maandag 23 april 2018

Record Store Day, Saturday 21 April 2018

All over the world, record stores are celebrating their day: Record Store Day. A day filled with live music in a place where people traditionally come to buy the passive form of music: lps, cds, dvds and the like. On record store day artists come to local stores to play their music live. Having found out that Johan and Tim Knol played in Velvet in Amsterdam, was enough incentive to get up up earlier and take the train to Amsterdam.

The combination of acts was somewhat familiar. The first time I saw Tim Knol live was as support act of Johan, so that must have been in 2009. Now Johan is back at the front after a hiatus of 9 years, while Tim Knol has become a staple musician in The Netherlands who is at a point in his career that he seems able to do what he pleases.

Record Store Day by now is a phenomenon with record companies releasing rarities or extra (expensive) editions of old(er) records, aimed at collectors. Now that are the people who probably were at record stores regularly anyway. Also in the hard years of the 00s. It must be there to draw the people they have lost back to stores. In my surroundings they are not succeeding. Something has changed in the past years. A new generation seems to have discovered record stores, often to buy second records, usually LPs, they must have heard at home when they were a bit younger. I see kids of around twenty looking for The Doors albums and I am a bit jealous of what they are about to find out. That thought is incorrect, I know, because everything is available online nowadays. I never listen to an album anymore in the store to find out whether I want it. I have made that selection at home, often weeks before. For these young adults it will be much the same. Still, I can't help that feeling of them discovering something I have discovered about 40 years ago, when I came home with my The Doors copies.

Photo: Wo.
So my girlfriend and I went to Amsterdam to the Velvet store there and saw Johan setting up its gear. The personnel were youngsters, the audience were mostly between 40 and 60 something. My first Johan show was in 1996 in LVC Leiden and since I have seen at least one show of each tour. The new album, 'Pull Up', is darker but contains such strong songs (read on here:, so we were really looking forward to hearing them live, in such a small, in store, environment.

From the get go with single and album opener 'About Time' Johan convinced. In the new setting with guitarist Robin Berlijn on guitar and Jan Teertstra, of Sunday Sun, on keyboards and both on background vocals, Jacob, Jan and Diets have found a great replacement for the two who did not come back. Both the brighter as the darker songs came by and showed the depth Johan has reached in its new music. If something showed also, it was the pleasure the five men had at playing these songs together. Giving it their all in a clear drive to succeed and reclaim the title of best Dutch indie-pop-rock band. Ever, with Bettie Serveert, the other band with a right claim to that title.

I got home with my, already two week old copy of the LP, signed by all members. A small extra that a day like this can provide.

Some sad news also. I found out talking to Jan Teertstra that Sunday Sun is on indefinite hiatus. Now I'll admit here that I did not like the band's third album, so you did not find a review on these pages. I was sure though that the fourth might have been a good one. Come on, gentlemen, shall we say a new album in 2020? I'm sure it will be a very nice one.

Photo: Wo.
Tim Knol took the stage early, playing "his only acoustic show of the year", and just was his charming self. Conversing with the audience, telling relevant and irrelevant stories, playing a few great songs of his latest album 'Cut The Wire' (read my review here: In an acoustic version they sound different of course, yet very familiar. This setting made clear to me what a fine folk guitarist Knol is. All these little melody bass runs while the rhythm just keeps going. Yes, I was a bit in awe.

'Cut The Wire' is only three months old, yet Tim Knol is already looking ahead and working on a blue grass album and gave us the pleasure of playing a few of the songs he's already written for that album. Something to look out for it seems. As I wrote Knol is in a place that he makes his own choices and not really plans a career (any more). He started out with ravings about the Dutch Neil Young, thank you Matthijs van Nieuwkerk. Tim Knol does seem to like the sort of career Dinosaur Sr. has. Record what you feel like today and take it from there.

Be sure to find me somewhere during the fall tour he announced on stage. I sure like to hear some of the new songs in a band setting. When asking for a request, of course I'd say, 'Sam' was called for, with a direct "no" said loudly behind me from one of the ladies present. No matter what an artist, even one still fairly early on in his career, releases, people always want to hear one or two songs. I am simply stuck for titles these days. They just don't stick, so I never can shout the one I would want to hear.

RSD18 was a success. For a few reasons. Velvet sold several Johan units for sure. People were buying stuff. Hey, even my girlfriend bought a cd for the first time in something like 15 years. More in general I saw people walking with the special RSD18 bag in town, at the train station, in Leiden later that day. Having artist in store is a good asset to the day. Something more attractive to me personally than the special releases, which I do not really care for. I came home with several second hand copies of albums I did not have from the late 60s and early 70s and the new Jack White that was priced very nicely for the day. Watch out for that review soon.


Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

zondag 22 april 2018

Purgatory. Tyler Childers

Tyler Childers werd geboren in de Appalachen en kreeg de traditionele Amerikaanse folk- en countrymuziek met de paplepel ingegoten.
Vorig jaar werd de muzikant uit Kentucky in de Verenigde Staten geschaard onder de meest veelbelovende nieuwkomers en in 2018 moet Tyler Childers ook Europa aan zijn zegekar gaan binden.
Purgatory, het in de zomer van 2017 verschenen debuut van Tyler Childers, kreeg in januari een Nederlandse release en ik begrijp nu waarom ik de plaat in zoveel Amerikaanse jaarlijstjes tegen kwam.
Purgatory werd geproduceerd door niemand minder dan Sturgill Simpson en met Sturgill Simpson hebben we direct ook relevant vergelijkingsmateriaal in handen. Ook Tyler Childers laat zich nadrukkelijk beïnvloeden door de Amerikaanse Outlaw countrymuziek uit de jaren 70, maar ook de traditionele folk en country die hij tijdens zijn jeugd leerde waarderen heeft een plekje gekregen in de muziek van de Amerikaan.
Purgatory laat een wat traditioneel aandoend countrygeluid horen en het is een geluid waarin met name de viool de hoofdrol opeist. De combinatie van deze viool met gitaren, banjo, mandoline en pedal steel levert een vol maar ook ruimtelijk geluid op. Het is een geluid waarin ruimte is voor muzikaal vuurwerk, maar het is ook een geluid dat uiteindelijk in dienst staat van de stem van Tyler Childers, die is voorzien van een aangenaam rauwe strot.
Om van Purgatory te kunnen genieten moet je bestand zijn tegen een flinke dosis traditionele Amerikaanse country, maar als je dit bent is het debuut van Tyler Childers een plaat die snel naar grote hoogten groeit.
Net als de songs van de al eerder genoemde Sturgill Simpson en de songs van tijdgenoten als Chris Stapleton, Colter Wall, Brent Cobb, Corb Lund en in iets mindere mate Jason Isbell, klinken de songs van Tyler Childers volstrekt tijdloos. Purgatory had met enige fantasie ook 45 jaar geleden gemaakt kunnen worden, maar desondanks klinkt het debuut van de muzikant uit Lexington, Kentucky, geen moment gedateerd.
Vergeleken met platen uit de jaren 70 verwerkt Tyler Childers overigens wel meer invloeden in zijn muziek, want naast invloeden uit de country en de folk, laat Purgatory ook invloeden uit onder andere de rock ’n roll en de western Swing horen.
Het meest verslavend aan Purgatory vind ik persoonlijk de aangename flow die de plaat heeft. Laat Purgatory uit de speakers komen en je wordt bijna 40 minuten vastgehouden door de bijzondere songs van de jonge Amerikaan, die aan de hand van Sturgill Simpson en een aantal geweldige muzikanten ook nog eens een fantastisch klinkende plaat heeft gemaakt en een plaat die vol staat met prachtige verhalen over het leven op het Amerikaanse platteland.
In de Verenigde Staten zoals gezegd vorig jaar al een jaarlijstjesplaat, voor mij een van de eerste sensaties van het prille muziekjaar 2018.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Purgatory hier beluisteren en kopen:

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

zaterdag 21 april 2018

Air Traffic live. Tivoli, Utrecht, Dinsdag 17 april 2018

Foto: HsreD
Waar een vakantieliefde al niet goed voor kan zijn. Stomverbaasd was ze, de Vlaamse schone, dat ik als zelfverklaard indierockliefhebber nog nooit van de band Air Traffic had gehoord. Terwijl ik haar tijdens de twee weken safari in Zuid Afrika bijkans de ipod uit de oren rukte om steeds maar weer het nummer Shooting Star te horen. De heren van Air Traffic waren in 2012 in Vlaanderen al jaren erg groot, onder andere als gevolg van een invalbeurt op Rock Werchter, waar ze overigens later dit jaar weer spelen.
Een van de mooiste muziekverhalen van het moment. In augustus 2010 kondigt Air Traffic aan dat het voor onbepaalde tijd pauzeert. In oktober 2017 laten de Britten via social media weten dat ze de 10de verjaardag van hun enige album ‘Fractured Life’ (2007) willen vieren met een kleine tournee. De vier zijn intussen uit de muziek gestapt en hebben kantoorjobs. Tot verrassing van velen verkoopt Air Traffic drie keer Het Depot in Leuven uit. De herinnering aan de makers van hits als ‘Charlotte’ en ‘Shooting Star’ was dus zeer warm gebleven. De groep stamt uit Bournemouth - waar ze naast het vliegveld repeteerden - en bracht/brengt indiepop met een hoofdrol voor de piano. Bassist Jim Maddock liet na de Leuvense triple weten dat hij graag nog eens op Rock Werchter wou spelen. Zoals in 2007 en 2008. Dat tweede jaar speelden ze trouwens een tweede keer als vervanger van Babyshambles. Welkom in de droomfabriek, gentlemen!” (bron: 

Foto: HareD
Hun roem is in Nederland nooit zo hoog gestegen. Een paar maanden geleden speelden ze in Paradiso Noord en de afsluitende gig van hun korte Europese tour bracht ze naar een lang niet geheel gevulde Pandora in TivoliVredenburg. Toch een overgang na onder andere twee uitverkochte concerten in het roemruchte Brusselse Ancienne Belgique.

Dat mocht de pret echter niet drukken voor de aanwezigen in Utrecht. Aangezien hun enige CD Fractured Life (2007) maar uit 11, niet al te lange, nummers bestaat, werd er ook flink uitgepakt met covers om een concert van krap anderhalf uur te kunnen geven. Voor mij waren dat onbekende nummers, maar ze pasten goed bij hun bestaande werk. En dat werk brachten ze met vuur, maar toch ook ontspannen. Zanger/pianist/gitarist Chris Wall maakte tussen de nummers door grapjes met het publiek, en ook de anderen leken zich goed te vermaken. De setlist werkte langzaam maar zeker toe naar wat mij betreft het hoogtepunt, namelijk afsluiter Shooting Star. Wat een wereldnummer is dat, ook live.

Hoewel het voorprogramma, The Visual, echt volledig ruk was, was het dus een fijn muziekfeest daar in Utrecht. Hopelijk komt Air Traffic nog veel vaker terug van hun muzikanten-vakantie.


vrijdag 20 april 2018

Fake. Die Nerven

It is less than a year ago Die Nerven first featured on this blog, with an album that was out for some time when I discovered it. On 'Out' a lot of things came together and they appeared to be all working. (Read on here if you like: So here's the band's new record. Again with an English name, where the band sings in German the whole of the way.

The album starts strong. An electric guitar and bass that sound the like the devil is on their tail. The drums kick in to give the song even more pace. It is Die Nerven alright. A song called 'Neue Wellen'. Now I remember 'Die Neue Welle' around 1980 and not liking by far most of it. This 'Neue Wellen' is a rock song of the mysterious kind. The band kicks up a storm here and there, yet in the way the guitar is played, there's this nano second of space giving the song a very distinct rhythm. Oh, and yes, there's decay and corpses. It all starts with a lie though. Fake! Falsche Fragen. It is all around these days and Die Nerven is angry. That much is clear.

The 80s are all over the opening song, but with an attack that was seldom heard at the time of post new wave. The weed has been taken out of the music. Now in 2018 there is a lot to be worried about, even angry about. Die Nerven have found a way to voice these feelings and emotions. Singer Julian Knoth has a few voices going for him. The angry, the detached, the dreamy. He can put it all in his voice. Listen e.g. to 'Niemals'. The song takes you from a postpunk ride right through The Strokes like sequences, giving away a lot Knoth can do for you.

Promo photo: Ralv Milberg
The first two songs already show so much differences in approach without dropping an inch of quality and self-confidence that it would be a huge surprise of the rest if the album would turn out to be a disappointment.

The fun continues in exactly the right way. There's no need for Die Nerven to make every song an angry punk shout competition. In 'Roter Sand' the band finds an in between form. The tempo is lower, the anger comes and goes. The tension is released allowing for a dreamy, soft ending to the song. The way it began.

'Alles Falsch' or is it "Alles richtig"? Make up your mind! A song that shows how superb Die Nerven is able to work with dynamics within a song. This approach is what really labels Fake. The band plays with their songs, with the expectations of its listeners. The quietest moments can truly explode into an orgy of sound, to move back into complete innocence without effort and a loss of conviction. Die Nerven plays tricks with you while delivering truly exciting music. Live this ought lead to total eruptions within audiences. Something I hope to see fairly soon.

