[Live Review] Modest Mouse, TivoliVredenburg Utrecht

Modest Mouse TivoliVredenburg July 3 2015_2 Wander Meulemans

In 2013 Modest Mouse disappointingly cancelled their entire European tour to continue working on their new album which we today know by the title of Strangers to Ourselves. The album did compensate for the band’s absence yet a live appearance to come along with that would truly make up for past events. During their current North-American promotional tour Modest Mouse also made room for a three week ‘make up visit’ to Europe. Last friday it was the turn for the Dutch to re-embrace Brock et al in an overheated and Tour de France-minded Utrecht.

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Alamo Race Track – Hawks

Alamo-Race-Track-Hawks-300x300Under the banner of Excelsior Recordings the Dutch alternative rock scene has been blooming for almost twenty years now. Only on rare occasions Excelsior’s artists achieve some kind of success outside The Netherlands, thus keeping most releases under the radar of the international press. Non-Dutch who are always looking for the best kept musical secrets of tomorrow should therefore watch this label like a hawk. One of those very nice Excelsior secrets I’m gonna review today is a band called Alamo Race Track, that recently brought out their fourth album called Hawks. Ahem, sorry about that…
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Modest Mouse – Strangers to Ourselves

Modest Mouse - Strangers to Ourselves_frontFrankly, I laughed out loud when it was announced Modest Mouse canceled their full 2013 European tour to work on a new album. After all, the band already was on hiatus for several years back then, so why plan a tour just to cancel it? Also the promise of a 2014 release date was broken due to the departure of founding bassist Eric Judy. Forgivable or not, there is no reason to be mad because much of what Modest Mouse touched in the past turned into pure gold. Now let’s only hope all this delay did not put a spanner in the works. Continue reading

[Live Review] Le Guess Who? 2014, Various Locations Utrecht

LGW art 2014If you leave out the May Day editions, tonight its the eighth time Le Guess Who? will kick off in Utrecht (NL) again. The festival always offers a mixture of unknown and renowned indie acts during the last weeks of November and this year there is no exception on that. Personally, I’m always looking forward to Le Guess Who? because it brings a bunch of interesting artists to my doorstep. Luckily the festival organizers can’t complain about the attention from the Dutch media they’re getting these days and Sounds from the Darkside can’t be left behind on that, so during the coming days we will keep you posted about the festival’s proceedings.

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Stephen Malkmus and the Jicks – Wig Out at Jagbags

SMaTJIf I may say so, the 1980s was a decade to be frowned upon, at least when viewed in terms of pop culture. Think about it: big hair do’s, stonewashed jeans, mullets, not to speak of the Tom Cruise mania of the time. Sometimes it’s hard to believe the decade also produced the best indie-rock bands we know today. Built to Spill, Sebadoh, Yo La Tengo and Pavement were founded during these years and have risen to great heights ever since.  Continue reading

Bed Rugs – Rapids (2013)

Bed RugsYou don’t have to be a Dudeist Priest to accept the fact that The Big Lebowski is rightfully one of the best cult movies ever made. The Big Lebowski is great on many levels, but most of all its terribly hilarious. The Belgian hard rock band The Porn Bloopers (consisting of Yannick Aerts, Stijn Boels, Arne Omloop and Noah Melis) would fully agree to this because a few years ago they decided to concurrently to change their style and band name. Musically they chose a more retro path towards sixties and seventies psychedelics pop. Also they changed their band name into Bed Rugs, as an ode to the pissed on rug that is regularly discussed in the movie. Without any doubt all of this would be much appreciated by The Dude. Bed Rugs ‘debuted’ with 8th Cloud in 2012 and blended the aforementioned psychedelics with a flavor of nineties indie rock. 8th Cloud was successful on a small scale. During the last months of 2012 the band withdraw themselves to an abandoned church to record a follow up EP. Businesswise this is a smart move because sixties psychedelics is once again hot among the public. However, today bands such as Deerhunter, Unknown Mortal Orchestra, Tama Impala and Jacco Gardner dominated this genre. With Rapids, Bed Rugs tries to grasp a piece of this cake. Continue reading

Friska Viljor – Remember Our Name (2013)

Friska Viljor_Remember Our NameI have to admit that I walked out on my first Friska Viljor show in 2008. As far as I can recall I did so because I was filling up a half hour of dead time within the festival schedule. Furthermore my harsh judgment was that the band did not impress at all and seemed uninspired. At the time, many were cyced up for this indie rock formation from Sweden who had just released their catchy debut album Bravo! (2007). Bravo! was about lost love, drinking and nightly escapades. It got a great deal of positive reviews from around the globe that justified the aforementioned buzz. In the years that followed the band proved to be very energetic, producing three full albums that I , honestly, didn’t brother to listen. It took me five years bump into the band for the second time. And yet again I was standing in on a sunlit festival field. Only now the difference was that I stayed and discovered that their live performance very energetic. Also I discovered that earlier this year Friska Viljor released their fifth album with the title Remember Our Name. That’s quite a coincidence, or isn’t it? Continue reading

Nehedar – This Heart (2013)

Nehedar - This HeartJust for a brief moment the frontcover of This Heart (2013) will undoubtedly make you think of P.J. Harvey. Although the lead vocalist of Nehedar, Emilia Cataldo and P.J. Harvey both have a deep love for New York City the similarities also end about there. For instance, the well known autumnal raw voice of Harvey is in strong contrast with the voice of Cataldo, whose voice is far more polished and controlled. Additionally, almost everything what is known about Cataldo breaths of cultural diversity. Cataldo is based in the midst of the multicultural New York, comes from a culturally diverse family and also holds a degree in Jewish Mysticism. This all echoes through in the music of Nehedar. Because of the foregoing the band is often associated with the Israeli community in the United States but can’t be pinned down as an ethnic specialized band for electonica, indie-rock and jazz are frequently added to their music. This Heart is my first introduction to Nehedar though it must be said that the band are not new to the scene, for it’s already their sixth independently produced album. Continue reading

Yo La Tengo – Fade (2013)

YLTFADEFirst thing I did when Yo La Tengo announced their new album was to give the ‘murdering record’ another spin. I’m pretty sure that some purists will hate me at some level for doing so. But the fact remains, I did it. Carefully and  humorously  slaughtering  about thirty classic pop and rock songs is just something I dig. Of course it goes without saying that Murdering the Classics (2006) is not representative for their impressive discography. For quite some time now Yo La Tengo are unanimously accepted to by  leading in the indie rock scene. It was the couple Ira Kaplan and Georgia Hubley who formed the band in mid-ninety eighties naming it after a baseball related anecdote. Since then Yo La Tengo consequently released various highly acclaimed albums. I Can Hear the Heart Beating as one (1997), And Then Nothing Turned Itself Inside-Out (2000) and Summer Sun (2003) are probably the best known records coming from Hoboken (USA). Their last record with the generic title, Popular Songs (2009) was met with mixed reactions by the critics. This January their new album, Fade was released. Continue reading