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.

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