Tag Archives: punk

homework

28 Dec

By pure accident I was watching the British channel Mtv Rocks a couple of weeks ago. Personally I hate the UK Top 10 rock songs chart cause for months now it’s ending with either Coldplay or Florence and the Machine, which I don’t find very interesting – and I should probably state in the very beginning that most of today’s music I don’t find interesting at all. But… the chart included a great surprise. Among a few moronic comments made by the host of the program, who considers himself to be funny, the guy stated that the video they would play presented a band that was considered “hope” of modern British rock. I thought that the comment was funny itself since it stated clearly that the top 10 UK rock songs chart wasn’t really a rock chart – something I firmly believe since all this contemporary whining, whether it is American or British, is difficult to define as rock. And then they played… Pulled Apart By Horses. I found their self titled album immediately and can’t stop listening to it for over two weeks now.

Hope for contemporary rock? Sure it is. These guys sure know how to rock and I am completely amazed that someone could record a debut album which could be so mature, innovative and professional. I am not a huge fan of hysterical screaming as a vocal technique. But, on the other hand, I guess this is something you should just get used to. I remember talking with a friend in the mid-1990s about Jon Davis and Korn. We had the exact feeling about Davis’ vocal abilities. And? Well… there’s no need to explain that it’s impossible to imagine contemporary vocal techniques without Jon Davis. Anyway, at some point I got used to Tom Hudson’s vocals and when it stopped irritating me, I realized his screaming is actually pretty good – very much tuned with the music, only seeming to be out of tune and random.

The band itself does an amazing job. And I realized at some point someone here has done their homework real well, not only being deeply rooted in punk or even grunge but also, surpsingly for myself, Rage Against the Machine (LOL). Pulled Apart By Horses is based on strong, very catchy, melodic riffs, very rhythmical drum section and… screaming. Sounds familiar? Ain’t that a recipe for rock?

All in all – I suppose it’s hard and completely unfair to judge now. But I think that Pulled Apart By Horses already managed to bring something fresh and innovative to the contemporary rock scene which, unfortunately, remains pretty steady for at least a decade, allowing only few artists to become great stars. Needless to say, some of them don’t really deserve it, imho. But… not to whine myself, hey, let’s just cross fingers for Pulled Apart By Horses. I am really hoping that they can continue their great, fresh and truly energetic work and, perhaps, one day they can become a rock phenomenon comparable to the Jesus and Mary Chain (if we’re talking about British rock and alternative rock bands) maybe? But that will happen only if they don’t get spoiled. Homework’s done. Now it’s time for some real hard work. I cross my fingers for you, guys.

P.S. As far as I know, this is the third official video of PABH. Kudos! To the band, to the director, to the people responsible for photography and editing. One of the most disturbing videos I’ve seen this year and a set of brilliant, pretty random scenes which embody all that rock really is and should be – angst, anger, riot. Jeeez, I wish these guys can continue their work. Well, for sure I will be the one who will take a closer look at what they’ll be up to now :-]

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Gypsy punk frenzy! (continuously)

14 Jun

Honestly? I am amazed by how Gogol Bordello is consequent with their music and their career. For years now (yes! Hard to believe but it’s been 11 years!) they continue to amaze us with their great, energetic, crazy records full of Gypsy, punk, Eastern European influences and – basically – whatever else you want. Just type it in. You’ll find Balkan motifs here, Latin American motifs, lots of Gypsy violin, intense chords and rhythms and, most of all, the amazing Eugene Hütz, whose voice does the whole thing – it’s rough, it’s punk, it’s melodic, it has got this amazing, crazy taste of a Slavonic accent. Well, Gogol Bordello are one of a kind and they’re very hard to get confused with anything else.

And yes, this album is not different from the other albums of Gogol Bordello. You get amazing violin, accordion (mostly in minor-key), sometimes it reminds you of old Eastern European revolutionary songs. If I had to compare it to anything, I would say that Gogol Bordello is inspired by Gypsy music in a way that Ashkenazi Jewish Music influences Psoy Korolenko and Daniel Kahn on their album Unternationale. If I had to make any grand metaphors to explain what kind of music is it, I’d have to say… damn, this is one of the few bands I’d like to have playing on my wedding 😀 And, yes, I’m not kidding – and it’s not only because of their famous hit American Wedding.

What I absolutely love about Trans-Continental Hustle is that it’s consequent, crazy, emotional and it’s not tiring. It is a powerful and intense record. Only sometimes it gets lyrical – the lovely Sun Is on My Side is a perfect example, with a Russian-influenced chorus supported by sentimental parts of accordion. Basically it’s a huge, huuuuuge (I mean it) Gypsy punk frenzy! So? That’s something Gogol Bordello has always done and they still remain fresh and true to their route. Something that can never be underestimated.

To understand more, what you’re dealing with, you should probably have a look at the current lineup of the band. Let’s see. The frontman is Ukrainian/Gypsy. Also, we’ve got two Russians, two Americans, one Israeli, one guy from Ecuador, one Ethiopian and a girl from Scotland. Former band members included mostly Romanians and Israelis. Speaking of former Israeli band members – a hint of what is is going on here may give you the fact that Ori Kaplan who used to play the saxophone in Gogol Bordello is now a co-leader of the Balkan Beat Box… Well, simply speaking, Gogol Bordello is basically similar when it comes to the genre (or genres) of music, however they’re not into hip-hop and whereas Balkan Beat Box tends to base their music on Middle Eastern/Jewish/hip-hop/Balkan foundations, Gogol Bordello switches “Middle Eastern/Jewish/hip-hop” to “Eastern European/Gypsy/punk”…

A few highlights:

When Universes Collide – very intense piece, strongly rooted in Eastern European music, with a powerful string section (especially violin)

Sometimes you get amazing Latin American/Spanish influences – Uma Menina, My Companjera, In the Meantime in Pernambuco

Immigraniada (We Comin’ Rougher) – fusion of Eastern European music, Gypsy melodies, Latin American influences and anarchist/punk/revolutionary lyrics. Moreover, it starts with a reggae-like feeling, becomes strongly punk and you get highly flamenco-fueled guitar. Totally crazy! Tastes delicious! Definitely one of my favorites.

Raise the Knowledge – a mix of flamenco, African songs and, of course gypsy punk. And remember… “Revolution is internal/Evolution is not over (…) so rise the knowledge, rise!” 😉