By Stef Siepel
July 26, 2013
The Weekly Froth! A weekly take on six tracks, most of which have recently popped up somewhere in the blogosphere. Bit of a mixed bag with a slight leaning towards house, disco, and remixes, but generally just anything that for some reason tickled the writer’s fancy.
Best of the Fest week:
With me not being able to write a column this week due to a variety of reasons, I’ve thought ahead for once and written one in advance. Not with the latest tracks in the genres that you normally see in this column, but a little bit different. Last week I attended a free festival in my hometown, so I gathered for you the top five acts that I thought were the Best of the Fest.
Sinkane (‘Jeepers Creepers’)
Ahmed Gallab is a member of the DFA roster, and after having played for several bands you might know (he did work for Caribou, of Montreal, Yeasayer, and more), he started his own band Sinkane. He released the album Mars last year, which was good, and then toured on the back of that. When I saw them during that tour, they were okay. They nicely played the songs mostly as on album, you could hear that they were accomplished musicians, and it was all, well, decent, I suppose. This time around, though, they’ve just taken this major leap forward. Their live sound is just way better, not simpy colouring in their pre-drawn lines, but they managed to really strut their stuff well. It is the difference between having a song and changing that into a live performance. So instead of the album you got the act, with lovely funky guitars, bass, and some nifty solos as well. These guys can play, and this time they really managed to show that.
This Danish duo (at least, live they’re only a duo) released the album Beekeeper last year, and if you haven’t heard that one yet and if you happen to have some spare left, there are worse ways you can spend your time I reckon. Their songs have got these nice beats to them. Not too fast, so don’t worry if you don’t feel like going all out or anything, this is not for that. The beats are accompanied by a variety of live effects, percussion, and even keys and guitar. The vocals, too, are live, and especially the male vocals are darn impressive. Nice and deep, as if these Scandinavian electro acts have patented that or something. Live they show both a certain kind of passion and nerdiness, especially when he does that evil scientist impression with one of these instruments that reacts on proximity of the hands, not on whether or not you push a button (which is waaaayy cool btw).
I remember seeing this rock-n-blues act way back when in some small room somewhere. There, they struck me as this garage/rock type band that just puts the pedal to the metal and goes full speed the entire time. The latter is, at times, still there, but instead of a bucketful of noise (as how I remember it) now these guys have streamlined their act. The long solos and instrumental bits are still there, but not in the sense of noisy chaos, but in the sense of what every lover of blues knows from any kind of gig that involves people who can play their instrument. There’s really some nifty guitar playing going on by the two guitarists there, and the bass and drums aren’t too shabby either. Also, I didn’t quite remember the voice being that good. From what I had in my mind as memory of this band to what I actually saw on stage so many years later, color me pleased with that surprise. Sure, the first half of the gig was marred by technical difficulties (as in, it took about 20 minutes to actually hear the vocals), but they took that frustration and put it to good use the second half of the show.
Alela Diane (‘Colorado Blue’)
Diane is a singer/songwriter who released her new album, About Farewell, this year, and ‘Colorado Blue’ (see clip) is one of the tracks on there. The song is, like more of her songs, about the sad times one sometimes encounters in life, and with her warm voice she sings those tales of sorrow beautifully. Though in all fairness, the song starts out nice enough, reminiscing some nice moments she had with someone before that person “headed East”. On stage it was her and one other, who provided additional instrumentation and, on occassion, vocals. And it shows that, for beautiful music, sometimes all you need is a warm voice, a smittering of guitar, and a little bit of help from a friend.
The Krautrock formation Camera released their album Radiate last year, and the trio really put their instruments to work during their live set. During their gig they managed to churn out a few whoppers of tracks that, in good Krautrock tradition, were just insanely hypnotic. I, for one, had my eyes closed for most of the time, enjoying the togetherness of the three instruments as they build juggernauts of instrumental tracks. If this is kind of your cup of tea, this is the type of music that can put you in your own headspace for a good half hour or so. Good thing too, because if you’re looking for visual spectacle, it’s not like theatre or something this. However, as soundtrack to your mind escape, this is just ace, helped by some amazingly timed instrumental play.