Friday, 18 May 2018

Spinning: JAGD - Civic

In 2016 the quartet JAGD won the Amsterdamse Popprijs where the judges praised them for their energetic music and international potential. Meanwhile the group has spent many hours on stage, recently during Popronde, and even could free up some time to record a new EP. Civic holds four brand new songs that show what JAGD has to offer.

And there's a lot on offer here, since despite the just over 15 minutes of music, it is firing up quite a lot of musical bullets. The four songs are chuck full of catchy punk rock that is hard to resist. The title song opens the record, a great track with a pleasant groove that completely explodes in the chorus. Explosiveness and excitement are exactly the qualifications that come to mind when listening to the band.

But the foursome are able to prevent their music from becoming to predictable and overdone, by applying everything in the right quantities. A surf guitar is added to 'Elevate' and it has a calm intermezzo. When needed though the band goes completely crazy, fronted by singer Nanne van der Linden, who is sometimes screaming on top of her lungs. She's doing this with great effect in the racing song 'Overbored'. Finally they are going full force in the banging last track 'Awkward'.

Indeed JAGD proves with Civic to be full of potential and deserves it to be heard. Live the band even picks it up a notch and is able to overwhelm everyone with lively performances. When the bookers in The Netherlands and around are paying attention they already have put JAGD on their list with a big marker. This band will definitely be a big hit on every festival around.

This album discussion has also been published in Dutch on over here.

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Tuesday, 15 May 2018

Spinning: The New House - Moves

Spring has shown that it means business and all of a sudden everyone is in a Summer mood. This calls for fitting music that will accompany the many warm nights that are hopefully ahead of us. The EP Moves of the new Amsterdam collective The New House is perfect for these nights. The band around trumpet player, music craftsman and producer Mark Nieuwenhuis is mixing many styles that results in catchy music with many summery and exotic elements.

Nieuwenhuis recruited a nice set of musicians to shape his compositions. His creations that combine jazz, hiphop, funk and world music aren't always simple, so it asks a lot of them. But the band is playing the often cheerful songs convincingly and with feeling. The record opens with the sometimes raw 'Light Blue' around a refined trumpet theme where you can also hear a solid guitar solo. 'Sharktank' lives up to its name where the guitar is going wild again, driven by grooving drums. The song has some Balkan elements that make it very danceable.

Because The New House wants people to dance, judging from the playful 'Chitka'. The staccato 'Square' could easily be on a movie soundtrack, like the rest of the completely instrumental record is bringing movie images to mind. 'Vlugtlaan' is the melancholic ending, with main parts played by saxophone and trumpet. This way all musicians get plenty of room to excel and show themselves at their best.

Despite the high musical level, Moves is not a record that sounds overcomplicated, but that is all about atmosphere and feeling. The lively compositions create a summery vibe that turns into a festive mood. It is perfect for the the lush time that lies ahead of us and the band would be great for any summer festival looking for a band that can spark a nice dancing party. Or simply enjoy them in your living room with your favourite cold drink.

This album discussion has also been published in Dutch on over here.

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Wednesday, 9 May 2018

On Stage: Ought @ Paradiso Tolhuistuin

A few years back Canadian band Ought stunned with an amazing album Sun Coming Down. The clever record also worked very well live as they proved several times. Now they have returned with a very worthy follow up Room Inside The World and also return to the same stage I saw them before.

Ought at Paradiso Tolhuistuin Amsterdam, May 7 2018

I wanted to make sure I didn't miss the support act Lewsberg. This band from Rotterdam has created quite a buzz around them and for a good reason as it turns out. The band clearly channels The Velvet Underground and a little Talking Heads. Singer Arie van Vliet sounds like Lou Reed but looks a bit like David Byrne, although a paler version of him. The band definitely have their sound down, but their indifferent act could work against them when they play longer shows. I think it actually works in their disadvantage since not much is happening on stage and it may get on people's nerves in the end. Still this is a band to keep an eye on.

Ought are at the end of their tour says singer Tim Darcy, although they don't look like they are tired at all. I like how this band is always playing focused, totally into their music. Darcy is an intriguing person to look at, with his thin posture and piercing eyes. His voice may sound a bit weird sometimes but the way he brings his lyrics, in a lazy almost spoken way is very effective.

The band has developed an incredible sound, which changed a little on the last LP. It got a bit less dark and more funky with lovely eighties inspired bass lines. Bassist Ben Stidworthy together with the light jazzy drumming of Tim Keen are a wonderful rhythm section. Matt May finishes everything off with his keys, acting as a glue. It all sounds well balanced and you can hear a lot of detail.

Today the band plays most songs off the new record and kicks off with four fresh ones in a row. New songs like 'Disgraced In America' and 'Disaffectation' sound great live too and everything is played with a certain urgency, with Darcy raising his finger now and then as if he wants to make an even stronger point. Sometimes he will smile a little, almost grinning. Maybe he's laughing a bit because of the reaction of the crowd in front who are singing along to bits of his lyrics. Like every show since Sun Coming Down, the highlight still is the incredible 'Beautiful Blue Sky' that never fails to impress. In the encore the band closes with two songs of their first album More Than Any Other Day. Ought are without a doubt one of the most interesting bands of the moment.

All Pictures

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01. Into the Sea
02. Disgraced in America
03. These 3 Things
04. Desire
05. Men for Miles
06. Habit
07. Beautiful Blue Sky
08. Take Everything
09. Disaffectation
10. Alice
11. Today, More Than Any Other Day
12. The Weather Song

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