THE MONDAY 5: BENELUXPosted: September 10, 2012
I’ve been real excited to do this one for awhile. Benelux, the countries of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg, share plenty of economic and cultural ties. It was their union with West Germany, France, and Italy in 1951 that led to what is the European Union today. They also have some really good bands who will probably never set foot on these shores.
During my time working in music, I had the chance to work with bands from all over the world, with most of them were looking to build a following in North America. For certain countries it was easier, like the UK, Australia, and the Nordic nations. Between the cultural cache and the large amount of monetary support that the respective governments offer artists, many will end up with an important head start. Norway and Iceland are particularly generous to the arts.
The Benelux countries have some guys who have garnered a fair amount of success on this side of the Atlantic including Golden Earring (“Radar Love,” anyone?), The Ex, Bettie Serveert, Hooverphonic, and K’s Choice. But I’m here to dig a little deeper.
1. Bettie Serveert “Tom Boy”
These guys released a string of records on Matador in the ’90s and did quite well for themselves. It was WKDU playing the tune “Ray Ray Rain” that hooked me. Beyond “Radar Love” or anything else, this is my favorite song from Holland. FYI – the band is still going strong.
3. Garcia Goodbye “You Know Exactly How I Feel”
Sickenly catchy power pop. I love this band. Nothing to do with Jeff Garcia though.
4. Roosbeef “Iets Te Veel Wij(n)”
This group may be a little tougher to get into, but they’re one of those slow burners who will seep into your psyche without you realizing it. The lyrics are in Dutch, and musically it sounds like a weirder Regina Spektor. I don’t understand most of what they’re singing about, but I love them all the same.
5. Moss “I Apologise (Dear Simon)”
This UK indie-influenced group have released a few records on the venerable Dutch label Excelsior. They’ll be doing two dates in Los Angeles next month, including one as part of the Culture Collide festival.
I’ll probably do another one of these in a few months. There’s enough really good bands out there and most of them are on Spotify.