maandag 28 februari 2011

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'The Look' by Metronomy

Every week our contributors will voice their opinion concerning one song, it’s a simple as that! The more the merrier, so people are always welcome to join in, just leave a note, eh.

Track: ‘The Look’ by Metronomy (listen here)
Average Grade: 6.5

Craig: My friends were listening in on this song with me and said the tune resembles Nintendo music. Now I can't get that thought out of my head. The production is especially great on this song, and the lyrics really hit me. Lovely!

Ilse: To be fair, in advance I had never given Metronomy much listen and I always find it difficult to write about a track when I am not much aware of the band's former work. However, I quite like this one; the simple yet very catchy synth hook is rather addictive and the whole thing functions well as mellow background music. The only doubt I have is that it probably isn't something I'm going to continue listening to in the long-run. Also, my mind already starts wandering as the track hits it halftime, where it suddenly sounds a little bit like the Bold and the Beautiful opening theme.

Linda: WHAT. IS. THIS. FEELING CALLED LOVE! Oh, sorry, my mistake, that's a different song, or different band at least. It's half decent but I can't help feeling underwhelmed as Pulp do it so much better.

Anna: They had me at the synth intro. As the song progressed, its synth chimes and the multi-vocal harmonies, which echo one another in the most delicious way, made me listen to it three times in a row. I think this is the beginning of a beautiful new musical relationship. Dinner's on me.

Stef: I think Linda has got it spot on when she says this song resembles Pulp’s brilliant Feeling Called Love song. However, if you have to nick from Pulp to make a good song, well, okay, then let’s do that. No points for originality, and it is also out of the running for having any sort of meaningful place in pop history, but the borrowing does lead to a pretty catchy tune, and sometimes you have to be happy with that much no?

woensdag 23 februari 2011

New Wild Beasts album on its way

Wild Beasts will release a ten track album as soon as the 10th of May. The band is gearing up their follow-up to the 2009 release Two Dancers. This new one will be called Smother and is produced by Richard Formby. The album will be released by Domino.

The creation of what we now know as “bed” gave more trouble than one would imagine. Roger Diatritz tried to find the exact right thing for people to get some peace and quiet at night. So, he thought, who seem most at peace? Fakir’s seem terribly at peace on their bed of nails. After testing it out for a couple of days Diatritz came to the conclusion that Westerners have some sensibilities that Fakir’s apparently do not have, like feeling excruciating pain when a nail is piercing in your buttocks. He then thought, dogs, especially big dogs, they seem terribly at peace as well. He bought a Saint Bernard dog, gave the dog some folded up blankets, and observed it. The dog hardly seemed to move, so tranquil he was. Ah-ha, I struck gold, Diatritz thought. He walked over, settled in, started to sleep, and then he was bit by the dog and had to get a Tetanus shot for 50.50 dollars. Lying on the couch with his feet up in recovery the realisation came to him that perhaps living in a crummy, single glass apartment on 5th Avenue was never the way to get peace anyway, and he moved to Florida and into a town with 80% elderly people. His rate of intercourse is down (though by his own design, because the opportunity is certainly there, old widow Ockowitz to start with), but he has quickly become a star at Gin Rummy.

Booker T gets help from Lou Reed, Matt Berninger on new album

Legendary Stax man Booker T Jones is going to release a new album. The album will be called The Road to Memphis and will be released on the 10th of May via the Anti- label. Amongst the artists collaborating on the album are The National singer Matt Berninger, Lou Reed, Yim Yames, and Sharon Jones. Booker T perhaps is most renowned for the track ‘Green Unions’.

One of the tracks is called ‘Everything is Everything’, and indeed long it was thought that Everything is Everything. However, in 1974 Delila Aport found that everything is not everything, as the whole oeuvre of Barbra Streisand and the bootlegs of CB DeMille’s readings are exempt from this. This was still dismissed as the exceptions that fortify the rule in place, but ten years later it was found that chocolate waffles not only were not part of everything, but it was part of the Things you can eat with a fork but also on the go group. The real problem came when someone found out that the Things you can eat group called dibs on Chocolate Waffles, which turned the whole game upside down and has since caused multiple groups to call dibs on multiple objects from the Everything is Everything group. The biggest upset came when France was added to the newly found group of Countries who can make a good ratatouille.

Janelle Monae @ de Melkweg

Report of Janelle Monae live at De Melkweg, 2011

This young girl, called Janelle Monae, arrives on stage on the shoulders of a giant. In front of her is a symposium crowd with left and right some fans that have actually bought a ticket to see either her or Neon Indian (who plays a little bit later) perform. So some people in concert attire, the rest is looking like they have just wandered in from a, ehrm, well, symposium. This girl, dressed like she is in a 1930s Jazz band with the all black and white fanciful look, plays some songs off of her EP. She goes all out on the theatrics, at different points during the performance standing on a stool, painting a painting, and diving into the audience. The audience, some of whom might or might not have been to a live gig ever before, are well surprised and barely catch her during the stage dive.

This didn’t happen last week, obviously. Because this time around she plays for a sold out crowd of people who all have come to see her, and her alone. A tour with of Montreal, opening for Prince, some showings on MTV and whatever more: it all got her quite the fan base. Where previously it was basically her and her guitar player, this time she’s got the whole shebang with her, including a two man horn section and enough balloons to make Atlantis rise to the surface again. Where that very first time I saw her she had to work with stools and with crew members to get the theatrical into the show, this time around she has got a projection screen, her band members have multiplied, and she’s got dancers and masks and costumes. Everything says, Hey guys and girls, I am a star now.

A star, by default, lets you wait. I saw Grace Jones once, and it seemed as if she deliberately waited for the first Boo birds to arrive on stage. The doors open at 19:00, and without an opening act the crowd has to wait for two hours for miss Monae to arrive. The crowd - who was becoming just a tiny bit restless – seems to immediately have forgotten the wait when the big screen shows Monae doing an opening monologue in character as cyborg Cindy Mayweather. After that Monae gets into overdrive from the get go with ‘Dance or Die’. She plays about the first couple of songs from her last year released debut The ArchAndroid before turning to some of her old staples, the classic Chaplin song ‘Smile’ and the EP hit ‘Sincerely, Jane’, which I still think is on par (if not even better than) any of her new singles.

