The Tellers are a Belgian rock band. The band was started in 2005 by Ben Baillieux-Beynon (lead singer, guitarist). And through the years the lineup has been pretty unsteady, from just Baillieux-Beyon, to having 2-4 members. Currently I believe the band is a 4-piece group, with Fabrice Detry on bass, Cesar Laloux on drums, and Joos Houwen on guitar. They have had two albums to date, their first being Hands Full of Ink. This is the only album I have heard. The album peaked #7 on the Belgian charts and the group has enjoyed fame in their home country. They’ve also enjoyed success in Germany, the Netherlands, and, thanks recently to a part in a Canon commercial, France. The album has an alternative/Indie folk rock style that is very European. It’s definitely a good listen. The album has a good vibe. I’ll have to see if I can get my hands on their more recent album!
You can check out their myspace (excuse me, my_____) page here: The Tellers
dEUS is a rock band from Belgium. The band’s lineup has been somewhat unstable since their formation in 1991, but the current members include Tom Barman (1991-present), Klaas Janszoons (1991 – present), Stéphane Misseghers (2002 – present), Alan Gevaert (2002 – present), and Mauro Pawlowski (2002 – present). They have released 6 studio albums, but the one I am most familiar with is their fifth, Vantage Point, released in 2008. It is the first of their albums to retain the lineup of a previous album, and also the first of their albums to be recorded in their own studio at Borgerhout. Vantage Point was certified platinum and reached #1 on the Belgian charts.
The album has indie-, alternative-, and experimental-rock qualities to it. It is pretty chill. “Oh Your God” is an interesting track with incredible percussion and guitar parts and great vocals. It’s one of the more edgy tracks on the album. Vantage Point had 4 singles: “The Architecht”, “Eternal Woman”, “Slow”, and “When She Comes Down”.
I have their entire discography, but so far I have only really gotten acquainted with Vantage Point. I have high hopes for their earlier material and will definitely post more when I finally get a chance to take it all in!
Their website is pretty badass: dEUS
Barcelona is a band from Seattle. The band released their first album Absolutes independently in 2007 on their own label NBD Music. In 2008 they were signed to Universal Record. Absolutes was remixed and re-released with 4 new tracks in April 2009. Barcelona’s sound is piano-based rock. People often relate them to bands like Coldplay, though I think they are much better. I heard about this album through a friend and immediately fell in love. The majority of the album is pretty mellow, and many of the songs have incredibly simple but absolutely stunning harmonies.
By far my favourite track on the album is “First Floor People”. The opening chords are so hauntingly beautiful. This song really just puts me in this zone, and I find myself listening to it over and over again. It is melancholy, with a touch of hope. The vocals come in first with just the piano, and after the first verse, a light percussion comes in and this slowly builds intensity. Soon it is just the voice and piano again, only to have a similar re-entry of the soft percussion. Suddenly, the song picks up and the percussion is much heavier, and a wave of guitar and other instruments and melodies emerge, creating an intense wall of sound that is moving and powerful. I always get completely engulfed in the sound. The song ends with the music dropping to just the opening chords in the piano again, and the full circle effect is beautifully done.
There are certain albums that have a profound effect on one’s life, and for me Jagged Little Pill is one. Alanis’ American debut is in my Top 5 Albums list (a list with no particular order, soon to be told in full), and continues to be a staple of any social listening among my friends and I. Whenever I talk about Jagged Little Pill, the only word I can use to describe it is “perfect”. The music, the lyrics, and expression are all divine. From the very beginning the album is fueled by an intense resentment and frustration, which is very relatable to many. You Oughta Know is revered among my peers and the great expression of angst and the video a huge piece of nostalgia. Hand In My Pocket sings my life story – but then doesn’t it tell everybody’s? Jagged Little Pill is intensely personal and lyric writing by Alanis is just incredible. “I’m sad but I’m laughing/ I’m brave but I’m chicken shit.” – Hand in My Pocket really sings the dualities of life. “It’s like meeting the man of my dreams, and then meeting his beautiful wife”: Ironic – though often criticized for being a series of more unfortunate events than truly ironic (ironically enough) – is another favourite of anyone I have ever listened to the album with. Another thing I find incredible about Jagged Little Pill and Alanis in general is the phrasing of her lyrics. Nobody else could stretch out syllables to the contours or rhythms Alanis is able to without sounding ridiculous or unnatural, but somehow Alanis has a truly unique phrasing when it comes to the delivery of her lyrical content. I really believe that this is an album that should be committed to memory by all.
A little about Jagged Little Pill: the album is Alanis’ third album, although it is the first to be released internationally. It also scored Alanis 6 singles: You Oughta Know, Ironic, You Learn, Hand in My Pocket, Head Over Feet, and All I Really Want; and the album spent 12 non-consecutive weeks at number 1 on the U.S. Billboard 200 charts. It was ranked one of the top selling albums of the 90s, and has now been certified Diamond. In October 2002, Rolling Stone ranked it number 31 on its Women In Rock – The 50 Essential Albums list, and in 2003 the magazine ranked it number 327 on its list of The 500 Greatest Albums of All Time. The album also holds a title in The Definitive 200 Albums list, in which it is placed at number 26. It held 1st position on the Australian, Belgian, Dutch, Finnish, New Zealand, and UK albums charts.
Just for fun: What is Alanis’ other hand doing?: Sporcle!
Alina is a newer find of mine from Lithuania. I am really enjoying her 2008 debut album: Laukinis šuo dingo. The album has been described as a collection of short piano-ballads, and indeed the piano is prominent and the songs are mostly 3 minutes – several under 2! Yet I don’t mind their brevity: I feel like she has something to say and manages to do it without feeling the need to repeat a chorus a thousand times or superfluously add bridges. And yet I am amazed that the 16 tracks can all be of such quality. Orlova’s voice is unique, and has an older-world sound to it. Music critics write: ” Orlova has a high-trilling voice and a unique line in exhilaratingly dark, Baltic folk pop”. The album also makes use of great instruments such as accordion and glockenspiel, as well as dark strings on many tracks. Many songs are haunting (Paskutinio Mamuto daina) and others have a dancing drive to them – Žeme, sukis greitai has great percussion behind it. I am actually listening to this album for the first time at this moment and every track is a new pleasant surprise of unique phrasing, dark expressivity and instrumentation. I feel like I’ll be burning this album immediately!
(This is not an actual video but you can at least hear on of my favourite tracks, Vaiduokliai):