Die Nerven has delivered another record that moves far beyond the (post)punk-indierock it is usually associated with. The band has acquired a depth that ought to bring in many other sort of rock fans who enjoyed rock music since the second half of the 70s. Die Nerven are able to make its music not only exciting for the body but also for the mind. Just listen how the band plays with a song like 'Explosionen'. (And that is only the moment when the anthem 'Kann's Nicht Gestern Sein' starts. A song for all your yesterdays and tomorrows.) It has it all and Die Nerven deliver it in a perfect way.


You can listen to and buy Fake here:

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

donderdag 19 april 2018

Motorpsycho Live. Victorie, Alkmaar, Wednesday 18 April 2018

Photo: Wo.
Ever since hearing 'The Tower', Motorpsycho's latest album, I have been looking forward to going to this show. It has been a long while since I saw the band last. Probably 2001-02. Nighttown in Rotterdam was still a venue to play for bands this seize. In coming up close to two decades since then we have all, band and a considerable part of the audience, become men of a certain age. Not old, but certainly no longer young. What is not stopping us from rocking out.

And that is a very funny thing I noticed straight away. There are distinct differences in how certain parts of the audience moves. I was under the impression that it gave away from what angle of musical favourites these people come, where their preferences lie. Why? Motorpsycho plays a hybrid of music. Equal parts metal/grunge, prog and melodic westcoast pop and rock, although the latter is snowed under more during a live show. Despite the at times nearly unrelenting loudness, the band never forgets the melodies. So it is that why, in my opinion, one part of the audience is moving their heads forwards and backwards and another part is swaying sideways, partially dancing. Including yours truly.

Eight p.m. sharp the band walked on stage. Almost a bit uncertain, as if the audience may not recognise them. With the dj still playing his tracks as if he was the main show. A soft hello, a right arm raised and the band kicked off a storm that was to last for over two and a half hours. Somewhere during the first hour, with songs going to 10 minutes or effortless moving into the next one without a stop, I asked myself is this music good? Or beautiful? I came to a bit strange answer for myself. These questions were totally beside the point. Motorpsycho live is a near total body experience. Whether a song is super melodic or is based on an (extremely) uncomfortable riff, that is the moment the band starts to take off on explorations of the inner structure of the song perhaps for the inner soul of the musicians showing their true selves through the notes and tempo changes that result from it. The guest guitarist and keyboard player, I did not catch his name but it may have been Kristopher, looked for cues at some points in songs, compositions may be a better word in some cases, to catch the moments that defined them. The result being that almost all songs show their beauty no matter what.

Each song is built up from small parts. I was listening in awe to see how the individual musicians were trying to stretch those confinements or to experiment with how many notes or fills could be squeezed into these little segments, never failing to come out at the exactly right moment. In other words, these restraints did not seem to exist for them.

The other moments I was in awe, is how well this band manages the dynamics within songs/jams. It never fails to impress and send shivers down my spine to hear a song be taken down into a very melodic part, with yet another effect on the guitar and/or keyboard, changing the whole world basically. Truly impressive how this band works together towards a total experience.

Spot the guitar tech!
Drummer Tomas Järmyr, only on board for two years, really showed what he was worth. At times every individual hit he made on a skin or cymbal could be heard in the mix so clearly. When he thought to make the bassdrum the driving rhythm in one of the songs, instead of the hi-hat, he may have been over-confident. Yet it looked like it took no effort at all to keep that rhythm going with his foot and leg. Fact is it gave the song a total different feel from all the other songs (in general as well). It looked gruelling having to keep this pace.

There was one downside to the show, it was at times too loud. It interfered with my hearing properly and resulted in a permanent high note in my ears that I am sure the band was not producing. It also prevents the lyrics from being heard, which, I suppose, is an important part of the package Motorpsycho is producing for us. So why prevent us from truly hearing them?

For the rest, what a show. An impressive two and a half hours of great music, in a venue I hadn't been to before. De Victorie is a fine venue I must say and totally new it seems. If the train connections worked just this bit better, it might be perfect. I already found a solution to that (not being a car). In other words, you may see me again sometime soon.

Was it me or did Bent joke at the end, introducing him and Snah the other way around? That gives his "my best friend" quite a different angle as well! Communication other than through music is not Motorpsycho's aim nor forte. The best one was Bent introducing: "This is about", fall silent, never finishing his intended comment. The music compensates and tells all.

(All photo's by) Wo.

Here's the link to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about: