Infinite Shuffle

April 21, 2013

156 – BOY

Filed under: B, Germany, Switzerland — assman41 @ 12:01 am

Usually, when you hear “boy” and “band” in the same sentence, the image that comes to mind is a group of teenage lads with similar-looking outfits and finely coiffed hairstyles dancing and crooning to a sea of screaming prepubescent girls.

One thought unlikely to cross your mind is that of two European women standing on stage, playing guitars and churning out some very catchy indie-pop to a decidedly unisex audience.

And that’s what makes the band, BOY, so intriguing. Consisting of singer Valeska Steiner (Switzerland) and bassist Sonja Glass (Germany), the duo has been gaining a lot of steam recently following its first tour of the States, which included a stop at SXSW last month.

The group, which formed in 2007, dropped its debut album, Mutual Friends, in Germany in 2011 and the UK in June 2012. It didn’t receive an official release in the U.S. until this past February, which means their hit song, “Little Numbers”, deserves to receive some love on end-of-the year lists.

On first listen, BOY‘s vocals sound very similar to those of Feist. But after repeated spins, Steiner’s voice becomes more distinct, with hints of Suzanne Vega and Imogen Heap popping up on occasion. And Glass comes in to offer harmony, adding complexity throughout.

While the above song is the standout, there are several notable tracks here, including “Oh Boy”, “This Is the Beginning”, “Waitress”, “Drive Darling” and “July”.

Considering the fact that the band is just starting to gain traction stateside, it seems primed for a major breakthrough within the next year or so.

November 18, 2012

137 – The Dentals

Filed under: D, Switzerland — assman41 @ 7:55 pm

“Listen to these words I sing. They don’t even mean a thing. Nobody ever gives a shit. These melodies are the best in town.”

Those lyrics pretty much sum up the music of The Dentals, a not-so-new four-piece indie-pop/folk group from Lucerne, Switzerland.

Formed in 2002, it’s taken the boys a decade to put out their first full-length album. Listening to the songs, it’s clear that the delay wasn’t due to painstaking craftsmanship so much as it was general apathy.

That’s the first single from Tennessee, which was composed and written over the course of several months last year while the band shacked up in the sleepy town of Spring Hill, Tenn.

On the surface, the band plays straight-forward acoustic pop songs that are simple, catchy and fun. But a simple listen to the lyrics — which are very easy to decipher through the slow, almost storytelling rhythm of lead singer Fabio’s vocals — paint a picture of a group that likes to have a good time.

Planted squarely in the self-created genre of alco-pop, The Dentals like to write a lot about drinking beer and just generally being slackers. It was likely a nice fit during their early years as an indie-punk band.

Nowadays, it just adds an amusing dimension to their catchy tunes.

That song is the opening track, and, despite mentioning getting drunk, it really isn’t about beer. According to the band’s website, it’s about trying to get over an ex-girlfriend.

Speaking of lyrics, “I Am an Artist” is just a humorous ode to being a pretentious artist. “Devil In My Hand (Part 2)” makes fun of drinking light beer. And “I Love You Even More” has the Fabio talking about all the parts of a woman he loves, but especially a certain attribute: “There’s one thing I like more than the rest. It’s true, your nipples are the best.”

“Not Every Idiot Knows How To Drive a Car” and “I Am Well But You’re Paul Weller” are decent songs with longer than necessary titles, while “Mentally Retarded” is just a throwaway song.

The album’s closer, “B-side”, is slower and generally darker in tone, and it tells the listener that, even though there’s no point to life, that doesn’t mean we can’t have some fun while we’re here.

They don’t have any shows currently booked, but The Dentals seem like the type of band that SXSW audiences would adore.

Just sayin’.

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