In the Spotlight

International Flavours from Finland: Eva & Manu and LCMDF

Finland is the focus country of Eurosonic 2013 and thus we have 17 groups showcasing their talent at the festival.

Nuorgam, the snazziest little music site in Finland, takes a long look at the bands we are carting off to Eurosonic. In this second episode Eva & Manu and LCMDF go under the microscope.

Once upon the international success of Finnish music was a popular topic for deep, interminable discourse, until in the early 21st century when HIM, The Rasmus and Nightwish actually managed to achieve this much talked about success.

All of the bands with their melancholy music and sullen male energy were very Finnish. The generation that are currently in their 20s and grew up in the Internet age is whole other kettle of fish – more naturally cosmopolitan, backpacking around the world, less tied to Finland as far as identity goes.

Two duos with their roots in Finland exemplify this to a tee –  LCDMF and Eva & Manu.

LCDMF was international from get-go: its music has been published by labels like Kitsune from France and Heavenly Records from London, with publications like The Guardian and Pitchfork singing the band’s praises.

Eva & Manu is a more recent and less notorious arrival, but no less international. The Fenno-French duo met while studying music in the US and wrote their debut album while touring Europe.

3. LCMDF – The Home Is Where the Cosmos Is

Video: Gandhi (Dir. Megan Cullen)

What is it?

Soon after its founding in 2007, the band was playing on a tour sponsored by NME magazine and performing at the Paris Fashion Week. The smart money was on the band to become the next global success story in Finnish music, but delays in releasing a debut album resulted in some of the hype dying down. The debut came out in 2011. Now LCMDF is back at it: they’ve just released the first installment in their Mental Health trilogy.

Why do we care?

Where most of the indie-electro groups fronted by women that were all the rage in 2006, from CSS to New Young Pony Club, have disappeared into the mists of history, LCMDF has managed the tricky task of renewal and retained its vitality. After the triumph of their debut album Love & Nature, the band has immersed itself even deeper into the 1990s – the influence of the recently resurtgent seapunk esthetic is clearly apparent in the band’s new style. Mental Health Pt. 1 sounds a bit like Weezer and Chemical Brothers chased with a helping of Beck – and the deliciously huge chorus hooks the band is so fond of. Guardian described LCMDF as ”a delirious mix of electro, punk and pure pop.”

Lineup:

Emma Kemppainen (vocals)
Mia Kemppainen (guitars, vocals)

Releases:

Singles on e.g. Kitsune and Relentless, in addition to which the band releases songs actively online.
Debut album on the legendary British label Heavenly Records in 2011.
Biggest hits Ray-Ban Glasses (2008), Cool and Bored (2008/2011) and Future Me (2011).

If we had to pick three adjectives to describe the band, they would be…
…using their own word ”pop, millennium and self-help”. Nuorgam’s words: sprightly, skilled, humorous.

What record have the band members probably listened to the most in their lives?
Radio on the 1990s and compilations full of the kind of electro that gets the party started every time.

If a good fairy gave the band one wish it would be…
…to have Björk become their patron and protector, so the they could make art and music independently in the future, too. LCMDF would probably want a few wardrobe pointers from Björk, as well.

If the band were to go on the road to support a big star, it would tour with…
…with P!nk, since both specialize in catchy pop songs and mischievously fresh female energy, devoid of furrowed brows.

In two years…
...LCDMF will perform on medium-size stages of festivals ranging from Reading to Primavera and Roskilde, together with Robyn, Chromatics and Grimes – if there’s justice in the world, that is. The band also runs a multimedia art space/clothing store in Soho, London.

4. Eva & Manu – Musical Travellers

Video: Feet in the Water (Dir. Maximilien CM)

What is it?

This Fenno-French couple met in 2009 while studying at the Berklee College of Music in Boston. A year later they moved to France. The call of the road proved irresistible and soon they were ensconced in a van and driving around Europe. The couple set up a video blog called Travel in Music to document their tour. They published songs they’d written weekly and eventually the songs they wrote ended up on their debut album, released on Warner Music.

Why do we care?

Eva and Manu play soft, slightly jazzy folk music that should appeal to audiences on both sides of the Atlantic Ocean. Their values are solidly in the conscious middle class: earthy and politically green. They strived to neutralize the carbon footpring generated by their European tour and worked at organic farms in exchange for food and lodging. This kind of organic folk has a palce on our warming globe – and the duo’s mature songwriting is by no means an impediment to success.

Lineup:

Eva Louhivuori (vocals, piano, guitar)
Emmanuel ”Manu” Laudic (vocals, guitar)

Releases:

The band released its first songs on its Travel in Music video blog.

The duo’s eponymous debut was released on 17.8.2012 and went straight to number 1 on the Rumba magazine sales chart in Finland.

Their hit songs Feet in the Water was used their ads by US chain ModCloth.

If we had to pick three adjectives to describe the band, they would be…
…expansive, sensitive and strong.

 What record have the band members probably listened to the most in their lives?
Norah Jones and folk rock.

If a good fairy gave the band one wish it would be…
…access to an an emissionless tour bus they could tour the world in.

If the band were to go on the road to support a big star, it would tour with…
José Gonzáles, for there’s an obvious kinship – international Scandinavians playing arena-ready power folk.

In two years…
...the duo has made a big pile of dollars by getting one of their songs on Grey’s Anatomy, thus coming to the attention of Hollywood music consultants and ending up in numerous TV-shows, movies and advertisements.

See Also

Related reading