Bella Union announce 2022 SXSW Showcase

Bella Union announce SXSW showcase to kick off its 25th Anniversary celebrations!

2022 is a big year for Bella Union records as the label celebrates its 25th Anniversary. We have a number of special events being lined up taking place throughout the year, more news of which will be announced soon, but to kick off the celebrations the label is heading to Austin, Texas for a showcase at this year’s SXSW festival. Thursday 17th March will see Bella Union play host to a superb line-up of acts at Mohawk on Red River Street, with performances both inside and outside the venue. Acts performing include the likes of Midlake, Ezra Furman, White Denim, Penelope Isles, Pom Poko, Ural Thomas & The Pain, Tallies and many more. The flyer below has the full info and stage times…

Commenting on Bella Union’s 25th anniversary label founder Simon Raymonde says: “I could never in my wildest dreams have imagined that we would be working with artists like John Grant and Dirty Three for over 22 years, with Midlake since 2004, Beach House and Father John Misty for all of their albums, The Flaming Lips for 10 years, Fleet Foxes for their globally acclaimed and double-platinum selling debut and the follow up Helplessness Blues, watching Ezra Furman become one of the most important writers of her generation, and having a perfect gender split of 50-50 across the roster. This just happened, without a plan, or strategy. It is a miracle we made it, but gives us such strength to keep pushing the boundaries and the envelope and to show bravery and never be afraid to take a risk. Our pride is also in continuing to develop the new bands we discover before their debuts, for them to develop into the household names of the future. They are too numerous to mention but they know how much we value them.”

“Having been going to Austin for SXSW pretty much every year since we started back in 1997 it feels appropriate to be hosting our biggest and most significant label showcase in this our 25th year. With 83 year old Ural Thomas kicking off the celebrations with his incredible live band The Pain in tow, we have Brighton-based Penelope Isles playing their first USA show in support of their new LP since just before the pandemic hit, Pom Poko playing their first-EVER show in the USA, Midlake returning on the eve of the release of their new album, Austin-legends White Denim bringing the evening close to a crescendo before our headliner Ezra Furman will close out this special night with a set that will have you walking home to bed at 2am with your senses fully activated! She is a star and by the end of the night you will know it.”

Happy Release Day Pom Poko

Having released their album Cheater a year ago to much acclaim, and soon to arrive in the UK for a bunch of live shows, Norway’s Pom Poko today release another brilliant 4-track EP titled This Is Our House. Of the EP the band say: “This EP is both an afterthought and a peek into the future for us. We are combining new recordings of old songs, old recordings of old songs and new recordings of new songs on it, and it’s kind of a demonstration of all the different identities we feel that Pom Poko can have; hammering fuzz-rock grooves, soft and yearning melodies and deconstructed noisy explorations.”

“The band’s pop-punk sound veers between the grunginess of The Breeders, through jumpy math-rock into Devo-esque weirdness… If you’re in the mood for eccentric eclecticism it’s excellent.” Sunday Times

“Pom Poko are a band who make every few seconds feel like a cliffhanger… ‘Cheater’ is one hell of a trip with a rare band who are singularly themselves. No-one else could do what Pom Poko do.” NME – 4 Stars ****

“Here’s a riotous blast of an album to cheer you up… There is a bit of Pixies’ old ‘loud-quiet, ugly-beautiful’ vibe to keep listeners on their toes.” The Sun – 4 stars ****

“the gleeful abandon of the second album from Norway’s Pomo Poko takes them to more angular, harder-hitting places than their debut… embracing the contrast between frenetic delivery and songs with sweet melodies… With the frequently assaultive Cheater, Pomo Poko have revealed their unfettered selves.” MOJO

 “Over the course of 10 seat-of-the-pants tracks, Pom Poko make a gleeful racket full of catchy, turn-it-up-loud brilliance… A fun, breathlessly exciting record.” HiFi Choice – 4 stars ****

“A glorious mix of frantic and fun… Pom Poko are one of those acts that are a joy to witness live and with Cheater they have managed to harness that energy.” The Line Of Best Fit – 8/10

Pom Poko’s music has an explosive sweetness… Cheater is filled with such unexpected dopamine spikes, the detailed guitar work fitting somewhere between St. Vincent’s Annie Clark and the Pixies’ Joey Santiago.” Bandcamp

Cheater manages to balance fuzzy production logic with heartfelt, cheery pop hooks.” Backseat Mafia – 9/10

