From my adoptive Country, I now give you Lau Nau – an artist whose experimental folk have been highly appreciated among the Finnish underground music scene for over a decade. Lau Nau has always been a favourite of mine and, because her latest album Valohiukkanen has just been released, it gives me an excuse to write about her – not to mention that the album itself sounds magnificent.

Laura Naukkarinen was born in 1980 in Helsinki, Finland and currently lives on the island of Kemiö, in the South West of the Country. Under her moniker Lau Nau, she is not only been playing music, running a few music labels and publishing a magazine, but she’s also been engaged in other artistic activities, such as sound installations; therefore, Laura has been collaborating with a numerous amount of musicians and artists from the Finnish independent scene – the experimental singer and song-writers Islaja and Kuupuu for instance, friends of Laura’s, with whom she’s playing in Hertta Lussu Ässä.

The musician’s experimentations with art and sounds are a clear sign of her love for free structures: when it comes down to music, Lau Nau is a free spirit, who creates her pieces out of a complicated mosaic of instruments, strong melodies and a warm but delicate voice. It’s hard to compare her work with other musicians, but the ones that belong to her scene – the unique, experimental bunch of bands who play under the Finnish label Fonal Records.

Lau Nau‘s debut solo album Kuutarha (2005) and her second full-lenght album Nukkuu (2008) were released by Chicago’s Locust Music label: both of them are characterized by a beautifully complex collection of sounds, instrumental but also recorded outdoors – it’s especially pleasant to listen to Laura’s music when surrounded by nature, as it seems that they somehow belong together. Finnish lyrics also add a hint of peculiarity to Lau Nau‘s work, because of its sound and musicality – which you will especially feel if you’re not familiar with the Finnish language.

Besides Kuutarha and Nukkuu, there’s a list of EP’s and other special album editions – among them also a cassette edition of Nukkuu – which Lau Nau released before starting recording the new album; check out the complete discography on the artist’s website.

Valohiukkanen, Lau Nau‘s third and long-awaited album, has been finally released last November on Fonal Records, after various sessions of recording between KemiöTurku, Tampere and Stockholm.  The beauty of it is that it still sounds as unique and experimental as the first two works of Laura: there’s the same complexity of instrumentation and peculiar association of noises and sounds of Kuutarha and Nukkuu, yet well combined with a new sense of rhythm and percussion, which makes it all more contemporary. In contrast with its texture of sounds, the mood of the record is quite dark and it reminds well of the atmosphere created by one another experimental Finnish band: Eleanoora Rosenholm.

Kuoleman Tappajan KuolemaLau Nau

enjoy Valohiukkanen and read more about Lau Nau on launau.com!

Dear Readers!

I will tell You a story… it’s not about some fancy princesses or ugly dragons.  Not this time.

This story will be about coffe. Yes Coffee! And it will be really simple: Finnish and British designers Lasse Oiva and Amos Field Reid from London Royal College of Art met and got an idea. They both love coffee like almost everybody, and they both love bikes… Brainstorming ……and then…..

BOOM!!!!

This is how Velopresso was created!

Combination of two passions!

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You don’t need  a lot – it’s an espresso mobil bar – powered by human muscles.

No electricity or gasoline, therefore ecological at the same time! You just need 5 seconds of cycling and BOOM! You have a decent double espresso. Give them 10 more and you will have 2 !

Perfect solution for festivals, picnics or other outdoor activities but also for normal citylife.

Field Reid and Oiva are currently building the team that will take Velopresso from prototype through to production and sales. The UK-manufactured production model will be available for pre-order in early summer 2013.

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Finalist SustainRCA Award, 2012

 Pininfarina Design Contest, 2012 (2nd prize)

 Deutsche Bank Award in Design, 2012 (winners)

 Finnish Cultural Foundation (grant award), 2012

www.velopresso.cc

Justyna T. / Boris H.

1. the bony king of nowhere.

It is one of those album that I am able to listen to from the first to the last track: I never get bored of it. the sounds are clear and not pretentious, the lyrics are poetic enough but still real. I have of course a favourite song: The Garden – the 3rd on the album. The Garden is one of those songs that I want to listen to on my way to school: it lasts 3 minutes and 3 seconds and I am able to replay it at least 3 times in a row.

Read the full article >>

2. mirel wagner

her first album “Mirel Wagner” came out on the 21st of october last year and since I got to know about her, I had been listening to Mirel endlessly on Spotify. she is only 23 and she is such a pleasure to listen to: her voice is warm and rough, the perfect combination with her acoustic guitar. she is thesinger-song writer I needed to come across with: I always thought that Finland needed some folk-blues.

Read the full article >>

3. silje nes

while the first album Ames Room, published by FatCat Records, is a collection of experimental pieces recorded between 2004 and 2007; her newest released album Optiks, in 2010, has a cleaner sound, quite folkish, that personally reminds me of the well known icelandic artist Emiliana TorriniOptiks is quiet and dreamy – ideal to seek inspiration in cold winter days.

Read the full article >>

4. ólöf arnalds

in her first solo album Við Og Við (2007), Ólöf sings only in icelandic and in Innundir Skinni (2010) most of the lyrics are in icelandic too: it works magically combined with icelandic folk musical instruments.
the most recent album Ólöf Sings was released in 2011: it is a mini album where Ólöfbeautifully performs covers of some world famous artists – such as Bob DylanJohnny Cash and Bruce Springsteen.

Read the full article >>

5. paula & karol

Paula and Karol are an indie band based in WarsawPoland. Paula was born in Ontario, Canada, while Karol is originally from Warsaw – there are two songs in their album dedicated to their homes in fact: Ontario and Goodnight Warsaw. they are the best representatives of folk pop in Poland and they proudly supported Belle & Sebastian, during the scottish band show in Warsaw, last year.

Read the full article >>

6. scandinavian music group

their latest album Manner – released in April 2011 – has the most beautiful artwork in my opinion and it is not the only reason you should listen to it. it is the perfect album to turn on in the morning, when I need some positive energy; but it works great even after a long day, as it makes me extremely cheerful. I can listen to Manner non-stop – without skipping a single track: my favourite one must be Mustarastas Lauloi Ooh La La, because it talks about a blackbird (mustarastas means blackbird).

Read the full article >>

7. owen pallett

since when his album Heartland has been released, in January 2009, Owen Pallett is no longer Final Fantasy; his music though remains as pleasant as before, if not more: Heartland sounds like a vivid and enthusiastic Final Fantasy – as if getting rid of an old name would have given the artist a new strength. the whole album is extremely vibrant and gives an overall restless feeling, especially because of the violin, which is definitely the protagonist of Owen Pallett‘s music.

Read the full article >>

8. taxi taxi!

their first album Still Standing At Your Back Door was released in autumn 2009; a few months after I had the opportunity to see the duo playing it live, in spring 2010 in Milano. the twins sing in English most of the lyrics – except for a few verses in Swedish in one song, which I find particularly beautiful. the whole album has a soft atmosphere: the choice of musical instruments is genuine and simple – live the twins play guitars, drums and occasionally keyboards. and the lyrics are speaking of love, which matches perfectly with the duo’s sweet and soft voices.

Read the full article >>

9. lay low

Lay Low has released two albums so fare: Please Don’t Hate Me, in 2006 – when an Icelandic label decided to promote her, just after listening to her demo songs on Myspace – and Farewell Good Night’s  Sleep, in 2008. during Emiliana’s concert in MilanoLay Low played mostly tracks from Farewell Good Night’s Sleep: that was when I fell in love with By and By and Last Time Around. Rumors are that her new album will be released next autumn and I am really looking forward to it.

Read the full article >>

10. alina orlova

Alina‘s second album, Mutabor, was released in 2010: the piano, like in Laukinis Suo Dingo, is the most played instrument and gives the whole album a soft ballad atmosphere. A few more tracks are performed in English, but overall, this second album preserves the eastern-europe-magic of the first.

