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
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
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
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
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 HousesI 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.
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