zondag 25 oktober 2020

Dawn Of The Dead. The Short Fuses

First single 'The Pink' was reviewed recently on this blog as one balled drop of energy being unleashed on me as unsuspecting listener (during that first session). What could a whole album bring? Believe it or not: one charged ball of energy. Is there too much of a good thing? Certainly, but not Dawn Of The Dead. This album just rocks on and on with not a single dip to be found. If there is, it's me not being able to take more. Dawn Of The Dead takes a lot out of a listener alright. This album is major party time and nothing else.

The Short Fuses is a trio, although I'd easily have believed it, should it say they have three guitarists all playing at full blast, releasing its first record in 15 years. For this comeback nothing has been left to chance and certainly not the song quality. The playing is absolutely super tight, while allowing for a truckload of melodic joy and mastery of each instrument. Jimmy Page on steroids guitar playing, solos like a whipping, fully energetic bass playing and drumming as if a forest needs felling, by way of drumsticks!

Over this all lays a voice like a fog horn. Miss Georgia Peach has the exact right voice for this music. Tough, loud, rough, a Debby Harry who can actually sing, a dark tone for a woman, but all melodic, despite the speed of the songs. Because songs they are. Highly charged punkrock songs with garage rock elements. Although there are hints to other bands, certainly of old, there seems nothing like The Short Fuses thanks to Miss Georgia Peach. And how she manages to keep that bass going while singing, is close to a mystery to me. It is a combination that works and seldom heard by me in this way.

Now Travis Ramin has an interesting role in the band. He's both the lead guitarist and the drummer. That poses a challenge on stage. Having seen the drummers of Half Moon Run and De Kift live, I'm about to believe a lot but not that this combination is feasible on stage. Fact is that at both instruments he is tremendously good, impressive even. Justin Staggs keeps the rhythm going on guitar in a super tight fashion.

The Short Fuses is nothing but a musical storm able to destroy anything in its path. Dawn Of The Dead is a joy to listen to. (At the right moment. At 08.30 AM this morning it was not such a success, I'll admit.) Later in the day it works really, really well. The kind of album any lover of fast rock songs should get acquainted to, fast. As comebacks go, this is one dream of a comeback.

Wo.

You can listen to and order Dawn Of The Dead here:

https://rumbarrecords.bandcamp.com/album/dawn-of-the-deaf


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

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

zaterdag 24 oktober 2020

X singles

It is time for another round of singles, recently released, on WoNoBlog. From folk, to gospel, from relentless rock to 90s inspired rock music and from well-established names from the 60s and 80s to debut singles. It all comes by. So here you go and don't forget to listen via the link below.

Soap. The Oh Hellos

With the release 'Zephyrus' The Oh Hellos have rounded the four winds. The album will be reviewed later on this blog. First it's time to highlight the first single 'Soap'. It is an amalgamated song. At first it sounds like a traditional neo folk song from the 10s, banjo and all. Soap also has a darker side where an electric guitar totally lets it rip, but not without some neo folk community singing before it really goes all out. Soap is not an easy song to digest, more one to undergo. Do just that and you will see that you're listening to one of the better neo folk songs you've ever heard. Of Monsters And Men or Mumford & Sons but then with a truckload of pepper in a proverbial place. I've heard The Oh Hellos pull of this feat before but seldom so forceful.


Trouble Of The World. Sinéad O'Connor

There are moments that it's best to just shut up and listen in wonder. Trouble Of The World, Sinéad O'Connor's new single, is such a song. Not that much happens, no, it is the fact that so little happens that makes the song so impressive. A modernised gospel song was my guess listening to it for the first time. It turns out to be a traditional made famous by Mahalia Jackson. O'Connor's version is an undercooled affair, more atmosphere than music, a low humming choir instead of the exuberant church choirs of the U.S. baptists churches. Although it starts with a piano in the intro, the instrument is traded in for atmospherics soon. Sinéad O'Connor no longer is a young woman but manages to impress me almost as much as with her introduction in my life with 'Troy'. In the video clip she makes a clear statement concerning the trouble of the world she sees right now. Black Lives Matter.


