February 20, 2007
Hei! Hvordan står det til? It’s Andy Gesner and the staff from HIP Video Promo, trying our hand at speaking Norsk, while preparing ourselves to bring you a stylish new video from the hottest import exploding into the public consciousness. If you were in NYC for CMJthis year, chances are you heard somebody raving about 120 Days. The Norwegian quartet was all over the five boroughs that week, playing secret shows and late-nite gigs and a magnificent turn at The Fader’s sideshow. While in America, they dropped in for on-air sets at KEXP and mp3.com, too and wowed webloggers, tastemakers, and indie journalists across the country. Not since the days of Vineland have Scandinavians invaded the New World so successfully.
Back home in Oslo, 120 Days are already stars. Two killer EPs and a recently-released debut full-length have put the nation on notice: this is a group with great ambitions, and a sound huge enough to match them. With 120 Days, the band has made good on early comparisons to Joy Division and Neu! – the songs build from simple phrases and ambient electro introductions to towering climaxes, and augment their tapestries of sound with squiggly and oddly emotive analog synthesizer. But we think the group is also reminiscent of the best of Jason Pierce’s Spiritualized: there’s a strong sense of melody that underpins everything they do, and every cosmic departure is coupled with a musical or rhythmic passage that feels resolutely terrestrial. At heart, 120 Days is a pop band – albeit one comfortable crafting nine-minute songs.
The album version of “C-Musik”, for instance, clocks in at 7:22. But for the edit (the one used in the video clip you’ve received), 120 Days has whittled their epic, anthemic rafter-shaker down to modern-rock radio length. Miraculously, none of the sweep has been sacrificed: this will still make all the hairs on the back of your neck stand at attention. Credit singer Adne Meisfjord for keeping the track firmly grounded in a rock sensibility – his vocals ooze attitude, and he’s got more than a little of Julian Casablancas’s swagger. Small wonder, then, that the super-hip Vice Recordings made 120 Days the first Norwegian band to sign directly to an American label.
Filmed in sharply-shot, high-contrast black and white by Lasse Gretland (Jessica Fletchers, Amulet, Marit Larsen), the clip for “C-Musik” combines performance footage with images of a mysterious woman and a pair of very sleek automobiles. The band plays in an underground car park; set up between two concrete columns, they attack their synths and six-strings with studied, controlled aggression. Pitchfork has already blushed at the quartet’s pin-up good looks, but Gretland is careful to show off the group’s sensational vintage gear, too, including a patch-bay synth, busy with quarter-inch cables.
But it’s the singer who steals the show. Clad in a black leather jacket, Meisfjord maintains his poise as he sings. Light from tubular bulbs reflects off of his hair and splashes against his coat. His jacket shines like the paint on the cars that roll through the concrete lot: for a second or two, it’s possible to confuse the human with the machine, and to imagine that it’s the singer’s passion that’s animating its carriage. The light dances off of the irises of the mystery woman too, and throws a horizontal streak on her rolled-down window. Two cars, two humans: they drive past each other, and then roll slowly, parallel, headlights on.
We knew we could count on all of our good friends at Vice and Smalltown Supersound to deliver another artist and video that is sure to start 2007 with a bang! Special thanks to Jamie Farkas and Christopher Roberts for all of their hard work in making sure you get your full compliment of Vice videos on a regular basis. We have lots of copies of 120 Days, the self-titled debut album, available for all of your on-air giveaway needs. If you need more info, call Andy Gesner at 732-613-1779 or e-mail us at [email protected]. You can also visit www.ViceRecords.com or www.120Days.no to find out more about 120 Days.