zaterdag 28 november 2020

Timesaver. Price

In my review of the second single from Timesaver, 'Mute City', the 10th and last song on the album, I wrote that I did know whether a whole album in this style would interest me enough to sit through it. The surprise of Timesaver presents me with, in the face of that question, could not be bigger. Price sets off on a musical adventure right with the first notes and does not stop surprising until 'Mute City' begins. A song that will surprise listeners not familiar with it some more, I promise.

No, rest assured, there's no take on hip hop or opera. Price plays variations of alternative rock or indie, but including so many styles that each next song can be something completely different within that confine. To give some examples on that musical adventure. Let's start with how the opening song of the album sounds. I will not go as far and call it grunge, but Smashing Pumpkins of the mid 90s is certainly no unknown band to the members of Price. The dark, sludgy guitar that drags itself through the chord sequence of 'Remains Of Dwellings' would not have been out of place on 'Gish' and 'Siamese Dream'. Neither is the style of singing. At the same time the lead guitar has a lighter sound, making it a Price song. Some opening song 'Remains Of Dwellings' is. Anyone not liking this style will be gone within a minute if not sooner. The rest is licking their fingers. The song is that good.

The first single 'Medic' is an erratic affair in line with a, now ex, band like Canshaker Pi. The song is fun, danceable and has this alternative edge in the verses and a giant chorus where the band goes full out. The alternative melody, that runs on two guitars playing off each other, works really well here and is well crafted. It gives the band a punky touch as well. A nice spike in the mix that is added.

The switch to the title song could not be much greater. An acoustic guitar, a vocal drenched in a large bathroom surrounding. It takes the album in a totally different direction, as if there's no band around singer Marnix Visscher, also of Korfbal and Fisscher Price. That changes fast in song four, 'Walker'. That mix of Smashing Pumpkins and Price reemerges, giving the song that touch of darkness and light again. Like Billy Corgan's band Price finds the melody in the wall of sound, but finds the light more easily and is able to make it shine much better.

Song number 5 'Manic-Beat' journeys to the 60s with a dash of psychedelia and that old electric organ sound. The guitars are more modern in sound, creating a nice hybrid of styles. The singing remains in this indirect, dreamy style that goes well with all styles on the album and is part of Price's sound.

The Groningen based band calls its music kaleidoscopic, taking the listener on a trip through the history of music. I could not describe it better, so won't try to. I have given my impression of the album in the above. There are five more songs, including the surprising 'Mute City', that fit the bill just as well. Timesaver is an incredibly good and varied album. Just don't expect anything that is cleaned up after the musicians went home. This music is of the what you hear is what you get kind. In your face mostly and sometimes just a little less so. As I started out with, Timesaver is a musical adventure. You've received your roadmap in the above, so off you go. Enjoy!


You can order the album here:

or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

vrijdag 27 november 2020

Careful Climb. Slow Worries

Slow Worries is a band from Amsterdam, releasing its first album. The foursome, Maaike Muntinga (vocals), Liú Mottes (guitar), Nora Uitterlinden (drums) & Gijs Loots (baritone guitar), released an EP in 2016 and went back to the different bands they all play in as well. In 2020 the time came to reunite and to release that first album and it cooks up a storm.

If anything The Netherlands has a new Bettie Serveert. I can't escape the likeness between the two bands. The ways Muntinga sings, Mottes' guitar that is all over the alternative rock songs and the tight rhythm section completing it all. Is that a bad thing? No, far from. Being compared to Bettie Serveert is one of the biggest compliments alternative rock bands can receive in our country, in my book.

Listening to Careful Climb, it is the energy blast that gets to me first. The band pushes in the pedal and does not take it off the metal until the final note has sounded out. The only way forward is going there fast for Slow Worries. That does come with a warning, Careful Climb is not an album for all moments of the day. At some points in the day it simply is too much of a good thing. In all the others, it is like the sun coming out on a grey day.

