Listen Up: Wednesday, November 14, 2002
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
A D V E R T I S E M E N T
The Nomads

Showdown 2 ó The 90ís (White Jazz import)

By Ken Shimamoto

Scandinavian rock? Forget the trendy Hives and Hellacopters. These guys, who burst out of sleepy Solna, Sweden, an incredible 21 years ago, might just be the best pure rock band on earth. Nick Vahlberg, Hans Ostlund, and crew swallowed the entire history of rock íní roll (well, the cool parts, anyway ó rockabilly, garage, punk) and spit out their own unique synthesis, one characterized by non-stop high energy and big guitars.

No corny revivalists, these Nomads. They play all this stuff like they own it and, by doing so, convincingly make the argument that rock íní roll is no longer the exclusive domain of Yanks and Brits. They donít even dress alike. Rather, their collective appearance (rockabilly cat, longhair, Ramone, bearded/balding paint salesman) is as all-over-the-map as Dallasí late Rock and Roll Disciples.

This generous compilation (two discs ó 42 tracks plus two videos!) picks up where their absolutely essential Showdown! (1981-1993) left off, and, for my money, itís even better, simply because the Nomads (particularly bassist Bjorne Froberg) have been writing more and better songs since 1994.

So, what do you get for your hard-earned entertainment dollar? Nine songs from their out-of-print Sonically Speaking album, which lotsa folks will tell you is their best. Ten from the more uneven Powerstrip (they left the clunkers off). Four from their unspeakably dynamite collection of covers of í60s and í70s Canadian bands, Cold Hard Facts of Life. A bunch from various singles and tribute albums. And five scorching live tracks from their 20th anniversary show at 2001ís Hultsfred festival, with guests Ross the Boss and Handsome Dick Manitoba from the Dictators, Jello Biafra, Chris Bailey from Australiaís Saints, and ex-MC5 guitar terrorist Wayne Kramer.

In sum: all killer, no filler.


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