Discover the Best Danish Bands of 2016

However you may feel about this year, at least we can all agree that there’s been lots of great new Danish music released over the past 12 months. New bands and bands that are just hitting it big; Denmark’s got ’em in droves. With heavy references to 80s pop and folk music, these bands are crafting interesting, danceable tracks.

Here are the bands that got our hearts beating a little faster in 2016:

List Marker: Number 1Chinah

This female-led trio first wowed us with their potent mix of pop-infused R&B when the 2015 release of their first single “Away From Me” racked up 20K listens on Soundcloud in just a few days. Since these not-so humble beginnings, Chinah’s popularity has continued to grow as the band carved out a comfortable spot between the well-trodden roads of indie and mainstream. The smooth tones of vocalist Fine Glindvad’s combined with dreamy synth soundscapes make their EP the perfect bitter-sweet accompaniment to a year of mixed emotions.

Photo: Ursula Hessner Marcussen

Upcoming shows

– Thursday 23 March 2017: Kulisselageret, Horsens
– Friday 24 March 2017: VoxHall, Aarhus
– Wednesday 5 April 2017: Harders, Svendborg
– Wednesday 12 April 2017: Gimle, Roskilde
– Thursday 13 April 2017: Posten, Odense


List Marker: Number 2Marching Church

Born out of a side-project by Iceage frontman Elias Bender Rønnenfelt, Marching Church serves up a cacophony of noisy guitars and grainy vocals. The band – made up of members of the Danish punk elite Lower and Hand of Dust – released their melancholic album, Telling It Like It Is, in October of this year to great acclaim. And with frontman Elias already being compared to icons like Nick Cave, you’ll want to pay very close attention to what this minstrel and the rest of his rugged boy brigade do next.


Upcoming shows

– Wednesday 15 February, 2017: Aarhus, DK Tape
– Thursday 16 February 2017: Aalborg, DK Studenterhuset
– Friday 17 February 2017: KoncertKirken, Copenhagen (Frost Festival)
– Saturday 24 June – Saturday 1 July 2017: Roskilde Festival, DK


List Marker: Number 3Smerz

Copenhagen-based Norwegian duo Smerz have been captivating crowds in Scandinavia and further afield since 2015 with their hypnotising concoction of heavy production paired with soft vocals. The pair continued to steal hearts this year, performing at Distortion – Europe’s biggest street party – in June, followed by Roskilde later in the summer. Their club-ready hits “Because” and “Blessed” will undoubtedly get you up and sweaty on the dance floor!

Upcoming shows to be confirmed.


Photo: Sarah Riisager


List Marker: Number 4Jørck

Dream-pop duo Jørck wowed us in 2016 with their album Black Sun. Though this isn’t their first album, Jørck have come into their own this year. Black Sun is a moody dreamy soundscape with references to literature and art. Put on your best Stevie Nicks outfit and get ready to float.

Upcoming shows to be confirmed.


Photo + header image photo: Sonny Singh


List Marker: Number 5Liss

They released their critically acclaimed debut, Try , at the tail end of 2015, so 2016 was really their year. A mix of R’n’B, pop, electro and a good measure of Motown thrown in make this Liss a band you need to hear to understand. But once you hear them, they’ll be on repeat. Our feeling: these guys are going to be big.

Photo: Simon Birk

Upcoming shows

– Friday 9 June 2017 — Sunday 11 June 2017: NorthSide Festival, Aarhus


List Marker: Number 6Gents

Danish duo Gents are bringing back the art of the New Wave croon (think Joy Division). A mix of good beats and a voice to die for is ensuring that Gents are at the forefront of Denmark’s moody pop resurgence.


Photo: Ivan Riordan Boll

Upcoming shows to be confirmed.


List Marker: Number 7IRAH

An ethereal Kate Bush-like voice and lush pop orchestration sets IRAH apart from others on the list. For a great pop song you can dance or make-out to (or both! Do both.), check out “Fast Travelling.”

Photo: Mie Brinkmann

Upcoming shows

– Thursday 29 December 2016: Studenterhus Odense
– Friday 6 January 2017: P6 BEAT Rocker Koncerthuset 2017, Copenhagen
– Wednesday 22 February 2017: Fasangården, Copenhagen (Frost Festival)


List Marker: Number 8Phlake

Having existed for just over a year, Phlake has already provoked phenomenal attention in Denmark, claiming five Danish Music Awards and garnering crowds of 20,000 at Roskilde and SMUKfest. The band’s infectious mix of pop and R&B makes for ideal guilty listening. The Danish duo, Jonathan Elkær and Mads Bo who hail from Albertslund, released their debut album, Slush Hours, this year with singles “Pregnant” and “Angel Zoo” becoming immediate hits online.


Upcoming shows

– Friday 10 February 2017: Horsens Ny Teater, Horsens, Denmark
– Saturday 11 February 2017: Gimle, Roskilde, Denmark
– Friday 17 February 2017: Train, Aarhus, Denmark
– Thursday 23 February 2017: Store Vega, Vega Musikkens Hus, Copenhagen,
– Saturday 4 March 2017: Magasinet, Odense, Denmark


List Marker: Number 9Alex Vargas

One of the biggest new names right now on the Danish music scene, Alex Vargas’s soulful power vocals hit right at the core. Combined with heartfelt lyrics and pulsing with emotion, his EP Giving Up The Ghost will leave you quivering in the corner in the best possible way.


Upcoming shows

– Monday 3 April 2017: Musikhuset Aarhus, Århus C
– Tuesday 4 April 2017: Musikkens Hus, Musikkens Plads 1, Aalborg
– Wednesday 5 April 2017: DR Koncerthuset, København S



For a dose of folk rock that’ll remind you of beloved Danish singer/songwriter C.V. Jørgensen, check out Bisse (he also sings in Danish). This is slow-living, poetic music that gradually builds – a lazy Sunday and a cup of coffee in song form.


Upcoming shows



Velvet Volume

This all-female trio hailing from Aarhus are making sure rock’n’roll gets cool again with their hard-hitting guitars, raw sound and Debbie Harry-meets-the-Strokes vibe. The three Lachmi-sisters – twins Noah and Naomi and younger sister Nataja – had a big year, adding NorthSide and Trailerpark to their roster of festivals, an impressive feat for a band whose average age is 18. While Velvet Volume have been busy smashing rock stereotypes, we’ve been busy listening to their phenomenal cover of “Baby One More Time” – to be missed at your peril!

Photo: Philip Høpner

Upcoming shows to be confirmed.

Missed one of your new favourite Danish bands? Let us know in the comments!

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Anna Clarke

Anna Clarke is a writer and editor originally from London. She’s currently living out her Scandinavian dream here in Copenhagen.