Those singles, ‘Cold War’ and ‘Tightrope’, are saved for the end of her regular set, and the ten minute encore solely consists of an extended free for all version of ‘Come Alive’, which seems to take after Jimi Hendrix. The middle part of the concert is home to some of the more ballad like songs, during one of which she paints, something that was absent from her previous show in Holland. The singles and ‘Sincerely Jane’ certainly get the crowd going, but for people not hardcore into the material I can see why the middle section could be a bit of a lull.

However, what I like most about this performer is, first of all, how she deliberately creates this collage of influences and works them into the show. Both on the screen behind her, in her performance, in the music, as well as in the playlist before and after the show she uses all the people she loves and admires to craft the thematic ideology that runs through her show. Before and after the show we hear Jimi Hendrix and David Bowie for example, on the screen behind her we see Muhammed Ali and images of Fritz Lang’s Metropolis, and in her songs and performance it is hard not to see the influence of James Brown, David Bowie and even contemporaries like of Montreal. Monae succeeds in translating her ideology onto the stage, an ideology rooted very much in the science-fiction of Lang, Bowie and Philip K. Dick and her African-American Roots like Jazz, Soul, Funk (the attire of the old swing bands, the cape of Brown, Hendrix booming out of the stereo before and after her gig) and Muhammed Ali. These influence all are deliberately embedded in her performance to further create and put into performance her ideas.

After the show is long over she comes back on stage with the whole band and crew to light-heartedly auction off the painting she made during the performance to the person who can answer one of the questions she poses. Where during the performance she always seems in character, here she seems at ease, relaxed, and informal. A divide between the performer and the performance on one hand, and the woman Janelle Monae on the other. That she has the tunes to skyrocket her into stardom I think no one doubted, but the most impressive thing for me – and what to me sets her apart from a whole host of other mainstream artists – is how she so post-modernly is able to convey her ideas and put them into a well-crafted performance. Maybe there are better pop shows out there where the hits keep on coming and coming, but what Monae does borders not only on Pop, it borders on performance art, and that is what sets her apart from the pack for me.

Muziek nieuws van de maand februari

Al het nieuws aangaande muziek dat in februari op deze site heeft gestaan, in onze koppige huisstijl.

23 feb:
New Wild Beasts album on their way
Booker T gets help from Lou Reed, Matt Berninger on new album

22 feb:
Architecture in Helsinke prepares new album
Amsterdam transforms into Indiestad in May

16 feb:
In Flagranti to release album in April
Debut 6th Borough Project slated for May release

14 feb:
Nieuw album The Raveonettes
Gang Gang Dance komt in mei met opvolger Saint Dymphna

09 feb:
Nieuw album TV on the Radio komt eraan
Leden van bands Hot Chip, Spiritualized, This Heat maken samen album

07 feb:
Details debuut Holy Ghost! bekend
Black Devil Disco Club komt met nieuw album

04 feb:
Album Wolfram vol met guest stars
Nieuwe lo-fi supergroup Zodiacs

02 feb:
Tune-Yards komt met nieuw album
Album Bright Eyes via NPR te beluisteren

dinsdag 22 februari 2011

New album Architecture in Helsinki

The band Architecture in Helsinki is gearing up to release their latest album. It will be called Moment Bends, which is the follow-up to the 2007 album Places Like This. The band will put the albums in shop on the 11th of April in the UK. During April the band will tour Europe, also stopping in Rotterdam for the Motel Mozaique festival.

One of the songs is called Contact High, which was long considered good advice. If you contacted someone when you were positioned higher you would have a more dominant position, and thus a greater chance of success. This irked Napoleon, for he was seldom positioned higher, and he could only wear heels for so long. Plus the only heels that he fancied were pointy boots with velvet patterns, which were hard to get a hold of in 17th century France, plus they only really came into fashion when Jack Lemmon wore them for his screening for Some Like It Hot (though till this day he insists he wore flats and he seemed taller because he went to Coiffeur Madame Soiri the night before and got a quiff).Napoleon, in his heyday, once put the Contact Higher to vote and wanted it changed to Contact Lower, but he lost the debate to a man two inches taller wearing a corset to straighten his back and carrying a shrimp, who threatened to eat Napoleon if he came any closer.

Amsterdam voor een week in mei omgedoopt tot Indiestad

In May Amsterdam will be flooded with bands as the city will be the host to new festival Indiestad. This will take place from the 18th of May until the 25th, and it will feature mostly bands, though the people hosting the event have already let it slip they are tempted to branch out but don’t want to do so yet because this is the first go at it.

The festival will take place in multiple venues, including Paradiso and De Duif, a church where apparently family friendly events will be held (a far cry from Owen Pallett’s display in 2010 then). Included in the festival is the two-day event London Calling, which has become a very popular twice a year event in Paradiso. Though what belongs to what and who will play where is still up in the air, but among the bands playing will be Twin Shadow (check our review of his gig in Merleyn), Holy Ghost! (check the interview we did with the lads last year), Caribou, Mercury Rev, Sam Amidon, Cat’s Eyes, and more.

Report Cross-Linx Eindhoven

Originally posted on Musos Guide
Report Cross-Linx Eindhoven 2011– The National, Sharon van Etten, Efterklang, Dessner Brothers

If you had come in near the end of the headline gig by The National and would’ve asked, Blimey, where is the singer, someone probably would’ve pointed somewhere at the ceiling. Because high up is Matt Berninger, on the balcony, shouting out “I won’t fuck you over, I’m Mr. November” (which added a layer during the Obama – McCain elections and arguably got another layer added to it now that his first presidential term is winding down). On the stage the band is playing Alligator closer ‘Mr. November’ sans Padma Newsome (the Australian hasn’t come along for this leg of the tour apparently) but with Owen Pallett taking over selected violin duties. How Berninger got there (over the chairs) and why he got there (to sing his heart out yet again) seems to have made way for the more immediate question of How do I get down on that stage again to finish the last two songs.

