maandag 26 oktober 2020

Your Face Is Weird. Geoff Palmer & Lucy Ellis

Would Your Face Is Weird ever had happened without the Covid pandemic? As Geoff Palmer writes "2020 is cancelled", so my guess is, probably not. There are good things coming out of 2020 anyway. It is possible to make records while never meeting, sending recordings via the Internet for the other to add to and finish up. That is what happened between Boston and London, between Geoff Palmer and Lucy Ellis.

The collaboration was inspired by the song 'In Spite Of Ourselves' by the late John Prine, a Covid victim by the way. Geoff Palmer always wanted to sing it but needed a female partner and found it in Lucy Ellis, formerly of Australian band The Spazzys and The Rats in the U.K. The one song led to two, that makes a 45 RPM and that to eight songs in all. Four originals and four covers. Listen to 'In Spite Of Ourselves' before any other song on this album and you know what good idea this combination is from the very start. It sounds so extremely positive. A new duo is born, as this ought never be the last we hear of them together.

On Your Face Is Weird the duo, assisted by drummer Zach Sprague, aims for the pearley gates of pure pop. There's an element of country in there, of course when John Prine is covered, but for the rest it is as if The Bangles are joined by a male singer and have lost its sugar coating, that usually irked me, in the process. Just listen to Kirsty MacColl's 'They Don't Know'. This combination works really well. Bye, bye Tracy Ullman. Who needs her when you have Palmer and Ellis? Pure pop heaven 'They Don't Know' is.

The suave singing of 'I'll Never Fall In Love Again' by Tom Jones may be a bit hard for Geoff Palmer to achieve. This is not the case when Lucy Ellis takes over. Her girl like vocals totally changes the song, just like the addition of the organ does. Again a very well done cover version. And a surprising one at that, because what rocker burns his finger on a Tom Jones song?

In as far as compensation is needed 'Crash Of The Music' delivers just that. This staunch, tight rock song rips itself through the two previous, softer songs' impressions. Rocking like there's no tomorrow is a good thing in times when all doses of rock has to be taken in the home. 'Crash Of The Music' provides alright. What a joyous song it is.

Your Face Is Weird is only eight songs long/short. It is a fantastically optimistic record in a time when there are not so much places to find it. Especially for those having a hard time finding it at home. Geoff Palmer & Lucy Ellis share the joy they had in making the record with the world, thanks to the "yes" of their record labels to release the album. Great decision Rum Bar and Stardumb!

Wo.

You can order the cd and listen to Your Face Is Weird here:

https://rumbarrecords.bandcamp.com/album/your-face-is-weird

or as 10" LP here:

https://www.stardumbrecords.com/products/geoff-palmer-lucy-ellis-your-face-is-weird-10


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

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

dinsdag 20 oktober 2020

Fake It Flowers. beabadoobee

Moving from a serious alternative rocker to a dreamy adolescent is a piece of cake for beabadoobee or singer-singwriter Beatrice Laus from London, with roots in the Philippines. It has already been mentioned often how the only 20 years old singer moves into 90s alternative music. For me that is only half of the story.

Yes, I can point to how the influence of the ballad side of Smashing Pumpkins can be heard in a song like 'Horen Sarrison'. '1979' isn't far away here and give me beabadoobee's voice in a song like this any time. That isn't explanation enough in my ears. 'Horen Sarrison' shows a totally different side to this artist, where even Massive Attack can be pointed to in the singing. It shows the musical richness of Fake It Flowers.

I have come to understand that beabadoobee is presented as one of the saviours of alternative rock or at least one of the major talents in that segment of (rock) music. That is a step too far. Perhaps some of the bands dwelling in this country have not been noticed yet, Global Charming, to mention just one. Again, Fake It Flowers is too varied to be pushed into alternative rock. The record holds ballads, singer-songwriter songs as well. In other words this is a singer presenting herself to the world in a few guises, showing that in the future she can tread into many directions. Even a 90s lo-fi singer-songwriter ('How Was Your Day?'), something that ironically is a niche in music that has become redundant. Everyone who saves a few hundred dollars can buy professional digital equipment and record hi-fi.

Press Shot: Callum Harrison
The album opens in the way I had expected reading on beabadoobee before having heard a note. 'Care' and 'Worth It' sucked me into the album straight away. Yes, part sentiment for the music that were part of my personal third musical wave, one that sort of continues to this day with an album like Fake It Flowers. The charm of 'Care' is that it contains the art of not overdoing things. There's not a grungy Seattle guitar within earshot. Above the solid drumming are instruments with light touches and a girl singing like a girl over it all and not like a angry, drunken fish wife (Courtney had her charms for sure). When the pedal is pushed towards or even into the red, yes, it happens as well on this album, then it is still the girl singing. The result are songs that have lightness within them, coming close to Veruca Salt's 'Eight Arms To Hold You'. Songs that hold a nice element of pop within them, without shielding it, like Nirvana was a master at.

