Not 100% sure, but this might actually be the first CD discussed here, that is sung in my native dialect, Limburgs, from the South of the Netherlands. And to complicate things, from the somewhat North of the South… So while the English speakers amongst us think they are reading Trap Door, in reality that means something like; go on. Or more specific, go on with your biking. Or something like that 😉
Anyway, this album is written, performed, recorded, produced, mixed and mastered by Huub Holtman himself. Albeit with some guests on percussion, additional vocals, lead guitar and a few other bits and pieces. It took me a while to tag the music I was hearing. It sounds a bit like Peter Gabriel and Muse have been experimenting together. So I guess it is a mix of rock and pop with alternative touches and a tad of prog thrown in for good measure. But the beauty of it all is, that even when most of the world will not understand the lyrics, the music does have the quality to reach out and grab you. Trap Door and Neet Van Belang (It Doesn’t Matter) have an attractive catchiness about them. Veur Dich (For You) is an intricate follow up to the suspense closing bit of Neet Van Belang. Heb Ik Waat (Do I have Something) just plain rocks.
Obvious conclusion is that this is an album that the (alternative) rockers, no matter the language, will be able to enjoy.
Don’t break your tongue trying to pronounce the name of this outfit. Simply put this is to be referred to as Forrest. And the members are Holly Forrest and Matthew Fuentes, from Toronto Canada. Influenced by the lyrics and unconventional song structures from Tegan and Sara and the vibes and guitar of Fleetwood Mac, the duo is sees this as their first step in taking world domination.
Now that is quite a bold statement in the press information. I will spare you most of the rest of the press blurb and just focus on what my ears tell me. And there is no denying that the 9 songs on offer are catchy. Every song has a hook and melody that is instant. And much to my enlightenment, they still manage to stay away from all too obvious choices and routines in their songs. So that is indeed a plus, and a big one. And while this is marketed as a alt-rock band, for me this is not quite true. Alt is a tag that I suspect will put off people, thinking that the weirdness outweighs the primal attraction. And in this case I am quite sure that a lot of people would find it easy to enjoy the music, once they are persuaded to give it a listen.
I have been playing this for quite some time now, and I still think they musical vocabulary goes way beyond your average radio hit. And that without losing the instant lovable factor. So maybe that world domination aim is not so dumb after all…
Another new band whose album has been making many rounds in my CD-player the last weeks. The funny thing is, looking at the band name, the album title or the album art, will probably not give you a clue as to what to expect. Well, here’s where I come in I guess 🙂
The Giant Flying Turtles are a 4 piece band consisting of Calvin Bennet on vocals, upright and electric bass, acoustic guitars and cello, Johnny Young on vocals, piano, keyboards and rhythm guitar, Jim Toscano on drums, percussion and whistle and TJ Jordan on guitar and vocals. There are also some guest on banjo and violin. Looking at that it seems the guys are able to add a lot of colour. And that would be the needle on the head. This album is filled with songs that cover a broad spectrum of genres. Think everything between Rockabilly, Prog rock, Alternative, Americana, Blues, Swing, Bluegrass and Folk. And while some might be put off by that, those would be missing out! Because whatever is the root of a song, these guys are able to convince. The songs have great spirit and energy. And I for one admire a band with the balls to just go out and do what they like. Especially when served so expertly. Of course for me personally the more rocking tracks (check One Of A Kind for instance) are closest to my taste, but I have found every track to be enjoyable and just very well done.
I think a lot of people could fall in love with this, so please have a listen!
Listening with an open mind is regarded highly at YMB HQ. And with this release from Post Death Soundtrack, that comes in handy. If anything, this is not typical. In my mind this comes closest to obscure Eighties New Wave bands like Freur. And since you probably don’t remember them either, what can I say about this that will clarify my point?
Okay, first thing of note is that keyboards and vocals are at the centre of this album. Yes there is some guitar, bass and drum (machine) involved, but the voice(s) and the keyboards take care of flashing out the arrangements. I guess that is why I am remembered of the Eighties. Second thing is that mood and sphere is very important on this album. And that makes for an intense listening atmosphere. It is pretty hard to not listen to the album. Or on the other hand, if you just let it pass you by, it might come across as bland. But that would really be a criminal injustice as giving it a proper spin rewards the listener with making real contact with the music.
So in this case I will keep it very simple, if you are open minded too and are willing to invest your precious time into an intense album, than go and get this. I am confident it will not leave you untouched.
This has been playing a lot lately here at the office, and I must say, this is a very intriguing album. Again a duo, consisting of Hatty Taylor (vocals) and Nigel Firth (instruments). The press sheets talks of trip hop, but I think calling this a combination of pop and rock, enhanced with electronica, comes pretty close. Even if only because I don’t happen to know what trip hop is 😉
There is no denying that opening song Oh Josephine has that instant hook that popular radio wants. And taking less than 4 minutes to deliver its catchy melodies makes for an ideal single candidate. Next up is This Is Normal and this also has a brooding electronic sphere over a pop rock format with guitars. A bit “fucked up” indeed. Hatty’s voice is suited well for this sound, she sounds so innocent at times, yet manages to creep under your skin. Wintertime is a slow song with a more vintage sound, something like a Rhodes or so is playing a major part but again it is hard to not listen.
I could go on about this album, but I will just say this, if you want to make sure you do not miss the birth of something special and pretty unique, you need to get up and make sure you discover this band and album. Compliments for delivering such a confident and catchy work that still sounds fresh!
