Katzenjammer is a great folk/rock/pop band from Oslo. The Norwegian quartet is made up of Anne Marit Bergheim, Marianne Sveen, Solveig Heilo and Turid Jørgensen. I have major respect for this band because of their use of instruments, stating a goal of playing instruments they have never used before. Between them they have picked up and played 29 different and often unusual instruments, and their songs feature such as the accordion (you know I love it!) bass balalaika, ukulele, and melodica to name a few. It is my personal goal also to try to play any instrument I have never tried before which is why I have so many crazy instruments!
I first stumbled upon Katzenjammer on Youtube quite by accident. It turns out they had won third place in a contest for unsigned artists: the yearly Urørt competition, and their single A Bar In Amsterdam was made into a Youtube video. I have been hunting for an album since then and finally stumbled upon their debut, Le Pop. The album had favourable reviews: “songs all play to [Katzenjammer’s] strengths and, most importantly, are all instantly memorable”; “the album never lacks energy”. The album also won “Best Newcomer of the Year” at the 2008 Spellemannprisen (the Norwegian Grammy’s) and peaked at number 9 on the Norwegian charts.
The different instruments are obviously a huge turn on for me but the album itself is well written and fun. A Bar in Amsterdam remains one of my favourites – I knew once I heard it that I had to find the band’s album. Hey Ho On the Devil’s Back makes me think a little bit of Devil Went Down to Georgia in its folk-inspired devil-themed musicality. And Play My Darlin’ Play has a great folk-country twang to it! Another one of my favourite tracks is the dark accordion driven waltz – Mother Superior. Great stuff!! The album as a whole has a great folk feel to it; definitely very dark and Balkan while still having the energy and feeling of pop/rock. Something about it is also distinctly Scandinavian =) It really is a unique sound (and of course there is some great piano!). I’m still giddy that I finally found a copy of the album! Another CD to burn immediately. Check out their website: Katzenjammer and take a look at their A Bar in Amsterdam video: