Held at Tøyenpark in Norway’s capital of Oslo, Øya Festival returns next with headline sets from Kendrick Lamar, Arctic Monkeys, Lykke Li, Patti Smith and native Cezinando alongside the likes of St Vincent, Wolf Alice, J Hus, Jenny Lewis, Charlotte Gainsbourg, Brockhampton, Daniel Avery, The Lemon Twigs, Phoebe Bridgers, 6lack, Neneh Cherry, Yaeji and loads more.
Yup, that’s a pretty solid line-up and well worth a trip across the North Sea, but take a look around the bill and you’ll find some pretty essential local talent that you can’t afford to miss – like these guys…
With the slacker rock ease of Mac Demarco and the tropical indie bounce of Vampire Weekend, the blissed-out sound of Bergen’s young Boy Pablo has racked up millions of streams and worldwide critical acclaim.
Essential tracks: ‘Losing You’, ‘Everytime’
Playing: Saturday August 11, Vindfruen – 3.10pm
Combining trip-hop tinged electro-pop for fans of Grimes, Beach House with dark but sensual summer jams with some crafty flutework laced in for good measure, this trio went down a storm at The Great Escape and Field Day. Make sure you catch their glorious homecoming at Øya 2018.
Essential tracks: ‘Are You Leaving?’, ‘Pretty Baby’
Playing: Wednesday August 8, Sirkus – 3.55pm
Thea & The Wild
Having quietly released one of 2018’s most impressive debuts with ‘Ikaros’, Thea & The Wild offer the kind of fist-clenching, abandon-free arena power-pop that Florence + The Machine‘s latest effort was lacking in. Imagine the open-road arena anthemics of Fleetwood Mac with the slick R&B edge of early Haim, and throw in the sythny showboating of Chvrches and you’ve got a rough sense of what this dark horse has to offer.
Essential tracks: ‘When A Kiss Becomes A Habit’, ‘Medicine’
Playing: Thursday August 9, Amflet, 3.05pm
Wondering between towering post-rock and intimate electro balladry, always star-reaching but never contrived, Bendik’s is a sound worth travelling for. She may sing in her native Norwegian tongue, but it’s with such compulsion that you’ll be captivated regardless.
Essential tracks: ‘Kriger’, ‘Perfekt’
Playing: Saturday August 11, Amfiet, 7.10pm
With fans in Pharrell Williams and the clubscene across Europe, the slick soul and ambient, elegiac chilled out electro noir of Gundelach shares that ghostly charm of Bon Iver, James Vincent McMorrow and James Blake, but with the laid back dance approach of Jungle. Perfect for the late Scandi sunset hours.
Essential tracks: ‘Iron’, ‘Spiders’
Playing: Wednesday August 8, Sirkus – 9.55pm
She may be rapping in Norwegian, but there’s something universal and immediate about the summery R&B bounce of Myra that transcends language. A good time is a good time no matter how you say it. See her dance-fuelled live party for the full experience.
Essential tracks: ‘Ekstremsport’, ‘Føler Meg Selv’
Playing: Saturday August 11, Vindfruen, 1.50pm
With the dreamy haze of The War On Drugs, the twisted psych-pop charm of MGMT and shameless danceability of Jagwar Ma, Great News dropped a infectious and bewitching debut this year with ‘Wonderfault’. They’re a joy on record, but on stage is really where Great News make headlines.
Essential tracks: ‘Secrets’, ‘Wonderfault’
Playing: Wednesday August 8, Vindfruen, 5.45pm
Yes, Italo Disco can come from Norway – and it’s bloody brilliant, too.
Essential tracks: ‘The Bells Of Mist’, ‘Data Italia’
Playing: Saturday August 11, HiFi Klubben, 8pm
With a laid back, laissez faire vibe over a smooth blend of funk, soul, R&B of new and old, Fieh carries herself with a wisdom beyond her years in a class above her peers. Hey, that rhymes.
Essential tracks: ‘Glu’, ’25’
Playing: Thursday August 9, Vindfruen, 2.15pm
Girl In Red
Here’s some lo-fi dreamwave brilliance for fans of Snail Mail and Phoebe Bridgers from a playfully fearless wunderkind exploring sexual freedom, mental health and teenage uncertainty. Sounds good, right? Right.
Essential tracks: ‘Girls’, ‘4am’
Playing: Saturday August 11, Biblioteket, 9,05pm
Øya Festival 2018 takes place at Tøyenpark in Oslo, Norway, from 7-11 August. For tickets and more information, visit here.