Within that burst of energy there is enough to set songs apart individually. Single 'When We Go Out' e.g. is more open, where other songs play full out for 100%. Slipping in some dynamics makes Careful Climb breath at the right times. By slipping in a more poppy vocal melody here and there, the tone of the album becomes more varied as well. It all adds to the quality it contains within it.

If anything, Slow Worries really goes for it. The band clearly realises that this is the chance to make an impression on the world with this record. There's nothing holding them back to give it their all. The fun of playing shines through regularly as well. Just listen how they really torch 'Burn'. A song so very much alive, it makes me glow.

It is easy to confront Slow Worries with the fact the music is not original. For that the songs on its debut album are too familiar in sound. Ask them and they will probably admit it themselves, I'd guess. The more important criterium is the quality of what is on offer. This is more than alright. Careful Climb is an album full of energy and a will to score and make a lasting impression. In that it fully succeeds and perhaps a little more. That time will tell, for now the album rocks and that is what counts in my book foremost.


You can listen to and order Careful Climb here:


or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

donderdag 26 november 2020

Midnight Manor. The Nude Party

The Nude Party neemt je een aantal decennia mee terug in de tijd met een opwindende mix van vooral countryrock, rock ’n roll en een beetje van The Rolling Stones in hun beste jaren.

The Nude Party waren twee jaar geleden goed voor een glimlach, maar zetten een flinke stap met hun tweede album Midnight Manor. De band klinkt op haar tweede album verrassend hecht en is op alle mogelijke manieren gegroeid. Midnight Manor omarmt nadrukkelijk de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek, met een voorkeur voor countryrock uit een ver verleden, maar invloeden uit de rock ’n roll zijn minstens even belangrijk. Hier en daar klinkt The Nude Party als The Rolling Stones in hun beste jaren en een veel groter compliment kun je de jonge honden uit de Catskill Mountains volgens mij niet maken. Midnight Manor is voor mij het feelgood album van deze week. Heerlijk.

The Nude Party ontstond een jaar of acht geleden toen een zestal studenten van de Appalachian State University in Boone, North Carolina, besloten een band te formeren. De meeste leden van de band waren zeker geen ervaren muzikanten, maar de dagelijkse jamsessies in de kelder van het huis waarin de leden van de band hun intrek hadden genomen begonnen steeds beter te klinken. Het ging allemaal snel toen de band werd ontdekt door Oakley Munson, de drummer van de Amerikaanse band Black Lips, die de band onder zijn hoede nam en gebruik liet maken van zijn studio in de Catskill Mountains bij New York. 

Het leverde twee jaar geleden een heel aardig debuut op, dat deze week een vervolg krijgt met Midnight Manor. The Nude Party werkt ook op haar tweede album met mentor Oakley Munson, maar vond ook niemand minder dan John Agnello (met zijn CV zou ik deze hele recensie kunnen vullen, maar de naam van Dinosaur Jr. wil ik zeker noemen) bereid om het album te mixen. 

Ik was twee jaar geleden best te spreken over het debuut van The Nude Party, maar het tweede album van de band vind ik veel beter. The Nude Party heeft zich inmiddels gevestigd in de Catskill Mountains en heeft zich zeker laten beïnvloeden door de rijke muziekgeschiedenis van het gebied. Net als op haar debuut vind The Nude Party de belangrijkste inspiratie vooral in ver verleden. De band kent haar klassiekers in de countryrock, maar ook invloeden The Velvet Underground, The Kinks en vooral The Rolling Stones spelen een belangrijke rol op Midnight Manor. En hier en daar komen ook The Doors en Creedence Clearwater Revival nog voorbij. 

Toen The Nude Party acht jaar geleden begon waren de meeste leden van de band nog geen geweldige muzikanten, maar er is sindsdien veel bijgeleerd. Midnight Manor is voorzien van een lekker vol geluid dat wordt gedomineerd door uitstekend gitaarwerk, maar waarin ook piano, orgel, mondharmonica en een pedal steel opduiken. Het klinkt allemaal alweer een stuk hechter en strakker dan op het twee jaar geleden verschenen debuut, maar de muziek van The Nude Party klinkt gelukkig ook nog steeds rauw en energiek. Het geldt niet alleen voor de instrumentatie, maar zeker ook voor de zang, die het energieniveau van het album nog wat verder opstuwt. 

