Month: November, 2013

APTBS (lido, 23/09/13)

alongside an overabondance of sumptuous records, LPs and EPs, ear plugs are to be found on the merchandising table.
a mischievous smile appears on the frog face expressing an evident eagerness. the frog is even a bit afraid to loose an ear in this guitar battle.

yet the show opens with an indie and shoegaze band from the pond, called Suns of Thyme. the music of the four spick-and-span lads isn’t properly uninteresting, but the affected voice of Tobias Feltes (vocals, guitar) unfortunately spoils the frog’s enthusiasm. you know i hate criticizing things this way, but, if the voice displeases you, you have no chance to stuck to the music, would this latter sound promising.

aptbs

so the wait is pretty unbearable (but will be highly rewarded) – until Oliver Ackermann (guitar, vocals) arrives. his gentle smile and wave don’t give any evidence of what is about to happen. Robi Gonzalez (drums) wears a splendid red bacardi-rhum-coca-cola t-shirt, which makes me feel like a gullible fool, happy to be in the middle of a tiny crowd made of many tattooed toads and weirdos. as Dion Lunadon (bass) appears like a rocket on the stage, he freezes the audience with his slightly threatening stare. observing his bass and Ackermann’s guitars, i naïvely wonder why there are so badly damaged and ponder how i got to know the band.

A Place to Bury Strangers, oh my, what a fantastic name.

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guitars start hooting, and Ackermann’s emotionless voice opens a first ditty. my hands go to my ears straight away, checking out their perfect airtightness. i’m surprised to find them comfortably inserted and realise that this very evening will probably blow my mind. lush guitar sounds spread in the room and caught me up in a spiral of hesitations and questionings. it’s damn hard to understand how such a guitar sound can gush forth. um, Oliver Ackermann is also the founder of an effects pedal company in Brooklyn (who sells hand-wired pedals to NIИ among others!), but the sound power is definitely puzzling. it takes me a little while before i recover from this audio thud.

there’s no sign of kindness, warmth nor hope in APTBS’s thunderous music. it is as noisy as a rocket lift-off and ferocious as a train crash. this distorted, dirty (exquisite) wall of sound is impressive and goes beyond every thing i’ve seen until today. despite their music shows some incursions of shoegaze, you can’t escape it.

the three of them are like spellbound. Dion Lunadon slices through the stalls, holding his bass like a devil and twirling among us without missing a single note. when he decides to go back to the stage, he simply throws his bass at Robi Gonzalez’s feet. my goodness, this is pure madness.

guitars fly here and there, both Ackermann and Lunadon apparently enjoy smashing them down, whereas an over excited toad jumps regularly on the stage to demonstrate some mysterious hysteria. the crowd pogoes gently with a restrained violence, this bizarre and sticky atmosphere is however exhilarating.

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yet, there comes a time when some poetry arises from the stage. Ackermann turns off the stage lights one by one and switches on a projector, from which appears a ballet dancer. her shadow reflects on the walls, on the ceiling and i wonder whether he wants to show us the path to the underworld or magnify an urgent need for slender beauty. the venue is plunged in darkness and she dances, dances, repeating the same sharp movement.

but no one should believe that the beast settled down. in a precise hastened gesture, the dancer vanishes and Oliver Ackermann falls on the floor to rub gently and patiently some stupid white light on his guitar cords, a malicious ray of light which burns our eyes. a devilish groan bursts suddenly from the guitar to finish us off.

when the light comes back finally, everyone appear dazed and confused, as if the tempest suddenly quietened down but was about to return.

if you don’t understand why, give it a try now.

sunday’s special

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything

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one refers quite often to the icelandic sagas but have you ever heard of the Montréal’s Zion saga?

there was a time when A Silver Mt. Zion was a three-member band without choirs or scarce lalalas. a genuine counterpart of GY!BE and a pure protest advocate of the 2000s Constellation Records‘ roster.

then, a year later, A Silver Mt. Zion became The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-la-la Band. tra-la-la. the magic power of instrumental music with three (convincing) utterance attempts while Take These Hands and Throw Them in the River, Could’ve Moved Mountains and Triumph of Our Tired Eyes. the Tra-la-la Band was made of three musicians. the final tally made six.
two years later, The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra took the sobriquet of The Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra and Tra-la-la Band with Choir. with an introducing choir foray, thus.
a year later, the band released an EP under the name of Thee Silver Mountain Reveries. no more Tra-la-la.
an album called Horses in the Sky was released a year later by Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band.
then the Tra-La-La Band left.

brotherless, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra remained as it was.
and the very Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra will release a new album on 21st january as a quintet, which title is an happy turn of phrase: Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything.

light again. could it be that bands decided to beggar the darkest torments of our times and offer us shades of hope?
in the 14-minute song entitled Austerity Blues, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra closes the song with this:

Lord let my son live long enough to see that mountain torn down.


 
so let the last word go to Constellation.

(…) Feel-good music this is not; but neither can it reductively be tagged apocalyptic or world-weary. Fuck Off Get Free rages with scorn and with hope, utterly passionate but pointedly unromantic. Thee Silver Mt. Zion once again demonstrates, like few other bands working today, that there is much to fight for and against, and plenty more fight songs to sing.

what a disgrace

Lanterns of the Lake

today the pond calls for gentleness and tenderness. the frog is lost in a daydream made of sumptuous, soft cushions where feebleness is at its most – a delicious plenitude.

such a state of mind didn’t arise by chance, nope. it sprang to mind as i heard the first notes of The Buffalo Days, a track from Lanterns of the Lake‘s new album entitled Until the Colours Run, which was released a few weeks ago on Bella Union. despite a pitch-black opening, the song shows evidence of rainbow-like moments through a beautiful lead guitar line which brightens anxious skies. tinged with symphonic folk and post-rock waves, melancholy and warmth, the band from Newcastle couldn’t find a better home than Bella Union.


 
this unexpected nugget of the day is a cherry on a five-piece cake. Hazel Wilde (vocal, piano and guitar), Paul Gregory (guitar, electronics and production), Sarah Kemp (violin), Oliver Ketteringham (drums) and Andrew Scrogham (bass) joined forces on this new album, two years after the first album Gracious Tide, Take Me Home.

the poetry of Lanterns of the Lake is deeply rooted in half grey, half blue undertones. whereas the greyness suits british skies perfectly, the lyrics also illustrate pretty well the tormented times of our society, be they in britain or anywhere else.

the video of Another Tale From Another English Town directed by James Alexander Grieves confirms our assumptions but shows certain rays of light and possible happiness. despite a gloomy social climate, it’s still possible to lie down on the grass and expect brighter skies.
and while you lie down on the grass, make sure to take along Lanterns of the Lake with you, until you see colours running around you. because this new album is a very promising one.

sunday’s special