KATZENJAMMER – Rockland (Propeller Recordings PPR113)

RocklandKatzenjammer is a four piece all girl band from Norway and ‘Rockland’ is their third album. It is a potpourri of differing styles; lacking in theme, but rich in variety. It kicks off with a solo banjo and solo voice. Then tribal wailing vocals join in, shortly followed by the whole band as they get your foot tapping to ‘Old De Spain’.  Swamp music at its best.

Into a rootin’-tootin’ cowboy foot-stomper for ‘Curvaceous Needs’. A really catchy number and one of my favourites on the album. Then a left field change of style. ‘Oh My God’ is a stuttering bass driven pop track with an accordion riff layered over the top. The vocal delivery in a soft rap like style.

The single from the album is ‘Lady Grey’, probably chosen for its commercial pop sound. Pretty enough, but lacking in real substance. In my opinion ‘Bad Girl’ would have been a better choice. ‘Bad Girl’ is my top track for this album. The vocals are husky and the lyrics sassy. The rhythm has great energy and it has a chorus you can hang your hat on.

There is also a great little blues track called ‘Driving After You’. Honky-tonk piano led with some soulful singing and inventive cross backing voices. It’s a slow-burner that grows with each listen.

And so the album swings from one style to another culminating in the title track ‘Rockland’. A track that is, ironically, rock free. This track is the closest to being a folk song, in all truth. If you are a traditional folk lover, then this album will not be for you. If, however, like me, your music is of a broader church, you may well enjoy this gem of an album as much as I did.

Ron D Bowes

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Katzenjammer – Lady Grey

Katzenjammer Lady GreyNew single from the upcoming album Rockland

Single and album UK release March 2nd on Propeller Recordings

Norwegian band Katzenjammer gear up to release ‘Lady Grey’, the first single from the new Victor Van Vugt (Nick Cave, PJ Harvey) produced album Rockland. The official video for Lady Grey was premiered recently on Clash Music, who said, “Following their own path, the band’s peppy, breezy, folk-influenced sound has taken them to cult stardom. Almost instantly contagious, it (Lady Grey) matches Katzenjammer’s music to all manner of colour and energy”, while tastemaker blog The Line Of Best Fit described it as, “perfectly peppy and rife with mood-lifting nuggets.”

Watch the official video:

The inspiration behind the song is a personal and poignant story, as explained by former nurse and band member Marianne Sveen, “Lady Grey is a song about my first patient with Alzheimer’s. She was something of a riddle to me, and was so affected by her condition, that her ability to communicate was completely gone. She didn’t have any family that visited her either, so I never got to know her real story. But when I put on music for her, she always moved her feet in time with the music, and smiled secretly on occasion. So I used to make up my own stories about her- hoping they were close to the truth.”

Katzenjammer are nothing if not utterly distinctive. Four smart and super-talented young Norwegian women, Anne Marit Bergheim, Turid Jørgensen, Solveig Heilo and Marianne Sveen met at music school in 2005 and have mastered a thrillingly diverse blend of country, folk, blues, pop and rock. They are all lead singers, they’re all drummers, they can all play the banjo, or the trashcans, the kazoo, the celeste or the washboard. There is no one like Katzenjammer. And right now this band are writing the best songs of their career.

Their third album, Rockland is undoubtedly their most refined and accomplished effort so far. Their singular sound is driven by a deep sense of adventure, invention and curiosity. The moods ebb and flow throughout the record; from the bass-heavy, rapped-up funk of ‘Oh My God’, to the more serenely melodic singalong tracks like ‘My Own Tune’, gorgeous first single ‘Lady Grey’, the stomping, wild-hearted blues of ‘Bad Girl’ and the brilliantly inquisitive ‘Curvaceous Needs’, a future live classic if ever there was one. This is a focused and fired-up Katzenjammer – the excitement coming off them in waves.

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From their earliest days being invited to play David Byrne’s personally curated stage at Bonnaroo, to supporting Keane at London’s O2 Arena, selling out two of their own headlining UK tours and having Steve Lamacq proclaim them as “the best gig of my time at Glastonbury”, Katzenjammer have always had a huge impact with their genre-mixing, instrument-swapping, full-on riotous shows.

“When Katzenjammer play live, it’s immediately clear that all four of them are talented musicians, but, more important, that they share a naked sort of joy in the creation of these odd yet charming pieces, which draw on folk, country, blues, punk rock and a particular sort of uplifting, Balkanised gypsy music.” Sunday Times Culture

Katzenjammer – A Bar In Amsterdam

Those crazy Norwegian girls Katzenjammer have made the 6 Music playlist with their single A Bar In Amsterdam.

A Bar In Amsterdam will be released digitally on September 20th, ahead of the release of debut album Le Pop on 18th October.

However, if you can’t wait until then, and need some Nordic mayhem in your life then you can watch Katzenjammer performing A Bar In Amsterdam in their video below.

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Artist links: http://www.katzenjammer.com/