Various Artists

Nicht Zuhause Mama, Vol. 2

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Here is another volume in the crazy Trikont series on independent German music. Interestingly enough, the set starts off with two Americans, Ted Bogan and Howard Armstrong playing German music, and then digging deep into the New York Beat poetry bag for a finale. Next is Berlin alt-country act Tillman Rossmy playing a laid-back country-rock gospel number called "Ein Gospel Mehr." Like Volume One, the sounds are all over the place, from electro and techno to punk, to junk to metal and lounge music. All of it's very image conscious, but at least there are a few recognizable acts this time like Stereo Total covering the Tea Set's "Ma Belle Amie." There's also the Berlin-based wonder duo Attwenger playing their typically insane blend of drums and accordion. They clock in here with a B-side called "Warm." There are a number of German bands that have at least a small following outside the country such as the jangled-out Merricks, the angular, tinny Ichfunktion, and the Jeep Beat Orchestra doing the most amazing tracks here. With strange turntables scratching in the background and Mattel drum-machine percussion, the Jeep Beats play a country song called "Die Nacht, In Der Merle Haggard Fehlte." (Which might translate as "a night in Merle Haggard's hat.") When the broken harmonica joins a wheezing fiddle in the break all bets are off as to what will happen next. It may be satire but it's impressive nonetheless. Much of the music here is satire on American forms, all of it is heavily packaged in pose and attitude, but with all the tunes clocking in well under four minutes, it's a blast. I have no idea what the lyrics mean, and I don't care to know; the vocals become just extended elements of the band in the mix. Once again though, the Germans are remarkably consistent in compiling a cross section of great material from their large and varied independent scene.

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