Tag: Brussels Belgium

Live Footage: Whispering Sons Perform “Satantango” and “Surgery”

Initially started in 2013 as a hobby for its then Leuven, Belgium-based founding members Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Lander Paesan (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums), the rising Brussels-based post punk act Whispering Sons have evolved a great deal. As the story goes, in search of a singer they recruited Fenne Kuppens, who at that point had been uploading covers of bands like Slowdive to Soundcloud. Already fostering deep ambition, she rigorously prepared. “I’d always wanted to sing in a band, but I never had friends who made music, they weren’t in my surroundings,” Kuppens recalls in press notes. “They were talking about this post-punk thing that I’d never heard of before, so I had to read into it. I could see myself in it, I felt the music.”

Leuven is a quiet, European university town and its mainstream-leaning music scene didn’t connect with Kuppens. But after a year studying abroad in Prague, where she immersed herself in the city’s DIY scene, Kuppens was galvanized — and inspired. “I made friends there who did things with their lives! There was a guy who had a DIY record label and who made music, all from his bedroom. I thought, if they can do this, why can’t we at least try?” Kuppens recalls. As soon as she returned, she relocated to Brussels. The remaining members of the band — Linjin, Hermans, Pelsmaekers and Paesan — later joined her. And immediately, the band quickly began honing their live show and sound.

Inspired by Xiu Xiu and Chinawoman, Kuppens distinctive, low register vocal style emerged early. “I started to feel more comfortable on stage, to express myself more rather than just singing a song,” she says. “I started feeling the music more, identifying more with the sounds and what I was doing.” Kuppens stage presence became known for being transfixing and trancelike, defined by compulsive and movements. “People have said it looks like I’m fighting my demons onstage, I guess there’s some truth in that,” she says.

During the summer of 2015, the band went into the studio to record material. “Fenne was really pushing us saying ‘We have to go for it, not just make another demo,” Whispering Sons’ Kobe Linjen recalls in press notes. The result was their goth-inspired debut EP, 2015’s Endless Party EP. Just a few months after its initial release through Wool-E-Tapes, the Brussels-based post-punk act won Humo’s Rock Rally, one of Belgium’s most prestigious music competitions. With the increased attention and accolades came bigger shows, bigger tours across Europe and larger crowds. “People started to expect things from us. We had to adapt quickly,” Linjen adds.

With the demands of a growing profile, the band began setting new, more ambitions targets for themselves. While writing new material for the increasingly longer sets their increased status required, they began to grow tired of the limits of post-punk and eagerly sought ways to push past them as much as possible. “We wanted to evolve, we wanted to attract larger audiences and not just play in one scene,” Kobe continues.

The Belgian post-punk quintet released two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and 2017’s “White Noise” — while going through a lineup change: the band’s friend Tuur Vanderborne replaced Paesan on bass. The band’s Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced 2018 full-length debut Image was released through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios, Image found the band crafting a dark, brooding blend of experimental and frenetic post-punk that expressed the alienation, loneliness and anxiety that each individual member felt when they relocated to Brussels, Belgium’s largest city.

Image garnered praise from music press across the globe — and it amassed millions of streams across digital service providers. Before pandemic-related quarantines, lockdowns and restrictions, the Brussels-based post punk quintet was establishing themselves for a ferocious, must-see live show while sharing stages with the likes of The Murder Capital, Patti Smith, The Soft Moon, Croatian Armor and Editors. “We were very happy with Image, and at that point it was the best thing we could have made,” Fenne Kuppens says. “But from the moment we finished it we started to look at it in a critical way. ‘This is something we should do again. This is something we don’t like.’ So very quickly we found the direction we wanted to go in for the next album.”

Last summer, the members of Whispering Sons retreated to the Ardennes to work on new material. And in those writing sessions, the band took what they believed were the strongest part of their earliest work and refined them even further, with a focus on their greatest strength — sheer, unpretentious intensity. “We tried to create an album that’s more direct and more dynamic. More in your face,” Kuppens says.

Interestingly, Kuppens can trace the origins of the lyrics for the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Several Others from one sentence she’d scribbled in a notebook “Always be someone else instead of yourself.” “It’s terrible advice,” Kuppens says in press notes. “But it resonated with me and my personal ambitions.” She stared writing about her uncompromising perfectionism that although was partly responsible for the band’s initial success, was becoming stifling and overwhelming. “I was at a stage where it was becoming unhealthy. You always think things have to be better, that you can always do more.”

Recently, the band released two companion singles “Satantango” and “Surgery” off the forthcoming single. Both tracks see the band ambitiously pushing the ferocious drive and intensity that helped win them international attention to the limits — while delicately balancing fragility and vulnerability. Centered around anxious and propulsive instrumentation, both songs evokes the unease of someone hopelessly trapped in stasis, possibly of their own making — and the slow-burning, creeping unease of someone struggling with their own role with their misery. Hell is often other people; but hell can be your own mind, too.

Along with the record, which is slated for a June 18, 2021 release through [PIAS] Recordings, the band will be releasing each single with a corresponding live session to be compiled and released as a live film. The band’s latest live session features the anxious “Satantango” and “Surgery.” Featuring the members of Whispering Sons in a circle, the frenetically shot visual easily captures the musical connection and conversations between each member, while allowing Kuppens and company to stomp about freely. Towards the end of the footage, Kuppens looks directly into the camera — and through the viewer, as though offering both intimate connection and a condemnation of herself and the viewer.

New Audio: Two from Acclaimed Belgian Post Punk Act Whispering Sons

Initially started in 2013 as a hobby for its then Leuven, Belgium-based founding members Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Lander Paesan (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums), the rising Brussels-based post punk act Whispering Sons have evolved a great deal. As the story goes, in search of a singer they recruited Fenne Kuppens, who at that point had been uploading covers of bands like Slowdive to Soundcloud. Already fostering deep ambition, she rigorously prepared. “I’d always wanted to sing in a band, but I never had friends who made music, they weren’t in my surroundings,” Kuppens recalls in press notes. “They were talking about this post-punk thing that I’d never heard of before, so I had to read into it. I could see myself in it, I felt the music.”

Leuven is a quiet, European university town and its mainstream-leaning music scene didn’t connect with Kuppens. But after a year studying abroad in Prague, where she immersed herself in the city’s DIY scene, Kuppens was galvanized — and inspired. “I made friends there who did things with their lives! There was a guy who had a DIY record label and who made music, all from his bedroom. I thought, if they can do this, why can’t we at least try?” Kuppens recalls. As soon as she returned, she relocated to Brussels. The remaining members of the band — Linjin, Hermans, Pelsmaekers and Paesan — later joined her. And immediately, the band quickly began honing their live show and sound.

Inspired by Xiu Xiu and Chinawoman, Kuppens distinctive, low register vocal style emerged early. “I started to feel more comfortable on stage, to express myself more rather than just singing a song,” she says. “I started feeling the music more, identifying more with the sounds and what I was doing.” Kuppens stage presence became known for being transfixing and trancelike, defined by compulsive and movements. “People have said it looks like I’m fighting my demons onstage, I guess there’s some truth in that,” she says.

During the summer of 2015, the band went into the studio to record material. “Fenne was really pushing us saying ‘We have to go for it, not just make another demo,” Whispering Sons’ Kobe Linjen recalls in press notes. The result was their goth-inspired debut EP, 2015’s Endless Party EP. Just a few months after its initial release through Wool-E-Tapes, the Brussels-based post-punk act won Humo’s Rock Rally, one of Belgium’s most prestigious music competitions. With the increased attention and accolades came bigger shows, bigger tours across Europe and larger crowds. “People started to expect things from us. We had to adapt quickly,” Linjen adds.

With the demands of a growing profile, the band began setting new, more ambitions targets for themselves. While writing new material for the increasingly longer sets their increased status required, they began to grow tired of the limits of post-punk and eagerly sought ways to push past them as much as possible. “We wanted to evolve, we wanted to attract larger audiences and not just play in one scene,” Kobe continues.

