vrijdag 29 juli 2011

Our top 10 favorite albums of 2011 thus far – Nr. 6

This is our favorite albums of 2011 so far countdown! So just us saying which albums have been doing it for us in the first half year of 2011. I love scouring lists like these as there is so much music coming out I find it impossible to keep track of everything. And these lists indicate what people really have been enjoying, and sometimes you agree, sometimes disagree, and sometimes it tips you on a future favourite. So hence this list, and hope you find some stuff to enjoy in there!

Favorite albums of 2011 at the halfway point : 10 - 9 - 8 - 7

Ilse: Nr. 6. Tom Vek – Leisure Seizure (Island Records)
The last time we heard from British multi-instrumentalist Tom Vek was when he released his debut album ‘We Have Sound’ way back in 2005.
After that, he silently seemed to have disappeared from the face of the earth, without anyone questioning or noticing it. Back in 2005 I considered him a great talent with amazing abilities, as he was capable of playing multiple instruments, often even at the same time. This hasn’t changed much and I was by any means pleasantly surprised when he was suddenly back in the musical picture again: releasing a new record, followed by an international tour, oh my! On this new album, Tom Vek generally maintains the same mixture of lo-fi, garage, indie and electro he presented on his debut, though the electro more significantly has the upper hand now. His vocals are a bit more ‘dirty’ and ennui-filled, and the music and beats are groovier than on ‘We Have Sound’, also marking the more disco-feel to his electronic sound than before. All I hope for now is that I still get a chance to see him live (being drowned in college work unfortunately prevented me from attending his gig in Amsterdam last month) before he decides to hide under a rock and retreat from the music industry for another 6 years again. Or that someone will stop him from doing this, might be even better. In any case, the absence didn’t do him any harm because this album managed to convince me: Tom Vek is still alive.
Random track to listen to: ‘Someone Loves You’

Linda: Nr. 6. Nicolas Jaar – Space is only noise (Circus Company)
This one took me by surprise. I think a track of the album popped up in one of the Drowned in Sound SpotiFriday playlists and I was immediately sold. There’s a hint of the Max Richter album I loved last year in there, but at the same time it goes in an entirely different direction. Unfortunately for me, that direction also seems to allow only for weekday midnight gigs, which is not something that is really an option if you’ve got 9 o’clock meetings planned the very next day. What is also unfortunate is that Jaar seems to think that space is only noise. As a self-acclaimed space nerd who’s had an interest in anything extraterrestrial since I found a book talking about a mysterious ‘planet X’ at my local library (which turned out to be Pluto, and had been discovered as early as 1930, just to illustrate how up to date local village libraries were ‘back then’) I can safely say that space is much more than that. Or less actually, as most of it consists of a vacuum which doesn’t even allow for noise to exist, we just so happen to live in that one tiny corner of the universe with an atmosphere that does allow for sound to penetrate the air. Space can never be ‘only’ one thing. It is way too vast, or maybe even infinite (thought that seems to be a bit weird if it is expanding, and there’s something paradoxical about an infinite thing expanding...) to use a term as derogative as ‘only’. But other than that: nice album.
Random track to listen to: Space is only noise if you can see

Stef: Nr. 6. YACHT – Shangri-La (DFA)
YACHT are such a great bunch. Just the clarity of their vision, and how much effort they then put into their output. Hats off to that. “I’m here to tell you that the world’s last unpleasant experience is a precisely dateable event”. Now, if you don’t exactly know what you want to do and where you are going, you are not going to be able to churn out sentences like that. They read up on the idea of Utopia, put their own spin on it and their own experiences in it, and what you’ve got is a funky, hook-laden album with songs as fun as they are clever. Clever both lyrically as well as musically. Their sound is assured, brazen, and bold. Like people completely in command of what they want to do and what they like to say. ‘One Step’ for instance is as simple as it is clever. It is a continuous repetition both musically as well as lyrically, in the mean time narrating the anxiety of someone trying to actually do something out of his routine, out of his own repetitive motions. Which goes from feeling like you’re doing something wrong to even a point where you are not sure if it has changed anything whatsoever. ‘Beam Me Up’, ‘Paradise Engineering’, and ‘Tripped and Fell in Love’ are darker in feel and more immediate in terms of music, whereas earlier it all felt a bit lighter and more pop. And the last track almost evokes a sort image of communal singing. It is so immaculately crafted this album, both in sound as in vision, I cannot help but admire it a great deal.
Random track to listen to: ‘Tripped and Fell in Love’

Rustie announces debut

Rustie will be releasing his debut on the 10th of October. This will be done via WARP Records. The LP will count thirteen tracks, and when October comes you will be able to find it in the shops under the name Glass Swords. This release by Glaswegian Rustie is the follow-up to the EP Sunburst that came out last year.

Glass swords were the idea of the malign king Edward the Hefty, his nickname not coming from his weight as much as it came from his tendency to overly pronunciate the start of every sentence. Not only did this make every one of his sentences sound terribly important (Can someone give me a donut), his sneeze always caused much consternation during official banquets. So much so that he was so embarrassed to sit next to the king of Belgium with his fancy manners that he instead decided to invade the country and give it to his son, Edward the Benign, to play with. This lasted until he had to give it up to the son of the Russian Tsar as a result of an unfortunate dice roll.

Edward the Hefty, meanwhile, wanted to replace the swords of his armies with glass ones. For, he said, on glass you can see the blood drip better. But, his trusty advisor countered, glass can easily break, to which Hefty Eddy replied, No no, that is good, that way they will have seven years of bad luck and then they’ll never win. Look at Mrs. Potortski, she broke glass and she had to be immediately hospitalized. Edward’s advisor refrained from saying that this was because she broke a window she was standing directly under and the glass had penetrated her left eyeball. Instead he opted to say, Uh-huh, right you are! So, within five months all swords were glass swords, and within six months England was taken over by Ludwig the Barbarian and his wife Potsy (the one month delay was mostly a nice gesture by Ludwig to give Edward a way out when people blamed the glass swords as the cause for them being conquered. As, so he could say, it didn’t happen immediately after. Naturally, this all was theoretical as Edward was slaughtered into four pieces by Ludwig and his club with spikes anyway). In a lucky exchange, however, the dynasty of Edward could continue when his son, Edward the Benign, won Romania by rolling four sixes and a three. He moved there and changed his name to Roman the Lucky.

New EP Jens Lekman coming soon

Jens Lekman is about to release a five song EP. The EP will be entitled An Argument With Myself, and it is going to be released through the Secretly Canadian label. Lekman says that he loved the songs, but didn’t think they would fit on the album he is working on. So, instead, he opted to put them on an EP. It is looking like it will be a 19th of September release.

