Goodbye, Dutch Week, we miss you already

Well everyone, as sad as we are to say it, Dutch Week is over.  I don’t think we knew what exactly we were getting ourselves into (= a lot of good music) because now we wish we had more time!  A Dutch Decade, perhaps.  However, we had but a week, and now we have many other countries to explore (including our own)!

Before we say goodbye to the lovely Netherlands, we’d like to leave you with some more music that we discovered and didn’t have the time to review.

Kristin’s picks:

The Subhuman.  The Subhuman is from Utrecht, Netherlands and is on the Snowstar record label.  He’s a star.  His music is chill–you can hear some Sufjan influence, minus a lot of the experimenting–and I like his use of the good ole casio, and the layers he creates with vocals.  He also reminds me of this guy Niall Quinn who I saw perform at a pub in London, which will probably mean nothing to you, but he was pretty good, anyway.  Bonus: he looks like he’d be into Dostoevsky.  That’s pretty irrelevant, but whatever.  Check it yo: www.myspace.com/thesubhuman

Vox Von Braun.  Don’t judge, but we’re back at Subroutine for this one.  Vox Von Braun reminds me a of a less folky Blitzen Trapper in their sound (until the guitar riffs)–they’ve got that unidentifiable perfect balance, where everything just works.  I’m picky about sound, and they’ve found the spot where the music moves (it’s going somewhere, thank goodness), it isn’t too heavy or too dark, and it isn’t poppy twee, it’s just good freaking rock’n’roll.  Way to go, guys, I’ll jam to you in my car anytime.  If I can get your album, that is.  www.myspace.com/voxvonbraun

Johan.  Johan is on Excelsior and I like them.  I kind of feel bad for liking them because they make me think of music I listened to when I was in early high school, but they’ve got a pretty solid sound, and so why not share them?  www.myspace.com/johan

We Love People in Bearsuits.  I told you it was coming, didn’t I?  And Bearsuits is one word.  How to describe them?  I don’t know, what would you expect from a band with such a name?  Probably that’s what you’ll get.  They’re from Utrecht, Netherlands and they’re on the Badmintone record label but I’m pretty sure they’re singing/growling/yelling in German.  To be quite honest, I probably wouldn’t listen to this music, you know, every day, but it’s still fun electronic indie-pop that I would dance around to.  As they describe themselves, “in a deep forest somewhere in germany, three boys in bearsuits are playing music for the animals that live there, sometimes they come out of the forest to play their music for humans.”  Um, will you play for me, boys?  Check out their myspace: www.myspace.com/welovepeopleinbearsuits

Eric’s Picks (some of them, at least)

The Sugarettes. This is another one from the Very Sexuals family. I have been loving this music all week, but have avoided talking about it because I didn’t want Dutch Week to turn into some kind of Partridge Family orgy. But we may as well go out with one incestuous bang. Their debut Love and Other Perversities was the sexiest album of the year according to Incendiary Magazine and I am not going to argue with them. Filled with boy-girl vocals (which you know I love), hand claps, youthful exuberance, and maybe a prostitute and a porn star or two, this is one album that is immediately addicting. http://www.myspace.com/thesugarettes

NEONBELLE. We’ve been slipping it into the conversation all week, so I won’t say much about it here.This is even more from Pien Feith of, you guessed it, the Very Sexuals. Originally conceived as part of the In A Cabin With project, the trio found their sessions to be so fruitful that they will continue to work together as NEONBELLE in the future. Picture something like Feist meets Regina Spektor with Emilie Simon’s propensity for electronics and found sounds and a dash of John Adams (the composer, not the president) thrown in for good measure. Download the album at www.inacabinwith.com if you haven’t already. http://www.myspace.com/weareneonbelle

Hit Me TV. Singer Jaap, of Hit Me TV probably could have fronted any number of hair bands back in the 80s, were he more than 10 years old at the time (which I am fairly certain he wasn’t). Think the drive of the Killers’ Hot Fuss with less synth, more funky guitar work, and freaking powerful vocals. Maybe something of a cross between early Killers and Scissor Sisters, with more than a dash of danceable 80s power pop. If you’re a freak like me, may even be able to hear a bit of the Rumble Strips here and there. (I am seriously weird, though.) I freaking love this. http://www.myspace.com/hitmetv