The Belgian post-punk quintet released two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and 2017’s “White Noise” — while going through a lineup change: the band’s friend Tuur Vanderborne replaced Paesan on bass. The band’s Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced 2018 full-length debut Image was released through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios, Image found the band crafting a dark, brooding blend of experimental and frenetic post-punk that expressed the alienation, loneliness and anxiety that each individual member felt when they relocated to Brussels, Belgium’s largest city.

Image garnered praise from music press across the globe — and it amassed millions of streams across digital service providers. Before pandemic-related quarantines, lockdowns and restrictions, the Brussels-based post punk quintet was establishing themselves for a ferocious, must-see live show while sharing stages with the likes of The Murder Capital, Patti Smith, The Soft Moon, Croatian Armor and Editors. “We were very happy with Image, and at that point it was the best thing we could have made,” Fenne Kuppens says. “But from the moment we finished it we started to look at it in a critical way. ‘This is something we should do again. This is something we don’t like.’ So very quickly we found the direction we wanted to go in for the next album.”

Last summer, the members of Whispering Sons retreated to the Ardennes to work on new material. And in those writing sessions, the band took what they believed were the strongest part of their earliest work and refined them even further, with a focus on their greatest strength — sheer, unpretentious intensity. “We tried to create an album that’s more direct and more dynamic. More in your face,” Kuppens says.

Interestingly, Kuppens can trace the origins of the lyrics for the band’s highly-anticipated sophomore album Several Others from one sentence she’d scribbled in a notebook “Always be someone else instead of yourself.” “It’s terrible advice,” Kuppens says in press notes. “But it resonated with me and my personal ambitions.” She stared writing about her uncompromising perfectionism that although was partly responsible for the band’s initial success, was becoming stifling and overwhelming. “I was at a stage where it was becoming unhealthy. You always think things have to be better, that you can always do more.”

Recently, the band released two companion singles “Satantango” and “Surgery” off the forthcoming single. Both tracks see the band ambitiously pushing the ferocious and dirvintensity that helped win them international attention to the limits — while somehow delicately balancing fragility and vulnerability. Centered around anxious and propulsive instrumentation, both songs evokes unease of someone hopelessly trapped in stasis, possibly of their own making — and the slow-burning, creeping unease of someone struggling with their own role with their misery. Hell is often other people; but hell can be your own mind, too.

Along with the record, which is slated for a June 18, 2021 release through [PIAS] Recordings, the band will be releasing each single with a corresponding live session to be compiled and released as a live film.

New Video: Nicolas Michaux Releases a Slinky and Brooding Meditation on Economic Anxiousness and Uncertainty

I’ve written a bit about, Brussels-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer Nicolas Michaux over the past couple of months. Currently splitting his time between Brussels and Samsø, Denmark, Michaux, who writes and sings in both English and French, has received attention across Europe for crafting as sound that features elements of French chanson, 60s British rock and early New Wave, guided by a distinctly personal spirit and centered around lush and textured production.

Michaux’s sophomore album Amour Colére (which translates into English as Love Anger) is slated for a Friday release through Capitane Records. The album continues the Belgian artist’s ongoing collaboration with Morgan Vigilante — and as you may recall, Michaux and Capitane Record have released three singles off the album to rapturous critical applause: “Harvesters,” which was praised by The Line of Best Fit, “Nos Retrouvallies.” a lush and plaintive song that touches upon classic French chanson themes of love, grief, separation and reunion (either in this world or in the afterlife) and “Parrot,” arguably the album’s funkiest song, which sounds as though it drew influence from Fear of Music-era Talking Heads and Afro pop, while discussing the alienation and paralysis many of us feel in the midst of a morally bankrupt, stupid, cruel world that robs people of their humanity and decency.

“Enemies,” Amour Colére’s fourth single is a slinky and brooding New Wave number featuring shimmering reverb-drenched guitars, a sinuous bass line and a taut four-on-the four that subtly nods at Tom Petty’s “Refugee” but centered around a familiar (and age-old) economic and career-based anxiety and frustration. Much of our existence is deterministic and influenced by larger (and highly indifferent) forces — and the song points that out with a steely-eyed clarity. Interestingly, “Enemies” is influenced by the work of French sociologist Bernard Friot, a historian of social security and advocate for lifetime salary with the song finding Michaux reflecting upon Friot’s work and his own financial situation.

