Blues Brother Castro
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Blues Brother Castro

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Band Alternative Rock

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Music

The best kept secret in music

Press


De bandjesscene van Amsterdam is weer leuk, en Blues Brother Castro is een van de sterkste argumenten om die bewering mee te onderbouwen. Albumdebuut 'Money Maker Me' verschijnt op het Groningse Silent Minority-label, dat zich eerder presenteerde met een bijzonder sterke compilatie-cd. Vooral op liefhebbers van de underground die ongeveer vijftien jaar geleden aan de Amerikaanse oostkust gemaakt werd, zal 'Money Maker Me'verslavend werken. De popliefhebber van rond de dertig hoort van al zijn idolen wel iets terug: met Dinosaur Jr heeft 'BBC' de rockriffs en de vocalen uit de tenen gemeen(van Leon Caren), met Sonic Youth het gelaagde gitaarwerk en met The Pixies de nerveuze onstuimigheid, plus een sexy vocale ondertoon verzorgd door de bassiste. Maar het belangrijkste is: ze kunnen liedjes schrijven. 'Drunken Boy' en 'Want To' getuigen daarvan. Een indrukwekkend indiedebuut.

Menno Pot - Volkskrant (The Netherlands)


There’s an energetic fury that seems to preface Money Maker Me, the new album from the Amsterdam band Blues Brother Castro. You click the play button, which introduces a few seconds of loose rock sleaziness, and then bam! – suddenly, it’s a battle of volume, spirit and squealing guitars.

Of course there’s a strong market for rock music that’s so vibrant and alive that it in turn makes the listener’s adrenalin surge. The Thermals have the most stripped down corner of the market covered, and then there are the major label faux sensations such as Jet who are programmed to make us all think we’re alive when really we’re actually running to hide. Well, Blues Brother Castro feels like the real thing. Their sound is more layered than that of The Thermals. Technically the musicianship is stronger too. Still, they got their passion down on tape, and when you play Money Maker Me loudly and the music surges, you can feel your body reacting along with it.

It’s not just a carefree blast, though. Tracks like ‘Drunken Boy’ and ‘Loaded Gun’ launch on riffs that are so sleazy they’re almost fluid, but there is a stiffer, more structured approach too. A good example of that is on ‘Dress’ which builds slower and has more in common with the indie-rock of a band like Idlewild than straight out rock‘n’roll, but it’s still massively infectious. ‘Want To’ also manages to maintain the pace of the album, but with less of an aural blast, it adds some additional dynamics.

The vocal performance of guitarist and singer Leon also sits well throughout, and he seems to lose the plot whenever it’s needed most. Add the crucial backing vocals from bassist Mila and you have some great rock harmonies that carefully tread the line between being effective and not over-the-top.

Then, before you know it, the album is over and there’s no time left for disappointment. Sure, some songs have more highlights than others but there is no real criticism to be made. In fact, I haven’t heard any other Dutch act produce such an energetic performance on record so far this year.

Steven McCarron - Stayfun


Het Amsterdamse Blues Brother Castro (BBC) is het zoveelste bewijs dat de invloed van de Pixies niet te overschatten is. De band maakt een soort dynamische popcore die Black Francis en consorten tot ons brachten. Meer nog is BBC het bewijs van de stelling dat het rock & roll-wiel altijd weer opnieuw kan worden uitgevonden., als je maar de juiste mensen met de juiste instelling in de juiste oefenruimte krijgt. Bedenk even het gevoel wat je voor het eerst kreeg toen je voor het eerst The Strokes, White Stripes of Thermals hoorde. Dat gevoel. Het bekruipt mij regelmatig bij het beluisteren van Money Maker Me. Nee, vernieuwend of baanbrekend is het niet, wel opwindend en gewoon heel erg goed. De twaalf liedjes hebben stuk voor stuk vaart, sterke melodieen en veel rock & roll. Er staat geen slecht nummer tussen. Door de (samen)zang van Leon Caren en bassiste Mila van der Wall komen de Pixies af en toe erg dichtbij, maar wat boeit het. Blues Brother Castro weet de vinger te leggen op dat ondefinieerbare maar wel essentiele gevoel dat popmuziek nodig heeft: opwinding!

John Denekamp - OOR


Discography

2006 Album 'Fun'
2004 Single 'Drunken Boy'
2004 Album 'Money Maker Me'
2003 EP 'Flirt'

Photos

Feeling a bit camera shy

Bio

Ask lead vocalist Leon Caren about the idea behind the title of the new Blues Brother Castro album ‘FUN’ and he sarcastically answers “Modern Life is fun, right?”

The catchphrase off the titel track ‘Just because it’s fun, doesn’t mean you have to do it’, certainly leaves room for interpretation. Fact is, where their first CD Moneymakerme (2004) almost exclusively dealt with life as seen through the alcoholically tainted specs of boisterous frontman Leon Caren, now it is time for a little 'contemplation' and - let's say - 'distance.'
Conspicuously labeled as 'alternative rock' (the way the indication of the genre was originally meant), Blues Brother Castro is as indie as indie could ever be. If rock was intended to be the anti culture, then this lot comes closest. Fun sounds like the definition of recalcitrance, but even in this there are various grades. Fun is different, and not only lyrically.
The intensity that the word 'blues' in the band name refers to is comparable only to that of the legendary Gun Club or Jon Spencer, and has remained fully intact. The music itself is also strikingly less one-dimensional than before. 'Sonically speaking, we were like a somewhat musty grey line on our previous album,' Caren analyses. 'On our new CD we've tried to give the songs a little more air, while also acknowledging that the songs have become more staccato in nature.' Early reviews have been quick to point out that the mission has been accomplished, with much consideration being given to the improved dynamics. One could say that on Fun, the line segments have begun to take shape.
'Fun is also more of a band album than its predecessor. We went through more of the process together,' In the past, he and guitarist Tjeerd Meindersma wrote the songs and then brought them to the rhythm section. During the Fun sessions, drummer Hajo De Reijger and bassist Mila Van De Wall were involved early on and throughout. Bass and drums are clearly more prevalent this time around, and have a bolder influence on the shape of the albums sound.
The fun on Fun is of a totally different variety than, say, the Fun, Fun, Fun of The Beach Boys. In an effort to explain Fun's subject matter, Caren adds, 'These songs are deeply rooted in modern life, finished off with a solid dose of sheer cynicism. It's more than just alcohol and relationships. Fun is definitely multi-layered.'
That layering is due in large part to the bands recent touring schedule. In the wake of their 2005 appearances at Popkomm and New York's CMJ Music Marathon, Blues Brother Castro toured the US for a month last Autumn. Then, when the band was invited to play the prestigious SXSW Showcase in Austin, TX, they saddled up and did another three weeks in the States in early Spring. Now road-tested and ready to promote the long-awaited new album at home, the band will embark on a lengthy domestic tour in June, and will sprinkle the calendar with dates in Germany, England, and possibly other European countries. An international tour is also being planned for later in the year with scheduled stops in Amsterdam, London, Paris, Berlin and New York.
Just because it's fun...

Highlights:
2004 Essent Award
2005 Popkomm, Berlin
2005 First and only Dutch band included on the popular video game FIFA '06 (EA Sports)
2006 SXSW Showcase, Austin TX