It is when beabadoobee takes a turn towards other kind of songs Fake It Flowers starts to give away some of its surprises, as I did not see that turn coming when starting to the album for the first time and to be honest, they still surprise me every once in a while. Often an artist gets slammed for having two such different faces, here it adds to the charm of Fake It Flowers.

So, Fake It Flowers may not be the saviour of alternative rock, for more than one reason, it is an album by a young artist that shows a lot of potential. beabadoobee may be able to surprise the world some more in the years to come, as she doesn't let herself be caught in one corner.

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

maandag 19 oktober 2020

In This Moment. Polly Scattergood

Polly Scattergood is toe aan haar derde album en het is een bijzonder indrukwekkend album met een opvallend vol en veelkleurig geluid en zang die overloopt van emotie en urgentie.
 
 
De naam Polly Scattergood vergeet je niet snel, maar haar muziek was ik eerlijk gezegd alweer uit het oog verloren. Het zal niet snel gebeuren met haar nieuwe album, want In This Moment is een indrukwekkend album met een groots aangezette instrumentatie vol dynamiek, met indringende zang en met songs die zowel ruimte bieden aan donkere wolken als aan zonnestralen. Het is een album dat in eerste instantie overweldigend over zal komen, maar dat ook vol subtiele wendingen zit. Polly Scattergood associeerde ik altijd al met talent en belofte en met In This Moment maakt ze dit meer dan waar.

In This Moment is het derde album van de Britse singer-songwriter Polly Scattergood. Haar vorige twee albums, het in 2009 verschenen titelloze debuut en de in 2013 verschenen opvolger Arrows, heb ik destijds absoluut beluisterd, maar de albums zijn me eerlijk gezegd niet bijgebleven. Aan de andere kant is de naam Polly Scattergood voor mij verbonden met talent en belofte, waardoor ik direct nieuwsgierig was naar haar nieuwe album, dat deze week is verschenen.

Ik heb niet meer de moeite genomen om de eerste twee albums van de Britse muzikante nog eens te beluisteren, maar was eigenlijk onmiddellijk onder de indruk van In This Moment. Het album opent direct zeer ambitieus met het ruim zeven minuten durende Red, dat opent met piano en zang, maar vervolgens steeds verder wordt opgetuigd met percussie, strijkers en elektronica. Het heeft direct wat beklemmends en bezwerends, wat nog eens wordt versterkt door de indringende zang van Polly Scattergood, die qua voordracht wel wat heeft van Tori Amos en Kate Bush, maar is voorzien van een toegankelijker en donkerder stemgeluid.

De openingstrack van het derde album van de Britse muzikante is prachtig opgebouwd. Polly Scattergood creëert onmiddellijk een donkere sfeer, die prachtig wordt uitgebouwd met de aanzwellende instrumentatie. Het is een track die zeker niet alleen vertrouwt op de kracht van donkere wolken, want de door piano en strijkers gedomineerde intermezzo’s zorgen voor veel dynamiek.

De ruim zeven minuten durende openingstrack geeft een goed beeld van het nieuwe geluid van Polly Scattergood. Het is een geluid dat keer op keer prachtig is ingekleurd, waarbij dramatiek en bombast geen moment uit de weg worden gegaan. Het vraagt wat van de zang van Polly Scattergood, maar de Britse singer-songwriter houdt zich verrassend makkelijk staande en voegt nog wat extra drama en bezwering toe aan het bij vlagen zeer rijk georkestreerde en overweldigende geluid.

Red is de langste en meest ambitieuze track op het album, maar het recept van de track komt telkens terug en wordt steeds weer verfijnd. In de tweede track speelt percussie een wat belangrijkere rol en worden de bijdragen van strijkers en elektronica in de vorm van soundscapes gegoten, waarna Polly Scattergood als een duistere middeleeuwse priesteres haar teksten prevelt. Andere tracks worden gedomineerd door donkere elektronische klanken en een wat beklemmende sfeer, maar Polly Scattergood vertrouwt ook regelmatig op haar piano voor fraaie ballads met subtiele elektronische versiersels.

Het is ver verwijderd van de veel lichtvoetigere muziek die Polly Scattergood in mijn herinnering in het verleden maakte, maar het is keer op keer prachtig en indrukwekkend. Steeds weer staan zwaar aangezette en meer subtiele klanken tegenover elkaar en steeds weten ze elkaar te versterken.

In This Moment zou zomaar de soundtrack kunnen zijn van een film of serie kunnen zijn, want de nieuwe muziek van Polly Scattergood beschikt absoluut over beeldende kracht, waarbij zowel donkere als kleurigere tinten aan bod komen. Het is het resultaat van pieken en dalen in het leven van Polly Scattergood, die de hectiek van de Britse samenleving verruilde voor de rust van de woestijn van Fuerteventura, maar die ook voor het eerst moeder werd. Het komt allemaal samen op een album dat bijna 50 minuten indruk maakt met songs die je heen en weer sleuren tussen diverse emoties en bijbehorende klanken. Al met al een zeer indrukwekkend album van Polly Scattergood.
 