Midnight Manor staat met één been in de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek, maar het andere been staat stevig in de rock ’n roll. Het is rock ’n roll uit de jaren 60 en 70, maar de muziek van The Nude Party klinkt zeker niet gedateerd. Midnight Manor is vaak te omschrijven als het album dat The Rolling Stones gemaakt zouden kunnen hebben wanneer ze in 1971 voor het opnemen van Exile On Main Street niet naar Zuid-Frankrijk maar naar de Catskill Mountains waren afgereisd. Zeker wanneer de zang wat aan die van Mick Jagger doet denken hoor je op Midnight Manor The Rolling Stones in hun jonge jaren, maar The Nude Party heeft meer goede voorbeelden uit deze periode en kan haar songs ook zomaar onderdompelen in Amerikaanse rootsmuziek of opschuiven richting glamrock. 

Het levert een album op dat best in de jaren 60 of 70 gemaakt had kunnen zijn, maar wat word ik er in 2020 vrolijk van. Het debuut van The Nude Party vond ik twee jaar geleden nog een twijfelgeval, maar het tweede album van de band uit de Catskill Mountains is uitstekend en ook nog eens bijzonder aangenaam. 

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Midnight Manor hier luisteren en bestellen:
of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:

woensdag 25 november 2020

10 Singles

And here we go once again. Another ten singles were selected for you on a first come, first serve basis. Singles to write about, singles to listen to. To enjoy the enormous variety in music released. There's a link below, so settle in and enjoy all that has been released in the previous weeks and we selected for you. We start with a true debut single.

Listen. Banji

Banji is a band from Utrecht. All members have a history in other bands, but decided to start making music together. Listen is the band's debut single. It is an erratic affair, where modern beats and rhythm alternate with alternative rock guitars. The influences are more from Belgium that from the Anglo-Saxon world. dEUS, Zita Swoon, Metal Molly and many other bands from the south of our border have found their way into Listen. The result is, that I'm not really finding Banji's identity in this single. Of course that's more than fine when starting a career. Banji clearly states what it likes in music and the result is an energetic single, with a fine melody and a few surprises in how the song plays out.

Let Go. Sharon van Etten

Some time back, I wrote on an album of Sharon van Etten (I went to school and worked in Etten-Leur) that I found her rather detached from me. A fan responded on Twitter that she wondered whether I had my ears screwed on right. For the first half of Let Go, Ms. Van Etten's new single, I stand by that conclusion, but slowly but surely Let Go is fired up, working towards a climax. It is not the music. This is warm from the very start. It is Sharon van Etten's way of singing, that makes me feel like I'm not included. This is me, for sure. We can't be all the same. What I do hear, is that Let Go is an impressive song. Despite that it is mostly played over one chord, a lot is happening and new melodies find their way into the song. In the second half it gets a tremendous boost playing itself out to a grand finale. Well done! The single is part of the soundtrack to a documentary called 'Feels Good Man'.

Invisible Man. Fred Abong

This blogs introduction to Fred Abong did not go unnoticed. The little review of 'The Minit' some weeks ago, received the most responses and likes on Twitter of all 3000 plus posts to date. All thanks to Fred Abong's response. I will not go into his vocal style again here, as that has been discussed enough. Musically Invisible Man is close to 'The Minute'. It presents itself with a minimum of effect. Abong does not need a lot to make the right impression. If anything, Invisible Man, comes close to Mark Lanegan's solo work, without a band. Fred Abong plays an acoustic and an electric guitar. Perhaps an effect pedal and that is it. Enough to make an attractive, alternative ballad and yes, of course with that husky, gravelly, thirsty sounding voice singing for us all to enjoy.

