Tag: Amber Arcades

New Audio: Acclaimed JOVM Mainstay Amber Arcades Releases a Mournful 70s AM Rock Inspired Single

Over the past couple of years of this site’s history, I’ve managed to write quite a bit about Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades. And with the release of her full-length debut, Fading Light, de Graaf quickly received attention for pairing crafted guitar pop with erudite thematic concerns — in particular, time and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet leg and her own dreams, which have managed to influence a great deal of her personal and creative life. In fact, as the story goes, De Graaf used her life savings for a flight to New York and studio time with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums) — both of whom she had specifically hand picked because she had dreamt of working with them.

de Graaf’s critically applauded Cannonball EP, an effort that landed at #1 on this site’s Best of List last year — with the gorgeous “Wouldn’t Even Know,” landing at #4 on the Best Singles list. Slated for a September 28, 2018 release through Heavenly Recordings,de Graaf’s forthcoming album European Heartbreak was recorded and co-produced in Los Angeles with Deerhoof’s Chris Cohen and in Richmond, Virginia with Trey Pollard, who oversaw horn and string overdubs from the Spacebomb Records crew. And the album sonically and thematically are reportedly a major step forward for the Dutch- born and-based singer/songwriter and musician — thematically, the album is about the nature of memory and the human tendency to over-romanticize the events of our lives. And while naturally focusing on the passage of time, there’s a disillusionment that’s been concealed just under the romanticized surface. Nothing in this life is what it really seems — and ultimately, everything can be a bit disappointing, alienating and downright strange. As Annelotte de Graaf says of the album, “If it were called ‘American Heartbreak,’ you wouldn’t bat an eye. Somehow calling it ‘European Heartbreak’ feels far less comfortable, almost like a statement in itself. I’m Dutch, hence European. The focus of the record is Europe. As for Heartbreak, for me a heartbreak symbolises any kind of falling apart of one of these concepts or stories we invent for ourselves, like romantic love, a sense of identity, nationality, an economic system. It’s kind of a universal thing in my mind.”

Sonically speaking, the material, as you’d hear on the album’s first single “Goodnight Europe” managed to be both sophisticated yet anachronistic as it finds her sound nodding at classic, late 60s and early 70s rock — in particular, Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be-era Beatles, as the song features some impressive and bluesy guitar work paired with a gorgeous string arrangement; but interestingly, the song is both a meditation on the current state of the European Union and of a dysfunctional and confusing romantic relationship, meshing the personal and the political in a way that expresses a concern over what it all means in the first place.

European Heartbreak’s latest single “Alpine Town” is a decidedly 70s AM rock-like song centered around shimmering guitar, twinkling piano, a sinuous bass line, a mournful horn and string arrangement and de Graaf’s ethereal vocals floating over the mix. The song evokes a deeper  disappointment — that an illusion that the song’s narrator once held as true has now been proven to be false. And as a result, the song is a world weary sigh while being someplace away from home. As de Graaf says of the song “I wrote this song exactly a year ago while on holiday in Guillestre, a small town in the French Alps. I was kind of in a sad place and my boyfriend had dragged me along to get away from all that, but I guess it doesn’t really work like that, ha. It just made me reflect on the sad part of the tourist condition as a metaphor for life, man.”

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Over the past 18 months or so, I’ve written quite about the Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades, and as you may recall with the release of her full-length debut Fading Light, de Graaf received international attention for an album that thematically focused on the and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet lag and her own dreams, which have managed to influence much of her personal and creative life; in fact, as the story goes, De Graaf used her life savings for a flight to New York and studio time to record her debut with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums) — both of whom she had specifically hand picked because she had dreamt of working with them. Along with that, De Graaf had a long-held dream of working for the UN, and she eventually worked as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals and n human rights and immigration law, assisting Syrian refugees.

Last year, saw the release of the critically applauded Cannonball EP, which was among my favorite releases last year — in particular, the gorgeously shot video for “Wouldn’t Even Know,” which featured a guest spot from British singer/songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist  Bill Ryder-Jones brought back memories of riding trains through the Dutch countryside from Amsterdam to Dordrecht, passing through and by towns like Abcoude, The Hague, Breukelen and others. Along with that, EP singles like “It Changes” and her cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will,” revealed a singer/songwriter with an self-assured yet uncanny knack for a catchy hook within jangling guitar pop.

