The Echocentrics – Echo Hotel

theechocentrics_frontI always thought that building walls between places with a shared cultural history was a thing of the past. Guess I was wrong because new divides are rising up high again in for example the southern states of the US. Here the cultural exchange between north and south goes back for a long time and strongly echoes through in today’s society. A fine musical example of all of this comes from Austin based latin group Grupo Fantasma who in their turn laid the foundations for The Echocentrics that are under review right now. Continue reading

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[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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Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks – Enter the Slasher House

Enter the Slasher House_frontIf you’re into close encounters of the blurred kind musically you’ll find a safe haven within genre of experimental psychedelics. In the past twenty years or so this scene is mostly dominated by bands such as The Flaming Lips, Of Montreal, Dirty Projectors, Animal Collective and their innumerable side projects. Indeed, being a busy bee is pretty much the standard in this scene. Same goes for Animal Collective frontman David Portner (also known as Avey Tare) who announced a new outfit last year surrounding his own persona called Avey Tare’s Slasher Flicks. This year the band debuted with Enter the Slasher House. Continue reading

Earth Mk. II – Music For Mammals (2013)

Music For MammalsEven when the name of your best friend is Jacco Gardner it’s kind of a bold decision to quote from Pink Floyd’s debut, The Piper At The Gates Of Dawn (1967) to grace your own debut album. Overconfident or not, Hugo van de Poel at least shows that he’s got a fine taste in music. From an early age he and Gardner listened to Syd Barett, The Zombies and Billy Nicholls. This eventually led to the band The Skywalkers that was a small hit in the Dutch freak scene. Hereafter both chaps decided to focus their attention onto their solo projects. Gardner’s Cabinet of Curiosities (2013) proved to be very successful leaving van de Poel outside the spotlights. That is, up until now. Because this month under the alias Earth Mk. II he released Music For Mammals on Excelsior Recordings. And guess what, Gardner acts as the album’s producer, so there is no surprise that Music For Mammals is all about sixties psych pop. Also Music For Mammals is the umpteenth psychedelics record this year and some courage is needed when entering this already full market. Yet courage is not the only prerequisite for success. Earth Mk. II needs to find a way to be distinctive from the others bands in this genre. And I wonder if there is any space left to do so. 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

The Heliocentrics – 13 Degrees of Reality (2013)

The Heliocentrics - 13 Degrees of Reality_coverCritics do tend to categorize new music into genres so it’s understandable for everyone. Certain bands however seem impossible to pin down. The Heliocentrics are such a band, for they play jazz and funk. Well… that’s done and dusted you might think. Now for the tricky part, the Londoners intermingle the before mentioned styles with avant-garde, electronics, psychedelics, hip hop and ethnic traditions. So obviously no category seems to suit the well-orchestrated eclecticism of The Heliocentrics. Luckily there is always room in the extraordinary  universe of Afrofuturist, Sun Ra, with whom the band is frequently compared.
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Matthew E. White – Big Inner (2013)

MEWBI

Lately there has been a lot of fuss on the internet about Big Inner by Matthew E. White. In essence it is about this: ‘is it possible for a bespectacled white guy with long hair and a full beard to combine soul, funk, late fifties R&B, psychedelics and folk-gospel….?’ Indeed, there we are, left in a state of total confusion about what some already call ‘the first great album of 2013’. For the archives I have to adjust this last remark. Big Inner was formally released in the United States during the end of summer of 2012. The album was quite successful and appeared on various best of 2012 lists. Although borders don’t seem to matter in the highly interconnected society of today, a global release this January was still necessary for the rest of the world to get acquainted with White’s work. Now this semantic discussion is out of the way it’s time to talk about the man himself and his music. Continue reading