zondag 31 maart 2019

Painted Image. Liz Brasher

Jonge Amerikaanse zangeres haalt de soul uit haar tenen, maar imponeert pas echt in de power ballads die je compleet omver blazen. 

Liz Brasher treedt op haar debuut in de voetsporen van grote zangeressen uit de Southern soul, vult de leegte die Amy Winehouse heeft achtergelaten, maar kan nog veel meer. Wanneer ze kiest voor pop zingt ze de pannen van het dak, maar de Amerikaanse zangeres kan ook uit de voeten met gedreven gospel of weemoedige blues. In vocaal opzicht is het smullen, maar ook de instrumentatie op Painted Image is een kunststukje. De plaat neemt je mee terug naar de hoogtijdagen van de Southern soul, maar voegt talloze accenten van recentere datum toe. De concurrentie is moordend voor Liz Brasher, maar ik kies zonder een spoor van twijfel voor deze getalenteerde dame.

De Amerikaanse zangeres Liz Brasher debuteerde in het voorjaar van 2018 met de prima EP Outcast. Op de op het Fat Possum label verschenen EP maakte de in North Carolina opgegroeide zangeres indruk met een authentiek klinkend soulgeluid, dat af en toe flirtte met Southern Rock. Alle reden dus om uit te zien naar haar debuutalbum.

Liz Brasher maakte als kind en als lid van het plaatselijke kerkkoor kennis met gospel, ontdekte de rijke geschiedenis van de soulmuziek toen ze naar Chicago verhuisde en ontdekte haar eigen soulstem toen ze zich in Memphis, Tennessee, had gevestigd.

De keuze voor Memphis, Tennessee, is geen toevallige. Luister naar Painted Image, het debuutalbum van Liz Brasher, en je wordt meer dan eens mee teruggenomen naar de hoogtijdagen van de Memphis soul. Liz Brasher nam haar debuut op in twee legendarische studio’s in Memphis en deed een beroep op gelouterde muzikanten, die prima weten hoe een goede soulplaat moet klinken.

Painted Image schuurt tegen de groten uit de Southern soul aan, doet me meer dan eens denken aan de muziek waarmee Amy Winehouse een wereldster werd, maar Liz Brasher toont op haar debuut toch net wat meer lef dan de meeste van haar soortgenoten. De authentiek klinkende soul wordt hier en daar verruild voor donker en broeierig klinkende popmuziek vol grootse uithalen. Painted Image heeft dan raakvlakken met Ellen Foley’s briljante Nightout of schuift op richting de even krachtige blue-eyed soul van Dusty Springfield.

Liz Brasher heeft hiernaast dezelfde voorliefde voor retro als bijvoorbeeld Nicole Atkins, maar kan ook kiezen voor songs die weer eerder in het hokje singer-songwriter muziek passen of kiezen voor gospel of blues. Ik kan me voorstellen dat veel muziekliefhebbers behoefte hebben aan wat meer focus, maar mij bevalt het wispelturige karakter van Painted Image wel.

Liz Brasher beschikt over een stem die alle kanten op kan. Ze kan heerlijk soulvol klinken, maar ook pop en folk zet ze moeiteloos naar haar hand. Het is bovendien een stem met een eigen karakter, die zich niet zomaar laat vergelijken met een stem uit het verleden.

Het is een stem die nog wat verder wordt opgetild door de bijzonder fraaie instrumentatie op Painted Image. Wanneer de blazers aanzwellen heeft de soul direct gewonnen op het debuut van Liz Brasher, maar wanneer het orgeltje warm en mysterieus klinkt en de gitaren op fraaie wijze de ruimte vullen, schiet de muziek van de Amerikaanse singer-songwriter direct een andere kant op en hetzelfde gebeurt wanneer weemoedige strijkers domineren.

Het zorgt ervoor dat Liz Brasher de aandacht veel makkelijker vasthoudt dan al die jonge soulzangeressen die een graantje mee willen pikken van het enorme gat dat Amy Winehouse een paar jaar geleden heeft achtergelaten. In de meest soulvolle momenten vult Liz Brasher dit gat op indrukwekkende wijze, maar Painted Image doet nog veel meer. Bezwerende gospel, melancholische blues, dampende soul of een popballad waarin de zangeres uit Memphis de pannen van het dak zingt; Painted Image heeft het allemaal en hoe vaker ik naar de plaat luister hoe meer ik Liz Brasher geloof.

Wanneer je een stem hebt als Liz Brasher en een beroep kunt doen op de muzikanten die meespelen op Painted Image is het maken van een acceptabele plaat niet zo moeilijk, maar het debuut van Liz Brasher is veel meer dan een acceptabele plaat. In het begin vond ik het jammer dat ze niet vol had gekozen voor de soul, maar inmiddels zijn het vooral de power ballads die goed zijn voor kippenvel en iedere keer is het weer wat meer.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Painted Image hier kopen:

https://lizbrasher.bandcamp.com/album/painted-image



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 30 maart 2019

Gloria Duplex. Henry Jamison

It is not every day that an album cover reminds me of hiking in the mountains and seeing that tell-tale sign come over the top announcing an x number of minutes before rain comes pouring down and thunder clapping your ears. Time to run for cover.

Not the music on Gloria Duplex. Henri Jamison presents himself as a modern singer-songwriter who is able to incorporate modern influences into his at heart a-man-with-a-guitar kind of music.

As such Gloria Duplex calmly goes about its way. Part Conor Oberst/Bright Eyes, part 'Bright Eyes' the hit, as in Art Garfunkel's high voice, part Damien Rice and probably scores of other singer-songwriters, but these three are the main references you need.

As such an artist needs to distinguish himself from the score of many. Does Henri Jamison manage this feat? On average the answer is yes. Enough happens on Gloria Duplex to make it a listening experience. The way the songs are arranged give them an mysterious aura. This starts with the indirect way of singing of Jamison. His voice softly floats over the songs, giving them a dreamy atmosphere. Underneath the acoustic guitar and piano there are undercurrents giving the songs their mystery. Sounds that are not so much describable. Hovering in the background. There are keyboards involved for sure, but also samples of voices and sounds that do not so much contribute to the melody or harmonies. They seem simply present to make up a part of the whole just by being there, while totally belonging. It would simply not be as intriguing without them. Like he sings in 'Ether Garden': "That's when I finally heard those voices, singing oh oh oh". it works the same for these sounds. They are there but I need to really listen to hear what is presented in the background of this album.

Henri Jamison is from Burlington, Vermont and releases his second full length album after 'The Wilds' (2017). On his new album he manages to capture a mix between classic singer-songwriting and more modern influences. Jamison takes that to a level I haven't heard since Damien Rice's second album. And then comes in the mysteries as described above. It is this combination that makes Gloria Duplex special. It is not the bare essence of the songs. Most are good and even better, but that is not what makes the album stand out. Just listen to 'In March', a voice and acoustic guitar. There are thousands and thousands of aspiring singer-songwriters who can do that. It is about what happens on the rest of the album.

Then listen to 'Reading Days', the song before last. The mysterious piano notes that meander through the song as if they do not belong, yet do. It is here also that Damien Rice really comes to mind. There's simply no denying his influence. With his soft, modest voice Henri Jamison delivers his tales and stories. Whether personal or made up, they are interesting to listen to.

So, as a warning, do not come to Gloria Duplex if you're in the mood to party, but certainly do put the album on when you want to listen to singer-songwriter songs and dive into that mysterious mood that is all over the album. This album has so much to give, share and discover.

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 29 maart 2019

Lacuna. Trixie Whitley

Trixie Whitley, daughter of Chris. That story is well-known by now. She totally deserves her own entry in the rock annuals in 2019. She featured on this blog once before with her debut album. Since then I had lost sight of her until Lacuna.

At this time, even after several listening sessions, I am wondering what to think of Lacuna. The album in a way is so far removed from what I like to listen to, yet it attracts me at times as well. No, there are no prior inhibitions, as I had no preconceptions for this album. A faint memory of 'Four Corners', that is all.

Lacuna contains a strange mix within it. It plays with R&B singers or whatever genre these ladies sing in and holds a very alternative edge in the approach to the music. A lot of elements contained on this album have nothing to do with scoring huge top 40 pop hits. For that the punky edge that hovers within some of the songs is far too sharp for sensitive ears. E.g., listen to the rock guitar entering 'Long Time Coming' near the end. For the unsuspecting listener it may come as a surprise or even a shock, those listening closer will have noticed there are little rough edges all through the song. The beat and synths are not the whole story. Far from it.

