26 March 2008

Nederbeat 63 - 69 volume 2

Very much like volume 1: Dutch sung songs are more noticeable, English sung with Dutch accent also more noticeable. Overall obscurity level goes up a little but there are also a few of the biggest hits of the 60's on this volume. Details though, it's just more of the same so if you enjoyed the first set then this is highly recommended too.

I bought these sets sort of 'mid price' (10 euro each), cheap considering you get 2 * 25 hits per set. The package unfortunately reflects that. The booklets of both sets contain the same introductory texts in Dutch, just a few dozen lines about beat and 60's music culture. More entertaining are pictures of the original single sleeves of the featured songs. It gives you a nice overview of sleeve, clothes and hair design, really quite interesting. The booklets finally have lists with some details about the songs but you won't find anything about the bands or musicians.

So, the music selection is excellent, the booklets are adequate. There's a funny thing with the tracklistings on the back of the cases though. Generally, the artists are in yellow capitals with the songtitles in white lowercase. But not every artistname is in uppercase and there's an artist where part of the name was added to the title (the Golden Earring, which should be a well known name by now). Some titles just didn't fit, other titles have a typo. It sort of gives the impression someone typed it over and didn't bother to QA the list. All minor stuff, and I can't find fault with the music or music selection and that's what it's all about, but I can't help to wonder what went wrong as these defects are easy to spot.

Another remarkable thing: the Cd's are here typically priced for being mass-produced and a few years old, and I'm quite sure they're widely available in the Netherlands. Judging from Amazon.com though, you get the impression they're collector's items priced at over US$300. The UK and DE versions have less on offer but at more reasonable prices; it seems that you have to order these Cd's from the Netherlands if you want to own them and see them increase in value multiple times immediately upon arrival (but don't look at me if this get-rich-quick scheme fails).
Universal / Hunter, 2004

Nederbeat 63 - 69 volume 2 (a little over 210MB)
CD 1
CD 2
(the 'extra' file contains the final 3 tracks of Cd's 1 & 2)

24 March 2008

Nederbeat 63 - 69 volume 1

Nederbeat is the Dutch variety of beat, the 60's poprock. The subtitle is "beat, bluf & branie" where "branie" translates roughly to guts or attitude. This is a 2CD collection of some of the largest 60's hits coming out of the Netherlands including some worldwide successes. There's a volume 2 with 2 more Cd's (will be posted soon) and a volume with 'B-sides' (which I don't have).

The quality of the music makes this set interesting for anyone with a remote interest in 60's music. The bands listened closely to their English counterparts and although there isn't a particularly Dutch angle to the music, the Netherlands did their part to shape the culture we now see as "the 60's". The vast majority of the music is sung in English with a few tracks in Dutch. This set doesn't give a revolutionary new view on 60's beat but is a great addition if you have some beat collections already.

The music is 'beat' alright but there are a few songs in other 'typical' 60's styles like protestsongs and r&b. For non-Dutch speakers is this an enjoyable download but you may be frustrated by not being able to understand the few songs in Dutch as they probably sound (and are) very intriguing.
Universal / Hunter music, 2004

Nederbeat 63 - 69 volume 1 (almost 200MB)
CD 1
CD 2

12 March 2008

Portugal. The Man - Church Mouth

I'm sorry, I lacked inspiration. Partly because there wasn't music I was enthousiastic about or I didn't know I was. This CD for example, is an album I am very fond of but it wasn't until I saw on Last.fm how often I'd played it when I realized how well I like it.

It's rock, leaning towards classic hardrock and not punkrock or metal. Not particularly heavy though and the quality of the melodies makes it often more suitable for whistling along than headbanging but that's just because it's so hard to whistle whilst headbanging. Pretty much run of the mill hardrock and if there's anything that makes this stand out, then it's the vocals. Not because they're exceptionally good but because they found a way to somehow mix high and low vocals to make things more interesting. Just as well the vocals are nice to listen to because I haven't been able to make much sense of the lyrics sofar.

What else? The booklet provides the lyrics but I prefer it for the artwork. Their website is done in the same style, to give you an idea. If you visit it, scroll to the 'headlines' for 11.28.2007 to read their take on downloading.
Fearless, 2007

Portugal. The Man - Church Mouth