Wednesday, 27 March 2013

The Sky Not Even The Limit For Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds

Nick Cave is one of those artists that keeps releasing albums on a regular basis with a consistent quality. I challenge anyone to name a Nick Cave album that is actually bad. With every new album it's hard not to start comparing it to the other ones. So I cleaned my mind and head when I started listening to Push The Sky Away for the first time.

Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds - Push The Sky Away (Ronald Says 9 out of 10)

With the Grinderman project, Cave was showing his rough and impulsive side. Gone were the Bad Seeds subtleties and we got some delightful powerful, energetic and aggressive songs instead. But on Push The Sky Away it's back to the thoughtful side again. The songs are showing the poetic, deep and calm Nick Cave. The side of a great composer who is patiently showing us the insight of his head with lyrics that embed beauty, excitement and tragedy all at the same time:

I’m pushing my own wheel of love
I got love in my tummy and a tiny little pain
And a ten ton catastrophe on a 60 pound chain

Of course The Bad Seeds know exactly how to give shape to these figments of Cave's imagination. But don't be fooled too much by the quiet nature of the nine brilliant songs. Still there's that dark side as well, lurking underneath. This makes them all the more impressive. Cave is like a predator that is slowly creeping towards his prey, lingering around, almost putting him to sleep. Just waiting for that perfect moment for his final strike. Cave comes in for the kill and leaves you stunned.

It's hard to pick a favourite one from the nine gems. The melancholic 'Jubilee Street', the dark title track 'Push The Sky Away' or the slow 'Higgs Boson Blues'? They're all equally great on this almost perfect Nick Cave & The Bad Seeds album. Almost perfect? I think Cave couldn't care less about perfection. Or as he puts it:

And some people say that it's just rock 'n' roll
Oh but it gets right down to your soul

Listen to Push The Sky Away on Spotify.

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Friday, 22 March 2013

Going Retro With Jacco Gardner

I write about local Dutch bands now and then because I think they deserve the attention. Some are just really too interesting and good to keep to myself and of international standards. Jacco Gardner however already created a buzz internationally with his first single 'Clear The Air'. NME, The Guardian and Pitchfork all were raving about him. So with much anticipation people were awaiting his debut album Cabinet Of Curiosities.

Jacco Gardner - Cabinet Of Curiosities (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)

He spent a long time working on his 60s inspired music. Even using instruments and effects from that time. It's not hard to hear these influences back. The record breaths the dreamy psychedelic vibes of the 60s, best compared to the Syd Barrett compositions of early Pink Floyd. Quite remarkable for a 24-year old. But his timing is spot on. Many bands and artists are reaching out to the same era and influences. Even some young band who claim to be inspired by Gardner himself.

Twelve tracks are taking you into the dream world Gardner is creating. It is taking you along magical forests ('Cabinet Of Curiosities'), around dark corners ('The Ballad Of Little Jane') and sultry beaches ('Where Will You Go'). The accompanying beautiful artwork is well chosen. It may get a bit weary in the end, but that's just a minor detail. Gardner is playing all over the place now with his band mates of Lola Kite. It will be very interesting to hear what he will come up with when he mixes the experience, stories and songs from those road trips into new songs.

Listen to Cabinet of Curiosities on Spotify.

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