Tuesday, 28 September 2010

The Many Faces Of The Van Jets

The Van Jets are a Belgian band that I first saw on Rock Werchter earlier this year. Over there they already made it to the main stage although as opening act. But here they are still relatively unknown and so they were playing the small Paradiso stage. Although I really wanted to see more of them I didn't get tickets since I would be seeing them at the Crystal Ball party the next day. Fortunately for me I won tickets to their show thanks to alternative.blog.nl.

The Van Jets at Paradiso Amsterdam, September 23 2010 (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
When we get to small Paradiso room 10 minutes before the gig there is hardly anyone there. Maybe most people are checking out a bit of Lifehouse on the main stage to kill time. We decide to do so as well but are glad that we only get to see two songs. It still doesn't get really crowded but the Belgian band doesn't get discouraged and immediately kick off with their modest hit 'The Future'. From then on they take us on a tour through their repertoire that shows a variety of styles: garage rock, pop, glam rock, it's all there.

Front man Johannes Verschaeve is a charismatic singer that seeks interaction with the crowd regularly. In the beginning that doesn't lead to a lot of response so he asks everyone to move up closer to the stage. The band plays a convincing set and gradually win most people over. Even some of the Lifehouse fans that decided to take a peek at this gig as well after their show was finished . They already won me over at Rock Werchter but this time I was even more impressed. A song like 'Matador' is so different from the Bowie cover 'Fashion' but they still manage to give it their own sound. Despite the small crowd they are still willing to do an encore. Immediately after the show they sign their albums and are chatting with fans. This band deserves to be so much bigger than they have been so far. Hopefully they can win more people over in the future. That shouldn't be a problem when they keep on playing these great rock shows.

The Van Jets Official Website
The Van Jets on MySpace
The Van Jets on Spotify
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Thursday, 23 September 2010

Grinderman Reveals Its Dark And Perverted Secrets

Nick Cave is one of those people that if he releases any kind of music it always raises my interest. I find his approach to music and song writing both brilliant and creative. Averse to any music industry rules he follows his on path. And accompanied by his great supporting band The Bad Seeds he has delivered some beauties in the past. His latest band Grinderman with some members of The Bad Seeds should be considered a band in its own right instead of just a side project according to Cave. They just delivered their second album 'Grinderman2' and I just had to listen to it as soon as it became available on their MySpace page.

Grinderman - Grinderman2 (Ronald Says 9 out of 10)
Instead of having to deal with the expectations and direction a new album with The Bad Seeds would raise Grinderman is a blank page for Nick Cave and co. And that's how they approach it. Entering the studio with nothing and building a record from jam sessions. This doesn't mean they delivered a hasty album with half finished songs. It did result in a rough version of Bad Seeds songs as did their first album. But this album is even more rough, vile and rancid than its predecessor and it takes you on a tour through Grinderman's perverted and dark side. The lines "I stick my fingers in your biscuit jar /And crush all your gingerbread men" can be read in many reviews and may well turn into an instant classic.

Fortunately they know just how far they can take it and so the album never gets too insane and doesn't spin out of control like Cave's The Birthday Party could. It starts off right away with 'Mickey Mouse and The Goodbye Man'. Heavy distorted guitars support Cave's vocals and squeals. This sets the tone for the rest of the record. But instead of battering you numb like this for the entire disc they put in enough variation to keep your attention until the end. 'What I Know' has very subtle backing instruments with simmering vocals whispering "You better come on over here" before the next track 'Evil' bursts loose. And the best is yet to come with the beautiful soulful song 'Palaces of Montezuma'.

With only nine tracks the album still clocks well over 40 minutes since many songs are over 5 minutes long. They are hypnotizing and Grinderman creeps under your skin pulling you into their perverted world. Just the way I like it.

Listen to 'Grinderman2' on Spotify
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Tuesday, 21 September 2010

Brandon Flowers' Flamingo Isn't Killing It

Brandon Flowers - Flamingo (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
The Killers front man recorded the songs for this album mostly while on tour with his successful band. Maybe his band mates didn't like them too much or he felt too restricted by the high expectations of a popular band like this one. So he decided to release a solo album. After listening this record you can only ask yourself: why? Flowers IS The Killers and so this album sounds like them a lot. But I can imagine his band mates not willing to put them on an album since the tracks mostly qualify as B-side material. They never really take off and when they do like on 'Crossfire' it sounds just like...The Killers. Don't quit your daytime job with The Killers yet Brandon.