While browsing the festival’s website I noticed something that I had already suspected whilst visiting the festival: Bryce Dessner of The National is named as one of the curators. I had suspected this because somehow, someway all the bands seem to be connected to one of the members in the band. As said, Owen Pallett was on the stage during the The National set, but he is also on the bill as solo artist. As are Sharon van Etten, Buke & Gas, Victoire, and Efterklang + Daniel Bjarnason & their Messing Orchestra. This is the core of the travelling circus that is touring The Netherlands under the name of Cross-Linx, which is an annually reoccurring Dutch festival which takes place in four cities over the course of as many nights. Added to this core are Peter Broderick and Basia Bulat. The main band of this festival is The National, who are not only playing as a band, but the Dessner brothers do a sort of improv on guitar as well. The Devendorf Brothers take on DJ duties in Eindhoven and Groningen, while Pallett and Rasmus are behind the decks on one of the other two nights.

Naturally, since it is a festival, some bands are programmed at about the same time. First Efterklang and orchestra take their place in rock venue De Effenaar. Because it is with an orchestra it is something that you won’t always get, and that is what I like about this festival: it takes stuff out of their comfort zone to try. I personally wouldn’t say it always succeeds. The Dessner brothers improvisation on guitar is mostly noise to me. Apparently I missed out on the more layered and structured first part, which a Dutch colleague who saw the whole concert of Phillip Glass and other contemporary classical music duly noted. By entering the small room when they were already halfway I got the short end of the stick.

In the more fancy Muziekgebouw, which usually hosts classical music and opera, I decide to not walk around and stick to the main room. Owen Pallett plays in a different part of the building, but last time in this country he was ace so there wasn’t much surprise left. Sharon van Etten, however, is playing her first gig in The Netherlands. The young singer/songwriter has the unenviable task to entertain a crowd that is obviously there to hear The National. Her fragile songs and sometimes awkward stage presence (reminding me terribly of performance artist/writer Miranda July in how she talks and the anxiety she exhumes) drown in the chatter of the crowd.

Her last song is perhaps a new song for which she hasn’t written down the arrangements yet. Totally a cappella she does it, sometimes seemingly counting the beat or hearing the riffs in her head. As I said, I love the festival and their artists for doing things out of the box, but perhaps this was so far out of the box that she wandered into hostile territory. Because if she hadn’t heard the chattering crowd before, she certainly heard it now. Let me say though that I thought she performed admirably. Her songs are nice, she has a good voice, and it does seem she kind of has the same anxious world view like a Miranda July.

Then it is The National time. A lot of the material is from their most recent album High Violet (they are touring it after all), but instead of complementing that with a sort of “greatest hits” they tend to rotate songs in and out of the setlist. It almost is like collecting baseball cards now, buying a package in the hope you get that rookie card you are still missing. The card that has eluded me for some time now is ‘About Today’, which they always manage to play the day before but not when I’m attending. Aside from the common cards (The High Violet singles, ‘Mr. November’, the singles from Boxer) they put some uncommons/rares in for every crowd.

The people in Eindhoven get some of these uncommon and rare songs as well. They are fortunate to hear ‘Wasp Nest’ off of the Cherry Tree EP and ‘Abel’, which was on the band’s Alligator release. The rare card that the erudite crowd will probably quickly sleeve and occasionally dust off is ‘The Geese of Beverly Road’, the first song of the encore which puts the narrator in a sort of late night high with Berninger singing “Love, we’ll get away with it. We’ll just run like we’re awesome, totally genius.” What comes after in the encore is also impressive, though not quite as unexpected. The band really has developed ‘Terrible Love’ into a juggernaut live, and ‘Mr. November’ is a great song that always gets the crowd going.

For the people in the audience that had never seen the band live before (or live clips of them on YouTube before) were probably in for a treat as well. Because the basic blueprint is searing guitars, a propelling drum and bass, and a singer who seems to actually live in the world the songs create. Add to that the horn section of two and the help of Owen Pallett, and the band is simply an impressive sight to behold. Not that this was the most perfect performance ever. I would’ve loved Padma to be there, and although I like a bit of crowd interaction I’m simply not sure whether asking the crowd to clap along every other song is a step forward on previous shows. Personally I also would’ve preferred an encore different from the sing-along acoustic version of ‘Vanderlyle Crybaby Geeks’, which admittedly is highly subjective. The band itself suggested with a smile this had to be their worst night of stage banter ever, though the awkward in-jokes have their charm.

Aside from the minor caveats mentioned above, this was simply a very good show. People who are relatively new to the band get a forceful performance. The Dessners really work their guitars, and Matt certainly provides the energy on the energetic songs, and that emotional yet detached delivery on the slower ones. The more avid fans got a treat in Eindhoven with ‘The Geese of Beverly Road’ and with yet another one hundred percent effort. I think the festival in itself is a delightful little festival that gives artists the chance to just try stuff out, and I must say everything was arranged very well. Good job by all involved, really. It’s so good to occasionally be able to say that, no?

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'Imagine Hearts' by Ringo Deathstarr

Every week our contributors will voice their opinion concerning one song, it’s a simple as that! The more the merrier, so people are always welcome to join in, just leave a note, eh.

Track: ‘Imagine Hearts’ by Ringo Deathstarr (listen here)
Average grade: 5.9

I'm in love with their band name! Best thing since Someone Still Loves You Boris Yeltsin - and I imagine that the extra 'r' is just to keep George Lucas far away from their hard earned cash rather than a sudden attack of hipsterness disabling their spelling capacities. Now you could say that everything that pops up in Radiohead-week is a bit pointless, but I still love this track, even though I could easily think of at least 10 bands sounding exactly the same.

Well, the shoegaze influences are evident and the genre has had (or perhaps is still having) its revival with bands like the Pains Of Being Pure At Heart and A Place To Bury Strangers. The girl singing gives the track some poppy vibes, though the clear presence of noise makes Ringo Deathstarr leaning more towards that last band. That is not to say I'm already finding their music as effective as the before mentioned bands (why the abrupt ending? they could've gone into a different direction and give the song a twist there), but their prospects are positive as I'm going to give downloading their album a go.

Craig: Cool song--noisy guitars, psychedelic lady-vox, rock and roll edge... but isn't it kind of a paint-by-numbers copy of My Bloody Valentine?

Anna: This being the first song on their album, I think of it as a prologue to the yumminess that follows. It has the shoegazing allure, but for me personally it works better as an appetiser rather than the main course.
And on a less related note, superb band name.

