Tagarchief: Dutch

Avery Plains – The Gloomy Ones/Lost My Sight To Spider

In the unlikely event that Dinosaur Jr. would ever join up with a reincarnation of The Screaming Trees to record some songs together, they’d probably sound like Avery Plains. They combine the dark and swampy sound of team Lanegan with sharp indie and noise rock of fighting brothers Barlow and Mascis (and silent witness, Murph). Loud and ferocious like, any band with four guitars on eleven. A racket, in the most positive sense of the word.

The Gloomy Ones, our introduction to this band from Groningen, incorperates two fiercely smashing guitars, a wild but melodic bass guitar and a third lead guitar sounding very much like Medicine and My Bloody Valentine; loud, piercing, noisy, yet extremely melodic. Amidst all this pumping and thumping noise, Jurgen Veenstra’s dark and warm voice brings a calm backdrop, like the eye of a storm. This is actually where Veenstra’s vocal delivery comes closest to Lanegan, in tone ánd in intention, emitting the same subdued rage.
On the flip side, Avery Plains shows yet another face by adding a rough country feel to their grungy sound. But Lost My Sight To Spider is menacing all the same, not the least because of its well-balanced backing vocals. Giving it an extra heavy, stalking doomsday vibe. Something’s afoot, so brace yourself…

The single will be released on the 6th of April by Dutch underground label Subroutine Records and can already be pre-order on their site.

One can already hear The Gloomy Ones on the bandcamp of Avery Plains.

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Opgeslagen onder English, Nederland, veelwoordenvooreensingle

Kleinindustrie – Hit It

It has been a few months ago since Joep van Son (who you could – or actually should – know as lead singer and guitar player of The Sugarettes, Nikoo, [V] and probably several other projects) recommended Kleinindustrie to me. They had just released a digital five song ep, their third already in 2012.

Ever since, I’ve been playing this ep occasionally. But with the recent demise of Wooden Constructions in the back of my head I thought it was the right time to pay attention to this Amsterdam post punk/noise rock trio. Taking inspiration from the (New York) no wave and noise rock scene of the mid 1980s, Kleinindustrie betray their love for Sonic Youth in the title song of this ep. This could easily be a lost track from the Bad Moon Rising, Evol or Sister recordings with its sharp, a tonal noise melodies.

It would be too easy and unfair to simply call Kleinindustrie a replica. They play with their influences and mould them into new forms. Somewhat like Serbian sibling Repetitor, this trio took from their parents what they like and made their own unique brand of broken down and chaotic noise out of it. Opener “Repetition” blend the pulsating repetitive mechanics of kraut rock with some fierce biting guitar noise. The band devises a subdued threatening atmosphere with the more brooding, energetic psych noise of S-s-sensational, slowly building up tension towards explosions that never come.

A method they perfected with Here Comes Limbo John. For most of the song’s duration, an eruption lurks around the corner, only to finally fade into Untitled. Chaos By Now has become the trio’s main point of interest. Somewhere there is a song in there, you know it, you hear it. But the three-piece broke it down at rehearsals and teared it to pieces, as if to say, “figure it out yourself”. Before falling into their obvious Sonic Joke, Hit It, applies the colour, jargon and song structure of New York’s noise rock-godfathers and reforming it as Kleinindustrie from Amsterdam, bringing New York back to its undeniable Dutch roots and origin.

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Opgeslagen onder CD recensies, English, Incubate, Le Guess Who?, Nederland

The Sweet Release Of Death – Haze

It is damned sweet when a band name, the title of a record or the name of a song covers the content of the song completely. There is no need whatsoever to describe the music, no need to write a review. Just state the title of the song, say it says it all and go about your own business. Go to the pub, have a beer or go and see a show from some other kick-ass band.

My Dying Bride is such a band. No need to explain anything, anyone with a brain understands that you’ll be in for a heavy dark ride when you dive the needle in to their records. Or Space Siren, with a band name like that it is obvious that there will be a female voice singing over some psychedelic guitar tracks. Personally I have never met any sirens, but trusting the myths I have come to the conclusion that none of them are male.

Haze, from the Rotterdam trio The Sweet Release Of Death, has everything in the name to make a description or review unnecessary. It is a heavy, dark and hazy shoegaze track. Two and a half minutes of melodic guitar noise with playful bass lines and a warm tenor male voice, backed up by an even warmer female voice. The song bears the stamp of Corno Zwetsloot producing methods, with characteristic clear noisy guitar lines and pushing drums in the heart of the mix. Zwetsloot, known for his work as producer at Next To Jaap Studio, as guitarist of Space Siren and is most likely the man that every – beginning – Dutch indie band dreams of working with, completes the picture that puts the first recording of The Sweet Release Of Death on a spot somewhere between a noisier Superchunk and a speedier Seam. Fitting both song title and band name alike, Haze is a promising song for whatever will follow from this dark and threatening shoegaze trio. Apparently something worth looking out for is a brewing in Rotterdam.

