Oh Land, a.k.a. Danish musical multitasker Nanna Oland Fabricius, purveyor of lush, poppy electro soundscapes you’ll set to repeat almost immediately, is a force to be reckoned with: She grew up in a family of creative bohemian types (mom was an opera singer, dad a theater organist) who forged an atmosphere she’s called “circus-like,” while at the same time developing a strict sense of discipline from dancing with the Royal Danish and Royal Swedish Ballet. The result: Ruthless experimentation grounded in classical influences, an artist open to questioning everything to create her sound, yet one who’s able to push herself to achieve (case in point: she booked her first U.S. tour herself, ending up at SXSW in 2009, where she came to the attention of Epic Records).
All of which led to her decamping her native Copenhagen for Brooklyn so she could start conquering American shores. After a dramatic arrival in NYC (she witnessed what she later found out was a jewel heist chase within five minutes of being dropped off at her Midtown hotel) and the pains of settling into one’s first Williamsburg apartment (“Rain through the windows and stopped toilet,” she tells us), Oh Land released her self-titled EP here in October, and is readying a proper US debut for next year. Check out the video for Sun [sic] of a Gun below, which reminds us of a less-chilly La Roux with the gadgetry of Imogen Heap and more than a soupçon of all things Bjork (the latter is one of Oh Land’s big influences).
About the gadgetry: She’ll be at Mercury Lounge tonight at 8:45PM (on a bill with folk-rock outfit Steve Lewis & the Vagrants), backed by what she calls her “contraption,” a handmade music box doohickey above which float balloons onto which video is projected (complicated to explain, delightful to experience).
We asked Oh Land—who has since got her WC to flow just fine, one hopes—to name her five favorite cover songs.
José González covers the Knife’s Heartbeats - I love the original, but he really shows how brilliant the song is in a scaled-down version.
James Blake covers Feist’s Limit to Your Love - His use of production is just so original, and his soulful voice is a really amazing contrast to the modern production.
Florence and the Machine covers The Source and Candi Staton’s You Got the Love - I never payed attention to the original, but she [Florence Welch] made me do so.
Cicco Youth (Sonic Youth) covers Madonna’s Get Into the Groove - It's fun to hear them take it in such a different direction. And it’s still good.
Nouvelle Vague covers Joy Division’s Love Will Tear Us Apart - I love the way it sounds like she almost doesn't know what the words mean, but still they mean so much. And the melody is just so brilliant. One of my favorite songs that can be played in any way and still sound good.
What I'm listening to: Heavy Eyes – Oh Land