Guardian presents the music scene that has merged from Nordic culture and traditions, via dark and ambient folk, played on ancient string and horn instruments, as well as animal hide drums. Some of the musicians are Heilung who play with human bones, Wardruna who chose burial mounds to record their music, a Danish lady Myrkur who turned from black-metal to Danish sagas.

Danish musician Amalie Bruun chose Myrkur (Icelandic for "darkness") as her stage name, and the color persists on her new album 'Folkesange' where she reworked traditional Scandinavian songs. It's "modern versions" of songs played, all by her, on mandolas, lyres and a nyckelharpa, resulting in "dense, intense folk".

King Princess

'Ohio' is a live favourite by King Princess; Moon Destroys have Mastodon's Troy Sanders on their psychedelic new song 'Blue Giant'; Myrkur go for strange, albeit easy-listening mix of Nordic folk and dream pop on 'Leaves od Yggdrasil'; Bay Area rapper The Jacka was killed in a 2015 shooting at 37 years old, and 'Can't Go Home' is his collaboration with Freddie Gibbs, coming out on his first posthumous album; Johanna Warren goes for simple and pretty on 'Bed of Nails'; Justin Bieber released a nice song 'Intentions' with a great message; The Strokes are back, drumless, with 'At the Door'; Poet laureate Simon Armitage launched a band LYR, mixing poetry, jazz and post-rock; Napalm Death released their first new songs in four years - an original 'Logic Ravaged by Brute Force' and a Sonic Youth cover 'White Cross'; I Break Horses go spacey psychedelia on 'I'll Be the Death of You'; Figazi people have a new band Coriky, much more laid down on 'Clean Kill'; Nigerian guitarist Mdou Moctar follows his last year's great 'Ilana' with a song 'Ibitlan', equally groovy and rich; Caroline Rose wrote 'Freak Like Me' because "I’ve always wanted to write a pretty song with the word ‘vomit’ in it"; Drain play just some straight punk-metal from California on 'Sick One'. Listening to all of these takes an hour or so, take that time, it's worth it!


Plenty of good new songs this week - Nadia Reid has released a delicate and atmospheric new record, Drive-By Truckers sing about how thoughts and prayers aren't enough to deal with mass-shootings, emo-core veterans Alexisonfire are reunited and going atmospheric, LA beatmaker TOKiMONSTA gets help from EarthGang on her highly psychedelic song, Ultraista is a band made up of members of Atoms For Peace + vocalist Laura Bettinson, they released a dancey new song, dark-folk singer Myrkur goes theatrical on her new record, modern jazz meets electronica on Wacław Zimpel's new song...