She's back...one of the original Riot Grrrls is back! I admit the name of the band is kind of stupid but hey it's the return of Kat Bjelland, former singer of one of the greatest bands ever : Babes In Toyland. Oh God, how much did I love the Babes. Not only were they one of the greatest liveacts ever but I even like their later phase during "Fontanella". But now it's Katastrophy Wife, the new band from Kat and the weirdest thing is that she never sounded so much Riot Grrl-ish (what a term that is!) like her. Once again, Kat demonstrates herself as the überbabe and if you can figure a mixture from Nina Hagen, Bikini Kill and The Runaways then you know how they sound like! Oooh I love it, even if there are three versions from "Heart On" (and the way she pronounces it you immediately know the other meaning) and there's a great version from Iron Maiden's "Run to the hills" as well. Wellcome back Kat!
Come on, aren't we brilliant even if we say it ourselves? Why, simply as we present you now some of the greatest shoegazestuff we heard in ages (not entirely true, but certainly the best shoegaze of the week) and it comes from Japan. Well, Japanese shoegazers they do exist too, you know... On the Finderpop-label (no me neither) they recently released the very fine mini-album "Sakura River" and if you like Lush with My Bloody Valentine-guitars well then...well perhaps then you might write to Japan who knows... Be aware that there are several bands out there named Claws but there only seem to be one worth checking out, the Japanese one of course... http://www.finderpoplabel.com/catalog_e/fpcd016.html
When I first heard The Exhibition I immediately knew that they’re the kind of band who don’t care about scenes or pigeonholing, they just do their thing and what they do is good. The rather new British label Of National Importance Records released recently their single “The crown” which can only be described as powerful indiepop that’s been made by brains. I know, I know, they all say it…I know but listen and judge yourself…..
WHY DOES A BAND NAME THEMSELVES THE EXHIBITION? These things happen. What else could it be?
HOW WOULD YOU DESCRIBE YOUR MUSIC?
That’s difficult. What does your writing sound like? It’s drums, bass, guitars & vocals in varying arrangements of rhythm, tempo, pitch & timbre… It’s wholly necessary.
THE INDIE SCENE IS A BIT IN CRISIS I GUESS, AND RECENTLY AN ESTABLISHED BAND TOLD ME THAT THERE ARE JUST TOO MANY UNTALENTED BANDS AROUND WHICH WORKS INFERIOR FOR THE ORGANISATORS…
We aren’t au fait with the Indie scene – no comment on that front – and the dearth of talented bands is of no consequence to us. We just do our thing and don’t worry about anyone else; if we belong to a scene I guess it’s by default.
HEARING THE EXHIBITION MEANS, AT LEAST FOR ME, THAT YOU ARE A BAND FOR WHOM MELODIES ARE IMPORTANT TOO….
It comes naturally. We don’t forcibly write in any way – but as our music often contains strong melodies naturally they’re important to us. The worst thing you can do as a musician is underestimate your audience. We won’t succumb to a catchy hook just for the sake of it - melodic suggestion is just as important as exhibition, which is reliant on an intelligent listener.
YOU RELEASED YOUR SINGLE ON OF NATIONAL IMPORTANCE RECORDS, CAN YOU TELL US SOMETHING ABOUT THAT?
It’s a double-a-side called The Crown/Coma. You can order online at Of National Importance Records or catch us at a gig and we’ll sell you one there. It will also be available worldwide on itunes and all the other majors.
HOW ARE THINGS GOING FOR YOU SUCCESS-WISE?
I suppose we can only give a subjective evaluation here. By our own standards, as long as more and more people get to hear our music we’re enjoying success; and it’s becoming increasingly difficult to ignore us.
ABOUT MY SPACE, DO YOU LIKE THIS SITUATION? I MEAN THERE ARE 60000 BANDS AROUND OR SO… HOW CAN YOU EXPECT FROM THE PUBLIC THAT THEY WILL JUMP INTO THAT WOOD?
We can’t. The scope of MySpace has changed by necessity, and it’s not the career launchpad it was 4 or 5 years ago. That said, it’s still an essential tool for networking within the industry.
DO YOU DO YOUR OWN THING OR HOPING FOR THE A&R-MEN TO COME?
We’ll just continue to do what we’re doing, and take each opportunity as it comes. I think an imperative for most bands is control, and at the moment any limitations we have are, essentially, self-imposed. The set up with Of National Importance Records is perfect for us – we have the same vision, ideals and attitude, and I think it suits everyone. It’s an affiliation we want to maintain.
NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT WHY YOU’RE A MUSICIAN?
It was inevitable. There’s really nothing else to do.
Individually: Under The Table and Dreaming - Dave Mathews Band Dylan Live 66 - Bob Dylan Tago Mago - Can The Velvet Underground & Nico - The Velvet Underground
DO YOU WANT TO SAY SOMETHING SPECIAL TO OUR READERS?
Listen to the Exhibition; if you understand us you’ll be rewarded. Endlessly. And keep supporting the fine work that Didier is doing.
I must admit that with a band named The Wave Pictures you can go all directions, but ...and that's the beauty of it I guess...this trio went into a direction I never expected it to go. This trio who are from Wymeswold (by the time you read this review you'll forget that name, believe me) and they are David Tattersall, Franic Rozycki and Johnny Huddersfield (you'll forget these names too, mind you) but what's more important...their music rocks! Even if they're British they have a very American sound but the one that will remind you of bands like Ween or Violent Femmes. It's all quite lo-fi folk and the type of band who believe in the power of music instead of attitude and that hard work already brought them in several countries around the world, by the time you read this you can see these lads somewhere in Germany (so check out their website if you live there). For the record (and also because it's a nice thing to add) : singer David can be heard on a Peel Sessions Hermann Dunne did and as we all know this band was one of the faves from Mr. Peel. http://www.thewavepictures.com/
Cruel Black Dove... I am almost sure that you never heard from them but honestly said : who can blame you? This Brooklyn-based band are already around since 2006 and somewhere God decided never to play this band over here and so it happens they're obscure. Shame, a real shame but this EP belongs to the cream of the crop that came to my ears this year so far. It's glamrock with post-punkguitars and female vocals which are ..dead sexy like Kirlian Camera on fuzzguitars. Kirlian Camera on fuzzguitars? Yeah, I'm that desperate to describe a band's sound. Think Kill Hannah, think the best Garbage had delivered and dream away with having the voice from Anastasia Dimou in the head (the voice I said...). Oh , and I just found out that one of their tracks will be remixed by Cameron Ray from Veil Veil Vanish, can this be coincidence? http://www.myspace.com/cruelblackdove
Agreed the amount of French indieacts we know are quite limited which is bizarre if you think about how many indiereleases France has every year. We can come up with Air, Phoenix, Indochine or perhaps Dominique A and I guess it then stops... True is true, many French releases are in the league from "Hmmm, like it but it's not what I really wanted as it's too much of a copy from the original English one" but with Pamela Hute, it's different. Since 2006 this Parisienne is busy with music and what first started as a solo-outfit has now become a trio, even if everything stays focused on Pamela though. Only logical as Pamela has one of the most gorgeous voices I heard in a long while. It's quite clear which records Pamela must own (I guess it goes from Sleeper to Juliana Hatfield) as all tracks on this debut refer to some indieband from the past, especially most of all (and that's a very flattering thing to say) Pamela's music reminded me of Salad, mainly as Pamela's voice is so similar to the one from Marijne Van Der Vlugt. The highlight though is kept to the end as the last track on the album is the epic "Pink Safari" which can only be described as Air...and yes, when you think of it...wasn't their album called "Moon Safari"? Anyway, Pamela Hute is one of the nicest discoveries of this year! The more I hear it, the more I like it...yes, I love Pamela Hute!!!
The thing I hated most about reviewing records is that by the end you think a record is good but that you hate it to come up with a review, simply as you feel you can't. In the case of a band like So So Modern it can only be a flattering thing as it simply means that you have no direct name for pigeonholing them... I mean, come on let's be honest with each other : if you read a certain band are sounding like...well...to use a cliché like an other Beatles then I can't imagine you will feel any excitment about it. But if you read about a band who sound so original that a reviewer has no idea how to describe it then at least you must be thrilled to see if the reviewer in case (so that's still me) lost the plot or not. Well, come on...if I must compare this band from New Zealand (from Wellington they are) with someone then I'd say the latest offering from Liars, only not that harsh. The pressure on So So Modern was pretty hard as not only they are known as a well routined liveband (they play approximately 200 gigs per year) but after having released tons of differenht EP's, it was definitely time to come up with a proper album and "Crude Futures" is the remarkabkle result. Call it post-hardcore with electronica or krautrock (you hear some Neu!) seen through fresh eyes or even like so many reviewers do by comparing them with Foals...you can do that but if you can ever catch a tiny bit of the whirlwind that they are is only a question. By far one of the most uncompromising releases of this year so far, but I like it a lot!
