Farewell to DK Mixtape
We have spent most of the last year in Denmark but a few days after leaving I suddenly realised that I don’t think any playlist I have ever posted here has contained a single song by a Danish artist, and maybe it is time to rectify that with my little curated collection of some amazing Danish tracks.
There might have been a problem with the fact that I don’t really know an awful lot about Danish music, and some of what I do know is, well, awful. But when I sat down and had a good think it turns out that there is a lot more really excellent music produced in the land of the little mermaid than you might realise.
Here you will find no Lukas Graham, who I really quite intensely don’t like but who are probably the most successful Danish band of recent times. No Trentemoller, most notable for a portrayal of the life of the dog Laika in the video to Moan. No Whigfield, whose Saturday Night is pretty terrible but has 44 million YouTube views, is perhaps the best known song to have come out of Denmark ever and which I secretly kind of like but have no idea why. You will find no Metallica, who may only be one quarter Danish but make it onto the exceptions list courtesy of Lars Ulrich. Oh, also while the singer might have been Norwegian, the rest of Aqua (they of Barbie Girl fame) were actually Danes but you also won’t find them here.
Prototype by Sepiamusic
This is the first Danish band that I ever fell in love with and technically they are only half Danish, as singer Erin Chapman is originally from the US but that doesn’t matter.
Despite the band not being around anymore they still sound amazing almost two decades later. .I like pretty much everything that the Copenhagen based duo released, but Prototype and Fall Into Me are standout tracks.
Last Dance by The Raveonettes
I don’t know much about The Raveonettes but I like them. They have a really nice Spectoresque layered wall of sound thing going on, with their own kind of slightly fuzzy modern twang over the top.
Someone Else by Superheroes
Danish indie pop group Superheroes were never out to break any moulds, it’s pretty formulaic early 2000’s indie fare with a hint of 80’s new romanticism, but it’s well written and recorded, catchy and just so nice to listen to.
The band released three full albums before they split up in 2006 and are really worth checking out.
Familiar by Agnes Obel
There is something slightly Imogen Heap about Agnes Obel which can never be a bad thing, but she is definitely her own unique artist, which is maybe partially thanks to her childhood piano teacher. Agnes says “I had a classical piano teacher who told me that I shouldn’t play what I didn’t like. So I just played what I liked. I was never forced to play anything else.”
Familiar is from her 2016 album Citizen of Glass, and it is beautiful.
Glockster by Collider
I discovered Collider today and here they are in the middle of my Danish mixtape.
Not to be confused with the New York band of the same name, this Collider is ambitious, expansive, chaotic, a bit shoegazey and just great.
Seven Sisters by Asthmatic Harp
Hannah Fredsgaard-Jones (aka Asthmatic Harp) lives in London and her melodic indie pop sucks in influences from all over the place, jumbles them together, distills them down to a quirky simple sound and then tops them all with a beautiful voice. It’s compelling listening and so easy to imagine as the soundtrack to any number of nordic noir arthouse movies.
The Balcony by The Rumour Said Fire
I don’t know what pigeonhole The Rumour Said Fire fit into, indie-folk maybe?
Whatever you choose to define them as they craft brilliantly put together songs that are perfect as the soundtracks to summer afternoons
Bag Dig by Manus Nigra
Finally an entry on this list of Danish music that is actually in Danish. No, I don’t understand the lyrics either but it really doesn’t matter because this is just so good. Sit back, resign yourself to not understanding and let it wash over you.
19 by Mont Oliver
Mont Oliver describe their sound as trip-hop and you can clearly hear the influence of groups like Portishead and Massive Attack but then there is a kind of laid back crooning vocal delivery that muddles it all up a bit (in a good way).
Glimpse of a Time by Broken Twin
There is a right way to listen to this song. Stop whatever you are doing, sit or lay comfortably, put on your best headphones and turn the volume up a bit.
Everything that Majke Voss Romme (aka Broken Twin) creates is full of an epic, almost majestic, spaciousness. It is beautiful, moving and often sorrowful. If you don’t feel something listening to this then just maybe you are dead inside.
And then there is just one more bonus track which comes together with it’s own little story…
Vincent by Stig Rossen
Sixteen years ago I was hitchhiking across Denmark with my friend Helle and it wasn’t going particularly quickly when we were picked up by a guy with a slightly questionable beard driving a very nice sports car together with his elderly mother, and who was more than happy to let us squish ourselves into the back and be propelled across the country at high speed while he played CDs of his own music. When Helle nudged me and asked if I knew who he was my answer was of course that I had absolutely no idea at all.
And that is the story of my meeting with Stig Rossen, so I have included him on this mixtape. Here singing a song that I actually really love, written by Don McLean as a tribute to Vincent Van Gogh. (click here for Don’s version)