Coal

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Debiutancki album australijskiego tria Devastations z 2004 r. zdobył uznanie Karen O z grupy Yeah Yeah Yeahs i uznany został za debiut roku przez niemiecką edycję magazynu 'Rolling Stone'. Grupa idzie ostro pod prąd dzisiejszych rockowych mód i trendów, odwołując się w swej wyciszonej, głównie balladowej twórczości do muzyki kojarzącej się z Leonardem Cohenem, dawnym Scottem Walkerem, Burtem Bacharach'em, Nickiem Cave'em, ale chyba przede wszystkim - Tindersticks i ostatnimi dokonaniami Lambchop. Jeśli 'Devastations' był arcyprzyjemną niespodzianką, drugi album 'Coal' zasługuje w pełni na miano egzaminu dojrzałości z tej stylistyki.
Album 'Coal' powstał w czasie, gdy Devastations dawno przestali być kolejną ciekawostką z antypodów i zdążyli zadomowić się w Europie, a konkretnie w Berlinie, który uczynili bazą wypadową do rozlicznych tras koncertowych. Nagrania do 'Coal' powstały w Pradze, Berlinie i w Melbourne, a w sesjach gościnnie udział wzięli m.in. nowozelandzka pieśniarka Bic Runga ('A Man Of Fortune'), skrzypaczka Padma Newsome z nowojorskiej instrumentalnej formacji Clogs, współpracująca również z grupą The National oraz Genevieve McGuckin, niegdyś występującą z zespołem These Immortal Souls. 'Coal' to zbiór pięknych ballad, pełnych romantyzmu i magicznej intymności, ale też i przejmującego dramatyzmu ('Take You Home'), wspartych bogatymi, przesyconymi melancholią brzmieniami fortepianu i smyczków.






Editor's Info:
Devastations are from Melbourne, Australia. They are the first band signed to Brassland on the strength of an unsolicited demo, and it won't take long listening to their sophomore album Coal to figure out why we were so enthusiastic about presenting them to you, the listener.

Formed in late 2002, Devastations consciously chose to ignore the strut and bluster that dominated the musical landscape at the time, instead mining a deep well of their own, full of understated emotion, veiled menace, and a distinct flair for creating a romantic mood. It was this music's unique intimacy, its ability to forge a human connection, which caused all those peers to sing their praises. Their self-titled debut brought them invitations to open for artists like Dirty Three, Cat Power, and the Tindersticks -- the latter of whom they've supported extensively in both Australia and Europe.

After an excellent initial reception in Australia, Devastations choose to follow in the footsteps of spiritual ancestors like the Go-Betweens and Birthday Party, and make their way in the larger world. They moved to Berlin in 2003, and played their first European show in September as part of 'Bada Bing', a concert series organized by Einsturzende Neubauten's Alexander Hacke. Devastations toured extensively in their new home, and recorded backing tracks for infamous Berlin duo Cobra Killer's third album '76/77.' More recently, vocalist/bassist Conrad Standish contributed three songs and guested on the Liars new album. (Standish is childhood friends with that band's leader, Angus Andrew.)

Devastations finally came to the attention of Brassland in late 2004 when they crossed paths with labelmates, Clogs, first sharing a stage during a festival in Belgium, then meeting again a few days later in Paris. The Brassland braintrust had already expressed their admiration for Devastations music, and encouraged them to meet Padma Newsome, a fellow Australian who plays violin/viola in both Clogs and The National. Wine was drunk, plans were discussed, plots were hatched, and the group decided to join the extended Brassland family.

What will Devastations do for you?

When Rowland S. Howard heard them he did not wonder about influences. Rather he wrote a rapturous newspaper article about the group and asked them collaborate with him on a single. When Karen O of the Yeah Yeah Yeahs heard them, she so fell in love with their music telling MOJO they were 'the best thing I've heard all year.'



