Tuesday, February 10, 2009

Shell Beach

"Instincts are irrational, and we must follow where they lead" - emerging with similar motives, Shell Beach was founded by long-time friends in 2004. The line, taken from the band-name-inspiring movie "Dark City", coincidentally describes the circumstances around the formation of the band perfectly.

Wide range of influences, held together mostly by the heritage of Glassjaw, Deftones and Refused blends into a complex yet seductive, atmospheric sound in their music, representing they've found something and they have the power to tell it us. "Most of us still had obligations in other musical endeavours, but we got pulled in the minute we started. There was nothing like when the five of us played together." - says vocalist Zoli Totik.

The post-hardcore/alternative outfit grew fast the following years and produced a debut full-length in 2007. Soon enough the material for the first full-length Shell Beach record was written. The title "Acronycal" is an astronomical term referring to planets that are opposite the sun, hence in a favourable position for observation. Ranging from the intense, hardcore-inspired waves of chaos, to the quiet, ambient, dreamlike passages, the music heard on "Acronycal" represents our daily struggles in life and our pursuit to find happiness.

Tuesday, February 3, 2009

Kerekes Band - When folk starts doing the boogie

Once upon a time there were lived a handful of hungarians, who due to some curse that was laid upon them at the dawn of time, picked up folk instruments, and devoted time and energy into mastering them. They did this because they loved the ancient sound of hungarian music, from the areas Gyimes and Moldva. However they soon learned that unless you have a relative or a contact that owns a TV channel or the Operahouse itself, you're going to die of famine - so they had a better idea.

Why not throw in some electronics?

The outcome hit the musical scene in 2006 with their album 'Pimasz'. Their finesse at playing those weird instruments which you won't hear even from the popular, so called world music playing bands stood as the fundament for everything else thrown into the mixture. The flute, lute and viola meet the keyboard, the drums and some really rad beat-patterns. The sound is laid-back psychedelic funk, the never-loved child of jazz and rock. All of this is dipped deep into the ancient soul that still lives in rural parts of Hungary, making their work well worth of the word extraordinary. They received numerous awards, and it's safe to say that our culture has never sounded this awesome.

These five guys haven't stopped there though: in 2008, they released their second album, titled 'Fel a kalappal!' (Up with your hat), shooting a video for the song 'Ethno Funk' in the meanwhile. Right now they're throwing gigs around the country, but they have set afoot in other countries, mainly in folk- or world music oriented festivals. With one half of the populace in their awe, and the other half not knowing about them yet, they continue to preserve our culture in a loud and fashionable way, but no one's complaining - because they're just that badass.

Ethno Funk video
Csángó boogie [live footage]

Official website

Download 'Pimasz' (2006)
Download 'Fel a kalappal!' (2008) [pass:zsola400]

Bridge To Solace

As you can read below after the split up of Newborn the members keep on playing in other bands. Zoli Jakab (former Newborn frontman) foundated BTS which become the most successful hungarian metalcore band.

Actually to categorize BTS as metalcore is a bit untrue. Technically they use both hardcore and metal elements but the result differ from stereotyped metalcore. They keep the agression and the dynamics of hardcore and add the non-primitive riffs of metal (mostly deathmetal).

Current lineup is Adam Fellegi(drums), Péter Kámán(guitars), Bálint Szollár(guitars), László Sztojka(bass) and Zoltán Jakab(vocals).

Their first release was Of Bitterness and Hope in 2003. It's hardly 30 minutes long but if it's not the best hungarian album then it must be the most energetic. Drifting tempo and heavy metal riffs influenced by the göteborg-deathmetal scene.

We had to wait until 2006 for the next album: Where Nightmares and Dreams Unite. The music become heavier and no more melodic-singing. The songs are monumental but not pathetic and the most boring song is still more interesting than any As I Lay Dying recordings.

And as we can read on their myspace the next release (House of the Dying Sun) will be in stores on 13th Feb.

DOWNLOAD 'Where Nightmares and Dreams Unite (2006)'
DOWNLOAD 'Kingdom of the Dead EP (2004)'

These Maps Are Written with Blood LIVE video


The Idoru

The successors of the most influential Hungarian band (Newborn) ever toured Europe three times (twice with Misfits) and Japan twice (once with Ignite), but the real breakthrough still awaits them. Their melodic, fast and catchy alternative rock sound stands uncomparable to any band on the international scene, so they've got the potential.

After the breakup of Newborn, every member except vocalist Zoltán Jakab (now Bridge to Solace) went on to form The Idoru, but after the recording of their 2004 debut, Brand New Way, Brand New Situation changes followed. Current lineup is Andy (vocals), Tibi (guitar), Big (guitar), Matyi (bass), and Laci (drums), so the only two remaining Newborn members are the two guitarists. Those two with Laci, the drummer also play in Blind Myself, while Matyi's other band is Shell Beach, so these guys are kind of engaged with music.

Despite that many activities, their last full length, Monologue shows, that their blend of punk, post-punk, hardcore and classic rock has evolved into a stable performance, where their hard, repetitive riffs, melodic runs and Andy's clear, confident vocals all find their own place.

In Hungary they are know as one of those few bands, whose both music and fan base is international (The Idoru was nominated to the Hungarian MTV award in 2007, category of the best live performer). They are some of a 'poster band' of the hardcore scene, whose videos (Lack of Credibility and Monochrome) show up on MTV Hungary. Their fans though are mainly not related to underground, but are representants of a new generation who follow international trends in music.
Subscribe, the Moog -as biggest Hungarian rock bands, and sound-alike ones (Shell Beach, Velvet Stab, Budapest Rockandroll roster) can be matched to them from the list of Hungarian performers.