Stef: There is a nice little pop song in there somewhere, too bad no one can hear it with all that bloody noise.

woensdag 16 februari 2011

In Flagranti to release new album

The lads of In Flagranti will release a new album in April. The exact release date is the fourth of that month, and it will be done via the Codek label. The album will consist of ten tracks and it will be called Worse for Wear. It will be the follow-up to the 2009 album Brash & Vulgar.

One of the tracks is called ‘Prelude to Chaos’, and King Xavier III was very much a materialistic man. But even a king can’t have everything, but he devised a cunning plan. He would say, Horses, they are a prelude to chaos!, and people would think, Oh no, horses, they are a prelude to chaos!, and they would get rid of horses. And Xavier III would get them all. This plan worked very well (despite the fact that he had to burn three villages because there was no more room for stables, but he told the people that Tarot cards said that they would only find Fame and Glory if they would go to Swindon, and off they went! He also pointed to the nearby factory and said, Oi, that’s in your ground you know, which helped as well).

This plan worked so well that the king, upon learning his impotency (though medics said, No, there is nothing wrong with it, potentially it should be able to get up, but what can arouse you when you’ve already got so much eh?), said, Sons, they are a prelude to chaos!, because he needed an heir. And people parted with their boys, but swiftly they were returned for as heirs to the throne they refused to do factory work and the girls said, naww, we aren’t that emancipated yet, come back in twenty years. Also, all youth soccer teams were comprised of sons of the kings, so who to root for?

Debut 6th Borough Project in shops in May

On the ninth of May the 6th Borough Project will release their album. The guys have named it One Night in the Borough, and it will be released by Delusions of Grandeur (which is a wicked name as far as I’m concerned). The album is set to feature fourteen tracks. The band consists of Graeme Clark and Craig Smith, the former from the band The Revenge.

One of the tracks is called If the Feeling’s Right, which stems from the saying If the feeling is right, by God, don’t do it, which dates from the pre-Stonewall era. If you are a gay man, especially back in the day (but even now, look at Kurt in Glee!), you had to go by your gut instinct. And if the feeling was right, you went for it and saw whether the guy was, ehrm, game. So Peter Farwitz saw a young, feminine guy, the feeling was right, and he walked up to that person and chatted that person up. When this guy noticed what was happening (and sometimes you have to make it soooo clear), he got mad, and he tried to throw Farwitz on to the street. Now, Farwitz weighs about 210lbs, so he wasn’t going anywhere, but emotionally this made a huge impact.

Farwitz poured his heart out over tea and some exquisite coconut biscuits at Judith Butler’s place, and she gave him the advice, Now, a feminine man is more threatened because he feels more of a need to prove his masculinity than a masculine man. So honey, if the feeling’s right, don’t do it. Farwitz nodded, the advice made sense. He went out, saw a very masculine man, talked him up, he thought it was going all right. At one point the guy noticed what was happening, put his arm around Farwitz, choked him, and then stole the recipe for coconut biscuits. Which is an act of needless criminality because straight men can’t do pastry.

On First Listen: The Dears – Degeneration Street

Warning: A first look is what it is, a first look. It is not an in-depth analysis of the album or anything, just a sort of stream of consciousness bit of what I think of the song and album on first listen. Naturally, the overall opinion on the album or the songs is likely to change overtime.

Stream the album here to form your own opinion

So, lots of stuff on The Dears lately. The band who is perhaps best known (or most affectionally known) for the album No Cities Left. After that came Gangs of Losers, but the band seemed to lose steam a little with Missiles. Not only did it lose steam, the band basically fell apart. Now Murray Lightburn has got a crew together again and wants to make it happen with this one, Degeneration Street. Loads of conflicting opinions on it. Some herald it as a return to form, others (including and perhaps most notably Pitchfork) think this basically the final nail in the coffin.

The Album

The track ‘Omega Dog’ starts it off as a real indie-rock anthem. The rock especially coming from the searing guitar at the end, which is not too shabby. The guitar really gets a lot of burn on this album. ‘Omega Dog’ is perhaps the epitome of The Dears as a band: epic rock with those distinctive vocals by Lightburn sneering about something or another. Those guitars are definitely nice to hear.

‘5 Chords’ starts off with the lines “Father, up in heaven” and at one point continues with “mother, here on earth”. It sounds more uplifting than the previous song, the music that is. Not Lightburn. He does pour his heart out though. To be fair, some of the lyrics do sound a bit trite, but because of Lightburn’s vigour he gets away with more than other people.

‘Blood’, I mean, the title alone gives away the mood no? Again the guitar is something which immediately jumps out. It basically matches Lightburn’s punch, and here it is kind of noisy, kind of old-fashioned pedal heavy it sounds. This is offset with acoustic play. ‘Thrones’ seems a bit, well, “epic”, but not in the good sense. It has more of a mainstream mood than for example the album’s opener.

‘Lamentation’ really sounds like a lamentation. Maybe too heavily so with lines as “Show me some mercy / show me that you care”. Not sure what I think about the backing vocals going “oee-oh-oeh-hoee”. But blimey, at the end it does go a bit over the top if you ask me, with the increased volume on the backings and the overall sound of the music. By the look of the running time, ‘Torches’ is kind of a transition song, and it is, an instrumental composition to be more exact.

‘Galactic Tides’ is a slow song where Lightburn goes into falsetto mode. I do still love his voice, have always loved it. Nice guitar again, but this time obviously not like at the start, but suitable for a ballad. But again much time for it, almost old school. The same backing vocals as on ‘Lamentation’ crop up though, apparently those were in the blueprint for ballad making for this album. Love the scream at the end though.

We are going in ho-down mode for ‘Yesteryear’, I guess in the same ironic way as on ‘Whites Only Party’. Or perhaps not, I can’t tell on first listen. It is not really a ho-down either, but a catchy acoustic, simplistic riff that has nothing at all to do with the rest of the album. It is something I can see people dance to, which is all right, not sure about it in the middle of a The Dears album though. ‘Stick w/ Me Kid’ starts with the menacing voice of Lightburn. Very cinematic feel this has, with the quick quick strumming in the background moving it forward, and the more talking than singing Lightburn vocals over it. Quite like this one. I think this one has that bit of epicness without compromising on mood and theme.

With ‘Tiny Man’ The Dears take the foot off of the pedal for a moment, with an acoustic guitar and with what sounds like a sort of country/slide guitar accompanying the vocals. At one point I do hear “Hey sister, go sister” for a moment, which he isn’t saying at all, but the diction was so alike that’s what I heard! That would’ve been totally wicked. Madness, but wicked.

