Author Archives: Denis

Crippled Black Phoenix – I, Vigilante

Published by:


No new fresh food on my desk, so let’s talk a little bit about one of my favourite albums of 2010. Be ready for a laudation because I haven’t found much to criticize until this day. Started as a project of a collection of many well or less known post-rock musicians, Crippled Black Phoenix seems to have established itself as a truly independent supergroup with their latest album.

So what’s so special about this work? To be short and figurative: you actually can see the snow falling in the Ardennes in 1944 while the world goes down around you when listening to I, Vigilante. Epic probably is the most overused term these days, but excuse me to use it anyway. It is a post-rock concept album which doesn’t continue the line that has characterized post-rock for the last couple of years. Some may call the development boring, or overplayed. It doesn’t really matter.

Crippled Black Phoenix combines post-rock with elements like vocals and speed changes, which sometimes result in a short rock part, making it more receptive. Moreover they created that sound of Armageddon that keeps floating in your head especially during the cold seasons of the year. The more you listen to it, the more you will discover. Be it strings, wind instruments or piano, or be it the lyrics of the songs, turning each track into a little piece of literature in itself. Lots of people have compared this to Pink Floyd, in my eyes this is just one of many influences to find. The warm and melodious vocals (actually way too rare to find in this genre) top this album off. The front singer, Joe Volk, really amplifies the atmosphere, being rigorous, being sad, sometimes being nothing but wonderful.

The intro of track no. 4, Bastogne Blues, just makes you tremble. What comes afterwards is a great and pessimistic song that represents the whole idea of a grand album, although two songs still follow. Personally, I like to end the listening after Bastogne Blues because it is a perfect closure of this musical doomsday. But let’s be complete: Of a Lifetime, the second to last song, surprises with 80s guitars and a female singer, Daisy Chapman. Although it doesn’t really fit, it sticks in your mind and seems to try to deal with the whole story called life.

Let’s conclude with the last track, a hidden one, called Burning Bridges. It is bizarre, humorously, sad and happy. The song is a cover version (originally performed by The Mike Curb Congregation) of the title song of a 70’s comedy/war movie with Clint Eastwood. Compared to Bastogne Blues this certainly is the ironic end of the story. You decide which one to chose.

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tHCxKy2xWHs]
Recommendations: Troublemaker, Bastogne Blues.

The Jacob Conspiracy – Colourful Crime

Published by:


I’m pretty sure that the boys from the Jacob Conspiracy don’t want to hear it anymore (maybe they do, I actually haven’t talked to them), but let’s call a spade a spade: this album sounds like a Foo Fighters album. Is that a bad thing? Not at all!

However, there are two differences between the Foos and The Jacob Conspiracy: I’m quite convinced that Ken Brandenburger is a better singer than Dave Grohl (brownnosing no.1) and that in contrast to most Foo albums this one seems to grow stronger as time goes by (brownnosing no.2). Well then, let’s fill the Josy Barthel stadium! Alright, back to earth, not even the national football team does it. The opening song already gives the direction: sound, refreshing and often catchy rock and pop-rock.

The more I’ve listened to this album, the more I also had the feeling that Danko Jones had his finger in the pie. My personal highlight certainly is track number 4, Desire. A very bright and cheerful song that could have been your soundtrack of the summer if this had been released a bit earlier this year.

At the end of Colourful Crime you can find a handsome ballad and two entertaining acoustic songs. It was a good idea to put those in the end because the rocking flow of the main part of the album won’t be disturbed and the rock’n’roll train can roll on. Emily, the ballad, is perfectly suitable for radio, and guess what, I ejected the CD from my car radio yesterday during Emily to hear that she was played on Eldoradio the very same moment.

Negative points (to get the brown nose a bit cleaned off): the album surely has no downs, but one reason for this is a certain monotony in the refrains, especially during the middle of the album. The other thing is, and that surely is very subjective, that the sound often appears way too clean, too “gracious” in terms of rock’n’roll. I am nevertheless pretty sure that those songs are made to be performed live and that there will be way more dirty energy in the air. Note to myself: get to see them live a.s.a.p.!

At the end of the day, this is a well done rock album from a Luxembourgish band, that surely hasn’t reinvented the wheel, but that still has potential to do some more steps. Thumbs up.

Recommendations: Desire, Emily, Turn the Page (Acoustic).

Dirty Crows – Live at KuFa

Published by:


Imagine a small bunch of youngsters being at a point in life where lots of things are changing. They are in their mid or end of their twenties, they’re about to start their own lives, maybe they already have started it a few years ago. Also, they all have played in several bands during the years, being grungy, being alternative, being post rock. Now imagine them founding a new band, what will it be? More Post Rock? Pop Rock? I mean, they’re about to grow up, and adults have to play adult music. They could have done some sort of midlife-crisis-let’s-all-go-to-bed-and-have-some-rest-at-10pm-pop-rock-band.

Thank satan, they didn’t! The name of the band is Dirty Crows and that already is the way to describe their musical credo. Listening to them means tasting sand in your mouth, dry, crunchy, dirty. They call it desert rock, in fact it is some sort in between dirty rock’n’roll and stoner rock. To be short: Lemmy would be proud of ’em. Lyrics? Damn, you’re sitting on a motorcycle hitting the road in direction of nowhere and you couldn’t feel any better. Anyone who doesn’t sometimes dream of it? Don’t lie!

Screw perfect rock. People started buying vinyls again because they wanted their favourite music to have that scratchy sound again. So whenever you feel like listening to something which is perfectly imperfect then really go and try to get a copy of their live demo recorded during their first concert in the KUFA/Esch-Alzette. The bass guitar sounds like an electric mower trying to cut a whole tree, the lyrics sometimes interrupt, the entries miss, just the way I like it! Someone has just killed his girlfriend with a Kalashnikov. While trying to get away with his mustang he has to drive through a god damn hurricane. Oh really? Why the hell? Doesn’t matter, the journey is the reward!

Looking forward to their first real album they’re going to record during the next months. And you should too. Be dirty. Life’s too short not to have some fun with simple music. As long as your hips move and your head nods it can’t be too wrong.