Tag Archives: Rock

Wir sind Helden

wir-sind-helden-2010-07-02Wir sind Helden (We are Heroes) is a pop/rock band from Berlin. Lead by singer Judith Holofernes, and musicians Pola Roy, Mark Tavassol, and Jean-Michel Tourette, the group was formed in 2000. The band broke out onto the German music scene with their first single, “Guten Tag”, which got significant airplay on MTV Europe. Their first album, Die Reklamation peaked #2 on the German charts. laut.de gave it five out of five points calling it “the perfect soundtrack for an urban summer”.

The band’s second album, Von Hier An Blind (2005), enjoyed the most success, peaking number 1 in Germany and Austria, and being certified platinum x2 in Germany. The album was so popular that they rerecorded several of it’s songs in English, French, and Japanese. he entire artwork (cover, booklet, etc.) for the album as well as for the singles was designed by Berlin illustrator Vanessa Karr. It was modeled after parts from the comic book Tintin in Tibet (1960) by Belgian artist Hergé who died in 1983. Notably, the video for the album’s title single “Von hier an blind” is in the same style. The album was also released in a Limited Edition, which included an additional DVD with a documentary, interviews with the band members about each of the album’s songs, and a game where one can switch the band’s instruments on a performance of “Nur ein Wort”.

Two more albums followed, Soundso (2007and Bring mich nach Hause (2010), charting at #2 and #1 respectively on German charts. The band announced in April this year that they are going on an indefinite hiatus, saying reasons were the distance between band members’ home cities, the demands of their respective family lives, “signs of wear,” and the feeling of an “ever-more-impossible-seeming undertaking”

I’ve been listening to their discography all day, and have been thoroughly enjoying it. A lot of their songs remind me of older Euro-pop, almost in the ABBA tradition, so of course I adore it. The tunes are catchy and fun. Learning of the bands hiatus makes me sad that I will not be able to enjoy new Wir sind Helden! C’est la vie!

Check out their website: Wir sind Helden

 


The Tellers

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


Roman Lob

Roman Lob is a German singer/songwriter from Düsseldorf. I first saw him in this year’s Eurovision Song Contest, where he represented Germany, and I knew I had to find his album. Apart from this solo career, Lob is the lead singer of the band Rooftop Kingdom, an alternative-rock band from Neuwied (which I haven’t found any info on yet!), and also a founding member of the metal-core band Days of Despite. In 2006, Lob had competed in German casting show Deutschland sucht den Superstar but had to quit due to a vocal cord infection. In 2008, he took part in the competition to represent Germany at the Eurovision Song Contest 2008 in Belgrade, as a part of the boy band G12P – Germany 12 Points, but their song “When The Boys Come” was not chosen to compete in the national final. But this year Lob represented Germany solo, and achieved 8th place in the finals with 110 points.

Changesis Lob’s debut album, released in April this year, after being selected to represent Germany for this year’s Eurovision in Baku, Azerbaijan. It peaked at number 9 in Germany, and as far as I know has only been released in German-speaking Germany, which is just a shame. I absolutely love the album myself. The lead single, “Standing Still”, from this year’s Eurovision is wonderful. As soon as I saw his performance I began a frantic search for his album! I love his voice, it’s just so mellow and beautiful. The album is a light sort of pop/rock and is really just a great listen. It has a vibe that I haven’t heard in a while. I foresee this album being played over and over in my car. I have to say that Germany has given me some great artists including Roman Lob and Lena recently, particularly from Eurovision. Good job Germany!

Check out his website: Roman Lob and more unplugged action:

 

 


Disintegration

The Cure’s Disintegration is another on my list of absolute top-5 favourite albums. I cannot even begin to express the profound affect this album has had on me. I remember one time I told one of my best friends Kelsey that she needed to hear this album. I put it on in her kitchen (we were eating something) and the CD player was on repeat. The next thing I knew we had gone through the album 3 and a half times. We didn’t speak to each other, we didn’t move. While I have a lot of CDs that I absolutely loooove, Disintigration is the only one to have such an affect on me physically. If ever I listen to this in the car (as I was today) I seem to get to my destination without really remember all of the journey. I just become completely absorbed in the music. It sounds completely stupid but I feel like I feel feelings I didn’t know I had when I listen to this album!!! (I feel so angsty!)


I don’t know exactly what it is. The music itself creates a very unique sound world, filled with vibrant sounds from the 80s and just perfect percussion. Robert Smith’s voice is incredibly haunting and trance inducing. And it may sound a little ridiculous but sometimes when I listen to Disintegration I feel like I never want to hear another album aside from it.

It was the 8th studio album of The Cure, and the band’s best selling to date. It marked a return for the group to a gloomy gothic rock they had established earlier on in the decade. The album was number 326 on Rolling Stone magazine’s 500 Greatest Albums of All Time (although for me it is much higher!!!)

Wikipedia describes the music on the album perfectly: “Disintegration is epitomised by a significant usage of synthesizers and keyboards, slow, “droning” guitar progressions and Smith’s introspective vocals. “Plainsong”, the album’s opener, “set the mood for Disintegration perfectly,” according to journalist Jeff Apter, by “unravelling ever so slowly in a shower of synths and guitars, before Smith steps up to the mic, uttering snatches of lyrics (‘I’m so cold’) as if he were reading from something as sacred as the Dead Sea Scroll.” Smith felt the song was a perfect opener for the record, describing it as “very lush, very orchestral”. The album’s third track, “Closedown”, contains layers of keyboard texture complemented with a slow, gloomy guitar line. The track was written by Smith as a means to list his physical and artistic shortcomings. Despite the dark mood present throughout Disintegration, “Lovesong” was an upbeat track that became a hit in the United States. Ned Raggett of Allmusic noted the difference from other songs: “the Simon Gallup/ Boris Williams rhythm section create a tight, serviceable dance groove, while Smith and Porl Thompson add further guitar fills and filigrees as well, adding just enough extra bite to the song. Smith himself delivers the lyric softly, with gentle passion.”

The lyrics are incredible, the music is other worldly and I just can’t describe how into this album I get as I’m listening to it. I love every second of this album and songs like “Pictures of You”, “Lovesong”, and “Disintigration” are just unreal.

And who doesn’t adore “Friday I’m In Love”? It comes on almost every night on the radio when I go to sleep and I get so happy everytime I hear it. I was in Bed Bath & Beyond a few weeks ago with two of my best friends when it came on the radio and we were all like, “wow, I really love this song.”


Vanilla Ninja

Vanilla Ninja is an Estonian girl band which has been pretty popular in many European countries. They are particularly popular in central Europe. The group has also entered to represent their country in Eurovision both in 2003 and 2007 but failed to do so. They did however represent Switzerland in 2005 with their song “Cool Vibes” and finished 8th in the contest that year. They are so popular in Estonia that they have a brand of ice cream and kohuke named after them.

Vanilla Ninja has had four albums in various countries across Europe (all topping the charts at #1 in their native Estonia!): Vanilla Ninja was released in 2003, Traces of Sadness in 2004, and Blue Tattoo in 2005. The group’s fourth album, Love is War, was released in May 2006. The band was originally a four-piece group consisting of Maarja Kivi, Lenna Kuurmaa, Katrin Siska and Piret Järvis. Maarja Kivi left the group in 2004 and was replaced by Triinu Kivilaan. In December 2005 she also left the group to start a solo career and finish school, and the band have decided to continue as a three-piece act.

“Tough Enough” was released as a single in 2003-2004 in Germany, Austria, and Switzerland and helped launch their career in German speaking Europe:

Vanilla Ninja‘s  site (Estonian)


dEUS

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


LaFee

Christina Klein is better known by her stage name: LaFee. She is a German singer/songwriter who is pretty big in German-speaking countries. She has released 4 albums to date, three in German and one English album in 2008. In 2009 her fourth studio album, Ring Frei was released in Germany, peaking at #6 on the German charts, and #5 on the Austrian. It’s a great album for sure. The first couple of tracks have music that sounds like dark German heavy-rock/symphonic metal, and it’s supa-awesome. Something about it is so Germanic! I love the percussion throughout the album and the guitars are also amazing. The title track and single, Ring Frei is probably my favourite track on the album. Angst is a softer symphonic ballade kind of song.

The whole album has some really great instrumentation. Tracks like Nur Das Eine have wonderful piano parts and others like Angst have great string parts all mixed with a heavy rock percussion and guitars. This is another album I constantly finding myself totally rocking out to in the car. I don’t even know how to begin to explain the music so watch some videos and listen!

And of course you can check out her website: LaFee aber es ist auf Deutsch!


Bonjour Brumaire


 

*Youri Zaragoza – lead-vocals, guitars *Nathan Howard – guitars, vocals *François Lessard – drums, percussion *Jordan Larocque – bass, vocals * Béatrice Martin – keyboards, vocals

One of my favourite CDs I own I found on one of many trips to my favourite city: Montréal. I travel up there several times a year (and will hopefully soon reside there) and it is a tradition for me that  any place I travel I search out and buy popular music. Montréal has an active and diverse music scene, and I have gotten many albums and artists there over the years. It was my second trip up, I believe, I stumbled upon Bonjour Brumaire and their debut album De la Nature des Foules. It is now a CD that is never out of my car.

The music on this album is just incredible. While my French is limited, I find the flow of the vocals to be catchy and well crafted – I just imagine it being brilliant. I find many of the endings to the album’s tracks well composed, as instead of fading out or abruptly ending many have a sort of interlude quality where new music is presented or at least taken in a direction you would not expect (i.e. the fadeout or predictable cadence); the endings to Prunelle and Argelès are particularly nice. Their instrumentation is also great, especially the use of more ‘eclectic’ sounds like the organ – in L’insouciance ne s’improvise pas particularly which also has great interaction with the percussion. My absolute favourite song on the album is Argelès – which, again, has amazing percussion throughout, and piano. The song really undergoes many transformations as it progresses, featuring piano and guitar riffs. The instrumental interlude about midway through the song is perfect and the re-entrance of the vocals is powerful as accompanied by the rolling drums. The track’s ending – a haunting organ and piano as the song winds down is also impeccable.

The group is pretty young as it only started work on their debut album De la Nature des Foules in January 2007, working with acclaimed producer Ryan Battistuzzi. The album won several awards, including Breakthrough Artist of the Year, Indie-Pop Album of the Year, and Discovery of the Year at the 2008 Quebec Indie Music Awards, as well as the SODRAC prize for best music for their song “Argelès” at the 2008 Francouvertes contest. It has been one of my favourite CDs since I stumbled upon in Monréal’s HMV. I hope I can catch them in a show sometime while I’m up there! Check out their myspace and give their tracks a listen and their videos a viewing: Bonjour Brumaire