The last months the use of the term post-punk is such a common (ha!) term that everybody uses it that you tend to think if any of these people still know what post-punk stands for. So this band from Sacramento say they're the creators of post-punk too and they're right. I tell you why... Post-punk has to sound unpolished. The Common Men are. Post-punk has to sound punk, hence the name. The Common Men do. Every post-punk band should sound a bit like The Fall otherwise it's no post-punk. The Common Men sound Fallesque. Every post-punk band should play with bands that matter. The Common Men already played with Veil Veil Vanish. Every post-punk band should sound as raw as early Wire. The Common Men sound as raw as they did on "154". Perfect band? Nah you won't believe me, but I like 'em... http://www.myspace.com/thecommonmen
Daniel Davis...you know who he is? I guess not but he's the cousin from Ray Davies, leader of The Kinks. For those who think that Danny's band, so that's Year Long Disaster are making some sort of Britpop will be traumatised when they hear this as this band plays hardrock in pure 70's style. Is it any good? I guess I am the wrong person to judge this kind of music as I know nothing about it but in all honesty it sounded like a collection of some clichés and having a quick look at specialised mags they said the same. But hey you know how we work here, we don't slash down bands (that's your job) so if you think that all the above descriptions might attract you then jump to www.myspace.com/yearlongdisaster
If a band names their tracks like "A conversation about cancer", "A near death experience at sea" or "Bury you alive", then you know you're not dealing with the luckiest Harries around, and seeing that most of this album has been produced by Justin Vernon of Bon Iver says enough. The Daredevil Christopher Wright are part of the Eau Claire-scene in Wisconsin, that's a place somewhere in the US where Justin discovered some Americana bands. It's traditional lo-fi folk and true is true...they all sound pretty okay but they're all so similar too. (check out what we wrote about Megafaun earlier this year). Perhaps this trio are a bit different because their sarcasm is one of the heavy kind and they are, at least so far by me, the most lo-fi one in these genre I heard as it sounds like it's been recorded in the back of a farm. Sometimes they do some unexpected things, like a French accordeon waltztune in a song like "Acceptable loss" or suddenly they do their folk in a Beach Boys-kind of way. "In deference to a broken back" is not the best record of the week or the day therefore you heard it too much before, but still enjoyable though....
Once it was called futurepop, today a term like dark techno is more in and the big question remains : does it all matter? I think not, but thing is that Absurd Minds are a common name in the alternative electronic circuit since they released "Deception"-album back in 2000. It always has been a matter who could join the big three (Covenant, Apoptygma Berzerk and VNV Nation) and if there is a 4th act to join that league then it certainly goes to Absurd Minds. Not that these guys from Dresden do anything new, they just write dark melodies, a poppy touch, loud (but never harsh) and yes then you have something like early Terminal Choice or Project Pitchfork. "Serve or suffer" is a classic futurepop-album with 13 dancefloorblasters and therefore it can be put on your shelves next to "Future Perfect" by VNV Nation. In Germany they would say : Tipp des Monates!
Honestly said, it took a while before I liked their "Hidden"-album as I was too much in love with their Fallesque sound on the previous "Beat Pyramid" and secondly : the term "art rock" frightens the hell out of me. From the day Jack Barnett declared that he wanted "dancehall meets Steve Reich" as the new band's sound everyone thought he was going bonkers and the first reviews from "Hidden" weren't that raving. I guess this album is a grower as they say, and the more I heard it, the more I liked it, simple as that. Anyway, these lads should have played at the Botanique-venue months before but that other British hype, The XX, took them on tour but today they were alone...ready to prove themselves... The gig started as the album and so the Wagneresque "Time Xone" brought the foursome on stage and from the moment George Barnett (singer Jack's twin brother) beat the drums it was clear that the sound of this band is heavily dominated by its drumsound. Not that there are that much guitars to be heard in These New Puritans as the deadcute Sophie Sleigh-Johnson played the keyboards and if Thomas Hein wasn't MC'ing he bang a second drum which was surrounded by chains, a banging that gave the band an extra militaristic dimension. MC'ing, you say? Well, it's not rapping but some sort of...which isn't that surprising if you know that Jack states RZA from Wu Tang Clan as one of his biggest inspirations. As awaited the band played the whole of "Hidden" and we got two unreleased tracks in where it seems the band is going into an other 3rd direction, more guitar, more dancey...perhaps more into the Bloc Party-direction. Anyway this gig proved that These New Puritans are here to stay as they own a lot of talent even if it's not sure if the direction from "Hidden" will be a definite one. Why stick to one trick anyway....
Strong female solo-artists are doing it well this year too. So far we had this year the mighty Polly Scattergood and Lonelady but you can add to that list the name of Canadian singer Fanshaw. Let's be thankful she choose for an artistname as in real life she's known as Olivia Fetherstonhaugh (remember and pronounce that!). Fanshaw is the kind of female performer who can manage everything and that is shown by the opener "Diana" which is almost completely acoustic. This Canadian wünderkind worked 5 year on her album and you can hear that as the cd has become a varied cd in where she follows the paths of the greatest on this earth and that goes from Tammy Wynette ("Vegas" is an irrestible country-crooner from the 50's without sounding silly) or the fairy-talepop from Stina Nordenstamm ("Dark Eyes"). The synthpop-oriented "Strong hips" belongs to one of the greatest songs I heard this year (mainly thru its haunting melody) while "O Sailor" puts you in some Kurt Weill-mood. No need to read this over as you noticed I'm a bit in love.
Time for something from Gothenburg. Well to be more precisely, time to have a look at a duo called Winding Stairs who just have released their debutalbum "Everything" on Make My Day Records, even if the album is already out for a while in Scandinavia. Before you put the cd into your player, a look at the sleeve already reveals that this will be something beautiful...and beautiful it is, believe me, even if it feels like if this band is still searching for their definite sound. Everything here is focused on the voice from singer Lina Wedin who sounds like a cross between Beth Gibbons and Harriet Wheeler from The Sundays. A breathtaking voice which leads us through several musical rides. From ace Saint-Etienne pop like "Shadow Stripes" to "Alibi" which is a bit trip-hopinfluenced while a track like "You see me" is a more neo-classical folkballad that comes close to the early stuff from Tori Amos. It's like we told in the beginning, this album is a perfect showcase from two talents who have a rich imagination. Maybe it's another cliché to add but all the minimal details (from an accordeon in the distance to a jazzy touch) come above after several listenings.
Ooh you sex, drugs and rock'n roll...but for the Danish Alcoholic Faith Mission it seems that the booze is master of their universe. Not only it's their their band's name, they saw a sign in Brooklyn called "Apostolic Faith Mission" and they made an alcohol-related thing from it...and most of the songs dealt about it too so... What you expect now, something like The Pogues? Not exactly, even if their stuff is as heartbreaking as Shane's troop. "Let this be the last night" is the third album by Thorben Seiero Jensen and Sune Solund and they are making what is described last years as Americana, but they do it a bit different though. They might be compared with Bon Iver (and in a way they are) but their song is varied enough (sometimes a bit psychedelic, sometimes a bit...here we go again...shoegazing) and then bands like Arcade Fire, Sophia and Granddaddy come to mind. Come to mind is the right description as all by all, these boys may not have what you call a typical Danish sound but it's definitely a sound of their own.
Belgian music, well there is a lot about to say...but even if there is talent around we kind of forget the real alternative scene as over here Studio Brussel (the leading radio for so called alternative musicfans) is neglecting the underground. I mean Editors are brilliant but if you only feature Editors-wanna be's then you feature something like 0.01% of the alternative scene. A new band with a different sound are Indus Troïka and it's a great mix from post-rock, post-punk and noise. Think Big Black guitars, think Tortoise and think New Order...especially in a song like "Melodica Store" in where you hear the Melodicasound from early New Order but just like if it would have been released on a Touch and Go-release. Politics have shown the opposite but Belgium has a future... www.myspace.com/industroikamusic
t would be wrong if we always consider ourselves as that little zine. Somewhere we are (we know our place) but I also do remember that The Original Sin featured Whispers In The Shadow by the time they got their demo out and if my memory is willing to help me I think that back then co-writer Dennis managed to interview them. Back then they were something like Xymox or Cure-copyists but look ten years later Whispers In The Shadow are at the front of the gotharmy. They're kind of huge and once they had their examples now they have people are citing them as an example. That's the way thing goes.... Some will say it's a pity that Ashley Dayour and his comrades have opted for a matured sound but that's something that couldn't be avoided as well. This album is part of a trilogy (the previous one being "Into the arms of chaos" and this album must be the final chapter. You can say what you want but Whispers In THe Shadow are not he kind of gothband who are copies from The Sisters or The Cure. Okay, we heard some Southern Death Cult or Two Witches but their psychedelic gothrock might not appeal to narrowminded goths but they have a great sound nontheless. Anyway, far more psychedelic and more mindblowing then much of the crap that got hyped by "serious journalists".