“Closed my eyes and found you”, Lightburn sure mixes up the heartfelt statements with some rather trite stuff sometimes. Maybe on this song you don’t get the heart that you do hear in other songs, which makes some of these lines like “I’m just a boy searching for love” rather meh. I do like the line “Was it a massive war of the classes or a passing thought” on the next song, called ‘Unsung’, though. This song, too, has some rather “mainstream” moments where it perhaps is all a bit too bombastic, and it is just the mood it exhumes to me that makes it rather strange. ‘1854’, in my opinion, is not their best one. “If you wanna stomp on me, I’m gonna stomp on you” is not exactly Keats, is it? Also, I disagree with it, but that is another matter (but it does effect the enjoyment of the song, naturally).

The title track is the last track on the album, an album that borders on feeling a tad too long for my liking. It clocking in just under the one hour mark is rather surprising to me.


Before listening to the album I read some of the reviews. As said, some are very positive, others are rather scathing. And I can see both sides of the coin, especially because I think this album embodies both sides of the coin. It has some really vintage The Dears moments, and some of the tracks are absolutely up there with their better work. For me personally I’m thinking ‘Stick w/ Me Kid’ for example, or some of the heavy guitar songs. A guitar that, on occasion, really complements the vocals of Lightburn, who singing wise also puts on a great display of heartfelt delivery.

However (you knew this was coming didn’t you?), I agree with for example the Pitchfork review when it says that some of the songs just feel a bit too mainstream epic. There is just a vibe in some of the songs which really feel very much like those songs that bands play for massive audiences and massive people can listen to, for the wrong reasons. Some of the songs they seem to compromise on theme and vigor in favor of – what is it? – basically a sound for daytime radio. And that compromise is unfortunate, in my opinion. With that said, I don’t think it is as bad an album as Pitchfork does, and I don’t think it is a complete return to form. I think this album has some good songs but is dragged down by tracks that have this feel of mainstream radio instead of that heart on sleeve feel I love The Dears so much for.

maandag 14 februari 2011

Cazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'Under Cover of Darkness' by The Strokes

Every week our contributors will voice their opinion concerning one song, it’s a simple as that! The more the merrier, so people are always welcome to join in, just leave a note, eh.

Track: ‘Under Cover of Darkness’ by The Strokes (listen here)
Average Grade: 2.9

Anna: That is not a good song, plain and simple. The song-writing is weak and the overall feel makes a bridge-playing sherry-sipping sock-knitting night look exciting (which it can be, granted).

Ilse: I really enjoyed the guitar in this one, it is reassuringly Strokes-ish, but therefore at the same time not very innovative either. Apart from the guitarsolos, the track as a whole seems rather messy. Julian Casablancas' voice always sounds distant, as if he were singing from the basement while the rest of the band is upstairs in the studio and this is particularly notieceable it this song, as it reaches a point where it's almost unintelligible. Nope, I'm not convinced for the new album. Well that's to say: not yet, atleast. Final convict: certainly underwhelming, but not a horrendous track either.

Linda: Phew, crisis averted - I hate this track. After his solo album, I'm finding it quite impossible to take Julian Casablancas serious again, but then again, it is a new Strokes track. As I cannot be bothered to actually pay enough attention to come up with something witty myself, I have once more resorted to the late John Peel, and have come up with a rather suitable quote for the occasion:

"The [Eurovision] song contest, like the Miss World show, is one of those things that you really have to watch because memory dulls during the year and you start to wonder if it really is as dreadful as you remember. Neither of them ever let you down."

Stef: I would never think this song to be from a band with quite a reputation. Apparently it is, but I’m not sure what part of this track should show that exactly.

Nieuw album The Raveonettes

Op 5 april zal het nieuwe album van The Raveonettes uitkomen. De Denen hebben het nieuwe werk Raven in the Grave genoemd, en het is de opvolger van het in 2009 uitgekomen album In and Out of Control. Ze zullen het uitbrengen via Vice, en het kent negen nummers.

Het album heet dus Raven in the Grave, en dit werd heel lang gezien als een slecht teken voor je afterlife. Echter, bij de opkomst van de wetenschap vroeg men zich af, is dit wel een slecht teken? Is dit wel bewezen? Bij artikelen die vervolgens verschenen werd dus gezegd, nou, wij weten nog zo net niet of dit een slecht teken is, misschien is het wel een goed teken! Uiteraard, in de krantenartikelen gebaseerd op de wetenschappelijke ging nogal wat nuance verloren, waarop heel veel mensen (waarvan 80% volkskrant lezers en 20% mensen die al sceptisch waren) begonnen te denken, een raaf in het graf, dat is een goed teken! En dus, om hun dear family members een handje te helpen in het volgende leven, was het eerste wat men bij het horen van de dood van een familielid deed allerlei vrienden opbellen zeggend, Er is iemand gestorven, pak je geweren, we gaan op raven jagen! Gelukkig voor raven weet niemand precies het verschil tussen een raaf en een kraai, wat nog onfortuinijker is omdat recent wetenschappelijk onderzoek heeft uitgewezen dat een kraai in het graf er voor zorgt dat je geboren wordt met een oogafwijking naar links.

Gang Gang Dance brengt Eye Contact dit jaar nog uit

Gang Gang Dance zal binnenkort met de opvolger komen van het in 2008 uitgebrachte Saint Dymphna. Begin mei zal via 4 AD het album Eye Contact uitkomen. De exacte datum van uitgave is 9 mei in de UK, en 10 mei in de Verenigde Staten.

