The Kings of Convenience are a band that I've known about for a few years, thanks in part to my friend Ryan, a baron of indie credibility. They've got two albums out, and one 'remix' album. Norwegian in origin, their music is usually composed of two nylon-strung guitars (or soft instruments) and duetting baritone vocals, which are conveniently in my own range for once! And being Scandinavian adds an extra cool element. Not to mention all of their incredibly thoughtful lyrics, which are full of stories and verbal puns (their first album is titled Quiet Is The New Loud), and that the volume never rises above mezzoforte, even with drums and cello and piano involved. I'm a big fan of their 'hit' song I'd Rather Dance With You, which has a cute video and dance moves like I do in my living room. Their latest album 'Riot on an Empty Street' also has two songs featuring Feist.
Well, lately, I've been discovering the offshoot projects of the solo Kings of Convenience, and it's so exciting to find new music that you love and never knew existed! Erlend Oye is the more prolific of the two singers (he's pictured at right with his trademark retro-thick glasses) and Eirik Glambek Boe (slashes through all the O's) is the other, who has a solo band on MySpace but no album that I know of. Erlend has a solo electronic music album out, called Unrest, a DJ Kicks remix album (of other people's songs) and he also has a live 'band' under the band name 'The Whitest Boy Alive'. The electronica album is especially good- I prefer warm sounds and soft beats with keyboardy noises for my electronic music, rather than industrial sounds. Every piece is definitely a 'song' rather continuous 'unsuh unsuh unsuh'.
Encompassing several different genres, Oye's wittiness and clever songwriting stays strong. The melodies are catchy but not fluffy ; the instrumentation is clever and sometimes funny, but spare. I'd also like to point out the music video for the Unrest album includes slow motion, sexual innuendo with roosters, egg-smashing, and baton-twirling. Check it out.
I saw Kings of Convenience once in Boston, and the music was so wonderfully quiet that the cash register at the event was making too much noise for the performance. It was difficult to hear the major-seventh chords quietly plucked out of a guitar over the 'ch-ch-ching! Zip zip zip zip' of the receipt printer. Now that's my kind of pop music. Perhaps in a future album tour they'll be passing my way again. Or I may just have to fly to Bergen, Norway for my fix.