pop music

The Vandelles * Strange Girls Don’t Cry

Aha, so there are bands that are almost as noisy and ‘rocky’ as A Place To Bury Strangers! The Vandelles make some nice sleazy rock music with a lot of feedback. They are not always as fast as APTBS, but the music is mostly nicely uptempo. Also here are the wave-like vocals, so I guess I can also tag this release ‘shoegaze’ however, just as with APTBS, the term does not entirely cover the music. In any case, great popmusic!
Links: The Vandelles, Moon Sound Records

Black Bug ‎* Reflecting The Light (cd 2012)

Not too recent, but I just discovered this and I want to bring this band to your attention. The energetic music of Black Bug goes from electropop to (electro)punk to digicore and then with (no)wave influences. Sometimes there are ‘wavey’ male vocals, sometimes distorted female vocals. The electronic music follows the vocals, sometimes wave, sometimes punk and this is also when the guitars get in. Yep, this is the good stuff!
Link: Black Bug

Thee Oh Sees * Floating Coffin (cd 2013)

For some reason I thought that Thee Oh Sees were one of these early nowave bands, but apparently their first release is from 2006 and they have been around since 1997. However there are some skreeks and noises here and there, the term “garage rock” covers the sound of “Floating Coffin” better than the term that I expected to hear. The album is not boring, but little different from uptempo popmusic. Not something turn off, but nothing special either.
Links: Thee Oh Sees, Caste Face Records

The KVB * Immaterial Visions (lp 2013)

I am glad that when I heard about “Minus One” I also noticed that there is new material available (the music for “Minus One” is from 2011). “Immaterial Visions” contains more lively, more noisy, more pushing electronically music. Not that it comes anywhere near the raw shoegaze rock of A Place To Bury Strangers, but this lp is in sound closer to The Soft Moon than the other release. Still somewhat soft, but more lively and generally quite a bit better. If you like the wave/shoegaze sound of the bands that I mentioned and/or just the 1980’ies type of wave, The KVB might be a band to listen to.
Links: The KVB, Cititrax

The KVB * Minus One (cd 2013)

  • shoegaze

I had ran into The KVB on my hunt for shoegaze and to my surprise they played at last year’s (2013) Wave Gotik Treffen. Listening to “Minus One” the latter may not be so strange, because The KVB’s sound on this album may have shoegaze elements, but it is more wave than shoegaze. Soft rock with electronics (mostly for the rhythm), sometimes going a bit in a Suicide direction. The album is rather soft, it could have used a little more energy. The material for this cd was first released in 2011 and another album has been released together with it and it contains a sound that I prefer.
Link: The KVB

Suuns ‎* Images Du Futur (cd 2013)

Well well, so now also Deezer starts to recommend music to me? I got a recommention for Suuns because I listen to Duchess Says. Now Suuns have little incommon with Duchess Says save the fact that the two bands are playing two shows together. And of course they both play guitar pop with electronic elements, but the results are very different. I also knew Suuns because I ran into them when looking for shoegaze that is interesting. Not that this band makes very typical shoegaze, but there certainly are elements to be found (not so in Duchess Says). The album that Deezer thought I should listen to was the previous album “Zeroes QC” from 2010. That album is indeed somewhat interesting, but mostly because it contains pretty experimental pop music, very soft pop, dreampop perhaps even. There are some nice songs, I especially like the songs with more electronics than guitars. The album is a bit slow, melancholic maybe even. “Images Du Futur” starts off with more tempo and nice, screaming guitars. Most of the songs are a lot slower though with some electronics, sometimes a little bit of rock, sometimes a noisy guitar; mostly soft pop though. Like on the other cd there are a few nice songs, but most of them I am quite indifferent to. I would not turn it off when I heard it on the radio, but I do not think I will play Suuns very often.
Link: Secretly Canadian

Zola Jesus * Versions (cd 2013)

For some reason I had the idea that Zola Jesus was an old (ex-)industrial/goth singer who had gone solo and pop. Fact is, that this singer is only from 1989 and only started to perform under this monicker in 2008. However people seem to categorise Zola Jesus in the industrial/goth genre, it looks like it is more electropop that she makes. When I heard that her latest cd was written for a performance in the Guggenheim museum of New York and Zola Jesus cooperated with James George Thirwell (Foetus) I thought it was time to spend some time listening to her music.
“Versions” appears to be a more modern-classical approach to (mostly) the previous album “Conatus” (2011). There is a small orchestra, sometimes electronics and of course Jesus’ recognisable voice. Zola Jesus is not going to be my new favorite popartist, but “Versions” is a nice (be it somewhat melancholic) album.
Links: Zola Jesus, Sacred Bones Records

De Staat * I_Con (cd 2013)

A while ago I had Deezer choose my music and I heard a great track of Wolfmother. Wolfmother has great tracks, but not all of them are that good. Continuing with Wolfmother I discovered bands such as Cage The Elephant (nicely experimental, but a bit too poppy), Them Crooked Vultures (with Nirvana / Foo Fighter member, quite a good band) and Eagles Of Death Metal (interestingly experimental); all strange rockmusic. Then I heard the magnificent “Witch Doctor” of a band whose name I have known for a long time: De Staat. De Staat is a Dutch band which is about as weird as my townmates of Stuurbaard Bakkebaard. They throw many different styles of music in their poprock sound and here and there they run off with strange experimentations. The sound goes from quite poppy to more psychedelic. I especially like the more uptempo tracks, but also the stranger parts are sometimes downright brilliant. “I_Con” is the third album of this band. The debut (2011) has less interesting tracks, the second album (2012) is also quite interesting. Should you have followed my advice to try “The New Puritans” and you liked this -also- weird band, this Dutch outfit might be a nice thing to try too.
Links: De Staat, Cool Green Recordings

v/a * Death # Disco III (cd 2013)

Strange how things work sometimes. I listen a lot of different kinds of music. Since Last.fm this has increased a lot and now in combination with Deezer perhaps even more. A while ago I ran into the brilliant band A Place To Bury Strangers who make some sort of shoegaze (1980’ies wave elements, screaming guitars, etc.), but much more uptempo than the “dreampop” variety of the style. I have been looking for other interesting bands in that style and found good bands that combine guitars and electronics. To my surprise one of these bands (The KVB) played at last year’s (2013) Wave Gotik Treffen and than two more (The Soft Moon, Lebanon Hannover) at Summer Darkness. At a music-stand at Summer Darkness I checked the boxes of the usual goth-mailorder and found A Place To Bury Strangers, but also quite a bit of “minimal wave” (and related) music. That part included “Death # Disco” compilations, compilations of a Berlin based monthly clubnight. To my surprise these compilatons contain bands that I previously discovered as “shoegaze” (The KVB, The Exploding Boy, The Lost Rivers, etc.) and as “minimal wave”, another genre that I enjoy discovering (Agent Side Grinder, Xeno & Oaklander, Echo West, etc.). Apparently everything is growing together or is not as separated as I initially thought.
In any case, “Death # Disco III” goes from very nice uptempo analogue dancemusic to screaming guitars. Some tracks are downright briliant, but others are pretty boring, an experience that I got used to in ‘both scenes’. Nice to run into these compilations though.
Link: Death # Disco

The Soft Moon * Zeros (cd 2012)

I already knew The Soft Moon when I noticed that they would play at this year’s Summer Darkness festival. Out of place, since they are not from ‘the gothic scene’, but fitting with their sound which certainly has 1980’ies wave and gothic rock elements. The show was great, the albums that I listened to a bit on Deezer, are nice too. Great tracks and alright tracks alternate. During their show I bought two albums, “Zeros” is their last album, so I decided to review it.
“Zeros” has more uptempo songs which are the songs I like best. The sound reminds a bit of A Place To Bury Strangers here and there. The ‘wavey’ beats/drums, high-pitched guitars and screaking sounds (no guitars, but coming from the synth). There are not that many vocals, usually just some screaming. “Zeros”, as the other albums that I heard of The Soft Moon, goes from great tracks to nice tracks. Live they seemed more energetic and rocking, in the living room the sound is a lot better than it was in Tivoli (way too loud). A nice album, certainly, but not the best ‘in the style’ that I know. One of the faster bands though, so if you like A Place To Bury Strangers or The Lost Rivers, you might be interested in The Soft Moon too.
Links: The Soft Moon, Captured Tracks