I just can't help it but hearing their band's name "Stars And Sons" automatically reminds me of that terrible soap "Sons and daughters" from which I was victimized when being a kid but luckily enough for me, the music from this Brighton-based band is something different. What is it this time you sighs? Another band who think they're the new Beatles? Well, yes because in some way this album has the spirit from "Sgt Pepper's Lonely's Heartclub Band" (just because every song is different) but a no as you feel that this band have just too much respect for their audience to act like that. But you still know nothing about their sound though... Well, thing is that they are an indieband in where there's a piano (and no, they're not Keane and even better they're not Coldplay) but it's something like weird psychedelic pop that balances between the silliness from Ben Folds Five and the powerpoprock from early Supergrass. So yes another indieband? Yes, they are but remember indie stands for alternative and that stands for music that's been thought about and that's the essence of Stars And Sons. You can come up with tons of psychedelic names (and if you wanna be hip, you come up with something like MGMT I guess) but thing is that from the moment Stars And Sons will hit the airwaves (might be possible with a solid single like "If it's good for me") you will speak in terms of Stars And Sons...and yes, even without thinking about that terrible soap! www.myspace.com/starsandsonscouk
Last year these Scots came out of the blue with their epic debut "These four walls" from which "Quiet little voices" became a deserved small cult hit. The combination of a loud guitarwall, the funny Scottish accent from singer Adam Thompson and great songs with a truly unique sound caused a bit of a hype among the British press and this time they were right. We Were Promised Jetpacks are a band who have talent and it was not because the press had nothing to write about at that moment. Besides being hailed by the press means nothing if you're not a good liveband and these lads from Edinburgh proved all over Europe that they are a band to take care of. Anyway, a great debut album always have its both sides. You're immediately placed on the map but it also means that you have to proof that it isn't by coincidence that you can deliver some great songs, in other words : the least what people expect from you is to equal it. From the moment you hear the opener "A far cry" you know the answer is a big yes, it's even so that their sounds gets a lot more mature and it immediately reminded me of the paralyzing beauty of Sophia. We Were Promised Jetpacks have succeed in delivering another five monumental songs on this mini album and it only looks promising for that 2nd album. It sounds like a cliché but this is a band to remember!
The most bizarre record we are reviewing this week definitely comes from Manchester. The band we're talking about are Red Paint Red, a duo consisting of Neve and Carroll. They're not that new in the scene as in an other life they used to make music under the name of Mantra. For those who remember Mantra, they used to make atmospheric music with ethereal vocals. You might sum up the people you know who are aware of Mantra on one hand and I somewhere fear that this will be the case too with Red Paint Red. A shame, even a total shame. For a reviewer it is a nightmare to describe the band simply as they have so many influences, but as it are good influences it's the only thing that matters. In fact, are it influences? I guess not but as only saying that Red Paint Red won't be satisfying enough we give it a try : well it's a bit like This Mortal Coil (the atmosphere), a bit Siouxsie Sioux (the voice), a bit Kate Bush (for the 70's touch), a bit Rosa Crux (for it's goth-sound) and even a bit Portishead as they like to add now and then some trip hop into their sound. You think I'm crazy? I might be but thing is that Red Paint Red really do have a very diverse sound and somewhere they're like that girl from that Lewis Carroll-fairy tale in the sense that for them music means discovering things. So far the duo has released three EP's and they're now available in a beautiful hand painted box from which the artwork reminded us of Current 93. A tip! http://www.myspace.com/redpaintedred
I know I can be best labelled as crazy but that's who I am so you better live with it. A day after having seen Faust, I decided to go to Crystal Castles, no I did not decide it as I already had my ticket for their sold out show for ages but it just sounded better... Heheh, arriving at the Botanique (I better start living there I guess) I saw Team Ghost entering the stage. Who are Team Ghost then? Well, shoegaze is back and it happens that the shoegazesensation from Paris is Team Ghost! The singer wears even a T-shirt that reads "shoegazer" so how young he might be, he's influenced by the likes of Slowdive. And did they stare at their shoes? Well, I guess so but...their set was quite okay even if it has to be said : a brilliant sound but, yup, we heard it before. And then it was time to see Crystal Castles. It was quite a wait and we had to hear a whole album by that other Canadian, Neil Young. Taking a look around the venue I immediately saw that I was one of the old farts cuz all around me were teenagers who seem to share their days at discos instead of school. Naughty, naughty children...soon you will end up like like Ethan Kath or Alice Glass, two deranged Canadian musicians who are making loud dance-noise. From the very first moment till the last moment you have the name from Alec Empire and his Atari Teenage Riot in mind. Pure musically there happens not that much. Ethan's face can never be seen and he is constantly behind his dancekit. Alice Glass is something different. She literally screams (think Yeah Yeah Yeahs but more deranged) and she's like some female Iggy Pop. She climbs on drums, let herself fall (how many bruises must she have!) and half of the concert she's crowdsurfing all over the audience. Sometimes you wonder how much of the music is live because chaotic is the word. This is pure rock 'n roll, sometimes genius but let there be no doubt about it...Mozart had his soundtrack of the time he was living in and Crystal Castles do have one too, but it's one from a fucked up world.
Well, if a popband decides to call it "The Optimist" what do you expect then? Something like Spice Girls? I guess not even if there are times I wish those days of innocene Spice-pop would come back but this is something different, because if there ever should be something like a smart pop album then perhaps New Young Pony Club could be linked to it. This album is the follow up from their marvellous 2007 debut but even if this is great popmusic like CSS, The Ting Tings or Metric it goes deeper. The first time you shrug your shoulders not really caring what is on. The second time you start to discover some nice things and from the 3rd time you're not only falling in love with Tanita Bulmer's vocals but you realize that songs like "Architect of love" or "Rapture" belong to the best what 2010 has to offer, and 2010 is already such a great year! Bring the champagne right now!
How would my life be without going to gigs? Very, very boring and believe me I tried so I know the answer... Anyway, yesterday was a very special evening as Faust were coming to Belgium. But before Faust there were two other acts to come. First act was a Belgian one called Hellvete. Hellvete is what can be labelled as electro-acoustic dronemusic and the performer, Glenn Steenkiste, used to have a past in the tapescene as Funeral Folk used to be his label. Anyway, Glenn was doing drone-experiments with a banjo and an electric guitar and it gave us a sound we heard indeed before but it doesn't mean it's bad. For those who wonder why Glenn ended up on a Krautrockgig...well, he plays in Sylvester Anfang II which is krautrock. But honest is honest, I was there in the first place for those two other bands. Master Musicians Of Bukkake (no, we're not going to translate that) are something special. They make weird psychedelic music and they were born out of bands like Earth, Burning Witch or Asva which are all dronemetalbands while the whole gang is lead by Randal Dunn who used to produce bands like Boris, Kinski and Sun O))). You can't see their faces and they all wear some weird white hats that seem to come from a set of "Lord Of The Rings" while Randall is totally dressed in black, his face fully covered and above that black camouflage even dark sunglasses. It's all rather creepy cos if you ever saw that scary scene from Polanski's "Rosemary Baby" I guess you're halfway there, so better not take your kids to some gig by Master Musicians Of Bukkake. Musicwise it's very difficult to type this band and I don't think there was ever one reviewer who could but let's say they're making a weird mix from psychedelic stuff and tribal beats...not to mention their thousands unusual instruments. Excellent, no other words than excellent... The only letdown is after the gig when you notice that those scary men are nothing but old hippies with a beerbelly but that's another thing... And then there was Faust. Needless to present Faust to musicmaniacs like you but for those who are not that old (like me), Faust were one of the most important bands from the Krautrockscene along with Neu, Tangerine Dream, Can or Kraftwerk in their early days. Officialy the band split up in 1975 but since the early nineties two keymembers Jean-Herve Peron and percussionist Zappi Diermaier are touring with a line-up that often changes. The line up for this evening was something like a dream, not only there was Geraldine Swayne from Geraldine Fibbers but I couldn't believe my eyes when I saw one of my heroes climbing up the stage, James Johnston from Gallon Drunk! From the very early moment you could see that they were what we can define as children of Mother Nature (a look at their van was enough) but they also, and that made Faust always so special, were pioneers of the industrial scene. From the moment Jean-Herve picked up his chainsaw and started to saw all kind of metals you knew immediately by which band Einsturzende Neubauten got inspired. It was not only Blixa's band that came to mind but also many noise-guitarbands like Big Black or even Sonic Youth. Anyway, it all sounds great when you read it here but all by all there were only about 100 people that have turned up so...and still the band played for more than 2 hours. Tons of improvisation even when the electricity falls out, the band continues with a laughing smile. It was difficult not being focused on the several personalities and even if Faust are the kind of band who are not afraid to put some arty things in their set : they were ironing plants (read it again, you read it right!), a man was sitting on a chair during the whole set writing a book or a French monologue from which no one understand a word. I saw a lot of gigs in my life but this night was special, not to forget!
