterious, glacial). But delivered with grace and power, the trio’s set surely left more than a few fans ready to book a visit to see for themselves.

The Good For What Ails You Award: Brown Cheese

On the non-musical side of the Nordic experience was the brown cheese—also known as “brunost.” From the hotel breakfast spread to our mid-day waffles, the caramelized goat-cheese topping was everywhere. Perfect for hangovers, jet-lag, and festival-lag alike. Remember kids: you CAN replace sleep with food. (But that doesn’t mean you should.)

Most Likely to Curate Our Playlists: Nordic Playlist

As part of the slate of daytime events, Nordic Playlist hosted a string of radio sessions featuring some of by:Larm’s most dynamic (mainly pop) bands. I stopped by to see Redder, AV AV AV, and Vök. You might think that seeing a band in the middle of the day in a bar/restaurant may lack some of the sex appeal of evening shows. But I’m here to tell you that nothing—NOTHING—beats crystal clear radio-ready sound.









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