Press photo: Kylie Coutts
It is this interplay of very different influences that makes Lacuna attractive for me to listen to. There's no denying that it takes an effort to find this attraction. It certainly did not reveal itself in the first round. What helps is playing the album louder. Most of the riches contained within the R&B part of the music and the singing come forward this way. So many sounds and rhythms can be found beyond that first impression. Super dry rhythmic sounds, repetitive guitar playing, dark synths, the way she sings. In each song there are these pleasant and/or rough surprises.

In front of all that is the voice of Trixie Whitley, a strong feature of her music. She could easily have made that slick R&B record; had she wanted to. Luckily for the world that is just where the story starts. Making music for Ms. Whitley is about discovery, finding boundaries only to break them as soon as they are discovered in search of new ones. It is also an extremely serious album. Most of the songs are the equivalent of a serious speech. There is not a lot of joy to be found here. It's fine and just as it needs to be. The result is a very varied album with songs that at times sound familiar. Exactly then the listener needs to start paying attention. A world of twists and turns is about to reveal itself right at those moments, where Trixie Whitley proves to be able to meander through different sorts of music, ties them together and presents them as something completely new. Lacuna is a surprisingly rich album for the R&B album it is not. It seems I have left behind my qualms, totally.

Wo.

You can buy Lacuna here:

https://trixiewhitley.bandcamp.com/album/lacuna


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 28 maart 2019

Deutschland. Rammstein

Wow, make up your own mind on what the video is trying to say. A history of Germany of some sorts it is.

Ten years after 'Liebe Ist Für Alle Da", finally, finally a new song by Rammstein. Deutschland in combination with the video is mindblowing and that is exactly the effect German industrial-metal-shockrockers Rammstein must have been looking for. Were Back, in capitols and giant lettering. This song holds all things Rammstein is good at and why I like the band. So it sounds familiar, perhaps even a little too familiar. The video takes all that away. The combination, like I already wrote, is mindblowing. The music does the rest.

Whatever people say, this is a fantastic video, superbly made and not a single cent left out of the budget. Nothing has been left to chance. This is 'Thriller', 'Blue Jean', material. A movie around a song. A confusing movie, a perturbing movie, a great movie. Yes, all, it is Rammstein. Larger than life, larger than anything. What else do you expect?

Here you go:

https://www.youtube.com/watch?list=RDNeQM1c-XCDc&v=NeQM1c-XCDc

The album called Rammstein follows on 17 May. I can't wait.

Wo.

Lucy Anna. The Yeah You Rights

Fasten your seatbelts as take off is upon you with this five song mini album by The Yeah You Rights. From the first note there's no holding back here. This is American style punky rock as it comes. A fiery guitar and solid drums fronted by a singer who tries and gives it his best to sing well. The choirmaster has turned him down every single time. Not The Yeah You Rights. He fits truly, really well here.

The first bands from the U.S. playing this loud were The Stooges and MC5, but where they mainly got stuck in, in the end, boring riffs or pure violence, the The Yeah You Rights take another route to the same effect. No search and destroy here. Gary Roadarmel manages to find enough melodies to fill a whole album and not just this 5 song EP. Even in the 12 minus minutes long 'Unvulgar' there's enough going on to simply to sit out the ride and cheer for another round. When finally the long night is over the birds of Ponchatoula, Lousiana are having a go at the day. Looking at the album cover there's not much left between the birds and the caravan someone calls home. There are not many stations downwards unfortunately.

The music is totally in sync with the cover. Low, dirty, raunchy and mean. Sounding like Roadarmel has nothing left to lose. It is also clear that giving up is not an option. In four short and one long song this duo gives it its all and will no doubt set many stage on fire. Riffs and licks are flying into my ears like there's no tomorrow. The guitar sound blown up nearly beyond amp performance, while the drums keep pounding filling up the rest of the spectrum, forever edging on the guitar and singing.

Promo photo
The Iggy/Stooges mention is not far flung it is shown as The Yeah You Rights burst into an ever more fiery version of 'I Got A Right'. There's hardly a need for this shortened version of Pop's classic. 'How 'Bout Now' has everything a punkrock song needs. Recent release on Rum Bar Records Nat Freedberg plays, in essence, music like this on his 'Better Late Than Never' album and then enters a truck full of moonshine and jalapeño's, all consumed at once with no reservations whatsoever. Enter Lucy Anna. Whether she left home or not, the inspiration was more than worth it.

The most amazing thing to realise is that this is only a duo at work. It sounds like a whole rock orchestra driving over me full force only to return for a second helping of whatever there's left of me. Anyone still in mourning for the demise of The White Stripes and/or the long lapse of The Black Keys, sorrow no more. This is it, The Yeah You Rights, perhaps more real than it has ever been. ROCK AND ROLLLLLLL!!!!!!

Wo.

You can buy Lucy Anna here:

https://rumbarrecords.bandcamp.com/album/lucy-anna


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 27 maart 2019

What Will We Do. Lula Wiles

Lula Wiles combineert stokoude Amerikaanse rootsmuziek met frisse songs en betoverend mooie zang op een plaat die maar groeit en groeit

Een paar jaar geleden vond ik de muziek van Lula Wiles nog weinig bijzonder, maar wat is het trio uit Boston gegroeid. Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke en Mali Obomsawin slaan op hun tweede plaat op indrukwekkende een brug tussen Amerikaanse muzikale tradities van heel lang geleden en het heden. What Will We Do heeft oog voor traditie, maar klinkt ook verrassend fris en eigentijds. In muzikaal opzicht is het smullen, maar de vocalen en harmonieën zijn zo nu en dan van een bijna onwerkelijke schoonheid. Het levert een plaat op die onmiddellijk indruk maakt, maar dan nog moet beginnen aan een indrukwekkend groeiproces.

Het muziekjaar 2019 is inmiddels in alle hevigheid losgebarsten en met name binnen de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek verschijnt op het moment het ene na het andere album dat ertoe doet.

Tussen deze albums mag What Will We Do van Lula Wiles zeker niet ontbreken. Lula Wiles is een trio uit Boston, Massachusetts, dat bijna drie jaar geleden debuteerde met een album dat ik bij vlagen mooi, maar over het geheel genomen onvoldoende onderscheidend vond.

Op What Will We Do hebben Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke en Mali Obomsawin echter een enorme stap gezet. De tweede plaat van Lula Wiles verschijnt op het bijzondere Smithsonian/Folkways label, dat vooral de traditionele Amerikaanse folk omarmt, maar Lula Wiles klinkt op haar tweede plaat juist frisser en eigentijdser dan op haar debuut.

Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke en Mali Obomsawin studeerden alle drie aan het fameuze Berklee College of Music in Boston en kunnen uitstekend uit de voeten op meerdere snareninstrumenten. In muzikaal opzicht klinkt het fantastisch, waarbij vooral de viool en staande bas nadrukkelijk de aandacht opeisen, maar ook de gitaarlijnen zijn van een bijzondere schoonheid.

Net als op haar debuut laat Lula Wiles zich nog altijd stevig inspireren door stokoude folk, bluegrass en country, waardoor de plaat zeker in de smaak zal vallen bij de liefhebbers van traditionele Amerikaanse rootsmuziek. Lula Wiles is er echter ook in geslaagd om haar muziek fris te laten klinken, waardoor de Appalachen van honderd jaar geleden fraai samenvloeien met het Boston van nu.

Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke en Mali Obomsawin kunnen uitstekend uit de voeten op de instrumenten die ze op What Will We Do bespelen, maar kiezen niet voor een aaneenschakeling van muzikale hoogstandjes. De instrumentatie staat in dienst van de songs en van de bijzonder fraaie zang op de plaat.

Lula Wiles tekent op haar tweede plaat voor fluisterzachte en glasheldere zang en voor hemeltergend mooie harmonieën. Zeker wanneer Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke en Mali Obomsawin samen zingen is What Will We Do bij vlagen van een bijna onwerkelijke schoonheid en stijgt de plaat ver boven het andere aanbod van het moment uit.

Het is knap hoe het drietal uit Boston in muzikaal opzicht het verre verleden en het heden met elkaar weet te verbinden en Eleanor Buckland, Isa Burke en Mali Obomsawin doen dat ook in hun teksten, die teruggrijpen op oude verhalen, maar ook hun licht laten schijnen op het Amerika van nu.

