SUPERHUMANOIDS! Pow, pow! With a name as good as this you have to make sure that you have the music to match. If you can't walk the walk then don't talk the talk.  There is plenty of synth and dramatic sounds on show here and they certainly have something about them, a confident, 80's swagger you could say. Their most prominent song to date is Geri which is a tune that makes you want to listen to it again and again. This unofficial video also fits perfectly. Anyone else think Jane Birkin looks a little bit like Megan from Mad Men in this video? [youtube] There are a couple of free downloads ahead of their upcoming album on their website including an exceptionally different take on the Ramones "I wanna be sedated" which tears the tune away from its punk aggression and almost turns it into a Bats for Lashes-esque love song. Listening to "I wanna be sedated" as a come-down song before bed would usually result in nightmares of the pet cemetery variety, but this version turns all fears of anything indian burial ground based into big-eyed puppy dog nonsense. Head over to their site to check out the tunes.
The Crimea are back! The band have long been fighting against the odds to keep on producing and releasing music in this cut throat day and age of mainstream money-making and they have returned with the album Square Moon and the EP Last plane out of Saigon. With their EP Last plane out of Saigon they give us a little taste of what to expect on their 22, yes, 22 track double album! It is a very mellow affair while still possessing a gritty aggressiveness which is both epic and tragic at the same time. Something which which have come to expect from the Crimea. The EP is available to download on their website here and even comes with a very lovely little thank you message and news of their upcoming gig on the 17th of May. Download, enjoy, spread the word and buy the album, preferably on vinyl. Here is a link to possibly my favorite Crimea tune. If you don't know this band, then give them a decent listen, it will do your ears good. [youtube] The 2007 released album "secrets of the witching hour" which this track is taken from is also available to download for free on their website here, It has been available to download since a time when, in their own words, "Thom Yorke was still going 'Mp..what?'. I like that, very good. .A.
The Daydream Club: Neon Love Song (Part II) It doesn't happen too often, but sometimes you know from the very first second that you are going to like a song. This is exactly the case with The Daydream Club's Neon Love Song (Part II) This hypnotizing haunting song grabs a nerve in the back of your spine and doesn’t let go until the final chord. Accompanied with a wonderfully simple but at the same time powerful video the new interpretation of Neon Love Song is beautifully produced piece of music. [youtube] The song has been re-worked for the new Burberry eyewear collection and is another example of how companies and bands can work together to create something which benefits both parties. While normally known for their minimal acoustic workings on their debut album 'Overgrown', there are a number of remixes floating about on the Internet as well. You can get a free download of the Night Remix EP by going to their website here: The Leicester-based band (just round the corner from my home town Coventry) look to have a very bright future ahead of them if there current work is anything to go by and let’s hope they continue to get the publicity they deserve. Here is another great video for On the Move (Part II). A great idea to record the video in reverse and not an easy thing to do as I know from experience! A friend of mine produced a similar video, recording the whole thing in one take with everyone moving in reverse. Excellent job! [youtube] P.S Loving the lamp shade in the background. .A.
One man, A leotard and Freddie Mercury. Austrofred captures the imagination of a nation Queen backing tracks, a fake moustache and tight leotards. This is Austrofred. The name reveals the nature of his game. He is the Austrian Freddie Mercury, the Champion. A one man tour de force who karaokes his way through the Queen back-catalogue, without singing one original lyric. [caption id="attachment_60" align="aligncenter" width="236" caption="He is so good he can even shoot rainbows out of his eye! © Klaus Mitter / Austrofred Productions"]Fire, Light and Austrofred[/caption] Sounds like something you would like to see? Probably not, and that is exactly what I thought when I first heard about him some years ago. A man pretending to be Freddie Mercury singing in German? Say what now? While this may well sound like a joke and a recipe for disaster it somehow works. Austrofred has taken the old saying “don’t take yourself too seriously” to another level, and turned himself into a cult figure at the same time. Austrofred, real name Franz Adrian Wenzl, has created a fictional “artist” of the highest order and performs the role so perfectly, that he manages to make the ridiculous seem utterly normal. He somehow convinces us that it is must be just a coincidence that “Austrofred” and “Anglofred” appear to be very very similar. The scale with which Austrofred has made us believe he is the one true “Champion” of the world became clear to me a few years ago upon hearing a story which has since become almost part of Austrian folklore amongst the people I meet. The story goes something like this: While at a party with the rest of his friends a man (whose name will not be named) was watching the music channels on TV. While enjoying these musical videos he saw something which took him very much by surprise. He instantly caught the attention of the rest of the guests, “Wow” he shouted, “Look at that guy, he looks exactly like Austrofred!!”. Yes, the man in question firmly believed that Freddie Mercury from Queen had copied his beloved Austrofred, even to the point of dressing and dancing the same way. Any “copy cat” artist that can achieve this kind of belief deserves to get respect. On Thursday evening in Vienna’s Arena the Champion made his return to the stage after a time out which saw him partake in theatre and writing, releasing another “best seller” in his own words with the book “You can stick your magic flute up your arse. My correspondences with Wolfgang Amadeus Mozart”. The teaser for the new tour (video in German)  [youtube] The room was full and the atmosphere tense as the crowd stared at the huge “Austrofred” light fixture on stage in digital-retro font, reminding me somehow of those dodgy 80’s game shows you see on American TV. Chants of “Austrofred” could be heard up front from a man who actually turned out to be dressed exactly the same as the man himself, studded arm band included. Such is Austrofred’s popularity in these parts. [caption id="attachment_55" align="aligncenter" width="394" caption="Finger on buzzers. Let's play......Austrofred is the Champion!"][/caption] Finally the time came and Austrofred took to the stage adorned in his usual wife beater, tights and leather jacket. A can of beer in one hand, mic in the other. What followed was theatre, music and show at its best. Every song was followed by a short excursion into the life of “Austrofred”, almost turning it into stand-up comedy. Numerous costume changes then transpired where the crowd were treated to oddities such as “Glow in the dark” Austrofred and skiing Austrofred (snow included). [caption id="attachment_56" align="aligncenter" width="398" caption="Eich Dodln gib i Gas"][/caption] As far as the actual music is concerned there isn’t much to say. Firstly because I couldn’t understand what he was saying (he sings in Austrian dialect which is very difficult to understand) and secondly because it isn’t that important. The music itself is just one element in a bigger picture. The fans know this, and it is this appreciation which makes him successful. Wenzl has created a character with an aura and personality which captivates his audience, where every saying and gesture is so absurd that it becomes realistic again. [caption id="attachment_57" align="aligncenter" width="310" caption="Glow in the dark Austrofred, includes glow in the dark moustache. Soon to be released as its very own action figure."][/caption] In an era where artists seem to take themselves a little too seriously, Wenzl has proven once again that humour and self-irony can go a long way in the music business. Long live the Champion! Long live Austrofred! .Andrew.