I must admit, rather frequently I indeed have arguments with myself.  Last night it happened again. It started with why I didn’t use cannelloni instead of macaroni, with the argument quickly turning to why I had volunteered to walk the dog (didn’t you see the weather report? And whose dog is it anyway?), why I had lent my friend Rich my hammer (for you know he is not going to return it! He never does), and eventually the conversation got so out of hand that general contempt for me seeped through. It wasn’t until the interruption of reason with a good shot of whiskey that things calmed down.

News items of the month of July

All the news items that were written in the month of July. House style.

29 July:
Rustie to come with debut later this year
Jens Lekman announces EP

24 July:
Toro Y Moi to release EP in September
Festival News: Lowlands and Incubate

15 July:
New side project Juan MacLean
The Drums readying new album

10 July:
Martyn has October release coming up
Political parties to force radio station to play 35% songs in the Dutch language

05 July:
Dum Dum Girls readying new release
Lo-Fi-Fnk album a go next month

donderdag 28 juli 2011

Our top 10 favorite albums of 2011 thus far – Nr. 7

This is our favorite albums of 2011 so far countdown! So just us saying which albums have been doing it for us in the first half year of 2011. I love scouring lists like these as there is so much music coming out I find it impossible to keep track of everything. And these lists indicate what people really have been enjoying, and sometimes you agree, sometimes disagree, and sometimes it tips you on a future favourite. So hence this list, and hope you find some stuff to enjoy in there!

Our previous entrees: Nr. 10 - Nr. 9  - Nr. 8

Ilse: Nr. 7. Tyler, the Creator – Goblin (XL Recordings)
Despite being overly hyped, I have to say Tyler, The Creator (leader of even more hyped Odd Future Wolf Gang Kill Them All, or OFWGKA for short) and his music somehow have their ‘charm’. Though ‘charm’ probably wouldn’t be the best word to use for someone who commands his listeners to “Kill people, burn shit, f*ck school”. To say Tyler is an obnoxious anarchist, would be making an understatement: his contentious raps involve rape, murder, violence, and telling the world to go fuck itself. This makes it, on the one side, not seem new or innovative, as everyone knows rappers aren’t exactly the cutest darlings to their ladies, attend the university of life rather than any other and are generally accustomed to drugs, money and violence. On the other hand, this album is different: it’s incredibly dark, the music is spooky and eerie, something going hand in hand with the concept of the album; Tyler, the Creator conversing with this ‘Goblin’, whose identity or origins remain a bit of a mystery to me. Is it a darker part of Tyler’s (alter) ego, whether his conscience or his subconscious, or is this some other person, as in physical, like a shrink or a guardian? (which could be his father, as he refers to a father figure abandoning him in several songs) I’m not certain, but it definitely creates an interesting, perhaps even deeper layered than at first imagined, take on storytelling. The frightening sounds that accompany this downward spiral into Tyler’s strange and unsettling mind, also have an interesting effect on the passionate rage and darkness he portrays: it makes the nihilism more effective, resulting into something Freud might’ve liked to have on his couch. In any case, it’s youthful and fresh; Tyler opens doors to unconventionality and stakes a claim against overproduced and mediocre rap made friendly for the mainstream.
Random track to listen to: ‘Tron Cat’

Linda: Nr. 7. Destroyer – Kaputt (Dead Oceans)
Dan Bejar, the main man behind Destroyer, is one of those people that somehow nestles in the immensely complicated network of Spencer Krug-related musicians. I have given up on actually understanding how those Canadians are all connected in one way or other (and I say one, but I bet that once you start looking closely, they’ll have been in three, if not more, bands together at some point and will have spawned even more). But none of that really matters as it’s the music that we’re really interested in. Destroyer has been around for quite some time now: Dan Bejar can compete with bands such as Of Montreal in releasing more albums than anybody actually realises (this is number 9) and this one just might be his best. It contains the epic ‘Bay of Pigs’ which already saw the light of day on an earlier EP. On that EP it was the centre piece, the reason the whole EP existed, but on this album it feels a bit out of place. The rest of album is mix of folk and pop, with some blues influences here and there (anything with a saxophone qualifies as ‘blues’ in my book) and this 11 minute shout out to electronics just doesn’t fit in. It is nitpicking though, as on the whole it is one the best pieces of music I’ve heard this year (but hey, that’s what this countdown is all about) and there has to be some reason why this hasn’t ended up any higher on my list.
Random track to listen to: ‘Blue Eyes’

Stef: Nr. 7. Jessica 6 – See the Light (Peacefrog Records)
Nomi Ruiz, she of Hercules & Love Affair fame, started her own band with some of the Hercules & Love Affair members, and this is the result. A sexy, lovelorn, disco album with on one hand some nice and longing disco tunes with a beat and on the other hand some precious ballads. And on these ballads her voice really shines, and she is quite impressive there actually. And if she alone doesn’t pack enough vocal power Antony Hegarty pops up for a track as well. Disco was not the sole inspiration, with African and more jazz sounds being mixed in there too, so the sound isn’t just a carbon copy of disco albums from the Seventies or something like that. However, the feel, the atmosphere, is still very much disco. Pure emotions come to the fore in the songs, where at all times the typical disco symbolisms reign. Longing for either love or being free from the archetypical sense of the need of a man’s love, which before feminism was omnipresent in the imagery of women. Or the need for a perfect love and a freedom from a compromising love. A title like ‘Prisoner of Love’ says it all and is packed with that imagery all by itself. A mere glance at the title gives evidence to the reign of emotions. From ‘White Horse’ (we all know what is supposed to be on those things, right?) to ‘Freak the Night’ to ‘Not Anymore’ to ‘Blessed Mother’, they all immediately make it clear where the story is going to take you. And to do that is a feat in itself. Very embedded in female, gay, and disco imagery, and Jessica works that into some fab songs where she, perhaps better than in Hercules & Love Affair, can strut that beautiful voice of hers.
Random track to listen to: ‘See the Light’

woensdag 27 juli 2011

Our top 10 favorite albums of 2011 thus far – Nr. 8

This is our favorite albums of 2011 so far countdown! So just us saying which albums have been doing it for us in the first half year of 2011. I love scouring lists like these as there is so much music coming out I find it impossible to keep track of everything. And these lists indicate what people really have been enjoying, and sometimes you agree, sometimes disagree, and sometimes it tips you on a future favourite. So hence this list, and hope you find some stuff to enjoy in there!

Our previous entrees: Nr. 10 - Nr. 9 

Ilse: Nr. 8. The Mountain Goats – All Eternals Deck (Merge Records)
John Darnielle is definitely one of the most amazing lyrical songwriters of the past two decades and has therefore righteously been compared to poetic veteran musicians like Bob Dylan and Tim Buckley. He is capable of mixing depressing harshness and heartbreak , bringing up not the most cheerful of topics, while at the same remaining witty and at times even hilarious. Apart from this he is also a master of storytelling, drenching his lines in interesting imagery and religious and cultural references. On this record these references comprise of (among others) Liza Minelli, Charles Bronson, Hotel California and Judy Garland. John Darnielle’s voice is remarkably distinctive; at times, this voice is filled with anger, and passionately rages and spits out the songs into your ears. Such as is the case with ‘Estate Sale Sign’. At other times he is more gentle and moderate, and on occasions I’d  even go as far as calling it ‘warm’, especially this record in comparison to his older work. Though ‘All Eternals Deck’ is not as completely mindblowing as ‘Tallahassee’, ‘All Hail West Texas’ or ‘The Sunset Tree’, it’s certainly another solid Mountain Goats album, offering a variety of excessive instrumentation, gripping atmospheres and great storytelling. Yup, Darnielle can definitely keep them coming.
Random track to listen to: ‘Never Quite Free’

Linda: Nr. 8. EMA - Past life martyred saints (Souterrain Transmissions)
I’ve dealt a lot with the EMA this year, so I’m glad they’ve managed to release an album. Unfortunately, the EMA I’ve been dealing with is also known as the European Medicines Agency and not Erika M. Anderson, who is the one that has actually released this beauty. It’s probably for the best though, as I don’t think the EMA are particularly musical and Anderson has already proved herself with her previous band Gowns. Album opener ‘The Grey Ship’ is perhaps the best example of why this is such an amazing solo debut: the tempo changes, the build up, the lush voice, just the right balance between a lo-fi sound and an actual production team. But maybe that was to be expected as her album has been released on the label responsible for Zola Jesus’ European releases (the same one that urged her on to expand her fantastic Stridulum EP to a full album). I like the darkness that looms through most of these tracks, much in the same way as they did on Zola’s EP/single release streak from last year. She might miss out a bit with regards to singing ability in that comparison but she makes up for that by using some interesting song structures and by not being younger than me.
Random track to listen to: 'The Grey Ship'

Stef: Nr. 8. Motor City Drum Ensemble – DJ Kicks (!K7)
Saw this guy play at the SoulDrum night at a local venue here, and he sure knows how to play a good mixture of deepish house tracks without going to deep or minimal, but without succumbing to easy sing-a-longs either. It starts quite vocally with Sun-Ra’s ‘Door to the Cosmos’ and ‘Again’ by Electric Wire Hustle. His African and jazzy influences show especially in the start of the mix. But slowly the beats start protruding, and when they have completely taken over they won’t be letting up any time soon. Some old school house guys come by like Mr. Fingers and Robert Hood, and the middle delivers some deep house. However, out of those depths Motor City Drum Ensemble (aka Danilo Plessow) churns his own L.O.V.E. track. How, amidst all those great artists, he can peak with a track of his own is mind boggling to me, but that track with those vocals is a TUNE. If that drops at Incubate later this year I cannot envision any other image than a crowd going wild. Great beats, great flow, never the easy way out, mixed properly, and a nice eclectic batch of songs and musicians with a great original cut in there as well. Fabulous turn by Motor City Drum Ensemble in the DJ-Kicks line.
Random track to listen to: ‘L.O.V.E.’

dinsdag 26 juli 2011

Our top 10 favorite albums of 2011 thus far – Nr. 9

This is our favorite albums of 2011 so far countdown! So just us saying which albums have been doing it for us in the first half year of 2011. I love scouring lists like these as there is so much music coming out I find it impossible to keep track of everything. And these lists indicate what people really have been enjoying, and sometimes you agree, sometimes disagree, and sometimes it tips you on a future favourite. So hence this list, and hope you find some stuff to enjoy in there!

Our previous entrees: Nr. 10

Nr. 9. Battles – Gloss Drop (Warp Records)
Interestingly enough, Washed Out has been asked to perform at the Nightmare Before Christmas ATP in Minehead this year, curated by (among Les Savy Fav and Caribou) the next band on my list: Battles. It’s been four years since the release of their debut album ‘Mirrored’ and seeing vocalist Tyondai Braxton left the band last year to focus on his solo career, it wasn’t certain there would even be a next one.
However, the new album ‘Gloss Drop’ is here, and the problem of not having a vocalist was solved by inviting guest performers. Not the very least of guest performers I should say, as the song ‘Sweetie & Shag’ features fellow New Yorker Kazu Makino, of Blonde Redhead, and closing track ‘Sundome’ has Yamantaka Eye of Japanese noise rock band Boredoms lending his vocal chords. The title of the track ‘My Machines’ was taken from Gary Numan’s lyrics, hence John Stanier thought it would be cool to have Gary Numan himself singing on the track, which they oddly enough managed to succeed in organising. All in all, it’s difficult to say whether Braxton moving on, along with his distinctive vocals, is going to leave its marks on the band’s success in the long run. But for now this new album is working out fine. Perhaps for some, the shifted dynamics within Battles is obvious and some might consider Braxton’s departure as a loss of the creative mind behind the music. However, I think this album should be celebrated for its experimentation: ‘Gloss Drop’ is an ambitious effort of Battles’ remaining band members showing they’re not giving up and are creating a different, more poppy direction for their music, without losing their great energetic and somewhat weird sound.
Random track to listen to: ‘My Machines’

Nr. 9. Ringo Deathstarr – Colour Trip (Club AC30)
I like it when a band has put some thought in their band name (or stumbled across a brilliant idea quite unexpectantly, as might rather be the case here). I think Ringo Deathstarr has by far been my favourite this year. Their album might be described as a paint by numbers copy of My Bloody Valentine, but I’ve never been much into the latter, so call me ignorant, but I really love Colour Trip. Most tracks sound like they’re being played on a soon-to-be-retired phone on a noisy train, but even so the catchiness manages to reach the surface. Live they were amazing too. Amazingly loud mostly. My love for them might be somehow related to them playing the last ever gig at my favourite London venue the Luminaire (caught some of my favourite gigs ever at that place, not to mention the brilliant warnings written on the wall in that venue telling people to shut while the bands are playing). Maybe I ought to just listen to MBV and likes a bit more, but to be honest I never really loved the likes of The Pains of Being Pure at Heart (cringeworthy band name BTW) and countless others so this band must be doing something right.
Random track to listen to: ‘Two Girls’

Nr. 9. Ssion – Bent (self-released)
So what about the bitches in Vietnam? Ssion can definitely be labelled as queer music. The delivery, the choice of words, the almost ode to Fleetwood Mac in one of the songs: people into queer culture can find enough to recognize. Not that the mega moustache and the dramatic clips were trying to hide the message into hard to crack codes only signifying to people in the know. By the way, just to avoid confusion, this is definitely not an album that excludes people from listening to it. It rather has a certain pop sensibility even, which makes most songs rather easy on the ear. The album opens with ‘Listen 2 the Grrrls’,  and that is the best first track I’ve heard in yonkers. So spunky. The rest of the songs are a bit more pop oriented, but with Ssion you always get the feeling he is doing whatever he at that point wants to do. Kind of punkish attitude it all has, without the music sounding like 70s punk by the way. And it is sexy. Something like ‘Luvvbazaar’, his vocals there have this sex thing going on, and the track itself is also a rather sultry affair. This album is self-released, it can be downloaded for free, an amazing decision. Not sure where that came from, but it does allow me to say that you can go and legally get it from his site and see for yourself how fun and sexy this album is.
Random track to listen to: ‘Luvvbazaar’

Weekly Froth

Ah, it feels good to have this column back up and running again! Hopefully you haven’t forgotten me, you delightful people you. This column has always been about taking a look at some tracks that have been floating around the blogosphere in recent times, covering a fair share of remixes, house, electro, disco but also just acts that are getting some blog hype – quite a mixed bag, but always with some tunage in there. So hope you enjoy it being back, and hopefully you’ll find some gems in there to fall in love with, because that is what it is about. There’s so much music coming out you’re bound to miss stuff, so this is our little attempt to help with that.