Have you noticed that great music has come back again? You must, there is the reincarnation of shoegazing, there is something like a new post punk revival and now there is something like a Factory-revival too...bands who sound like New Order that is! We had the genius Delphic, Phoenix, Two Door Cinema Club, We Are Standard and now we add a new band to that list : Delorean who released some time ago the amazing EP "Ayrton Senna". What a band they are and look, three weeks ago I couldn't come up with one decent Spanish band but now we have three (Polock and We Are Standard being the other two). You get 4 tracks here which are all kind of dancey and of course they all refer to the later New Order sound, even if now and then the psychedelic touch from MGMT slips through. And saying that you better know thatthese boys from the Basque used to be punks and now they're coming up with something like the ultimate indiepopdancething or whatever it is called, but it's good! By the time you read this, the boys are working on a full album and even if my Spanish knowledge is non-existant I'm almost sure the album will be called "Subiza". And yes, yes we'll let you know even if we have to learn Spanish for it... http://www.myspace.com/delorean
And now time for some great EBM like we haven't heard it since ages... I guess the regular EBM-freak will be familiar with the name of Noisuf-X but it seems that with this 4th album he definitely he will make it in the scene. Not that Noisuf-X is a newcomer as already since 1988 he's active in the electronic scene even if his material was then more acid-oriented and released under the name of Jan L. But Noisuf-X is harsh EBM but with a high commercial feel. This album feels like a launched racket (and yes to come up with a cliché, this album also got launched in the beginning) but from then on you hear 13 brilliant tracks that come close to Wumpscut or (even better) Fiendflug. There is a limited double-CD out as well that features contributions from Peter Spiller (Project Pitchfork) and our own Johan Van Roy (Suicide Commando). Tip this one!
There's some good news and bad news. The good news is that there is a new album out by The Fall and the bad news is that it's a good one. Bad news being an album good? In the case of The Fall it is I guess, as without any doubt I know that after 41 years having heard music I sum Manchester's finest up in my Top 3 of all time and Mark E Smith always has been the performer who did the most unusual things. But somewhere he always could wrap it up in melancholic songs, of course with a punk and post-industrial edge. Songs like "The mixer" or "Blindness" bring tears to my eyes and having spoke with lots of different Fall-fans I know I'm not alone. "Your future, our clutter" is something different. This is their 28th studio album but of course if you add all the compilations and bootlegs you easily reach something like 100. If people ask me to come up with my fave Fall-record it's a difficult thing but I tend to doubt between "Shiftwork" (through this album I entered the frightened world of The Fall) or "This nation's saving grace" simply cuz it's the best album. Anyway this album is typical for the later Fall. Mark E. Smith might look as he has reached the age of 70 but he is still the most daring punk in musichistory. The titletrack "OFYC Showcase" opens in typical Fall-style and it's a right in yer face-thing. Then you get the other songs which are all above 5 minutes which is not that logic for a punkrecord and with all the respect I have for Mark (and that's more than for 99.9999% musicians) you hear that sometimes he looses the plot. Perhaps it's because this album has the same line-up as the previous "Imperial Wax Solvent", not because it's a bad line-up but two same line-up's in three or four years is in Fallterms a very unlogical thing. Obligatory stuff for Fallfans (of course) but for those who want an introduction better choose something else.
Some years ago I had problems finding decent releases and now I have problems to check 'em all out, writing about 'em and raving about 'em but so the kid in me stays satisfied I guess. 2010 also wellcomes the new album by the Canadian electronic popduo Crystal Castles. Ethan Kath and Alice Glass are still using the same ingredients. Harsh beats, loud distortions, samples taken from old Atari-games and poppy melodies. In comparision with their previous one is "Crystal Castles" a bit of a let down as it misses the catchy melodies from ...ahum that other album called "Crystal Castles". Will they do like Peter Gabriel and name all their albums the same? I hate such things as automatically in a decade later, our conversations will go like "yeah that album from 2008 was better than the one from 2010".... Will Crystal Castles still matter a decade later? I think so...
Is it folk or is it electronics? It's both of them and White Hinterland (what a name) are one of the few band who succesfully succeed in mixing these two genres without being it an useless effort. Honestly said, it might be already White Hinterland's third album but this is actually the first time I heard anything by them and from the very first second Casey Dienel (well, she is White Hinterland) starts singing you tend to fall in love with her voice. Perhaps I easily fall in love but Casey has an ethereal voice that many people will compare to Elizabeth Frazer. This Massachusettes-based musician uses lots of classic instruments (from piano to strings) with electronic synths and the result is something like a cinematographic version from Solex. Not always that easy to label, but why should we? "Kairos" has become a gem!
Let's be honest with each other, if we want we can fill up this section with 50 new indiebands every day. Stick to the good ones? I guess so...or perhaps better stick to the ones from which you hope of from whom you might think they will do something. Some people who know me tend to label me as an indiekid, perhaps I am as I remember that a decade ago I went every week from Gent to London to buy all my stuff at Rough Trade Shop. Ten years later things have changed as we know. You have now 53.000 bands (or is it 63.000?) on My Space and they all make indie...I know every kid deserves to have a name but still... But here are The Exhibition with their single "The Crown". They're from Barnsley and just released this fine single on Of National Importance Records (indielabels do still exist in 2010). "The crown" is dark pop (a bit Embrace, Echo & The Bunnymen) and you immediately hear that they're the type of band who think that songs are more important than attitude. We need songs, not attitude. B-side "Coma" is great too and hey, it sounds like those days where Paul Weller still sounded energetic. Endconclusion? I like the Exhibition...
Holly Golightly...the name sounds like from some Tim Burton-movie, not? But musicmaniacs know better, not only was she involved in the recordings by Billy Childish or The White Stripes but now she released her third album "Medicine County" on Damaged Goods, one of the most long living indielabels ever (from Anorak Girl to Period Pains, they brought you everything...). But this type of music is something totally different. If there was something that can be labelled as timeless music then Holly certainly belongs to that league. Already from the start "Forget it" Holly sounds like a dangerous diva and somewhere you really do have the feeling like you're entering some scene from a David Lynch-movie where all strange creatures are spying at you. Not that it's all that serious, on a song like "I can't lose" Holly let herself go in a real Dolly Parton-way but a track later you're already back in some dark land, as "Blood on the saddle" (that title alone!) will remind you of Lee Hazzlewood and Nancy Sinatra's finest moments. Holly will remind you of a lot of things, be sure of that, but it are always the finest moments. Changes are small that you ever will hear this on radio (nah we're sure about that) but don't miss this little jewel, you read it here!
People who like a bit of experimental dancemusic do know Thrill Jockey for years and it's true, it's one of the most varied labels I can think of and it looks like they think about every release in a careful way...but there is a word for that : passion. One of their latest releases is by Brooklyn duo High Places. High Places are Mary Pearson and Rob Barber and since some years they make a very interesting style of dance music in where they use thousand of different instruments. They were on stages with the likes of Deerhunter and they had a splitsingle out with Xiu Xiu but this album "High PLaces vs Mankind" is their new present so to speak. You can say a lot about the music from High Places and not in the least because of Mary's ethereal vocals which are shaped for dreampoplike chords but musically it's interesting too...of course why else would we write about it? Even if it's at times experimental (the poppy touch is never away anyway) it sounds like if the band took their inspirations from 80's synthpop-new waveacts like Malaria and the greatest achievment is that they do it without sounding retro. Yes 2010 is brilliant and High Places are a part from it!
The days when Canada was related to Bryan Adams and Celine Dion are over and out, even more... the best releases of this year seem to come from there cos after the brilliant Besnard Lakes (I know we can't shut up about 'em), we can now present you Mother Mother. In their own country things are going like they say pretty good but over here they're still quite an obscure name. Let's hope it changes a lot, even if Mother Mother are not the easiest band to clasify. Not that there is a necessary need for it but if you hear an opener like the titletrack you tend to think it's funpop like The Wannadies but five minutes later they drag you into some sound that can be best described as a psychedelic version from The Pixies... And it goes further as "Wisdom" refers to Pink Floyd (in the Syd Barrett-years that is) while closing track "Sleep Awake" comes quite close to The Cranes. Impossible to classify but Mother Mother released one of the strongest albums I heard last weeks. A tip!
