New music video from Norwegian-Brooklyn duo, The Familiar

Musical collaborations like that of The Familiar’s are becoming more and more common with what technology, email and smart phones allow us to do. Ruth Mirsky is based out of Brooklyn and Mads Martinsen is in Tromsø, Norway, deep into the Arctic Circle. Ruth and Mads met at a Christmas party some time ago where Ruth shared her music with Mads and the rest is history. Neither felt daunted by the whopping 4000 miles between them and what came of their collaboration was something beautiful. Just shy of two years ago, I interviewed them about their collaboration (you can read it here) and a couple weeks ago they released their newest music video for the track, “Stuck Together.”

“Stuck Together” is a cinematic beauty in both a sonic and visual sense. It glides through that electro-pop sound that The Familiar has claimed as their own, the video following the love between a young boy and girl from start to finish. The video jumps around in the timeline of the couple’s lives together, just like our minds fly through memories and try to predict the future. The track together with the video creates something that is both sweet and tender but also painful, in a way. Check it out:



Follow The Familiar on Facebook and Bandcamp.

Norwegian female trio, I See Rivers, releases latest single: “DA RAM”

Th gals, Eline Brun, Gøril Nilsen, and Lill Scheie, call their newfound genre, ‘float pop.’ You’ll understand it when you hear it. Genre appropriately named, their newes single, “DA RAM”, is loaded with fantastic harmonies and glittering instrumentals that most certainly give their music a ‘floating’ sound. The video is a piece of eye candy, similary equipped with glitter, bounce, and an overwhelming sense of peace at it’s end. Check it out:



I See Rivers is releasing their first EP, Standing Barefoot, next month (April), keep your ears peeled and in the mean time follow them on Facebook, Soundcloud, Twitter and Instagram.


Interview: Intercontinental duo, The Familiar”

The Familiar is a duo composed of Ruth Mirsky and Mads Martinsen. The two of the collaborate from across the world, on separate continents. Ruth writes, records and lives in Brooklyn while almost 4,000 miles away, Mads does the same thing. The two came together by chance and have created a stunning shade of dark electro-pop. I was given the opportunity to ask them some questions about how they met, how they manage writing music from so far away and much more. Read on!



MFL: What was that first conversation like when the two of you met in Tromsø and what events followed that lead to your collaboration?

Ruth: Our first conversation was immediately about music. We were all at a Christmas “nachspiel” or afterparty in Tromsø and I played a track for Mads and — it was the age of remixes, so he asked if he could do a remix, which was just magical. Once I returned to NYC, we started working on new original music together, sending tracks back and forth — that’s how The Familiar was born.

 MFL: What kind of musical projects have you had experience with in the past and how is The Familiar different?

Ruth: I’ve been in indie rock bands and electronic rock bands. The Familiar is the only band I have ever been in where we don’t ever work together in the same room and do absolutely everything ourselves start to finish, which is incredibly liberating.

Mads: Electronic stuff. I went through my French house phase, and made that kind of music for a while. It never went in the direction I really wanted to, so it was nice to go there with The Familiar.

MFL: How have your common Norwegian backgrounds shaped the sound and content of The Familiar?

Ruth: I’m not sure there is a straightforward answer to that. We are such different people who come from such starkly different places, but our artistic aesthetic is perfectly aligned. Personally, I feel very connected to my Norwegian roots and am endlessly inspired when I visit by the landscape and culture, and in particular northern Norway where Mads and my family live. It is a dreamland that I’m constantly trying to return to.

Mads: In some ways it probably has. Where we come from and where we’ve been as people always reflect artistic output to some degree.

MFL: What is the purpose of your music? Is it to send a message, for listeners’ personal enjoyment, the enjoyment of creation?

It is the enjoyment of creation and of sharing that journey with each other, never knowing exactly what the other one will send back or how that will inspire the next piece of the puzzle. When other people enjoy it, that’s pretty wonderful too. 

MFL: What is the reason behind collaborating with such great distance between? Is it necessity or otherwise?