Cheater finds Pom Poko stretching and redefining their own unique blend of mangled aesthetics and creating a ruptured post-punk-pop world that’ll leave you staggered and anxious for just one more song.” Beats Per Minute – 8/10

Pom Poko announce “This Is Our House”

Having released their album Cheater a year ago to much acclaim, and soon to arrive in the UK for a bunch of live shows, Norway’s Pom Poko today announce news of a brilliant new 4-track EP This Is Our House released 28th January via Bella Union. Of the EP the band say: “This EP is both an afterthought and a peek into the future for us. We are combining new recordings of old songs, old recordings of old songs and new recordings of new songs on it, and it’s kind of a demonstration of all the different identities we feel that Pom Poko can have; hammering fuzz-rock grooves, soft and yearning melodies and deconstructed noisy explorations.” Pom Poko have shared the EP’s opening track “Enduro Corner” which you can here below…

On the track the band say: “This is a song we recorded and finished in Italy, when we were there quite a while ago. We were working very hard, lots of hours every day, and watching movies almost every night. We watched a movie called Free Solo, about a guy climbing a huge mountain without any ropes, and Enduro Corner was the name of a part of the route he was climbing. This is quite a soft and mellow song for us, but we tried to shape it in an interesting way without it becoming too soft and without ruining the nice nerve we thought we had created.”

“The band’s pop-punk sound veers between the grunginess of The Breeders, through jumpy math-rock into Devo-esque weirdness… If you’re in the mood for eccentric eclecticism it’s excellent.” Sunday Times

“Pom Poko are a band who make every few seconds feel like a cliffhanger… ‘Cheater’ is one hell of a trip with a rare band who are singularly themselves. No-one else could do what Pom Poko do.” NME – 4 Stars ****

“Here’s a riotous blast of an album to cheer you up… There is a bit of Pixies’ old ‘loud-quiet, ugly-beautiful’ vibe to keep listeners on their toes.” The Sun – 4 stars ****

“the gleeful abandon of the second album from Norway’s Pomo Poko takes them to more angular, harder-hitting places than their debut… embracing the contrast between frenetic delivery and songs with sweet melodies… With the frequently assaultive Cheater, Pomo Poko have revealed their unfettered selves.” MOJO

 “Over the course of 10 seat-of-the-pants tracks, Pom Poko make a gleeful racket full of catchy, turn-it-up-loud brilliance… A fun, breathlessly exciting record.” HiFi Choice – 4 stars ****

“A glorious mix of frantic and fun… Pom Poko are one of those acts that are a joy to witness live and with Cheater they have managed to harness that energy.” The Line Of Best Fit – 8/10

Pom Poko’s music has an explosive sweetness… Cheater is filled with such unexpected dopamine spikes, the detailed guitar work fitting somewhere between St. Vincent’s Annie Clark and the Pixies’ Joey Santiago.” Bandcamp

Cheater manages to balance fuzzy production logic with heartfelt, cheery pop hooks.” Backseat Mafia – 9/10

Cheater finds Pom Poko stretching and redefining their own unique blend of mangled aesthetics and creating a ruptured post-punk-pop world that’ll leave you staggered and anxious for just one more song.” Beats Per Minute – 8/10

Happy Release Day Pom Poko

“If you have a vacancy for Favourite New Band, Pom Poko would like to apply for the role,” tweeted Tim Burgess in April last year, as Norway’s finest punk-pop anti-conformists revisited their joyous debut album, Birthday, for one of Tim’s mood-lifting Twitter listening parties. Pom Poko pimp their CV on all fronts with their glorious second album, Cheater, out early today. Between the quartet’s sweet melodies, galvanic punky ructions and wild-at-art-rock eruptions, Cheater is the sound of a band celebrating the binding extremes that make them so uniquely qualified to thrill: and, like Tim’s listening party, to fulfil any need you might have for a pick-you-up. 

As singer Ragnhild Fangel explains of the leap from Birthday to Cheater, “I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording, but also let ourselves explore the less frantic parts of the Pom Poko universe. I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.” 

Both sonically and thematically, that sense of amplification asserts itself right off the bat with the tearaway title-track. Bursting into life on the back of a blast of fractious guitar noise, a thrashing riff and a sweetly sardonic vocal, “Cheater” laces its serotonin rush with tangy lyrics about dreams and, says Ragnhild, the kind of “cheating kid who doesn’t understand why they didn’t get things exactly like they wanted on their first try”: thematic motifs that reverberate throughout the album. 

