Travel Check interview/review

travelcheck

If I had to choose an area to specialise in, I’d pick blues and rock & roll, which basically covers bluegrass, rockabilly, and acid rock a là Hendrix and Doors. I’d not mind jazz, but it may be a bit of a stretch. I just love the way it delivers its message, and talks to its audience. Its little grandson, the black sheep of the family, is probably the “garage” rock and blues, which blends in acid, psychedelic mantra and rough spoken word. Continue reading

Taste the Music: Cold in Berlin,Valerie June, Casimir

coldinberlin

Having listened to Keaton Henson for the last couple of days, in all his delicate and fragile folk-y vibe, right now I am craving for some dark, heavy, beastly music – just to compensate. It seems that I have found my fuzzy fix in one of my Taste The Music tracks… Continue reading

Dean Allen Foyd

deanallenfoyd

With the 60s nostalgia you basically never go wrong. At least if you are talking to me. Despite my journalistic professional objective approach, my heart beats faster every time you mention words like psychedelia-Delta blues-acid rock (now, you people who submit music in my inbox, know how to grab my attention. No. I was joking. Seriously). There may be some truth in my 60s-obsession, and this again may be the reason why  quickly sympathised with the psychedelic band Dean Allen Foyd and its EP Road to Atlas.

The Stockholm based four piece blends in “everything from garage, delta blues, folk and space-rock”, which mean that it raises my interest… and my expectations. The oldies aura is well maintained on stage, where Dean Allen Foyd plays a different set at each concert during which the songs change their arrangements, and Canada-native singer and guitar player Francis Rencoret moves like a shaman in trance on stage (read: like a man called James Douglas Morrison).

Road To Atlas clearly reiterates the references, grabbing the poppy-psychedelia of Beatles and seasoning it with the upbeat protogarage of early Who. The energy must have been borrowed by the Woodstock-esque Sly Stone funk (Sadness of Mankind), which hints at a gloomier blues heritage, recognisable in songs such as Leave Me Be. The wicked psychedelia a là Syd Barret-ian Pink Floyd incorporates keyboard suites, arabesque Bobby Krieger-like guitar solos and baroque ballads, all in one song (Insects). Otherwise, the psychedelia becomes acid and fuzzy, recalling Grateful Dead’s fascinations and King Crimson’s suites, following the psychedelic trend which has infected the scene. Another case is the one of Road to Atlas, which plays more with the space-rock influences (struggling not to quote Dark Side of the Moon), and loses the spicy vibe of the previous tracks, going off on keyboard solos.

Road To Atlas is an EP designed for nostalgic 60s lovers, in a well-produced medley of the best of a decade. You won’t find anything  brand new here – just dusty, well-seasoned rock tunes. For some may not be enough, but I am more than happy as it is.

 Cover Album
Road to Atlas EP
Similar Artist: Expo 70, Strange Hands, The Temples
Rating:

Tracklist
01. Sadness Of Mankind
02. Insects
03. Leave Me Be
04. Hwy Lost (Revisited)
05. Road To Atlas

Taste the Music: Red Foot, Whoa! She’s a Babe, Battle Lines

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Hello hello. A lot of you were genuinely concerned about my cold: no worries guys, I am alive and kicking. Today is the day to taste some music, mainly for two reasons: firstly, I got so many bands sharing their tunes, that I feel like I should do something about it, and secondly, I have a 10 hour shift today and it’ll start terribly soon, so I need to get a move on.

Red Foot – Make it Quick

Let’s start with some electro-chilled fuel. The NYC four-piece Red Foot delivers some inspired tunes, packed with silky reverbs and delays, and a pinch of backing vocals now and then. The LUMEN-esque melancholy and the subtle fuzz make it a Suede-y track, perfect for this winter that really doesn’t seem to want to cease. Moreover, the snowy Instagram-filtered artwork conveys even more the gloomy, yet hopeful message : “I’ll crash and burn/ But I will return” (and you can trust me, I know A LOT about Instagram filters, as do my food creations). Nice and cozy, a really delightful track to match with the hot-chocolate-snuggling-blanket combo.

Whoa! She’s a Babe – Down Below

And now let’s rock and roll a bit, shall we? Sleaze-rock infused Whoa! She’s a Babe is a four-piece that blends in Spiders’ hard-rock and Hardcore Superstar-y bombing riffs. They’re wow out with the latest single “Down Below” to celebrate their participation in a rock and roll revival happening in Vancouver, Canada. Boogie-driven drums and sharp vocals, packed with a lot of denim and leather, what else could we ask for? Indeed, the video of “Down Below” represents quite effectively the general maverick aura of the electric-beat: booze, girls, studs and partying.

Battle Lines – Huh Her

Oh, I just LOVE this song. Okay, this may not be that impartial, but still, the mix of backing vocals, punk-infused electric shocks, electronic dissonance is overly addictive. The icing on the cake are the sensual funky female vocals a là Blue Willa. HUH HER is the debut song by Leeds (via Manchester and York) quartet Battle Lines: from the doo-woop-esque introduction, followed-up by upbeat drums, to the heavier guitar section, the songs evolves in a mash-up which can only be described as simply divine. Beware, you’ll soon fall in love with it. It’s unavoidable.

Aedi

It was almost one year ago since I saw the Italian band Aedi live for the first time. Quite a scary coincidence, as the date of my post is dated back 9th February 2012. Anyway, I had the chance to sit at their table, and have a proper talk with the band, which soon became a really unconventional and rib-tickling chat. After a couple of pints, they jumped on stage, delivering one of the most captivating live shows I have ever seen. One year ago Aedi introduced the upcoming (at the time) unnamed album, Ha Ta Ka Pa (out on the 11th Feb.), to a quite baffled audience. Those familiar with the dreamy ethereal atmospheres of the début Aedi Meet Heidi can forget that when they pop this new CD into the stereo

The liveliness of the release is perceived from the very first song, as vocalist Celeste anticipated one year ago: “Now the situation is different, we have thicker skin, there was an evolution that made our sound more choral and visceral, instinctive.” Among the general intricacy of tunes, the distorted fuzz and the spirited drum-beat create a very distinctive first impression (Animale), reiterated right afterwards by the song Idea (= Aedi), in which tribal percussions blend in with electric riffing and an unexpected piano interlude. Celeste’s vocals are more spirited than ever, going from tribal-esque to subtly occult, for instance on Rabbit on the Road, one of my all time favourites – if it sounds quite weird, just imagine seeing it played onstage. One of the most memorable experiences ever. The sound is more experimental, almost psychedelic, playing with cabaret a là Dresden Dolls (Fohn) and ethereal Nordic pop influences, which happily shifts into the shamanic atmosphere a là Tori amos (Yaca, Tomasz). The choral is another aspect to be highlighted in the album, alongside with subtle heavier pattern, especially in the percussions: “…a new drummer joined the team. His sound is harder, and this changed our music as well. After that we could not make childish music anymore; we were p*ssed off, so the album itself is p*ssed off. So, somehow, this album speaks with five different voices.

As the album proceeds, we perceive the sound stripping, culminating in the climax of the astonishing The Sound of Death, Celeste’s vocals are heartbreaking at the final choral closer. Despite the intricacy of Ha Ta Ka Pa, I did try to do my best to quickly lead you through this mystical path, made of a rare musical prism. Now, just follow my example and order your copy via Gustaff Records (if I got through the Polish-written website, I am sure you can), wait for it to arrive at your door, and enjoy. You are welcome.

Cover Album
Ha Ta Ka Pa
Similar Artist: Me and My Drummer, King of the Opera, Tori Amos
Rating:

Tracklist
01. Animale
02. Idea
03. Rabbit on the road
04. Fohn
05. Nero
06. Tomasz
07. Yaca
08. Prayer of the wind
09. The sound of death
Beware, the view of the following video is advised against people who are taking themselves too seriously. 

Mountaintops.

mountaintops

My dear reader, as you may know, I am a mess with genres (my iTunes includes a “Mexican Pirate Porn Rock” release, just saying). However, I am one of those emotional listeners, who gets easily into the spiral of over-categorization. To me, bands are not just incapsulated in one simple word. Oh no, that would be so much easier, for both of us (you as the reader, and me the writer). All of this, to introduce you to a rather tricky band to place: a dreamy ”ambient-y” instrumental rock piece, called mountaintops.
This four-piece from Mexico is composed of Francisco Cabrera, Daniel Pazarán, Juan Gómez and Joshimar Vergara. The self-titled EP, available for free on the Bandcamp page, is a nice blend of hazy guitars and floaty Maybeshewill-esque electro-beats, seen in for instance From the Deepest of the Darkest of Night, on the Horizon, Bright Light Enters Sight Tight (the titles are also quite Maybeshewill-esque in length). Despite being slightly lo-fi in production, the attention to delays and echos creates quite a cohesive flow, adding a fuzzy touch to the post-rock reverb-y formula. More ambient-like are tracks like It’s a Promise, Emarosa and Andy, Belle, Marbles, Molly, Olaf, Rover, Snoopy and Spike – remember what I just said about title-lengths? The soft-colouring reminds me of amycanbe’s dreamy folk, which conveys an ethereal and mystic aura. However, experimental bass-driven lines (Antlers) and playful notes (Au Troisième Jour de Chaque Mois d’Avril) are dropped along the way, suggesting some twists in the plot which don’t really happen, except for some interludes.
As part of the post-rock aficionados, I really do appreciate the so-called “variations on a theme”. Most of the times, I prefer to place some of it in the “ambient” section of my mind-catalogue, however, I feel like people tends to see it as a negative acceptation aspect, related to “background-like”. Mountaintops. dreamy, minimal touch makes this EP an easy-listen release, enhanced with post-rocky riffs and instrumental virtuosity. And I cannot see anything negative in that.

Cover Album
Mountaintops
Similar Artist: Amycanbe, Killington Fall

Tracklist

Interview with Verily so

Verily So is an Italian trio that mixes shoegaze and acoustic folk. Since 2009, the duo added a third member, released a self-titled full length in 2011 and decided to share with us the special edition of the album, comprehensive of an acoustic cover of Radiohead‘s ‘Idioteque’ (you can find the link by the end of the interview). One of the most interesting breakthrough acts found some time to answer to my questions. Here there is Simone, one of the founders of the band.

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