It was just the necessity of our circumstances.

MFL: Do either of you have musical projects besides The Familiar?

Ruth: I lead another band based in Brooklyn called Syvia that plays dark indie electronic rock and work on other side projects with friends whenever I can. It keeps my ears fresh to have different projects going on.

Mads: I have a couple that are in progress, in a few different genres. I’m also working on the never-ending first solo project. Some day…

MFL: What does your life look like outside of music?

Ruth: I just became a mother, which is a whole new world full of joys and challenges, especially when it comes to creating music since I do most of it at home. I have had to become a lot more creative and patient with the music making process, but in turn, it has also made the writing process and the songs that emerge from it that much more precious.

Mads: Is there a life outside of music? Most days are spent locked away in the studio, so I can’t say I have much of a life outside music.

MFL: What kind of life or world events have inspired the writing/musical creative process for The Familiar?

We have a lot of respect for each other’s lives and obligations – and never pressure the other one to create, which is a real gift. In practical terms, it means that our writing process can sometimes be very fast and other times be very drawn out, but we let the music happen very organically, and are happy with the results so far.

MFL: How much of the musical process behind The Familiar happens in separate countries? Explain how you make The Familiar happen from different geographical locations.

Everything is done separately. We begin by recording in our respective rooms and sending pieces back and forth over the internet. We have never stepped into a professional studio together. It’s entirely DIY and that gives us a great deal of independence to do it in our own time and in our own way until it sounds just right to the both of us.
MFL: What does the next year hold for The Familiar?

Even though we just released our sophomore EP Seconds, we are already at work on our next one as we try to continue to explore new sonic territory. And live shows are always on our horizon!


Big thanks to Theresa Montgomery of 24West for arranging this interview. You can find The Familiar’s most recent EP on iTunes and Bandcamp now.

New single from As He Said: “Get Me Drunk”

As He Said is a Norwegian 4-piece based out of Trondheim who last year gave us the upbeat jazz-pop track, “Parasite” (MFL review here). A couple months ago the band released another single titled, “Get Me Drunk”, a hazy and beautiful track with jazz influences, stunning vocals and a shimmering melody.

Excitingly, the band is heading into Øra Studio this June to begin the recording of their first EP! Stay tuned for more from As He Said.

New single and album announcement from Jenny Hval: “Female Vampire”

Norwegian sound-maker, Jenny Hval, is not one to leave her listener’s bored or thoughtless. Her creations are deep, complex and layered and within these layers, lies Hval herself. As a musician she puts so much of herself into her music, not caring what others may think, irregardless of what judgement may pass over what intimate part of herself she shares. This is what makes her outlandish interpretation of music so beautiful.

Hval has just announced the release of a new record that’s due to come out on September 30th via Sacred Bones. The record, titled Blood Bitch, is shaping up to be a masterpiece wildly different than her previous releases. According to Hval, Blood Bitch is a reflection of both truth and fiction in her life and is her most personal record to date. Hval had this to say about Blood Bitch:

“Blood Bitch is an investigation of blood. Blood that is shed naturally. The purest and most powerful, yet most trivial, and most terrifying blood: Menstruation. The white and red toilet roll chain which ties together the virgins, the whores, the mothers, the witches, the dreamers, and the lovers….It’s an album of vampires, lunar cycles, sticky choruses, and the smell of warm leaves and winter.”

As a taste of what Hval will be dishing out on her upcoming release, she has given us the single, “Female Vampire”, a smooth and haunting electronic track:


You can pre-order Blood Bitch via Bandcamp and catch Hval touring this summer and fall:

Fri. June 3 – Duedingen, CH @ Kilbi Festival
Sat. June 4 – Barcelona, ES @ Primavera Sound Fest
Sat. July 16 – Chicago, IL @ Pitchfork Festival
Fri. Aug. 5 – Katowice, PL @ Off Festival
Sun. Sep. 1-4 – Larmer Tree Gardens, UK @ End of the Road
Wed. Sep. 14 – Oslo, NO @ Ultima Festival
Fri. Sep. 30 – New York, NY @ Le Poisson Rouge
Mon. Oct. 17 – Glasgow, UK @ Stereo
Tue. Oct. 18 – Manchester, UK @ Soup Kitchen
Wed. Oct. 19 – London, UK @ Oslo
Fri. Oct. 21 – Brussels, BE @ AB
Sat. Oct. 22 – Paris, FR @ Point Ephemere
Mon. Oct. 24 – Luzern, CH @ Suedpol
Wed. Oct. 26 – Berlin, DE @ Kantine am Berghain
Thu. Oct. 27 – Amsterdam, NL @ De School
Fri. Oct. 28 – Hamburg, DE @ Kampnagel
Sat. Oct. 29 – Copenhagen, DK @ Jazzhouse
Fri. Nov. 11 – Los Angeles, CA @ Resident

New single from Norwegian pop artist, St. Niklas: “C-O-O-L”

With a debut EP already out and a silky smooth new single, St. Niklas is paving the way for a luscious musical career. Origo, St. Niklas’ debut EP, was released in 2015 and he’s already gaining momentum with the release of his newest track, “C-O-O-L”, which is off of his upcoming EP, “C-O-O-L EP.”

His latest single is undeniably suave, fully equipped with saxophone, alluring vocals and a subtle 80’s touch. Check it out:

New carefree single from Norwegian charmers, Catching Cooper: “Firefly”

Good luck resisting these guys and anything that comes out of their musical treasure chest. I can’t quite put my finger on what makes Catching Cooper so irresistible. Is it their shiny smiles? Endearing attitudes? Catchy songs? I think it’s all of the above! Regardless, they’ve recently released an undeniably upbeat and carefree track called “Firefly.” It’s a song about having someone in your life that serves as a guiding light through dark times.




New track from Norwegian 4-piece, As he said: “Parasite”

Fresh off a tour of Northern Norway, the Norwegian organic pop group based out of Trondheim, As he said, released their newest single titled, “Parasite.” The track takes you on a musical trek through a world where jazz, pop, tight drum lines and faraway vocals converge.

According to the band, all four musicians:

Synnøve Gustavsen Ovrid

Torbjørn Kobberstad

Bendik Romundstad and

Sigurd Underhaug Nermoen

all have diverse musical backgrounds, explaining the convergence of so many styles in their music. Stay tuned for more from As he said

New single from Norwegian POP group, Catching Cooper

Sugary sweet straight up POP. Catching Cooper is a Norwegian pop/rock group based out of Trondheim, Norway composed of Kristian Dahl Bergsland, Jo Tran, Robin Araya and Sigurd Nermoen. This group recently released the single, “Radio” and just got back from a three week tour around Norway in celebration of the single. A an explosive and catchy chorus gives these easy-on-the-ears track, the pop-rock touch. Check out the music video below:

For more about Catching Cooper, check out their Facebook page and Soundcloud!

Out today: Norway’s Jenny Hval releases her newest full length.

I’ll start with this:

Apocalypse, girl, Hval’s latest work, is out today,June 9th, on Sacred Bones. Pensive, unpredictable, unsettling, real. Apocalypse, girl leads you places you may never take yourself both sonically and thoughtfully. “Heaven” is my favorite track off the record:

This is her fifth album and the idea sparked from an interview she had with Lass Marhaug which lead to him producing this very record. An incredible team of musicians convened for Apocalypse, girl, including Håvard Volden,  Kyrre Laastad, Okkyung Lee, Øystein Moen (Jaga Jazzist/Puma), Rhodri Davis and Thor Harris (Swans).

Sharp harmonies, spoken word and sounds only she could come up with are scattered throughout this work. My favorite aspect of this record is that right when I think I have it figured out, I don’t. She’s constantly surprising me. For my last and final example, “Holy Land” the closing track of the record. It’s a 10 minute piece. Listen without expectations because they will fail you:


Photos credit: Jenny Berger Myhre, courtesy of Pitch Perfect PR