What Will We Do van Lula Wiles heeft zeker raakvlakken met de platen van trio’s als The Pistol Annies, I’m With Her, The Wailin' Jennys en Dixie Chicks, maar heeft op hetzelfde moment ook een geluid dat aan de ene kant dieper is geworteld in tradities en dat aan de andere kant nadrukkelijker een eigen weg zoekt.

Ik vond het debuut van Lula Wiles bijna drie jaar geleden zoals gezegd te weinig onderscheidend, maar de tweede plaat van het drietal uit Boston is juist zeer onderscheidend. Het ene moment sleept Lula Wiles je mee naar de traditionele muziek uit de Appalachen of van de oevers van de Mississippi, dan weer naar de frisse indie-folk van First Aid Kit of juist naar de onthaastende muziek van Gillian Welch en Dave Rawlings. Het levert een plaat op die zich steeds nadrukkelijker opdringt en maar mooier en mooier wordt. Indrukwekkend. Bijzonder indrukwekkend zelfs.

Erwin Zijleman

https://lulawiles.bandcamp.com/



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 26 maart 2019

The Maureens. Living room show, Haarlem Sunday 24 March 2018

Photo by Wo.
The Maureens can be found on this blog since 2015 and are a regular guest ever since. How can a band with the same name as my mother not catch my attention? The music proved a match. The Maureens is one of those bands that go out in search of perfect popsongs and come out at the other end a winner. The kind of band that ought to be all over the radio, but somehow in the musical world of 2019 is not.

Put into a private setting of a living room, the band encountered the eyes of the audience as intimately as the audience eyes the band. "We can hear you listening", singer Hendrik Jan de Wolff said at a certain point in the show. And deservedly so. In an intimate setting like a private home show there's no hiding for band nor audience. Every detail is discernable putting pressure on the band to perform and on the audience to truly listen. And listen we did. Looking at the faces of the people around me intensely so. The impact was instant and clear to see.

The Maureens were able to provide those little sparks of pure magic to all present. How snapping a finger and tinkling the little iron plates of a foot tambourine can create a rhythm, how wild guitar effects come through even when everything is turned down to one. But, above all, how melodies can affect people, not to speak of the three part harmonies that rolled over us on the other side of the room. As I wrote there is no hiding in a living room. Neither for a good song that can become even greater due to the intimacy. Several did.

Photo by Wo.
Exactly how good The Maureens' songs are, you can read about elsewhere on this blog. The same goes for the performances on stages. The band has added another aspect to its palet for me. This music lends itself perfectly for an intimate setting. I wish them the main stage of Lowlands and other festivals though. In that case I can say that I saw them in my own living room. Not one guest left without the feeling having been part of an experience, being warmed by beautiful music and the emotions that come with it. Thank you again, Hendrik Jan, Martijn, Stefan and Wouter.

The whole show was filmed, so perhaps something will show up on the net somewhere.

Wo.

You can buy The Maureens' music here:

https://themaureens.bandcamp.com/


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

maandag 25 maart 2019

Data Mirage Tangram. The Young Gods

What is it that I am looking at? A picture of a geological phenomenon from very up close? Oil pollution from a great distance? Data Mirage Tangram, the new album by The Young Gods has a fascinating cover, that much is for sure.

The No Longer Young Gods is a good name as well. Being around since 1985 this is the band's eighth album, but first since 2010. The first result on record of the rejoining the band of original keyboard player Cesare Pizzi.

As intriguing as the artwork is, so intriguing and mysterious is the music on Data Mirage Tangram. This is my first album by the band, so there's no comparison possible for me. What I can imagine is that anyone listening superficially to this music may be turned off as so little may appear to be happening. Yes, the beat can be more pronounced but still not a lot happens when busy doing other things. O.k., I will allow 'Tear Up The Red Sky' here giving someone quite the jolt. A superficial introduction to this album certainly is misleading.

The wealth of Data Mirage Tangram reveals itself when time spent alone with it. Over the drums of Bernard Trontin a host of electronics is laid, but also guitars can be heard here and there. Singer Franz Trechler never just sings. His vocals are always treated by something, making them sound robotlike, without hindering the songs in any way.

'Tear Up The Red Sky' is a strange amalgam. The vocal melody of the chorus makes me think immediately of U2's 'Bullet The Red Sky', one of the better songs of 'The Joshua Tree'. Where the vocal delivery brings Mark Lanegan to mind. That does not give The Young Gods all the right credits due though. In fact just concluding this would short sell the band tremendously. It is in the natural way the electronics mix with organic that the band's music really comes to life. I have come to the conclusion that this is the kind of album that needs to be played loud. That way the details come alive and the music takes over everything.

Wikipedia mostly tells about who was influenced by the early The Young Gods and hardly says anything about the band itself nor its accomplishments. Anno domini 2019 the band has listened very well to what happened in the past 40 years. Phil Collins' first hit single 'In The Air Tonight' and some mid 80s Genesis can be heard here, some Bowie, some U2, the already mentioned Lanegan. It is when The Young Gods go out on a limb rhythmically, like in 'Moon Above' that things really get weird. What is this? Jazz? Free for all music? I simply can't tell. Something hard to listen to for sure. A whaling harmonica, almost more sorrowful than the one in 'Once Upon A Time In The West', makes the song sound like something so sad. While at the same time I keep wondering what is going in here. The basis of the song is almost as if created by AI or robots, with everything human cut out and a lone soul crying out for help through a harmonica.

There are two sides to Data Mirage Tangram. The more experimental side, some extreme some less and the rock side. This dichotomy makes for very interesting listening. There's no way of knowing what happens next on Data Mirage Tangram. Musically approaches lie so far apart between the different songs. At the same time the album certainly does come alive, whatever the first impression might have been. It even explodes a few times, like in 'All My Skin Standing'. The guitar eruption is akin to 'In The Air Tonight''s drum one. The whole song is pregnant with an inner tension that is let loose, but far from solved afterwards. Layer after layer of guitars are stacked to find relief. All in vain it seems.

The nervous tension permeating 'You Gave Me A Name' is kept up during the whole song. The synths keep pulsing and pulsing. Again nothing much seems to happen, yet touching it may have the same effect as touching live wire.

The Young Gods are not your run of the mill band like Data Mirage Tangram, whatever that means, is not an average album. This album is special and large chunks of it are good as well. Something is going on all of the time, even if I do not know what it is nor always understand it. It simply means there's still so much left to discover.

Wo.

You can buy Data Mirage Tangram here:

https://theyounggods.bandcamp.com/album/data-mirage-tangram


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 24 maart 2019

Olympic Girls. Tiny Ruins

Nieuw-Zeelandse band maakt prachtige, sprookjesachtige muziek, die de koude en donkere winteravonden op unieke wijze inkleurt

Tiny Ruins ken ik uit het verleden, maar met Olympic Girls is de band uit Auckland helemaal terug. De band verkeert op haar nieuwe plaat in grootse vorm en combineert bijzondere klanken uit een aantal genres tot een geluid dat zowel betovert als intrigeert. Wolken folk, dreampop en psychedelica vloeien op fraaie wijze samen en vormen de perfecte basis voor de prachtige vocalen van zangeres Hollie Fullbrook, die Olympic Girls van Tiny Ruins naar steeds grotere hoogten tilt. Echt een heerlijke plaat om bij weg te dromen, maar ook een plaat waarvan je geen enkele noot wilt missen.

Ik ben het laatste jaar opvallend veel goede platen uit Nieuw-Zeeland tegengekomen en heb er weer een te pakken. De uit Auckland afkomstige band Tiny Ruins was me nog vaag bekend, al is het wel een jaar of acht geleden dat ik voor het laatst iets hoorde van de band rond zangeres Hollie Fullbrook.

Olympic Girls, de eerste plaat van Tiny Ruins in een jaar of vijf, wordt op de website van het eveneens uit Auckland afkomstige Flying Out Records al een aantal weken aangeprezen als een release om naar uit te kijken en de hofleverancier van de betere Nieuw-Zeelandse popmuziek heeft ook dit keer niets te veel gezegd.

Binnen Tiny Ruins draait alles om zangeres Hollie Fullbrook. Haar bijzonder stem bepaalt voor een belangrijk deel het geluid van de Nieuw-Zeelandse band en het is een stem die mij binnen een paar luisterbeurten compleet heeft ingepakt; net zoals ze dat 8 jaar geleden ook al eens deed.