Er zijn vele filosofische gesprekken gevoerd aangaande het fenomeen oogcontact. Freud zei dat oogcontact voor een automatische seksuele spanning zorgde. Weinig mensen willen hierdoor oogcontact, omdat als je met ieder persoon oogcontact maakt je in een perpetual staat van opwinding bent, wat niet alleen ongemakkelijk is maar wat ook had voorkomen dat skinny jeans ooit in fashion zouden raken. Wittgenstein vond oogcontact ook inferieur, want in tegenstelling tot woorden en taal en het complexe web daarvan was oogcontact maar een beetje een primitieve vorm van iets weergeven. Maar is ongecompliceerd communiceren dan niet goed? vroeg Anna Freud, waarop Wittgenstein zei, Voor het voortgaan van de wereld, jawel, maar het is zo saai. Kierkegaard vroeg zich af of ogen wel contact konden maken, en zo ja, kunnen we de radio dan ook zonder antenne laten werken want dan hoef je niet telkens een nieuwe te kopen omdat ’t ding de hele tijd afbreekt. Wat heel vooruitdenkend van Kierkegaard was, want later zouden inderdaad radio’s zonder antennes gemaakt worden, plus toen hij leefde was de radio nog helemaal niet uitgevonden. Zijn uitspraak werd dan ook met de nodige opgetrokken wenkbrauwen ontvangen.

woensdag 9 februari 2011

Nieuw album TV on the Radio

Dit jaar nog zal TV on the Radio een nieuw album gaan uitbrengen. Ergens in de lente zal het nieuwe werk van de band uit Brooklyn uitkomen via Interscope. Het zal de opvolger worden van Dear Science, en deze opvolger zal Nine Types of Light gaan heten. Verdere details moeten nog volgen.

Het album heet dus Nine Types of Light, naar de mythe dat Darseus de negen types van licht moest vinden. Dat leek vrij makkelijk te gaan (licht valt nogal op van nature, immers). Maar toen alle negen types van licht bij elkaar werden gebracht was het verwarring alom. Want licht 2 bleek licht 8 te zijn, licht 6 was zo fel dat wanneer deze bij de andere lichten werd gezet deze er compleet in opgingen, en niemand wist waarom licht 4 de neiging had blauw uit te slaan bij hogere toonsoorten. Op een gegeven moment schreeuwde Darseus, Genoeg, het maakt geen kut uit, jullie zijn lichten, jullie zijn er negen, de rest boeit niet. Maar toen tikte licht 8 (of 2) op zijn schouder, wees naar licht 3, welke niet zelf licht bleek te geven maar louter een reflectie bleek te zijn. Dus hij miste er nog één! Needless to say dat Darseus vrij gefrustreerd was toen hij dat ontdekte, want als je denkt dat je iets voor elkaar hebt en er blijkt een addertje onder het gras te zitten… frustratie alom.

Groep met leden van Hot Chip, Spiritualized, en This Heat maakt tweede LP

Enkele leden van Hot Chip, Spiritualized en This Heat zullen dit jaar een album uitbrengen onder de naam About Group. Het album gaat Start and Complete heten en op 26 april uitkomen via het label Domino. Het album kent 14 nummers. Deze artiesten brachten al eens eerder een album uit (het in 2009 uitgekomen About), maar deed dat nog nooit onder deze naam.

Eén van de nummers gaat ‘Nothing But Words’ heten, maar zeg dat maar tegen Leopold Dorstitz, die een manier probeerde te vinden om mensen meer boeken echt te laten ervaren. En zo maakte hij een machine waardoor hij mensen daadwerkelijk in een boek kon krijgen! Immers, door er midden in te zijn, zo zei Dorstitz, krijg je pas echt de ultieme ervaring. En nu is dat misschien zo bij kostuumdrama’s, maar nu kwam door een ongelukje Dorstitz terecht in een spellingsboek, waar vooral alle woorden met een “O” zeer agressief bleken.

maandag 7 februari 2011

Details debuutalbum Holy Ghost! bekend

Op 12 april zal de band Holy Ghost! zijn debuutalbum uitbrengen, welke self-titled zal zijn. De heren (met wie wij vorig jaar een interview deden, check de interview sectie!) zullen ook richting die tijd in Paradiso verschijnen, so check that out als je niet op vrijdag hoeft te werken. Het album kent tien nummers waarop onder andere Juan MacLean, Penguin Prison, The Rapture, en Michael McDonald te horen zullen zijn. Het album zal uitgebracht worden via DFA.

Twee van de tracks heten ‘Hold My Breath’ en ‘Some Children’, en die kan je goed samenpakken, want veel kinderen doen dat. Als ze hun zin niet krijgen dan zeggen ze, Ik hou mijn adem net zo lang in totdat ik mijn zin krijg HMMMMMMM. En het probleem is, als ouder, je kan zo moeilijk je kind laten stikken he? Want dan krijg je weer dat schuldgevoel, dat jij iets fouts hebt gedaan waardoor er nu een dood kind ligt blablabla. Maar misschien moeten we wel van die schuldgevoel mentaliteit af. Als iemand iets doet, is het hun verantwoordelijkheid he? Misschien zijn we in de jaren zeventig met het feminisme iets doorgeslagen in het maternalistische idee van, Oh, ik moet zorgen dat er nooit iets fout gaat, en als er iets fout gaat doordat iemand/mijn kind iets doms doet, dan is het mijn schuld. Laten we daar voor eens en altijd een mes insteken! Ga je dood omdat je jouw adem inhield omdat je jouw zin niet kreeg, dan is het jouw schuld. Dus ouders, gewoon laten doen, want ooit moeten ze toch leren dat het zo nu eenmaal niet werkt, en dan hebben de docenten op de middelbare school er ten minste geen last meer van. Want of ze hebben het geleerd, of ze zijn dood. Ook een beetje natuurlijke selectie dat.

Nieuw album Black Devil Disco Club

Op 12 april zal het curieuze Black Devil Disco Club een nieuw album uitbrengen. De band, geleid door Bernard Fevre, was lange tijd, nou ja, eigenlijk een obscuriteit met allerlei rare verhalen zichzelf omringend. Nu komt er meer lijn in als een normale band met live optredens en alles, en dus ook een nieuw album genaamd Circus. Op dat album zal je veel bekenden kunnen horen, waaronder Nancy Sinatra, Claire Evans, Faris, Cocknbullkid, etcetera. So if you like your guest appearances, don’t miss this one.

Het album gaat dus Circus heten, en het circus heeft door de jaren heen altijd zo’n illustere charme gehad voor de misfits van society, die weg wilden lopen, en dan bij het circus gaan. De vrijheid! Maar, ehrm, in de praktijk niet echt he, want niet alleen is er geen vrijheid (je moet immers al die steden aandoen, en je moet ook elke avond je act doen zelfs in de grootste gehuchten met kleine kinderen die ongeïnteresseerd kauwgomballen zitten te blazen totdat ze hard in hun gezicht kapot knallen en dan gaan huilen), je moet ook slapen tussen allerlei dieren. And I don’t know if you’ve been close to those kinds of animals lately, maar dan had je gewild dat de ontwikkeling van je reukvermogen had stil gestaan vroeger. Dus als je vindt dat je niet in society past en weg wilt lopen to join the circus, then think practical for once eh?

zondag 6 februari 2011

Twin Shadow waardeert de opkomst en beloont het publiek

Twin Shadow live at Merleyn, 2011

On stage there are three men, one with a fur hat, and a young woman in a punky outfit behind the synthesizers. In the audience there are youngsters with oversized shirts, teenagers/early twenties with hip haircuts, and the somewhat older, more bohemian looking twenty-somethings (going on thirty): Nijmegen isn’t exactly an industrial city, but it has always seemed far removed from being the Arts & Culture capital of even so much as The Netherlands, let alone the world. Take a picture at this gig though, frame it, and let it go around the world and one would think it the place to be. A good sized crowd has gathered to see upstarts Twin Shadow play in the small club Merleyn, and both band and audience form a capsule of what a small-sized gig by a young band should look like.

Somehow, somewhere, Twin Shadow has gained sufficient hype to sell out multiple dates in The Netherlands. He released his critically acclaimed album Forget last year, and now he is touring Europe in support of it. I say “he” because the album, in essence, was a one man tour de force by George Lewis Jr., who basically recorded every sound on it. Touring he has the help of a bassist/keyboard player, a drummer, and someone behind the synths. He himself stands centre stage with a guitar and a microphone. To give the band extra cachet, the album was produced by Chris Taylor of Grizzly Bear at the time the latter were hotter than hot with Veckatimest. Perhaps that is where the popularity comes from, because the venue is more known for giving upstarts a chance to play than for actually selling out. Somehow, though, people caught wind of this, and next to flocking to this gig the other gig in the country has sold out as well.

In about an hour the band goes through the songs on the album, which has been labeled as having a sort of Romanticist feel to it. What draws attention from the get go is the front man’s sufficiency on the guitar. Now, don’t expect him to churn out a fifteen-minute solo, but I wouldn’t be surprised if he could in fact do it. Whether a Twin Shadow gig is a time to do it is another matter, and probably the answer would be “no”, since the songs are beautiful little songs of about four minutes. To go off a la the Kings of the Blues would probably kill the dreamy momentum and the swaying of the audience. After seeing him live it certainly isn’t surprising to me that he did almost everything himself during the recording. Whether his vocals are classically trained I wouldn’t dare to say, and if you are a purist you might sometimes have an issue with it. He’s got a warm voice though, and live he on about three occasions gives in to the emotion a la a Murray Lightburn of The Dears.

With only one album there, the likelihood of your favorite song to be played is pretty gigantic. ‘Yellow Balloon’ is really nice, but perhaps the highlight is the title track of the album, ‘Forget’. I guess it normally would be the end of the regular set, but since you have to go through the crowd and back if you want to do an encore at this venue it is played before the “encore”, as in, before the last two songs. ‘Forget’ is a beautiful, slow paced song where his warm voice sings “This is all of it, this is everything, I’m wanting to forget”. Absolutely brilliant. Twin Shadow decides to end on a more funky note though, and at one point I’m thinking that a 15-minute funk guitar solo is going to part of the gig after all. However, George Lewis Jr. decides to opt against it and not go there. It would’ve been fun though, probably more as a novelty act than as an actual end of the concert.

At the end the crowd gives him a standing ovation, that is, if the venue would’ve had seating. It doesn’t, so everyone is standing already, but it certainly is more of an ovation than an applause. The singer thanks the crowd, also adding just how special it is to come into a city you’ve never been before and then to find the venue has sold out. He seems genuinely grateful for it, though perhaps it’s just the lightning that gives him a twinkle in the eye. Perhaps it is just a bit of poetic license, but the rest of this account is pretty factual I think: good crowd, good songs, and a grateful band playing them. That’s a good result on any given night.

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'Satellite' by The Kills

Every week our contributors will voice their opinion concerning one song, it’s a simple as that! The more the merrier, so people are always welcome to join in, just leave a note, eh.

Track: ‘ Satellite’ by The Kills (listen here)
Average Grade: 6.4

Anna: There's nothing like mid-tempo grittiness. The rhythm feels like a slithering snake and the chanting like the offering of a gospel choir in hell. The Kills dived headfirst into multi-layered dirty waters and here's hoping that they will not emerge.
Grade: 8.5

Linda: Oh my, three tracks in a row that I kinda like - I don't that has happened in the entire history of this column! Does this mean that the Apocalypse is nigh (4th horseman due next week?) or that the musical year of 2011 is off to an exceptionally good start? As for the track - there's definitely some Dead Weather influence exerting itself through this song, not sure whether that's an improvement though as I wasn't particularly partial to said band myself. I do like the dark brooding vocals though.

Ilse: Quite groovy! In a way their sound seems more full now, as in that it appears they're using more instruments or use them in a different way. Perhaps a tad bit repetitive towards the end, but nonetheless a solid track in which the Kills show a new side of themselves. Curious to hear more, as I already got a ticket for their show here in March!

Craig: The Kills are certainly proficient at being a 'cool band. Prominent marriages and side projects aside, they've got the black leather image & the raw stripped-down, blues-influenced rock to give them cred even today when that kind of thing could be considered cliché by some.

I'm not so sure that this track lives up to that image, though. The organ is a nice touch, as is the chorus, but it somehow doesn't seem like them. The slow syncopation sets a trudging pace for the song that drags rather than propels the listener through its long four minutes fourteen seconds, and lacks a certain chaos their edge needs. I'm hoping this isn't the tone of their new album.

Stef: Could’ve used a bit more spunk and a bit more variety in my opinion. It kind of seems to be the same thing on and on, doesn't it? Then again, I’ve never been that much of a fan of The Kills for some reason, so don’t put too much stock in what I’m saying.

vrijdag 4 februari 2011

Later dit jaar album Wolfram uit met veel guest stars

De Oostenrijker Wolfram Eckart gaat dit jaar met een album komen. Op 11 maart zal hij het Self-Titled album Wolfram uitbrengen. Dit zal hij doen via het label Permanent Vacation. Ook al mocht je ‘m niet kennen, door de gasten die op het album te horen zullen zijn herken je al snel het genre, want de volgende namen werkten mee aan het album: Hercules and Love Affair, Holy Ghost!, Sally Shapiro, Legowelt, Haddaway, en nog veel meer. Het album zal voorafgegaan worden door een EP genaamd Fireworks, met daarop ook het nummer Fireworks op welke Andy Butler en Kim Ann Foxman te horen zijn.