Happier Alone. Austin Meade

Listening to the intro of Happier Alone, I can't help thinking about 'Summer Of '69', one of Bryan Adams' biggest hits from the 80s. Not that the songs are the same in melody but certainly in feel. Austin Meade himself points to his love for rock from the early years of this millennium. Well, these bands probably will have had its influences as well. Happier Alone is a song that obviously is from across the pond. it has traces of hair bands that never really got popular over here and some good old 80s rock. That implies that the melody is quite alright and some inventive notes and a staunch guitar solo to go. Why I like Happier Alone, like I do 'Summer of '69', is that Austin Meade puts some emotion into his song, something I've always missed with many 80s hard rock bands. It always seemed to be about the money, drugs and probably some sex to boot. His personal looks are more of a 70s southern rock band though. A blend of many musical times and styles Austin Meade is.

Rock & Roll. Alice Cooper

When did Alice Cooper come into my life? Was it with 'School's Out' or 'Elected'? Both are still great songs, although the content of the former speaks a lot less to me almost half a century later. The riff is still phenomenal of course. Come 2020 and a new Alice Cooper single is announced. In the very first seconds I recognise it for the cover song it is. It is the The Velvet Underground / Lou Reed classic rock song turned into an even harder rocking song. Cooper totally pulls the song towards him, without changing much except the attack to the song. If anything it shows the strength of the original and the amount of rock still present in the golf-loving, senior citizen Alice Cooper has become over the decades. Concluding, I can write that nothing's changed really. Rock is rock and roll is roll and it still saves. I only have to listen to those guitar solos in Rock & Roll and know it to be true.

Comedy Show. Flight Attendant

Comedy Show alright! No, far from. This is such a serious and down cast song that it must be the saddest comedy show in the world. Flight Attendant takes me 40 years back in time, to when I heard 'Will You?', Hazel O'Connor's should have been #1 single, for the first time. A single that did not even chart here! The saxophone solo ending is missing though. The violin in the ending of Comedy Show does not make up for that. Flight Attendant is a band from Nashville, that is totally new to me and has nothing but then really nothing to do with the kind of music Nashville has become famous for. Comedy Show is a beautiful ballad, led by a piano, supported by a keyboard and that violin. It really impresses me, including the way the song slowly but surely gets more meat on the bones. Hazel O 'Connor never made another song that I liked, so Flight Attendant, I dare you to better that and looking forward to hear more.

Afternoon. Snowapple

Snowapple is a collective from Amsterdam. Three singers and a host of musicians that may or may not be members of the band. From balafon percussion to a trumpet solo it all comes by on this rather exotic sounding single. From 40s pop like The Andrew Sisters' style singing to jazzy music and African influences, it is all mixed into the few minutes Afternoon takes. The lyrics are kind of exotic as well as they were inspired by a Lorca poem. The combination works rather well, I have to say. The spacious mix gives an impression of a wide stage where the musicians are all in a different space and playing without amplification. At the same time it all sounds so clear. There's a lot of sounds and melodies to discover in the song. The clear sound provides the opportunity to do so. To discover what is happening is truly an option with the new Snowapple single. Afternoon is a little musical labyrinth, to dwell in at leisure.

The Less I Know The Better. Willemijn May

A woman's voice and an acoustic guitar are all that can be heard at the beginning of The Less I Know The Better. The tempo is in the mid range, the mood invites listening. Slowly but surely the song is infused with other elements, even of a kind less associated with singer-songwriters. Vague electronic sounds move in and out. Sounds of the kind that people prone to "hearing things" may get confused from but in this context can be called experimental. What remains to be mentioned is a spaciously played piano. The combination of the traditional instruments, Willemijn May's young woman's voice and the mystery makes The Less I Know The Better not only an intriguing song but also a good one. It sets her apart from the 1.000+ other singer-songwriters and invites to want to hear more in the future. After that great band from Amsterdam called Elenne May, another May joins the pack. 'Fire' was her first single, one that I have missed. This second single has put Willemijn on my radar alright.