De Graaf’s latest single “Goodnight Europe” is the first taste of her forthcoming sophomore, full-length album slated for release later this year, and the single finds the renowned Dutch singer/songwriter’s sound leaning heavily towards Ziggy Stardust-era David Bowie, The Rolling Stones, T. Rex and Sgt. Pepper and Let It Be-era Beatles, as the song features some impressive and bluesy guitar work paired with a gorgeous string arrangement — and the song manages to further cement De Graaf’s ability to craft a razor sharp hook around some thoughtful songwriting; in fact, the song is a meditation on the current state of the European Union, written from the perspective of a dysfunctional and confusing romantic relationship that’s inescapably odd. As De Graaf explains in press notes, “I guess about half of it is me actually being worried about the current state of the Union. The other half is me kind of messing around with, and making fun of, this archetype of the tiresome existentialist academic in me.”

New Video: Catch Amber Arcades and Bill Ryder-Jones Travel the Dutch Countryside and Perform Their Duet “Wouldn’t Even Know” in New Visuals for Latest Single

Now, if you have been frequenting this site over the past year or so, you may recall that with her debut effort Fading Light, Utrecht, The Netherlands-based singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graff and her solo recording project Amber Arcades quickly received international attention for material that thematically focused on time and the relativistic experience of it, magic, jet lag and her own dreams, which have influenced much of her personal and creative life; in fact, De Graaf had a long-held dream of working for the UN and eventually worked as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals and on human rights and immigration law, assisting Syrian refugees.  Building upon a rapidly growing profile De Graaf and her backing band went on a Fall 2016 Stateside tour with Nada Surf, while releasing several singles off Fading Light‘s much-anticipated and recently follow-up of jangling and anthemic guitar pop, Cannonball EP including “It Changes” and her cover of Nick Drake’s “Which Will.”

Canonball’s latest single “Wouldn’t Even Know” is a subtly brooding and lushly gorgeous duet with British singer/songwriter, composer, producer and guitarist Bill Ryder-Jones that gently nods at Phil Spector-era pop and the great June Carter Cash and Johnny Cash duets — and while further cementing de Graff’s reputation for jangling guitar pop, the song possesses the swooning Romanticism of finding friendship, love and understanding through the open road and through music. 

Directed by Wander Andringa, the recently released and utterly gorgeous and cinematic visuals for the song features de Graff and Ryder-Jones driving through the seemingly endless seas of green and blue of the Dutch countryside in an old Mercedes, cut with footage of the duet performing the song with a backing band that’s reminiscent of Roy Orbison’s fantastic concert film Roy Orbison and Friends: A Night in Black and White; however, throughout the footage de Graff and Ryder-Jones have an unmistakable musical and creative chemistry. Annelotte de Graaf adds, “I wanted the video to look like the song sounds: flowing at a certain pass, broody, yearning and uplifting. I also really love the Sonic Youth video for their version of “Superstar”. That inspired me to do a kind of live performance of the song for the video. Mixed together with the shots driving through the Dutch countryside I think it really captures the mood of the song. Wander did an awesome job, even though I’m pretty sure me and Bill weren’t the most easily directable “actors” (sneaking sessions watching football in a pub into the day’s program)  — haha.”  Personally, the video reminds me of sitting on trains and busses traversing the Dutch countryside from Amsterdam to Dordrecht and back to Amsterdam with a mixture of weariness from being awake and moving for more than 30 hours, awe, excitement and loneliness. 

Lyric Video: Amber Arcade’s Psychedelic Leaning Visuals for “It Changes”

With the release of her 2016 debut, Fading Light, Dutch singer/songwriter and musician Annelotte de Graaf quickly received international attention for her solo recording project Amber Arcades, a project that thematically drew from a variety of esoteric and familiar subjects — time and the relativistic experience of it, jet leg and her own dreams; in fact, following her own dreams has informed much of the Dutch singer/songwriter’s personal and creative life. Because she had always dreamt of working for the UN, de Graaf worked her way into a position as a legal aide on a UN war crime tribunal and human rights law, assisting Syrian refugees. She also used her life savings for a flight to NYC and studio time to record her debut with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt’s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis (drums).

Building upon the buzz that she received for Fading Lines and a Fall 2016 tour with renowned indie rock act Nada Surf, de Graaf will be releasing her debut’s highly-anticipated follow up Cannonball on June 2, 2017 and the EP will include the propulsive “It Changes,” a single that reveals a decided change in sonic direction for the Dutch singer/songwriter, as the song manages to sound as though it draws from post-punk and garage rock, thanks in part to angular guitar chords played through effects pedals and an anthemic hook paired with de Graaf’s crooning. As de Graaf explains in press notes, the song is ultimately about life’s temporal nature. “Everything changes, all the time,” de Graaf says in press notes. “You think that when starting something new you can kinda tell which way it will go, but you never do. I always try to aim for constancy and stability but things always get messier than I foresaw. And hey, maybe that’s actually what makes it worthwhile.” As a result, while the song possesses a hopeful yet realistic take on life; suggesting that the recognition of messiness and uncertainty being a part of life and something you can learn from.