Well this Finnish band has managed to surprise me with their brand of music. Huminoita is a progressive post-rock band with elements from shoegaze, stoner rock, jazz and metal. The album is purely instrumental with some shamanistic vocals. Another reviewer called it “a missing link between Sigur Rós and Ash Ra Tempel.” Don’t know about you, but I had little clue as to what to expect…
And the thing is, this is actually quite enjoyable. Yes it is instrumental (the voice is used as an instrument here, not to sing words), but I feel the songs have enough depth. This because of the use of dynamics. Never ultra heavy, but it does go from whisper soft to rocking out. And everything in between. A lot is based on repeating melodic lines. So the six songs on the album (clocking in at almost 40 minutes) hold your attention with ease. And while some instrumentalists try to captivate audiences with impeccable technique, Huminoita go for feel, groove and moods. Quite psychedelic at times, so I can imagine some people getting sucked in and wandering off to far away places in their mind.
One of the first releases on the new Luova label, this is a promise for things to come.
And back to instrumental music. That is, for the most part. Oneironaught are a quartet hailing from the USA, probably New York area. If I translate the booklet correctly (all is done as if you were reading a flight manifesto) Nathan Lincoln plays guitar, David Mieloch drums, Damon Pelletier bass, and Robert Pena guitars and keyboards.
Together they wrote and recorded 7 songs ranging from 4 to 11 minutes, resulting in an album that clocks in at almost 50 minutes. Some tongue in cheek in the song titles. Like opener The Schillinger Escape Plan, or Your Body Is Responding Incredibly Well (To The Pregnancy). I always have a problem pinpointing genre tags, but I guess this is best described as a mixture of progressive metal with alternative rock. So we go from unisono riffing to melting solos over various meter changes, to much lighter pieces that focus more on subtlety and or groove. Of course this makes it an album to grow into, as it is often busy and demands your undivided attention. I like the boldness of going for a fairly honest and transparent production, that is not completely flattened by compression. Which also makes clear the guys can play! There is a little singing in Emerald City and that isn´t half bad either, so something to try a bit more next time guys?
Alas it is almost impossible to keep up with all the music that is being released today. Still there is always time to add a new discovery. Well, new is relative here, because as it turns out, Red already have released a couple of albums. Yet it was the video of the title track that got me interested. It is a sort of mini movie by the way, worth checking out.
So on that basis alone I bought this and I must say, I like their brand of post grunge alternative metal (what´s in a name?) very much. It is aggressive yet melodic, and the energy that pours from it is just awesome. I admit, the screaming vocals will not be everybody´s cup of tea, but I think they are balanced well by the normal vocals. This is riff heavy music with very recognisable hooks and melodies. A bonus is the subtle use of keyboards. That really adds atmosphere and depth I think. And if you are only in it for the guitars and groove, rest assured as this really is kicking ass. So anyone who is not tapping their feet or banging their head while listening to this, is probably not into metal music at all. And a song like Hold Me Now also proves the band can chill as well. Very convincing, and I am surely delving into their back catalogue!
Despite them having quite a history (as I found out later), my first encounter with this band was the video for the track Black Chandelier. I found that a very intriguing mix of alternative rock with progressive twists and pop rock melodies (besides being a really cool video). So I figured I take a delve in and acquaintance myself. And my first reaction was, I have been missing a lot apparently. So much in fact that I am now busy tracking all their albums down….
But first this CD. Opening song is Different People, and that starts with keyboards before voice and guitar are added. After a minute or two the song suddenly explodes with a high octane riff and frantic drumming. Still the melodic sense is kept alive and the chorus proves that the band is way beyond standard formats and to me that is a huge attraction point. And to strengthen that claim, please do yourself a favour and look up the already mentioned Black Chandelier on YouTube. I find the intensity of this track just magnificent. From the opening lines of `Drip Drip` to the calm verses and the rocking chorus, this song proves the vivid imagination of the band and the ability to create memorable songs and still have musical credibility. Yes that is a clear winning formula to these ears and should have crossover appeal to anyone into various genres within the rock department. So alternative, progressive, melodic, hard, etc. Remind you, these 2 songs are just examples, the band delivers throughout!
Describing my thoughts about this album proved very hard. So while I ponder some more about that, let me introduce this to you. Mr. Averell is a guise for René van Commenée, a Dutch visual sound artist who has worked with Van Der Graaf´s Judge Smith and David Jackson (who both guest in this), John Ellis and a whole bunch of other people and bands. This is his vehicle for more song based material. Gridlock is the second album under this banner, and other guests include Lene Lovich, Mike Garson, Hugh Banton, and Stuart Gordon.
Van Commenée is well known for his sound art objects, theatrical performances and soundtracks for film, fireworks spectacles and theatre. With that in mind it is of little wonder that the press information talks about avant garde. Because this is not your average album. In fact I found it pretty hard to get into it. Some of that is due to the fact that part of the material on it still reminisces sound design. That I found Van Commenée´s lead vocals to be an acquired taste was not helping me either. Sometimes he reminded me of Tom Waits, but to my ears they are sometimes off, both melodically as rhythmically. But then again, maybe that is avant garde and am I just not getting it.
What I respect most is the originality. Nothing I have ever heard before, and for that it is intriguing. No doubt over time I will connect to it, as some of the tracks are songs in a more traditional way. So for the adventurous!