Read the full article >>

11. eleanoora rosenholm

Eleanoora Rosenholm band comes from Pori – a town on the West Coast of Finland – and the band members are Pasi SalmiTuomas Niskanen, Jussi Reunamäki, Alpo Nummelin, Turo Sinkkonen  and the fascinating vocalist Noora Tommila.
Eleanoora Rosenholm have released three albums under the independent Finnish label Fonal RecordsVainajan Muotokuva (2007), Älä Kysy Kuolleilta He Sanoivat (2008) and the most recent Hyväile Minua Pimeä Tähti (2011).

Read the full article >>

12. first aid kit

First Aid Kit‘s third and newest album The Lions’s Roar was released last January: it was produced byMike Mogis and went straight to number one in Sweden. since then, I have fallen in love with the duo and I have been playing constantly this album especially. every single track is intense and powerful, yet the whole album is light and easy to listen to in one go – it does not ever get me bored.

Read the full article >>

13. agnes obel

At the age of seventeen, Agnes Obel had already joined her second band: she was extremely young, when she started singing and playing bass guitar in her first one; while she founded the Copenhagenbased band Sohio, after dropping her gymnasium studies. The rock band Sohio, though, soon became too restrictive for Agnes creative spirit, and so did the city of Copenhagen.

Read the full article >>

14. jónsi

Jónsi is a complete musician: not only he has been the front man of Sigur Rós since 1994, but he has been also collaborating with his boyfriend Alex Somers to a unique music project called Riceboy Sleeps, released in 2009. When Sigur Rós decided to take sometime off in 2010, Jónsi didn’t stop making music, but he worked on his first solo albumGo.

Read the full article >>

15. god help the girl

God Help the Girl not only resembles much the tones of Belle & Sebastian, but also of Camera Obscura – another well known Scottish band truly dear to me – since almost all the songs of the project are performed by female artists, who play the main role in the band.
When Stuart Murdoch wrote the songs for God Help the Girl, he wanted to tell about the problems of girls entering adult life: the lyrics of the project are in fact romantic and sort of nostalgic, which makes God Help the Girl perfect as much for a melancholy afternoon at home as for a solitary walk on the beach.

Read the full article >>

16. allo darlin’

Allo Darlin’ as a band was born in 2009 in London, when a group of friends found each other and decided to start playing together: Elizabeth Morris  and Bill Botting from Australia and Michael Collinsand Paul Rains from Kent, UK. Elizabeth is the lead singer of the band and she is responsible for that soft female voice that I am particularly fond of – the sort of voice that makes me love Camera Obscura and God Help the Girl.

Read the full article >>

17. pascal pinon

Pascal Pinon are a young duo of twin sisters – Jófríður and Ásthildur Ákadöttir – from Reykjavik, Iceland. Jófríður and Ásthildur started recording songs under the name of Pascal Pinon not so long ago, when they were only fourteen, in 2009: the band name is a tribute to Pasqual Pinon – a two-headed man from Texas, who performed in a freak show in the early 1900′s.

Read the full article >>

18. she & him

She & Him are the musician Matthew Stephen Ward and the actress and musician Zooey Deschanelfrom the US. The two artists met in 2007, on the set of the film The Go-Getter – where they were asked to perform a duet together: Matt and Zooey found out they had so much in common, that they decided to continue performing side by side.

Read the full article >>

19. tenniscoats

Tenniscoats are essentially a duo featuring the musicians Saya and Takashi Ueno, from Tokyo, Japan; on the stage, though, they are frequently joined by other musicians and artists,  with whomSaya and Takashi likes to perform. The couple has been playing together since early 2000, when their first EP The Theme of Tenniscoats was released.

Read the full article >>

20. svavar knútur

Svavar Knútur is an Icelandic troubadour from the remote western fjords: the long dark winters and the luminous nordic summers are the primary inspiration for his music, which reflects the everyday life in the fjords. If you happened to live up North and to know what the real winter feels like, then Svavar Knútur‘s music won’t take long to reach your heart: without any explanations, you will start to love it.

Read the full article >>

21. lullatone

Lullatone is the perfect match of Shawn James Seymour and Yoshimi Tomida, that, since 2005, are happily married in Nagoya, Japan, and they share a beautiful house – which is also the studio where the magic of their music happens.