Created by Ben Clarkson, the recently released lyric video features psychedelic-leaning animation depicting the passage of time superimposed over neon-treated negatives of a variety of imagery including a woman playing at the beach, the icy North Atlantic Ocean, spinning tops, couples holding hands and so on, along with bursts of the song’s lyrics. It emphasizes the song’s central theme while being a little mischievous.

With the release of her 2016 debut, Fading Light, Dutch singer/songwriter and musician Annelotte de Graaf quickly received international attention for her solo recording project Amber Arcades, as thematically her material has largely drawn from both time and the relativistic experience of it, continuity, magic, jet lag and her own dreams; in fact, leading a life in which she’s followed her dreams, has informed much of the Dutch singer/songwriter and musician’s personal and creative life — because she had always dreamt of working for the UN, de Graaf eventually wound up working as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals, and then followed it up by working in human rights law, assisting Syrian refugees. She also used her life savings for a flight to NYC and studio time to record Fading Lines with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The MenBeach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that included Quilt‘s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate‘s Jackson Pollis.

Building upon the buzz that she received for Fading Lines and a Fall tour with Nada Surf, de Graaf recently released her latest single “It Changes,” a propulsive single which interestingly enough reveals a decided change in sonic direction, as the song sounds as though it owes a debt to garage rock and post-punk, thanks in part to angular guitar chords played through effects pedals and an anthemic hook paired with de Graaf’s crooning. As de Graaf explains in press notes, the song is ultimately about life’s temporal nature. “Everything changes, all the time,” de Graaf says in press notes. “You think that when starting something new you can kinda tell which way it will go, but you never do. I always try to aim for constancy and stability but things always get messier than I foresaw. And hey, maybe that’s actually what makes it worthwhile.” As a result, while the song possesses a hopeful yet realistic take on life; suggesting that the recognition of messiness and uncertainty being a part of life and something you can learn from.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

With the release of her debut effort under the moniker of Amber Arcades, Dutch musician and singer/songwriter Annelotte de Graaf quickly rose to international attention as the blogosphere and several media outlets praised de Graaf for material that thematically focused on a number of things — including both time and the relativistic experience of it, continuity, magic, jet lag and how being led by her own dreams has inspired the Dutch singer/songwriter’s personal, professional and creative lives. In fact, as the story goes, de Graaf has worked as a legal aide on UN war crime tribunals and while currently working human rights law, assisting Syrian refuges, she spent her savings on a flight to NYC, specifically to record her debut effort with Ben Greenberg, who has worked with The Men, Beach Fossils and Destruction Unit, and a studio backing band that includes Quilt‘s Shane Butler (guitar) and Keven Lareau (bass) and Real Esate’s Jackson Pollis.

Earlier this year, I wrote about “Turning Light,” a single that thematically explores being the protagonist in your own life story while you’re simultaneously a supporting player in the lives of everyone around you — and how those very different roles and various lives intertwine in ways that can be confusing.  While sonically speaking,  de Graaf and her backing band paired rapid fire, four-on-the-floor drumming, swirling and shimmering strings, twinkling electronics, a driving bass line and de Graaf’s ethereal vocals singing lyrics that reflect the relativistic nature of time to craft a woozy single that draws equally from shoegaze and Brit pop.

Building upon the buzz of her debut album and her Fall Stateside tour with Nada Surf, de Graff and her backing band went into the studio during a brief break on tour to record her latest single, a shimmering dream pop/bubblegum pop version of Nick Drake’s “Which Will” that manages to add a rather ironic take to the song while retaining the song’s earnest yearning.

 

 

 

 

 

 

New Video: The Woozy and Trippy Visuals and Sounds of Amber Arcades’ “Turning Light”

According to de Graaf, “Turning Light,” Fading Lines’ latest single is about time, continuity and the magic in that; about being the protagonist in your own story while simultaneously being a supporting player in the lives of everyone around you and about how those roles and lines intertwine.” And as the Dutch singer/songwriter and musician explains the recently released video “captures these sentiments in a continuing movement (a.k.a. the most basic dance I could think of – and probably the only one I am capable of” and it continues throughout the video uninterrupted while locations, perspectives and even boundaries between moments fade and seem to collide into each other.

Sonically speaking, de Graaf and her backing band pair rapid fire, four-on-the-floor drumming, swirling and shimmering strings, twinkling electronics, a driving bass line and de Graaf’s ethereal vocals singing lyrics that reflect the relativistic nature of time and as a result, the woozy single manages to sound as though it draws from shoegaze and Brit pop equally.