“When you turn 30 and have a child, being broke becomes less and less fun,” Michaux says in press notes. “At the time of writing, we were looking for a place to live and the violence of the housing market took me by the throat. In writing about slavery, Marguerite Yourcenar said that a regime is often most excessive in its cruelty and injustice in its last days. I sometimes get the impression that it’s the same kind of historical scenario we are currently experiencing with the slow agony of capitalism.”

Directed by Thomas de Hemptinne and Nicolas Michaux, the recently released video for “Enemies” is brooding, surreal and impressionistic visual that captures the anxious uncertainty, the loneliness and fear of both the musicians, who worked together during pandemic-related lockdowns and simultaneously that of the viewer.

New Video: Follow Star Crossed Lovers in a Cinematic and Surreal Visual for Nicolas Michaux’s “Nos Retrouvailles”

Nicolas Michaux is a Brussells-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer, who currently splits his time between Brussels and Samsø, Denmark. Writing and singing material in both English and French, Michaux has received attention for a sound that meshes elements of French chanson, 60s British rock and early New Wave among others while guided by a distinctly personal spirit — and paired with a lush and textured production. 

Earlier this year, Michaux released “Harvesters,” which received praise from The Linen of Best Fit and marked the first bit of original material from the Belgian-born singer/songwriter, guitarist and producer since 2016’s À la via, à la mort. Building upon the momentum of “Harvesters,” Michaux’s last single “Nos Retrouvailles” continues his ongoing collaboration with Morgan Vigilante. Centered around a lush arrangement featuring shimmering Rhodes, reverb-drenched guitar, a propulsive rhythm section and Michaux’s achingly plaintive vocals, “Nos Retrouvailles” is a charming yet nostalgic track that’s decidedly influenced by French chanson as it touches upon themes of love, grief, separation and reunion — either in this world or in the afterlife. 

“I began writing this song in 2016 when I first went to Samsø,” Michaux says in press notes about the song. “It was sunny in the tiny courtyard of the house that we were renting at the time. I finished it three years later when I returned to Samsø Island and made an acoustic version before producing several months later the version which figures on the album.

“It’s a bit mysterious, the song, but also well balanced. I hardly feel I wrote it. It was always there. Discovered rather than composed. It lends itself to several interpretations and that’s what I like about it. It has more than one voice.”

Directed by Simon Vanrie, the recently released video for “Nos Retrouvailles” was filmed in an industrial park in Belgium. Starring Michaux and Amadine Laval and Habib Ben Tanfous as two star-crossed lovers — and throughout parallels are drawn between the pastoral imagery of the song’s lyrics, the video’s star-crossed lovers and a small bit of natural, bursting from the industrial wasteland with the end result being of a fever dream of longing and loss. 

humptydumptyrecords · River Into Lake – Grande Prairie

Boris Gronemberger is Brussels-based singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, arranger and producer, who managed to be rather busy throughout the bulk of his career: he was the founder and frontman of acclaimed Belgian indie act V.O. through their 15 years together — and he has a long-held reputation as a go-to collaborator, working with Girls in Hawaii, Castus, Blondie Brownie and a growing list of others.

Gronemberger’s latest musical project, River into Lake can trace its origins back to 2017 when the Belgian singer/songwriter, multi-instrumentalist, producer and arranger began writing the material, which would eventually comprise River Into Lake’s full-length debut Let The Beast Out sometimes alone, sometimes in collaborative groups, granting himself the complete freedom to reinvent himself and his work. Sonically, Let The Beast Out was bubbling orchestral pop with sharp melodies, complex harmonies featuring  arrangements that meshed synthesizers and organic instrumentation — and it shouldn’t be surprising that the material was indeed to prog rock. Thematically, the material was centered around the difficulty of wanting to continue to believe in the beauty of human nature while generally being an ode to love, life and the complexities of the universe.

