Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Very Far Away from the Main Road

So, we have our first post by our fabulous Polish blogger, Marta. She will be blogging about the Polish music scene from time to time, as well as about other music. For the moment, I am publishing to post on her behalf while she gets settled into the blogging routine:

One could say that to promote a b-side album for bands that hardly anyone had heard of outside of the mazowsze voyievodship might be a tad too grand an enterprise. Nevertheless, the Lampa magazine, the bible of everything that is indie and artsy in Poland, undertook this amazing feat by producing the Daleko Od Szosy (Far Away from the Main Road) album.

The leader of the (in)famous band Muzyka Konca Lata (literally and for all other purposes translates into Music of the End of Summer) together with a bunch of other bands got together and compiled a mix CD of all their misc goodies and organized a launch show to boot. Before you start going over the bands and tracks, bear in mind how un-singable the Polish language is and still how surprisingly good the overall album was. I am not going to defend the poor vocal skills and the sometimes atrocious mastering, as well as the fact that some of the bands have not left the 90s yet, even though some other bands have managed to already leave and post-modernly revisit that decade during the same time. Also, believe me, dear reader, when I tell you that the lyrics are positively hilarious with topics ranging from boy meets girl to a 00s version of Joplin's Mercedes Benz anti-capitalist anthem.

This entry will cover only the five bands that performed during the launch gig, in order of appearance: Ballady i Romanse (Ballads and Romances), Maki i Chłopaki (Poppies and Guys), MKL (mentioned earlier, who will soon release their second album), Przepraszam (I'm Sorry) and Płyny (Fluids). So, from the top: the two sisters somehow remind me of a minimalist version of cocorosie, but without all the sounds and instruments, getting their inspiration from some Polish folk and other such gems. Maki, on the other hand, live by the rule that if you don't know how to play and, more importantly, sing than at least your performances should be entertaining. And at that last part (as at the two previous ones) they never fail! MKL, which can boast of a larger band and at least one amazing singer in the small body of the female vocalist, managed to be both musically capable and entertaining.

Przepraszam is yet another example of a disturbing practice common among young(ish) Polish bands, where a very good female vocalist remains unmatched and disturbingly overshadowed by the questionable efforts of the lead singer (if this is not a flagrant proof of Polish pervading patriarchy than I don't know what is). She a trained opera singer: he a Jim Morrison wannabe – judge yourselves. Płyny are probably the most mature of the set with some of it's members having a history in jazz ensembles and other genres that require both skills and talent (as pop and rock may run on talent only, it would seem). So dive onto the polish crowd, if you dare.

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