Oh My Rockness/Oya Festival Present: Norway v.s NYC!

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Oh My Rockness/Oya Festival Present: Norway v.s NYC!

March 07, 2007
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Oya = Awesome. That's our assessment. Oh My Rockness bonds over beers with the Oya Festival guys whenever they visit the U.S. of A. (all the way from Norway). When Oya come to NYC for CMJ, we are there to greet them with the Sparks that's scarce in Scandinavia. When they go to Austin for SXSW, we too make the trek to give them tips on bands, BBQ, and the best spot to see bats flying out from under bridges. But this year, we've raised the stakes a bit with our friendship. We've decided to put on a couple of shows together this month; one in NYC at Tonic, the other in Austin at Emo's Jr., both featuring bands we collectively love.

We're here today to talk about the Tonic show, but before we do, let's clear up a question that surely many of you have: what the hell is Oya?

Oya is a massive outdoor music festival held every summer at a majestic historical park in Oslo, Norway. Bands who have recently played at Oya include The Knife, !!!, Morrissey, Beck, Band Of Horses, Sonic Youth, Hot Chip, Yeah Yeah Yeahs, Mogwai and pretty much every other indie band you've heard of or think you've heard of. Last year, 45,000 people attended. So yeah, it's HUGE.

The band that was definitely the talk of last year's Oya Festival (on these shores anyway) were New Violators. And hey, imagine that! New Violators just happen to be one of the bands playing the Oya/Oh My Rockness "Norway vs. NYC" show this Monday, March 12th at Tonic. This show represents the USA DEBUT for both New Violators and The Lionheart Brothers. The stunning atmospherics of NYC's not-to-be-overlooked Die Romantik will also be provided.

So who are these guys? Norway's New Violators play intensely melodic retro synth pop that sounds like a much more optimistic Joy Division or perhaps the band Stellastarr* was trying to be. Vocalist Per Borten was born to lead a band; his charismatic showmanship and debonair style is a welcome relief from the bands who like to pretend they aren't entertainers. USA success will be theirs shortly, as they've got it all: hooks, choruses, remarkable refrains. Catch them now or kick yourself later. They just might steal the "Most Popular Norwegian Band" crown off Serena-Maneesh's head. Seriously, they're going to be big big big.

Norway's The Lionheart Brothers will also be making their USA debut. The band features former members of Serena-Maneesh and 120 Days and have been called "one of the most promising new bands in Norway." The five-piece play swirling shoegaze songs that fall into the "dream pop" category. They are an extremely tight band that really seems to be arranging and orchestrating on a different plane than most other young bands. Will America be the latest country to fall in love with them? We'll find out.

Rounding out the bill is NYC's Die Romantik, whose members originally met in Paris. The band got their name from a German compilation of romantic classical composers from the early 19th century. This is important background information because, well, their music sounds a lot like Paris meets moody romance meets the 19th century. Die Romantik's sound kind of falls in line with what fellow Brooklyn boy Beirut is doing... other-worldly nomadic notes that belong to another time and place. But mostly, this is entirely unique. I mean, Brooklyn bands generally don't have grand piano flourishes in their songs, but Die Romantik does. Listening to this, you can just picture castles and chandeliers. There is a definite darkness, or maybe it's just an overall sense of eeriness. But it's also kind of seductive at the same time.

The New Violators, The Lionheart Brothers and Die Romantik are what you get when Oya Festival and Oh My Rockness put their heads together to try and bring you a great show. We hope you will come out and enjoy seeing two amazing new Norwegian bands for the very first time, and to discover a great band from your own backyard that you may never knew you loved. Be there.

The New Violators, The Lionheart Brothers and Die Romantik play the Oya/Oh My Rockness "Norway vs. NYC" show at Tonic, on Monday, March 12th.

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