De muziek van Tiny Ruins op Olympic Girls is uiterst ingetogen en raakt vaak aan de folk. De mooie en bijzondere stem van Hollie Fullbrook lijkt gemaakt voor authentiek klinkende folk, maar Olympic Girls past maar ten dele in dit genre. Olympic Girls staat vol stemmige en voornamelijk ingetogen klanken. Het zijn akoestische klanken die leunen op een basis van de akoestische gitaar, maar de band uit Auckland kleurt haar geluid vervolgens zeer smaakvol in met allerlei subtiele accenten en hier en daar met flink wat elektronica, waarmee de paden van de folk worden verlaten.

De instrumentatie op Olympic Girls is mooi en vaak bijzonder, maar het is ook een instrumentatie die volledig in dienst staat van de prachtige zang van Hollie Fullbrook. De Nieuw-Zeelandse zangeres bestrijkt het spectrum tussen Harriet Wheeler van The Sundays en Natalie Merchant van 10,000 Maniacs. Beide bands zijn ook in muzikaal opzicht relevant vergelijkingsmateriaal. Tiny Ruins kan net zo zwoel verleiden als The Sundays, maar heeft ook het prikkelende van 10.000 Maniacs en raakt hier en daar ook nog eens voorzichtig aan Beach House, om nog maar eens een naam te noemen.

Het is aan de andere kant ook vergelijkingsmateriaal dat niet al te lang stand houdt, want het bijzondere geluid van Tiny Ruins durf ik best uniek te noemen. Olympic Girls is een plaat die bijzonder aangenaam voortkabbelt op de achtergrond. De sfeervolle klanken voeren je mee naar eindeloze landschappen van grote schoonheid, waarna de wonderschone zang van Hollie Fullbrook de muziek van Tiny Ruins voorziet van mythische proporties. De bijzondere songs op Olympic Girls verdienen het echter ook om tot in het kleinste detail te worden uitgeplozen.

In de instrumentatie gebeurt steeds weer iets anders en alles draagt even mooi bij aan het zo bijzondere resultaat. Tiny Ruins vermengt op Olympic Girls op bijzondere wijze invloeden uit de folk, de dreampop en de psychedelica en voegt er nog iets bijzonders aan toe. Ik luister inmiddels voor de zoveelste keer naar de bijzondere muziek van Tiny Ruins en raak steeds meer verslingerd aan het prachtige Olympic Girls, dat absoluut een geslaagde comeback genoemd mag worden.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Olympic Ruins hier beluisteren en kopen:

https://tinyruins.bandcamp.com/album/olympic-girls


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 23 maart 2019

When I Wake Up. Maverick Sabre

There's something strange going on here. It is as if I have seen the picture on the cover before, although I strongly doubt it to be true. There's more strange things going on here. When I Wake Up is not an album that ends up on my good side in general, yet I am writing. And now I'm at it, the third strange thing is that I like the album distinctly better when listening on the stereo than with earphones in.

Maverick Sabre or Michael Stafford as his family knows him, grew up in Wexford in Ireland before re-migrating back to the U.K. where he was born. When I Wake Up is his third album.

The basis of this album is soulful beats. There is a hint at hip hop and rap that is overlain with soul, a basic form of gospel and jazz. It makes When I Wake Up pleasant to listen to, where usually I will have turned an album like this off fast. In part this is prevented by the voice of Sabre. It has a very nice edge to it. The other part is the way the soft beats are incorporated into the songs and melodies. Listen to a song like 'Don't Talk About It'. An electric guitar plays a small, simple but oh so effective riff over and over. The female choir singing the title adds a soft, floating touch in the way it is recorded and mixed into the song.

The first reference coming to mind is G. Love and Special Sauce's first record. I haven't heard it for circa 24 years, so it may be total rubbish to write so, but it does. It is the mood brought on by the drums I would say. There are a few more modern ones. Because of the female voice in 'Slow Down' Amy Winehouse joins the references. I never listened to her beyond a single song on the radio though. Finally I hear some Seal like in his first hit songs.

When I Wake Up presents a mix that goes down fairly well with me and yes, it is a surprise. The album mixes a few atmospheres really well. It is not a happy sounding album, yet it brings me ease and faint smiles on my face regularly. A rare combination, like I wrote: with When I Wake Up something strange is going on.

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 22 maart 2019

Somehow Anyhow. Paulusma

Windworn and weather beaten is the look of the wood on the cover of the album. That may well go for Jelle Paulusma as well, but how does his music fare in the last year of the 10s. To give off a warning, I have never been a fan of his music so far. Somehow Daryll Ann never resonated within me, despite the fact that the band's music ticked all my boxes. Sometimes that happens, somehow, anyhow.

I have given the album several listening sessions. During the first one the same reflex exposed itself; I turned the album off half way through the album. it was during later listening sessions that I started hearing these little things. The way Paulusma is playing with familiar themes and weaves them into his own songs. How free flowing some of the songs were. And that I had started listening more intently than before. Is the devil in the details?

Slowly but surely Paulusma convinces me that I am listening to a pop album of the highest standards. Think Ron Sexsmith, Ray Davies that sort of level. Little pieces of ear candy that creep into my ears, strike down those barriers and leave me unprotected for what follows.

Somehow Anyhow was rather long in the making. Here an analogy (what's in a word) with Diederik Nomden shows itself. Paulusma got caught up in an extremely CSN&Y tribute band, like Nomden and had to shelve his solo album for some time as Her Majesty kept selling out venues. Now both have finally released a new solo album.

Perhaps luckily so for Jelle Paulusma, well as far as this blog is concerned, as his album lands extremely well.

Press photo
One of the fun things of this album, is to lay out the musical puzzle. There are so many little and bigger references to find on it. From a Tim Knol kind of phrase, to a David Bowie quote, a Wilco lead guitar or a soft, sweet pop turn in the way Ron Sexsmith excels in, to the organ of Sir Douglas Quintet's Augie Myers. Just to mention a few of many. Paulusma weaves them into his own songs like it all takes no effort at all.

Another signifying part of Somehow Anyhow is that Jelle Paulusma sounds like he has nothing left to prove. Songs can be (very) direct or soft but without apparent pretensions. All have this superior ease in sound and flow. 'Crying Shame' is one of the best songs Suede has never written. It has this level of quality and a lot more is mixed in as well. Some horns enter to heighten the fun. The contrast with the slightly country tinged 'No Harm Done' is well done, as is the French sounding intro to 'Say Goodbye'. Just to mention three examples of how diverse Somehow Anyhow can be in sound, as when the Wilco lead guitar mixes with the French keyboard sound. All the while Jelle Paulusma sings with this soothing voice. This is an artist who is ageing very graciously.

Somehow Anyhow caught me by surprise and in a most pleasant way. Easily one of the more fun albums of 2019 and who knows it may grow into one of the better ones, as I am caught in its snares without me complaining for a single second.

Wo.

You can buy Somehow Anyhow here:

https://shop.excelsior-recordings.com/products/paulusma-somehow-anyhow


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 21 maart 2019

The Slideshows. The Slideshows

Would I ever have listened to The Slideshows had not the band's singer been Marcel Hulst? That answer is most likely no. Chances are the music would never have reached me. Hulst is the singer in Maggie Brown and Mountaineer, both veterans on this blog. So it's only logical attention is given.

For those cheering already, there is a slight caution. In The Slideshows Marcel Hulst is the singer and not much more. That fact wins the band several points in my book, but lets keep it there and judge the band on its own merit and music.

The Slideshows is a trio from Amsterdam. After releasing its first EP in 2016, 'Sunrise Surprise', the band built its own studio and started to work on its full length debut. This is released this weekend with a release party in De Nieuwe Anita in Amsterdam (23-3). Auke van der Wielen plays bass, keyboards and creates beats, Floor Stevens drums and percussion.

On its first full length album The Slideshows delivers what it promises: psychedelic, electronic, indie, popmusic. Songs where the electronics and beats are harmoniously mixed with more organic instruments like guitars, organ and drums. In some songs the electronics win out more and in others the organic. It makes for a diverse album filled with a few pop gems.

Being not to big on synthpop bands, my points of reference are perhaps limited and most likely 80s based, like Soft Cell and Pet Shop Boys, later on in the album Depeche Mode. Although all bands (duos) have released a few great singles, they never became bands to follow to me and there are no albums of either in the home. The Slideshows by weaving in guitars come closer to what I prefer to hear on a daily bases. Another point scored.