Erwin Zijleman
 

Je kunt In This Moment hier bestellen:

https://polly-scattergood.tmstor.es/


of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:

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

 

zondag 18 oktober 2020

New Truth. Jenny O.

De vijver met jonge vrouwelijke singer-songwriters is momenteel overvol, maar het fraaie nieuwe album van de uit Los Angeles afkomstige Jenny O. zou ik er zeker uit vissen.

New Truth van de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter Jenny O. is een album dat, zeker met de zomerse temperaturen van de afgelopen zomer, makkelijk verleidt. De arrangementen zijn fraai, de instrumentatie is verzorgd en veelkleurig en Jenny O. beschikt over een stem waarvoor ik alleen maar kan smelten. New Truth staat ook nog eens vol met heerlijk lome en zonnige popliedjes, die makkelijk verleiden, maar die je ook nieuwsgierig maken naar alle verrassingen die de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter in haar muziek heeft verstopt. Ik had het bijna over het hoofd gezien (net als haar vorige albums), maar dit is voor mij een album om te koesteren.

Jenny O. is het alter ego van de vanuit Los Angeles opererende singer-songwriter Jennifer Anne Ognibene (ik begrijp de keuze voor een alter ego wel). Het deze week verschenen New Truth is al het vierde album van de Californische muzikante en het is een album dat me uitstekend bevalt. De muziek van Jenny O. is immers heerlijk loom en zit vol met de zonnestralen die in Californische popmuziek nooit ver weg zijn, waardoor het album het uitstekend doet in zomerse tijden.

Als jonge vrouwelijke singer-songwriter in het indie-segment heeft Jenny O. momenteel talloze concurrenten, maar New Truth viel me, ondanks het enorme aanbod in het segment, onmiddellijk op. Jenny O. is een geschoold jazzmuzikante, die op haar nieuwe album een zeer goed gevoel voor memorabele popliedjes etaleert. New Truth staat vol met zeer aantrekkelijke popliedjes, die zich aangenaam tegen je aan vleien en direct een goed gevoel geven. Het zijn warm klinkende popliedjes die zich over het algemeen langzaam voortslepen, maar Jenny O. brengt absoluut voldoende variatie aan in haar muziek en niet alleen door te variëren met het tempo.

De songs op New Truth vallen stuk voor stuk op door zeer smaakvolle arrangementen en een hele mooie instrumentatie, waarin met name het gitaarwerk van een bijzondere schoonheid is, maar waarin ook op fraaie wijze organische en elektronische klanken worden gecombineerd. Het gitaarwerk varieert van zonnig en uitbundig tot licht melancholisch en subtiel en kan zowel prachtig uitwaaien als licht gruizig klinken. Het kleurt keer op keer prachtig bij de wat meisjesachtige zang van Jenny O., die af en toe wel wat aan Juliana Hatfield doet denken, maar wel wat warmer klinkt, het zal de Californische touch zijn.

Het is een stem waarvan je moet houden, maar ik hou er absoluut van. Persoonlijk vind ik de stem van Jenny O. zelfs het sterkste wapen op New Truth, al word ik ook steeds weer verrast door de bijzonder smaakvolle instrumentatie en de sterke songs. Ook qua invloeden is New Truth van Jenny O. een verrassend veelzijdig album. De singer-songwriter uit Los Angeles vindt aansluiting bij de jonge vrouwelijke indie-rock helden van het moment, maar kan ook uit de voeten met indie-folk. Hier blijft het niet bij, want New Truth schuift ook af en toe op richting psychedelische popmuziek, flirt hier en daar voorzichtig met new age of klinkt juist jazzy.

Alle onderdelen van de muziek van Jenny O. krijgen een uitstekend rapportcijfer, maar de som der delen scoort nog beter. Jenny O. sluit met haar muziek aan op vele soortgenoten, maar ze slaagt er wat mij betreft glansrijk in om een eigen geluid neer te zetten. Het is een geluid dat nagenoeg perfect aansluit op mijn muzieksmaak, waardoor New Truth maar voorbij blijft komen deze dagen.

Dat is ook wel wat confronterend, want hoewel ik het idee heb dat ik de ontwikkelingen binnen de muziek uitstekend bij houdt, zeker wanneer het gaat om vrouwelijke singer-songwriters, heb ik de vorige drie albums van Jenny O. compleet gemist en is het wel oppikken van New Truth een toevalstreffer. Het is een toevalstreffer die ik niet graag had gemist, want Jenny O. zou met dit album zomaar hoge ogen kunnen gooien in mijn jaarlijstje.
 

Erwin Zijleman


Je kunt hier luisteren naar New Truth en het album bestellen:

https://jennyo.bandcamp.com/album/new-truth

 

of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:

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

 

zaterdag 17 oktober 2020

Boots No. 2, The Lost Songs, Vol. 1. / All The Good Times. Gillian Welch & Dave Rawlings

Gillian Welch neemt een duik in haar archieven en levert met Dave Rawlings ook nog eens een intiem lockdown album af, wat in één klap twee geweldige Gillian Welch albums oplevert.
 

Ik volg het nieuws rond Gillian Welch kennelijk niet zo goed, want het samen met Dave Rawlings gemaakte All The Good Times is me twee weken geleden ontgaan. Ik kwam het album op het spoor door de release van de verzameling restmateriaal op Boots No. 2, dat weer onderdeel blijkt van een nog dit jaar te completeren trilogie. Het zijn in kwantitatief opzicht goede tijden voor de liefhebbers van de muziek van Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings en ook in kwalitatief opzicht valt er niets te klagen. Beide albums bevatten vooral sober ingekleurde songs met de zo herkenbare stemmen van het tweetal uit Nashville. Bij elkaar anderhalf uur smullen van de unieke muziek van Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings en er is nog veel meer op komst. 

Er is de afgelopen 15 jaar veel gesproken over de vermeende writer’s block van Gillian Welch, maar deze zou inmiddels wel erg lang duren en bovendien is er nooit bewijs voor aangedragen. Het lijkt er op dat de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter en haar partner Dave Rawlings vooral erg kritisch zijn op hun werk. 

We moeten daarom blij zijn met alles dat wel komt en dus werd ik een week of twee geleden aangenaam verrast door de aankondiging van de release van Boots No. 2, The Lost Songs, Vol. 1. Het is de opvolger van Boots No. 1, The Official Revival Bootleg uit 2016 dat restmateriaal bevatte van de sessies die uiteindelijk haar debuut Revival uit 1996 opleverden.

Het voegde vijf kwartier interessante muziek toe aan het oeuvre van Gillian Welch en daar komt met Boots No. 2 nog eens drie kwartier bij. En er zit nog veel meer in het vat, want Boots No. 2 is pas het eerste deel met “lost songs”. De overige twee delen verschijnen als het goed is de komende maanden, zodat 2020 zomaar een prachtig jaar voor de liefhebbers van Gillian Welch lijkt te worden.

Het wordt nog mooier, want toen ik het album opzocht op de bandcamp pagina van de singer-songwriter uit Nashville, Tennessee, zag ik daar ook All The Good Times staan. Het is een album van Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings dat een paar weken geleden uit het niets werd uitgebracht en waar ik nog niets over ben tegengekomen. Het maakte de aangename verrassing nog wat groter.

Goed, eerst Boots No. 2, The Lost Songs, Vol. 1. Het is net als Boots No. 1 een album dat gevuld is met restmateriaal en dit keer gaat het om restmateriaal dat stamt uit de eerste jaren van het huidige millennium, waarin Gillian Welch twee prachtige albums uitbracht, Time (The Revelator) uit 2001 en Soul Journey uit 2003. Boots No. 2, The Lost Songs. Vol. 1 bevat restmateriaal uit deze periode en het is restmateriaal dat varieert van demo’s tot opgenomen songs die uiteindelijk net de albums niet haalden.

De meeste songs op het album zijn sober. Akoestische gitaar en zang vormen de belangrijkste bestanddelen van de meeste songs op het album, hier en daar aangevuld met prachtig ander snarenwerk van Dave Rawlings. Het is sober, maar het is ook vanaf de eerste noten het uit duizenden herkenbare Gillian Welch geluid, die uitstekend uit de voeten kan met sobere klanken.

Time (The Revelator) is mijn favoriete Gillian Welch album en ook het restmateriaal uit de vroege jaren 00 bevalt me uitstekend. Het snarenwerk is sober maar ook warm en de stem van Gillian Welch is er een waarvoor ik nog altijd makkelijk smelt. Boots No. 2 bevalt me nog wat beter dan zijn voorganger en dan is er ook nog het vooruitzicht dat we nog twee delen tegoed hebben. Het is een prachtig vooruitzicht.
 
En dan is er dus ook nog All The Good Times, dat volgens de cover All The Good Times Are Past And Gone heet. Het is een album dat Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings opnamen tijdens de corona lockdown. Het met eenvoudige middelen opgenomen album bevat 10 songs en het zijn allemaal covers of bewerkingen van traditionals.
 
Ook dit keer moeten we het doen met fraai snarenwerk en de stemmen van Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings, die elkaar afwisselen en bovendien tekenen voor geweldige harmonieën.

De songs van onder andere Bob Dylan en John Prine en de door Dave Rawlings en Gillian Welch bewerkte traditionals worden stuk voor stuk voorzien van het unieke stempel van het tweetal uit Nashville en vormen een wat weemoedige maar bijzonder fraaie soundtrack van het leven in corona tijd.

All The Good Times klinkt meestal nog wat ruwer dan het restmateriaal van Boots No. 2, maar het pakt geweldig uit, al is het maar omdat de stemmen van Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings in een sobere muzikale setting alleen maar krachtiger worden.

We kunnen het nog lang hebben over de writer’s block van Gillian Welch, maar met vier albums in een jaar tijd hebben we natuurlijk niets te klagen. Ik teer al vele jaren op al het moois dat Gillian Welch in het verleden maakte, maar ben heel blij met al dit nieuwe werk, dat nog maar eens de unieke talenten van Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings onderstreept.
 
Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt beide albums hier beluisteren en bestellen:

 
 

of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:

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

 

 

 

vrijdag 16 oktober 2020

Memory & Desire. Lauren Mann

With two great new singles under her belt, Lauren Mann's new album Memory & Desire is a much anticipated album for me. Having listened to it now on a few occasions I can only state: mission accomplished by Lauren Mann. Memory & Desire is an album that is a joy to listen to and a step forward for the Canadian singer-songwriter.

My introduction to Lauren Mann went by way of an album that was posted for free on a website I used to frequent. With her band The Fairly Odd Folks, she made pleasant songs that were nicely varied. In hindsight, her previous album, 'Desire', seemed to miss something. Perhaps the best described as a loss in the joy of creating and playing music. If anything that joy is back on her new album.

The album's lyrics may focus on loss, the grief over that loss and a longing for change, the power of the music is fully felt. This is music lived through and passed on to anyone willing to listen to it. "Dear Forever", is one of the songs that show how deep the musical prowess of this album reaches for. Layer after layer of instruments are added, making the song more beautiful by the note. This is a song that deserves to be heard on a global level as it holds everything that makes the song of a good singer-songwriter. Melody, singing, fantastic arrangement, surprises, they all come by. As an aside, I keep hearing "tears forever", but then when a love is truly lasting it will bring tears to one's eyes regularly from sheer happiness and fond memories. The long and lasting emotions felt during the span of a lifetime. In that sense my ears match the title and theme of 'Dear Forever'.

What makes Memory & Desire so interesting, is that there is no predicting what comes next. Lauren Mann has stepped away from her first instrument of choice, the piano. Yes, there are piano songs and you may hear the instrument in the songs, but in several just as one of the others. In 'Missing You' the acoustic guitar is leading, in 'Waves' it is atmospheric keyboards and Lauren Mann overdubbing herself. I could have given a few other examples at that. It results in a so much more varied album, including several extremely pleasant surprises, giving the album a depth and mystery. An element that makes me want to listen again and again.

With Memory & Desire Lauren Mann moves up a league, while showing the potential to take on the top of present singer-songwriter and folk musicians. With her new album she has delivered an album containing an enormously consistent quality and one that I will be playing for a while. There will remain so much left to discover over the coming weeks and months. Simply because nothing is obvious in the ten new songs. The moods can change, like in the piano song 'Galaxies'. A darker mood rules where in another song sprightly ripples are released on the listener. Please go on and listen for yourself. It is time for you to learn about Lauren Mann's music.

Wo.


You can listen to and order Memory & Desire here:

https://laurenmannmusic.bandcamp.com/album/memory-desire-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

donderdag 15 oktober 2020

The Hollow Of Humdrum. Red Rum Club

Who and what is Red Rum Club? The reason I ask this question is not to provide you with a direct answer, though I may get to that later. No it is to put focus on the way this band manages to incorporate Britpop of the years 1993 to 2010 and a little in such a successful way that I am under the impression that the best songwriters of the decade got together to start a band, including their powers of songwriting skills and inspiration from their respective hey days. The Hollow Of Humdrum in that sense is a near perfect album.

Enthusiasm, exuberance, force, joy, power all ooze out of this album. For those not getting the message, there's also something totally different going on. Red Rum Club sports a high-sounding, almost mariachi trumpet to lift up its songs in a way that I haven't heard since I fell for such a trumpet in the opening song of TMGS' 'Rivers And Coastlines: The Ride', 'Tell Everyone'. The trumpet has the same exuberant effect on me in the opening songs of The Hollow Of Humdrum. Here the trumpet even has the role of the lead guitar. That and more is what is on offer.

So what is Red Rum Club? A six person band from Liverpool that has absorbed all music coming through that city for the past half a century and more. It started as a five piece and was struggling to get attention, until a chance meeting with trumpet player Joe Corby, in, almost to good to be true, Liverpool's Cavern Club. Listening to his playing on The Hollow Of Humdrum, I can imagine his sound was the missing piece of the puzzle. The band released the album 'Matador' in 2019, that passed me by at the time, but is on my list of having to hear. Red Rum Club is supposed to be a force on stage. I can only take that on their word. As soon as it's safe again and the band comes over, be sure I will be there.

Manic Street Preachers, Kaiser Chiefs, Supergrass, just to name a few bands and imagine their, best, up tempo songs, fuelled to the brim with extra energy and then a trumpet going all out over these songs. This is what Red Rum Club offers the listeners. "It's time to move your feet", Fran Doran sings in 'Ballerino'. It seems to be main message on this album. There's no need to be a ballerino to move those feet. This party music takes care of automotion of the body. I love the way the rhythm simply pulses over and over, charging the mind into movement.

Press shot

The surprise of the album is 'Favourite Record'. The mood goes down and Canadian band Half Moon Run comes into earshot. Red Rum Club shows that it is not afraid to play a slow, reflective song, including the line holding the album's title. 'Favourite Record' works.

What I will admit to, is that this level of energy is a bit much for a whole album. On the other hand a song like 'Dorado' brings such a huge smile to my face and I'm seven songs into the ten song album. Again the rhythm is so tight. Neil Dawson's drumming is high-powered and fierce. The basslines of Simon Hepworth are so much in sync that it's almost like Siamese twins are playing together. The two guitarists, Michael McDermott and Tom Williams provide the rest of the big sound 'Dorado' has. Over all this Corby's trumpet can do whatever it likes. And does, believe me.

The Hollow Of Humdrum is a perfect introduction to Red Rum Club. Looking back over time it has the same impact on me as 'Employment' by Kaiser Chiefs had on me in 2005. It is an excellent and charged album full of great songs with a second point of rest, 'Brando' at the right moment again. So there's nothing truly new going on here but the addition of that trumpet is simply stunning. (And do not forget to TMGS' excellent record from 2013.)

 Wo.

You can order The Hollow Of Humdrum here:

 https://redrumclub.tmstor.es/ 


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 14 oktober 2020

A Small Death. Samantha Crain

Samantha Crain keert na een aantal jaren vol tegenslag terug met een mooi en persoonlijk album, waarop ze ook haar muzikale grenzen nog eens weet te verleggen. 

Samantha Crain leek een paar jaar geleden nog op weg naar een glanzende carrière als singer-songwriter, maar een aantal auto-ongelukken gooiden roet in het eten. Na lange revalidatie is ze nu terug met A Small Death en het blijkt een bijzonder fraai album. Het is een album dat wordt gedragen door de zo karakteristieke stem van Samantha Crain en haar expressieve voordracht, maar het is ook een album dat indruk maakt met persoonlijke songs die in e meeste gevallen bijzonder fraai zijn ingekleurd en die zich zeker niet uitsluitend in het hokje folk laten duwen. We hebben er drie jaar op moeten wachten, maar A Small Death was het wachten zeker waard. 

Samantha Crain dook in 2013 op met het bijzonder fraaie Kid Face, dat terecht zeer warm werd onthaald door liefhebbers van Amerikaanse rootsmuziek. Vervolgens bleek dat ze in de voorliggende jaren ook al twee uitstekende albums had gemaakt, die alsnog de waardering kregen die ze al eerder verdienden. Een nieuwe ster in het genre leek geboren.
 
Kid Face werd in 2015 gevolgd door Under Branch And Thorn And Tree en in 2017 door You Had Me At Goodbye. Ook de opvolgers van Kid Face waren prima albums, die niet onderdeden voor de eerdere albums, maar ze kregen toch net wat minder aandacht dan het album waarmee Samantha Crain in 2013 zo opvallend opdook.

De afgelopen drie jaar was het betrekkelijk stil rond de singer-songwriter uit Shawnee, Oklahoma, en dat was niet voor niets. Haar gezondheid liet haar vanaf 2017 in de steek na een aantal (!) auto-ongelukken, die het haar lange tijd onmogelijk maakten om gitaar te spelen. Een periode van lange revalidatie en therapieën volgde, maar in het voorjaar van 2019 kon Samantha Crain weer de studio in en werd in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, de basis gelegd voor A Small Death.

De Amerikaanse singer-songwriter heeft haar nieuwe album grotendeels zelf gemaakt, want ze tekende niet alleen voor de songs, de gitaren en de zang, maar nam ook een aantal andere instrumenten en de productie van het album voor haar rekening. Uiteindelijk werd A Small Death verrijkt met de bijdragen van andere muzikanten, waardoor de relatief sobere songs op het album toch nog zijn voorzien van fraaie versiersels van onder andere bas, pedal steel, synths, accordeon en verschillende blazers.

De vorige albums van Samantha Crain ontleenden een deel van hun kracht aan de expressieve voordracht van de singer-songwriter uit Oklahoma en aan haar bijzondere stem en die stem en voordracht spreken ook op A Small Death weer zeer tot de verbeelding. Het zorgt er voor dat het album zich makkelijk weet te onderscheiden van vergelijkbare albums.

Samantha Crain heeft Indiaanse wortels (je hoort het in de voorlaatste track), maar kreeg thuis met name de Amerikaanse folk met de paplepel ingegoten. Je hoort het nog altijd in haar songs, die ook dit keer gedreven en urgent klinken en die zich ondanks de sobere instrumentatie stevig opdringen.

Samantha Crain heeft een aantal zware jaren achter de rug en dat hoor je op A Small Death, dat over de hele linie melancholisch klinkt. Op A Small Death kijkt Samantha Crain zeker niet alleen terug op de jaren van revalidatie, maar zeker ook op haar jeugd, die ook niet altijd makkelijk was. Ondanks alle ellende straalt A Small Death vooral kracht en optimisme uit.

Het album valt verder op door de veelzijdigheid. Een aantal ingetogen folksongs sluit naadloos aan op het eerdere werk van Samantha Crain, maar zeker de songs waarin blazers een belangrijke rol spelen doen ook wat jazzy aan. A Small Death experimenteert incidenteel ook nog eens met net wat steviger werk en ook dat is bij Samantha Crain in goede handen.

A Small Death is wel een album dat aandacht vraagt. Wanneer het op de achtergrond blijft er bij mij niet zo gek veel hangen, terwijl het album een enorme impact heeft wanneer je het met volledige aandacht en met de koptelefoon beluistert, waarna de bijzondere zang en de fraaie instrumentatie pas goed te horen zijn. A Small Death is al met al een waardig opvolger van de vorige albums van Samantha Crain, die nog altijd niet heel bekend is, maar inmiddels toch een mooi en indrukwekkend stapeltje albums op haar naam heeft staan. Ook dit is er weer een.
 
Erwin Zijleman
 
 
Je kunt A Small Death hier luisteren en bestellen:

https://samanthacrain.bandcamp.com/album/a-small-death

 

of luister naar onze Spotify Playlist om uit te vinden waar we over schrijven:

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

 

dinsdag 13 oktober 2020

Ten singles

How time does fly. Already two weeks gone again and time for another singles round up on WoNoBlog. So, settle in to undergo a whole host of different sorts of music that reached our digital inbox over the past few weeks. You can often, alas not always, listen simultaneously by clicking on the link to our Spotify Playlist and find out what we write about and whether you are of the same opinion. Feel free to share your thoughts as well in comments section. Settled in? Here we go.


 

Lock & Key. KnightressM1

KnightressM1 is a trio from Los Angeles, with a drummer named Rob Ahlers. Why is that of interest? In a company I own one of my colleagues has the same family name, which is special in itself considering the half a world distance between them.

Lock & Key is an extremely restless song. The drums pound away fiercely but also almost as if an instrument detached from the rest of the band. This changes in the second part of the song. An erratic guitar sears over the song played by singer Emily Palen. Her voice dominates the whole song. There's no doubt who's in control here, although I doubt whether the band has the song under control. It's more like the song controls the band. There's quite some intensity going about. The part after the short interlude creates two moods in one song. Quite striking, actually.


The Last Dive. Ethan Gold

So different. KnightressM1 and Ethan Gold may work in the same city, the difference in music and approach almost could not be wider apart. Gold has been present in this section twice before. The Last Dive cannot be more different, yes, again, though from his two previous singles, had it been opera. Anyone with some knowledge of 70s punk music will instantly recognise the beat of 'The Passenger', from Iggy Pop's 'Lust For Life' album (1977). Ethan Gold drives the song relentlessly onwards, showing a totally different side of himself. It is almost easy to forget that the main instrument is an acoustic guitar strummed extremely tight and full of rhythm. The vocal melody is another song totally, but because of the rhythm I can't suppress my inclination to sing "I'm the passenger" for one second. The surprise comes with the piano outro changing the song a little. As surprising as David Bowie being responsible for writing the music of Iggy's song.


Split 7". Avery Plains/Whipster

Popular in the punk days of old, a split single where both bands share one side. The Groningen based bands Avery Plains and Whipster share the single, their home town and Jurgen Veenstra who sings on both sides. It sounds something like cheating a little, but o.k. Avery Plains opens the single with the song 'A Song Of My Own Rising'. There are a load of guitars on the song, creating a wide sound. The song has some elements of The Smiths, certainly in the beginning. When the song flashes out some more, everything from Buffalo Tom and beyond comes by. This song is so melodically enjoyable and strong. I can't tell about today anymore but in the 90s this song would have attracted a lot of attention and simply should do so today as well.

Whipster contributes 'A Perpetual Longing'. The song is darker as Veenstra sings in a deeper register moving towards Iggy. Again there is a huge guitar but far more sober. Despite the big sound, 'A Perpetual Longing' is much more sober. This is one man on a guitar and not three or more. Where influences are concerned Whipster tends more towards the darker punk music of the 1980s. The darkness is slowly spreading over the northern hemisphere. Winter is nearing and Whipster provides the soundtrack with 'A Pertual Longing'


Sure Shine. Waltzburg

In September Nijmegen based band Waltzburg released a new single. It is a nice jittery song that just keeps on going and going. With an extremely clear sound it touches on music from decades back while vocally combining it with folk bands of the 10s, from The Lumineers to The Oh Hellos. The combination works as Sure Shine is a tremendously upbeat song. In my mind I see little children jumping up and down driving their parents mad with the energy that just keeps pouring out them. In this single though it is just fine this youthful exuberance. Like with most singles before 3 minutes and 23 seconds it is all over. But I dare you. Will you not play Sure Shine again immediately after hearing it for the first time? I bet the answer to that question is yes.


Watch Me Burn. Blood Red Shoes (feat. Alice Go)

No, this is not a new song by Blood Red Shoes but a song from the 'Get Tragic' album from last year.  Alice Go has taken her take on the song. A remix in other words. Is there a need for remixes? Not really in my book. Usually the fans are fans of a band because of how they sound and not how they could sound if they were another band or act. That said, I notice that I do like this version of Watch Me Burn, one of my favourite tracks of 'Get Tragic'. Alice Go has taken every trick of the remix book to Watch Me Burn and even added some Duran Duran 'The Reflex' like keyboard sounds. In fact this combination makes a nice hybrid of the alternative rock of Blood Red Shoes, one of my favourite bands of the past decade and the 1980 New Romantics glam.

 

Open The Door // Dance With Me. Na Noise

Another, totally unknown, to me that is, New Zealand band reached me through the newsletter of the Flying Nun record store (and label) in Auckland. I'm starting to doubt whether I'll ever set a foot there but the musical tips are a great alternative.

Open The Door is an extremely nice song, with 60s psychedelic over and under tones in the singing and mood while the guitar rocks out in a nice alternative rock style. Fans of the psych era will hear there own favourites in the song that make it so nice to listen to.

Dance With Me even delves in deeper. The Black Angels are with me in mind immediately. There's a surf rock like guitar with loads of twang on it without overdoing it. The song as a whole could have been made long ago except the way of singing would probably not have been possible at the time as here's a distinct post punk influence like Toyah or Hazel O'Connor from around 1980. When the guitar does a The Edge thing from the time of 'Boy' I'm totally transported back by Dance With Me to a long ago year.

Na Noise presents a trip down memory lane while still having a sense of urgency that makes me stay in 2020. For now I want to hear Open The Door and not something from long ago. The present works just fine for me.


Stupid Girl. Peach Kelli Pop

Allie Hanlon relocated from Ottawa in Canada to Los Angeles and found pure pop rock there to write and sing. Stupid Girl is the kind of song that has been written a million times before. Nothing spectacular goes on nor is it extremely unique or inspiring and who cares? The song presents a little over two minutes of the kind of pop that seems to come without a worry, despite the message for that girl. A darker guitar kicks in for the stupid part message and disappears again for the verses. Allie Hanlon sings in her girl like voice promising innocence from the first second. Beware of that lead guitar though, the not-so-innocent part of  Stupid Girl. It sounds more like the 2020 version of Eve, the tree, the snake and the apple, excuse me, the peach.


Sway Little Prayer. The Shang Hi Lo's

Another band from Boston made up by local musicians that will be unknown to most of the rest of the world. Jen D'Agora and Dan Kopko decided to start writing songs together and the result, Sway Little Prayer', is one the world can be grateful for. The beauty and the beast combination, where their voices are concerned, works really well in this song full of nostalgic sounds from the past, presented in 2020 hi-fi quality. Pop oozes from Sway Little Prayer like juice from a ripe, slightly squeezed orange. The tight drums and bass lay a foundation underneath it all that almost makes the idea of other instruments almost preposterous. Of course the guitars are nice but truly adornments when the rhythm section is as good and sort of melodic as it is here. 'My Sharona' and 'What I Like About You' are references with innocent 60s girl pop melodies to boot. An extremely nice introduction to this new band this song is.

 

No Milkshakes In Hell. Keep Dancing Inc.

No Milkshakes In Hell? Only logical, as it must be so hot there that they evaporate instantly, the straw melting on your lips. I think I've just discovered a new torment for the hard working devils to contemplate as a more modern punishment.

The song is one that brings back a lot of memories. Of music I did not like at the time at that. The kind of rigid dance music that was produced somewhere in the 1980s. Robotising dance of predestined movements that there was no escaping from. Keep Dancing Inc. from Paris (France) takes that music as a starting point. The rhythm certainly is as rigid, what happens around it is more frivolous, including the singing as, at least in the verses, there's a vocal melody. The result is that the song is allowed to derail in a pleasant way allowing for throwing the 80s robotic corset off (if it would still fit me that is) and mentally dance all over the place. Fun track in other words.

 

What Would Jesus Do? Jillette Johnson

A fun  title, as it made me expect a totally different kind of song. Something completely religious. Certainly not the alternative, loose guitar ripping the intro up Jillette Johnson's single starts off with. What Would Jesus Do? is a mid-tempo song that invites its listeners to move any way. The influence of Courtney Barnett is not far off, showing how the Australian alternative rockster's style is spreading wide and far.

The song starts with a male voice saying "why don't we try it like that" and counting from one to four. The result of his suggested attempt certainly carries away my approval. The song is punky, loose and on fire. What Jesus would do, we do not learn from the song. Perhaps that would be a bit presumptuous to expect or suggest. What we do learn, is that he would not make the choice Jillette Johnson makes. She "is no angel anyway". "Ha ha", the song ends. Somebody there in the studio liked the choice made alright and so does

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