Wednesday, 16 March 2011

Little-known bands, Part VII:

Mango Mache

Beloved 'Mama of soul', born around 79 in the poor outskirts of Forquanesian (ERO) as Bisou Mukelele Machéba. After a troubled childhood and youth, during which she lived on the street most of the time, she started to become the symbol for those struggling for their existence in the unfavoured neighborhoods of Forquanesian, by singing with different soul folk groups in cafés and clubs from a mature age.

As this suburban music style became popular with a wider audience both geographically and in terms of society class, she was considered a pioneer, and her amazing and powerful voice soon echoed from radios all over Central Alouang.

Without ever having aimed for it, she suddenly began earning even very good money. Donating a major part of it to the groups of people sharing her background, Mango Mache has never left her roots behind. While frequenting parts of the intellectuals' higher layers, she still lives in a suburb of Forquanesian.

In recent years, Mango Mache has not only given concerts but also recorded with a wide range of musicians known from other genres.


Fusion project from Forquanesian (ERO), combining most everything from jazz and funk via classical elements to pop and new wave, and consisting of sometimes up to 30 musicians and singers.

As forerunners for this kind of musical collective, where the values are peace, love and no drugs, Muzicq gained enormous popularity in Alouang and beyond already with their first release, their self-titled EP from 32. Especially the songs Zabou Et La Détente [Zabou And Relaxation] and Danse Vers La Lumière [Dance Towards The Light] got a whole lot of airplay and were both included in new, more profesionally recorded versions on the full album Écoute [Listen], released the year after.

Currently Muzicq are working on a new album sung in Savanese, incorporating musicians playing traditional instruments as well as tribe singers from Southwestern Alouang.

The Porridgeheads

Speedrock band formed in Westwimpton (LTL). With what one music critic called 'melodic noise', this band of wild youngsters gained cult status.

Though The Porridgeheads released no less than five regular studio albums in just three years, its lineup changed constantly ― the band has been everything from a quartet to a septet, with keyboarder and occasional singer Mark Boling and bass player Rich(ard) Coolman being the only ones featuring on all albums.

The debut Green Porridge was released in May 32 and was followed by White Porridge only four(!) months later. May 33 saw the release of Pink Porridge, a surprising experiment with strong psychedelic influences, just as courageously remixed on Pink Pudding, released two months later.

The changing band members' obvious alcohol and drug abuse ― on a couple of recordings, assumed rhythm guitar player Sandy Sawker is credited with doing nothing but 'providing and utilising dope' ― laid The Porridgeheads still for a while before they suddenly re-emerged on what became their biggest success: Red Porridge, which hit the stores in June 34 and was followed up by the Xmas release of a highly-praised live album, Served With Sugar.

Whether the success or the drugs was the main factor will remain subject for discussion, but the band completely flopped musically and commercially on the March 35 release Black Porridge. Trying to compensate for the cult rockers' fading status, their record company released a B side collection titled Pooridge, which sarcastically did not do the trick, and The Porridgeheads officially dissolved in August the same year, although in reality it had happened months before. One last breath was the Xmas release of Headful Of Porridge, a 'best of' compilation.

Tuesday, 15 March 2011

Little-known bands, Part VI:

Jesus Barnet

Singer-songwriter from South Bollonam (COC), mainly known for his political lyrics questioning modern society. His 28 debut A White Scream In A Dark Room was highly praised by indie reviewers but did not sell particularly well, as Barnet refused to distribute it via a big company when offered to. Barnet is known for working concentrated, and following his debut he was very studio-productive even though he spent a lot of time on the road.

In 29, he released Oh Sewage, followed by Cement Lawn (30) and Jesus Barnet Plays Live (31). The fans then had to wait three years before he sent out what he himself described as his ultimate achievement, the double album This Minute's Mantra. Controversially, Barnet insisted on using fragile newsprint as paper for the CD booklet in order to show how perishable today's music is.

Défense d’afficher

This rock quartet from Rhauvain (ARN) of course took its name from the numerous wall signs saying 'post no bills'. What started out as an unambitious leisure project ― the band members themselves not really believing it when an agent came backstage after a gig at a high school, offering a record deal ― would turn out to be a surprising turn in the four blokes' lives.

The debut album ended up simply being called L'album (released 30), following disputes on the title between band members and record company people. Apart from the name, Défense d'afficher saw the recording as a one-time experience and did still not take it too seriously. L'album did not sell particularly well either, and so much bigger was their surprise when they were offered a deal for three more albums.

This time, there were no disagreements on the name; the 32 release was called Ça devient sérieux [It's Getting Serious]. One can nearly hear the nervousness lurking just beneath the surface compared to the unimpressed straight-forwardness of the first album, and commercially it did more or less similarly.

The band now decided to take a break, though with the aim of fulfilling the remainder of the record deal and then get on with their lives. During his 34 summer vacation, the drummer had a stroke of creativity and wrote a song called De Toute Façon [translates as something like 'Anyway']. It was a simple, nearly banal earcatcher of a rock song, and he persuaded the other band members to record it as a single in order to kick off Défense d'afficher's return to the studio.

Released for the Xmas sales, De Toute Façon surprisingly became a radio hit overnight, only to become the bestselling Arn single ever!

The sudden boost of encouragement caused by this unexpected success resulted in a fast but efficient recording of the quartet's most mature and harmonic album, carrying the same title as the smash hit and released in 35. The band having only put together six other songs of their own, De Toute Façon contains no less than three cover versions.

Pink Dawn

Funky rock trio from Käpumman: Selma Öyring (lead vox and guitar), Aske Olsson (guitar) and Severin-Otto Yrkman (keyboards and percussion).

Implementing its own style, mixing funk, acid jazz and sometimes ethno elements into a rock base, Pink Dawn was among the first bands from the independent scene to be put on the more commercial record shops' shelves as well. The debut album Pink Dawn from 23 thus sold well in both 'camps', and the band, supplied by a bass player and a drummer, became a hit at mainly rock festivals but also at alternative jazz events.

The 25 single Good Day Mr Faraway landed a surprising success because of its B side Fool Me, which was not even featured on the album that followed, titled Vulgar. After touring most of the world for 1½ years, band members were exhausted and eventually split up. While Öyring took on a never very successful solo career, Olsson quit the music business to concentrate on his family and take on a 'civil' job. Yrkman became a producer and guest musician, mainly in the independent part of the house scene.

Monday, 14 March 2011

Little-known bands, Part V:

Archery Contest

Rock band from Birliont (KRA) fronted by the bespectacled intellectual Maurice D'Entracte. The songs were in English, which might be part of the reason why Archery Contest never became superstars in their own country. However, the remarkable concept album And How Do I Water The Flowers?, released in 29, harvested critics' acclaim even in faraway corners of the world. It quotes large parts of the kloish philosopher Nikolaj Salgod's work Hvis Livet Er En Vase [If Live Is A Vase].


Pop band from Wimpton (WEV) whose first single She Is Earth, She Is Sky, She Is Ice, She Is Soul went straight to number 1 on the Miseira charts. This ballad of the classic kind is now followed by the more dynamic (but still classic) 40 Ways, released with Bushbone's self-titled debut album.

The Inches

Quartet from Buenos Caire (MÕE) with a style bringing together poprock, hardrock and the occasional touch of electrojazz. The four blokes aged between 20 and 23 formed at the conservatory of São Vicente and got almost immediate attention from not only local but also international agents.

The debut single 1000 released in the spring of 35 rocketed into the hit lists in most of Miseira and the album that followed, titled One Thousand, is one of the 50 most sold albums this year. It will be interesting to follow the band's development and success in the future.

Sunday, 13 March 2011

Little-known bands, Part IV:

Fette Farben

Indie-rock band from Ralbjerg (RAL). Despite its name, which makes fun of the Baring language, the band is known for serious lyrics about society's outsiders, melancholic state of life, and mostly unhappy love. Fette Farben has become a well-known name in the gig world of most of the Nexboean-speaking parts of Nexdomtaso, yet remains without a record contract. That is why the band released the self-financed 8-track album Schwarz in 5000 copies in November 34, together with the promotional single Nete Fra Nordbyen.

The Ground

Quartet from Mock Quisbee (LAR) whose slow, at times almost silent indiepop-style songs were often based on social questions. The best known example is the cult classic Anonymous Android (from the third album Waiver) whose lyrics about alienation in a materialistic society are reputed to be the most-quoted on Larnese wall graffittis.

The Ground was formed in 23 by university dropout Phileas Noice (vox and bass) and two of his former university mates, Peter Hamilton (guitar) and Rüdiger Althmann (keyboards), the latter being an exchange student from Innstadt (BAL). Norbert Wick, originally from Overwind (LAR), soon joined on drums. The debut album Fragments Of Outer Life was released in October 23 and highly praised by indie critics but never sold very well. Gone Jigging from March 25 didn't do much better but gave the band enough material to tour for nearly two years, mostly to universities and underground clubs around the Chanalian Islands.

Waiver, partly recorded during the tour, was not finalised and released until December 30. An everything but streamlined ragbag of rough recordings on one side and more polished arrangements than on the former albums on the other side, this 23-song double album became the band's biggest commercial success, not least because of Anonymous Android. One reason for the long production time of the album was that Althmann tragically died in an accident in January 28. The keyboards and synths were taken over first by by Eastwimpton music conservatory graduate Michael Sothburn and later by a childhood friend of Wick's, Mickey Winder.

The Ground's last album ― and only the fourth in 12 years ― entitled Tales Of Metropolitan Wisdom was released in June 35.

Posh Hippies

Rock band from Fredericaville (VMI), formed and lead by singer, guitarist and keyboarder Julian Evermore (real name Julian Madison, born 10 in Fredericaville as the son of a mostly unemployed blacksmith and a committed mother who earned a living for her alcoholic husband and seven children by hard work of different kinds).

Julian had always been fond of music and got his first guitar from a junkyard at the age of 8. A 16-year old cousin gave Julian guitar lessons in return for carrying light drugs for him. A highly creative mind, Julian seemed to never notice that he was marginalised both by teachers and pupils at school. He set up theatre plays but was eventually thrown out of secondary school because he caused a scandal in front of parents as a play he had written and directed turned out to be lewd.

After a few years of taking on occasional jobs to help his mother, he got in touch with a Fredericaville pub owner, formed a 5-piece band almost overnight, and gave a gig of crazy and mostly improvised songs. This was in early spring 32. The producer Mick Farnell from the growing Be At Ease label happened to be in the pub that night. Rumours say he was drunk but he did sign a contract with the band... that in fact had no name. Evermore came up with 'Posh Hippies', inspired by an ad in which the words 'hush puppies' were used.

Only two months later, the weird but joyfully melodical poprock album In A World Of Green was released. It became one of that year's biggest commercial successes but Evermore and his everchanging band members never got a lot of money out of it, as Farnell took the biggest share, especially from the revenues on other continents. For example, the only single Hayadoo became a summer plague in parts of Nexdomtaso, and the concerts that Farnell arranged for the band to give at festivals there turned out to be a bad deal financially for the Posh Hippies.

After one such concert, the band split, or rather Julian Evermore sent the others back to Fredericaville, leaving two concert commitments unfulfilled. His current whereabouts are not known.

Friday, 11 March 2011

For et tæt nordisk samarbejde

»Frimandsætter, ranke, høje,
Sol og Blæst i Haar,
Kraft i Haand og Lys i Øje,
fylker Nordens Gaard«

Kaj Munk
“Saml Dig, Nord!” — Nationaltidende 10. juli 1938

Little-known bands, Part III:

Curfew At Five

Electronica duo from Eastwimpton (LAR) ― Sammy (Samuel) Jockbird on vox and synths and Pete Barnett on synths. The debut album They Came From East, released in 32, already sold well on the emerging electronica scene. But it was the smash hit Piece Of Mind (yes, 'Piece', not 'Peace') from the 34 album bearing the same title that wrote Curfew At Five into the history books. That song remains a dancehall favourite.

Selfish Shellfish

Tractor or rather trawler rockabilly band from Fesøyer (RAL). Nearly a fixed ingredient on festival posters in Ralbjerg and Eigaland with their outrageous energy on stage and ability to get a crowd rocking and rolling. At the same time, Selfish Shellfish manages to release an album nearly every year, the first three or four being heavily helped financially by Fesøyer's patriotic cultural foundation, despite the fact that only few of the septet's songs are in the Fesøyer language.

Sérieux s'abstenir

Rock group from Qoullux (QLX) ― Jean-Vincent Carteboulière (percussion), Hugues Chabrel (keyboard), Jonatan Hurgues (lead guitar), Yvon Lemaire (bass) and Fernand Valavat (vox and rhythm guitar). The name Sérieux s'abstenir [Serious People Should Refrain] is a joke on the words 'Curieux s'abstenir' [Curious People Should Refrain], which often appear at the end of real estate adverts in order not to get calls from persons who are just curious.

However, the band's biggest hits are mainly more serious and often subtly romantic ballads, such as Peintures de Marilène [Paintings Of Marilène], Rendez-vous hi-fi, Anges de classe [Classy Angels], Soudain, la vie... [Suddenly Life Will...], Roses or Une entité fragile [A Fragile Entity] ― but many will remember the rocker with the parodic lyrics Sarah, je bande [Sarah, I Have An Erection] too.

The band split in 30 after thirteen years and ten albums (not including a live and a greatest hits) but reformed in September 35 to give a concert in Qoullux' Auditorium. The concert was reported sold out an hour after presales started. This success combined with the announcement that a DVD containing the concert and a documentary on the band will be released for Xmas has started speculations whether Sérieux s'abstenir will go on tour again and maybe even record a new album.

Thursday, 10 March 2011

Når inspirationen lever

»Jeg er stolt og meget glad for at “Kald det kærlighed” stadig er så livskraftig, som den er.
Jeg vil ydmygt sige tusind tak til inspirationen: Hun åndede på mig den nat i 1985, hvor sangen kom til sig selv. Før blækket var tørt var “Kald det kærlighed” kravlet ned af køkkenbordet og ud af kattelemmen i bagdøren. Først langt senere opdagede jeg, at den var forsvundet ud i natten for at leve sit helt eget liv i Danmark.«

Lars Lilholt
KODA Nyt 2008

Little-known bands, Part II:

Quite Polite

Ska rock band from Lack Quisbee (LTL). Originally known as Cream On The Floor, under which name the band released one (self-titled) album in 29, Quite Polite has somewhat revived the ska wave that peaked twenty years before. The breakthrough album Madam, released in 31, featured the provocative hit single (Fuck You) Madam as well as the instrumental town festival plague Ska It Up.

Due to quarrels within the band, causing members to quit only to join again, the follow-up album Superhero Social Counsellor was not released until 35. Surprisingly, it shows a matured and more guitar-dominated rock style.


Techno pop trio from Zwe (BUC): Rüdiger Fischfanger (vox and synths), Helmut Schönbrunn (synths and the occasional orchestral instrument) and Max Heber (synth percussions).

Landed a big dancefloor hit in 33 with Hantadorf Blues from the album Solange Vorrat Reicht, which for many redefined the techno scene. The band name is an abbreviation of 'und dergleichen', meaning 'and similar'.

Vic Moon

Self-proclaimed and self-ironising pop god born in Blona (ROJ) as Viktor Kesal but fled to Käpumman with his family when he was six. Originally part of the band Midday Dream, which had a lonely hit with So Lonely, So Slow back in 18, He plays such diverse instruments as guitar, synthesizer, harmonica, or harp, but it is mainly his voice that deserves critial acclaim.

Vic Moon's first albums all have titles as if they were compilations and are thus easily mixed up: Best Of Vic Moon (debut, 19), The Very Best Of Vic Moon (21), All The Best Of Vic Moon (24), Vic Moon's Greatest Hits (27), Vic Moon's Greatest (29), Vic Moon's Best Live (30)... before he suddenly chose the completely different title Blue Sky (32)... maybe because that same year his real best of album ironically entitled Greatest Tits was released.

Wednesday, 9 March 2011

Kun knapheden mangler

»Måske er det simpelt hen sådan her, livet ville være, hvis ikke døden fandtes. Hvis afslutningen på alting ikke konstant lå på lur i hver eneste handling og hviskede til én, at tiden er begrænset. Og at man derfor pinedød må nyde det, mens Jorden nærmer sig. Herinde i Second Life er der ikke knaphed på noget som helst. Ud over lige den ene ting, der giver det hele mening: knapheden selv.»

Nils Thorsen
fra artiklen “Sidste kapitel: Panik før lukketid” (Politiken 20/8-7)

Little-known bands, Part I:

File Not Found

'Old computer'-style electro trio consisting of the Baringers Heiko Tüsch and Günter Warnich and the Käp Anders Ölgren, all on synths and programming.

Already the self-titled 22 debut album featured two Top 50 singles: File Not Found and Digital Woman. The latter became a classic in electro music, and its beats and sounds have inspired or been used in many a song of the genre since. The second album was released in early 23 and bore the title 10 as this is the binary equivalent of '2'. It sold well too, critics saying this was mainly due to the success of the debut.

Before the band even started its tour to promote 10, Ölgren quit, officially due to family matters. After the tour, the band ironically moved its base and home studio from Baringers Stadt to Coast City, resulting in the entirely self-produced 25 release Numeric Boy featuring the moderately successful single Diamond Star. The inspiration of the new surroundings were obvious, yet the duo did not seem to have a real grip on their style. A fourth album kept being delayed, and meanwhile ― just before Xmas 27 ― a smaller local record company released Pixels, a compilation of File Not Found's favourite tracks according to themselves, as well as previously unreleased rare tracks and a few B sides.

The material for the 'real' album was never finished, and Tüsch and Warnich increasingly spent their time as DJs and in Tüsch's case also as a producer. It was not until 31 that the album Binary Breath came out. It contained none of the material recorded for the intended fourth album; instead Tüsch had profited from the contacts he had acquired as a producer, and the sound on Binary Breath was new and fresh. It became File Not Found's comeback as electro gurus, a.o. featuring the #2 single Microphonic, Part II.

Mildred & The Mildreds

Acid electro heavy metal quintet from Gollsea (WEV) consisting of four men and a woman... whose name is not Mildred but Jane Sowyer, and who is not the lead singer but the bass player.

The other band members are Phil(eas) McOak (lead vox and guitar), Virgil Spinton (vox and guitar), James Millick (synths) and Simon John (vox and percussions).

The first album Tempted By Pain, released in November 30, did not find a large public, being too trashily violent for even many heavy metal fans' taste. February 33 saw the release of the much more commercial Horrorscope, a.o. featuring a cover version of an old Strit Ut B-side, Come To Heaven. It became the best selling hardrock release of 33, and a follow-up is due later this year.

You Noisy Bastards

DJ duo — Chris Jenkinson and Bern Lovelord — formed in 28 under the name Jenbern. At the time Jenkinson was 16 and Lovelord 15, both attending Bullyhead Boarding School in the Larnese countryside.

Especially Jenkinson was expected to graduate with high marks and move on to law school. He did get high marks but he never even applied for law school. So widely known was the reputation of the two DJs, and so high was the self-confidence of Lovelord that he dropped out of Bullyhead before his final year, after having convinced Jenkinson to skip further studies and attempt a career as professional DJs, scratchers, samplers and eventually even music composers.

It is unclear when the name You Noisy Bastards came up — but at least there are no recordings under the old name. The duo released three self-produced and self-financed mini albums within 15 months in 31 and 32 before signing the highest debut record deal. Jenkinson and Lovelord insisted that their albums would also be released on vinyl, something extraordinary in those years.

The debut, ironically called Bullyhead was a commercial disappointment, and the record company wanted to buy the duo out of the second album in the contract. Again, it was Lovelord's amazing self-confidence and energy that talked the company into letting You Noisy Bastards use the studio for just three weeks, without paying producers etc., and release the second album after all.

The result was a far more dancehall style album of just 36 minutes. 6-Colour Heaven was soon to become a mega hit with DJs in most of the world.