Initially written and conceived as a bonus track for Let The Beast Out crowdfunders, the Belgian act’s latest single “Grande Prairie” continues a run of ambitious and expansive material. Centered around shimmering and arpeggiated synths, drum machines, a propulsive bass line, angular bursts of guitar, explosive live drumming and enormous hooks, the song sonically recalls Sugar Army and others — but with a cinematic sweep. “La Grande Prairie is a place where we were going to celebrate the end of the exams with friends,” Gronemberger explains. “Some of them have meanwhile passed away. It’s a song that talks about carelessness, the strength of youth heckled by the movements of society that seems to crash straight into the wall.” Gronemberger adds “It seemed appropriate to me to release it now in this particular context, which in na certain way, reminds us that it is time to spread out on better bases.”

Coincidentally, the track is the first single off an EP, which is slated for release late this year.

 

 

 

 

New Video: Belgium’s Whispering Sons Release an Ominous and Creepy Video for “Hollow”

Initially formed in 2013, the Brussels, Belgium-based post punk act Whispering Sons, comprised of Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vanderborne (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums) received attention nationally with the release of their debut EP, 2015’S Endless Party through Wool-E-Tapes with a vinyl reissue in March 2016 through Minimal Maximal. The following year, the band won one of their homeland’s most prestigious music competitions Humo’s Rock Rally, which they followed up with two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and  2017’s “White Noise.”

Building upon a growing profile across Belgium, the Brussels-based post-punk quintet released their full-length debut, the Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced Image through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world last year. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’GAM Studios, the album finds the band attempting to capture their live sound — and the sense of anxiety and alienation that each individual bandmember felt when they relocated to Brussels.  

Now, as you may recall album single “Alone” was centered around shimmering and angular guitar lines, a propulsive and sinuous bass line, thunderous and mathematically precise drumming, an area rock-friendly hook derived from a cryptic bit of dialog spoken during Twin Peaks’ first season and Kuppens’ Ian Curtis-like vocal delivery. Much like its predecessors, the album’s latest single “Hollow” further cements the Belgian band’s reputation for crafting an ominous post-punk sound reminiscent of  Joy DivisionActorsDeathlistTrue Moon, and Second Still among others — but while evoking the overwhelming sense of dread, anxiousness, isolation and outrage of our current sociopolitical moment, in which we (as a collective whole) seem to be marching lockstep towards oblivion.

Directed by Pieter De Ridder, the incredibly cinematic and downright creepy visuals for “Hollow” further emphasize the end-of-days vibes of the song it accompanies. There’s no murderous cyborgs or aliens sent from the far reaches of space and time to exterminate humanity; there’s no Revelations-like four horsemen riding through towns with demonic glee; nor are there godly folk being immediate raptured to heaven; instead the doom the video focuses on, is as the old poem suggests — that the world will end not with a bang but with a whimper. In fact, the video follows a collection of young people, including the members of the band gathering at a proverbial “tree of life.” Every single person the band and the viewer encounters is looking up at the sky in a trancelike gaze. Whatever is coming from above, no one seems frightened or overly concerned; it’ll be as it’ll always be. It’ll leave a lingering chill down your spine.

Live Footage: Up-and-Coming Belgian Post -Punk Act Whispering Sons Perform “Alone” on “Muziek bij een”

Initially formed in 2013, the Brussels, Belgium-based post punk act Whispering Sons, comprised of Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vanderborne (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums) received attention nationally with the release of their debut EP, 2015’S Endless Party through Wool-E-Tapes with a vinyl reissue in March 2016 through Minimal Maximal. The following year, the band won one of their homeland’s most prestigious music competitions Humo’s Rock Rally, which they followed up with two 7 inches, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and  2017’s “White Noise.” 

