vrijdag 20 juli 2012

Holiday

Goat in French castle. Foto Wo.

Dear reader of WoNo Magazine's blog,

We're on holiday. We hope you have enjoyed the first half year of this blog and look forward to continue in a few weeks. If you visit this site for the first time, leaf through our blog to find reviews, interviews and a few stories. We hope you find your way back to us in August.

Are you interested to participate yourself, please let us know. You are welcome to join this blog as a writer, photographer, reviewer of albums or shows and of any sort of music or perhaps you have an original idea yourself? As long as it is on music feel free to suggest it to us.

WoNoBloG is the digital extension of WoNo Magazine, the music magazine that's published when it's published. Links to the last two issues of this free Dutch language magazine on music are found in the back pages of this blog.

WoNo Magazine sadly lost its photographer this spring. If you're interested to have your pictures on music published, let us know.

Best wishes,

WoNoBloG team

Lekker ding: Apocalyptic love, Slash


De nieuwe van Saul Hudson uit Hempstead is een lekker ding. Niet te sloom, welgevormd, stevig waar het moet en fijnbesnaard waar het kan. Het aardige is ook dat de liefde als onheilspellend wordt gekarakteriseerd, dus het blijft tot het einde spannend. Saul weet waar zijn beperkingen liggen. Hij is handiger met zijn vingers dan met zijn mond, dus riep hij de hulp van zijn vrienden in. Goede gasten hoor, Myles Kennedy en zijn samenzwerende maten Brent en Todd. Kun je er goed bij hebben. Met z’n vieren hebben ze de recente aanwinst mooi opgedirkt, zo in de stille uurtjes tijdens de afgelopen wereldtour. 

     
Hoewel Slash al veel langer uit Guns ’n Roses is dan hij erin zat, blijft hij zijn wereldwijde bekendheid aan die episode ontlenen. Dat is deels ook wel terecht, want zijn briljante gitaarspel uit die tijd zijn hoogtepunten in de rockgeschiedenis, waarvoor terecht gelauwerd is in de diverse lijstjes en de Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. Vaak wordt vergeten dat hij ook daarna diverse grote successen heeft behaald met zijn eigen bands Slash’s Snakepit and vooral Velvet Revolver, waarvan bijvoorbeeld het debuutalbum (‘Contraband’, uit 2004) op nummer één binnenkwam in de Amerikaanse charts. In 2008 begon hij aan zijn eerste solo-album, dat uiteindelijk in april 2010 uitkwam, onder de toepasselijke titel Slash. Op het album speelden veel soulmates mee, zoals Ozzy Osbourne, Iggy Pop, de meeste oude bandleden van Guns ’n Roses (behalve Axl natuurlijk – daar leeft hij in onmin mee) Flea en Lemmy van Motörhead.  Verleden maand verscheen de opvolger: Apocalyptic Love.

Wat een heerlijke plaat! Zo’n zeldzame CD die alleen maar beter wordt als hem vaker afspeelt. Waarvan wat je in eerste instantie dacht dat zwakke plekken waren, bij nader luisteren verdwijnen. Die je nauwkeurig moet afluisteren omdat je dan zoveel pareltjes van gitaarsolo’s hoort dat je er verschrikkelijk blij van wordt.  En Myles Kennedy heeft er precies de juiste zang bij. Genoeg afwisseling, genoeg harde gitaar, helemaal feest! 

Geen echte zwakke punten te benoemen, maar voor de liefhebber van harde, maar wel melodieuze rock, is er heel veel moois. ‘No more Heroes’ bijvoorbeeld als rocksong met alle ingrediënten in de juiste verhouding. ‘Halo’ met een intro dat op Appetite for Destruction niet had misstaan. ‘We will roam’ heeft de beste riff die ik tijden heb gehoord, gevolgd door jaren zeventig-achtige samenzang. ‘Anastasia’ dat met een (Spaanse) gitaar begint en daarna ontbrand met lekker harde rock. Of  ‘Hard and fast’ met zijn opwindende speedrock-elementen, gevolgd door ‘Far and away’ voor de liefhebber van een goede rockbalad op zijn tijd – en zijn wij dat niet allemaal? ‘Shots fired’ is het heerlijk harde einde van de reguliere CD, maar de mijne heeft nog twee prettige bonustracks ‘Carolina’ en Crazy Life’ en een ook nog aardig DVD met de ‘making off’.

Het is te hopen dat Saul’s overspelige natuur over een tijdje weer een nieuwe aantrekkelijke schone oplevert.

HareD

You can order Apocalyptic love here


or here

 

donderdag 19 juli 2012

Jon Lord, In Memoriam

It must have been somewhere in 1972 when a song so impressive entered the Dutch charts that I still remember hearing it then. The organ notes at the beginning, the ooh-oohs, the screeching wails, the explosion, the great guitar solo and the super fast ending. Remind me who it was that said: "All good songs are in one tempo". Some ex-band member probably with questionable and out-dates musical taste?

I was to find out later that the song was close to two years old when it charted. It did this again three years later in 1975. 'Child in time' is one of greatest classics of popular music of all time. Always in the top 10 of the end of year overview lists and before 'Bohemian rhapsody' mania, the number one for years.

Jon Lord put his stamp on rock music, classic rock as we call it now, hard rock when I was younger. His characteristic organ sound is one of the three unique components that made his main band, Deep Purple, stick out against all competition.  The other two being Ian Gillan's voice and Ritchie Blackmore's guitar. As you will undoubtedly have read in the many obituaries by plugging his Hammond into a Marhall or a rotating Lesley amp.

Unknowingly I had heard Jon Lord before. A previous band, The Flowerpot Men, had scored two hits in The Netherlands, the bandwagonesque 'Let's go to San Francisco' in 1967 and 'A walk in the sky' in spring 1968. Both very neat, a bit dreamily sang songs, high and to clean voiced to really be hippies. Nothing special, just songs that stuck out in the period.

In 1968 Lord started Deep Purple with drummer Ian Paice. It was not before 1970 that the famous Deep Purple Mach one formation scored their first major success: Deep Purple in rock, with that great cover of Mount Rushmore done over and containing one of their two signature songs.

When I found out about Deep Purple it was fall 1971: 'Fireball'. This incredibly fast rock song, that was played on the radio and charted for a few weeks. Two years later it was all over for mach one. Gillan, Glover and Blackmore left and more and more other people became Deep Purple. Lord and Paice were there for the whole stretch. The final one early 1976, 'Come taste the band'. Still containing a good song or so, e.g. 'You keep on moving'. If I'm honest I liked this album and 'Stormbringer' (1975) better in the seventies. Simply because I owned them. That has changed a little since those days.

A friend had the 'Made in Japan' double elpee and that is how I learned about that other staple song of the band: 'Smoke on he water'. This song has everything a classic rock song needs. And it shows what can be done with an organ. No matter what Ritchie Blackmore does on his guitar, it is Jon Lord's organ that carries a whole chunk of the song in a superb way.

