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flag Mare Smythii - Luna Kafé - Full Moon 15 - 01/12/98

The Best Bands on B
nineteenninetyseven

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 particular ranking):

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)
Doug 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)
A 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 e-mail address

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