Band To Watch

Band To Watch: New Violators

New Violators don’t have an album out just yet, but the Norwegian quintet — sextet, if you count the phenomenal female back-up singer accompanying them last time out — should be a hit when they set foot on U.S. shores early next month. We’ve heard a number of their recordings, most in demo form, and have seen them live three times: They’re the only Norwegian band to truly knock ours socks off two festivals in a row. 120 Days, who?

Beyond straight-up great songwriting, vocalist/songwriter/frontman Per Borten packs more charisma than a dozen fledgling new wave crews, hearkening to a less rouged, Scandinavian Ziggy Stardust — macho, fey, theatrical, romantic, icily removed … and sporting boxy glasses. Despite his blonde pompadour, a crooning Morrissey voice, and the Violators’ stadium-sized chops, the day after a Trondheim gig a bemused UK journalist spent 3/4 of an article in the by:Larm festival newspaper analyzing Borten’s skin-tight pants, and the effects they had on local teenage population. Very Footloose, no?

Well, okay, the pants are skinny, but as even Sir Project Runway had to admit, the band’s also, well, equally tight: New Violators can echo the Hold Steady in their frantic, technically sick keyboards and Springsteen-style lighter-lifters, but also add a “Bizarre Love Triangle” or two and some
show-me-how-you-do-that-trick melancholia. Soulful Sixteen Candles swagger-pop?

Knowing we’re fans, the band gave us one mixed and one unmixed demo from their most recent recording session as well as an older version of “Burma” — all destined, in one way or another, for a future platter.

New Violators – “Angelina (demo)” (MP3)
New Violators – “Burma (demo)” (MP3)
New Violators – “Runaway” (MP3)


UPDATE: The band’s set to hit these shores! Brooklyn Vegan’s got the New Violators’ US tour dates. ( … buy us a coke!)