Veel mensen denken dat Fireworks in China is uitgevonden, maar eigenlijk kwam het voor het eerst voor bij de jonge architect Pablo DiMalta. Het dorpje waar DiMalta jarenlang had gewoond voordat hij zijn geluk zocht in de grote stad was afgebrand. De burgemeester vroeg toen of DiMalta niet wat werken kon maken om de brand te herdenken, oftewel, de fire works. DiMalta zei, Ja, ik ga meteen beginnen, en hij had een glorieus idee bestaande uit drie torens en een beeld van een schildpad op zijn rug met motorisch aangedreven spartelende pootjes. Echter, toen hij de motor voor de pootjes wilde installeren sprong een vonk over op een stapel buskruit met bakken verf erbij. De verf sprong hoog de lucht in, wat een waar kleurenspektakel aan de hemel opleverde. Pablo, bang voor de gevolgen, probeerde weg te sluipen, maar de burgemeester greep hem in zijn kraag, presenteerde hem aan de dorpelingen, en zei, Wat een prachtig, kleurrijk, innovatief eerbetoon! En dan te bedenken dat we echt even dachten dat je een motorische schildpad op de rug ging maken! Daar had je ons mooi mee tuk! Pablo knikte en giechelde zenuwachtig.

Nieuwe Lo-Fi supergroup Zodiacs

De lo-fi scene in Amerika verzameld zijn krachten in een nieuwe band genaamd Zodiacs. Zo hebben bandleden van de bands Dum Dum Girls, Crystal Stilts, Blank Dogs, en Woods zich verzameld voor de track ‘Faraway Friend’. Op het album, overigens, is er niet één vaste line-up, maar allerlei vrienden van elkaar in die scene zullen zich in en buiten de band begeven.

Een Faraway Friend is eigenlijk een soort van de beste vriend die je kan hebben. Want vrienden dichtbij zijn leuk, maar als je in de put zit kunnen ze je van advies dienen. Nobel, zou je zeggen, maar advies valt altijd tegen. Want advies is alleen maar goed als het precies hetzelfde is als wat jij al denkt, want dan kan je zeggen, ja, precies. Want verder is het gewoon uitermate frustrerend, Ik zou het uitmaken als hij dat bij mij deed, ja, maar jij bent niet echt verliefd op hem in de first place he? Lekker makkelijk, trut. En vrienden die ver weg zijn dan kan je denken, oeff, als hij hier was, dan had hij mij van advies kunnen dienen, en ik weet zeker dat hij dan had gezegd precies hetzelfde als wat ik nu denk! Het is immers zo’n goede vriend he, jammer dat hij zo ver weg woont.

woensdag 2 februari 2011

Nieuw album van Tune-Yards aanstaande

De band Tune-Yards (eigenlijk in een soort Gertrude Stein achtige fuck-regels spelling, maar dat laat ik even achterwege want dat is nu eenmaal een beetje kut typen) zal met een nieuw album komen dit jaar. Het album heet w h o k i l l (who kill, I assume, of in ieder geval wordt er hier op die manier naar dat album gerefereerd vanaf nu) en zal op 19 april uitkomen. Dit via het 4AD label.

In 1920 had je echt Tune Yards, as in, elke tuin maakte een zeker geluid. En dat hielp mensen om in te herkennen waar de volgende garden party was, en dan konden ze in hun fancy kleding door het glas met champagne zwemmen van het ene feestje naar het ander om dezelfde mensen te proosten die in dezelfde alcoholische staat dezelde dingen zeiden als op dezelfde feestjes alleen in andere tuinen. En dan klonk er weer een noot, Ah, de Maldenbauer’s, en dan in ieders dronken dwaas stond opeens iedereen in de tuin van de Maldenbauer’s. Te praten over weer hetzelfde, over niet de zorgen van andere mensen en niet over de kinderen die thuis zaten en de moeder van die kinderen of de vader van die kinderen die naast hen op de bank zat. Ah, de Rosetti’s, en dan was iedereen weer op hetzelfde feestje op een andere plaats, waar Levi Nordenschitzer zijn anekdote afmaakte over de vrouw met de grote prammen, die eigenlijk heel seksistisch was wat voorstamde uit haar penisnijd. Er was echter één klank die iedereen deed verstommen, en ieders gehoor was zo gevormd dat het voor iedereen een ander geluid was, maar toch hetzelfde geluid, dat van de eigen tuin.

Album Bright Eyes via NPR te beluisteren

Op vijftien februari zal het nieuwe album van Bright Eyes in de winkel liggen. Maar als je het album eerst wil previewen kan je naar de site van NPR gaan om het album volledig te beluisteren. Het is het eerste studio album van de door Conor Oberst geleide band sinds 2007. Het album zal uitgebracht worden door het label Saddle Creek.

Het album heet The People’s Key, en dit was een plan dat in 1973 werd opgesteld om de sleutel te vinden naar hoe we mensen gelukkiger konden maken. Het plan was dat er overal camera’s moesten worden geplaatst zodat iedereen altijd op camera stond. En niet in een Big Brother manier, maar gewoon zo’n ouderwetse familie camera waarin al die jeugdfilmpjes vroeger werden gefilmd. Want op jeugdfilmpjes ziet iedereen er altijd zo gelukkig uit nietwaar? Dus als iedereen continu op camera staat, dan zal iedereen dus altijd gelukkig zijn! Natuurlijk, zo gaven ook de voorstanders toe, het is een façade, want iedereen doet gelukkig voor de camera. Maar ja, als de camera altijd op je gericht is, en je altijd die façade hoog moet houden, wie merkt dan ooit dat het niet zo is? En merk je zelf dan nog wel dat het niet zo is? Het plan ging uiteindelijk niet door omdat iedereen ook altijd mooi op film wil zijn, en lelijke mensen gingen protesteren.