Track of the week: ‘Another Night’ by J Kriv (Greg Wilson edit)
This IS disco. I mean, come on. Slow burning, warm, cutting through your heart; this is old school. Adeline Michele does the vocals, and this is lovelorn stuff that fits disco so well. “Just another night without your love”, she sings, but she knows that when it is there, it is good. The vocals aren’t too extravagant though, nothing too diva-ish. But very fitting for this delightful disco track. What those lads are doing there in Melbourne for disco is amazing. So sultry and smooth this is, and it is just friggin’ hot. Definitely try and get this for a few bucks off of Juno or something.
(to listen and to find out what the rest of the tracks are, click here)

maandag 25 juli 2011

Our top 10 favorite albums of 2011 thus far – Nr. 10

Well, you know, usually this list goes up like a good 21 days earlier or so, but due to all kinds of stuff we are doing it now, at “about” the halfway mark. It is just so lovely to do a top 10 like this because it are people talking about what great albums they have discovered this year so far. Not the best, but our favorites, the albums that are doing it for us. And perhaps you agree, you disagree, or with so many music coming out it just reminds you or points you to something which perhaps makes you, based on the write-up, think, Well, I might like that actually. So hopefully you enjoy the write-ups, and hopefully you enjoy some of the music that will be spread around here as well!

Ilse: Nr. 10. Washed Out – Within and Without (Subpop Records)
Washed Out comprises of Ernest Greene, who can be labelled as a true ‘lo-fi bedroom pop artist’, as he started producing music in his old bedroom after moving back to his hometown Perry, in rural Georgia. The lush dreamscapes he creates are the result of a variation of sensual and mellow electronic sounds and blissed-out synths ; something that made people identify him with the ‘chillwave’ movement, the kind of loungy and dreamy electro pop which has also been linked to bands like Toro Y Moi and Neon Indian.
After being discovered on Myspace and releasing two EPs, Green slowly found fame in the blogging atmosphere. Since then the band has been signed to Sub Pop and this first full length album ‘Within and Without’ is where we’re at now, and it’s a great one to enjoy at this time of the year. It seems to provide excellent company for sunny afternoons or during barbecues and it gives you that feeling of fulfilment after a long hot day on the beach:  you’re heading back to the car while the sun sets and can’t wait to wash off the sand sticking to your sweaty, sun cream greased body and can look forward to a comfortable sleep because the sun made you so pleasantly tired and dizzy.
Random track to listen to: ‘Before’

Linda: 10.   Helen Arney – Animals and other songs about science (N/A)
As we, for the first time ever, actually had rules for making these top 10 lists, I decided to bend them a bit (I’m a rebel). ‘Cause that’s the whole point of having rules in the first place: bending them (also, I’ve been relentlessly watching reruns of Futurama as if it was Friends, hence my current obsession with bending). So here’s my first entry: a loose collection of songs that haven’t been released to form an album, or even an EP. They’re just some tracks that got released during 2011 and just so happened to end up on the same bandcamp page, forming some kind of cohesion between them as they were all coming from the perhaps a bit estranged mind of Helen Arney. And I like them. Mostly because they are incredibly nerdy and played on a ukulele, but also because they are just really catchy. ‘Animals’, a biologically correct song about sex, must be my favourite, if only because of that description. With just vocals and ukele, the songs aren't very complex musically, but lyrically they are all quite brilliant. If you're a bit of a nerd, even a tiny bit (and who secretly isn't?), you'll love this.
Random track to listen to: ‘Animals’

Stef: Nr. 10. Memory Tapes – Player Piano (Carpark Records)
Now, this could still go up and down, because it hasn’t been out yet for too long and I haven’t listened to it THAT much that my opinion is completely fixed. For a good album, on repeated listens, it either holds up or you get more out of it. Or it starts to click. And this album certainly started to click with me when I, not too long ago, was dawdling home from local festival de-Affaire after midnight. Now, I am not liking this one as much as I do the debut (yet), but this record packs so much subtleties, so much lovely shapes and colours in there, it’s amazing. Saying it is not as good as his debut belies the fact that there are so many lovely sounds on the album, and especially how all these sounds follow each other up shows Dayve Hawk’s expertise. There is a bit more variety in there, and therefore it perhaps is not all one consistent flow like Seek Magic. The combinations he can make with his instruments, those sounds, and his unique vocals, and how much emotional baggage it has in its rather alienated and detached way; this is definitely an artist we should treasure. For example, if you listen to the single ‘Wait in the Dark’, the feel is rather detached, but the lyrics and the melancholy that seeps through the sounds, that mixture definitely hits the right buttons for me. “So what did you want me to say / I just don’t feel like that anymore / not at all / This is how it ends / we just stand each other up”. In the wrong hands this is blunt or perhaps overly emotional. But here, in this song, it is as if it is all after the emotional. The point where – and you cannot quite put your finger on why – you see something happen in your life, but you are already detached from it as it happens. Not many artists that can conjure up that feeling, no?
Random track to listen to: ‘Yes I Know’

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'How Deep is Your Love' by The Rapture

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: ‘How Deep is Your Love?’ by The Rapture (listen here)
Average grade: 6.9

Anna: I'm indifferent. I am aware that this is not exactly a constructive or helpful review, but I don't really know what to say, except that summer clubs would totally put this on heavy rotation and that his voice doesn't sound as annoying as it usually does.
Grade: 4

Ilse: Not too enthusiastic about the piano, particularly because it reminds me of Robbie Williams' 'Feel' at the beginning. Another song that pops to mind Sisqo's 'Thong Song', whose 'Let me see that thong' echo the Rapture's 'Let me hear that song' here. Somehow it feels it's impossible that this a coincidence, as the reference is almost too obvious to not be deliberate.... After about 4 minutes, the gospel influences are evident and it somehow feels less dancey than their older work. So all in all it's a rather odd mix, especially the whole Sisqo thing left me baffled. Yet there's quite a bit of potential in this track, though there are also elements that put me off and ruin it for me, like the saxophone and I feel it could also be atleast 2 minutes shorter.

Craig: The Rapture are back, and I for one am pretty happy about that. This track is much less electro than I expected, and less shrieky, but the energy is still amped up enough to keep the crowds dancing. I think I like this 'new' Rapture.

Linda: The Bee Gees. Everyone is thinking it, admit it, so I'll just come out and say it so we can get on with the more important stuff which is this far superior track by the same name. The Rapture is already responsible for one of my favourite moments this year, when one of the editors of Nature (you know, that big science journal that is not Science) made a pun about the band when everyone was referring to The End of The World-type of Rapture - repeating it would kill it - simultaneously making Nature my favourite journal for their superior taste in music (now only to get published by them...). With regards to the song: welcome back the Rapture and I WANT MORE!

Stef: I love the start of this, with the clearity of it all, and then when he changes up the vocals just a tad. Nice. I certainly hope that the dodgy stream is making the low notes buzz so much though. Ilse’s comments did ruin the “let me hear that song” though. I’m getting optimistic though.

zondag 24 juli 2011

Toro Y Moi set to release EP with new tracks

Toro Y Moi is going to be releasing some new songs in September. On the thirteenth of that month he’ll be putting out an EP called Freaking Out. The songs on there have been recorded after his album release Underneath the Pine, which came out earlier this year. The label taking on this endeavour is Carpark.

Freaking Out was also a chapter in the diaries of Ernst Wiegelstein. The following is an excerpt from that chapter: This was a day that had me freaking out. For first I heard of the untimely death of Humbert Double. Oh how the world lost a cultural figure! His book Flowers in Springtime tend to Rise Whereas They Don’t in Winter and his poetry collection Ode to a thirteen-year old Grecian Urn were absolutely astounding, so much so that he won multiple awards for them. He was almost nominated for a Nobel Prize in Literature  even, were it not for the hypocrisy and the conformism of the judging panel. They said they could not possibly nominate a person who, and I paraphrase here, Corrupted people’s minds with ill-advise and brought the youth in serious jeopardy with his output between 73-78. Now, to fall over the moral side of his essay How to fondle boys under the age of fifteen while it was so full of poetic lyricism will always be beyond me, and to this day I attest the Nobel Prize’s oversight.

More sad news came when I heard about the awful car crash incident that killed fourteen people. Some idiot drove way too fast and had placed a ramp so he could jump into the shopping crowd with his car. Needless to say this ended in mayhem and the loss of fourteen lives. Further investigation has already cleared the cause of this reckless and dangerous behaviour, as from his DVD collection it was perfectly clear that his love for films with car chases instigated the deaths of these fourteen people. Bullitt, Deathproof, The Fast and the Furious, Vanishing Point, and The Italian Job were amongst loads of films that clearly have corrupted this young man’s mind. Since forever I have been advocating in favour of a ban of these kinds of films as they give an amoral example for the viewer. Also I often have taken a stance in favour of temporary commitment of those who in their collection have too many films with a car chase sequence. For it already indicates that what is foremost on their minds. And the films themselves then feed into this corrupted mindset. It, after all, normalizes this outrageous and dangerous behaviour and numbs the soul, which causes the natural defences one of a sound mind has to deteriorate. This to such an extent that for the viewer of these mad automobile films it becomes a viable option to act in such a manner. The result we see here, but I guess first people should lose their lives before anything is done about this!

Festival News – Incubate programs Battles in Natuurtheater, Lowlands director concedes lack of headliners

With de-Affaire having come to a close it is time to look at some recent news of upcoming festivals. Lowlands has announced its full line-up, and even the Lowlands director is not very pleased. He had hoped for Gorillaz, The Strokes, Tool, and Arcade Fire, but either tours were cancelled or not there to begin with. He finds that there aren’t a lot of popular bands touring around that time, hence the non-headliner. He does say that it is not Pinkpop anyway, and that the line-up is very exciting. Personally I’m glad I’m not going, and that does have to do with the “fringe” line-up they are now trying to hype as exciting and daring, and not even with the headliners at all.

In better festival news, Incubate in Tilburg has added a few names to their line-up that we haven’t reported yet (which is because we are late with it, I concede). The band Battles will play the Natuurtheater. Nosaj Thing has also been added to the line-up, and earlier The Fall were announced. Also, if you get active online concerning Incubate and all that it entails, then you might actually get something out of it. Talking about the festival online will earn you credits, with which you can then “redeem them for very cool exclusive merch”. For more info check http://incubate.org/2011/participate/intro. That, to me, is friggin’ awesome, a far cry from conformist thinking and clinging to normative notions.

zaterdag 23 juli 2011

de-Affaire - Day 7 (also known as when it all ended)

de-Affaire is a free outdoor festival in Nijmegen spanning seven evenings (+ 2 afternoons)
It is always kind of sad when you leave the park and you glance one last time over the carnivalesque scene. The stands, all the people, the lights, and in the background the Ferris wheel. And you leave behind the people who you don’t know but have seen seven evenings straight enjoying the same stuff (or at least seeing the same stuff) as you have. And you know it is going to take another year for all this to come back again. At least de-Affaire makes this last day a good one so you can at least go out on kind of a high.

The first band I briefly see are Blackie and the Ooh Oohs from Belgium. They try their hand at atmospheric music with some vocal acrobatics, which though definitely impressive, don’t always sound as good as probably they would’ve liked. The first set I witness in full is About Group, which is fronted by Alexis Taylor. Taylor is especially known for his group Hot Chip, but this isn’t Hot Chip. At all. So they who had expected that, yeah, too bad. These lads, though, they do give a masterclass in musicianship. I mean, with all due respect for some of the bands this week, but one can easily spot the difference in sheer musical ability. And I don’t care if other bands had more onlookers, but when these guys start jamming, that is truly excellent. They read each other so well, and they know when to add a layer, or when to start doing something different with their instrument to keep it fresh and exciting. Especially the second jam, kickstarted by Coxon’s bass, was excellent. Then Hayward on drums took over the rhythm, and then Coxon came back with a guitar riff. Over all of this the other members are completing the picture by adding sounds on top of it. That was excellent. Now, some songs are a tad on the dull side of the spectrum, but what shines through at all times is the mastery of their instruments.

The festival succeeded in following up the About Group with another band (man) that knows his instrument inside-out. Volker Bertlemann, also known as Hauschka, takes place behind his grand piano, and he churns out sounds that sound like everything but a piano. By cleverly making use of all kinds of equipment and by deviously placing things inside the piano at exactly the right spots he can get so many different sounds out per song it is unbelievable. Don’t think this is experimental classical music though, for it is easy on the ear and very accessible, and at all times surprising. Not as surprising as one woman asking Volker to marry her, to which the man behind Hauschka sheepishly thanks her and counters, But well, you know…. I’m guessing he doesn’t get that one very often. But in order to get those sounds out of that piano, and to then construct with those sounds songs; that requires a lot of craftsmanship.

Retro Stefson, an eight piece from Iceland, may still have to spend some time practicing before they achieve the level of expertise of the men above. But comparing them is unfair, for Retro Stefson are young with a capital Y. They try to have a bit of fun and to get the audience into it as well, and in that they certainly succeed. The people in front of the stage (and also those who are well away from it) take part in the shenanigans of the band with little dances and so forth. Also, who thinks that with eight people you can make nothing but noise, Retro Stefson creates some songs that sound silky smooth. Which is an accomplishment in itself. Is every song an example of great musicianship and are they all complex and original tunes, no, not really. They seem to just pick a genre and take the essential sounds of that genre and make a fun song out of it. Judging by the audience in front of them, that comes across very well.
Mount Kimbie is not the band people were expecting them to be, judging from the crowd (and how they are announced). Where Mount Kimbie excels in intricately woven songs using dubstep ideas, I think people were expecting a full fledged dubstep party. So the response of the audience was rather tepid. This was not helped by Mount Kimbie themselves, who take a long time in between songs to get going again. That, plus they seem rather oblivious to the crowd in front of them, and they seem rather estranged from it all. So even if they never had the crowd to begin with, they also didn’t do much to create a flow to get them in it. Which isn’t too say that there weren’t some good beat compositions in there.

Probably what the crowd was expecting was something like Gesaffelstein. This Frenchman takes place behind the decks and churns out as many beats as he does cigarettes. All in black and looking fucking classy, like one of those bastards you see in the movies, fag hanging from his lips, hair perfectly groomed; he is one mean looking dude. His beats are deep, hard, and the audience (which by this time has ballooned to gigantic proportions) is eating it up like cake. To the techno side of the spectrum, Gesaffelstein sure can get out a beat that can get a whole crowd going. Is it very versatile? No, perhaps not. I can understand that if this is not your thing it might sound like too much of the same. But to finish seven evenings of music, perhaps this is the kind of release one can take and one would like.

So, there it is, it is over. Hopefully I can be there next year, because as free festivals go, this still takes the crown. Despite you rather have  a sense they made some cost cutting moves, to still be able to put on a festival with so much good music like this, that’s something special. And hopefully I’ll see all the same people again next year. Because if there ever is an indication of how appreciated a festival is, it is by seeing the same people for all seven days, with for most of them it being a returning year. To get people out of their house, despite the weather (some rain, some cold, and surely I have caught the latter), seven days straight, for yet another year. That’s something, and both the organization and the people themselves can be proud of that.

vrijdag 22 juli 2011

de-Affaire - Day 5 + 6

de-Affaire is a free outdoor festival in Nijmegen spanning seven evenings (+ 2 afternoons)

Something flew into my coffee, a wasp into my hair, and my nose started to bleed. It turned out rather exemplary for the fifth and sixth day of de-Affaire. For the first time we were at a loss for something to do. And yet, it were perhaps the busiest days of the week. How confusing.

First up is the band Houses, which is getting quite a push from some general media. And they are nice. Some slow songs with the occasional outburst. They have got talent, they also still have a lot to learn both in composition as in lyricism. It still feels a tad too much like a band from school, though you can definitely see why they are being touted. Some good drums, a bit more advanced than your average young band, and if they keep working on it then I’m sure they have the potential to get there.  For now it is nice, and good for them they get such a crowd at the small stage.

The music of Houses was quite slow, but The Phoenix Foundation starts like they’ve just caught a flat. Very folksy, very much something you can imagine listening to while standing on a hill in green pastures. But after Houses it is just a bit too much of slow folk. Vom Grill en Remork at the small stage is a bit too experimental for our personal liking, so we are quick to try something else.

The next band on the big stage is Dananananakroyd, the likeable Scottish band who like to mix rock with a certain twee sensibility. The band, who released their second album this year, come out rocking with their two singers constantly moving and shouting and screaming and narrating and posing. So it is, at the very least, a sight to see. And they have a bit of fun as well, going into the crowd, forcing people who were moshing to hug each other, and to sarcastically add how sad a day it is when the only way to express yourself is by jumping into other people. It is high energy, and the two front men do like their jumps and poses and bizarre banter. Though admittedly the rock is not for everyone, if you can at least stand it, it is fun to watch these Scottish lad go about it on stage.

To conclude the day some Dutch bands may go up on stage to strut their stuff. Knalpot are the new kids on the block, and they mix drums and electronics with a grubby bass sound. I personally definitely would have fancied it more if they would lay a nice bass or drum rhythm as their base. However, they don’t do that, which makes some of their stuff rather incomprehensible to me. It is a bit too out there. After that the old school Aux Raus will send everyone into the night with their no-nonsense rock.

And perhaps that is why it is so crowded, because Aux Raus are a popular bunch. Not for me, personally, but the place is jam packed when they play. It is good to see so many people come out and support their local/national bands. Though personally I always rather see international acts for the simple reason that if you want to see a national act, you always have plenty of opportunity to do so next to a festival like this. Plus it makes it less about discovery, because as they are from Holland probably you’ve already heard about them and know what kind of thing it is that they do. Now with three Dutch bands that I already know and happen to not care about, a rather slow folk band, and an inaccessible experimental electro outfit, it was rather a slow day for me personally.

The sixth day also starts with a Dutch band, Krach. I don’t want to sound as I’m not supporting “our” bands, but this just sounded like rather straight, middle of the road pop rock, which is definitely not my thing. They try their hand on some hooks and some are decent, but none are something special. Also – and this is perhaps the easiest to address – unless you go or really fancy, or go really extravagant, all wearing the same outfit really makes it look less professional. They end it by covering 'Daft Punk is Playing At My House', which reminds me that 'Daft Punk...' is a great song, and that LCD Soundsystem are a great band. There is one other thing about Dutch bands, and that is that they bring in their own crowd which isn’t necessarily a very knowing musical crowd. For if you want to know foreign bands you need to be in the know, but Dutch bands you probably have stumbled across in the media or some other free festival. So that does bring a different crowd there.

So do I like anything or is this just my personal blog to rant? I must admit, I am a sucker for dream pop though. It is something I can listen to all the time. It is something about that whole aesthetic that just does it for me. Puro Instinct from California hit those buttons. The drums provide a nice canvas, and that guitar is producing exactly the right sound for this genre. Though when singing together it doesn’t always sound as well as they would’ve liked, the main singer sure has vocals though. And that typical Californian look on her face sometimes. Her voice sounds as one of those Italians Do It Better chanteuses like of The Chromatics, and on that last song she really struts her stuff. That was pretty wicked.

So these two days weren’t the best ones, though I guess that it is hard to have a good line-up across the board when your festival lasts a whopping seven evenings and when you are not even charging an entrance fee. On those days you do start to miss the sun a bit though. Yet, like a good dance track, hopefully this slow down only leads to a exuberant release on the last day of the festival tomorrow.

donderdag 21 juli 2011

de-Affaire - Day 4

de-Affaire is a free outdoor festival in Nijmegen spanning seven evenings (+ 2 afternoons)

A typical start to a midweek on Tuesday at de-Affaire, with some of the die-hards already there for the very first band Aucan. Little groups are scattered in front of the main stage to soak up the atmosphere and to discover all the acts, no matter who is playing. The “who” in this case is an electro-rock outfit, with the emphasis on rock. The electro is just a means to get to that. So don’t expect very intricate soundscapes, as the core of the sound seems to be the slow thrust to which you can headbang. That is the thing that is the most instantly recognizable. Which seems to be a bit of an easy way out, because it is a sort of safety net. Whatever else we are doing, we always have that to which the audience can react. But it also distracts from whatever else they are doing because it becomes the automatic focus, and thus it comes across as rather simplistic. But, this probably is also part of their more rock aesthetic, as opposed to bands who use the electro rock to compose a bit more, like a Holy Fuck.

Next up on the main stage is Fenech-Soler, who are getting plugged a bit by the guys from Kitsuné. It is electro pop/rock, but obviously not at all like Aucan. What they put up there are real (pop) songs. I’m kind of torn on this one, because there definitely is some stuff to like. But lets save the positives for a moment, for the thing that had me not that excited was that at some times it felt rather like some American electro band who get the teens so riled up these days. Also, the songs for some reason aren’t really that danceable that the roof gets blown off. Then again, what I do really like is that they expand their songs with some dance bits and some extra percussion and rhythm pieces. I always find that adds to a live gig more than if you just play your songs like they are on album, especially in this kind of genre. So definitely kudos for that.

Architecture in Helsinki is up last, and my goodness, they are fun. With fun being the operative word here. They really hark on 80s pop, and they use it and unashamedly mold it into a party. They look cheerful, bit offbeat, and with their little dances and with their catchy tunes they surely get the crowd going. And their happiness and enthusiasm are contagious. They do some songs off of their new album called Moment Bends, including new single ‘Escapee’ which is a pretty good example of what they are about. So yeah, it is sugary, and if you don’t like your entertainment and fun then this might not be your thing. However, if you don’t mind a bit of sweetness and a bit of silliness then this is definitely the stage to be at. And they do get a good part of the by now sizeable crowd going, and it is hard not to get a smile on your face while watching this.

So why am I not talking about the smaller stages? Well, there is some experimental stuff there, and I like that. And I like that they do that. However, if something like that is not your thing, then there is not much use in standing there. And Der Warst is too fiddly (and I’ve got something against those gameboy noise music anyway), and Spokes is a bit too inward for my personal tastes. At Club Voerweg Mosq & Lucas are too laddish, and 2562 starts at a time we do like to get back for a look at Architecture in Helsinki. But it is always fun to have a look at the more experimental acts to see whether they tick a box or not. It is surprising that these acts are so experimental though, for last year you had bands like Toro Y Moi and The Hundred in the Hands performing that stage, which are far more accessible than the bands on display there this year.

Whether it was the fireworks or not, when the night comes the place is filled with people. What a contrast with the Saturday, and how good to see. And perhaps even better to see are all the familiar faces being at the festival day after day. It is just fun to know that you just know for a fact that certain people are going to be there, even though you don’t actually know them or what they might have going on in their lives. I’m really intrigued by that, and it makes the festival extra fun.

woensdag 20 juli 2011

Crazy Zany Radio Sunday - 'Saturday Love' by Toro Y Moi

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: ‘Saturday Love’ by Toro Y Moi (listen here)
Average Grade: 5.1

Anna: Chillwave just doesn't feel like real music; more like lying to your ears.
Grade: 2

Craig: This is an organic continuation of breezy 70's AM radio music. It is so bland that I've got to give anyone who can get excited about this music credit for having a vibrant and imaginative outlook.

Linda: This sounds surprisingly good, and seeing as I'm writing this after being completely overwhelmed by fellow chillwavers Washed Out only yesterday, that must mean good things for Toro Y Moi (even though they seem to need a cover to get my attention).

Ilse: Not as memorable as some other Toro Y Moi songs, but certainly a groovy tune to listen to once or twice on a pleasant Sunday (or Saturday) morning. Preferably while chilling in bed.

Stef: It is catchy, easy on the ear, and he was pretty good live a few months back so I’ll just throw that in there for good measure.

de-Affaire - Day 3

de-Affaire is a free outdoor festival in Nijmegen spanning seven evenings (+ 2 afternoons)

The fun thing about de-Affaire is that there is so much diversity that one cannot possibly know much about every genre out there. So I’m not going to pretend that I know a lot about the genres on display on the Monday, though naturally with my (pop) culture and literary background I can make some observations in concerning the things on the surface. For instance, I can rather safely say that most bands performing today are rooted in the American tradition (though not much culture/literary background is needed for that per se). Not to say they are all Americans (I have done just enough research to know that is not the case), but almost all genres on display have firm roots in the North-American continent.

Smoke Fairies is the first band on the bill, and though not from America, they did go there to hone their skills a few years ago. Which can be considered logical since the blues and folk mixture they perform seemingly has its influences from there. The performance in itself is more folk than blues though, as blues rather has a showmanship tradition and the two ladies, though they can sing, don’t put on much of a show. So it is calmly listening to the traditional folk sounds on one hand and the slide guitar on the other. It is nice music, but if you do not like the folk aesthetic one might not find something to really love here. They try to keep people paying attention by abruptly going from slow and soft to hard and harsh sounds, but that divide is so big at times it got me flinching.

Avi Buffalo isn’t only influenced by the sounds of America, but I cannot even fathom them coming from anywhere else. American indie rock to the fullest, the kind of band you start in high school with your fellow mates with the traditional drums, bass, rhythm guitar, and solo guitar. And when Avi is soloing, he does so the way you always imagine you would do if you were ever to start a band. Kick on the pedals, and then just rock-rock-rocking away. For some reason I can’t get the image of Marty McFly out of my head. It also feels like something you would cast, this four piece. The female drummer is casually chewing her gum with a la-di-da look in her eyes. The bassist and rhythm guitar player are the calming influences, and Avi himself is high energy and seemingly has a short attention span. One could’ve deduced that as he came out with a sort of rabbit hat and his whole face painted. Between songs he is spurning out random comments (“Is that Arnold? On your t-shirt. Oh, it’s Chuck Norris! Cool!”) while his band mates are throwing Twix bars into the audience. The music is naïve indie rock with some neat guitar solos in between. It is fun to watch them, the songs have got enough variety in them within their genre, and Avi is putting in so much energy you keep on watching.

