We’ve both been too busy to put together our Dutch Week wrap-up today, so, lucky you, you get one more regular Dutch Week post. This time it’s a two-piece, one of those guitar and drum combos that people like so much.
Looking at Appie Kim, the initial comparisons are obvious: (boy + girl) x (guitar + drums) = White Stripes/Blood Red Shoes. To think of something like an inversion of the White Stripes would begin to move you in the right direction since the bulk of the vocal duties are filled by Natasha van Waardenburg (formerly of De Nieuwe Vrolijkheid). Yes, it is true the track “Yes or No” has traces of “Dead Leaves and the Dirty Ground” scattered throughout, but there is much more to this band than that. Unfortunately, I get the impression that the five lo-fi, apparently live recordings, available for download at www.appiekim.com do not really convey what these two are able to do with such limited instrumentation.
Some of the live recordings, like “Typewriter”, sport all the reverb of the creepiest of 80s recordings, yet still continue to grow on you in the unsettling and disturbing way of classics like the indefatigable “Rock Me Amadeus”. This is Appie Kim at their garagiest and probably where the Kills comparisons come from. But I think it is in the studio recordings, posted on MySpace, that the real character of the band shines through. Granted, there are only two tracks available, but they have a more polished sound (actual production will do that to a recording) that I actually like better. It is something like a weightier, stripped down version of the Cardigans circa Long Gone Before Daylight. Think all the fragility of “Live and Learn” but darker and heavier.
Of course, you really ought to go check this out for yourself. And if you don’t like my review, just go to the website and build your own (no, I’m not kidding).
I have heard so much good news today (e.g. new albums from Regina Spektor, Stuart Murdoch, A Camp, and the Rumble Strips) that I just want to gush about it, but I won’t because IT’S DUTCH WEEK! Wednesday is also tax day, but not in the Netherlands (I don’t think) so we will forget about that. (We’ll get to the those others later.)
To kick off Dutch Week, I suppose I’ll start off with the band that made me want to do this in the first place: The Very Sexuals from Eindhoven, Noord-Brabant. (Before I go any further, let me say that you can download this album for free in it’s entirety from the band’s website.)
With every subsequent listen, The Very Sexuals’ Post-Apocalyptic Love does more to cement itself as one of the most pleasant discoveries I have made in a very, very long time. The tracks drift effortlessly from the fuzzy quasi-synth pop of “Bowie Eyes” to the straight up indie sound of “Wrecked This Century”. It’s all very New Pornographers. But the best finds are those in-between tracks like “Can You Promise Me the Sky Won’t Fall On Us” with it’s handclaps, half-sung/half-chanted vocals, and more than a touch of the Kills’ “U.R.A. Fever”. Then there is my personal favorite, “Anti-Valentine”, where the band’s characteristic male/female vocals combine to lend the track a sort of epic sweetness while channeling shades of Harry Nillson and even The Mamas & the Papas (if you think about it long enough, you’ll get there), and is a welcome departure from just about everything I’ve been hearing lately. Like I said, download the album at theverysexuals.com.
Check out their MySpace as well. There is one extra track there, “Dennis Hopper”, from the “Carla” single, as well as links to download the single and the album it comes from. The band is beginning to get radio airplay throughout Europe and Great Britain (including BBC Radio 6), as well as a small handful of stations Stateside. This would be a good time to get in on the ground floor.
Also, I assure you, you will be hearing more from The Very Sexuals as Dutch Week progresses.
In the meantime, download Post-Apocalyptic Love.