Tag Archives: belgium

NEWSLETTER #2

Hello!

Things are a bit slow over here at the Is this thing on? blog at the moment and there is a good reason for it. My awesome wife is now 9 months pregnant and we have 3 other kids so I’ve been busy looking after all these beautiful people as well as working and getting the house ready for the new arrival. This has left little time to keep the blog updated, I do this on my own and I’m a slow writer so hopefully you’ll forgive me. I will of course continue to write whenever I can, have lots of reviews, ideas and the like that I’ll post asap.

In the meantime though, I thought I’d post another of these newsletter’s that will appear sporadically, each focussing on a different subject. Todays theme is “VIDEOS!”. There has been so many videos that have caught my attention recently and in case you’d missed them why not take some time this sunny bank holiday weekend to watch and enjoy. Here goes.

First up is Warren Franklin & the Founding Fathers. The man who made watching Empire! Empire! (I was a lonely estate) last November in Brighton even more perfect than it already was is back with a new EP at the ready and a new video to boot. ‘Every letter and souvenir’ is the perfect indiemo pop to soundtrack the nice weather we’re having, so excited for the whole EP now. Enjoy!

You may have seen a few weeks ago that I posted a review of the amazing new Reiziger album, to go with the record Belgian film makers Swoon have put together some incredible promo videos for a few of the songs. Each of them as interesting and compelling as each other and all perfectly complementing Reizigers music. Here is my favourite video, for the song ‘Bended Trees’. Watch it!

Next up is Dikembe. Now, this video is a couple of months old now but well worth revisiting if you’ve already seen it. There ain’t many bands better than Dikembe around at the moment and this video lives up to their greatness, it features¬†supernatural goings on at a Dikembe house show. Good freaky fun. Bring on the album!!!

You may or my not have seen this fantastic mini documentary, ‘My Basement is a Shithole’. It’s a 22 minute film about basement show scene¬†in Philadelphia and it is so good. There needs to be more films like this and I wish this scene existed where I live, essential viewing.

Following in a similar vein to the hilarious audition video to find the singer for the Postal Service comes AIC23. A film to celebrate the release of the new Alice In Chains album, a failed look back at the band’s career. Literally every band should have a video like this made to promote new records!!

And finally, another video that is now a few months old but as they are touring the UK next month it’s definitely worth another look. Dowsing “Midwest Living”, simple and brilliant!

Thanks for reading, I’ll be back soon.

come say hi on facebook; www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog and on twitter @alex_itto

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REVIEW: REIZIGER – KODIAK STATION

Band – Reiziger

Album – Kodiak Station

Label – Birch & Broom

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A wise man who makes a podcast about emo recently stated that ‘No band ever splits up’ but bands reuniting and reforming has been quite divisive amongst fans. Some view it cynically as a money grabbing nostalgia trip whilst others are happy to relive their past with them or hadn’t seen them first time round so are overjoyed to get the chance to see them play. For me it really depends on who the band is, when I heard that Reiziger were back playing again and working on a new record I felt a surge of genuine excitement.

In my opinion Reiziger are one of the defining bands of the late 90’s/early 00’s, if I catch a glimpse of any of their album covers I’m instantly transported back to hanging out in a friend’s bedroom as a teenager in the 90’s discovering new music, reading fanzines and shouting ‘I MISS MY RECORDS!’, (little Reiziger joke there for you). I never got to see them play live and may not get to this time around but they have done the right thing and made a new record so I get to be a part of it again by sitting in my house with Reiziger on my headphones once more.

‘Kodiak Station’ is either an album, a mini album or a long EP, to be honest I’m not quite sure what category it falls under. Basically it has 7 tracks but one of those is a spoken introduction, so really it is 6 songs although it does have the feel of a proper full length record. It’s been at least a decade since the last Reiziger record so things are bound to change and one of the things that strikes you at the start of the first song ‘Yuma’ is the production of the record sounds a lot different. There is more of a polish to the sound whilst at the same time retaining the old Reiziger charm. It’s hard to define, maybe you could say that this is more of a grown up record with a mature sound but it is still Reiziger, they still sound like a 90’s band but one with todays production values. It’s not quite what I was expecting but don’t get me wrong, this is a brilliant record.

‘Yuma’ kicks the music off with distorted, discordant guitars at a slow, slacker indie pace with sweet vocals languidly drifting over the music. When the bass kicks in as the song veers in to the second section, I won’t say chorus but I suppose that’s what it is, you are on board and interested. The second track ‘Grizzly People’ then turns this on its head and takes you in a different direction altogether. I didn’t think I would ever write this but it really reminds me of fellow Belgian heroes Deus, I hope that is taken as the compliment that it is. It’s a big, catchy indie pop song which sounds more 90’s than anything else on the album, it has a feel good vibe but the lyrics counteract that by protesting the fact that it’s ‘All about the contacts’. ‘Transgressions’ then kind of continues in this vein although there is a looser feel to the song, it brings to mind the amazing Smart Went Crazy which is definitely a massive compliment. Reiziger return to more familiar ground with the second half of the record, things are a bit bleaker and less poppy. There is no drop in quality however, in fact I’d say my two favourite songs are kept for last both ‘Bended Trees’ and ‘Shy Reptile’ are beautiful songs that build up, each in their own way, to steal the record.

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At the end you’re left wanting more certainly but at the same time content with what you’re left with, this is a record that gets better and better on each listen. It’s also a record I can whole heartedly recommend to old Reiziger fans and those that never had the pleasure the first time round. Hopefully they will make the short trip over to the UK at some point so I can say thanks in person. Thanks for coming back Reiziger and thanks for making it so good.

You can download ‘Kodiak Station’ as well as their entire back catalogue from Reiziger’s Bandcamp page HERE

You can buy the CD in the UK from these two sites:
http://www.allagesrecords.com
http://www.wearereiziger.com

Thanks for reading, come say hi on Facebook; www.facebook.com/isthisthingonblog or on twitter @alex_itto

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