From here, Pom Poko court their extremes with firecracker confidence. Its lilting melody laced with a critique of gender stereotypes and set to a Breeders-style lurch, “Like A Lady” is sharp and catchy. First single “Andrew” upholds a facility for simplicity in one of Pom Poko’s loveliest choruses, though a band such as this will never settle for the obvious: Martin Miguel Tonne’s jazzy guitars seem to do everything except what you expect them to.  

Further evidence arrives in the contrast between the thrilling, think-on-its-feet thrash-pop of “My Candidacy” – made in less than three hours – and the mellifluous “Danger Baby”, a tale of irrational fears with Ragnhild’s vocal and Martin’s guitar merged in unexpected union. That love for surprise synchronicities, slanted sounds and unexpected subject matter propels “Andy Go to School”, where a tempo-tweaked guitar line accompanies a lyric extolling the pleasures of water parks and a free-flowing sonic palette. “Towards the end one of the guitar pedals made a huge BZZZ sound in a pause, but we thought it was cool and raw so we just rolled with it,” says Ragnhild. “We like to mix the feeling of a surgically produced piece of music with the random sounds that also happen when you are a band playing together.” 

After its opening, almost Bolan-esque belches of guitar, “Look” extends that spirit of openness to an invitation to look outside of one’s self, before “Body Level” ends the album on a characteristically generous, unguarded – amplified – note of positivity. “Things get better,” sings Fangel, embracing directness with the same readiness as Pom Poko exult in giddy intricacy. 

The sound of four distinct personalities driving in divergent directions towards one destination, the result is an evolved snapshot of the bracingly contrary chemistry forged when Fangel, Tonne, Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) united to play punk during a jazz gig at a literature festival in Trondheim (the band-members studied jazz there.)Taking their name and spirit from Japanese animation visionaries Studio Ghibli’s marvellously out-there film about raccoon-dog rebels with unfeasibly large testicles, Pom Poko showcased that convulsive individuality to exuberant effect on 2019’s Birthday. Along the way, they drew praise from NME, DIY, PopMatters, The Line Of Best Fit, The Independent and BBC Radio 6 Music, while going on to be nominated for two Norwegian Grammy Awards (Spellemannprisen) and The Nordic Music Prize. Meanwhile, a huge touring schedule included countless sold-out headline shows and a rapturously received UK jaunt with Ezra Furman. 

Written in the same run that produced interim releases “Leg Day” (with its playful dance-based video) and “Praise”, and recorded/produced in cooperation with Marcus Forsgren (Jaga Jazzist, Broen, Arc Iris), Cheater does its predecessor proud on every front. Bursting with colour and wonky life from its cover art (by close collaborator Erlend Peder Kvam) outwards, it differs from Birthday primarily in that its songs did not have a chance to be road-tested before going into the studio. But you wouldn’t know it. As Ragnhild explains, “That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time.”  

In other words, consider that vacancy for free-thinking punk-pop adventurism in your life filled. Right, Tim? 

Pom Poko announce 2021 tour

With their new album Cheater due for release 15th January via Bella Union, which includes the tracks ‘Andrew’‘My Candidacy’ and ‘Like A Lady’, Pom Poko have announced news of an extensive UK and European tour for September and October 2021. The tour includes their biggest London headline show to date with a performance at Village Underground.

“If you have a vacancy for Favourite New Band, Pom Poko would like to apply for the role,” tweeted Tim Burgess in April last year, as Norway’s finest punk-pop anti-conformists revisited their joyous debut album, Birthday, for one of Tim’s mood-lifting Twitter listening parties. Pom Poko pimp their CV on all fronts with their glorious second album, Cheater, out early 2021. Between the quartet’s sweet melodies, galvanic punky ructions and wild-at-art-rock eruptions, Cheater is the sound of a band celebrating the binding extremes that make them so uniquely qualified to thrill: and, like Tim’s listening party, to fulfil any need you might have for a pick-you-up. 

As singer Ragnhild Fangel explains of the leap from Birthday to Cheater, “I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording, but also let ourselves explore the less frantic parts of the Pom Poko universe. I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.” 

