Wednesday, 18 May 2016

The Austrian Special - A focus on the non-metal music from Arnold's native land

One of my best online friends is from this mysterious country located near the Alps and we often share our local findings. He discovered Québec rock (Karkwa, Ponctuation, Galaxie…) because of me and I was pleased when he sent me a lot of Austrian suggestions. This is sort of related to my Local Sounds series but done with bands from cities located on the other side of the Atlantic ocean. Considering I don’t currently really have the means to visit Vienna or Graz, this exploration of Austria non-metal music will have to do for now. Summoning were the musical act I was thinking of when this country was getting mentioned but it’s always fun to expand our horisons. Let’s start.

Wanda-Amore (2014)
-Bussi (2015)
This quintet from the capital are one of the biggest bands in Austria right now and for good reason. Their blend of heartfelt rock integrates a lot of tasteful pop influences, folky overtones and even some Americana. Their singer, Michael Marco, has some roughness to his delivery, you can hear the fact that he’s a smoker though the German lyrics. Their indie pop with some slight symphonic arrangements is a bit too cheesy for me but you can hear that they’re deeply inspired by Bob Dylan’s electric material for some of their musical aspects. It’s old school pop, really but there’s this modern catchiness. They sort of remind me of Arctic Monkeys if they were not heavy at all. Interesting band, it’s refreshing to hear.

Witchrider – Unmountable Stairs (2014)
Josh Homme just turned 43 this week and he’s possibly the biggest influence here. The
trio from Graz definitely dig the huge guitars of Queens of the Stone Age but they’re not a carbon copy of the seminal American band. They mix things up and add some occult rock to their huge and super catchy riff dirty rock fest. Signed on Fuzzorama records, Witchrider aren’t afraid to unleash the fuzz through their stoner rock and they even include some psychedelia to the mix. 

The song "Far From You" is particularly stellar. Legit band with super good vocals. All hail Austrian desert stoner rock!

Carousals – Unstable (2015)
This viennese quartet released their debut extended play last year and it’s a very enjoyable mix of post punk, indie rock and alt rock with a strong Sonic Youth influence. The riffs are loud and noisy and Sonja’s excellent vocals definitely recall Kim Gordon’s approach. Compared to a band like Savages, they take their time with those slow burning compositions full of distortion (like “No Good”). Great EP and I’m interested to hear their future material.

The Sado-Maso Guitar Club
-We Love You Too (2011)
-Sado Maso Guitar Club (2013)

Possibly my favorite band included in the folder than my friend Daniel sent me, SMGC
are classic rock in the purest sense of the expression. They’re basically a modern version of the Rolling Stones and that’s a super good compliment. “Get the Sound” from their debut album has one of the best guitar melodies I’ve heard in a while and combined with the organ, it’s just an infectious and groovy bluesy rock tune. They worship the late 60s and 70s era of rock where things weren’t getting super yet and it was still highly mixed with folk, blues and singer-songwriter influences. They’re not reinventing anything but they do everything correctly and they’re just super fun to listen to.

Binder & Krieglstein 
-Alles Verloren (2007)
-New Weird Austria (2010)

Rainer Binder-Krieglstein‘s music is pretty unique and quite excellent. Combining ethnic music (arabic, german, austrian, gypsy) with soul, pop, electronic, reggae, hip hop, this project is all over the place in the best way possible. Mostly in German, the album has a variety of singers from soft female voices to deep male ones and it‘s literally insane. It‘s so different from what I‘m used to but I really enjoyed the wide array of sounds displayed by this Austrian producer, it may seem to be disjoncted but it‘s put together expertly.

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