Read the full article >>

22. krista muir

Krista begun to make music more than a decade ago, under the stage name of Lederhosen Lucil, and released a numerous amount of albums. Only in 2007, though, she started to perform and record music under her real name: as of today, in fact, there are only two album by Krista Muir, despite the fact that she is already a well known artist  of the Canadian indie rock scene.

Read the full article >>

23. i am oak

I am Oak exists because of the Dutch singer and songwriter Thijs Kuijken – body and soul of this magnificent music project. The name I am Oak tastes sweet in my mouth!
At first, it was the name I am Oak that caught my attention: the connection to Nature is strong, because of Thijs Kuijken love and affection for It – that was what brought this musician really close to my heart, even before listening to one single song of his. I am Oak though is also a tribute toThijs Kuijken‘s hometown, Bergeijk, which in Dutch means in fact Oak.

Read the full article >>

24. maïa vidal

Maïa Vidal was born less than 25 years ago, still she has already been part of three bands – which is truly remarkable and inspiring! Born in Santa Barbara, CaliforniaMaïa has been on the move for most of her life: from Brooklyn, New York, to Ithaca, New York, where she attended high school, from  Montreal, Canada, where she attended university, to Europe, where she is currently based now.

Read the full article >>

25. sóley

Sóley, based in Reykjavik, Iceland, is only 24 and yet has had a number of prestigious music experiences: beside the above-mentioned Seabear, in fact, she has been collaborating with the indie-collective Sin Fang too.
It is not a big surprise though, considering that music is what Sóley has been passionate the most about since she was a child: fascinated by Sigur Rós and Múm, she began making music as a teenager, then studied piano and composition in 2007, at the Icelandic Art Academy; that was when she started playing with Seabear and Sin Fang.

Read the full article >>

26. memoryhouse

Memoryhouse was born in Guelph, a mid-size town in OntarioCanada, where the music scene has been extremely active and lively for the last couple of decades – base of the Hillside Festival, Guelph has seen the debut of bands such as The Arcade Fire.
The duo wasn’t exactly meant to be a band: in 2010, when musician Evan Abeele and photographerDenise Nouvion met, they were going to start a multimedia art project, based on the combination of Evan’s music and Denise’s photographic art works – as a student of classical music, Evan wanted to pair his instrumental composition with Denise’s photographs and short films, to make it possible for photography and music to go together and support one another.

Read the full article >>

27. hanne hukkelberg

Hanne was born in KongsbergNorway in 1979; rumors has it that she discovered her passion for music as a baby when, at three years old, she started playing with kitchen utensils and singing to it. Her love for peculiar and noise-making objects has never fade since then, as Hanne, along with piano, guitars and drums, plays a various range of instruments, more or less uncommon among other artists. When in 2003 she graduated from the Academy of Music in OsloHanne had already been playing in a numerous amount of bands of various genres: metalprogressive rock and jazz were among Hanne‘s favourite types of music in her early twenties.

Read the full article >>

28. alessi’s ark

Alessi’s Ark is the name under which Alessi Laurent-Marke, a 22-year-old british musician, performs.
I liked the idea of a boat, where everybody is welcome, even friends that are geographically far away – we are together.

Read the full article >>

29. rue royale

Rue Royal are Ruth Dekker, from England, and Brooklyn Dekker, from the States. The couple met in Chicago around the year 2000, when Ruth went there to tour with her former band and Brooklyn played the drums for them in a few shows; then, the year after, when Ruth went back to the States, in occasion of a friend’s wedding, they fell in love and got married in 2003.

Read the full article >>

30. fanfarlo

Fanfarlo are Simon Balthazar – from Sweden and responsible for bringing the band together, Amos MemonCathy LucasJustin Finch and Leon Beckenham; based in LondonUK; they have been playing together since 2006 and their music is a pleasant fusion of a great variety of instruments, such as trumpets, saxophones, clarinets, violins, mandolins, glockenspiels, musical saws and the good old guitars, drums and basses.
The band’s name is a tribute to Charles Baudelaire and his novella La Fanfarlo, a fictionalized autobiography, which the poet wrote years before the popular volume of poetry Les Fleurs du mal.