Nobody Loves The Hulk. Beebe Gallin

There are songs that go for the throat from the very first notes. Beebe Gallini lets the drums pound, a bass plays one note and off goes Nobody Loves The Hulk. In Beebe Gallini, I recognise two members of the resurrected The Short Fuses, Miss Georgia Peach and Travis Ramin. Just like that band Beebe Gallini rocks out loud and rough, but a bit more direct in a punkrock way. This single is everything one is allowed to expect from a punkrock band that infuses 60s garage rock into its style. Not anger but a great melody, despite that the hulk only shows himself when afraid and / or extremely vexed. Nobody Loves The Hulk is amazingly direct, in my face and I love every second of the song. A fiery guitar solo tops of the distorted singing of Ms. Georgia Peach, who is all but on fire in this song. I love how the song progresses into the third chord in the verses. It totally makes the song what it is. This is rock and roll of the highest kind all right.

One comment though, anyone who knows his 'The Avengers' film classics knows that 'The Black Widow' deeply cares for 'The Hulk', so that makes three with the "you and me" in the song.

I Love The Way You See The World. Petter Carlsen

"Music from above the pole circle", read the caption coming with the notification of Petter Carlsen's new single. As my son lived there for most of the summer, I decided to give the song a chance for the singles of the week post. I Love The Way You See The World is indie pop, like promised, with some elements of dreamy synthpop as well. It is nice to know where Carlsen lives or creates his songs, but for the rest this song could have been made anywhere in the world. It's a global musical language Carlsen shares with us. Having listened a few times to the single I can conclude that it's a nice song but not one that exceeds what has been done before. The contemplation implied in the title does not come across in the song, as he does not share the joy of the recognition with us, more a melancholy longing for something out of reach. If that is the background for the story told, Carlsen succeeded in sharing this feeling with us listeners quite well.


Listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about:

dinsdag 24 november 2020

Oh, By The Way ... It's Natalie Sweet

No, I'm not going to write this is an exceptionally good album, nor that Natalie Sweet is a great singer, but her album Oh, By The Way ... It's is just a fun album to listen to. There is no doubt about it and I gladly write it. On her album Natalie Sweet presents the right sort of mix between rock and roll, 60 garage rock and the rock side of Blondie.

Just listen to the kickstart of the album, single 'Lip Service'. Natalie Sweet does her best Debbie Harry and her band, their Chris, Jimmy, Clem and Gary/Frank. 'Lip Service' could have been on either of the first two Blondie albums with ease and fit in quite nicely.

So the tone is set. On Oh, By The Way ... It's Natalie Sweet presents herself from her most rocking, punky side, with a sweet tone here and there, showing a slightly more at ease version of herself. For the rest she's "the kind of girl you don't bring home to mother", to lend a phrase from Rick James (another person you don't bring home, I'd say). Of course, this totally depends on mother of course. In 2020 there should be a host of mothers loving a good rocksong in the style this record presents.

The production of this album makes sure the level of energy and excitement is so high. Just like 'Dawn Of The Deaf' by The Short Fuses, recently released by Rum Bar Records, btw both have Travis Ramin on board, the music is spot on. Driving me ever forward while listening. There's no sitting still, whether physically or mentally, Believe I'm dancing while sitting still and writing, the whole time. My mind is a-twirling alright.

What Oh, By The Way ... It's Natalie Sweet does right, is the mix of a great pop feel and garage rock. All songs are great to sing along to, dance to and pogo to for those who feel like it. In a few instances the foot goes a little of the gas and immediately a great pop song and melody emerges. Natalie Sweet and band members get the right feel and yes, it is that feel that I loved ever since hearing 'In The Flesh' by Blondie for the first time in November 1977 on the other side of this planet. An accidental hit if there ever existed one. The TV program played the wrong video and the rest is history. Blondie scored its first hit. I hope someone will do the same for Natalie Sweet. This album is enough fun for all people who love pop-rock-punk songs and get loads of fun out of.


You can listen to and buy Oh, By The Way ... It's Natalie Sweet here:

or listen to our Spotify Playlist to find out what we are writing about: