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Puts Marie – Winterthur Music Festival

21 Aug


Puts Marie: Winterthur Festival August 2016

Puts Marie: Winterthur Festival August 2016

The Swiss band Puts Marie who have been together in one formation or another since the 90’s, played a hypnotic set and held the audience despite the pouring rain in Winterthur on Saturday 20 August.
The name comes from the name of a cleaning product no less. They’re not easy to pigeon-hole their music genre so I won’t even try, but If you’ve an eclectic taste in music you’ll love them. Nick Cave, Friends of Dean Martinez, the Beastie Boys and The Velvet Underground all thrown into a pot of bubbling hot chanson bouillon, kind of sum them up for me.

Max Usata has a spellbinding and at moments eerie stage presence. He sings with a ‘sufferin succotash’ English accent, which doesn’t easily allow to understand the text he sings, but it doesn’t detract from the charm and musical adeptness of the band.

Masoch‘ their latest album (2015) is grandiose. Maybe the title is somehow connected to the Austrian author; Leopold von Sacher Masoch, who wrote ‘Venus In Furs’ – which in turn would maybe be a nod at The Velvet Underground – who knows …  but whatever the origins you should definitely buy it and see them live. You might not feel any cleaner but you’ll definitely be hooked.







Lessons In Love

21 Nov

Unknown Mortal Orchestra. Rote Fabrik, 20.11.13

UMO Backdrop and Cover of their latest Album; II

UMO Backdrop and Cover of their latest Album; II

It was a hard act to follow the support band; ‘Mozes And The First Born‘ with the energy they delivered. The garage-rock/college music they play is a something for everyone including the family cat. And they do it well.

The main act: Unknown Mortal Orchestra (Riley Geare; drums, Ruben Nielson; vox, guitar, Jake Portrait; bass) lacked neither in energy or drumming precision. Geare practically wears the drum kit like a second skin and although I’m adverse to rock bands providing really long guitar and drum solos. usually. With UMO there’s no escaping them and these ‘prolonged instrumental intervals’ are incredibly cool and not at all boring.
Heavily laden with hall, phaser and overdrive, Nielson conjours up a ‘other worldly’ feeling –distant but still coherent to the musics pinnings of Motown, jazz, psychedelic pop and rock. How long the music can withstand the pummeling of all this effect I’m not sure – although I did learn my lesson on how to love long guitar solos, at some point the music slightly alienated me with these effects – whether by design or not – Whatever. Nielson did come back on stage for encore and warmed the audience up again with a beautiful rendition of From The Sun.
It will be really interesting to watch how their music and Nielson’s fancy footwork evolve.
Great gig! Tour Dates:

Red Factory Tonight: Unknown Mortal Orchestra

20 Nov
Unknown Mortal Orchestra

Unknown Mortal Orchestra

The band, consisting of ‘a reputedly reluctant to become prominent musician’, singer/guitarist Ruben Nielson (former member of the Mint Chicks), bassist; Jake Portrait and drummer Riley Geare – the names themselves sweat rock-stardom.

The Unknown Now Known

Ruben Nielson released “Ffunny Friends” on the online record store Bandcamp in 2010 without any claim to the song – no mention of its composer. After much ado from keen bloggers raving about it and trying to find out who it’s owner was, Nielson eventually claimed it the work of UMO. The rest is now known.

If to be described – I’d say they’re a kind of psychedelic-poppig-retroesque-mash. And if you’re around in the region of the Red Factory, Zurich tonight, go see them – you won’t regret it.

Here’s an amuse bouche to get your taste buds activated.

Age Old Hunger

17 Oct

Timothy S. Griffin,

Christopher Denny‘s appearance has something of a chameleon quality.  Slight differences set apart one image or photo of him from another– but when you hear his voice, there’s no question.  His voice is distinguished – an unforgettable  tremolo reminiscent of many of the 1920s Gospel Blues crooners and pitch and tone akin to Anthony of Anthony And The Johnsons , Denny’s vocal twang lies in his upbringing in Arkansas, he’s quoted to have been influenced by Hank Thompson, Lefty Frizzell,  Jeff Buckley and Patsy Cline. He issued one Album in 2007: Age Old Hunger and the latest cover of My Morning Jacket’s Bermuda Highway is just an amuse bouche from  his new album due out sometime in the spring 2014 (Partisan Records).

I’ll stick my neck out as far as Brighton pier to say that if he’s not part of the European Festival scene in 2014 … I’ll eat the whole pier!

Cat Power, Volkhaus, Zurich

28 Jun
Cat Power Zurich, Volkshaus

Cat Power 


The stage was sparsely set between new band members – drummer Alianna Kalaba, second guitarist Adeline Fargier (Troy von Balthazar et al.), Nico Turner (bass, percussion and former member of Voices Voices) and veteran Cat Power guitar and keyboard player Gregg Foreman, leaving a lot of stage for Chan Marshall to be the centre of. My only gripe was that I missed a little of that old-fashioned smiling and – we’re really enjoying being here and with each other’ kind of thing from a band, but perhaps that’s just me being – well … old, foolish and sentimental. The coolness could also have been out of concern for their band leader Chan Marshall aka Cat Power, who has recently contracted the life theatening allergy; Angioedema – a swelling of the face, throat and tongue.

Chan Marshall seemed a little nervous as she started her set with The Greatest, but carried on to deliver a brilliant repertoire of songs, all perfectly sung – mainly from Sun, her latest album of Autumn 2012 (for which she nearly literally died). The haunting Angelitos Negros (Pedro Infante cover, also on Jukebox, eighth album 2008) with back light which threw her shadow against the back of the venue leaving her face in darkness all did fit nicely with the mood of the song.

She rarely spoke between songs, had a few leaps off  to back stage and a couple of coughing bouts but every life line she was thrown from the audience she snatched up with warmth and returned her gratitude with an endearing warm smile, really wanting to connect with her audience.

Ending the set with Ruin, If she seemed relieved to get through to the end without anything bad happening or  if it was just that she was starting to warm to her surroundings towards the end – I can’t tell. Although the artist is known for being vociferous, she remains a mysterious feline. But watching her dally away from the stage, it did leave me with the impression that she’s actually a happy Cat Power for now and I wish her all the best and success for her future.


Summing It Up

Cat Power and writer/director Alex Fernie shared this wonderfully self-deprecating skit today, in which Chan Marshall satirizes her own past live temperament by performing children’s tunes before the educational set spirals into sensitive self-pity. In addition to just being a funny clip for anyone familiar with those notorious (pre-sobriety) meltdowns, it’s a welcome surprise to watch Marshall’s comedic side. She did, after all, once aspire to audition for the cast of Saturday Night Live. This might be an even better fit. (

 Other Links

Here Comes The Sun – Cat Power!

27 Jun
Cat Power, Go See Her!

Cat Power, Go See Her!

In Native American cultures, such as the Iroquois and Plains peoples, the sun was recognized as a life-giving force. And after being a long time fan of hers, Cat Power – for me has reinforced this sentiment with her 2012 album ‘Sun‘. Reportedly she’s had set-backs, health and financial problems, sadness, gone to deep dark bad places and back and all the rest of the shit that is part of the human condition. But what is absolutely brilliant about her is, she doesn’t give up despite the kicks and the knocks – she doesn’t fain to make it public but is honest and remains true to herself and I truly admire her for that.

Sun is a life giver and middle finger to whatever gets you down, despite where she gets her inspiration from when it’s out there, it’s out there and I very much hope there’ll be more on its way.

Thus this prelude to the review of her concert tonight at Volkhaus, Zürich on tomorrows reverb. Go see her! Tickets:


Jamie N Commons, 10 May, Papiersaal, Zürich

9 May
jamie n commons

Jamie N Commons from the video ‘The Preacher’

Born in Bristol and raised in Chicago, Jamie N Commons has an abundance of talent and knowledge packed in his musical suitcase. His gravel voice and musicianship fit well with likening him to Tom Waits and Nick Cave.
He’s already received a lot of attention for his debut EP The Baron in 2011 and his second out early this year; Alex da Kid.
He’s playing at Papiersaal, Zurich, Friday 10 May and is not to be missed. Other dates to be found on his website:

MUST SEE! The Deep Dark Woods

21 Apr
The Deep Dark Wood, Papier Saal, Zürich

The Deep Dark Wood, Papier Saal, 20.4.2013, Zürich

The Deep Dark Woods, Concert: Papier Saal, Zürich. So I had a beer and plucked up the courage to speak to one of them before they went on stage; Geoff Hilhorst – Keyboard troubadour and who is as tall as the Sitka Spruce was generous enough to share a couple of  facts.
The all Canadian band (singer and guitarist Ryan Boldt, bass guitarist, vox Chris Mason, organist and pianist Geoff Hilhorst, drummer Lucas Goetz, along with Clayton Linthicum- replacement for Burke Barlow) hail from Saskatoon and Toronto, they’re signed to Six Shooter Records in Canada and Sugarhill Records in the US, and to experience them play is something like coming in from the cold and rain to a freshly baked apple pie. As the set progresses you realise you’re lost in the deep dark woods as if it’s their aim – to spellbound and slowly intoxicate with the help of  light sonic dueling of Boldt’s guitar and Hilhorst’s Keyboard. They’ve been compared to Neil Young among others of that ilk but they have  definite personality of their own – they draw their music influences from all over but love stuff coming out of england and Ireland. They’re going to be giants – physically they already are.

If you haven’t had the privilege to see them live yet, it’s a must. They have a new album coming out Autumn/Winter which will be the 5th under their belt:

Plus. Here are the current dates (GO SEE THEM!) and link to their website:

The SleepCoat League Presents:

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