Read the full article >>

31. russian red

Russian Red‘s music project begun in 2007, when a young Lourdes met the artist Brian Hunt, a musician of Spanish and English origin; they started playing together and eventually recorded a demo, which reached an impressive number of listeners on Russian Red‘s MySpace page. Before releasing the first full length album, though, Brian abandoned the project, leaving Lourdes as the only member of Russian Red; since then, the young and talented singer songwriter has become very popular and is known by many as the Spanish Feist – the Canadian musician is in fact one of Lourdes’s favourites.

Read the full article >>

32. karolina sveiby

Karolina Sveiby is a singer-songwriter currently based in Helsinki. Born and raised in Sweden, she discovered her passion for writing songs at a very early age and begun to study music at Nacka MusikklasserKarolina then spent nine years in Australia, before coming back to Northern Europe and moving to Finland, where she has been living for eight years. That is why Karolina‘s pieces are influenced by three different cultures, as she defines herself Swedish-Finnish-AustralianKarolina Sveiby‘s music is melodic, easy to listen to, with a strong focus on the lyrics, which are fundamental to the artist.

Read the full article >>

33. coldair

Coldair is the solo project of the independent young musician Tobiasz Biliński, whose Polish-Norwegian band formation Kyst has been already delighiting festivals’ crowds for a couple of years, inEurope and abroad. Therefore, if you haven’t heard of Kyst yet, it is time for you to get to know them.

Read the full article >>

34. lucy rose

Lucy was born in Surrey, England, in 1989. She started dealing with music at a very early age, when she picked up the drums in her school orchestra and she started writing songs on her piano, at home. At the age of sixteen, when she finally bought a guitar and begun teaching herself, Lucy composed her first pieces – yet she didn’t performed them to anybody and she kept on making music privately until she graduated from high school.

Read the full article >>

35. cats on fire

Cats of Fire are actually playing together since 2001 and Vaasa, a small city on the West Coast of Finland and the regional capital of Ostrobothnia, is the home town of the original lineup of the band. Through the years, though, Cats on Fire moved from Vaasa to TurkuSouthern Finland, following the path of its members – which had to choose a bigger city to pursue their university studies – and underwent several lineup changes.

Read the full article >>

36. burning hearts

Burning Hearts was born in 2004 as a duoJessika Rapo, vocalist for the Finnish-Swedish band-collective of friends Le Futur Pompiste, and Henry OjalaCats on Fire‘s former drummer, have known each other since they were teenagers – both of them raised in Ostrobothnia (West Coast of Finland) played, very young, in different bands and occasionally met at concerts and through friends.

Read the full article >>

37. patrick wolf

I’m going back to the studio and recording my jubilee record… The album will be totally, totally, totally stripped down. It’s time for me to be retrospective about the last ten years before I move onto the next ten. I’m 28 and I think it’s quite fun to sing the songs you wrote as a teenager.

Read the full article >>

38. susanne sundfør

When I say young artist I do know what I’m talking about, as Susanne Sundfør is just one year older than me and yet she’s been playing music for over 6 years – since her debut single Walls, in 2006. Born in 1986 in HaugesundNorway, Susanne currently lives in Oslo, where she’s moved after having pursued her studies at the University of Bergen.

Read the full article >>

39. 80′s bad haircut

When – ombrenelcielo asked 80′s Bad Haircut which kind of music do you play?Marie and Andrea said electrofolkfunkyfresh and probably a mix of folk lyrics and modern electro pop and Le Ombre nel Cielo liked that a lot. Here is a special interview with our favourite electrofolkfunkyfresh duo, Marie from France and Andrea from Italy: a married couple – or are they really? – currently based in Palermo and soon to be moving to London, that got together to play music we really enjoy.

Read the full article >>

We wish you a Merry Christmas and a happy New Year, thanks for the great year together, we’ll share some more love before the end of December, but even if we are almost all busy with Christmas family engagements we thought this could be a nice chance to share some songs to set a nice mood for these holidays.