Right now they are working on a new album and a spring Hungarian/Slovak tour, to promote the new material.

DOWNLOAD 'Monologue (2007)'
DOWNLOAD 'Hopeless Illusions EP (2005)'

Watch Monochrome video
Watch Refused Day by Day LIVE video


Sunday, February 1, 2009

Norbert Kristóf

Norbert Kristóf is a bit like the youngest brother from a tale. He left his home, Miskolc, a mid-sized industrial city with nearly nothing but a guitar, in the hope of finding something bigger and brighter, and maybe some recognition as a musician. He tried Budapest, London and Stockholm, still, he's a 28 year-old a singer-songwriter always moving on for new paths and hopes. It was feelings and girls and love what kept him moving, and this is what’s his music is about.

His great voice and musical creativity combined with mature, bright and moving lyrics create a special atmosphere which reminds the listener of a dark and rainy world past time and place, where human beings are hopelessly fell in love with each other.

So far he’s been in two short-lived formations: The Band Called Russel and Karate Dog. His active sideproject is The Tree, in which he is accompanied by Gergő Dorozsmai (The Moog) on drums, and they also managed to produce a debut album.

Norbert Kristóf is sure that someday he’ll be the big thing in pop music and he’s got everything to make it happen.

Righ now, in Hungary he is somewhat of a cult status musician, acknowledged by some of the biggest, still, not the public.

The videoclip of the song “Forget your name” started to get airplay on Hungarian MTV in 2008, the artist right now is seting out again: this time the destination is Berlin.

DOWNLOAD Norbert Kristóf discography

Forget Your Name video

The Sadness Comes on Big Buses LIVE video


Marionette ID

Marionette ID roots from Tatabánya, a city with mighty gray flats blocking the sky since the socialist era. In '96, a couple of high school friends got together, and in between skipping classes, socialising with the old alcoholic miners and trying to survive what we call an education system, still found time to play their favourite songs, but over time they grew and grew, until the final lineup formed. Dumping their previous style, a new age started for them as they accomodated to the more buzzing life of the capital, Budapest. In 2006 they made a name for themselfes with the album Light Is Shining Brighter, even though the recording quality was sub-par (or if you want to phrase it better, almost lo-fi).

Their sound is hard to define, as Marionette ID struggle against the well known labeling and categorizing of modern day music. The songs often build up from a post-rock-esque mellow, only to be broken down with a swift rift, all accompanied by steady drums and a voice you could picture singing a lullaby just as smoothly. The recipe, as odd as it may be, works swell, and it fulfills their stated goal of going for the freshness of the original indie bands. The website soundaslanguage.com coined them as melodic post-hardcore, which as dodgy it may sound, is not all off-target.

In 2008 they released Emptiness will change your mind through the internet, and it's definitely something worth hearing. They are something unique in the big block of hungarian music, as they're not giving in to the ever so popular alternative stream, whilst pioneering in a whole different direction then our other metal bands. Right now they're doing gigs as headliners for the 'bigger' names (they opened for Russian Circles and These Arms Are Snakes), sometimes doing a stand alone session here and there, spreading the word within our borders, but gossip says they might be heading to tour in different countries soon, in hope that some major label will pick them up.

Within time they could get worldwide recognition, and we'll be sure to keep you tuned in with news and whatnot about them, with tour announcements and album news.

Download 'Emptiness will change your mind'


The Moog

I will start with Hungary's biggest musical export since Franz Liszt. These twenty-something indie-rocker guys nearly have achieved what so far no other Hungarian band was able to: become a mainstream success.

They are the first rock band in the region to be signed to an American record label, MuSick Records, they are preparing for their 3rd American tour after a European one (and one in Japan still to go) and their two videos got airplay on MTVU (an MTV channel designed to aim American university students). Still, they're not 'there' yet.

The Moog consists of Tonyó (vocals, keyboard), Gergő (drums), Ádi (guitar), Csabi (bass) and Miguel (guitar) and they play 60s garage and 70s punk influenced, mellow indie rock.The Moog name is a tribute to a bar the group attended when they were 18 years of age. Moog Music allowed use of the name for the band on the condition that they precede it with "The". Tonyó also noted that "they gave us a synthetizer, so we use it now."

Their 2007 debut Sold for Tomorrow has its ups and downs, some indie pop clichés come around often. At times, The Moog finds its own special voice and thus gives great standout tracks, Your Sweet Neck, Everybody Wants, I Like You and Survive has to be mentioned here.

The second album, which is said to be finished since the summer of 2008 but is not out yet, is propably another step away from the thousand Libertines-copy band out on the market. The three samples from the new album available for listen on their Myspace vouch to a new, darker sound. Of course there are the tingling guitars, there is Joy Division, there is The Cure but there is something even more. Sure as hell I don't know shit about 'goth' music, but I guess this is it.

Now some about The Moog's Hungarian background. Indie rock in Hungary is not considered pop music, instead it is a subculture which is present exclusively in Budapest, the capital. During a 2008 interview when fans could ask questions directly to the band via IRC chat, it turned out that some fans thought that The Moog was an 'emo' band (instead of 'emo', 'emo-bashing' is widely popular in Hungary, so everyone wearing tight pants is considered 'emo'). The core of indie subculture is connected to music, fashion, and visual artist communities with a broading range of 'outsider' listeners thanks to MTV Hungary and Rádió Petőfi. Other Hungarian indie rock/pop artists include Amber Smith, EZ Basic and Jacked.


Popmatters critics (Sold For Tomorrow)

I Like You video
Everybody Wants video