Tag: Dordrecht The Netherlands

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. 

As you may know, I was in Dordrecht, The Netherlands for business related to my day job and am currently in Amsterdam, The Netherlands for a couple of days to just check things out, maybe catch some live music, and whatever else comes to mind. And from being here a few hours last Sunday morning and returning this afternoon, I can see how easy it could be to fall deeply in love with Amsterdam and this entire country.  So far, the Dutch have proven to be a kind and friendly people. But there’s work to be done so let’s get to it right?

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site for a while, you may recall that I wrote about the  Toronto, ON-based DJ, violinist and singer/songwriter Maya Killtron. Killtron first came to attention across both her native Canada and across the States with the release of her 2012 debut EP Hipster/Gangsta — and as a result, Killtron wound up touring the festival circuit across North America with stops at Miami’s Winter Music ConferencePride TorontoThe Halifax Jazz Festival and CMJ. Adding to a growing profile, Killtron’s collaboration with NYC-based production duo Love Taps “Back For More” received attention from the likes of Stereogum and Huffington Post for a sound that meshed moomba and R&B – and for a video that showcased a sadly bygone NYC. Additionally, Smalltown DJs, The Slow WavesEyes Everywhere, Brothers In Arms and City Kid Soul have all have remixed the song — with the City Kid Soul remix being named in the Top 5 at Toronto’s Bestival.

Killtron’s latest single “Bad Decisions” as she explained to me via email “is a review of some of my best romances and worst choices in the field of love. It’s honest but light, real but unapologetic, and always dancy.” But interestingly enough, the single is an expansion of the sound that first caught her attention — you’ll hear a sinuous bass line, Nile Rodgers-like funk guitar, squiggling synths and soaring strings paired with Killtron’s sultry vocals in a song that nods both at 80s synth funk, early 80s disco and EDM and the sound of blogosphere darlings Escort.  And that shouldn’t be terribly surprising as Killtron explains in an email “With ‘Bad Decisions,’ as well as my first single ‘Never Dance Alone,’ I wanted to pay tribute to; but not copy my heroes — Teena Marie, Prince, and The Gap Band.”

 

 

 

 

Thanks to technology, I’m writing this post while on a flight to Amsterdam, The Netherlands with the eventual destination being Dordrecht, The Netherlands for a few days for meetings related to my day job.  JOVM will be continuing as normal or close to normal as possible — although some of my posts will be at unusual times back home in the States thanks in part to the 6 hour time difference. Once I’m done with the business portion of my trip, there will be a few days hanging out in Amsterdam, which I’ll blog about at some point; after all, I wouldn’t be a blogger worth a damn if I didn’t bring my camera with me, right? But on to the business at hand — music, followed by music.

Now, if you’ve been frequenting this site throughout its almost seven-year history, you’ve come across a number of posts on Brooklyn-based Afro-pop/dance pop act and JOVM mainstays Rubblebucket. Currently comprised of founding duo and primary songwriters Alex Toth (trumpet, vocals, percussion), Kalmia Traver (lead vocals, tenor sax, baritone sax), Adam Dotson (trombone, vocals and percussion), David Cole (drums) and Ian Hersey (guitar), the Brooklyn-based act can trace their origins to when Traver and Toth met while playing in a Burlington, VT-based Latin jazz act. Quickly bonding over being horn players, a love of Afrobeat and Afro pop and an uncannily preternatural connection, the duo relocated to Boston in 2006, where they did fairly respectable things to survive  — Traver spent time as a nude model for art classes, while Toth spent time hustling $50 a performance marching band gigs. And as the story goes, the duo of Toth and Traver began the band while being broke as shit in Boston. (Somehow that sounds like a song title, doesn’t it?)

Relocating to Brooklyn some years later, the members of Afro pop/indie pop act emerged into the national scene with the release of their critically applauded 2011 album Omega La La and an established reputation for a rather relentless touring schedule full of ecstatic, energetic and mischievous live sets. Over the past few years, the band has been pretty busy as they’ve released a handful of critically applauded EPs and their sophomore full-length Survival Sounds.  And in between slower touring periods, both Toth and Traver spent some time touring as special guests with fellow JOVM mainstay act Superhuman Happiness, a collaboration that goes back to when Stuart Bogie, Eric Biondo and company opened for Rubblebucket for a handful of shows in Burlington, VT. Interestingly during the same period of time, Rubblebucket’s recorded output revealed a band that gradually crafted and then cemented their own signature sound — while subtly expanding upon it. Their Save Charlie EP revealed a band that retained their genre-blurring sound but while also possessing elements of boom-bap hip-hop and electro pop. Additionally, as I noticed, Traver began increasingly emerging as a true frontperson.

The band’s soon-to-be released EP If U C My Enemies is slated for a January 20, 2017 release through So Sensation Records and from the EP’s first single ” “Donna” the band has further refined their sound — Traver and Toth’s enormous and swaggering horn lines are still there but they’re paired with swirling electronics, a distorted vocal sample and Traver’s coquettish cooing. “If U C MY Enemies” continues along a similar vein as Traver and Toth’s enormous horn lines are paired with sinuous and funky bass and guitar chords, swirling electronics, twinkling synths and a soaring, anthemic hook. And while being a bit more mid-tempo in comparison to its preceding single, that song may have arguably been the most muscular and forceful song that they had released to date.  Of course, building upon the buzz around the EP, the band recently released If U C My Enemies latest single “Not Cut Out For This,” a single that seems a bit like a return to form as sonically, it’s reminiscent of the material off Omega La La — twinkling and atmospheric synths are paired with propulsive, boom bap-like drums, a sinuous bass line and Traver’s sultry cooing. And while being a party song — sort of — the song reveals a much more deliberate, thoughtful nature.

The band is in the middle of touring to support the new effort. Check out the remaining tour dates below.

TOUR DATES
Jan 19 – Providence, RI @ Fete
Jan 20 – Boston, MA @ Paradise Rock Club
Jan 21 – Fairfield, CT @ The Warehouse
Jan 26 – Albany, NY @ The Hollow
Jan 27 – Ithaca, NY @ The Haunt
Jan 28 – Philadelphia, PA @ Union Transfer