Luna Kafé e-zine  Luna Kafé record review
coverpic flag Norway - Full Moon 162 - 12/02/09

Various Artists
Oslo 2: A collection of music from the independent Oslo pop scene
Spoon Train Audio/Tuba!

Last year Spoon Train Audio launched OSLO!, a compilation to put the spotlight on the indie-underground scene in Oslo (the album's full title was: Oslo! - a compilation of music from the independent Oslo pop scene). Here's Oslo 2, the follow up. With some of the same bands/artists. Plus a few more. Familiar names from OSLO! are: Cold Mailman, Hiawata!, Nomber 5s, My Little Pony, and The Little Hands Of Asphalt, who had the brilliant 'title track' of the first platter.

Oslo 2: A collection of music from the independent Oslo pop scene holds 16 tracks, of which acclaimed debutants of the year, Children And Corpse Playing In The Streets - whose Honey, I'm Home! was reviewed last moonth - is one of the new names. The quiet, tri-colored "France" is culled from their debut album, and the two young women's (Marit Harnes and Inga-Lill Farstad) music resembles, say, CocoRosie, Joanna Newsome, Stina Nordenstam, and Rockettothesky, to name a few (the girls themselves list a long and diverse list of influences, including: Captain Beefheart, Daniel Johnston, Joe Strummer, Judas Priest, Melt Banana, Patsy Cline, Vincent Gallo, Wanda Jackson !). Nice, but maybe not the most exciting track of this album. Anyway, Cold Mailman opens Oslo 2, with "Time Is Of Essence". The main mailman Ivar Bowitz, and his mailmen/women Martin Bowitz, Stian Hansen, Ingeborg Selnes (who had a nice contribution to last year's Oslo!, and put out a nice debut album, The Zoo, Bolibompa Records), Martin Larsen, and Torbjørn Hafnor (Lukestar, who also contributed to last year's compilation). A low-voiced and charming song, making me want to check out more from this man/gang. Such as the album How To Escape Cause And Effect (Spoon Train 2008). Hiawata!'s "Valley Boys" is a bouncy and catchy song, from a band with two albums behind them, They Could Have Been Bigger Than hiawata! (Sellout Music 2007) and These Boys And This Band Is All I Know (Sellout Music 2009). The quintet (Tore Løchstøer Hauge, Are Volmert Sørensen, Johan Rogge Loennecken, Einar Stubhaug and Håkon Hagen) sure know how to make radio friendly music, in a positive sense. References: think Television Personalities (hence the title of their debut album) mixed with the Lemonheads.

One of the favourites from last year, The Little Hands Of Asphalt (A.K.A. Sjur Lyseid), perform "The Next Time We Meet", off their album Leap Years (How Is Annie Records/Spoon Train 2009). It's hard to avoid dropping names like Elliott Smith and Ben Gibbard (Death Cab For Cutie) when placing the music from The Little Hands. Another band which have had their album debut during the last year, or so, are the quintet My Little Pony (with Think Too Much). "Capital Of Norway" - is this the 'title track' this time? - is a declaration of love and devotion to Oslo ('...because I'm never gonna leave this town..'). Nice, but nothing more. Another 'title track' is of course Nomber 5s "Dancing To The Oslo Beat". What's the Oslo beat, really? Well Nomber 5s (also with an album out this year, If We Get It On Tape..., on Bolibompa Records) singer Einar Stubshaug & co play sort of Pavement style indie-rock. Yoyoyo Acapulco (Arne Martin Barlund, Karen Torstensen, Ola Bruvik, Anja Hellstrand) are another colourful bunch of the exotic kind, with a long list of Influences, counting: Guided by Voices, The Beta Band, Public Enemy, Sebadoh, Black Flag, Banhart, Moldy Peaches, Syd, Sid, Elvis, Chuck D, James B, Bob D.

Of the more interesting tracks on this album, there are two 'solo acts': experimental pop singer/song-writer Einar Stray, somewhat up Sufjan Stevens' alley. "Arrows" hits like, uh, an arrow. Better check his debut EP Favors & fields (Spoon Train Audio). Then there's Therese Aune and her "Chameleon". Aune, voice/piano, is really hyped before her debut, and has been doing many of the bigger festivals and events in Norway, plus the hip-and-prestigious Iceland Airwaves. Upbeat pop gang (with violin) Go Fandango could be another bunch to look out for. As well as melodic posters, girl quintet Norma Sass, who's just put out an EP called A Dance of Victory the Morning After. The rest: Firetop Mountain, Monzano, Casa Murilo, Like Spinning, Seppuku Zephyr Dance.

Well, compilations are not always solid gold all through. However, here are some glimmering, glittering songs. Support your local indie-poppers / indie-rockers.

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