The making of 'Machine head' tv show tells all about the state of (personal relations within) the band in 1971, but also all about a band at its creative peak. The almost off-handed way in which ideas were born, songs were tried out and grew and the making of an album against all grains in Montreux (as told in 'Smoke on the water'). They had two or three weeks to do it all between touring schedules. Try that in 2012. Making a classic album seems to be very easy in a way, till you try it yourself. In the documentary Lord tells about the classical influence on his solo's and the way he sometimes uses classical motives, sped up beyond recognition, which was quite normal to do for bands around 1970. He did so to great success.

What also sticks out is, that despite the fact that Blackmore has and shows a total dislike for the rest, all members speak with pride of their common effort and the result and give credit where it's due. Perhaps unconsciously showing the power of creativity over personal relations. Jon Lord is also interviewed separate from the three that play in Deep Purple to this day, in ever changing line ups.

The first of the classic Deep Purple line-up to go, Jon Lord will be remembered for his signature organ playing on some of the best hard rock albums ever made. He plays on a few songs that may be here for forever and will be played decades and more from now.

Wo.

woensdag 18 juli 2012

Banga. Patti Smith

Vijf jaar na het uitsluitend met covers gevulde Twelve en acht jaar na het prachtige Trampin’, ligt er eindelijk weer eens een nieuwe plaat van Patti Smith in de winkel. Banga opent met een track die je direct mee terug neemt naar de platen die Patti Smith in de tweede helft van de jaren 70 maakte. De tekst wordt deels bijna als een gedicht voorgedragen, terwijl de rest wordt gezongen zoals alleen Patti Smith dat kan. Ook de tracks die volgen herinneren onmiddellijk aan klassiekers als Horses, Radio Ethiopia, Easter en Wave. Vergeleken met de uitbarstingen van deze platen rockt Banga wat minder, al blijft de muziek van Patti Smith door haar donkere vocalen altijd rauw en onaangepast. Op Banga heeft Patti Smith zich omringd met muzikanten van naam en faam uit de New Yorkse muziek scene, onder wie gitaristen Lenny Kaye en Tom Verlaine, bassist Tony Shanahan en drummer Jay Dee Daugherty. Banga klinkt hierdoor fantastisch en met name het gitaarwerk is om je vingers bij af te likken. De bepalende factor in het geluid van Patti Smith blijft echter haar stem. Het is een stem die nog net wat rauwer en doorleefder klinkt dan 35 jaar geleden, maar ik heb in veel songs het idee dat Patti Smith beter zingt dan in haar hoogtijdagen. Vergeleken met de meeste van haar vorige platen is Banga zoals gezegd een behoorlijk ingetogen plaat, al laat ze in de titeltrack horen dat ze ook haar punky roots niet is vergeten. Het wat meer ingetogen en vaak stemmige en soms zelfs wat psychedelische geluid, past als je het mij vraagt perfect bij het donkere stemgeluid van de Amerikaanse, die zo ongeveer in haar uppie de vrouwelijke rockmuziek op de kaart heeft gezet. Banga is een plaat die je onmiddellijk weet te grijpen en inmiddels weet ik dat de plaat niet snel los laat. Het is moeilijk om een in 2012 verschenen plaat te vergelijken met de onbetwiste meesterwerken van één van de iconen uit de geschiedenis van de popmuziek, maar als ik dit toch doe, komt Banga er niet slecht van af. Patti Smith heeft op haar 65e een plaat gemaakt die zich kan meten met haar beste werk en bovendien veel meer doet dan het reproduceren van het geluid waarmee ze meer dan 30 jaar geleden beroemd werd. Banga is een gedreven en geïnspireerd klinkende plaat met songs die je steeds weer weten te verrassen en eigenlijk alleen maar beter worden. Banga bevat 11 songs die goed laten horen wat een getalenteerd songwriter en performer Patti Smith is. Luister bijvoorbeeld maar eens naar het ontroerende en werkelijk prachtige eerbetoon aan Amy Winehouse (This Is The Girl). De bijzonder fraaie cover van Neil Young’s After The Goldrush maakt het dozijn vol en demonstreert nog maar eens hoe Patti Smith het werk van anderen volledig naar haar hand kan zetten. Voordat ik Banga had gehoord las ik een recensie van de BBC, waarin Banga Patti Smith’s beste plaat sinds haar onbetwiste meesterwerk Horses wordt genoemd. Dat leek me op voorhand zwaar overdreven en eerlijk gezegd bijna onmogelijk (ook Radio Ethiopia en Easter zijn immers nauwelijks te overtreffen), maar sinds Banga de nodige rondjes in mijn cd speler heeft gedraaid kan ik me wel vinden in de woorden van de BBC. Met Banga heeft Patti Smith een plaat gemaakt die haar bijna mythische status recht doet. Dat is een ongeloof knappe prestatie waarmee iedere muziekliefhebber ongelooflijk blij moet zijn.

Erwin Zijleman


Je kunt Banga hier bestellen


of hier

dinsdag 17 juli 2012

Supernova. Girlyman

You can listen to 'Nothing left' here.

After the review of the show it's about time to review the latest output by Atalanta, Georgia based close harmony pop group Girlyman. Having been impressed so much by their live performance I'm really curious to familiarise myself with the album, but also slightly hesitant. What if they don't deliver on album? Rest assured, they do! Supernova is full of soft focussed songs, performed meticulously with beautiful close harmony of three voices interweaving in and out of each other.

Supernova is Girlyman's fifth studio album, but the first with JJ Jones on drums. As the band says: "Our sound got bigger and closer to what we had all imagined it to be for years". Don't expect big rock outings. Supernova provides you with the right songs for listening intensely and contently to. Most songs are small, intimate, where the instruments provide the background to the melody. All tracks are songs of the purest kind, like trickling water in a small brook. JJ's drums give them a more pop feel than folk. Like the great hit songs of Simon & Garfunkel. Girlyman may not ever score hits like this famed duo did in their day, but who does with this sort of music these days? All fans of great singing with a keen eye for melody should however check this album out. To not do so is your loss. A great loss.

As a whole Supernova colours neatly between the lines, but this is to be expected. The band strives for perfection in harmonies at which they must work hard to develop. So the last song 'Best I could' comes as a bit of a surprise, as the country feel with fiddle and mandolin sets of against the rest of the album. In as far as possible they even sing a bit loser. The albums opener 'Nothing left' starts off with Nate Borofsky singing solo. Bit by bit you can hear the song unfold, exposing the beauty of the voices of each individually and together, Tylan Greenstein, the deeper and Doris Muramatsu, the higher voice. It's the mould for Supernova as it only gets better from there. Some songs are faster, others slow, some a little harder, others acoustically dressed, but all have those three great voices.

All except drummer JJ provide songs, written solo or in combination. The one singing solo is mostly a give-away here. It's the added sum of their presence that makes the band as they add to each other. Listen how the band takes Nate Borofsky's composition 'Michaelangelo' by the hand, making it one of the signature songs of Supernova. Several songs are on longing (f)or acceptance. Finding your own in a world that may not be so cooperative for someone sticking out for one reason or another. Someone a person that stood out for whatever reason at some stage in his or her life can relate to instantly.

The band is a favourite of the gay community. This may be so, but they're here for all to enjoy. It does not matter who or what are, it's about the quality of the music offered and beauty is offered here in abundance. At the show in the Q-Bus they played my soul strings and perhaps those of my heart as well. As they sing it themselves on this album, they broke me slow. Song by song. Supernova graces this memory totally. Let me say it again: Listen to this album and be touched. Girlyman deserves to grow bigger than they are now and become better known with loads of more fans. Do you need to know more? By this album!