Reading biogs is always funny. I think I have read thousands of biogs so far and they have all one thing in common : if it's up to the bands then they all will be stars within some months. Nothing against such an attitude because if the band doesn't believe in themselves then who will anyway? If it depends on this Liverpool-based band then they will be stars too and so far they have collected some awards from which no one has ever heard but let's get to the essence : how do they sound like? Well they're not the new Bunnymen or the new Beatles and that's only good as I'm not in the mood to hear a new Beatles anyway. The Arkanes have chosen an American rocksound that comes close to The Black Crowes, only much more melodic. Couldn't help thinking that a track like "Schitzophonic" ripps off the guitarchord from Inspiral Carpets' "I want you"... When the record ended it felt good and I couldn't help laughing that they probably won't change the world... (but seeing your comments it looks like they made it in the UK or the US, so cheers for that!)
I think I was 16 years old when I drove with a mate to Brussels (still have that vision in my eyes) when I heard for the very first time a song called "A Day". Not on radio, Clan Of Xymox on radio in 1986??? Yes, they were...even on TV on a programme which was called "Je ziet maar" I think) but that's not the point anyway... Something changed my life forever. I don't wanna be arrogant but I lost the count how many bands I heard in my life or how many albums I bought, cann't tell you if it are 30 or 40.000, but I can tell you what Clan Of Xymox did. They evoked an emotion in me that I never felt in my life before...well perhaps on "Low" by David Bowie, but that's only one album. Are Clan Of Xymox the best band ever? I know they're not and Ronny knows that too but I know that of all the bands I know they mean most to me. Why? I can't explain that but during 25 years or so I almost hear them daily. Yes, I'm drowning into CD's I have to review, in my other room there must be more than 1000 albums I haven't heard so far (if I'm at a fleamarket expect me to come home with 100 albums or so) but between that chaos there are always two bands who are coming back to me, every day : The Sound and Clan Of Xymox. I may not complain about my luck with heroes. I had the luck to meet Ronny twice and in my "undergroundcareer" this is the 3rd time I could interview Ronny Moorings. Respect is more than due. Thank you Ronny. And that's all I can say two words "thank you" and you provided me with more than 200 songs which helped me survive through this life. No, not in balance at all...
Here is the interview, but if you are Dutch speaking you can find the Dutch version on www.darkentries.be, or read it literally from Ronny himself.
YOU ARE ALMOST LIKE 30 YEARS IN THE SCENE, NEVER THOUGHT THAT YOU’RE BECOMING THE ROLLING STONES OF THE DARK SCENE?
Clan of Xymox was formed in 1984. The debut album was released in 1985. To me numbers like this do not matter , I have certainly not the feeling it already is such a milestone. To me I still have a feeling I just started and feel like I still have to prove to the world that Clan Of Xymox has something special to offer. Of course I am proud of all the albums I released in the past but I tend not to look back on things, I rather look ahead, it is always the latest song of a band what matters in the end, so that keeps definitely the drive going .
FOR SOMEONE WHO HAS BEEN SO LONG IN THE SCENE, A LOGIC QUESTION MIGHT BE : DO YOU THINK A LOT HAS CHANGED?
Most changes happen slowly, so you lose sight really. I stand at the middle of these things so I can hardly see the forest from the trees , but I'll try to elaborate a bit ;) Of course a lot has changed , just look at the technology and its use and consequences in the music industry. In that aspect it is not really a change but revolution the way we so easily can access music , even the most obscurest recording is to be found on the net and available for consumption. Styles in music intertwined even more , that goes the same for fashion, all goes really. In the end it is important that whatever is on offer , the avalanche of releases , the flood of info , you find something close to your heart and almost like a trusty friend will be there over the years for you. That band I want to be for our fans who feel we have something to offer , for all these years now , a sort of rock in the chaos of that thing called life..
AS YOU KNOW ME BY NOW I FOLLOW YOUR MUSIC IN A QUITE FANATICAL WAY FROM THE VERY BEGINNING. IF I THINK ABOUT CLAN OF XYMOX I WOULD SAY THAT IT IS THE MUSICAL OUTPUT FROM A PERSON WHO DID SEVERAL STYLES BUT ALWAYS HAD THE DARK AND MELANCHOLIC ASPECT IN MIND….
Correct , it is the side I can really understand and feel. I never could really relate too much to happy tunes, it does not strike that kind of chord in me like the melancholic notes do.
YOU SAW A LOT PEOPLE COME AND GO, DO YOU CONSIDER CLAN OF XYMOX AS RONNY MOORINGS OR NOT?
It was and always will be my thing , yes. Nothing has changed in that aspect. I started it and will finish it when the time comes , no one will be able to carry on with it when I stop with Clan Of Xymox. Of course I need people around me in the band , playing the music live but when it comes to writing and recording I always do and did that on my own. I never expected people to stick with the band for a long time but now Mojca and Mario are the longest members so far and I think Yvonne will be in the band for a long time to come. It is now different then it was when I was looking for my own identity and people around me changed with that search as well. To me musical experimentation's are necessary to come to an identity. We all know from our own experiences that we change all the time , just look at old photo's , the way you looked and the ay you look now and everything in-between. People need to evolve in order to find out what suits them the best , that goes for style of clothes , food , your friends , simple things in life , you need this in order to keep your interest in living. At a certain age you will find what suits you the best and from there you can be subtle. I discovered in 1997 what suited me the best but did not keep me from going in this or that direction a bit more. I think now I feel like I am on a path which is totally my own.
DO YOU LISTEN TO YOUR MUSIC YOURSELF? I MEAN, IS THERE A TIME IN YOUR PRIVATE LIFE WHEN YOU GO LIKE “OH, LET’S PLAY “TWIST OF SHADOWS” “?
Of course , I listen to a lot of music but not necessarily my own music. I thing when you are so busy with your own music you need perspective and need to hear other artists just to give yourself a proper perspective of things and just in order to enjoy music. With your own music you tend to get sometimes too analytical and critical. But having said that sometimes it is also great to play a track which absolutely connects to a certain feeling I have and then I know exactly which track to play;) The live songs I hear of course in a regular way and sometimes when I feel like listening to my own songs I select a few which would suit my mood but mainly it would be songs of later releases..
A CLAN OF XYMOX SONG MOSTLY HAS A CLASSICAL STRUCTURE. STRONG MELODIES, LYRICS WITH A MEANING AND A MUSICAL ORCHESTRATION. HOW DO YOU COMPOSE YOUR SONGS, RONNY?
Music wise I often get inspired by a few sounds which sparks my imagination and make me visualise some sort of sound scape and a direction I can build towards to with other sounds, as soon as some sort of order is shaped into the sound collage it will move itself in some sort of specific direction. Maybe a few words will match some chord structures so I get some idea of what I want to write and what words are suitable to match the created atmosphere which sort of triggers my emotional world. The lyrics are most of the time based on events mostly experienced by myself or what I have seen around me and of course when you think about all the things you have experienced or heard , you will always have a lot to write about.
FOR SOMEONE WHO’S MAKING MUSIC FOR SO LONG. ARE ALL YOUR SONGS RELEASED OR IS THERE A HUGE COLLECTION OF REJECTED SONGS?
Pretty much everything is released but having said that there are still some songs here and there , not that they are rejected but would not fit in an album or I am not too sure about it.
CLAN OF XYMOX WAS A BAND WHO HAD ITS UPS AND DOWNS, BUT YOU KNOW THEY WERE ALWAYS COMING BACK. HOW COME…I MEAN, ARE THERE NEVER TIMES YOU THINK OF GIVING UP?
Giving up what exactly ? I make music because I like doing that. It would be like stopping breathing. I need to make music as much I would need oxygen to breathe. The passion for music is something you are born with I think , it will not go away , it is embedded in your gene pool;) Whatever happens you always have the feeling to express yourself , in my case I rather do that through my music and lyrics than to talk about it with a person. To me it is my way of life, without it I would be lost.
TALKING ABOUT THAT, I RECENTLY READ ON THE WEBSITE FROM LEGENDARY PINK DOTS THAT THEY’RE TIRED AFTER 30 YEARS. IT’S DIFFICULT TO BOOK GIGS FOR THEM AND SLEEPING ON THE FLOOR IS TOO MUCH FOR SOMEONE WHO’S REACHING THE 50’S….. WHAT DO YOU THINK OF THAT?
Yes , I can understand them if things become too hard on the road. It does not mean that you have to stop making music and recording it. So far I haven't experienced this for my band and I hope I never will. I like touring the way we tour , the one off show here and there instead of the 30 day tour in a row.. I'd like to think music and making music somehow keeps you young , so as long as the enthousiasm for your band and music is there I think you can pretty much carry on for ever , providing people you keep an interest in your band.