Especially the first few songs on the album score well here. 'Thunderbird' has this upbeat sound, sprightly synths and a mysterious atmosphere in the middle section. Or 'Inside Out'. A guitar riff plays a role in the intro, to evolve in an early Duran Duran song like 'Girls On Film' was, bar the brazen outgoing nature of the new glam boys. While 'Sparks Unite' has that strong melancholy mood I know so well from Marcel Hulst's other work. The electronics around make it a different guise not a different song. 'Club 11' has this beautiful chorus.

It also needs to be mentioned that the further I move into the album, it is hard for me keep my enthusiasm. Not all songs are able to take on the barriers my ears put up. Basically the same happens what happened in the 80s with albums from the bands I mentioned and I could add Spandau Ballet or Howard Jones just to mention two other synthpop acts of the day. My attention no longer is caught and moves on elsewhere.

To sum up, The Slideshows present some excellent songs at the start of this album, where the mix of pop and synths really shines through, a level the band does not keep up. It has to do with more staccato delivery and less melody in the songs. Where the beats and electronics win out over the melody. It has everything to do with my preferences in music. In general the 80s simply were not my decade musically. If however this is your favourite decade The Slideshows may just offer what you like best.

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

woensdag 20 maart 2019

Step By Step / Gravity 7". The Jasmine Minks

Just two songs. The classic division of a 7" single. An A side and B or "flipside". Sometimes a single had a double A side, because discjockeys preferred to play both songs or that the band and/or label did not want to make a choice.

Where the new single of The Jasmine Minks is concerned, had the single been released in 1967 Step By Step and Gravity would undoubtedly have been released as a double A side. Both songs have a deliciously melancholy mood that reflects the best songs of The Byrds and U.S. bands from the late 70s. This gives the two songs a more mellow atmosphere than the powerpop bands of the era gave the world. Add a little R.E.M. in the choruses and a addictive mix presents itself to the unsuspecting listener.

It is here that Gravity beats Step By Step. The song in the verses is simply good. It is in the chorus that the master truly shows himself. The harmonies are impeccable. The 12 string guitar sound is unbeatable, the warm Hammond a beautiful addition. Like The Maureens recently displayed on its new album, 'Something In The Air', a song can just have this little extra with a Rickenbacker guitar added to the sound.

Promo photo
Opening the bio, to find out a little about this band, I learn that they are around since 1983, formed in Aberdeen. Off and on the band released an album or single through the years up to 2019, after releasing several of the first singles on the Creation label. Step By Step being the first one since 2015. And, believe it or not this is a double A side single. Something is right with my ears alright.

Because Step By Step also is a song that stands it ground. It has a poppy element. Just listen to how it starts with the jangly guitar and the dit-dit-dit harmonies. The chorus brings in the best of The Charlatans, the instrumental part just as mysterious as the one in Gravity. Where is this leading to?, I ask myself after having heard the solid beginning of the guitar solo. The dark voice of Jim Shephard sort of is the icing on the cake. Dark without darkness, with the harmonies the contrast like the Stipe - Mills tandem in R.E.M is totally underscored. It works so well in these two songs.

Wo.

You can buy Step By Step / Gravity here:

https://thejasmineminks.bandcamp.com/album/step-by-step-b-w-gravity

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 19 maart 2019

Good Company. Kalyn Fay

Kalyn Fay transformeert van een veelbelovende debutant in een van de smaakmakers binnen de rootsmuziek van het moment

Bible Belt, het debuut van Kalyn Fay, kreeg ik in 2016 bij toeval in handen, maar groeide al snel uit tot mijn favoriete rootsplaten van dat jaar. Good Company, de tweede plaat van de singer-songwriter uit Tulsa, Oklahoma, is nog veel beter en zet op alle terrein indrukwekkende stappen. De songs zijn beter, de volle en stemmige instrumentatie is nog wat mooier en trefzekerder, terwijl de krachtige stem van Kalyn Fay nu de hele plaat goed is voor kippenvel. Het levert een rootsplaat op die alles precies zo doet als ik het mooi vind en ik weet zeker dat Good Company veel meer liefhebbers van Amerikaanse rootsmuziek gaat aanspreken. En deze plaat wordt echt alleen maar beter.

Kalyn Fay maakte met Bible Belt één van mijn favoriete rootsplaten van 2016. Het is een plaat die in 2016 echt veel te weinig aandacht kreeg, wat mede het gevolg was van het besluit om de plaat niet beschikbaar te maken via de streaming media diensten.

Ik heb daar vanuit het perspectief van de muzikant absoluut begrip voor, maar het getuigt helaas ook van weinig realiteitszin. Bible Belt kwam uiteindelijk ook bij de streaming media diensten terecht en daar is gelukkig ook de nieuwe plaat van de singer-songwriter uit Tulsa, Oklahoma, onmiddellijk na de release te horen.

Als ik mijn favoriete rootsplaat in algemene termen mag beschrijven kom ik op de proppen met termen als mooie verhalen, een stemmig en ruimtelijk geluid, een hoofdrol voor snareninstrumenten en vooral een vrouwelijke stem die iets met me doet. Het zijn allemaal ingrediënten die in ruime mate aanwezig waren op het debuut van Kalyn Fay (Barnoski) en ook het geluid op haar nieuwe plaat domineren.

Good Company opent met fraai ingetogen gitaarwerk, waarna de opvallende stem van Kalyn Fay de ruimte vult. Het is een stem die is gemaakt voor Amerikaanse rootsmuziek en die emotie en een fraaie snik toevoegt aan de persoonlijke songs van Kalyn Fay. De Amerikaanse singer-songwriter focuste op haar debuut op het opgroeien in de Amerikaanse Bible Belt en het leven van alle dag staat ook centraal op Good Company.

Good Company ligt duidelijk in het verlengde van het terecht geprezen debuut van Kalyn Fay en combineert ingetogen en intieme songs met een verrassend vol geluid. Ook de tweede plaat van de singer-songwriter uit Tulsa, Oklahoma, is bijzonder fraai ingekleurd, waarbij de bijdragen van diverse snareninstrumenten ook dit keer het meest in het oor springen, maar ook het orgel dat af en toe opduikt is vrijwel onweerstaanbaar, terwijl de toegevoegde harmonieën de vocalen voorzien van extra diepte.

Het is een geluid vol fraaie details, maar het is ook een geluid dat heel veel ruimte open laat. Het is ruimte die prachtig wordt opgevuld door de bijzondere stem van Kalyn Fay. Het is een stem die warm en emotievol klinkt, maar het is ook een stem met een voorzichtig rauw randje en bovendien een stem met een duidelijk eigen geluid. Het is ook nog eens een stem die over het vermogen beschikt om de luisteraar onmiddellijk bij de strot te grijpen, waardoor Good Company, net als zijn voorganger, een plaat is die je niet makkelijk terzijde schuift.

Kalyn Fay maakt ook op haar tweede plaat weer betrekkelijk traditioneel aandoende Amerikaanse rootsmuziek, maar Good Company klinkt op een of andere manier ook fris en eigentijds. Vergeleken met het debuut biedt Good Company wat meer ruimte aan songs die net wat voller en steviger klinken en ook in deze songs maakt Kalyn Fay indruk met haar krachtige stem.

Bible Belt was het nog wat schuchtere debuut van een aanstormend talent binnen de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek, maar met Good Company zaagt Kalyn Fay wat mij betreft aan de stoelpoten van de groten en de smaakmakers in het genre. Good Company overtuigt 11 songs en 47 minuten lang met prima songs, een buitengewoon smaakvol geluid en een stem om te koesteren. Bible Belt was voor mij een jaarlijstjes plaat, maar met haar tweede plaat schaart de singer-songwriter uit het roemruchte Tulsa zich definitief onder mijn favoriete rootszangeressen van het moment.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt Good Company hier kopen:

https://hortonrecords.bandcamp.com/album/kalyn-fay-good-company


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

 

maandag 18 maart 2019

Rise Love. Eleni Era

Review one album from Cyprus and another follows. If there is a common denominator between Eleni Era and Freedom Candlemaker, it is both have released extremely mood sensitive albums with a hint at the exotic for western European ears like mine. (Next to the fact that Lefteris Moumtzis co-produced Rise Love, with Andreas Trachonitis, and plays most of the instruments.)

