Archive for September 2008

The reincarnation of the Neutral Milk Hotel: The Love Letter Band

30 September 2008

Who? The Love Letter Band

What? Indie-folk, twee, indie indie indie!

Sounds Like? Neutral Milk Hotel, Mt. Eerie, These United States, The Robot Ate Me and other great lo-fi bands

Jeff Mangum made a masterpiece with his album ‘In An Aeroplane over the Sea’, I agree. It seems however that everyone is waiting for his ressurection. No need to do that, cause there is this other band, The Love Letter Band, that makes songs that are just that good!

Unfortunately, they don’t exist no more. Well, they are called Bad Weather California these days,  and make more of twang-oriented songs (according to their myspace).. Still very good (sounds a bit like These United States), but not as good as their album ‘Fear not My Brothers, Fear not My Sisters. For I Have seen the Future’.

Anyway, all those good unkown indie-seeking people should listen to The Love Letter Band. And buy their albums at Happy Happy Birthday To Me Records.

The Love Letter Band – Fear Not My Brothers, Fear Not My Sisters

The Love Letter Band – College Kids

The Love Letter Band – Ain’t No Grave Deep Enough (from the World is My Church EP which they released on slender means society

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Stem Bo! (only for dutchspeaking readers)

29 September 2008

Nee, deze blog ligt niet zomaar op apegapen. De rij-examenperikelen (morgen, 13u, mentale steun door middel van kaarsenbranding of het offeren van klein vee is altijd welkom) nemen wat energie en tijd op, en daarnaast was ik ‘n recensie-deadline ietwat uit het oog verloren, zodat ik in iets te weinig tijd iets te veel recensies uit mijn pen heb moeten sleuren. Er is beterschap op komst, hopelijk vanaf morgen.

Toch even snel ‘n kort berichtje.  een van de liefste mensen op deze aarde (en ik ken ze allemaal, dus ik ben er vrij zeker van) maakt met haar hoogstaande poëtische uitspattingen kans op ‘n prijs. welke? Het beste uit tijdschriften 2008, een wedstrijdje uitgeroepen door een collectief van culturele tijdschriften.

Als je bij “Met andere zinnen” gaat kijken, zie je de gedichten van Bo Vanluchene… Allen daarheen en stemmen op haar!

Geen idee waarom je je tijd zou verdoen met stemmen? Je kan er vanalle literaire prijzen mee winnen!

Bookworm Wednesday: James Frey

24 September 2008

Who? James Frey

What? two brilliant pieces of literature about rehab, being ‘A million Little Pieces’ and ‘My Friend Leonard’

I’ve read quite a lot in my short existence, but this afternoon, while thinking about which book/author I could say something useful, I couldn’t come up with anyone. Off course, I can always tell you about my great literary heroes (Salinger, Vonnegut, Murakami, in no particular order), but I’m trying to keep those for when I’m really desparate.

Right now, I’m “copywriting” a diary from some guy who wants to get published. Some friends of him are my friends and he wanted an honest opinion. Not that I’m gonna share that opinion here, but his writing style kind of reminds me of that of James Frey’s in his two “Memoirs” ‘A million little pieces’ and ‘My Friend Leonard’.

James Frey was a heavy drug addict during his younger years and these two books tell about his experiences in rehab (that’s a million little pieces) and his time after rehab (my friend leonard). With no real writing experience, Frey just creates his own style, which is brutally honest. With short sentences, a lot of them starting with “I”, he grabs your attention, not letting go after you finished it completely.

“Kill The Fuckin’ Bastard”

Frey’s novel was once in Oprah’s bookclub, this horrible institution of American Middle class women dominating the entire book market in the US. Winfrey was haunted by the book, and liked it “because it was all based on true events”. And then some blog found out that Frey had lied in his novels. The Horror! An angry mob of Desperate housewives organized a book burning and symbolically tied up a straw version of Frey.

Maybe I live in a too fictionalized world to get the problem. Although it’s a memoir, It still is a personal reflection of his period. So what if he made up a thing or two??! anyway, there was a trial and stuff like that…

Anyway, if you all want to read some really honest document about the horror of getting clean, and that written in an extremely minimalist form of literature, you all should go read Frey.

PS: Frey has published a new novel this year, which is not about himself but about hollywood… If you’ve read it, let me know in the comments what you thought of it. I myself am not really eager to get disappointed.

We used to wash ourselves in the dustbowl: The Avett Brothers

24 September 2008

Who? The Avett Brothers

What? Alt.country with a small pinch of bluegrass

Sounds Like? Ryan Adams and all those other people that don’t just rechew alt.country in a boring way

I have periods that i’m really into twang or americana-music, but i’m normally very picky. There is a lot of bad alt.country out there, or alt. Country i don’t like at least.

At first, I thought The Avett Brothers and their album Emotionalism was like one of those “oh my god not those cowboys again”-albums. But, in contrast to normal procedures i gave it enough chances (normal procedure? Two listens, if i don’t like it => away it goes).

I’m hooked. Completely. I’ve got the feeling i could listen to Emotionalism all of the time. Not all tracks (i’m e.g. not a big fan of the song Salina), but there are some incredibly nice songs on this album…

Take “the Ballad of love and hate”, which is one of the greatest ballads i’ve heard in a long time. It really hits me. But the more up-tempo songs are amazing too.. I think what i like most is the wonderful harmonic melodies… I’m a lo-fi guy, but if things sound perfect like this, i can get hooked at times.

But you already know my credo: don’t read, listen.