SORRY TO ASK BUT A COLLEGUE FROM DARK ENTRIES ONCE HEARD THAT YOU WERE A GOOD FOOTBALLPLAYER ONCE (OR STILL ARE…I DUNNO!)….AND HE WANTS TO KNOW IF YOU NEVER THOUGHT ABOUT IT’D BE IF YOU WERE A FOOTBALLPLAYER…
I think that was someone else but me;) I am terrible at football ( apart from the table football ;) and do not like that sport too much either..tennis is more my game
BACK TO SERIOUS QUESTIONS! YOU NOTICE THAT CLAN OF XYMOX HAVE MANY DEVOTED, ALMOST FANATICAL FANS. HOW DOES THAT FEEL, RONNY?
As long as they are not too fanatical in the sense they would camp at my front door ;) If we have fans who do follow the music and go to concerts then I am more then happy. I am of course more then pleased when I meet a devotional fan, especially the ones who would like to have an autograph on all the records we released ;))
ARE THINGS STILL GOING SO GOOD IN SOUTH AMERICA FOR CLAN OF XYMOX? READING THE REACTIONS ON FACEBOOK I THINK THEY ARE…..
Yes , we play and did play on a regular basis countries in South America and we absolutely love it there. We started playing these countries at the end of the Nineties and build up our audience there since then .. In some countries our fans even wait at the airport , not a few but hundreds , which is really impressive. As we speak I am talking to some South American promoters for a new Clan Of Xymox tour but I do notice that it gets a bit harder to go over because of the flights are getting more and more expensive so promoters have to pay a lot of money just for the flight tickets , so we had already a few times a promoter wanting to have us over but could not finance it in the end. We hope that the prices will go down in the near future but somehow I doubt that since we have now these flight stops due to the ashes of the Icelandic unpronounceable Eyjafjallajökull Volcano. Airlines will want to earn back their losses somehow again ....yes , it is always economics with everything :(
YOU CERTAINLY ARE AWARE OF BANDS WHO ARE COPYING YOUR STYLE. WHAT DO YOU THINK THEN? BEING FLATTERED OR DON’T YOU THINK : GET AN OWN SOUND!!!!!
Copying is the best form of flattery:) All music somehow is related , we have a limited amount of chords and notes , so no one is unique in the sense that all is being done. Just the sounds , melody, structure , tempo , words, voice makes it more unique. A style is something that relates to a certain taste. In there you have many variations again. It is always nice to be in company of bands who like our music. When Clan Of Xymox started we also got compared with bands and sometimes we still get a few band names in a review, but that does not matter , all music is influencing when you hear it in one way or the other. When we have a small part to play in that process then all the better :)
ON STAGE YOU HAVE SUCH A WIDE RANGE OF SONGS, BUT STILL PEOPLE ARE BEGGING FOR THE CLASSICS. AREN’T YOU NEVER TIRED OF THAT?
Well , it would be worse when you don't have any classics:) In time we get more and more classics , even as we speak we have a new classic : Emily It is always great when people know the words to the song and even sing along during a show. A classic is a song which grows on people for years and stays in their lives for years, so I find it only natural that a band will perform these classics.
YOU’RE ALMOST LIKE A GODFATHER OF THE GOTHICSCENE… WHAT DOES GOTH MEAN FOR YOU?
Well , I would not go that far..;) The word gothic now more reflects bands who use guitars in a metal kind of way , which to me is quite different from my perception of the word Gothic. To me Gothic is a vague term capturing all kinds of styles as long as they are on the darker side of life accompanied with a certain dress code , whatever style that may be. It is just a label to me and I would not necessarily put our band in that category since Clan Of Xymox covers and overlaps into many styles.
WHAT’S THE ALBUM YOU’RE MUST PROUD OF, RONNY?
Always the latest because that is the most current to me and reflects fresh feelings
WITH “HEROES” YOU MADE YOUR 2ND SECOND COVER BY DAVID BOWIE, I GUESS YOU MUST BE A FAN…..
nah , just a coincidence;)
YOU’RE NOW LIVING IN LEIPZIG. IS THAT BY COINCIDENCE OR WAS IT PLANNED… I MEAN LEIPZIG BEING THE WAVE & GOTHIK TREFFEN-CITY…
In a way it was a coincidence that when we wanted to move away from Amsterdam we found a great house in Leipzig and knowing Leipzig already a bit from WGT helped us making the decision to move there and to make it a permanent base. I am really glad we made that decision 5 years ago as I still like it very much to live here. I never felt so much at home as here in Leipzig.
“IN LOVE WE TRUST” IS BY MANY FANS SEEN AS THE BEST ALBUM SINCE “HIDDEN FACES”, AGREE ON THAT?
I personally like all the albums inbetween as well. Of course I like " In Love We Trust" a lot as well. As long as the fans love it ! It is my main drive to continue.
I LIKE “BREAKING POINT” A LOT AS WELL…THERE’S NOT ONE XYMOXSONG I DON’T LOVE, MIND YOU…. BUT THAT ALBUM WAS LIKE A RETURN TO “TWIST OF SHADOWS”, NOT?
huh , ?? no , it was just another step forwards:)
THIS IS A SPECIAL REQUEST FROM OUR CHIEF EDITOR HERE… HE WANTS YOU TO READ THE REVIEW HE MADE FROM “IN LOVE WE TRUST”, IT’S IN DUTCH THOUGH BUT HE MADE IT ALBUM OF THE SUMMER, AND HE ASKS IF YOU CAN COMMENT THIS, RONNY….
http://www.darkentries.be/nl/cds/?cdid=1240" http://www.darkentries.be/nl/cds/?cdid=1240 I like it of course , especially when it is called “album of the summer”, just great ! 9 stars out of 10 is also not bad at all.. Kudos to your chief:))
THANK YOU SO MUCH RONNY, WE CAN’T WAIT TO SEE YOU IN BRUGGE. FINAL QUESTION, DO YOU THINK THERE WILL BE ANOTHER 30 YEARS? I MEAN? IMAGINE IT : CLAN OF XYMOX ON STAGE WHEN YOU’RE 70….IF LEONARD COHEN CAN DO IT, YOU CAN DO IT TOO!!!!!
You make me feel old ! , I never really think about age and what lies ahead. , but I am certainly too young to having to worry about what the future holds in store .. I think our generation is different then our parents one. We do not accept age as a hampering factor. Look at Depeche Mode or the Cure or any band from that era , they are over 50 , way older then me :) , but they do what they do , go on tour , loving every aspect of the music , so that is the new standard of the rock music , you do not die when you are twenty something but live your life as a musician, which is an ultimate dream coming thru when that happens.
I am very much looking forward to the show in Brugge , It is going to be great !!
England has rediscovered the shoegazing scene as well, that is sure! Yesterday I went to Brussels (once again) to see Chapel Club who are hailed by the British press as the new Joy Division, the new Smiths and in the leaflet over here they were hauled as the new Cure! What the f****, I've seen that before, once it were The Stone Roses...once it was Ultrasound...once it was I don't know what but thing is they're hyped and they even have to release their debut album! And look a British hype comes playing in Brussels, just a shame that only 40 people turned up to see the new Joy Division but that's another thing. Taking a look at the setlist learnt us that these lads from London would enjoy us with 7 songs and then over and out. Coming to Brussels to see 7 songs? Once they got on stage we saw five youngsters playing...hmmmm shoegazing! Yeah pretty good, even very good but hey ho...wait a minute! Twenty years ago that press slashed down a scene that celebrates itself and now a band who sound like...hmmmm Moose....are hauled as the saviors of music! Are they taking themselves serious or not? Chapel Club are magnificent just a terrible danger that they will get lost in their own arrogance but they are brilliant....no, they're not brilliant, they just play music we haven't heard in a long while...well I did but not on stage. If Chapel Club are the new hope of rock, does that mean then that Slowdive are the greatest band ever? I know, you know.....
Belgium…well, that are French fries, beer, waffles and….music? There are good Belgian bands around and I’m not saying this for the sake of patriotism, mind you…it’s for the love of music and this love I found for a new band called Gentlemen Of Verona. It’s honest rock ‘n roll that grabs you by the throat, if it is because of Debbie’s screaming vocals or because of the great garagesound or the mix of both of them it’s up to you… Anyway, The Original Sin was proud to sit on Debby’s lap (kind of….)
AND TELL US DEBBY, ARE PEOPLE FROM VERONA GENTLY PEOPLE?
What a strange start for an interview, but anyway… Last summer we were in Verona and it was a very nice surprise. Everything’s great, the food, cosy streets, gentle people so nothing but praise. One strange thing though is that they don’t trust you if you’re a stranger. Everywhere you look you see some cameras that are filming the registration numbers from the cars and if you stay the night at a hotel you better give your registration number from your car to the hotel owner as otherwise when waking up your car might be gone. But I guess everyone’s having their own curiosities in life….
YOU ARE A NEW BAND BUT ALREADY TWO ALBUMS MADE, SO YOU’RE WORKAHOLICS THEN?
Are we workaholics? Who knows… Anyway for us it was more than clear that the 2nd album had to be made. We are already around for 3 years so that makes one record per 18 months, I guess that’s not bad at all… Look, we don’t see writing songs as a job we have to do, it just happens. Even if I must add that we had to introduce something what we want to call “writing sessions”. We play so often that it happens that there’s no time left to do rehearsals or writing any new stuff. We used the deadline-technique. How it works? Well, we took our agenda and marked a date by telling ourselves that the song had to be ready by then and we noticed that if we worked under pressure that it helps.
THE FIRST THING I HAD IN MIND WHEN I HEARD THE BAND WAS THAT YOUR SOUND WAS VERY UNBELGIAN….
Well, that’s a nice thing to hear! When we listen to records ourselves, we always can hear differences between Belgian releases and non-Belgian. You can hear that in the way they are recording, the mixing of the mastering. It all sounds too clean. Too polished. When we recorded our album, we wanted it to be like on American garagerockrecords. No problem to sound dirty and raw. During the mastering and the mixing it was important for us to avoid they cut out the imperfections. It just had to bang!
OK, BUT BECAZUSE OF YOUR UNUSUAL SOUND, YOU ALSO MISS A LOT OF PRESS-ATTENTION…
It’s not easy to get presscoverage in Belgium as you know that most magazines are just floating with the stream. Today all spotlights are aimed on bands who make poprock. Folk and retrostuff are also doing it well these days. Is it frustrating thing? Not really as it gives us the freedom to do our own thing and not caring if a song will do it on the radio or not. We just care about the quality of the song, just like our big examples. Do you remember when they played Grinderman, Iggy Pop or Jon Spencer on the radio? I can’t…
ME NEITHER AS I DON’T HAVE A RADIO…. BUT THE REVIEWS I SAW WERE POSITIVE THOUGH…
Those positive reviews are great but they are time related as well, I mean they appear when the album got released and then it’s over, so we think what people say about our gigs is as important as well. If a organisator books us because some friend of him told him we’re an exciting band then such things please us too. A good review is awesome but you have to prove it on stage, and we do!!!
THERE HAS BEEN COLLOBORATIONS FROM FAMOUS PEOPLE, DID YOU ASK THEM OR HAVE THEY COME BY THEMSELVES?
Because of work we knew Willy Willy and Frankie Swaenen (both famous Belgian rockmusicians-ed.). They thought we were making good music and when we met each other it always happened that we end up talking about Gentlemen Of Verona. When we were making on one of our songs we had a pianoriff in mind but no one from us could play it properly and we decided to call Frankie who happens to be a drummer but he knows how to play piano as well! After some takes the pianopiece was recorded and Willy Willy added some great guitarsolo to that…everything went perfect. They knew what we wanted and thru that you see they are real professionals. It was a strange experience as when we were kids we went to see The Scabs and we had posters from Willy Willy and Frankie hanging on our wall and now these people were playing in our studio!!! And just because they wanted to, just because they liked our stuff…
I NEVER SAW THE BAND ON STAGE BUT WHEN I HEAR YOUR CD I THINK YOU MUST BE AWESOME AND IF I SEE LIVEPICS FROM DEBBIE WELL…
When we’re on stage, we give ourselves 100%. During the gig we got totally lost in the music, just the stage matters and it’s a strange experience. The day after I see myself totally covered with bruises and I wonder where they came from but having a quick look at the pics that are taken, I solved the mystery quite fast…
IS THERE A BIG DIFFRENCE BETWEEN THE LIVESOUND AND THE ONE ON CD?
In fact not. Maybe, there are some extra guitars or some added arrangements but all by all it’s the same. The basic tracks on the cd are also live recorded. Everything was on tape within 4 hours, but something like that can only be done if the band are perfectly trained and we know each other.
WELL, DEBBIE, I COMPARED YOU TO PJ HARVEY TOO, JUST LIKE MOST REVIEWERS…NOT BORED OF IT?
Honestly yes. Okay the way are voice sounds might be similar but that’s more like a compliment. I think our new album is more like Jon Spencer Blues Explosion, Iggy Pop, Urban Dance squad and Rage Against The Machine.
“BRUTALLY HONEST” ISN’T THAT A REFERENCE TO BANDS WHO JUST MAKE ROCK’N ROLL JUST TO BELONG TO SOME SCENE?
Not really. The title just refers to the way we deal with music. What you se is what you get, just exciting rock’n roll without any marketing trick.
JESSE HOFF BUILT A GUITARAMP ESPECIALLY FOR YOU, HOW COULD YOU CONVINCE SOMEONE SO FAMOUS?
The man saw us on My Space. He liked our music and sent an e-mail with his compliments and after googling him, it seemed he was the guitardoctor from people like The Black Crowes, Jeff Beck, Eric Clapton or The Verve. We sent him a mail asking if he had some tips about some guitarsounds and before realising it all, Jesse started working on amp that was especially built for the sound of our band. We went to London to pick it up and he spent the whole afternoon with us by demonstrating the amp and refining it. The sound fitted Gentlemen Of Verona in a perfect way. Also on stage the amp has lots of success as after each gig guitarlovers are coming to have a look at it and that’s understandable… Jesse wrote the word “Lajzy” on it which refers to his own nickname Lazy J. And I found out that Pete Thownsend from The Who is using such a Lazy J-amp too so as a reference that counts I think !
YOUR RECORD IS RELEASED ALL BY YOUR OWN, HOW DOES IT FEEL FOR A BAND IN TIMES WHERE PEOPLE ARE ONLY DOWNLOADING?
Downloads are the future. Our first record has been exclusively released by the Belgian downloadlabel THE WAB. We have nothing against the fact that our music is spread through the net. We decided to press a cd as we knew that a lot of people, among ourselves, would be pleased with a disc, the cover, the lyrics… For those who think that’s all useless there’s still the downloadversion on I-Tunes.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVE RECORD OF ALL TIME AND PLEASE STATE WHY…
I don’t have a certain fave album or so. I love lots of different things, sometimes I like classical music and at other times I like alternative rock. The only thing I want is that it is a bit dark though. A record I played over and over must be “Broken” by Nine Inch Nails, another one was “Fever To Tell” by The Yeah Yeah Yeah’s.
WITH WHO WOULDN’T YOU MIND TO BE ALONE WITH IN AN ELEVATOR FOR 8 HOURS AND WHAT WOULD YOU DO THEN?
With MacGyver, as I know that with him the elevator would work within 5 minutes. To thank him I would buy him a beer, hoping that I would meet Nick Cave at a pub.
THE LAST WORD IS YOURS….
Brilliant so we can make some adverts! “Brutally honest” is available on www.gentlemenofverona.com or at gigs. If you prefer mp3’s you’ll find us at I-Tunes. So gimme yer money and buy it now!!!
True is true, ask someone on the street if he can come up with some German rock and the answer will be something like "Rammstein" (okay I agree, if you ask a pensioner he will tell you something like The Scorpions but that's another thing). Just wanna tell you that it's damn difficult to make solid rock in German with a wave and gothtouch without being reminded to Rammstein and the band might tell you that they're playing post-punk (these days everyone plays post rock ) and that they're sounding like Killing Joke but that's not exactly the case. Are Mundtot bad then? Absolutely not, it's just that perhaps their German gothrock would be something that is for Germany only...which is a bit of a shame as I always liked stuff like Joachim Witt, and at times Mundtot are like that, but imagine who knows him over here... Anyway, if you are into melodic gothrock with nice atmospheric sounds you might like Mundtot and a track like "Endzeit" can even be a hit at gothclubs. Mundtot, remember where you read it first!
There has always been something with Spain and indiemusic, just remember (well not remember as they still exist) the mighty labels Siesta or Elefant and you know what I'm talking about. It seems that we can add another label to that as well, Mushroom Pillow. Some days ago we presented you the very fine release by We Are Standard (which was produced by Andy Gill) and that same label is delivering us now Polock. That's Polock with one l as otherwise you'll end up with some painter. Sole problem I got with this release was that I just got the music while all the other information I could find about 'em was unfortunately in Spanish and till so far my Spanish knowledge is limited to a simple "ole"! Anyway, Polock have soon this album out which is called 'Get down from the trees' and to say it simple but effective : it's the kind of indiepop that makes you happy, the kind of music that let you think it's summer every day...something like a Pavement for daydreamers. They are compared to the likes of Phoenix and Two Door Cinema Club and that can be the case but isn't a description like lovely jingle-janglepop enough to convince you? www.mushroompillow.com
Even when Paul Morley says about a folkband something like "I will be playing it at least forever" then you know it must be something special and I was in doubt before going to their concert as their third album "Here's the tender coming" was okay but in some way it couldn't convince me that much. Anyway, I decided to go to their concert ... First thing you saw when entering the Botanique-building was seeing singer Becky behind the merchandise stall. This meant two things. Obviously they are humans but secondly, and that's the sad part I guess, in hometown Britain they might get award after award but over here in Belgium they are far from being famous. I guess something like 100 people turned up to see them, not that the band cared that much as from the moment they got on stage it was like they were entering some pub by chatting about Belgium and of course its beer. After the chat the band began and from the moment Rachel started an a capella song, there was no need to remind us that she has a wonderful voice. When Becky joined in it was all clear why the band that was once named Rachel Unthank & The Winterset changed their name into the Unthanks. The female vocals are the main element of the band, let there be no doubt about and even if the band contain 8 members the use of instruments (a wide range that was) are always used in a minimal way. Be it a violin, a cello or an ukelele in every song the listener is reminded that the girls are the stars. And stars they are, they are even not ashamed to put on literally their dancing shoes and give the audience a real stepdance! How funny it all might seen, the lyrics are something different as in a way it's like those early Poguessongs in the sense that it is all about the inhabitants for which the UK had no respect for throughout his history. Be it a dead sailor or a ten year old kid that was forced to work in the coalmine of Yorkshire, the traditionals The Unthanks have chosen are never about the funny things in life. The public also got two nice covers, one by Nick Drake (River man) and "Blackbird" by Penguin Cafe Orchestra. I know I did watch some unhip music (not that I ever will care about that, mind you) but their timemachine was one to enjoy!
Some things always do come back even the minimal synth scene. I don't want to sound patronizing but in case you don't know what minimal synth is well : it was a movement that mainly came from Belgium, Germany, The Netherlands and France. Analogue synths, ice cold performed but with a melancholic feeling. I guess bands like Twillight Ritual, Martin Dupont or A Blaze Colour are what you can call the leading names of that 80's movement. Nothing happens without a reason I guess but a band who states that they're influenced by A Blaze Colour, Clan Of Xymox and Asylum Party...what can be said of that? Yes, that they sound superb of course even if this record could have been made in 1982! Xeno & Oaklander are a duo from New York consisting of Sean McBride and Miss Liz Wendelbo (she's French/Norwegian)who released tons of self-released CD-R's but now thru Weird Records they got the change to release this "Sentinelle"-CD. Is it original? F**** no, it's not but it's genius, not dated, it's touching, it's like stepping into some time machine. A gem. (If you read this : thank you Tom!)
The name of Dirk Serries might be total unknown for 99.9% of our readership I guess but still he did some great things here in Belgium (and outside) as he was the man behind vidnaObmana (and since recently Fear Falls Burning). This project made him colloborate with the likes of Steven Roach or Robert Rich. Anyway, in an interview Dirk told his despise for vidnaObmana now and for him it's the end of the line as this outfit kind of limited his musical outbursts. Dirk wanted to go back to his roots and that can be translated in one guitar and some pedals. He wants to explore the borders of one sound, so you got it... "Microphones" has become the sort of album in where you can hear drones and soundscapes. I had a double feeling when hearing this album. Let's begin with the bad one... This type of music has been done before, it's not the first time I'm listening to a record like this, so it's a bit unoriginal. But hey I told you there's some good news as well. This is not just some collection of some drones and soundscapes, this is done with care and love...just look at the beautiful work that contains beautiful pictures from Martina Verhoeven. vidnaObmana is dead, long live Dirk Serries www.microphonics.be
Music can be glamorous but it's also the cradle of many sad stories, or unreleased dreams. Born For Bliss is a band in that league as they always were victimized by the curse of (my all time fave band) Clan Of Xymox. Maybe Frank Weyzig will bite of his nails if he sees it again, but sorry, I feel I have to. Anyway Frank used to be one of the original co-founders from Clan Of Xymox. For some reasons Frank left the band and some years later he came back with Born For Bliss. In 1997 there was the release of their debutalbum "Flowing with the flue", an album nobody cared about. You can always blame the press but this time it was the press' fault. Automatically Frank got compared with Xymox and they concluded : "Well, it's not Xymox....". Of course it's not Xymox, it's Born For Bliss. Having said that I think I would never have given the album a change (the press interest was something like zero) if Frank wasn't a member of Xymox, but a musiclover listens and listens and then form his opinion. Two years later the band had a second album, this one... The big frustration was that back then not one label was interested in releasing this album, until now as the German Echozone-label decided to give it a release. Mind you, Born For Bliss aren't back as Frank is now playing with White Rose Transmission (the band from Carlo Van Putten and the sadly missed Adrian Borland) who recently released a new album (see elsewhere on these pages). It's a shame this album never got released as once again Born For Bliss are bringing psychedelic goth-rockwave that sometimes (hey that's strange) refers to The Sound, at other times (true is true) to the Xymoxsound, at other times Dreadful Shadows... As a bonus you get some unreleased demos as well. You got the picture? This is a brilliant gothwaverecord that finally deserves to see the lights... Oooh in love with a ten year old album...thanks to Echozone I guess!
I seriously doubt if Angie Damage is still doing music as on the net you find nothing about her, but that happens with 90% (or more?) with the artists we embrace. Anyway, the first time I hear some Angie Damage on the radio is still far far away and as it's so good, why wouldn't I tell you about? Angie Damage comes from Charleston (happen to be somewhere near South Carolina) and being raised up by Billie Holiday, hardcore and lots of post-punk she decided to create her own music. It took her quite some time to record some songs (so perhaps the reasons why nothing can be found about her is that she's not that much of a workaholic) but what she delivered is superb nontheless. Angie released a fine EP on a Russian label (Intuition Records, you have to be signed somewhere these days)... Difficult to describe Angie's music but it sounds very European, think of 1000 Ohm with sexy female vocals. Who are 1000 Ohm? Come on get on that My Space-page now! http://www.myspace.com/angiedamage
You can always blame Iceland... They were hated here because an Icelandic bank went bankrupt and people could wave their money goodbye and since some days there is no aeroplane flying above us, you can blame them too. Today I blamed Iceland as it's the fault of their stupid volcano that I can't see Kirlian Camera and still I decided to listen to an Icelandic album. Since Bjork seems to be away from the musical landscape, Jonsi can claim to be the most famous inhabitant from his country and for them who were living in some cave, Jonsi is the leadsinger from Sigur Ros. He recently released this solo-album but it's totally different from the previous "Riceboy Sleeps"-one. In all honesty this is exactly the same as Sigur Ros which means for me that I only like this from time to time because I am truly aware that they're something special, I realize that they're a very talented band but their music can work so much on nerves that at times I tend to think "Sigur Ros are the band I hate most!", so logicalwise "Go" can be the album I hate most this year , but at times I can like it too... Still overrated though, even very overrated...
Welle:Erdball are not a household name everywhere (they deserve to be, believe me) but from all the bands that you can find today, they're the one who stay most close to the 80's sound...even so close they record everything in an anologue way. Sometimes they're called the pioneers from the so-called Bitpopscene but if you know that their music is made with the aid of a Commodore 64 (youngsters, that used to be a computer!) then you know what we're talking about. It's since 2006 that they released their last album (Total Chaos) but this one is a bit special as "Operation Zeitsturm" is the soundtrack from a movie that's been made by Welle:Erdball. According to rumours the movie balances between Indiana Jones and Back To The Future. If only we could believe that... Anyway, this new CD is just Welle:Erdball like we knew them since years. It's still debatable if they're making art or kitsch but their synthpop is surely based on the Neue deutsche Welle, so much even that morethan once you'll have bands like Fehlfarben (who are back by the way) or Rheingold in mind. You can accuse them for being stuck in the 80's and they are but they do it in a good way so....
Long time ago we had some unknown pleasures on our blog. How long was it? Five or six days ago? Lost the count but here is something very good, something very brutal... Their name is Anthythesys. Click that on Google and the first thing you read is that you probably misspelled the name but it's not...Antythesys are Antythesys. Fans from Alfa Matrix (that's a Belgian electro/EBM-label run by the likes of Side-Line) will probably recognize the band's name...and if they don't...well, Antythesys are the creators of harsh brutal EBM with distorted vocals but poppy melodies. You want references? Bloody difficult...I mean I can but if you're familiar with what's been written above you can imagine how it sounds like, not? If you don't then I guess names like Velvet Acid Christ, Wumpscut or Suicide Commando will be as obscure as Antythesys itself. But try it out anyway, maybe you'll hate but who knows you'll love it...besides therefore it's My Space, a click on the "X" and it ends, just like that... These lads from London (great there is an EBM-scene over there as well) will soon have their debut "Black Point" out. Yours sincerely has heard it and it rocks...no, it doesn't rocks, it beeps...aaaaghhh leave me alone and get to My Space now!!!!! http://www.myspace.com/antythesys