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It's a label showdown!
Metronomicon Audio vs. Jester Records - Round 34
coverpic coverpic Truls And The Trees: Ailanthus
  (2007 Metronomicon Audio: MEAU.0034.CD)
vs.
Kåre João: 2
  (2005 Jester Records TRICK-034)

Welcome to round 34 in the label showdown series between Metronomicon Audio and Jester Records! Since we've more or less totally missed out on reviewing the output of these two great labels, we are going through their entire catalogues, matching the releases from each label consecutively against each other. Humorously counting goalsIt's a GOAL! and giving out yellowOooops, a yellow card! and redOooops, a red card! cards, soccer style - but first of all reviewing the music. For more introductory information on this label match, see round 1.

Match preview
The Ailanthus CD is presented in a double fold-out cardboard package with a poster of Truls in a scout uniform.
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The Kåre João release comes in a CD jewel case with a booklet with art & info.
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The match

Truls is Truls Heggero from Lukestar. The Trees are Henrik Kamphus (drums), Rudi Simmons (bass), Stian Brennskag (accordion, vocals), Vegard Syrstad (synth), Fridtjof A. Lindeman (shaker, tambourine), Helene Johansen (vocals), and Dag Stiberg (saxophone). Including from the Metronomicon gang: Magnus Moriarty™ (violin, drums, synth), Marius Ergo (bouzouki), Thomas Meidell (saw, vocals), and of course Sissyfus (organ, clarinet, vocals). Ailanthus is mainly Heggero's project, he has written all songs and does the main vocals in addition to playing guitar and keyboards. Heggero insists on singing in a falsetto voice a lot of the time, and there's nothing wrong with that, a lot of fine artists and bands do, but you always run the risk of being disliked for it. My tolerance level for falsetto singing is much lower with indie pop than with for instance prog rock, so I have to admit that listening to this album is a testing experience for meOooops, a yellow card!. Also, the first real song here, "Upside Journey" brings up memories from my younger days, from that fatal day I bought an Haircut 100 album, which stood out as the definitely uncoolest LP in my collection for a long time, until I got rid of it, credibility restored. Of course, TatT's sound is much more up-to-date but again very conform to a typical indie-sensibility. Magnus Moriarty™'s violin playing is nice, but in the up-tempo songs (as most of them are), this too tends to become tiresome. That said, some songs stand out from the rest, like the slower ballad of "Greenfields, Greenfields!", with a very nice melancholy melody built on an equally fine chord progression, quite a pearlIt's a GOAL!, that I don't mind hearing many times over. The slower and more atmospheric "Mystixxx" is also beautifulIt's a GOAL!, but the biggest surprise is the blues-swaggeryIt's a GOAL! theme of "9 Is On Your Mind", which almost gets my head nodding. "Longyear" is calm enough, an eventless but nice oasis among the rest of the songs here that unfortunately falls too deep into a pool of whimsical, semi-quirky and half-frantic indiepopOooops, a red card!. Ending the album is "Topquark Journey To The Center Of The Universe", probably a Sissyfus remix, adding those dreaded casio blippy-blopsOooops, a red card!, a rather unnecessary addition to the album.

To sum it up: In spite of my general dislike of the falsetto-indie formula of Truls and the Trees, they serve up some fine songs when slowing down, and especially "Greenfields, Greenfields!", which almost alone saves the album from becoming rather mediocre, song-writing wise. To the indie hipsters: I don't know what I'm talking about, go check out the album yourselves.

Seems like Kåre Pedersen (Kåre and the Cavemen and Euroboys) on this album is more permanently joined by Anders Bortne (Whopper - vocals, guitar), as they are both listed as songwriters on many of the tracks. But a lot of other folks are also helping: Kristian von Streng (keyboards), Johan Fodstad Larsen (keyboard, percussion), Kasper Trolle Pedersen (guitars, harmonica), Rolf Erik Nystrøm (Poing, Zanussi Five - saxophone), Sigve Høghaug (guitars), Dag F. Gravem (Kåre and the Cavemen and Euroboys, bass, guitars), Joakim Asprusten (guitars), Lars Kristian Gulbrandsen (bass), Peter "Bosse" Boström (Hellride, Blood Tsunami, Brut Boogaloo - guitars), Bernt Thomas Bortne (backing vocals), Liva Tveit (backing vocals), Tore Gjedrem (Beyond Dawn, Oslo Athletico, Ost & Kjex, Jazztobakk - backing vocals). Together they start out with the catchyIt's a GOAL! "Don't Don't", somewhere in between stoner rock and pop psychedelia, while "Jupiter In Flux" is lush soft rock with a jazzy saxophone soloIt's a GOAL!. "The Rats" surprisingly goes electronica, reminding me of Air, but a little lackluster and not matching the French duo's best songwriting. After these three opening tracks, the album takes a turn towards space rock, both "Too Soon, Too Fast" and "TV Dreamy" are based around simple repeating themes, with a little more heaviness these could be Hawkwind songs, as both end up a little on the light side. The even simpler "Nocturnal Offline Transactions" continues in the same vein, ending up very percussive and uneventfulOooops, a yellow card!. Then the album shifts into a slower section, serving up a row of lazy ballads inspired of late 60's psych and 70's soft rock, of which only "Kaleidoscope Street" spurs any interest with me, reminding me of a fellow Norwegian psychedelians Sister RainIt's a GOAL!, less guitar-dominated though. Ending the album is "Love Each Other", with all-we-need-is-love lyrics. The guy singing the ever-repeating chorus line of "everybody I love you" here seems to be a very different person from the guy pointing a gun at you on the cover of Captain Trips, Kåre João's first single. But it's a nice finish.