Eleni Era originally is from a village in Cyprus and left the island at the age of 18 to study piano in Berlin, where she lives and works since. She returned to Cyprus to record Rise Love, the collection of songs she wrote next to her professional work as pianist and conductor of a choir.

The result is an album that pays homage to her roots as plays well into western pop music of the more serious nature. Not more than once I hear the influence of Kate Bush come by but also Massive Attack and several atmospheric artist that, in my ears, do not produce music as I know/prefer it. On Rise Love it is an undercurrent mixed into the songs of Eleni Era. The result is all sorts of sounds that move under, through and over her songs, creating an extra layer to listen to.

Rise Love is the sort of album that allows me to sit back and be washed over by the music. All rush is gone. What remains is private time between me and Eleni Era's music and voice. The opportunity to listen to the many details on Rise Love. Details that make the album so interesting.

Promo photo: Constantinos Christou
The album hangs somewhere in between the past and the present. The sounds are often very modern, the production spacious. The mood of the album could have been created in the late 70s or mid 90s. Both in the U.K. though. A mood that has something mystical, as if there is more between heaven and earth. Listen to 'Not Her'. A song about personal change, but also as if the worldly presence of the body has just been left behind by the soul or spirit. The accompaniment sounds so fleeting, almost see-through transparent. (Not a little I'm remembered of Elenne May by this song. Come play in NL and this band should be the support act.) The mix of the little bells and atmospheric sounds create something special.

Listen to Rise Love and you will find several songs that work in this way, while others are more based around the piano of Eleni Era, so somewhat more traditional in sound. That is only where the story starts. Also here the songs have something special. Nothing is straightforward or simplified for the convenience of the listener. The percussion is always different from a regular pop album. The atmospherics make it different in sound and always a hint at modern electronics and beats could be involved. The exotic sounding Greek in 'Rain' and 'Beautiful Sunshine' makes it the more different but just as relevant musically. It all makes Rise Love more special.

On Rise Love there is a lot to discover. Eleni Era is a talent who is able to combine, 70s pop, 90s triphop and her classical training into something sounding like herself. With her high sounding voice she delicately brings her work to the listener, who in my opinion should give the album a well deserved chance.

Wo.

You can buy Rise Love here:

https://eleniera.bandcamp.com/album/rise-love


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 17 maart 2019

A Love Brand New. Jodymoon

Een van de best bewaarde geheimen van de Nederlandse popmuziek overtuigt met prachtplaat nummer 6 

Ik heb al meer dan tien jaar een zwak voor de muziek van het Nederlandse duo Jodymoon. Het is muziek met invloeden uit de 70s singer-songwriter muziek, uit de Britse folk, uit de Amerikaanse rootsmuziek en uit de klassieke muziek. Jodymoon maakt muziek die je al jaren lijkt te kennen, maar het is ook muziek die je keer op keer weet te verrassen. Het duo doet dit met een zeer smaakvolle en warmbloedige instrumentatie en met vocalen die je maar blijven raken. Jodymoon had al lang wereldberoemd moeten zijn in Nederland, maar het blijft helaas een goed bewaard geheim. Het is een geheim om intens te koesteren, maar het is er ook een om van de daken te schreeuwen. Prachtplaat. Nummer zes!

Het Nederlandse duo Jodymoon viert dit jaar haar dertiende verjaardag. Ik ontdekte het tweetal uit Maastricht in 2008, toen Jodymoon’s tweede plaat Never Gonna Find It In Another Story verscheen. Ik was direct bij eerste beluistering overtuigd van de kwaliteiten van het Nederlandse tweetal en verbaas me bij iedere nieuwe release van Jodymoon weer over het feit dat zangeres Digna Janssen en multi-instrumentalist Johan Smeets nog altijd niet wereldberoemd zijn; op zijn minst in Nederland.

Dat deed ik voor het laatst in de lente van 2015 toen het prachtige All Is Waiting verscheen (lees hier verder: https://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2015/06/all-is-waiting-jodymoon.html.). De vijfde plaat van Jodymoon overtuigde, net als zijn vier voorgangers, met wonderschone en volstrekt tijdloze popsongs.

De plaat kon wederom rekenen op lovende woorden op deze blog, maar het was zeker niet de enige recensie vol superlatieven. Ik was er dan ook van overtuigd dat de doorbraak van Jodymoon dit keer niet uit kon blijven, maar bijna vier jaar later moet ik helaas constateren dat Jodymoon nog altijd een van de best bewaarde geheimen van de Nederlandse popmuziek is. Gelukkig is er nu album nummer 6 en ook A Love Brand New is weer een plaat om hopeloos verliefd op te worden.

Heel veel veranderd is er niet. Multi-instrumentalist Johan Smeets zorgt ook dit keer voor een mooi, warmbloedig en veelzijdig klankentapijt. Het is een klankentapijt waarin organische klanken domineren, waarin subtiliteit het wint van grootse arrangementen en waarin strijkers zorgen voor de kers op de taart. Het is bovendien een klankentapijt dat ruimte schept; heel veel ruimte.

Jodymoon begeeft zich ook op A Love Brand New weer veelvuldig op de weg van de tijdloze singer-songwriter pop uit de jaren 70, maar schuift hier en daar ook op richting 70s folk, richting de rootsmuziek van het moment of richting klassiek aandoende songs.

In muzikaal opzicht heeft Jodymoon op haar nieuwe plaat nog wat stappen gezet. A Love Brand New is een prachtig klinkende plaat vol wonderschone klanken. Het snarenwerk op de plaat is van een bijzonder hoog niveau, maar ook de buitengewoon subtiele ritmesectie en de fraaie strijkers dragen nadrukkelijk bij aan het bijzondere geluid van Jodymoon. Het is een geluid dat op hetzelfde moment ontspant en intrigeert.

Het is bovendien een beeldend geluid dat garant staat voor fraaie beelden op het netvlies; zeker wanneer de instrumentale passages wat langer worden opgerekt. Jodymoon sleept je afwisselend mee naar de Amerikaanse woestijn, mysterieuze kloosters in het Limburgse land of een knisperend kampvuur op het strand, om maar eens drie uitersten te noemen.

In muzikaal opzicht is het weer smullen, maar ook in vocaal opzicht laat de nieuwe plaat van Jodymoon weer niets te wensen over. Ik schaarde Digna Janssen in vorige recensies al onder de beste zangeressen in Nederland en ook op A Love Brand New zijn de vocalen weer van een bijzonder hoog niveau. Het klinkt allemaal zo makkelijk en vanzelfsprekend, maar echt iedere noot is raak.

We hebben heel lang moeten wachten op een nieuwe plaat van Jodymoon, maar het Limburgse duo pakt gelukkig flink uit. A Love Brand New bevat maar liefst 13 songs en bijna een uur muziek. Net als op haar vorige platen overtuigen Digna Janssen en Johan Smeets met songs die onmiddellijk een goed gevoel geven. Jodymoon maakt ook dit keer volstrekt tijdloze muziek en overtuigt met songs die je al jaren lijkt te kennen, maar die ook geheimen blijven prijsgeven.

Ook na beluistering van A Love Brand New ben ik er weer van overtuigt dat de muziek van Jodymoon veel meer aandacht verdient dan het Maastrichtse duo tot dusver krijgt. Ik kan me er over blijven verbazen, maar geniet liever van de prachtige muziek die inmiddels al zes platen lang overtuigt en betovert. Er zijn maar weinig bands die dit voor elkaar krijgen, maar Jodymoon flikt het. Prachtplaat. Een diepe buiging is op zijn plaats.

Erwin Zijleman

Je kunt A Love Brand New hier kopen:

http://www.jodymoon.com/music/


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 16 maart 2019

Walkin' Shoes. Ted Russell Kamp

After all the punk rock and rock records reviewed by me over the past weeks, it was a pleasure to hear the Americana fuelled rock played by Ted Russell Kamp. Guitars rock, drums pound and the bass lays a strong foundation, yet something tells me to relax and lay back. Just listen and things will be fine and I do just that.

Ted Russell Kamp is a bass player from Los angeles who has toured with a host of bands and artists through the past decade and a half, but also has his own career. And rightly so as several songs on Walkin' Shoes have that quality I like in Americana songs. Walkin' Shoes is his 11th album.

Superficially Kamp is one of those artist who come out of that opened can where dozens of U.S. artist crawl out of once opened. There is a whole host of Americana and roots singer-songwriters and there simply is not a lot setting them apart for insufficiently trained ears like mine are. So where to start?

