Tag Archives: Jenny Hval

Album of the Day: Jenny Hval, “The Long Sleep”

At the 2:20 mark of The Long Sleep’s opening track, “Spells,” Jenny Hval’s voice rises from an otherwise calm, steady jazz-pop base. The simple swing of the music recalls Kaputt-era Destroyer or David Bowie’s “Absolute Beginners.” “You will not be awake for long / You won’t have to wait for long,” sings Hval, initiating a subtle yet anthemic refrain that repeats throughout the track, sometimes mutating with respect to pronoun (“you” vs. “we”) and whether her voice is single or multi-tracked. Like “Absolute Beginners,” “Spells” ends up feeling both triumphant and intimate, both timeless and, in its rhythmic consistency, endless. Hval doubles this sense of endlessness, too, by having her refrain pour over into the second song of the EP. There, her now-familiar vocal line serves as a hinge between two distinct compositional segments (a sparse piano ballad and a jittering mass of vocals), facilitating a conversation between them. Continue reading

The Best Albums of 2016: #20 – 1

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Collage by Valentina Montagna.

If there’s one thing we learned since we launched Bandcamp Daily this past June, it’s that the world of Bandcamp is enormous—encompassing everything from emo in China to cumbia punk in Tucson, Arizona to just about everything in between. So narrowing our Best Albums of the Year down to 100 choices was a daunting task. Here, at last, are our Top 20 Albums of 2016.

More “Best of 2016”:
The Best Albums of 2016: #100 – 81
The Best Albums of 2016: #80 – 61
The Best Albums of 2016: #60 – 41
The Best Albums of 2016: #40 – 21

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Jenny Hval, Daughter of Darkness

Jenny Hval
Jenny Hval. Photo by Edwina Hay for Bandcamp.

Jenny Hval came of age just after her native Norway’s black metal movement, with its dark occult affinities, started gaining notoriety. Her first band was a goth-metal outfit named Shellyz Raven. So it’s not too surprising that her new solo album, Blood Bitch, is populated by vampires. Early in our conversation, Hval asks me if I’ve ever met a vampire. When I ask her the same question, she replies, “There are definitely some people I’ve met, especially in my goth past, who I think wanted to be vampires so much that who knows where they ended up?”

There’s an audible smile in Hval’s voice when she recalls her early musical adventures. “My first band was called Shellyz Raven,” she says, “spelled with a ‘zed.’ I joined the band later, so I had no say in the name. Everybody in the band was obsessed with that movie The Crow. But we couldn’t call the band Shelleyz Crow, because that would be too much like Sheryl Crow. So we had a problem. We solved it by going with ‘Raven.’”

Hval describes her time in the goth scene as, “Some of the happiest memories from my youth. For me, that scene was very magical. It was problematic, too, because it was so old-fashioned. Everybody was reading H.P. Lovecraft and wanting to look Victorian, which was crazy. But it was okay [in that scene] not to fit in. I came of age slightly too late for the really exciting part of the black metal scene—that was Norway’s punk scene in the beginning, before it got commercial. It was a dangerous scene. It was also, unfortunately, very, very male. But it had youth power. So there was still some of that energy left when I was in my teens.”

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