Hospital Bombers. The name sounds ominous, I know, but I have it on good authority that Hospital Bombers are the best band in the Netherlands at the moment. Since I live way over here in Not the Netherlands, I will have to take his word for it. The quality of the music would seem to support his opinion. They have a seriously tight sound often reminiscent of the garage rock of the late 60s complete with Hammond B3, or like the Doors but faster and sober and with a girl. I like girls. I also like Hospital Bombers (five words you should never utter at an airport). Check out “The Devil’s Music” and “Neighbourhood”. http://www.myspace.com/hospitalbombersatmyspace

Skipper. Still more from Subroutine (can you tell we really, really, REALLY like them?) It’s very Phil Spector (without the crazy wigs and, presumably, murder conviction) with, yet again that vintage 60s aesthetic, at times reminiscent of the Beach Boys, see “Wasted”. Overall, there is a pervading and not at all unwelcome sweetness running through the five tracks posted on Myspace. It’s kind of trippy and really cool. http://www.myspace.com/skippermuzik

As I am sure you have probably deduced, for each band listed in this entry, there are about a dozen we have been forced to leave off the list. We would love to tell you about them, really, we would, but we have already passed 1,000 and if you haven’t stopped reading yet, you are probably at least ready to curl up and take a nice long nap. We will just have to get to these bands and more in greater detail in future posts. We hope that this last Dutch Week post will enrich your beautiful lives with some more beautiful music!  And, we hope it will equip you, as it has us, to live every week like it’s Dutch Week.

Pien Feith, In A Cabin With…how do you say “part four” in Dutch?

I freaking love the Netherlands!  What a fantastic week this week is–every day I have like 17 more reasons to love the Dutch and to love life!  I have hope for tomorrow!  I am reflecting on my childhood trip to Dutch Wonderland with such nostalgia (oh, the Amish!)!

I am so with Eric when he talks about the incestuous streak running through The Indie Handbook.  Except hold on to your belt buckles kids, because this incestuous streak is not just running through The Indie Handbook–oh no, it also seems to be running through the Dutch music scene itself!

Before listening to The Very Sexuals ( I know we keep harassing you, but you don’t know what you’re missing, just download it!), I was listening to Pien Feith on myspace and loving her.  She has an album called The Wilderness Sound which came out in 2007 on Badmintone records, and you can find three of those songs on her myspace, a couple more on her personal website, and the rest on itunes.  Her sound is pretty experimental, and I’ll bet you ten bucks you can’t tell where each song is going–but not in a bad way!  No, she’s honed her craft, and she knows how to do experimental music in a way that makes sense and is accessible without compromising her talent.  GENIUS.  You may hear a bit of Cat Power or Fiona Apple (especially “Extraordinary Machine”) in her voice and style, and some of her songs even remind me a bit of Bloc Party.  I wouldn’t be surprised if there was a little beat poet influence in there somewhere…a little Allen Ginsberg in her lyrics and flow.

But!  While I was listening to Pien Feith, I noticed that she has been a part of some other collaborations–most relevant to our previous posts, she is a member of The Very Sexuals!  Eric also mentioned NEONBELLE in his first Dutch Week post, another band of which Pien Feith is proud to be a member.  And!  With NEONBELLE, she is a part of the In A Cabin With international recording project.  More on NEONBELLE later from one or both of us, but I have got to tell you about the In A Cabin With project and why it has made me love Dutch people even more.  In one short paragraph.  Because this is getting long and I am getting distracted.

Basically, the In A Cabin With international recording project is where this recording studio in Netherlands called The Green Motel decided hey, wouldn’t it be cool if we invited some musicians to cabins in awesome locations to have jam sessions and record incredible music?  [Answer, in case they were looking for one, or in case you are: HECK YES THAT WOULD BE COOL]  So they did–they tried to create collaborations between local musicians and Dutch musicians, many of which had never worked together before, and the result has been several full length albums.  Now this is what I call art.  What a fantastic concept!  I also love that all of these are available for free download on the In A Cabin With website.  Since I’ve been listening to Pien Feith and The Very Sexuals, I’m going to recommend the In A Cabin With NEONBELLE, but why not check them all out? Best part: they aren’t done!

Thank you, the Netherlands, for rocking all of us like a hurricane, and showing us what art can be.  I love you.

Here is a video of the In A Cabin With in Tonatico Mexico (featuring artist Stan Diego):

IN A CABIN WITH in Tonatico Mexico | February 2009 from inacabinwith on Vimeo.