Both sonically and thematically, that sense of amplification asserts itself right off the bat with the tearaway title-track. Bursting into life on the back of a blast of fractious guitar noise, a thrashing riff and a sweetly sardonic vocal, “Cheater” laces its serotonin rush with tangy lyrics about dreams and, says Ragnhild, the kind of “cheating kid who doesn’t understand why they didn’t get things exactly like they wanted on their first try”: thematic motifs that reverberate throughout the album. 

From here, Pom Poko court their extremes with firecracker confidence. Its lilting melody laced with a critique of gender stereotypes and set to a Breeders-style lurch, “Like A Lady” is sharp and catchy. First single “Andrew” upholds a facility for simplicity in one of Pom Poko’s loveliest choruses, though a band such as this will never settle for the obvious: Martin Miguel Tonne’s jazzy guitars seem to do everything except what you expect them to.  

Further evidence arrives in the contrast between the thrilling, think-on-its-feet thrash-pop of “My Candidacy” – made in less than three hours – and the mellifluous “Danger Baby”, a tale of irrational fears with Ragnhild’s vocal and Martin’s guitar merged in unexpected union. That love for surprise synchronicities, slanted sounds and unexpected subject matter propels “Andy Go to School”, where a tempo-tweaked guitar line accompanies a lyric extolling the pleasures of water parks and a free-flowing sonic palette. “Towards the end one of the guitar pedals made a huge BZZZ sound in a pause, but we thought it was cool and raw so we just rolled with it,” says Ragnhild. “We like to mix the feeling of a surgically produced piece of music with the random sounds that also happen when you are a band playing together.” 

After its opening, almost Bolan-esque belches of guitar, “Look” extends that spirit of openness to an invitation to look outside of one’s self, before “Body Level” ends the album on a characteristically generous, unguarded – amplified – note of positivity. “Things get better,” sings Fangel, embracing directness with the same readiness as Pom Poko exult in giddy intricacy. 

The sound of four distinct personalities driving in divergent directions towards one destination, the result is an evolved snapshot of the bracingly contrary chemistry forged when Fangel, Tonne, Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) united to play punk during a jazz gig at a literature festival in Trondheim (the band-members studied jazz there.)Taking their name and spirit from Japanese animation visionaries Studio Ghibli’s marvellously out-there film about raccoon-dog rebels with unfeasibly large testicles, Pom Poko showcased that convulsive individuality to exuberant effect on 2019’s Birthday. Along the way, they drew praise from NME, DIY, PopMatters, The Line Of Best Fit, The Independent and BBC Radio 6 Music, while going on to be nominated for two Norwegian Grammy Awards (Spellemannprisen) and The Nordic Music Prize. Meanwhile, a huge touring schedule included countless sold-out headline shows and a rapturously received UK jaunt with Ezra Furman. 

Written in the same run that produced interim releases “Leg Day” (with its playful dance-based video) and “Praise”, and recorded/produced in cooperation with Marcus Forsgren (Jaga Jazzist, Broen, Arc Iris), Cheater does its predecessor proud on every front. Bursting with colour and wonky life from its cover art (by close collaborator Erlend Peder Kvam) outwards, it differs from Birthday primarily in that its songs did not have a chance to be road-tested before going into the studio. But you wouldn’t know it. As Ragnhild explains, “That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time.”  

In other words, consider that vacancy for free-thinking punk-pop adventurism in your life filled. Right, Tim? 

Pom Poko debut ‘Like A Lady’

With their new album Cheater due for release 15th January via Bella Union, and having previously shared the tracks ‘Andrew’ and ‘My Candidacy’, today Pom Poko share an entertaining video for new single “Like A Lady”. Of the track the band say: “Like A Lady was one of the first songs we wrote for the album – we started writing it in a cabin near Oslo and finished it in Piemonte in Italy, where we also started recording it. The whole song actually started with a long, jam-like sort of noise-rock intro, but when it was time to record it our friend/engineer/co-producer Marcus Forsgren suggested more of a Breeders/grungy intro that we just went with on the fly. The lyrics for the song slowly grew out from just jamming together, and are about what makes, or what one thinks makes, a woman, what even being a woman means, and it’s also a kind of tribute to all the different ways of being a woman that are out there. 

“If you have a vacancy for Favourite New Band, Pom Poko would like to apply for the role,” tweeted Tim Burgess in April, as Norway’s finest punk-pop anti-conformists revisited their joyous debut album, Birthday, for one of Tim’s mood-lifting Twitter listening parties. Pom Poko pimp their CV on all fronts with their glorious second album, Cheater, out early 2021. Between the quartet’s sweet melodies, galvanic punky ructions and wild-at-art-rock eruptions, Cheater is the sound of a band celebrating the binding extremes that make them so uniquely qualified to thrill: and, like Tim’s listening party, to fulfil any need you might have for a pick-you-up. 

As singer Ragnhild Fangel explains of the leap from Birthday to Cheater, “I think it’s very accurate to say that we wanted to embrace our extremes a bit more. In the production process I think we aimed more for some sort of contrast between the meticulously written and arranged songs and a more chaotic execution and recording, but also let ourselves explore the less frantic parts of the Pom Poko universe. I think both in the more extreme and painful way, and in the sweet and lovely way, this album is kind of amplified.” 

Both sonically and thematically, that sense of amplification asserts itself right off the bat with the tearaway title-track. Bursting into life on the back of a blast of fractious guitar noise, a thrashing riff and a sweetly sardonic vocal, “Cheater” laces its serotonin rush with tangy lyrics about dreams and, says Ragnhild, the kind of “cheating kid who doesn’t understand why they didn’t get things exactly like they wanted on their first try”: thematic motifs that reverberate throughout the album. 

From here, Pom Poko court their extremes with firecracker confidence. Its lilting melody laced with a critique of gender stereotypes and set to a Breeders-style lurch, “Like A Lady” is sharp and catchy. First single “Andrew” upholds a facility for simplicity in one of Pom Poko’s loveliest choruses, though a band such as this will never settle for the obvious: Martin Miguel Tonne’s jazzy guitars seem to do everything except what you expect them to.  

Further evidence arrives in the contrast between the thrilling, think-on-its-feet thrash-pop of “My Candidacy” – made in less than three hours – and the mellifluous “Danger Baby”, a tale of irrational fears with Ragnhild’s vocal and Martin’s guitar merged in unexpected union. That love for surprise synchronicities, slanted sounds and unexpected subject matter propels “Andy Go to School”, where a tempo-tweaked guitar line accompanies a lyric extolling the pleasures of water parks and a free-flowing sonic palette. “Towards the end one of the guitar pedals made a huge BZZZ sound in a pause, but we thought it was cool and raw so we just rolled with it,” says Ragnhild. “We like to mix the feeling of a surgically produced piece of music with the random sounds that also happen when you are a band playing together.” 

After its opening, almost Bolan-esque belches of guitar, “Look” extends that spirit of openness to an invitation to look outside of one’s self, before “Body Level” ends the album on a characteristically generous, unguarded – amplified – note of positivity. “Things get better,” sings Fangel, embracing directness with the same readiness as Pom Poko exult in giddy intricacy. 

The sound of four distinct personalities driving in divergent directions towards one destination, the result is an evolved snapshot of the bracingly contrary chemistry forged when Fangel, Tonne, Jonas Krøvel (bass) and Ola Djupvik (drums) united to play punk during a jazz gig at a literature festival in Trondheim (the band-members studied jazz there.)Taking their name and spirit from Japanese animation visionaries Studio Ghibli’s marvellously out-there film about raccoon-dog rebels with unfeasibly large testicles, Pom Poko showcased that convulsive individuality to exuberant effect on 2019’s Birthday. Along the way, they drew praise from NME, DIY, PopMatters, The Line Of Best Fit, The Independent and BBC Radio 6 Music, while going on to be nominated for two Norwegian Grammy Awards (Spellemannprisen) and The Nordic Music Prize. Meanwhile, a huge touring schedule included countless sold-out headline shows and a rapturously received UK jaunt with Ezra Furman. 

Written in the same run that produced interim releases “Leg Day” (with its playful dance-based video) and “Praise”, and recorded/produced in cooperation with Marcus Forsgren (Jaga Jazzist, Broen, Arc Iris), Cheater does its predecessor proud on every front. Bursting with colour and wonky life from its cover art (by close collaborator Erlend Peder Kvam) outwards, it differs from Birthday primarily in that its songs did not have a chance to be road-tested before going into the studio. But you wouldn’t know it. As Ragnhild explains, “That meant we had to practice the songs in a more serious way, but it also meant the songs had more potential to change when we recorded them since we didn’t have such a clear image of what each song should/could be as the last time.”  

In other words, consider that vacancy for free-thinking punk-pop adventurism in your life filled. Right, Tim?