The Artic Monkeys are back with another exceptional tune and a great video to boot for their new song R U Mine?

Alex Turner and Matt Helders steal the spotlight in a riff-intensive and drum-heavy 3 minutes and 44 seconds of musical heaven. They “air jam” their way through the song while being filmed in a voyeur sex tape fashion, giving them enough exposure to show off their teddy boy coiffures and Alex’s new Sheffield United tat.

If this and the last song with Richard Hawley give us any indication of the direction the band intend to take in the future, then the future seems very bright indeed. A.

The Who: Attwenger

The What: Austro-electro-polka-dance craziness

The Where: Porgy and Bess

The When: 27.02.2012

Attwenger, ever heard of them? Probably not, and that is not surprising either. Not many people outside of Austria have. Perhaps a little background info is therefore neccesary before stage-diving into the details of their recent appearance and the reasons why they even merit discussion.

The two-man band have been around the block, since 1990/91 to be exact and are pretty much an institution in the Austrian indie scene.  They are considered one of the most innovative bands to come out of the country in the last few decades and awarded the Amadeus music award in 2004 (the equivalent to the Mercury music award).

Drummer Markus Binder and accordianist Hans-Peter Falkner’s 8 albums and 2! Films delightfully fuse elements of folk with punk, rock, hip hop and electro beats to form a experimental mish-mash of musical madness for the ears which any music enthusiast will appreciate.

So why are they worth a listen? Exactly for the reasons above.They produce music which transcends linguistic barriers and can make even the most stiffend hip sway to the groove. One look across the crowded room in Vienna’s most famous jazz club was enough to know that this band has reached a stage in its career to be worthily deemed “genre-breaking”.

From Indie-teens to office suits and arty minimilists through to the balding average joe and even a few over 60’s who may well have shaken out a false hip or two were along for the ride in an energetic and vibrant set which focussed on their new album “flux”. A heavy mixture of accordian driven polka-style dance music which sent the crowd into regular fits of cowboy squarking “yee-haws” and “woo-hoos”.

Watching the two of them on stage making more music with a drum set, an accordian and the occassional  jaw harp than the average 5-piece guitar band really is a feat worth paying for and it is no surprise the band has built up a loyal fan base who effortlessly shaked and bobbed their way through the gig.

A truly innovative bands around at the moment in a sea of mediocrity and “play it safe” music, well deserved of a little more prominence than they have been given. As John Peel once said about the band, you may not understand what they are saying, but they make damn good music.