Listen to "Flamingo" on Spotify Read more!

Friday, 17 September 2010

Soundgarden Release New Video For "Black Rain"

Slowly things are emerging for Soundgarden's comeback. After two reunion concerts they are gearing up for their retrospective release 'Telephantasm' that's due to come out on September 28. It includes the previous unreleased track 'Black Rain' from the Badmotorfinger recording sessions that already was released a while ago. Today they released a video to accompany the track. It shows the band in a spacy cartoon including some subtle advertising for the Guitar Hero game 'Warriors of Rock' that includes the 12 Telephantasm tracks as well. Check the video here:
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Tame Impala Relive The Summer Of Love

Tame Impala - Innerspeaker (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)
On Lowlands I wasn't impressed by this band from Down Under. But I only watched a few songs from a distance. Afterwards I heard that everyone loved their performance and this album proves I left way too soon. It's full of nice psychedelic tracks, long guitar solos and jams. Let your hair down, light a spliff, close your eyes and relive the summer of love.

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Tuesday, 14 September 2010

!!! Forget To Light The Fire

!!! - Strange Weather Isn't It? (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
Whatever way you pronounce their band name (chk chk chk according to the band themselves) is fine by me as long as they keep producing the danceable tunes of their previous album 'Myth Takes'.Their latest album does have them but the tracks don't stick. The production sounds a bit flat and there aren't any real killer songs on the album. Hopefully they can make them more lively in their performances. Read more!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Go Back To The Zoo's Benny Blisto Meets Expectations

Writing a hit song before you even have released an album or anything else is already remarkable. Having three hit songs before your album is even finished is insane. But Go Back To The Zoo pulled it off. I experienced their energetic live performances a few times already like on Lowlands and was at the album's release party. Although I bought the record at that party before it hit the stores I didn't have time to come up with a proper review until now.

Go Back To The Zoo - Benny Blisto (Ronald Says 7 out of 10)
'Beam Me Up' was featuring in a Nike commercial and they followed it with 'Electric' which lives up to its title: an energetic jumpy song. The band squeezed another hit out with 'Hey DJ'. And of course all of these songs appear on their album. But by knocking out hits one by one they also raised expectations for their debut album.

And the album even has a few more of those songs up its sleeves like 'Fuck You' and current single 'I'm The Night (See You Later)'. They are all in the same style: a catchy jumpy guitar riff, steady drum groove, high tempo and easy to remember lyrics. This doesn't change the fact that it are good songs.

The album has a few slower songs as well like 'Gotta Wake Up' and 'Sweet World'. They are the weaker moments of the album and show that there's still a lot to gain. Singer Cas Hieltjes isn't a brilliant vocalist and needs the energy of the band and songs to excel. On the slower songs his voice but also the rest of the band lack the strength and subtlety to really pull it off.

But the band shows that they are willing to take some risks and are looking beyond their hit songs. There comes a time when they can't follow the same recipe over and over again and have to grow both in sound and song writing. And that only comes with playing as much as possible and keep putting up their lively shows for which they have the perfect ingredients with this album.

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Wednesday, 8 September 2010

Kings of Leon Debut New Single "Radioactive"

Kings of Leon today aired the first single 'Radioactive' of their upcoming album 'Come Around Sundown' that's set to be released in October. It shows the band members among African children while the song itself has an African vibe as well. Check out the video below:

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Tuesday, 7 September 2010

Klaxons Drown In Good Intentions

Klaxons - Surfing The Void (Ronald Says 5 out of 10)
The Klaxons have never really had any problems with putting many ideas into a record. This results in varied songs that may need an open mind to fully enjoy. But this time no open mind can save this record and can only conclude that they overdid it this time. The album is full of overproduced tracks that sound way too pretentious. They are stuffed full of ideas and instruments and sounds. It really is a struggle trying to make it to the end of the album after which you're happy you can put it away to never play again. Read more!

Thursday, 2 September 2010

No Magic From The Magic Numbers

The Magic Numbers - The Runaway (Ronald Says 6 out of 10)
The Magic Numbers surprised the music world with their highly acclaimed debut in 2005. Their happy hippie songs with beautiful harmonies were fresh sounding and stuck out from the rest reliving the summer of love all over again. This new album has the same kind of songs but is lacking the freshness. It still has the harmonies but nothing we haven't heard before. And none of the tracks are absolutely magical. Read more!