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Dutch pop band Johan released one swell self-titled album in 1997, marrying the jittery indie guitar strum of the Wedding Present to the cool, ironic retro-pop charms of the Cardigans and the manic hooks of the best Buzzcocks singles. Formed in Hoorn, Netherlands, by singer Jacco de Greeuw and drummer Wim Kwakman, the quartet was originally called Visions of Johanna after the Bob Dylan song. When the duo decided that name was a bit pretentious and vague, they shortened it to Johan in honor of the Dutch football star Johan Cruyff. After guitarist Remco Krull and bassist Niels de Wit joined the group, Johan signed with the Amsterdam-based indie Excelsior Recordings and produced their self-titled album in 1996. The New York label Spin Art optioned it for U.S. release the following year, but Krull and de Wit left the group shortly thereafter. Jacco de Greeuw and Wim Kwakman worked off and on for two years on the follow-up album, adding Diets Dijkstra on guitar and vocals, Diederik Nomden on keyboards, guitar and vocals as well as Maarten Kooijman on guitar and vocals. Pergola was released in 2001. ~ Stewart Mason