To sum it up: This album spreads out in different directions, but apart from the opening tracks, the songwriting seems a little uninspired. Unfortunately, neither the arrangements nor the production make up for this, only occasionally creating a really interesting listening experience. Nevertheless an OK and varied psychedelia inspired album.

Match result: Metronomicon Audio 6 (Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card!) - Jester Records 3 (It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!)

THE LABEL TABLE
# Metronomicon Audio (MA) Jester Records (JR) MA JR
01 C.O.U.: Darklow Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Themes From William ... Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 1 4
02 C.O.U.: Sellout EP It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! Esperanza: Esperanza Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 2 1
03 C.O.U.: Bestboy Electric Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Arcturus: Disguised Masters It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
04 Cyrano & C.O.U.: s/t It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! When: Psychedelic Wunderbaum Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 2 1
05 Täppas Strepens: Beans, Bacon ... Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Bogus Blimp: Men-Mic It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 2 4
06 Center of the Universe: Curious .. It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Metamorphosis It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 2 1
07 C.O.U.: Taking a Nap With It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Perdition City It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 2 4
08 Täppas Strepens: The Future ... Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Bogus Blimp: cords. wires Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
09 Magnus Moriarty™: Drive Fast ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! When: WriterCakeBox It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 5
10 Various Artists: 1.0 It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Star of Ash: iter.viator. It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 3 1
11 Now We've Got Members: Le Jardin It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Virus: Carheart It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
12 C.O.U.: Promotional Copy Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Silences Teaches You ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
13 Magnus Moriarty™: ...And The Hippos... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Origami Galaktika: Stjernevandring It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 3 4
14 Cyrano: You Sensualize My Soul Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! When: The Lobster Boys It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 3
15 Koppen: Truckdriving Songs Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! Rotoscope: Great Curves Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
16 Täppas Strepens: Dance, Dance ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Silencing the Singing It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
17 C.O.U.: Staying Up All Night ... Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Kåre João: Captain Trips It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
18 Magnus Moriarty™: U R On A Radar It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Head Control System: Murder Nature It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 2 2
19 Now We've Got Members: Tiny ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Single Unit: Family of Forces It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 5 3
20 Various Artists: 2.0 Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! [unreleased] 1 0
21 Koppen: My Fashion Statement ... Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Kåre João: Sideman It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 4
22 Täppas Strepens: The Great American ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL! Upland: Upland It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 4 1
23 Magnus Moriarty™: Sky-Fi Beatitude It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! When: Sunshine Superhead It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! 3 1
24 Cyrano: I Cannot Smell It It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Ulver: Lyckantropen Theme It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 3 2
25 Hanny: Moderning Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! Ulver: 1993-2003: 1st Decade ... Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 1 1
26 C.O.U.: Bellydance Nation It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! Ulver: A Quick Fix Of Melancholy EP Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 2 2
27 Meta Forever: Astroid Antics It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! 1349 Rykkinn: Brown Ring of Fury It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 4 2
28 Cyranq & Phil Emile: [sic] It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card! Kåre João: Sleepers It's a GOAL! 2 1
29 Ergo: Reclaim The Mall! It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Teachings In Silence It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 2 2
30 Various Artists: 3.0 Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card! Ulver: Svidd Neger Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! 1 2
31 C.O.U./Magnus Moriarty™: Did U ... Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a yellow card! Origami Galaktika: Horisont It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card! 1 1
32 Koppen: Let's Eat Crazyroom ... It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a red card! When: Pearl-Harvest It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 1 3
33 Now We've Got Members: Then Is ... It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL! Ulver: Blood Inside It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card! 6 3
34 Truls & The Trees: AilanthusOooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a red card!Oooops, a red card! Kåre João: 2 It's a GOAL!It's a GOAL!Oooops, a yellow card!It's a GOAL! 3 3
Total 80 72

Next match
Next head-to-head meeting is the Lower Than Lo-Fi, But Higher album No Need For Ladders from Metronomicon Audio which is up against the Bogus Blimp release Rdtr from Jester Records.

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