Buy Another Gun. Thelonius Monster

Thelonius Monster, wasn't that the guy who, totally drunk, climbed the stage of Pinkpop and subsequently did not fall, but managed to kill his career instead? Yes, Bob Forrest is the name and come 2020 he is back with a single that holds a nice pop melody but also some prickly guitar playing that is quite infectuous. I remember listening to the album with the minor 90s hit single on it, but can't remember much, except that it didn't impress me. With Buy Another Gun, Thelonius Monster taps into a few wells, including the end of 'I'm The Walrus', 90s alternative rock, 80s punk funk guitar playing and pop music in general. The combination may sound rather weird but this song works. The verses remind me of another song that I can't get my finger around but also leaves me soon enough. Overall a good score for a come back.


In and Out. The Vices

The second band the new Rotterdam based label Mattan Records signed is the band The Vices, a Groningen based band. In And Out is a song that is infectuous, the kind I will play a few times in a row, to enjoy it, to get to know it better and better, to start singing along, to dance to. In And Out starts in a nice bare way. Just drums and bass. Slowly the song is fleshed out, building towards the climax that dutifully ends the song. The tightness of the playing is just right, while allowing for the melodic vocal melody. The result is a nice alternative pop song of which there are many but a song like In And Out is always welcome. It certainly makes me curious what a whole album will sound like. We have to be patient until March.


Can't Talk, Won't. Coach Party

A band from the Isle of Wight? Level 42, an early 00s band with an extremely long name I can't remember and now Coach Party. According to the bio this is one of the upcoming bands in the U.K. and I can imagine why. This song holds the sort of energy that will jump over to everyone enjoying a good pop rock song. Yes, don't be surprised when a name like Wolf Alice comes by but have I ever heard that band rock this hard? U.S. label Rum Bar Records could have released this song, were it not that the average age of the band members of Coach Party is 30 years off for that label. The element of garage rock, 60s pop and powerpop is all contained in Can't Talk, Won't. The lyric "wanna die, wanna die, wanna die" is a bit disconcerting usually, but not when there's s much joy flying around as this single is sharing with the world. I just love it, can't help it, won't.


Falling. Lucas Hamming

It has been quiet around Lucas Hamming for a while. Being no stranger to this blog, I am happy to have the Dutch artist back on these pages. With Falling he returns with an extremely poppy melody that holds elements of neo-folk in the way of singing and parts of the chorus. The verses are more alternative with hints to the 80s. More funky also. The result is a song that is hard to forget. Hear it once and I assure you to be singing "stopping us from running / falling" all day. Falling is a nice ear worm that can't but help to settle in your brain. An ideal single, clocking just under three minutes, with enough pop elements, without sounding forced for one second. Something the song he is know best for, until recently, 'Never Let You Down', was. Falling ought to take that place fast. It simply is too good not to. Progression that's called.


Coup de Grâce. PXPRS

There are some similarities with 'Can't Talk, Won't', reviewed above. PXPRS also has a female singer and a truckload of guitars and energy. More punky and electronic because of the voice's treatment. The Bristol band around singer Nikki Thomas is without mercy alright. Despite the fact the song has an intermezzo, a lull, the impression I end up with is 3 minutes and some of onslaught on my eardrums, unrelenting energy and noise entering my brain. Even up to a point that I wonder if there's a song below all the energy poured out over me. There is, an elementary one that is repeated over and over. "Can you take it"?, is the question being asked over and over. Yes, easily but not every day of week please, let alone once an hour. This is the kind of song that allows for blowing off steam. Use it with care as there's so much energy involved.


Everything Everyone / The Next Day. Field Day

Can you believe it? There's a band from Boston that is not on Rum Bar Records. Listening to Field Day it is easy to hear why the band is not on that label. The music relates to 90s bands like Buffalo Tom and The Lemonheads and not 60s garage rock. The singing between Joan Anderman and Dan Zedek, also the guitarists of the band, is one of the charms on Everything Everyone, showing light and dark between them when they observe, slightly regretting it, that everyone changes. At least that is what the mood of the song seems to suggest.

The Next Day is a darker song, tighter and having a mild The Velvet Underground undertone in the chugging rhythm. Anderman is the principal singer here. She sings with a darker tone to her voice, making The Next Day more urgent than the other side of the single. If I had to make a choice I know where my bet would lay. The Next Day is an excellent song, that I can listen to for a long time should I have to. It comes with a nice elementary guitar solo, reminding me of 'What Goes On'. I had never heard of Field Day before. The introduction is certainly agreeable and making me look forward to hear more in the future.


