If you’re reading this blog long enough, you probably understood my musical taste by now.
Dark jazz, gloomy experimentalism, quiet music, soundtracks, singer/songwriters, contemporary indies with a link to psychedelic rock of all sort, English folk, psychedelic rock, vintage, weird stuff, exotica.
You won’t find hip-hop, funk or metal or electro. Not that I have anything against these genres, I just try to write mainly about stuff that I know something about and in all mentioned genres – I don’t.
When I first heard, two months ago, this incredible, perfect, fun and happy album, and though it’s not my usual style, I was so astonished that I can’t just leave it unattended.
And this long exposition has a bottom line, and the bottom line is that Amsterdam Throwdown King Street Showdown! Is a masterpiece that left my jaw on the floor and has been playing repeatedly ever since I first encountered it.
Dutch musician Elizabeth Esselink, known better for her moniker Solex, is a genius.
I’ve been following her works for couple of years since I first heard the brilliant album Low Kick and Hard Bop and ever since I try to follow her with everything she’s doing. She knows how to write the perfect pop songs, full of cool samples, jumpy bits and grooved and unexpected sounds and colors that appears suddenly. In her resume I should also mention the brilliant albums Laughing Stock Of Indie Rock and her Fishtank release with M.A.E. The later, was the last time I heard from her, back then in 2005. During the releases of these albums she owned a second hand vinyl store in Amsterdam. One day she had enough with annoying customers and she decided to shut down the store. Lucky for us, more time for her to make music.
(In the picture : A genius in a strange pose)
Meanwhile, on the other side of the Atlantic, Jon Spencer released the last Blues Explosion album (the wonderful 2004 Damage), and moved on to new projects. Previously, he was a member of Boss Hog where he met his wife to be Christina Martinez. This is a rough description of the musicians in this album.
Couple of months ago, Solex, Spencer and Martinez released their new brilliant album that we gathered here today for. For those expecting some Blues Explosion licks and tricks, move on to the wonderful reissued that were just released of the band’s albums, as this album has nothing to do with the Link Wray influenced band. Despite the name on the album – Solex Vs. Christina Martinez and Jon Spencer, it’s much more of a Solex record then the other two. The style that is so unique to her is present here, the style of cool grooves, samples and perfect pop songs the feature strings and vintage sound. The fusion of styles and sounds can be understood when you’re listening to the opening track Bon Bon. The production, writing style, arrangements – it’s all Solex, but the chic, the voice and vocal presence of Spencer, has a crucial part in the general coolness of the first song and the rest of the album.
It’s an album full pop live sounds and samples and though there’s a definite solid style in the album – no song sounds like the other one. Exploding audio candies are flying everywhere and leading this album to a one word description – fresh. Or cool. Or wow. Or fuck me-what is that. Up to you.
Jon Spencer doesn’t still the spotlight, he’s here as a vocalist with an attitude and takes the right part in the arrangement spectrum and leave the heavy bass, Wurlitzers, synths, strings to the hand of the genius.
I always knew she’s a pop genius, but this album takes her 100 steps forward, and Spencer, with all due respect that I have for him (and I got plenty), should be super flattered that he’s a part of a perfect album like that. Pure fun for ya all.
[Buy] From the label, check out the rest of their releases as well!
[Listen to the album] Bandcamp