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by Sarah Zupko

10 Jun 2010


Here at PopMatters, we’ve been Katzenjammer fans since well back to 2008 when Adrien Begrand had the good fortune of catching their show at by:Larm 2008 in Oslo, Norway. He was smitten with the Norwegian four-piece band, who he likened to a Scandinavian Dixie Chicks. Well, that sold me as an unrepentant Dixie Chicks lover. Begrand picked up a copy of Le Pop in Norway that year and we thought highly enough of it to place it on the 2008 edition of Slipped Discs.

Just to reiterate, here’s what Begrand had to say back then: “Loaded with sea shanties, Balkan gypsy folk music, bluegrass, blues, German cabaret, twee orchestral pop, and delivered with the reckless abandon of punk rock, there’s a lot to digest on the manic debut album by Norwegian foursome Katzenjammer, but the charisma of these four talented ladies always wins us over. With each member a lead singer and multi-instrumentalist, the band’s versatility is remarkable a live setting and especially on record, as Le Pop veers from raucous (“A Bar in Amsterdam”, “Hey Ho on the Devil’s Back”) to tender (Wading in Deeper”), each song boasting plenty of gorgeous, rich four-part vocal harmonies.”

Now, finally, in 2010, Katzenjammer is hitting US shores with Le Pop releasing 29 June on Nettwerk Records. They were here back in 2009 after David Byrne became a fan and had them play his 2009 curated stage at Bonnaroo. This year, they’re on a short US tour before hitting the circuit with the musical women on the Lilith Fair tour revival (dates after the jump).

In the meantime, we have the pleasure today of premiering this live video of “A Bar in Amsterdam” shot at the Rockefeller Music Hall in Oslo, Norway. Enjoy… it’s impossible not to really.

by Arnold Pan

9 Jun 2010


As conspiracy theories involving our President go, the latest one that he was an extra in the video for Tag Team’s immortal “Whoomp! (There It Is)” is at least the most entertaining and least paranoid one. After Gawker ran with the “story”, the thread became silly enough to be teased on Colbert (see below) and semi-serious enough to be debunked by Politifact, tracked by the Washington Post, and mentioned by pretty much all the network news outlets. Don’t know if this is completely hilarious or totally pathetic, but, according to Politico, the White House has issued an official denial that the then 31-year-old Barack Obama was in the video, which apparently was confirmed by Tag Team itself. Still, check it out for yourself, as the POTUS double appears around the 30-second mark on the Colbert clip, flashing a pretty Obama-like smile while talking on a giant cellphone. Now if it were only a BlackBerry prototype…

The Colbert ReportMon - Thurs 11:30pm / 10:30c
Obama’s Whoomp! There It Is Controversy
www.colbertnation.com
Colbert Report Full EpisodesPolitical HumorFox News

by L.B. Jeffries

9 Jun 2010


The Modest Mouse song “Edit the Sad Parts” is one of their best rock anthems overall, but it’s also the one that most fans seem to miss. It can only be found on the EP Interstate 8, which was almost entirely transferred to the album Building Nothing Out of Something except for a few particular songs. The lyrics are about self-doubt, in this case the personal thoughts of something trying to charm someone they like. The chorus rings in, “We’re all so funny but he’s lost his joke now, A communication from the one lined joke, A stand up comic and a rock musician, Making so much noise you don’t know when to listen.” Yet, each verse finds a new thing to worry about, “Why are you judging people so damn hard, You’re taking your point of views a bit too far.” It’s the intense self-criticism that makes Modest Mouse such a bittersweet band to enjoy, a unique combination of narcissism and self-loathing that everyone feels on some level.

That sense of self-reflection is what makes a protracted video about the history of the Mario franchises commercials set to the song such a good idea. There’s something intrinsically engaging about the idea of Mario being insecure, the contrast becomes so stark when you compare it to his usual “Yahooo!!” self. Here he is selling himself to people in almost every conceivable way: clips from games, Mario jumping out of TVs, and even those old cartoons. The video starts with this rolling piece of paper and those cheesy “Who are you?” commercials that Nintendo used to run back in the Gamecube days. Then, the video plows through every childhood memory a kid with a TV and a Nintendo would have: NES, SNES, N64, and all the sequels in-between make an appearance. As the memories of being young and escaping to video games progress, it starts to nicely highlight the insecurities that the actual song is about as you remember them.

At the very end of the song there’s this uplifting moment where an amazing bass line starts up and you’re snapped out of the melancholy into a foot tapping surge. The lyrics intone, “Think it over, There’s the air of the height of the highrollers, Think it over, You ain’t got nothing until you know her.” The video phases out on this semi-positive note with another clip from the “Who are you?” commercials, ending with a sheepish and grown up Mario waking up hung-over.

by Jessy Krupa

8 Jun 2010


The last music video She & Him made was for the pleasant “In the Sun”. Befitting of such a cutesy song, it revolved around hula hooping in a school gymnasium. So, when the twosome’s first video release for “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here“ appeared on my TV screen, I thought I was in for more of the same. After all, the clip starts innocently enough; with singer Zooey Deschanel surrounded by Disney-like cartoon birds while perched atop the gigantic letter W in the word “why”. Then, she falls off, with her body leaking cartoon blood. But that was just the beginning as her spirit crawls out of her and continues the performance, along with Pac-Man-style ghosts, grim-reaper nuns, and the guitar-playing ghost of bandmate M. Ward. And just as I think it’s going to give us a happy ending, Zooey’s body gets picked on by very cute vultures.

Being that “Why Do You Let Me Stay Here“ is the type of docile ditty that Annette Funicello would serenade Frankie Avalon with in a 1960’s surf movie, I’m a little surprised. I don’t remember any Beach Party movies that involved beheadings, but then again, I haven’t seen all of them.

If this music video were a video game, you would have to show some ID before you could buy it. Nonetheless, it’s quirky graphics certainly aren’t run-of-the-mill and it’s definitely not boring. I’m actually more shocked by the fact that it is nearly two years old and I’ve never seen or heard of it before. Still, I wouldn’t let any kids under the age of 10 watch it, for fear of them attempting to jump off of giant words or stomp on tiny ghosts.

by Oliver Ho

8 Jun 2010



In a mind-bending moment of television, Ann-Margret and the Bay City Rollers play a classic song in front of “possibly one of the greatest audiences in the history of show business”. The pairing of Ann-Margret with the tartan rockers is campy enough—especially fun is the sense that she’s thinking the same thing many viewers are: “What the hell is going on here?” But that’s nothing compared to the crowd shots. I wonder what that one lady was knitting? [Via MetaFilter]

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