Lazy Day. John Cale

Interesting that, totally coincidental, John Cale was next on my list to listen to. Of course Cale once was a The Velvet Underground member, thrown out by Lou Reed, to cooperate again for a short while after the death of Andy Warhol, in the early and mid-90s. The only thing missing was enough time to produce a new album together as The Velvet Underground. Now at 77 Cale comes up with a new single. Lazy Day is a sort of forced affair. An attempt to sound modern, to honour David Bowie perhaps, the song drags itself forward, like an old man. I have a hard time finding something positive to write on Lazy Day, I'm afraid. Except for one thing. I think it's great that Cale is still active and shares his work with the world and that I hope he will be for as long as he can. So I do not really care for Lazy Day. That can change with the next song easily. Lazy Day however has been taken to literally in my ears.


I Don't Read Your Papers Anymore. People In Houses

I Don't Read Your Papers Anymore starts with a light sound of acoustic instruments, introducing a singer-songwriter / folk song. The dark voice that sets in surprised me, as it was far darker than I expected based on the intro. It is the only factor taking away from the neo-folk that People In Houses presents in this song (and a little CSN&Y in the harmonies). The trumpet solo almost makes the song exuberant, but that it is not. The song is subdued and modest. This does not prevent the musicians to show what they can do and that is a lot. People In Houses is a band from Belgium, Ghent to be precise. The members play many different instruments but all acoustic and that shows on I Don't Read Your Papers Anymore. The kind of song that allows the listener to truly listen and hear all the great details People In Houses have added to the song. A nice introduction to the band, this single was.

Wo.


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

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

vrijdag 23 oktober 2020

Bogland. Nouveau Vélo

And another alternative rock band from Amsterdam, in The Netherlands. What is it they have in the water over there? Perceivably it is dance, beats, EDM, rap and trance that is going on in this country (not on this blog, obviously), in the underground young people are playing guitars, bass, drums and sometimes a keyboard to boot. Nouveau Vélo is a nice addition to the row of bands that have reached me in the past few years.

This band can be labelled in the category alternative rock with a clear sound and a knack for pop melodies. Often a nice place to be in my book. Whether the tempo is higher or slower the clearness of the sound is always the basis. The influences can go back all the way to Dion & the Belmonts or Del Shannon and everything in between 1962 and 2020 where a good pop song based on guitar playing is concerned. On the one hand The Cure is always close by but Nouveau Vélo doesn't let itself fall into that early 80s doom trap that easily. For that there's too much light let into Bogland. No risk of being sucked into the bog here.

A crisp snare drum accompanies the opening and title song Bogland. Start listening more closely and several components reveal themselves. A bass that supports the song by playing little melodies over and over. The clear guitar is the most ear-catching instrument for most of the song(s). Not so much playing rhythm as a repetitive melodic lines. Yes, The Byrds and R.E.M. style. In between there is a very elementary piano, more single note than a chord. Over this all a second guitar vacuums the space and fills all the holes in the sound. All the singer has to do is sing, but I'm almost of mind to state that the voice is just an addition, not the main feature of the song.

This doesn't change in song number two. 'Matryoska' speeds up the tempo, female harmony vocals are added. The clear, open sound remains. It is easy to state that Nouveau Vélo is a typical Excelsior band and yes, I can along with this statement up to some extend. Because of that high, crisp sound Nouveau Vélo does create its own sound. And of course it is possible to point to a host of bands having (had) this sound. I like it here on Bogland, where the band's previous records could not impress me. Something has changed since 2017.

Without sounding retro for a moment, the band weaves the past into its songs. So just as easily I hear faint traces of The Passions' 'I'm In Love With A German Film Star' as R.E.M. in 'Shackles'. The 10s enter in 'Statue', that would have been one of the best songs of The Maccabees. The spaciousness in the mix gives both songs a modernness that fits a band playing in the 20s. In doing so Bogland adds to past experiences not only by tickling an old fancy but by providing new songs that are nice to know and have. Rolf Hupkes, Bart Haverkort and Niek Leenders clearly are on to something. Incorporate close to 60 years of popular music and you have Bogland.

Wo.


You can buy Bogland here:

https://shop.excelsior-recordings.com/products/nouveau-velo-bogland


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

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

donderdag 22 oktober 2020

Northern Songs. The Asteroid No.4

With a band name like The Asteroid No.4 I expect to hear psychedelia and that is what I get on Northern Songs. Now Northern Songs is not just any name. Look underneath the title of most songs released by The Beatles and you will read Northern Songs, the name of the band's music publishing company. As The Beatles is a universe of its own, there's no sense to compare here. The Asteroid No.4 stands its own ground though.

The Asteroid No.4 has featured in two of the single round ups I did this summer. My conclusion following 'Swiss Mountain Myth', "anyone looking for a good dose of psych does not have to look any further", can easily be repeated. On its tenth album the San Francisco based band takes its listeners through a magical mystery tour, bringing all sorts of psych history into the present. What is missing is San Francisco's greatest, Jefferson Airplane and Grateful Dead.

The band obviously loves the sound of The Byrds. In the title song a Rickenbacker and Jim (Roger) McGuinn's singing is all over the song. The 60s pop element is so high here. If released then, comments at the time may well have been that the song is a too obvious copy, 54 years down the line 'Northern Song' is very welcome. It is not just nostalgic pleasure, it is good, including the wavy harmonies. The mix between solid pop and ethereal psychedelia just exactly right.

Promo photo: Kari Deveraux
What is kind of brave, is that the track selection on Northern Songs is the other way around as I would have made it. The more heavy tracks, in the sense of less easily accessible, come first and the more 60s pop laden songs with psychedelic under and over tones come in from the middle part of the album.

Yes, there are lines with modern psych bands, of course, The Black Angels, Dutch band PAUW (where did they go?) and many others. For some more recent bands I started noticing a little psych fatigue. Not so for The Asteroid No.4. So does it have to do with the quality of the songs on offer? It seems so because I'm totally happy listening to Northern Songs. The album is varied, has some great tracks on it and yes, if I wanted to I could go totally out of my mind. Why should I when the music is this good? No need to run from anything here. Northern Songs is a great psych album. So let me repeat once more: If you're looking for a psych album, you can stop looking. I've found it for you.

Wo.


You can Listen to and order Northern Songs here:

https://theasteroidno4.bandcamp.com/album/northern-songs-2


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

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g

woensdag 21 oktober 2020

EDO/EKEI. Logout

Logout first found its way to these pages with a record called N91°. Logout's new album's title is less mysterious. At least for those able to read and understand Greek. Reading capital letters I come a long way in reading, which helps when driving e.g., not where it comes to understanding. EDO/EKEI translates into Here/There, a title that could perhaps be understood in the context of the immigrant, as Logout is a Greek living in Amsterdam. An immigrant is always someone who lives in between the here and there, sometimes caught in the middle of those two worlds.

With EDO/EKEI Logout again makes a subdued album. Don't expect any great exuberant statements from this artist. His lyrics, all in his mother tongue, are long drawn out, accompanied by slow playing on keyboards and some vague percussion that at times almost seems more intent on derailing the meandering synths than really add to the whole. Something that gets noticed, despite being soft and, in essence, non-obtrusive. A paradoxic as it may sound, this is the effect it has on me.

EDO/EKEI overall has a soothing effect on me. Stripping it all down, my take is that Logout has written traditional Greek songs, that I could have heard over there with all the traditional Greek instruments in place. From that moment on he has stripped everything, maybe only mentally, traditional and started to craft his own take on traditional Greek sounds with the aid of his keyboards and synthesizers. The result is a totally new kind of traditional Greek songs, the kind that makes the country ready for a new musical era.

Despite the fact that I can only pick out a word here or there, it is not hard to connect to the songs. For that to happen EDO/EKEI presents the right moods. The melancholy mood and the slow moving music creating that mood suck me into the album and invite me to listen to all the small changes taking place. No, I will not play this album on a daily basis, but certainly on a regular basis.

After reviewing Greek artists and bands by way of the Athens based Inner Ear Records label in the past two years, now I'm listening to Greek songs through the Dutch Tiny Room Records label. And why not? In the E.U. borders do not really exist any more. Simply a good thing and not just in music. EDO/EKEI and Logout underscore that quite nicely.

Wo.


You can listen to and order EDO/EKEI here:

https://tinyroomrecords.bandcamp.com/album/-



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

https://open.spotify.com/user/glazu53/playlist/6R9FgPd2btrMuMaIrYeCh6?si=KI6LzLaAS5K-wsez5oSO2g