Mare Smythii -
Luna Kafé - Full Moon 15 - 01/12/98
The Best Bands on
Last year I made progression on learning the alphabet. I took a giant
step further, and landed on B. B as in Beatles, Beach Boys, and Byrds. Or
B as in Bache Gabrielsen X. O., Bowmore Legend Single Malt, or
Ballantine's Gold Seal. Top shelf goodies. Here's a brief list of my
choices from the melodic B's from the year we left behind (without any
Blur: Blur (Food/EMI)
1997 was the year I stopped
hating Blur. Well, I haven't really been hating them, but some of their
songs over the years have been so annoying. Until Blur came.
Whoa-hoo!! Song 2 is my personal party-tune of the year. 2 minutes
of sheer aggro-joy, promoted by a cool video! (Along with Radiohead Blur
make the better ones in England.) It made me buy their album, which is
very good all the way. Damon Albarn and his friends have matured and grown
(and listened a lot to Beck). And the "war" with that other "Brit-pop"
band (starring the moron brothers) is over. Blur won a tactical victory.
Some other favourites: Beetlebum and Death Of A Party.
Built To Spill: Perfect From Now On (City Slang)
Martsch is king! His band Built To Spill (from Idaho, USA) have been
around for a few years. I bought their 2nd album (There's Nothing Wrong
With Love) a couple of years ago, and was charmed immediatly by these
"Pavement-relatives". They've become a little less lo-fi, but have kept
their charm and ability to write brilliant pop-songs on the alternative
side. Better production this time, and their songs are longer and more
comprehensive. And, they are deeply in love with moogs and mellotrons.
Tracks to check out: Randy Describes Eternity, I Would Hurt A
Fly, and many others. To good to be spilled.
Beatnik Filmstars: In Hospitalable (Merge)
creative quintet from Bristol, UK, presenting chaotic and twisted
lo-fi-pop, maybe a bit like the anarchistic style freak-pop Mark E.
Smith and his Fall sometimes have been doing. Or maybe not. This is
their 8th(!?) album, and it's an exciting album. Check out the fab.
song Wrong, with one of the simplest, but most perfect guitar-solos
ever played. Lots of strange sounds and funny noises. Pop-carpenter Ric
Menck (Velvet Crush plus others) do guest-vox on one of the songs. This
records grows a lot each time I listen to it. In the end it'll be enormous.
And it's highly effective with its short songs. Highlites: Artist v.
Star, Buffalo Bill Haircut, Now I'm A Millionaire,
and 0, Minus 16, Minus 3, 0.
Ben Folds Five: Whatever And Ever Amen (550 Music/Sony)
Fun! is a key-word when describing this peculiar American (Chapel Hill,
NC) trio. If life is hard, just put on the beautiful and entertaining
music of the Five. Piano magic by Ben Folds. Plus bass and drums by
Darren Jesse and Rob Sledge, and some additional instruments. Simple,
touching, and happy compositions, ready to make you forget all sad and
evil things just like that: Snap! Hilarious and most elegantly performed.
A colorful cabaret. Some highlites: Fair, Song For
The Dumped, Smoke, and Battle Of Who Could Care Less.
Get their debut album (Ben Folds Five, a surprising break-through
in 1996) as well.
bob hund: Ett Fall & En Lösning (Silence)
Woah!! Is bob
hund the smartest Swedish band there is? This 4 1/2 track EP is
definitly a killer, and it blew me away. Being an old fan of the
legendary American group Pere Ubu, I almost got tears in my eyes
(well, to be honest I did, and it was good too!) when hearing
the title track, which is a superb adaption of Pere Ubu's classic
Final Solution, one of the greatest rock songs ever
written, a dark and angst-ridden tale of despair and discomfort.
It's not that far away from the original, but the Swedish translation
is astonishing! bob hund (named after a dog cartoon, "hund" means dog)
is a 6-piece band from Solna, Sweden. They have released 2 albums,
sings in the very special Skåne-dialect (guess you have to be Scandinavian
to understand this), and writes smart and bouncy pop-rock, with excellent
lyrics. Hey, Sweden, we're brothers, remember?
Pat Boone: In A Metal Mood (Universal)
After being a devoted fan for
many, many years, I was amazed when I heard this ................ ha-ha-ha.
Joking! (Hey, Mr.Clinton, please, please get this man locked away.
Immediatly. I say: life sentence, plus 50 years. And that's a minimum!!)
Copyright © 1997 Håvard Oppøyen