By: Peter Gaston
Bergen, Norway is a completely quaint European hamlet, a seaside city of 235,000 inhabitants that’s been called “the gateway to Norway’s fjords.” There’s a stone castle right on the harbor, a bustling fish market, and a neat little trolley that takes tourists straight up the side of a steep cliff overlooking the city. It rains. A lot. It’s somewhere between the laid back cosmopolitan vibe of San Francisco and the coffeehouse charm of Seattle. But this one particular town also has an unreal musical pedigree, particularly in recent years: Kings of Convenience, Royksopp, Sondre Lerche, and Annie make their homes in Bergen, and so does Even Johansen, who records as Magnet.
Johansen’s musical handle comes from a rather unique tale: To cure his childhood anemia, a shaman-like doctor gave him a tattoo of a magnet (obviously, to provide the iron his blood was sorely missing). The ink may have cured his disease, but it didn’t leave any steely traces in the music Johansen’s made as an adult. His new full-length, The Tourniquet, is warm and lush, filled with jazzy drum fills and dubbed out rhythms. It’s dreamy, Sunday brunch trip-pop on “All You Ask,” and on “Deadlock,” Johansen’s vocals waft over acoustic guitars and a subtly surging synth wash. And with a voice that’s part Damien Rice’s sparse, gentle whimper, and part Rufus Wainwright’s lithe croon, Johansen wouldn’t sound at all out of place on a well-intentioned Valentine’s Day mix CD.
Johansen has several tour dates coming up, as well as an appearance at South by Southwest in March. The Tourniquet is out tomorrow via Filter U.S.
Magnet tour dates:
2/22, Boston, MA (Paradise) * 2/23, Philadelphia, PA (Beyond) * 2/24, Washington DC (Black Cat) * 2/25, New York, NY (Webster Hall) * 2/27, Kingston, ONT (AJ’s Hanger) * 2/28, Waterloo, ONT (Starlight Room)3/1, Toronto, ONT (Docks Theater) * 3/2, Toronto, ONT (Comfort Zone)3/7, Los Angeles, CA (Troubadour) + 3/8, San Francisco, CA (Cafï¿½ Du Nord) + 3/9, Seattle, WA (Triple Door) + 3/14, Los Angeles, CA (Hotel Cafï¿½)3/21, New York, NY (The Living Room)* – with Stars + – with Isobel Campbell