And that fantastic, mesmerising show at the Q-Bus? It's on You Tube. Just click here to find out what you've missed.

Wo.

You can order Supernova here


or here

maandag 16 juli 2012

Days go by. The Offspring

You can listen to 'Days go by' here.

Is The Offspring a band to take overly serious? No, off course not. Is The Offspring one of the best bands ever? Well, that answer may vary depending who you are and what your musical tastes are, but I'd answer no. Is The Offspring a good time fun band? Yes, they are. Are men over forty (even fifty) allowed to have fun? Hell, yes! So, I got that one from under my belt, in response to reading a review of Days go by in my tv magazine of this week. Before hearing the cd. Last week I saw the new The Offspring video plugged on You Tube and thought it to be so much fun. Perhaps more poppy and more than a little nod to younger punk pop bands, but who cares. I thought the song extremely good, melodious and great to shout along with. It pricked up my ears for the album to come.

Their first hit is about 18 years back now. 'Self esteem' is still a great song, that was followed by several more, with 'Pretty fly for a white guy' even on number one. More a novelty hit than a regular one, but they've scored enough to go way beyond the one hit wonders. The greatest novelty song of The Offspring is 'When you're in prison' by the way.

Days go by is an album where The Offspring does just that what it is good in. Uptempo punkpop songs with melody, lyrics to shout along to, with great lead guitar melody lines, to nod heads up and down to in a fast way and to jump around on. Do you need more in an The Offspring album? No, the band delivers and in several songs. O.k., the way they try to hang on in a somewhat cramped up way to find a new 'Pretty fly' deserves mild critique, but when I hear the title song again, I turn all soft and warm inside. 'Days go by' may well be their best song ever. And yes, it has a very familiar riff from the mid 80ties, I know. (Coincidentally I'm working on a review of that band's latest effort at present as well.) That's for lawyers, in this song it works wonderfully and it's just different enough. Some experiment with dub/reggae like bass and mariachi horns in which Dexter Holland shows off all his Spanish. A bit off a bummer this one.

So what that The Offspring's members are in their forties and fifties? As long as a band delivers the goods, who cares? The production process of 3,5 years suggests that Days go by was not an easy delivery for the band. Usually the album that follows after such a period is a deep disappointment. Not so Days go by. Together with producer Bob Rock they've made a loud rocking album. With the 'Cruising California (bumpin' in my truck)' as a bit of a dip, with its too familiar 'a-ah a-ah', too emo like overdubs, although the song is crafted well. The way 'All I have left is you' is laid out makes up for the previous effort. Almost a ballad, before it takes off in all the right directions. I can see myself jumping up and down, shouting Whoaooooooaaaaaa. The revamping of 'Dirty magic' is very well done. Some great guitar sounds in there. (I have to dust off my old Veruca Salt album 'Eight arms to hold you' hearing this guitar sound. Producer: Bob Rock.) All in all, a few dips, but for the rest great, great fun. The band varies its sounds and textures in the songs, but hardly ever wavers from a good melody. On the side Noodles can really let it rip every once in a while, so all attracted to walls of guitars are served in abundance also.

Need I say more, The Offspring fans and lover of good old-fashioned punk pop? No, I didn't think so. Bands come and go, just like days. The Offspring is here for now again.

Wo.

You can order Days go by here


or here


zondag 15 juli 2012

Werfpop 2012. Eli ´Paperboy´ Reed and Le Peuple de l´Herbe

Eli ´Paperboy´ Reed. Foto Wo.
You can listen to Eli ´Paperboy´ Reed here and

to Le Peuple de l´Herbe here.

The festival's name, Werfpop, is derived from the previous location, the smaller Van der Werffpark in the city centre. Van der Werff was mayor of Leiden during the siege of the city by the Spaniards in 1574. Allegedly he offered his left arm to the population to eat as long as they decided not to surrender. They didn't and won out.

And so it turned into a better day any, after the floodgates had been opened up in the early afternoon. Eli ´Paperboy´ Reed is the sort of artist that was born circa thirty, forty years to late and with the wrong skin colour. I´ve listened to his first album a couple of times, but it just didn´t work for me. Why does someone want to be Otis Redding or Wilson Pickett or Sam Cooke? It's not that his album was made bad or the songs totally sucked. Half of it was that I can't listen to a whole album by the named and famed trio also. So the same goes for Reed. I was curious though what he would sound like live, as some of the songs do rock, sort of. I wasn't disappointed. Although Reed is something of a poser, he has the voice, a James Brown like wail and a good and tight band that accompanies him every move. (Why the background singer got to sing so little bemused through the whole set though.) Some of his songs are better than others, but when they rocked there was no holding back, even if they get to close to his heroes. Although I liked The Loved Ones a  lot better in the mid-nineties, Reed delivered at Werfpop without doubt.
Van der Werff(pop). Foto Wo.

Le Peuple de l'Herbe was in between the show on the main stage on the other side. OMG rappers, but it didn't take them too long to get my feet moving. The band, drums and bass, rocked very hard. A keyboardist, trumpeter and rapper all in one and a deejay/scratcher and two rappers/singers. To my big surprise I stayed for a second song, a third, etc., till it was time to stake a spot outside of the mud in front of the main stage for De Staat (read on here). Funny how music can surprise someone. This band rocked hard. I can only compare it to 'Fight for your right' as that is as far as my rap/rock knowledge goes and 'Walk this way' of course, but that already was an existing song rapped over. I did wonder why did these middle aged looking guys want to play in a rap band?, at the beginning of the set, but that became totally clear to me. To rock this hard and so prominently as a rhythm section is non-existent in a rock outfit. It's always the guitar, perhaps keyboard taking the lead. These guys got a lot of people moving with plain rock rap, jazzy instrumental with trumpet playing and more rap based songs. Things got swinging.
Le Peuple de l'Herbe. Foto Wo.

The Pennywise show was cancelled due to a back injury of the singer. I would really have liked to see them end the festival. It was not to be. As I am no metal fan I did not stay around for Sepultura. Hundreds of people were still walking towards the park to see the final act play. I stopped at the Hendo on the way home, had French fries with a deliciously sour mayonnaise. Quite the day out.

Wo.


You can order Roll with me by Eli Reed here


or here





You can order 'A matter of time' by Le Peuples here

Or here



or here

zaterdag 14 juli 2012

Dutch/Belgian week on WoNoBloG: Drive like Maria

You can listen to 'Black horses' here.

Despite the fact that I only discovered 'Elmwood' a few weeks back (read all about it here), there's no real reason to wait with getting familiar with the new album of Drive like Maria in the here and now. Having enjoyed 'Elmwood', I was quite curious to find out about more music of the band. To start with there is a major change in the line up. Ex-Krezip drummer, Bart van den Berg joined the band (quite the change, I'd say), but he's battering away as if he's always played in hard rocking stoner band.

