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flag Norway - Full Moon 40 - 01/21/00

Norvegia - the end of the 20th Century
1999 in the rear mirror

So Y2K came and nothing happened or what!? The hype of the Millennium is over - no big deal, and so is 1999. Gone. To the tombs of the history department. Well, I had actually put up (in my dreams) a list of bands and artists that I strongly hoped really wouldn't handle the switch to year 2000. Sadly enough my dreams rarely come true ... I should have jumped on Plan B right away: gotten myself a truck-load of voodoo dolls. Anyway, here's a brief A-B-C of some of the Norwegian products we didn't (care to) mention here at Luna Kafé throughout last year:

Ai Phoenix : Film (dbut) - from Bergen plays dreamy, hovering rock, influenced by names such as Bob Dylan, Leonard Cohen, Labradford, Sonic Youth, Dead Kennedys. Keep an eye on them!
BigBang : Electric Psalmbook (Grandsport Records) - a powerful and playful trio from Oslo that picked up a lot of good critics, due to a strong 2nd album, as well as doing impressive concerts (sucking inspiration from late-60's names such as Cream and Jimi Hendrix Experience).
Chocolate Overdose : Dingledoodies (Rune Grammofon) - the 4th album from these pop-intellectuals from Bergen earned them a fine line of good reviews, but, typically enough, not a big number when it comes to selling records.
Dipsomaniacs : Braid Of Knees (Apartment/Progress) - Trondheim's finest, and Beatles-fan numero uno (band chief Øyvind Holm), released their third with an urge to be more difficult. A more psychedelic album, with tons of 60's s-fx of sound (loads of Theremin). Yet, they're still safe on the throne of brilliant pop-songs.
E for...eeeh...hmmm...Oh, yeah! Euro2000 - Yes, Norway made it to the tournament taking place in the Netherlands and Belgium this summer! Bronze medals, anyone?
Folk & Røvere : Oslo (Sonet) - maybe they (well, he: Ulph) tried to be too super-hip, trip-hoppy, urban-café-stylish. F&R managed to present one of the summer-hits of 1999, the very cool and laid-back Yess. A song it was hard to match with a full album, I guess.
G - none that I know of.
Homegroan : Astrodome (Home Groan Productions) - Norwegian-American Martin Hagfors' project of folk-rock with a twist warmed quite a few critics' hearts, but maybe not those of a major audience. Homegroan appeared with one of the better moments on this years compilation by Krank Records.
Mette Iversen : A Rocket Ride (Freetrax) - OK, here's the most stupid Norwegian single of 1999. Just as a warning! Some people should never appear on semi-national TV.
Jokke med Tourettes : Billig lykke (S2/Tip-Top) - Jokke is one of the veterans of Norwegian rock, at least of the last 15 years. After dissolving his long time party-group Jokke & Valentinerne, he's showed by his 2 solo efforts that he still can stand on his own feet, and deliver plain, catchy rock-songs with touching and/or humorous lyrics.
Kåre & The Cavemen : Long Days Flight Till Tomorrow (Virgin) - the former instrumentalist guitar-driven rock combo even started to sing on their second album. Yes, they are whimful rock s-t-a-r-s, but they're 100%, so why not let them be (and behave) like stars do.
Locomotives : Albert (RCA/BMG) - pop-group, that wanna be more like a rock-group. A bit disappointed with the sales for their 2nd album, maybe, despite a lot of nice reviews. Catchy songs and indeed skillful musicians. Too many sloganish choruses maybe? Right now they're doing shows in the US. Break a leg, boys.
Mental Overdrive : Ad Absurdum (Virgin) - Per Martinsen has been in the core of Norwegian techno and ambient music for years, putting Norway on the map in hip clubs all over Europe. This was his 2nd album as M.O., 4 years after the acclaimed debut Plugged.
Noora : Curious (Warner) - Noora Nor should bring soul to the Norwegian people. The young and talented multi-cultural artist (Somalia, Arabian Emirates, and little Oslo) has got a beautiful voice, but the production was maybe too slick.
Oddpopp : Actually Breathing (dbut) - a single (EP) release from Trondheim's popsters. A lot of radio airplay didn't help bringing them to the stars around Norway. Yet.
Påsan: Communication/Kommunikasjon (Krusedull Records) - indie lo-fi debut of simplicity and naivety, guitars and keyboards, pop on the side. More to come from this youngster, I guess.
The Quintet : March 28th 1999 (bp/Musikkoperatørene) - Alto-saxman Carl Magnus Neumann, live from last year's Vossa Jazz festival. Improvisational (atonal) jazz, accompanied by guitar, up-right bass, and drums. A release from the new label by the very successful trip-hop/ambient/experimental/jazz club Blå.
Ricochets : there were only released two 7" singles - Devil Inside (Dead Cool Records) and The Drinkin' EP (Feedback/Underground Records) - but the Ricochets was labeled best live act around Norway. 60's power-pop/garage with a wild party attitude. Maybe pretty things can happen with their career this year.
Sister Sonny : Lovesongs (Rec 90) - Bergen melancholics, with their second full album. Low-toned and heartfelt, and a band to watch out for.
Thinkerbell : Thinkerbell (Epic/Sony) - veteran-guitarist/producer Jørn Christensen (DePress, Can Can, Cirkus Modern, Mercury Motors, Young Neils) and vocalist Vibeke Saugestad (Weld and Thelyblast) also wanted to check out the quiet and melancholic moments of pop, instead of being rockers like they used to be.
Ulver : Themes From William Blake's The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell (Jester Records/Voices Of Wonder) - Black Metal heads, doing a long, dark, industrial, gothic journey to ... hell, probably. I've always claimed black-metal-ers to be twisted Heavy Metal kids. Dead serious stuff, don't even dare to think of smiling.
Per Vestaby : With a little help from Myself (S2/MNW) - the 2nd solo album (after the praised debut 10.000 Flowers & One B) from this veteran bassman old-timer, the godfather (dare I say grandfather ...) of straight rock'n'roll in Norway. Tom Petty type rock with a heart.
Whopper : Let's make sounds (TIM:records/Voices of Wonder) - this bunch from Ålesund plays fuzzed and catchy lo-fi-indie-pop, produced by Geir Luedy (of Chocolate Overdose). Hummable, likeable, and with a certain party factor.

Sorry folks, no X, Y or Z this time. And for the more exotic minded: no Æ, Ø, or Å either.

So, what could possibly happen this year? Names for 2000: Salavtore, Fab Foursome, Poetry, Eastwood, Cinnamoon, Seven, Pilate, The Mormones, Charlie's Drugstore, Chillinuts, Randall, and Betsey, to name-drop some of the bands circling close to the surface. And, will Bronson Comet Lighter finally release their debut album? Hang on and see.

Copyright © 2000 Håvard Oppøyen e-mail address

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