Friday, 12 December 2014

On Stage: The Deaf

When you're a musician and have some time to spare what do you do? You start another band. All members of The Deaf are in separate musical projects but still have time left to play together. If you think that means this is just for fun and nothing serious then think again. Just listen to their new album Deaf and you will hear that besides the fun they obviously have playing together, the music also is top notch.

The Deaf at Paradiso Amsterdam, December 10 2014

Live on stage this is nothing different. The band, fronted by Di-rect guitarist Spike, are playing with a lot of heart. Spike, or Frans van Zoest, is asking time and time again how everyone is doing and if we're having a good time. It's obvious he's not too happy with the somewhat reserved response and so he keeps firing up everyone until at the end of the show half of the hall is dancing to their catchy rock songs.

Since it's really hard to stand still to their energetic and convincing rock music, founded on good old rock 'n roll and punk. Many songs are up tempo and are asking for your best dance moves. Live they sound as tight as on the record and played with so much enthusiasm it gains even more power. Once and a while bass player Janneke Nijhuijs is singing lead vocals and Spike moves to the back where he continues to scourge his guitar. In case you didn't know, this guy knows how to handle his six string well.

Now and then the foursome throws in a more quiet song, a moment to relax and for themselves to catch their breath. Then it's full speed ahead again, where they will never let the momentum slip or are slumping. This band is on fire, and won't rest until they have won everyone over. All four of them show the right amount of skills, heart and energy that I am looking for in a performance. After an hour it's time for an encore where they knock out three more songs before they leave the stage for a well deserved drink.

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Friday, 5 December 2014

Spinning: TV On The Radio - Seeds

Slowly Brooklyn Collective TV On The Radio have been transforming their sound during the course of their existence. From the slightly rough and experimental sound in the beginning into a more accessible sound you can hear on their last album Nine Types Of Light. It resulted in a larger fan base although they lost some down the road because of this transformation. But it keeps me looking forward to new music from the band, so it's good news they have released their fifth record Seeds.

TV On The Radio - Seeds

On this album they are trying to balance their sound even more, patiently crafting their songs. You can hear this in songs like 'Test Pilot' and 'Ride' where they carefully build them up, layer by layer. Effectively they know how to create the right atmosphere for the tracks. It results in another colourful and detailed record which once again shows their talent and skill. They didn't get rid of the experiment completely, but it's evened out more. Some may regard this as less adventurous, but that's not entirely fair. The band just uses it less frequently, making those moments stronger, like they do with other elements. Patience is a virtue my friend and yes, this is the concept of "less is more" which totally works for them.

It doesn't mean they have completely lost some of the roughness of the earlier songs, although they do pace themselves a lot more. But a song like 'Lazerray' is a more old style straightforward track, that has plenty of impact between the other ones. Making use of lots of electronic drums and effects, many songs get a bit of mechanic feel but at the same time sound swinging. Together with the soulful vocals it sometimes results in a nice contrast and somewhat awkward atmosphere, like in title track 'Seeds', but in a good way.

Seeds shows TV On The Radio are still trying to find the right balance in their sound and music. They keep shaving their compositions until they eventually will make it perfect. It's not quite their yet, but they have taken another step. It doesn't make this record necessarily better or worse than previous ones, but it's an obvious step into the right direction. I'm confident they will find the perfect balance some day. Until then great and interesting albums like this one will keep us more than busy.

Listen to 'Seeds' on Spotify.

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Wednesday, 26 November 2014

New Sounds: AC/DC - Rock Or Bust

These are turbulent times for rock veterans AC/DC. Guitarist Malcolm Young had to quit because of dementia and drummer Phil Rudd is facing charges for threatening to kill and possession of drugs. Right at the time they are about to release their new album Rock Or Bust and when they are about to embark on a world tour, which may be their last. This may indeed prove "rock or bust" for the rock band. Listen to the new album below and let me know which one it is:

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