The first thing I noticed when starting to listen to Walkin' Shoes is the nice level of roots rock that Kamp presents. The sound of the guitars is just right. The riffs and lead notes or solo's sound like I want them to be. This is my inner expectations being tickled alright. A warm Hammond sound does the rest as does the slide guitar that moves in here and there.

The second thing is that Ted Russell Kamp's voice has this little edge, with a faint trace of hoarseness that make him extremely interesting to listen to. He is able to sing his lyrics so convincingly. When he sings "You can watch my tail lights shine" in 'Tail Light Shine', there's no escaping believing him on his word here.

Promo photo
The third thing is the album is sufficiently varied to keep my attention. Only rockers would not have cut it. Not all the variations make my personal cut. Especially when Kamp moves into more traditional country. On the other side of the spectrum 'Get Off The Grid' instantly reminds me of Grayson Capps and is so right. A sort of rockabilly with the lid on. This song is gripping and fun, while not giving everything away in an easy way.

The richness of Walkin' Shoes starts to really show when getting to the 9th song I am again pricking up my ears and become really entertained by 'Written In Stone'. A fine ladies backing joins in, while the song remains extremely rhythmic. Kamp knows exactly what he is doing here and the effect he wants to extract in his listeners -and does, without any effort it seems.

Yes, in a way Ted Russell Kamp fits into a mould that produced thousands of singer-songwriters in the country, Americana, roots segment of music. In the other he stands his ground extremely well, while covering a few grounds on the album. There simply is very little complain about. Let me rephrase that in a positive way: With the first album by Kamp in my possession he is up with the likes of Grayson Capps as far as I'm concerned and in my little bubble that is not a bad place to be. Ted Russell Kamp presented me with the album I simply needed to hear right now.

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 15 maart 2019

Dragon Welding. Dragon Welding

Dragon Welding is not an album that in the first minutes of listening presents itself as a gift for my ears. In fact I noticed a certain resentment to the extremely busy and noisy 'The Builders'. The unrelenting sound and beat that simply go on and on, distracting me from what also goes on in the song. Like a clue in an escape room that keeps eluding me.

Dragon Welding is Andrew Golding who releases his first solo album under the anagram of his own name. Golding was a member of The Wolfhounds since the mid 80s and played and sang on all six albums released between 1986 and 1990 and in the 10s. Come 2019 it is time for a solo effort.

Dragon Welding touches on many styles, moods and sounds. As already mentioned 'The Builders' is all over the place, with Golding's voice as resting point, like the eye of the hurricane. In a way his voice is glued on to the rest. After this onslaught, that I start to appreciate more and more, Dragon Welding touches on a history of U.K. music. In 'These are Dangerous Time' the singing and melody brings David Gilmour (led Pink Floyd) to mind. The music is far too lively to be able to do so. In 'Slap' an African rhythm is mixed with a loud hardrock guitar melody/solo.

Promo photo
It becomes clear that on Dragon Welding Andrew Golding was not in for laying barriers on his creativity. It was allowed to explore any way it wanted to go and scrap later where things didn't work. The result is a very varied album, almost an understatement, with the listener unable to predict whatever could be next. If there is a pattern, it is the busy, sometimes even extreme rhythms and use of lead instruments and the laidback singing of Golding. Around him it all twirls around, with his voice in the middle keeping things together.

Take 'Join The Dots'. The drums play the same pattern without any variation. Chord changes are kept to a minimum for large parts of the song. All the instruments play a pattern on and on. A cadence is created, almost hypnotizing. A lead guitar flies in, but also plays basically the same notes over and over. It all blends into one major force. This is not totally typical for Dragon Welding but certainly a major part of the album.

Another impression I get, is that Golding has taken the songs he had written to the demolition squad before bringing out his welding kit and add new elements. Take the electronic 'The Dumb'. This song most likely was composed on a guitar or keyboard. That was only the start for Andrew Golding. The outcome is a totally different beast.

CD art
Next up is 'Bucket List No. 1', a folk outing on acoustic guitar like led Zeppelin used to be good at. Jimmy Page's technique of playing certainly can be heard here. In 'Bucket List No. 2' Golding also sings over the same melody. He keeps the song acoustic and steps away wisely in one way as now it is his own song, sadly he doesn't in the other because it would have been great to hear a Led Zeppelin like explosion in a new song. I'm not certain what I prefer, I notice. My mind keeps longing for a John Bonham drum pick up though, followed by the rest.

Nearing the end of the album even now the surprises keep coming. In other words Dragon Welding is an adventure, something that I can try to describe yet it will only truly be grasped by giving it a try yourself and preferably more than one. It took me more than one for certain. All I can do to goad you onwards is that I heard this little something that told me to revisit and I did and did again. Perhaps you will too.

Wo.

You can listen and buy Dragon Welding here:

https://dragonwelding.bandcamp.com/


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 14 maart 2019

A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart. Louise Lemón

Now that is a novel way of looking at lulluvuduh as we call it jokingly here in NL. 'Liefdesverdriet' or a broken heart. I bet most people never looked at it like that. A broken heart most likely is the start of something new; if one is open to that of course.

Louise Lemón is a Swedish singer-songwriter who goes beyond the girl with guitar image that is extremely popular these days. Lemón goes for a dark sound on her second album. Death-gospel is the little niche where the press would like to lock her up in. No one playing on this album was dead at the time of playing and there's no, deeply depressed, southern gospel baptist church choir in sight.

The sound on A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart is as dark as I think northern Sweden is in deepest winter. Gloomy at best, if there's light at all. Lemón has a dark voice she's not afraid to use. Neither is she in fear of taking on a song with the barest of accompaniment. 'Swimming In Sadness', yes, quite the title, only has sparse piano chords to which Louise Lemón tries to tread water at best to keep afloat.

Promo photo: Sophie Winberg Tyrfelt
The album opens with a song called 'Sunlight'. It sounds more like a wish for it than it is there to bask in. The person sung to is sunshine. It is a track that is ambiguous. There is a wailing guitar and singing. The music is of the barest kind, atmospheric synths and guitar. It is Louise Lemón who goes full out. My take was I'm listening to an alternative Whitney or Mariah. So if that is the soul element mentioned in the accompanying info, I'll grant it.

The album takes a more alternative turn in 'Montana'. It is here that her Swedish colleague Christine Owman came to mind. She is able to wallow in the darkness as well. 'Montana' is far larger in sound though. In the third song the album again takes a turn with a more poppy sounding 'Not Enough'. The darkness is not lifted in the music, in the singing it is. Louise Lemón uses her powerful voice to sing an all out chorus. Enough to make people sway at a minimum. Underneath is a dark guitar, while piano and drums are the front instruments.

Anyone listening to A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart will be surprised by the many sides to this artist. The same goes for the way she can use her voice. From a more closed way of singing to a forceful, all out storm. Moving through the album I notice that I do not like every song as much. Yet it is very easy to keep listening. Around every corner the next surprise awaits me. Not many albums offer such diversity in such an interesting and often good way. Take the long, dark guitar solo in the instrumental 'Susceptible Soul' or the poppy 'Cross', while the soul does move in the high sung 'Honest Heart'.

Promo photo
Like Christine Owman's album 'When On Fire' (read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2017/02/when-on-fire-christine-owman.html) A Broken Heart Is An Open Heart deserves attention and success. It is special and manages to set itself apart from many records released over the past period. A real tip it is.

Wo.

You can listen to and buy the album here:

https://louiselemon.bandcamp.com/album/a-broken-heart-is-an-open-heart


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 13 maart 2019

Kairos 103, 7 February 2019 on Concertzender

Hark, now hear the familiar voice announcing Kairos, the show of the .No of WoNo Magazine that is broadcasted each first Thursday of the month on Concertzender and then stored sort of forever on a server somewhere in the world. Each month the Wo. part of WoNo Magazine takes a listen and shares his thoughts with the reader of this blog. So let's see whether this Kairos led Wo. to some deeper insights into the levels of whatever.

