Lais - Lais

Lais - Lais

These three girls have voices like angels. I'm not sure of the connection between the artists but you can be sure you're on to a good thing when Emmylou Harris has stopped to praise their singing.

The whole thing is very traditional sounding. Interesting arrangements - almost exclusively for voice. Basically it's a big display of beautiful 3-part harmonies. Good variation in song energy - 't Jeugdig Groen is rather slow (and dark) while songs like 't Zoutvat are much more upbeat.

There's a delicious cover of Sinhead O'Connor's In This Heart on here and track 12 seems to be a tribute to the great Jacques Brel. I think my pick of the moment is going to have to be De Wanhoop though there any number of songs could have taken that spot.

Joan as Police Woman - Real Life

Joan as Police Woman - Real Life

I stumbled across Joan on the internet one day and was very impressed by the few samples I heard... then I forgot about her/them. It was seeing them billed for Rock Werchter that refuelled my interest.

It sits reasonably close to standard american, piano playing female pop rock, but the deviation is wide enough that one has to give it more attention. Eternal Flame jumped out at me straight away - very interesting chord progression. The whole thing is quite dark.

Listening to it again I think that it was the loss of the subtleties in the concert killed a bit of the inspiration for me. This is actually really cool.

Sepultura - Chaos A.D.

Sepultura - Chaos A.D.

It's always dangerous revisiting an album that you fell in love with when you were much younger. Luckily for me Sepultura still kick ass. I would love to have seen these guys live (with Max of course).

Unlike many other metal bands, they've always had good reasons to be angry, and it shows in the music. The whole album is very political, Kaiowas is a touching interlude about Brazilian tribe that committed mass suicide in protest of the government trying to take their land.

The music itself has a lot of room to breath - the guitars don't suffocate the mix. Igor's drumming is beautifully tribal. I'm pretty sure this will forever be considered one of the classic metal albums.

Scala & Kolacny Brothers - It All Leads To This

Scala & Kolacny Brothers - It All Leads To This

When people mention acapella covers I normally cover my ears and start rocking back and forth. Even though I love covers I feel that I'm not strong enough to endure another bad acapella cover song. Luckily the good folk in Leuven picked a good one for me to enjoy this time round.

In covering some of my absolute favourites (such as Enjoy The Silence) you're heading into seriously dangerous territory. It just works though. The arrangements are lovely. I guess it's cheesy - but it's so damn beautiful.

In all honestly once I started I simply couldn't turn it off.

Orchestre International Du Vetex - Flamoek Fantasy

Orchestre International Du Vetex - Flamoek Fantasy

I was very lucky on Saturday when I chose to walk into that unassuming little record store (Sax) in Leuven. The guy behind the counter was understandably sceptical about my taste in music when he noticed the Rock Werchter armband I was wearing. I asked for something local and this is what I got - what a treat.

I'm glad I sacked off the festival to head back to Leuven to see them play that night. The performance was fantastic. Great energy, great fun, great act - gypsy ska at its best. Jos from the record store proved to be wonderful company with fine taste in music.

A wonderful experience - the memory of which I'll treasure all my life.

Rock Wechter 2007 in Brief

Rock Wechter 2007 in Brief

All in all this turned out to be a really enjoyable festival. Everyone was friendly and it was well organised and clean. Unfortunately the corporations have taken control - the one place I could get something to drink other than coke/beer (I drink neither) was closed down after Stella claimed they were cutting into their market (mutually exclusive markets people).

The bulk of the music was Brit Rock/Pop - briefly:

Joan as Police Woman

Very nice, some of the subtleties were definitely lost in the festival soundsystem. I always appreciate an artist that gets up and disses the US government.

Lilly Allen

One of the great performances of the festival. She smoked the whole time and apologised for being so drunk (drinking Jagermeister straight from the bottle may well be the reason for that). Her voice actually sounded great live.

Queens of the Stoneage

It wasn't loud enough or something - just seemed to lack any real balls. There was actually a problem the whole festival with the vocals being lost in the mix on the main stage.

Arctic Monkeys

Why are these guys so big right now? There's not much to recommend them. Young boys who have no idea how to perform yet. Watching stuff like this makes me feel cynical.

Pearl Jam

Man it was great to finally see these cats play live. Thankfully they stuck almost entirely to Ten/Vs (i would have been lost otherwise). Vedder rambled on a bit (too much weed for him methinks).

Amy Winehouse

What a voice, eh? It comes across well live too. I found watching her was a tad disturbing - too goddamn skinny.


"I don't give a fuck!" - and you know they mean it. The whole performance was very much in that vein (in a good way). Absolutely mental dancing.

Cold War Kids

Not too bad - a bit serious in their performance. The sound was a little uninspirational but I'll have a listen to the recordings 'cos there may well be something there.

Frank Black

What can I say - I've been listening to more and more of his stuff recently because I think he may be a rock god (an angry one at that) - and his performance backs that view up. I think he did a Fat Boy Slim cover in there (performed while lying on the floor).




Why are these guys the kings of metal again? Oh yeah, it's because they completely kick ass. Such a powerful live performance. They tried to lose me with the ballad based encore but the So What madness soon fixed that.

Tori Amos

Pleasantly surprised by this one - great performance. I haven't listened to her stuff before (though I will now). The girls in the room (almost everyone) were definitely feeling the empowerment (:


I've seen these guys before so I didn't waste to much time on them. The whole thing feels dated and lacking in energy. They were are a certain place at a certain time and that's why they're famous. Let go England - for the love of music.

Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike

Gogol Bordello - Gypsy Punks: Underdog World Strike

Stomping punked up Klezmer, that's what it is. And it's good too, very good.

There's a massive western influence going on here - in fact I think these guys are from the states. That's what gives it it's original sound. I do love my gypsy beats, but it's great having them turned up a notch (not that it's generally required - just go to a Fanfare Ciocarlia gig to see what I mean).

Funny lyrics too - check out Not A Crime. I keep coming back to this one and I don't see that changing in the future.

Alexander "Skip" Spence - Little Hands


This is something my brother put me on to after I showed him Karen Dalton. Apparently he's one of the guys behind Jefferson Airplane and Moby Grape.

The production/instrumentation is generally pretty simple - the bulk of the recording consists of distant drums, muffled bass guitar and rambling vocals. His delivery is very Cohen-esk in places - though his voice sounds completely different.

Each song tends to tell a little tale - as they often did back in those days - Weighted Down being a great example. There's lots to enjoy here. Really makes me want to listen to Jefferson again.

I can see why this is a classic.

Karate - In The Fishtank 12

Karate - In The Fishtank 12

This album is far too short.

It kicks off with a great Rockabilly cover of the classic Strange Fruit. Actually, I believe the whole thing is a covers album, though I certainly don't know them all.

The song selection is varied and everything is given a top reworking to sound uniquely theirs. You can hear all sorts of different musical styles buried beneath the rock exterior.

Tears Of Rage is a great bit of americana, Bob Dylan Wrote Propaganda Songs is completely amping and Need A Job hits like a kick in the teeth - sounds a lot like Ivory Springer in some respects.

I really like this.

Digitalism - Idealism

Digitalism - Idealism

Stomping electro beats, filthy beats, distorted, twisted beats. They've definitely gone for the big noise approach, and it really works. It's German I believe. The vocals are definitely German - though the overall sound is a strange hard European/ Brit-rock hybrid.

We get a deconstruction of The Cure's Fire In Cairo (hence the covers classification... though it's a bit iffy) - stuttering so brutally that it's almost hard to take (the following Departure From Cairo mellows us out again).

Very infectious sounds.

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