Who, you might be asking? OK, so Americans may regard Southern California’s revivalists of powerful melodic punk *Face To Face *as something of a punk rock institution but over on this side of the pond their tumultuous ten-year career is more viewed as a punk rock travesty. For despite touring incessantly throughout the states and putting out consistently well written and well-received albums throughout the nineties, headlining venues up to 3000 capacity the band still had not released anything in Europe.
Väsen have been around for well over a decade, refining their sound and producing a series of delightful albums, first for their Swedish home market and then finding a global audience. Just how far they reach now is evident from the fact they recorded this live disc in Japan. The humor in their sound is more evident live, but the delightful interplay between nyckelharpa, fiddle, and guitar is apparent throughout, right from the opener, "Björkbergspolskan." The material largely draws from their last two discs, which is fine – those albums were two of the best of their lengthy career.
2005 was quite the year for Norway's Madrugada. Their 4th record, "The deep end", outsold their others and swept every Norwegian award there was to be won. Proving that they know how to make hay while the sun shines, they've released not one, but two, follow-ups in less than a year's time. "Live at Tralfamadore" is a live record based primarily on their December, 2005 concert at the Oslo Spektrum, and "Live at Oslo Spektrum" is a DVD of that show. Both are more like top notch souvenirs than new additions to their catalogue (they themselves referred to the live record as #4.5 rather than #5), but both feature excellent songs performed with stellar musicianship and passion.
After Crying is one of the most exciting group of the international music scene. After many concerts around the world, they have celebrated their 25th birthday and the release of their 14th album with a special anniversary concert in the Palace of Arts in Budapest. The ensemble has been consciously forming its values since the beginning, regarding the greatest figures of European culture as their role models. The composers of After Crying have always sought to create music that, by using today's common musical idiom, is understood by many, yet is still able to convey profound message on serious subjects at the highest artistic standard. This unique contemporary classical music addresses both the audiences of its own age and eternity.