Josefin Winther, Norway’s finest

Josefin Winther – Rattlesnake, Islington 6th August 2013

There’s a receptive crowd at the Rattlesnake in Islington, a small venue generally home to folky and other acoustic acts.

Josefin Winther is a Norwegian musician now resident in Brixton – good choice btw, South London, as the football song goes, is indeed wonderful. Josefin Winther has released a couple of albums

Classically trained, on the cello no less, she began writing her own songs in her early teens.

She has released two albums – 2008’s “Be Proud Or Stay Out Of It” is a straight band album while on the more recent  “Raising Armies” she mixes in some quieter stuff with the rawk, to the immense benefit of the excellent lyrics.

She’s been performing around clubs in London as a solo artist, but tonight she has the full band over from Norway.

She switches the mood seamlessly between rock numbers and slow solo number, helped by her between-songs patter which is both engaging and genuinely funny.

Standout track for me is “These Good Times Are Killing Me” which incorporates wordgames that Laura Marling would be proud of with an excellent Dave Gilmour-inspired guitar solo from guitarist / musical arranger Kristian Fanavoll Tvedt.

Comparisons to PJ Harvey and Patti Smith have been made but Josefin reckons she had never heard either artist until people told her that’s who she sounded like, and I can believe this.

There’s a lot more music in the backing than Patti ever manages. And the instrumentation and arrangements are more straight-ahead classic rock than Peej,

Like most singer-songwriters, there’s clearly a huge personal slant to the lyrics, and that’s where she really scores big – echoes of Springsteen, at least to these ears. (“I ain’t crying cos baby, I don’t cry”)

Here’s one of the solo numbers, “Change Of Heart”

And a newer song, with the fantastic title of “The Shit You Pulled Before”. I wouldn’t worry about the cussword limiting airplay too much, Josefin – we live in an era where Fuck Buttons can get on the radio. It’s all good.


Josefin Winther’s a special talent. Check her out.


Gig Guide w/e 11th August 2013

“Describing a path of great live music through the aftermath of the short but marvellous London summer”

Thomas Dybdahl – St Pancras Old Church, Monday

Norwegian singer-songwriter who has drawn favourable comparisons to Tim Buckley.

Swim Deep – Rough Trade East instore, Tuesday

Plenty of buzz around this band who peddle a nice line in feelgood sixties-tinged indie.

If you order the superbly-titled new album “Where The Heaven Are We?”LP quick from Rough Trade you’ll get a free wristband for this instore which is sure to be packed, given that it’s the school holidays.

I love this band. They’re also doing Banquet Records in Kingston on Thursday.

Polyphonic Spree – Village Underground, Tuesday

Yes, It’s True! The band of a million members (maybe a few less than that) return to tour their new album. (you see what I did there?) If you can’t make it to the gig then you can watch the live stream here

An interesting move, which is becoming more common with bands at all levels of fame and experience.

Could be the way forward?

Josefin Winther – Rattlesnake Angel, Tuesday

Norwegian songwriter based in London. Haunting melodies with that Elsewhere quality, drawing comparisons to Patti Smith and PJ Harvey

Also playing an acoustic set at the Half Moon, Putney on Monday for the bargain price of £2.50. Car trouble is the only thing preventing me from attending that as as well. Damn you, Ford Focus. Damn you.

Tako Lako – Windmill, Thursday

Hailing from Denmark and Serbia, this seven-piece sound a bit like Gogol Bordello or Katzenjammer, but a bit less frenetic and perhaps more musical.

Stoneface Travellers – Boogaloo, Thursday

Classic Rock-styled three piece – and I’m talking about the swampy rock sounds of Free or Creedence rather than stadium, which is just fine by me. Sounds pretty authentic too (American drummer, duh!) . And the Boogaloo is a great venue. And you can park on the road nearby after 6pm.

This clip (shot at the Water Rats) gives you an idea (dodgy sound quality aside, which isn’t their fault)

Catfish And The Bottlemen – Koko, Friday

Biggest gig so far for Llandudno’s CATB, feted by Steve Lamacq and others, and rightly so. Last time I went to Koko I had to be restrained from lamping idiots taking selfies while Of Montreal were playing so be warned. Kids, eh?

Hannah White – Union Chapel, Friday

Excellent singer-songwriter in the Laura mould (more Viers than Marling to these ears).

This is “Flawless”. By which I mean, this is flawless.

Nice Peter – Bush Hall, Saturday

Comic / Guitar Heo / Youtube sensation. Best to watch this vid as it’s a bit hard to describe why he’s so great …

Azure Blue – Lexington, Sunday

Azure Blue, the third Scandinavian act featured this week, is the new solo project from Tobias Isaksson. His old bands Irene and Laurel Music attracted worldwide recognition, documented from The Allmusic Guide to the blogosphere, but this is a brand new start. With Azure Blue, Tobias has surpassed all his previous work. The whole process has been like watching a baby dolphin being born.

The name is a paraphrase of the title of Dennis Wilson’s timeless classic album “Pacific Ocean Blue”.

These ears hear lovely, understated old school indie sounds (circa Fac 39 or thereabouts)

I’m definitely going to be getting to a couple of these myself. See you down the front!