Mare Smythii -
Luna Kafé - Full Moon 28 - 01/31/99
1998 spelled mementos fresh!
We've been through another year showing proof of, or rather:
hard evidence of the stupidity of mankind, including threatening
and violent behavior, prejudice, greed, hypocrisy, envy, hatred... the
list is long. History repeats, and the world never learns.
That's when the world of music welcomes you on-board to pop-
escapism - a round-trip away from the mad reality now and again.
Recommended travel agencies: Chemikal Underground, Elephant
6, Jeepster, Merge, Matador, to name but a few. Here's some of
the souvenirs I got myself last year when I was off.
L is for Ladybug Transistor : Beverley
Ok, Ok, I know this one's from '97, but it
deserves more attention than I think these Brooklyn, NY
youngsters have received. This is the 2nd album, after their
Marlborough Farm debut. Loungy pop with guitars, piano,
flute, trumpet, and strings, and maybe the Brooklynian Belle and
Sebastian? Even if they covered the Bee Gees' (!?)
Massachusetts last year, they're more like being the grand-
children of The Velvet Underground.
U stands for UNKLE : Psyence Fiction
The over-exposed, awaited and hyped project
called UNKLE, starring Mowax-head James Lavelle and DJ
Shadow, who brought a handful of guests (Beastie Boy Mike D.,
Thom Yorke of Radiohead, Richard Ashcroft of the Verve, Jason
Newstead of Metallica, plus..) to the recording studio, to create
some more pre-millennium angst and paranoia. A mixed bag of
music indeed, but the song Rabbit in Your Headlights (co-
written and sung by Yorke) is worth the price alone. It's a beautiful
freak of a song, guided by a most bizarre video (if you get the
chance to see it).
N as in Neutral Milk Hotel : In the
Aeroplane over the Sea (Merge)
best album that came in 1998! Absolutely fabulous, totally
astonishing! A mixture of folk rock, brass, Ennio Morricone, some
Salvation Army band, topped with the very powerful voice of "Hotel
Concierge" Jeff Mangum. A brilliant record presenting a line of
breath-taking songs that roll and jump around in a strange musical
landscape garnished with the sound of instruments such as:
trombone, banjo, euphonium, trumpet, and: the singing saw! A true
classic of the 90's!
A is for Arab Strap : Philophobia
Lots of great music has come out of Scotland the last couple of
years. Arab Strap is something special. The duo of Malcolm
Middleton (most things musical) and Aidan Moffat (most thing not)
has shocked and provoked some people, due to the direct poetry
and lyrical angle of the stories Moffat tells. Nothing left to the
imagination, in the harsh, lust-filled tales of a boy and his
experience with girls. Discreetly backed with music that can
remind you of, say, Tindersticks and The Bad Seeds.
K stands for Knox, Chris : Yes!!
Chris has been around for ages, recording and
releasing loads of music, as one of many interesting names
coming from down under (New Zealand) during a couple of
decades. As one of the Tall Dwarfs, or, as here, solo. Mr. Knox is
a DIY-pop-experimetalist, and he usually steers everything himself,
playing around with guitars, tapes and rhythm-boxes. The results
are witty, catchy and amusing. 'Yes' is the answer!
A as in Adventures in
Stereo : Alternative Stereo Sounds (Creeping Bent -
UK/Bobsled - US)
Another example from the Scottish
pop-landscapes, with an entire album of summery pop. Adventures
in Stereo plays around the sandy shores where Brian Wilson once
tossed around barefooted. This is cool and simple pop, and a link
to the 1960's is quite obvious. Female vocals, sweet harmonies,
and light instrumentation. You can simply put on your sunglasses,
stretch out, and relax. The good mood of this album will give you a
F is for Fair, Jad & Yo La Tengo : Strange
But True (Matador)
Well, maybe not too interesting as an
album, but mentioned here because of the genius (and love!) of Yo
La Tengo. Jad Fair is the "eccentric" behind Half Japanese, and
this project (recorded in 1994 and 1996) sounded interesting. But
the result came out somewhat...odd. There are some entertaining
moments among the weird tales of "tabloid extremities", penned by
Jad's brother, David Fair. You can't go wrong with titles like
Clever Chemist Makes Chewing Gum from Soap and
Clumsy Grandmother Serves Delicious Dessert by
E, finally, must be the
Electroscope kite from 1997, which I brought along
everywhere last year as well, as my tail when I ran green lawns and
plains all over trying to get up in the air. If I succeded? I'll tell you
some other time...
Copyright © 1999 Håvard Oppøyen