PRESS

Mojo by Manish Agarwal
Sharply dressed Aussies who've relocated to Berlin and favour grown-up, vaguely gothic melodrama. The Devastations have enjoyed their share of Bad Seeds comparisons. Still, originality aside, this is a fine set of songs. Conrad Standish's lovelorn croon is more Jarvis Cocker than Nick cave - see Pulpy openeer 'Sex & Mayhem' - while the music's faded lounge feel often recalls erstwhile tourmates The Tindersticks. 'The Night I Couldn't Stop Crying' underscores its premise with an electrifying melange of guitar and violin, rollicking single 'Take You Home' finds a bittersweet humour in barfly lust ('I'm sorry for the things I have not done to you tonight'). The potential hit is 'A Man of Fortune,' a string-swept duet with Kiwi chanteuse Bic Runga.

Uncut by Chris Roberts
A trio whose 2003 debut was plugged by Karen O as 'best thing all year,' Devastations fill their second with tales of lonely, dark nights good enough to send fans of the National and Tindersticks reaching gleefully for the bourbon and grandpa's revolver. Although geography and studio links with Einsturzende's Alex Hacke flag up the Cave influence, their own voice - that of lustful, dissatisfied men - colours the string-drenched rock of 'Sex & Mayhem' and the thunderous 'Take You Home.' For added melancholy, the National's Padma Newsome brings his violin while Bic Runga furnishes 'A Man of Fortune' with spectral elan.

Pitchforkmedia.com by Brian Howe (November 15, 2006)
On paper, it's easy to mistake Devastations for an emo band. While their name sidesteps modern emo's penchant for cognominal unwieldiness, it has an aspect of glorious emotional ruin, and song titles like 'The Night I Couldn't Stop Crying', 'I Don't Want to Lose You Tonight', and 'What's a Place Like That Doing in a Girl Like You' do little to ameliorate that impression. But you aren't likely to find these Berlin-based, Australian expats playing the Bamboozle Festival anytime soon.

Before emo locked up emotion in a tender yet unbreakable full-nelson, there was goth - both include eyeliner and melodrama, but they handle the latter with very different emphases. Emo approaches emotional trauma without much regard for subtlety, while goth - at least goth-influenced rock of the Nick Cave/Black Heart Procession variety that Devastations favors - is more concerned with sadness's introverted, resigned qualities, and undercuts its self-pity with a canny cynicism that makes the music more palatable to adults. As such, while Devastations' sophomore album, Coal, is undeniably melancholy, the slow-burning arrangements keep histrionics at bay. Devastations always privilege the song above catharsis, and singer Conrad Standish peppers his lovelorn lyrics with sinister noir: 'Lord send me an angel, I'll send her to you,' he threatens in a choking falsetto amid the seething piano and nauseously reverbed guitars of 'What's a Place Like This Doing in a Girl Like You'.

Any discussion of Devastations has to start with Standish's voice and his dark charisma. Nick Cave is so iconic that some singers seem to think that aping his tics is a shortcut to good songwriting. While Standish borrows many of Cave's inflections and images ('My mother was a whore,' he deadpans on the title track's trembling piano ballad), he understands that Cave's theatrics wouldn't have gotten him anywhere without solid songwriting to back them up, and Coal, like Spielerfrau's likeminded The Sad Part from earlier this year, is packed from end to end with striking, capable arrangements. The guitar-driven 'The Night I Couldn't Stop Crying' builds and breaks in dark, crashing waves, Standish emphasizes the dynamic shifts by dropping his baritone to a terse croak. He duets winningly with Bic Runga on 'Man of Fortune', singing with a prayerful uplift that belies the music's funeral strings, and he rides the galloping chords of 'Take You Home' toward a screaming crescendo. Always dark, never a caricature, Coal is consistently engaging, and marks Devastations as the emo-band-for-adults that people have tried to make Death Cab for Cutie out to be.
Rating: 7.5/10
HWY015

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Brassland
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Devastations
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Coal
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