Tuesday 29 April 2014

Lots Of Adventure On Motorpsycho's Behind The Sun

Norwegian band Motorpsycho has been around the alternative rock scene for quite some years and steadily keeps making records. In the meantime they have built up an impressive discography, which is full of quality work. The two members of the first hour, Bent Sæther and Hans Magnus Ryan, are accompanied by drummer Kenneth Kapstad, after Håkon Gebhardt left the band after many years. The group from Trondheim may have never really made it big commercially, but they managed to gather a loyal fan base around them.

Motorpsycho - Behind The Sun (Ronald Says 8 out of 10)

It's never a question if a new Motorpsycho record is any good, just how good it is. Since the mix of metal, psychedelic rock, prog rock, combined with some jazz influences, is always of a high standard and never disappoints. The differences in quality between albums are therefore in the smaller details. Now and then the band can lose itself in too lengthy jams or make it too hard for the listener. Behind The Sun is nicely balanced though and therefore a very nice Motorpsycho release.

Right from opening track 'Cloudwalker' on, there's a lot to enjoy in a tornado of beautiful guitar eruptions and sparkling drums. The nine songs are diverse and full of adventure. In 'Kvæstor' there's an incidental drum solo, that has been built into the song in such an inventive way, that it fits in naturally. It's one of the strong points of the band that it's able to make complex parts sound simple. Halfway we find the more than twelve minutes long triptych 'Hell. part 4-6', the follow up to 'Hell part 1-3' of predecessor Still Life with Eggplant. It starts off with strings and then slowly unfolds itself until halfway it comes to a sudden stop in a kind of soundscape, and eventually ends in a long jam. It's characteristic for Motorpsycho, who like to send out their listeners onto an adventure.

Behind The Sun is a nicely layered record, that needs time to fully sink in, but then reveals its beauty. The vinyl version has two additional tracks that are "cut in parallel": depending on how you put the needle on record, one of the two tracks will be played. It's a nice little extra for fans of the black gold. But in the music itself you will find plenty of inventiveness in case you don't have a record player and want to listen to the CD or a stream.

This review has been published on Festivalinfo in Dutch over here.

Listen to 'Behind The Sun' on Spotify.

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Tuesday 22 April 2014

New Sounds: Pixies - Indie Cindy

In 1991 Pixies released their last album Trompe Le Monde and fell apart the next year. In 2003 the band got back together and are now releasing a new album Indie Cindy, their first one in 23 years. So besides Kim Deal dropping out, what else has changed? Listen here:

The Record Store Day vinyl version of the album also contains a 7 inch single with the song 'Women Of War':

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Monday 14 April 2014

Seun Kuti Proudly Keeps Kuti Legacy Alive

As the inventor of the Afrobeat together with his drummer Tony Allen, the name "Fela Kuti" has become synonymous with the music. Nowadays there's a true afrobeat revival going on with many young people discovering the music. Seun Kuti is one of Fela's children that is keeping his musical legacy alive. In his case, he's also keeping his father's political views and social activism alive, like his brother Femi. Together with Fela's band Egypt 80 he's recording new music and performing in the spirit of his father. As an afrobeat lover I was really pleased to hear Seun was playing in my hometown again. Seun Kuti and Egypt 80 at MC Theater Amsterdam, April 11 2014

The MC Theater isn't a very big venue and the big band is somewhat packed together on the small stage. Of course an afrobeat band usually has many members and as one of the big names in the genre, Egypt 80 is no exception with a horns section, rhythm section with percussionists, guitars and dancers. The members are a combination of young and old musicians, who start out by themselves until 5 minutes later Seun Kuti joins them with his alto sax.

Kuti bears a big resemblance to his father, both musically and in appearance. He's a charismatic front man something that I already found out a few years back. At that time he only could only play a relatively short gig, but tonight he's treating us to a two hour performance, playing his father's songs and his own compositions. This means there's also plenty of time for his political speeches and criticism of the situation in Nigeria and Africa in general. These small intermezzos are inspiring and full of fire. Kuti comes across as a proud and cheerful man, with a strong and powerful will.

This is also clear from his stage performance and sax playing. Often he's dancing wildly on stage or playing his sax with a lot of determination. At the same time Egypt 80 are backing him up in a quiet fashion. The younger players eagerly take their moment in the spot light for a solo. The older members are more relaxed, in the beginning even somewhat unmoved, but later on show they are enjoying it and their appreciation with big smiles on their faces. They have seen it all and know with a big band like this, there's no room for showing off. Therefore the music sounds well balanced and stays focused all the time. The long repetitive songs will get you in a trance that is so essential for afrobeat.

At the end of this powerful and energetic performance, there's not one person who is not dancing and smiling. After the encore, the musicians are raising their fists, like Fela used to do. Seun, who took off his shirt halfway through, looks like a boxer after winning his fight. It doesn't take much of your imagination to see his father their in front of you. Seun, even more than his brother Femi, is following in his father's footsteps, by staying close to his ideals and music. So it is true: Fela lives!

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Tuesday 8 April 2014

New Sounds: The Birds Of Satan

No, don't worry, nothing scary. Foo Fighters drummer Taylor Hawkins, like his band mate Dave Grohl, has a hard time sitting at home. And so he made an album with some friends and they call themselves The Birds Of Satan. It's a bit of a prog rock project with some traces of Queen and David Bowie of course, since this is Taylor's project! The album will be out on April 15. Listen below.

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