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Opgeslagen onder English, Nederland, veelwoordenvooreensingle

The Fire Harvest – The Fire Harvest

There is this moment in the self-titled album of The Fire Harvest when you most likely will be cursing the quartet. Cursing them wholeheartedly from the depths of your soul. During the fifty-sixth second of the fourth minute in the fourth song on their debut you’ll feel betrayed. Betrayed for there is no fifty-sixth second in that fourth minute. Even though Secret Holy Place (that specific fourth song of three minutes and fifty-five seconds) has one of the best slow-core grooves of this year going on. The Fire Harvest lets the song die, starve slowly in a fade out. A fade out that comes ten minutes (too) early, because even on repeat that song is cut too short and you as a listener are left wanting. Wanting and waiting for more. Frustrated, as a junky who has set the needle but never got to the rush, the high or the damage. A trip cut short, the meditation broken.

In the line of artists like Low, Mount Eerie, Codeine, early Songs: Ohia and Karate, The Fire Harvest likes to take it slow (real slow). Two distorted guitars shriek and pound long stretched chords, whilst a drummer refrains from drumming most of the time and the vocalist proclaims his lyrics more than he sings them. Songs that have the same intensity as, and somehow remind me of, Dutch slow-core kings Solbakken (The Sounds In Our House and Laywer_Killer) pass by and just tear me apart. As with Solbakken, The Fire Harvest are mostly unknown in the Netherlands, but create a sound and – more importantly – an atmosphere that is comparable with the international sadcore/slow-core/whatever you want to name these bands that keep speed low and repetition high in their songs. Unknown (in which format does play a role, The Fire Harvest came on a limited Walkman with cassette), but nonetheless a gem to cherish.

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Opgeslagen onder CD recensies, English, Le Guess Who?, Nederland

Vanderbuyst – Flying Dutchmen

This is a confession.
When I was in my early teens I loved hard rock. Every week I’d listen to VARA’s Vuurwerk, a popular Dutch radio-show that only played metal and hard rock. I wanted to grow my hair, have high boots, tight (broken or worn out) black jeans and shirts with scary skulls. I banged my short cut head on Iron Maiden, Scorpions, Europe and some other well groomed guys, dreaming of long curls and patched jeans jackets.

But it is a long time since 1988 and I have fallen out of touch with the Monsters Of Rock, patches and dreams of laced leather pants. Since then I have acquired a taste in noise rock, Lofi, indie rock and other outskirts of the pop music spectrum, the only things left still revealing my early love for headbangersball is the length of my hair and my (always black and slightly too) tight jeans. The rest has faded. Faded, but not gone.

Sometimes a band passes by that relights that old flame. Vanderbuyst is such a band. With their third album in as many years this trio hailing from the Netherlands brings hard rock as I like it best. Bombastic, melodic but most of all a little dirty. Images of Thin Lizzy, early Iron Maiden, Van Halen, The Scorpions (before the softy hit) and maybe even Anthrax flash by whilst listening to Flying Dutchmen.

Hard rock in its purest form, but without that feeling of “hinter years”. The Flying Dutchmen is a blast from the past in modern coating, using modern technology to revive the genre. Without overdoing it, the trio has used the studio to create a fuller and more evolved sound. The end result brings hard rock to this era on a technological level. But also has everything one can wish for, doubled guitar lines, solos bathing in echo and all supported by an ongoing locomotive in the rhythm-section. Even the only weakness of Vanderbuyst, the somewhat forced vocals, sounds strong on Flying Dutchmen. A few years ago the trio decided to set everything else aside for the band. Playing two-three shows a day if possible, they’ve been giving it all to make it happen. Shows so convincing that Vanderbuyst gets to return everywhere, every time for a bigger audience. On the brim of making it happen, this record with only songs that can compete with the hard rock hits of the 1980s will be the last push to make that dream that they’ve been working so hard for reality.

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Opgeslagen onder English, Nederland

The Horse Company – Calypso

When I saw The Horse Company playing on Incubate earlier this year, I was slightly disappointed. Rumour had it that the band from Zwolle was going to return with a great indie rock record this year, yet all I saw was a band struggling with equipment, somewhat uneasy being on stage. The latter understandable, considering this was their first show in over a year and the first show playing the new material. And honestly, it wasn’t bad at all. It just wasn’t what I had anticipated based on the buzz that preceded the show, or better that preceded the recorded. So I left Cul de Sac a sceptic, not too convinced that Calypso would really live up to the expectation that the rumours were building up.

But this initial scepticism has vanished completely. To some distant hidden cave, somewhere on one of the Greek islands where we would normally find the sea nymph Calypso, daughter of Atlas. Just like with their second album, Olympus, The Horse Company has tapped into Ancient Greeks mythology. But where that title was a bit over the top, or better yet, aimed slightly too high, this record indeed places them amongst the Gods. Or at least at the inner ring of angels (I know, I am mixing up to totally unconnected stories here, even though Dante does mention some Ancients – like Homer – and places them on the outer rim of Purgatory).

Angels of Dutch indie rock and underground that is. The bearded roots rock of their album has been pushed in a far corner to make place for a more trimmed 1990s indie rock sound. Somewhere in the distance you still here some of the old influences, hidden in layers of laid-back guitar melodies, or in the playful melodic bass lines. Somewhat in a way that American Music Club hides their American roots in otherwise poppy tunes. In the three years since Olympus that band apparently has been working on developing another sound, a broader one.

While Olympus a certain points could have been a record recorded in a studio in Denton (TX) by a band hailing from Denton (TX) rocking the indie into roots (or vice versa), Calypso brings together the grandeur of bands like Coldplay and Snow Patrol (Random Hearts) with the experimental indiepop of dEus (Front Forming), psychedelics of the 1970s (Nearly Broke Your Heart) and some brushed up indierock influences from the early 1990s (One Wheel). A long list of names that one could refer to, but what makes Calypso a better record than Olympus is simply the fact that these influences have all merged, melted into a laid-back sound clearly definable as “The Horse Company”.

But this new sound does create a problem or – better yet – a challenge for The Horse Company. Listening to Calypso I realised why the show of the band didn’t really kick off during Incubate. The multi-layered songs filled with small subtleties in those layers that sometimes are hardly noticeable, but do create the relaxed atmosphere of the record don’t translate well to a four-piece-band-live-show. The doubled vocal tracks that give the songs an extra depth on your stereo get lost on a stage like that of Cul de Sac, no matter how good the sound-technician is.

Not that Cul de Sac is a bad stage, far from that, but it is above all a pub with a small stage. Acoustics and available equipment to recreate the sound are not available nor the time that the two brothers had whilst writing, recording, overdubbing and experimenting the last three years. Three years of working in silence on what came out as great, subtlety crafted indierock album that certainly places the band in the Dutch top now brings the band to face the next challenge, to translate that sound, those songs and that subtlety to stage. If and when they manage to do so, The Horse Company can reach for the stars and play bacchanal on mount Olympus.

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Opgeslagen onder CD recensies, English, Incubate, Nederland

Homemade Empire – Defenestration

Some small chords on a piano, a saw singing sadly; the first twenty-something seconds of Defenestration set the tone and atmosphere for the thirteen songs that follow. The debut of Homemade Empire on Subroutine Records is one of darkness, decay and sadness. Sad but not without a sense of hope, or as Bart De Kroon puts it himself on Hidden Knife I could have settled on heartaches and big mistakes/But instead I enjoyed the view.

Laid-back lofi folk songs that bring a comforting sadness. A comfort comparable to the warmth of autumn, to use a worn out comparison to describe music this time of the year. De Kroon keeps it small, even smaller than on the self-released A Brilliant Window Niche from 2010. This partly because Defenestration was mostly recorded live in one-takes with only one microphone, while the predecessor had several overdubs with Kroon playing all instruments himself. On this album De Kroon has surrounded himself with some friends, which also forces him in a more song-like atmosphere. The artist himself describes A Brilliant Window Niche as “a collection of sketches and experiments”, something which Defenestration clearly is not. Songs with a head and a tail, finished, on a record which has the same ambiance throughout all the songs.

What mostly defines the sound of Homemade Empire is the clear choice for analog recording. The warmth of the tape recordings, taking in the background noises while recording and leaving the mistakes in the mix. In word and music Defenestration seems to be far from the radical act of defenestration. There is no throwing people out of windows, no call nor cry for revolution in the tunes. Rather does Defenestration give a reassuring sound for the certain coming of decay and death. Great songs built up out of small gestures.

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Opgeslagen onder CD recensies, English, Nederland

Crappydog – Ain’t Got No Bone

It has been a while since I received Ain’t Got No Bone, Crappydog’s fifth album. A rambling blues record that breathes the spirit of the street, bears an apparent DIY and punk attitude, and sounds more like a growling dog than the band name implies. Erik Vandenberge, the singer and songwriter of the band, might be born on the salty shores of Zeeland, his music though reeks more of cotton than of mussels. Or it must be growling mussels, ready to bite while you try to break them open.

I Ain’t Got No Bone opens with Crush; a dirty drums driven stomping blues with distorted guitar and an over-the-top screaming baritone saxophone. The crush of Vandenberge is real, there is no space left for any doubt about that, the adrenaline driven lofi and punkblues of the first three songs makes sure you’ll feel it.

Convincing blues with the experimental vibe of Captain Beefheart, the growl of Tom Waits and the stomp of Doo Rag (and Bob Log III). What defines the sound of Crappydog, besides the great songs and the cracking voice of its singer, is the way in which the brass is incorporated in the sound. The low and dirty tones of the saxophone in combination with the grinding guitar, the twisted and sharp trumpet that takes over the broken and fuzzed vocals in some of the songs give Crappydog its extra weird twist.

Take Get Ready which starts as a lowdown stripped blues but quickly marches into New Orleans, the brass section leading the whole team in this musical excursion. An excursion that is fun to listen to. Even with the constant dark and sadness that shimmer in the background, Ain’t Got No Bone is a party to listen to. Twelve songs in 25 minutes that are all rich and full of energy. Even when Vandenberge and his band take it down, the record delivers pure pounding blues, far from crappy.

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Opgeslagen onder CD recensies, English, Nederland