Drive Like Maria (DLM) picked things up where they left it with 'Elmwood'. The guitars rock hard, the bass pumps and the drums are kicked hard. The band doesn't leave it at that. There are some pleasant tricks up its sleeve. Starting the album off is 'The dog died rough'. With a reference to sex in the second line of the song the tone is set. This songs reminds me of QOTSA straight away, like many songs on their first record did. A deep distorted bottom end guitar and a high wining one at the opposite end. Many a band would be satisfied if they were able to get a level that this reference is made. Not so DLM and that's why the band is special. It's not for nothing I suppose that the main message of the song is: "I wanna be somebody else, don't want to be like you".

DLM is clearly looking for where the melody and the harmony can be found and succeeds. There are some references to punkpop whoas in the background. Always great fun when in an audience to sing along with and a great fan winner. Bjorn Awouters is not afraid to reach higher with his voice, even falsetto where the song asks for it. A little Foo Fighters with a good refrain in "Where the broken-hearted go", gives the song all sorts of injection that make it very interesting to keep listening to.

'Howl' is the second single of Drive Like Maria, a duet of Awouters with Lara Chedraoul if the Belgian band Intergalactic Lovers. A great very cool song that keeps loads of emotions just under the surface, ready to erupt. 'Black horses' is up next and starts also in arctic conditions, What's going to happen?, I keep asking myself, till the roof's blown of towards the end of the song. And we're only four songs down the album, with all this rock hard ear candy coming by. This diversity is kept up without any trouble by DLM during the rest of the album. The band is not afraid of putting some pop element into their songs. At their poppiest they come close to the loudest songs of Di-rect, but their natural habitat is the hardrocking side of rootsrock.

'On the road' is an acoustic outing with violins, school bells and a resting point on the album. The song shows the ease with which Awouters sings and keeps his own in a more mellow song also. Perhaps the album has almost too many flavours for some, but the way I look at it, it shows how good the band is. The dynamics in 'Settling down' are just great, but not a trick that can be done too many times. It all ends with a lonesome cowboy like song. 'Bury my heart in the desert' has the right sounds, bringing fond memories of 'Once upon a time in the west' and 'Rawhide'. This eerie sort of mood makes me think of wind, sand, tumble weeds and loss.

All in all Drive Like Maria is a great step forward for the band. A growth in presentation, songs and singing. Booked at the right venues and festivals they should come up trumps as one the best Belgian/Dutch rock bands. A band to follow. Next challenge: see them live. Who invites me to the party? I'll offer a review in exchange.

Wo.

You can order Drive Like Maria here


or


here

vrijdag 13 juli 2012

Dutch/Belgian week on WoNoBloG: Brave. Elske DeWall


You can listen to 'Stains on my heart' here.

This album is quite an odd one out as far as I'm concerned. Her previous effort, 'Balloon over Paris', I listened to exactly three and a half song, before I laid it aside for ever. So it wasn't with very high hopes that I put on Brave for the first time. As far as what someone put into Elske DeWall's water supply, I do not want to speculate about, but that there was a great pop infusion in there is obvious. Brave presents the listener with some great pop tunes, with a few surprises in the arrangements of the songs, that give them a little extra. Elske de Walle from Friesland presents the world with an album that deserves being listened to and truly liked way beyond the borders of this small country.

The very clear sounds on Brave are a compliment to producer Holger Schwedt, (Anouk, Blöf, Di-Rect), who made Elske's voice come out trumps. She can use the different sounds her voice has in an optimal way. Soft and intimate on the title track or as growly she can get, with great double tracking here and there. At her growliest she reminds the listener of Anouk at her softest, as Elske is much more soft sounding than Holland's rockbitch #1. Whenever I hear something from Ilse de Lange, not to often I'll admit, it sounds something like the music on this album. So why do I listen to Brave?

Some songs, like the already mentioned 'Brave', are too soft and neat for me. At these moments her voice pulls me through to the next song. A song like 'Let it go' sounds like I've heard a thousand times before. Still the slightly fuzzed piano lead notes sounds great, Elske sings tremendously seductive and the refrain is great. And 'Jezebel' rocks in a truly laid back style, with the right quality of emotion in her voice. A soulful part that show some gospel influences in 'Sorry' and not only in the singing. The organ does its bit also.

Brave is an album for the moments that I like a little music that's more quiet, but still has a bite to it, with these attentive elements in the arranging that make the album very varied. Every element broken down into single parts, may spew out the words 'boring', 'been there done that', combined they make a relevant album by an adventurous singer and songwriter from The Netherlands. Elske DeWall dares to combine the familiar to come up with Brave. What I definitely like is that she stays away from all the histrionics that so often come with music like this, when r&b, soul and pop blend into Whitney, Maria clones. It makes Brave pure and natural. As it turn out, just the way I like it.

Wo.



You can order Brave here




or here

donderdag 12 juli 2012

Dutch/Belgian week on WoNoBloG: I start to believe you. Lola Kite

You can listen to 'Road to nowhere' here.

It took me a while to get used to the second album of Dutch band Lola Kite. Loads of 80ties synths in there, like Yazoo, with a less prominent voice. I got around that though. Lola Kite is around since 2007, but released their first album, 'Lights' in 2011. So I have to conclude that the band has a lot to say, with a new album within one and a half year. I start to believe you is filled with somewhat moody, synthpop songs that give the impression that life is not as joyful as the description of their first album on Wikipedia suggest: "songs joyful to whistle along with carnival pop". As far as I'm concerned there's not much of that around any more.

The second thing I noticed is that there are no drums on the album. All drum-like sounds escape from the digital environment, push and play. Minus points as far as I'm concerned. Nothing like a good drummer. Setting this apart, there are also a lot of synth soundscapes that are programmable taking away from a band feeling. Ultravox, Tubeway Army/Gary Numan, The Human League and likes of Thomas Dolby, John Foxx and Howard Jones come to mind.

The mix improves when guitars come on board and human percussion sounds appear in the mix, although synths dominate the album. Listening to the album on the train or while shopping, it started to grow on me, more as a general mood I noticed than through the individual songs. Unlike recently on Django Django's début album, I start to believe you does not hold many memorable songs. "Road to nowhere' comes closest because of the guitar riff (and being up tempo). The singing of Keez Groenteman is not overly expressive, there are no inventive choruses sung by the band and there isn't a lot of variation in the melody. Not much to sing or whistle along to.

If I'm honest, now that I'm listening to the album song by song attentively, I can't remember why I wanted to do a review of I start to believe you. With 'Island smyland' being a terrible low. So here I'm facing a dilemma. What do I think of this album? This morning (cycling to and) on the train (and before in similar moments) it seemed fine. Perhaps because it allows me to concentrate on other things? Now sitting behind my pc after a long day's work, it's boring the you know what out of me. Tell you what. I'm going to leave it at this. Fans of all the bands and singers mentioned above and those that like the lighter version of 8oties synth music, I'll even toss in Jon & Vangelis here as well ('Someone OK'), know what to expect and can add a band to their collection.When I change my mind, e.g. because I listen to the album in a different mood, I'll add to this review. Sorry Lola Kite, but for now I've stopped believing.

Wo.

You can order I start to believe you here


or here


woensdag 11 juli 2012

Dutch/Belgian week on WoNoBloG: Nowhere Or Tammensaari. I Am Oak

Je kunt hier naar 'Famine' luisteren.