The Avett Brothers – The Ballad Of Love And Hate

The Avett Brothers – Paranoia In Bb Major

And because this song is great and has a wonderful Videoclip: Die Die Die

You can buy their albums here.. I just know Emotionalism, but that will change soon. Every recommendation is welcome!

The Eighties were never this wrong: John Maus

22 September 2008

Who? John Maus

What? 80’s synth pop, but then the parody version

Sounds Like? Only 80’s people know

John Maus, isn’t such a name the perfect name for an artist? I believe it is.  Maus, part of the strange band Ariel Pink’s Haunted Graffiti (music even I don’t really get), has two albums full of eighties doom pop, with witty lyrics and well…a sort of David Bowie from somewhere in the country-feeling to it.

I must admit, i know nothing of the eighties. It’s the music era i deliberately try to neglect, the middle ages of pop music. But John Maus appeals to me (probably just because it’s weird)… So, enough of the gibberish (someone told me i talk too much in my blog posts). Here are some John Maus tunes. Real Bad Job has a nintendo-feel to it (you’ll know what I mean after you hear), Rights for gays is a pro-gay song, and is even a bit catchy!

John Maus – Rights For Gays

John Maus – Real Bad Job

John Maus has released two albums, one called ‘Songs’ (his best in my humble opinion), the other one called ‘Love is real’. THey both got released by the experimental label Upset The Rhythm.

Let’s add some noise: Khonnor

21 September 2008

Who? Khonnor

What? Elektro-acoustic lo-fi noise pop

Sounds like? bedroom elektronica, Helios, The Album Leaf

Whatever happened to Khonnor? Has he reincarnated into another band, and does noboy know which one? Fact is that I’m really looking forward to a new record of this guy, cause his debut album and masterpiece ‘Handwriting’ is already 4, 5 years old.

Khonnor was sixteen when he got his first proper release on Type records, a label that is specialized in elektro-acoustic and ambient-like music. Before that he got a reputation by giving away his albums for free online and on soulseek, the music-sharing program. You can still find some of his ep’s online, here, here and here. (you can see the guy has got a lot of alter ego’s)

I once saw a small documentary about him. It was from a swedish Mtv-program called this is Music (if there is someone who can give me all the episodes of that show, please let me know! … I’ve been looking for them ever since, because there were some extremely un-mtv’ish artists on that show..I mailed MTV Sweden, but off course they didn’t respond – i wouldn’t either). So, in this documentary we saw the 16-year old Khonnor, still going to high school and getting ready for a tour in Europe. The funny – disturbing? – thing was that his parents didn’t even know he had released a record, so they didn’t even know he was going to Europe.

Anyway, for your listening pleasure, an artist that deserves more praise:

Khonnor – Megan’s Present

Khonnor – A little Secret

You can still buy his album ‘Handwriting’ on Boomkat.

(In Dutch) Godverdomse dagen: Dimitri Verhulst

20 September 2008

(This post is in Dutch, because it’s about a popular Belgian author, who is giving away his newest novel for free with next week’s edition of one of Belgian’s most popular magazines)

Ik ben geen fan van Nederlandstalige literatuur. Geen idee hoe dat komt, maar er zijn slechts weinig Nederlandse of Belgische auteurs die me kunnen bekoren. Een paar uitzonderingen niet daargelaten missen ze in mijn ogen veelal de originaliteit en aantrekkingskracht die buitenlandse schrijvers wel hebben. Ik geef toe, het is geen eerlijke vergelijking. Ook goede Finse schrijvers of geweldige Puerto Ricaanse auteurs zal je op één hand kunnen tellen. Desondanks blijven de meeste Nederlanders zich wagen aan polderliteratuur, en lijkt Belgische literatuur vaak niet verder te komen dan het clichématig herkauwen van de ultieme dooddoeners.

Ook Dimitri Verhulst biedt an sich niets nieuw, maar het is dankzij zijn ontwapenende eerlijkheid (en zijn gevoel voor humor) dat hij zich toch onderscheidt van het gros van de auteurs. In ‘n recent Humo-interview zegt hij dat hij zich schaamt om “De kamer hiernaast”, zijn debuut, terwijl ik dat boek ‘n geweldige revelatie vond. En dan is er natuurlijk zijn grote succes “De helaasheid der dingen”, over zijn jeugd in Reetveerdegem. Het meesterwerk dat de meesten er inzagen, las ik zelf niet, maar het was wel uiterst charmante literatuur.

In datzelfde HUMO-interview heeft hij het ook over zijn nieuwste boek: Godverdomse Dagen op een godverdomse bol (geweldige titel!), dat volgende week gratis zal weggegeven worden bij elke Humo. Om eerlijk te zijn: ik verwacht dat mensen die zijn vorige boek geweldig vonden, misschien moeite zullen hebben met deze nieuwe roman. Van wat uit het interview afleid, is de nieuwe een geschiedenis van de mensheid, en lijkt Verhulst literair weer een beetje gegroeid. Maar mensen willen altijd weer terug naar het oude, en dus zal het grootste commentaar zijn dat het toch geen tweede “Helaasheid” is. Ik daarentegen kijk er wel naar uit, want dit zou mogelijk wel eens geweldige literatuur kunnen opleveren.

Dat het boek gratis wordt weg gegeven, daar kan ik als pseudo-communist alleen maar om juichen. Literatuur zou altijd en overal beschikbaar moeten zijn (hence de “pseudo”). Boekhandelaars zijn niet zo tevreden, maar daar zijn het dan ook boekhandelaars voor.

Ik weet in elk geval wat ik als volgende boek ga lezen. Nu eerst maar proberen The Dice Man van Luke Rhinehart uit te lezen (daar volgt ook nog wel ‘n blogpostje over).