Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 142 - 04/20/08

Various artists
OSLO! - a compilation of music from the independent Oslo pop scene
Spoon Train Audio/Tuba!

"Oslo is a small, small town" goes the chorus of "Oslo", The Little Hands of Asphalt's sweet, honey-dripping signature song from this new Oslo indie pop compilation, OSLO!. The platter presents 15 bands and artist just above/below the surface of an ever-growing pop underground. Which is not happening in Oslo only, since there are contributions from several bands from other, much smaller towns. This is the national pop underground uprising.

The indie pop tradition in Oslo is much about the Perfect Pop label, and bands such as the legendary The Tables, the semi-legendary The Time Lodgers, and all the other Perfect Pop bands/artists. Then there's also other contemporaries such as Astroburger, and later the Jessica Fletchers, plus of course others. The band situation, the venue situation and the label map in Oslo (and around Norway) are richer than ever, but this OSLO! compilation is mainly about the branding of 'pop' after some years of hairy, big balls of ugly, dirty rock.

Je Suis Animal keeps the Perfect Pop banner high with the previously unreleased "Labyrinth Game", and their quirky pop (1960s style beat meets Stereolab) is a charming listen, and the Perfect Pop label's as alive as ever. As mentioned the brilliant The Little Hands of Asphalt opens the CD, with their amazing "Oslo". The second real gem on this records is Ingeborg Selnes, and her beautiful and mind-blowing song "The Blow". This is a dreamy (Kate Bush), vocal (a bit like Kate Bush) and piano driven piece, with layers of her voice as instruments. Plus an additional drum track in the songs last part. A beauty. Another highly active label is Metronomicon Audio, who's got Truls and the Trees in their stable (other MA artists, not included here, count Magnus Moriarty and Now We've Got Members). Singer Truls Heggerø is also the singer of Lukestar. Truls and the Trees is Truls' indie pop band (and slightly reminiscent of a helium version of the Dexy's Midnight Runners, somehow), while his Lukestar is more a pop band in touch with their hardcore inner self. Both bands of course equipped with Heggerø's trademark high pitch vocals.

Other bands and songs I'd like to mention are Harmonica's energetic "Princess", LoFiMan's fine "The Music's There To...", old Luna Kafé acquaintance Jim Protector (feat. Gary Olson, Ladybug Transistor), Monzano's bouncy and catchy "Poster Boy", and the closing "Dylan McKay" by the acclaimed outfit Hiawata!. This means that OSLO!'s a fine collection of indie-pop, and a very nice and joyful compilation for the season. It should be picked up by the municipal (and national) tourist board/body and used as a give-away for promoting more than the new opera and such.

Spoon Train Audio is the record label behind OSLO! (they're also a musical collective/management), and two of the bands here - My Little Pony and Cold Mailman - are in the Spoon Train stable. Other labels involved, besides the mentioned Perfect Pop and Metronomicon Audio, are Bolibompa Records (Ingeborg Selnes, Nomber 5's and LoFiMan), BEAT ME Records (Harmonica), Phone Me Records (Lukestar), Olympic Records (Yoyoyo Acapulco), How is Annie Records (Monzano), Sellout! Records (Hiawata!).

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