Drie briljante platen afleveren in drie jaar tijd; het lijkt een bijna onmogelijke opgave, maar het Nederlandse I Am Oak heeft het gedaan. De band rond de Utrechtse singer-songwriter Thijs Kuijken leverde in 2010 het prachtige On Claws af, kwam in 2011 met het wonderschone Oasem op de proppen en imponeert nu met het betoverend mooie Nowhere Or Tammensaari. Net als op On Claws en Oasem maakt I Am Oak op Nowhere Or Tammensaari stemmige, ingetogen en over het algemeen in een laag tempo gespeelde muziek. Vergeleken met zijn twee voorgangers is de derde van I Am Oak wel een echte bandplaat, waardoor het geluid op de plaat wat voller en dynamischer is dan op deze voorgangers. Verwacht nu geen gitaaruitbarstingen van I Am Oak  (al zijn er wel een aantal voorzichtige uitbarstingen te horen), want de band heeft gelukkig haar lome en sobere geluid behouden. Oasem vergeleek ik een jaar geleden met de muziek van onder andere Antony & The Johnsons, Sufjan Stevens, Low, Bon Iver en Red House Painters. Dat zijn ook de namen die opkomen bij beluistering van Nowhere Or Tammensaari, al heeft I Am Oak op haar derde plaat, nog meer dan in het verleden, een duidelijk eigen geluid. Nowhere Or Tammensaari werd opgenomen in de middle of nowhere in Finland en dat is te horen. Net als de muziek van veel andere Scandinavische bands, klinkt de muziek van I Am Oak atmosferisch en melancholisch, al vind ik de klanken van I Am Oak een stuk warmer dan die van de gemiddelde Scandinavische ijsprinsen of ijsprinsessen. In de meeste songs op Nowhere Or Tammensaari staan de akoestische gitaar en de bijzondere stem van Thijs Kuijken centraal, maar meer dan op On Claws en Oasem wordt het geluid van I Am Oak verder aangekleed met extra (vrouwen)vocalen en extra instrumenten. Subtiliteit staat hierbij nog altijd voorop, want een enkele uithaal daar gelaten zijn alle extra’s prachtig opgebouwd en hierdoor bijzonder trefzeker. Nowhere Or Tammensaari zal door de sobere en trage songs, de flinke dosis melancholie en de Finse achtergrond (die je overigens ook terug ziet op de cd cover) waarschijnlijk vaak worden bestempeld als een echte winterplaat, maar ik weet inmiddels uit eigen ervaring dat de plaat het ook uitstekend doet als de zon na een lange en warme dag eindelijk onder is gegaan. Ik heb Nowhere Or Tammensaari inmiddels al een tijdje in mijn bezit en daarom al heel vaak gehoord, maar iedere keer als ik de plaat hoor, hoor ik nieuwe dingen en is de derde van I Am Oak me nog een stukje dierbaarder dan voorheen. Nowhere Tammensaari van I Am Oak is met afstand de mooiste plaat van eigen bodem die dit jaar is verschenen, maar ook ver buiten de landsgrenzen kan I Am Oak de concurrentie aan. Met speels gemak durf ik wel te zeggen. On Claws en Oasem waren al heel erg mooi, maar Nowhere Tammensaari is van een bijna onwerkelijke schoonheid.

Erwin Zijleman 

Je kunt Nowhere or Tammensaari hier bestellen


of hier

 

dinsdag 10 juli 2012

Dutch/Belgian week on WoNoBloG: As it ever was. Absynthe Minded

You can listen to 'Space' here.

My introduction to this Belgian band was with their previous album 'Absynthe Minded' from 2009. It is with their new album, As it ever was, that the band has made a real impression on me. Absynthe Minded has produced a perfect blend of pop, indie and alternative that is as good as Blaudzun's magnificent 2012 album Heavy Flowers and almost as playful as Django Django first album (2012). In other words this album goes straight into my list of favorites for this year.

Absynthe Minded is around since 1999 and has scored several hit albums in Belgium, even hit singles. In the Netherlands they are relatively unknown and it is about time this changes. As it ever was is their fifth regular album and entered on the number one spot of the Belgium album chart. In other words, these guys are superstars in their home country. And with music that one can come to their parents' with!

As it ever was is a stylized album. The music is tight and at first instance not very playful and certainly not dangerous. Listening better it becomes apparent that the slight variations in the approach to the songs does wonders for the feel of the album. E.g. the way that 'Picture in a frame' starts off as a jazzy, bluesy silent song built around electric piano chords, is slowly built into the suggestion of a rock anthem without becoming one is very well done. And I love the singing, so under-cooled and mixed almost behind the piano. 'Picture in a frame' is only one of the pearls on this album. Alas for swine, I'm keeping mine.

Does Absynthe Minded fit in with other bands from the "Belpop" wave as I dubbed it somewhere around 1996. Yes, clearly. If you like dEUS, Metal Molly, Sukilove or Millionaire, you will find your own here. But the band has its own spot also. It relies more on melody than effect, also in the somewhat more experimental 'Crosses' with its galloping rhythm and violin. More keyboard than guitar. Bart Ostyn's voice is one of the secrets to Absynthe Minded. Clear, pleasant and instantly recognisable. In his phrasing Ostyn reminds me of Zita Swoon's Stef Kamil Carlens, not in sound. There is no other voice like that.

As it ever was opens with the Sioen like piano sound in 'Space', but incorporated in more melodious music. Some songs remind me of dEUS' lightests songs. On the other end of their spectrum Absynthe Minded infuses a few songs with sounds from a gypsy background, giving a whole different flavour to the album. There are other influences that suggest that the band is also familiar with French songs like 'Tut-tut-tut-tut' or 'Harley Davidson', as 'End of the line' has this same poppy quality. These references are never disturbing as Absynthe Minded is very much its own band.

It's the playfulness of songs like 'Space' and 'As it ever was' that really won me over to this album and make it such a joy to listen to it. A retro sound because of the electric piano of Jan Duthoy, but the songs are definitely of the here and now. The flow into the refrain of 'End of the line' is so much fun, with the violin, played by Renaud Ghilbert, beneath it kidnapping the song into another flow and flavour. These are only the first three songs and each is different from the other. Absynthe Minded manages to keep the album at this level, making it one of the best albums of 2012 so far. I'm afraid I've been absent minded a few times in the past days.

Wo.

You can order As it ever was here


or here

maandag 9 juli 2012

Dutch/Belgian week on WoNoBloG: De Staat at Werfpop

De Staat at Wefpop. Foto Wo.
You can listen to 'Sweatshop' here.

The whole day it had been raining cats and dogs, but come 18.00 hours it was dry and I got on my bike to ride to the Leidsche Hout, the main park of Leiden for Werfpop 2012.

Finally I got a mud soaked festival (and park's lawn that's ruined for about a year I guess). De Staat came up with front man Torre Florim leaning on a walking stick, an accident with an ankle. As he said, lucky for us he doesn't play guitar with his ankle. From the moment he started on his own, before the rest of the band came on, it was quite clear we were going to be rocked. And rock we got. Nearing the end of show in front of the stage wild scenes inside the park were going on. Always nice to see from a safeish distance.
Foto Wo.

Those familiar with the music of De Staat know the atypical music the band makes. To be honest, I don't really know any other bands making music this radical and still swing like the devil's lair. (The Gang of Four, but they're not halfway as good and Franz Ferdinand is more melodious, less radical.) It's not the sort of music that I can listen to every day, but when I do I listen loud. Like today. Several of my favourite songs came by and they were not just mine. The ground was totally filled up in front of the main stage and quite rightly so. De Staat proved to be a mean rocking machine. 'Wait for evolution', 'Sweatshop', 'The fantastic journey ...', 'Old McDonald ...' and ending it all with 'Ah I see'. Finally it was revealed why a car steer was on the stage with all the percussion and keyboards of Rocco Hueting. In the distance during the show a car alarm was set off and the car horn as an instrument was a great accompaniment. Before that we were treated to a new song, that incorporated the vuvuzela as a sort of boom-shanga-lang chant. A fun song as it led to singing along at Werfpop as a new song. A new single?

Foto Wo.
Torre Florim knows how to get a show going by now and a show it became, on stage as well as on off stage. Things got really wild, basically by allowing near silences before a song erupts again. It never happened me going to a De Staat show before, so I even would have gone had it still rained. I was lucky though. No rain, even some sunshine, before things got darker again. Time to go home.

Great logo on the Bass drum though. Styled like the ´Machinery´ album's artwork. You may want the cd just for that.

You can read about the rest of the festival next week.

Wo.


You can order 'Machinery' here


or here


zondag 8 juli 2012

Dutch/Belgian week on WoNoBloG: The village. LPG

You can listen to 'Kids' here.

LPG, until a few months back, to me only stood for liquid gas at the gas station. (Over here we call "gas" gas and " fuel" benzine, so a gas station is a benzine station, where you can sometimes also buy LPG.) That was until I heard 'The village' for the first time, by Dutch indie band LPG.

It took a while for me to take a shine to this album. It resonated within me a little, but not so to make me come back to it regularly. This small voice in my head told me to make the effort anyway. So on my bike, while shopping or in the train I shuffled to the album and played it a few times and after that even started playing it at home also. Our relationship grew in a way not unlike my relationship to the band Caesar. Their, what turned out to be their final effort, eponymous album even made it to the top position of my year list of 2003, full of these somewhat weird, but o so convincingly poppy tunes, sung with that strange voice of Roald van Oosten. The village has the same, slightly awkward, qualities.

The village is also on the Excelsior label, the Dutch indie label specialising in guitar indie bands of which the sadly lamented Johan will probably forever be the best. Those familiar with the average Excelsior output know what to expect and are not disappointed. LPG serves indie of a somewhat under-cooled nature or pop with a twist. Not unlike Zita Swoon, in 'Say no', there is even Stef Kamil Carlens like singing.

If there's a point of critique on The village, it is that even after listening to it there's not one song that sticks in my mind, that I can whistle or sing a part of. Not even after at least a dozen + times listening to it. And still I come back, because what attracts me is the diversity of the album. From the mysterious opener 'Ouverture' to the title track ending the album, almost every track has something that sets it apart. The melody, a voice, the specific use of an instrument, an interesting hook. Despite the fact that most songs are in the mid-tempo range, always a difficult range to keep my attention fixed on the music, LPG keeps it highly interesting. The explosion of sound in 'Creation' after which the song ends a-capella. Followed by a piercing harmonica in 'Mobile'. The signature sound of a staccato played organ is what gives 'Paulus' it's little extra (and the deliciously trippy breaks). I deliberately mention this block of three songs, as they come by fairly late on The village. At a stage the album is still of interest to this listener, where a lot of albums get (dis)graced by fillers. Not so with LPG.

The sixties psychedelic influences on The village is something that draws me to it also. These are not very obvious like with The Dandy Warhols, but in the sound of a guitar, a specific break, a wah wah sound. This comes together in my favourite track on the album, 'Hang 'm'. This song has a delayed effect within it, as if the melody is dragged along behind the song. Conversation in Dutch in the background can be heard, while this great melody is kept up by LPG. Very well done!

The village is an album that deserves time and energy to build a relationship with. After each turn another gem is revealed, a sound found and piece of music to silently enjoy disclosed. I'm glad I took the time.

One thing though. If you want to sing in English, start working on the 'th'. It's too Dutch at present and that is a shame as this album is worth while for any one living past The Hook, Retranchement or Lobith to listen to.

Wo.

You can order The village here


or here

zaterdag 7 juli 2012

Ska-pop-punk heaven: The Resignators with The Shakedown 8 in the Q-Bus in Leiden

Yes, I have an album or two made by The Specials, a single by The Selector and The (English) Beat and a load of Madness albums and singles, even Ian Dury & The Blockheads, if you allow me to add him to this list, but a real 2Tone fan? No, I was too much into Pink Floyd in 1979 to really get into this type of music. Since then I may have picked up an MP3 album by Rancid, but I think that's about it. Here I was sitting on a Friday early evening drinking a beer and heard this soundcheck, all "Whoa whoa" under the refrains and knew where I was going to be later that evening, July 6, called a friend and had a great time.

You can listen to The Shakedown 8 here.

It all started off with The Shakedown 8, a Dutch band with one foot cemented so firmly into ska, that it allows them to explore almost everything else, as long as the backbeat is within hearing distance. Proud winners of a recent The Special contest, they kicked off their show rather hesitantly. It was o.k,. but it didn't exactly invite me to move more that the little toes on my feet, let alone excite me. That allows watching what happens on stage. The very tight drummer Bas keeps up the rhythm, drumming very economical. Both he and bass player Micha, a tiny jump-around, look like the grown up versions of Heidi's Peter with blond beards and Tirol like hats. An accordion doing much of the soloing in the first songs and a guitar keeping up up strokes fiercely and a keyboard laying down the accents in between. Singer Tak tried desperately to get something going in the fairly empty Q-Bus.

Then two things started happening. The Shakedown 8 built up their set superbly. More variation, more energy and better songs. People did start moving and jumping around. The second thing was that more and more people started showing up, the youth creating a moshpit in front of the stage. The band's songs were so good that the cover of 'Gangsters' was just another good, but familiar, song being played. Concluding, if you're in need of a good, up-tempo party, this band is your band: The Shakedown 8.

You can listen to The Resignators'  'See you in hell' here.

Bruce, foto Wo.
Time for the main act. The Resignators, from Melbourne, Victoria in Australia. An septet, keyboard, bass, drums, guitar, trumpet, trombone and singer, but five voices on their "Attack of the killing cherries European tour". The band played so well that it made me forget how warm it was inside the Q-Bus this evening. With the intensity of Larry & his Flask, who in the past two months shook Leiden's foundation to its core twice. The Resignators just did that again, but from their specific angle, ska punk. At least the core of Leiden knew what was happening to it this time.

From the very first song the band let it rip and got a response in kind from the audience. The rhythm section of The Resignators is so tight. Shaky is a great drummer, very busy, but never missing a beat, while kilt clad bass player Bruce pumps the rhythm in such a smooth, round sound. This allows the trombone and trumpet to be all over the place, adding in a tremendous way to the party. Maybe it's odd, but I was thinking for half of the time about Dexys Midnight Runners (first album), allowing for the differences between ska punk and blue-eyed northern soul of course. The up-beat was all over the place this evening, where it should be in a band like this. So, so much fun.
Captain Focus, foto Wo.

The Resignators is not your everyday band either. Guitarist Bruce, with his top hat on, looking like a pallbearer, is maybe 35 years older than the youngest member in the band and, so I was told, one of the founding members of Gwar in the 80ties. The singer wears a suit with bright stripes, the bass player a kilt. Keyboard player Stacy looks like a punk girl with dreadlocks from 1977, a 19th century gentleman plays the trumpet. So most have something that sets them apart on stage. Nothing does when they play together as they seem to become one breathing entity. That is what it's all about: the music and they have their niche in the industry down to the last note. Melody, refrains, whoa's, fun, energy and great horns that make up great songs. There was no one not moving who was standing on his or her feet. It was over all to soon.
Steve, foto Wo.

Coming back for an encore with a song by their heroes Rancid and, very surprising, a cover from one of Australia's (and New Zealand's) best known bands: Crowded House. 'Now were getting somewhere'. Keep this up The Resignators and this song will become a self-fulfilling prophesy. Great show, great evening and glad to have been there.

Wo.


You can order The Shakedown 8 ep here

You can order See you in hell here


or here

vrijdag 6 juli 2012

Al Perkins remembers Cees en Michel van Latesteijn


During the production of WoNo Magazine 12.3, Michel van Latesteijn became 
very seriously ill. 
 
Michel and his father Cees, who died in 2011, had a special bond with 
Al Perkins. When AL heard the bad news, he sent us a personal message for 
Michel. 
 

Unfortunately, Michel died before Al's message arrived. 
Al allowed us to publish it nevertheless. 
 
We hope Michel and Cees have internet access in heaven, so they can read 
Al's message from up-there. And if not, maybe it may inspire you: 
 
Dear Wino Penris,
 
Thank you for your nice message and request.
 
Also, I'm very sorry to hear of Cees's demise, and I would like to send 
my best to Michel during his illness, and also thank him for his pictures. 
We have always enjoyed the hospitality they have shown us when we played 
at the Q-bus in Leiden.  I would encourage Michel to draw near to God in 
this trying time.  The Lord is not only able to strengthen us when we are 
weak, but heal us too!  I would ask everyone to join with me to pray for 
him.
 
Al Perkins
 
 
Al Perkins & Cees van Latesteijn
Michel van Latesteijn

donderdag 5 juli 2012

A band in need. Girlyman could use a helping $

In May I was invited to show in the Q-Bus in Leiden by a band
called Girlyman. The treat I was in for almost went beyond description
in many ways as my blogpost is a record to. (Click here.) The post has
become the best read article on our blog, testifying to the popularity
of Girlyman. At the end of June I received an e-mail from Girlyman
about the negative results of their recent UK and NL tour for their
financial affairs.
 
Everyone knows that cds are being copied on the Internet and it
doesn't seem like that is to be altered in any way soon. If however
bands can't tour any more either with a positive result, then the end
of recording and playing music as we know it is pretty near for most
bands and artists.
 
So readers of WoNoBloG. Here's a call to arms for a band who can sing
so well it may just bring tears to your eyes. Please retweet, send
support and buy their albums. Click here for information on buying
Girlyman's albums. Below you find the message from the members of
Girlyman. Here's your chance to become a fan.
 
Wo.
 
You can listen to 'Supernova' here. 
 

  
Foto Wo.
Foto Wo.
Hello friends old and new,

We were so glad to tour the UK and Netherlands this year, to meet some of you and really connect through music. There were many of you who told us you had become die-hard Girlyfans after seeing us play for the first time! It was a magical thing to experience a total newcomer be so moved by our music and want to spread the word. So, thank you all for your love and support. We couldn't have done it without you!

We realize that this might be a bit of an overwhelming email to receive when most of you simply signed our mailing list because you thought we sounded pleasant and you got a free sticker. However, there were some of you who sincerely asked if there was any way you could help. Asking for help is always humbling, and often feels like a leap of faith. Usually we reach for help as a very last resort. But to be completely honest, this tour hit us incredibly hard financially. Some shows fell through at the last minute and due to the economic climate we were only able to get small guaranteed fees or just a percentage of the ticket sales. As some of you may have noticed, there were significantly fewer people at all our shows on this tour than there were last time we came overseas. This was something we hadn't anticipated since our last UK tour in 2010 had been so successful. In short, we didn't even come close to breaking even, meaning that after nearly a month of almost daily shows, radio appearances, and interviews, we left Europe facing massive debt, and now can't even pay ourselves.

We truly gave everything we could at our performances, and we hope that you felt it. But coming home to such a stark financial reality has been extremely demoralizing.

As humbling as it is, we've decided to reach out and ask if you'd like to help. Our hope is that those of you who expressed an interest in helping would be happy to have the opportunity to do so. The truth is, we're having trouble recovering from the losses of this tour on our own.

The honest truth:

Our total gross income was $14,303 (this includes what we made at the door + merchandise sales.)

Our total expenses were $26,275 (this includes airfare, van rental, diesel, accommodations, fees for our sound engineer and tour manager, booking agent fees, UK work-permit fees, flyer printing and postage charges, our salaries, Eurotunnel fares, and CD shipping charges.)

That means the amount we're trying to make up is about $12,000 USD.

We'll gladly accept and appreciate donations of *any* size, even if you only have 10 dollars, pounds, or Euros to give - although larger donations are certainly more than welcome. We know in hindsight that coming over during such dire economic times and high fuel costs was probably not the best idea, but we really felt strongly about returning as soon as we could. We would like to keep coming back in the future, it's just that this tour was particularly difficult.

Below is a link to a donation page on our website, through Paypal. If you would like to donate via other means (wire transfer, courier, candygram, etc.), please write to info@girlyman.com.

http://girlyman.com/help


Thank you for your support, whether you are a brand new fan or have been a Girlyfan for years. We thank you and love you and appreciate each and every one of you.

Love,
JJ, Doris, Nate, and Ty
Girlyman
 

woensdag 4 juli 2012

Sun midnight sun. Sara Watkins

Je kunt hier luisteren naar: "When it pleases you'.

Sara Watkins bepaalde met haar mooie vioolspel en honingzoete vocalen voor een belangrijk deel het geluid van de (progressive) bluegrass band Nickel Creek en het uit deze band voortgekomen en veel alternatiever en steviger klinkende hobbyproject Mutual Admiration Society (met onder andere Glen Phillips (Toad the Wet Sprocket) en John Paul Jones (Led Zeppelin) in de gelederen). Watkins maakte hiernaast een jaar of drie geleden een prima soloplaat, waarop ze wederom buiten de gebaande paden van de bluegrass trad en aansluiting probeerde te vinden bij de betere vrouwelijke singer-songwriters, wat overigens in artistiek opzicht wel maar in commercieel opzicht niet lukte. Het is een indrukwekkend CV dat de pas 31 jaar oude Sara Watkins kan overleggen, maar haar CV was voor mij niet de belangrijkste reden om te luisteren naar haar tweede soloplaat Sun Midnight Sun. Op Sun Midnight Sun geeft immers niemand minder dan Fiona Apple act de présence, volgens mij haar eerste wapenfeit sinds het helaas al weer 7 jaar oude Extraordinary Machine. De bijdrage van Fiona Apple (een van mijn persoonlijke favorieten) is niet groot maar wel boeiend en hevig, dus ik ben tevreden. Dat ben ik overigens ook over de rest van de plaat, want Sara Watkins heeft met Sun Midnight Sun een hele knappe en aangename plaat gemaakt, die in brede kring moet worden omarmd. Naast Fiona Apple duikt in de persoon van Jackson Browne nog een levende legende op, maar desondanks is Sun Midnight Sun uiteindelijk voor 99,9% een echte Sara Watkins plaat. Op Sun Midnight Sun blijft Sara Watkins in een aantal tracks redelijk dicht bij huis. In deze tracks met vooral invloeden uit de bluegrass schurkt Watkins dicht tegen het geluid van Nickel Creek aan en dat is nog altijd een aangenaam geluid. Sara Watkins is op Sun Midnight Sun echter zeker geen one trick pony. In eerste instantie schuift Watkins vooral op richting country en folk, maar uiteindelijk gaat de Amerikaanse ook op overtuigende wijze aan de haal met pop en rock. De instrumentatie past zich steeds fraai aan aan de verschillende wegen die Sara Watkins in slaat en ook de heldere productie van Blake Mills (tot dusver vooral bekend als muzikant van Dawes en Band Of Horses) verdient een pluim. Uiteindelijk is Sun Midnight Sun zoals gezegd een echte Sara Watkins plaat. Watkins schreef mee aan vrijwel alle songs op de plaat en drukt vooral in vocaal opzicht haar stempel op de plaat. Ik vond haar stem in het verleden altijd aangenaam maar wat zoetsappig, maar Sara Watkins heeft zich inmiddels ontwikkeld tot een overtuigend zangeres die meerdere geluiden kan laten horen en ook voldoende emotie en doorleving in haar stem weet te leggen. Sun Midnight Sun is uiteindelijk een plaat die in vocaal, instrumentaal en compositorisch opzicht niet onder doet voor de moordende concurrentie in het singer-songwriter genre en die deze concurrentie door het getoonde lef en de resulterende veelzijdigheid hier en daar zelfs weet af te troeven. Ik ben in ieder geval zeer gelukkig met deze plaat (en het levensteken van Fiona Apple).

Erwin Zijleman 

Je kunt Sun midnight sun hier bestellen


of hier

dinsdag 3 juli 2012

Springlevend. The Kik

You can listen to 'Simone' here.

The Madd is dead, long live The Kik. Singer/guitarist Dave von Raven quit his garagerock band and started The Kik in 2011. Were the first two singles in English, this album is Dutch and if The Kik refutes something, then it is the legend that great popsongs must be sung in English. The spangly, jingle jangle guitar sounds and Dutch blend perfectly. Springlevend ("Alive and kicking") is a high mass of beat and pop. The sixties are all over this great, fun, ultimately retro album that was released at the end of May of this year on the Excelsior label, that proves, yet again, to have a fine ear for great guitar fuelled pop songs.

The Kik finds its inspiration in just two years of pop music: 1963 and 1964, the days that (Mersey) beat was all over the charts. Beatlesque chord progressions, The Hollies (from Manchester, but fill in any Liverpool pop group) like singing, Dave Davies' guitar lead in 'Luchtballon' and the organ of The Sonics (non-UK), Dave Clark Five pure pop, a The Who like intro. The band fuses these influences to blend into their own portion of excitement. Because sheer excitement it is.'Verliefd op een plaatje' is a early The Hollies like single with a George Harrison like guitar solo. While all the time the choruses are just to fall in love with. This song is so much fun. The Kik holds that quality in it to blend voices in a superb way.

The differences with The Madd are not so huge as might be expected. I think the switch to the more UK than US pop sound is the main difference, apart from the language of course. The Kik is more beat or pop oriented, but the effect of both bands' songs are identical, a retro feeling for things long past. Most lyrics are about girls, as they should be. Falling in love, out of love, longing for a beautiful girl.

The Kik even goes for authenticity in the form of doing a duet with the Dutch über-hippy Armand, famous for his one big hit in 1967 'Ben ik te min' in 'Want er is niemand'. His voice blends perfectly with this song. It's good to hear his voice in a new song, with relevance to the here and now, instead of being depicted as the, very weird, relic from an age long gone. Which is his self-chosen image.

It all ends with a familiar riff, 'Last train to Clarksville'? No, 'Zevenhuizer zondag' is a perfect cover of 'Pleasant valley Sunday'. Probably my favourite The Monkees song with a great guitar riff, something which is usually not referenced when people speak about The Monkees. The Dutch lyric is about band practice while the rest of the village is in church on Sunday. A little rebellion never hurt anyone and if Springlevend is the result of this little rebellion, I'd recommend to anyone. If you like good pop songs from the sixties this is your album for and from 2012.

Wo.

You can order Springlevend here


or here


maandag 2 juli 2012

This machine. The Dandy Warhols

You can listen to 'Sad vacation' here.

The ultimately trippy 'Not if you were the last junkie on earth' was my introduction to The Dandy Warhols. Their 'Bohemian like you' was inescapable for a while thanks to the add. It got everyone oohh-oohing. My former band even covered it for a while. But after that? Most albums sounded a bit more like the same and The Dandy Warhols weren't exactly the most exciting band in the world to start with, were they? Still every time a new album was released I took a listen. I'd been surprised before.

This machine is one of the albums that instantly turned to my better side. If you asked me why, I couldn't really answer you. Corey Taylor-Taylor is singing as listlessly as he usually does, the songs are mostly mid-tempo. So that's not it. Pressed harder I would probably tell you that '16 Tons' is a funny, sort of kinda jazzy song, with a honking sax and Taylor-Taylor singing in a lower voice. That 'I am free' is a lightweight, freeflowing song, with again copper sounds all over the end of the song. There's nothing highbrow going on and nothing so far out there that it was a lot of fun making the music, without any thought to the persons needing to listening to the result. Some of The Dandy Warhols' jams of old deserved that description.

This machine holds songs with a lot of sixties garage rock full with psychedelica infusions that take all the rough edges off, but songs they are. 'SETI vs. the Wow! signal' has this great, direct and slightly distorted guitar riff going on that gets me on the edge of my chair immediately. George Harrison could have been proud also in the way a 'Within you without you' like melody is made softer, made more beautiful with a 'Once upon a time in the west' like harmonica sound. Trippy, o yes, very. 'Don't shoot she cried' must have been the result of something with mushrooms. Too long, but at least the start is very intriguing.

The effect This machine has on me, is that it makes me curious about what's to follow on the album and that is another main difference with several albums before it. This is without being brilliant, because not one song on the album is. The Dandy Warhols is not one of the top bands in my league, but a band that that hovers on the periphery, sometimes in, mostly out. Another effect of This machine is that most songs put a smile on my face, a pleasant one and that is always nice to notice. So all in all I wanted to do the album justice and share this feeling and impression with you.

I can't promise that I will still play This machine a year from now, but for now I'm having fun. Let that suffice.

Wo.

You can order This machine here


or here