Oh Land and Beyond: Five Hot Acts From Denmark Making Waves
by Charlie Amter
3/16/2011 3:14pm PDT
Oh Land has momentum on her side with a Top 20 record and high profile shows at SXSW this week, so who's the next Dane to win over America?
Last year and into 2011, the American music press fell hard for Sweden (see Robyn and Lykke Li). But the best pop music from Scandinavia right now may be coming out of Nordic neighbor Denmark. This week at SXSW, just about everyone is tweeting and talking about buzzy Danish singer Oh Land (who released a full record for Epic this week) but surprisingly Oh Land is not exactly a big name in her native country. Copenhagen is rife with other, equally brilliant and more known pop, rock and dance stars.
This year, music fans may see a few of them crossing over into some kind of U.S. success. To be sure, America has already embraced several Danish acts in years past (see The Ravonettes and Alphabeat) as well as continued support for big Danish DJs.
But now more than ever, Denmark-based acts in multiple genres sense an opening and are actively attempting to reach U.S. audiences. Several Danish pop/rap hybrids have now set their sights on the English-speaking market, including Nik&Jay who just debuted their first English song at Hollywood club Premiere earlier this week and Copenhagen’s hot Puls, who recently released an English version of their “Lad Det Sla.” Here are five of the best Danish acts currently making waves across the Atlantic and Stateside below (honorable mentions go to Rasmus Seebach, Mads Langer, New Politics, Burhan G, Alcoholic Faith Mission and Electric Lady Lab).
In a remarkable recent turn of events, Denmark’s Oh Land has instantly become the buzziest pop singer in the U.S. in certain circles, thanks to a video that just passed 5 million views on You Tube and pushes from Epic Records (with a coincidental assist from Perez Hilton, who was an early champion of the singer who now calls New York home). “Sun of a Gun” is the song suddenly everyone, including David Letterman, loves. Find out why below.
For the past two years in Denmark, few artists excited as much as Medina. The singer-songwriter had a string of catchy, pulsing hits in 2010 (including the platinum-selling “Addiction”) and now she is crossing over into the mainstream in a few European countries (thanks to support from EMI Germany) and even some circles within England (a Deadmau5 remix of her “You&I” seems particularly well known in the U.K.). This year, Ultra records will attempt to get Americans aboard the Medina train, and they will start out this month with her excellent “Addiction,” which boasts a video shot in Los Angeles.
The Asteroids Galaxy Tour
This Danish alternative pop band has been around a while (they opened for Katy Perry and their single "Around the Bend" was used in an iTouch commercial three years ago) but they are heating up again this year thanks to a Wieden + Kennedy produced television commercial that is currently airing in the U.S. The global campaign is helping the band, and a full music video (to augment a clip they already shot for “The Golden Age”) of the Heineken shoot is below. Along with Ginger Ninja, this act might be the brightest in Denmark at the moment when it comes to pop/rock.
Remember “Barbie Girl?” Sure, you do. The annoyingly catchy Eurodance track was damn near ubiquitous worldwide back in the late 1990s when it was a Top 20 hit in the U.S. Well guess what? Denmark’s Aqua are back with a new serious record that may just sneak up and steal a bit of thunder from what was supposed to be the 90s comeback story of 2011, Sweden’s Ace of Bass (who are doing well in other parts of the world with their latest but have yet to cause serious buzz in the States). Their just released this week new single, “How R U Doin’” is a credible electro-inspired au courant pop song miles away from their 90s Eurodance roots, and subsequently, a possible surprise hit this year. Check the teaser video below for the track.
Another act playing SXSW this week to keep an eye on is Denmark’s Quadron. The electro-soul duo is hot and have been since last year. Quadron received got a huge push in late 2010 from large blog Boing Boing who put the band's clip for "Slippin'" on their Virgin America TV channel in all U.S. airplanes for the carrier. Last month, a website popular in France aimed at women that encourages cheating on their husbands used the same song in a TV commercial. The act is currently on tour with Raphael Saadiq in the U.S. and they recently recorded a track with Kaskade (or perhaps it was just a remix, either way, it’s yet another anticipated offering from this intriguing twosome).
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