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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Amen Dunes – Love

Amen Dunes - Love_FRONTWhat would you do if you were a singer-songwriter and your first album under your own name was marked by the media as one of the worst album’s of the year? Well, I know what I would do: I would flee my home town and get a job as a carpenter somewhere far away and maybe, just maybe I’d go back after while, hoping everyone forgot about my failure. I sure as hell wouldn’t dare the pick up my guitar in the years following. But hey, that’s me and my story is fictional.  Continue reading

Elysian Fields – For House Cats And Sea Fans

ELYSIAN-FIELDS-For-House-Cats-And-Sea-FansTransforming Goya’s painting Duelo a garrotazos into an epic noir rock track is one of Elysian Fields most notable milestones to date. After hearing it for the first time, Jennifer Charles’  lingering voice got me swamped as well. Charles’ sleepwalking and somber style is the band’s biggest strength and trademark. For House Cats And Sea Fans therefore contains more of the same delightful romanticism, and, frankly, that’s not a bad thing at all.

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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

Sleigh Bells – Bitter Rivals (2013)

Sleigh-Bells-Bitter-Rivals-Cover-Art-Hi-Res-300x300Earlier this week I fell asleep to the soothing voice of Bill Callahan… BUT WOKE UP TO THE AGGRESSIVE BEATS FROM THE NOISE POP BAND SLEIGH BELLS the next morning… I sighed deeply for a moment yet quickly was reminded of the fact that I still enjoy the debut of Sleigh Bells, Treats (2010). What I love about Treats is its intensive rawness, coming from mind blowing disordered riffs, hardcore beats and electro, and the interweaved feminine cuteness. I mean, ´Straight A´s´, ´Run To The Heart´ and the Diplo remix of ´Demons´ are just top-notch. At the time Sleigh Bells seemed to be a sort of wildcard in the indie scene, defying all kinds of conventions and taking the freedom to stir up some trouble. The simple and direct pounding continued on their sophomore album Reign of Terror in 2012. Vocalist Alexis Krauss and guitarist Derek Edward Miller described the latter as “the sonic equivalent of a beautiful shotgun to the head”. Thats not a bad comparison, apart from the fact that Reign of Terror was also groomed to attract a larger audience. Whilst the album did reach a number 12 spot in the Billboard 200 in its opening week, it plummeted to number 78 in the second week and was completely forgotten in the weeks that followed. Maybe people just don’t like to buy music with shotguns to their heads, hmm?  Continue reading