In the Barbarossa Ruine Dirty Beaches is doing his take on American rock and blues. And it is an experimentalist take. His pose and slick hair is somewhat reminiscent of Elvis, with his guitar hanging around him like that. His distorted vocals surely do not. With his gadgets he puts down the canvas, over which he narrates and screams his stories whilst adding his guitar at times. Sometimes that canvas is some sort of beat, at other times it is more of a slow throbbing noise background. Some of it is very old school American rock, at other times it reverts more to blues. In his stories he often uses typical American iconography like valleys, watchtowers, speedways, riding horses, etcetera. It evokes that typical American image of desertland with a motel down the side of a road with a neon sign. So it is interesting, and he definitely has a certain aesthetic he abides by, though perhaps not everything is necessarily equally nice to listen to.

Closer on the main stage are Pete and the Pirates, and I have to be frank, this is simply not for me. There is something so inherently pop about it that I have a hard time labeling it as Brit pop (with The Smiths, Pulp, Blur, Arctic Monkeys, Franz Ferdinand in chronological order), but real pop Pop it surely is not either. It seems a bit too bland and rather constructed to appeal to a large audience, which also means there is not much risk or edge or oomph in there. And they may do that excellently, mind you, but for me it makes for something a bit too mundane. I like things to have an edge, or a clear personality that strays from the norm and from the general accepted notions. Pete and the Pirates obviously do not do that, and whilst they may make cleverly constructed tunes, it is not what I like to listen to.

So except for the last act, which was quintessentially British, this day had a bit of an Americana vibe to it, and that diversity is nice to see because it introduces everyone to multiple aspects and forms of music, which can only be seen as a good thing. Naturally, nothing against a niche festival, but especially with a festival like this where there is free access it is great that people are exposed to multiple facets of this art form. And some stuff one might find great, other things one might not for them. Luckily it is spread out over so many days that you can quite often say, Well, maybe we’ve got better luck tomorrow.

maandag 18 juli 2011

de-Affaire - Day 2 (Washed Out, SBTRKT, Biblio)

de-Affaire is a free outdoor festival in Nijmegen spanning seven evenings (+ 2 afternoons)

It is so very enticing to start with the phrase The Kids are All Right after my little piece about the Saturday (and I do hope our erudite readers realize that when I stated “For the kids’ sake” I’m not 100% serious, surely), but I thought that to be a movie not worth any Oscar praise, so I’m skipping over that part. Truth is though, the Sunday was not only a pretty dry day (thank you, whomever!), it certainly had a better crowd. In that the people there were at the festival and not just seeing a band, and that – and here the link in with what I stated above and in my previous report – there were more youngsters there. And with youngsters I mean young people coming there to have fun and enjoy the music and the atmosphere. Which, naturally, enhances the vibe there (oh, showing my age with that word right there). Also helping is that the bands playing today are actually pretty awesome.

Now, the midday saw such talented people as James Vincent McMorrow and Cloud Control, but priorities are always with the family (well…), so I’m missing that. Nevertheless, I am in time for – yessir – a pour out by the weather Gods. Luckily it only lasts twenty minutes and I find myself both dry and ready to see slow grinding Bibio give away a live show. Now, I can see people not liking this very well. For A) there is not much of a show, and B) there is not much pace there. But I like my slow burning disco and beats on occasion (see the Montauk Boys EP for a great example of what I’m talking about), so I’m enjoying shuffling a little and dancing a little to the sounds given. The songs are nice and slow, but they are build up nicely, with Bibio continuously adding and subtracting layers. As said, the pace might be too slow for some, and a seemingly bashful man in a cardigan twiddling some knobs might not be the most extravagant thing you’re ever going to see, but I liked it. And some other people liked it. And we danced.

Coffee makes us miss Stellar OM Source (yeah, we are hardcore like that), and then back to the main stage for Washed Out. Now, if you had called me up and said he was going to sound like this I wouldn’t have believed you. Owning the stage with a five-piece band Washed Out makes the songs less dreamy, and more dynamic and danceable. And to be honest, there is quite the difference between the heralded album and the live versions of the same songs. Gutsy, since the album has been so hyped up, but fun as well. People are dancing and moving to the beat, and it is just well fun. A more perceptive viewer might have deduced it was going to be more about fun and dancing when one of the band members came on with Native-American headgear on, to us it still was a shock. I like it though. The set was amusing, fast paced, the main man Ernest Greene was well up for it and really active, and it had the crowd going. Definitely one of the highlights of the festival.

Then we go to the Barbarossa Ruine to watch DD/MM/YYYY, who are doing their version of math rock. A la Foals a bit, Post War Years who were at the festival last year. But where Post War Years was rather more subdued, and Foals was really break-y on their first album, this is a sort of fusion between math rock and free jazz in that sometimes the instruments are soloing right on through each other. At least, that is the way it sounds to me, and it is the way it looks as well. They also have both drums and percussion, and the drummer seems to not be the one that lays out the rhythm at all. Now, I love Jazz, but I don’t love free jazz. When everyone starts playing right through each other I’m out, and so it is with this band as well. Personally I’m always more in favour of a cleaner, smoother sound.

Last band on the main stage (and of the night) is SBTRKT. On stage SBTRKT forms a duo of two masked men, one doing the sounds and one doing the vocals. Though the latter is not as straight forward as it sounds, with some looping going on to create multiple vocal layers. SBTRKT goes from house to something with a little bit more BPMs in it. Some songs I find amazing, other songs I’m less enamored with. The more BPM, the more I am not dancing. One song in particular is so fast paced most people are practically forced to stand around a bit. Luckily, most of the tracks are a bit more friendly to us who didn’t grown up with breakneck speed, and there is some serious partying going on in the first ranks. Especially the first few tracks are ace, after that I found it a bit of a mixed bag, and live I found ‘Wildfire’ to be a little bit underwhelming. Despite that, there is definitely enough to like and dance to, and they provide plenty of energy for the crowd to feed upon.

The crowd, that is the main difference maker. In the previous report I was lamenting the absence of youngsters, because I know the type of young men and women that usually come to the festival. They love music, love the more artsy feel, and they love to have a good time. Saturday I was surrounded by idiot savants talking through everything while acting as if they were oh so great with the beer they smuggled in. I had to move from my place numerous times because I was about to smack someone, and I am a peace loving creature that would lose 80% of the fights I’m in anyway. But on the Sunday there were more people, and there were better people (how about that for a nuanced statement?), and thus the atmosphere was that of how you would like a festival like this to be. Young people (and other music lovers) enjoying/partying to good music: how can you beat that? Young people dancing to my left, young people dancing to my right, young people dancing in front of me: if you were there on this day and saw that sight, that alone shows why this festival should always be present as an alternative right there. It supports -- to go the sentimental save-the-kids route again – the cultural growth of these kids interested in it, and how is that not a good cause? And did I mention it was dry almost the entire night? Wow.