So we’ve compiled a small playlist of Christmas songs you might / might not like, by some bands we like.

Have fun and have a great time during these winter holidays!

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When  Le Ombre nel Cielo asked 80’s Bad Haircut which kind of music do you play?, Marie and Andrea said electrofolkfunkyfresh and probably a mix of folk lyrics and modern electro pop and Le Ombre nel Cielo liked that a lot. Here is a special interview with our favourite electrofolkfunkyfresh duo, Marie from France and Andrea from Italy: a married couple – or are they really? – currently based in Palermo and soon to be moving to London, that got together to play music we really enjoy.

While you’re reading this, we strongly recommend you to put your headphones on and go to soundcloud.com to listen to their EP And Justice for all the Cheese!, which you can download for free – isn’t that a wonderful Christmas present?!

80's Bad Haircut

Le Ombre nel Cielo – When was it that you first got interested in music? Do you have a little story to tell us about that?

80’s Bad Haircut, Andrea – When I was a teenager at a concert ska-core of The Shandon… I was about 14. Then I began to play bass into a punk-rock band, Zoidberg Punk… We were pretty terrible but I really enjoyed it.

80’s Bad Haircut, Marie – My parents offered me a Vinyl player for kids, on which I used to listen some stories before I get to sleep. One day, I found some vinyl of Ben E. King into the living room. I fell in love with that disk and listened to it maybe 10 times a day, so my parents decided to hide it. Forever.

LOnC – If you were asked to explain which kind of music do you make, what would you answer? What do you think about music genres: is it easy to categorize your music?

M – Mmmm I honestly have no idea of which kind of music we make. I’d say electrofolkfunkyfresh. That’s actually pretty hard to put a name on what you do… Way easier when you listen to other bands but yours I guess.

A – Yeah it’s probably a mix of folk lyrics and modern electro pop… Dunno actually.

80's Bad Haircut

LOnC – Is there any special place where do you like to go to get inspired? How important is the city and Country you live in, in relation to your music?

M – I do the lyrics and Andrea creates the music… I have no special place in particular which makes me more inspired… More situations, people I interact with, funny moments and maybe periods of the year like spring and summer. If you ask me to write something in winter it’s probably gonna be dark and sad…

A – The place doesn’t matter that much to me either, I just need a mini guitar and something to record the melodic ideas I have… Pretty often, inspiration comes while I’m driving or walking on my own.

LOnC – What do you do, besides making music? Tell us a little about yourself: we would like to know more about you.

A – I’ve always been passionate of graphics and I love making videos… I actually hope I’ll become a music video maker someday.

M – We’re about to move to London and see what’s happening for both of us… I love Art… Music, literature, graphics, paintings… I used to be the responsible of an Art bookshop when I lived in Lyon (France) and I’d like to have my own someday. For now I still need to be less immature (haha)…

LOnC – Could you pick your all time favourite musician? Also, could you name some of the emerging artists that are inspiring you the most at the moment?

MMy all time favourite one? Wow that’s a tuff one cause I like so many different things… Mmmm I grew-up listening to the Rolling Stones and Bowie thanks to my folks and I do really like them, but… I’d say the band Eels… It’s been like 15 years I listen to them and I love every one of their songs. The singer voice is truly amazing. The emerging artists that inspire us right now are surely San Cisco, Darwin Deez, Metronomy…

A – My music tastes are always changing, I’d not be able to name my favorite artist ever… I grew up listening to punk-hardcore, then I had a really intense electro-rock phase with the Does It Offend You, Yeah?!. Lately I’ve been in fond of Alt-J, The Virgins, The Rapture… Concerning the emerging artists who inspire me, I’d say the Ex-Lovers.

80's Bad Haircut

LOnC – Which is the question that we have missed to ask during our little interview? What would you ask yourself, that we haven’t asked, about your music project?

M & A – Are you a real couple or do you just pretend, like The White Stripes? We’re married and we got two sons in College.

80’s Bad HaircutCheese on Bread!

Thanks a million to 80’s Bad Haircut! Don’t forget to visit and like their Facebook page!

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