If you’ve been paying attention - and we hope you have, because there will be a surprise test later – you’ll be aware that we’ve chosen the amazing San Francisco three-piece Geographer as our Featured Artist. Why? Because they’re capable of heart-stopping performances like this, that’s why:
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What’s one cover song you think Geographer would knock out of the park?
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Let’s get straight to the point: there simply aren’t enough girls in the highly specialized field of rockin’ out. While there’s the odd exception – Marnie Stern, for instance, is one of the best elastic-fingered guitar shredders in the world right now – it is an undeniably male-dominated field.
All the more refreshing, then, when we can refer to a female guitarist in ‘rock legend’ terms rather than ‘promising young upstart’ terms. Lita Ford is one of those people. Former guitarist with all-girl rockers The Runaways (a band she joined at the tender age of 16), over the course of seven solo albums and a gazillion world tours, she has established herself as the rock chick other rock chicks aspire to be. And now she’s got a brand new release ready to go: ‘Living Like A Runaway’ is a brand new collection of unpretentious, flat-out raaaawwwwwk music which combines Lita’s innate grasp of melody with those all-important chiming guitars. Perfect party stuff.
Capeman are the kind of rock outfit who really wear their cocky, boyish charm well. It’s a trait often associated with Amsterdam natives. Britpop enthusiasts might remember it from their 90’s icons, or perhaps modern-day acolytes Kasabian. Whatever you might call it, singer-guitarist Darko Tadic and his motley crue have plenty of it.
It’s what makes them a particularly exciting live act, even though they’ve definitely dialed things down from their earlier exploits as The Darko. Their previous entity was all energy; Capeman employ a different, more dynamic approach to songwriting and also boast the added bonus of a fourth member, guitarist/soundscapist Ymer Marinus. With plenty of stage time under their belts and harboring a new musical direction, they’re as confident as ever, a fact bolstered by the aptly titled debut album Stand Out Cause Trouble.
Of course, the first question is: how does all this on-stage energy translate to their studio efforts? Well, the pumping rhythm section of Martin Von Lier and Sin Banovic definitely holds it own on record, driving the band’s staccato grooves home to great effect. Oddly enough, it’s not the muscular cuts that hit home the hardest. Aggressive riffs like those in Mass Destructo or Shed Some Light feel transitional, as if there’s a residue of The Darko they can’t seem to shake off. A shame, as such pumped up rock songs can’t help but feel … well … dated. We Got Glue is a notable exception, thanks to it’s Bloc Party-esque guitars shreds and it’s haunting synthpads.
Thankfully, the majority of the album leaves the band with more room to breath. As it turns out, Capeman have found their comfort zone in spacious mid-tempo songs with plenty of influences, ranging from new wave to electro. Here the slick production works to their advantage, pushing tracks Mongolian Oil and single Science to above average performances. But the absolute standout here must be Televisions. It’s by far the best composition, beautifully arranged and produced, with plenty of room for Tadic’s vocals to take the limelight. Combine that with the excellent hook in the chorus, and you could be mistaken for thinking it’s the next big single from Foster The People.
Overall, Stand Out Cause Trouble is much friendlier than the title might suggest. It’s rock tendencies feel more like leftovers from a bygone age, while their more indie/electro inspired tunes have all the potential to take alternative radio stations by storm. If they exercise a little more restraint, and keep playing to their strengths (as well as awesome live shows), Capeman could well become a strong contender for festival slots and greater exposure in the Benelux and beyond. A promising debut, all in all. Look out for Capeman’s session on BAMM.tv in the next few weeks, as we’ll be releasing the sessions recorded by BAMM.tv at Desmet Studio’s in Amsterdam last January.
We’ve pointed out the greatness of Geographermany a time before here at BAMM.TV, and we’ve also been lucky enough to capture live performances by these San Francisco-based indie-rock favorites. If you’ve yet to experience their awesome sound for yourself, now would be the ideal time to catch up … seeing as their all-new album ‘Myth’ is set for release on the 28th February (next Tuesday).
Those of you lucky enough to count yourself as existing Geographer fans will be pleased to know that you can enjoy a sneak preview of the entire album before the official release, thanks to the lovely people over at Paste magazine. They’re streaming the whole thing online right now, and it’s in the best interests of your ears that you go and investigate right now.
Once you’ve enjoyed their new material, why not relive a classic BAMM performance too? Enjoy the above video which captures a fantastic live version of ‘Paris.’