It all starts with an instrumental piano track from an album that was reviewed in January on this blog. Matteo Myderwyk's 'Ataraxia' received a favourable reception from me. Like 'Axioma IX' played here, it is easy find my place is this contemplative music, to somehow become a part of it. Myderwyk plays ever so delicate notes in a high register, creating a specific mood allowing me to totally relax and pay attention to his playing and music. (Read on here: http://wonomagazine.blogspot.com/2019/01/ataraxia-matteo-myderwyk.html)


Hildegard von Bingen? Wasn't that a Mediaeval nun, who locked herself into her cell, but also wrote music? For the first time, as far as I'm aware I am exposed to her music. Although this is not entirely true. Richard Souther has arranged it for modern ears, that much is clear. This is deeply serious music, that much is clear also, yet of an enormous pureness. As if light emanates from it, as the sacred heart of Jesus does in some pictures and statues. Just listen to how the organ sounds and the following, mixed deep into the whole, choir. Oddly enough I instantly have parts of 'Tubular Bells' mixed into this music within my head. As if Mike Oldfield transposed Von Bingen into the 20th century. We hear two compositions, where I can't help noticing how well 'Axioma IX', preceded this work.

The time table says I'm listening to a fragment of 'Alpine Brook' by Manu Delago. Still I hear no difference, until Southern's arrangement is faded out and a trumpet enters the whole. The strange rhythmic sounds underneath it all, including ticking on a bell of glass. The trumpet is very traditional in sound and melody. All around it is totally deconstructed in sound and rhythm, estranging almost, yet very well done. A lot of thought (or experimentation) went into this track, to make it sound so perfect and fitting all the individual parts.

A choir comes in, all ladies, singing another work from Ms. Von Bingen. This is from another album and artists. The traditional version, where Richard Southern made it his own work. Oxford Camarata sings 'O Euchari' as it may have been sung by the sisters surrounding Hildegard von Bingen in the abdis of Rupertsberg, near Bingen, circa 1150. Since 2012 she is saint Hildegard and was a scientist, composer, receiver of visions and what not in her day. Finally I have heard her work as it is supposed to sound. This music does not do much for me unfortunately, but then I can't have it all. Nine minutes is a long time when someone does not follow the devotion, like I do.

Music sets in and it has some sort of a folk undertone. The traditional kind as can be found in British folk music. That is not all though. Somehow (the use of the) instruments and sound come across as older. On the other hand something strange is going on, as if the instruments have to find their relations to one another in the composition, as if they are all being played without a common denominator, having to find their way around this composition without guidance. It remains unclear whether they succeed, yet they seem to manage and find their way around the composition in a successful way. It is even unclear, at least this is what I'm sensing, whether the instruments are played on the same continent, as so many styles and sounds come together. Such confusion. It does make 'Saudade' extremely intriguing to listen to.

Michael Price is up next with 'Fan Bay' from his album 'Tender Symmetry'. It is not the first contribution on Kairos from this album. The singing is in line with Hildegard von Bingen's contribution. A one voice choir. The voice is a male version of the ambiguous voice of Antony Hegarty or Anohni nowadays. The music, deep and dark. Extremely serious with just a hint at adventure in the cello's notes. 'Fan Bay' is church music, music composed to praise the Lord (to) for the modern age. That makes it harder for me to understand or put into context. What does John Price want to say with this music? Perhaps nothing, but the question keeps popping up in my mind.

An Anonymous enters Kairos. Not in the form of a hacker donning a Venetian mask, although the group has been very quiet in the past years (all behind bars?), but as an unknown composer of the 'Carmina Burana Manuscript' from 1230. We are deep into the Middle Ages with this Kairos. Coincidence has it I discussed the professor of Mediaeval history of Leiden University, H.P.H. Jansen, how wrote the hideous standard work that all freshman had to know by heart, on the afternoon of writing. 'Veri Dulcis' has a traditional church music part, like it is still composed today, but in the accompaniment has an eastern touch, something Greek. That makes it an interesting hybrid. Not that I'm jumping around the room, that also makes typing hard, but this music does work. It does something (possitive) to my mood.

The singing moves over for something that is being blown accompanied by a strange clicking sounds, as if a hedge is being clipped. I recognise it from some Kairoses back in 2018. What is it again? It is Jorg Verhoeven blowing his bass clarinet. Once again I do not see myself meditating on this rather strange music, but it appears it is working for Verhoeven. He explores his instrument and thus his mind in all sorts of ways and yes, it produces sounds. From music to air being moved by breathing out. I expect the clipping sounds to be the levers or whatever one calls them on clarinet when pressed and released. And oh, the bass can sound as deep as a ship's horn. Somewhere beyond the sonorous sound it is possible to hear Jorg Verhoeven freak out in his own, slow and meditative way. And that part is amazing to hear.

Oh, no, Harrold Roeland returns to Kairos. For how long, not 20 minutes again? No, a piano moves into the bass clarinet's sounds ever so hesitatingly. Jorg Verhoeven blows on like it is not his time to go, but alas, the piano now really takes over. .No is showing off his mixing qualities and ears for perfect mixes and mash ups. And silence enters Kairos. Roeland is not afraid to let this into his music. He allows the silence to be so long, that it is almost as if he went to the store and found that notes were nearly sold out and no knowing when they return on the shelf. 'Stargazing Savannah' sounds like someone lying on his back in perfect darkness with just the heavens above him. With a meteorite coming to its end silently, high above. Night sounds all around. Yes, I can be surprised in a pleasant way, even after my not so pleasant introduction to Roeland's music last month. The poem by Anita Frenks completely underscores my train of thought I notice.

The next song moves in, but 'Stargazing Savannah' does not move out. Hearing is believing, as often it is in Kairos. The star of the sea, Stella Maris, is venerated by the Trio Medieaval. Combined with the "night sounds" and sparse piano notes, something totally new is created neither artist had foreseen. Both works are enhanced by it is my impression, as this is pure beauty what I am hearing.

Kairos ends with another Axioma, this time number II. But what is it I'm hearing after Trio Mediaval stopped singing. My take is that .No is taking over here and is mixing whole worlds together. Myderwyk starts playing while all the night sounds continue. In ever busier and more prominent loops.

At least I thought I was hearing Myderwyk, but when he does come in it becomes clear I was still listening to Harrold Roeland. Myderwyk plays his contemplative composition, yet my brain is still twirling and suggesting to hear the "night sounds". They are gone and soft piano playing is all that is left. The ideal ending to this Kairos, as there was more than my brain could process or so it seems. I am allowed to relax like the moment one has with oneself when the meditation is said to be over. Closing the eyes, lingering in the feeling for just a little longer, stretching limbs and neck. Myderyk does just that at the end of Kairos 103.

Wo.

You can listen to this Kairos here:




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

This is this month playlist:


00:15      Matteo Myderwyk. Axioma IX. Album ‘Ataraxia’. Excelsior Recordings.

02:39      Hildegard von Bingen (arr: Richard Souther). Sed Diabolus. Album ‘Vision, the music of Hildegard von Bingen’. Angel CDC 7243 5 55423 2 8.

04:40      Richard Souther: The Anointing. Album ‘Vision, the music of Hildegard von Bingen’. Angel CDC 7243 5 55423 2 8.

08:47      Manu Delago. Alpine Brook (fragment). Album ‘Parasol Peak’. TPLP1450CDP.

11:39      Hildegard von Bingen. O Euchari. Oxford Camerata; Jeremy Summerly. Album ‘Hildegard von Bingen / Heavenly revelations / Hymns, Sequences, Antiphons, Responds. Naxos 8.550998.

20:13      Milos Valent / John Surman / Stephen Stubbs. Saudade. Album ‘The Dowland Project, Romaria’. John Potter. ECM NEW SERIES 1970 476 5780.

26:12      Michael Price. Fan Bay. Album ‘Tender Symmetry’. Erased Tapes Records ERATP112CD.

31:30      Anonymous (from Carmina Burana manuscript c. 1230). Veris Dulcis. Album ‘The Dowland Project, Romaria’. John Potter. ECM NEW SERIES 1970 476 5780.

36:31      Jorg Verhoeven. Original green part 5. Album ‘Meditation Bass clarinet’. Self-released.

42:00      Rocókon / Harrold Roeland. Stargazing Savanna (fragment). Album ‘Generative Landscapes 1’. Self-released (see: https://harroldroeland.bandcamp.com/album/generative-landscapes-1-3).

49:45      Trad. O Maria Stella Maris. Trio Mediaeval. Trio Mediaeval (Anna Maria Friman, Torunn østrem Ossum, Linn Andrea Fuglseth). Album ‘Stella Maris’. ECM 1929

56:23      Matteo Myderwyk. Axioma II. Album ‘Ataraxia’. Excelsior Recordings.
Poem: Anita Frenks