Oslo City


Across the Norwegian Sea from Icleand, three women and one man set Alpine melodies as depressive as Abba’s to glam riffs as tough as Turbonegro’s. Mary Currie’s Eurotrashed boyfriend laments are girl-group as a foreign language. The production allows for more sweet space than on Mensen’s 2001 debut—”Monday Morning Blues” is both one of the fastest and darkest tracks; “Twenty One” is a year-by-year countalong shout bubble-gummish in simplicity; “Bosnia” is Mensen’s “Waterloo.”

Black Tape For A Blue Girl

With a Million Tear-Stained Memories


Easy to think of this goth act as female, given its name, the Morticia Adams types on its CD covers, and how its flowing Kate Bush parts trounce its immobile Peter Murphy parts. BTFABG, though, are in fact the project of Projekt Records head Sam Rosenthal, who here selflessly abridges 17 years of impenetrable “play-writing.” Nothing much happens on the new-aged instrumental disc; but on the vocal one, midnight-mass madrigals, Bach and Prokofiev motifs, Teutonic electrobeats, tragic shlockestrations, and dippily archaic romance add up to surprisingly playable music-for-airports disguised as some grandiose Druidic ritual. The harmonium tune kicks ass.


Opportunity Bless My Soul

(Version City)

For these coed Kentucky kids cohabitating in Kansas City, Flipper feedback, Ricky Wilson rhythm guitar, roller-rinky-dink organ, Strokes and Pavement and Pussy-Pussy-Pussy Galore shoutouts, and allusions to “I Love L.A.,” “Like a Virgin,” the Minutemen, Ugly Kid Joe, Frank-N-Furter, and ’60s barrio-rock are all sideshows. Under the big top, nerdy-queen thrift-shop-barking from a Yeah Yeah Yeahs sleeve-artist competes with a fag-hag gaggle of bouffants screaming about riding snakes and inner children as if riding on a rollercoaster.