For my college studies I decided to try and get a grip on the old-media-shakin’, internet-quakin’ event that was Rathergate. During my research I got help from various members of the place where it all started: Conservative online forum Free Republic. Amongst the various ‘freepers’ I spoke to was the prime instigator himself, Buckhead, aka Harry Macdougald, Atlanta lawyer and major fan of the English Soccer Premier League! Later on I was honoured to be allowed to interview Mr MacDougald . . . read on for a profile of a real ‘Net Legend’: Read more
Die Fantastischen Vier (aka Fanta 4) pretty much started the German hip-hop scene about 18 years ago in Stuttgart. Rapping in German they steer clear of all the cliches of US ‘gangstas’ such as guns n’ hos.
After starting off in the late eighties in what was then West Germany they built up a following and gained enough confidence to appear on an early compilation of emerging Kraut-hop called ‘krauts with attitude’. Around this time, according to the band’s official website, they even got a mention in a 1993 UK Guardian article about German hip-hop.
They now concentrate on German-speaking, feel-good tunes with some very Brit-like observational asides dotted about. Even when they’re self-indulgent as on ‘Hausmeister Thomas D’ (a tribute to one of the band) or FrÃ¼hstÃ¼ck (Breakfast) they can be quite inventive.
Best Of 1990 – 2005
Home-grown German hip-hop of the highest quality. Standout tracks: ‘Die Da’, ‘Lass Die Sonne Rein’, ‘Hausmeister Thomas D’, ‘sie ist weg’ (She’s gone), ‘Nur In Deinem Kopf’ (Only In your Head).
The fabled German lack of humour is lacking on the album I’ve shown on the right too: my special edition of the album comes with — shock — a cassette helpfully labelled ‘Alter Scheiss’. It contains discarded tracks from the late eighties (incl. early stuff in English) and I’ve been unable to listen to it as I no longer posess the technology. Still it may come in handy for those annoying moments when you rent a van from some dodgy small-ad and instead of a CD player there’s an ageing, music-destroying, tape-deck in it.
I’ve come to them late but the best-of on the right is a double album and a pretty comprehensive intro to one of Germany’s best-loved bands.
This lot are a three-piece from Augsburg and Nah Bei Mir is an excellent album. Anajo (the name comes from the film ‘Banana Joe’, the title of which was once rendered as ‘ana jo’ by a broken TV) play indie rock with a sense of humour and a carefree spirit that sets them apart from more earnest rivals such as Wir Sind Helden.
In fact, warm-hearted, big tunes with easy-going melodies is the kind of fare that has seen Anajo support fellow popsters Virginia Jetzt!, although with Anajo the sugar levels are way down. They remind me very much of The shout Out Louds with all the rough edges filed down.
Brits with a penchant for obscure, slightly childish lyrics will like rhymes like ‘Honigmelone, du bist nicht ohne’ and if you’re into the type of Caesars-style pop that glides into the ear then you’ll be right at home.
Nah Bei Mir
(Close to me, 100% native)
Caesars-style catchy, inoffensive indie. Standout tracks: ‘Monika Tanzband’, ‘Vorhang Auf’ (Curtains up), ‘Ich hol dich hier raus’ (I’ll get you outta here).
Nah Bei Mir is from 2004 and they’ve a new album out in September ’06. Watch this space. Let’s hope they can follow in the footsteps of WSH and Stiller and make it to the UK sometime for some mini-gigs.