Building upon a growing profile across Belgium, the Brussels-based post-punk quintet released their full-length debut, the Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced Image through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world last year. Recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios, the album finds the band attempting to capture their live sound — and more importantly, the sense of anxiety and alienation that each individual bandmember felt when they relocated to Brussels.  Now, as you may recall Image’s second single “Alone” was centered around shimmering and angular guitar lines, a propulsive and sinuous bass line, thunderous and mathematically precise drumming, an arena rock-friendly hook that’s derived from a cryptic bit of dialog spoken during Twin Peaks’ first season and Kuppens’ Ian Curtis-like vocal delivery.  And while naturally drawing some comparisons to the likes of Joy Division, Actors, Deathlist, True Moon, Second Still and others, the song bristles with an icy ominousness. 

Check out this incredible live footage of the up-and-coming Belgian act on Muziek bij een on EEN Belgium’s Dutch language station. 

New Audio: Introducing the Ominous Post Punk of Belgium’s Whispering Sons

Although formed back in 2013, the Brussels, Belgium-based post punk act Whispering Sons, comprised of Fenne Kuppens (vocals), Kobe Linjen (guitar), Sander Hermans (synths), Tuur Vanderborne (bass) and Sander Pelsmaekers (drums) received attention nationally with the release of 2015’s debut EP Endless Party through Wool-E-Tapes with a vinyl reissue in March 2016 through Minimal Maximal. Adding to a growing profile, the band won 2016’s Humo’s Rock Rally, one of Belgium’s most prestigious music competitions, which they followed up with two 7 inch releases, 2016’s “Performance”/”Strange Identities” and last year’s “White Noise.” 

Building upon a growing profile in their homeland, the Belgian post punk outfit’s full-length debut Image is slated for an October 19, 2018 release through Cleopatra Records here in the States and Smile Records throughout the rest of the world — and the Micha Volders and Bert Vliegen-produced album which was recorded over a ten day period at Waimes, Belgium’s GAM Studios will further cement the band’s reputation for crafting tense and ominous post-punk, while attempting to accurately capture both their live sound and the sense of anxiety and alienation that the bandmembers felt upon their relocation to Brussels. 

Speaking of ominous, Image’s second and latest single “Alone” is centered around angular and shimmering guitar lines, an angular and propulsive bass line, thundering and mathematically precise drumming, and a slick, yet infectious hook — and while sonically the song may recall Joy Division, Actors, Deathlist, True Moon, Second Still and others, the song’s refrain is derived from part of a cryptic bit of dialog spoken during Twin Peaks’ first season. 

Produced by The Breakfast Club and directed by Koen Blauwblomme and Pieter De Ridder, the recently released video for “Alone” takes it cues from horror films and Twin Peaks as it follows our protagonist as he goes completely mad  — at one point, the protagonist see his doppleganger, completely immolated in flame, before quickly realizing that his doppleganger is his reflection.  

New Video: The 80s Post Punk and New Wave-Inspired Sound and Visuals of Berlin’s A.D. Mana

sentimental records is a Brussels, Belgium-based record label hat specializes in cassette tape-only releases from a variety of post-punk and New Wave-leaning acts all over the world, including the Los Angeles-based post-punk outfit Second Still. The Belgium indie label’s will be releasing the debut EP from Berlin, Germany-based A.D. Mana, an artist, who specializes in a sound that meshes elements of coldwave, post-punk, synth pop and industrial electronica; in fact, the EP’s first single “Take Hold” will immediately bring memories of early 80s New Order (i.e., “Blue Monday” and “Bizarre Love Triangle”), Ministry (i.e., “What About Us?”) and Depeche Mode (i.e., “People Are People,” and “Just Can’t Get Enough”) but with a murky and moody vibe that nods at goth as you’ll hear industrial clang and clatter, shimmering synths, angular guitar chords and a dance floor and arena rock-friendly hook paired with Mana’s aching and tender vocals.
Shot, edited and directed by Sally Dige Jørgensen, the recently released video for “Take Hold” is a decidedly 80s influenced affair featuring black and white sequences of a brooding Mana walking through the crowded rush-hour streets of Berlin, what appears to be someone developing photos of Mana and his intense graze in a dark room and more — and in some way, the video captures and evokes the woozy effect of obsession.